Monday, February 16, 2015

My Thoughts on Death Comes to Pemberley

As a rule, I generally don't like period Jane Austen fan fiction, sequels, what ifs, etc.

However, that doesn't mean I won't ever read or watch them; I'm just selective. I feel like the characters belong to the author and therefore should be treated with the utmost care. I suppose I am a bit of a purist.

Consequently, I wasn't expecting to like Death Comes to Pemberley, a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. When I saw the TV series would be on PBS last fall, I was skeptical but willing to give it a try. I never could say no to a period costume drama.

Here is a short synopsis *without spoilers* of the plot for those of you who need it:
Elizabeth and Darcy are happily married at Pemberley six years after the events of Pride and Prejudice.   They are planning to host a ball, but everything is disrupted when a murder is committed in the Pemberley woods, and the notorious Wickham is discovered at the scene of the crime, claiming he is innocent. Darcy and Elizabeth must overcome the crisis and solve the mystery in order to save Pemberley, their family, and their relationship.

Kinda corny and silly, right? That's what I thought.

I could not have been more surprised.

I was blown away by the beautiful locations, tight plot, intriguing mystery, and (mostly) believable portrayal of the characters I have come to know and love for years. Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Rhys did a fantastic job showing what Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship could be like after six years. There was a real and comfortable love that grew with the series. At first I thought they both looked a bit old for their roles, but I grew to appreciate both of them because of their superior acting abilities. Jenna Coleman stole the show as hysteric Lydia; her somewhat sympathetic portrayal of the character may be my favorite ever. I was not expecting to like the new characters who were added, but a few of them became some of my favorites in the series. They did change some of the canon characters from the original, which I didn't like, but I suppose nothing can be perfect.

I would highly encourage everybody to watch it; I believe it is currently on Netflix and a few other video streaming sites. However, if you are a newbie to Jane Austen, make sure you watch or read Pride and Prejudice before you indulge yourself.

I have not read the novel by P.D. James which the TV series is based from, but be assured that it is on my very long Must Read List. Have any of you read it? How does it compare to the TV series? Also, what are your thoughts on fan fiction? Yay, nay, or ehh?


  1. I'm not particularly fond of fan fiction. Though I do like to think about what happens to some characters in certain works, I often feel that the story is better left where it ended. I've never read Jane Austen either, by the way. Have any recommendations for a first-timer?

  2. I think sometimes fan fiction can be an interesting read, but it is not for everyone. Any time I find one, I am taking a gamble because I don't know if it will be worth my time or if it will even have an ending. (Most fan fictions are abandoned by their authors before the story can gets completed. IT can be really frustrating to read those.)
    Anyways, I like the idea behind fan fiction but I wish it was approached with as much love and care as this TV series seemed to receive.

  3. I agree with Emma in that I like the idea of fan fiction. Often, though, it is so strange and off course that I really can't enjoy it. I like the idea of a literary conversation in real live -- creating something that is a commentary and criticism of the work itself. Perhaps this is why I don't often like or agree with them.