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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris

Pride and Prescience: Or, a Truth Universally Acknowledged by Carrie Bebris. New York: Forge (Tom Doherty Associates), 2004. ISBN: 0-765-30508-9

Once again I embark on a search for a worthy sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. And once again, I'm doomed to disappointment. This book, however, was readable at least, unlike the last attempt I assayed. Once again we find Elizabeth and Darcy, newly married, embarking for Pemberfield, only to find themselves delayed by unexpected problems. Mr. Bingley's haughty sister Caroline, newly married herself to an American, is in trouble, and no one but the Darcy's it seems, can help her.

All of this is fine, so far as it goes, but unfortunately, Ms. Bebris fails utterly in any way to capture the unique turn of phrase and compelling character of Jane Austen's Elizabeth that so captures the happy reader of the original. The characters here are flat and without any particular charm.

And the author insists on dragging in a supernatural element quite foreign to the nature of Austen's work. She makes Elizabeth the one willing to admit the possibility of things beyond our ken, and Mr. Darcy the persistent skeptic, and yet, methinks the original Elizabeth would have been just as skeptical, if not more so.

The plot is as well worked out as can be expected, and will no doubt satisfy the average mystery fan, but it might just as well have been set in any Regency England household, with totally new characters, as we don't recognize the Darcy's of our past experience here. Sadly no. Only marginally recommended, and only as a not particularly above average mystery, not as a sequel to the apparently inimitable P & P.

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