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Friday, November 27, 2009

Searching For Pemberley by Mary Lydon Simonsen

Searching for PemberleyPublisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402224397
Pages: 496 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Sequel/Pride and Prejudice
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher’s Description:

Set against Regency England, World Wars I and II, and postwar England, three love stories intertwine in surprising and fateful ways

American Maggie Joyce, touring Derbyshire in 1947, visits, Montclair, an 18th century Georgian country house, that she is told was the model for Jane Austen's Pemberley. More amazingly, the former residents of the mansion, William Lacey and Elizabeth Garrison, were the inspiration for the characters of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.

Through letters, diary entries, and oral history, Beth and Jack Crowell, a couple who lives in the nearby village of Crofton, share stories of the people they say inspired Jane Austen. They also tell their own love story, made difficult by their vastly different backgrounds—she was one of the social elite while he was the son of a servant. When their son, Michael, travels home from his RAF station in Malta, Maggie may have just found her very own Mr. Darcy.

My Review:

I have been very lucky with Jane Austen sequels lately. They have all been so good. This one is no exception. It was unlike any other Jane Austen sequel I have ever read. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

I really liked that this was a mix of historical fiction and a Jane Austen sequel. Two of my very favorite genres mixed into one book. The premise of this novel was also really great. The idea of Lizzy and Darcy being real people made me do a mini-happy dance. I think that it is a dream every Pride and Prejudice fan has…that their hero and heroine really had that beautiful love story. I also thought that the romance between Maggie and Michael was really well done. I really liked that their story did not mirror Lizzy and Will (Darcy) because I think that would have been the easy way. They had their own feel and were much more easy going than Lizzy and Will.

The history geek in me feels that she must comment so she will. I really thought that the use of diaries and letters helped to bring the story of Lizzy and Will to life. I did not feel as if they were specters from the past but real people with an interesting and quite smushy romance. Maggie was also great to follow during her research. It was so fun to follow her quest for knowledge about the real Lizzy and Darcy and as a reformed historian, I think the historical research was the most fun part of the book.

Overall, this was one of the most fun experiences that I have had reading a Jane Austen sequel in a while. I would recommend this to anyone looking for something really different. I can’t wait for Simonsen’s next books.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.


  1. Grace, Thank you for your wonderful review of Searching for Pemberley. I'm particularly pleased that you liked the historical research I included b/c that is also my favorite part. Well, maybe my second favorite after the love stories. Mary Simonsen

  2. This sounds like the kind of Austen sequel I might enjoy. I have a hard time with the ones that try to pick up the exact characters and carry on their story. But this ties Austen in with a new story and that intrigues me.

  3. Hi Lisa, I loved writing about Post WWII because that was when I grew up. All my uncles had served in the war, and I was interested in their stories. If you do decide to by SFP, I hope you enjoy it b/c I enjoyed writing it.

  4. [...] Ann Collins 74. My Unfair Lady-Kathryne Kennedy 75. The Last Man in the World-Abigail Reynolds 76. Searching For Pemberley-Mary Lydon [...]



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