Pride and Prescience (Or, A Truth Universally Acknowledged), a Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery, embroils the joyous newlyweds Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy in a mystery involving one of their wedding guests.
The lovely Caroline Bingley is engaged to marry a rich and charismatic American. Unfortunately, this windswept courtship is marred by many strange events nocturnal wanderings, spooked horses, carriage accidents, and even an apparent suicide attempt. Soon the whole Bingley family seems the target of a mysterious plot, with only the Darcys recognizing the danger.
Sinister forces are afoot and the Darcys must get to the bottom of the plot before the blushing bride descends into madnessor worse.
About the Author
Carrie Bebris is a former school teacher and editor for TSR. A member in good standing of the Jane Austen Society, she resides in Wisconsin.
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Pride and Prescience OR, A TRUTH UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED
By Carrie Bebris
FORGECopyright © 2004 Carrie Bebris
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHappy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs. Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters. Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 61
On the day Miss Elizabeth Bennet wed Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, she did not mind dividing with her elder sister, Jane, the notice due a bride. Indeed, she had been delighted when Jane chose to marry Mr. Charles Bingley in a double ceremony. It seemed only right that two sisters and two men who were themselves particular friends should all embark on their new lives together, and she hoped the event presaged many happy hours spent in each other's company in the years ahead.
Elizabeth did mind, however, sharing the stage with Mr. Bingley's sister Caroline.
The new Mrs. Darcy glanced across the drawing room of Longbourn House. Miss Bingley and her fiancé, Mr. Frederick Parrish, sat beside each other on the sofa, monopolizing the attention of half the wedding guests. Their immediate spectators included two of Elizabeth's younger sisters, assorted aunts and uncles, and Caroline's sister, Louisa Hurst. The couple's chatter had also drawn the observation now her son-in-law, Mrs. Bennet, like many of Darcy's acquaintances, yet found him a formidable man.
Elizabeth observed Miss Bingley listening to Parrish with rapt attention. He cast his fiancée a warm smile, then broadened it to include the rest of his party. Monts Joyeux. She searched her rudimentary knowledge of French for a rough translation. Joyful Hills? The image of a home so named somehow suited the attentive, amiable man. But Miss Bingley was another matter. "I'm astonished that she consented to marry an American," she said. "One can't imagine her living in the United States. She'd consider it uncivilized."
"Maybe the size of Mr. Parrish's inheritance influenced her," Jane said. "It must be a very grand estate. I understand, however, that he plans to buy another property here in England." She lowered her voice so that it reached only Elizabeth's ears. "Perhaps Caroline will have her own Pemberley at last, Lizzy, now that she knows she'll never have yours."
Anticipation swept Elizabeth at the mention of Mr. Darcy's home in Derbyshire-now her home, too. Before Darcy became engaged, Miss Bingley had been obvious in her aspirations to one day cross Pemberley's threshold as its mistress. Apparently, she'd experienced more disappointment over failing to secure the estate than its owner, for no sooner had Darcy and Elizabeth set their wedding date than Miss Bingley embarked on a whirlwind courtship with Mr. Parrish. Somehow, in the space of mere weeks, Caroline had managed to win the affections of a very eligible bachelor.
Sensing someone's gaze upon her, Elizabeth raised her eyes to meet those of her new husband. Darcy stood some distance away, enduring the effusive congratulations of Mr. Collins, who had apparently found himself unequal to the effort of holding his own tongue long enough to overhear Mr. Parrish's words, and had therefore chosen to confer upon one of the bridegrooms his felicitations and sagacious marital counsel. Despite Darcy's diverted attention, the clergyman continued his discourse unabated, completely insensible of the interruption in attendance to his soliloquy.
Though Darcy had cropped his dark brown hair a little shorter than usual for today, unruly curls yet wisped round his head. Short side-whiskers lent prominence to his strong jaw, while the lapels of his double-breasted coat accented the broad shoulders that so capably bore the weight of many responsibilities. Not of brawny build, he nevertheless exuded puissance, the noble virility of a classical marble bust come to life.
He towered over her cousin, his stature enabling her to see every nuance of his countenance. The man who could quell observers with the rise of a single dark brow bestowed upon her a look of infinite tenderness before returning his gaze to Mr. Collins.
"Miss Bingley can have every acre of Pemberley," she said softly. "I have the real fortune."
She glanced once more at her husband. Poor Darcy-stuck in the corner with Mr. Collins, and no end to the interview in sight! Noting that the servants had just laid out the tea table, she headed for it, intending to relieve Darcy's suffering by interrupting the conversation to offer refreshment. No sooner had she poured coffee to take to the gentlemen, however, than Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst approached the table.
"I'm positively parched." Miss Bingley took one of the cups from Elizabeth's hands.
Mrs. Hurst took the other. "Yes, it is very dry in this room."
Elizabeth forbore suggesting that perhaps Miss Bingley's thirst derived from having spent the morning talking excessively about herself and Mr. Parrish. Instead, she commented on that safest and most meaningful of all topics-the weather-observing that there had been little rainfall of late.
"A providential circumstance for your wedding," Mrs. Hurst said, "particularly since it was held in the country. Otherwise, you would have risked dragging the hem of your gown through mud on your way into church."
"And what a charming little church-not at all like the large London ones where so many in our circle have tied the knot. Here we could all be so snugly seated." Miss Bingley's voice held all of the usual smugness with which she addressed any of the Bennets. "Altogether a nice little affair from beginning to end. Do you not agree, Louisa? How fortunate you are, Eliza, to have had your mother to guide you in the planning."
Elizabeth ignored the poorly stifled snicker that erupted from Mrs. Hurst. The Bingley sisters had never managed to mask their disdain for her mother, had seldom even tried. In moments of self-honesty, she conceded that their criticism was not without foundation. But their rudeness was. Mrs. Bennet might lack restraint and good judgment, but her silly behavior had at its root the sincere wish of seeing her five daughters securely settled, and maybe even happy. The Bingley sisters, in contrast, had demonstrated by words and deeds that they ultimately had no one's interests at heart but their own.
"Mrs. Bennet must have taken particular pleasure in preparing for today, since she was unable to participate in your youngest sister's wedding," Mrs. Hurst said.
"Yes-how is Mrs. Wickham?" Miss Bingley asked.
"She is well," Elizabeth responded civilly. In other words, Lydia was still infatuated with the wastrel she'd married, and therefore as happy as a flighty, thoughtless, self-absorbed girl can be. Though Elizabeth loved her sister, the remembrance of last summer's scandalous elopement yet pained her, and she felt guilty relief that when Wickham's previous misconduct toward the Darcy family rendered it impossible to include him on today's guest list, Lydia had chosen to remain with her husband at his military post in Newcastle rather than attend the nuptials.
"Have you any advice for those of us who will soon follow you down the aisle?" Miss Bingley pressed, casting a conspiratorial smirk at Mrs. Hurst. Louisa leaned forward for Elizabeth's response.
"With your own taste to guide you, I am sure your celebration could derive no further benefit from my opinions."
The Bingley sisters returned to their party, where Caroline continued to hold court with Mr. Parrish. The American's distinct accent seemed to entertain its listeners independent of whatever he had to say.
Elizabeth poured more coffee and carried it to Darcy and Mr. Collins. "Forgive the interruption, gentlemen, but I thought you might appreciate something to drink. I've been informed that it's dry in here."
Darcy's look of gratitude had nothing to do with the refreshment.
"Cousin Elizabeth, your eagerness to serve your new husband does you credit." Mr. Collins accepted the coffee but could not leave off talking long enough to taste it. "Do allow me to express once more my most heartfelt wishes for your future happiness. Though, as I was just expressing to Mr. Darcy, it grieves me that you entered into the matrimonial state without his aunt's permission. You will, I am sure, be gladdened to hear that her ladyship still tolerates the mention of your husband's name in her presence, an omen which leads me to believe that if you applied to Lady Catherine with the utmost humility and the deference to which one of her rank is entitled, she may in due course yet condescend to approve the match."
"What a relief! I know not how Mr. Darcy and I will get on until we obtain her approbation."
"Thank goodness you realize the seriousness of the situation. I had feared you were insensible of the grave insult you have paid her ladyship-"
"Mr. Collins," she said as if addressing him in confidence, "I have just come into the knowledge that there is another couple here who could benefit from your insights on marriage." She directed his attention toward the sofa. "Miss Bingley and Mr. Parrish have just announced their engagement, and only moments ago, the lady was seeking my counsel on planning the ceremony. Certainly you-longer married than I, and a clergyman besides-could offer her valuable instruction."
Mr. Collins nodded enthusiastically. "I could indeed. There is so much a betrothed couple ought to consider-"
"And they should consider it all."
"Before I depart, I shall make myself better acquainted with them."
"Why delay?" Elizabeth asked. "There is an empty seat near Miss Bingley. This is the perfect occasion to share your knowledge."
The clergyman wanted no further encouragement. "You are right, cousin Elizabeth. Wisdom can never be imparted too early. If you and Mr. Darcy will excuse me?"
Mr. Collins hastened to Miss Bingley's side, eliciting an expression of horror from that lady and a charge of satisfaction from Elizabeth.
"I had no idea I married a woman capable of such cruelty to another of her sex."
She met Darcy's smile. "I merely thought that someone so desirous of attention and someone so generous in extending it should be united in conversation."
"Somehow, I doubt Miss Bingley agrees."
"I can call him back, if you wish."
"Do not dare."
Spotting Charlotte Collins approaching the tea table, she contemplated how much luckier she was than her friend, in having found a life partner worthy of her respect. Charlotte had gone into her marriage fully sensible of her husband's oddities, and managed Mr. Collins skillfully, but Elizabeth nevertheless preferred her own definition of happiness.
Darcy followed her gaze. "I am glad your friend Mrs. Collins could be here. Have you had much opportunity to visit with her?"
"Very little. I've been trying to devote a bit of time to each of our guests. As a consequence, I feel I've spent the morning talking ceaselessly but saying nothing."
"Then you shall fit right in with the haut ton."
She looked up at him, this man with whom she was now joined. "Everyone wants a few minutes with the bride," she said quietly, "and all I want are a few minutes with you."
"Only a few? I had counted on a lifetime."
Her mischievous spirit returned. "Did you not realize? I took you on probation."
"And how have I acquitted myself thus far?" He regarded her with amusement.
"Beyond every expectation. Not that there was ever much doubt of my keeping you, but a man willing for my sake alone to bear the conversation of Mr. Collins has no equal."
Their social obligations compelled them to part. Darcy went to the Gardiners, while Elizabeth met Mrs. Collins at the tea table. She embraced her friend, noting immediately her thickened waist.
"Charlotte, I must tell you again how pleased I am that you managed to come."
"I would not have missed it. Had Lady Catherine withheld permission for Mr. Collins to attend, I would have urgently wished to visit my mother once more before my confinement, or developed a craving for cream that could be satisfied only by the Lucas Lodge dairy My husband is so nervous about my 'delicate state of health' that he would not dare refuse me."
As Charlotte tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear, Elizabeth noted that a few strands of grey had emerged amid the auburn since she last saw her friend. "You are feeling well?"
"Very, despite her ladyship's insistence that I behave as an invalid-when I'm not attending to matters she deems more important, of course."
She poured tea for herself and Charlotte. "I wonder that Mr. Darcy's aunt spared her clergyman leave to attend a wedding she herself has denounced."
"I suspect she approved our being present so that she could demand an account of all the sordid details upon our return."
"And what will you report?"
"Let's see ..." She cocked her head, studying Elizabeth with keen blue eyes. "Mrs. Darcy looked radiant in a full dress of Brussels lace over white silk, with a low yet modest neckline, high waist, short sleeves, and a wreath of orange blossoms securing her veil." Her gaze darted across the room. "Her bridegroom wore a dark blue dress coat, white waistcoat, highly starched cravat, and-" She turned back to Elizabeth. "Really, are gentlemen's clothes half so interesting? What else? The wedding breakfast featured eight courses and three wines. And so on. But those are the particulars her ladyship will enquire about. What she won't ask, but what I shall endeavor to reveal, is that her nephew appeared as happy as his new bride."
"Despite having ruined his great family with disgraceful connections?" Elizabeth mocked Lady Catherine's contemptuous tone. "She will not be pleased at the knowledge."
"I am. I hoped for this event when you visited us last spring, you know. Perhaps in time her ladyship will come to accept you."
"I am told that if I grovel sufficiently, such felicity may be mine."
Charlotte stirred milk into her tea, her expression turning serious. "I shall surely miss your visits otherwise. You must write often, and tell me about your new life. Do you plan a honeymoon trip?"
"Not immediately. Jane and Mr. Bingley have invited us to stay at Netherfield tonight. We'll depart for Derbyshire with Mr. Darcy's sister in the morning. With Christmas approaching, we want simply to get settled at Pemberley before the Gardiners join us three weeks hence. Perhaps we'll go away in spring."
She lingered long with Charlotte, conscious that circumstances surrounding their respective marriages meant that this could be her last opportunity to see her friend for quite a while. Periodically, laughter and exclamations erupted from Miss Bingley's party, drawing their gazes in that direction. Elizabeth had expected the assembly to disperse upon Mr. Collins's arrival, but Mr.
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Table of Contents
Reading Group Guide
Questions for Discussion
1. The book's subtitle comes from the opening line of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Bebris includes this line as an epigraph at the start of Pride and Prescience. What expectations did this quote and subtitle set up in you as a reader? How does it reflect the characters'expectations?
2. The word prescience means foresight, foreknowledge, or anticipation of events. Which characters in the novel display prescience, and in what ways?
3. Discuss the theme of appearance vs. reality in the novel. Are there characters besides Parrish whounintentionally or deliberately, for good or badare not entirely what they seem?
4. To what extent is Caroline responsible for her own misfortune?
5. Describe the dynamic between Elizabeth and Darcy, in terms of both their marriage and their sleuthing. What strengths does each bring to the relationship? What weaknesses? How well do they complement each other?
6. Elizabeth and Darcy clash over the issue of reason vs. intuition. Which do you rely upon most strongly when making decisions?
7. Are the characters complicit in their own deception? To what degree does each allow him or herself to be deceived by Parrish and others?
8. Each chapter begins with a quote from Pride and Prejudice. Why do you think Bebris included them, and what, if anything, did they add to your experience of the novel? Did these quotes lend insight into the chapters? The characters?
9. Compare and contrast the marriages shown in the novel.
10. From the first chapter to the last, Elizabeth and Darcy long to reach Pemberley. Discuss this theme. What does Pemberley represent?
11. The novel has two primary physical settingsLondon and Netherfieldwithin the broader context of fashionable society during England's Regency period. How do time and place contribute to the story?
12. How familiar were you with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice before reading Pride and Prescience, and with what expectations did you come to this book as a result?
13. If you are familiar with Pride and Prejudice, compare Bebris's representations of Austen's characters with the originals. Also, compare and contrast Mr. Parrish with Mr. Wickham.
14. Gothic novels were popular in Austen's time, and Austen herself read and enjoyed them. Although Austen parodied the supernatural elements of gothics in her novel Northanger Abbey, Bebris chose to make the paranormal threat real in Pride and Prescience. Were you surprised by this aspect of the novel's resolution?
15. In the end, did each character get what he or she deserved?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In my last critique of this novel I judged it as absolutely wild and ridiculous. Now, after reading Linda Berdol¿s take on Darcy and Elizabeth, I had to reconsider my hash words. This book truly stays true to Darcy and Elizabeth. They act in the precise manner Jane Austen would have wanted them to act in the given situations. Darcy is¿well Darcy and Elizabeth is full of sharp wit and spunk. Best of all there romance tastefully hinted upon and discrete. I truly think this Author has an unparalleled ability to capture the real Darcy and Elizabeth. Where this book fails however is with its ridiculous plot. This isn¿t Gothic it¿s insane. Magic rings, spells, and so on. It¿s all too, too much. But the characters are so authentic to Austen¿s that I advice reading it anyway. I¿d love to see this author continue Austen style books with less outlandish plots.
I absolutley loved this book. It honestly stayed true to the original characters and hinted romance without being raunchy. She really imitated the feel of a JA novel without being too flowery.
I was really disappointed with this book. I love the Jane Austen series and and love Pride and Prejudice. The dialogue was authentic, but it was a poor facsimile for the world of Pride and Prejudice. The whole cursed ring was completely unbelievable and unrealistic. I would recommend reading the library's copy before buying it from the bookstore.
Really - Lizzy and her Mr. Darcy sleuthing around Netherfield after mysterious events? And wondering if witchcraft is involved? This is just too dumb to believe. I gave it one star for some cute and true-to-character dialog...that is, when they are not talking about the rediculous events. Carrie D can write Regency stuff...but this is hocus-pocus fluff.
Enjoyable mystery, but a bit too heavy on the mysticism for my taste. Bebris produced a plausible Elizabeth Bennett (for which I commend her, it's always a risk to take on someone else's characters, let alone Jane Austens!) and the relationship described between her and Darcy was believable and good. Overall a worthy effort.
I'd give this book another star entirely save for one thing. It starts off well enough, all the favorites from Pride & Prejudice returned, happy, house party, some sparks of wit. There's a minor industry dedicated to producing sequels, prequels, and sidequals to ol' P&P, yet none has truly emerged as the "definitive" take. Perhaps because so much of Austen's fiction, unlike more robust and exterior authors, is concerned with emotional progress...and her wit was so very finely honed that the victims probably didn't realize what was happening until they noticed the knife in their sides...it will be impossible to really create something that feels Austenish. But all that aside. So you have this mystery, and Darcy and Elizabeth begin investigating. Pip pip, fine, swell. It's a really great idea--the original Nick and Nora Charles, no?. But then Bebris decides it's not just a mystery...it's a MAGICAL mystery. If you wanna do a magical mystery that's fine, certainly. But mystery readers expect certain rules to be followed. You don't make the murderer someone that no one has heard of or met. You don't withhold clues until after the murder is solved. And Jane Austen's intricate, meticulously painted world is probably not the best environment in which to locate magic rings and wizardry. Bebris apparently has continued her Magical Austen theme in the rest of this series, so if you like the idea of a magical mystery tour through her canon, I guess it could've been worse? But the back cover doesn't indicate this is a magical mystery. It's not in the fantasy section. Perhaps the publisher would be better off including some mention of magic or fantasy on the label--elsewise, it reeks a bit of false advertising.
I started this with high hopes. but unfortunately did not enjoy it. The first chapters are enjoyable, who hasn't speculated on what the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy would have been like.But this is not a domestic novel, per se and the mystery is what really lets it down. The story was, for me, too unlikely and the resolution unsatisfactory.
I've never really been one for Austen continuations. I read P+P+Zombies because I felt I must. And it's more of an alternate reality than continuation. I read Pamela Aidan's Mr. Darcy, Gentleman Trilogy because they were recommended to me and they are beautifully written and, again, they're of a parallel nature. I've been very stubborn about Austen continuations and Austen fanfiction. I've always been a purist when it comes to my Janeite membership.But somehow or other I was led to read Carrie Bebris' Darcy mysteries. I believe the suggestion came through librarything.com. I figure a database that has all of the books I've read and what I think of them must have some good suggestions. Turns out, they were right. Unfortunately, I'm only 3 books-in. Ms. Bebris has created a fictional--though logical and realistic and very very appropriate--"ending" to Pride and Prejudice in the form of a series in which Mr. and Mrs. Darcy begin their new lives and (like many couples) experience bump after bump in their new road of life together. But their bumps, in Ms. Bebris' world, are extremely-well-researched mysteries in which the author has managed to pull the Darcys on a fine thread through all of Austen's novels.The first of these is Pride and Prescience in which the couple is married, only to immediately have Caroline Bingley announce her immediate engagement and impending marriage to an American we have never heard of. And instead of a happy honeymoon, we get a dangerous and murderous mystery that ends up being much more interesting than the smut and fluff that so many other adapters have dragged Austen's characters through. And while the mysticism at the root of the events is a little lackluster, it's enough to make you want to read the next one. The second novel is Suspense and Sensibility which takes an even deeper turn into the darker realms. Now Ms. Bebris is on a roll.She has literally steamrolled us into Sense and Sensibility but about 15 years later AND has expanded the original story's origins. In this story, the magic is darker and more volatile. This story is much more dangerous and as a result is much more interesting, especially because it expands the character of Kitty Bennett. While the first novel resisted expanding Caroline's character by subduing her through the magic, this one is more willing to take steps beyond the inspiring work and gives Kitty a chance to breathe.The third novel is North by Northanger in which our Darcys (now only months away from the birth of their first child) are tied into the story of Northanger Abbey. This one was interesting because there was no man-made magic. Most of the mysticism relies on religious faith and on the trust we place in love. It has its share of mystique, but this one was more predictable to me. I don't know if Ms. Bebris intended the dramatic irony, but I knew right away who the culprit moving things in the bedroom was. Not only that, but I was waiting and waiting and waiting to see who else would be in the novel besides Mr. Henry Tilney (we learn almost immediately that "Frederick" is not actually Frederick so I won't mask that from you). I thought surely that the imposters played as "Frederick" and "Dorothy" must have been in the Northanger story. I scoured my brain and, for the woman I could only come up with one answer. Hence, it was no surprise when Henry recognized her and her companion towards the end of the book. I wanted to love this book and, for all my love of old letters and gardening, I put up a good fight. But it was just a bit too predictable for my tastes. I will say, though, that making the mystery a bit more spiritual and more ABOUT Elizabeth's connection to that spirit did win me over.Ms. Bebris has finished 2 other novels of the series - The Matter at Mansfield and The Intrigue at Highbury; the former is already out, though I don't have it yet, and the latter is due out in March. I only want for her to get around to adapting Persuasion to her scheme. An
What a delightful continuation of the lives of the Darcys ..with a mystery adding spice to the story. This is the first of a series of Darcy mysteries that Ms Carrie Bebris has written and the characters whom I loved, loathed and chuckled over in Ms Austen's Pride and Prejudice continue to entertain me in Ms Bebris's book.As the newly wed Darcys make plans to return to Pemberley, sudden unexpected events take place that hinder these plans. Elizabeth and Darcy take good contrasting sides when there is a possibility of the supernatural or magic causing some of the unsettling things happening in the lives of the Bingley family. Much as I detested Caroline Bingley in the original story, I felt a little bit sorry for her in this one, although it would not surprised me to find that she returns to her normal haughty self later.
This novel was a quick read. Were I without distractions, I most likely could have finished it in a day. However, those pesky students keep writing essays I assign, so I must pay them some attention.Bebris has created a spot-on imitation of Jane. Caroline Bingley becomes engaged, and she seeks Elizabeth¿s advice in planning her wedding. Elizabeth, somewhat miffed that Caroline¿s wedding follows so closely upon her own, responds, ¿With your own taste to guide you, I am sure your celebration could derive no further benefit from my opinions¿ (19). Classic Austen with the drop of acid she so ably inserted in her prose.Only occasionally has a modern anachronism pop into the story. The physical relationships are also quite more detailed than Austen. The reader glimpses a private scene between Elizabeth and Darcy. One night, ¿Darcy rolled over and spooned against her¿ (123). Several of these tidbits made me smile.Bebris also slips in quotes from several of Austen¿s novels. My favorite comes from Sense and Sensibility. In Bebris, Mr. Gardiner (also a character in Pride and Prejudice) discusses the library of Pemberley, Darcy¿s elegant home. ¿But the library of a great house can never have too many books¿ (29). What a wonderful sentiment! The Augustan view of Americans and the colonies also provides a good bit of humor.I won¿t give away any plot details, but I will say I found the path to the end disappointing. Elizabeth and several of the characters embrace some rather silly hocus-pocus to explain the mysterious goings on a Netherfield. Woven into this nonsense is a perfectly logical and reasonable explanation of greed and human nature.The novel mostly has the feel of a lost work by Austen herself, but I doubt I will delve any further into the series. Apparently this is the first of three -- so far. Lovers of Austen will enjoy this story. Four Stars.--Jim, 4/2/10
I really do enjoy this series of mysteries. They are fun and frivolous while still retaining Miss Austen's characters in recognizable form. A bit on the gothic side but it's not overdone. This is the first in the series and takes place shortly after the Darcys' marriage.
I have a perverse streak when it comes to all things Austen: if the self-elected experts promote one adaptation over another lesser version, my order of preference is usually the reverse. Similarly, I couldn't resist Carrie Bebris' unusual twist on the ten-a-penny 'Pride and Prejudice' spin-offs, simply because I've read so many snotty reviews!For my part, I loved this quirky mystery and have already ordered the next two books in the series. Bebris doesn't try to imitate Austen, which is where so many published sequels have failed to impress me (mentioning no names, Linda Berdoll), but she is true to the spirit of Lizzie and Darcy, who retain their own personalities even during their honeymoon. In fact, the continued independence of both Mr and Mrs Darcy is what most appealed to me, because the sparks that fly between Lizzie's wit and Darcy's arrogance in Austen's novel fuel the best dialogue and the most memorable scenes. Nor was I disappointed - Bebris' characters are witty, playful and true to the originals.'Pride and Prescience' is not a reworking of 'Pride and Prejudice', but instead a sort of mash-up of Austen, Hammett's Nick and Nora Charles and a dash of Mrs Radcliffe's gothic romances. Bizarrely, it works! The very day of the Darcy-Bingley double wedding (a gratuitous detail borrowed more from the miniseries than Austen, I think), Caroline Bingley upstages both couples by announcing her own impending nuptials to a mysterious American gentleman. (A mere plot device, which is not overly incongruous.) Hoping that marrying off Bingley's sister will free them from her company once and for all, Lizzie suffers Caroline's ego in silence, but as soon as Miss Bingley becomes Mrs Parrish, all hell breaks loose. Forced to attend the wedding in London, Lizzie and Darcy must then follow the Bingley clan back to Netherfield, and both begin to despair of ever settling together at Pemberley. But something is obviously wrong with Caroline, and accidents seem to plague the rest of the Bingleys, too - but is there a rational explanation, as Darcy insists, or a more supernatural turn of events? Lizzie has a strange feeling.Bebris' first 'Mr and Mrs Darcy' mystery is not on Austen's level, though any anachronisms (Wellington boots before the Duke's own footwear started the trend) and Americanisms (including my literary bete noir, 'I guess') are few and far between. Her style is eminently readable, however, and the entertaining story is not bogged down in period detail. Not quite Austen, perhaps, but better than Georgette Heyer! Lizzie and Darcy are intimate without being crude, romantic but not saccharine, and work together as equal partners. He is just as impressive as ever, supporting Bingley and dealing with all kinds of trouble, and she is adventurous, forthright and outspoken, just as Elizabeth Darcy should be.Don't expect a smutty sequel or an angst-ridden revision of 'Pride and Prejudice', but instead enjoy a quirky Regency mystery with two quick-witted and perfectly matched detectives. Oh, and plenty of teasing banter!
This was a quick, entertaining read, which I admittedly enjoyed very much. Returning to the lives of the characters in "Pride and Prejudice" was rather fun. However, I did not enjoy the supernatural angle. I prefer mysteries based on fact, not fantasy. That was a disappointment.
This is one of the better cozies I have come across so far in my cozy mystery reading experience. It feels like you're reading one of those old English gothic novels. It has a good mixture of supernatural mystery to satisfy those in need of a creepy but not so creepy experience, and there's a good plot and regular mystery behind it, making you try to guess who is behind all of these strange coincidences. I liked it how they brought in most of the characters from Pride and Prejudice it was nice to see them once again, and to have Elizabeth and Darcy solving the mystery together can't get any better than that. They both have the wit, and the sharp mindedness that brings them even closer together. Of course they have their disagreements as well, which is nice to see, as their arguing takes you back to the days when they didn't get along at all in the beginning of Pride and Prejudice. I'm happy to see not much drastic change has happened to most of the characters in the book. The scandal behind Mr Hurst seems believable and makes sense considering his vices. Naturally, it was nice to see Caroline hasn't changed, until later in the book but there's a reason for it as you will see if you pick up this novel. There are a few twists and turns in the plot to keep you guessing as to who might have been behind the entire plot, although I did figure it out eventually before it was said. That might have become a disappointment as I would have liked to have been surprised, but the action at the end (there's a fighting sequence!) made up for it and proved to be exciting to read. I thought it was a good book, I was so interested in it, it didn't take me that long to read, and the ending was satisfying despite it being a little obvious who was behind the plot. I thought the little addition of supernatural "forces" at work was a neat little addition. It was subtle and not too overpowering to make it seem ridiculous. It worked seamlessly with the plot and made it more exciting.I will definitely be pursuing other books in this series, and I am hoping the second book after this will be just as good as the first one. Overall, a great read, perfect for those that love Darcy and Lizzy, but are in the mood for a cozy mystery as well. Give it a try! it was an exceptional read.
I found this book, entirely by accident, while searching thru either Amazon or Barnes & Noble for Pride and Prejudice fan fic. Those of you who know me are aware that I have a strange obsession (quite possibly a book disorder) with Pride and Prejudice and any fan fic. So I will willingly admit that I can be predisposed to like a Pride and Prejudice fan fic book merely because it continues the story of some amazing characters. (By the same token, I can hold these books to a higher standard due to their Austen connection and will expect more out of them than just coasting by on the Austen name).Pride and Prescience is an amazingly satisfying read on several fronts. First and foremost, if you¿re an Austen/Pride and Prejudice fan, you will be delighted not only at seeing your old friends Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy fresh off their wedding but at how honest and true Carrie Bebris is to Jane Austen herself. Unlike some pieces of Austen-themed fan fic (and I call them ¿themed¿ because they stray about as far off the Austen path as artistically possible) Elizabeth has retained the wit and sass that Ms. Austen graced her with and Darcy, while seemingly haughty and proud, is still the caring gentleman Ms. Austen made us fall in love with. (Although Colin Firth certainly helped out). Pride and Prescience is not a bodice ripper (no offense to bodice rippers) nor soft porn disguised as a ¿continuation¿. It is the now Mr. and Mrs. Darcy returned for some good old fashioned intrigue!To delight readers even further, Ms. Bebris has chosen to move the once secondary character of Caroline Bingley to the forefront. While in Pride and Prejudice Miss Bingley was a pretentious and well seasoned snob (and one with designs on Mr. Darcy), I did enjoy her presence in the book. Would I want her as a friend or relative? Absolutely not! But she added the same type of diversion to the book that I felt Mrs. Bennet¿s comic relief did. And she continues her sense of diversions here, in Pride and Prescience, albeit ones of a very different nature.And this leads me to the second point of why Pride and Prescience works. Elizabeth and Darcy work a mystery much like Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man fame. It comes naturally, as does their repartee and charm. You can¿t help but like them and enjoy them gracing each page. There is the typical mystery of ¿whodunit¿, as well as mystery of the supernatural and paranormal - - one which this reader found immensely satisfying. The dark overtones of the supernatural give Pride and Prescience a gothic flavor, which keeps very true to Jane Austen (think of Northanger Abbey) as well as the time period in which Ms. Austen wrote her books.So, with all this praise is there anything in Pride and Prescience that doesn¿t work? Honestly, no. Not really. The storyline is so fluid, the characters so enticing and portions of the dialogue so sharp, there is very little to find fault with. Perhaps the ¿real¿ Elizabeth Bennet Darcy would not so quickly accept the idea of supernatural forces as a possibility for the mystery but within the context of this story, and with Ms. Bebris¿ smooth writing, it all comes together and works like a well-oiled machine.Pride and Prescience succeeds, ultimately, because it¿s a well-crafted tale, told in a sparkling voice with much-loved characters who some readers have been vested in since Pride and Prejudice. Ms. Bebris doesn¿t try anything fancy and she doesn¿t give the reader inexplicable situations or diminish the characters in any way. She also doesn¿t commit what I consider the cardinal sin of rushing the story or solving the ¿whodunit¿ with a character brought in at the end or with very little ¿face time¿.If you haven¿t read Pride and Prejudice, do not fear that you won¿t delight in or understand Pride and Prescience. It is still a remarkable, fun read, for Austen fans or for mystery fans.So wrap yourself up in a cozy blanket, get a mug of steaming tea or chocolate and settle in for a lovely rea
Although I admit Bebris is no Jane Austen, I must confess I relished this book, often smiling while reading, and went on to read and enjoy the rest in the series published to date. The book is first of a series where Mr and Mrs Darcy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice are sleuths, often with an element of the supernatural and romance. I have a couple of friends who are Jane Austen fans I pointed this series to who didn't care for them as much as I did. One said she didn't find them anything special and another didn't finish that first book. That friend though said something that gave me insight into why I do enjoy these so much. She said at least Bebris doesn't try to imitate Austen's style--that those who do always fail. I've tried and disliked Stephenie Barron's Jane Austen mysteries. There the conceit is these are written by Austen, and Barron takes a stab at reproducing Jane Austen's prose style and never convinces me. She just doesn't have the wit and insight to carry it off. Bebris, in trying instead to just capture the personality of the Austen characters and sound of their dialogue, succeeds much better, I think. Much better in that than the one Austen pastiche I'd tried before this, Linda Berdoll's Mr Darcy Takes a Wife where I found the characters unrecognizable. And there's the charm for me in the books by Bebris--that they're good enough to make me feel like I'm visiting old friends.This particular book centers on a mystery surrounding Caroline Bingley, who has married a charming American, Frederick Parrish, soon after the Darcys marry. After her wedding Caroline seems to be becoming unhinged and dangerous accidents dog the Bingleys. There's an element of the supernatural in the events reminiscent of the gothic novels Austen parodied in Northanger Abbey I feel mixed about, with a psychic Elizabeth acting as Mulder to a skeptic Scully Darcy. It's well-done though--just know going in you're dealing with the paranormal taken seriously, which after all is more than hinted at in the title.Although I'm hardly a scholar of the period, the book feels to me like it gets it right, with lots of details that suggest Bebris did her homework. Even if you changed the names involved, this would work well as a historical mystery with a deft twist and resolution.
I found this book delightful in its portrayal of the newly-married Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy. The author has done a creditable job of maintaining the wit and lightness of Pride and Prejudice. I am delighted that the newly weds' intimacy is indicated by playful banter, not graphic sex scenes. On the other hand, although I have a great love for folklore and I have read several detective series with supernatural themes, I don't think that it fits in well with Jane Austen. I found the American connection in this story a bit implausible. A plot device has to satisfy both the ongoing narrative and the hidden plot(s) that are revealed as the story goes on, particularly in a mystery. If something seems odd, the characters need to comment upon it. For me, the plot first began to fall apart with the unlikely suggestion that the solution to a case of nervous prostration would be to embark on a several month journey from England to the United States during the War of 1812, delaying any expert treatment until she arrives in New Orleans. The Bingleys and Darcys do object, but Elizabeth Darcy seems to have forgotten that Professor Randolph, who puts forth the scheme, has told her only the week before that the war had more or less stranded him in England. One needs to keep in mind that the US was what we would now call a Third World or Developing Nation. Sending someone with serious nervous and physical problems from England to the United States would be about like having a heart attack in Baltimore and going to Zimbabwe for emergency care. Even if one could get perfectly good care in the latter place, it isn't likely to be better than what one could get locally. Why risk the stress and delay of the trip? After this incident, I began to question the entire likelihood of the American fiance. Would an American, even a wealthy one, be warmly received by the Polite World in England, especially when the two countries are at war? Granted, the Bingleys aren't aristocracy, but there seem to be no prejudices against him from anyone. Why has he come to England, anyway? Such a lengthy trip is quite an undertaking surely requiring some significant motive, even if he arrived before hostilities broke out. Would the Bingleys really be so unconcerned at this whirlwind courtship and marriage (less than one month) especially if he recently broke of his courtship of another woman? If his "crying off" is taken to mean that he broke an engagement, this would be a serious offense for a gentleman at this time. I hope this isn't a spoiler, but since mysteries often involve money, maybe not. Then and now, the inheritance of money within a family is governed by laws that override the effect of wills. If any substantial amount of money was involved at that time, the families of the bride and groom set up settlements, prenuptial agreements, stipulating the financial obligation of both during the marriage and in the event of death. Spouses might not inherit from one another, especially if no children were born, although there was usually some legally required or mutually agreed upon support for a widow during her life. A bride's dowry might return to her family if she died without surviving children, even if her husband had control over it during the marriage. If her family didn't give her the money outright, he might only control the income. This would all have to be taken into consideration by The Villain(ness). Part of the action of that seminal mystery, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is determined by the terms of a prospective bride's inheritance: her husband would control only the income, not the principle. Like another reviewer, I was somewhat bothered by some of the language, enough to look up "archeologist" in my Oxford English Dictionary. It is not recorded as being in use until 1824, after the period of this book, although "archeology" had been in use for centuries, so it's not an impossible usage. Would have been a nice touch to spell it "archaeologist"
I really hated this one. So much, in fact, that I never read another book by Ms. Bebris. The story was a mess and just silly. I made the mistake of wasting money on it, but gave it to Goodwill as soon as possible afterwards.
I love Jane Austen and, for the most part, I found this Austen-based mystery fun. It has a fairly good bead on the tone and characters of the original story -- not that there weren't a few flubs, esp. places where the language seemed a little too modern, but I'm willing to overlook a few missteps in a first novel if the writing is generally good and the story enjoyable. One thing I didn't much care for was the introduction of woo-woo into the story by introducing supernatural elements and making them "real". I found that disappointing. It's enough that Lizzie is Elizabeth freaking Bennett Darcy without making her the Queen of Woo as well. I liked this story just enough despite the woo to give the 2nd novel in this series a chance, but if the supernatural nonsense continues I doubt I'll be reading the 3rd one.
I started reading these mysteries out of order, but it doesn't matter. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Bebris does a very good job with mr. And mrs. Darcy's witty banter as did Jane Austin. I find myself laughing while reading imagining the conversations.
The storyline is a mystery, but it is fairly light while being an interesting story
Very well done for a sequel. The story started off well with Elizabeth and Darcy as the same characters from Pride and Predjuice. There was witty conversation and a believeable story line. Caroline Bingley announces her engagment to an American at Elizabeths wedding. The Darcys postpone returning to Pemberly to attend the wedding. Immediatley after Caroline begins behaving very strangley. Her family even considers having her put away. This is the point where the story line changes and magic is brought in. The story feels very sci-fi. If you want a good read and not strict jane austen you will like this book.