Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Death Comes to Pemberley

I finally finished this awful book! I am so happy!  I picked it up today and thought that surely the last hundred pages, or so, could not be that bad.  Especially after the first couple of chapters literally consisting of a rehashing of Pride and Prejudice. Well, I take it back. It was so bad that I started to dog-ear (yes, I dog eared! No, I do not do this often!) the pages that featured things that were exceptionally bad.

Such thing included Darcy's appreciation of the cleverness of 'Simon Cartwright's management of the prosecution', thank you very much for your approval Mr Darcy. P. D James managed to take away everything that I found endearing about his character and make him even more arrogant than Austen. However, this arrogance was then suddenly contrasted by his consistently sudden need to be in the arms of Elizabeth. But how lovely of him to state that 'he could not regret his marriage' to Elizabeth, despite the fact that it went against every value that he had been raised upon. At least he acknowledges the 'happiness that he had never thought possible'.  Good lord.

Additionally, Elizabeth's response to her father's arrival was awful. She runs toward her father exclaiming 'Oh father, how good to see you!' I found myself consistently rolling my eyes by this point. I started to wonder if P.D James had read any of Austen's works! Much more of the death of Austen's beloved characters than Captain Denny.

When Wickham's true crime came to light, as usual, I wasn't surprised. Darcy appeared to be though! To have used a fake name, and identity, in order to seduce a lonely young woman is hardly surprising for Wickham. Darcy seems so naïve that I felt sorry for him! The most amusing, if you can call it that, part was Wickham's confession that he used the name of 'Frederick Delancey' in the name of having 'always liked the idea of those initials'. It is as if James felt it necessary to be explicit all the way through. She has no subtlety. I felt as though I was being underestimated. In this case, it seems as though she felt readers needed reminding that Wickham was jealous of Darcy, and had a lifelong feeling of inferiority in comparison to him. Whether or not she meant Wickham to appear sarcastic or not is unclear. Perhaps he was mocking Darcy. But by this point I just couldn't wait for it to be over. I simply didn't care. I can't help feeling as though I missed a trick? Surely it couldn't have been this bad.

Also, Mr Alveston asks the most ridiculous questions; 'I suppose you never told Louisa your true identity?' Oh my god. I was losing the will to live by this point. Wickham points out that this would have been 'folly' and I couldn't have agreed more. This novel, for want of a better phrase, was shocking.

Though I didn't believe that Wickham had killed Captain Denny, I was a little disappointed by the actual murderer. But the less said about that the better.

However, when P.D James started including characters from other Austen novels such as Persuasion and Emma, I had no idea what to say. I simply cannot be the only one that noticed this appalling detail?! I've been scrolling through reviews all evening; curious. And I have found no mention of this! This was the element of her writing that infuriated me the most! To suggest that Colonel Fitzwilliam is related to Mrs Goddard, and then to include mention of Harriet Smith, Robert Martin and Mr and Mrs George Knightly! What on earth? There was also a mention of Anne Elliot in an earlier chapter. Crossing these characters over made it feel even more like a work of fanfiction.

oh! I haven't yet mentioned my favourite part. I found it absolutely hilarious that a novel as depressing as this ended with pregnancy! Yes, that's right! Elizabeth is having another baby! Despite both Husband and Wife complaining constantly throughout the novel that they never see each other. And of course, because the unbelievably happily married couple already have two little boys (that we never see), they're having a girl.

This was the first book on goodreads that I rated with a single star. I think even Eligible got three! Surprisingly, this novel made me appreciate bad novels such as Eligible. It is safe to say that I found myself more upset by the complete destruction of Austen's characters. All I can say is thank god it was Mr Bennet that appeared unexpectedly, rather than his wife. I think I'd have burned the novel straight away if she had. Ouch.

All in all Death Comes to Pemberley was slow and boring and I would not touch P.D James with a bargepole, ever again.

Finally finishing this novel was a blessing and I feel a huge sense of relief now. Afterwards I lost a game of scrabble to my younger sister. I suppose you can't win them all.

Good night! I hope you all have a lovely day.

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