Letters from Pemberley
by Jane Dawkins
amazon.com 
Paperback - 216 pages (April 2003)
Author's Choice Press; ISBN: 0595276954
amazon.co.uk
Paperback - 216 pages (April 29, 2003) 
Authors Choice Press; ISBN: 0595276954
amazon.ca
Paperback - 216 pages (April 2003) 
Author's Choice Press; ISBN: 0595276954

        Review by Linda Waldemar, April 17, 1999
 I like this book, starting with the dedication:
Dedicated with humility to the memory of Jane Austen in gratitude for countless hours of reading pleasure.
This is a sentiment with which we all can identify, I think.

This book is quite short, simple and pleasant.  It consists of 25 letters written by Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy to Mrs Charles Bingley  from 3 February 1813 to 8 December 1813.  Our Elizabeth is quite in character throughout; in good humour, witty and observant.  While happy and enthusiastic about her new home, she is also a little anxious about this new experience.  Her Dear Husband is frequently busy with estate and other business matters, but he is unfailingly devoted and attentive to Elizabeth.  And, of course, she and Georgiana develop a close sisterly relationship.

The language of the letters is quite good.  At every opportunity, it appears that Ms Dawkins borrows phrases from Miss Austen.  One can hardly go wrong using those illustrious words!

During the course of the year, there are visits from Mr Bennet, Kitty, Mary, Mr Bingley and Colonel Fitzwilliam and many letters from Lydia requesting financial help.  I found none of the descriptions of these characters to be in conflict with those of Jane Austen.

We also hear about several people who live near Pemberley; and these characters are quite familiar.  For example, Sir Richard Mansfield, a gregarious gentleman, recently provided a home on his estate for his widowed cousin, Mrs Norland, and her daughters.  Sir John Steventon, a Baronet, and his quiet, melancholy daughter, Eleanor, are soon moving to Bath because Sir John can no longer maintain the upkeep of Oakley Hall.  Eleanor becomes quite friendly with Georgiana and Kitty.  They hope for further acquaintance through her visits to Lady Ashton Dennis.  Then there are Mr and Mrs Daley, who invite the Pemberley residents to pick strawberries at Weldon Abbey although they are, at present, residing with Mrs Daley's father.  Plus, there are others.

If you would like a quick and non-stressful read, you may want to give this little book a try.


       Comment by Maria Shattoon April 19, 1999
I ended up ordering the book and did enjoy it.  The book is in letter form; letters from Elizabeth to her sister Jane.
        Review byMaria Shatto, April 22, 1999
Letters from Pemberley  was a good book.   I enjoyed the letter format.  The letters were just from
Elizabeth to Jane.  Some of the new characters were taken from characters from other Jane Austen books, but the names were different.  I thought the new characters were brought in very well.   The original characters were kept and didn't change from Jane Austen's description of them, which I was pleased to read.  I only wish the author would have had a bit more about Darcy.  Overall I would recommend the book to any Jane Austen fan. 
         Written by AJLaban (6/6/99 1:51 p.m.)
Letters from Pemberley, The First Year by Jane Dawkins is also good in my opinion. The book is a collection of the letters Elizabeth presumably writes to Jane about her experiences at Pemberley.
        Written byCarey(6/14/99 12:41 p.m.)
I just finished Letters from Pemberley and I liked it. There's no major movement or action, but it gives us a peek at the Darcy's first year. The characters don't do anything out of character.
        Written byTracy C.(7/14/99 12:14 a.m.)
Well rendered, very true to the spirit and the prose of JA. Delightful read.
        Written by Nancy S(7/16/99 2:18 p.m.)
I really enjoyed this one too!
       Written by Bhearni (7/16/99 3:26 p.m.)
The author is Jane Dawkins  and the book is quite good.
        Review byJill Reece, August 9, 1999
Letters From Pemberley is an exquisitely structured epistolary which engages the reader, through
delightment, in the possibility that Jane Austen is not only alive, but penning another essentially English tale. Jane Dawkins, as author, has a gentle sense of humour which pervades the entire storyline. Readers will enjoy the familiarity of descriptions, characters and dialogue that have been interwoven as a part of a new context.

Dawkins' premise is that the Pride and Prejudice heroine Elizabeth Bennet, now Mrs. Darcy, is in her first year of marriage becoming mistress of Pemberley. Each letter sees Elizabeth gain in confidence as a wife befitting Mr. Darcy should become. She is faced with the concerns that would naturally have presented themselves to a lady of her station. A never ending fascination with Jane Austen is not only happily acknowledged in the introduction, but confirmed by this avid reader of all things not only English, but Austen, and definitely captured by Dawkins in Letters From Pemberley.


        Comment byMary Collette on Sat, 11 Sep 1999
Our library system bought a copy of Letters From Pemberley, at my request. I checked it out yesterday. I enjoyed the book very much. I loved the author's premise and statement of purpose with the book. On a 1-10 scale, I give it a 9 because nothing is perfect.
        Comment by Jenny2, 1 October 1999
My favourites are Letters from Pemberley (about Elizabeth's feelings and thoughts) and Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy (not actually a sequel, but it gives an interesting picture of Mr Darcy).
        Comment byJulie P., November 4, 1999
 Elizabeth was completely in character, and the letters were delightful.  All that was missing were the "Letters from Netherfield."
         Review by Gayle Suggs, January 29, 2000
Here's the only question that really matters: Do we really need another sequel to Pride and Prejudice?  I, for one, enjoyed this new one--a short, epistolary excursion by Jane Dawkins.  We're offered letters from Mrs.Fitzwilliam Darcy, new mistress of Pemberley, to her sister, Mrs. Charles Bingley. Most Janeites will be pleased to discover that Ms. Dawkins is true to the canonical characterizations. As for the prose style, let's be clear: no one, but no one, is Jane Austen. But Ms. Dawkins walks that fine line between, on the one hand, lifeless pastiche; and on the other, jarring modernization. This author seems to capture that elusive and unique personality and wit that draws so many of us to Lizzy's character. And that's no small task.

Elizabeth's first letter is written on February 3, 1813, "only a few tearful weeks since our joyful nuptials and tearful farewells." We find a dizzy Miss Lizzy; she's awed by the massive reality of Pemberley and the daunting task of taking on its daily care. She rises to the occasion, needless to say. The progression of her letters to Jane shows a growing self-assurance. She is coming to accept that Pemberley is truly her new home--not that she doesn't suffer the occasional bout of homesickness, or a yearning to be near her best friend and sister. On the other hand, there's a new sister and friend, Georgiana. There are also new acquaintances among the young women in Derbyshire.

And what of Darcy? Her love and respect for her new husband is clear, though his business takes him away from Pemberley too often. By her last letter to Jane (dated December 8, 1813), Elizabeth has become in every way the Mistress of Pemberley. She has won the respect of the neighborhood and seen some changes in her new home as well. Does it sound as if there's a general lack of action, twists, and surprises? There's not, but I won't spoil your fun.

I found Letters from Pemberley to be a quick and diverting read. Given its epistolary style, the book lends itself to brief and occasional readings without losing one's grip on the plot--which is kept simple enough without becoming dull or bland. Fans of Jane Austen will probably be amused by Ms. Dawkins' introduction of other characters in Derbyshire--borrowed from other Austen novels with slight changes of names.

The book comes with a few pleasant surprises. The author, who resides in New York but grew up in Wiltshire, a stone's throw from Jane Austen's Hampshire, offers a selection of resources--including Web sites, though not www.pemberley.com, sad to say. The author feels that since individual sites
come and go, she shouldn't be too specific. But there's a fine list of recommended books to help the reader get further into Austen's work. A helpful directory of Jane Austen societies is given, too. It's clear that this book arises from a lifelong love of Miss Austen's work.

To answer my question, do we need another P&P extension? Why not, I say, when it can be done well. Some of us finish another reading of the original and find we can't quite bear to release our grip on its unforgettable characters. We yearn for another Lizzy-fix, and if Miss Austen is providentially hindered from providing it for us, here's the second-best thing. I commend Letters from Pemberley to you with enthusiasm.


       Written by Stella(2/23/2000 10:34 a.m.)
I recently read Dawkins' book, Letters from Pemberley. IMHO, very good.
        Written by EmilyM (Thursday, 10 August 2000, at 9:38 p.m.)
I just finished reading Letters From Pemberley by Jane Dawkins. It was highly enjoyable. It is letters from Lizzie written to Jane during her first year with Mr.Darcy. I highly recommend this book to you P&P fans.

       Written by MichelleW (Monday, 14 August 2000, at 10:49 p.m.) This is also my favorite sequel to P&P. One of my favorite letters is the one towards the end when Lizzy informs Darcy that she is expecting. The part where Lizzy writes she had not seen such discomposure since Mr.Darcy's first proposal.  Just wonderful. 


        Written by Margaret BS (2/22/2001 6:29 p.m.)
I am in a process of reading "Letters from Pemberley" and I'm not fully convinced that I like it after all. Maybe when I get to the end... So far I find the book to be a big charade. Even though the renamed characters are easily recognizable , I think I would have much  preferred to have them named as at JA works. I'll keep reading though...

        Written by Lisa EBK (5/6/2001 3:44 p.m.) 

I just finished Letters from Pemberley by J. Hawkins (I think) and was delighted with the easy read and continuation of P&P but although my sentimental heart liked the ending when Col. Fitzwilliam ends up falling in love with Georgiana I have to wonder....It was a little "icky" too. But then it is really no different than Mr Knightley and Emma is it? They both watched the girl grow up and then fell in love when they were of age


        Written by raemarie (3/9/2002 9:39 a.m.)
I have read Letters from Pemberley. Very nice. Quick read.  It focuses mainly on letters from Jane and Lizzy to each other.  They both are very happy in married life.

Overall a nice sequel.


        Written by Jo Keenan (4/2/2003 9:00 p.m.)
My favorite is Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins. It's an epislotary novel and covers the first 12 months of Jane and Lizzie's marriages and Lizzie's letters to Jane. Unfortunately, we do not see Jane's letters to Lizzie, but Lizzie imparts some of the things she writes. It's well written, keeping the style of Lizzie's character. I recommend it.
        Written by Lynne Robson (6/12/2003 4:20 p.m.)
I have just finished reading the Letters from Pemberley and thought it was and excellent book. I felt it was a little short and could be developed into a proper story rather than being just letters. I was sorry to see that she did not include reply's from Jane as it would have made the story even more enjoyable.

I have recommended this book to many of my friends 


        Written by Jo Keenan (6/13/2003 9:52 a.m.)
I didn't mind the brevity of the book too much - mind you, it is the letters from just the first year - but I did mind not seeing Lizzy's response to Jane's letter after her last letter. I would have like to know whether their babies were boys or girls, etc, but I guess that was left up to reader's imagination... 
        Written by Hadas (June 3, 2003 )
About sequels to P&P:  There's Letters from Pemberley, which somewhat plotless, and features a host of "crossover" characters, which was in my opinion a little extraneous. 
        Written by abdullyne (October 9, 2003 )
Try Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins. It's letters that Jane & Lizzie write each other during their first years of marriage. Characters from other JA novels appear in their letters with different names; there's also word-play on some other names.
        Written by Louise Barada (November 24, 2004 )
Letters from Pemberley
by Jane Dawkins. It is about the first year of the Darcys as married couple. all the book is the letters from Elizabeth to Jane expressing her insecurities about her new role as mistress of Pemberley.
It is a very sweet and rather short story. You shoud give a try to this one. I believe she wrote another book after this one More Letters from Pemberley.

        Written by Theodora (November 24, 2004 )
I have read them both. I agree that they are sweet and most enjoyable!
        Written by Kathi (November 28, 2004 )
I have read them both as well. I thought Letters from Pemberley was rather fun, but not really outstanding, and that More Letters from Pemberley was a big improvement on it, much more substantial.
        Written by Kathi (2/13/2005 9:06 p.m.)
I liked Letters from Pemberley fairly well, though it was a little too "light and bright and sparkling." More Letters from Pemberley was better, I thought.
        Written by Jo Lynn (4/7/2007 9:13 p.m.)
Letters From Pemberley: I thought this a delightful what if. Indeed she could have written more in this volume to cover more time to make it more satisfying.

        Written by Rike (May 3, 2007 )
I really enjoyed Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins. ...may be hard to get, but ... well-written and the characters fit to how Jane Austen described them.