*3.5- 4 Stars*
Pride and Prejudice...and a mystery. Two of my favorite things in the universe. While not perfect, I found this to be a quite delightful read. I've read a great deal of the published Jane Austen 'fan fiction' and this is among the better ones. Not only does the author avoid placing modern morals on 19th century people, but she does an adequate job of capturing the voice.
No characters from the book appears wrong and the new characters are wonderfully described and interact with our old friends with no hint of self-consciousness. Many of our characters change and develop, the best example being Anne de Bourgh who really shines. Lydia becomes nearly pitiable and George Wickham is quite interesting. Our favorites, Darcy and Lizzy, do an adequate job as Nick and Nora even though the author works hard to not only obscure their understanding of the circumstances but the reader's as well.
Apart from the mystery, the story is engaging with people we already love or come to love. Life's trials and tribulations make the people in this story shine or dim. Dialogue plays a big part as people's affections wax and wane.
The mystery itself is...mixed. It has all the earmarks of a great mystery but...well see below.
Some reviews have mentioned the writing. While at times somewhat stilted, I still found it quite readable and better than others I've read.
Ok, here's the thing. I guessed this mystery early on - like in the 150 to 200 page range. And since this is the least likely thing to be connected with P&P possible, that's saying something. More importantly, it's not even a real mystery. A mystery, a true mystery, allows you clues and the characters is in front of the camera and a part of the story. An idea, a person mentioned but not shown, doesn't count.
So I will admit to being disappointed not only with the fact that the cover lies (murder 'mystery' indeed), but also by the fact that I figured it out anyway. I'm head back to Christie.
A decent P&P continuation with some suspense and a bit of mystery. If you already read P&P fan fiction, definitely worth it. If not, try another first. If you want a good mystery-read the P.D. James one Death Comes to Pemberley that just came out. It's at the top of my to read pile right now.