Sonderbooks Stand-out

Sonderbooks Book Review of

North by Northanger
(Or, Shades of Pemberley)

by Carrie Bebris


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North by Northanger

(Or, The Shades of Pemberley)

by Carrie Bebris

Reviewed July 5, 2007.
Forge, New York, 2006. 318 pages.
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2006: #1 Mystery Fiction

This is the third “Mr. and Mrs. Darcy” mystery by Carrie Bebris, extending the story begun by Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice. This one was by far my favorite. In this book, Elizabeth is expecting a child, and she finds a letter from Mr. Darcy’s mother, who died giving birth to Mr. Darcy’s sister Georgiana.

This book is well done. We get a puzzling mystery, where Mr. Darcy himself is accused of stealing diamonds. We get a perplexing experience at Northanger Abbey and even a hidden treasure. We meet again some characters from Jane Austen’s book, Northanger Abbey.

But most fascinating of all is getting to know the earlier Mrs. Darcy through her letters, especially those exchanged with Mrs. Tilney, the mother of the hero of Northanger Abbey. It’s fun to think how Elizabeth would have been affected by the reputation of her predecessor—but then to see her come to peace with that memory as she learns the heart of her husband’s mother.

This book gives you the chance to spend more time with two delightful people. You get to experience two happy people in love, facing the birth of a child at a time when giving birth could be dangerous, with perplexing difficulties to untangle as well.

The first two books in the series went a little too far with supernatural explanations of puzzling events for my taste. But this book had only a hint of such things, and they added atmosphere with the loving spirit of the former Mrs. Darcy.

Thanks to my friend Stephanie for urging me to try the third book in the series!