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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Pemberley by the Sea

Author: Abigail Reynolds
Originally Published: 2008

Pemberley by the SeaCassie Boulton, marine biologist, spends her summers doing research in Woods Hole. One summer, the wealthy Calder Westing appears in her life, and to say that things don’t start well would be an understatement – he comes across as being extremely haughty, doesn’t enjoy folk dances and doesn’t inspire conversation. And yet there is no denying that there is some sort attraction between the two, though Cassie believes Calder’s only interested in a summer fling until he rewrites Pride and Prejudice with the two of them as the main characters.

The back of the book claims that this book is “Pride and Prejudice with sun, sand seafood, and surf,” but I think this is a little bit misleading. It’s not your typical retelling of a Jane Austen story. Most of the ones that I have read that claim to be a modern story in the style of Austen’s books follow her stories fairly closely, whereas with this one the characters are very similar to Darcy and Elizabeth and their situations are similar, but the plot itself differs quite a bit more than usual. In fact, if this book were following the storyline of P&P more, then the last third of this book wouldn’t be included in the book at all.

The last third all takes place after Cassie and Calder get together and is, imo, the best part of the book. What I really liked about this book was that as soon as they confessed their feelings for each other the book didn’t end – it went on to show how even after they get together there are still many problems regarding the relationship. It isn’t happy ever after and across as being a bit more realistic. Though, the problems weren’t surrounding Cassie and Calder, per se, but more surrounding people’s reactions and responses to the relationship. Still, it explores how there are still problems that any happy couple have to work through.

The narration was cheesy at times – but I always find love scenes a little cheesy, so maybe I’m not the best judge in that respect. Not cheesy to the point of distraction; it actually added to the fun I had while reading this book and gave me something to giggle about. But there was definitely a bit of cheese.

Overall, the book was fun. Smart characters, misunderstood male leads (one of my favourite sorts of fictional men), settings that I could vividly see in my head while reading, and talk of Jane Austen! Let’s face it – any book that even remotely praises Jane Austen is good in my books.

I’m definitely adding this book to my Jane-Austen-adaptations-that-I-thoroughly-enjoy section on my bookshelf.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 8:25 pm November 13, 2008.
Category: Chick Lit
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