A Bit of Christmas at Pemberley
Laura Hartness enjoys the
holidays with three Austenesque writers as they offer a few stocking stuffers in A Darcy Christmas.
Story 3 – A Darcy Christmas
by Sharon Lathan
While Sharon Lathan’s novella is the concluding story of the book, I decided to read her A Darcy Christmas first. I recently finished her full-length novel, In the Arms of Mr. Darcy, so I still had her voice in my head, so to speak. I was delighted to find that this short story felt almost like a sequel to her third book in The Darcy Saga, although I’m sure that wasn’t necessarily the intent.
A Darcy Christmas is a window into many holiday seasons over the life of the Darcy family. It begins the Christmas before Darcy weds Elizabeth and ends many years later when they have been married for 23 years. Each chapter shares moments from a particular Advent season, revisiting the characters introduced to us by Jane Austen and meeting new friends and family members as well.
This novella was sweet, innocent and enjoyable, and I loved seeing how the Darcy family grew and matured over the years. Not every year was full of mirth, and I was particularly moved in one chapter when Elizabeth is mourning the loss of a loved one. I may re-read that very chapter someday if I have the misfortune to mourn as she did. It was very touching and could bring comfort in that type of sorrow.
As is true for the other two novellas in this collection, Sharon Lathan’s A Darcy Christmas is an enjoyable composition. It matches the sentiments of the other two authors and brings a warm glow to the heart.
Story 2 – Christmas Present
by Amanda Grange
Second in my reading was Christmas Present by Amanda Grange. Although she has written over a dozen books, many of which are on my “To Be Read” list, I’ve never actually gotten around to reading her work. So this short story is my hors d’oeuvre into her banquet of literary offerings.
Christmas Present’s opening line pays homage to Jane Austen’s opening line of Pride and Prejudice, which I found very amusing. The events of her story occur in the months after the marriages of Elizabeth and Jane, both of whom are becoming mothers for the first time. As we share the Christmas season with Grange’s characters, we have an opportunity to visit with many of the individuals from the original novel, even bringing them all into one home for a time.
Christmas Present is very quiet and understated, but it’s an enjoyable time with Austen’s characters. Her tone is very evocative of Jane Austen’s style, and the holiday traditions presented hold true to the era and were a bit of an education for me. Grange introduces a new character who provides a bit of intrigue, and I hope she utilizes this character and their romantic possibilities in the future.
Of course, a delightful gift is bestowed at the conclusion of the tale. Ms. Grange’s work is also a gift, a small stocking-stuffer to enjoy before I open the larger gifts of her full-length novels.
Story 1 – Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Carol
by Carolyn Eberhart
Third in my reading was Carolyn Eberhart’s Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Carol. I saved this for the end due to my love of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and I hoped the best had been saved for last. I was not in the least bit disappointed. In fact, Eberhart’s novella exceeded my expectations. She truly was successful in merging the world of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Dickens’ Carol. Like Dickens’ work, this Carol brings with it bitterness and regret, as well as enlightenment and reformation. There are cameos that were a delight, giving an even bigger nod to Dickens.
I hesitate to give more details, as I don’t want to spoil any of the delicious moments for you. Suffice it to say, all those who call themselves fans of Jane Austen and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol should read this story.
This small anthology A Darcy Christmas as a whole would be an excellent choice of reading for your holiday season. If I had the opportunity, I would read it on a snowy weekend, curled up in my favorite chair with a mug of hot chocolate. Like that soothing drink, the three tales of A Darcy Christmas are short, sweet and warm the heart. I hope they do the same for yours as well.
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc (30 Nov 2010)
Laura Hartness is the writer at The Calico Critic. She enjoys reviewing books, movies, fitness videos and related products. The only Janeite of her household, she lives with her husband and two sons in south Florida.