Death Comes to Pemberley (audiobook)

Of all the Pride and Prejudice sequels I’ve read (and I’ve read lots of them), Death Comes to Pemberley is one of my favorites. Of course, it’s P.D. James…what’s not to like? James comes up with one of the most credible backstories for Mr. Darcy that I’ve read. It explains a lot about why he is the way he is. She also has the best command of Austen’s style that I’ve seen in quite a while. The story is very like Austen, and at the same time very unlike her. Jane never dwelt on the seamy side of life, and specifically preferrred to leave that to othe writers. I won’t go into the plot too much, other than to say that it’s a perfectly plausible extension of Pride and Prejudice. The disappearance of Lydia Wickham during the major portion of the book seems a little odd. I get the impression that Lydia is James’ least favorite character, so she simply leaves her out.

I have the audio version, which is a little unusual for me. I have problems keeping focused on audiobooks, and frequently lose the plot. This book, however, was an exception. The reader, Rosalyn Landor, was excellent, with a wide range of voices. That and the engaging plot probably helped me stay focused.

This is a book I can heartily recommend to fans of either Jane Austen or P.D. James. For those of us who enjoy both authors, it’s ideal.


Standing on Tiptoes

This is the life story of Eranelle Inscoe Burns who grew up in Logan County, KY. She was the middle child in a family of several children, who lived on a farm with their mother, Dovie and father Elna Orman. They grew up very poor, living off the frm and odd jobs their dad could find. The children went to a one room school and it varied as to which one, depending on wheter the school could get a teacher or not. Eranelle’s mother died of peritonitis when Eranelle was 8, so she ended up being the cook and housekeeper for the rest of the family. She literally was “standing on tiptoes” to get to the cookstove and wash the dishes. She also had to go to school during this time, so she never had much of a childhood, until her dad met and married “MIss Martha” which Eranelle described as “the old maid down the road”.

Things got better for Eranelle and her brothers and sisters after Miss Martha came to be their mother. They were able to be children again without having the responsibilites of an adult. Eranelle was able to complete high school, go to business college and get a job in Louisville with the phone company where her sisters also worked. While living in Jeffersonville, she met and married Wib Burns and had 3 sons.

The 2nd half of the book was not as interesting as the 1st part. Eranelle seemed to have a lot of chronic illnesses and a lot of the book was about that. One thing about her illnesses was that she never let them get her totally down, and I think she learned her stubborn determination from her childhood. I really liked the 1st part of the book bettr, because I identified with the things that Eranelle’s family did on the farm.