This 1949 novel, the second sequel to Pride and Prejudice ever published, continues the story of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy with a slightly Gothic twist.
When the elderly rector at Pemberley passes away, the Darcys appoint a new man for the job. His arrival at Pemberley sets off a series of bizarre events, made even more unsettling by his erratic and strange behavior. As the Darcys get more acquainted with their new rector, they start to realize that perhaps he isn't who he claims to be.
To add to their stress, the Darcys are visited by Lady Catherine de Bourgh, whose presence at Pemberley makes Elizabeth extremely uncomfortable. There is some drama concerning Georgiana Darcy and a few potential suitors, and an unexpected plot twist involving Anne de Bourgh that echoes Lydia Bennet's disgrace in Austen's novel.
Bonavia-Hunt revisits some of the beloved characters from Austen's novel - Jane (Bennet) and Charles Bingley, the Gardiners, Mr. Bennet and Kitty Bennet - and she introduces new characters that ring true to Austen conventions.
Like Austen's narratives, Pemberley Shades ends happily. Everything falls neatly into place and domestic bliss is once more restored to the Darcy household. But despite the predictability in this, this novel is a pleasure to read, thoroughly engaging and charming.
Pemberley Shades is a worthy successor to Pride and Prejudice, a novel which would have undoubtedly met with the approval of Jane Austen herself.