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Death Comes To Pemberley by PD James

(Faber Fiction, $36.99)As an avid fan of Downton Abbey, I was in the mood for a good piece of period writing, but it's hard to find a new book that measures up to some of the classics I loved as a child. As

(Faber Fiction, $36.99)

As an avid fan of Downton Abbey, I was in the mood for a good piece of period writing, but it’s hard to find a new book that measures up to some of the classics I loved as a child.

As a huge fan of Jane Austen – oansfield Park was my favourite – I was a bit worried about *Death Comes

To Pemberley*, PD James’ sequel to Pride and Prejudice.

I’m not entirely convinced that sequels to great books should be written at all, let alone by a different author, but PD James has such great pedigree that it was worth a shot – and I’m glad I made the effort.

The book starts with a well-written recap of the trials and tribulations of the Bennett sisters, then moves on to 1803.

Elizabeth and Darcy have been married six years, there are two gorgeous boys in the nursery, and with Lizzie’s darling sister Jane now happily married to or Bingley just down the road, the family happiness quota seems full.

And, indeed, it would have been – until Lydia Wickham and her scurrilous husband make a dramatic and uninvited entrance.

As a writer of huge pedigree – PD has an impressive CV and has won several awards for her crime writing – the 92-year-old has beautifully meshed her own talents with the light, funny style so beloved by Austen fans everywhere.

The pace of the book isn’t as fast as some more modern tales, but it is set in a time when gentility was key in daily life and women’s sensibilities were of the utmost importance.

Whether you’re a fan of historical novels, crime and mystery or – dare I say it – a good chick read, Death Comes To Pemberley is a great Christmas present for anyone who’d like a slightly more challenging novel this festive season.

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