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The Road To Pemberley: An Anthology of New Pride and Prejudice Stories edited by Marsha Altman

I must confess there was a period of time a couple years ago where I was watching a lot of British period dramas that included film and/or mini series adaptations of every one of Jane Austen's novels (for some novels, I've seen two different adaptations; it was an obsession at the time, what can I say) and adaptations of some of Elizabeth Gaskell's novels (hello, North & South), and I still like a good British drama, period or otherwise.  I've never read any of the novels for which I've seen adaptations.  I know, I'm bad.  Don't judge.  In the introduction to this anthology the editor, Marsha Altman, calls the collection Pride & Prejudice fanfiction.  I must confess (again) that I literally couldn't put this book down.  I said, DON'T JUDGE, didn't I?

At some point there was mention of a theme for the collection that was since abandoned, and I don't think there was a particular theme for the stories, although a few took the idea of exploring the events of Pride & Prejudice from the perspectives of other characters, such as Georgiana and Darcy's valet.  The scope of these stories is wide: from the period between Elizabeth and Darcy's engagement and their wedding, to a series of letters between supporting characters in the original novel, to an imagined mushroom trip during Jane Bennet's sojourn at Netherfield (I kid you not, this one I only really read the beginning and the end).  The overarching theme is that all these stories are in some way related to Pride & Prejudice.

Some stories are better than others and quality of writing varies from story to story.  One unfortunate aspect of the book is that each story has quite obvious typos, and the entire anthology itself would have benefited greatly from a tighter copy editor (someone who would have corrected one story's repeated use of 'was not it?' when the writer really meant 'was it not?').  Nevertheless, the stories told are engrossing and die-hard Pride & Prejudice fans will eat up each and every story.  It's a hard book to put down and probably the first short story collection that I've read and not thought 'well, what was the point of that story?'

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie

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