Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Review: Christmas at Pemberley by Regina Jeffers

Darcy has invited the Bennets and the Bingleys to spend the Christmastide’s festive days at Pemberley.  But as he and Elizabeth journey to their estate to join the gathered families, a blizzard blankets the English countryside.  The Darcys find themselves stranded at a small inn while Pemberley is inundated with refugees seeking shelter from the storm.

Without her brother’s strong presence, Georgiana Darcy tries desperately to manage the chaos surrounding the arrival of six invited guests and eleven unscheduled visitors.  But bitter feuds, old jealousies and intimate secrets quickly rise to the surface. Has Lady Catherine returned to Pemberley for forgiveness or revenge? Will the manipulative Caroline Bingley find a soul mate? Shall Kitty Bennet and Georgiana know happiness?

Written in Regency style and including Austen’s romantic entanglements and sardonic humor, Christmas at Pemberley places Jane Austen’s most beloved characters in an exciting yuletide story that speaks to the love, the family spirit and the generosity that remain as the heart of Christmas.

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Each year during Christmastime I enjoy reading a holiday-themed novel.  Last year I loved A Darcy Christmas, and I also recommend The Christmas Chronicles by Tim Slover and Kringle by Tony Abbott. These titles have been a fun addition to my holiday merrymaking.

This year my yuletide novel of choice is Christmas at Pemberley by Regina Jeffers.  In this follow-up to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, we find all the main characters as they usher in the holiday season at Pemberley and the surrounding area.  Elizabeth Darcy is pregnant again, after suffering two miscarriages in the past.  As any woman would be in her situation, she dearly wants a healthy child for herself and her husband.  As they make their way home to celebrate Christmas, they are delayed by treacherous wintery weather and have a few adventures of their own.  Back at Pemberley, Darcy’s sister Georgiana and others weather some drama as well.  And upon the Darcys’ return, even more drama ensues.

Christmas at Pemberley was an absolute delight.  There are moments of the aforementioned drama, a bit of political intrigue, romance and some truly inspirational episodes.  I thoroughly enjoyed the manner in which Jeffers wove the multiple storylines, offering cliffhanger after cliffhanger between each narrative (and there are at least 4) within the novel. At no point during my reading did I become bored or disinterested.  She definitely kept my attention with her writing, which captured the Regency style very well, while adding suspense and multiple points of focus.

As a Christian I also appreciated Jeffers’ inclusion of spiritual topics within her story.  Elizabeth almost struggles with her faith at times, wondering how she must have fallen short in God’s eyes due to her multiple miscarriages.  It’s sad that anyone would feel that God would withhold motherhood in this manner, but I think it’s a realistic doubt that some may have during times such as that.  Regina was brave to broach such a subject, in my opinion.  I also enjoyed how she employed some of the rituals of the church within the story as well. I wouldn’t consider Christmas at Pemberley a “Christian novel” per se, but there are many elements to it that I think Christians would find enjoyable, even beyond the obvious Christmas connection.

For those who are looking for romantic Regency tales without all the tawdry content, Christmas at Pemberley might be a good fit for you as well.  Jeffers doesn’t shy away from sexual tension, but she keeps it fairly clean by today’s standards.  The steamiest stuff is kept between married couples, and even those details are limited.  There are a few passionate kisses between unmarrieds, but those moments are reasonable and fit the period and genre.

Although she is the author of several titles of Austenesque fiction, Regina Jeffers is a new author for me.  After reading Christmas at Pemberley, I look forward to taking in more of her work.  This holiday story was absolutely enjoyable, with surprises at every turn and a treat for the holiday season. Add it to your Christmas list today!


  1. Laura, thank you for taking the time to read my latest story line and then to review it. I am honored.
    Just to let you know, I gave Elizabeth some of my own doubts. I lost two children before my son arrived 7 weeks early (in the middle of my theatre class). I was nearly 40 at the time, and I felt very unworthy. My own self doubts became Elizabeth Darcy's.

  2. Wow-- Regina, that is so touching. I'm sure there are many others who can relate to those struggles. I've had similar questions in my own life as we've had some really difficult issues with my elder son. I've had feelings of unworthiness and also feelings of self-righteous anger at God, too. I'm grateful for His grace and all the blessings He's given me, despite my shortcomings.

    Thanks so much for stopping by The Calico Critic and for sharing your thoughts!


  3. This sounds wonderful, Laura. And Regina, it's wonderful that you were able to project some of yourself into Elizabeth. Sounds like a lovely Christmas read.



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