Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review #73: The Road to Pemberley Anthology edited by Marsha Altman

The Road to Pemberley Anthology
edited by Marsha Altman

Genre: Short Story Anthology / Regency / Romance / Fan Fiction / Re-telling / Jane Austen
Ages: 15 and up
I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Ulysses Press in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon Description:
Including over a dozen stories from both emerging and established Regency romance authors, this new anthology celebrates Jane Austen with a series of brilliant adaptations. Austen’s masterpiece has spawned an entire genre of literature, and The Road to Pemberley brings together the best of the best from published and new writers alike to create a cornucopia of intrigues starring familiar characters from Pride and Prejudice. England during the Regency Era, with its country estates, horse-drawn carriages, and formal balls, continues to captivate modern readers and The Road to Pemberley brings this fabled world to life in all its glory. Each author shows us another side of the Pride and Prejudice story as it would have continued, from Darcy and Elizabeth's first year at Pemberley to the personal tales of characters like George Wickham, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Darcy's personal valet. Join a cast of familiar and unfamiliar faces navigating a host of new social quandaries, old personal dilemmas, and exciting adventures.

My Review:
Often short story anthologies are not my favorite books. Usually, there are several stories I dislike for various reasons; when you have multiple authors, what are the chances that you are going to like them all? With The Road to Pemberley, I had no such problem. I enjoyed every single story in it. There are funny stories, dramatic stories, sweet stories and a couple that are just plain odd. But I loved them all.

The first story, The Pemberley Ball, is actually one of my least favorites, though I still liked it. Elizabeth and Darcy were a little odd, but the story had some interesting possibilities and I really liked the ending. :)

(Note from Lieder Madchen: The previously posted paragraph on the story Saving Oakham Mount has been removed because Marsha Altman has informed me that that story will not be included in the final edition. Sorry if I got your hopes up.)

My first impression (and we all know how untrustworthy those are) of But He Turned Out Very Wild was that of displeasure. My Darcy-loving sensibilities were offended in the extreme. Soon, however, I was utterly caught and it turned out to be one of the best stories in the collection. (at least in my humble opinion.)

A Long, Strange Trip was a little too weird for me. It involved hallucinogenic mushrooms. Very odd. And different. And somewhat entertaining. In a weird way.

An Ink-Stained Year is lovely. Col. Fitzwilliam has always been a favorite of mine, so it was fun to get a peek at his private letters. And laugh at him just a little bit.

I love the title of The Potential of Kitty Bennet. I have always thought that she had a great deal of potential, and it was wonderful to see the author make her fulfill it.

Darcy and Bingley can be so funny. A Good Vintage Whine is delightful. It illustrates the brotherly relationship between them perfectly and in such a cute way, too.

Georgiana's Voice is oh so sweet. If you have ever wondered what it might have been like for Georgiana as the intense and protective Mr. Darcy's little sister, this is the story for you. She sees and understands a side to him that we only glimpse.

Darcy once again has to dust off his detective skills in Secrets in the Shade. The idea of Darcy having an illegitimate relation has been explored before, but never in quite this way. This is an interesting and original little mystery that he has to unravel.

I love hearing servant's gossip and what they see from their nearly invisible positions, so A View from the Valet is wonderful. What does Darcy's manservant think of his strange behavior in Hertfordshire, Kent and Pemberley? As a discreet and loyal servant, he would never speak of it us, of course, but that didn't stop somebody from telling his story.

I love the idea of Darcy having shenanigans, so I really enjoyed Beneath the Greenwood Tree. This story is sweet and simple with a beautiful glimpse of what Darcy would be as a father.

Have you ever thought that Darcy and Elizabeth's passion might get the better of them? Then imagine how Mr. Bennet must have felt. Father of the Bride is a fun and humorous tale of his worries and the Grand Plan he comes up with.

Marsha Altman, the editor, contributed a story entitled Pride and Prejudice Abridged to the anthology. What to say about this heady mix of Regency romance and modern language all written in short, snappy sentences? It is silly, odd and downright hilarious. Marsha Altman never fails to make me smile.

I recommend this collection of stories to those who love Jane Austen but don't mind a bit of creative license. Thank you, Alice Riegert and Ulysses Press for sharing this with me.

Content Ratings: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate this a 5.10 for a single use of the f-word and some other mild to mid-level swearing.

I rate this a 3.10 for hints, references, innuendos and an attempted rape.

I give this a 5.10 for a few violent scenes including shooting and an attempted rape.

                                  Lieder Madchen


  1. I don't know what version you have, but "Saving Oakham Mount" did not make it to the final version of the book for reasons unrelated to the story. It probably shouldn't be included in a review of the book. Otherwise, I'm glad you liked the choices!

  2. I definitely need to read this. I'm intrigued by your description of some of the stories as odd.

  3. I'm the author of "The Potential of Kitty Bennet" - just wanted to say thanks for reviewing the book and for your kind words!

  4. @Jess I hope you continue writing, I really enjoyed your story and I would love to read more. :)