Book reviews

A Private Performance by Helen Halstead is a continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen fan fiction can be a bit hit and miss, however I enjoyed this story very much.

A Private Performance began with Lizzie’s mother blabbing the news of Lizzie’s engagement to Mr Darcy all over the place and Lady Catherine de Bourgh continuing to offer her opposition to the match. Despite their trials, Lizzie and Darcy married and blissfully happy, left Longbourne for Pemberley.

New characters were introduced and known characters had their stories expanded. Lizzie’s challenge was to negotiate London society, while Darcy found that Lady Catherine had enough power over his family and friends to create difficulties socially for him and Lizzie.

Despite Lady Catherine’s influence Lizzie found success amongst London society with her wit and charm. Darcy encouraged his wife to mix with important people but became jealous of Lizzie’s new friends and their influence on her opinions. Lizzie managed Darcy’s ill-humour with her usual style.

Jane and Bingley were delightful, Georgiana grew up before our very eyes, Mary was dreadful and Lydia and Wickham’s behaviour was as obnoxious as ever. Kitty was the biggest surprise, as she was hilarious and had the most growth of all of the characters. I was surprised to find myself becoming teary during some of the sadder scenes.

My only criticism of the story is that there are so many new characters that I lost track of who was who and what they were doing in the story although perhaps not surprisingly, most of the new characters were jockeying for Lady Catherine’s attention and favours.

I would be pleased to read another book by this author.

Comments on: "A Private Performance by Helen Halstead" (5)

  1. Sounds like fun, but I just can’t bring myself to read P&P continuations – I prefer to think of Lizzie and Darcy as staying perpetually celebrating their wedding day! Somebody really ought to write a murder mystery continuation with Lady Catherine as victim, though…

  2. I read Death Comes to Pemberley some years back and it put me off Austen spin-offs for a long while. But I read Joan Aiken’s ‘Emma Watson’ recently and once I’d adjusted to it I really enjoyed it. This one sounds fun too!

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