Friday, 14 February 2014


Yep! I decided to spend a few hours at Pemberley today. The excitement of young Valentine's Days gone, nothing's better than a journey into romance and mystery. Dreams and old memories, do they really help on Valentine's Day? I'm not in a bad mood, not sad nor unhappy, not melancholic nor nostalgic. So the answer is, DEFINITELY YES, they helped a lot.   I played  my new DVDs  and  off I went on a very romantic Valentine voyage.   All alone,  but not truly.

I had already seen Death Comes to Pemberley when it was on BBC One during last Christmas holidays but to re-watch it has given me the chance to enjoy little details that had gone missed at a first view. 

Death Comes to Pemberley, P. D. James's sequel to Pride and Prejudice, is now available on DVD  ( check it out HERE and you can watch it on your TV or computer screen as many times as you wish and add it to your Austen - inpired DVD collection. 

This mini-series has  been a pleasant surprise for me, since I didn't expect to like it much. I wasn't that fond of P.D. James 's murder mystery set at Pemberley when I read it,  so I was ready to be bored and even more disappointed by its TV adaptation. Instead, in my opinion,  Juliette Towhidi's script improved the plot, enriching it with short flashbacks and giving it a fast paced rhythm it didn't have. 

I loved the locations and the photography,  they were dreamy, stunningly beautiful. The acting too was remarkable. I've read so many complaints about Matthew Rhys and Anne Maxwell Martin, for not being the Darcy and Lizzie many Austen fans had in their  mind. Come on! 

They are both such good actors and they were convincing as a more mature dashing and brooding hero and a tamed, grown-up heroine. After 6 years of married life, together at Pemberley,  the scenario and the relationships depicted are more than believable. 

I also liked  Jenna Coleman and Matthew Goode a lot, their  Lydia Bennet and  George Wickham  were intriguing and  gripping. The story - line was not a surprise to me, of course. No excitement for the thrilling  truth-hunting, since I already knew "whodunnit". Anyway, that gave me the chance to focus on other details but  didn't prevent me from liking the series at the same time. 

My favourite story-line was  the most romantic one,  the love story between Georgiana Darcy and  Henry Alveston. Georgiana deserved  happiness, at last! But in this adaptation she is torn between loyalty to the family and  her natural right to marry for love. Too young and indecisive, she feels still guilty for the pains and troubles she gave to her brother. Quite disappointing is how Darcy deals  with the situation.. How could  he think to give her in marriage to someone she didn't love? Or better, someone she loved but as another older brother? I sympathize with Elizabeth's stubborness and with her disappointment  in her husband's behaviour. I admire her when she decides to save Georgiana from her own wrong choices  and  I admire even more for  her faith in marriage for love. 

Well, dear readers, if I were you, I wouldn't miss the chance to go back to Pemberley for a while. I did it and  didn't regret it.  I'm sure you won't either.  

The story 

(from BBC mediapack) The story starts on the eve of the Darcy’s annual Lady Anne ball at their magnificent Pemberley home. It’s been six years since Elizabeth and Darcy married and they now have a young son, Fitzwilliam, 3. They are happier than ever and Elizabeth’s caring nature sees her suited to her role as lady of the house.
Elizabeth finds the time to visit the Bidwell family before the guests arrive. Mr Bidwell is head coachman at Pemberley and the rest of his family work for the Darcys too but his son Will is dying and Elizabeth goes to visit him, reaching out to the family in their time of suffering.
The first of their guests arrive the evening before the ball, including Mrs Bennet who is complaining about the journey to the long-suffering Mr Bennet. Georgiana Darcy has two suitors vying for her affections: her emotionally distant cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam who, stepping up to the duties of heir, has marriage in mind; and Alveston, a dynamic young lawyer who clearly has Georgiana’s heart.
The party are relaxing after supper when the festivities are brought to an abrupt halt. A scream calls them to the window and a hysterical Lydia Bennet tumbles out of a carriage screaming murder. What follows is the sombre discovery of a dead man in Pemberley woods, with George Wickham - Lydia’s husband and Darcy’s brother in law - found at the scene covered in the dead man’s blood. So begins a nightmare and mounting scandal which will threaten to engulf Pemberley and all that the Darcys hold dear…



junewilliams7 said...

I am guilty of being one of those Janeites who was disappointed at the casting. I never doubted their ability to act, but Martin's eyes don't look "fine" to me and I don't understand why the makeup people didn't do more to highlight her eyes. But I will trust your judgment, and I will watch the movie sometime.

Happy Valentine's weekend, Mary! <3

Debra E. Marvin said...

I watched the series WHILE I was in the middle of listening to the book on audio. I liked the plot changes in the movie much better than the book. (Sorry P.D.James). I had no problem with Rhys and Martin as Lizzy and Darcy, and loved all the casting.

I was very pleased with the series and look forward to seeing it again.
Thanks for the reminder.Excellent post!

Maria Grazia said...

@junewilliams7 Well, June, I always give a chance to actors when interpreting my favourite characters. I know they don't have an easy task to live up to our expectations and I honestly sympathize with them. Their job is to transform themselves into other human beings and convey their emotions and I think Rhys and Maxwell Martin were brilliant at that.
Give them a chance. Watch the series, even if you haven't read the book.
Thanks for your comment and happy weekend to you too!

Maria Grazia said...

@Debra E. Marvin
Hello and welcome, Debra. Glad you enjoyed this post and shared my positive impressions. By the way, first impressions! I think those who didn't watch this series because they didn't like the looks of the two protagonists, should re-read P&P and think on... ;-)
I agree with you, the script for this BBC series just improved the plot (P.D.James should be grateful).
Have a terrific weekend!

junewilliams7 said...

Maria, I just watched 'Death Comes to Pemberley' - very good performances, although I think my greatest sympathies are with the actor who portrayed Colonel Fitzwilliam. His character seemed to have the best intentions; it's just that his methods and words were clumsy. But I will resist the urge to write a HEA ending for him!

The scenery and settings were lovely. I think it's fitting that Lizzy and Darcy overcame the stress to come together at the end.

Thank you for taking a closer look at this and reviewing it for us!

Maria Grazia said...

Really? You've seen it after reading my review and like it? This flatter me a bit :-) But I'm really glad you saw it. I also liked Colonel Fitzwilliam, I mean not his behaviour but ... his looks. He is rather charming, though I definitely prefer Wickham (Matthew Goode) to all the other gentlemen in this mini-series. May it be for his beautiful blue eyes? Thanks for coming back and sharing, June!

Lyz said...


When can I expect Death comes to Pemberley to air in America. I know it was due out in 2014 on PBS, it is now 3 months into 2014 and I am getting anxious.

Let me know please.