Chicks With Books: Searching for Pemberly by Mary Lydon Simonsen is wonderful historical fiction! Filled with romance, history and the mystery behind the real life characters of Pride & Prejudice. Instead of reinventing Pride & Prejudice into a different story, Mary Lydon Simonsen gives us Maggie Joyce, a girl who loves Jane Austen, who happens to be working in London and has "stumbled upon a rumor that Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was based on the lives of a real couple."
What could be more fun then solving the age old question of who the real Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are! Just after World War II, a young Maggie Joyce has just graduated from business school and leaves her coal town in Pennsylvania for office work in Washington, DC... When it's time to move on, we see a little spark of adventure in Maggie as she travels to work first in Germany and then finally in London, England, home to her heroine Jane Austen! It's here where the story really begins... With a tour of what is thought to be Pemberly and the rumors of the real life love story that Pride & Prejudice was based on!
Although this is fiction, you just can't stop yourself from wishing that all that Maggie uncovers is the truth behind the actual romance between "Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy". The story is so well thought out that it is quite believable. Through correspondence and long forgotten diaries & letters Maggie finds, we are propelled into the mystery ourselves! The writing is good, the research done to stay true to the times is evident, and of course the characters are likable and believable. A very unique take in what is a large number of Jane Austen inspired books, Searching for Pemberley is a wonderful story. I so enjoyed this book! And if you are a Jane fan, you will enjoy it too! Mary Lydon Simonsen treats us to a leisurely paced story! Like enjoying a steeping cup of tea, you slowly breathe it all in. Maggie doesn't uncover anything earth shattering, but what Mary Lydon Simonsen uncovers is a story that will keep your interest! A wonderful mystery, a nice heap of romance, and this all adds up to a book well worth any Jane Austen fans' time. The story was more than I could have hoped for!
Once Upon a Romance: Searching for Pemberley is the first novel by Mary Lydon Simonsen and it is a great historical debut. This novel is rich in history and romance as American Maggie Joyce meets up with Beth and Jack Crowell, a couple with knowledge and information about the lives of William Lacey and Elizabeth Garrison, a couple whose lives sound very much like those of the lead characters from Pride and Prejudice, Fitwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.
Fascinated by old letters, the love story of the Crowell’s, and more than a little interested in finding romance herself, Maggie learns of how the Crowell’s love has managed to get them through many family deaths from war. She also learns a great deal about the Lacey and Garrison family through diaries and letters and a lot about herself and what is important to her. Her discovery of what is important when it comes to love leads her away from one man and to another, the Crowell’s son Michael, a man destined to be her own Mr. Darcy.
This was an enjoyable book with a lot of history and some romance. I found the story entertaining and thought the author did a great job of incorporating the main characters from Pride and Prejudice into this book. I feel that the book would have been a little bit better had the relationship between Maggie and Rob been less of a focus, making it more realistic and more believable that Maggie actually loved Michael. 4.75/5.00 Wendy