Review by Christina Boyd
Dark? Unbelievable? Affected? Yes to all. But debut author Kelly Miller bravely undertakes this paranormal continuation of “Pride and Prejudice” and makes it entirely her own. Although in a field of many novels inspired by Jane Austen’s masterpiece, this continuation is unique in premise: the Angel of Death has become fascinated with Fitzwilliam Darcy and decides to visit Pemberley.
Saving Darcy from certain death when his horse stumbles along a narrow ravine, the Angel of Death interferes with Fate and has extended Darcy’s life for an additional seven days. In exchange, Mr Graham, Death’s handsome earthly form, comes to Pemberley under the guise of Darcy’s Cambridge friend. Graham delights in getting to know Mrs Darcy and their young son Bennet as well as their friends and family that come to celebrate Elizabeth’s birthday, and he even has a liaison with a local widow.
During the week, Darcy is able to ensure his will is in order and assure himself that his beloved wife knows how much she has meant to him. All of this is terribly disturbing to any diehard Darcy and Elizabeth fan...but the onslaught of houseguests with their own wild agendas and dramas temporarily distract us as the days count down.
Because of Graham’s supernatural abilities—the gift of Sight, foretelling the future and seeing into the past, and communicating with loved ones who have died—he is able to assist others to become better than they were. But the longer Graham enjoys experiencing life amongst the living, the more attached he becomes to Darcy’s loved ones.
While many of the supporting stories seem to be tidy parables to teach a life lesson when faced with Graham’s wisdom and Sight, they often felt overlong and overwrought—particular the story with Lady Catherine who is stilllllll (after three years) bitter that Darcy married Elizabeth. She has gone so far as “to hire” another young widow, Lady Rebecca, to steal Darcy from Elizabeth. I can understand why Darcy must welcome Graham to his estate, but I thought Darcy and Elizabeth were ridiculously patient to allow the meddlesome, troublesome, and spiteful Lady Catherine to remain as a guest at Pemberley once they learned of her madcap scheme. “I got a taste of her malice last night. My efforts at gaining your aunt’s good opinion might be a waste of time, yet I should like to try.” (Wow. Just wow. Elizabeth should be canonized.)
With more than a nod to the films “Heaven Can Wait” and “Meet Joe Black", Miller’s wickedly diverting treatment of her own original creations as well as Austen’s beloved characters creates an efficacious yet angst-ridden debut. Fortunately, in true Austen spirit, Miller pulls a rabbit out of her bag of tricks, and the end is not the end we were dreading!
"Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley" is rated Mild for some kissing. Definitely nothing explicit.