Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Discussion/Read Along Post #6: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (Book Six & Epilogue)

So here we are at the last book discussion/read along post for Death comes to Pemberley! Since this is the last post there will be more questions in the "Other Questions" section then that have been in the past allowing some reflection on the book as a whole and not one broken up into sections. So here goes!

Book Discussion

Book Six & Epilogue

1.) When Darcy meets Wickham at the Gardiner's London house, what conflict does he hold with regards to proper social behavior vs. his own feelings toward Wickham? Why, in Darcy's mind, is social etiquette necessary? What was his mother's explanation for good manners? What role do manners play in modern society? Has today's culture dispensed with, or maintained, good manners?

2.) How do you judge the character of Wickham, given the further development provided by P.D. James? Is he sympathetic? Is he careless and narcissistic? Do you agree with the Reverend Cornbinder that he is capable of remaking himself in America?

3.) What do you think of the way the secrets of the Bidwell family are eventually revealed? Does Wickham's affair with Louisa come as a surprise? 

4.) What is Louisa Bidwell's chance for happiness? Is her fate a fair one? The Reverend Oliphant considers her "a highly intelligent girl who... had been given a glimpse of a different and more exciting life, but undoubtedly the best had been done for her child and probably her." Do you agree? Why does Elizabeth, a few lines later, feel "a twinge of regret" when she considers Louisa's future as parlormaid at Highmarten? 

5.) James has some fun including references to other Jane Austen novels, Did you identify the references to Emma and Persuasion?

6.) What do you think the future holds for Wickham and Lydia?

Other Questions

1.) Good crime writers like P.D. James embed clues early on in their stories. What seemingly inconsequential clues are dropped that later turn out to be decisive in solving the mystery. How cleverly does James bury her clues?

2.) Mystery writers also like to throw in red-herrings. Are there any false clues in Death Comes to Pemberley that fooled you, leading you to expect a different outcome?

3.) In the "Author's Note" that precedes the novel, P.D. James writes "an apology to the shade of Jane Austen for involving her beloved Elizabeth in the trauma of a murder investigation" and James adds a quote from Austen herself, "had she wished to dwell on such odious subjects, she would have written this story herself, and done it better". Which aspects of this novel might Jane Austen have liked, and which aspects might she not have liked?

4.) In your opinion is Death Comes to Pemberley a good mystery? Is it a good sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice?

I will of course be commenting on these questions and your responses to them in the comment section at the end of this post!

Thanks so much to everyone that has participated and been so patient with me getting these discussion posts up!


Book Discussion/Read Along Post #5: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (Book Five)

Book Discussion

Book Five

1.) Darcy knows that this latest scandal will threaten the family reputation. Yet he seems relieved that, as a result, Colonel Fitzwilliam, will not make an offer for Georgiana's hand. Why is he relieved? It would be a brilliant marriage for Georgiana; she would eventually become a countess.

2.) In Book 4's discussion we talked about how Lydia was never questioned and we identified so holes in the investigation process of the murder. So in book 5 we focus on the trial and the outcome: So what about the inquiry and ensuing trial-how does the justice system fail there? What safeguards, present today, seem to be missing in Wickham's court trial?

3.) Wickham is about to be condemned to death when two surprising things happen: Mrs. Younge rushes from the courtroom and is crushed under the wheels of a coach, and a letter of confession arrives from William Bidwell. What do you think of these sudden plot twists? 

P.D. James

4.) According to P.D. James, every mystery requires "facts which are hidden from the reader but which he or she should be able to discover by logical deduction from clues inserted in the novel with deceptive cunning but essential fairness". The "fairness" lies in the author's giving the reader what is needed to solve the mystery. Were you able to guess or deduce who the killer was? If so, at what point and on what grounds?

Other Questions

1.) Were you surprised by the plot's complications? Or did you find it predictable, even formulaic?

2.) Is the story plot-driven, moving briskly from event to event? Or is it character-driven, moving more slowly, delving into characters' inner-lives?

I will be posting my thoughts to these questions in the comment section along with all of yours and I will also be commenting on as many of your responses as possible. If you blogged about this post or provided your answers in a blog post on your own blog please make sure to include a link to that blog post in the comment section!

I appreciate everyone's involvement in our book discussions!


The Best Laid Plans....

On Friday I had every intention to post the last two book discussions/read along posts but my eyes were assaulted by this:

This is my youngest daughter's bedroom and she is the messiest person but the girls are suppose to be responsible for their own rooms so I tend to let them go and when I have my migraines it is worse because I am literally paralyzed by light so I let things go way longer than I probably should but I don't really have a choice.

So I cleaned and cleaned and was so exhausted afterward not only did I forget to take after pictures I also somehow managed to get my migraine back so until this morning at 7:30 I was in pain and constantly trying to avoid any type of light. Luckily though I am feeling better so I am hoping to get all caught up today, so here is to the best laid plans of mice and men that often go awry!

thanks again for your continued patience

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book Discussion/Read Along Post #4: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (Book Four)

Well the kids getting out of school early due to the snow threw a little more busyness into my schedule that I didn't plan for but I am going to keep chugging along and hopefully get all the book discussion questions posts up today.

This is my view from the window behind my desk/art table! Snow is so pretty to watch so it is keeping me at my desk plus the roads are to yucky to go and do anything so that motivates me to get done even more. So with my mug of tea and some Yo Yo Ma on in the background I am ready to tackle Book Four, Hope you are to, because for me this was particularly the dullest book in Death Comes to Pemberley!

Book Discussion

Book Four

1.) Why is Lydia Wickham never questioned about what happened in the carriage between her husband and Captain Denny? Might the fact that she isn't questioned have to do with what we previously discussed in Post #3 about how women were generally viewed in society during the 1800's?

2.) Aside from ignoring Lydia, what other holes occur in the investigation-gaps that seem like missteps to modern readers steeped in police procedural novels and TV-series? (Don't neglect the ironic quip regarding 18th-century science's inability to distinguish blood types.)

Yes I know excellent is spelled incorrectly but it is still funny!

3.) A lot of characters that I felt the most dislike towards in Pride and Prejudice are mentioned in Book Four, among them are Miss Caroline Bingley and Mrs. Hurst, Bingley's sisters, what do you think of their "polite" distance from the Darcys? Then you have Lady Catherine and Mr. Collins, one pompous the other utterly ridiculous, but in the mix is Charlotte who I loved in Pride and Prejudice but who seems to different for my liking in Death Comes to Pemberley? Could our sweet hearted Charlotte from P & P really have let slip to Mr. Collins about the budding romance of Darcy and Elizabeth? Betrayal is horrid but could Charlotte have really have done it????

4.) The Darcy's altruistic actions towards the Bidwell family was common amongst the wealthy, it was a security cushion to those servants who now to old to do their regular jobs inside/outside the house were helped in numerous ways by the families that they had so loyally served their whole lives. We learn so much more about the Bidwells in Book Four, how odd did you find it that Louisa Bidwell would bring home her sister's newborn and care for it night and day??? What about Will just how long has this poor boy been dying for?

5.) I found the whole chapter about the actual inquest to be terribly boring! Did you have a hard time getting through it to? Come to think of it I struggled through all of Book Four, literally nodding off, did you have a hard time getting through book four due to dullness/boredom or did you enjoy Book Four?

Since there is just not much I could come up with for Book Four I want to open up the comments section for participants so that they can contribute some questions that they may have been able to come up with while reading Book Four!!! So ask away!!!

I will be posting my thoughts to these questions in the comment section along with all of yours and I will also be commenting on as many of your responses as possible. If you blogged about this post or provided your answers in a blog post on your own blog please make sure to include a link to that blog post in the comment section!

I appreciate everyone's involvement in our book discussions and I know this particular post was not very helpful from my end with the amount of questions being lacking and all but I hope we can get through it together!

P.S. My Brain is Fried!!! So I am going to put up Post 5 & 6 on Friday as I have a court appointment tomorrow that will tie me up for most of the day. Thanks again for participating and being patient as I put up the posts! I will also be commenting on some of your discussions and comments sometime tomorrow evening!

Book Discussion/Read Along Post #3: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (Book Three)

Yes, still migraine free so here we are at our third book discussion this time focusing on Book Three of P.D. James's Death Comes to Pemberley!

Discussion Questions

Book Three

1.) James provides greater access to Fitwilliam Darcy's state of mind than Austen permitted her readers. What do you learn about Darcy that you didn't know before? Does your opinion of him change...or remain the same as it did after reading Pride and Prejudice? If you haven't read P & P, what conclusions do you reach regarding Darcy's character?

2.) Darcy's thoughts seem different than Elizabeth's in regards to their marriage: "But the comfort of a shared bed and Elizabeth's loving arms were denied from him" (pg. 105). How does Darcy's feelings contrast to those of Elizabeth's that we have discussed in the discussion post for Book Two?

3.) Darcy is deeply affected by the murder on his estate. Why does it shake his sense of identity and his earldom (pg. 109)?

4.) Elizabeth and Darcy inform the staff at Pemberley of the ongoing murder investigation in book Three. In what ways does P.D. James highlight class distinctions in this work? Why, for instance, does the Magistrate Selwyn Hardcastle nost wish to waste his time at Pemberley? How are servants treated at Pemberley? 

5.) Why does Darcy never wish to speak of the incident in which Wickham had attempted to elope with Georgiana? Why does Georgiana wish the two of them world talk about it?

6.) What does it say about Georgiana's relationship with Colonel Fitzwilliams if she cannot share the details of her and Wickham's failed elopement? What does it say about Georgiana's relationship with Mr. Alveston that he knows all about the Wickham incident?

7.) Did Colonel Fitzwilliam's late night ride raise your eyebrows like it did mine? Where do you think he could have been? Why is he not explaining himself? Do you think he had anything to do with the murder? How is the Colonel's behavior now so different from his behavior in Pride and Prejudice?

8.) When Alveston speaks up on behalf of Georgiana's ability to be present during the investigation, he mentions Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, and most famously the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, an eighteenth-century feminist treatise. What kinds of ideas does Alveston represent? How are women generally viewed in this society? How does Alveston's ideas challenge those views? Would his marriage to Georgiana be a more "modern" one than that of Darcy and Elizabeth?

Other Questions

1.) Do you identify with any characters? Are you able to look at events in the book through their eyes-even if you don't like or approve of them? Do they remind you of people in your own life? Or yourself? 

2.) Does the time-line move forward chronologically...or back and forth between past and present? Does the James use a single viewpoint of shifting viewpoints? Why might she have chosen to tell the story the way she did-and what difference does it make in the way you read or understood the book?

I will be posting my thoughts to these questions in the comment section along with all of yours and I will also be commenting on as many of your responses as possible. If you blogged about this post or provided your answers in a blog post on your own blog please make sure to include a link to that blog post in the comment section!

Thanks to everyone that is participating in my first book discussion/read along I really appreciate you all being here and I cannot wait to bring Book Three of Death Comes to Pemberley into a lively discussion in the comment section!


Book Discussion/Read Along Post #2: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (Book Two)

I have been migraine free for about six hours now so I am going to give it a go to get all of the remaining book discussions up today!

So I left Book One wanting to slap Lydia across the face and then I found myself still wanting to slap her in the first few pages on Book Two!

I had to include a little of me and Bean's favorite shows to watch together, so even though this is Rachel and Gwen from Glee I think I have illustrated my point of wanting to slap Lydia badly.

Discussion Questions

Book Two

1.) After reading book two of Death Come to Pemberley; What do you think of James's re-creation of Austen's characters, particularly Elizabeth and Darcy? How are they changed, and how are they similar to the originals?

2.) Did you find anything suspect about Colonel Fitzwilliam's overtaking of the search expedition to find Wickham and Captain Denny? Did he seem a bit to interested in taking charge? Shouldn't it have been Darcy's place as master of Pemberley to lead the search?

3.) The extensive woodland on Darcy's estate, with its "torn and hanging twigs," its "tangled bushes," and its confusion, presents a strong contrast to the order and rationality of the household and the cultivated grounds (pg. 67). What might James be suggesting about Elizabeth and Darcy's world be giving the woodland such a strong presence in the novel?

4.) In book two, Darcy thinks often of the burden of responsibility to his estate and the family name. From boyhood he had sympathized with his great-grandfather, who gave up his title and went to live in the woodland cottage with his dog (pg. 63). How does Darcy's great-grandfather's rejection oh his social position resonate in Death Comes to Pemberley? Do Darcy's feelings about George Wickham suggest that he feels somewhat guilty about the privileges he has inherited?

5.) When the murder is first discovered, Wickham utters, "I killed him... It's my fault" (pg. 68). How did you interpret his confession? Were you ready to believe in his guilt?

6.) What does Darcy's action of placing Wickham under guard say in that particular moment?

7.) When Darcy goes to retrieve Magistrate Selwyn Hardcastle the magistrate asks about the strained relationship the Darcys have with the Wickhams, Why does Darcy not like talking about the situation do you feel it is more about protecting Georgiana's virtue or about protecting Darcy's own pride?

8.) When Elizabeth gazes down at Wickham, who is sleeping with "his dark hair tumbled on the pillow, his shirt open to show the delicate line of the throat," she thinks he looks "like a young knight wounded in battle." Is Elizabeth a bit in love with Wickham? She wonders whether she would "have married him if he had been rich instead of penniless." This is the second time Elizabeth has questioned her motives for marrying Darcy: wondering if she had been attracted to Darcy primarily for his wealth and position. What do you think?

9.) Elizabeth is embarrassed by the fact that she once found Wickham so attractive that "she had been...close to falling in love with him." Does what we see of Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage indicate that Elizabeth has become a less teasing, witty, and playful person than she was in Pride and Prejudice? If so, why might this be?

Other Questions

1.) So far do you find the plot engaging-does the story interest you? In your opinion is this a plot-driven book: A fast-paced page-turner? Or does the story unfold slowly with a focus on character development?

2.) Are the characters convincing? Do they come alive for you? How would you describe them-as sympathetic, likeable, thoughtful, intelligent, innocent, naive, strong or weak? Something else?

I will be posting my thoughts to these questions in the comment section along with all of yours and I will also be commenting on as many of your responses as possible. If you blogged about this post or provided your answers in a blog post on your own blog please make sure to include a link to that blog post in the comment section!

Thanks to everyone that is participating in my first book discussion/read along I really appreciate you all being here and I cannot wait to bring Book Two of Death Comes to Pemberley into a lively discussion in the comment section!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I'm Really Trying...

So the past few days have proven tough for me with a on and off again migraine.
I just want to give you all a heads up with what is going on and taking me so long in getting up the book discussion/read along posts for Death Comes to Pemberley I am working on them every chance I get and will put them up as I get them done.
I really appreciate all of your patience hopefully my migraine meds will eventually nip this in the bud for good.

Thanks again

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Discussion/Read Along Post #1: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (Prologue & Book One)

So here we are at the lst book discussion/read along post for Death Come to Pemberley by P.D. James where we will be discussing the Prologue and Book One in this wonderful novel!

I have also included the Preview of the PBS Masterpiece Mystery Version of P.D. James's Book.

A rare meeting of literary genius: P. D. James, long among the most admired mystery writers of our time, draws the characters of Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice into a tale of murder and emotional mayhem.
It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles. Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; her father visits often; there is optimistic talk about the prospects of marriage for Darcy’s sister Georgiana. And preparations are under way for their much-anticipated annual autumn ball.
Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery.
Inspired by a lifelong passion for Austen, P. D. James masterfully re-creates the world of Pride and Prejudice, electrifying it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted crime story, as only she can write it. (From the publisher.)

Discussion Questions

This discussion questions can be discussed in the comment section at the end of this post, however, anything you would like to discuss about the prologue and book one can be talked about our discussion does not just have to stem from these particular questions!

Prologue Questions: Here is where we discuss the similarities and differences between how Pride and Prejudice ended and how Death Comes to Pemberley begins.

1.) Compare the "Prologue" of Death Comes to Pemberley with the "Epilogue" of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, this can also be chapter 61 or just the last chapter in the book it varies depending on which version of the novel you have. Are the two similar? Different? In what ways does James expand on Austen's version of the several years following Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage?

2.) What was your favorite changes that James's brought to the Prologue that were different from Pride and Prejudice's ending?
Were there so things that James divulged to us readers that surprised you based upon Austen's rendering of the characters?

3.) What do you notice about the prose style James adopts for this novel? What relationship does it bear to the style of Jane Austen? Compare for instance James's first sentence, "It was generally agreed by the female residents of Meryton that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet of Longbourn had been fortunate in the disposal in marriage of four of their five daughters" (pg. 3), to the first sentence of Pride and Prejudice: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

4.) Since Death Comes to Pemberley was made into a mini series by the BBC/PBS I thought it would nice for all of us to divulge to each other our favorite screen duo of Elizabeth and Darcy! You can see mine below, let us know in the comment section which duo was your favorite!

Sigh: My favorite Darcy and Elizabeth!

Book One Questions: Here is where we discuss the events and characters in Book One.

1.) Book One begins with a look into Pemberley's library. Now close your eyes and imagine the library at Pemberley, now tell me how jealous you are? If you have a picture that you think resembles what you imagine Pemberley's library to look like please include a link in the comment section below so that we can all check it out!

2.) Mrs. Reynolds and Thomas Bidwell, all servants at Pemberley, are discussed in this section of the book: What does their behavior show us about how they feel about the Darcy family and Pemberley estate? What is your opinion of Mrs. Reynolds, how would you describe her relationship with Mrs. Darcy?

3.) Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy's cousin, wants to marry Darcy's sister, Georgiana. But Georgiana seems to be in love with the young lawyer, Henry Alveston, whom Elizabeth calls "a paradigm of a young man" (pg. 35). Why does the colonel speak to Elizabeth rather than to Darcy about his desire to marry Georgiana? Why doesn't Elizabeth seem to trust the colonel? What details or events raise doubts about his character, which had been so dependable in Pride and Prejudice?

3.) The night before the ball, the howling wind and the turbulence of nature are contrasted with the comforts within the house. How does James's use of the weather set the scene for what is to come?

4.)  How has marriage and motherhood changed Jane and Elizabeth's relationship?

5.) What opinions can we form from Henry Alveston and Georgiana's musical performance? Elizabeth remarked, "Both of them seemed unaware of the waiting audience. It was a moment of intimacy which enclosed them in their private world, yet reached out to a moment when self was forgotten in their common love of music" (pg. 47). Oohh LLaaa LLLaaa is all I have to say! Sigh!

6.) When Elizabeth watches Georgiana and Alveston interact and realizes the two are in love. She reflects on "that enchanting period of mutual discovery, expectation and hope. It was enchantment she had never known" (pg. 47). Why does Elizabeth think this? Is she not in love with her husband? With this look into Elizabeth's mind and having read Pride and Prejudice to many times to count I think these thoughts are absolute poppy cock because the whole Darcy/Elizabeth love/hate relationship in Pride and Prejudice is full of all those things, at least in this reader's opinion, What do you think? 

7.) When Lydia showed up uninvited and hysterical like she did if I was Elizabeth I would have relished giving Lydia a nice slap across the face to shut her up! Would you have also enjoyed giving the slap or not?

Some Extra Questions

1.) How did you feel reading the first two sections of Death Comes to Pemberley? Where you engaged and caught up in the story or did you find it a bit boring and hard to get into at first?

2.) If you could ask P.D. James any question about the events and characters in the Prologue and Book One, what would that question be?

I will be posting my thoughts to these questions in the comment section along with all of yours and I will also be commenting on as many of your responses as possible. If you blogged about this post or provided your answers in a blog post on your own blog please make sure to include a link to that blog post in the comment section!

Thanks to everyone that is participating in my first book discussion/read along I really appreciate you all being here and I cannot wait to bring the first two parts of this book into a lively discussion in the comment section!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Book Discussion/Read Along: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

So I have decided that for my first time hosting a book discussion/read-along that we would read something with both mystery and historical fiction so that it would count towards both of the reading challenges I host!

All posts will go up on Monday January the 19th,
 this is when the book discussion/read along begins.

The posts will be broken up into sections:
1st post is for the Prologue and Book One
2nd post is for Book Two
3rd post is for Book Three
4th post is for Book Four
5th post is for Book Five
6th post is for Book Six and Epilogue

The book discussion/read along posts will have a summary of each section plus discussion questions to inspire you to get talking to me and one another about the book.

The discussion will take place in the comment section of each part of the book's post. I am putting them up all at once because I know everyone reads at different paces so this way you can respond to each section after you have read it and it is fresh in your mind. I also want to remind everyone to use their best manners when commenting on each other's opinions of the book. Please no foul language either for I will delete any comment that contains it.

I am not putting any type of deadlines we can discuss till the cows come home if we want to!

I am putting a sign-up link below if you want to sign-up, but anyone that has read the book is welcome to comment on any of the posts.

I cannot wait to discuss this book with all of you in the next few weeks!!!

Friday, January 9, 2015

#FF Feature & Follow Time!!!

Hi I'm Amy!
I have loved to read since, well since I can remember.
I have been blogging for over two years now and have shared my thoughts on what I have read, I host book challenges and participate in those hosted by others, and my blog has grown more than I could have ever imagined.

I am also a mom, an artist, a writer, an avocado eater!
I am more than just a reader.
I hope that you all that read this post will follow me on Bloglovin' and I hope to find some great blogs to follow in return!

The feature this week is Book Soulmates

This week's question is:
Do you have any fun collections (other than books)?

I collect mail art and other mixed media art that others send me!
I have a huge collection that fills about two plastic totes, the Rubbermaid kind.

Don't forget to check at the bottom of this post for the hop's linky tool and be sure to check out some other great blogs!