Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Sophia Rose Reviews: Pemberley by Moonlight by Stephen Ord

 Today Sophia Rose reviews a historical novel

Pemberley by Moonlight by Stephen Ord

Historical Romance, Fantasy

Publisher:  Quills & Quartos

Published:  9.7.21

ASIN:  B099P71C22

Pages:  142

Rating: 4 stars

Format: Trade Paperback

Source:  Quills & Quartos

Sellers:  Amazon

ADD TO: GoodReads


GoodReads Blurb:

“I wish I could meet you, Mr Darcy, and tell you to come home. There seems to be a large gap in the world where you should be.”

WHAT HAS HAPPENED to Fitzwilliam Darcy?

IT HAS BEEN NEARLY A YEAR since the master of Pemberley disappeared, leaving behind his distraught young sister and a family in turmoil. But clues to his whereabouts are scarce and it soon seems there will be nothing to do but see Georgiana married and have him declared legally dead.

ELIZABETH BENNET, ON HOLIDAY with her aunt and uncle, visits Pemberley and soon finds herself drawn into the mystery of the missing gentleman. But what secrets are hidden within the gardens of Pemberley? And what is the strange attraction she feels towards the statue of the man she has never met?

Powerful forces want to keep them apart, but true love will overcome even the most fearsome evil.


Sophia Rose's Review:

Pairing Jane Austen’s characters and the enchanting setting of Pemberley with the magic of a fairytale, debut author, Stephen Ord, had a ready reader in me.


With a fairy tale-like tone, a story emerges with true villains, a magical curse, a timely arrival of the heroine, and a frantic rush to discover the truth behind the mysterious statue in the rose garden.


This is a novella so it has a brief prologue that offers a sinister pair now in possession of a powerful artifact and a desperate plan before leaping into an opening scene with a young woman on a tour of a fabulous country estate and encountering a weeping, grieving young girl before a life size stone statue of the estate master that has such a desperate expression on his face.  Elizabeth is captivated by the statue that represents the missing Fitzwilliam Darcy and is drawn to it by moonlight when she slowly discovers the secrets of the statue and her emerging feelings for Georgie’s absent brother.


Rather than follow the Pride & Prejudice story, the author choses to leave much of that in the background as past history with the glaring exception of removing Fitzwilliam Darcy’s presence ala George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life-fashion since in Pemberley by Moonlight, Darcy has been missing for over a year so it turns into a wholly new tale with whiffs of some famous fairytale elements like a sleeping, enchanted romantic figure awakened by love’s true kiss and a cursed hero that will be stuck as he is if the heroine can’t figure out how to lift the curse.


The set-up is swift and the pace of the story is also swift.  It is moderately developed so that the reader can engage with the characters and the situation of the story as well as feel how strongly the fantasy side effects the people and events.  I felt the romance could have used more page time as it was instant- though, yes, I was more forgiving since fairytales tend to do this.  And, how could the pair not fall for each other when Elizabeth hears about the goodness of the other from all those who know Darcy and Darcy sees Elizabeth’s playful, generous spirit when she is good to his sister and chooses to believe what should be impossible even as she works so hard to free him from his curse?


I found it charming and enjoyed the blending of the classic with a plethora of fairytale elements.  Fab crisis moment and heartwarming finish.  Quick, satisfying and one I easily recommend to historical fantasy romance lovers.


Author’s Bio:

Stephen Ord discovered Jane Austen during his teens, and then found the treasure trove of works inspired by her as he reached forty. Becoming part of the JAFF community inspired him to contribute his own stories, and now he doesn’t believe he can stop writing (and indeed, does not want to).

Stephen reads a lot of everything and has done so from early childhood. When he was around eight years old, he bought a book on unsolved mysteries. One of the mysteries was around the life and times of Lord Byron, and several of the others were around Ancient Egypt. This was the seed that grew into an ongoing fascination with Regency times, ancient cultures and mythology.

Stephen has read a lot on the cultures and histories of Britain, Rome, Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt (amongst others). These histories have joined works from Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and books of just about every other genre, inside his rather active imagination. He knows it is time to write more when his ears begin to whistle.

Stephen lives and works in Bonny Scotland, where his lovely wife and two kids keep his feet on the ground, while supporting him to have his head in the clouds on occasion too.


Sophia’s Bio:

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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  1. Glad you enjoyed this spin on your favourite classic.

  2. I'm always intrigued when a man writes in this genre but by your score he must be good. Thanks

    1. Same here! I know of nine in this genre and I love what they add to the Austenesque world. This is his first, but I hope he writes more. :)