The Murder of Mr. Wickham brings characters from all 6 Jane Austen’s novels to Donwell Abbey for a house party, but the merriment is short lived as Mr. Wickham arrives unexpectedly and is forced to take shelter there due to the inclement weather.
We soon realize that where Mr. Wickham goes, trouble follows. Throughout his life he has made many enemies, and curiously enough, appears to have a connection with most of the guests at the Abbey, but he is also able to antagonize even the people who had no connection to him, so shortly after arriving at the Knightley’s house, he is murdered. The guests are forbidden to leave the house until the culprit is identified because any of them could have done it, and it is in this setting the narrative will take place.
The magistrate in this case is none other than Frank Churchill, but the real investigation will be done and brought to the reader through the eyes of Jonathan Darcy and Miss Tilney, the two young and curious people in the house who discover a mutual passion in the investigation of the events.
I had never read anything from this author before so I was very curious as to how this book would play out, but I can tell you already that I will certainly be buying some of the authors YA books because not only I love that genre but was obviously very pleased with her writing style. The Murder of Mr. Wickham is written in an articulate and enticing manner, the author subtly added vital information to further the plot without making it obvious who might or might not have committed the crime, and that, along with the ability to link the stories of all characters with Mr. Wickham and the Knightley’s, made this an engaging read.
The pace of the book is splendid with new events taking place at the right time to move the story forward, and dialogues and scenes are created to build up the characters personalities in a “show don’t tell” fashion.
I loved the fact that we had characters from all Jane Austen’s books in this story and that we got to experience these events from the point of view of each couple. It is no easy task to give them all the same relevance and to blend them all so well in one single book, but this was masterfully done by Claudia Gray.
I also loved how all characters were real and relatable. Instead of creating a fairy tale romance, Claudia Gray demonstrated how every person, and every couple, have their own problems which may be accentuated at times due to certain events. In The Murder of Mr. Wickham all couples face a difficult time in their life and their personalities will be the main enemies they’ll have to fight with. Some of them will have to work on their openness, most on their communication, some on their pride (no, it’s not Mr. Darcy), others will have to overcome their prejudices (not Elizabeth either) and contemplate what the meaning of their beliefs really is, and some will just have to deal with the trauma that their lives have brought them through the years. Every problem these couples will have to work on was extremely personalized and related not only with their personalities but also the life events that have shaped them into the people they are, this means that all stories and problematics feel real to the reader. I loved to witness these couples go through these marital problems, but also to see them overcome these issues together and through the strength of their love for one another.
I absolutely adored the original characters of Jonathan Darcy and Miss Tilney. They do have some similarities with their parents, but are mostly different people with intriguing personalities, especially Jonathan Darcy who is not the usual romantic hero but whom I’ve grown to love (he kind of reminded me of Sheldon Cooper, which I found very amusing).
The entire book is extremely well written and thoughtfully planned. It is even hard to specify what I loved about it because I loved everything in it. There is a coherency in the quality of The Murder of Mr. Wickham that made me want to read it non-stop and I believe that will happen to every reader who picks it up, so I highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys a good novel.
Summing up, The Murder of Mr. Wickham is a very well written novel which has mystery, well build characters and approaches issues in a realistic manner that make it an unputdownable book. I highly recommend it!
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Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs.