Miriam by Linda O’Byrne

Having previously read, and really enjoyed, the first two books in this series, I was looking forward to reading Miriam. I am a big fan of Jane Austen and these Cousins of Pemberley books are genius – they have a real Austen authenticity, featuring the well-known and much-loved characters from Pride and Prejudice, and their offspring, but are entirely new stories. And, of course, you can never have too much of dear Elizabeth!

The book begins with Miriam in Africa, 1833-34. Mary Malliot was the third Bennet daughter. She married the Reverend Matthias Malliot and they were working as missionaries in Africa. Miriam is their only child.

At eighteen, Miriam is sent back to England. The plan is for her to live with her Aunt Jane and her Uncle Charles Bingley who have four children, including a daughter called Beth, who’s a couple of years older than Miriam. But things don’t go to plan…

In good Jane Austen tradition, this book is insightful, it shows how class and snobbery change people’s opinions. Initially, Miriam is referred to as “this African stranger” by Caroline and dismissed because she is, by English standards, naïve and unfashionable. But by being brought up in Africa, Miriam has experienced life in a completely different world to those who have never left the middle class areas of England. But she is prejudiced too and vows never to become friends with the Darcys, who she thinks have treated her mother badly. The clever observations and wit are excellent, with Linda O’Byrne firmly in traditional Austen form.

There are so many interesting characters. Nicholas Sullivan is intriguing as soon as he appears on the Sea Sprite that takes Miriam to England and I was pleased he soon turned up again. The settings are also great, it’s always wonderful to return to Pemberley! With Miriam’s background, it was really good to see her new surroundings through her eyes too, as she is both family and an outsider.

Although I loved the first two books, this one was probably even better because of the additional idea of Miriam’s background being so different to her cousins. Miriam is so much fun!

Published by karenlouisehollis

52, lives in Lincoln, England. Published writer, book blogger and reviewer, mum, grandma, cat owner, vegetarian. Loves reading and sewing. My novel is out - WELCOME TO WHITLOCK CLOSE.

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