Of all the aspects of Dreadfully Ever After that are disappointing, what I did find most intriguing are the developments at Lady Catherine’s estate. Here is where I feel Steve Hockensmith is on to something.
Why would Lady Catherine be interested in a zombie delaying serum, or even a cure when she is known for her ruthless beheading of the stricken? Ever wonder what could be ailing Anne De Bourgh? What would Darcy’s days and nights be like convalescing with spurned relatives?
I could do without much of the silly humor, which Hockensmith over indulges in for his contributions to the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies trilogy. The dark humor is underdone, as well, but the creepy revelations as Darcy’s time with his aunt and cousin unfolds is definitely more to my liking. It also gives rise to other interesting ideas.
We find that Anne, long believed to be of weak constitution, prone to illness is more than the soft spoken withdrawn character Darcy had thought her to be. We also see just how treacherously cunning Lady Catherine is, and how her will once bent to a purpose does not stray from utilizing every subterfuge toward the ends of her desired outcome. For a moment, while viewing the situation from Darcy’s perspective it is as if we are within the pages of a Gothic novel with dark family secrets, and danger within the shadows.
The relationship between mother and daughter is one of bitter resentment that unravels nicely as Darcy’s weariness of his aunt is heightened, as is his compassion for his cousin. But even as he begins to understand more of the dynamic between the two the less he truly understands until the light cast by the truly alive allows him to see things he never even guessed at. There are even a few well placed hints that a critical reader will see as errors until the end is reached. I tip my bonnet to Hockensmith in these instances due to the intelligent handling of them and allowing the reader to understand without hitting us with the stick his humor typically has.
Perhaps it is under the publication of Quick Classics that humor is in greater demand, but the Gothic potential seems richer to me. The effects of the serum and the long term implications are fascinating, as is the dark dysfunctional relationship of Lady Catherine and Anne. A story focused on these aspects would be a chilling tale indeed.
What about you? Were you more amused by the humor or would you have been more interested in a Gothic sequel?
*Photo: castles in the sky by Robert S. Donovan, obtained through Flickr.