The Portraits of Pemberley by Elizabeth Gilliland

July 26th, 2023 Kimberly Guest Post, Review 8 Comments

26th Jul

Sophia Rose is here with the second novel in the Austen University Mysteries. Come check out her thoughts on The Portraits of Pemberley by Elizabeth Gilliland and see if this new adult cozy mystery is for you….

The Portraits of Pemberley by Elizabeth Gilliland
The Portraits of Pemberley
by Elizabeth Gilliland
Series: Austen University Mysteries #2
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Source: Author
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

After George Wickham is found tied up, naked, on the Austen University Campus Square, President de Bourgh gives student journalist Lizzy Bennet an Find out who committed the crime, or be expelled from the school. Lizzy must team up with some old friends (like the Austen Murder Club) and some new (like...Karoline Bingley?) to get to the bottom of the truth.

Complicating matters is the fact that the prime suspect is Fo-Hian Darcy. Darcy and Lizzy have a messy history, but even so, Lizzy just can't accept that Darcy committed the crime. An anonymous whistleblower tips off Lizzy about a secret website called the Portraits of Pemberley that may help her get to the bottom of the mystery--but discovering the truth about who's involved may very well challenge everything that Lizzy believes.

The Portraits of Pemberley is Book 2 of the Austen University Mysteries series but can be read as a standalone novel. It combines plot points of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice with Sense and Sensibility (and characters from all of Austen's novels) in a modern-university setting, with mysteries.

Sophia Rose’s Review

After the delightful debut of the series, What Happened on Box Hill introducing Austen University’s energetic and colorful cast in the Murder Club along with a solid, twisting mystery to solve, I was all high anticipation to launch into The Portraits of Pemberley.

This sophomore book is a standalone mystery, but the previous events and characters continue from the first book so I do recommend getting them in order.  And, don’t deny yourself the treat of the short prequel novellas that each introduce both the novel-length books with pivotal side characters in starring roles.

The Portraits of Pemberley takes place within the same school year as the first book, but exchanges protagonists to focus on Lizzy Bennet.  Lizzy’s fiery and en pointe brand of journalism and fervor have gotten her into the cross hairs of the university president and her following.  President de Bourgh gives Lizzy an ultimatum.  Discover who spread-eagled Wickham bound and naked on the student commons or kiss her scholarship and time at Austen U good-bye.

The Portraits of Pemberley is diced up with altering time lines with a ‘then’ and ‘now’ approach.  Lizzy is distracted with more than one mystery to work out and the clock is ticking.  She struggles because everyone seems to be hiding something and might have a motive for assaulting Wickham.  In fact, it turns out Lizzy herself and many others fall in this category once the truth starts to come out.  But, why did Darcy confess?  Did he really do it or is he protecting someone?

With an almost entirely New Adult College Age cast, the author did great infusing the book with high energy and characters with dialogue and actions that felt true to form.  I thought the choice to have crisp, quick scenes that bounced in time also suited the style well.  Yes, the characters are taken from Jane Austen’s beloved novels and have traits that knowing readers will discern just as the plot line is flavored with Sense & Sensibility moments, but those uninitiated to Austen can also enjoy a bright, sparkling cozy mystery set on a college campus.

As to the mystery and the main elements, I appreciated that serious issues were addressed even as the mystery involving how a school campus and online media tools can be used by sexual predators and bullies as well as crime solving cyber gurus.  I was very taken with the detecting partnership between Lizzy and, her big campus enemy, Karoline, that turned out surprising. Karoline had layers, but Lizzy learned that most of the people she made assumptions about were surprisingly nuanced.  I had no trouble working out the who and the why behind the mystery, but I didn’t mind waiting for Lizzy and the Murder Club members to work it out and work out things among themselves, too.

All in all, I dove in and didn’t want my time with the Austen Murder club to end.  I am glad this is a series and there will be further mysteries coming.  Definitely a series I have no trouble touting to other mystery fans.


The Portraits of Pemberley by Elizabeth Gilliland is the second novel in the Austen Murder Club. #bookreview #SophiaRose #cozymystery Click To Tweet

About Elizabeth Gilliland

Elizabeth Gilliland mostly believes in ghosts and other supernatural spooks, but she has a standing agreement with them to keep a respectful distance. When she isn’t writing, she is most likely sneaking classic Gothic novels into her class curriculum, or arguing why we need to value adaptations as art. She is the author of COME ONE, COME ALL and the AUSTEN UNIVERSITY MYSTERIES, and she lives in Alabama with her husband and son.

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About Sophia Rose

Sophia Rose

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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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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8 Responses to “The Portraits of Pemberley by Elizabeth Gilliland”

    • Sophia Rose

      Oh yes! Seeing characters from all Austen’s novels repped was a blast for a murder mystery. Hopefully, your library carries it.

  1. Silvia

    I like that serious issues were addressed and that the dialogue and actions felt true. It seems the author did a very good job, and I hope that the rest of the series keep this kind of energy!