Whether we’re ready or not, Hallmark Channel rolls out the 2018 slate of new Christmas premieres the final weekend of October. To get things started, they introduce us to a new Darcy and Elizabeth in the romance, Christmas at Pemberley Manor.
Christmas at Pemberley Manor (2018) Hallmark Review
Elizabeth Bennet (Jessica Lowndes) is talented. She’s an event planner whose color-coded to-do lists are never far from her reach. Trouble is, her successful boss is a little bit of a control freak. Lucky for Elizabeth, she’s allowed to handle a small town festival whose mayor (Cole Gleason) is a former college friend of Elizabeth’s. Unlucky for Elizabeth’s otherwise perfect plans, the town square where the festival was to be held, is destroyed.
This sends Elizabeth to Pemberley Manor, the ideal second choice venue. Only trouble is, its owner, William Darcy (Michael Rady) tells Elizabeth “no.” About to sell the manor, Darcy isn’t too keen on the idea of doing anything to ruin his plans to sell. What Mr. Darcy doesn’t know is Elizabeth doesn’t shy away from anything.
Though it’s a tale we know well full of festive images we know by heart, Christmas at Pemberley Manor is a delight from beginning to end. The writer’s give us enough Austen to satisfy those who tune in only for the classic Pride and Prejudice story, but make it their own. Furthermore, any Austen aficionados will appreciate the handful of Austen “Easter eggs” thrown into the plot. It’s something that adds a bit of character to the story.Christmas at Pemberley Manor: A New Kind of Iconic Love Story. Don't miss the @HallmarkChannel #JaneAusten-inspired original! Click To Tweet
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What helps the film shine is Michael Rady as Darcy. He doesn’t play the character as “brashly” as the canon, but in these circumstances, this is quite appropriate. Instead, he’s likable from the beginning, and I love the way he comes to appreciate and see Elizabeth. Previously seen in A December Bride and Merry Matrimony, you’ll also recognize Jessica Lowndes as a friendly Hallmark face. The supporting characters help make the film come alive, and I appreciate that the “Bingley” and “Jane” characters are a part of the story in such a different way.
Whether you enjoy familiar stories reimagined or you are a die-hard Hallmark aficionado, you will enjoy this film. It’s the first (of 40+) of Hallmark’s new Christmas originals for this year. It’s hard to say if it will be my favorite, but so far, it set the bar pretty high, likely in great part thanks to its leading man and Jane Austen connection.
With its beautiful snow-capped ending and stunning mansion estate, Christmas at Pemberley Manor ushers in Hallmark’s season with style and of course, romance.
Photos: Hallmark Channel / Crown Media Press