The story opens with newly married protagonists, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, defending their village from an army of flesh-eating unmentionables. But the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a raging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the only acceptable course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she hears rumours of a miracle antidote being developed in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love – and for everyone to live happily ever after.

In ‘Dreadfully Ever After’ we find all our favourite ‘Pride and Prejudice’ characters reunited – but instead of sitting around sewing and daintily drinking tea, they hunt and kill zombies.

The novel is the conclusion to the ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ series. When we join the story, Lizzy and Darcy have been married for four years and Lizzy is still finding it hard to adjust to the life of a noble’s wife, a role far removed from and incompatible with her old Shaolin warrior lifestyle. Indeed, she misses killing zombies so much that she still carries her parasol/sword around with her, ever hopeful of a zombie attack in which she’s forced to use it to defend herself.  And in fact, it’s during such an attack that Darcy is bitten by one of the undead.  There’s no known cure and Lizzy knows that the sensible thing to do would be to cut off his head before the change becomes complete. However, desperate to save her husband, Lizzy enlists the help of her old adversary Lady Catherine who claims to know of a cure in London.  Lizzy heads to the metropolis with Kitty, Mary and her father, but will they find the treatment, if it even exists, before Darcy is beyond its help?

I love ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and have read it many, many times! I’m not generally so keen on zombies however, but I was very interested to see how the two would combine. I haven’t read either of the two other titles in the series (‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ and ‘Dawn of the Dreadfuls’), but this did nothing to affect my enjoyment: I was quickly up to speed with the plot.

‘Dreadfully Ever After’ really is something very different to anything that I’d normally read, and I was surprised to discover that I quite enjoyed it – I’d definitely read the others in the series. Whilst you could never say that the characters were accurate to Austen, they did at least possess the basic characteristics and it really added an appealing twist to a zombie story to have them in it. The actual idea of zombies going crazy is of course also nothing new, but setting it in this period and having the characters trained in the fighting arts made it far more interesting.

It was very good to see Kitty and Mary getting a little romantic attention, and it was great to see Kitty coming into her own as a character instead of just being Lydia’s sidekick. I was though a little disappointed in Mr Bennett: he’s so fantastic in the Jane Austen novel – quick, witty and with many a brilliant rejoinder; the same character presented here was far less remarkable and seemed to melt into the background at times.

I’m not sure that the book is completely honest to regency England, but as it’s an alternative England with the undead romping about all over the place we’ll let it go shall we? The point of a book like this is to entertain, not to give a history lesson.

I dare say that some might believe that Austen would turn in her grave if she read this, but actually, I think she’d probably see the funny side and might just end up enjoying it.

P.S. If you thought the original Lady Catherine was scary, try her as a trained killer with an army of Ninjas working for her!

3 stars