Amanda Grange,
Mr. Darcy's Diary
(Sourcebooks, 2007)

Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice is one of literature's most beloved books. It has been adapted into numerous movies and various authors have written scads of sequels. With Mr. Darcy's Diary, Amanda Grange tells the same tale, but from the point of view of Elizabeth Bennett's reluctant suitor, Fitzwilliam Darcy.

When the story abruptly begins (as though to emphasize that this really is just an excerpt from a longer diary), Darcy is concerned about his sister Georgiana's health and decides to send her to the seashore (where she will meet the infamous Wickham). The diary entries continue through the March following the double wedding of Jane and Bingley and Elizabeth and Darcy.

Here, in his own words, we have Darcy's amusement at Lizzy Bennett's sparkling conversation, his distaste for her family (other than Jane), his agonizing over how a gentleman such as himself could possibly fall in love with a woman with such low connections, his astonishment that she could refuse him and his gradual realization that she was right for him after all, no matter her family connections.

Grange skillfully weaves her story in and around the narrative as written by Austen, using, where appropriate, the original dialogue, so that the story always has the proper flavor. Yet she also takes care to pace the story so that it moves quickly, managing to convey a sense of tension, even when the reader knows the story's happy ending ahead of time.

Austen fans will love this tale and more than likely find themselves just as glued to it as I was (if I didn't have that pesky day job, I doubt that, once begun, I would have put this down at all).

review by
Laurie Thayer

9 June 2007

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