Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mr. Darcy's Diary: A Review

Given my choice of Jane Austen heroes, I lean more toward Captain Wentworth or Mr. Knightley than Fitzwilliam Darcy. But all three have their good points, so I was content to while away a couple of hours in the company of Mr. Darcy, courtesy of Amanda Grange in Mr. Darcy's Diary, published in the UK in 2005 and recently released in the United States by Sourcebooks.

Mr. Darcy's Diary begins at about the time that Darcy rescues his young sister from the fortune-hunting Wickham and ends not long after his marriage to Elizabeth Bennet. (If you consider these spoilers, you clearly aren't the target audience for this novel. Go read Pride and Prejudice and the rest of the Austen novels immediately. Then read them all over again. Then you're ready to try the retellings.)

As is proper, Grange doesn't attempt the impossible task of competing with the Divine Jane, but tells Darcy's story in her own style, with charm and a gentle wit. While her characters are true to Austen's creations, a couple of surprises lurk, only adding to the reader's pleasure.

The well-known scenes between Elizabeth and Darcy are here, of course, and I found that the novel dragged a little at such points, with the retelling suffering in comparison to the original. Fortunately, there are plenty of entirely fresh scenes, such as the ones where Mrs. Bennet decides to serve Darcy sauces and where Darcy tries to make small talk with a dimwitted heiress, in which Grange's own humor and warmth shine, making this an amusing and diverting read for Austen fans.

13 comments:

Carla said...

Thanks for the review - I've been wondering whether to give this (and the other Austen retreads) a try, or whether my fondness for the originals would get in the way. I may give it a go.

Marg said...

I am getting this for review soon! Having now at least seen the movie I am looking forward to it!

Gabriele C. said...

I admit I'm one of those liking Austen's origianl work too much (except Mansfield Park) to feel tempted and read a remake.

Alianore said...

I might have to give this one a try. Also prefer Mr Knightley to Darcy, though.

Aarti said...

Have you read Pamela Aidan's series of novels told from Darcy's POV? I've debated picking those up, but really am not sure if I want to. I agree that Captain Wentworth is a winner- I LOVE Persuasion! So beautifully romantic and hilarious!

Susan Higginbotham said...

Alianore, I think the author has written one from Mr. Knightley's point of view also.

Aarti, glad to see another CW fan! I tried reading the first Aidan novel, but couldn't get that interested. Maybe it was my mood at the time, though.

Carla said...

Alainore, Susan - yes, she has written Mr Knightley's Diary as well. Perhaps she's going to work her way through the heroes? I wouldn't mind reading Captain Wentworth's Diary, especially if it covered his seafaring.

I wonder why the retellings from the hero's viewpoint have appeared, given that women are supposed to want to read about other women?

Carla said...

Well, well, it seems Captain Wentworth's Diary is indeed in the offing.

Alianore said...

Something else for my TBR pile! :)

Susan, is your email still playing up? I wondered if my messages were getting through (or maybe you're just really busy for Easter)

Susan Higginbotham said...

Alianore, I am having trouble with e-mail coming and going to you, it seems. Got a couple of error messages this morning (although one was for an e-mail you seem have received). Very odd!

Personally, I think it'd be fun to see a P & P takeoff featuring Lydia, or even Mary.

hannah said...

Hi, my name is hannah, and I saw this and screamed, no joke...but i would also like to know if you know of any books besides the ones by the above stated written from Captain Wentworth, Edmunds, or Mr. Knightly's point of view? If so, please email me, nobscricket@yahoo.com.

jaschmiddy said...

I have enjoyed reading Mr. Darcy's Diary and am currently reading Pam Aidan's series about Mr. Darcy. I am enjoying this also. There is also a book titled Mr. Darcy Presents his Bride by ? that I've read and enjoyed.

Brooke said...

I'm watching the 2005 remake movie of Pride and Prejudice (once again) as I type. I watched it against my better judgment a while ago and do no regret it! I've quite fallen for this novel as well, which I am just now reading and I must admit, am very taken by Mr. Darcy!
I'm only 14 so the work is taking me longer than normal to read, but I am bearing through it. I plan to read 'Mr. Darcy's Diary' as soon as I am finished with Pride and Prejudice. I do plan to read all of jane Austen's work, but do you suggest which I should devour next? (sorry for the leangth of my comment ^.^)