by Amanda Grange
Amanda Grange isn't the first person to try her hand at writing about Fitzwilliam Darcy's side of things in the story of Pride and Prejudice, and she won't be the last. Her take on Darcy, Darcy's Diary, isn't the best, but it certainly isn't the worst, either. It covers, as most do, mainly the events of the period of time covered in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Grange starts her version a bit before the action of Pride and Prejudice takes place, showing us Darcy's thoughts on the events of the summer, and of Georgiana's intended elopement with George Wickham. He tells of Bingley intending to take a house, and of finding a new companion for Georgianna. Truthfully, the first half of the book is actually a bit stilted. I don't know whether it was the style of writing, or whether it was how Grange thought Darcy would write, but it made Darcy seem more boring and strident, somehow, than I actually pictured him.
I thought that the insights into how Darcy viewed Elizabeth from the beginning were interesting, if not how I thought things might have been. I liked that she included the scene of him walking with Caroline Bingley outside at Netherfield, when Elizabeth and Louisa Hurst came upon them and the Bingley sisters were rude to Elizabeth. I enjoyed the fact that Grange shows Darcy annoyed in general with Caroline, yet using her to his advantage when the time comes to part Bingley from Jane. I also liked the way Grange shows Darcy interpreting Elizabeth's words and actions at Rosings, and how it would have been easy for Darcy to misconstrue things.
The biggest problem for me was Darcy's actions after the infamous First Proposal. Not directly after, because I think the anger he feels then was truthful, but it seems as though it takes some time for Darcy to realize that Elizabeth's words after the proposal might have some weight, that he actually might be the arrogant jerk she thinks he is. I didn't see as much gradual changing of feelings, the internal examining of emotions and intentions that I would have liked to have seen, or that one would expect in a diary. There were a few things that were inconsistent with Austen's Pride and Prejudice, but nothing glaring that could not be overlooked. I think the main thing that would have made it better would be a bit more passion, more depth in Darcy's feelings and introspections.
If you like to read Jane Austen sequels, you can do much worse than Grange's Darcy's Diary. It is not the type of book to sweep you away, but as a companion to Austen's novel, it's not bad.
“A take on Darcy's side of the story from Pride and Prejudice.”
October 2005, 224 pages
Publisher: Robert Hale – London
Pride and Prejudice is the most popular romance of all time, and in this enjoyable retelling Amanda Grange allows us to see the events of Jane Austen's famous novel from Mr. Darcy's point of view. Scenes only hinted at in the original are here recorded in detail and brought to life as Darcy writes of his horror at discovering his sister's plans to elope with George Wickham, his efforts to separate Charles Bingley from Miss Jane Bennet and his disgust at having to arrange a marriage between George Wickham and Lydia Bennet. But, most satisfying of all, he discloses his feelings for Elizabeth. Darcy's Diary records teh full story of their courtship, from initial hostility to their eventual love, before revealing a tantalizing glimpse of their early married life.