Friday, October 19, 2012

New Guest Review: Mr. Darcy is back!!!

Dear Mr. Darcy. A retelling of Pride and Prejudice – Amanda Grange, 2012

From the back of the book:
“In this imaginative retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Amanda Grange now tells the classic story through the eyes of its compelling romantic hero, Fitzwilliam Darcy, in a series of revealing letters that casts a sparkling new reflection on the manners and morals of the landed gentry in nineteenth-century England…”

“Here, for the first time, are the letters written by the exceedingly proud and stubborn Mr. Darcy, covering the life-changing events that defined him—from the death of his father, to his control of his Derbyshire estate of Pemberley to his conflicted courtship with the lively, intelligent, and delightfully willful Elizabeth Bennet. Try as he may, he cannot deny his attraction to this woman with fine eyes, a playful spirit, a mind of her own… and an embarrassing family that is frankly, and utterly, beneath him. But it is Elizabeth who controls both their destinies, and whose surprises will change Darcy’s life yet again.

As a Jane Austen fan, I have read all of the published novels, as well as some spinoffs and continuation, including Captain Wentworth’s Diary (Amanda Grange) and Death at Pemberley (P.D. James). It was thus a natural progression to read the newly available Dear Mr. Darcy.

The title, as well as the writing on the back may be misleading, for part of me expected to find only letters written by Mr. Darcy. In fact, letters are written by most of the familiar Pride and Prejudice characters, as well as some new characters we either no nothing of, or are merely implied. Through these letters, we learn of the original owners of Netherfield, as well as Colonel Fitzwilliam’s family. We see the ordeal between Georgiana and Wickham from their point of view, and we get glimpses into two characters that remain quite obscure to us: Mary Bennett and Anne de Bourgh. All the while with the background of the Napoleonic expeditions in Europe and the ongoing war, justifying the presence of the militia in Meryton and Brighton.

The story itself, of course, is not new. We find in it the familiarity of the original story, while gaining more insight into the world of Jane Austen and the mood of her characters. We stand side by side with Darcy as he falls in love with Elizabeth, we feel Jane’s sadness ad being left by Bingley, and we partake of Caroline’s scheming to get Darcy to marry her.

All in all, it is a well written book and enjoyable to all Jane Austen fans. If you love Pride and Prejudice, it’s quite sure you’re going to love this book. It is not an adventure, nor a thriller, but more a work of reflection and the study of human interactions and feelings. I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves Jane Austen and would like to feel more of the story through its memorable characters. Rating, four and a half stars. Not five, because nothing beats the original story :D

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