The Inscrutable Mr. Darcy

Since the A&E production of Pride and Prejudice left me wanting “more,” I decided to explore some of the large oeuvre of fan fiction based on P&P. There is a listing of some of these novels with reviews at www.pemberley.com. So where to start?

I decided I was most interested in versions that would be faithful to the original, but from a different perspective – the so-called “during-quels.” The obvious subject, therefore, is Mr. Darcy. Jane Austen writes what she knows – the woman’s point of view. The men are treated quite minimally, and we really don’t know what goes on in their minds. The great mystery of Pride and Prejudice for me is why does Darcy fall in love with Elizabeth? They don’t spend any great length of time together, and Elizabeth certainly does nothing to encourage him.

So I have picked out several books that tell the story from Darcy’s point of view. Here is the first one, finished today:

Mr. Darcy's Diary Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pride and Prejudice as told from Darcy’s point of view. The diary begins a few months before Bingley rents Netherfield and relates Darcy’s discovery of his sister’s attempted elopement with Wickham. It ends several months after Darcy and Elizabeth are married, giving us a glimpse into their married life.

Having just watched the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, I was left wanting more. Jane Austen does not give us much insight into the mind of Mr. Darcy, since all of the action takes place through the eyes of Elizabeth Bennet. This book was just the right follow up. It includes much of the original dialogue, but is written in a much lighter style. It moves quickly, and could probably be read in one sitting.

The diary format works as a plot device, although you have to suspend belief that a gentleman would actually take the time to record long conversations in detail. I found the portrayal of Darcy’s point of view to be believable. I especially enjoyed the scene where he records his writing of “the letter” to Elizabeth – interspersed with his thoughts.

I do not think this book would stand up well on its own. But for anyone who has read Pride and Prejudice or seen the A&E production, it is a nice follow up.

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