Saturday, 23 January 2010

Mr Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange

***
It's reasonable with books like this to have a fair idea of what you're getting.  Yes, I'm in the middle of a "regency" period again, and thoroughly enjoying a wallow in a more polite world of empire line dresses and men in tight breeches! (Just humour me...I get over it and read other things eventually!)  Pride and Prejudice is one of my absolute all time favourites, (this was true before Colin Firth, but he just gave me further justification) and I have read several follow-ons, versions from different chracter's perspectives etc and they are a bit of a mixed bag from the good to the dire.  This is a pretty fair one and overall is okay.  It starts in the summer of Georgiana's trist with Wickham and then follows the original, although as it's Darcy's diary we get to see what he's up to during the huge middle section when he disappears from P&P.  My main grizzle is that it's meant to be a diary and although that has potential what it actually creates is the need for Darcy to write word for word large swathes of reported speech - not really what happens in a diary.  To add insult a lot of it is a straight lift from the original text!  This jars with me as a reader and also ruins the flow, but mainly I'm irritated that this process uses up the space that I wanted for Darcy's inner thoughts.  Okay, so he worries about Georgiana and shows an increasing dislike of Caroline - that's not a big surprise.  The description of his motives behind his poorly executed proposal are just pompous and there is lack of warmth in his affection for Elizabeth, beyond the "fine eyes" comment which is repeated too regularly. (As is "satirically")
However despite that, it did draw me in after a fairly unimpressive start and of course there's the happy ending.  Certainly not a keeper, but unlike some other P&P related books it didn't destroy the integrity of the original characters.