This is my fourth Pride & Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge Post and I really need to start hurrying up if I want to finish reading/watching the full selection I made at the start of 2013 :P. Today I will be reviewing Mr. Darcy’s Diary (2007) by Amanda Grange, which I finished reading a few weeks ago already, but I didn’t take the time to write about.
This novel is quite similar to the previous novel I discussed, Darcy’s Story by Janet Aylmer, in many ways. Both describe the events from Pride & Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s perspective. Therefore, I am going to keep this review somewhat shorter than the previous one, since many things I said before, hold for all novels that have attempted to capture Mr. Darcy’s perspective (and boy, there’s a lot of them). The devil is in the details: Grange and Aylmer portray a very different Mr. Darcy, in my opinion. While, as I discussed before, Aylmer uses a writing style similar to Austen’s, Grange has managed to develop a writing style unique to Mr. Darcy, but still in line with the period and everything we know about him from the original. The former is especially nice to read as a genuine Austen fan, reminding you of the original. However, I grant that Grange’s writing style is more realistic as Darcy’s internal narrative, because it is more masculine, and somewhat less romantic, than Aylmer’s portrayal. In my opinion, this fits better with what we know from Mr. Darcy and makes a clear distinction between Elizabeth’s narrative, reported by Austen, and Mr. Darcy’s. Laurel Ann, on her blog Austenprose, also writes about the misunderstandings between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, which play a big role in Grange’s novel, and how they reflect general misunderstandings between the sexes. “The whole Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus theory plays out beautifully. . .”. This, perhaps, makes the reader more able to relate to the narrative, as this type of misunderstanding is timeless.
In Grange’s novel, Mr. Darcy’s initial bad behavior is not ignored or excused. It takes a while to sympathize and understand why he thinks the way he does. In short, being a rich, single man had always made him more distant from and suspicious of others, because often people were only after his money (or his sister’s). As in Aylmer’s novel, Grange mixes some of Austen’s original dialogue with Darcy’s internal narrative, but does this in a much less obvious way than Aylmer. I think this is very creative, and makes the novel more accessible to people who do not necessarily know all Austen’s lines by heart, while leaving easter eggs in the book for those who do.
So, in short, I heartily recommend this book! Ideally, you should read both Darcy’s Story and Mr. Darcy’s Diary and choose your favorite Darcy ;). In my next post I will review the 1980 BBC miniseries that hardly anybody knows, since it has been greatly overshadowed by the 1995 BBC miniseries (COLIN FIRTH!!! *drool*). I have seen the first 5 minutes of this series, which was also previously unknown to myself, and already I’m afraid that it’s been overshadowed for a reason. The overwhelming 80s vibe this series has (the simple set & design, and over-the-top acting) is somewhat disappointing compared to the superb subtle acting of Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth in the 1995 version. BUT just to make sure, I will watch the full series for you (so you don’t have to in case it’s crap). Also, I still owe you some snapshots of my new room in Maastricht: working on it.
1. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (1813)
2. Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, by Elizabeth Aston (2003)
3. Darcy’s Story, by Janet Aylmer (1996)
4. Mr Darcy’s Diary, by Amanda Grange (2006)
5. Pride and Prejudice BBC/PBS miniseries (1980)
6. Presumption: An Entertainment: A Sequel to Pride and Prejudice, by Julia Barrett (1995)
7. Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma, by Diana Birchall (2004)
8. Pride and Prejudice A&E/BBC miniseries (1995)
9. Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, by Linda Berdoll (2004)
10. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World, by Abigail Reynolds (2010)
11. Pride & Prejudice Universal Studios film (2005)
12. Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, by Beth Pattillo (2010)
P.S. I found this amazing website where you can track all your workouts, whether it’s running, going to the gym, or walking your dog. It’s called Fitocracy and I’m obsessed! 😀