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dear mr. darcy

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

I feel empty and alone.  And yet, in this empty state, I have more to do than ever before.  The servants are looking to me to guide them, and not just the servants, but the tenants and the villagers, all those who rely on me and Pemberley and the Darcy name to shelter and protect them, and ensure their prosperity and well-being.  They are waiting for me to take the lead and I do not know where I am going to find the strength to do it.

(from Dear Mr. Darcy, page 7)

When Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813, it was a version much revised from the original written in 1796-97.  Like Sense and Sensibility, the first draft could very well have been an epistolary novel.  In Dear Mr. Darcy, Amanda Grange imagines how Pride and Prejudice might have been told through letters between the various characters.

Grange introduces Fitzwilliam Darcy in a letter from his dying father, who instructs him in his responsibilities as the new master of Pemberley, tells him to wisely choose a wife, and encourages him to marry for love.  Years pass, and the Bennet family is introduced just before Darcy’s friend, Mr. Bingley, moves into the neighboring Netherfield Park.  Letters from Elizabeth show that Mrs. Bennet hopes the house will become home to a wealthy family with five eligible sons to marry the five Bennet girls and solve all her problems.

From here, the book follows the plot of Pride and Prejudice, with all the exposition and character development happening within the letters.  Grange introduces a few new characters, including Philip Darcy, Fitzwilliam’s cousin to whom he pours out his troubles, and Susan Sotherton, a good friend of Elizabeth’s whose troubled family has to rent out Netherfield Park.  Readers learn more about the Bingleys through letters to their mother, with the most entertaining letters being those between Mrs. Bingley and Caroline as Caroline tries so hard to get Darcy to see her as a potential wife.  I also chuckled reading the letters between Mary Bennet and Susan’s sister, Lucy, as they strive to become Learned Women.

However, if Austen did originally write Pride and Prejudice as a series of letters, I’m glad she changed her mind because letters don’t do the interactions between Darcy and Elizabeth justice.  One can gather they have strong feelings for one another, but merely retelling the best scenes in the original novel to characters who weren’t there means readers miss out on the awkward encounters and the playful banter as they happened.

Even so, Dear Mr. Darcy is an enjoyable retelling of one of my favorite novels.  Grange does a great job composing letters in various voices and enabling readers to get to know the characters despite the limitations of the epistolary format.  I enjoyed this novel more than Grange’s diaries of Austen’s heroes; the diaries were enjoyable, but letters enable readers to see into the minds of the other characters.  Austen fans will enjoy spending a few hours with this book, especially if they’re curled up under a blanket with some hot cocoa!

Book 1 for the P&P Bicentenary Challenge

Book 1 for the P&P Bicentenary Challenge

Disclosure: Dear Mr. Darcy is from my personal library.

© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Public library
Rating: ★★★★☆

‘As you are so much older and wiser than I am, I must of course defer to your judgement.’

‘Not so very much older,’ I said.

‘And not so very much wiser,’ she said saucily.

I smiled, but I would not give her the satisfaction of laughing.

‘I may be allowed to be a little wiser, I suppose,’ I said.

‘You may.  But not where bonnets are concerned.’

She teases me and bedevils me, she exasperates me and infuriates me, but what would I do without Emma?

(from Mr. Knightley’s Diary, pages 179-180)

Of course, after I finished Emma, I immediately searched for books inspired by Jane Austen’s novel, which is now among my all-time favorites.  I wasn’t ready to let go of the fascinating characters that inhabit the small village of Highbury, so you can image how delighted I was to come across Mr. Knightley’s Diary.  I enjoy reading Amanda Grange’s retellings of Austen’s novels through the eyes of her heroes (read my reviews of Captain Wentworth’s Diary and Henry Tilney’s Diary), and this one didn’t disappoint.

Emma Woodhouse is George Knightley’s much younger sister-in-law, a spoiled young lady who is constantly told how beautiful and clever she is…by everyone except Mr. Knightley, of course.  Mr. Knightley is a bachelor who thinks it’s high time he found himself a wife, but he’s just not captivated by any of the women of his acquaintance.  None of them have the open countenance he so desires in a wife, and he hasn’t yet found a woman whose company delights him like Emma’s does.  When a good friend asks him why he doesn’t just marry Emma, he seems appalled at the notion.  She is 21, and he is 37, and he’s known her for what seems like forever!  Moreover, her attempts at matchmaking people obviously unsuited for one another — namely the reverend Mr. Elton and Miss Smith, a recent acquaintance of Emma’s who lacks a fortune and whose parentage is unknown —  has caused nothing but arguments between them.

However, it doesn’t sit well with Mr. Knightley when Frank Churchill, the stepson of Emma’s former governess and dear friend, Mrs. Weston, comes to Highbury and begins flirting with Emma.  One might think there’s something untoward going on, especially when he observes secretive glances between Mr. Churchill and Jane Fairfax, a woman he thought might be a suitable wife, or one might think that Mr. Knightley is jealous.

Mr. Knightley’s Diary stays true to Emma when it comes to the characters and the plot.  While readers aren’t sure the truth about Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice given the misinformation Elizabeth receives from Wickham and might see Captain Wentworth as being a bit harsh toward Anne for much of Persuasion due to his anger over their broken engagement, Mr. Knightley is presented as a perfect gentleman from the very beginning.  Well, as perfect as one can be when having to scold the heroine for her bad behavior.  He doesn’t appear to have a tale of woe, so I thought it might be difficult to tell the story through his eyes.

I love how Grange lets Mr. Knightley express his frustration with characters like Mr. Woodhouse and Mrs. Elton through his diary while acting very polite toward them.  Those characters in particular are annoying, so this makes Mr. Knightley seem more real to me.  Grange also enables readers to see Mr. Knightley’s flaws.  Although I may wish to think of him as perfect, it’s kind of hard to impress the woman you love when you’re always pointing out her flaws and refusing to flatter her.

However, the word “saucily” is overused in describing Emma’s remarks to Knightley, though their bantering is great in developing the romantic tension.  While I really enjoyed Mr. Knightley’s Diary, I do have a hard time believing that Austen’s heroes would have kept diaries that depict conversations in so much detail.  I understand there are some challenges to telling a story through diary entries, though.  It also might be hard for readers to completely follow the story if they haven’t read Emma, but why would you even want to read this one without first reading Austen’s masterpiece?

I enjoyed the afternoon I spent with Mr. Knightley’s Diary, and I appreciated Grange’s take on one of my favorite literary heroes.  I only recently finished Emma, but this book made me want to re-read it very soon.

Disclosure: I borrowed Mr. Knightley’s Diary from the public library.

© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Review copy from Sourcebooks
Rating: ★★★★☆

“Treasure?” said Mrs. Bennet.  “Oh, yes, I do hope we find some treasure.  I would like a new necklace, for Mrs. Long was wearing a diamond necklace before we left and crowing about how valuable it was.  I am sure we will find something better here, or what was the point of coming all this way?”

(from Pride & Pyramids)

Pride & Pyramids by Amanda Grange and Jacqueline Webb, the latter an Egyptologist, is the most unique Pride and Prejudice sequel I’ve read to date and also ranks among the best.  The novel takes Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, now happily married for 15 years, to Egypt with Darcy’s young cousin, Edward Fitzwilliam, whose dream is to travel to the land his father and Darcy’s had visited as young men.  As a patron of Sir Matthew Rosen, Edward has been invited to join his dig in Cairo, and Elizabeth convinces Darcy that their family could use an adventure as well.

Edward, the Darcys, and their six children — Beth, William, John, Laurence, Jane, and Margaret — are joined by Paul Inkworthy, whom Darcy has hired to paint and sketch the highlights of their trip, and Sophie Lucas, Charlotte’s younger sister, who is recovering from a broken heart.  A very determined stowaway livens things up, as does a love triangle, a scheme by the man-we-love-to-hate Wickham, and little Margaret’s attachment to a creepy Egyptian doll.

Grange and Webb do a wonderful job bringing the sights and smells of Egypt to life, and even though it takes awhile for the characters to arrive in the exotic land, I was never bored.  I loved their depiction of the Darcys as parents, and it was a pleasure getting to know the Darcy children, from the rambunctious Laurence and the serious William to Beth with her first crush.  Paul’s obsession with art showcases the excitement of visiting foreign lands and experiencing different cultures, while Edward’s obsession with finding a legendary tomb adds a dark element to the novel.

Pride & Pyramids exemplifies what I’m looking for these days in Jane Austen-inspired novels.  I’ve read dozens of them over the last several years, and even though I haven’t tired of them yet, they have to be well written, have a unique take on Austen’s characters, and be more than just a glimpse of Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage if they are going to keep my attention.  This book exceeded my expectations.  It’s a fun, escapist read that is perfect for the summer.

Disclosure: I received Pride & Pyramids from Sourcebooks for review.

© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Review copy from Berkley
Rating: ★★★★☆

Vincent’s pangs of remorse for his evildoing had preyed upon his mind and led to his cryptic comments as he lay on his deathbed, so all was explained.  A fine ending to a fine novel!

In real life, alas, things are not so simple.  Wives cannot be got out of the way by imprisoning them, husbands cannot be poisoned and good and virtuous heroines do not always marry the men they love.

(from Henry Tilney’s Diary, page 93)

Henry Tilney’s Diary is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey from the point of view of its hero.  Amanda Grange is well known for her diaries of Austen’s heroes (and even one of a rake), and I’ve enjoyed how she gets into the heads of the male characters and gives them a voice.

The novel opens in 1790 when Henry is just 16, giving readers a chance to meet the Tilneys in happier times.  Henry’s mother is still alive, though frequently ill, and his father, General Tilney, tries to whip his older brother, Frederick, into shape by forcing him to join the army despite the fact that he stands to inherit their estate, Northanger Abbey.  Henry and his younger sister, Eleanor, just 13, are very close and have similar personalities.  Both are romantics and take pleasure in Gothic novels.

Grange successfully uses the book-within-a-book technique to show how ridiculous and enjoyable Henry and Eleanor find such novels.  The two read A Sicilian Romance together and poke fun at the formula used by the Gothic novelists, with heroines who lose their mothers, are forced to marry men they don’t love, live in haunted houses, find family members hidden away or are locked away themselves, and faint at every turn.

Although each of the Tilney children has their own fortune, General Tilney is adamant that they each marry someone with money or a title, and he is always trying to set them up with children of his friends.  Even though Frederick has given up on finding the perfect mate, Henry and Eleanor wish to marry for love.  Henry even jokingly states that his heroine must first and foremost be a fan of novels.

Fast-forward eight years later, and the Tilneys are a more solemn crowd, having lost their mother and Eleanor falling for a man of whom her father would never approve.  A trip to Bath lifts their spirits when they meet Catherine Morland, a young woman who loves Gothic novels and whose innocence captures Henry’s heart.  When Catherine is invited to stay at Northanger Abbey, she can’t wait to see a real abbey, and Henry encourages her fanciful notions of ghosts behind its closed doors and within its secret spaces.  Meanwhile, he and Eleanor are wondering if their father has had a change of heart, as General Tilney bends over backward to impress Catherine even though she doesn’t have a fortune or a title.

Fans of Northanger Abbey will enjoy reading Henry’s side of the story, especially his thoughts on Catherine’s zeal for Gothic novels, his brother’s flirtations with Catherine’s brother’s intended, and John Thorpe’s bragging and designs on Catherine.  However, you could easily enjoy Henry Tilney’s Diary without having read Austen’s novel, though I suspect by the time you’re done, you’ll be rushing to get your hands on a copy of Northanger Abbey, where Austen’s humor is on display as Catherine fancies herself a heroine in a Gothic novel but merely ends up embarrassing herself.

I really enjoyed Henry Tilney’s Diary because it enabled me to revisit Northanger Abbey and see it from a different perspective.  It is impossible to know how Austen imagined Henry’s side of the story, but Grange understands Austen’s view of Gothic novels, respects the original novel, and obviously has a real love for the characters Austen created, so her take feels authentic.  I can’t get enough of these Austen-inspired novels, and those that are original but don’t stray too far from Austen’s works tend to be my favorites.

Book 2 for Explore the Many Genres of Jane Austen Challenge (Variation)

Disclosure: I received Henry Tilney’s Diary from Berkley for review.

© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Review copy from Sourcebooks
Rating: ★★★☆☆

7th May 1791

I avoided Peter de Quincy when I first returned to Cambridge, but he keeps seeking me out and it is easier to go along with him than resist him.  Besides, he knows all the best people and, when he is not frequenting low taverns, he is introducing me to useful friends.  I see less of Darcy than I used.  Something about him makes me uncomfortable.  He wants to save me, to put my feet on the right path, but his idea of the right path for me does not involve heiresses.  On the few occasions I have seen him I have rebuffed him.

(from Wickham’s Diary, page 85 in the ARC)

Amanda Grange, known for writing the diaries of Jane Austen’s heroes, turns her attention to the scoundrel from Pride and Prejudice in Wickham’s Diary.  In Austen’s novel, George Wickham is the horrid man who told lies about Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, giving her the wrong idea about Mr. Darcy’s character.  He attempted to elope with Darcy’s sister and was forced to marry Elizabeth’s impetuous sister, Lydia.  In Wickham’s Diary, Grange explores the friendship that existed between Darcy and Wickham when they were boys and how they took two completely different paths in life — Darcy becoming a well-respected gentleman and Wickham becoming a gambler, drunkard, womanizer, and fortune hunter.

At slightly more than 200 pages, Wickham’s Diary is a quick read and made my afternoon commute fly by.  I enjoyed Grange’s writing and applaud her for trying something new in the realm of Austen variations.  However, there were no major revelations or exciting secrets in this book.  Grange begins the tale when Wickham and Darcy are 12 years old, many years before the events of Pride and Prejudice, but the story falls a bit flat.  Wickham is encouraged by his mother to become a gentleman by seeking out an heiress to marry, and he initially sets his sights on Darcy’s cousin, Anne de Bourgh.  Wickham stops trying to act gentlemanly when he goes to Cambridge, spending his time drinking, gambling, and whoring and setting the stage for several letters to Darcy to beg for money.

Grange barely scratches the surface of Wickham’s character, providing nothing more than what readers could have imagined themselves based on what Austen writes about Wickham in Pride and Prejudice.  I wish the story had gone deeper than Wickham’s love for his mother — who reminded me of Lydia Bennet — and his determination to marry an heiress.  It would have been interesting to see the events of Pride and Prejudice from his eyes, from the time he arrives in Meryton to his marriage to Lydia and perhaps beyond, but the novel ends rather abruptly.

Although Wickham’s Diary wasn’t my favorite Austen variation, I liked that Grange introduced a few new characters and shed some light on Darcy’s past, particularly the burdens of carrying the Darcy name.  The diary format makes it a quick read, and if you can’t get enough of the Austen variations, it may be worth giving a try.

Check out my reviews of other Amanda Grange books:

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre
Captain Wentworth’s Diary

Disclosure: I received Wickham’s Diary from Sourcebooks for review.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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I’m very happy to welcome Amanda Grange to Diary of an Eccentric today.  Her latest release, Wickham’s Diary, will be reviewed here next week.  I’ve enjoyed some of her other books, particularly Mr. Darcy’s Diary and Captain Wentworth’s Diary, so I was very excited to be able to ask her questions about the Jane Austen craze (which has taken over my reading life lately).  I’d like to thank her for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions.  Please give a warm welcome to Amanda Grange.

You’ve written several novels from the point of view of Austen’s heroes. With your latest release, Wickham’s Diary, you appear to be turning to the shady men in her novels. Do you plan to write more like this?

Not at the moment, no. I really wanted to explore the relationship between Wickham and Darcy when they were children and young men, and I’ve written it through Wickham’s eyes. I was fascinated by the way they could start out as friends and end up as bitter enemies.

What is your favorite Austen novel? Who is your favorite Austen hero, heroine, couple? Why?

My favourite novel is Pride and Prejudice. It’s my idea of a perfection. The characters, the humour, the romance and also the technical things like the construction, are all brilliant.

My favourite hero and heroine fluctuates, and so does my favourite couple. Since writing Colonel Brandon’s Diary I’ve fallen in love with him, so I’m going to say Brandon for the hero, Emma for the heroine and Brandon and Marianne for the couple. But if you ask me again another day I will probably say something different!

Why do you think Pride and Prejudice gets all the attention? Don’t get me wrong, I love P&P, but Persuasion is my favorite, and I’d love to see more variations of that novel.

If you’re asking why the publishing / media world give Pride and Prejudice the most attention, it’s because Pride and Prejudice has the biggest fan base and therefore they can be almost certain of making a profit on Darcy-related projects. But because Persuasion doesn’t have such a big fan base, producing Persuasion-based novels, films etc is more of a risk. If you’re asking why Pride and Prejudice gets the most attention from fans, I’m not really sure. I think it’s because of the sparkling nature of the romance, and because of Mr Darcy.

What is it about Austen that has you devoting your writing to her novels and characters?

Something about Austen’s world has always drawn me in. I only have to open one of her books and I’m immediately in her world. I love her humour and her wit, and I love the way all her books are different. I couldn’t have written a series of diaries if they’d all been the same kind of book. One of the biggest challenges for me was in trying to capture the mood of the original and the character of the hero in the writing, as well as retelling the story from a different point of view. It’s been really rewarding to do and I feel I’ve come to know the originals so much better through doing it.

What is your favorite movie adaptation of an Austen novel?

That’s difficult, but if I’m only allowed one, I think I’ll have to choose the 1995 film of Persuasion. I thought Amanda Root was luminous as Anne. She captured the pervasive air of melancholy beautifully and incredible subtly.

Any hints about what you’re working on now?

It’s a bit too early to say, but I have several projects in the early stages. It’s safe to say that one of them is likely to have the words Mr Darcy in the title!

Do you have a special place where you write? If so, could you describe it?

I work mainly in my study because if I try to work anywhere else I get distracted and wander off to make a cup of tea or do a spot of weeding! It’s a plain room without any pictures on the walls because I find it easier to concentrate that way. I have a large desk, but even so the floor, desk and window ledge are usually covered in research books, pictures, source materials, calendars and print-outs of draft versions. I’ve learnt from experience that it’s a mistake to tidy up because then I can’t find anything, but somehow I manage to put my finger on what I want very quickly as long as the room is a mess. I have an instinct that it’s under the pile of papers on top of the dictionary that’s about to fall off the desk!

What do you do when you’re not writing or immersed in Austen?

I like to get out of doors as much as possible, it’s a complete change from my indoor working life. I like gardening and walking, and if I’m feeling particularly energetic I like to go cycling.

What are some of the best books you’ve read recently?

I’ve just read The Small Hand, which is a novella by Susan Hill. It’s a very atmospheric ghost story and I loved it. I also read The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud lately. I love humorous books, there aren’t enough of them. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!

Thanks, Amanda!  I’m looking forward to reading more of your work in the future.

Courtesy of Sourcebooks, I’m giving away 1 copy of Wickham’s Diary to one of my readers.  To enter, just leave a comment with your e-mail address, along with your recommendation for a humorous book, since Amanda so kindly asked.  This giveaway is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada and will end at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, April 17, 2011.

**Please note that this giveaway is now closed**

Disclosure: I am an IndieBound affiliate and an Amazon associate.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Public library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Is she, then, still swayed by Lady Russell? I asked myself.

I did not know, but if she was, I feared my hopes would soon be dashed, for I had no reason to suppose that Lady Russell liked me any more than she had done eight years before.  I might have made my fortune but Lady Russell, once she had made up her mind, was unlikely to change it.

…I cursed myself inwardly, wondering when and where I had become such a coward.  I had never been frightened when taking a ship into battle; but talking to Anne, finding out whether or not she still loved me … that terrified me.

(from Captain Wentworth’s Diary, page 232)

After I finished Jane Austen’s Persuasion, I wasn’t ready to let the characters go, so I quickly got my hands on a copy of Captain Wentworth’s Diary by Amanda Grange.  There are so few sequels and retellings of Persuasion, so I should have savored this one, but I tore through this book in one day.  Sigh.

Persuasion is told from the point of view of Anne Elliot, who is persuaded by her friend, Lady Russell, to break her engagement to the love her life, Frederick Wentworth, simply because he isn’t rich and doesn’t have a title or connections and therefore isn’t a suitable match for a baronet’s daughter.  Wentworth’s thoughts and feelings are revealed only through his interactions with Anne and one really, really romantic letter.

Captain Wentworth’s Diary is a retelling of Persuasion from Wentworth’s point of view and in his words.  The entries are more detailed than you would expect in a diary, especially when it comes to the dialogue, which helps it read like a regular novel.  The writing and wording is much different from Austen’s, of course, but that hardly matters.

What I really enjoyed about Captain Wentworth’s Diary is that Grange begins Frederick and Anne’s story in 1806, when they first meet at a ball.  Austen gives few details about their relationship in Persuasion, other than that they were engaged, so I enjoyed reading about their courtship.  Their initial meeting is humorous, and Wentworth’s feelings for Anne are deep; he can’t stay away from her despite warnings from his brother that he is paying too much attention to her — and only her.  Grange did such a good job building their relationship that when it ends, I could feel the sadness.

I could not stop thinking about Anne.  She would not have rejected me if she had truly loved me…

But it was folly to think of her, I told myself.  She was shallow.  Her heart was not as deep as mine, or she could not have told me to go.  I would not regret her.  I would learn my lesson.  I would avoid the fairer sex.  I would win such prizes from the Navy as would set me up for life, and I would have none but the sea as my mistress, for even with all her moods, she was less capricious than a woman.

I would remain a bachelor for the rest of my days.  (page 117)

Captain Wentworth’s Diary fast forwards to 1814 and follows the story line of Persuasion, except that telling the story from Wentworth’s point of view allows readers to get to know Admiral and Mrs. Croft, Captain Harville, and Wentworth’s brother, Edward, better — and better understand the pain and wounded pride that causes him to act the way he does toward Anne.  Grange gives a fuller view of Wentworth than Austen, but I didn’t need her to convince me of his greatness, as I’d fallen in love with the character while reading Persuasion.  Still, it was nice to read an Austen retelling not focused on Pride and Prejudice!

Disclosure: I borrowed Captain Wentworth’s Diary from the public library.

© 2010 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Review copy from Sourcebooks
Rating: ★★★☆☆

In Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, Amanda Grange offers a supernatural take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, providing a different reason for Mr. Darcy’s moodiness.

The book opens just before the double wedding of Elizabeth and Jane Bennet to Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. As she and Darcy are leaving for their honeymoon, Elizabeth learns they will not be traveling to the Lake District but to Europe. She’s excited about seeing new places, so she doesn’t complain, but the mood of the novel turns dark as the Darcys travel to Paris, Venice, and the Alps. Darcy has friends in all of these places, some creepier than others.

“She has no taste for your company,” he said.

“No?” said the gentleman. “But I have a taste for her.”

Hers, thought Elizabeth. He should have said hers.

“Let her go,” said Darcy warningly.

“Why should I?” asked the gentleman.

“Because she is mine,” said Darcy.

The gentleman turned his full attention toward Darcy and Elizabeth followed his eyes.

And then she saw something that made her heart thump against her rib cage and her mind collapse as she witnessed something so shocking and so terrifying that the ground came up to meet her as everything went black. (page 210)

Readers follow Elizabeth and Darcy on their travels, and most of the book is about Elizabeth being introduced to Darcy’s friends in various locales and Elizabeth wondering why her husband doesn’t come to her at night to consummate their marriage.

Grange does a wonderful job setting the scene. Her description of the cities, the clothes, and the architecture seemed realistic to the time period and made me feel as though I was there with the Darcys.

However, while there were a few action scenes, the pacing was a little slow, mainly because the book is told from Elizabeth’s point of view. She doesn’t know Darcy’s secret, so she’s wondering what’s wrong with him, whether he actually loves her, and whether it was a mistake for her to marry someone from a higher social class. But we know Darcy’s secret from page one, and that’s my biggest problem with the book. I think the title Mr. Darcy, Vampyre does a disservice to the book. Grange includes clues about Darcy’s secret, with scenes about a bat, garlic necklaces, and villagers crossing themselves, etc., but these are more for Elizabeth’s benefit. I would have preferred a different title–one that would have aligned me with Elizabeth in wondering about Darcy’s behavior. It all seemed a bit anticlimactic to me.

But that doesn’t mean Mr. Darcy, Vampyre isn’t a good book. Overall, I enjoyed it and thought it was a fun take on the beloved Austen novel. I liked seeing Darcy and Elizabeth in new settings with new characters. And the supernatural storyline doesn’t feel out of place in the world Grange creates. There also were some entertaining scenes with Lady Catherine, which were among my favorites. If you enjoy Pride and Prejudice sequels and aren’t an Austen purist, I think it’s worth a try.

Disclosure: I received Mr. Darcy, Vampyre from Sourcebooks for review.

© 2009 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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