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REVIEW: Darcy’s Story by Janet Aylmer

Dear Mrs. Aylmer,

11382194.gif“Pride and Prejudice” is a story filled with characters who, even two centuries after it was written, still inspire us to want to know more about them. I haven’t read too many of these homages to Jane Austen’s world but “Darcy’s Story” might make me change my mind. I doubt there are too many readers out there who don’t know the basic story of a prideful young man and prejudiced young woman who find true love in Regency England. But while the original is told from the viewpoint of Elizabeth Bennet, you help fill in the gaps by showing us Fitzwilliam Darcy’s side of the story.

Darcy’s opinion and view of the Bennet family, the people of Meryton, his own relatives and friends and of course himself are in many ways very different from Lizzie’s. His consequence and place in the world are above hers and he has had the advantage of seeing far more of society. He is also a more quiet, introspective person than Lizzie and doesn’t have the equal to her large family to contend with.

From what I have heard, your story sticks more closely to “Pride and Prejudice” than have other modern takes on Austen. You take great care to write only what Darcy could have known and resist inserting information under the guise of “later he would find out.” You also appear to have kept to realistic explanations of his interactions with Wickham, his time spent with his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and his sister Georgiana and the means by which he discovered the whereabouts of Wickham and Lydia. I was very interested in the manner in which you would portray how, against his will and better judgment, Darcy had fallen in love with Lizzie. I am happy to say that it makes sense yet remains faithful to the originally outlined story. And, huzzah, you don’t stick in useless scenes don’t correspond with any known ones in the book.

And yet, as much as I enjoyed this more sober book, which reflects Darcy’s temperament and nature, I felt that we lost much of Lizzie’s sparkling personality and humor while not gaining as much of a feel for Darcy as I would have wished. Frankly at times he comes across as rather dull. You insert large chunks of the original dialogue and often repeat them several times. It made me wonder how these characters could be expected to remember, with such exact precision, whole conversations they had months ago and I would have preferred to see the story written in your own words.

While “Darcy’s Story” certainly isn’t horrible, I could wish that you had done more to keep it in the style of Austen and retained the charm of “P&P.” C+ for this one.

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

6 Comments

  1. Tara Marie
    Oct 06, 2006 @ 08:26:21

    I liked this much more than you did. I enjoyed seeing his thoughts so much and I do think he’s somewhat of a bore, but even in the original you get this from what he does say about his and others consequence. He comes across as a thinker mulling things over in his head, berating himself when he comes to realize he’s in love with someone of a lower class and then berating himself for not realizing it didn’t matter.

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  2. Keishon
    Oct 06, 2006 @ 09:20:43

    Glad you read it – I was on the cusp of buying but saw a couple of bad reviews for it with the same general grade of average. Hi Tara. Just like I thought, Tara read it and liked it very much. Still undecided and I have way too many books now to even consider adding one more.

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  3. Tara Marie
    Oct 06, 2006 @ 09:58:21

    Hi Tara. Just like I thought, Tara read it and liked it very much.

    Hi Keishon, I did like it, very much, I’m thinking about nagging Jane into boosting it up to at least B–LOL.

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  4. Jayne
    Oct 06, 2006 @ 10:07:47

    LOL, noooooo, no nagging. I’m sorry but I just can’t go higher. All that dialogue taken from P&P just got to me by the end. Case in point, when Lady Catherine buttonholes Darcy after her visit to Lizzie.

    I did like the bits with Georgiana and would be interested if Aylmer wrote her story or maybe Kitty’s.

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  5. Tara Marie
    Oct 06, 2006 @ 11:29:47

    Oh, I’m sorry, wrong Ja(y)ne and I promise not to nag, but I will add…

    All that dialogue taken from P&P just got to me by the end.

    She (the author) did this on purpose to give (page 274):

    Either Jane Austen’s dialogue had to be changed into description only or there needed to be some form of commentary to show that Darcy had a very different view of the situations and their conversations when he and Elizabeth were both present. I decided that the story would be more enjoyable if I used the second approach, even though that meant repeating some lengthy sections of dialogue which Jane wrote. What I could not do was use different words between them for the conversations which Jane Austen herself had “reported!”

    Okay, that’s it, I’m beating the dead horse–LOL.

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  6. jmc
    Oct 06, 2006 @ 13:23:41

    I returned this book to the library unfinished. I know, the best part is probably at the end, with Lizzy and Darcy finally on the same page so to speak. But I was bored, bored, bored and didn’t make it that far. So I returned it, then went off to re-read Persuasion. :sigh: Wentworth’s letter to Anne just makes me melt every time I read it.

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