Dear Mrs. Aylmer,
“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.