The story in this book is simply a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, from Mr. Darcy’s point of view, so I needn’t say any more on that subject. It starts a couple months earlier than Pride and Prejudice, though, in the summer rather than early fall.
I enjoyed it as a whole. I read at least half of it in one day, and finished it within three. I can’t remember the last time I went through a book that fast – but we were on vacation, and I had a lot of spare time just to read, and read…it was quite nice.
However, it didn’t capture Mr. Darcy quite the way I think of him – I didn’t think it got the character as well as in Mr. Knightley’s Diary, which I just finished.
One thing I did appreciate is that, wherever possible, the quotes came straight out of Pride and Prejudice; If you ignore the fact that there were no italics whatsoever, which, I thought, lessened the meaning of some quotes. Also, it often happened that the whole conversation was not included – which is understandable, but disappointed me in several spots. For example, at Netherfield when Jane was sick, a conversation was cut off before Elizabeth says “[Y]our defect is a propensity to hate everybody,” to which Mr. Darcy answers (with a smile) “And yours is willfully to misunderstand them.” The instance that made me most sad is that the spot of the second proposal doesn’t include Mr. Darcy calling her “dearest, loveliest Elizabeth.” I don’t know about you, but that seems to me to be a very important Darcy quote!
There were a few other things that bugged me, too. One is Mr. Bingley. This book makes him out to be extremely inconsistent and fickle, especially where young women are concerned. I know he was supposed to be that way to a certain extent, but I don’t remember it being quite that exaggerated.
I wasn’t quite satisfied with how Mr. Darcy, it seemed, almost ‘accidentally’ proposed to Elizabeth the first time. It’s like he never actually acknowledged to himself that he was in love with her until that moment—he’d just thought himself too attracted to her…it’s hard to explain, but it’s not the way I would have pictured it.
And Lydia! I have always disliked Lydia, but she was made to be quite disgusting in here, I thought. “He did not make me elope with him, it was I who made him elope with me. Brighton was growing boring,” she declares to Mr. Darcy when he finds her and Wickham in London.
When Darcy tells Wickham he must marry Lydia, Wickham says “Come now, Darcy. You know I cannot do that…I need to marry an heiress.”
“Do you hear this?” Mr. Darcy asks Lydia, who answers “It does not signify. An heiress would bring us some money, then we could have a better house.”
Lydia is very irritatingly silly and senseless, but I wouldn’t imagine her saying that sort of thing.
One more thing: Jane, Bingley, Elizabeth, and Darcy have a double wedding. There was a double wedding in the 1995 movie too, but I don’t remember it being in the original novel. Am I wrong?
Anyways, it was very fun to read, and I recommend it to Jane Austen fans—especially those who already have a high opinion of Mr. Darcy.