A Diverting and Unique Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
When so many authors embark upon telling the same tale – in this instance, Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point-of-view – readers may, unfortunately, have mixed reactions. Some readers may feel “been there, done that,” some may be biased by other authors’ interpretations, some may be a bit more circumspect or critical, and some may be elated by the prospect of another novel (especially when it means more Mr. Darcy). I definitely fall in the last category, (as I love to read anything to do with Jane Austen and her novels), yet I do sometimes find it a bit challenging not to compare one author’s interpretation with another.
There are three unique aspects of this book that separate it from other Darcy interpretations. The first one is the inclusion of Lord Byron as a former classmate and close friend of Charles Bingley and Mr. Darcy! While I am not greatly perturbed with Jane Austen’s characters reveling in all forms of debauchery with the “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” Byron, I did feel that this relationship was a little bland and artificial. I couldn’t really see why they were still friends with Byron.
Another unique aspect of this novel is how Georgiana’s character does not maintain the docile and timid nature we are so very accustomed to seeing. Ms. Slater’s Georgiana can sometimes be insolent, unruly, and a little coquettish. I wasn’t very enamored with this interpretation of Georgiana (who I like to believe is a biddable and reserved girl) and I sometimes felt the portrayal was a little inconsistent.
Lastly, while this is Mr. Darcy’s diary, there was a lot of page time devoted to the relationship between Jane and Mr. Bingley. This aspect I greatly enjoyed! I loved the depiction of Mr. Bingley’s disbelief and eventual acceptance of Jane’s disinterest, followed by his sorrow and despair over his heartbreak, and finally his firm and adamant resolution to return to Netherfield and pursue her once again. I really loved how well-developed and fleshed out Mr. Bingley’s character was in this novel.
One aspect of the novel that I did not greatly enjoy was Ms. Slater’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy. In his earlier diary entries I found no hint or spark of an interest in Elizabeth Bennet, and when he does begin to mention her it seemed as if he was more attracted to her appearance than her mind or personality. I didn’t really feel him falling in love with her, it happened a little abruptly. In addition, I felt that this Mr. Darcy was a little lacking in perception, since it was only at the end of the book that he realized how ill-mannered and domineering Lady Catherine is and how Caroline Bingley has been jealously disparaging Elizabeth because of her own designs of marrying him. Furthermore, his activities while he was away at London for four months were a little on the mundane side and not very enlightening.
While it is not my most favorite retelling of Pride and Prejudice, The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy by Maya Slater is a pleasant and diverting read that I recommend to all Darcy fans. It is always a delight to spend more time with the illustrious and proud Mr. Darcy!
Other Pride and Prejudice Retellings:
– Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
– The Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman Trilogy by Pamela Aidan
– Darcy’s Passions by Regina Jeffers
– The Confessions of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Mary Street
– The Diary of Henry Fitzwilliam Darcy by Majorie Fasman
– Darcy’s Story by Janet Aylmer