Apr 042011
 

The Aspirations and Depravity of George Wickham

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

George Wickham, fortune hunter, seducer of young women, and wastrel, had not only all the appearance goodness but a childhood situation that held a lot of promise. As the son of a steward, godson of the late Mr. Darcy, and playmate to the heir Pemberley, Wickham’s future could have been bright. He had good looks, pleasing manners, and the approbation of a wealthy man. What went wrong?

In Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange we learn that George Wickham, along with his mother both feel some displeasure with their lot in life. While Mr. Wickham, the late Darcy’s steward, is a respected man and hard worker, his wife and son have higher aspirations and felt entitled to a better life. As a young teenager, Wickham begins to feel resentment toward his wealthy playmate and grumble about how he is “beneath Fitzwilliam.” Mrs. Wickham, whose unrestrained and extravagant behavior is somewhat similar to Lydia Bennet, encourages her darling son to dream big and make the most of his advantageous opportunities. Very early in life she begins instructing him on how he must become a successful and wealthy man:

“You do not have the temperament to be poor. You have winning manners and good looks and they will be a great help to you.”

“I can not see you doing well in a profession, George… A life as a gentlemen with a rich wife is more suited to you, I think.”

And so we see how it all began. In this novella, readers are given a glimpse into Wickham’s childhood, the “idleness and dissipation” of his Cambridge years, and his unsuccessful elopement with Georgiana.

While I wasn’t expecting a heartwarming tale of an honorable hero, I did think this novella might make Wickham a little more likable and perhaps redeem him a little in my eyes. But that didn’t happen, this is the story of a scheming scoundrel, and dissipated debaucher. Be prepared for frequent mentions (nothing explicit) of his “wenching” in this novella.

Even though I knew ahead of time that this novella only extended until Darcy’s arrival in Ramsgate, I found myself a little disappointed in seeing this novella end so soon. In fact, I wish it wasn’t a novella at all! I think it would have been interesting and unique to see all the events of Pride and Prejudice from Wickham’s point of view. What were his immediate thoughts after encountering Darcy in Meryton? Was his heart touched by Elizabeth Bennet? What exactly happened in Brighton?

While I love the writing of Amanda Grange and the uniqueness of this premise I couldn’t help but feel a little dissatisfied. I loved Ms. Grange’s recreation of Wickham’s mother and enjoyed witnessing her influence over Wickham’s character; but overall, I would have appreciated more depth and substance to this diary. Nonetheless, I remain an ardent admirer of Ms. Grange’s novels and am eagerly anticipating her next release Henry Tilney’s Diary, due out December 2011!

Coming Soon: INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY with Author Amanda Grange on April 6th!
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5 Comments on "Wickham’s Diary – Amanda Grange"

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JaneGS

As one who likes to hear “the other side of the story,” I think I would’ve been disappointed also in not finding anything to like about Wickham. Grange’s portrait of his mother does sound interesting, though.

Staci

You’re much nicer in regards to your thoughts on this one than what I felt after finishing it. I will be fair in my review but it just didn’t come through for me.

FurryReaders

Is it that Wickham is given no redeemable traits or his story not continuing through the events of P&P that most disappointed you? From Staci’s review it seems to be no redeeming qualities. It sounds like this had so much potential to be amazing. I entered your giveaway prior to reading this review and I admit I am disappointed to read back to back less than stellar reviews.

Meredith
@FurryReaders – that is a hard question to answer. I’d honestly have to say bothm, equally. I wasn’t expecting Wickham to be redeemed completely, but I felt he should have had a little more good in him, perhaps a little more of a struggle, more internal conflict. And I feel that if Ms. Grange did extend the story through the events of P&P it would have her more time to flesh out his character. I too, felt this had great potential and sadly fell short of the mark a little. It was still worth and read, and Amanda Grange tells… Read more »
FurryReaders

Meredith – Thanks for your honest reply, it is always difficult to explain . I agree redeeming Wickham completely, would have been the wrong way to go. I think seeing what dimensions could be brought to Wickham’s character and behavior is part of the draw to this book or at least it is for me. I like Grange’s work so I will still want to pick this up at some point, just maybe not as quick as some other books ;~)

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