Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Ever since I read Mr. Darcy’s Diary in 2008, I have admired Amanda Grange’s Austen Men Retellings. Having read and enjoyed all of Ms. Grange’s previous retellings, I was most anxious to read Henry Tilney’s Diary – after all, he is Jane Austen’s most entertaining and charming hero! The two year period between Ms. Grange’s last novel in this series (Colonel Brandon’s Diary) and Henry Tilney’s Diary was long, but the wait was definitely worth it! Henry Tilney’s Diary is my new favorite in the series, usurping my previous favorite, Colonel Brandon’s Diary.
What do I love so much about Henry Tilney’s Diary and Colonel Brandon’s Diary? Their back-stories. I love that both stories start prior to to Jane Austen’s novel, making these diaries not only a retelling, but also a prequel. Captain Wentworth’s Diary also provides an intriguing back-story. Henry Tilney’s Diary opens in the year 1790 when Henry was at the young age of sixteen. Through these early diary entries readers are able to witness Henry’s relationship with his mother, understand how Frederick became a cold-hearted deviant, and discover where Henry acquired his penchant for fine muslin and Gothic novels. I especially loved seeing Henry’s close relationship with his sister!
Even though these novels are labeled as “diaries” and dates are recorded with each entry, they really are more of a retelling than an actual diary. While he does record his musings, reflections, and daily pursuits, Henry devotes a lot of his diary to recounting full conversations and quoting book excerpts; things you normally don’t find in diaries. At around 270 pages and covering the spans of four months and one year, readers should not expect a very fleshed-out story with a lot of details. The novels by Pamela Aidan, Barbara Cornthwaite, and Susan Kaye provide more character development and detail, but this series is ideal if you are looking for a light and delightful retelling of your favorite Jane Austen novel.
I absolutely loved watching Henry fall in love with Catherine! I know some scholars have questioned whether Henry and Catherine are suitably matched (of course they are!), and evidently Amanda Grange is of the same mind. Ms. Grange beautifully illustrates how Henry, jaded and wary of women who flirt, employ artifice, and play games, becomes enamored with Catherine’s open innocence and honesty. Although there may be differences in intellect and experience between them, Henry finds Catherine refreshingly adorable and endearing. (Henry Tilney is a lot like my husband, they both have a fondness for cuteness in their women!)
*Sigh* I just love Henry Tilney, and I adored Amanda Grange’s portrayal of him! I sincerely hope to see more retellings from Amanda Grange in the future – perhaps she will be inspired to write about Edward Ferrars or Charles Bingley! One can only hope!
GIVEAWAY!!! Berkley Books has kindly donated a brand new paperback copy and of Henry Tilney’s Diary for me to giveaway!!
All you have to do is leave a comment on this review. (To save your inbox from unwanted spam, please don’t leave your email address.) Just check back to see if you win! This giveaway is open to residents in the US and Canada. Thank you, Berkley Books!!
This contest will close December 27th. Good luck and thank you for entering!