Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer
Pride and Prejudice has given contemporary writers of historical fiction an endless source of ideas. Many of these novels of possibilities are very good and honor the original classic, while others are wastebasket material. Karen V. Wasylowski has turned out one of the former, a charming and believable rendering that offers the reader a look at the men in Pride and Prejudice.
Fitzwilliam Darcy, true to the Austen image, is prideful and arrogant, yet exceedingly charming, a handsome gentleman. His cousin Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, two years older, is described in the novel as barrel-chested, slightly rougher looking in an unkempt uniform, a decorated officer.
Darcy marries Elizabeth and reconciles with his Aunt Catherine as Elizabeth and he wait the arrival of their child. Darcy is obsessed with keeping her safe as the reality of his own mother’s death during childbirth haunts him with increasing stress. Colonel Fitzwilliam refuses to settle down, and his life of promiscuity and love of alcohol continue to alarm Aunt Catherine. The Colonel is envious of the life that his younger cousin lives and dreams of a wife and family. One day he becomes bedazzled by Amanda, an American, who has a young son. Desperately in love, he is undone when his future plans with her appear hopeless.
More than not you will chuckle and giggle reading the tête-à-tête that takes place among the characters. Elizabeth has a contemporary tongue for a 19th-century wife and during many tempestuous tiffs, boldly stands up to Darcy. Fitzwilliam and Darcy are a comic pair as well, always trying to outmaneuver the other. The cagey Aunt Catherine is embraceable as she shows clever wisdom in her astute handling of all situations. Austen would no doubt welcome Darcy and Fitzwilliam, an amusing and witty interpretation.