Dear Mr. Darcy: A Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
Amanda Grange’s delightful Dear Mr. Darcy romps through the familiar grounds of Pemberley, Meryton, London, and the other haunts of the famous characters — the Bennet family, the Collinses, and, of course, the Darcys — as she probes their psyches in this epistolary novel, using letters as windows to the soul. Not only do we hear from Darcy himself, but a whole plethora of note-writers appears to reveal themselves: we have letters from Mr. Bennet, Lydia, Mrs. Bennet, Jane, Lizzy (of course) not to mention the very funny letters of Mary Bennet to Miss Lucy Sotherton, her sister in the Learned Women club.
By making use of short rather than long letters, the pace of the novel moves along nicely, though some of the letters are repetitive. As Lizzy and Darcy slowly change their opinions of each other, their letters reveal this process. And, as we read from Mr. Wickham, we see how truly depraved he is, how low his character and associates. Mr. Bingley’s good character comes through his writings as well, while his sister, Caroline, is shown to be the social-climber she is. All in all, these letters provide a second look at the characters and the story made famous by Jane Austen.
My favorites are from Mary to Lucy, often beginning with a militant ‘Hail!’ These two ladies are so deliciously foolish they are almost too easy a mark. Austen fans will enjoy this new addition to the canon.