Darcy's StoryThis week I read Janet Aylmer’s Darcy’s Story, which was first published in 2006. Like Pamela Aidan’s trilogy, which I reviewed here, this book recounts the events of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view, though at much shorter length.

Darcy’s Story begins during the summer prior to Darcy’s fateful introduction to Hertfordshire and Miss Elizabeth Bennett. While on a trip to Ramsgate, Miss Georgiana Darcy is wooed by the rakish George Wickham, and Darcy must save her from his duplicity. A few weeks later, his friend Mr. Bingley invites him to see the estate he has just leased, and during this visit Darcy accompanies his friend and Bingley’s sisters to a local ball. His lack of grace and good humor during this country entertainment puts him at odds with the local beauty, Elizabeth, and leads to the twists and turns of their tumultuous relationship over the following year.

“Janet Aylmer” is a pen name for an “English Jane Austen enthusiast” who lives in Bath. This is her first foray into the burgeoning field of Austen rewrites and sequels. On the whole, I thought this book was entertaining enough. Aylmer definitely remains faithful to Austen’s original, which for me is always crucial to any book’s success in this genre. Her Darcy is consistent with Austen’s hero, and Aylmer handles her task with love and care.

But these qualities also work against Darcy’s Story. One can’t help but feel that s/he has read this all before. Aylmer brings little that’s new to this story, and I felt that she was perhaps too slavish in her devotion to Austen’s original. Large portions of the novel seem lifted from Pride and Prejudice. I couldn’t help but want a little more creativity and exploration of Darcy as a character.

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