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Dear Mr. Darcy by Amanda Grange

I discovered the book Dear Mr. Darcy by Amanda Grange through a patron request (it's one of the pitfalls of working in a library... you see all these interesting books come through and you have to read them).  The author has several books written from the perspective of Jane Austen characters.  This book was readable, but there was something missing.  You know how some books just hit a point and all of a sudden they just suck you in and all you want to do is read and breathe that book until it's over?  Well, this book didn't really do that, and I was disappointed..

The novel is set up as a series of letters written between several characters from Pride and Prejudice, such as Mr. Darcy, a couple of his cousins and aunts, Mr. Bingley and his family, the Bennetts and their aunt Gardiner and (unfortunately) Mr. Wickham (UGH.  Can't stand him.) and his opportunist friends, but we won't talk about the latter two.  Let's forget I even mentioned the 'W' name.

The story begins in 1795, a couple of years prior to the main events of Pride and Prejudice, and so we meet Mr. Darcy just as his father dies and the responsibility for upkeep of the estate and raising his sister, Georgiana, falls to Darcy.  The story continues through the years, elaborating on events occurring prior to Austen's novel and the events of Pride and Prejudice.  This novel also continues a few pages beyond the marriage of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy and hints at the futures of the two remaining Bennet sisters, Mary and Kitty.

Unfortunately the example of this book does not recommend Grange's others.  I was really looking forward to reading this book, but ultimately it didn't live up to my expectations.  Maybe my expectations were too high?  The author's writing is not the strongest, and I couldn't overcome my suspicion that while the author tried her best to hew as close as possible to the language and customs of the time period, in the end there were anachronisms that still slipped through that served to take me out of the story.  There were many letters that skipped greetings altogether, there were some letters in which one character used the word "coz" for "cousin," which really didn't ring true to the time period, and then there was the glaring impropriety of the content of many of the letters in which more than one character details a refused proposal.  This was probably the part that grated most on my nerves--the fact that it seemed almost everyone knew everyone else's business regarding offers of marriage, such as who had one and from whom, even those offers that were refused, especially those that were refused, wouldn't have been aired about as they were in this story.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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