Nikki's Reviews > Darcy's Story

Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer
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Aug 13, 09

bookshelves: contemporary, romance, historical-fiction-alternatehistory
Read in August, 2009

Darcy's Story, by Janet Aylmer, is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of Mr Darcy. Pride and Prejudice isn't one of my favourite novels -- far from it, although I have learnt to appreciate it at least a little -- so I suppose it isn't too surprising that I'm not all that enchanted by this retelling of it. Janet Aylmer's writing isn't as capable or smooth as Jane Austen's, although I suspect a good part of that is due to the fact that she's trying to imitate Jane Austen. Not, I'd imagine, the easiest thing to do. I kept having to remind myself of that, but I don't think it answers for everything. There's nothing exciting about narrative that simply says, 'Darcy did this, and Darcy thought that, and somebody told Darcy this other thing'. The dialogue is pretty terrible, and/or non-existant. I wish I could copy/paste quotes to illustrate this, like I would if this was an ebook, but I'll stick to one quick example: 'She told him that Lady Catherine had recently travelled to Bath...' -- I mean, why couldn't this be actually written out as a conversation?

It is clumsily executed in general. Around chapter eighteen or nineteen or so, it relies heavily on excerpts from Pride and Prejudice itself, and on excerpts from earlier in the narrative. I skipped much of that. I've read it before: if you're going to insist on recounting it, please present it in some new, fresh sort of form. The same thing happens early in the novel -- big regurgitated sections that are purely intended to cover all the backstory of Darcy in one long word-vomit, rather than getting on with the story and letting that all spin out in its own good time.

I didn't find that the book added anything in particular to Pride and Prejudice that didn't happen in the original novel. There were a couple of scenes between Darcy and his sister, Georgiana, which were new, but overall, there wasn't much there. At least, not if you read Pride and Prejudice and understood everything that was going on, followed all the changes to Mr Darcy's character and understood why they were happening, etc.

If you're interested in reading the book anyway, it's available on the HarperCollins website at the moment, here, though I don't know how long it'll be up.
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