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Inner Thoughts of Mr. Darcy

Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange is what you would expect it to be, and naturally, I had to include it as part of my most recent Jane Austen reading. Grange has a great mastery of Austen’s characters in this book. While she utilizes the text of Pride & Prejudice a bit too much for me, the parts where Darcy’s feelings and thoughts are revealed are eye-opening and in line with the character Austen created.

***Spoiler Alert***

The diary begins before Darcy meets Elizabeth (Lizzy) Bennett, and shows us what happened to his sister, Georgiana. The events leading up to the move from Derbyshire to the country with Bingley, his friend, help clarify Darcy’s feelings for his friend, which appears more fatherly. It was interesting to watch the interactions between Darcy and Carolina and Louisa, Bingley’s sisters. I was amazed to find he did not approve of Caroline’s effusive compliments, but knew what motives drove her to make the compliments. Here Grange’s imagination is fast at work, but I would have imagined a bit more acceptance of Caroline’s flattery by Darcy given Austen’s depiction of Darcy’s character prior to his meeting Lizzy.

My favorite parts of the book were his thoughts of Lizzy even when he’s just met her and even when he thought her not beautiful enough to tempt him to dance. His thoughts run away with him a bit, and certainly this is against his will for much of the book. I do like the diary entries that explain his odd behavior at the balls and assemblies; it helped to flesh out his struggle for me, compared to Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

I also liked his admission that he learned a lot from Lizzy about how to laugh and bear the faults of others in the name of love.

One surprise in the book for many Austen readers will be the “after-wedding” glimpse into the lives of Mr. & Mrs. Darcy. Those were a treat for me.

***End Spoiler Alert***

I do not want to give too much away about this book because every Jane Austen fan should read it. The one question I had was about the language used in the book, like the use of “blockhead” in the book. Was that a term commonly used in Austen’s time? I’m not sure, honestly. I would have to do further research on that topic to comment further, unless someone else happens to know a reference book or tidbit about it.

I was interested to learn from the author blurb that Grange is considered a historical fiction writer who creatively interprets classic novels. I think she has a firm grasp of the time period in Pride & Prejudice and its society. Darcy’s qualms about Lizzy and her family are well-founded for the time and are vividly illustrated in Mr. Darcy’s Diary. This unromantic hero is romantic once again, though not atop a pedestal as a flawless character–no heroes are ever flawless.

Addendum:

Anna showed me the use of “blockhead” in Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, so that settles that question.