Author: Janet Aylmer
Jane Austen's novel, "Pride and Prejudice," tells the tale of Elizabeth Bennet
and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a pair who spend most of the novel too ensconced in their
personal foibles (his pride, her prejudice) to realize that they are meant for
each other. When the light finally dawns, true love and the end of the story
are not far behind.
While Elizabeth's painful journey towards self-revelation makes her one of the
most compelling characters in English literature, Darcy's transformation is less
detailed, although no less genuine. Plot points prove that he has divested
himself of his pride, but the reader is not invited along on his metamorphosis.
Janet Aylmer has sought to remedy this deficiency in her book, "Darcy's Story."
Utilizing a good deal of Austen's original text, Aylmer deviates from it only to
elucidate Darcy's thought processes and his actions, especially when he is not
in the presence of his future lady love.
It has been said (and rightly so) that Jane Austen's heroes are a dull bunch,
especially when compared to their dashing but morally flawed rivals. Darcy (one
of the heroes), is no different and when Aylmer gets her readers inside Darcy's
somewhat drab head we suddenly realize exactly why Austen put her readers inside
Elizabeth's iridescent one instead. In other words, a "Pride and Prejudice,"
which places the sparkling Elizabeth Bennet in the background, is just
occasionally a bit of a bore.
But as a companion piece to the original novel, "Darcy's Story" contains some
fascinating insights. How exactly did Darcy arrange a legal marriage between
Lydia Bennet and the blackguard Wickham? Austen tells you at her book's end but
Aylmer reveals the events as they unfold. What precise words passed between
Elizabeth's father and Darcy when Darcy asked for Elizabeth's hand in marriage?
Aylmer depicts what Austen implied.
The book truly shines when Aylmer creates her own scenarios. For instance, when
Austen's Darcy recommends that his friend Bingley propose marriage to Jane
Bennet, Darcy leaves for London quite suddenly, without giving a reason. Aylmer
provides him with a very interesting one: he didn't think he would be able to
bear Bingley's happiness when his own was still in doubt.
Beneath his dull exterior, Darcy has some sterling qualities and Aylmer has
rendered a faithful and detailed portrait of the character who eventually won
Elizabeth Bennet's heart. For those who love the original tale, "Darcy's Story"
is great fun.
The above review was contributed by: Kathryn Atwood: Click Here To View More Of Kathryn's Reviews
Kathryn Atwood's poetry, reviews and essays have appeared in numerous online and print journals, including "The Aurora Review,", "Afterimage," "Void Magazine," "Wild Violet," and "PopMatters." When she's not writing or driving her three kids around somewhere, she's usually teaching at a local music studio or givng vocal performances with her husband on the subject of American and British song.