Thursday, April 28, 2011
Review: Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 208 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Adaptation/Pride and Prejudice
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound
Summary from publisher:
This prequel to Pride and Prejudice begins with George Wickham at age 12, handsome and charming but also acutely aware that his friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, is rich, whilst he is poor. His mother encourages him to exercise his charm on the young Georgiana Darcy and Anne de Bourgh in the hopes of establishing a stable of wealthy social connections.
At university, Darcy and Wickham grow apart. Wickham is always drinking and wenching, whilst Darcy, who apparently has everything, is looking for something he cannot find. Wickham runs through the money Darcy gives him and then takes up with the scandalous Belle, a woman after Wickham's own greedy, black heart.
I like most Austen fans think of Wickham as the epitome of evil. He was mean to Darcy and therefore there can be no rehabilitation of his character. I guess my good opinion once lost is lost forever. Couldn’t resist.
I didn’t think this book would give me any new perspective on Wickham but it did. I found myself commiserating with him. And I felt dirty. I genuinely liked him. And I could definitely understand why he ended up the (terrible) way he did. He played second fiddle to Darcy throughout his youth. I mean who wouldn’t end up the slightest bit badly after being compared to the epitome of awesome their whole life. His mother was also an interesting character. It was like she wrote the playbook that Mrs. Bennet and Lydia life by. She was just as frivolous and social climbing as they are. It’s no wonder that he gravitated towards Lydia. I do get the impression from this book that Wickham is a man that could have been good if he had the proper influences and that somehow he was lost along the way.
I do wish that this book had a bit more meat to it. I wanted it to go further into the Pride and Prejudice story. I wanted to know what was going through Wickham’s head while he was wooing Lizzy, running away with Lydia and being bought off by Darcy. I also wanted to know what happened when Darcy did the hero thing with Georgiana. Wickham’s Diary worked very well as a character study of a man who I have hated for most of my reading life. I feel as if I have learned his motives. I do hope that Grange continues with the villains (maybe even Mr. Collins—hilarious) because the new perspective you gain on them is truly eye-opening.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.