Saturday, July 26, 2008

An Assembly Such As This - Pamela Aidan

"Ten thousand a year and a large estate in Derbyshire!" That was all Mrs. Bennet desired to know of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy before she began to entertain hopes that one of her daughters would attract his attention. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen reveals little of her creation's past or present before banishing him for quite two thirds of her book. But, who is Fitzwilliam Darcy?

An Assembly Such as This, the first book of the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy, answers that intriguing question by taking the reader into Darcy's world, a world very different from Elizabeth Bennet's. Chronicling Darcy's supervision of his naive friend Charles Bingley and his growing fascination with Elizabeth Bennet, it culminates with the disastrous ball at Netherfield and Darcy's return to London with the express intention of forgetting Elizabeth amidst the dizzying and dangerous whirl of Regency society."

Continuining with my interest in Jane Austen related reads I recently loaned this book from A.. It's P&P told from Mr Darcy's point of view and I was highly curious about it. I must say though that I found this Mr Darcy a bit boring, not as much introspection regarding feelings as I would like and he wasn't as focused on Lizzy as I would like. Or maybe he was too focused as one thing I found a little odd was how he interpreted her reactions to him, too emotional I thought for such a reserved man. I'm afraid I measure every book with a male hero against Gaskell's Mr Thornton and I have yet to find such beautiful and intense feelings as she gave him in other men.

I must say that my favourite part was after Darcy and Lizzy started sparring verbally and she clearly was the best in their witty dialogues. Aidan does create some new scenes and characters. I particularly enjoyed Darcy's relationship with his valet Fletcher. It provided some humourous situations and Darcy seemed a bit unsure on how to deal with Fletcher occasionally.

The book only covers a third of P&P and I'm hoping the next ones will be better as Darcy and Lizzy interact more.

Grade: B-

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