The Truth about Mr. Darcy by Susan Adriani

This one begins with an erotic dream in Netherfield Library; Darcy uses images of Caroline Bingley in an orange frock and feathers to cool his ardor.

Though the basic facts of Pride and Prejudice and the great lines of dialogue are unchanged, the chronology of the facts and the context of the lines are vastly different in this highly-charged tale by Susan Adriani. Wickham sees from the start (when the two men have their encounter in Meryton) that Darcy likes Elizabeth. His attentions to her, which here are downright vicious and vulgar, are motivated by his desire to hurt Darcy. (His end is different from the original, and I must say, quite satisfying given his choices in this text.)

The development of the relationship between the primary lovers differs here, too. Elizabeth asks Darcy to accompany her on an errand in Meryton when she sees his strong reaction to Wickham so she can inquire further as to its cause. He tells her right away about Wickham’s character but not Georgiana’s role in it; that revelation comes later, by Georgiana’s own choosing. Elizabeth’s keeping her distance from Darcy happens not because of wounded pride but because Mrs. Bennet and the “very silly sisters” keep teasing her about his attention to her.

Mrs. Bennet is up to her usual antics, but her husband doesn’t always sound quite like himself, as, for instance, when he learns he has a “situation” at hand because of some liberties his favorite daughter has allowed her prominent suitor. Though we lose the great line of Mr. Bennet to Elizabeth about becoming a stranger to one of her parents (you know the rest), it is replaced with a delightful—and more importantly, powerful!—one that has the effect of shutting up Mrs. Bennet on the subject of Elizabeth’s matrimony, at least for a brief while (92).

Other small pleasures here: Mr. Hurst is occasionally insightful, and, even drunk, helpful, in resolving potential delays on Bingley’s part to secure Jane (60). Georgiana is as clever as we would wish and, as Elizabeth’s sister-in-law, has a funny line when she learns that Jane is to marry Bingley (commenting on an irony I had never considered in quite this way): “do you not find it diverting that after all this time Caroline Bingley will finally be able to call herself my sister?” (153) Adriani also includes some intriguing “back stories” including the one of how Darcy came to adore his little sister and how Lady Catherine became such a—well, what she is.

This retelling is highly satisfying, not only for its exploration of the passion between Darcy and Elizabeth, but also because our favorite characters are so honest and direct here—whether it’s Bingley disciplining Darcy for risking both their future happiness for the sake of principles that don’t really matter or Elizabeth confronting Darcy right away when she sees or hears something potentially offensive. The only deceit comes from Mr. Collins (who here is actually evil rather than just repulsive and empty-headed). The mistaken impressions that so plague the four principals in the original are non-existent here; they have other problems, which I won’t ruin for you by sharing any more than I already have; just know there are many happy endings on the journey to the big happy ending.


Published in: on August 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you so much for reviewing my book – it was such a nice surprise. I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear that you enjoyed it.

    Best wishes and sincere regards,

    Susan Adriani

    • Thank you!

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