Wednesday, February 3, 2010

And the Austen craze continues!

You know how it is. You pick up a genre of book, read it, love it, want more of it, and pretty soon you're on a full blow Austen craze! Or at least, that's where I'm finding myself right now.

So to fulfil that need I've branched out into the world of fan fiction, with An Assembly Such as This: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman ; by Pamela Aidan. Now in High School I labored through Wuthering Heights (which i loathed), and for some strange reason then felt compelled to read The Story of Heathcliff's Journey Back to Wuthering Heights, which is also a foray into published fan fiction. Obviously since it was the same characters and story line, just continued...i loathed it too. Why that was surprising is a mystery to me these days, but so was my dogged reading of Wuthering Heights even though every few pages it put me to sleep.

Seeing how this series is based on a story I love, it had better odds of agreeing with me. And agree it did. Who doesn't love hearing the point of view of the love interest in their favorite love story after all? And this is what the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman , series is; an in depth look of his side of the story, fleshing out all his time away from Elizabeth into its own new story.

An Assembly such as This, is the first book in the trilogy, so Pamela has fleshed out Darcy's story considerably, book one covers all the ground in Hertfordshire up until his and Bingleys sudden leaving and then follows them through to Christmas which Darcy spends at Pemberley with his sister Georgiana and his Cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and his family.

Pamela's Darcy is very much Colin Firth's version from the BBC mini series, very up tight and awkward, stern and completely at a loss whenever he's presented with Elizabeth's wit. He's so absolutely wound up in his station and what's appropriate for a gentleman that he's willing to deny the hopeless and desperate love he's been taken by unawares. Although this makes him somewhat temperamental he's beloved by his servants, Georgiana, Bingley and the rest of his acquaintances. And it's their continual hints of being very aware he has fallen in love with Elizabeth Bennett, which so disconcert and confuse him, that made me soften to him. Well that and Trafalgar, his troublemaking and very eager young hunting dog.

As a history buff though, one of my favorite aspects of this book is the historical components that she touches upon, but which Austen doesn't go into as they were just an everyday part of her and her readers life. The Regency was a very colorful time, especially in the upper classes, and Pamela Aidan gives us a lot of fun peeks at some of the more vibrant and over the top people of the time as well as events. My favorite is a ball of Lady Melbournes (towards the end of the book), in which Pamela manages to touch on the Prince Regents opulent parties, Lady Caroline Lambs prancing with Lord Byron, and the scandal that was the Waltz at that time period...all in just a few pages.

All and all this has been a fun read, and I'm thoroughly looking forward to book 2!

An Assembly Such as This: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman , By Pamela Aidan
Published by: Touchstone, May 2006