Published: April 1st 2011 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Regency/ Romance
Acquired: Local Library
Date Finished: 5th August 2012
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.
This is my first real taste of anything Austen and while I know people usually start with the original before moving onto the re-tellings and prequels and other Austen like novels, I decided to dip my toes in the other end and picked up Wickham’s Diary, by Amanda Grange in hope that I would get a feel for the time period, and hopefully like it enough to want to pick up the original.
My verdict: I loved it. It was so easy to read and I slipped right into the time period with no worries. For me I am not a huge fan of classics as I find it hard to get into Historical fiction [not my preferred taste] but every once in a while I like to mix it up and try something different. I have Misty over a The Book Rat to thank for it because without her Austen in August events I probably would have let it slide.
In this novel we get to meet George Wickham who seems charming and intellectual, until you really get to know him and understand that he is a lazy, selfish man who spends every cent he’s got and is in so much debt that he is being hunted by collectors. I must admit I have a thing for bad boys but for the most part of the novel it wasn’t that he was a bad boy, he was just plain reckless. But for some reason it worked for me and I enjoyed reaching about his nights spent with women and his endless journey in finding a ‘beautiful and wealthy heiress’ to marry into for money.
The begging of the novel and the progression of Wickham’s relationship with his controlling mother and Fitzwilliam was one of my favorite parts of the novel. It is through these encounters and conversations with his mother that we learn her hopes for his future and that without his mother steering him in the right direction he is truly a lost soul. For the better half of his childhood his mother conditioned him with the ideals she wanted him to have and prepped him up for a successful life, but after his parents pass he goes on a spiral downwards and looses not only his family, but the Darcy’s through death and an ending of his friendship with Fitzwilliam, of course to no one’s fault but his own.
I think that is what I took most from the novel and what really propelled me into wanting to read more about Pride and Prejudice. That even today it is no different to what it was. For instance like Fitzwilliam’s dream, his pursuit for something more, and the pursuit for his happiness that is still relevant in today’s world as is the men who waste their lives away with money, drinks and women and toss away their futures. It’s real and I think Amanda did a wonderful job with keeping with the time period and yet making it even modern without having to resort to a complete re-telling set in modern times.
Now I can’t say for certain how Wickham’s diary reflects on the original, but I certainly recommend it for fans of Austen and for those who love the time period and regency fiction. It is a light, short and often cheeky and humorous read and Wickham’s constant epic fails are a highlight throughout the whole novel, and even though I rolled my eyes at his nature, I still wanted to read on in hopes of a happy ending.
I am giving this: