Friday, April 1, 2011

Wickham's Diary

Wickham’s Diary
Amanda Grange
5 Stars
195 pages

A few years ago I enjoyed a book by author Amanda Grange, Mr. Darcy’s Dairy.  So when I heard about the release of her newest book, Wickham’s Diary, I thought it would be such a fun book to read!  I was not disappointed.

Obviously the book is just what it is called – an account of Wickham’s life, written in journal style.  Since we know very little of Wickham and his background from Austen, I would be willing to believe this was such a fun story to dream up!  I completely enjoyed this book; it had a light, fun storyline, perfect for the beach vacation that I took it on.  Totally entertaining and insightful to Wickham’s past, readers learn more about his family, his upbringing and his relationship with Darcy.

Let me begin with a few words on Wickham’s mother, what a selfish character!  She was so annoying and with a mother like that, Wickham hardly stood a chance to grow up to be a decent man.  On the other hand, while his father wasn’t focused on much, I believe if he would have taken after his father, Wickham might have turned out pretty responsible.

This short (under 200 pages) book was charming.  I almost found myself feeling sorry for Wickham a time or two, but by the end of the book, he was the true villain that Austen created.  Grange did a fantastic job creating this journal; I would love to see her write more “diary” books from other Austen character.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What Would Mr. Darcy Do?

What Would Mr. Darcy Do?
Abigail Reynolds
5 stars
227 pages

A guru at Pride and Prejudice variations, Abigail Reynolds presents Austen fans with a fun version of what might have been.  We enter the story when Elizabeth and Darcy are meeting at Lambton, but what happens next is the magic.  Reynolds creates a whole story about what would happen if Elizabeth and Darcy had made different choices that day, what if they would have been able to speak their mind or express how they truly felt?

This romance offers such a fun twist on the original Pride and Prejudice.  I particularly enjoyed Reynolds attention to details in the book.  For example, one that I enjoyed following throughout the story was that of the handkerchiefs.  When Elizabeth was busy stitching Forget-me-nots and Sweet Williams I couldn’t help but smile.

Another highlight of the book for me was the development of Georgiana’s character.  I believe the friendship between Georgiana and Elizabeth really benefited the story.  I loved the chapter containing Georgiana’s visit to Longbourn and how Mary and Kitty’s characters were enhanced by her friendship in this chapter as well.

I would like to warn that there are pretty graphic kissing scenes in this book.  While they are that – just kissing, they are pretty sensual.  If you are sensitive to this type of literature I still suggest reading the book, it truly is a fun story, but you might want to skip a few passages.

All-in-all I was pleasantly surprised with this fun book.  I look forward to finding and reading more books by Reynolds.  It’s a fun, quick read that I believe any Jane Austen fan would enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Trouble with Mr. Darcy

The Trouble with Mr. Darcy
Sharon Lathan
5 Stars
339 pages

This is the first book I've read by Sharon Lathan, and it is the fifth book in her Darcy Saga series and I'm puzzled as to why I haven't picked or read any other previous four books in this series.  I was happy with the fact that I found this book a very good "stand alone book" even though it is part of a series.  There were only a few moments in the story that I thought that the previous books would have been helpful, but not enough that I would say you have to read the first book in the series to understand it at all.

There are a couple different stories that develop in this book.  One, Darcy and Elizabeth experience some struggles with depression and their relationship after the birth of their second son, Michael.  I think that this might sound strange, but I actually enjoyed this part of the book.  I was relieved that someone wrote about these struggles, I know that women had to have struggled with postpartum and depression during this time period, but it seems like no one wants to discuss it in their books.  Sharon Lathan did a wonderful job at addressing the issue, but found a way for the romance to continue and have Darcy's and Elizabeth's relationship remain intact.

In the second part of the book Darcy and Elizabeth are faced with even worse trials as Wickham and returns for a family wedding.  Not only does he bring his bad attitude but even worse villains arrive with him.  Without giving too many spoilers away, Darcy is then faced with some horrific circumstances where he chances to lose what is more important to him!  After a fast pasted ending I was pleasantly surprised with the book.

Sharon Lathan is talented at creating whole new lives for characters that we loved in Pride and Prejudice.  There is a lot of romance and I have to warn you if you are not a fan of romance, kissing or love scenes you might want to skip a few paragraphs throughout the book.  Darcy and Elizabeth are in love in a loving marriage and Lathan doesn't shy away from that fact at all.  There are definitely parts in the book that are pretty hot, without going over the top or becoming too inappropriate.

I enjoyed it and look forward to now going "back in time" and reading the first four books in this series.