Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Review: Wickham's Diary by Amanda Grange

Wickham's DiaryFrom the back cover:

Why should I be beneath Fitzwilliam?  I am just as handsome as he is; I am just as intelligent, even though he works harder at his books; and I am just as amusing; in fact I dare say I am a great deal more amusing for Fitzwilliam is so proud he will not take the trouble to entertain other people.

Yet although he is no better than me, when he grows up he will inherit Pemberley, and I will inherit nothing…

Jane Austen’s ultimate bad boy finally gets his say.  Faced with an uncertain future – while his friend Fitzwilliam Darcy is set for life – dastardly George Wickham plots and cavorts in this rollicking prequel to
Pride and Prejudice.  Bestselling author Amanda Grange daringly explores the inner turmoil and secret motivations of the character every Austen fan loves to hate…

*          *          *

I’ve read quite a few Pride and Prejudice prequels, sequels and spinoffs, but this is the first I’ve read that is presented from George Wickham’s perspective.  It’s also the first I’ve read of Amanda Grange, other than her short story contribution to A Darcy Christmas.  At less than 200 small pages, Wickham’s Diary is also a quick read, a brisk enough novella to enjoy in one sitting.

Grange stays true to Austen’s original character, not shying away from his caddish ways, philandering and irresponsible spending habits.  Like in Pride and Prejudice, he’s selfish and generally only wants to look out for himself.  While he desires approval from the Darcy clan, this yearning doesn’t compel him to live in a gentlemanly fashion. He wants the trappings of Darcy’s elevated lifestyle, but he cares not for integrity, honor and respectable behavior that goes along with it.

I liked how the story began when he was just a child, with both parents still in his life and his relationship with Darcy still in an innocent youthful state.  He doesn’t seem devious, but you can see where the seeds of selfishness and physical/material desires have already begun to germinate in his heart.  His writing style in decidedly less mature, lending believability that a boy is truly making the journal entries.  As the years pass, his thought patterns change with him, becoming more worldly and even more selfish.  Sometimes I just shook my head at him and laughed—he is such a mess!

Wickham’s Diary was a light, enjoyable read.  Amanda writes well and manages to keep the intimate details of Wickham's licentious ways to a minimum.  My only reservation is that I wish there had been more material, expanding beyond the novella format.  The story line could have continued for a few more years, and I think I would have enjoyed Grange’s treatment of the events that would have followed.  Wickham has always been a bit of a delicious villain, and he’s handled well here.  I just wish there had been a little bit more!

This title was provided to me by Sourcebooks Landmark.
No obligation other than an honest review was required.



  1. this does sound like a deliciously fun one. maybe it holds off on the "more" you seek to leave an opening for a sequel ;-D

  2. vvb:

    Here's hoping you're right!


  3. This sounds like a great read for us Pride and Prejudice fans! Thanks for the review! (Hopping by from Cym Lowell's party)

  4. Thanks for the comments at the end. I really like when reviewers give details as to "why" the book would or would not be a good read.

    Stopping by from Cym Lowell's book review giveaway.




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