Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer

Copperfield Books   1996   ISBN=0 9528210 2 8

Response by  Serena  (Serena) * Tue, Feb 25, 1997 (23:16) *

As an ignorant newcomer, I am tempted to rush out an order a copy of the book too. But having read Emma Tennant's An Unequal Marriage - P&P Continued, which I found totally repulsive, can anyone advise if Darcy's Story would fare better to an ardent admirer of JA's P&P ???
Response by  Karen Bowdre  (Karen) * Thu, Feb 27, 1997 (17:56) *

Serena, I've read Emma Tennant's first P&P sequel; it is amazing to me that someone allowed her to write one let alone two but I'll not start raving yet. Having said all that, I think you will enjoy Darcy'sStory. I can lend my copy to you, if you like.
 Response by  kathleen  (elder) * Sat, Mar  1, 1997 (14:44) *

I will just say that all in all I thought Darcy's Story was a nice read. It was not any better than what our Derbyshire Writers' Guild has created, although it was certainly more complete.

I would have liked more conversation between Darcy and his friends/relations during incidences not mentioned in P&P. But I thought most of it seemed to remain in character.
Response by  Inko  (Inko) * Sat, Mar  1, 1997 (18:01) *

I agree with Kathleen. Darcy's Story is a very pleasant, quick read and does stay true to the original P&P, with only very few added scenes. On my second time through, though, I wasn't as enthralled as the first time; somehow our slew of writers at Pemberley give a more complete picture of Darcy than does this book.

I liked the touch of Darcy's second private talk with Mr. Bennet, after the latter knew of Darcy's part in the Lydia-Wickham affair. I especially like Darcy's lines: "And without her beside me, there can be no happiness for me in the future. So let there be no more talk of repayment, I beg of you. your consent to our marriage is more than enough compensation for me."

I also liked the added trip to London before the wedding.

The more I think about it, I like it very well, I like it very well indeed!
Response by  Cassandra  (cassandra) * Sat, Mar  1, 1997 (19:47) *

Generally, I liked it very much, as well. That trash peddled by Emma Tennant-this is not! In particular, I liked the way she began the book, highlighting Darcy's shyness and loneliness, and sincere desire to duplicate the happy marriage of his parents. I also liked the expanded role of Georgiana as Darcy's confidant. She sees through Caroline Bingley long before he does. I liked the way she described Darcy's thoughts on his way to London: "What irony of fate was it that Wickham seemed to continue to have the power to injure him in those matters most dear to his heart. Also, I enjoyed the scene at the Gardiners when the eldest daughter asks Darcy if he likes Elizabeth: "She is someone on whom I know I can always rely."

One thing I did have a problem with, though, was her over-reliance on JA. Obviously, the allusions are welcome and necessary, but some pages read like direct quotes, and others could have been better incorporated. Darcy's reaction upon learning of Mr Collin's proposal ("it does not bear thinking about") also struck me as kind of awkward and contrived, even forced.
 Response by  kathleen  (elder) * Sat, Mar  1, 1997 (20:01) *

] Darcy's reaction upon learning of Mr Collin's proposal ("it does not bear thinking about") also struck me as kind of awkward and contrived, even forced.

Cassandra -- I agree. This seemed the most awkward of the additions to me. Plus, I have trouble believing Mr Bennet would have shared such news (Mrs Bennet, maybe, but not Mr Bennet). And Darcy's reaction was too much, since there was never any chance of Elizabeth marrying Mr Collins.
Response by  Karen Bowdre  (Karen) * Sat, Mar  1, 1997 (22:06) *

Overall I liked Darcy's Story; I liked it more the second time around (the Guild has spoiled me exceedingly). I agree with Cassandra, Kathleen and Inko's comments regarding the positives of the book such as the better understanding of Darcy's shyness and Georgiana's expanded role. I also would have like to have seen more dialog with Darcy's and friends. The conversation with Lady C. was very amusing.
Response by  Cassandra  (cassandra) * Sun, Mar  2, 1997 (13:16) *

Again, what I liked the best was the beginning. I like the way she described Darcy's transformation from this proud, completely in control person to this ardent, romantic would-be suitor, overwhelmed by his passion for Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Notably: "Before he knew what he had done, Darcy had written a swift note to his cousin Fitzwilliam." "Despite himself, and contrary to any intention of which he was consciously aware, after another half hour he found himself ringing the bell at the parsonage......but anything was better than not being in her presence." I loved those passages, certainly in keeping with my impressions of Mr Darcy! I also noticed how her many descriptions of Darcy's long, lingering looks had CF written all over them!

What I didn't enjoy as much were the later passages, after the second proposal. Without JA to rely on, Ms Aylmer's imagination seemed to have been stifled. I didn't like the Collins addition and the others seemed abrupt, unimaginative, and awkward. We expect more from Darcy and Elizabeth. I particularly thought the scene in Lady Catherine's room, when Darcy tells Lizzy the room is hers, was disappointing. It was over before it began.
 Response by  Inko  (Inko) * Sun, Mar  2, 1997 (15:41) *

Cass, I agree with you about some of the later scenes, but I still do like the second talk with Mr. Bennet, re: repayment for Lydia/Wickham expense. I like the idea of them going to London, but agree with you (and Lizzie) that her father (and Aylmer) should not have mentioned Collins' proposal - and I don't think Mr. Bennet would have mentioned it.

The last two chapters are very abrupt, I agree. My whole trouble is that I have now read Darcy'sStory twice, and our own fan fiction countless times so that I'm completely muddled as to who wrote what!!!;-)
Response by   Amy Wolf  (amy2) * Sun, Mar  2, 1997 (16:42) *

I too liked the book on the whole. I liked Aylmer's faithfulness to Austen and to the period. But I have to agree that much of what's posted at our Derbyshire's Writer's Guild is superior, because it seems to me that those stories give more of an insight into Darcy's inner turmoil and feelings. Since DARCY'S STORY is written from _his_ P.O.V., I thought he shouldn't have remained as much of an enigma as he did in P&P.  But I really liked the choice of making Georgiana Darcy's confidante -- this seems he e choice. I also enjoyed the scene where Darcy gets to experience Lady C's "abuse" of Elizabeth & account of their "chat" at Longbourn firsthand. I agree that I would have liked to see more original material, and less Austen. We are probably a more jaded group than the average readership, because we are so incredibly familiar with the text, and having to re-read it within the context of a new book gets a bit tedious.
Response by  Linda   (Linda409) * Mon, Mar  3, 1997 (09:00) *

I, too, enjoyed the book. Her characterizations are usually right in line with my impressions. I think that we have had so many excellent stories here that contain so much imagination and passion, that we have come to expect a great deal of both.  I noticed a bit of Davies' influence. One example which takes place at the Lambton Inn, "Without realising what he did, Darcy took the nearest chair and, leaning forward, took her hand in his." JA allows no touching on this occasion.  I was a little ambivalent about Georgiana becoming his confidante, at first. But on subsequent readings, it seemed more natural.

One thing that I noticed, Aylmer does not have Darcy considering Bingley as a match for Georgiana as JA does in Chapter 45. "Not a syllable had ever reached her of Miss Darcy's meditated elopement. To no creature had it been revealed, where secrecy was possible, except to Elizabeth; and from Bingley's connections her brother was particularly anxious to conceal it from that very wish which Elizabeth had long ago attributed to him, of their becoming hereafter her own. He had certainly formed such a plan, and without meaning that it should affect his endeavour to separate him from Miss Bennet, it is probable that it might add something to his lively concern for the welfare of his friend."

All in all, I think that Janet Aylmer did a very good job and stayed very true to the book. I enjoyed Darcy's Story very much.
Response by  Carolyn Esau  (Carolyn) * Wed, Mar  5, 1997 (15:41) *

I found Darcy's Story to be a quick, enjoyable read. I seem to agree with what has been said so far:  Liked Georgiana being a confidant, the nice additional scenes (I would have like to some originality when Darcy finds Wickham/Lydia--not just quoting from JA), etc.

Disliked the over reliance on JA, the Collins engagement bit (specially as I think Darcy probably heard the gossip re:Mr. C's intentions at the N'Field ball). On the whole though, I did like it a lot.
Response by  Dina  (Dina) * Thu, Mar  6, 1997 (14:52) *

I agree with most all that's been said, so at the risk of sounding redundant....

I would have liked JA to have been a little more daring and not relied so much on the Austen dialogue. I actually liked the second half better than the first. I also think Mr. Bennet would have told something he shouldn't. Didn't he like to "inflict pain before the pleasure". I can see him saying it for the reaction and to see how everyone else in the house would be upset by it. I am a big fan (as I have stated in other lines before) of eavesdropping on LC telling Darcy about her chat with Liz and wanting to see him practically run all the way back the Merino. Isn't someone in the Guild working on this? Hurry, Hurry!!!
Response by  Lynn   (Lynn) * Fir, Mar  7, 1997 (11:03) *

Well, I have received my copy (from the Internet Bookstore) and I believe I share the opinions expressed here. I think some of my disappoint may stem from the anticipation of receiving and reading the book. After becoming thoroughly enraptured with P & P, I wanted this story to be equal. Oh well, it's Friday night, so I will have my weekly date with Lizzy and Mr. Darcy, et al.
Response by  Janet Aylmer  (fitz) * Sat, Mar  8, 1997 (09:35) *


I at last have had a chance to drop in. Any comments on Darcy's Story are welcome - good or bad!

I would have liked to include a bit more detail in some of the areas mentioned, but the physical limit for the book was 240 pages because of the printing cost, including the pages at the beginning and end, so ... !!!
Jane Austen Books in Chicago have apparently ordered more copies from Copperfield Books - now I know where some of them are going. Also the Book is No. 2 in the top 100 sold by the Internet Bookshop over the past month, and has been for some weeks. Everyone has their own view on Darcy's side of P&P - I am interested to know all of yours. Best Wishes to everyone from Janet Aylmer.
Response by  Cheryl Sneed  (Cheryl) * Tue, Mar 11, 1997 (22:55) *

I love the Colin Firth interview in The Making of P&P. I learned more from that interview about what motivated Darcy than I did in all of Darcy's Story I'm afraid...
Response by  Kate   (kate) * Wed, Mar 12, 1997 (15:51) *

]I learned more from that interview about what motivated Darcy than I did in all of Darcy's Story I'm afraid...

Me too. Darcy's Story to me just seemed to domesticate Darcy too much - somehow it seemed a little mundane?
Response by  Lynn  (LynnM) * Thu, Mar 13, 1997 (08:37) *

Kate, I agree with you. Some of the appeal of Darcy is the mystery surrounding him. He did become mundane, indeed.
Response by  Amy Wolf  (amy2) * Fri, Mar 14, 1997 (10:42) *

Alas, count me among your number. Maybe Austen left the mystery around Darcy in in P&P for a reason. . .
Response by  Amy Wolf  (amy2) * Fri, Mar 14, 1997 (20:11) *

Well, I'm _kind of_ guilty. Someone else started this topic, and in a wild rush of enthusiasm, I joined right in! I DO like the book -- don't get me wrong -- but I also think there's something exciting about Darcy remaining a cipher, as he does in P&P. I'm loving the fiction in the Derbyshire Writer's Guild, though, which fully flushes out Darcy. So call me contradictory, I guess!
Response by  Jean T. Long  (jtlong) * Sat, Mar 15, 1997 (20:42) *

Let me, a newcomer, respond to Darcy's Story. No one writes like JA, but this is better than most continuations in my estimation. It offers other angles that the mind can try on for size. I am a life member of JASNA and will be (hold your breaths) going with the JASNA group on tour to England in June for 11 days. We'll see some movie and Janes life sites, including a never before tour of Godmersham . So , you see even a devoted Janeite can and did enjoy a detour into extended fiction!
Response by Susan Ashmore  (EZFan) * Wed, Mar 19, 1997 (15:17) *

I've finished the copy of Darcy's Story lent to me (Tracey owns it, Mari graciously sent it on). Would anyone like to borrow it next? Lynn? Email me at EZFan@aol.com. I have to admit that I read it in almost one sitting, but that said, I don't think it's great. The text seems very flat - came to life in several places, mostly quoted here, in which Darcy speaks. Perhaps I'm expecting too much from a sequel, but I keep reading them.
Response by  Linda   (Linda409) * Thu, Mar 20, 1997 (07:07) *

I enjoyed Darcy's Story, but I think that reading all this group's Fan Fiction will spoil you for Janet Aylmer's story. Do not expect too much imagination nor any passion. But, I hope that you will enjoy it anyway.
Response by  Lynn   (LynnM) * Thu, Mar 20, 1997 (08:58) *

Linda, I completely agree with you. Reading Darcy's Story did not give me any more insights than what has been written in Fan Fiction. And I enjoy reading that much more.
 Response by  Vivian Smith  (Vivsy) * Thu, Mar 20, 1997 (22:16) *

Wendy please add me to your email list. Have loved all the fiction that I have read. I just got Darcy'sStory yesterday and spent all night reading. I enjoyed it, but I think the fan fiction is just as good!!!
Response by  La Demoiselle  (LaDemoiselle) * Fri, Mar 21, 1997 (15:58) *

Wendy, put me on the email list too. I can say I have liked the fan fiction. I read Darcy's Story about a month ago (I was shocked to have found that I read it all in the same day), and even for its oopses, I still enjoyed it. True...I have to agree with a lot of other people saying that he loses some of that P&P mystery that excites us, but I still liked it a lot.