I recently came across a lovely adaptation of Jane Austen’s «Pride and Prejudice». It’s not a retelling at all, but more of a continuation of the life of Elizabeth Darcy (nee Bennett) and Fitzwilliam Darcy. The writer of the book was written by P.D James. This is a review based more on the TV adaptation more than anything else, which is fantastic.
Elizabeth and Darcy are not happily married and living at Pemberley. They have a 5 year old, though I’m not certain of his age since it’s never stated, boy called Fitzwilliam. Lizzie is organizing a ball that, according to Darcy, is a tradition of Pemberley. Everything seems absolutely okay and they are as happy as ever. That until George Wickham shows up, yet again being the ungrateful man that he is (You say Wickham, I say trouble! You say Wickham, I say trouble!) and Lydia, also being as childish as the first day. Neither of them are invited to the ball, which pisses Lydia off since she believes deserves to be there, and the Darcy’s (Georgiana included) agree is better to leave The Wickham’s aside.
Wickham one of his brother’s in arms, Captain Danny, have an argument we don’t know what’s about until much later but makes us assume it’s about something Wickham did. On their way to the ball, Danny storms out of carriage and into the darkness of the woods, George follows him. Back at Pemberley the same carriage Lydia, George and Danny are riding, arrives as fast as a bullet, with Lydia screaming for help. Lizzie and Darcy are shocked to see her there but still help her out. She’s screaming that her husband is dead. Darcy and a bunch of men, including Colonel Fitzwilliam (at this point I’m confused with how many Fitzwilliams are in the family) venture into the woods to look for Wickham (you notice here that, despite everything George did, Darcy still cares about him as brother) They find him, dragging Captain Danny’s body and crying «I killed my best friend. He’s dead, it’s my fault» After that everything goes downhill. George is brought into Pemberley, much to Georgiana’s dismay and Lizzie’s anger, to recover from the shock. Darcy, on the other hand, takes care of everything about George’s deal: he even gets into looking for clues to see if he’s innocent, which for a moment he does believe he is.
New characters and old ones (we love!)
Darcy: this version is a bit more mature than the one we read before. He’s a husband and a father. I liked him, to a certain point. There was a bit of an unnecessary friction between him and Lizzie, to the point he actually believed she married with him for money and not love and only because he heard Lydia talking to a maid. I was *this* close to hate him but then he was able to apologize and recognize his mistake.
Lizzie: I absolutely LOVED this Lizzie. She’s way more mature than Darcy and besides being a mom, she has to take care of a whole house and handle her husband being rude towards her for no reason. Not to mention she practically saved Wickham from death, and she didn’t have to. Also she was the one who noticed Colonel Fitzwilliam was a freaking pig (I want to use another word but I don’t wanna be rude) There was one particular issue that kind of hit me hard; the moment she felt she was losing her husband and didn’t even know why. Darcy was pushing himself away from her and you could actually feel it was breaking her heart.
George Wickham: don’t even get me started with this moron. I swear he’s trouble everywhere he goes and now he dragged his to Pemberley. I hated him before and hated him even more now (absolutely well written/played character if he can actually make you feel that way) he hasn’t changed much, he still blames Darcy for all of his misfortunes (being broke, mostly) even though he’s a married and a grown up man. Apparently Darcy being a responsible man is terrible for him.
Louisa Bidwell: I wouldn’t mention this poor woman’s name if it wasn’t because she’s a key to the whole story. She’s an innocent soul who fell into the hands of Wickham and who’s life was absolutely ruined. She became George’s lover, though she didn’t know he was married or that his name was George Wickham. They had a baby together, one he actually knew about and tried to get rid off.
Captain Danny: Wickham’s friend who tried to cover him for his mistakes, like trying to get rid of the baby. For a second I did actually believe he had been murdered by George, but he wasn’t. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, go figure.
The Bennett family: Lydia was the main character of the whole story, she was still the annoying woman from Pride and Prejudice but somehow it was a bit MORE annoying this time. Mrs Bennett was also a bit annoying (and absolutely unnecessary for the plot, seriously. She could have been mentioned a couple of times but there was no need for her to be there saying «oh my poor nerves» every five seconds) Mr Bennett was as usual the sweetest kindest dad ever, loved him to bits. Especial mention to Jane. Only a few minutes in and she helped a whole lot; she took Lydia away (though only for a bit) and advised Lizzie to trust in her husband’s love.
Extra stuff that I believe, from my point of view, are unnecessary to the whole story:
This is my opinion and my opinion only. I loved the book and the mini series to death. I love everything Jane Austen (except the zombies movie) and everytime someone decided to do a retelling on her stories, gets my instant love from me. But, there were a few things about this book that I didn’t like, for example: the flashbacks of Darcy and Wickham’s childhood. I couldn’t understand how that connects to the story more than having an idea of how the life was for them back then. Colonel Fitzwilliam’s horrible attitude. It doesn’t match with the one we saw and read on Pride and Prejudice, in fact it’s so out of character that for a moment I thought it was a different person. Not to mention his sudden unexpected interest innl Georgiana, who’s obviously way too young for him that I’m shocked Darcy actually agrees with him proposing to her. Also, Lady Catherine. She was horrible towards Lizzie before but in this version she was actually rather nice. Out of character too.
This strangely feels like an essay, but bare with me if you’re still reading. I loved the book to pieces, because as I said I’m a huge Jane Austen fan, I do find this book has its flaws (I have yet to find the perfect book, to be honest) but it’s fascinating how the writer portraits each and every one of them. Even George Wickham.
I suggest you to either read the book or watch the mini-series if you’re not fond of reading. Despite how much people complained about the actress who played Lizzie, she was perfect. And so was Mr. Darcy.
Rate: 4 of 5 stars