I have been reading on various blogs about books that are extensions of Pride and Prejudice – books that show Darcy’s perspective or books that go beyond the timeline of the story. I had been waiting for quite sometime to get hold of such a book and it was with great excitement that I picked up Duty And Desire by Pamela Aidon at the public library.
Pamela Aidon has written a trilogy on Fitzwilliam Darcy, the story from his perspective, from the time he met Elizabeth to their marriage. ‘Duty and Desire’ is the second book in the perspective and probably the most imaginative and speculative one as it takes us in that time frame of Pride and Prejudice where Darcy disappears from the story line. Aidon takes us in Darcy’s world after he leaves Hertfordshire post the Netherfield ball and goes back to London. Darcy is already in love with Elizabeth but does not know it yet and he tries to run away from his confused feelings. He busies himself with his sister , his friends , his estate responsibilites and also takes the quite shocking decision of hunting for a wife so that he can get over his infatuation for Elizabeth.This search takes him to Norwycke castle ,where, in a large gathering of eligible ladies he is sure to find his future wife. The story then becomes rather dark and you almost forget that you are reading a sedated period drama.
Aidon quotes heavily from Bard and makes out Darcy to big fan of Shakespeare! She obviously quotes Austen in a few places and her reference to ‘Sense and Sensibility’ is a lovely tribute.What I enjoyed most was extension of the personality of some of the characters that we are familiar with – we see Georgiana, Darcy’s sister, growing upto become the lady of the house, we see fantastic and cheerful relationship between Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam – as ideal a relationship that can be expected between two cousins.
Aidon successfully creates a parallel world to Hertfordshire with characters as interesting and diverse. One of my new favourite characters is Lord Brougham , Darcy’s college mate,and now close personal friend who is quite an influence on Georgiana but has a sense of mystery about him.A very good potrayel of the lifestyle, social gatherings and fashion of Regency England makes it also informative enough.
The book was a tad long in places and Darcy’s musings on religion a little tiresome. At some places I found the relationship between Darcy and Georgiana a little weird – but that could be since sense of expression of sibling love has changed so much over the years – that what I find a little perverse is maybe perfectly normal.
On a whole, if you rank Pride and Prejudice as one of your favourites, you might enjoy reading it.