As George Wickham is many Jane Austen fan's favorite villain, I was delighted to learn that Amanda Grange, one of my favorite Austen-like writers, was taking on the project of writing his diary. (I loved her previous diaries -- so much so that I have pre-ordered several from England before their release date in the U.S. & happily paid for the hard back first editions and overseas shipping rates.)
But I digress... Yes, author Amanda Grange clinically journals Wickham's early years at Pemberley, depicting the friendship between the young master Darcy and how their friendship dissolved during the college days. I liked how Grange tells of how his parents met and came to Pemberley and I especially enjoyed the relationship between Wickham and his mother, who can be as frivolous as Lydia Bennet. I thought it interesting how the mother puts it in George's mind to aim higher than just the living at Pemberley and that he might one day be married to Georgianna Darcy or even Anne de Bourgh. But unfortunately the diary ends almost immediately after Darcy discovers George's plan to elope with Georgianna. What happened when George was wooing Mary King and how did that get fouled up; was George relieved when Darcy discovers him w/Lydia & saves his bacon once again?? I expected more in this diary -- as in Grange's previous "diaries" she wrote the back-story and then would take the reader through the paces of Austen's story-- since Austen's masterpieces were from a female perspective.
I also had thought that being the diary of Wickham, Grange would have somehow endeared him to the reader-- but he is unlikeable and whiney scamp from the beginning. He started as a rascal and became even more so. I never really felt much empathy OR SYMPATHY for him or his choices. Grange does follow his thought process of how he came to be, but I had hoped that she would have written him so that we would have been endeared to him, despite what we know about this bad boy.
Oh well. At $6.95-- its a fair price. I read the entire book in 2 hours. There are blank pages separating journal entries that pad the book. AND YET, I still look forward to Grange's future Austen villain's diaries that are sure to come. I am just hoping that they won't seem such a hasty job. A bit more plotting and scheming-- and A LOT more soul please.