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       Dear Mr. Darcy: A Retelling of Pride and Prejudice, p.1

           Amanda Grange
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Dear Mr. Darcy: A Retelling of Pride and Prejudice


  PRAISE FOR

  Colonel Brandon’s Diary

  “The hero of Colonel Brandon’s Diary has more tragedy and romance in his life than any three or four bodice-ripping Regency rakes. Elopements! Duels! Adultery! Love children! This is Jane Austen? the skeptic might ask; we reply, it sure is! It’s all in Sense and Sensibility, cunningly hidden in the backstory, but Amanda Grange has brought this dramatic tale to full life in the best book yet in her series of heroes’ diaries.”

  —AustenBlog

  “In her fifth novel in the Austen Heroes series, Amanda Grange has actually succeeded in improving upon Austen’s character Colonel Brandon…As always, Grange is one of the most gifted writers in the Austen subgenre, giving us a touching inside story that is hard to put down.”

  —Austenprose

  Edmund Bertram’s Diary

  “Amanda Grange has hit upon a winning formula and retells the familiar story with great verve.”

  —Historical Novels Review

  “Once again, Amanda Grange has provided a highly entertaining retelling of a classic Jane Austen novel, as seen through the hero’s eyes…Pure fun, with the story told in a diary format that makes the reader feel like she’s taking a peek into Edmund’s innermost thoughts…I enjoyed every moment of it.”

  —Romance Reader at Heart

  “A sympathetic portrait of a young man struggling with the difficult choices that life throws at us all.”

  —AustenBlog

  Captain Wentworth’s Diary

  “Amanda Grange has taken on the challenge of reworking a much-loved romance and succeeds brilliantly.”

  —Historical Novels Review (Editor’s Choice)

  “In this retelling of Persuasion we are given a real treat…Like the other books in Ms. Grange’s series, scrupulous attention is paid to the original, even while interpreting what is not explicitly shown, and some well-known scenes are fleshed out while others are condensed, nicely complementing the original.”

  —AustenBlog

  “Amanda Grange’s retellings of Jane Austen’s novels from the point of view of the heroes are hugely popular and deservedly so…Captain Wentworth’s Diary, a retelling of Austen’s Persuasion, will entrance and enthrall old and new fans alike.”

  —Single Titles

  “One of those wonderful historicals that makes the reader feel as if they’re right in the front parlor with the characters…this book held me captive. It is well written and I very much hope to read more by this author. Amanda Grange is a writer who tells an engaging, thoroughly enjoyable story!”

  —Romance Reader at Heart

  Mr. Knightley’s Diary

  “Sticks close to the plot of Austen’s Emma, mixing [Knightley’s] initially censorious view of Miss Woodhouse with his notes on managing the hereditary seat at Donwell Abbey and affectionate asides on his collection of young nieces and nephews.”

  —The Washington Post

  “A lighthearted and sparkling rendition of the classic love story.”

  —Historical Novels Review

  “Charming…knowing the outcome of the story doesn’t lessen the romantic tension and expectation for the reader. Grange hits the Regency language and tone on the head.”

  —Library Journal

  “Ms. Grange manages the tricky balancing act of satisfying the reader and remaining respectful of Jane Austen’s original at the same time, and like Miss Woodhouse herself, we are given the privilege of falling for Mr. Knightley all over again.”

  —AustenBlog

  “Readers familiar with Emma should enjoy revisiting the county and its people and welcome the expansion of Mr. Knightley’s role. Others will find an entertaining introduction to a classic.”

  —Romance Reviews Today

  “Well written with a realistic eye to the rustic lifestyle of the aristocracy, fans of Ms. Austen will appreciate this interesting perspective.”

  —Genre Go Round Reviews

  “A very enjoyable read and an amusing tale.”

  —Fresh Fiction

  Berkley titles by Amanda Grange

  MR. KNIGHTLEY’S DIARY

  CAPTAIN WENTWORTH’S DIARY

  EDMUND BERTRAM’S DIARY

  COLONEL BRANDON’S DIARY

  HENRY TILNEY’S DIARY

  DEAR MR. DARCY

  LORD DEVERILL’S SECRET

  HARSTAIRS HOUSE

  Dear Mr. Darcy

  A RETELLING OF PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

  Amanda Grange

  BERKLEY BOOKS, NEW YORK

  THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

  Published by the Penguin Group

  Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

  Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

  Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

  Copyright © 2012 by Amanda Grange.

  Cover design by Lesley Worrell.

  Cover photograph by Richard Jenkins.

  Text design by Tiffany Estreicher.

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or

  electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of

  copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

  BERKLEY® is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  The “B” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  PUBLISHING HISTORY

  Berkley trade paperback edition / August 2012

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Grange, Amanda.

  Dear Mr. Darcy : a retelling of Pride and prejudice / Amanda Grange.—Berkley trade paperback ed.

  p. cm.

  ISBN: 978-1-101-58124-7

  1. Darcy, Fitzwilliam (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Bennet, Elizabeth (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 3. Life change events—Fiction. 4. Upper class—England—Fiction. 5. Social classes—England—Fiction. 6. Young women—England—Fiction. 7. England—Social life and customs—Fiction. I. Austen, Jane, 1775–1817. Pride and prejudice. II. Title.

  PR6107.R35D43 2012

  823’.92—dc23

  2011051898

  PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

  10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

  ALWAYS LEARNING

  PEARSON

  AUTHOR’S NOTE

  I’ve always been fascinated by Jane Austen’s novels, and
by Pride and Prejudice in particular. It was started in 1796–97 and then revised a great deal before being published in 1813. It seems likely that it was originally written in epistolary form since Sense and Sensibility, started at around the same time, was first drafted in this way.

  Over the years I have asked myself what new characters would be necessary to reveal the plot if the epistolary form were used, and what interesting insights those letters would reveal. I imagined the feelings of the social climbing Caroline Bingley on first discovering that her brother knew Mr Darcy of Pemberley, and Louisa Bingley’s feelings towards Mr Hurst. I imagined the family who lived at Netherfield and their reasons for vacating the house, so that it was fortuitously available for Mr Bingley to rent. I imagined letters between Elizabeth and her sensible Aunt Gardiner, and letters between Elizabeth and Jane. I imagined Mr Darcy’s letters to his family when his father died and his feelings when he shouldered his responsibilities to his younger sister and the Pemberley estate. And I imagined his feelings for Elizabeth, revealed in his letters to his family and friends.

  When other people want to explore their ideas about Jane Austen’s books, they chat with fellow Janeites or write learned articles. When I want to explore my ideas, I write novels.

  I have taken the opportunity to include the futures that Jane Austen herself planned for Mary and Kitty Bennet, revealed to her family members when they asked her what became of the other Bennet girls.

  So here it is, my vision of how Pride and Prejudice might have looked in its earliest incarnation, written to entertain anyone who is in love with Jane Austen and Dear Mr Darcy.

  Amanda Grange

  Table of Contents

  1795

  May

  June

  July

  August

  September

  November

  1798

  May

  July

  August

  September

  December

  1799

  January

  February

  March

  April

  June

  July

  August

  September

  October

  November

  December

  1800

  January

  February

  March

  April

  May

  June

  July

  August

  September

  October

  November

  About the Author

  MAY

  Mrs Reynolds to Mr Darcy

  Pemberley, Derbyshire,

  May 25

  Dear Mr Darcy,

  I hope I am not doing wrong by writing to you, being only the housekeeper, but your father is very ill and I thought you would want to know. The physician says it is nothing to worry about, just his old complaint, but I think it is different this time. I am taking it upon myself to write to you, so that you may come home and see for yourself if you wish.

  Respectfully yours,

  Mrs Reynolds

  Mr Darcy to Mrs Reynolds

  Cambridge, May 26

  Mrs Reynolds, you have done me a great kindness. I have been worried about my father ever since I left him at Easter and I am exceedingly grateful to you for your concern. I shall set out at once and I hope to be with you the day after tomorrow.

  Fitzwilliam Darcy

  Mr Darcy Senior to Mr Darcy

  Pemberley, Derbyshire, May 26

  My dearest son,

  I have discovered that Mrs Reynolds has written to you and I cannot find it in myself to condemn her since I believe she is right in her fears. I hope I will live to see you again but, in case you arrive too late, I will leave you this letter, so that I may say everything I wish to say.

  I will begin by saying that I am very proud of you. You are everything I ever wanted in a son, for you are a true Darcy, and I can think of no higher praise than that. Remember at all times who you are and maintain a superiority of demeanour as you have a superiority of birth. Do not encourage the familiarity of the vulgar, for be warned, they will seek to bring themselves to your notice; but only assume the proper bearing and it will be enough to discourage their pretensions.

  Take care of your sister, protect her from those who would ingratiate themselves with her and, as she grows older, keep her safe from fortune hunters. When the time comes, arrange a good marriage for her; a marriage to one of her equals but also to a man she loves. It is the dearest wish of my heart that she should be happy.

  By that time, no doubt you will be married. Remember that the woman you favour with your hand will not only be a wife to you, she will also be a sister to Georgiana and the mistress of Pemberley. She will need to command the respect of the servants and the love of your family; she must reflect the greatness of the Darcys; she must be a gracious hostess and a model of feminine virtue; she must be a modest lady; and she must be possessed of a refined taste and true decorum. And she must be a woman you can admire, respect and esteem, as well as love.

  For advice on matters of this nature I refer you to my brother’s son, your cousin Philip. He, too, bears the name of Darcy, and on his shoulders, as well as on yours, will fall the responsibility of upholding the Darcy traditions and continuing the Darcy name. It is a noble calling, and one in which I know you will excel.

  Be affable to the poor, be kind to those in need, be a good landlord and a fair master. When anyone serves you with particular devotion, then repay it, as I have repaid the faithful stewardship of Mr Wickham. It was a delight to me to send his son to university, so that George might rise in the world and make his mark as a man of standing. I must now leave it to you to assist George in any way you think will be of benefit to him in the future; in particular, consider appointing him to the living of Kympton if he should go into the church. It is a valuable living with a good rectory and it will provide him with a respectable livelihood.

  And now I can write no more, for I grow too weak to hold the pen. I hope that I will be spared long enough to see you again, but if not, I give you my blessing, my son, and I leave you with these words: be a good friend, be a fair man, be a tender brother, but at all times remember who you are: Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley.

  Your loving father,

  George Darcy

  JUNE

  Mr Darcy to Mr Philip Darcy

  Pemberley, Derbyshire, June 1

  Philip, I write to you with terrible news. My father is dead. I arrived home, alerted by Mrs Reynolds, to find that he was very ill. I ran across the hall and as I climbed the staircase I thought it would never end. I reached the door of his room at last and I stopped for a moment to compose myself. The physician, hearing me, came out looking very grave. He shook his head and I had an awful moment when I thought that I was too late and that my father was already dead, so I steeled myself for the worst and went in. The room was dim and I could see nothing at first but then I made out his form on the bed. His chest was not rising and falling and as I went forward, my feet were as heavy as lead. But he turned his head and saw me and I fell to my knees at his side, taking his hand in mine, thanking God that I had returned home in time. He smiled and returned the pressure of my hand, and had time to give me his blessing before he closed his eyes and was gone.

  How long I stayed there I do not know. Mrs Reynolds found me at last and helped me below. I sat in the dining parlour until the light faded and only stirred when the candles were brought in. The light falling on the miniatures over the mantelpiece roused me, and I thought how much my father had loved to see them there, often turning to the portraits of Georgiana and myself and looking at them with pride.

  I cannot believe he will never see them again.

  I feel empty and alone. And yet, in this empty state, I have more to do than ever before. The servants are looking to me to guide them, and not just the servants, but the tenants and the villagers, all those who rely o
n me and Pemberley and the Darcy name to shelter and protect them, and ensure their prosperity and well-being. They are all waiting for me to take the lead and I do not know where I am going to find the strength to do it. But I must find it, and soon, for everyone is depending on me, not least of all Georgiana.

  She was very pale, poor little girl, when she heard the news. It went to my heart to see her so wan. I did what I could to comfort her but although I did my best, she needed a mother to help her, yet her mother is now long dead. To be an orphan at only eleven years old. Poor child! She is as lost as I am.

  I thank God for my aunt Adelaide. She set out from Cumbria as soon as she heard the news and she has now taken Georgiana back to Cumbria, where our Fitzwilliam cousins will pet her and spoil her and do everything in their power to cheer her. I saw her depart with a pang, but I can rest in the knowledge that I have done what is best for her.

  My cousin Henry came with my aunt and remained here when my aunt returned to Cumbria. You remember Henry Fitzwilliam, my military cousin on my mother’s side, I am sure. He will be with me for the funeral but I would value your support as well. I must be dignified and give a lead to the other mourners, but at present I do not know how I am to survive it. Will you come?

  Darcy

  Mr Philip Darcy to Mr Darcy

  Wiltshire, June 2

  I will come at once.

  PD

  Lady Adelaide Fitzwilliam to Mr Darcy

  Fitzwater Park, Cumbria,

  June 3

  My dear Fitzwilliam,

  You will want to know how we are all getting on in Cumbria. Georgiana is very quiet and your uncle is shocked to see how altered she is, being so thin and pale, but we are all determined to help her out of her grief. Thank goodness it is summer and so she can go out of doors. Maud means to take her out riding this afternoon. It is a fine day and we hope the fresh air will put some colour in her cheeks. Peter has promised her one of Sheba’s puppies, and although she did not appear to pay much attention to him at the time, she later asked me how many puppies there were and so I am sure the sight of them will do her good. We will take care of her and keep her with us until she is restored to her former animation.

 
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