Friday, January 16, 2009
Mr. Darcy's Decision
Christmas was good to me this year and brought 2 more pieces of JA fan fiction to my plate. One of them was Mr. Darcy's Decision by Juliette Shapiro.
This sequel finds Elizabeth & Darcy newly married and adapting to life at Pemberley. Lydia, again, is the cause of the mayhem in this novel. She discovers Wickham's indiscretion with a maid, and also learns that he was bribed into eloping with her. Lydia is also with child, but Wickham does not know this fact. Of course, Lizzy & Darcy are called upon to take in poor Lydia. In fact, they are urged by Mrs. Bennet to call the child their own upon its birth. Lizzy & Darcy agree, but they will have to call the child a twin, as Lizzy is with child and due at about the same time. There are some minor subplots involving Georgiana and the other Bennet girls, but nothing worth noting. Much contemplation of character ensues, Darcy struggles another internal battle and in the end, finds Wickham, urges the man to show some compassion and raise his child. Author Shapiro finds some good in Wickham's character and he concedes, the Darcy's give the Wickham's a small cottage on the edge of the Pemberly estate and all ends well, especially because Lizzy gives birth to a boy, the Darcy heir.
I struggled with this sequel simply because the author gave Wickham a sense of decency and morality! Darcy's deicison is that he "held on to the faint hope that if a small measure of his father's character [Wickham's father, the esteemed steward of old Mr. Darcy.] existed in Wickham I should have a chance to influence him, persuade him, if you like, to take the decent route in life" (171). Rather than keep the child a secret and claim it as a Darcy, Darcy decides to find Wickham in London and urge him to take the high road. Wickham agrees and returns with Darcy. Darcy, of course, feeling that he knows enough of Wickham to know that he is not playacting his feelings, thinks that W's feelings are genuine.
Really? Really? Would Darcy ever think anything good of Wickham after all of his previous scandelous behaviors toward Georgiana & the Bennet family? I doubt that W would return unless it benefited him in some way or another. Shapiro makes us think that Darcy would trust W again and that W has an once of goodness to him. I had a hard time buying it. It is not true to JA's original intent or characters.
All in all, 1 and a half bonnets.