Wickham's Diary

Wickham's Diary

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by Amanda Grange
     
 

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11 July 1784
Why should I be beneath Fitzwilliam? I am just as handsome as he is; I am just as intelligent, even though he works harder at his books; and I am just as amusing; in fact I dare say I am a great deal more amusing, for Fitzwilliam is so proud he will not take the trouble to entertain other people.

Yet although he is no better than

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Overview

11 July 1784
Why should I be beneath Fitzwilliam? I am just as handsome as he is; I am just as intelligent, even though he works harder at his books; and I am just as amusing; in fact I dare say I am a great deal more amusing, for Fitzwilliam is so proud he will not take the trouble to entertain other people.

Yet although he is no better than me, when he grows up he will inherit Pemberley, and I will inherit nothing...

Jane Austen's ultimate bad boy finally gets his say. Face with an uncertain future—while his friend Fitzwilliam Darcy is set for life—dastardly George Wickham plots and cavorts in this rollicking prequel to Pride and Prejudice. Bestselling author Amanda Grange daringly explores the inner turmoil and secret motivations of the character every Austen fan loves to hate...

Praise for Mr. Darcy's Diary:
"Grange tells Darcy's story in her own style, with charm and a gentle wit. While her characters are true to Austen's creations, a couple of surprises lurk, only adding to the reader's pleasure."—Susan Higginbotham, author of The Traitor's Wife

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Editorial Reviews

My Reading Room
I loved this book. Sometimes it's easy to be disappointed by other authors taking a stab at Jane Austen fiction, but I was not at all disappointed with Ms. Grange's take on this Pride and Prejudice character.
From the Publisher
"I loved this book. Sometimes it's easy to be disappointed by other authors taking a stab at Jane Austen fiction, but I was not at all disappointed with Ms. Grange's take on this Pride and Prejudice character.

" - My Reading Room

Grange, an obvious Jane Austen fan, has given an amusing and totally believable account of a wastrel's life. Wickham's Diary takes its place among her previous diaries of Jane Austen heroes.

Wickham's Diary was a light, enjoyable read.

Take it from me this is one book that all fans of Pride & Prejudice will want to have on their shelf.

Wickham's Diary...is an inside look at the possible motivations of the villain in Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. At just about 200 pages, the novel is a light read and the diary entries make it easy for readers to pick up and read for short intervals at a time.

At slightly more than 200 pages, Wickham's Diary is a quick read and made my afternoon commute fly by. I enjoyed Grange's writing and applaud her for trying something new in the realm of Austen variations.

I do hope that Grange continues with the villains (maybe even Mr. Collins-hilarious) because the new perspective you gain on them is truly eye-opening.

It is a true testament to Amanda Grange's talent that the book reads like an addition of Jane Austen's work, carrying on her voice with poise and creative imagination. The regency era novella is like a prologue of Pride and Prejudice and does the tale justice. Suitable for any fan of Austen's work, Wickham's Diary is a short story capable of adding insight to the characters and creating more imagery with which to imagine the story taking place.

This was just a great little book, which brought Austen's original character of Darcy into better focus. I thought Grange did an outstanding job with this one and I look forward to reading her other diary format novels based on Austen's work.

Grange's writing is perfect for evoking Austenesque tones and I look forward to perusing her backlis.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402251870
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
04/01/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
667,671
File size:
1 MB

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Read an Excerpt

Wickham's Diary


By AMANDA GRANGE

Sourcebooks, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Amanda Grange
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4022-5188-7


CHAPTER 1

11th July 1784


Fitzwilliam and I rode out early this morning. We raced down to the river and I won, beating him by a good two lengths, at which I laughed and called him a sluggard. He was annoyed and challenged me to a race back to the house. I accepted the challenge and, once our horses were rested, we set off. He started to pull away from me, jumping the hedge before me, and he reached the drive as I was still crossing the river, so that by the time I reached the stable yard I found him there, waiting for me.

'That is the trouble with you, George, you use up all your energy to begin with instead of holding something back for later!' he said. 'You pushed your horse too hard on the way to the river. He was too tired to give me a race on the way back.'

'Life is for living,' I said with a shrug. 'Live for the moment; win what you can, when you can. There is no use worrying about later.'

Gates, the groom, hobbled towards us and congratulated Fitzwilliam on his victory. I could tell he was pleased that Fitzwilliam had won. It was only right, in Gates's opinion, that Fitzwilliam should be victorious, because Fitzwilliam was the son of Mr Darcy. It reinforced his belief in the scheme of things, that those at the top belonged at the top, and that those beneath them belonged at the bottom.

I dare say I should have believed it, too, if I had been born at the top, but as I have been born at the bottom I think it a stupid arrangement.

Why should I be beneath Fitzwilliam? I am just as handsome as he is; I am just as intelligent, even though he works harder at his books; and I am just as amusing; in fact I dare say I am a great deal more amusing, for Fitzwilliam is so proud he will not take the trouble to entertain other people.

Yet, although he is no better than me, when he grows up he will inherit Pemberley, and I will inherit nothing.

We went into the stables and Fitzwilliam began to tend to his horse. If I were the son of Mr Darcy I would throw the reins to my groom and let him do all the work, but Fitzwilliam always insists on doing it himself, which means that I have to do it, too.

He stood back when he had done it and I could tell that it gave him satisfaction to see his horse well cared for.

Perhaps there is something to breeding after all, for I took no satisfaction in it. I was just relieved to have finished the chore.

Then it was time for us to go home, he to the great house and me to the steward's house.

As we parted at the corner of the drive and I glimpsed Pemberley in all its glory, I thought, One day I am going to live in a house like that, and no humble beginnings are going to stop me.

As I drew near the house I passed a hackney carriage coming the other way and I whooped with delight. Mama was home! I ran in through the front door and hurried into the drawing-room. There was Mama, surrounded by boxes and paper, trying on a new bonnet and admiring herself in the mirror that hung over the mantelpiece, looking very beautiful.

She caught sight of me in the looking glass and spun round, running towards me with her arms wide open and her smile as bright as a flame. If I had been five years old she would have caught me up and spun me round, and I think that for a moment we both of us regretted that I am now twelve and far too old for such things. But she embraced me anyway, and laughed and said, 'Oh, Georgie, I missed you! A week away is too long, but the shops in London! You have never seen anything like them. They are so bright and cheerful and full of fine things. And the people! My dear, you have never seen such smartly dressed people in your life. The fashions there are far more advanced than those in the country. There are full skirts and oh! all manner of new things. I just had to have a few new gowns and I cannot wait to wear them, though what your papa will say, goodness only knows. Well, how do I look? What do you think of my new bonnet? Is it not adorable? Do I not look divine?'

'You look absolutely ravishing,' I said, and it was the truth.

She laughed and said, 'My own darling boy! Now look ...' and she ran across the room, throwing open a box and pulling out a coat, spilling paper everywhere. 'I have not forgotten you. I have bought something for you. What do you think of this? Will you not look fine?'

She held it up and I was impatient at once to try it on. It was a red coat made in the hussar style with gold frogging all the way down the front.

'Put it on,' she said.

I threw off my old coat and obliged her, admiring myself in the looking glass, for indeed I did look very fine. She stood behind me, saying, 'You take after my side of the family, Georgie, with your handsome face and your good taste and your love of fine things. You were born to be a gentleman, not the son of a steward.'

'Then why did you marry a steward?' I asked.

She gave a sigh.

'If I had had my way I would have married a wealthy gentleman, but my papa disapproved of him and forbade the match. I was all ready to elope, indeed I had already climbed out of the window, but when I found that the man at the bottom of the ladder was Papa and not Tom, I had to climb back up again. He gave me such a scolding, saying that I was far too young for marriage and that Tom was wild and unreliable, but I was sixteen and ready for adventure and I wanted to go to Scotland with Tom. What fun we would have had! And his grandmama would have come round eventually and then after her death we would have had her fortune and just think what that would have meant to us.'

'I wonder you did not marry him a few years later then.'

'Alas! Tom was indeed wild. His family would not let him see the world so he ran away to sea and was washed overboard in a storm.'

'Why didn't you find another wealthy suitor?' I asked her.

'That is a very sensible question. You are wise beyond your years, George. Of course I would have found another wealthy suitor if I had had the chance, but my papa sent me into the country to stay with my great aunt because he was afraid I would find someone else with whom to elope. Oh, my dear child, I was so bored! There were no shops, no galleries, no theatres; no park to ride in, nowhere to see and be seen; no amusement whatsoever except for the monthly assemblies in the local town, which were as dull as ditchwater. There were no men there under forty there save for your papa.'

'So that is why you married him. I have sometimes wondered,' I said, for Mama is like a brightly coloured butterfly and Papa is as sober as a judge.

'That is not the only reason. I also married him because he was a good, sweet darling and utterly devoted to me. And because he had the ear of the greatest man in the neighbourhood, for he had been of some use to Mr Darcy, and I knew that Mr Darcy liked to reward those who had served him well. So I knew that it was only a matter of time until your papa ceased to be a country attorney and became something much better instead. And sure enough, soon afterwards, Mr Darcy made your papa his steward and we came to live here in this dear little house on the Pemberley estate.

'Oh! How happy I was, particularly as I thought it was just the beginning of greater things. But alas! Your papa has no ambition and he was content to remain a steward, looking after another man's property instead of owning his own.

'But you, George, you will rise to greater things. Such a handsome face, together with such charming manners, cannot fail to win you friends in a position to help you. Indeed, you have already made a useful friend in Fitzwilliam, and that friendship will make life easier for you by and by. In fact, it is already making life easier, for what other boy of your age, without wealthy relatives himself, rides the kind of horse you ride and goes to Eton and is free to run around a house like Pemberley? And the friend of Fitzwilliam Darcy will continue to have opportunities that would be denied to a steward's son.'

'Fitzwilliam will go to Cambridge in a few years,' I said. 'And after that, I will seldom see him.'

'My darling boy, you are a great favourite of Mr Darcy's—and how could you not be? You could charm the birds out of the trees—I do not doubt that he will send you to Cambridge with Fitzwilliam when the time comes. Only continue to be charming and respectful and the thing is as good as done. Once there, you will meet a great many useful people, young men from rich families with patronage in all areas of life—although, I cannot see you doing well in a profession, George. No, I think you must cultivate the young men with heiresses for sisters. A life as a gentleman with a rich wife is more suited to you, I think.'

She was distracted by something and, looking over my shoulder, I saw, through the window, that Papa was coming up the drive.

'Now, be off with you, George. Your papa will need careful handling when he sees how much I have spent and I cannot handle him with you here. He will worry too much about setting you a bad example, and he will be embarrassed if I sit on his knee and play with his hair.'

I picked up my old coat and left the room. As I went upstairs I heard Papa come in and go into the drawing-room. His voice floated up to me.

'How many times do I have to tell you that we cannot afford this kind of extravagance?' he asked in exasperation.

I turned round and sat on the stairs so that I could look through the banisters and into the drawing-room. Mama was at her most charming, running towards him very prettily and smoothing his hair back from his face.

'Now, John, you are not to worry; it looks far worse than it is. With the paper all strewn about, and bags and boxes everywhere, it looks as though I have been buying a great deal when in fact I have bought very little and all of it necessary, I do assure you.'

It almost worked. He stroked her cheek, but then he put her away from him and said, 'You must let me know exactly how much you have spent.'

'You surely do not mean me to keep track of every last penny?' she said in astonishment. 'I hope you do not mean to behave like an accountant?'

'My dearest, one of us must. We are not wealthy, you know. I wish we were, for your sake, but we must take care not to live beyond our income, and that income is not large enough to support your shopping trips.'

Mama tried to distract him, but he would not be fobbed off and at last she had to hand him the bills. He sat down and looked through them and heaved a heavy sigh.

'Darling dear one, don't sigh,' said Mama. 'I have my allowance, you know, and some little money from Mama, and I have not spent so very much more than that, and when you see what I have bought I am sure you will see why I could not leave the things in the shops. I will be very good from now on, I promise you.'

'That is what you said the last time,' he said.

'But this time I mean it,' she said, snuggling onto his lap and stroking his face. 'I do, really, John, I do. I am a trial to you, I know, but I will do better.'

Poor Papa! He never stood a chance!

'You could never be a trial to me,' he said, wrapping his arms around her.

She leant her head on his shoulder, but a minute later she was springing from his knee and saying, 'Then let me show you my new bonnet. You will love it, you know.'

She tried it on and he laughed and said, 'After all, what is the use of a pretty face without a few pretty things from time to time? I can find more work, I am sure. I have time enough. Mr Darcy does not make onerous demands on me, and some of my old clients will hire me to help them with their day-to-day cares.'

Mama kissed him on the cheek, and, having seen enough, I went upstairs where I mused on the fate of Mama and Papa and decided that, when I marry, it will be an heiress. Then I can have all the fine clothes I want, without having to worry about everything I spend.

CHAPTER 2

5th June 1788


Pemberley is full of people this month, for the Darcys have visitors. In general I like it when they have people to stay, for it gives me a chance to practise my charm, but this week's visitors are not to my taste. They are some distant cousins of the Darcys and there is not one daughter amongst the children, but instead there are only sons.

Mama was as disappointed as I was when she found out, for as she said to me, 'You are sixteen now, George, you are of an age to start learning how to make yourself agreeable to girls. You see so few of them, what with being away at school most of the time and then having so little opportunity to meet any through your papa or me, that you must seize every chance you get. And this would have been a good chance. But never mind, make yourself agreeable to the boys, for there is no saying where a friendship with one or another of them might lead.'

I took her advice and I tried to make myself useful. I listened to their tales of hunting exploits and I looked impressed at their stories of romantic conquests, so that I believe the older boys liked me. But the younger boys were more troublesome, particularly as Darcy's parents wanted him to amuse them and of course I had to help him. He brought one of them along when we went fishing this morning. It annoyed me for a moment that he did not ask me if James might join us but then I shrugged, for I cannot expect him to ask me about everything I suppose.

We went down to the river and cast our lines. James did not know how to fish and tangled his line in the bushes and then made a nuisance of himself by fidgeting and saying he was bored. Fitzwilliam told him that he might go back to the house but he shuddered and said that, if he did, his tutor was sure to find him some work to do. He applied himself a little but soon something distracted him, for Georgiana ran down to the river, clutching her doll. She tripped over and dropped it and James, glad of an opportunity to leave off fishing, ran over to her and picked it up. But instead of returning it to her, he held it over her head and laughed as she jumped up and tried to take it.

I could see that Darcy was annoyed.

He said, 'Give it back to her,' but James continued to dance around, waving it over her head.

Georgiana began to cry.

'I said give it back to her,' said Darcy, putting down his fishing rod and going over to James in order to take the doll.

'Make me,' said James, in an infuriating voice.

'I won't tell you again,' said Darcy warningly.

'Good, for I won't listen if you do!' laughed James.

At which Darcy wasted no more words but knocked him down, took the doll, gave it back to Georgiana and then dried her tears. She threw her arms round his neck and gave him a kiss and then ran off to her nurse, who appeared at that moment. The nurse was out of breath, for she had run all the way from the house after Georgiana, but this did not spare her Fitzwilliam's ill humour. He scolded her for letting Georgiana out of her sight, saying that if he had not been by the river then his sister could have fallen in. The nurse looked abashed and hid her novel behind her back so that he should not see the reason for her negligence. She apologised and then she took Georgiana by the hand and retreated with her charge in tow.

We settled down to our fishing again. James had picked himself up and was much better behaved to Darcy. He had a bruise coming up on his cheek, but he said no more of being bored and tried to do as he was told, ending the morning by catching two very fine fish.

'So Fitzwilliam is giving orders already, is he?' asked Mama, when I told her of the incident. 'He has the natural Darcy authority. Study him, George. That authority will be useful to you in the future.'

'Mama, you know I have no authority!' I said with a laugh. 'I cannot give orders for the world! Anyway, why should I need to? As you are so fond of telling me, I have charm!'

'Impudent boy!' she said, ruffling my hair affectionately. But then she became more serious. 'Charm is a great asset in life, but there are certain people who will not respond to it at all. Amongst them are tailors, bootmakers, and tradespeople, people you will need to converse with in the future. They will grant long credit to a man who behaves as though he owns the world, but they will not give anything to a charming rogue, for they know that charm never paid a bill. You must study people carefully, George, so that you can decide which manner will best suit the people you are dealing with. Sometimes charm and sometimes authority. Try it now. Stand up very straight and look down your nose at me. Just think of Fitzwilliam. He has the true Darcy spirit. There is not a tradesman in the land who would refuse him credit, though he is only sixteen years old.'


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Wickham's Diary by AMANDA GRANGE. Copyright © 2011 Amanda Grange. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Amanda Grange is a popular author of historical fiction in the UK. She specializes in creative interpretations of classic novels and historical events, including Jane Austen's novels and the Titanic shipwreck. Her novels include Mr. Darcy's Diary, Mr. Knightley's Diary, Captain Wentworth's Diary, and Mr. Darcy, Vampyre. She lives in England.


Amanda Grange is a bestselling author of Jane Austen fiction (over 200,000 copies sold). She lives in England. Sharon Lathan is a bestselling author of Jane Austen fiction (over 100,000 copies sold). She resides in Hanford, California. Carolyn Eberhart is a debut author and member of RWA. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Wickham's Diary 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
-Megan- More than 1 year ago
Wow! I found this book very enjoyable. It sheds a new light on Wickham, a man almost everyone hates. It shows how and why he became the way he did and it made me feel a little bit sorry for him. It shows him to have a heart, which of course we know he later does not have. Of course, with who this book is about, there are a couple of scenes that show his low morals, but they are well done! They make it clear what he is about to do or what he already did, but they are not in detail - which I was very happy about! I hate when books get too descriptive about that type of thing - less is more. The story begins when Wickham and Darcy are young boys. Wickham is a very nice and friendly boy who genuinely is friends with Darcy, but he has a small bit of resentment about how Darcy will one day be master of Pemberley and he will at most be the steward of Pemberley. I felt that this resentment could have been overcome had it not been for Wickham's mother. Wickham's mother - oh, what can I say about her? The story is written in such a way that I felt that had she been a less conniving and manipulative person, Wickham would have turned out quite differently. She was always encouraging Wickham to do the wrong thing, to befriend people only to advance his owns goals. She was such a horrible person, never content with what she had - always wanting more. Overall 'Wickham's Diary' was so much better than I expected it to be. I will never think about Wickham in the same way again! This was the first book by Amanda Grange that I have read, but it will not be my last. I highly recommend this book, it adds so much detail to Wickham's character.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1784 two boys around the same twelve years of age play together at Pemberly. Fitzwilliam Darcy will one day inherit the estate while George Wickham is the son of the steward and will only obtain whatever his friend's father gives him as he cares for the lad like a second son. Wickham's mother wants her son to marry an heiress and gives him advice on how to use Darcy as his entrance into Polite Society. Darcy's father pays for Wickham to attend Cambridge with his son, but while the latter is a stern righteous person walking the straight and narrow, the former is wenching, gambling and drinking. When Wickham is caught with a prostitute, Darcy washes his hands of his former best friend and refuses to pay his way out of prison. A few years later Wickham finds it ironic when he meets Georgiana Darcy as she is a beautiful adult heiress living apart from her brother and he starts to court her. Just when his dreams are about to happen, Darcy intrudes. This may be a novella, but it packs the punch of a novel as readers observe the influence Wickham's mother had on him. She encouraged him to go above his station, feeling it was his earned right to use any means necessary. The grand divide between the classes is shown in stark detail as George covets what Fitzwilliam inherits. Amanda Grange who has written Darcy's Dairy Fitzwilliam's viewpoint to Pride and Prejudice gives Wickham the same insightful treatment. Harriet Klausner
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