Thursday, June 25, 2009

Colonel Brandon’s Diary-Amanda Grange

Colonel Brandon’s Diary
Amanda Grange
Berkley, Jul 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425227794

In 1778 eighteen year old James Brandon loves his father’s ward Eliza and he hopes to marry her one day soon; she reciprocates his feelings and his dream. When his parents arrange a match between his Eliza and his brother womanizing drunk Harry, his heart is broken as his father has the final word. Eliza marries while heartbroken James joins the military.

After being stationed in India for years and going up in the ranks, James comes home having inherited Delaford though he hopes maturity hides his love for his sister-in-law. He is stunned to find a dying Eliza in debtor's prison. James frees her from her incarceration, but can only watch her die from the consumption that has wracked her lungs. Heartbroken, he raises Eliza’s illegitimate daughter, but at fifteen years old she runs away. Fearing for his ward, James begins to fall in love with Marianne Dashwood, but she is in love with Willoughby.

COLONEL BRANDON’S DAIRY occurs before and during the events of Sense and Sensibility as Amanda Grange provides the back story as well as filling in the gaps from a key male’s perspective in the Jane Austen classic. The cast stays true to the original but is enhanced by Amanda Grange especially the seemingly fickle Marianne, but once again this is a male’s diary so we see everything through his filter. Fans of the great Ms. Austen will appreciate the homage to Sense and Sensibility as Ms. Grange has done with Persuasion (see CAPTAIN WENTWORTH’S DIARY), Pride & Prejudice (see MR. DARCY’S DIARY), Mansfield Park (see EDMUND BERTRAM’S DAIRY) and Emma (see MR. KNIGHTLY’S DIARY).

Harriet Klausner

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