Amanda Grange: Mr Darcy, Vampyre

You could imagine the editorial meeting in which this novel was conceived such is the cynicism that drips from each word.

Person A: What gimmick can we deploy to distinguish a new Austen sequel from an already overcrowded market?

Person B: Something supernatural? Zombies?

A: Nah. It has been done.

B: Witches?

A: Nope. It will offend some sectors of the lucrative North American market. Remember Harry Potter?

B: Vampires?

A: Yeah. Pride and Prejudice meets Twilight. Kerching.

B: One problem. Vampires are generally soulless evil bloodsuckers.

A: Darcy can be a good vampire not given to base desires.

B: And the creature of the night aspect? Darcy did go to church and was often out and about during the day in Pride and Prejudice.

A: Stephanie Meyer ignored Vampire mythology so we too can ignore the whole crucifix and sunlight angst.

B: What? Darcy as a translucent vampire?

A : Only at Sunset and Sunrise.

B: Won’t Lizzy twig she has married a vampire?

A: Mmmm. Good point. Let’s dumb down Lizzy and let her be preoccupied with why Darcy won’t consummate the marriage.

B: Won’t consummate the marriage? Isn’t that a huge part of the appeal of these sequels?

A: Yes but we have to pad out three hundred pages so he doesn’t want to consummate the marriage to…um…protect…Lizzy?

B: Protect Lizzy?

A: From himself. One moment of happiness a la Angel turned evil after he did the nasty with Buffy.

B: So no evil Darcy?

A: No, and we can’t have Lizzy begging Darcy to turn her as Twilight is still in copyright.

B: So we break the vampiric curse?

A: Great idea. Something about the curse been defeated by love.

When you proposition the idea that Mr Darcy is a vampire it engenders certain expectations that the novel will have Lizzy deal with fact. It is not expected however that Lizzy should be become privy to this information rather late in the course of the novel. Page 239(of 308) to be precise. In the interim we are treated to a dreary grand tour of Europe while Grange treats her audience as simpletons:

Elizabeth realised Giuseppe was exploring her beliefs, and she was aware that, although Darcy’s friends had told her how good she was for Darcy, they were still assessing her and wondering if she was good enough for their friend: not good enough in terms of social standing or wealth, but in terms of marking him happy.(p.164)

This book does not work on so many levels including the marketing. Note to publishers do not print a letter that appears on page 232 as the blurb. The reader may mistake the book’s trajectory for something it is not.

If you must subject yourself to this book borrow rather than buy.

(2009: ISBN13:978-1-4022-3998-4)


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