Part I: Sense and Sensibility, cont’d

I just finished Colonel Brandon’s Diary and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the most recent of Amanda Grange’s “Men of Austen” (my title, not hers) Diary series, and I have read all of them. The only one missing is Edward Ferrars, and I really hope she writes that one soon.  Ms. Grange seems to have a similar take on Austen’s heroes to mine (either that, or I just see my own prejudices in her stories) and I have liked all of the books.  Some more than others, of course, but I have found something to appreciate in every one.

Brandon has always been a rather enigmatic character — Austen doesn’t even give him a Christian name — and it seems to me that we know less about him than we do about Austen’s other heroes.  Grange does give the Colonel a Christian name (James), and provides us with a backstory for him that works.  We get to meet his father and brother (both of whom are positively dreadful) and, most importantly, we get to meet Eliza, the woman James has loved since he was a boy.  Eliza is beautiful and fun and lively and is a good complement for the quiet, more introspective, James.  We get to share his pain when he learns she’s been forced to marry his brother and also when he finds her in the debtor’s prison, suffering from consumption.  We see his love for her little daughter, also named Eliza.  Sir John Middleton and his family are also featured and I liked seeing the initial meeting of the Colonel and the Dashwood family from the Colonel’s perspective.  All in all, it was an entertaining read that will go on the keeper shelf (when I get one, that is).

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