Monday, August 5, 2013

"Colonel Brandon's Diary" by Amanda Grange

It seems that the western novel I'm writing right now requires me to read Jane Austen-inspired books to keep my creative juices flowing.  This makes no sense to me, but whenever I read one of Amanda Grange's books, my writing output makes a significant jump.  Huh.

I couldn't decide if I wanted to read Henry Tilney's Diary or Mr. Knightley's Diary next.  So I chose this one instead and jilted them both.  Once again, I was delighted by Grange's writing and storytelling, and breezed through it in a few days.  These are the closest I'll probably ever come to reading fluffy romances, hee.

This book actually makes me like Sense and Sensibility better.  I never completely liked the pairing of Colonel Brandon and Marianne Dashwood -- probably because I like Elinor better than Marianne, and Brandon better than Ferrars, so I'd rather see Elinor and Brandon get together.  Edward Ferrars is, I'm afraid, rather boring to me.  Anyway, this showed how Marianne's liveliness gave Colonel Brandon a new appreciation of life after his earlier heartaches left him numb.  His love for her makes a lot more sense to me now.

Also, Grange gave Colonel Brandon a first name:  James.  Which happens to be my very favorite name ever.

So, a thoroughly enjoyable summer read, and very helpful to my novel-writing endeavors.

Particularly Good Bits:  

"I have been born to an extraordinary fate, have I not?" she said, stopping and turning to face me.  "For I have discovered the falsehood of my own opinions, and now it only remains for me to counteract them by my conduct."  (p. 293)

If this was a movie, I would rate it:  G.  Nothing objectionable here whatsoever.  Awesomeness!


  1. I read Mr. Darcy's Diary, and I enjoyed it (I think I might still own it). I haven't read any of the others, though. I think part of it is that it's hard for me to accept the premise that these dignified men would go to lengths to write pages upon pages of emotional details. You'd think there would at least be pages and pages of business stuff to round it out. Ha, ha. But that's such a petty thing. It was a fun book.

    1. Well, yes... I think of this as the pertinent excerpts taken from their diaries, lol. That's why there are gaps that skip over months or more -- all that stuff was dull business things, and we've been spared that.

      But all novels in the form of a diary stretch credulity, even modern ones like Bridget Jones' Diary. I don't know anyone who writes out whole conversations in their journals/diaries. Oh well, still diverting.

  2. First of all, thank you so much for your caring words about the loss of my sweet Nikki dog. Her passing has been heartbreaking for our family, and the kindness and caring of friends has been a real comfort.

    Next, I'm so glad that you found something which helps to get those "creative juices" flowing once more.

    I think I might like this novel, and I am going to add it to my Goodreads "to read" shelf...making approximately 95 books on that shelf!

    I am very much a Marianne Dashwood. Every time I take that "What Austen Heroine Are You" quiz, I come up as Marianne...even though I REALLY wish I came up as Elinor. Alas, my emotions are far too "out there" to ever be Elinor.

    Also, when I took the "Austen Hero" quiz, Colonel Brandon came up as my choice. I was surprised by that, mostly, I suppose, because I don't much care for Alan Rickman. The character may be fine, but since I don't swoon over Rickman, I just don't really care for him. Ah, if only Audie Murphy (or any other number of dead guys!) had played that role!!

    1. I came up Elinor Dashwood the first few times I took that quiz, and I think that's pretty fair. I see a lot of her in myself, but I see more of myself in Anne Elliot, and the last time I took it, I got her :-D I'm very unlike Marianne, but I find Colonel Brandon very alluring.

      The last time I took the Austen Hero quiz, I got Mr. Knightley, and I do think I could probably be really happy with him. My listing of the heroes are this:

      1. Captain Wentworth
      2. Mr. Darcy
      3. Mr. Knightley and Henry Tilney
      4. Colonel Brandon
      5. Edward Ferrars
      6. Edmund Bertram

      I'm not a huge Alan Rickman fan, but I do enjoy his performance as Brandon (and as Snape). In that movie, I do like Edward Ferrars because he's more personable than he comes across as in the book. So... who could we cast from Classic Hollywood to play your perfect Brandon? You know, I could almost see Robert Ryan in the role, being quiet and helpful and stalwart. And I don't even like Robert Ryan that much!

      But anyway, I definitely recommend this book with zero reservations. I was just telling my mom about these books tonight and she's going to see if she can get them on her Kindle because she loves the idea of them.

    2. Ah, Robert Ryan in the role of Colonel Brandon...I might very much like being Marianne then, and having Colonel Brandon as my hero choice!

      Interestingly, my library has a number of these books, but not this particular one. I think I will have to put in a purchase request. After all, why not complete the series?

    3. Hee, I knew you'd have an easy time seeing him in the role :-)

      I hope your library gets it! I've had about a 50% success rate over the years when it comes to libraries getting things I suggest/request.

  3. I know we've discussed Mr. Darcy's Diary. It seems like Grange would have more freedom with Colonel Brandon, so I'll have to read this one! It sounds interesting. :) I've been reading your comments, too, and I always come out as Elizabeth on the Austen heroine quiz, which is probably appropriate. I'm a little too stubborn and headstrong for my own good. My hero tends to change a bit (based on where I am in life, I guess). But this time I put in my husband's attributes and came up with Mr. Knightley, which made me pretty happy! Also, I love Alan Rickman! I don't find him attractive, but he's such a fantastic actor. Also, if you think about the fact that Marianne was not initially attracted to him, I think Rickman fits the role very well, since he does well in every other respect.

    1. Yes, both Brandon and Wentworth offer enormous freedom because they've got all this briefly explained history. In this, the book is almost half over before we join up with the S&S plot.

      I think Rickman makes a perfect Brandon because he's got the older-and-wiser vibe that the role needs.


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