Colonel Brandon’s Diary by Amanda Grange

5962345Fiction — print. Berkley, 2009. 304 pgs. Library copy.

Upon arriving home from Oxford, James Brandon declares his love to his father’s ward, Eliza, and asks her to marry him. His father, though, has other ideas and decides to marry Eliza to his heir Harry, a complete drunkard, so the family can gain access to her fortune.

Devastated, Eliza and James decide to elope together but their plan is foiled and James is sent away to his aunt’s until such time Harry and Eliza are married. James has complete faith in Eliza, though, and believes she could never be prevailed upon to marry Harry, but when he is sent for by his father he finds his faith was misplaced and Eliza did marry Harry. Devastated once again, James leaves Oxford and buys himself a commission in the army — thus becoming the Colonel Brandon met by Miss. Marianne Dashwood.

Grange’s book really brought to life Colonel Brandon’s back story, which I felt was glossed over in Sense and Sensibility. His love and anguish over Eliza is felt completely as well as the fierce protection he feels for Eliza’s daughter. Strange, though, that months would pass since her disappearance with him doing very little to recover her. I finished this novel utterly unconvinced that Colonel Brandon really loves Marianne simply because some much feeling is put into James’ love for Eliza. And there is an odd comment where James remarks upon how pretty Marianne is because she resembles her sister, Elinor, but maybe that’s because even Grange thought the idea of impulsive, wild Marianne settling down with prim and proper Brandon was a bit strange too. Regardless, I really appreciate the background information and character development provided by Grange; it filled in a lot of holes in the original story’s back story.

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