Christmas Awards 2011

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Colonel Brandon's Diary

ISBN 978-0-7090-8616-1.

This book, written in the form of a diary by Colonel James Brandon, a main character from the well loved book, ‘Sense and Sensibility’ by Jane Austin, gives an insight into his personal life from the age of eighteen years.

James Brandon, the younger of two sons, knows that he will have to make his way in the world after he finishes his studies at Oxford and intends to become a Lawyer.

His elder brother Harry is a drunkard and a womaniser but their father can see no wrong in him, in fact Harry’s behaviour seems to amuse their father, who will eventually inherit Delaford the family home and will also marry their father’s ward Eliza, who is a considerable heiress.

James and Eliza are secretly very much in love and plan to marry as soon as James can afford to take a wife. They are heartbroken when they learn that the engagement between Eliza and Harry is to be announced, against Eliza’s will, at a forthcoming ball their father is to hold for all of their neighbours. They are devastated with this terrible threat and so they plan to elope the very next day. Unfortunately, their plans are betrayed to James’s father, by a young maid and James is sent away at once by his father, to stay with his aunt and he is told that he may not return until Eliza and Harry are married.

A few days after he arrives at his aunt’s Castle James learns that Harry and Eliza are married and because of this his father allows him to go back to Delaford. James cannot bear to be at Delaford with the love of his life married to his brother. A marriage in which he is sure she will be miserable. He could not bear to be at his home where everything about him reminds him of his lost love. He leaves immediately for London on the way he stops for refreshments at The Black Swann Inn. There he meets an old friend who is travelling with his uncle, learning of James troubles the uncle advises him to become a soldier. The idea appeals to James and he eventually buys a commission and is sent to the Indies.

While in the Indies James’s Father dies and Harry inherits Delaford, he hopes that Eliza is happy and that Harry is taking care of her.

Two years later his sister Caroline writes to say that Eliza has left her husband and is now divorced and ruined. James longs to go to Eliza but it is not until the end of the year that he is able to go back to England to search for her. There are many trials before James finds Eliza. It is not the meeting he had hoped for, for she is desperately ill. James takes her from the debtor’s prison where she has been for some time and finds a home for her and waits for the inevitable, showing her love and kindness until the end. Believing that his life is also over he makes
arrangements for the welfare of Eliza’s daughter.
If you have read the original book you will know how the story progresses from here, the heart- aches and the pain, which he writes in his diary giving all of the details of his life over the next few years. Reading the diary we learn more of Brandon’s hopes and fears his pain and sometimes his joy. The ending we all know, but we live it with him through his writings in his diary, sharing his inner hopes and fears. This book is well worth reading and I award it .4 Red Roses.AS

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