Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart

I just finished reading Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Patillo. I'm disappointed to report that I didn't love this book. I wanted to love it. The premise - or, at least the title - is enticing to any Austenite. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it, but it's not at the top of my "must re-read at a future date" list.

The heroine, Claire, has the ultimate privilege of attending a week-long Pride and Prejudice seminar at Oxford. (As an aside, if anyone would like to send ME to a Pride and Prejudice seminar at Oxford, I would gladly go! Or even one like this that I found! Teehee!) While she's there, she meets a Mr. Darcy look-alike and instantly turns into goo. Never mind that she has a boyfriend back home. What's more interesting is that a woman randomly turns up (Can anyone say "Fairy Godmother?") with an authentic manuscript of First Impressions, which all we Austenites know was Jane Austen's first draft of Pride and Prejudice. Unfortunately, First Impressions was destroyed by Jane's sister after her death, along with hundreds of her letters. Claire learns that there is a secret group called the Formidables who have kept all of the supposedly-destroyed-but-actually-not manuscripts and letters in hiding for two hundred years. (Willing suspension of disbelief, people.) Claire reads the manuscript, and suddenly her moral choice between Mr. Darcy-look-alike and her boyfriend back home becomes crystal clear. I won't spoil the ending in case you decide to read the book.

I'm leaving out a LOT of backstory and details about Claire's life because to be honest, I don't feel like Pattillo did them justice. Claire has a LOT of emotional baggage and Pattillo wants us to believe that after a one-week seminar on Pride and Prejudice, all of a sudden all of Claire's problems are suddenly solved and she has found The Answer. This is my big problem with the book. Anyone with tons of emotional baggage (or even just a little bit of it) knows that true problems and real pain is not resolved with the waving of a wand, or even a single decision. Life is never so easy.

That being said, it was an enjoyable read. There was no truly objectionable material, and the ending wasn't terribly predictable. (Predictable, but not terribly so. This is different from "terribly predictable." Grin.) If you're looking for a fluffy, read-it-in-an-afternoon, beachy kind of book, this would fit the bill.

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