It is no secret that I am obsessed with all things Jane Austen. I remember flipping through a People magazine as a teenager back in 1996. I saw an ad for an intriguing looking mini-series on A&E, Pride and Prejudice. I had heard of the novel by Jane Austen, but hadn’t read it at that time (and strangely it was never taught about it my high school). I didn’t have cable TV at home at the time, so I had my Dad’s girlfriend tape it for me (back in the glory days of VHS tapes). My sister Kristi and I sat down and watched it for a six-hour marathon, and we loved it. My best friends Jenn and Elina also watched it and we could talk of nothing else, but Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy. It was also during this time frame that I saw the Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility in the movie theatre with friends for the first time. Soon I was picking up my first copy of the novel Pride and Prejudice while I was visiting my soon to be future college, Michigan Technological University. I read it and admired it even more than the mini-series (although I would be picturing Mr. Darcy as Colin Firth as I read the novel). Soon I was reading all of Jane Austen’s other novels, reading biographies of Ms. Austen, watching any and all adaptations, reading spin-offs, sequels, modern take-offs, etc. Sixteen years later, the obsession hasn’t stopped. I only find as the years go by that my appreciation for Austen and her witty observations on life to have increased with age and experience.
What does this have to do with A Weekend with Mr. Darcy? Well, A Weekend with Mr. Darcy is a book written for a person as obsessed with Jane Austen as I am. I laughed with appreciation throughout reading the references to various Austen productions and spin-off novels. The main characters also have an Austen obsession like me, but unlike me they live in England and are able to attend a weekend Austen conference in Hampshire. They not only visit Austen’s birthplace, but also her beloved cottage in Chawton. I read with delight about the gift shop at Chawton and wished I could purchase some Colin Firth Mr. Darcy paraphernalia for myself. I also loved the call out of other Pride and Prejudice inspired works such as Mr. Darcy’s Diary and the Other Mr. Darcy.
A Weekend with Mr. Darcy focuses on two Austen obsessed ladies that attend the Jane Austen Conference. Katherine Roberts is a respected literature professor at Oxford with her expertise in Jane Austen. What she hides from her colleagues is the depth of her obsession with Austen and her secret passion for racy regency romance novels. She especially loves the regency romance novels by her favorite novelist, the popular, but reclusive Lorna Warwick. After becoming friends with Lorna Warwick through writing letters, she hopes to meet her favorite novelist at the conference. Katherine has been burned by love in the past, but after having a misunderstanding with a handsome stranger at the conference, she soon learns they have more in common then she originally thought.
Robyn Love is obsessed with Austen and is thrilled to be attending the Jane Austen conference. What she is not thrilled about is that her long time boyfriend Jace has decided to drive her to the conference and to hang out in town waiting for her. Jace hates all things Austen, and has not taken Robyn’s hints that she wants to break up with him. After meeting a handsome man on horseback, she learns that this man, Dan, also loves animals and reads Pride and Prejudice after her recommendation. Will Robyn get the courage to finally express her feelings to both men in her life?
A Weekend with Mr. Darcy is a delightful novel, and a fun, romantic read. I related to all of the Austen love in the novel, and I thought it had one of the best twists in a book that I’ve read for quite awhile. I won’t spoil it for you here, but a few chapters in I was like, “WHAT?” You got me! And I like it! The romance in the novel is sweet and I loved the character growth of each of the main characters. The secondary characters were also fun. I read this book quickly and was left wanting more. Luckily it said at the end of the novel that Victoria Connelly is working on a trilogy about Jane Austen addicts so I have two more books to look forward to!
I learned from this novel that if a man is looking for love, if he reads and likes Pride and Prejudice, the odds will be in his favor.
For more about Victoria Connelly, check out this interview.
Book Source: Advance Review Copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!