I read Project Darcy right before Christmas and it was a perfect book to read at that time of year. Author Jane Odiwe is also a wonderful artist and I loved her illustration of an old-fashioned house in winter in a small circle on the cover. Looking at that picture whenever I picked up the book, I found it southing and put me in the mood for the novel. I wish I could actually get more copies of her artwork. I need to look into this!
Project Darcy is a time travels with Jane Austen novel. Ellie Bentley joins an archaeological dig at the childhood home (Steventon rectory) of Jane Austen for the summer while in college. This isn’t really how she wanted to spend the summer, but her good friend Jess has survived cancer and this dig is one of her dreams. Together with their other friends, Martha, Cara, and Liberty, they travel to Hampshire and stay in Jess’s Aunts house, which also happens to be the home of the Lefroy family, good friends of Jane Austen. While there, Cara and Liberty go silly over the boys, but Jess find herself more seriously infatuated with Charlie Harden, a rich and nice guy. Ellie is not so infatuated by Charlie’s snobby friend Henry Dorsey. This present day story roughly follows the lines of Pride and Prejudice set in modern times, but with a few new twists and surprises.
One twist is that Ellie has a special gift where she is able to slip back in time and experience Jane Austen’s romance with young Tom Lefroy. Jane finds Tom quite stuffy and arrogant when she first meets him, but upon further meetings, she finds herself in love. Tom and Jane both have no money and know their romance is improbable, but their love cannot be denied. Could this romance have helped to inspire Pride and Prejudice?
I enjoyed this novel. It was a relaxing read and quite entertaining. I felt both the contemporary as well as the time slip portion of the novels were equally as strong in the narration. I enjoyed both stories and felt in suspense waiting to see what was happening in the other time frame. I liked all of the characters and I especially enjoyed the twists to the stories that Odiwe added in just when you thought you knew what was going to happen. I also really enjoyed the setting of the modern day story – an archaeological dig on Steventon Rectory! That would be a dream to work on. I also love time slip/time travel stories so together with my love of all things Jane Austen, this was the perfect novel for me. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a great book to read.
Book Source: I am grateful to author Jane Odiwe who sent me a copy of this wonderful book to review. Thank-you!