Perhaps that’s why Austen’s books were so popular, Katherine mused because her heroines made the most terrible mistakes: they either fell for the bad boys or turned the good ones away. They were real, flawed but forgivable, girls who had a lot of growing up to do and readers loved them because they were them.
Which one of us hasn’t made a hash of our lives at one time or other, Katherine thought, daring to think about her own doomed relationship with David. The only difference was that Katherine wasn’t a fictional character in a novel, and Jane Austen wasn’t around to ensure her a happy ending.
(from A Weekend With Mr. Darcy, pages 68-69 in the ARC; finished version may be different)
It took me only a handful of pages to figure out what was going to happen in A Weekend With Mr. Darcy, but that didn’t prevent me from really enjoying the book. Sometimes light and predictable is just what you need, and Victoria Connelly infuses the book with charming but flawed characters and plenty of humorous scenes.
A Weekend With Mr. Darcy follows three people at the Jane Austen Conference hosted by Dame Pamela Harcourt at her estate, Purley Hall. Katherine Roberts is a professor who lectures and writes about Jane Austen at work and secretly devours the sexy Regency romances by Lorna Warwick, an author she talks to through letters and considers her best friend. She plans to speak at the conference and just get away from it all, particularly a student with a major crush on her and a former lover whom she discovered was married.
Meanwhile, Robyn Love is unhappy with her job and looking for the right time to break up with her boyfriend, who just doesn’t understand her love of Jane Austen, the books, and all the film adaptations. She can’t wait for the long weekend at the conference so she can visit Jane Austen’s family church in Steventon and the house where Austen did much of her writing, as well as immerse herself in the Regency world and talk with people who love all-things-Austen as much as she does. But her loud and obnoxious and not-a-fan-of-Austen boyfriend has a surprise — he will accompany her to the conference.
Also attending the conference is Warwick Lawton, who has elaborate plans to meet the woman of his dreams there and make her fall in love with him. Except he has a secret that threatens to derail his plans.
All I could think about while reading A Weekend With Mr. Darcy is that I would love to be friends with these characters, I’d love to attend such a conference, and if I were lucky enough to spend even a moment at Purley Hall at said conference, I would never want to leave. A Weekend With Mr. Darcy has that little extra something to go with the romance — Jane Austen (of course) and a cast of interesting and well-developed characters. I fell in love with Katherine, Robyn, and Warwick; I rejoiced with them, I laughed with them, and I cringed with them when the inevitable mistakes were made.
Connelly has created a magical world for Janeites, where it is possible for an Austen-obsessed woman to find her Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth, which makes the whirlwind romances easier to swallow. Because when you read a book like this, you want to believe that love at first sight is possible — especially when it could be your very own Darcy or Wentworth. A Weekend With Mr. Darcy is a fun, though predictable, must-read for Austen fans looking for characters who are just like themselves. If you love Austen as much as I do, you’ll find yourself nodding in agreement every time these characters open their mouths to say how and why they love Austen, her books, and all the films. Connelly is obviously one of us, and I can’t wait to read the next two books in this trilogy about Jane Austen addicts.
Disclosure: I received A Weekend With Mr. Darcy from Sourcebooks for review.
© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.