‘Can you believe Pride and Prejudice is two hundred years old?’ Robyn said.
‘Mr Darcy is doing very well for his age,’ Dame Pamela said with a little chuckle. ‘Pleasing women for two centuries is no mean feat!’
Everybody laughed and Warwick proposed a toast. ‘Happy Birthday, Mr Darcy!’ he said and they all echoed his sentiments, clinking their glasses with each other as they did so.
(from Happy Birthday, Mr. Darcy)
Happy Birthday, Mr. Darcy is the fifth installment in Victoria Connelly’s Austen Addicts series, reuniting readers with their favorite characters from A Weekend With Mr. Darcy, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy Forever, and Christmas With Mr. Darcy. The wedding of Dr. Katherine Roberts, a professor who lectures and writes about Jane Austen, and Warwick Lawton, an author of Regency romances, coincides with the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, so it’s quite fitting that they are to be joined in marriage at Dame Pamela Harcourt’s Purley Hall — the estate where they met at a Jane Austen conference.
With Dame Pamela, her brother Dan, and his wife Robyn taking care of all the details, Katherine and Warwick should have little to worry about. But Warwick’s unlucky-in-marriage sister, Lily, keeps telling him that walking down the aisle is a big mistake, and Katherine is worried about what marriage will mean for her career and her identity. Although Austen’s novels always end with a happily ever after for the main characters, Katherine uses the novels to question whether she is making the right decision — and while Robyn and Dan try to get the lovebirds down the aisle, they face a problem of their own.
Connelly does a wonderful job portraying Katherine’s pre-wedding jitters; it was totally fitting for an Austen professor and Janeite to use the novels as a sort of guide to love and marriage. Of course, taking Austen’s words out of context and focusing on the fact that she never married is a recipe for disaster on one’s wedding day! I only wish this had been a full-length novel, with more time to develop Katherine and Warwick’s relationship after its rocky beginning, flesh out the obstacle in the path of Robyn and Dan’s happiness, and even focus more on Dame Pamela and her most ardent fan, Mr. Piper.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Darcy is a fun and quick novella, with appearances from such characters as Mia Castle, Doris Norris, and even the formidable Mrs. Soames. To fully appreciate this series, I think the novels and novellas should be read in order, but they are all page-turners with endearing characters, a good mix of humor and drama, parallels to Austen’s novels, and even hilarious discussions among Janeites about the novels and the movie adaptations. I’m always happy to revisit these characters, especially when Dame Pamela is throwing the party, and I can’t wait to see where Connelly takes them next!
Disclosure: I received Happy Birthday, Mr. Darcy from the author for review.
© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.