‘Shall I tackle her now?’ Warwick asked Katherine.
‘I don’t like your use of the word tackle,’ Katherine said. ‘It sounds like you’re going to get her in some sort of head lock.’
‘I wish I could,’ he said, ‘then maybe I could make her see reason.’
‘You haven’t got to make her see reason,’ Katherine said, ‘only the joys of Jane Austen.’
‘Isn’t that the same thing?’ Warwick asked with a lopsided smile that still melted Katherine. ‘Leave her to me. You go and buy yourself a book or something in the shop.’
Katherine laughed. ‘I don’t need any encouragement to buy books.’
(from At Home With Mr. Darcy)
Quick summary: In the 6th installment of Victoria Connelly’s Austen Addicts series, At Home With Mr. Darcy, Dame Pamela Harcourt of Purley Hall is hosting a Jane Austen Holiday in Derbyshire, the home of Mr. Darcy. Connelly brings back characters from her previous novels and novellas — newlyweds Warwick and Katherine, Robyn, sisters Roberta and Rose, the moody Mrs. Soames (who brings along her daughter, Annie), and the endearing Doris Norris — for a trip to Chatsworth House and Lyme Park, which became Mr. Darcy’s grand estate, Pemberley, in the movie adaptations of Pride and Prejudice. But the Janeites are in for some trouble in the form of journalist Melissa Berry, who knows nothing about Jane Austen and doesn’t understand why people remain so interested in her novels today. The gang sets out to show Melissa the relevance of Austen’s work in the present day and to make her fall in love with Austen herself.
Why I wanted to read it: I’m a big fan of the Austen Addicts series. (Check out my reviews: A Weekend With Mr. Darcy, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy Forever, Christmas With Mr. Darcy, and Happy Birthday, Mr. Darcy)
What I liked: I love that Connelly has continued this series. I love these characters, and every time I read a new installment, it feels like I’m catching up with old friends. Connelly made me feel like I was on holiday with the Janeites and actually visiting the homes with them. There was a hint of romance for one of the characters, and I couldn’t help but laugh at what happened to another character. I loved the side stories about Katherine and Warwick settling into their Georgian manor and Robyn’s husband, Dan, trying to take care of their cottage, their toddler, and his horse riding center on his own for a few days. But most of all, I loved all the talk about books and all-things-Austen, especially the conversation between Robyn and Katherine, a doctor of English literature, about whether Chatsworth was Austen’s inspiration for Pemberley:
‘You think it foolish to try and find the real Pemberley?’ Robyn asked.
‘Not foolish, exactly,’ Katherine said. ‘I think we all carry it inside us, don’t we? We each have our own individual version that no film director can really create for us.’
What I disliked: This novella was delightful and entertaining, and the only thing I disliked was that I finished it so quickly.
Final thoughts: At Home With Mr. Darcy (and the entire Austen Addicts series) is a pure delight for Jane Austen fans. Readers will want to start from the beginning to fully appreciate these characters and their Austen obsession, but it won’t take long to catch up because only the first three installments are full-length novels. I may not own any Mr. Darcy trinkets or be able to quote extensively from the novels, but I connect with these characters through a shared love of reading. Connelly shows that Janeites are proud of their love of Austen but also are able to poke fun at their obsession, and she highlights the sense of community among the Janeites. At Home With Mr. Darcy is lighthearted and fun, and I really hope Connelly plans on continuing the series.
Disclosure: I received At Home With Mr. Darcy from the author for review.
© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.