Unfortunately, the friend who had kept my secret all these years had watched me govern my dating life by what she now called “my unrealistic Darcy expectations.” Where once she’d been my ally in my desire to find my own Mr. Darcy, she had now become my enemy. Well, not really my enemy. Just where Mr. Darcy was concerned.
Lately, she’d been on a crusade to get me to “open myself up to other possibilities.” Why didn’t she just say it? She wanted me to settle.
(from My Own Mr. Darcy)
Quick summary: Karey White’s My Own Mr. Darcy is about how one girl’s teenage fantasy becomes an obsession and a potential obstacle to her happiness. When Elizabeth Barrett was 16, her mother dragged her and her best friend, Janessa, to see the film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice starring Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy. She immediately fell in love with Mr. Darcy’s good looks, his brooding, smoldering stares, and how much he adores Elizabeth Bennet. She decided then that she wants her own Mr. Darcy, basically an exact replica of Macfadyen’s Darcy, and because of her youthful dream, she never really gives the guys she dates a chance. After blowing off high school science teacher Chad after a single lunch date, Janessa takes a tough love approach and convinces Lizzie to go on 10 dates with him before calling it quits. Once she starts to realize she enjoys Chad’s company, bookstore owner Matt Dawson waltzes into her life, as handsome and arrogant as Mr. Darcy, and Lizzie thinks her dreams have finally come true. But is Mr. Darcy best left in the pages of Austen’s novel?
Why I wanted to read it: It sounded like a sweet romance, and I’m a sucker for any novel with a connection to Jane Austen.
What I liked: Lizzie was such an easy character to like, even when she was being foolish and unreasonable. I could understand her desire to leave her job as a bank teller to use her degree in interior design, and the way White worked that into the story was creative and made me want to spend an afternoon watching home improvement shows. The difference between the two men in Lizzie’s life was striking, and it was entertaining to watch her navigate both relationships. White made me think about what makes my favorite fictional characters so intriguing and whether their modern-day, real-world equivalents would be just as interesting.
What I disliked: There really wasn’t anything to dislike. It was simply a feel-good, comfort read.
Final thoughts: My Own Mr. Darcy is a charming romance about discovering what you really want in a relationship and being brave enough to both take a chance on your dream and be honest about whether it really is what you need. There is plenty of humor and cuteness mixed in with the tension and confusion, and I enjoyed how White even let Caroline Bingley and Lady Catherine make appearances in Lizzie’s world. Regardless of whether or not they think Mr. Darcy is a romantic hero, Austen fans will want to check out this delightful, fast-paced novel. I was in the mood for Austen but didn’t want to read a re-telling, and My Own Mr. Darcy fit the bill perfectly!
Disclosure: My Own Mr. Darcy is from my personal library.
© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.