As she crossed the ring back toward Mr. Darcy, a lump formed in her throat. Rebellious tears stung the backs of her eyes, threatening to spill over and make her humiliation complete.
She brought Bliss to a halt about an arm’s distance away from him and waited for some sort of dismissal. He appraised her with one slightly arched brow in a way that made Elizabeth wonder if he was evaluating the dog’s appearance or her own.
(from Unleashing Mr. Darcy)
Teri Wilson’s Unleashing Mr. Darcy is a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set on the dog show circuit. Forced to leave her teaching job at an elite Manhattan school due to a scandal, Elizabeth Scott heads to England with her beloved dog Bliss to care for her new friend Sue’s show dogs. But even crossing the ocean doesn’t get her away from Donovan Darcy, the sexy British dog breeder and judge whom Elizabeth finds herself attracted to despite his annoying arrogance. As the two grow closer and the hostility between them lessens while the passion ramps up, they seem destined to be kept apart. They must navigate numerous obstacles, from the schemes of Helena Robson and Darcy’s Aunt Constance to the troubles Elizabeth thought she left behind in New York.
I read Unleashing Mr. Darcy earlier this year in preparation for the Hallmark movie adaptation (more on that later), and I am shamefully behind in posting reviews of non-blog-tour books. I found the novel to be thoroughly enjoyable and definitely spicier than allowed on Hallmark! The developing attraction and interactions between Donovan and Elizabeth felt true to their characters, and I thought Wilson did a good job creatively adapting Pride and Prejudice via dog shows (which I know absolutely nothing about but enjoyed nonetheless). I also liked how she revamped Austen’s characters so they felt fresh and modern but were still recognizable.
I must admit I liked the novel much more than the Hallmark movie adaptation. It felt like a lot of the details from the book were missing, details that were important to the plot in my opinion. Also, Elizabeth’s treatment of Darcy was a lot harsher than in the book while Darcy’s character was softened a bit. This made it harder for me to understand their attraction. So if you watched the movie first and then decided the book wasn’t for you, I strongly encourage you to forget the movie and give the book a try. I definitely plan to read more by Wilson down the road.
Disclosure: I borrowed Unleashing Mr. Darcy from my public library.
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