Friday, January 22, 2010

Mr. Darcy Broke my Heart

Title: Mr. Darcy Broke my Heart
Author: Beth Pattillo
ISBN: 978-0-8249-4793-4

From the back cover:

Claire Prescott doesn't understand Mr. Darcy's appeal. She's been comfortably dating Neil, a nice- if a bit negligent- sports fanatic. But when she agrees to stand in for her sister at a Jane Austen seminar in Oxford, England, she finds herself holding a lost version of Pride and Prejudice. Scholars thought Austen's original manuscript was destroyed centuries ago, but as Claire reads the beloved author's first draft, she discovers that Austen didn't always have Darcy in mind for Lizzie Bennet.

And when a tall, dark, and dashing stranger crosses Claire's path, will she suddenly discover her inner Lizzie Bennet? Neil's unexpected arrival in Oxford complicates Claire's journey to finding her true romantic lead, and she discovers that finding the right hero can be more difficult that she ever imagined.

My take:

First of all, don't you just love this cover? I read another book this author wrote called Jane Austen Ruined My Life. It is related to this one, but both books stand alone and both are fabulous ~ if you like Jane Austen.

There is a current popularity for all things Austen. I don't mind at all ~ but it can lead to a certain amount of been there-read-that syndrome. The basic concept of these books is not brand new. I don't know how many fans have dreamed of discovering letters or manuscripts tucked away somewhere that escaped a fiery death. What makes this interesting is the way she goes about telling the story and the characters she uses to tell it.

This is a packed novel. If you are just a casual fan of Jane Austen, you can learn a lot about her just from reading this story. There are also mysteries to be solved. Some of them are simple and resolve themselves quickly and some seem dangerous. People are not always who or what they seem to be and many of them change over the course of the novel.

Then we come to the love story. The back cover really told you just about as much as I can without giving too much away. Let me just add that the romantic scenes are wonderfully written. Claire has a time where she isn't sure which end is up as far as her heart is concerned. At one point, I didn't know who she was going to end up with, and I can usually guess these things in advance.

Claire was such a complex person. I liked that she wasn't perfect. She was someone I could relate to in at least a few situations. All the characters, with one possible exception, were people I felt I could meet on any street. Claire's struggles felt authentic, and the fact that she didn't overcome them right away was real as well.

There are incredible secondary characters like Harriet, an old woman who lives near the college and loves to talk to Claire over tea ~ when she remembers who Claire is. Then there's Martin. He's an older gentleman who adopted Claire during the seminar and looks after her. He's an expert on all things Austen but came anyway, just to spend time with people who love Jane Austen.

And that's what this book is really about ~ love. What we do for it, how it changes us and why, who we love... what real love is. It doesn't just examine romantic love, but looks at it in all its glorious facets. What the love of parents, friends, and siblings looks like.

What's your favorite love story so far this year? How about of all time?


  1. I have Jane Austen Ruined My Life on my wish list and now I'm going to have to add this one too! Great review, btw. :)

    Hmmm, good question...I love "You've Got Mail" and one book that I remember because of the love story is Roses for Mama by Janette Oke, that was a very sweet love story. Last year I have say that A Passion Most Pure was my favorite love story and I need to get the other books in that series.

  2. This sounds so good!! I agree with you that there are almost too many Austen spinoffs nowadays but I just can't resist them! This one really does look especially good, I'm adding it to my to read list!

  3. I gotta read this book Lee!!! Thank you for the review! :-)

    As for the question, geez Lee that's so hard but this year my favorite read so far is LFYI Hershey, PA by Cerella Sechrist! It's such a cute romance plus it made me LOL which is important! As for the all time favorite that's hard too but it would probably be Pride and Prejudice (secular fiction) with my Christian Fiction pick being A Paassion Denied by Julie Lessman!

    xoxo~ Renee

  4. Not a Jane Austen fan *ducking and running*, but this cover is fabulous. Thanks for the great review, Lee.

    Favorite Romance so far this year: I gotta agree with Renee ~ LFYI Hershey Pennsylvania. I laughed thru the first 3/4 of the book, and cried the last 1/4. It's an excellent debut novel for Cerella!

    All-time Favorite Romance: I gotta choose a series here...Susan May Warren's Noble Legacy series. I could read this series over and over! Though Julie Lessman's Daughters of Boston series is a VERY close 2nd. *sorry Julie!*