(From the author’s website) Katherine Roberts is fed up with men. As a lecturer specialising in the works of Jane Austen, she knows that the ideal man only exists within the pages of Pride & Prejudice and that in real life there is no such thing. Determined to go it alone, she finds all the comfort she needs reading her guilty pleasure – regency romances from the pen of Lorna Warwick – with whom she has now struck up an intimate correspondence.
Austen fanatic, Robyn Love, is blessed with a name full of romance, but her love life is far from perfect. Stuck in a rut with a bonehead boyfriend, Jace, and a job she can do with her eyes shut – her life has hit a dead end. Robyn would love to escape from it all but wouldn’t know where to start.
They both decide to attend the annual Jane Austen Conference at sumptuous Purley Hall, overseen by the actress and national treasure, Dame Pamela Harcourt. Robyn is hoping to escape from Jace for the weekend and indulge in her passion for all things Austen. Katherine is hoping that Lorna Warwick will be in attendance and is desperate to meet her new best friend in the flesh.
But nothing goes according to plan and Robyn is aghast when Jace insists on accompanying her, whilst Katherine is disappointed to learn that Lorna won’t be coming.
However, an Austen weekend wouldn’t be the same without a little intrigue, and Robyn and Katherine are about to get much more than they bargained for. Because where Jane Austen is concerned, romance is never very far away…
A beautiful country house … tick! A handsome man on horseback … tick! A regency ball… tick! A proposal … tick!
Two heroines – one headstrong and not afraid to speak her mind; one shy and sweet.
And lots and lots of romance!
A Weekend With Mr Darcy certainly ticks all the boxes for fans of Jane Austen and the Regency period. But even if you aren’t a fan of either, this book is a lot of fun and a lovely read.
A Weekend with Mr Darcy tells the story of Katherine Roberts, Oxford Professor and Robyn Love, an administrator from North Yorkshire as they attend a Jane Austen weekend at Purley Hall in Hampshire. Both women are huge Jane Austen fans, loving everything Regency. Robyn is trying to escape her long term boyfriend, Jace (who is wonderfully written and absolutely useless) but gets much more of an escape than she bargained for when she meets handsome Dan. Katherine is hoping to meet her pen pal and favourite author, the reclusive Lorna Warwick. But Lorna has a well kept secret and Katherine is in for a big surprise!
I’ll admit that I love Jane Austen; perhaps not to the extent that the characters in the book do, but I’ve read the novels and watched the film and television adaptions of many of them. This book is packed full of references to the books, films, and television versions and it was fun spotting them and getting some new reading ideas. Despite having read the books, I didn’t know much about Austen herself and learned quite a lot about Jane’s life reading it. Having said that, I don’t think you need to be an Austen fan to enjoy this book. This is a love story about two very different women trying to come to terms with failed relationships and I think you could read it and enjoy it without ever having read the books or even watched a TV or film adaption.
The majority of the book is set over the long weekend of the conference and I liked the variety that the Austen related events and setting of Purley Manor gave the book. Victoria Connelly has clearly done her research (and quite enjoyed it I think!). The book has a lovely autumny feel to it and I could really imagine the scenes that are described and the beautiful countryside. This is definitely a book to snuggle up with and has a nice gentle pace (although no lack of drama!).
There are some excellent supporting characters too. I particularly liked Dame Pamela Harcourt, the owner of Purley Hall and famous actress with her dramatic outfits and I loved Dorris Norris (brilliant name) with her naughty little quips. I thought both female leads were interesting characters and I really liked Robyn and found myself rooting for her to get her guy in the end.
At its heart this is a really sweet love story about not settling for second best and that first impressions aren’t always right. Jane Austen would be proud!
This is the first of a series of three Austen inspired novels by Victoria Connelly. The next will be released in July 2011 and called ‘Dreaming of Mr Darcy’ and I’m be looking forward to reading it.
You can find out more about Victoria Connelly and read an excerpt from A Weekend With Mr Darcy at: http://victoriaconnelly.com/