June 2, 2011


BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard replaces ballgowns with bikinis, country mansions with luxury yachts and the militia with a fiercely competetive squad of local lifeguards...
The Bennet family is enjoying their seaside home in Salcombe when Mrs. Bennet hears that the nearby magnificent villa Netherpollock has been taken by a young man of great fortune. She is determined that one of her daughters will go out with him, until Mr. Darcy glides into the harbour on his yacht and she decides he would be the better catch.

If you are a Jane Austen purist, read no further, my gentle friend.  Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard will likely send you into a fit which will require smelling salts, The Six (all Jane Austen's literary efforts) and a nice tub of Ben & Jerry's eaten in front of the Colin Firth version of Pride & Prejudice in order to recover. 

If you are open minded and don't mind your Jane Austen adaptations with wit, savvy and modernization, you will get a kick out of Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard.  I know I did.

The premise to this modern day on the beach retelling of my beloved Jane Austen classic is very similar to the original, with Mrs. Bennet being shrill and anxious for her five daughters to marry well, Mr. Bennet just wanting some quiet, Jane being loyal and steadfast, Mary being a studious bookworm (physics this time around), Kitty and Lydia being boy crazy and Elizabeth being spirited and energetic.  Into this crazy summer house of estrogen comes Mr. Bingley, his snooty sisters and good friend Mr. Darcy.  Not to be left out, Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins make their unromantic match, George Wickham pays a visit to the Bennet ladies, charming and impressing both Elizabeth and Lydia, and Lady Catherine de Brrr (here so named) becomes supremely vexed over the pretentious Elizabeth. 

Author Belinda Roberts takes Jane Austen's original text and intersperses it with modern speak, slang and text messages.  It's an interesting combination and I thought it made for a fun, light and original read. 

Her modern day Elizabeth is a gal you can root for.  She doesn't take herself too seriously and she plans on going to university.  She's not silly, as are Kitty and Lydia, she's not as reserved as Jane and she's a loyal friend to Charlotte (better known as Lottie here).  She's also a superb athlete who can keep up with and outdo even Mr. Darcy. 

Mr. Darcy is a bit more of a gray area for me here.  Despite the liberties with other changes and characters I felt that I didn't know him quite as well as I would have liked.  I understood why he fell for Elizabeth but what exactly caused her to change her opinion of him was a bit of a mystery.  I didn't particularly care for the "second proposal" scene as Ms. Roberts rewrote it and felt that although it was meant to be lighthearted and humorous it bordered on the ridiculously silly. 

Likewise, the absolute about face that both Lydia and Wickham committed were completely out of character and very rapid.  Perhaps I just prefer my Lydia to remain as Jane Austen wrote her - - selfish, flighty and immature. 

Charlotte Lucas remained very true to the original, deciding that marriage to an insufferable yet respected enough man was preferable to being a spinster.  Mr. Collins was appropriately boorish and hellbent on finding a suitable wife to impress his benefactor, the wonderfully blunt Lady Catherine. 

I found it great fun to compare Ms. Roberts' version of events, happening in the modern day, of course, to Jane Austen's original, such as the post and the letters being replaced by text messages and shopping for ribbons in Meryton now being shopping for bikinis in Salcombe. 

Basically, fun is what Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard is.  It's a book not meant to be taken seriously and takes the popular genre of Pride & Prejudice retellings and turns it on its ear by not only modernizing it but setting it seaside.  The chapters are relatively short, some even one or two paragraphs, and the reading as light as a helium filled balloon.  I chuckled and laughed out loud in places.  I found it to be great entertainment and as such, you can't go wrong.  Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard is a perfect beach read and just in time for the summer.

Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard is available for purchase now at major booksellers, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.

Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.



Meredith said...

Very nice review, Lori! I wasn't a big fan of this one. I usually enjoy spoofs, but this one was not my cup of tea.

Blodeuedd said...

Wasn't that just crazy how Lydia turned around? Sure funny but not very likely.

great review

Lori Johnston said...

Thank you, Meredith! These P&P variations are a tricky thing. Either they work for you or they don't - - I'm sorry this one didn't do it for you.

Blodeuedd, exactly! It WAS crazy how Lydia turned around. Most definitely serious creative license. And funny. Made for a good beach read.

toothybooks said...

i love the cover of this book! and it sounds like such a fun one too and perfect for my summer reading list. i'll have to add it to my wishlist.

Lori Johnston said...

toothybooks, isn't the cover great? I love the purple. It has just has that fun, light look that the book is all about. Most definitely a good summer read.