February 13, 2012

Book Review: DREAMING OF MR. DARCY by Victoria Connelly

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Fledgling illustrator and Darcy fanatic Kay Ashton settles in the seaside town of Lyme to finish her book, The Illustrated Darcy, when a film company arrives to make a new adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion.  Kay is soon falling for the handsome bad boy actor playing Captain Wentworth, but it's the quiet screenwriter Adam Craig who has more in common with her beloved Mr. Darcy.  Though still healing from a broken heart, Adam finds himself unexpectedly in love with Kay.  But it will take more than good intentions to convince her that her real happy ending is with him.  

My Review
This is author Victoria Connelly's second entry in her "Austen Addicts" series (to read my review of her first, A Weekend With Mr. Darcy, please go here) and I was utterly delighted with this effort.  

From the first page, Ms. Connelly draws the reader in with the comparisons to Jane Austen's Persuasion, most notably the stunning location of Lyme Regis.  I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that I was secretly envious of Kay, stepping into the role of bed and breakfast owner.  Wouldn't it be fabulous to run a cozy little bed and breakfast in the charming village of Lyme?  

Kay was a marvelous heroine for this book, the right balance of sweet and spicy, sensitive and headstrong.  Certainly she did a few things that made me say "oh no!" out loud but they were frustratingly realistic and not actions that were merely to move the plot forward.  

Ms. Connelly treats the reader with a smorgasboard of savory characters, from the sexy leading man portraying Captain Wentworth in the production of Persuasion being filmed in the village to the diva-like supporting actress, to the quiet and introverted leading lady and the humble writer, Adam.  We know from the get go that Adam is the "Mr. Darcy" in Kay's world but her journey to discover that is a fun and exciting one.  In that regard, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy has shades of Emma, where the heroine has her dream man right in front of her but doesn't see it immediately.  In fact, despite the "Mr. Darcy" in the title, there is little other commonality with Pride and Prejudice.  

My favorite character, however, is the seaside town of Lyme Regis.  The writing provides gorgeous mental pictures of Jane Austen's beloved village, from the largest to the smallest detail.  Ms. Connelly writes of the town with such love and care that I dare any reader to walk away from Dreaming of Mr. Darcy without a serious yearn to jump on the next flight across the pond.   

I was thoroughly enchanted with my time spent in Lyme Regis and saddened to have it come to an end, despite the very satisfying for conclusion for all characters involved.  I am somewhat gratified in knowing that a third offering in Ms. Connelly's series is forthcoming this spring.

I would not hesitate to recommend Dreaming of Mr. Darcy to any devoted Jane Austen fan, particularly those with an affinity to Persuasion and/or Emma.   

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy is available for purchase at major booksellers now, 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 this book affect the outcome of my review.  

About the Author

Victoria Connelly was brought up in Norfolk and studied English literature at Worcester University before becoming a teacher in North Yorkshire.  After getting married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales, she moved to London where she lives with her artist husband and a mad springer spaniel.  She has three novels published in Germany and the first, Flight of Angels, was made into a film.  Victoria and her husband flew out to Berlin to see it being filmed and got to be extras in it.  Her first novel in the UK, Molly's Millions, is a romantic comedy about a lottery winner who gives it all away.  A Weekend with Mr. Darcy is the first book in a planned series to be set in the world of Austen addicts, which is a wonderful excuse for Victoria to read all the books and watch all the gorgeous films and TV adaptations again.  Victoria is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and has a short story called Mummies and Daddies - - set in the mummy rooms of the British Museum - - in their 50th anniversary anthology, Loves Me, Loves Me Not.

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