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Could a Love Advice Columnist Help a Modern-Day Darcy?
on October 11, 2012
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Austen-Inspired, Jane Austen Chick-Lit
MAJOR CHARACTERS: Olivia Darcy (a descendant of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam), Christopher Stanley, Mr. Collins
WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS:
- Austenland, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Austentatious - I just cannot get enough of contemporary Austen-Inspired fiction. I like to call them "Jane Austen Chick-Lit" - accessible, fun, and light!
- Olivia Darcy is a descendant of Darcy and Elizabeth, how awesome is that!
- The idea of a love advice columnist being romantically challenged sounded very intriguing to me!
WHAT I LOVED:
- The References and Parallels: Besides the main character being a descendant of Elizabeth and Darcy, the romance between Olivia and her leading man echoes that of Elizabeth and Darcy as well. Olivia definitely has much in common with her ancestor and the man she lambastes in her column, Christopher Stanley, has many similarities with Mr. Darcy. While not a carbon-copy of the Elizabeth/Darcy relationship, Olivia and Christopher share some of their misunderstandings, prejudices, and obstinacies.
- The Premise: A modern-day Darcy feuding with a confident, yet perpetually single love advice columnist - what a clever and unique premise! I loved traveling into the world of newspapers, letters, public exposés, and anonymity! It was interesting to see how the characters' careers, reputations, and ancestry impacted the story.
- The Twist: Oh how I enjoyed the brooding and complex Christopher Stanley! And I loved the twist about his dating dilemmas (I would elaborate more on this, but I don't want to give anything away!) Suffice to say - I did not see the twist coming!
WHAT I WASN'T TOO FOND OF:
- Olivia Darcy: It wasn't that Olivia was unlikable...it was that she didn't do much to inspire my esteem, admiration, or support. She was feisty, obstinate, opinionated (just like Elizabeth)...but there weren't enough positive or endearing traits that made me love her like I do our dear Lizzie. In addition, I found the excerpts from her advice column to be a little underwhelming. Her advice was mostly good old common sense, nothing really profound. Moreover, the language or tone of her articles was often a little too stilted and old fashioned.
- The Presentation: (This might be because I have a proof-copy) I must admit that the font, images, and layout of this cover do not look very professional. The large pixels distort the image and much of the text on the cover is unreadable. Especially on the spine and back cover. On a positive note, I thought the Kindle cover to be much more in tone with the story, and from my computer screen, it looks like the layout ratio works much better.
- The Language: I had two small issues with the language in this book. One: it definitely felt more American than British (kinda odd when the story takes place in England and all the major characters were from England). I think there needed to be a little more usage of British colloquialisms and vernacular. I think the only character who consistently sounded British is Mr. Collins. Two: Olivia Darcy often spoke very formally, it seemed like she conversed and wrote in another time period sometimes. It also felt odd that she was often referred to as Miss Darcy instead of Olivia when the book takes place during modern-day.
Despite my quibbles, I found myself absorbed and engaged throughout the course of this novel. I appreciated the subtle nods to Jane Austen and the unique angle of this story. I definitely felt Laura Briggs and Sarah Burgess had a terrific idea for this novel and that they got a lot of it right, just not enough to make it a home-run.