A book title containing the word ‘Darcy’ is certainly going to catch my attention, Pride and Prejudice being one of my favourite classic romance novels. Hence I decided to give this novel a try, and I was pleased I did because it was a fun, diverting, romantic read.
The action of the story centres around a Jane Austen weekend held at Purley Hall, Hampshire, at which Austen experts and fans alike come together to discuss the writer and her works. Love blooms at the event for two women; and without wanting to give anything away and spoil the plot for the reader, plenty of twists and turns lead to a satisfying ending.
What stood out for me in this book was its successful narration of not one, but two romantic stories. Usually books have a main plot, following a woman and a man, and then perhaps one or two subplots, with other romances having much less impact on the tale. But in this book the subplot that follows a second couple is all but equal to the main plot. Because the two plots follow different women and the different men with whom they fall in love, there was plenty of interesting material to keep me turning the pages.
The best element of the book, for me, was the Austen-related content. Connelly has researched her subject superbly, and as a result I found the Austen details really interesting. In fact, by the end of the book I was sorely tempted to log on to the internet and search ‘Jane Austen weekend’, so fun did the experience seem!
I also really enjoyed the connection to romance writing in the book, which of course appeals to me given my own writing. There’s an interesting discussion raised in the book about how modern-day romance writing such as my own compares to that of authors like Austen; and why it is that some people scoff at the passionate, evocative books that so many women (and men – read the book!) love.
In short, a great summer read – easy to gobble down in one or two sittings out in the garden in the sunshine. I guarantee it will have you reaching for your Austen novels afterwards and dreaming of Darcy.