Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart: A NovelTitle:  Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart
Author:  Beth Pattillo
Publisher:  Guidepost Books
Publication Date:  February 1, 2010
Format:  Paperback, 272 pages
Age Group:  Adult

Claire Prescott's life is falling apart.  Used to being the strong, dependable sister after her parent's death, Claire is utterly lost when she loses her job.  When her sister is unable to attend a Jane Austen seminar in Oxford, England, Claire attends in her place and makes some uncomfortable realizations about her own life while examining Pride and Prejudice.  Has she found her Mr. Darcy in another of the seminar's participants?  Or is her true romantic hero her under appreciated boyfriend back home?

Jane Austen novels seem to be all the rage these days.  I know I have a few others on my 'to read' list plus there are the many movie adaptations I have waiting in my Netflix queue.  I would certainly not consider myself a Jane Austen scholar by any means but she does hold a certain appeal.

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart is a short novel but not entirely light reading.  Claire faces some hard truths about her own life while caught in an unexpected romance and a bit of a mystery.  The mystery bit of the novel captured most of my attention, although I'm not sure it is supposed to be the focus.  Are the pages Claire is given to read really a lost first draft of Jane Austen's novel?

I found the novel to be a bit choppy, with transitions between story lines taking large jumps.  While this mirrors the way Claire reads the Austen manuscript, it was frustrating because it made it hard to follow Claire's thought process through the novel.  So much of what we learn of Claire comes from her realizations about her past but since the reader has seen nothing of that past there is no way to know if Claire's interpretations of events are clear.  All of the characters could have used additional development as they seemed flat.

Although, Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart did make me want to pull out my copy of Pride and Prejudice to see how the stories compare, the novel just didn't work for me on some levels.

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart will be released on February 1, 2010.  I received an advance reading copy from Amy at Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists for the purpose of providing an honest review.

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