Published: 2010 by Avon | Pages: 362
Katherine Roberts is fed up. As a lecturer specialising in the works of Jane Austen, she has come to realise that the ideal man only exists within the pages of Pride & Prejudice.
Austen fanatic, Robyn Love, is blessed with a name full of romance, but her love life is far from perfect. Stuck in a rut with a bonehead boyfriend, she longs for an escape.
They both head to the annual Jane Austen conference, hoping to cast their troubles away. But, as chaos ensues, it seems an Austen weekend wouldn’t be complete without a little intrigue and romance along the way…
A Weekend with Mr Darcy’ is the first in a trilogy about Jane Austen addicts,” with the two other novels being realised over the next two years. I loved this book as it encompassed my favourite author; Jane Austen, while managing to intertwine the themes of humour, heartbreak, bereavement and how to deal with an Austen conference. Also, let’s face it, what sort of woman doesn’t immediately reach for a book with the words “Mr. Darcy” pasted across the front of it?! You’d be mad not to!
My first point of discussion has to be the choice of characters. Connelly is mightily clever in regards to her choice of the two main characters as they juxtapose one another beautifully, while interacting perfectly. You have the romantic, ‘bohemian’ Robyn who is stuck in a relationships she’d rather be out of and in a dead end job. Something many people can relate to. And the other female character is Oxford lecturer in Jane Austen (obviously!) Katherine who once again fails at relationships. Connelly has managed to bring the central thematics of Austen into the contemporary world of literature, which enables us as readers to fully engage with the characters and fully understand their perspective on events occurring throughout the plot.
The key location used throughout the novel is Purley Hall in ‘Austen’ country – so the guests at the Austen conference allow the reader to join them in their exploration of Purley Hall, Austen-like events and Jane’s old house. I love how Connelly merges fiction and fact here as one really gets the feeling of actually being there and experience these things with the characters. Of course, Purley is described in such a way that one immediately falls in love with it, and if you’re anything like me, google it to learn of it’s existence! Now, similar to every Austen novel, there was a hunky male present in this story – Dan, who is rather romantic and lives in the stables. Of course, this creates a problem for Robyn who falls for him. I enjoyed the sections where the reader was exposed to Robyn and Dans ‘alone’ time, as we were able to draw comparisons between her relationship with Dan and Jace. The structure of Dan as a character is fabulous, as he is portrayed as the ‘knight in shining armour’ after having helped Robyn through difficult times.
Now, Katherine also has an romantic encounter of an entirely different nature, which I believe shows Connelly’s diversity of writing as she is able to take similar situations but create completely opposite effects. Katherine unfortunately gets involved with Warwick, who is an author writing under the pseudonym of Lorna Warwick. This obviously causes problems which helps to create a tense atmosphere in the book, as the reader desperately wants things to work about between Katherine and Warwick, but we are forced right to the end of the novel to learn of the happy outcome.
This book makes you laugh, cry and scream in frustration at the amazingly formed characters, and it is a fabulous read if you love Austen or adore romantic novels.
Definitely a 5 star read for me.