|Definitely Not Mr. Darcy|
by Karen Doornebos
374 pgs / $15.00
September 6, 2011
Buy on Amazon.com
"She gave up pink drinks and took up tea long ago." So goes Chloe Parker, divorcee, mother, Anglophile, Janeite. Chloe Parker is obsessed, and her wildest dreams may be about to come true. She's been cast in what she believes is a Regency-era Documentary, filming in the UK. She foresees the gowns, the breeches...she can hardly wait. But when she gets the UK and the producers alert her that what she really signed up for is a dating show called "How to Date Mr. Darcy," Chloe couldn't be more frantic.
The question, as always - who will get the man? Who will get the money? And what kind of scandals can we create in the mean time? True to form, there's drama, mayhem, a case of mistaken identity, some serious bitchiness, and some seriously attractive men. And, as many good stories go, Chloe is an outsider - she's older than her competition, she's got a kid, an ex-husband, a failing business and, oh yeah, she's the only American for miles.
Starved for activity and technology, Chloe suffers a bit in Jane Austen's era. But her resulting antics are only part of the fun. Her biggest competition (the very sexy, very Britsh, and very bitchy Lady Grace) does everything possible to get Chloe kicked off of the show (meanwhile she's off rolling in the hay with every footman in sight). Fortunately, the very attentive, very attractive Mr. Wrightman (hardee har har) is smitten with her. And his brother's not unmoved by her, either (nor is he too bad to look at). As Chloe gets closer to the finale, and to both brothers, she knows she's closer to making a choice that could change her heart and her bank account.
This was a fun read, rich in Austenesque barbs and flooded with historical accuracy...though perhaps not as specific as Regency House Party. Doornebos has done a wonderful job of making sure her likable characters are just that, and that all others are simply despised. It's definitely fun and surprisingly clean. Doornebos rather smartly stops at the odd heaving bosom (in fact the most graphic scene in the entire novel is a birth) and places her debut novel a step above its raunchier regency cousins in the Romance section.