There are many readers in the Jane Austen fan fiction world that appreciate a good, clean love story. Author Victoria Connelly obviously appreciates them as well, as she publishes contemporary novels that fit those parameters. Her popular Austen Addicts trilogy seems to have really struck a chord with Austen lovers the world over. The second book in her trilogy, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, has a plot influenced by Pride and Prejudice and Emma, with a location taken directly from the pages of Persuasion!
Kay Ashton has struck it rich. After receiving an unexpected cash windfall, she decides to indulge a lifelong dream of hers to live in the Regency Era world that Jane Austen’s characters enjoyed so many years ago. Ashton purchases a decrepit bed and breakfast in Lyme Regis, and begins the processes of restoring it to its former glory. Halfway through the renovation, all of the available rooms are booked by producers of a movie adaptation of Persuasion. In time, Kay begins to fall for Oli Wade Owen, the actor slated to play Captain Wentworth. However, a writer by the name of Adam Craig has fallen for Kay despite her feelings for Mr. Owen. Will Adam ever tell Kay about his true feelings? When will Kay realize that Oli is hiding a big secret?
It took me a really long time to get into this story, but when I did I connected. Connelly’s strongest suit as a writer is unquestionably her ability to create uniquely appealing and relatable characters. Kay is a dreamer- one who creates really vivid imaginings. Even though she spends a lot of time up in the clouds (much like Emma and maybe a bit like Catherine Morland too?), she still stays rooted to the ground with the rest of us, experiencing amazing new things with Adam. Adam is that nice guy who girls become friends with, yet never date (he’s got a bit of Darcy, Bingley, and Knightley all thrown in). He’s kind, considerate, and completely selfless. The supporting cast of characters (most notable are Oli and Gemma) also have their own character quirks that have been influenced by other Austen characters. All in all, these characters combine to form a wonderful mix of personalities and traits that Connelly draws from to form the plot.
With this great character description I became extremely invested in the lives of the characters, only to be disappointed in the end. I felt like so much time had been spent getting to know these characters (300 pages) that I was faced with a very short conclusion. It left me feeling bereft to be honest! Gemma’s story was probably my favorite out of the whole novel, and unfortunately it is never really “officially” wrapped up. This caused a gaping hole in my heart (yes, a gaping hole I have filled by creating my own happy ending for her!).
All in all this was a fun book. Even with the shortened ending it was still a good, clean love story that any romance reader (Austen fan or not) can enjoy. Even though the character buildup was met with a shortened ending, you may be able to imagine a more substantial ending if you give it a try. So, I suggest you pick up a copy and get reading! The Third novel in the Austen Addicts trilogy, Mr. Darcy Forever, will be released April 1st, 2012.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly
Trade paperback (368) pages
Kimberly Denny-Ryder: is the owner/moderator of Reflections of a Book Addict, a book blog dedicated to following her journey of reading 100 books a year, while attempting to keep a life! When not reading, Kim can be found volunteering as the co-chair of a 24hr cancer awareness event, as well as an active member of Quinnipiac University’s alumni association. When not reading or volunteering, Kim can be found at her full-time job working in vehicle funding. She lives with her husband Todd and two cats, Belle and Sebastian, in Connecticut.
© 2007 – 2012 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose