Contemporary Pride and Prejudice re-tellings are my second favorite types of Jane Austen fan fiction. (What-ifs own my heart!) I love seeing how authors attempt to believably transport Elizabeth, Darcy, and their story into a modern setting. Seeing the juxtaposition of such a timeless story with modern technology and social cues is always an interesting and fun experiment. Therefore, when I saw Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson available on NetGalley I knew I had to request it! Mr. Darcy and dogs? Could there be a better combination of things on Earth!?
Elizabeth Scott has no need for a man in her life. Especially after the havoc, one man, in particular, wreaked on her career. The only thing in her life she cares for now is her show dog, Bliss, whom she shows at competitions and loves more than life itself. After a scandal rocks her career as a teacher in Manhattan, she finds a way out of the mess by agreeing to care for a group of show dogs in England. Now thousands of miles from her problems, she breathes a sigh of relief, until a Mr. Donovan Darcy takes her breath away. A wealthy dog breeder from London, Darcy has a healthy dose of arrogance to counterbalance his charm, and Elizabeth seems determined to ignore him and devote her time to her dogs. However, she can’t deny the sparks that are beginning to fly between them, and she must make a choice: should she stay single or let another person join her pack?
I was completely charmed by this Pride and Prejudice re-telling! From Elizabeth and Donovan’s first meeting I was hooked. Their flirtatious dialogue was a perfect blend of equal annoyance and attraction to each other. I looked forward to each scene they shared with an eagerness I haven’t felt in a long time. I simply could not read fast enough. When I finished reading the entire book I was so disappointed that it was over, I promptly started it again. I should also mention how effortlessly the world of dog showing was weaved into their relationship and the story overall. Although at first you wouldn’t imagine show dogs in a traditional love story, Wilson made the two pair wonderfully.
All of the supporting characters (The Gardiners, Jane, and Bingley-esque people) added so much to the story. Elizabeth’s relationship with her sister Jenna (read: Jane) was fantastically written. Having a sister myself, I could relate to their sisterly conversations. The Jenna/Henry (Jane/Charles) storyline was as adorable as you would expect it to be. We’re even given a Caroline Bingley character (Helena) that is the true epitome of a villain.
Wilson’s writing is in a word, excellent. She’s given new life to a classic story in a bold way, making it fresh and unique while staying true to its roots. I’m greatly looking forward to reading her next venture into contemporized classics, Unmasking Juliet, a contemporary version of Romeo and Juliet which is due out in May.
5 out of 5 Stars
Unleashing Mr. Darcy, by Teri Wilson
Harlequin HQN (2013)
Trade paperback (368) pages
Cover image courtesy of Harlequin © 2013; text Kimberly Denny-Ryder © 2014, Austenprose.com