Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly – A Review

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly (2012)Reviewed by Kimberly Denny-Ryder

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
Sourcebooks (2012)
Trade paperback (368) pages
ISBN: 978-1402251351

Kimberly Denny-Ryderis 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

Giveaway Winners Announced for Dreaming of Mr. Darcy

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly (2012)45 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a copy of Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly.

The winners drawn at random are:

  • Shelly who left a comment on January 1, 2012
  • Sherry who left a comment on January 2, 2012
  • Melanie who left a comment on January 1, 2012

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by January 18, 2012. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only for a print edition and International shipment for an eBook edition.

Thanks to all who left comments, to author Victoria Connelly for her insights into her new novel, and to her publisher Sourcebooks for the giveaway copies.

© 2007 – 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Victoria Connelly

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly (2012)Happy New Year everyone! What better way to start the new year than with a new Austen-inspired novel by Victoria Connelly? Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, her second novel in her Austen Addicts series, launches today by Sourcebooks. We loved the first in the series, A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, and are so pleased that Victoria has stopped by today to chat with us about her new contemporary novel set in serious Austen territory – Lyme Regis – where part of the plot of Persuasion is set.

When I first came up with the idea of a trilogy about Jane Austen addicts – with each book set in an Austen location – I was particularly excited about using the setting of Lyme Regis for the second book, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy (titled The Perfect Hero in the UK).  I love Dorset and have visited Lyme Regis many times and, of course, you can’t set a book in Lyme without referencing Persuasion if you’re a Jane Austen fan so I thought it would be enormous fun to set the book around the shooting of a new film version of Jane Austen’s final book.

In Persuasion, Jane Austen talks about how beautiful the countryside around Lyme Regis is and I wanted to include this in my novel too. I was lucky enough to spend time in Lyme Regis whilst writing the book and this was invaluable to me as a way of getting the details right and I found a gorgeous old manor house in the Marshwood Vale which stood in for Sir Walter’s home in the film adaptation.

I love writing in situ if I can and I spent a very cold day on a windswept beach at Charmouth writing the scene where my heroine, Kay Ashton, goes fossil-hunting with shy screenwriter hero, Adam Craig.  I’ll never forget how numb my fingers were but I was determined to get my page filled!

I also walked along the famous Cobb and found the steps from which Louisa Musgrove would have leapt.

I really enjoyed writing Kay’s story.  She’s a little like Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse the heroine of Emma because she’s a terrible match-maker, and she’s a bit like Catherine Morland, the heroine of Northanger Abbey too because she’s a romantic and finds it easy to get carried away.  She’s an Austen addict extraordinaire and loves painting and is working on her first book – The Illustrated Darcy – when we first meet her.

There are two heroes in Dreaming of Mr. Darcy.  I knew the actor playing Captain Wentworth in the movie version being filmed – Oli Wade Owen – would be dashing and would sweep Kay off her feet but there is also the quietly-spoken Adam, whom Kay just doesn’t seem to notice at first because she’s busy match-making him to Gemma – the actress playing Anne Elliot.

One of my favourite characters in the book is Adam’s outspoken grandmother, Nana Craig.  She has a love of colour and a hatred of the acting profession since her husband ran off with an actress several decades ago.  Nana Craig was a lot of fun to write and I love the scene where Oli ends up half-naked in her front room (but I’m not going to give too much away here!)

I have had such fun writing my Austen addicts’ trilogy and I hope you all enjoy the second part, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy.

Author Victoria Connelly (2011)About the author:

Victoria Connelly’s first novel was promoted in Germany to celebrate World Book Day and was adapted into a TV movie. Her second novel was published as a lead title in the UK and chosen as a “hot pick” in Closer magazine. Her new trilogy is her first foray into Jane Austen related fiction. Connelly lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, Springer spaniel and ex-battery chickens. Visit Victoria at her blog, on Facebook and as @VictoriaDarcy on Twitter.

Giveaway of Dreaming of Mr. Darcy

Enter a chance to win one of three copies of Dreaming of Mr. Darcy by leaving a comment answering what intrigues you most about reading a Persuasion-inspired contemporary novel or what characters you would like to see Victoria write about next, by midnight PT, Wednesday, January 11, 2012. Winners to be announced on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly
Sourcebooks (2012)
Trade paperback (368) pages
ISBN: 978-1402251351

© 2007 – 2012 Victoria Connelly, Austenprose