Giveaway Winners Announced for Undressing Mr. Darcy

Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos 2013It’s time to announce the 3 winners of print copies of Undressing Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos. The lucky winners drawn at random are:

  • June7 who left a message of December 04, 2013
  • Ellen Heckler who left a comment on December 03, 2013
  • Marsha Saenz-Jones who left a comment on December 03, 2013

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by December 18, 2013 or you will forfeit your prize! Shipment to US addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, to author Karen Doornebos for her guest blog, and to her publisher Berkley (Penguin Group) for the giveaways.

Cover image courtesy of Berkley (Penguin Group) © 2013; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose.com

Undressing Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos – A Review

The Pride Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge (2013)This is our twelfth and final selection for The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013, our year-long blog event honoring Jane Austen’s second published novel. Please follow the link above to read all the details of this reading and viewing challenge. Sign up’s are now closed but you can read the reviews and comment through 31 December 2013.

From the desk of Christina Boyd: 

With a title like Undressing Mr. Darcy, author Karen Doornebos’ new release is sure to turn a few heads this holiday season. “Sex sells, even to smart, liberated women, and Mr. Darcy was the smart girl’s pinup boy.” p. 7 And like the novel’s heroine, a master PR rep who has turned tweeting into an #artform, Doornebos has carefully crafted another contemporary romance novel about an ambitious, highly energized, very modern woman who meets a charming Mr. Darcy re-enactor, sure to draw the attention of Janeites and romance readers alike.

When Vanessa Roberts, PR extraordinaire with the perpetually-present smartphone and ever-ready clever social media tweet or posting, takes on a pro-bono job as a favor for her elderly Jane Austen loving aunt, little does she expect promoting the English author of, My Year as Mr. Darcy, to turn her organized world topsy-turvy. When she finally meets Julian Chancellor, who has capitalized on his good looks “as he gives a little historical background on his Regency-era clothing as he proceeds to take it off –down to his drawers” at his book signings, she finds she too, like the throngs of Darcy fans in the audience, is caught by his artful allurements. Continue reading

Undressing Mr. Darcy Book Launch with Author Karen Doornebos and Giveaway!

Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos (2013)Please join us in celebration of the launch of author Karen Doornebos’ second novel, Undressing Mr. Darcy, published today by Berkley Trade.

Karen has joined us to chat about her inspiration to write her new book, a humorous contemporary romance inspired by the chemistry between Jane Austen’s characters Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Her publisher, Berkley, has also generously offered a giveaway chance for a paperback copy of Undressing Mr. Darcy to three lucky winners. Just leave a comment with this blog post to enter. The contest details are listed below. Good luck to all. 

Thank you for joining us Karen.

Inspiration for Undressing – shall we say – a flame? 

Laurel Ann asked me to talk a bit about my inspiration for Undressing Mr. Darcy. Full disclosure: when I was researching Regency male clothing for my first novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, I hit upon an English website called The History Wardrobe that did a show called Undressing Mr. Darcy. It seems a “Mr. Darcy” would disrobe down to his drawers while a woman lectured about his articles of clothing.

Wow. What more could a Darcy fangirl ask for?! I never saw the show and it’s now defunct, but my imagination started clicking and it wasn’t long until I came up with: Continue reading

Giveaway winners announced for Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

Definitely Not Mr  Darcy, by Karen Doornebos (2011)70 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of three copies of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos. The winners drawn at random are:

  • Kate who left a comment on September 5, 2011
  • Suzan who left a comment on September 5, 2011
  • Sharon who left a comment on September 8, 2011

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by September 21, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Many thanks to author Karen Doornesbos for her new book Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, her entertaining blog about it and to all who left comments.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos – A Review

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornesbos (2011)Review by Aia A. Hussein      

The young bachelor enters a room filled with young ladies, all of whom are eyeing the invitations he holds in his hands, fully conscious that there are not enough invitations for all them.  They straighten their postures and smooth their gowns as their chaperones hold their breaths.  They all listen as the butler recounts the ladies’ accomplishment points from the recent foxhunt expedition and tea party, shares viewer ratings, and explains that a number of them will be eliminated from the competition and sent home.  The bachelor steps forwards and begins to read aloud the names of the young ladies that he has decided will stay.

You’re right in thinking that the above description is of a reality television dating game show but it’s a far cry from anything like ABC’s The Bachelor for the sole reason that it’s not set in the twenty-first or twentieth-century.  In fact, it’s 1812 and Chloe Parker is competing against seven other women for the attention of Mr. Wrightman, heir to the gorgeous Dartworth estate, along with a $100,000 prize.  Thus is the premise of Karen Doornebos’ debut novel Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, which follows a Midwestern, divorced mother with a failing antique letterpress business who decides to participate in a Jane Austen-inspired television documentary only to discover, upon her arrival to the beautiful English countryside, that it has just been transformed into an early nineteenth-century reality dating show.  Rather than return home, Chloe Parker, a lifelong member of the Jane Austen Society, decides to trader her cellular phone for a lady’s fan for a chance to snare the handsome Mr. Wrightman and the much-needed prize money.

Chloe decides to do her best and ignore the constant filming, eager to immerse herself in Regency England life.  She is thrilled to discover that she has a chaperone, a maidservant, and her very own collection of Regency gowns.  The excitement soon fades, however, upon discovering that she is not allowed to use deodorant, can only bathe with water once a week, and can do very little without the permission of her chaperone, to name a few.  More importantly, Chloe finds that the rigid social hierarchy of Regency England goes against everything she believes in.  She is appalled by the treatment of her maidservant, Fiona, and other service staff by their so-called social betters and nurses a well-justified hatred for competitor Lady Grace who never fails to point out that Chloe, cast as an American heiress, doesn’t really belong in English high society.  To top it off, Chloe and her chaperone, Mrs. Crescent, both have a serious interest in winning the prize money: with a failing business and a recently promoted ex-husband who wants to increase his custody rights for their daughter, Chloe needs to rebuild herself while Mrs. Crescent is trying to raise enough money for her son’s surgery.

Even being courted by Mr. Wrightman becomes a point of complication – she is, after all, competing with other women for his attention – because she soon begins to have feelings for another man on set – the younger Mr. Wrightman who is not set to inherit anything from his family’s estate.  Not set to inherit anything and, yet, Chloe finds that he has other attractive features – he’s kind and funny and, besides, there’s something odd about the elder Mr. Wrightman even if Chloe can’t quite put her finger on it at first.  Before Chloe can emerge as a real winner, she must figure out what really matters and what kind of person she wants to be in a society so strictly defined by standards that can seem wholly alien to us now as modern readers.

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy put me in mind of Michael Winterbottom’s film Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, a film-within-a-film that pits eighteenth-century England alongside a twenty-first-century one.  There’s something intriguing about contemporary filmmakers and production crews, with their cellular phones and headsets, moving seamlessly amongst elaborately dressed ladies as they take their tea and politely converse about the weather.  There are numerous texts that transport us back into Regency England, or that stay firmly in the here and now but are obviously inspired by the past, but rarely do we have texts where old world actually coexists with new.  We have an obvious fascination with the past and it’s refreshing to see this fascination manifest itself in creatively modern ways even if we must tread into the world of reality television.  (Although, I’ll be the first to admit, if a reality television dating game show set in Austen’s era actually existed, I would probably watch it.)

This fascination, however, oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with the act of romanticizing and Doornebos is clever enough not to get swept up in the glamour of Regency England without pointing to its downsides as well.  Chloe’s schooling in the ups and downs of life in Regency England is refreshing and a nice counterbalance to all the texts out there that lament modernization at the expense of pretty gowns and strict social decorum.  But Doornebos doesn’t merely point to the lack of deodorant and running water as downsides to that era; strict rules limiting a woman’s mobility and a mock hanging of a young girl, punishment for stealing a loaf of bread, for instance, showcase Regency England’s dark side.  It’s not for nothing that Mr. Wrightman presents invitations during the Elimination Ceremonies for the number of invitations a young woman received during the social season of eighteenth and nineteenth-century England determined which balls she would attend, which young men she would be introduced to, and so forth.  In other words, it determined the very course of her life.

Doornebos’ novel is witty and, most importantly, refreshing but it must be confessed that elements of the plot and some themes are underdeveloped and its twists are predictable.  As stated above, however, it is Doornebos’ first novel and technical weaknesses can easily be forgiven especially in light of its refreshing perspective on a familiar era.  A great escape to the world of ball gowns and breeches, Doornebos gives us a fantasy/reality that will delight those who want a Jane Austen-inspired excursion into Regency England, warts and all.

Aia A. Hussein, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and American University, pursued Literature degrees in order to have an official excuse to spend all her time reading.  She lives in the DC area and is a devotee of Jane Austen and all things Victorian.

4 out of 5 Regency Stars

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos
Berkley Trade (2011)
Trade paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978-0425243824

Cover image courtesy of Berkley Trade © 2011; text  Aia A. Hussein © 2011, Austenprose.com

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Karen Doornebos

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornesbos (2011)Please join us today in welcoming author Karen Doornebos on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, a new contemporary Austen-inspired novel published tomorrow by Berkley Trade.

Thank you, Laurel Ann, for inviting me into your drawing room here, and hosting the beginning of my Grand Tour—my Grand Blog Tour, that is, celebrating the release of my first novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. I’ve been a fan of your blog for years and it’s an honor to be here. (Virtual curtsey.)

Handsome men in breeches. Ballroom dances in empire-waist gowns. Tea parties…

Chloe Parker hopes for all this and more when she joins a documentary film set in Jane Austen’s England. Just like you and I, Chloe is an Austen fan. She has the complete set of “I Love Mr. Darcy, Mr. Tilney, Mr. Knightley, Captain Wentworth, Colonel Brandon” mugs to prove it. She happens to be a single mom, 39 years old, and tends to glamorize the Regency era. What she gets instead of the glam includes:

No cell phones. No deodorant. And no plumbing…

Not to mention the fact that the “documentary” turns out to be a reality dating show set in 1812. Soon Chloe’s up to her stockings (and then up to her stays) in trouble, competing against eight other women to win over the Mr. Darcy of the show. What’s worse, she can’t get the two other men on the set—off her mind!

Yes, you counted right. Definitely Not Mr. Darcy features three possible heroes. Two of them are clad in the Regency breeches, boots, and cravats we all swoon over, while the third looks pretty hot in his blue jeans. But I digress…

Have you ever wished for something, but it doesn’t turn out quite the way you’d expected?

My debut novel Definitely Not Mr. Darcy will make you laugh, I hope, and possibly wince, as Chloe’s romantic perceptions of Regency England crumble around her faster than a well-made scone.

Speaking of scones, living and working in London when I was young(er) did inform this book. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in English Literature (what else?) I bought a one-way ticket from Chicago to London. I landed my first job as a writer, working in the employee communications department at a management consultant firm in Westminster. What an experience that was, to live and work in the city that I had read so much about! I worked for six months and proceeded to travel throughout Europe for six more, until I ran out of money and came home to Chicago, alas.

I’ve always been a Jane Austen fan, and first read Pride and Prejudice as a 16 year-old in high-school English class. But it wasn’t until the late 1990s (yes, that long ago) when my husband and I traveled from Chicago to California’s wine country for vacation that the idea for this book hit me—literally.

Since I enjoy research so much, I had done my homework and found this romantic Victorian-era hot springs spa resort where my he and I “took in the waters” in stone bathtubs in our swimsuits outdoors.

Sounds idyllic, relaxing, and healing, right? It sure did when I’d read about it in the guidebook. (These were the days before heavy internet use.)

And it was idyllic, really. Except the spring water had a high sulfur content—sulfur as in smelling like rotten eggs. On that vacation, the idea for my debut novel hit me like a waft of, well, rotten eggs:

What if a hopeless romantic gets to experience her beloved Jane Austen’s England, but—it stinks!

Well, not all of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy stinks. There are some redeeming, romantic, and blissful moments and you’re sure to find one, if not all three of the main men at the very least—diverting. You might even detect a hint of lavender water here and there.

So pour yourself a cup of tea, an “I Love Mr. Darcy” mug of coffee, or even a glass of Madeira wine (the same wine that Mrs. Jennings brought Marianne after hearing of Willoughby’s engagement) and post a comment for your chance to win!

Author Karen Doornebos (2011)Author Bio:

After years of writing in the ad world for brands such as Diet Coke and Johnnie Walker, Karen Doornebos has switched to tea with her debut, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. Living and working in London informed the book, but the reality of living in a Chicago suburb with her husband, two children, and various pets provided the opportunity to write it.
As an English Literature graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, she is appreciative of the benefits that a gown and above-the-elbow gloves offer.

Visit Karen at her website Karen Doornebos, on Twitter as @KarenDoornebos, and on Facebook as Karen Doornebos.

Grand Giveaway

Enter a chance to win one of three copies of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos by leaving a comment answering if you would join a reality show set in Jane Austen’s England? If so, what role would you like to be cast in, by midnight PT, Wednesday, September 14th, 2011. Winners to be announced on Thursday, September 15th, 2010. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos
Berkley Trade (2011)
Trade paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978-0425243824

© 2007 – 2011 Karen Doornebos, Austenprose