Seducing Mr. Darcy, by Gwyn Cready Wins 2009 RITA Award

Seducing Mr. Darcy, by Gwyn Cready (2008)Congratulations go out to author Gwyn Cready, who was awarded a 2009 RITA for her novel Seducing Mr. Darcy in the Best Paranormal Romance category by the Romance Writers of America® (RWA) at last night’s Awards Ceremony held at RWA’s 29th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. We are so happy that Mr. Darcy seduced the judges as well.

Seducing Mr. Darcy is a sexy time travel novel inspired by Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice. Here is the publisher’s description…

Mr. Darcy just isn’t Flip Allison’s style. She prefers novels with hot sex on the bathroom sink to the mannerly, high-tension longing of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. That is, until she pays a visit to Madame K, who promises a therapeutic massage with an opportunity to “Imagine Yourself in Your Favorite Book.” Somehow, on the way to a sizzling sink-top session with a Venetian Adonis, Flip lands right in the middle of Regency England — and dangerously close to handsome Mr. Darcy. So close, in fact, that she discovers a side of him even Jane Austen couldn’t have imagined.

Waking from her massage, Flip is on top of the world and ready for her upcoming book club — that is, until she notices a new scene in which Darcy and spunky heroine Lizzy Bennet are arguing over…Flip Allison? Her rapturous liaison with Darcy has had disastrous consequences for Austen’s characters — not to mention millions of Pride and Prejudice fans! Flip has twenty-four hours to put the story back on course, and Magnus Knightley, a sexy but imperious scholar whose brooding good looks and infuriating arrogance are decidedly Darcy-like, is the only one who can help. The only problem is, Flip can’t keep her hands off him, either…

Cover image courtesy of Pocket Books © 2008; text Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose.com

Seducing Mr. Darcy, by Gwyn Cready – A Review

Seducing Mr. Darcy, Gwen Cready (2008)From the Desk of Christina Boyd

If we are to trust our first impressions, then one glance at the cover of Seducing Mr. Darcy will tell you that it is a bodice ripper of the highest caliber. Can that bronzed god with the ripped chest be Mr. Darcy? Hello! I always wondered what was under that noble mien, and now in this new Pride and Prejudice inspired time travel fantasy author Gwyn Cready reveals all, but only if you’re willing to extend your fancy way beyond anything what dear Jane Austen ever envisioned and just let go, and just enjoy the ride.

Seducing Mr. Darcy is about a divorced woman, Philippa ‘Flip’ Allison, who hasn’t had any action since her cheating husband left her over two years prior, and (okay, here is where you must take a fantastical leap of faith — just go with it) gets this therapeutic massage that supposedly transports her imagination into her favorite book. Yet, instead of transporting Flip into her current racy, bodice ripping romance novel she finds herself in Regency England in the company of Mr. Darcy, pre-Pride & Prejudice. After waking from what she believes to have been a dream-inducing, mind-blowing massage (and an explicit liaison with Mr. Darcy in a Grecian folly) she discovers later in spotting a 1st edition of Pride and Prejudice on display at her university library, that certain important passages have mutated — like the scene in the Hunsford parlour when Mr. Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth turned into an argument over her, Philippa! At first believing this must be some kind of hoax, she checks various printings of Pride and Prejudice only to discover to her utter dismay that each is in some stage of change depending on the year of its printing. Horrified, she discovers that the only way to correct the chain of events she has unwittingly altered is to return to the mysterious masseuse and imagine herself back in the novel. Fortunately, the arrogant yet broodingly handsome Darcy-like Magnus Knightley, a visiting Jane Austen expert in residence at her university, is persuaded to help her correct the disastrous consequences resulting from her rapturous encounter with Mr. Darcy.

Reminiscent of the recent British Lost in Austen television mini-series, Seducing Mr. Darcy is filled with quick, cheeky conversations and twists and turns far flung from Jane Austen’s original. Surprisingly amusing, the parody play with characters was all done in good humour and very tongue-in-cheek. My Austenite sensibilities were not in anyway offended by this blatant and artfully contrived story. It is deliciously sensual, and Cready’s Mr. Darcy is all any red-blooded woman with a pulse would desire him to be; not at all what Jane Austen would have ever dreamed or wanted, obviously. A line by Amanda Price from Lost in Austen screams to my mind:  “Hear that George? Drrrrrrr. That’s the sound of Jane Austen spinning in her grave like a cat in a tumble dryer.” But who’s to say this Darcy isn’t a bit more fitting as the secret fantasy than some may have transformed this iconic hero into? Could this book have been as entertaining without the steamy love scenes and occasional f-bomb? Indeed. But I don’t believe that is the audience this author was gunning for. To enjoy this book, you must readily accept the time travel notion, much like in the Lost in Austen mini-series, especially when several other characters take it upon themselves to follow Flip back into Pride and Prejudice to aid or impede her in reversing the changes she has caused in the original novel. But that is all part of fun of this twisted, mad-cap parody.

Surely, this isn’t the great literary work of Jane Austen (just look at the cover!), but for pure grins and giggles, most acceptable. Perfect choice for those upcoming spring vacations while you are lounging by the pool. If the cover embarrasses you too much to read in company, well fold it back and tell those that have their sensibilities easily offended to kindly “Avert your eyes.”

4 out of 5 Regency stars 

Seducing Mr. Darcy, by Gwen Cready
Pocket Books, New York (2008)
Mass market paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978- 1416541165

Guest blog by the author

Additional Reviews

© 2009 Christina Boyd, Austenprose

The Austen Tattler: News and Gossip on the Blogosphere

“All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it.”
Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 31

Austen around the blogosphere for the week of September 21st

‘Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey’ begins on October 1st here at Austenprose, so start reading Northanger Abbey and gearing up for another great Austen novel event. I have been investigating Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho which will be our second group read and happened upon this nice article about the author and her work on PopMatters by Deane Sole.

The Austen Shopaholic deal the week is 40% off on the book New Friend’s and Old Fancies by Sibil Briton at Sourcebooks on line shop. This novel is reputedly the first Austen sequel ever published, though I do not think that scholars will ever let us believe that it was the first, but it has been claimed thus by Sourcebooks. Use code AUSTENSOURCE 10 at check out to receive your discount, and enjoy!

Austenesque author Lori Smith announces the release of her book A Walk with Jane Austen in the UK with a stunning new cover. We think that the pink Wellies are quite appropriate! Congrats, Lori!

With the movie The Duchess opening in the US theaters this week, Lady Georgian Spencer continues to be a hot topic in entertainment news. She married William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire, in 1774, and they resided at Chatsworth, a grand estate in Derbyshire. Musings on Pride and Prejudice blog writes about the Jane Austen connection and similarities in the Cavendish and Darcy families. You can also get three perspectives on the movie The Duchess at Jane Austen’s World.

Austen quote of the week from an interview of actress Amanda Lisman who is portraying Elizabeth Bennet in Tom Woods new stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice at The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Septmeber 20 – October 12. Read a review of a prevue on the production here.

In reading her, I realized how much Austen’s writing has influenced romantic comedy, the (mis-matched) couple overcoming obstacles after first impressions. I just think it’s so remarkable that such a young woman, so geographically isolated, had such insights into human nature. And was so witty…. And it still resonates, in specific situations and class structure, and in the humour. We were all pleased and surprised there was so much laughter in (first performances in) Banff: the humour of the characters, so many lines people love…. It’s a book that speaks to people’s hearts; it’s pretty iconic.

Austenesque book reviews for the week; The Jane Austen Book Club, Pride and Prejudice Board Game, Northanger Abbey, Me and Mr. Darcy, The Matters at Mansfield, Persuasion, Impusle & Initiative, Mr. Knightley’s Diary, Mansfield Park Revisited, Seducing Mr. Darcy, The Watson’s and Emma Watson, Jane Austen: A Life, Oxford World’s Classics: Emma, and The Darcys and The Bingleys. Wow! Lots of Austen readin’ going on out there folks. Keep it up.

Actress Brenda Blethyn who portrayed Mrs. Bennet in the 2005 movie of Pride and Prejudice is currently staring as faded southern belle Amanda Wingfield in Tennessee William’s classic play The Glass Menagerie at The Norwich Theatre Royal, September 22-27. Here is a great interview of actress Anna Chancellor who played Caroline Bingley in the 1995 mini-series of Pride and Prejudice, and presently appearing in the play Creditors at Covent Garden in London.

The Becoming Jane fan site has announced that The Jane Austen Centre on line magazine has added their biography of Madame LeFroy to their section on Jane Austen family biographies. Congrats ladies!

Author of Sex and the City Candace Bushnell has delusions that she is the modern Jane Austen!?! Well, not quite, but this writer likes to sensationalize a bit to get our attention. Did it work?

Lost in Austen, the ITV mini-series pastiche of Pride and Prejudice on UK tellie continues to amaze us in a bus accident sort of way. The whiplash rubber necking abounds as the media and on line blogs are deconstructing episode 3 which aired this past week.  Jane Austen in Vermont blog has an interesting vantage from a British viewer, Jane Austen’s World has some fabulous screen caps and a review, AustenBlog readers continue to tell it like it is with their comments, of course I had to have my share of the conversation, and here is some eye candy for you all as Jane Austen Today displays the Hunks of Lost in Austen.

The Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England opened on September 19th and will continue through September 28th. On Saturday the 20th, Regency finerie was afoot as participants paraded about the city in the grand Promenade. Talented photographer Owen Benson contacted Austenprose to tell us he had uploaded many stunning shots of the event, including someone that you might recognize, Austen intern Virginia Claire Tharrington, who looks quite stunning in her mustard ribboned bonnet. Lucky girl to be there. Pea Green of course!

So where is Jane Austen’s true home? Chawton or Bath? The debate continues as the two cities duke it out over bragging rights in Literary Smackdowns: Jane Austen Territory on The L Magazine blog and Satisfaction Will Be Demanded at AustenBlog.

Unseen Austen an new radio play on BBC4 by Judith French imagines Pride and Prejudice through an impertinent and over the top Lydia Bennet and available by Podcast. Oh la! Go Lydia! Feeling sentimental? Then listen to a Podcast from CBC Radio from 1996 entitled Jane Mania, focusing on the wave of popularity spawned by the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series. Sharon Farrell interviews novelist and film adaptor Fay Weldon (P&P 1979), Oxford scholar Marilyn Butler and Austen biographer Claire Tomalin. What an incredible group a well informed and witty women, talking about our favorite subject. Personally, I can never get enough of that!

The third annual R.I.P. reading challenge is underway until October 31st. This reading event is hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings and has a horror and Gothic theme. I have taken up the challenge and will be reading three ‘perils’ written or influenced by Jane Austen; Northanger Abbey, Pemberley Shades and The Mysteries of Udolpho. You can also join in this reading challenge since Austenprose’s two group reads during ‘Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey’ in October will qualify you for R.I.P. III. So, go Gothic with us in October y’all, cuz ya won’t regret it.

Until next week, happy reading!

Laurel Ann