Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

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Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

Chloe Parker has always felt as if she was born at the wrong time. A single mother at thirty nine, she runs her own antique letterpress business, has been a lifelong member of the Jane Austen society and is obsessed with all things Regency. But what's a lady to do when her business is failing and threatens her daughter's future?

How about trying out for a Jane Austen inspired TV Show set in England.........

Chloe thought she was signing up for a documentary set in 1812 but instead they've turned it into a reality dating show with seven other women competing to snare Mr. Wrightman, the heir to a beautiful estate, and a $100,000.00 prize. Determined to win the money, Chloe tosses her bonnet into the ring hoping she'll be able to transform herself from stressed out Midwest mom to a genteel American heiress. Forced to give up all of her modern conveniences, her cell phone, deodorant and indoor plumbing, Chloe tightens her corset and flashes her ankles to beat out women who are younger, more cutthroat and less clumsy. But is the witty and dashing Mr. Wrightman a prize worth winning? Only Chloe can decide once the gloves come off....

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos is a refreshing and interesting take on all things Austen. The characters are well developed and the dialogue is engaging and occasionally humorous. I found the story's pace to be steady and was intrigued by Ms. Doornebos portrayal of both the positive and negative aspects of life in Regency England in 1812. Overall, this mix between one woman's fantasy and reality was very entertaining. I was also impressed to discover this is Ms. Doornebos debut as a writer.

Chloe Parker has never been comfortable in the time period in which she's been born in. She's always felt like she should have been born in Jane Austen's England, when life moved more slowly and people wrote letters instead of sending emails or tweets. When the president of the Chicago branch of the American Jane Austen Society tells her about an opportunity to try out for an Austen inspired TV show in England, Chloe jumps at the chance and with the help of her gifted teenage daughter she enters her "video" tryout in the contest. When she's picked for the show, she's so excited to be going to England for three weeks that she doesn't really take a look at the contract and notice the changes in the program. When she arrives at the estate and discovers the show has become a Jane Austen version of ABC's The Bachelor, she's naturally upset but won't quit because she needs the prize money. Determined to win the prize she never thought she'd end up examining what she really wanted out of life and fall in love with the wrong man on the show.

As Chloe and the other contestants compete for points on the show, which give them time with "Mr. Wrightman", she learns the Regency wasn't everything it was cracked up to be. She misses her cell phone and being able to talk with her daughter on demand. She also misses running water, a flushable toilet and underarm deodorant. She does however enjoy being given a maidservant, a chaperone and a closet full of Regency Gowns. As she gets to know her fellow contestants it's clear she's not the only one serious about winning the prize and discovers she doesn't like the Regency period's strict social hierarchy which places the service staff below the contestants and allows them to be treated poorly, or the restrictions it placed on a woman's life. She's especially doesn't like one of her competitors, Lady Grace, who constantly points out that as an American Chloe shouldn't be allowed to compete because she doesn't belong in English society.

While at first Chloe is attracted to the elder"Mr. Wrightman", the prize bachelor, she soon finds her attraction drifting to his younger brother, also "Mr. Wrightman", who she realizes is polite, kind, and funny. She knows she's supposed to be attracted to the older brother, who will inherit the estate and all of the money but can't help feeling that something is not right with the man. This is yet another situation which Chloe will have to think over.

At the end of the story, Chloe has enough points to continue in the game and possibly even with the prize. But is everything on the set as it appears and does she even want the prize anymore? You'll have to read Definitely Not Mr. Darcy to find out. I enjoyed it and I think you will too.

Book Blurb for Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

There's no place for pride in this Austen misadventure. Chloe Parker was born two centuries too late. A thirty-nine-year- old divorced mother, she runs her own antique letterpress business, is a lifelong member of the Jane Austen Society, and gushes over everything Regency. But her business is failing, threatening her daughter's future. What's a lady to do?Why, audition for a Jane Austen-inspired TV show set in England, of course.

What Chloe thinks is a documentary turns out to be a reality dating show set in 1812. Eight women are competing to snare Mr. Wrightman, the heir to a gorgeous estate, along with a $100,000 prize. So Chloe tosses her bonnet into the ring, hoping to transform from stressed-out Midwest mom to genteel American heiress and win the money. With no cell phones, indoor plumbing, or deodorant to be found, she must tighten her corset and flash some ankle to beat out women younger, more cutthroat, and less clumsy than herself. But the witty and dashing Mr. Wrightman proves to be a prize worth winning, even if it means the gloves are off...

Night Owl Reviews Nov, 2011 4.00