Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 3rd 2014
by Sourcebooks Casablanca
My Rating: ❀❀❀❀❀
Genre: Historical Romance
These Book Club Belles are ready to put down their novels and find some real-life leading men!
In the sleepy village of Hawcombe Prior, five young ladies of the local book society are reading a salacious romance called Pride and Prejudice. Upon finishing the book, the ladies race to find their own Mr. Darcy, and the handsome, mysterious Darius Wainwright is the perfect mark.
Justina Penny can't understand why her fellow Belles are starry-eyed in the newcomer's arrogant presence. But if the town's only eligible bachelor marries anyone, it should be her sweet, beautiful sister. And it's up to Justina to make it happen. How could this plan possibly go wrong?
I really enjoyed this book. My intital thoughts when I began to read it was that it was cheerful. Which, considering that this a nod to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, which she herself described as "light and bright and sparkling" makes sense. I loved how tongue in cheek this was, I adored the characters how they mirrored Austen's--and yet were whimsically and wonderfully their own.
Where to start....Well, Justina was not your typical romance heroine. She is girlish, and independent but shocking in her independence. She is imaginative and fearless, and gets herself in scraps that make you giggle. She is a heroine you will adore. She is, of course, proud and prone to quick judgements--but then, that is to be expected. fun she is. And how she works up Darius.
I love how Darius, like Darcy, is a character you will adore. I defy you not to adore him. He is a bit buttoned up, perhaps somewhat aloof and overly orderly, but I loved how naughty he could be. I could never picture Mr. Darcy doing the things Darius does. And that's what makes Darius entirely his own character. He is naughty, but he is romantic, and he is insecure in ways that Darcy never was--after all, when Darcy's proposal is rejected, he writes a letter in his defense to Elizabeth. Darius never even got the proposal out--but he does write letters to let Justine figure out, in her own good time, how much he does care about her.
I think what I liked best was how gently the characters reminded me Austen's. Even Justina's mother who simply screams of Mrs. Bennett, was in the end, not Mrs. Bennett, but kinder and less addled brained. I'm am excessively curious about Major Sherringham and Diana (who could not be?) and Lucky, who is suddenly brought back from the dead! I cannot wait to read more of this wonderful new series.