Review by A Baja Janeite
“This isn’t what really happened. Jane Austen obviously changed her mind about a lot of things when she rewrote it.”
Harriet’s nodding agreement only spurred my irritation. “So this is just an early draft. It doesn’t change the outcome, does it?”…
“The outcome?” She paused.
I bit my lip in frustration. “Whatever happens, Darcy and Elizabeth have to end up together.” …
Harriet eyed me with some interest. “Why should it bother you if Elizabeth fancies Colonel Fitzwilliam?” (p.93)
Claire Prescott has no life. When her parents died years ago, eighteen-year-old Claire abandoned all of her own dreams to provide for her younger sister. Missy now has a career and a family, but Claire still lives for her. Boyfriend Neil is obsessed with sports–but not with Claire. To make matters worse, she has just lost her job to a young college graduate.
Missy has been invited to present a paper at a Pride and Prejudice seminar at Oxford. Uunable to attend, she talks Claire into taking her place. Of course, Claire will go. Will Neil even realize that she is gone?
At Oxford, Claire meets and is immediately enamored with James Beufort, a New York version of Mr.Darcy. He, however, is as reluctantly attracted to Claire as the original was to Elizabeth.
Claire also meets Formidable member Harriet Dalrymple. (The Formidables, a secret Austen society, were introduced in Pattillo’s first book, Jane Austen Ruined My Life.) Harriet claims to own the unrevised first version of Pride and Prejudice. Struggling with the beginnings of dementia, Harriet agonizes about whether the manuscript should be sold or entrusted to the Fomidables. Her days of independent living are coming to an end. She begs Claire for advice.
Two decisions must be made: Which man should Claire love? And what will be the fate of First Impressions?
This is another fun read by Beth Pattillo. Pattillo’s first book was a romantic mystery. This one is a romance within a romance–one written by Pattillo and one supposedly written by a young Jane Austen. This amusing “original version” includes the same characters as P&P – but in a totally different plot!
Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart is similar to Pattillo’s first book in several ways:
1) a young American woman, disappointed in love and fired from her job, travels to England;
2) she is approached by a Formidable and views previously unpublished Austen material;
3) she meets an attractive man who distracts her from a faithful, previous admirer ;
4) she is tempted to expose the unpublished material.
In spite of these similarities, the plot is still different enough to be an enjoyable read. It’s a nice, light choice for you Northerners on the next afternoon you are snowed in! (Oh fine, rub it in!–Ed.)