Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5Original Review Link
Thirty-nine-year-old single mom Chloe Parker thinks she was born in the wrong century. An avid Austenite who runs a failing antique letterpress business and has a lust for all things Regency England, Chloe jumps at the chance to enter a Jane Austen-inspired reality TV show with a lucrative cash prize. Chloe’s sure she’ll win, as she knows all about Jane Austen. Then she travels to England and learns that the show is, in fact, a reality DATING show set in the nineteenth century. Chloe will have to compete against other younger women to win a proposal from the handsome Mr. Wrightman, the show’s version of Mr. Darcy. It’s time for Chloe to strap on her bonnet and prepare to fight down and dirty to win her man – Austen-style.
How many of us have read a Jane Austen novel and/or watched the film adaptation and wished we could be there in her heroines’ stead? Well, as Chloe finds out, nineteenth century living ain’t all balls and witty repartee. The pratfalls of a modern woman trying to survive not just Regency England but a reality dating show on top of it brings big laughs to DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY. I can definitely say that author Karen Doornebos cured me of my desire to time travel to the nineteenth century…and that isn’t a bad thing. The things I learned in DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY concerning the day-to-day practicalities of Regency-era living were incredibly interesting. Surprisingly, the facts Ms. Doornebos weaves into her story were my favorite parts of the book. It’s not that Chloe wasn’t a great heroine, because she was definitely relatable – excepting the fact that she seemed to be a bit willfully blind at times. Rather, I simply liked the uniqueness that the reality show competition brings to DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY.
A dash of romance rounds out DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY, but Ms. Doornebos will keep readers guessing as to who Chloe’s hero is. There are two Mr. Wrightmans, but which is the right one? As one might expect from the title, neither man is Fitzwilliam Darcy. Yet there are shades of other Austen heroes – and rakes – in each man. The romance plotline of DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY did make me wish the book were a bit longer, as this storyline felt like it was never fully resolved. Still, Austen fans are sure to be tickled by some of what Chloe goes through in the lively DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY.
Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here courtesy of Romance Junkies.