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**This review is also on Ciao, under "MonsoonBaby88"**
There are plenty of books out there which may be classified as a "chick lit". Most of them are predictable, but even the most predictable chick lit appeals to me. Chick lits, for the most part, follow the same set-up as each other. For instance, girl meets boy, girl loses boy (due to boy's stupidity), girl realises she has made a mistake, and they live happily ever after. Is this the same in Alexander Potters' "Me and Mr Darcy"? Well, yes and no.
Me and Mr Darcy is a homage to Jane Austen's classic book, "Pride and Prejudice." The book centres on Emily Albright, a twenty-eight year old New Yorker who prefers to snuggle up in bed with a good book (those by Jane Austen being her top priority), then go out clubbing and meeting single men. After having countless disastrous dates for the past few years, Emily is ready to pack it all in, until her best friend Stella announces that she has booked them both up for an 18-30s clubbing holiday in Mexico, where her intention is to see in the New Year surrounded by men, and dosed up on cocktails. Emily however has different ideas after finding a leaflet to a Jane Austen English tour that mysteriously appeared on her desk in her bookshop. Trading flip-flops for snug winter boots, Emily is off for a week in the English countryside to embrace the home of her favourite author.
However, things do not get off on a good start. Emily soon finds out that the coach of participants in the tour are old women, and an arrogant, pot-bellied journalist named Spike just makes things all the better. Emily begins to put her reservations behind her though when she realises that these old women are full of life-more so than herself perhaps, but all the while she and Spike cannot console their differences. Things quickly take a bizarre turn though when Emily finds herself face to face with Mr Darcy. Dressed in riding boots, silk cravats and other upper-class attire, Mr Darcy is gorgeous. Emily has met the man many women fantasise about, and he is every bit as handsome as he is described in Pride and Prejudice-but where did he come from? Nobody else seems aware of him, but he cannot be a figment of Emily's imagination, can he?
Those who have read Pride and Prejudice will probably enjoy this book a lot more than those who haven't, as the book is full of quotations from Jane Austen's classic book, as well as practically mirroring it. The narrative between Emily Albright and Spike Hargreaves mirrors the one found in Elizabeth & Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. The quotations, which come very frequently, help to distinguish when these moments are. The appearance of Mr Darcy in the book is not as much as I thought he would be, as the book seems to focus more around the love-hate relationship of Spike and Emily than the meetings between Emily and Mr Darcy. Considering Emily has been in love with Mr Darcy ever since she first read Pride and Prejudice, it is a little disappointing that there is not really that many pages of dialogue and events concerning the pair of them. However, on the plus side, the scenes with Mr Darcy play out, once again, just like Pride and Prejudice, so they were a joy to read. However, there is not really any romance evident between Emily and Darcy, and when it is hinted at, it is brief, and interrupted, which, I believe is emphasising the point that Darcy appears out of nowhere to Emily, but disappears again when people are nearby, but it is also a little frustrating at times. Spike is a much more interesting character than the Darcy portrayed in Alexander Potter's novel, which is a shame as Mr Darcy is intriguing in Jane Austen's original book.
I highly enjoyed this book, even though I did not expect the book to pan out the way it does. Alexander Potter has incorporated a fairy tale element into what otherwise would have been an ordinary and predictable chick-lit. The story plays out as a modern day Cinderella story in many aspects-without mentioning names for fear of including spoilers, one of the characters is written in such a way that I was reminded of the fairy godmother. The reasoning for Mr Darcy's appearance is never entirely explained, which further adds to the magical feel the book is capturing. Even though I would have liked to have seen more of the moments in which Emily and Mr Darcy meet, I feel that because he was used so infrequently, some of their meetings felt a little unnecessary, especially when the relationship between Emily and Spike had got a lot more interesting.
Me and Mr Darcy is a light-hearted take on Pride and Prejudice, which adds a new modern touch on it, as well as including a fairytale element. The protaganist, Emily Albright, is a likeable bookworm, whilst the assortment of old women bring an interesting narrative into the romance, to break it up at times. The romance is believable, and I felt myself rooting for the two lovers. Even though the fairytale elements makes this chick lit a little refreshing in comparison to a lot of other romance novels, there is still a lot of predictability here. I guessed how it would end when I was just a few chapters in, which I did not find a bad thing, I am used to it with this kind of book, but I was expecting it to end a little differently considering the subject matter. So, if you love Jane Austen, you may love this book, but then you may hate it. It all depends on how much you like her work, and whether you are prepared to read a modern retelling. Readers who are not familiar with Pride and Prejudice should enjoy this, but may not get all the references to the original book, but the romance side of things is still present and is easy to follow. I really enjoyed this book, and am now seeking out other novels by Alexander Potter, so I recommend reading this if you're looking for a light, quick read!
For those interested in reading this story, the book can be picked up for about £4.20, but prices can vary, depending on what site you choose to purchase it from.
I picked up "Me and Mr Darcy" by Alexandra Potter for the value price of £2 in this years Tesco Summer Book sale and being a Jane Austen fan I settled down for a nice read.
The basic premise is that Emily Albright manages a New York book shop and adores "Pride and Prejudice". Working alongside her is the younger Stella who is both man mad and a good time girl. So when Stella invites Emily to a 18-30 holiday in Mexico over the New York break some quick thinking is needed to come up with an excuse. Thus the handy flyer that has just appeared advertising a Jane Austen tour in England comes in handy and Emily books herself a place.
The tour bus turns out to be full of pensionable ladies - along with Emily and Spike - a journalist who deeply resents being sent to write a review about the tour.
As the week unfolds Emily begins to imgaine that she keeps bumping into the real Mr Darcy and imagines herself to be falling in love with him - albeit she realises that he is not everything he appeared to be in the book. Rather cleverly the author reveals the story along the plot lines of "Pride and Prejudice" with Spike becoming the representative of the Darcy character.
This is an easy read and, as a lover myself of P & P, I found it interesting to predict which part of the plot line was being covered next. The story moved along easily and it is definitely a feel good story.
Me and Mr Darcy is Alexandra Potter's sixth novel and were published in June 2007 by Hodder. It is currently retailing on Amazon.co.uk for around £2.58 including postage for a used one or £4.73 including postage for a new one.
Emily Albright is a 29 year old living in New York. She is the manager of a small book store in Soho, she loves her job, and she works with her friend Stella. After a string of bad relationships and disastrous dates Emily has sworn off men for good and would rather curl up in bed with a good book than go out partying. With Christmas and New Year looming Stella has decided that they are both off on a club 18-30 man hunting mission in Cancun Mexico. Trying to get out of the holiday without hurting Stella's feelings Emily spots a leaflet some one has left on the shop counter for a guided book tour of Jane Austin country. In a desperate bid to avoid Mexican man hunting Emily manages to book the last seat on the tour.
Emily arrives in England and sets off on the coach for the tour. Emily is most disappointed to find that the tour is full of old ladies with perms and one rather arrogant young man by the name of Spike Hargreaves who is only on the tour as he is writing a report for a newspaper about why women love Mr Darcy.
Emily soon discovers that the book tour is not quite what she thought it would be. All the old ladies seem to have more of a life than Emily and have very interesting stories to tell. Emily also seems to be having hallucinations of Mr Darcy, is it the jet lag? The local cider? Or just a bump on the head? that is causing her to see him. Emily also discovers that there is more to Spike than she thought and the reason behind his problem with Ernie the coach driver, and who is the mysterious tour guide Ms Una J Steane? And can Emily help Stella and her (Green card marriage) husband Freddy realise that they are truly right for each other?
Part of me really enjoyed this book while another part of me was quite disappointed. The author seems to be aiming for a story similar to Bridget Jones's Diary but ends up with a story that is a bit Cinderella. I found that I had pretty much guessed the ending of the book within the first few chapters. Having already read Pride and Prejudice and watched the BBC adaptation I was able to pick up on the many references to the series and the book, I do think that if you have not read the original Jane Austin book some of the similarities would not make much sense. I found myself actually desiring to read Pride and Prejudice while reading this story.
The many sub plots in this book held my interest more than the main plot as I had already guessed what was going to happen to Emily. The characters seem a bit one dimensional and could really do with a bit more background. The book felt as if you had dropped into the middle of an already established story.
The book did make me wonder whether women really do want a man like Mr Darcy who is very opinionated and arrogant and holds himself in high regard or whether they really want someone who'll put the kids to bed, run them a bath and bring them a cuppa. I know which one I've got. Emily does learn not to judge people by her first experience of them and to not let her pride get in the way of leading a good and interesting life.
Overall this is an easy to read book with a rather predictable ending. I would recommend this book to someone who enjoys Sophie Kinsel or Cecilia Ahern and would also recommend that you get your hands on a copy of Pride and Prejudice.
Thanks for reading. I'm off to find my copy of Pride and Prejudice.
I recently bought this book with some of my dooyoo earnings after amazon recommended it for me based on my old purchases. Now I had never heard of Alexandra Potter before I read this book but when I mentioned to a friend that I had ordered this book she told me how great another one of her books were so I was hoping this one would be just as gripping.
Now this is going to make me sound really dumb but I have never read Pride & Prejudice because it has simply never appealed to me that much. I have caught bits of the TV series when my mom watches it but frankly it has always seemed pretty boring so why I would read a book that is loosely based on the Jane Austen novel is beyond me.
What Is The Book About?:
The main character is Emily Albright a 20 something American who rather than deal with the less than perfect men she has been dating would rather curl up in bed with a good book. Like most women Emily wants to meet her Mr Right, or in her case Mr Darcy.
So when her best friend offers her two sun filled weeks in Mexico Emily decides to go on a Jane Austen book tour in England. When she arrives on the coach she is horrified to find that it is full of grey haired old ladies and one bad tempered journalist called Spike, no Mr Darcy there.
But when Emily walks into a room and finds herself face to face with Mr Darcy, her dream man could her fantasy become reality.
I wont give anymore of the plot away because then you wouldnt need to read it for yourself but with this very romantic plot I would say that this is definitely a book that is more aimed at women, I mean, what woman hasn't wished for their Mr Darcy at one time or another?
When I first started reading this book I was finding it really hard to get into and I was only managing to read about half a chapter at a time but I didnt want the book to be a total waste of money so I decided to try and muddle through.
The characters in this book are simple with no weird quirks or anything so I think that makes them so much more relatable to the reader. Especially Emily, even though she is like the total opposite of me as a person I found her stories of bad dates and even worse guys really personal to me because I think most women have been there.
I did find that I started getting into the book more as the chapters went on but I found that I could tell exactly what was going to happen in the end after about 3 chapters. That didnt really bother me because I would rather a book was simple and easy to follow than riddled with plot twists and words I dont understand. But as I was reading I couldnt help but notice Mr Darcy had barely appeared apart from a few brief conversations so I was left feeling there could have been a lot more Mr Darcy for a book that is pretty much based on his character.
As the book went on I found myself drifting away from the main storyline and I was starting to concentrate more on what Ernie the coach drivers secret past was, now I doubt this was intentional but the writer did seem to loose my interest about 3/4 of the way through when usually this is were my interest is just starting to peak.
If your a big fan of Mr Darcy OR Pride & Prejudice then this might be worth a read but for chick-lit lovers like myself I would personally give it a miss.
Thanks For Reading
x-0 Salz 0-x
There's something about Mr Darcy which appeals greatly to me. Yet I have never read Pride and Prejudice, neither have I watched the recent film with Kiera Knightly or the TV production with the lovely Colin Firth. So why on earth would I bother to pick up a book with his name on it, when I know nothing of him.
Me and Mr Darcy is not the typical sort of book I would usually read. Just looking at the cover makes me think of the usual not that great romantic fiction which seem to cover the vast majority of my local library or book shop. I instantly think office affairs/divorce/single mum or dad/soppy and predictable endings...
However the words Mr Darcy made me ignore the frankly boring and unimaginative cover and glance briefly at the back to read the blurb. To be honest that didn't do much to spark any interest either, until the last few lines!
'...then she walks into a room and finds herself face to face with Darcy himself.'
Well that was that then, saying as I've always thought about what it would be like to meet the living man.
Me and Mr Darcy is written by Alexandra Potter, no, I'd never heard of her before either but my friend has since said that she has produced a few other books which, according to her are somewhat decent.
She was born in Bradford but has spent time living in the USA and Australia. I intially thought that she was an american from how she describes a certain Emiy Albright from LA visiting England for the first time. Talking about how excited she was at how polite the brits were, mentioning the cockney slang and the discovery of midget gems.
The book in itself is dare I say it, quite good. But I think its definetly more suited for the female reader.
Emily Albright works in a bookstore with her friend Stella. She enjoys living in New York but has had more disastrous dates that's enough to put any woman off. Ranging from a man who insists on paying only for what he's eaten, to another who blew her out at the last minute only to see him in the seat behind with his tongue down somebody elses mouth.
Despite the pleading of her best friend Stella who wants her to go to a margarita drinking Mexico holiday for new years, she strangely finds a leaflet just at the right moment for a week in England, for Jane Austen lovers. Coincidently there happens to only be one place left and she gets the ticket.
Although she is enthralled by what she sees when arriving, seeing a coach full of grey haired pensioners was not what she was expecting, even less so of a man around about her age. Naturally she dislikes him, with his cocky arrogance and unnatural amount of self assurance. Especially when he is only there because of being a journalist and it's not as if he chose this report to do. All on Mr Darcy of course.
When you're a lot younger a sign which says 'do not enter' or 'don't touch anything' can be very tempting. That's not to say it differs when you reach your late 20s. Finding herself tired that's exactly what Emily does. Seeing nobody about she props herself into the very chair which the famous Miss Austen would of once sat in. Maybe even using the very same quill in front of her.
"Can I help you?" The first time we encounter Mr Darcy.
It's likely that the times she claps eyes on him, she's very tired, or drunk or maybe just plainly out of her mind. Or is she? When another member of the tour happens to pipe up when he comes into sight that he 'is not a patch on Colin Firth' something must be up.
Mr Darcy does not feature much in the story, maybe that was wise considering there's only so much of his personality you can fit into it. I'm not sure whether it was this book or ITVs Lost in Austen which came first but there are definite similarities between the two. I can't help but think that one of them got the idea from the other. Considering that Me and Mr Darcy was only published in the year 2007. I don't know when Lost in Austen came about.
But nows not the time to start speculating, this book can fill a few hours of boredom. Maybe more so in the evening when the TV isn't on. It surprised me how much I enjoyed reading it, but sadly I wouldn't buy the book, I may take it out of the library from time to time but that's all as it's not really worth £7. I feel that it's best to read in one sitting other wise you could lose the interest in it.