Dec 172014
 

Mr. Darcy's Christmas CalendarJane Austen Christmas Magic!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

What if a trip to the Jane Austen House and Museum and an impulse purchase of an Advent calendar at the gift shop led to an inexplicable and extraordinary phenomenon where you were brought back in time to 1811 and could meet Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and Jane Austen?!?

This is exactly what happens to Liz Benson. On a cold, snowy day she treks out to the village of Chawton and encounters a very rude and “cross-looking” young man and a bubbly and bustling matron in Regency attire. Liz is informed she must put on a costume, and before she can ask any questions she is instructed to open door one of the calendar and proceed to the drawing room. Not sure whether this is a special skit or if actors are paid to put on this “experience,” Liz complies and plays along. What she doesn’t know is that some magic is afoot and she has just slipped back in time to an alternate reality where Jane Austen is currently working on her manuscript, First Impressions, and the characters of that novel are “alive” and living in Chawton! But this version of First Impressions is very different from what we know as Pride and Prejudice. And it looks like Jane Austen might need some help finding her way with these characters.

What a clever and festive idea for a Jane Austen-Inspired holiday novella! It did take me a little bit of time to grasp the time slip phenomena, and at first I was wanting to try and understand the what/how/why with the Advent calendar. But then I realized this is a magical Christmas read, and you don’t ever question Christmas magic (it’s a rule!), especially Jane Austen Christmas magic!

My favorite part of this novel would have to be the Advent calendar. I grew up with several advent calendars in our family, some which were new each year and had chocolate behind the doors, and some which we saved and reused each year that had scripture or images behind the doors. The ones with images and verses were by far my favorite. 🙂 I loved hearing about and visualizing the images behind each door in Liz’s calendar. I felt the same excitement and wonder she did when opening a new door. The only thing that could have made this experience better was if there were illustrations in the book for the reader to see! Ms. Odiwe is a very talented artist and I’m a big fan of her artistic and detailed descriptions. I was thrilled to recognize some of the scenes and images described as ones I’ve seen created by Jane Odiwe’s own hand!

The other aspect of the story I greatly enjoyed was seeing Jane Austen at work on First Impressions. I think it is so much fun to speculate what Jane Austen’s first draft was like and the changes made along the way. Was Mr. Darcy there and established from the very beginning? Or did he come along many rewrites later? 😉 I enjoyed Jane Odiwe’s interpretation of Jane Austen’s manuscript, and of course, I loved seeing our beloved author interact with her characters and treat them as her playthings. 🙂

POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT: While I loved the magic, calendar, time slip, and interaction with Jane Austen, I found myself feeling slightly disappointed with the romance in this novel. I’m not fond of fast-paced romances where characters have a few interactions, brief conversations, a lot of silence and separation, and end up declaring love to each other in last chapter. I thought Mr. Williams and Liz were lovely characters, but I would have loved for more to happen between them, their relationship felt very abrupt.

Despite my quibble, I found Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar to be delightful, enchanting, and filled with Christmas magic. 🙂 Jane Odiwe brings readers along on a charming visit to the heart of Jane Austen’s world for the holiday season!

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  13 Responses to “Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar – Jane Odiwe”

  1.  

    Hi Meredith!
    I can imagine myself living Liz´s experience and it would be absolutely magic!. Yes, it would be fantastic to know the first ideas for “First Impressions”. In “Sense and sensibility” I read in some place (I don´t remember where!) that at first draft, Marianne died but Jane Austen changed her mind at the end so, imagine what stories she could imagine for the P&P characters!. I like advent calendars too and I had some with chocolates when I was a child. I agree with you: the quibble with time travel books is that you can become a little confused in the travel! LOL 🙂
    By the way, I have at last, my own blog!. It´s a blog with reviews of books, films, art… and it´s written in spanish but, in spite of it, I´ve put a link to your blog on mine so that people who speak spanish and english and love Jane Austen´s world, can enjoy your beautiful site.

    •  

      Liz is so lucky, right? That is interesting about Marianne! I’m so glad she changed her mind!

      Congrats on your blog, Teresa! I must go check it out! I love blogging so much, I hope you do too! 🙂

  2.  

    Yes, Christmas magic is a rule that must not be questioned. Haha! This sounds adorable. We never had advent calendars in my family home, but a Jane Austen magical one sounds great.

  3.  

    Nothing like a little ‘Christmas Magic’! I always had the chocolate advent calendars for my kids and have continued with the grandchildren. I am thinking of doing something a little different next year with them. I am looking forward to reading this novella of Jane’s as I love all her other books. I guess you would need a full book to write a ‘full and proper’ love story though. It’s always hard when we want ‘more’!

    •  

      Love Christmas Magic! My mom has all our non-chocolate Advent calendars somewhere (maybe in the attic!) after reading this I want to see if she will let me take one and use it for next year! I miss them.

  4.  

    Ok Santa, did you get this title for me?

  5.  

    I’m one of the folk reading this lovely book one day at a time leading up to Christmas. I had to get the physical book simply because of the beautiful cover. Jane’s time slip novels are some of my favourite JAFF and maybe, as I’m such a geek when it comes to this sort of thing, I don’t find them confusing at all.

    I can forsee myself re-reading this every December from now on.

  6.  

    Thank you for the lovely review, Meredith- I fell madly and deeply in love with my husband the very first time I met him, and knew after a few weeks that he was the one for me – though much of it happened without a lot of conversation. It really does happen in real life, and I was thinking of him, our magical courtship, and the way he still makes me feel after 30 years together when I wrote my book. I have to add, my husband is not or never was as grumpy as Mr Williams! ; )

  7.  

    I think that Jane Odiwe is an expert when it comes to time travels! I can’t wait to read this story and open the doors of the Advent calendar! 🙂

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