Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Gift from Mom
Because of an unpleasant encounter that has forced her into a “temporary administrative leave,” Elizabeth Scott is wary of all men…especially men with money. Because men with money have power – and oftentimes will use their money and power in unethical and self-serving ways. When Elizabeth crosses paths with Donovan Darcy, an incredibly gorgeous dog show breeder judge, she immediately decides that he is arrogant, rude, entitled, and definitely someone she would do best to avoid. However, Elizabeth keeps encountering the sexy, brooding Mr. Darcy…and as fate would have it, she finds herself temporarily living in the same neighborhood as him. So much for avoiding the man…
Underneath their contentious first encounter and mistaken assumptions, there are sparks and a copious amount of super-charged tension between Elizabeth and Donovan. While they might be constantly crossing verbal swords, Donovan cannot help but feel attracted to Elizabeth and marvel at the fact that she doesn’t seem to be pursuing him for his money. And even though she feels the chasm between them to great to cross, Elizabeth finds herself falling for Donovan’s caring nature and knack for knowing how to make her happy. What happens when the media learns of Mr. Darcy’s new love interest? Will Elizabeth be able to let go of her preconceived notions and mistrust of all wealthy men?
This story is like a modern-day Austenesque fairy tale! Our heroine is a courageous woman of integrity and morals, who gets to travel to London and reside in posh town-home, all while she is pursued by a devastatingly handsome, sought-after bachelor! As you might guess it isn’t a point-by-point retelling of Pride and Prejudice; our beloved characters are integrated into the competing world of dog-shows. Elizabeth has a charming Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Bliss and travels to London to be assist and care for four adorable Border terriers during their dog show circuit. And in addition to judging dog shows, Don0van has established a very select and distinguished dog breeding kennel, Chadwicke Kennels. I loved hearing about these furry friends and seeing how devoted their humans were to their care and happiness. Elizabeth’s and Bliss’s relationship was very sweet to witness.
Other parts of the story I took pleasure in were the engaging supporting cast, the many ‘meet cutes’ between our main characters, their sizzling chemistry, and the vivid depictions of London’s fabulous sights and sounds. I loved being taken back to Harrods, Hyde Park, and Kensington Palace. I thought the Barrows were the sweetest couple, Henry (Charles) was appropriately carefree and happy, Jenna (Jane) awesome and supportive, and Helena (Caroline) so easy to despise! The dates and romantic exchanges between Elizabeth and Donovan were creative, memorable, and oh-so enviable! Elizabeth doesn’t realize how lucky she is!
If I were to quibble about anything, it would be that sometimes Donovan seemed most attracted to and focused on Elizabeth’s looks. A lot of his thoughts run along the lusty side, and while this isn’t necessarily undesirable…I would have liked to see Darcy dwell more on Elizabeth’s character and personality, than her physical features. In addition, even though Elizabeth was very likable, I sometimes felt she was a little stubborn holding onto her prejudices and mistaken assumptions for so long. However, both of these circumstances did not interrupt my pleasure in this fun and fantastic tale.
The judging results are in! Unleashing Mr. Darcy is a splendid specimen and exhibits all the exemplary qualities of the Austenesque breed in its finest form. With an impressive stack (premise), friendly temperament (tone), satisfyingly balanced gait (pacing), and attractive top coat (cover) Unleashing Mr. Darcy is definitely a champion in my book! I am sooooo looking forward to seeing the upcoming movie on the Hallmark Channel!
Note: There is one brief intimate scene towards the end of this novel and for that reason I’d recommend it for Mature Audiences Only.