An Escape to Jane Austen’s Hampshire
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
In this enchanting Austen-Inspired novel, three devoted Janeites travel to a Jane Austen Conference that takes place in Purley Hall, a picturesque and historic Georgian mansion in Hampshire, England. The conference is hosted by none other than Dame Pamela Harcourt, a famous and distinguished British actress who has played famous roles such as Elizabeth Bennet, Marianne Dashwood in her youth and Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Fanny Dashwood in recent years. Our two heroines, Katherine Roberts, an Oxford professor, and Robyn Love, a receptionist at a college, and our Austenesque hero, Warwick Lawton, a writer, are all eagerly looking forward to enjoying their long Janeite weekend!
Katherine, who has been to this particular conference several times before, is hoping to finally meet her favorite Regency Romance author/pen-pal whose rumored to attend. Robyn plans to enjoy some time away from her selfish and immature boyfriend, but disaster strikes when Jace announces that he is tagging along on her precious Jane Austen weekend. Warwick Lawton travels to Hampshire with the intent of meeting the woman he has fallen in love with and possibly revealing to her his big secret. Wonder what’s in store for Katherine, Robyn, and Warwick this weekend? Curious to see if everything goes according to plan?
I absolutely adore the Contemporary Jane Austen Chick-Lit genre! Whether it’s Confessions of a JaneAusten Addict, According to Jane, My Jane Austen Summer, Austenland, or the “Formiddable” Series by Beth Pattillo, I love reading about Jane Austen addicts searching for their very own perfect happiness! Sometimes these heroines find their own Mr. Darcy, and other times they learn life lessons and make important self-discoveries. Whether they travel to England, back in time, or never leave their hometown these women encounter, dream of, rely upon, and are guided by our beloved Jane Austen – and that is something many of us can relate to!
One aspect I really loved about A Weekend With Mr. Darcy was that there were TWO heroines and TWO romances occurring at the same time! (Given that the back cover blurb doesn’t mention Robyn Love at all, this came as quite a surprise to me!) I also loved that the story was told from three different point-of-views. I loved being privy to Katherine’s thoughts, Robyn’s musings, and Warwick’s ponderings! All three characters were a joy to follow around, but my favorite is Robyn, whose meek and unassuming nature reminded me a little of Anne Elliot or Fanny Price.
The other aspect of this novel I loved was the Jane Austen Conference. How I would love to go to something like this! Just imagine: sleeping in a Georgian mansion, meeting the famous actress who portrayed many iconic Jane Austen characters, attending talks about my favorite author, a day-trip to Chawton Cottage, a Jane Austen Quiz Night, and a Regency Ball. Ms. Connelly did a fantastic job of describing with vivid details Stevenson Rectory, Chawton Cottage, and Winchester Cathedral. I’m so glad that Ms. Connelly underwent such extensive research and travel to make these settings as authentic and accurate as possible.
Have you ever heard the saying: “reading can take you places?” Well, while reading A Weekend with Mr. Darcy I felt like I was taken on a tour of Jane Austen’s Hampshire and able to see, feel, and hear all the wondrous things about that county first-hand. Victoria Connelly is an engaging and skilled story-teller and I am eagerly anticipating the next book in her trilogy, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy (The Perect Hero)due to be released January 2012.