Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from the Publisher
Chloe Parker, a thirty-nine year old divorced mother of one, is elated to be participating in a three week immersion documentary about Jane Austen! A master at Jane Austen trivia and Regency etiquette, Chloe expects to win this competition and walk out with a $100,000 prize that will save her failing antique letterpress business and ensure that her daughter continues to receive the best education possible. The only problem is….Chloe didn’t sign on for a Jane Austen public television documentary…she signed on to be contestant in a reality dating show titled How To Date Mr. Darcy!
Even though Chloe is not thrilled by this unforeseen development, and thinks the whole idea is ludicrous, she decides to remain in the competition. Who knows, maybe she will win the prize money and a man! Chloe enters the Regency Marriage Arena prepared for all the elements of reality dating shows such as: elimination ceremonies, group activities, a d one-on-one dates. Yet she is woefully unprepared for the new Regency Era twists such as: earning Accomplishment Points, surrendering her cellphone, and living according to Regency Era norms for three weeks (even when the cameras are off!) Does Chloe have the right arts and allurements to attract the wealthy and charming Adonis, Mr. Wrightman? Will she be able to endure these next three weeks with limited privacy, fewer freedoms, and deplorable hygiene?
This was such a deliciously diverting concept! It had all the excitement and drama of reality television but with the etiquette and romance of a Jane Austen novel. I loved the premise of this novel and I adored Chloe Parker! She is the type of fearless and flawed heroine that all of us can relate to. I deeply enjoyed witnessing her battle between the ambition to win the prize money and the desire to follow her heart. Many will be able to understand and appreciate Chloe’s internal struggle and admire her for her personal growth through this experience.
If you ever thought you would love living in the Regency Era and that you would totally be able to survive without television, cellphones, and computers – something I have frequently claimed to my family and friends – reading this novel will completely change that! Karen Doornebos meticulously researched and portrayed all the unpleasant realities of living in 1812. I would be completely horrified to take a bath in previously used bathwater, and I’m sure using lemons for deodorant and strawberries for blush leaves you feeling uncomfortably sticky all day. Moreover, as a vegetarian, I would have practically nothing to eat since it was commonly believed that fruits and vegetables are bad for your digestion! (Warning: this novel may make you find the Regency Era a little less attractive!)
Engaging, hilarious, and sweet – Definitely Not Mr. Darcy is terrific Austenesque novel that any Austen admirer would enjoy! I highly recommend!