Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

I'm sure I've said it before: I'm a sucker for things Austen. And yet, so many of the adaptations, spin-offs, etc. fail to live up to my expectations. Sadly, I think I have to put Definitely Not Mr. Darcy in that camp.

Definitely Not Mr. DarcyThe opening was promising. 39-year-old single mother Chloe heads to England to be (she thinks) part of an Austen-inspired quiz show. Using her extensive knowledge of all things Austen, she hopes to win the prize money and save her faltering business. When she arrives, imagine her dismay to find that it's not, in fact, a quiz show, but a Regency-inspired Bachelor show, with the prize being marriage to the eligible Mr. Wrightman. Desperate for the money, she agrees--and hijinks ensue.

There were things I liked about this novel--mostly the fascinating detail about Regency life (the difficulties of using the toilet, the lack of adequate bathing facilities--she's limited to once a week--no deodorant or adequate toothpaste, etc.). But so many of the characters seemed inconsistent: servants that were her friends one moment and then chastising her the next, the on-again-off-again hero(es). Even Chloe herself was hard to make out. Sometimes she seemed sensible, funny, interesting--and then she'd do something inexplicably crazy. I also had a hard time with all her rule-breaking. For someone "desperate" to win, she sure seemed to ignore the rules (esp. the chaperone rules) whenever it seemed convenient for her, and then despaired when she was sure she would be cut from the competition for rule infraction.

So, overall mixed reaction. Fun concept, fascinating trivia, but I ultimately didn't care as much about Chloe's fate as I would have liked to.

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