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A Novel Idea!: Definitely Not Mr. Darcy - 2018

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

Reviewed by Kari S.

= Read & Recommend

This work of fiction makes a decent vacation read. By that I mean it’s not intellectually challenging, but still makes for a good story. A single mom, in the throes of a custody battle with her ex, leaves the US for England in an attempt to win money to save her failing business. What she thought was going to be an extensive Jane Austen trivia competition turns out to be a version of the reality TV show The Bachelor, set in 1812.

There are conniving contestants and the leading lady isn’t sure if she really wants to win the prize (i.e., the bachelor) anyway, although she could really use the money that accompanies the win. She is, of course, a front runner for the eligible bachelor to select.

There is a twist at the end, but it all comes nicely together like a Hallmark movie ending. One aspect of the book that I found interesting was the activities of the women, which earned points in their reality TV game show, but that women in 1812 would have done for entertainment. Their time was almost completely leisure time. There were cooks and maids and footmen to take care of everything. The women themselves competed in embroidery, archery, and horseback riding. There was no expectation that they contribute to the running of the household. I suppose if it really were 1812 and not a reality TV show set in 1812, one of the women would have been actually managing the house and the staff, but even at that, it does make me think that perhaps there would have been advantage to living then: more leisure time, fewer scheduled places to be and things to do. Then again, the story wasn’t written from the viewpoint of the scullery maid. Her story may have made it entirely clear that there would be no advantage to living in 1812, as opposed to today, where, if I were so inclined, I could watch a group of women compete to snag a husband on TV.

  • Length: 384 pages
  • Published by: Berkley, 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0425243824
  • Category:  Fiction