Monday, December 21, 2009

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart-Beth Pattillo

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart
Beth Pattillo
Guideposts, Jan 10 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9780824947934

Having just lost her position as a pediatrician office manager in Kansas City, thirtyish Claire Prescott’s nerves are frayed, but has no one to talk to about her fears. Her boyfriend Neil buries himself in a cocoon of and her sister Missy always turns to her for bail out since their parents died. In fact the latter is why she is at Christ Church in Oxford, England attending a seminar on Jane Austen where no college degree Claire will present Missy’s scholarly paper on Pride and Prejudice.

Claire plans to spend the week temporarily fabricating her résumé so she can be like all these successful people who are judges, professors and stockbrokers, etc. When she meets James Beaufort of a Manhattan publishing firm family, she imagines him as a modern day Americanized Mr. Darcy; who is definitely not her type. Thus Claire starts with lies, but meets elderly Harriet, who suffers from early stages of dementia; yet presents a different version of the commonly accepted Pride and Prejudice that seems so much more realistic to Claire. Others want to meet Claire and her room is searched; obviously for the manuscript Harriet gave her. Unsure what to do next, Claire is stunned when Neil arrives.

Every time I think nothing new can happen to Jane Austen, a surprise refreshing spin occurs. The story line is fast-paced with plenty of suspense but is many ways is more of a character study. Claire is ashamed of herself and begins to understand her altruism re Missy has allowed her to hide her fears of life. Fans will appreciate Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart as the heroine must decide what Harriet should do with an earth shattering manuscript and what she should do with her life starting with Neil.

Harriet Klausner