The Best Reader + TIME

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart — Beth Pattillo


"Claire Prescott is a sensible woman who believes in facts and figures, not fairy tales. But when she agrees to present a paper to a summer symposium at Oxford on her ailing sister's behalf, Claire finds herself thrown into an adventure with a gaggle of Jane Austen-loving women all on the lookout for their Mr. Darcy. Claire isn't looking for Mr. Anyone. She's been dating Neil — a nice if a bit negligent — sports fanatic. But when a tall, dark and dashing stranger crosses her path, will the staid Claire suddenly discover her inner romantic heroine? Her chance meeting with a mysterious woman who claims to have an early version of Austen's Pride and Prejudice — in which Lizzie ends up with someone other than Fitzwilliam Darcy — leads to an astounding discovery about the venerated author's own struggle to find the right hero for Lizzie Bennett. Neil's unexpected arrival in Oxford complicates Claire's journey to finding her own romantic lead."

Ironically, almost a year ago I read Beth Pattillo's "Jane Austen Ruined My Life " as part of the Everything Austen Challenge (Part I).

This will be a weird review (I'm just warning you). Throughout reading this novel and after finishing it, I didn't really like it. I wasn't captivated like I was for "Jane Austen Ruined My Life." But now that I've had a thirty minutes to think about it, I'm second guessing that first impression (again, ironically).

The more I think about it the more I appreciate the ending (which at first I hated). I found myself just as torn between the two "hero" figures as Claire. But in the end, I was happy with how it turned out and couldn't help but "smile out loud." I liked the turn of events against Mr. Darcy because they addressed concepts of the "Pride and Prejudice" plot that I often question.

I really appreciated that this novel gave readers a more realistic ending. Don't get me wrong, I love my Mr. Darcy. But I think that because he's so iconic, young women get in a rut of "waiting" for that perfect brooding man. In fiction, the tall, dark, handsome, and brooding character is fantastic, in reality (I think) it sets women up for heartbreak. Sometimes I think in fiction the nice guy just needs to come in first to prove to bibliophiles like myself that you don't have to wait for the man who treats you poorly (at first). Many times the man who is loves you from the beginning is just as much a hero as the man whose pride and prejudices get in the way.

Just my two cents anyway.

I really enjoyed reading the fictional pages of "First Impressions" that Pattillo created. At first I was a bit taken aback by the extreme differences between "First Impressions" and the present day "Pride and Prejudice." But again, in the end I came to really love the presumed ending of "First Impressions." (Sorry for all the secrecy, I don't want to give anything away.)

I wasn't as enveloped into the plot of this novel as the "Jane Austen Ruined My Life." I didn't have as easy of time connecting with Claire as I did with the protagonist of the prior novel. A quick, fast paced read, I would recommend "Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart" as well as "Jane Austen Ruined My Life" to any Austen/Mr. Darcy fan.

Originality: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Characters: 7/10
Plot: 10/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 7/10
Theme: 10/10
Imagery: 10/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 10/10
Overall: 94/100 A

To the FTC, with love: Library Loan

book, fairy tale, fantastic, happy, LIFE, novel, review, and more:

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart — Beth Pattillo + TIME