Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo

Sent to Oxford to present at a Jane Austen conference on behalf of her sister, an unemployed young woman pretends to be a pediatrician to impress a handsome bachelor and makes the acquaintance of a dotty old woman claiming to have the manuscript of Austen’s first draft of Pride and Prejudice.

Before I get into my review of Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, I need to make a confession. The book’s editor–who also receives a heartfelt dedication from the author–is a good friend of mine. Like I was at her (small) wedding, and used to meet her for lunch at least once a month. My mother-in-law watched her cats. Her husband was instrumental in getting me and my husband together. I tell you all this because I get a lot of review copies of books but don’t let that influence my reviews. If I like a book, it’s because I liked it. And if I don’t like a book, I’ll tell you my opinion, too.

However, when it comes to books by friends I won’t pretend to be objective. I like to support their efforts in the world and give them a boost when I can. And in the rare event I couldn’t do that in good conscience, I’ve opted not to review the book at all. (It’s happened once or twice; I know a lot of writers.)

Fortunately, Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart is well-worth recommending to fans of Austen-inspired chick lit. It’s got some good musings on the nature of love and attraction, and gets in some nice jabs at some of the more overly zealous Austen fanatics.

I don’t think that Pattillo quite caught Austen’s voice in her fictionalized version of Austen’s first draft, but she did capture the spirit of her work. The prose just felt a bit too modern, not quite complex enough–though the other characters do admit that it’s not quite up to par with Austen’s published work. And I’m always bothered when a heroine tells an “accidental” lie that then goes on to color the plot o the book in a significant way. It’s a plot device that’s just a bit too convenient.

Many thanks to Guideposts for the review copy.

5 thoughts on “Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo”

  1. I wasn’t crazy about the whole accidental lie either. I felt like this could have been a good book but I really wanted to see more character development. I thought some of it was just a little too choppy. My review will be posting later this week.

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