Summary: Dreams come true in this hilarious, feel-good fairy tale about life, love, and dating literature’s most eligible bachelor! After a string of disastrous dates, Emily Albright decides she’s had it with modern-day love and would much rather curl up with Pride and Prejudice and spend her time with Mr. Darcy, the dashing, honorable, and passionate hero of Jane Austen’s classic. So when her best friend suggests a wild week of margaritas and men in Mexico with the girls, Emily abruptly flees to England on a guided tour of Jane Austen country instead. Far from inspiring romance, the company aboard the bus consists of a gaggle of little old ladies and one single man, Spike Hargreaves, a foul-tempered journalist writing an article on why the fictional Mr. Darcy has earned the title of Man Most Women Would Love to Date.
The last thing Emily expects to find on her excursion is a broodingly handsome man striding across a field, his damp shirt clinging to his chest. But that’s exactly what happens when she comes face-to-face with none other than Mr. Darcy himself. Suddenly, every woman’s fantasy becomes one woman’s reality. . . . -- Ballantine
I decided to read ME AND MR. DARCY by Alexandra Potter because it killed two birds with one stone. In other words, it counted for two of my on-going challenges -- the Everything Austen Challenge and the Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge. My friend had given me the book said that it was a cute story. I was expecting a light, fun read and that it was.
ME AND MR. DARCY actually reminded me of Shannon Hale's book AUSTENLAND (my review) in quite a few ways. Both were books about single women who can't maintain a long-lasting relationship because no man can ever live up to Mr. Darcy. In addition, both women take vacations in the countryside of England where they can spend more time with "Jane." There is also the endings which are pretty close too -- both women end up realizing things about themselves while also falling in love with someone they didn't expect. I enjoyed both books, but I have to say that I preferred AUSTENLAND a little more -- maybe it's because I read it first!
Having said that, ME AND MR. DARCY was a fun book. It was a quick read and it definitely classifies as chick-lit (not that there's anything wrong with that!) I liked the basic premise of the story and I liked how the the main character Emily ended up changing; however, I did have some problems with her character. I just didn't relate to Emily at all, and I found her to have quite a few personality flaws. I think the author portrayed Emily this way on purpose so the reader could see how much she evolved throughout the course of the novel, but I just didn't appreciate her character. I don't think it's necessary to feel an affinity with the main character of a book to enjoy the story, but I definitely think it helps with the entire chick lit genre.
I did like quite a few of the supporting characters in the story though. Emily's crazy friend and co-worker Stella was a hoot, and I thought she was a good contrast to the Emily's character. I liked the Stella was able to eventually realize what was important in her life. In addition, I liked the character of Spike -- Emily's male nemesis. While he initially came across as a selfish and crude guy, the reader realizes that there is more to him than meets the eye. I kept hoping that Emily would be more open-minded and see that they were suited for each other.
There were some unexplainable (almost supernatural) aspects to this story, and I thought the author did a pretty good job with them. I don't want to give too much away; but when Emily traveled to England, she ended up running into the "real" Mr. Darcy. I also liked how she used the character of Miss Steane, the tour guide, to enlighten Emily. The author definitely left the existence of Mr. Darcy and Miss Steane open for the reader's interpretation.
One thing that I did find cute about this story was how the author portrayed Mr. Darcy. While women of all ages agree that he is the "ideal" man, Ms. Potter showed all aspects of his personality -- both the good and the bad. Some of the traits that women list as positive for Mr. Darcy evidently don't convey to good things in our modern times -- i.e. his treatment of women actually is sexist by today's standards. It thought it was interesting for Emily to see Mr. Darcy's "faults" and realize that he was no longer the perfect guy!
I do recommend this book if you enjoy modern day re-tellings of Jane Austen stories. I think there are probably better ones than ME AND MR. DARCY out there (I know I've read a few), but overall it is a sweet story.