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Engaging Mr. Darcy by Rachel John
Book: Engaging Mr. Darcy (An Austen-Inspired Romantic Comedy)
Author: Rachel John
Published: May 12, 2018
Publisher: Createspace
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Audio
Source: Purchased


“Angry people are not always wise.” – Jane Austen
After a standoff in the pizza parlor, Elsie Bennet has decided Fitzwilliam “I-Throw-Fitz” Darcy is the worst customer she’s ever encountered. Also the best looking, but that’s beside the point. She’s horrified to discover Will is not just passing through her small town, he’s her new neighbor.
Will Darcy has all the money and time he could ask for, and yet life never seems to meet his expectations. When his best friend, Charlie, starts dating Jane Bennet, Will becomes their unhappy third-wheel. The solution? Bring along Jane’s sister, Elsie, a girl who challenges him, makes him laugh, plagues his thoughts, and unfortunately, hates his guts.
Will might control a lot of things, but he won’t control her. Elsie’s already been warned away by her new friend, Jeff Wickham, who found out the hard way that Will is not someone to be crossed. Things would be so much simpler if she was attracted to Jeff. But she’s not. She’s attracted to Will, and the tug-o-war between her mind and her heart is going to drive her mad.
A modern day take on Pride and Prejudice with all the characters you know and love. (Goodreads)

Buy now: Book Depository | Amazon.ca


I wanted to like this. I wanted to like it so much. But…it fell flat for me.

The concept of this is great. A contemporary, romantic comedy take on Pride and Prejudice. Elsie and Jane live together and are trying to get a graphic t-shirt business off the ground. Lydia uses her mom’s credit card to buy a ton of designer clothing, despite the fact that mom and dad can’t afford it, and mom doesn’t mind because it makes her baby girl so happy. Darcy’s character comes off as a jerk to people in customer service jobs and then is forced to spend time with them.
And yet, it just wasn’t all that interesting. I listened to this audiobook while walking the dog and doing dishes. And all I can really remember is that at one point they pick up trash in a park after a community barbecue.

This retelling is just that…a straightforward retelling.

Almost all the character names stayed the same or very close except for Elizabeth Bennet who became Elsie for some reason.  There was one surprising update to the original story – Darcy’s sister’s predicament. I thought Wickham and Miss Darcy’s history was brought into the 2000s in a way that definitely caused significant change to their lives, like a scandal of elopement would have in the original setting.
Even so, that was kind of it. Other than that one change, it was boring. It wasn’t new or unique like so many of the other Pride and Prejudice retellings I’ve read recently. It didn’t bring a different cultural lens or expanded situation or setting to the story. It just modernized and Americanized it. It’s still middle and upper class white people in a small town.

I know I’m being hard on this book. There’s nothing wrong with it at all. It wasn’t bad. I just didn’t really enjoy it.

How do you feel about books that stick really closely to their inspiration?

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