It took me a very long time to read this. In fairness to the book that was due in large part to being distracted by reading Extras, giving birth, and then reading it in dribs and drabs the first week home with our new baby. So, although I felt like the book was sort of slow going and didn’t capture my attention as well as I thought it would, I can’t in all honesty say that it is the book’s fault. It may be entirely circumstantial and any other month I may have been riveted by it. Another thing is that I think it suffered a little bit in comparison to the recently read Austenland. All this sounds very negative, so let’s jump to some positives…
I liked the basic storyline: yet another girl dissatisfied with real life suitors because none of them live up to the ever romantic Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. She goes on a literary tour over the holidays that will take her to Jane Austen sights. When she joins the tour she discovers that all the other tour goers are much older women. The only other young person is a journalist named Spike. The two are extremely antagonistic towards each other, so it is immediately apparent that he will be her love interest and they will get together. Along the way she has some strange encounters with a man who is presumably Mr. Darcy. These encounters are funny and clever and somewhat time traveley. Unfortunately, I thought it was never really clear if the book was supposed to truly be having a magical element to it, or if it was all in her head. Add to that the fact that the tour guide is unusually wise in ways of the heart and looks suspiciously like Jane Austen. So, two big things to make it seem like a magical story, but too much doubt is cast to commit entirely to that theory.
I also liked how humorously the interactions between whatshername and Mr. Darcy were. The moment where he recites poetry to her is priceless-her initial swoony reaction of “Oh my God! He is reciting poetry to me” followed by increasing discomfort as she is unsure what one does while being recited to and the realization that it’s sort of boring.
The developing friendships between X and the old ladies is also very sweet.