Emily Albright was born in the wrong age and on the wrong continent. Relationships with modern men have proved disastrous, and the only reliable love interest throughout her life has been the hero of Jane Austen’s most well known work. When Jane’s best friend, the much younger and considerably more outgoing Stella, invites her to come on a margarita-fuelled trip to Mexico, Emily is aghast at the prospect. Her eye falls upon a brochure that randomly appeared in the bookshop she manages, and she decides to go to England and join a Pride and Prejudice tour instead.
Most of her fellow tourers are quite old and pleasant, but journalist Spike is the exception. Spike’s writing an article about why Mr Darcy’s every woman’s ideal man. From the beginning, when he kept the bus waiting then shot their perfectly lovely driver a filthy look, she disliked him, an antipathy fuelled by overhearing him describe her as “pretty dull, average looking and even worse… American.” But a perfectly dishy actor playing Mr Darcy, who Emily first meets when touring Jane’s home, compensates for Spike’s presence. Okay, nobody else ever sees him, he meticulously stays in character, and her copy of Pride & Prejudice has somehow been misprinted with the second half all blank pages…
One of the books I read in my non-reviewing convalescence, the details are a little dimmed but here are my recollections: the contrast between the pieces of P&P Emily reads and the contemporary action (particularly her reflections on Spike while reading about how Elizabeth is lead astray by Mr Wickham about Mr Darcy’s true character) were good but a trifle unsubtle. I liked her realisation that Mr Darcy is far more interesting in theory and far too stuffy in reality – I never quite got the brooding, enigmatic hero myself.
All in all this was an agreeable enough read, but not particularly memorable. If you're smitten with Darcy it may shatter your illusions, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. - Alex