Dating Mr. Darcy by Kate O'Keeffe (2020)
In order to promote her activewear line, Emma joins a reality TV dating show where the women compete to win the heart of their own "Mr. Darcy," in this case an English aristocrat named Sebastian. Only intent to stay on for a short time, she unwittingly begins to fall for him.
I love Pride & Prejudice retellings, so I was eager to try this one out. Unfortunately, I had some issues with the story. Emma often comes across as obnoxious and immature (seriously, how many times can one person say "dude"?). She's so obviously not on the show for the right reasons (although, to be fair, how many dating reality show participants are?) that I'm surprised they didn't kick her off immediately. She tries to be the comedian of the group, but she's so sorely unfunny. The plot is rather predictable, as well. I did, however, enjoy the reality TV show aspect and getting to know the other participants (they range from totally crazy to totally sweet). I also liked watching Emma and Sebastian learn about each other and their completely different worlds. So, overall, a bit cheesy and predictable, but for those who enjoy clean, low-angst romances, it might be worth a try! 3 stars
There's Something About Darcy by Gabrielle Malcolm (2020)
Mr. Darcy, introduced in Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, is probably one of the most popular and enduring characters in literature. In There's Something About Darcy, Gabrielle Malcolm explores different aspects of the character, how he may have inspired other classic characters, and his impact on modern novels.
I feel like I was expecting something different from this nonfiction book. I think I expected more analysis and while it was obvious the author had done her research on Darcy and the myriad of ways he shows up in pop culture, the book often just felt like a laundry list of books and movies. Malcolm recounted the plots of many books and it just felt extraneous at times. I think she's also put a lot of stock in the Colin Firth version of Mr. Darcy; I've never seen that adaptation and it clearly hasn't impacted my enjoyment of the original book and the many retellings I've read. I liked her analysis of the original Darcy character and how he was been influenced by the time period Austen lived in, but I suppose I wanted more about how the character's (and original story's) universal traits have an almost timeless appeal that still translates today, especially considering the many modern retellings that have been published just in the last couple decades alone. 3 stars
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