Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.
Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?
This is a deceptive book. At first it seems like cotton candy – fluffy, sweet, and fun, with very little substance.It’s filled with lovely little witticisms:
He had a dashing smile. It nearly dashed right off his face.
Then you realize that Hale put tremendous effort into researching Austen and the Regency period. My favorite parts were when the MC, Jane, compares herself and others to real Austen characters. It’s a fun romp for Austen fans!
Ick, thought Jane, as she realized she was turning out to be poor Fanny Price in Mansfield Park–the plain girl, the lower-class girl, the one with no one to take her arm. Just now she wouldn’t turn down that naughty nugget, Henry Crawford.
The film version is hilarious! Keri Russell is an adorable Jane, but the supporting actors really steal the show. Jennifer Coolidge, James Callis, and Georgia King chew the scenery with abandon, and JJ Feild is a perfect Mr. Nobley.
Now for the look!
She was feeling sassy in her street clothes, freshly laundered, bra and panties replacing corset and drawers. Jeans felt wicked to her, tight and strange, and yet so comfortable she hugged her knees to her chest.
So, skinny jeans are obviously required. I’ve also created a faux empire waist (very Regency) and included “dancing slippers”, a.k.a. ballet flats. Lastly, I’ve topped the whole look with a blush cardigan, which is the closest approximation I have to the cream blazer Jane wears on the book jacket.