"After a string of nightmare relationships, Emily Albright has decided she's had it with modern-day men. Shed rather pour herself a glass of wine, curl up with Pride and Prejudice and step into a time where men were dashing, devoted and honourable, strode across fields in breeches, their damp shirts clinging to their chests...
So when her best friend invites her to Mexico for a week of margaritas and men, Emily decides to book a guided tour of Jane Austen country instead.
She quickly realises she wont find her dream man here. The coach tour is full of pensioners, apart from one Mr Spike Hargreaves, a foul-tempered journalist sent to write a piece on why Mr Darcy's been voted the man most women would love to date.
Until she walks into a room and finds herself face-to-face with Darcy himself. And every woman's fantasy suddenly becomes one woman's reality. . ."
This is my third Alexandra Potter book and while both other two (Be Careful What You Wish For & Who's That Girl?) were brilliant (I'd rate them 5/5 and 4/5 respectively), I'm sad to report that I found this one slightl disappointing, especially in terms of plot, which was slow paced and too far fetched. It started off really well, but I'm afraid I thought it all went downhill eventually. Maybe I would've liked the whole Darcy thing more if I fancied him too, but sadly he never was my dream date or my fantasy, far from it ...
Let's start with the bad news first. Firstly, I don't usually mind the cute little paranormal effects in Ms Potter's books, but I thought all the magic things in this novel were completely far fetched and underdeveloped. As you can tell from the title, Emily meets the real Mr Darcy, which could be fun, but I'm afraid that in this book it just ends up being sort of silly - review might get a bit spoilerish now so skip this paragraph if you don't want to know. He shows up wherever she happens to be and he falls in love with her after only a handful of brief meetings. Obviously, Emily is crazy about him too and even thinks they're in a relationship somehow, but all of a sudden she realizes that she doesn't really like him at all and then ponders how to break things off with him?! What's even worse an explanation for Mr Darcy's appearances is never given as even Emily herself can't decide whether it was all real or if she just imagined everything. Nonetheless, she believes that she has solved the mystery of what he was doing during the period of a few months when he was absent in Pride and Prejudice - he was meeting her. Huh? Besides, wasn't this whole story about meeting the real Mr Darcy really quite pointless?
Another thing that really made me roll my eyes is the mysterious tour guide and her role in the book - that was just ridiculous, sorry to say.
Another complaint that I have about this book is that the story was very predictable - you could tell from the first few chapters who Emily will end up with (there's not much choice really). And when it actually and finally happened, I found it implausible and pretty silly. After all, the two have only met a few times and then all of a sudden - bang - they're together. Despite all the things that were presented in the book, I just couldn't picture Emily falling so fast for the guy, it all felt rushed and unreal, as if she only fell for him because of all the silly parallels to P & P. I usually like a nice love story, but this one was just far to cliché and unreal, more annoying than anything.
On the other hand, what I really really enjoyed about this book was Emily's narrative voice, which I found very witty and she had me chuckling almost non-stop. At first she seemed like someone I could really relate to as there are plenty of things we seem to have in common, but as the story progressed, Emily just got too silly to my liking. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed her narration and I thought that was by far the strongest point of the novel.
Despite all the negative things that I mentioned above, I have to say I still enjoyed the book - not surprising at all since Ms Potter is a wonderful author, plus her book covers are too beautiful for words! I'll definitely be reading the rest of her books - I still have Calling Romeo to read, which I bought a while ago, and I'm reeeeally looking forward to her novels due next year - one of them (Do You Come Here Often? - most gorgeous cover or what?!?!) was supposed to be published this October, but it appears that it's been pushed back and will now come out in January 2010, boo. Calling Romeo will be reprinted in February and then Ms Potter is set to publish a brand spanking new novel sometime in June 2010. All in all, there's lots to look forward to!
overall rating: 3/5
plot: 3/5 | writing: 4/5 | characters: 3/5 | cover: 5/5