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Undressing Mr. Darcy Reviewed By Valerie Porter of Bookpleasures.com
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Valerie Porter

Reviewer Valerie Porter: Valerie is a freelance magazine writer and co-author of 5 books. She has also been a freelance book reviewer for a weekly Los Angeles newspaper and has written her own book blog.

She is an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction.

 
By Valerie Porter
Published on December 15, 2013
 

AUTHOR: Karen Doornebos

PUBLISHER: Berkley Books

ISBN: 978-0-425-26139-2




AUTHOR: Karen Doornebos

PUBLISHER: Berkley Books

ISBN: 978-0-425-26139-2


There’s a message in the delightful Undressing Mr. Darcy: sometimes we are so busy chasing someone or something we think we want that the right person or thing goes unrecognized, even when it’s right in front of us.

But the book isn’t really about a message. It’s about having a “jolly good time” in England and Chicago as public relations expert Vanessa Roberts struggles to maintain a professional attitude while losing herself in the charms of her latest client, Julian Chancellor. He has written a book titled My Year as Mr. Darcy and is traveling to America to do personal appearances and book signings, sponsored by the Jane Austen Society. Vanessa’s sweet but spunky Aunt Ella is deeply involved with the society and has convinced her niece to help promote the tour – free of charge. Vanessa can’t say no to her beloved aunt (who’s just been diagnosed with the onset of dementia).

Naturally, Undressing Mr. Darcy assumes that readers are aware of just who the character of Darcy is – one of the most popular from the Jane Austen novel “Pride and Prejudice”. And it goes without saying that in order for someone to want to read the book, they would probably have to have that familiarity. In fact, that’s what makes it so intriguing.

The particular Mr. Darcy in question at the moment is owner of an estate in England that he’s unable to afford the upkeep on, thus he has written the book and is touring from place to place. He’s trying to earn funds to maintain the mansion and grounds. More than the book signing, he offers a program called “Undressing Mr. Darcy”, which supposedly is a proper presentation about clothing worn by gentlemen in the Regency period in England. But what draws women to the show is the fact that as he describes each garment, he removes it, much to the delight of the audience (including Vanessa, who is intrigued in spite of her vow to remain professionally detached).

At the same time as the Austen convention, Vanessa is being pursued by Chase, a friend from high school, who doubles as a pirate re-enactor in his spare time. He’s attending a convention in the same location, the same time as the Austen convention, which leads to more fun and confusion.

This is a truly fun read, filled with romance and humor. Author Karen Doornebos keeps her characters modern by using hash tags, social media and all forms of modern technology. In fact, Vanessa is so absorbed in her work that at 35 years old, she has avoided a serious relationship and is now wondering what she’s missed.

The author obviously knows her Jane Austen – she’s a member of an actual Jane Austen Society herself. She also shows knowledge of England, and in particular, Bath, where the action moves once most of the Chicago festivities are over. Vanessa travels to Bath to attend an Austen gathering there, as well. She’s joined by a newfound friend Sherry and an old-time friend and nemesis Lexi. There’s a scavenger hunt, with the prize being dinner with Mr. Darcy.

There’s so much going on in the book and so many unexpected twists and turns that it would be a shame to spoil anything for potential readers. The best advice is to sit back and enjoy the book. It may not be as “naughty” as the title implies, but it delivers laughs and love and an all-around good time.

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