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A Reader of Fictions: Willoughby - Patrick Doyle (from Sense & Sensibility)

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Willoughby - Patrick Doyle (from Sense & Sensibility)

Mr. Darcy Forever
Austen Addicts, Book 3

Author: Victoria Connelly
Pages: 314
ARC Acquired from: Sourcebooks Landmark via NetGalley

Description from Goodreads:
Estranged sisters Sarah and Mia Castle have spent a lifetime fighting over the men in their lives. They finally begin to make amends at the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England. During the festival, the sisters realize that they can't bear to be apart. They discover that their sisterhood forms a bond stronger than their mutual connection as Jane Austen addicts. And in true Jane Austen fashion, they each begin to lose their hearts to dashing gentlemen.

First Sentence: "Sarah Castle wasn't in the habit of blindfolding people, but her sister's twenty-first birthday was a delightful exception."

This chick lit Austen spinoff is very Sense and Sensibility meets The Holiday. I previously read and reviewed Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, the prior book in this series (although the books are not particularly interrelated so far as I can tell). I am happy to report that this one is as charming, for a Jane Austen and chick lit fan, as the former.

The older sister, Sarah (the Elinor), has a pretty severe case of OCD, which is why she's so incredibly fastidious. This is a really interesting take on the character of Elinor, who is, excepting Fanny Price, arguably the most boring of Austen's heroines. I like her, but she's definitely reserved. Interestingly enough, I just read another Austen-inspired novel (Compulsively, Mr. Darcy) which did a modern take on P&P with Darcy suffering from OCD. Thankfully, this one's better.

The story alternates between the sisters' trip to Devon for Mia's 21st birthday, where they get to stay in Barton Cottage, and three years later, when the sisters, now estranged, both go to the Jane Austen festival in Bath. How they lost touch is learned slowly. These switches between time worked effectively. Although most of the broad plot is clearly recognizable as Sense & Sensibility, Connelly does make some derivations from the Austen novel. To my mind, these were nice additions, allowing for the modernization of the tale and for her to make her own story.

However, I do want to point out that there is some serious instalove going on here in all sorts of places. Of course, you can see that sometimes it doesn't work out, but that sure doesn't stop these ladies from 'falling in love' within a matter of days again. Sigh. Will people never learn?

Now that I know that people can actually rent the building used as Barton Cottage for Sense & Sensibility, I have a new vacation dream to add to my list. Oh yeah, also that Jane Austen festival. Now to find a friend that would go with me...and the money and time with which to do it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Favorite Quote: "'Novels can tell us so much about life. They have the power to enrich our own lives in so many different ways. They're not just for entertaining us, although that would be enough.'"

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Anonymous Christina Kit. said...

I haven't heard of any of these, and I do love Jane Austen.

It would be interesting to see a retelling, in the modern world!

April 4, 2012 at 1:29 PM  

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