I absolutely loved this book although the time travel element seemed contrived, and the ending was tied up too quickly. But a very enjoyable literary romance indeed.
I picked this book up, thinking I would be dissapointed in what this author does to Jane Austen and her great work, but I found quite the oppoosite. Introducing the readers to Jane's first muse instead, a flesh and blood man named Fitzwilliam Darcy, from Pemberley Estates, Virginia, twenty-first century, Miss O'Rourke invites every Jane Austen fan in to see one theory on the creation of such an elemental literary figure. Please read this book and meet the man who believed in Jane Austen, who encouraged her and who--well, duh--loved her. And listen to his story through the one person who can believe him, and who has the evidence to prove his outlandish story true, a girl named Eliza. (tongue-in-cheek)
Interesting book, with a Jane Austin character, Mr. Darcy, in a romantic "time-travel" story. A fun, easy read.
For the fans of Pride and Prejudice or for the people with secret crushes on Colin Firth this book takes a fantasy look at how Fitzwilliam Darcy came to be in Jane Austen's book. It all starts with a faded, antique letter. Its a love story from past and present and quite a good read. It has all the romance and all the passion and even mimics Elizabeth & Darcy's relationship throughout the story.
From Barnes and Noble:
When New York artist Eliza Knight buys an old vanity table one lazy Sunday afternoon, she has no idea of its history. Tucked away behind the mirror are two letters. One is sealed; the other, dated May 1810, is addressed to "Dearest Jane" from "F. Darcy"-as in Fitzwilliam Darcy, the fictional hero of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Could one of literature's most compelling characters been a real person? More intriguing still, scientific testing proves that the second, sealed letter was written by Jane herself.
Caught between the routine of her present life and these incredible discoveries from the past, Eliza decides to look deeper and is drawn to a majestic, 200-year-old estate in Virginia's breathtaking Shenandoah Valley. There she meets the man who may hold the answer to this extraordinary puzzle. Now, as the real story of Fitzwilliam Darcy unfolds, Eliza finds her life has become a modern-day romance, one that perhaps only Jane herself could have written.
Really fun light reading. Creative plot!
Not bad, good vacation book.
Found this review on Amazon
By M. Sellers "Bookworm500" (Pennsylvania)
I recently read The Man Who Loved Jane Austen by Sally Smith O'Rourke. (Do not confuse it with the novel of the same name by Ray Smith!) This is an interesting take on the imagined background of Pride and Prejudice.
The novel begins as the heroine, Eliza Knight, an artist, and her passionless accountant boyfriend, Jerry, peruse a used furniture store. Eliza finds an antique vanity table, falls in love with it, and purchases it (against the advice of the money-practical Jerry).
The next morning, while in conversation with her cat, Wickham, Eliza notices that the panel backing to the mirror is pulling away. When she investigates, two letters fall out. One is addressed to Jane Austen, and the other--an unopened one--is addressed to F. Darcy.
Shocked but wise enough not to open the unsealed letter and thereby ruin the value of the document, Eliza decides to research on the internet to see if Darcy was a real person. Of course, with over a million Austen cites on the net, she is daunted. She chooses one and posts a question, "Was Fitzwilliam Darcy real?"
Strangely enough, a man has been watching and waiting for such a question for the last three years, and he quickly replies. The kicker is that his name is Fitzwilliam Darcy, and he is a horse breeder at Pemberly Farms in Virgina. Eliza dismisses him as a lunatic and goes on with life.
The novel moves along--the letters are authenticated, she meets the current Mr. Darcy (who is just as Austen described him in the original book), and they mysteries of these letters and of Darcy's identity are revealed. Of course, in order to believe this mystery, you also have to believe in time travel, but anything is possible in fiction, right?
The novel was an entertaining read, by no means excellent. (Although the scene where she cleans the vanity table had me cringing--what would the Keano brothers of Antique Roadshow be saying! AHH!) There seemed to be some character confusion as the woman who wants to marry Darcy is described as a tall, beautiful blonde sometimes, and then she's described as looking like a vampire in her yellow dress. There isn't any major swearing that I recall. Alcohol is drunk, and some secondary characters do get drunk. There are no sex scenes, but Eliza's relationship with Jerry is clearly stated, and some other relations are mentioned in passing.
I liked the character of Darcy in this book, and Eliza was likeable as well. Some of the other characters seemed more like page filler than like full-blown characters. Even Jane Austen herself didn't strike me as amazing.
If you read this book expecting a lighthearted romance, then you won't be disappointed. If you expect high drama or Austen's characterization or writing style, you will be.