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Dreaming of Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly is the second book in her Austen Addicts trilogy, and is a must have in any Austen fan’s collection for its unique set of characters and the clear references to Mr. Darcy, Captain Wentworth, and more.  Starring Kay Ashton, who works in a dead end and thankless job, and she’s surrounded by a unique cast from her mother’s friend and fellow Janeite to the cast of actors that invade her new Bed and Breakfast in Lyme Regis.  Kay finds herself playing Emma Woodhouse on one occasion, only to find her results end up much the same as Emma’s, but all the while, she’s looking for her own dashing hero and trying to rekindle the passion she has for painting.  Beth is the prototypical actress diva who wants all of the attention for herself, and she surrounds herself with the rest of the cast, including the dreamy Oli Wade Owen.  But Gemma is not the typical actress — she’s shy and often in the shadow of her mother, a famed television and movie actress whose career is practically non-existent until she weasels her way into the production of Persuasion, produced and written by Adam.

“It was funny that she should be dreaming about Mr. Darcy, because she’d been drawing Captain Wentworth for the last few weeks now.  Darcy had been the main subject of her last book — a collection of drawings in pen, and watercolour paintings of scenes from Pride and Prejudice.” (page 5 ARC)

There are moments in the novel when Connelly tells the reader of the Austen connection, which could have been left up to the reader to discover, but that is not bothersome when readers are swept away by the antics of Beth to get Oli’s attention or when Kay is berating herself for falling for an actor like Oli when she knows she shouldn’t.  Nana Craig, Adam’s granny, is a hot little ticket with her poking and prodding of Adam in the right direction to get his love life moving, and she has some choice advice for Kay as well.  Living in Lyme is not as romantic as Kay imagined, but her imagination sometimes runs away with her and gets overblown in more ways than one.  Readers will get the idea that she hasn’t lived much of her life outside the covers of an Austen novel the way she goes on, but its always in fun and helps liven up the interactions she has with her star guests.

“Kay settled back into her seat and adjusted the red hairpiece above her left temple.  It felt like it was slipping.  She looked in the wing mirror.  She wasn’t all that sure about herself as a redhead.  She’d had visions of being transformed into a beautiful pre-Raphaelite nymph, but she believed she looked more like a slightly baffled red Irish setter.”  (page 174 ARC)

Connelly creates characters that are lively and fun, and readers will love hanging around with them as they gossip, maneuver, and fall flat on their faces looking for romance.  While Austen characters and stories do play a role here, they aren’t necessary, as the novel and its characters could stand on their own.  There is a mix of arts here from screenwriters to actors/actresses and painters, which is juggled well by Connelly.  With the number of heroes, heroines, and secondary characters and subplots, it would be easy to get lost if it weren’t for the author’s ability to juggle those story lines and ensure that readers never miss a beat or feel bogged down by one story or another.  On a deeper level, the novel is about making dreams come true, following your passions, and living life to the best of your ability even if it means making a giant leap of faith to do it.  If you’re looking for fun, Lyme is the place for you and Dreaming of Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly is an excellent read to take you on an escape by the seaside.

  • http://www.victoriaconnelly.com Victoria Connelly

    Hello everyone – thank you for your comments and interest in my books.

    Serena – You’re right in pointing out that the books are all standalaone novels – you don’t need to read them in order as they’re individual stories with a new cast of characters (although there are links between the books!) I called it a ‘trilogy’ because they’re all about Jane Austen addicts and each one is set in an Austen location. But the novella sequel I’m planning for Christmas will follow on from the original trilogy so you’ll see what happened next to the main characters.

    • http://savvyverseandwit.com Serena

      I really like the subtle links between the first and second book and cannot wait to see what happens in the third. I also cannot wait to see the novella sequel to the first book! I am dying to know what happened to those main characters! You are fueling my addiction!

  • http://bermudaonion.net bermudaonion (Kathy)

    This sounds so cute! Sometimes I get lost if there are too many characters, but it sounds like the author does a great job keeping things straight in this book.

    • http://savvyverseandwit.com Serena

      I really liked how well she juggled this big cast.

  • http://www.lifeinthethumb.blogspot.com Staci

    I loved escaping to Lyme with this story!! I bought the first one for my Kindle and then accepted an ARC of the last one!! :D

    • http://www.savvyverseandwit.com Serena

      Escaping to Lyme was fun! I cannot wait for the last one in the grouping.

  • http://www.peekingbetweenthepages.com Darlene

    I saw this one somewhere else a while ago and thought it sounded fantastic. I’m going to put this one on my buy soon list.

    • http://www.savvyverseandwit.com Serena

      I think you’d love this one.

  • http://unabridged-expression.blogspot.com/ Audra

    Sounds like some good fun — nice escapist silliness! I’ll have to keep my eye out for the first book!

    • http://www.savvyverseandwit.com Serena

      This is hilarious and fun. You don’t need to read the first one to love this one. It’s funny that its called a trilogy, but really there are a whole new cast of characters here.

  • http://diaryofaneccentric.wordpress.com Anna

    So glad to see you liked it. I’ll be starting it this afternoon. It sounds like a fun read, and I’m looking forward to the Persuasion references.

    • http://www.savvyverseandwit.com Serena

      The Persuasion references are surely on the surface given the filming of the movie adaptation that is going on. There are other Austen references as well. I think you’ll enjoy it…it was a great bit of fun.