Title: Mr. Darcy Forever (Austen Addicts #3)
Author: Victoria Connelly
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Format: Uncorrected e-Proof
Buy It: Amazon
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(While this is book #3 in a series, I contacted the author and she said each novel is a standalone, and they can be read out of order.)
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.
I love, love, love Jane Austen spin-offs. I've read quite a few, including book #2 in this series, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy. While it was not my favorite book, it was definitely cute and worth the read. I was excited to read this next book. And look at that darling cover! While I did not enjoy it as much as Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, and it bothered me in a few places, this book ended up leaving me with a few warm fuzzies and a smile. As always, my main points are bolded. :)
1. The story is actually kind of boring until about 60% of the way through the book, when things pick up and really get interesting. We've got flashbacks to when the sisters parted ways mixed in with the present day at a Jane Austen festival in Bath. Most of the present-day scenes are combinations of 2 or 3 people talking about stuff, but it all happens in different places and at different times. I felt like I was reading the same story multiple times: Sarah talking to Lloyd, Mia talking to Gabe, and Mia talking to Shelley, not to mention what is going on in Sarah and Mia's minds.Plus, we see it all happen in the flashback as well. It was a bit overkill for me. But then at 60%, things pick up and progress is made. The characters begin to open up and move forward, whereas before it was all talk of the past. The mood gets a bit lighter, and more enjoyable... even funny in some places.
2. Sarah bothers me a bit. She has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which is totally fine. I have it... my sister has it. It's fine. But seriously. There is SO much OCD talk. Sarah and her love interest bond and essentially fall in love because they both have it. Everything Sarah does is "because of OCD." It is talked about so much, that it ends up being another character in the book. We had Sarah, Lloyd, Mia, Shelley, Gabe, and Sarah's OCD. I got tired of hearing about it.
The matter-of-fact, and sometimes sarcastic way that OCD was discussed made me feel like the disorder was made out to be something funny and quirky, not a serious thing. This story is written as if Sarah enjoys having it. She sits and talks about it, and laughs. She's happy she has found someone else who suffers from it too. I was really bothered by it, and got to the point where I skimmed over all mentions of OCD. Maybe I'm just extra sensitive because I have struggled with this same thing for most of my life, but it just really rubbed me the wrong way.
3. I really disliked Sarah's sister, Mia, and Mia's friend, Shelley, in the beginning. They were obnoxious, self-centered and immature, throwing themselves at whoever, whenever they please. If someone is married, who cares? If someone is not interested, who cares? And then if they happen to see someone they dislike, they either hide in plain sight and act completely amazed when they are spotted, or they run away through the streets crying their eyes out and mentally channeling some Jane Austen character, asking for advice. Drama. Over the top drama. However, towards the end they both seem to grow up all of a sudden. We are given insights into Mia's past, and we get to see Shelley as a very nurturing and concerned best friend. I ended up really liking both of them by the end. And Shelley's dog, Bingley, is hilarious. I really love that dog, and his silly mannerisms and habits.
4. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the cute town of Bath. I would love to visit someday. The author put me right there in the middle of it all.
5. The present-day romance that both sisters experience after so much pain in their past is refreshing and sweet. Both girls have been through a lot, so I enjoyed reading about them falling in love. And I really like both guys, and kind of wish I had one too!
Overall, this was a cute little contemporary, sometimes cheesy, romance that took a while to get going, but ended up warming my heart. I did not love it as much as Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, but I still enjoyed it and think it was worth the read. This book focuses on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, so don't be expecting a P&P spin-off based on the title! Now I need to go read the first one, A Weekend with Mr. Darcy!