|A Weekend with Mr Darcy|
I know, I know… the unicorn normally has his horn buried in a sword and sorcery book! But with a heroine called Dr Katherine Roberts and a dedication in the front: “To the real Katherine Roberts for letting me use her name!” how could I resist reading this one?
The plot centres on a long weekend conference for fans of Jane Austen’s novels, at which Dr KR is invited to speak. (Heroine alert 1: The real KR doesn’t know her Austen from her Tolkien). There’s the usual mix of conference goers, from the hopelessly romantic Robyn Love in her floaty dresses (Heroine alert 2: The real KR has a secret bit of Robyn in her) to the grumpy Austen purist Mrs Soames (Heroine alert 3: The real KR is nothing like Mrs S!). There is also a sprinkling of men, who have their pick of the women, since they are, perhaps unsurprisingly, outnumbered. With its idyllic setting at a regency manor house deep in the Hampshire countryside, the scene is set for a modern Austensian romance.
Dr KR soon falls in love with darkly handsome Warwick Lawton, a writer of popular fiction who is at the conference incognito, since his real identity is a closely-guarded secret known only to his agent and publisher… he writes under a female pen name, Lorna Warwick. To complicate things further, Dr Roberts is Lorna Warwick’s No1 fan and has written her/him hundreds of fan letters, yet has no idea of Warwick's true identity when he sets out to woo her.
Meanwhile, Robyn is having romantic entanglements of her own as she falls for copper-haired Dan, who lives in the stables and rides like an Austen hero, while trying unsuccessfully to break up with her long-term boyfriend Jace. Neither romance looks likely to survive the weekend and continue in the real world, but maybe… just maybe in this kind of book… dreams can come true.
This story might not have a unicorn in it, but it has the next best thing – horses! My favourite scene is when one of the heroes rides a fine chestnut stallion into the dining room during dinner to propose to one of the heroines… but you’ll have to read the book to find out who proposes to whom, and what happens next.
Hopeless romantics, and any fans of Jane Austen out there, should definitely give this one a try. (Unicorn rating: contains mild scenes of an adult nature.)
Find out more at Victoria Connelly's website.