Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson
What a fun book! Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson is a humorous contemporary retelling of the classic Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice set (of all places) in the world of dog shows. Fans of Austen won't be disappointed; Wilson has very cleverly weaved in references to the original tale and does an excellent job bringing back to life Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth while adding a fun modern twist.
Elizabeth Scott is celebrating her thirtieth birthday weekend off the Jersey Turnpike at a dog show where she has entered her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Bliss, in her first show. It's at this dog show that she meets tall, dark and intense Donovan Darcy, a guest judge from England. He is so handsome he takes her breath away, but it's not long before his arrogant and rude manner breaks the spell. Meeting another arrogant wealthy man is the last thing Elizabeth has in mind after recently being suspended from her teaching job at the prestigious Barclay School in Manhattan for refusing a request from the pompous and conceited father of one of her spoiled students to alter a grade. Darcy and Elizabeth's flirtatious dialogue at the dog show has the perfect blend of equal annoyance and attraction to each other to get them off to a rocky start. On this same weekend, Elizabeth meets Sue and Allan Barrows who also raise show dogs. After learning that Elizabeth is temporarily out of work, Sue offers Elizabeth a job as a dog "nanny" at their home in England. Her duties would include grooming and caring for Sue's four dogs and helping to show them at upcoming dog shows. At the same time, Elizabeth would be able to show Bliss. Soon she's in England and who should live across the street from the Barrows - none other than Mr. Darcy himself. Crossing paths with Darcy leads to more adventures than Elizabeth could have imagined! In spite of a rocky start, Elizabeth and Darcy hit it off and start a relationship, until Elizabeth's past threatens to come back and humiliate her.
I was surprised with how closely the novel follows Austen's story while still maintaining its own uniqueness. Told from both Elizabeth and Darcy's point of view, the story does a great job covering most of the major plot points and tweaking them to fit nicely into the present day. Most of the major players from Pride and Prejudice are represented in the book. Elizabeth Scott is smart, cute and witty, and Donovan Darcy has his dark stares and brooding ways. Sound familiar? Elizabeth's sister, Jenna is sweet like Jane, Henry resembles Charles, and Henry's horrible sister, Helena is as devious and cruel as Caroline. Unleashing Mr. Darcy was every bit as fun as I had hoped it would be and I highly recommend it to any dog lover who reads romance.