Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: Undressing Mr. Darcy

By Gail Allison

Vanessa is a thoroughly modern woman. She runs a successful PR agency, and uses every social media outlet to its fullest to get her clients the coverage she feels they deserve. When her elderly aunt, a mainstay of the Jane Austen society in their hometown, asks her to do some PR for a real-life “Mr. Darcy”, Vanessa can hardly deny her. Julian Chancellor is the author of My Year as Mr. Darcy, and is now touring and doing publicity for his book in an attempt to bump the sales and make enough money to repair his crumbling estate. Vanessa is nice enough to Julian, but is nowhere near fainting and fanning her brow as so many of her aunt’s Jane-ite counterparts are...until she sees his "Undressing Mr Darcy" educational strip-show. After seeing it, she realizes just how much she wants to be a part of his world. Vanessa begins to slowly reinvent herself, learning more and more about Jane Austen’s world, and in doing this learns more about herself than she ever thought possible.

I really enjoyed Undressing Mr. Darcy, and it was a solid follow-up to Ms Doornebos’ first book: Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. Once again Ms Doornebos has impressed me with her knowledge of everything Regency, and made it a lot more interesting than I’d have first imagined. Learning about Jane Austen’s life through the characters’ experiences was almost like a story within the story. And she was able to share some incredibly interesting facts about men's clothing and customs through the "Undressing Mr Darcy" strip show that Julian performed. Did you know there was more than one way to tie a cravat, and that the knot said a lot about the man who wore it? Yeah. Me neither.

My only real concern with this novel was Vanessa’s willingness to drop that career that, at the beginning of the novel, was the central focus of her life, in order to follow Julian and the diehard Jane Austen fans to events across the ocean. Through the first half of the book, she hardly put her phone down, and didn’t go a moment without posting to a twitter account, but then she gave up those things so quickly it made my head spin. I didn’t really know what to make of that. She didn’t seem like a flighty, spur of the moment kind of girl when she was introduced, so it felt like a bit of an odd turn in the plot. Not to say that it didn’t work with the story; it absolutely did. It just didn’t feel quite right.

All in all, Undressing Mr Darcy was a enjoyable, engaging read. The characters were believable, the dialogue was crisp, and the story moved along at a nice pace. It was an easy read, but the amount of detail provided about the Regency era was obviously well-researched and well presented. It never felt like I was reading from a textbook, but I finished this novel with the feeling that I had actually learned something. Ms Doornebos knows her Regency-era stuff, and the plot that she constructed around it was a lot of fun. This is a fantastic novel for a cozy afternoon by the fire with a cup of tea.

Thanks to Penguin for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have THREE copies for some lucky US readers.

How to win:
Please tell us which celebrity you'd like to "unwrap" for yourself this holiday season.

One entry per person.

Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win. Entries without contact information will NOT be counted.

US only. Giveaway ends December 15th at midnight EST.

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34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would love, love, love, to unwrap Matt Damon. :-)

kizzypreston@gmail.com

Kim V said...

James Franco - Beauty and brains!

k3kdpv@gmail.com

Allie Smith said...

George Clooney:)!

allieDOTmcsmithATgmailDOTcom

Karen Doornebos said...

This is a great way to start out a cold Monday, ladies! Keep the suggestions rolling!

Mary Jo Burke said...

Daniel Craig

Charlotte said...

Robert Redford!
CABWNANA1@bellsouth.net

traveler said...

Patrick Stewart. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Chanpreet said...

I don't know. If it can be anyone I think I'd like a young Paul Newman. Those blue eyes!

kaur_chanpreet(at)hotmail(dot)com

Melanie Backus said...

I would be unwrapping Jim Caviezel. Very easy on the eyes!

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Connie said...

Santa Baby, I think I’d like a Colin Firth for me in my stocking.

conniecape@aol.com

Marsha Bachmeier said...

Oh so many choices! Colin Firth has been a fav if mine, but since I've recently just got into True Blood, Alex Skarsgard or Joe Mananiello have been my flavor(s) of the month! ;-)

kidisior@yahoo.com

Marsha Bachmeier said...

Oops... it was Manganiello forgot the 'g'! And we all know that is important! ;-)

Bonnie K. said...

I wouldn't mind unwrapping Colin Firth. :)

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

jodi marinich said...

always wanted tommy howell..lol

jmarinich33@aol.com

Kelly RS said...

George Clooney

krshowalter@yahoo.com

karana apals said...

Hugh Blackman but only as wolverine.

Judy in AZ said...

Hugh Jackman

judyinazusa@yahoo.com

Leslie Rodriguez said...

Chris Hemsworth. Yum. esseboo@yahoo.com

mary beth said...

would love to unwrap adam levine this holiday season!

mary beth said...

would love to unwrap adam levine this holiday season

mbfred@yahoo.com

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Hmmmm.... How about some Ryan Reynolds!!

Missamberljohnson@gmail.com

bn100 said...

Channing Tatum

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Cindy Gibson said...

Jensen Akles... I LOVE him

poohbear91302@aol.com

Lea said...

Colin Firth

leaasman AT yahoo DOT com

Jennifer Huelsebusch said...

Jim Edmonds (former St. Louis Cardinal)

Jhuelsebusch@sbcglobal.net

Summer Grinstead said...

HMMM I would have to say Mark Walberg!

sumsum085@aol.com

cyn209 said...

OMG!!! there are way too many celebrities i would LOVE to unwrap: Viggo Mortensen, Robert Pattinson, Jonas Armstrong, Tristan McManus, Tom Mison, Colin Donoghue.....
oh boy, i'm exhausted & getting way too hot & bothered!!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Linda Kish said...

George Clooney

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Lisamarie said...

I would love to unwrap Marky Mark aka Mark Wahlberg

tropicalsunlover05(at)yahoo(dot)com

Liza Vladyka said...

Eminem oh yaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Mary Jo said...

Channing Tatum!
mjtoth.dis(at)gmail(dot)com

Bridget O'Neill said...

Hugh Jackman. Yum!

Bjoneill@hotmail.com

rubynreba said...

George Clooney

Melissa said...

Is it getting hot in here, or what? Thanks for participating and telling us the actors you'd want to "unwrap." I'm not-so-secretly thrilled that no one had my choice, as there's more for me to "unwrap" now. ;) (Chris Messina, in case you were wondering...)

Thanks to Penguin for sharing this book with our winners.

Random.org chose THREE winners from all entries with contact info (one entry per person).

Congrats to:
4-Mary Jo Burke
17-Amber @ A Little Pink...
23-cyn209