cover of Me & Mr. Darcy

Me & Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter

American bookstore ninja/Darcy fangirl runs into Mr. Darcy in modern times on his own turf. Hi-jinks ensue. It’s amazing the impact Jane Austen has had on literature, how many times her storylines have been retold and redone even today. I’m not a hopelessly obsessive fangirl, but I do recognize her significance to literature and women’s studies. You’d be a fool not to acknowledge at least that.

In “Me & Mr. Darcy,” the protagonist Emily is so obsessed with Jane Austen that she goes on a book tour with a bunch of old ladies, retracing the steps of Austen’s life and career in and around Bath, England. She’s so deep in her obsession with all things Jane that towards the end she sees that her trip has parallels of “Pride & Prejudice” itself. There’s a Jane, a Mr. Darcy, Georgiana, and a Mr. Wickham, but not in the way that you might think.

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There’s even a subplot where she hallucinates meeting Mr. Darcy several times throughout the course of the book! Let’s think about the implications of that subplot. We ALL want a Mr. Darcy for ourselves, but in actuality, he would never fit in with the modern world. In his day, women were only wives and mothers, nothing more.

Emily’s perfect vision of her own Darcy is pretty much put to bed when she realizes this. Sure, we want that handsome, rich, chivalrous man that simply does not exist in our time – if it ever did – but would we want to leave behind our modern lives for the life of Elizabeth Bennett?

Women were either servants or made to be married off. Very rarely were they able to be anything more? I’d much rather read about life in Regency England than to live in it. Although Emily makes the observation along the lines of you can’t miss what you’ve never had.

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