Death Becomes Her

Note for the lovely, beautiful, talented reader: this month, DJABC is featuring two books instead of our usual one. I read Victoria Connelly’s Dreaming of Mr. Darcy and will be discussing it all month. Be aware that both Veronica and I have strong opinions about what we read, feel free to disagree with us but always be polite. Also, this is a book club, so we WILL have spoilers about the endings, plot, characters, etc.  

The only good thing that I have to say about this book is this: at least someone dies in the first couple of chapters. Lord Byron's Bite

Admittedly, this month, I tried a different flavor/genre/type of Jane Austen fan fiction. I like to branch away from the bloody and zombie infested worlds too. Like so many readers, the pretty cover like a siren song influenced my choice this month. This novel falls into a neglected category in my reading–the romance novel. I avoid Danielle Steele like a moldy tea cake, but this is Jane Austen fan fiction romance, how bad can it be?

Ummmm, pretty bad.

Despite one death in the book, the main character, Kay Ashton, meanders through a stereotypical romance novel plot that inhabited by cliche characters. Kay hates her job. Some rich old lady dies and leaves Kay LOTS of money(side note: if you want to be a wealthy heiress, just find an old rich lady and read Jane Austen to her). Kay moves to Lyme and meets the cliche bachelor number 1 Adam Craig. He’s smart, funny, like good movies and wine, and owns a cat. At this point in the novel, I wanted to apologize to all men for what women romance writers have done to them.

Is it too much to ask for non-cliche romance?

I don’t think so. I mean take Jane Austen’s novels, Yes, there is romance, but we readers never feel bludgeoned by over-the-top cliche characters. Darcy isn’t perfect. In fact, he is a genuine ASS in Pride and Prejudice. Edward flirts with Eleanor despite being engaged to Lucy. Austen’s men aren’t perfect, the women aren’t perfect so why is it hard for fan fiction writers to understand this?


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  • One of my favorite aspects of Jane Austen’s characters is how realistically flawed they all are and how some redeem themselves, while others simply try to slink off without drawing too much attention to themselves or snub their noses at the others and pretend they are too good to continue to consort with them. I think any time a fan fiction writer tries to make a pure romance that tips their hat at Jane Austen it is interesting, but only in that I can see the hat tipping. Austen didn’t write romances. She wrote stories about relationships. Her novels where not hyper focused on one type of relationship, which is what typically happens in a romance novel.

  • MaryCMP

    Just started reading Dreaming of Mr. Darcy and am almost done. So far, my thoughts are favorable. It’s whimsical. Not very deep — but I wasn’t expecting it to be. Lots of Lyme Regis worship going on there. Actually makes me want to visit the place.