Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jakki L.'s Review of Compulsively Mr. Darcy


For anyone obsessed with Pride & Prejudice, it's Darcy and Elizabeth like you've never see them before! This modern take introduces us to the wealthy philanthropist Fitzwilliam Darcy, a handsome and brooding bachelor who yearns for love but doubts any woman could handle his obsessive tendencies. Meanwhile, Dr. Elizabeth Bennet has her own intimacy issues that ensure her terrible luck with men... As Darcy and Elizabeth unravel their misconceptions about each other, they have to decide just how far they're willing to go to accept each other's quirky ways... (from the Publisher - Sourcebooks)


By just looking at the cover, the reader can tell this is going to be a fun book. From her humorous one-liners and wit, to her portrayal of her characters, Nina Benneton offers a great diversion. With chapter titles such as “Two Men and a Baby,” “Escort Service,” and “What the Frick?” amongst others, I knew I was in for a real treat.

From the moment Darcy and Bingley enter the hospital in Vietnam, misunderstandings abound. It is during their first meeting, where Darcy’s need to control the situation and Bingley’s carefree attitude, lead Elizabeth to believe they are a couple. While this book is lighthearted and fun, Benneton keeps her readers’ attention with new conflicts. Elizabeth needs to let go of her past relationships while Darcy must realize that someone can love him for himself, neuroses and all. As Elizabeth and Darcy work through their baggage, Wickham is working behind the scenes causing mischief. At one point, Benneton had my heart aching for the couple, yet the story never lost that lighthearted feel. Continuing in the pleasure of the novel is the fate that befalls Wickham, Lady Catherine and Anne.

In addition to the entertaining plot, Benneton captures key characteristics from Austen’s characters, while giving them a modern spin. The capricious Charles Bingley suffers from ADHD, while the fastidious Fitzwilliam Darcy is plagued with OCD, both of which fit the gentlemen. Working at an orphanage in Vietnam seems to be the perfect job for Jane, who still sees the world as good and agreeable. On the other hand, Elizabeth has a propensity to judge on first impressions and is rather impulsive as a result. How appropriate that Caroline Bingley is a socialite whose only interests are Hollywood, Mr. Darcy, and tabloids.

While some do not like Austen or her characters to be tampered with, Benneton did an exceptional job in successfully transplanting them to Vietnam and the twenty-first century. I do not know much about that country, but after reading Benneton’s story, I feel like I have been to Vietnam myself on a mini vacation. I now know the beauty of China Beach and Marble Mountain. While reading, I could picture myself in a crowded street wandering from shop to shop as cyclo drivers pass by. Also as interesting as its panoramic sites is the Vietnamese culture and its strictures on how men and women are to behave.

For readers who enjoy modern Pride and Prejudice variations, lighthearted reads, or want a vacation, this book should be on the top of their to-be-read list.

Available from Barnes and Noble
Available from Amazon

17 comments:

  1. I agree Jakki! This book is refreshing and delightful! I'm recommending it to to all my friends - especially the ones who don't normally read Austen style fiction.

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  2. Thanks, Susan! Yes, this book is great for those who don't typically read JAFF. Maybe because these characters could be anybody really, not just Darcy and Elizabeth.

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  3. I've heard good things about this book. So glad to see you enjoyed it because I will be reading it soon!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Anna! Oh, I hope you enjoy it! I will be looking forward to your review! This will be a book I will read again.

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  4. Nice review, Jakki! I'm looking forward to reading this!

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    1. Thanks, Candy. I really enjoyed reading this book! I hope you enjoy it too!

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  5. Jakki, This book sounds like so much fun. I have it on my TBR list. Thanks for the great review.

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  6. I enjoyed it, too. Lizzy's misconceptions about Darcy are so funny, and their first meeting was just hilarious.

    There was that one moment when I threw the book down and said "I can't believe she did that!" But Lizzy is impulsive.

    I so wanted at least one more chapter. Did you? I'd love to see Nina's take on their new situation, especially with Darcy's OCD. (I don't want to spoil anything so I'm being vague, I know).

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    1. I know exactly what part you are talking about, Monica! I too could not believe that. I like how she ended it. The last line was great! There were so many good parts, like when she was wondering why something wasn't happening in Vietnam and why she thought that was. And you know how much I loved the chapter titles; it made it that much more fun to read!

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  7. I enjoyed the review and details about the modernized story characters. I had already settled on reading the book, but its good to know someone found it praiseworthy.

    Thanks for sharing your review!

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    1. Thanks, Sophia Rose! I really enjoyed Nina's take on Austen's novel! I found it refreshing! I hope you enjoy it!

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  8. I usually don't intrude myself into any review of my book, but by invitation, I'm popping in.

    I want to thank you Jakki for a delightful review. She's a writer's dream reader/reviewer, for she got the humor of the story as I wanted/wished for readers to get.

    Lol, Monica, I know exactly what part made you throw the book down, too. (But hehehehe, you couldn't resist and picked it up to finish, eh?) That's the thing with impulsive people, they do things that drive sane and cautious people absolutely nuts! I love that passion in her, though.

    Ahem…if you go to my website and check out the Bonus feature, you might find that one chapter you're looking for…

    Jakki, as to what was happening in Vietnam and her thought why something wasn't happening…some writers do pure sensual and hot, me, I just have to throw a little humor into it to make it fun for me to write.

    It horrified one of my critiquers what Elizabeth did in that scene, yet, it made her laugh, which was mainly what my measure stick for what worked and what didn't. If I get a reaction from readers—good, bad, horrified, laughter, or all—then the scene worked.

    I had fun with the titles. I wasn't sure if the publisher would let me keep them, but they did. Unfortunately, in the editing, one chapter title 'Agent Orange' got cut, and that was with Caroline and too much beta-carotene.
    I agreed with cutting the content, though I mourned the loss of that chapter title.

    Thank you for the review, Jakki, and thank you to Mary for inviting me to drop in.

    Listen,everyone, you don't have to read the book or even buy it yourself, but just tell your friends and families, especially those who are wearing black turtlenecks and reading Virginia Woolf obsessively--they need to get a copy of Compulsively Mr. Darcy!

    Nina

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  9. Thanks, Nina, for dropping by. We have similar senses of humor which is probably why I find your writing brilliant. ;)Jakki did a great job, but you deserved it.

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  10. Nina, I am honored you stopped by! Thanks! :)
    Oh.My.Gosh! I just read the bonus feature and I literally laughed out loud when I read about what hair brush Liam was using! Hil-freaking-larious! :)
    I too love your humor! :)
    Mary, if you do read Nina's books, I would love to know what parts you liked!
    Oh, and Nina, Agent Orange would have been another great chapter! :) Thank you Sourcebooks for allowing Nina to keep her chapter titles! :)
    I hope you have great success with CMD!!

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  11. Mary - do you & Jakki take requests?

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    1. How did you know a goal of mine was to be a dj?! ;) What book were you thinking of? It might be on my TBR list.

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  12. Ooh thank you Nina! I will head over to your website very soon!

    I'm confused about which specific scene you and Jakki are referring to in Vietnam (or are we just speaking in generalities?). I'll have to go home and re-read. Lol

    Of course I picked the book back up immediately and kept going. There's only ever been one published JAFF I stopped reading in the middle. It wasn't even about D&E but the portrayal of them in the background just turned me off. I did yell at Lizzy but I've yelled at her MUCH worse than that in the past! She's used to it, but she keeps doing crazy things! Obstinate, headstrong girl.

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