A Weekend with Mr. Darcy

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy

by Victoria Connelly

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Overview

Of course she's obsessed with Jane Austen...

Surrounded by appalling exes and fawning students, the only thing keeping professor Katherine Roberts sane is Jane Austen and her personal secret love for racy Regency romance novels. She thinks the Jane Austen Addicts conference in the English countryside is the perfect opportunity to escape her chaotic life and finally relax.

But then she encounters a devilishly handsome man at the conference who seems determined to sweep her off her feet. Is he more fiction than fact? Or could he be the hero she didn't know she was looking for?

PRAISE FOR VICTORIA CONNELLY:
"Witty and original. "—The Romantic Novelists' Association

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402251320
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 07/01/2011
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,219,810
Product dimensions: 5.62(w) x 7.74(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Victoria Connelly's first novel was promoted in Germany to celebrate World Book Day and was adapted into a TV movie. Her second novel was published as a lead title in the UK and chosen as a "hot pick" in Closer magazine. Her new trilogy is her first foray into Jane Austen related fiction. Connelly lives in London.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Dr Katherine Roberts couldn't help thinking that a university lecturer in possession of a pile of paperwork must be in want of a holiday. She leant back in her chair and surveyed her desk. It wasn't a pretty sight. Outside, the October sunshine was golden and glorious and she was shut up in her book-lined tomb of an office. Removing her glasses and pinching the bridge of her nose, she looked at the leaflet that was lying beside a half-eaten salad sandwich, which had wilted hours before. The heading was in a beautiful bold script that looked like old-fashioned handwriting. Purley Hall, Church Stinton, Hampshire, it read. Set in thirty-five acres of glorious parkland, this early eighteenth-century house is the perfect place in which to enjoy your Jane Austen weekend. Join a host of special guest speakers and find out more about England's favourite novelist. Katherine looked at the photograph of the handsome red-bricked Georgian mansion taken from the famous herbaceous borders. With its long sweep of lawn and large sash windows, it was the quintessential English country house, and it was very easy to imagine a whole host of Jane Austen characters walking through its rooms and gardens. ‘And I will be too,' Katherine said to herself. It was the third year she'd been invited to speak at the Jane Austen weekend, and rumour had it that novelist Lorna Warwick was going to make an appearance too. Katherine bit her lip. Lorna Warwick was her favourite author-after Jane Austen, of course. Miss Warwick was a huge bestseller, famous for her risqué Regency romances of which she published one perfect book a year. Katherine had read them all from the very first-Marriage and Magic-to A Bride for Lord Burford, published just a month earlier, and which Katherine had devoured in one evening at the expense of a pile of essays she should have been grading. She thought of the secret bookshelves in her study at home and how they groaned deliciously under the weight of Miss Warwick's work. How her colleagues would frown and fret at such horrors as popular fiction! How quickly would she be marched from her Oxford office and escorted from St Bridget's College if they knew of her wicked passion? ‘Dr Roberts,' Professor Compton would say, his hairy eyebrows lowered over his beady eyes, ‘you really do surprise me.' ‘Why because I choose to read some novels purely for entertain­ment?' Katherine would say to him, remembering Jane Austen's own defence of the pleasures of novels in Northanger Abbey. ‘Professor Compton, you really are a dreadful snob!' But it couldn't be helped. Lorna Warwick's fiction was Katherine's secret vice, and if her stuffy colleagues ever found out, she would be banished from Oxford before you could say Sense and Sensibility.

To Katherine's mind, it wasn't right that something that could give as much pleasure as a novel could be so reviled. Lorna Warwick had confessed to being on the receiving end of such condescen­sion too and had been sent some very snobby letters in her time. Perhaps that was why Katherine's own letter had caught the eye of the author. It had been about a year earlier when Katherine had done something she'd never ever done before-she'd written a fan letter and posted it in care of Miss Warwick's publisher. It was a silly letter really, full of gushing and admiration and Katherine had never expected a reply. Nevertheless, within a fortnight, a beautiful cream envelope had dropped onto her doormat containing a letter from the famous writer. How lovely to receive your letter. You have no idea what it means to me to be told how much you enjoy my novels. I often get some very strange letters from readers telling me that they always read my novels but that they are complete trash! Katherine had laughed and their bond had been sealed. After that, she couldn't stop. Every moment that wasn't spent reading a Lorna Warwick novel was spent writing to the woman herself and each letter was answered. They talked about all sorts of things-not just books. They talked about films, past relationships, their work, fashion, Jane Austen, and if men had changed since Austen's times and if one could really expect to find a Mr Darcy outside the pages of a novel. Katherine then had dared to ask Lorna if she was attending the conference at Purley Hall and it had gone quiet, for more than two weeks. Had Katherine overstepped the boundaries? Had she pushed things too far? Maybe it was one thing exchanging letters with a fan but quite another to meet a fan in the flesh. Just as Katherine had given up all hope, though, a letter had arrived.

Dear Katherine,

I'm so sorry not to have replied sooner but I've been away and I still can't answer your question as to whether or not I'll be at Purley. We'll just have to wait and see.

Yours truly, Lorna

It seemed a very odd sort of reply, Katherine thought. If Lorna Warwick was going to be at Purley, surely the organisers would want to know as she'd be the biggest name and the main pull because she was famously reclusive. In comparison to the bestselling novelist, Katherine was just a dusty fusty old lecturer. Well, young lecturer, actually; she was in her early thirties, but she knew that people would come and listen to her talks only because they were true Janeites. At these conferences, anyone speaking about Jane Austen was instantly adored and held in great esteem. In fact, any sort of activity with even the lamest connection to Austen was pursued and enjoyed, from Jane Austen Scrabble to Murder in the Dark which, one year, ended in uproar when it was discovered that Anne Elliot had somehow managed to murder Captain Wentworth. Katherine smiled as she remembered, and then, trying to put thoughts of Purley out of her mind, she made a start on the pile of papers to her left that was threatening to spill onto the floor. It was mostly rubbish that had accumulated as the term had progressed. It was what she called her ‘tomorrow pile,' except she'd run out of tomorrows.

With fingers as dextrous as a concert pianist's, she filed, threw away and recycled until she could see the glorious wood of her desk again. She was just about to pick up her handbag and briefcase when there was a knock on the door. ‘Come in,' she said, wondering who was calling so late in the day without an appointment. The door opened and a tousled head popped round. ‘Stewie,' she said, sighing inwardly as one of her students stum­bled into the room. Stewie Harper was in his first term studying English literature and he'd spent most of that time banging on her office door.

Customer Reviews

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A Weekend with Mr. Darcy 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 225 reviews.
LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
A book based on people obsessed with Jane Austen was what initially intrigued me about this story, and what ultimately keep me entertained from beginning to end. One aspect of this story that I really loved was that it followed two developing relationships. You have Katherine and Warwick, and Robyn and Dan. Both relationships were equally as important, and I was happy to see both being played out simultaneously. Katherine and Warwick's relationship begins in deceit no matter how well-meaning the lie, and once you start with deceit it is hard to really build a strong foundation. Robyn and Dan's relationship had one large complication: Jace, Robyn's boyfriend for years. Even if she has grown out of him, can she really leave the man who has been part of her life for so long to follow her heart? Robyn's dilemma is definitely a mind vs. heart, which many of us can relate too and sympathize with. I'll admit that I am not a huge Jane Austen fan. I think it is important to say this because, while I am not an Austen fan, I absolutely enjoyed this story. It helped me learn more about the famous author and actually intrigued me enough to make me want to read some of Jane Austen's stories. This story is a based in modern time, but it also has a historical feel to it since it is based around a Jane Austen conference. This was a great way to blend modern with historical in my opinion. I have read both modern and historical stories and some who have attempted to blend the two. I think that this story is one that others can use as a great example on how to accomplish this best. At moment, I felt as if I might have been reading a story that was 200 years old, yet it still felt extremely modern. This is a story I would recommend to anyone who loves a good romance novel. Originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
laura24 More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed it- a lot and will read more from this talented writer.
Marcie77 More than 1 year ago
A Weekend With Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly appealed to me because 1) the title. Who wouldn't want to spend a weekend with Mr. Darcy? 2)It's a Jane Austen variation. I'm a huge fan of all things Jane. I love reading about people who love her as much as I do. A Weekend With Mr. Darcy is set in modern day during a weekend with a bunch of Jane Austen addicts. There are two story-lines that mingle quite often. The first storyline centers around Dr. Katherine Roberts. She is unlucky in-love and has some trust issues. She's developed a pen-pal relationship/friendship with her favorite author, Lorna Warwick. However Katherine doesn't know that Lorna Warwick is really a man named Warwick Lawton. Warwick has fallen in love with Katherine's letter and decides to attend the Jane Austen weekend in order to finally meet her. The second story-line focuses on Robyn and Dan. Robyn's life is a routine of sorts. She's been with the same man since high school. Robyn doesn't love Jace and is trying to find the courage to break up with him. He follows her to Hampshire and makes a bit of a pest out of himself. Robyn's life gets even more complicated when she meets Dan. Dan is a breath of fresh air that makes Robyn begin to believe in happily ever after. This is a great book to read. I loved it from beginning to end. There are several laugh out loud moments. The characters are well developed and fun to read. The supporting characters are really great also. I loved reading both story-lines. I couldn't get enough. There is a perfect quote on the cover that fits this novel to a T. It says "The course of true love never does run smooth when Jane Austen makes the rules.." Victoria Connelly has a witty sense of humor that translates well onto paper. This book is a total win for me and if you love Jane Austen variations you should check it out. Other reasons to read this book include: 1. Undressing Mr. Darcy 2. Handsome men on horseback 3. Bennets and Bonnets I'm so glad I read this book and I am now Victoria Connelly's newest fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PAINFUL!!! Had to force myself to finish it. I buy and read a lot of books and I never write reviews, but I just thought I should give a warning. I love Jane Austen, I mean who doesn't? But the women in this book take it completely over the top. They speak of her as if she was God. Also, the romantic conflict is just utterly ridiculous. Save your money, find something else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm writing this review for Christians or moms who watch out for what their daughters' read. If you're not one of those, you just won't understand. Even us "prudes" are allowed to have an opinion. That being said, I give this book a PG-13 rating. I am a happily married woman, who also loves Jane A's novels. This book was a fun, romantic read. About 1/2 way through a sex scene was introduced, which wasn't explicit, but did go into more detail than I'm comfortable with. I decided at that point to quit the book. :-( My curiousity did make me read the last few pages to see how the story ended. If you like to keep your mind pure, I would skip this one & stick to P&P (or "Mr. Darcy's Diary" which was very enjoyable!).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unless your life revolves around Austen, you'll want to smack the characters (and yourself for wasting any time on this book). I love the Austen books and movies, too, but these characters are ridiculous! I couldn't stand to keep reading after about 1/3 through.
Leah-books More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great, it was hard to put down. I was able to finish it within one day. keeps you in suspense.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Fun read for an Austin devotee. A romance novel with an intellectual twist.
mt256 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Weekend With Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly appealed to me because 1) the title. Who wouldn't want to spend a weekend with Mr. Darcy? 2)It's a Jane Austen variation. I'm a huge fan of all things Jane. I love reading about people who love her as much as I do.A Weekend With Mr. Darcy is set in modern day during a weekend with a bunch of Jane Austen addicts. There are two story-lines that mingle quite often. The first storyline centers around Dr. Katherine Roberts. She is unlucky in-love and has some trust issues. She's developed a pen-pal relationship/friendship with her favorite author, Lorna Warwick. However Katherine doesn't know that Lorna Warwick is really a man named Warwick Lawton. Warwick has fallen in love with Katherine's letter and decides to attend the Jane Austen weekend in order to finally meet her.The second story-line focuses on Robyn and Dan. Robyn's life is a routine of sorts. She's been with the same man since high school. Robyn doesn't love Jace and is trying to find the courage to break up with him. He follows her to Hampshire and makes a bit of a pest out of himself. Robyn's life gets even more complicated when she meets Dan. Dan is a breath of fresh air that makes Robyn begin to believe in happily ever after.This is a great book to read. I loved it from beginning to end. There are several laugh out loud moments. The characters are well developed and fun to read. The supporting characters are really great also. I loved reading both story-lines. I couldn't get enough. There is a perfect quote on the cover that fits this novel to a T. It says "The course of true love never does run smooth when Jane Austen makes the rules.." Victoria Connelly has a witty sense of humor that translates well onto paper. This book is a total win for me and if you love Jane Austen variations you should check it out. Other reasons to read this book include:1. Undressing Mr. Darcy2. Handsome men on horseback3. Bennets and BonnetsI'm so glad I read this book and I am now Victoria Connelly's newest fan.
auntangi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fun, quick read...although the abrupt ending seemed a bit unnatural. It is what it is...and I liked it.
RivkaBelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review originally published on my blog AWordsWorth.blogspot.comhe majority of the novel takes place at aweekend-long conference on Jane Austen, hosted by Dame Pamela at her extensive and gorgeous home Purley Hall. The conference is an annual event, with numerous regular attendees who jump at the chance to spend an entire weekend indulging their addiction to all things Austen (including, oh happiness, a costume ball!). With this romantic backdrop, our three main characters: Warwick, Katherine and Robyn find themselves pulled into their very own Jane-worthy romances. But will all end happily ever after, or is that only for the novel world?A Weekend with Mr. Darcy is told in alternating perspective from each of the main three characters, which gives us a unique look at the way their stories develop. Especially the growing relationship between Warwick and Katherine - Warwick has a secret, a BIG secret, that we know but Katherine does not. It makes their interactions very interesting, and leads to some awkward moments. Robyn has awkward moments of her own, as her need-to-break-up-with boyfriend crashes the conference. Multiple times. Even more awkward is that Robyn stands a very real danger of falling head-over-heels for Dame Pamela's younger brother.The best way to sum up this novel is: "the course of true love ne'er did run smooth" - all the right elements are there, but because our characters are human, they make mistakes. Sometimes big ones. Their journey to self-discovery, with the gracious assistance of Dame Pamela and the support of other Jane Austen addicts, is an engaging and entertaining tale. As their self-discovery leads them to new journeys and adventures, things fall into place in a way that even dear Jane would approve of. A fun, light read with just a hint of seriousness to give it flavor. Can't wait to see what the next two installments of the trilogy will be like!
Supera710 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not a Janeite, but I do love Jane Austin and fan fiction about her novels. A Weekend With Mr Darcy is a light, easy beach read, where the girl gets her hero. I love happy endings!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you look forward to anything Austen-like, you will enjoy this book. It's an easy read that draws modern day parallels. Characters aren't completely developed but enough is there for you to enjoy the short journey. I thought this was the first in a series but I'm not sure where these characters could go from here. But again, an enjoyable quick read.
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I enjoyed it. However, the Caroline Bingley wedding coincidence was a stretch. The interaction at the wedding was believable.
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