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Friday, 29 July 2016

Darcy By Any Other Name by Laura Hile - My review

Book cover: Darcy By Any Other Name by Laura Hile
Recently I was joined by author Laura Hile for a guest post and excerpt of her new book, 'Darcy By Any Other Name'. I was also lucky enough to read the book, so here's what I thought of it.

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Laura Hile has released a story with a fun, yet potentially angsty premise; at the Netherfield ball Mr Darcy goes outside for a time, followed by Mr Collins – lightning strikes and they wake up in each other’s bodies, ‘Freaky Friday’ style.

It sounds fun, but for the angst-weenie such as myself, there is a lot to worry about. Firstly, what if Elizabeth finds herself falling in love with Darcy-in-Collins’-body (DiCb) and then they somehow switch back? Could she find herself permanently tied to somebody she can’t respect? What if Collins-in-Darcy’s-body (CiDB) agrees to marry somebody? What if Lizzy marries DiCb and then has children who are like the real Mr Collins in personality? What if they never change back? Will Lady Catherine make DiCb’s life a misery and will CiDb make Georgiana’s life a misery? If Lydia elopes, who will save them, as DiCb has no money and CiDb won’t care enough to make any attempt? For the person who worries, there is plenty to worry about here. There is also the ‘Ewwwwww’ factor, although to be fair Collins isn’t described as physically repellent in P&P, it’s just how I imagine him!

When you consider how short a time the Bennets knew Mr Collins before the ball it’s quite feasible to think that their opinions of him might change as they seem him behaving unexpectedly but in the event, of the Bennets it’s only Elizabeth who is observant enough to notice that anything might have changed.
“Perhaps we have misjudged him?” 
Elizabeth’s steps slowed. “I do not see how that is possible, for his character was clear. And now it—isn’t.”
Changing bodies is a huge eye-opener for both men, but particularly Darcy – in Collins’ body he gets no flattery from anybody and a marked degree less of deference from acquaintances, family members and servants alike. This one quote sums up Darcy’s experience beautifully. He is talking about looking at an illustration in a publication here, but it very much applies to his experience too:
“By viewing from a different angle, one’s observation is enhanced.”
There are a number of things I enjoyed in this book – I liked Elizabeth's changing relationship with her 'cousin'. She fights it, but she finds there is much more to admire in 'Mr Collins' than she had thought. Despite herself, she starts to care for his welfare and appreciate that he has more intelligence than she gave him credit for. I enjoyed her picking up on Darcy-in-Collin’s-body’s acerbic comments that nobody else notices:
“That fellow,” he muttered, “is a perfect chameleon. It suited you to see Mr. Darcy as Wickham’s enemy. And it suits Anne to see Mr Darcy as Wickham’s friend.” 
Elizabeth tied a knot in her embroidery silk. “What a suspicious mind you have.” 
“Then prove me wrong. You’ll not see him leave her side all evening.”
I enjoyed Collins-in-Darcy’s-body’s confounding of expectations when he is freed up to choose things for himself rather than have a fettered choice like he would as himself.
‘Collins felt himself cringe. What scheme had she hatched? In truth, he had no need for this alliance. He was Darcy of Pemberley!’
I give the author kudos for having some believable safeguards on the real Mr Collin’s behaviour as you may have thought him free of all restraint in his new situation.

Although this is a long book, it actually doesn’t feel it, the story whizzes by very entertainingly. My only reservations about this story were some of the decisions that Darcy makes. He justifies them but I thought some of them were really overstepping, and ratcheted the angst-level up a bit. In fact, although I’d expected some angst, I found the story had more than I’d anticipated. The more weedy reader may well have to peep ahead to the end for their peace of mind (like I did!). I promise you that there is a happy ending that I was satisfied with, though I found the ending a little bit rushed. Also, some of the behaviour and events toward the end of the story seemed unlikely to me (I know, I accepted a body-swap without a quibble, but it’s the the central focus of the book!).

This book has such an unusual premise, with lots of fun scenes resulting from it. If are interested to see the potential chaos that might result from a Collins who is suddenly gentlemanly and intelligent and a Darcy who is suddenly less of both of those things and you can cope with some angst I think there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this book. I’d rate it as a 4 star read.

4 star read

*My thanks to the author, who provided me with an e-book of 'Darcy By Any Other Name' for my honest review

22 comments:

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    1. I hope you enjoy this book when you read it, Vesper!

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  2. Ceri, thanks so much. I enjoyed meeting your blog's readers too.

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    1. It's been lovely to have you visiting, Laura, thank you so much!

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  3. Looking forward to reading this one!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it when you read it, Becky :)

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  4. Lovely review and hilarious questions which had you worried (especially, about Lizzy marrying DiCb and then having children with Mr. Collins personality! :)) I sincerely hope that none of your worries materialized. And I would not mind more spoilers, but as this book is the first on my TBB list I will be patient till I discover everything myself;)

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    1. Hehe! I am an overthinker, I worry about everything! I will not give any spoilers, but just reassure you that I was satisfied with how things turned out and I hope you will be too, Oloore :)

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  5. I just loved this book and I'm glad you enjoyed it too. I loved the deeper messages too about loving people for who they are and the fact that we can always improve ourselves through our choices and our behaviors. Thanks for the review, Ceri!

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    1. That is very true, Claudine. I recently listed to 'Sense & Sensibility' on audio and was reminded of one of my favouite Austen quotes - 'It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do'- it's so true, and I think you could also add that our belongings don't define us either. If Mr Darcy had Mr Collins' personality there is no way that he'd be viewed as a romantic hero 200 years later!

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  6. Loved reading your review, Ceri. This is one of the books I really HAD to read as soon as I read the blurb, and I loved it. I found myself giggling out loud and the way Lizzy changed her mind about her 'cousin' was amazing. The scene where 'Mr Collins' goes hunting got me swooning and, as I said before, hats off to Laura Hile for making it possible for anyone to swoon over someone who looks like Mr Collins :) As for 'Darcy's first proposal, OMG :D :D

    Thanks for a great book and a great review, ladies!

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    1. I loved that scene, Joana! It was so good to see Lizzy caught on the back foot for once, she was really quite perplexed by her cousin.

      I never thought I would find myself swooning at Mr Collins either, it was very disturbing!

      And like you say, the proposal was killer, and the usage of some recognisable lines from canon was so well done!

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  7. Oh yes! Your angst sounds familiar when I've read the premise and started imagining all sorts of things. :)
    That's interesting about the freedom both men experienced away from their own lives. Definitely on the pile of TBR. Nice review, Ceri!

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    1. I'm glad it's not just me with an overactive imagination, Sophia!

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  8. Thanks for the review, as much as I dislike angst I love JAFF novels that have them in abundance lol

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    1. I am such a wimp, Tamara, if it's very angsty I have to peep ahead so I know it's safe to continue!

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  9. Good review. I, too, read and loved this story.

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    1. Thank you Sheila! I am glad you enjoyed this read too :)

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  10. Carole in Canada30 July 2016 at 14:59

    I was chuckling over your questions too! There were times as I was reading that had me so concerned but so many times that had me laughing. I loved this book but agree the ending felt a bit rushed...I wanted more!

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    1. That was just my experience, Carole, at times I was worried and felt uncomfortable about what might happen, and other times I was really amused. Darcy-in-Collins-body really shines in this variation.

      I think if a book is particularly angsty, or sad, I need to have enough story after the turn of the plot for my heart rate to go back to normal, and then a little more to bask in the happy ever after :)

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  11. Ceri,I loved your review!!! Gotta say the questions you posed at the start were not a million miles away from those going through my mind at the very thought of the body swap idea. Events,like you said,could have spiralled out of control worth devastating consequences!!!! So glad there's a HEA for all concerned and that you enjoyed the story.

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    1. There is so much potential for disaster with a body swap premise, but lots of potential for fun too. Thank you so much for commenting, Mary. I hope you enjoy the story too, when you get to read it.

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