undressing_doornebosSummary: Vanessa Roberts, a PR queen, has the envious task of shepherding around Julian Chancellor, a Mr. Darcy lookalike, at multiple JASNA conferences and finds herself growing more and more distracted by his multiple charms, but he’s an old-fashioned kind of guy, and she’s purely 21st-c. tech. The two are just not compatible.  Then there’s also that business with that pesky pirate. 😉 * — *

So, a bit ago, I read Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos. It’s not a sequel to Definitely Not Mr. Darcy but it is a contemporary chick lit about women who love Jane Austen.

The MC, Vanessa Roberts, is a social-media maven and PR rep by trade. At 35, she’s still unmarried but smart enough to have her eggs frozen. When her aunt invites a Mr. Darcy-lookalike to “tak[e] it all off in the name of history…” (as the tagline goes) to attend the JASNA conference, Vanessa’s job is to promote his book and his book tour, and his old-fashioned values clash with her modern sensibilities. As she discovers an attraction to Mr. Darcy, she’ll have to deal with a frenemy, road trips, and a pirate impersonator.

That said, what can I say about “Undressing” without giving anything away.

If you’ve read the original, and liked it, then you’ll enjoy the Jane Austen references, the overworked/stressed woman who needs to find love to be whole, and a true hero out of the pages of fiction who appreciates another era (remember Henry Wrightman, anyone?).

I’ve never been to a JASNA conference, let alone am a member, but it sounds like sooo much fun! I love that we get a glimpse of what these festivals are like from the perspective of an outsider. It made me wish there were tickets tucked inside the front cover to attend my very own ball and promenade (like Vanessa). Can anyone tell me where to find my “Ask Mr. Darcy” app for Android please? 😉

It’s really not the concept that bothers me, I promise.

I remember my first time reading A Weekend With Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly and there was a scene where a Regency-dressed gentleman takes it all off in an educational strip-tease. Now, I’ve no idea if Connelly made that bit up or if it’s a legitimate act. Sure, I get how you could build a story based on what kind of man would go to what’s basically a literary estrogen fest and have an act like that.  The title makes sense.  It implies that the novel is going to be a bit spicier than the original.

I think the book is far too sensual compared to Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, where Vanessa and Julian certainly have chemistry, I don’t know that they’re necessarily compatible in the areas that matter. What about common interests and pursuits? What about shared values? (sigh) That’s what I loved about the first book. There was so much more depth there.

It’s hard to write a follow-up book and have it not be a replica of the original. I get that. But shouldn’t you try to hit the same emotional notes that readers loved in your first book? Maybe I’m naive to think so, but, that’s what I found most disappointing about this book. It wasn’t as emotionally satisfying for me as the original.  If Doornebos writes another “Mr. Darcy” title, I’ll give it a shot, but, I won’t await its publication with the same excitement as I did this one.

Rating: 3 stars

Turning it over to you.  Am I completely off-base here? Did you love this book?  LEt me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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