I have to start by saying that the title of this book drives me a bit bonkers. What on earth is so wrong with proper grammar? Really? OK, now that that is off my chest, I can get to the substance of the review, because really, I did enjoy the book overall. It was cute and undemanding and fun.
Emily, who manages an old time independent bookstore in NYC, is almost 30 and she's giving up on men. Her last dates (yes, plural) have been hideous and she's had enough. So when she tries to explain why to her slightly eccentric assistant, she holds the chivalrous and moral Mr. Darcy up as the gold standard to which she compares all men. Obviously this won't get her very far with real men. When Stella tries to poo-poo Emily's explanations and convince her to go on a drink and man filled vacation to Mexico, Emily instead impulsively books a trip to England, visiting many of the places Jane Austen immortalized. Of course when she arrives for her tour, she finds that all the other tour members save one are women of a certain age. The one person who isn't? Well, Spike is a reporter trying to understand what it is about Mr. Darcy that so attracts women. He's also rather abrasive and obnoxious and he and Emily rub each other the wrong way right from the get go. However, Emily is no paragon of virtue either, being snippy and nasty to Spike simply because he calls her ordinary.
As the tour goes on, Emily gets herself into scrape after scrape, often being rescued by Spike. In her crazy adventures, she meets the real Mr. Darcy although whether he is a figment of her imagination or not remains to be seen. But she's desperately attracted to Mr. Darcy even though she starts to see cracks in his perfection. She's starting to realize that what's on the page of an Austen novel might not translate well to real life. And her relationship with Spike is parallelling Pride and Prejudice almost perfectly although Emily is blind enough that she cannot see this.
The secondary characters here are funny but fairly one dimensional although they do provide the plot with a much needed push here and there. Potter's Darcy is not half as appealing as Austen's and I'm still confused as to how he can possibly say he's fallen in love with Emily. But I appreciate that this is a necessary plot point so... Emily and Spike's relationship, on the other hand, is contentious and combative and seemingly out of the blue. And because they have spent so much time being enemies, the ending is rather abrupt and unearned. Even with these criticisms, because I am a sucker for a great premise and because I like P&P parallels, I did enjoy this one. It's probably not of great interest to anyone who isn't a bit of a silly P&P fan as well as forgiving of the myriad sequels. Sweet and an easy read, this is chick lit with the merest of morals at the end.