Review: “Attempting Elizabeth” by Jessica Grey

Title: Attempting Elizabeth
Author: Jessica Grey
Language: English
Genre: NA, Romance, Chick Lit.

Kelsey Edmundson is a geek and proud of it. She makes no secret of her love for TV, movies, and, most especially, books. After a bad breakup, she retreats into her favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice, wishing she had some of the wit and spirit of Elizabeth Bennett.

One night at a party Kelsey meets handsome Australian bartender Mark Barnes. From then on, she always seems to run into him when she least expects it. No matter how Kelsey tries, she always seems to say the wrong thing.

After a particularly gaffe-filled evening around Mark, Kelsey is in desperate need of inspiration from Jane Austen. She falls asleep reading Darcy’s letter to Lizzy and awakens to find herself in an unfamiliar place that looks and sounds suspiciously like her favorite book. Has she somehow been transported into Pride and Prejudice, or is it just a dream?

As Kelsey tries to discover what’s happening to her, she must also discover her own heart. Is Mark Barnes destined to be her Mr. Darcy? In the end, she must decide whether attempting to become Elizabeth is worth the risk or if being Kelsey Edmundson is enough.

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I admit that, as a good Janeites, this book struck me since its blog tour (I also believe that I have made ​​a request to participate as much I was curious). The main plot deviates from the usual retelling of Pride and Prejudice that I read during this year-long blog and, a few weeks ago, I finally had time to read it.

She snatched the book out of my hands and waved it in front of my face. “Really babe, Pride and Prejudice again? This thing is going to warp your brain.”
“It’s not going to warp my brain.”
“Hmm.” She flipped through the book for a moment then looked up with a disturbingly evil glint in her blue eyes. “Let’s go find you a real-life Mr. Darcy.”
“I somehow highly doubt that Scott’s party is going to have any real life Mr. Darcys at it.”

Kelsey Edmundson is a Pride and Prejudice’s big fan so much that, to overcome the breakup with her boyfriend Jordan, he decided to devote herself to the reading of her favorite book for the hundredth time. However, after meeting Mark Banes, a charming Australian who she always found everywhere, reading will take another turn and she will really immersed in the world that had originated from the pen of Jane Austen, not knowing how to get back.

“Tor, really. Go away. I want to wallow. I don’t want to go Mr. Darcy hunting. I only end up with Wickhams.”

What would you do if you were in the place of one of the characters of your favorite novel: you’d be there or would you attempt to solve the mystery and go away?
Kelsey found herself in this situation more than once in the novel, interpreteting secondary characters as Georgiana and Caroline in key passages of the novel. However, despite this great opportunity and also with the possibility of being stuck into the novel (and distorting it completely), Kelsey wants more. She wants to be Elizabeth, the real protagonist of Pride and Prejudice, but especially the one beloved by Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is the right person to interpret to ensure that a Mr. Darcy knock on her door. It matters little, the much more real, Mark Banes who always appears in her eyes, because she would be able to see him only if he was Mr. Darcy.

“If there’s one thing I excel at it’s procrastination.”

Between days endlessly repeated, because she does not commit any error which upsets the novel, and disastrous dates with Mark, Kelsey will arrive at the end to get what she wants, risking, however, to lose herself.

“Haven’t you ever read Pride and Prejudice?” I asked, horrified.

“Kelsey, I’m a guy.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean? It’s classic literature! Didn’t you have to read it in school? As a history person shouldn’t you have read it for a greater understanding of the Regency era?” I was outraged. My voice was getting higher and higher with every sentence.
“Okay, okay, I’ve read it. Years ago. Maybe high school? As in, I read it one time, as required reading, at least a decade ago. I obviously do not have your level of, uhh, intimacy, with this book.”

I really liked Kelsey’s character, she is fun, amusing and a bit awkward as I expected from a twenty-three young woman (like me!) in a life crisis, who do not know what to do in life and just had a big disappointment. She has her own specific romantic ideal and Mr. Darcy has come to fill the shape of the perfect gentleman she is looking for. But Darcy is a character in a novel, and even though she knows it, she hardly admits it, because she set in him the standard that everyone else will have to overcome.

“I wish I could be that passionate about history, but real people don’t interest me as much as fictional characters do.” As soon as I said it I felt like kicking myself. Even though it was true, it sounded creepy. And rude.

Perhaps what is really missing in this book is a “strong” character as Mr. Darcy. I could not put myself in the shoes of Mark and even to imagine him as a real person. I am not saying that I didn’t liked it, but maybe I would have preferred him characterized better, so as to compete with a much beloved character like that of Darcy.

“Yes, I thought a bit desperately, something is very wrong. I’m not Georgiana, but a girl from hundreds of years in the future trapped in her body. Oh, and you’re fictional. You don’t really exist. But I’m horribly attracted to you and cursing the crappy luck that landed me here as your sister instead of the girl you love.”

Even some of the scenes in the Regency period were quite slow and sometimes I struggled to understand their motive. Indeed, I understood quite a lot of these scenes after reading it and that has left me a bit dubious. Instead, I have to say that I was not disappointed by not having a scientific justification (or of some other kind) about her travels here and there in the novel. I enjoyed the experience without making it a problem (while in other novels sometimes these things bothered me).

In conclusion, “Attempting Elizabeth” by Jessica Grey is a good novel, recommended especially to Janeites or simply to anyone who appreciates Jane Austen.

Rating:

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In italiano

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