Mr Darcy Forever
In this third and final installment of Connolly's Austen Addicts series, we get the best story yet. Based loosely on the story of Sense & Sensibility, Mr Darcy Forever traces the story of two estranged sisters: Sarah and Mia. After a falling out over a very Willoughby-like man, whom they meet while staying in the Barton Cottage, the two sisters do not speak for three years. Our story picks up here, as both find themselves finally brave enough to return to Bath for the Jane Austen Festival they used to attend together. Alternating between Sarah and Mia's individual stories, Connolly manages to weave a tale of love and trust that is simply beautiful. The secret? The characters, of course.
Mia is a free-spirit who dreamed of making a name for herself on the stage. But she's hiding a secret, or several, and struggling to find herself able to trust anyone with the weight of her concerns. Sarah is still reeling from the cause-and-effects of her falling out with Mia, and suffers from OCD (which Connolly has drawn with grace and sensitivity). As each sister faces her own demons in Bath, finding surprising sources of help and strength -- maybe Austen was on to something in terms of finding heroes in Bath! -- they slowly realize that they cannot conquer this battle alone, they must be reunited. Paths cross by chance, then again by intention. Memories are shaken out, secrets bared, and hearts mended. All set against the backdrop of the pageantry and soft comedy of the Jane Austen Festival, and its colorful attendants. (We even see familiar faces from the other Austen addicts novels!) Beautifully written, I'm sad to see the end of the Austen addicts trilogy, but looking forward to exploring Connolly's other works.
eARC provided by publisher for review.