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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Compulsively Mr. Darcy by Nina Benneton

Compulsively Mr. Darcy by Nina Benneton
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (351 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

For anyone obsessed with Pride & Prejudice, it's Darcy and Elizabeth like you've never see them before!

This modern take introduces us to the wealthy philanthropist Fitzwilliam Darcy, a handsome and brooding bachelor who yearns for love but doubts any woman could handle his obsessive tendencies. Meanwhile, Dr. Elizabeth Bennet has her own intimacy issues that ensure her terrible luck with men.

When the two meet up in the emergency room after Darcy's best friend, Charles Bingley, gets into an accident, Elizabeth thinks the two men are a couple. As Darcy and Elizabeth unravel their misconceptions about each other, they have to decide just how far they're willing to go to accept each other's quirky ways...

A smooth read with plenty of eccentric and quirky characters, this story was a meaty delight with a hero and heroine I enjoyed getting to know. Compulsively Mr. Darcy had moments of sheer literary genius that took turns making me smile, sigh or laugh out loud. Some of Ms. Benneton’s turns of phrase were brilliant and utterly entertaining.

Darcy, a/k/a Will, was a wonderfully developed hero with compulsion issues that took turns at amazing me, making me giggle or completely fascinating me. The author put a very human spin on what other people would term, ‘crazy behavior’. In fact, it was very clear that the behavior did not define the man and that really impressed me. It certainly led to situations down unusual paths and I felt quite grateful that the hero had the money to indulge his particular needs because they certainly presented challenges not everyone could overcome without it. Despite his controlling tendencies, Darcy has a good heart, good moral fiber and he’s incredibly sexy. In fact, the author’s way of describing his actions in moments of passion were highly enjoyable.

The recipient of all that passion and focus is the heroine, Dr. Elizabeth Bennet, a/k/a, Lizzie. What a fun character! She’s impulsive, emotionally passionate, tender hearted and has a sparkly snarky wit full of cheek and sauce. My absolute favorite aspect of her personality was her acceptance of Darcy’s compulsive behavior. Her viewpoint was refreshing, very positive and optimistic with a healthy dose of understanding and acceptance. I wish there were more people like Lizzie to interact with people with emotional/neurological conditions – the world would be a much more compassionate place. As it is, in Compulsively Mr. Darcy, the heroine’s own special quirks bounced off rather nicely against the hero’s propensity for intense focus.

That was one of the most romantic things ever. There’s a part where Lizzie wakes up to find him staring intently at her in the night. She asks him why, but I didn’t get an answer until later in the book. It was so sweet and special and totally expressed the best of what readers hope to read when they open up this kind of book. For a man with a hard time in expressing himself, when he does, it’s beautiful.

On the other hand, when they finally consummate their love, it’s really awesome. What makes it so is in three parts. There’s the buildup and tease, there’s the discovery and wonder of the physical magic they make when they finally let go, and then there are the parts when Lizzie makes Darcy lose control. Those were fun and well worth reading more than once. I applaud Ms. Benneton for her clever use of language in describing some of those scenes. Most were well done but there’s one that excelled beyond expectation. In fact, it’s rather hysterical and delightful all at the same time. Whenever I saw the word “broth” I nearly fell off my chair. I’m not sure what the author was thinking or how she came up with it, but it’s priceless. In fact that whole germ thing was truly inspired. That was the best piece of writing, ever.

The secondary characters are wow. Just, wow. There are Lizzie’s sisters and Darcy’s cousin, Richard, and best friend, Charles, all of whom should have their own stories. Then there are the vile characters that stir up the conflict to a diabolical fever. I am very pleased and satisfied as to the means in which the author had the villains get their comeuppance. I got the sense that the author could have elaborated on that a bit more, but by doing so, it would have switched this from a straightforward fun romance into romantic suspense. Certainly there were some juicy tidbits that were fascinating to ponder; however, I’m glad Ms. Benneton wrote this story as she did.

Some might argue that Lizzie’s ability to navigate though those prickly parts as being too easy but I found it charming. In real life, some folks are so sunny and positive that other people will do what they can to help that person just because it makes them feel good. Lizzie inspired that in others and it’s what made her such a terrific partner for Darcy. I had the best time reading about Mrs. Ching and the pickles. The fact that the author included tweezers and armpits had me rolling on the floor. I never knew when Ms. Benneton was going to inspire a great scene of sexual frenzy for the main characters and what the triggers would be. Reading became an adventure to guess where or what would inspire Mr. Darcy or Lizzie.

Although this story is touted as a modernized and spunky version of Pride and Prejudice, I can’t speak to that as I’ve never read any of Ms. Austin’s work. Yes, I know, many consider that being a philistine. I’m basing this review solely on the merits of Compulsively Mr. Darcy itself. I enjoyed the whole experience and had a jolly good time watching Lizzie and Mr. Darcy navigate being in their first real loving relationship and all the emotional mayhem that happened along the way before they finally figured out the whole man/woman thing.

Hands down, Compulsively Mr. Darcy is a must read book for lovers and fans of classic romance. The story delivers characters with quality personalities, a conflict that has substance without being dark and a happy ever after that ends with a giggle. It’s well rounded, entertaining and thoroughly lovable. I’d recommend this book as a must read, even for those like me, who’ve never read a Jane Austin book. Thank you, Ms. Benneton, for a story that had such wonderful heart, I read it in one sitting. It’s that good.