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Friday, June 3, 2011

Beach Reads: Mr Darcy Goes Overboard by Belinda Roberts


Beach Reads is a summer meme, posted here every
weekend.  It consists of quick, light reviews about books that
make good beach or backyard reading.   Find out more here,
and feel free to post your own Beach Reads and enjoy the summer right!



Mr Darcy Goes Overboard:
a Tale of Tide and Prejudice
Belinda Roberts

Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard replaces ballgowns with bikinis, country mansions with luxury yachts and the militia with a fiercely competetive squad of local lifeguards...

The Bennet family is enjoying their seaside home in Salcombe when Mrs. Bennet hears that the nearby magnificent villa Netherpollock has been taken by a young man of great fortune. She is determined that one of her daughters will go out with him, until Mr. Darcy glides into the harbour on his yacht and she decides he would be the better catch.





So, kicking off the first Beach Read of the summer, I figured why not go straight to the beach?
When I got Mr Darcy Goes Overboard in my box o' goodies from Sourcebooks, I knew that it would absolutely be one I would read this year for 2 reasons: 1) Pure kitsch factor, and 2) When I went on my little trip to the seaside last year, we passed this great little book store on the boardwalk that had its wall painted to look like books, with all of the titles beachified.  One of the titles - Tide and Prejudice.
So this was like a sign from Jane On High...

And I think you get exactly what you think you're going to with this book.  I mean, I doubt that anyone who picks this up thinks it is going to be this weighty piece of literature.  No, this is a silly and light-hearted approach to a well-loved tale, and it is strictly for those who intend to read it with a sense of humor (and a glass of wine).
No, seriously, though.  Good drinking book.  And the more you drink, the better it gets...
My accompaniment to the novel.

This is a great sitting on the beach or out on a hammock (or blanket, or grass, or wherever) type of read.  A breezy read that should be read in the sun with a nice breeze ruffling the pages.  What Roberts made of the story and the characters was interesting and fun.  There were times I did actually LOL.  There were bits of unexpected humor that just worked really nicely.  There was absurd, random stuff that made me laugh.   But I think, too, that it was the type of humor that is full of in-jokes, and if you're not intimately familiar with P&P, you might not always get the jokes, or they might just not matter to you.  It almost like reading a parody, or Scary Movie franchise does Jane.

There were a few drawbacks for me.  The dialogue sort of straddles the fence, sometimes trying for a play on the regency language and sometimes going for modern (and sometimes cheesy), and it doesn't work often.  I preferred the exposition to the dialogue by far.  And slipping back and forth between the two could come off stilted and more than a little weird.

Also, it is VERY condensed, so that if you are not very familiar with the story, it probably wouldn't seem to make much sense.  I mean, really.  Things happen pretty quickly - Pride and Prejudice is a packed 300+ pages, and Mr D Goes Overboard is a trim 176.  It's fairly sparse, and seems more like a novella that was stretched to fit a short-novel length.  (And I don't mean that things were added.  I mean it was  s t r e t c h e d    to fit, with the text-spacing that you generally find in a middle grade or light YA novel.)

Lastly, the absurdities that I mentioned above that I found humorous may actually annoy people.  This is definitely not a book for purists, but for a Janeite who's looking for a silly way to kill an hour at the beach?  I'd give this a try.


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6 comments:

  1. Maybe the text stretching is to make it easier to read while you sip those glasses of wine. =) All the small words tend to blur after a glass or two.

    Nice review. Seems like a good book. I'm going to try to pick one up for my lake trip later this month!

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  2. Thanks for the recommendation! Sound great! Quirky spin-offs based on classic literature always seem to catch my attention... I'll be sure to have a glass of wine nearby!

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  3. Ooh, yes! I have been wanting to read this and added it to my Amazon wishlist! I think I just might be getting it for the beach this summer! Looks like a fun read!! :)

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  4. I'll be reading this one soon. I'm in the mood for a silly read.

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  5. Sounds like a quick fun read.. but WOW, that is short!

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  6. I thought this sounded weirdly familiar until I realized that I bought this in Bath (at the JA center) two years ago only it was called "Prawn and Prejudice"

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