I saw the blurb for this book and knew I had to have it. I love Jane Austen spinoffs. I'm sure there are Austen purists googling my address now with pitchforks and torches in hand, but I can't help it - I'm a sucker for a spinoff! I guess it's just that I love her works so much I don't want them to be done...or something like that. This book did not disappoint. It's hard to review because there was a lot going on - this storyline just keeps moving (in a good way!).
Elizabeth Bennett is an attorney who is working in San Francisco. Darcy is a judge presiding over some of her cases. Elizabeth is young and fun. Her sister Jane is a surgical resident, working in the hospital where Charles Bingley is a surgeon. Elizabeth's friend Charlotte is also an attorney, and her best friend Lou is gay. (Lou had some great scenes in this book.)
When the book opens, Darcy notices the new attorney but thinks she's there to pay a ticket or something, he's surprised to see her in court. Darcy has a reputation as a curmodgeonly judge - the attorneys know they'd better have their stuff in order if they're going before him. Although he's not old, he acts older than he is to maintain the respect of the attorneys that appear before him - he's actually the youngest judge in San Francisco. After work at a local lawyer hangout, Elizabeth, Charlotte, and Lou overhear Darcy talking about Elizabeth, saying "She's alright but not pretty enough to tempt me." Elizabeth is annoyed but says she doesn't care because it's Darcy.
Jane and Bingley start dating, and it becomes serious quickly. Elizabeth has a few terse run-ins with Darcy, and they both annoy each other. She hasn't forgotten his insult at the bar. Then Jane and Bingley become engaged, and they travel to England for a vacation, and convince Elizabeth to come; they'll be staying at a friend's place and Elizabeth can attend a legal conference while she's there. Both she and Darcy are surprised when she arrives on his doorstep! She didn't know he was the "friend" who owned the house, and Darcy didn't get the message that Jane and Bingley were bringing a guest. They agree to get along for the two weeks they'll all be together, and even agree to attend the conference together.
They spend a bit of time in each other's company and end up together. They agree that since they're not in the US, they don't fall under the proprietary rules, and become involved intimately; possibly falling in love. The scenes over the two weeks they were in England were wonderful, watching them get to know each other and explore their feelings.
Then it's time to come back to the US and things are immediately put back into a formal relationship. Both parties are miserable, but can't see how they could make it work without jeapordizing one or both of their careers.
I really enjoyed this book. At first, I thought a couple of times, "Elizabeth wouldn't do that", but then I realized, Elizabeth probably wouldn't do that in the 18th century, but she might in THIS century! The characters were fun - her mother was spot-on, and I loved Lou, he was a great best friend. I loved the strip tease near the end of the book - very, very creative!
This story was sweet and funny and I'm putting it on my keeper shelf for when I need a "pick up my spirits" read.
Disclaimer: I won this book from Pop Culture Nerd.