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Red Hot Book of the Week: Teri Wilson's Unleashing Mr. Darcy

Jen Karsbaek is the reader, writer, blogger, podcaster, and book club host behind DevourerofBooks.com and one of our SheKnows Book Club bloggers. When not reading or writing, she is likely playing with her toddler or tweeting @devourerof...

Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy like new again

Whether you're a lover of Austen retellings or dog shows, you won't want to miss Teri Wilson's Unleashing Mr. Darcy.

Unleashing Mr. Darcy

There isn't much that can distract Elizabeth Scott from the pathetic way her life is turning out. She has been forced out of her job as a teacher at an elite Manhattan private school, thanks to a certain parent named Grant Markham.

INTERVIEW: Teri Wilson talks Unleashing Mr. Darcy >>

Sure, it is just a suspension, but she isn't completely sure she'll have a job to return to by the time the board is done with its investigation — and any time without a paycheck is a hardship for someone who is renting a Manhattan apartment on a teacher's salary.

Luckily for Elizabeth, she has her sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the distraction of a dog show at which to show Bliss off. There is also a certain infuriating judge visiting from England, a Mr. Donovan Darcy.

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Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy get off to a rocky start, at least partially because of the grudge she holds against handsome, rich, British men after the dustup with Grant Markham. Still, Elizabeth surely won't ever have to see him again. Yes, she has agreed to take a temporary job in London during her suspension, but from what she knows of Mr. Darcy, he has a grand estate in the country, so it seems unlikely they would bump into each other.

Little does Elizabeth realize that Darcy actually spends most of his time in London — in a house practically adjacent to the one where Elizabeth is staying. Donovan doesn't have the same ambiguous feelings about Elizabeth as she does about him and is, in fact, strangely drawn to her. As a result, he makes certain the two of them are thrown together as often as possible, with intriguing results.

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Unleashing Mr. Darcy is notable among Austen retellings for the characters are completely aware of the source material that their lives are emulating without being aware they are following patterns created by Jane Austen centuries ago. Teri Wilson nicely balances adherence to the basics of Austen's story with an ability to make the story her own so that it seems fresh and not simply like a rehashing of Pride and Prejudice plot point by plot point.

With Wilson's ability to write a story both familiar and new about the romance that flies between Elizabeth and Darcy, Unleashing Mr. Darcy is a story not to be missed by fans of Austen retellings — or by dog lovers.

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