Published by Thomas Nelson on November 7th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
After years of following her best friend’s lead, Mary Davies finds a whimsical trip back to Austen’s Regency England paves the way towards a new future.
Mary Davies lives and works in Austin, Texas, as an industrial engineer. She has an orderly and productive life, a job and colleagues that she enjoys—particularly a certain adorable, intelligent, and hilarious consultant. But something is missing for Mary. When her estranged and emotionally fragile childhood friend Isabel Dwyer offers Mary a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in Bath, Mary reluctantly agrees to come along, in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways. But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes that she lives in Regency England. Mary becomes dependent on a household of strangers to take care of Isabel until she wakes up.
With Mary in charge and surrounded by new friends, Isabel rests and enjoys the leisure of a Regency lady. But life gets even more complicated when Mary makes the discovery that her life and Isabel’s have intersected in more ways that she knew, and she finds herself caught between who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who stands between them. Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this triangle works out their lives and hearts among a company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation.
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Mary Davies is an Austen Fan, a surprise perhaps considering she is a very practical person, an industrial engineer. She is in a bit of a rut at work, unable to figure out something vital to the completion of an invention of hers. The company she works for is changing, the atmosphere is changing, and it doesn’t take much for her father to convince her to take a vacation with her best friend.
Isabel is that friend, in fact, she is more like a sister to Mary. Their relationship hasn’t been the best of late. Isabel’s father is paying for them both to travel to England to have an Austen holiday. They will spend two weeks dressing and behaving as characters from Jane Austen books.
A time that should be all laughs and silliness ends up more dramatic when Isabel has a mental issue. She wakes up one morning and honestly believes she is the character she is portraying and that they are indeed living in Regency times. All they can do is allow her to carry on with her belief until hopefully, she snaps back to herself as she has in the past.
To help her through the ordeal a guy she fancies at work but who has only been her friend through the years joins her in England. It seems he knows Isabel too, why didn’t Mary know that?
I liked this story but it wasn’t what I was expecting. The beginning chapters were quite slow, and it wasn’t until Mary landed in England that I became more engrossed in the book. I would have liked there to have been more role-playing written about, and a little more romance too. That said, it was definitely a novelty reading references to engineering work amongst a story involving Regency settings. Isabel and Mary were deep characters with a lot of history between them. Their relationship had been floundering but their time away is a big step towards mending some bridges. I expected a very light-hearted story, instead, it was very much more complex.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers’ copy of this book.