A review copy was generously provided by St. Martin’s Griffin
I am obsessed with anything and everything Pride and Prejudice – I always jump at the opportunity to read a reimagining or adaptation. Naturally, I was very excited when the folks over at St. Martin’s Griffin reached out to me about The Wrong Mr. Darcy. The book was described to be a romantic comedy inspired by Pride and Prejudice about a sports reporter and a cocky professional basketball player. Unfortunately, The Wrong Mr. Darcy didn’t just fall short of being a good Pride and Prejudice inspired book, it failed at being a decent book at all.
Hara Isari has big ambitions and they won’t be sidetracked by her mother’s insisting that she settle down soon. She dreams of leaving her small-town newspaper behind, as well as her felon father, and building a career as a sports writer, so when she is chosen to exclusively interview a basketball superstar, she jumps at the chance. It’s time to show the bigwigs what she’s truly made of.
At the same time, she meets a rookie on the rise, Derek Darcy. Darcy is incredibly handsome, obnoxiously proud, and has a major chip on his shoulder. Hara can’t think of a man more arrogant and infuriating. However, fate keeps bringing them together—from locker rooms to elegant parties, to the storm of the century—and what begins as a clash might just be more complicated than Hara anticipated. When she begins to see Darcy in a new light, Hara is not quite sure if she should drop the ball or play the love game.
The worst part of The Wrong Mr. Darcy was the writing itself – it lacked entirely in quality. This poor quality took me by surprise – this book was written by a reality star, but it also had a ghost writer attached to presumably tune up the book as necessary. The writing was rough – it lacked flow and seemed to veer on tangents frequently. It also reads more like a first (very rough) draft than a final copy. Also, it’s worth noting that the authors frequently tossed large words into the mix for no apparent reason – they were sometimes misused and often felt like the authors were abusing their thesauruses. It was a classic case of purple prose.
The plot was a rambling, directionless mess that didn’t even make sense at times. Why would an NBA team choose a reporter from a tiny town’s newspaper to do a puff piece on one of hottest basketball players? Surely, they would want a puff piece to be widely read (and therefore in a major paper)? And why did the main character aspire to be a sportswriter when she seemingly knew very little about sports? Instead of answering these questions, the authors just kept adding more and more elements to the plot. As other reviewers have noted, there was simply too much going on at once – which meant that none of the individual plot events got properly explored and resolved. Also, on a semantics level, this book was described as a Pride and Prejudice inspired rom-com. Apart from the names lifted from the classic, this book really was nothing like Pride and Prejudice in terms of plot or characters. It’s definitely a stretch to say this was in any way related to P&P.
Hara was a pretty ‘meh’ main character – she was very two dimensional throughout the book. I kept waiting for her to have some sort of growth as a character, but it never came. She was also laughably bad at her job, which really made the book hard to believe and therefore hard to get immersed in. She was definitely no Elizabeth Bennet. Derek, Hara’s love interest, also suffered from being very two dimensional – even though part of the book is in his POV, I never felt as though I understood who he was as a character outside of just being a bit of a jerk. Outside of the poor writing quality, the most damning aspect of The Wrong Mr. Darcy was how lifeless the romance between Hara and Derek was. They had very little chemistry together – not great for a rom-com book.
I’m pretty disappointed about how The Wrong Mr. Darcy turned out – the concept sounded great, but the authors entirely failed to deliver a readable book. Between the terrible writing, the casual sexism, and the clunky dialog, I recommend fans of Pride and Prejudice and rom-coms alike steer clear of this one. If you’re looking for a fun Pride and Prejudice inspired rom-com, check out Austenland by Shannon Hale. 1/5