April 18, 2013

Review: Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey

Attempting Elizabeth
Attempting Elizabeth

About the Book:

Kelsey Edmundson is a geek and proud of it. She makes no secret of her love for TV, movies, and, most especially, books. After a bad breakup, she retreats into her favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice, wishing she had some of the wit and spirit of Elizabeth Bennett.

One night at a party Kelsey meets handsome Australian bartender Mark Barnes. From then on, she always seems to run into him when she least expects it. No matter how Kelsey tries, she always seems to say the wrong thing.

After a particularly gaffe-filled evening around Mark, Kelsey is in desperate need of inspiration from Jane Austen. She falls asleep reading Darcy’s letter to Lizzy and awakens to find herself in an unfamiliar place that looks and sounds suspiciously like her favorite book. Has she somehow been transported into Pride and Prejudice, or is it just a dream?

As Kelsey tries to discover what’s happening to her, she must also discover her own heart. Is Mark Barnes destined to be her Mr. Darcy? In the end, she must decide whether attempting to become Elizabeth is worth the risk or if being Kelsey Edmundson is enough.

My Thoughts:

This was so fun! I wasn't sure what to expect at first, but Kelsey quickly won me over with her nerdiness and her love of staying home with a good book (most likely Pride and Prejudice, her favorite). I absolutely loved that she was more Darcy-like than Lizzy-like! Definitely a great plan by Ms. Grey. The social awkwardness, the open-mouth-insert-foot moments, jumping to wrong assumptions, her interactions with Mark were hilarious. They could never seem to have a full conversation without offending one another. 

And speaking of Mark. Handsome with an Aussie accent makes for a great combo! And he certainly makes Kelsey flare up like nobody's business. They have fabulous chemistry and try hard as she can to deny it, Kelsey realizes it. But something about Mark sets off her awkward button and she always seems to say the wrong thing. I loved the first half of the story where they keep running into one another and being forced into conversations and wanted that part to last a bit longer. 

The first transition into the actual story of P&P came a little too quick for me, but I soon got sucked into Kelsey's confusion and "lunacy". For she was sure that she was hallucinating and was, in reality, locked up in an asylum somewhere. As she tries to understand exactly what's going on and keeps re-setting her day over and over, her reasoning and thought processes are so funny. And it does take a little while, but she eventually finds her way home again. She actually ends up returning to the story multiple times. All while dealing (or not) with her real life attraction to Mark and also trying to understand her own self. She's working on her Master's and is slightly worried about what her future holds. A hot guy and the ability to travel into a book make for loads of distractions from that. 

Yet sometimes she wants that distraction because hello, she gets to experience her favorite story as if it were real. It was certainly helpful that Kelsey knew P&P so well, as she had lines to say to keep the story moving. And she had to keep the story moving so she could meet Mr. Darcy! Imagine seeing him in the flesh! Just as Jane Austen imagined him and just as swoon-worthy as you expected. That part is rather awesome in Kelsey's mind. She'd stay there a lot longer if the real world (and Mark) wouldn't keep calling her back. 

The transitions from real world to book world were smooth, but you never find out exactly how it works or why it works. Which is okay. The story didn't need all the details of how, it simply needed to happen to push the story onward. Traveling into the story also helps Kelsey understand herself a bit better. She sees some of her flaws in the characters, which helps her grow and change. And ultimately be ready for a guy like Mark to sweep her off her feet. Because of course he's going to do that! It's just the journey to that point that's so entertaining.

A Favorite Passage:
"Yes, I know Narnia isn't real." I paused for a minute. Did I really know that? I mean, I got into Pride and Prejudice, could I get into The Chronicles of Narnia too? Or maybe into Anne of Green Gables? Or-total nerd meltdown alert-any Star Wars book? I felt a cold sweat break out my forehead at the thought. Holy magical book jumper, Batman! Could I be Princess Leia?"

Toodle-loo kangaroos!


  1. This sounds a little like Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, what with traveling inside books and all. Have you read those? If not, oh, I think you would love them! Anyway, this sounds very fun, I'll have to see if the library has it.

    1. You know, I've heard of that series but never read them. Not sure why. But if you recommend them, then I'll absolutely check them out! Thanks Hamlette. :)

  2. Okay, Kara, you have again introduced me to yet ANOTHER book that is going on my "to-read" list! Girl... it sounds ADORABLE! Love the cover also. Thank you for the great review. :)

    1. Ha! What can I say Rissi? Fair's fair, since you keep doing the same thing to me! ;P

      Isn't that cover fabulous? It fits with the story just right. And adorable is the perfect word for this book! I smiled a lot while reading it. Which is always a sign of a great story for me! Besides, who wouldn't want to meet Mr. Darcy in real life? I sure would! :D

  3. Sounds like a delightful book and that quote made me giggle!! I'll look this one up!!
    Thanks for putting it on my radar

    1. It really is delightful, Alex! I loved that quote too. Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to meet some of those characters in real life? At least once. Especially Mr. Darcy! But I wouldn't mind meeting Gilbert either. :D


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