“Yet there is a sneaky little part of me… that desperately wants a man to show some odd old-fashioned chivalry, to look after me a little, even if I can really look after myself is that so wrong even in the twenty-first century? Maybe this type of guy no longer exists… “
Sophie blames her love affair with literature for her highly unachievable requirements in men. She clearly wants something that is in very short supply, even though if you read Jane Austen, it seems there is an abundance of them wandering the English countryside.
Perhaps this is why all of her love interests seem completely inadequate and slightly strange, the last one has even taken to stalking her so much she has had to change both her mobile and home telephone numbers.
When she, therefore, notices an advert for The Jane Austen Dating Agency she seriously considers signing up, although will it really lead her to Mr. Right?
After taking several days, her application is finally sent off and before she knows it she is being called in for a formal interview to see whether she is a suitable applicant, and thanks to her nerves she doesn’t necessarily come across in such a way that makes her appealing to the Head of Membership, Miss Palmer-Wright.
“She eyes my outfit from the high street with undisguised distaste… Her tone has made it quite clear it’s unlikely I’ll qualify to be included in any invitation… I’m feeling worryingly like Cinderella dealing with her wicked stepmother. I’m not sure what I’d expected, Regency dress perhaps, but I’d incorrectly assumed that anyone who loves Jane Austen would be nice, not a prize bitch.”
After her disastrous meeting, Sophie is unsure whether this is something she really should be pursuing, after all in order to appeal to the kind of man that is likely to whisk her off her feet she needs to join the gold membership programme, which is impossibly exclusive and expensive. In fact, it is only after she overhears a conversation with the CEO of the dating agency, Darcy Drummond and Miss Palmer-Wright, where they discuss her complete lack of social standing and suitability for the agency that she decides to enrol. Due, however, to her current financial standing, she has to opt for the silver package, which considerable stretches her budget, but after all that she has heard, she cannot bring herself to choose the bronze scheme.
Over the coming chapters, we read about the highs and definite lows of using an exclusive dating agency. We discover that just because you pay more, doesn’t necessarily mean that the calibre of men improves at all, while others, of course, are simply drop-dead gorgeous. The problem is, the ones that take an interest in Sophie are so far removed from her ideal man, that they give her the creeps, while those that make her heart do a little flutter are completely out of her league socially as they are looking for women with money and lineage.
That is until Daniel Becks requests a date with her. To get to know one another better, they agree to first take part in a speed dating event hosted during a fine dining event before heading off on a second date that involves champagne and strawberries – how romantic.
Could Daniel be the one for Sophie? Could he be her Mr. Darcy?
My Thoughts on The Jane Austen Dating Agency
As with many romances, the course of true love never runs smoothly and for Sophie, this is no different. She is depicted as a normal twenty-something, just out of university, struggling to make something of herself in the hard-nosed environment of magazine sales. She has confidence issues and while she doesn’t seem happy to settle in life, she doesn’t hold the conviction to say no which means she does end up with more than her fair share of losers, especially when it comes to love.
There were occasions when reading this, however, where, had she not have been a fictional character, I would have liked to shake some sense into her because she is unable to see what is playing out in front of her very own eyes. She seems oblivious to the lying and deception and is happily fed half-truths without question, even though those around her openly quiz her, wondering whether everything is truly as it seems.
Other than her naivety though, it is easy to buy into Sophie as she grapples with modern-day dating and her feelings for a couple of very-eligible men.
The Jane Austen Dating Agency may resemble the stories of both Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility at times but Fiona Woodifield has done a remarkable job of twisting these well-known plots into a very modern love story all of her own.
Have you read The Jane Austen Dating Agency or any similar romance novels?
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