by Laura Hile
At Netherfield, a glorious evening of music and dancing… But out in the garden, two men are arguing, while a ferocious rainstorm swirls round. And then the unthinkable happens: a lightning bolt from heaven strikes. In that instant everything changes. Jane Austen’s heartthrob hero becomes the bumbling Reverend Collins. Shorn of his fortune, his social standing, and his good looks, Mr. Darcy is trapped in Mr. Collins’ body. And Mr. Collins wakes up to discover that he is master of Pemberley. Could there be anything worse? But the inner man is still Darcy. He is in love with Elizabeth Bennet. And now he is living in her house.
“Ms. Hile managed to take a very modern idea (Freaky Friday) and interject it into a familiar setting and all without making it seem hokey or ridiculous. She made me believe things that just don’t fit.”
“A totally enthralling story with both mystical and romantic tones, not to mention the amusing situation overall.”
“I loved everything about this book. The writing is tight and sharp, the premise is very interesting, the characters are well-drawn, the plot is well-developed, and the ending is satisfying.”
CIR:What inspired this book?
HILE: Handsome, aloof, and wealthy, Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy is every woman’s idea of the perfect male—the ordinary guy has no chance! (And heaven help the fellow who is plain!) Yet attraction involves more than good looks and a fat wallet. So I began to play with that. Once the body swap idea showed up, I knew I’d struck story gold. Because Mr. Darcy is also honorable, intelligent, and funny—qualities that transform an ugly man into something more. The shared smile, the twinkle in the eyes, the finishing of her sentences. Will Darcy-as-Collins capture Elizabeth Bennet’s heart?
CIR: What did you enjoy most about writing this?
HILE: I love surprising readers with the unexpected, and there are plenty of twists in this tale. Moreover, Elizabeth is falling in love with the wrong man—no, the right man! But in that podgy body! She cannot love Mr. Darcy when he’s—ugly! And overweight! Ah, but of course she does. Now what?
CIR: Who is your favorite character?
HILE: All of them! Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Collins are the point-of-view characters, but the entire cast from Pride and Prejudice shows up. And once again we are taken into the delightful world of Longbourn and Netherfield.