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Berkley trade paperback edition / September 2011

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Doornebos, Karen.

Definitely not Mr. Darcy / Karen Doornebos.

p. cm.

ISBN : 978-1-101-55110-3

1. Divorced mothers—Fiction. 2. Austen, Jane, 1775–1817—Influence—Fiction. 3. Dating shows (Television programs)—Fiction. 4. Americans—England—Fiction. 5. Chick lit. I. Title.

PS3604.O67D44 2011



To Jane Austen, may you rest in peace.


Warning: this wil not be brief; writing may be a solitary pursuit, but I’ve had a lot of support. The good news is you don’t have to read this, you can just skip to chapter one.

Before I acknowledge my fabulous agent, Paige Wheeler of Folio Literary Management, and my very cool editors, Leis Pederson and Cindy Hwang at the Berkley Publishing Group, I’d like to thank my incredibly supportive husband, Jacques, without whom this book wouldn’t be possible, and my two children, Remy and Samantha, who have been a little neglected of late. In so doing, I hope I’ve thanked you al equal y!

Thanks to my artist parents, Judie, and the late Bil Anderson, for the creative upbringing. Thanks to Barry Kritzberg, the ultimate English teacher, for the early encouragement, and Laurel Yourke, faculty associate emeritus at University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Continuing Studies in Writing, who went out of her way to pul me aside to say I had “something.”

My beta readers, who read the entire book when it perhaps shouldn’t have been seen by anyone include: Kim Delich, Susan Havel, Jen Kovar, Barry Kritzberg, Kim Lutes, Alice Peck, and Katie (Meenan, at the time) Walsh.

Two critique groups helped with this manuscript, and I need to thank the first: Pat Dunnigan, Stephanie El iot, and Elyce Rembos; and my current critique group: M. J. Bressler, Rita Chhablani, Chris Foutris, Barbara Harrison, Fredericka Meiners (writing as Ann Macela), Jan Moretti, and Sherry Weddle.

Thanks go to author and fabulous teacher Christine DeSmet; Ariel e Eckstut, author of Pride and Promiscuity; and agent Daniel e Egan-Mil er, author Syrie James, Erin Nuimata of Folio Literary Management; Abigail Reynolds, prolific Austenesque author; and Maggie Sul ivan of Austenblog and There Must Be Murder fame.

Hugs to those who put together “Young Author Outrage,” a hilarious scrapbook that kept me going over the years: Michel e Burton, Liz Calby, Linda Dunbar, Gloria Gyssler, DeAnn Gruber, Anne Kodama, Audrey Korsland, Linda LaBel e, Bianca Loftus, Karen Maher, Ingrid Nolan, Kate Pennington, Jennifer Pol ock, Mary Jo Robling, and Jane Wilhelm.

Other stalwart supporters include: Robin Benoy, Janan Cain, Marilyn Groble, Anne Huston, Janice Fisher, Bridget Lesniak, Cathy Louthen, Ingrid Lulich, Michel e Mendoza, Linda Roberto, Cyndi Robinson, Dorie Skiest, Cindy Vitek, and Trish Wil inger. Carole and Mike Fortman, thank you for entertaining and, at times, feeding Samantha. Thank you, Jamie Anderson, for your design capabilities and Web advice, and Joost Doornebos and Laurie Gruber for believing.

Those who read pages include: Linda Dunbar, Angela Gordon, Janet Katish, Michel e Marconi, and Anne Kodama, who stopped reading because the book made her forget to pick up her child from piano, or something.

I need to thank the BBC for producing the Regency House Party, because, little did I know until I’d written most of the book that they had actual y done a Regency reality show that is available both on YouTube and DVD. I recommend it! A tip of the hat to The Bachelor TV series, too.

I must come clean that my daughter named her American Girl Dol “Chloe,” and when I looked up the etymology of the name, decided to change my main character’s name from “Zoe” to “Chloe.” There. I said it, Samantha!

Thanks to: the Jane Austen Society of North America, Chicago chapter, and especial y Wil iam Philips. Thanks as wel to Romance Writers of America, especial y the Windy City chapter. Barnes and Noble, Borders, the Newberry Library, Riverside Library, and Starbucks—al fueled the effort. Thanks to fel ow Chicagoan, Oprah, for helping to make reading hip—I’ve watched you for years now, if you want to go out for coffee, just cal .

Thanks as wel to one of my first and favorite bosses, Tim Roberts in England, and my English friends Tim and Al i Moxon.

The 1995 A&E version of Pride and Prejudice, and everyone involved in that production, deserves gratitude. Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth brought a certain coolness to al things Austen and forced Janeites worldwide out of the closet. Colin Firth was consequential y typecast for the next fifteen years, but such is the price for playing Mr. Darcy a little too wel .

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