Shannon Hale, we meet Jane Hayes: 30-something graphic designer living in New York. Jane's had thirteen boyfriends in her life, and none of them ever quite match up to her idea of what a man should be. And what's her ideal man like? Mr. Darcy. Yes, Jane has more than just a slight Austen obsession. She's so obsessed with Jane Austen's novels and with Mr. Darcy in particular, that she goes so far as to hide her copy of the BBC Pride & Prejudice mini-series (ladies, you know the one...Colin Firth).
During a visit from her mother and wealthy great-aunt Carolyn, the old woman notices the DVDs and knows immediately what is going through Jane's head. Great-aunt Carolyn surprises Jane by booking a vacation for her at Pembrook Park, a sort of Regency reenactment resort in the English countryside, where guests and a staff of actors remain in period dress and manner for three weeks. The clientele consists of Austen-obsessed women, who pay the exorbitant fee to be fake-courted by gentlemen like Austen's male characters.
Jane isn't sure what to make of her great-aunt's strange gift, but the tickets and reservation are nonrefundable, and the prospect of being in the company of handsome men in breeches has piqued her interest. Once she checks in, however, and the fantasy begins, the total immersion is a little more than she thinks she can really handle. Will it help her kick her Darcy fixation, or will she just get even more sucked in than before?