Meet Darcy Rhone – 30, successful and down right beautiful. Used to thinking that being down-and-out meant not fitting into a size 4, but now life is going to show Darcy, just what being down-and-out really means.
Her best friend and maid of Honor, Rachel, slept with her now ex-fiancé Dex! But this isn’t the end of the tale…
“The surprise element of her betrayal was what burned me the most. The fact that I never saw it coming.”
Pregnant, unmarried and leaving a string of break-ups and friendships behind her, Darcy is now, for the first time in her life, completely alone.
“Anxiety was not an emotion I could ever remember feeling when I went out in New York, and I wondered why tonight felt so different. Maybe it was because I no longer had a boyfriend or fiance. I suddenly recognized that there was safety in having someone, as well as a lack of pressure to shine. Ironically, this had cultivated a certain free-spiritedness that had, in turn, allowed me to be the life of the party and hoard the affection of additional men….But that had all changed. I didn’t have a boyfriend, a perfect figure, or alcohol-induced outrageousness to fall back on.”
After worrying about what the future has in store, Darcy turns to Ethan, a friend from high school and persuaded him to let her stay in London for ‘a few weeks’.
Weeks turns into months and Darcy makes one or two startling discoveries that might change the way she views herself and others.
Whilst preparing for motherhood, in a foreign city, she builds a life of her own, from scratch and love might be closer than she ever could have expected…
But let’s start at the beginning:
In the prologue, our narrator for the tale, Darcy tells us this:
“It was then I discovered that there is a pecking order in life, and appearances play a role in that hierarchy. In other words, I understood at the tender age of three that with beauty cone perks and power. This lesson was only reinforced as I grew older and continued my reign as the prettiest girl in increasingly larger pools of competition. The cream of the crop in junior high and then high school.”
And goes on to tell us that
“…my popularity and beauty never made me mean.”
Darcy grew up knowing that her beauty was all that was required to get her through. She always felt that the power she had because of her beauty, she was benevolent with and for the most part, she’s not wrong. Self-centred? Yes. Materialistic? Yes. But never really cruel. To her, she felt that she deserved her good fortune. After all, why shouldn’t she always get what she wanted?
After everything that’s happened, from Dex and Rachel to losing Claire, and her mum, and choosing to blame everyone but herself, Darcy ups sticks and moves to London to see if she can recreate a lifestyle she once had. Whilst there, she almost chooses to ignore the fact that she is expecting. Instead, she chooses to spend her savings on designer clothes and accessories.
But not matter how hard she tries, she can’t seem to shake Dex and Rachel from her mind. Because despite her beauty and her charm, we see Darcy as she feels inside, she’s insecure and wants to fit in.
When Darcy starts to pester Ethan about them, enquiring about everything from when they got together to if it was a one time thing, Ethan decides it’s time to tell Darcy a hard truth;
“I think you have a long, long history of going after exactly what you want, Darcy. Whatever that is. Come hell or high water. Until now, Rachel has always played second fiddle to you. And you shamelessly let her do the whole lady-in-waiting routine. All through high school she was at your beck and call, letting you show off. You liked it that way. And now that it is all over, you can’t handle it…you were the star of the show in high school. The star of the show in college. The star of the show in Manhattan. And Rachel let you shine…you never examine your own behavior. You just look to blame everyone else.”
This brings back memories of school, which Ethan gladly reminds her of from liking boys that Rachel liked and ultimately, proudly reporting that she got into Rachel’s dream college…Notre Dame.
But Ethan knows Darcy better than to believe it and calls her out as a liar. After admitting to faking her acceptance to Notre Dame, Ethan tells Darcy;
“You have always competed with Rachel. From way back in the day until now. Everything has always been a contest with you. And part of what’s eating you up inside is that Dex picked Rachel. He picked her over you. Dex wanted to be with her and not you. Never mind that you didn’t want to be with him either. Never mind that you cheated on him too. Never mind that clearly you and he weren’t at all right for each other and you both saved yourselves a divorce by calling it quits. You can only focus on one thing: the fact that Rachel somehow beat you.”
“But I think you’re the one who doesn’t understand friendship…you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror, Darce. You need to realize that there are consequences to your basically shallow existence…you are shallow. You’re utterly selfish and misguided, with totally screwed-up values.”
This proves to be a turning point in the book for Darcy. Suddenly she realises, ‘I have a baby human growing inside me that needs me’ and so she makes a list and starts to create a new and improved Darcy Rhone. Whilst not contacting Rachel or Dex, she establishes a life and friends of her own. But the more time she spends with Ethan, the more she realises, she may be falling in love with him.
Towards the end of her pregnancy, Rachel contacts Darcy with a letter and gifts and after the emotional birth, with two beautiful bundles of joy, Darcy contacts Rachel to tell her the good news…and honestly? It’s like they never stopped talking!
“Although too much time has gone by to miss her, I feel regret that I didn’t maintain our friendship. Even if we no longer have much in common, we would have always had the past, which, in some ways, is just as important as the present or future.”
The ending becomes more wonderful because you’re rooting for Darcy, instead of rolling your eyes at her attitude and lifestyle. She finally gets a wonderfully happy ending which brings everyone together in the most perfect way and to be honest, I’m not sure Darcy would change a thing.
There’s a beautiful quote, at the very end, the last paragraph, the last 2 sentences;
“Love and friendship. They are what make us who we are, and what can change us, if we let them.”
Which is true! They can change us for better or worse, they can teach us lessons and help us learn from our mistakes. They can grow and blossom, they can go rotten to the core or they can just dwindle away. Our lives are shaped by the love we have and make and the friendships we have.
The wonderful way this book is written, makes it more relatable to many of us than we care to realise. I’m sure we all know or knew someone like Darcy. Someone who got it all. Who could never blame themselves even though they were in the wrong yet seemed to have a power over the people around them. You could revise all day and night and still not get the grades that they do with little or no revision. And somehow, with all your struggles, they seem to be able to just breeze by in life.
Yet those people are also someone close, yes they may be an opposite to you but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We all need some balance – some chaos to our order. A yin to our yang. It something we can all relate too. Good friends are hard to come by and once lost, they leave a hole in our lives no matter or designer wear will fill.
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