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Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  725 Ratings  ·  145 Reviews
Smith slips effortlessly into the voices of her funny, smarter-than-they-look characters in her latest collection (after News of the Spirit), containing a handful of new works among some old favorites. In Toastmaster, a family's dinner outing is parsed from the point of view of a brainy 11-year-old who sees through the motivations of his flaky mother and demonstrates his p ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 23rd 2010 by A Shannon Ravenel Book
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The Help by Kathryn StockettGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie FlaggDivine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca WellsTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Southern Chick Lit
223 books — 218 voters
The Richest Season by Maryann McFaddenMrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger by Lee SmithRemarkable Creatures by Tracy ChevalierThe Sign for Drowning by Rachel StolzmanAs Simple as It Seems by Sarah Weeks
32 books — 15 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
May 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loved, millie
It took me a long time to finish this book because I refused to read the stories back-to-back. In a collection of short stories like this, written by one author, it can be tempting to just read one after the other and then then before you know it, you've finished them all and don't really remember much. Kind of like eating Oreos out of the box.

It's hard for me to articulate what it is exactly that I loved so much about these stories, aside of course from the impeccable voices and excellent writ
Evanston Public  Library
Lee Smith speaks "southern." The voice she gives to her characters rings true to this region's rich culture and customs. Her wonderful collection of new and selected short stories feature mostly women protagonists coping with love, loss, and life's major turning points. Smith is skilled at infusing her writing with a gentle drollness that will make you smile, and her sensibility is rich with emotional content, but without sentimentality or cloying sweetness. Family and home feature greatly in th ...more
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this collection of short stories from Lee Smith. I am such a fan of hers anyway, but this collection focused on Southern women all types. Good reading if you are in the mood for some short reads.
Aug 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
Since 1968, Lee Smith has been a significant Southern author of short stories and novels compared by some to Flannery O'Connor, Eurora Welty, and Carson McCullers. Somehow I have managed to miss her influence until hearing a recent provocative interview on NPR and purchasing her current volume of short stories, both old and new. These 14 tales might be compared to hors d'oeuvres...tasty, spicy, and not unpalatable, but they do not a meal make. Even the vegetarians among us may ask: "Where's the ...more
Polly Watson
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lee Smith truly knows how to weave a tale. There is no denying that she is a masterful storyteller. I honestly could read her stories all day. MRS. DARCY AND THE BLUE-EYED STRANGER is a book of short stories by Lee Smith, so know going in that it is NOT a novel. I, for one, really love the short story. I think that the short story is a lost art in the world today, so it is refreshing to read a book full of wonderful short stories! I can't possibly pick one to say it's my favorite. There are grea ...more
Suzanne Moore
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
The stories in this book contain a mix of colorful characters ranging from ages 8 to 80. The common thread I found, other than their southern roots, was how they all dealt with a grim, depressing situation in a strong and uplifting way. My favorites were “Toastmaster” where a young boy gains self-confidence and popularity after developing a stand-up comedy routine, and “The Southern Cross” where the mistress of a married man, accompanying him on a boat trip, realizes his true colors and jumps sh ...more
Elizabeth Moore
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lee Smith's collection of short stories is a wonderful read. While some appear to approach a collection of stories with disdain, I find such perfect for those situations where one can perhaps steal a few minutes to read, and therefore, keep works like Lee Smith's all over the house -- a collection of short stories beside the bed, in a sitting room, the upstairs tv room, and of course, one of the most popular reading rooms in the house (the toilette).

What struck me, once I finished Smith's, is th
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of short stories--seven new stories and seven culled from three earlier short story collections by Lee Smith. These are stories to be savored and I took my time reading this book. I tried to limit myself to one story a day so that I could think about and appreciate each story before dipping into the next. The stories capture individuals at various stages of life from a young boy to the Mrs. Darcy of the title who is trying to adjust to the recent loss of her husband in her o ...more
Jun 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Actually, three point five stars. I cannot remember how old I was when I first saw To Kill a Mockingbird on television but I was young enough to be scared but old enough to fall in love with the story and not too many years later fall crazy in love with the book. All of which lead to a love southern literature. This collection of short stories was a pleasant ramble. Each story had a distinct voice, distinct southern voice, and some of them I enjoyed much more than others. They were by turns hear ...more
Feb 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm so surprised how much I liked this book (I thought it might be chick-lit but it wasn't). I was moved to check the book out from the library believing (for some reason I can't defend) that the title story involved what happened with Elizabeth Darcy (nee Bennett) after she married Mr. Darcy. This turned out not to be the case, but even with my mistake, this book of short stories was engaging. The characters are interesting, the narratives are snappy and modern and occasionally lyrical. Each st ...more
Shonna Froebel
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Stories with settings in the American South dealing with relationships, family, and how we all deal with what life brings to us. It is characters that are Smith's strong point. They come alive for the reader. They are us, our friends, our neighbours. The things that happen in their lives are things we are familiar with and can relate to. People get married, have babies, break up, and die. There are so many of the stories that I loved that I would be hard pressed to choose a favourite. What I do ...more
Miko Lee
Mar 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Some delightful short stories from the South. A range of sweet likable characters. I was particularly struck by the awkward bullied 8 year old boy who finds his talent with standup comedy. Spoiler alert: I found myself retelling the entire story to my girls just to get to his punch line "So a dyslexic guy walks into a bra." Other stories showed pathos, loneliness and there seemed to a thread about high school and how different life turns out. I'm usually not a fan of the short story genre, but I ...more
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These short stories are set in areas where I've lived or visited, so it was fun seeing the familiar names pop up throughout the book. At first I was reading the stories back-to-back, but when I slowed down & just read one each night I enjoyed them more. Some are very similar to each other, but I guess that's not unusual since they're all being written by the same person.
This book had some (2 or 3) really interesting stories, but the rest seemed to follow the same recipe. Aging woman faces divorce/separation/affair, tries to redifine herself and her life in the light of the change in her life, comes to some resolution, but is still left questioning.

My favorite stories were House Tour, Big Girl, and Toast Master.
Suzanne Auckerman
May 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Typically I like Lee Smith's writing, but found that I couldn't identify with many of the characters in the stories and the stories almost implausible. I liked the story, Happy Memories Club,butfound Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger a little weird. While it was heavily promoted, I found it disappointing.
May 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Honestly, I don't really have much to say about these short stories. A couple were good, some decent, and others...well, I just found myself not really getting into the story or characters. I will definitely not be reading this book again.
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
I am a fan of the author, but not of this collection.
Mar 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: public-library
I love this author, but I'm not a big fan of short stories, I guess! Not one of my favorites.
Sep 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Randomly picked this up at the library and absolutely loved this insightful collection of short stories. None is earth shattering but each tells a tale that ambles along a path filled with enjoyment.
Jul 26, 2010 rated it liked it
short stories set in the dysfunctional south
Mari Monono
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quirky, short-stories
Lee Smith has compiled 14 short stories with unforgettable characters and interesting experiences.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I started the book over from the beginning. The book was 14 short stories. Some of the stories let your imagination end the story. I enjoyed the stories a lot, some made me remember when I was young and I liked that.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it
A diverse and interesting collection of short stories
Jennifer L.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
My favorite stories from this collection: Toastmaster; Tongues of Fire; The Happy Memories Club.
Mar 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
I used to be a fan of Lee Smith. She has a descriptive writing style and approach that makes her books both charming and addictive. On Agate Hill was one of my favorite southern literature pieces. However, I’ve denounced my fondness of Lee Smith after reading Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger.

The first few short stories were okay (kind of boring, but still enjoyable). Once I got near the end of the book to the story Stevie and Mama, here’s where I had to stop. I was shocked by the blatant r
Maria Ryan
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Collection of Jewel Toned Prisms

The short story is not my most favorite format however in the hands of Smith, it was a perfectly balanced and masterful dance. The lives of ordinary, rather invisible people are brought to life and given a voice and an extraordinary one at that.

Themes such as ageism and marginalization are explored from the victim’s perspective such as in my favorite story, The Happy Memories Club, where an intelligent and astute resident of a retirement home is made to suffer t
Aisyah Rasyid
I bought this book at an offer for rebate at almost 80%. I don't think I had heard of Lee Smith before I had my hands on this book. I was browsing through the shelves, and I thought the cover was real neat (no judgement, except that I was attracted to the illustration!), also at the time I was reading Jeffrey Archer's collection of short stories, and I really enjoyed them as JA was my first read for short stories, and so was Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger!

Lee Smith has a different style
Mar 01, 2010 rated it liked it
I'm definitely more of a Lee Smith novel fan than a Lee Smith short story fan. She's such the master of character development that short stories just don't leave me enough time with these quirky, brash, proud, flawed country folk.

So,I'm split on how to rate this collection. There are some short stories that are brilliant, my favorites being "Tongues of Fire" (all about adolescence and fanatic religions -- my most cherished of topics) and "Happy Memories Club," a surprisingly arresting story abo
Jun 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book is a series of short stories--all, in my opinion, pretty "out there". The first half of the book was fairly boring for me and I just kept reading because I wanted to finish the book and not toss it. Three quarters of the way through the book I did get a little interested in the story entitled "The Happy Memories Club". I don't know what appealed to me about this story but it was a little more up beat than the rest--finally a story I liked! The stories are predoinantly written in the so ...more
The Loopy Librarian
Forever after, when I should happen to think about Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger, I’ll think of blue eyes, beaches and gin and tonics, pleasant summer evenings, and romance. But, I will also remember adultery and sadness, suicide and loss, abandonment and loneliness, and loss of youth. The thread stringing together these stories was life-changing moments when a character was inspired to choose one direction or another; to accept or not accept; to blossom or to fade away. The characters w ...more
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Growing up in the Appalachian mountains of southwestern Virginia, nine-year-old Lee Smith was already writing--and selling, for a nickel apiece--stories about her neighbors in the coal boomtown of Grundy and the nearby isolated "hollers." Since 1968, she has published eleven novels, as well as three collections of short stories, and has received many writing awards.

The sense of place infusing her
More about Lee Smith

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