Nora Roberts has mentioned Jane Austen characters before in her Inn Boons Boro trilogy, naming a room in the hotel and a ghost after Elizabeth and Darcy. In The Collector she again references this famous couple in comparing the love of two secondary characters. Julie and Luke were sweethearts that got married young and got divorced young. Neither has really gotten over the other, so when their respective best friends meet up as the main characters in this novel they get a second chance at love.
Julie and Lila are discussing Julie and Luke when Julie admits she’s loved Luke since she was fifteen. Julie mentions that it’s romantic, that it’s Elizabeth and Darcy romantic.
I kinda cringed when I read this, I get the reference she was trying to make and I understand that using E&D makes more sense for the novice JA reader but…nope. Julie and Luke are Anne and Wentworth romantic. Instead of writing a letter to declare his love after they have been reunited, Luke, a baker, bakes an absolutely delicious muffin for Julie. Every morning when he wakes up (extremely early) he bakes something for her to find in the kitchen when she wakes up a few hours later.