29 March 2010

Review: Pride/Prejudice a Novel of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, and Their Forbidden Lovers by Ann Herendeen


A Pride and Prejudice for the twenty-first century.

Jane Austen's most popular novel has enthralled generations of readers, as proud Mr. Darcy meets his match in witty and prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet. But only now can the hidden story be told, of the two parallel loves that complicate this ideal romance: Darcy's controlling affection for the gentlemanlike Charles Bingley; and the sympathetic intimacy between Elizabeth and her more practical friend, Charlotte Lucas.

Pride/​Prejudice "fills the gaps" in Austen's story, daring to imagine the full truth suggested by the original. What is Darcy's real motivation for preventing Bingley's marriage to Elizabeth's beautiful and virtuous sister Jane? How can Darcy reconcile his desire for Elizabeth with his determination to save his friend from a similar entanglement? And what is the disturbing history behind Darcy's tortured relationship with his foster brother, George Wickham?

Now P/​P brings to light all the buried secrets, weaving a tale of intertwined passions that must be resolved through honesty and forgiveness, the humbling of pride and freedom from prejudice.

In this retelling of a classic work, love truly conquers all.


Let me begin by saying that I'm a big Pride and Prejudice junkie. I love to read other author's takes on Darcy and Elizabeth. My fasication stated years ago when I read Bridget Jones's Diary. I quickly went and bought the BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle. (Yes I know someone else recently starred in a P&P movie and all I can say about that is BLEH)  Anyhoo, from the moment I saw the BBC miniseries, you couldn't stop me. I couldn't get enough. 97% of adaptations I've read are full of crap and the wost of them is that Sharon Latham crap trap. I mean come on, it's like she just watched that awful movie and decided to write a book (not even a good book). I wonder if she's even read Jane Austen. Even if it was just based on the movie, it was still . . . .

Sorry, I was on a rant, please forgive me. But as you can see I'm passionate about this subject. Back to my review.

You have to have an open mind to read Pride/Prejudice as it is a guilty pleasure. It is strangely compelling. I had the same reaction to Pride/Prejudice as I did reading Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. I knew I shouldn't like it (Twilight = emo heroine with no plans for future except getting bit and turned into a vampire by her possessive/stalker boyfriend), but I found myself devouring it over and over again. It's the same with Pride/Prejudice. I knew I shouldn't like it, but I found myself constantly turning the pages wondering what was coming next. Just like Twilight, I had a hard time pinning down why I couldn't stop reading Pride/Prejudice, despite the flaws, but I'm going to try and do my best.

What I loved:

1. The concept appeared more original compared to other Pride and Prejudice fan adaptations that I've read in the past. Darcy is bi-sexual and in a very close relationship with Charles Bingley. Elizabeth shares a passionate affair with Charlotte Lucas before Charlotte marries Mr. Collins.

2. Jane Bennett. I loved how in Pride/Prejudice she's not as passive as she is in the original. She has a back bone and Pride/Prejudice is worth buying just to see Jane put Elizabeth and Darcy in their place. I also like that the author fleshed out the reasons why Jane totally believed in Charles and their relationship even against all the odds.

3. Speaking of stronger characters. Charles Bingley and Georgiana Darcy are also fleshed out very well in this story. I found myself cheering for them.

What I thought could've been improved:

1. Despite the awesome concept, in the first half of Pride/Prejudice the narrative drags. While Pride/Prejudice has pretty much the same timeline as Ms. Austen's awesome work, the author of Pride/Prejudice skips over scenes in the original. The characters only think or talk about them later. This made the narrative choppy and boring at first. I actually nodded off a couple times while reading the first half of Pride/Prejudice.

2. I can buy the concept of Elizabeth and Darcy having same-sex partners, what I couldn't get was how they and the other characters were so blasé about it. There was no worry about the ramifications of the actions. Everyone seemed too accepting of these relationships, especially in this time period. I found it impossible to suspend disbelief.

3. Once Darcy and Elizabeth marry (no spoiler there, right?), I had serious issues that some of the outside relationships continue (slight spoiler, sorry, at least I'm not telling you which one). It really annoyed me and devalued the romance for me and the strength of Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship.

Overall: Pride/Prejudice was a compelling idea. I was intrigued with how the author took two of the most well known characters in fiction and made them her own.

Copy courtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques


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4 people posted their 2 cents:

Kendra Logan said...

Wow, *very* interesting idea, and I really enjoyed your review. Great post!


Patti said...

I love new takes on P&P. *scribbling down on my TBR list*

Milka said...

Wow, I love Pride and Prejudice, it is like my favorite book ever. This one sounds interesting but also very... different. I will have to look for this, maybe I could give it a try...

Ruth said...

Wow, very different. Good review! I love P&P and tend to be very wary of Austen take-offs... I have to say that I was seriously thinking this book sounded pretty good - until you said that one of the same-sex relationships continues after their marriage. I'm glad you mentioned that, because I agree: that COMPLETELY undervalues their relationship. How sad, because otherwise, this sounds like a pretty cool 21st-century take on an old classic. But maybe the author took it just a little too far.

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