The Bennet Sisters’ Guide to Jane Austen’s House (4.30pm GMT/ 11:30 am EST) is a fun, family-friendly introduction to Jane Austen’s House, under the expert guidance of the five Bennet girls – Jane, Lizzy, Mary, Kitty and Lydia… What sort of tour guides will they be?!
Virtual ‘Pride & Prejudice’ Tour (7pm GMT / 2pm EST) is a very special virtual guided tour of Jane Austen’s House, using the House itself and objects from the collection to reveal the themes, characters and events of Jane Austen’s beloved novel.
Each event costs £5.00 GBP ($7 USD) and will be held over Zoom. All proceeds goes to the museum.
Pride and Prejudice retellings are a crapshoot. They can either be really good or really terrible (hello Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) and you really don’t know until you get into the story.
But Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is ripe for retelling. The story of a couple who can’t stand each other, realise how terribly wrong they are about the other, and then have a HEA is a story of all times. It’s one of most popular tropes in the romance genre.
So, what make a story an exact Pride and Prejudice retelling? Honestly? It’s the use of names. The heroine is Elizabeth Bennet and the hero is Fitzwilliam Darcy. Somehow the four sisters are wrapped into it, as is Wickham, and Pemberly and Meryton become name of places or villages.
Enter A Certain Appeal which takes the Pride and Prejudice trope for a refreshing and sexy spin. Lizzy Bennet is a struggling interior designer currently working as a glorified admin assistant and works at Meryton, a burlesque club, at night. Will Darcy is in wealth management and whose family line stretches back far and wide and the owner of Pemberley, the New York possible hot spot event space. Jane is Bennet’s (as she preferred to be called) best friend who also happens to be gay. He falls in love with Charles Bingley, Darcy’s best friend and may one day happen to be an investor at Meryton.
While I’m not a fan of doing summaries in my book reviews, that’s what other reviews and summaries at the back of books are for, it’s important to understand that this is a super inventive, and very sexy, way of telling the timeless story. ED is a family friendly blog and it’s important that a head’s up about salacious sexy times is given.
There is a lot to recommend A Certain Appeal. It’s a fun and soapy read, the book has very nuanced touches of Pride and Prejudice including the meet cute at Pemberley the event space. Swapping in the sisters for burlesque dancers, having a gay best friend named Jane, their mother is the club mother, and there is even a sleazy Wickham. King really knows her story and it shows up on every page. There is a lot of dedication to this story and that is incredibly admirable.
The only thing that I hesitate from giving A Certain Appeal five stars is the language. King tries really, really hard to capture the language of 20-somethings and it shows that kid of desperation. Even authors who are in their 20s don’t drop slang that much. It was a distraction which was such a shame for how well developed and written the story is.
tl;dr: If you are tempted into a new sexy romance based on Pride and Prejudice in the world of burlesque, definitely give this a read.
Publication & Prejudice is an online exhibit curated by Emma Brodey (Class of ’21) for the Yale Beinecke Library. The exhibit presents the world of P+P via 20 different publications of the novel that include pastiches and reminagingings. While the story remains more or less the same, the different versions prevent a holistic view of the editors, or writers, interpretation of the original. Sometimes all it takes is a different edit to convey the same scene in a wholly new way.
You can watch a video interview with Brodey here. The interview also includes a list of all 20 books used in the exhibition.
The exhibit contains everything from the power of the ampersand to misplaced manuscripts. There is also more nuanced information on AUsten and her world.
Teas inspired by Jane Austen are not a new thing. There already exists a fewcompanies who have their own Austen inspired blends but Adagio teas goes one step further by having a tea range dedicated to Pride and Prejudice.
Blended by Jessie McNiel, the Pride and Prejudice collection comes in the following blends:
Lizzy Bennet Masala chai, blackberry, pu erh dante, raspberry leaves
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
First impressions: A fun, frothy book perfect for curling up with a hot cup a tea, comfy clothes while a fire roars and snow falls.
When it comes to Pride and Prejudice variations, it’s not so much how true to the story the author remains but rather how do the characters “sound.” Are they funny? Witty? Do their behaviors match the time period they are in? Can we see the original characters within the variations? Can the author create characters that not only resemble their origins but most of all, are the characters fun?
These are all very serious questions that take hold in my mind when I read a variation. Whether or not I like a book is not so much how the setting is placed, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies anyone?, but rather can I see the traits within the characters are they were originally written and can I or do I give a damn about them? Make no mistake, most of the variations come under the unfairly genre umbrellaed as Chick Lit which usually gets pounced on by snobby lit reviewers but as someone, that would be me, who’s spent more than half their life somehow entrenched in books professionally, I thumb my nose at these assholes because what is important is that someone is reading and not what they are reading.
A bit of a rant there.
This brings me up to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe. I am not afraid to say my opinion once lost is not lost forever as variations come in all shapes and sizes. What drew me, and eventually charmed me, about Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe is the following:
Darcy Fitzwilliam is a female high powered hedge fund manager and not some simpering female character with no mind of her own
She’s from Pemberly, Ohio. Any book where the setting is connected to the Midwest always appeals to me
Darcy’s best friend, Bingley Charles, is gay
Luke Bennet and his ideals and mores closely match Lizzie Bennet
it is Darcy’s father that is the shrew and not her mother
de la Cruz sets updates the book to current times so we easily relate to the characters
Fitzwilliam Darcy came from money. Darcy Fitzwilliam was disinherited and made her own way in the world. This is important because Darcy does not need a man to make her happy or to save her. Her choices are very deliberate and show the expanse of the character’s emotional and mental worth.
Darcy is not a female archetype that permeates through most of Chick Lit. You know the type: The heroine is wronged in love but she remains pure of any responsibility for her decisions and actions. One of the big reveals in these stories is the heroine suddenly “discovers” her faults and works to change them. Darcy, on the other hand, knows her faults form the get-go and her struggles are yes, the prejudices of what she is and what she is perceived to be.
Also, Darcy says “shit” a lot which I really enjoyed.
Oh yes, the story:
Darcy Fitzwilliam is called home when she finds out her mother has cancer. Her relationship with her father is thin and much of Darcy’s interactions with her family, including her mother, have been strained for a number of years. During the family’s annual Christmas party, she comes across Luke Bennet who she has sworn to hate forever since he taunted and teased her all through school. There is one drunken night of did they or didn’t they which sets the course as Darcy and Luke battle it out over: is this the real deal, an infatuation, or some kind of revenge? There are almost marriages, break-ups, misunderstandings abound through the secondary characters. We know already where the story is heading so nothing is a big surprise here and de la Cruz is certainly not creating new ground but the book is a fun, a fast read, and enjoyable.
Even with this very positive review, I would be remiss in not mentioning the book is maligned over at Good Reads and LibraryThing even though it was given a positive review in Publisher’s Weekly which typically is a good indicator on how well a book sells.
What are the complaints?
Bingly and his boyfriend contemplating moving in with a few days of meeting each other is “unbelievable” and “not realistic.” (Lydia and Wickham.)
Darcy’s on and off relationship with her boyfriend since high school is also not plausible and how dare she drag him around. (No one has ever, ever been in a relationship that went off and on for years? Only me? Ok.)
Luke’s younger brothers are terrors that destroy school property and Darcy swoops in to pay for it, and the complaint here is how DARE the principal take the money from Darcy. (Male Darcy tracking down Lydia and paying everyone off so she doesn’t lose her reputation.)
Darcy and her dad having an acrimonious relationship for eight years? Also not believable or realistic. (My mom and I had an acrimonious relationship for most of my adult life. So why is this unrealistic again?)
Darcy’s dad to push her to marry her high school boyfriend was also seen as “how can that really happen?” (Mrs. Bennet, anyone?)
Fans of Pride and Prejudice are the harshest critics when it comes to variations because if it is not on point, it’s worthless trash. This is frustrating because yes, it’s not Austen but it doesn’t make the story any less fun to read. I just don’t get this mentality when it comes to deviations of Austen’s work. For Pete’s sake, The Davinci Code is given nearly 4 stars and it reads as a misogynistic piece of trash written by a third grader.
Take all of that information as you will but I would give this a solid would recommend to fans of P+P variations and those looking for a fun read that won’t strain the brain too much.
P.S. The Hallmark Channel is releasing a movie of the same name for their holiday season titles. As I recall, Luke becomes a personal chef at the end of the book which doesn’t jive with his work as an award winning carpenter he’s touted to be through the book. In the movie, Luke is a personal chef who owns a restaurant so maybe a mistake in book editing is now a major plot point in the movie? Whose to say! Movie will be shown on November 23 on the Hallmark Channel.
A sample of their lyrics: Dear Mr Darcy we don’t want to be cruel But if we saw you on the street we’d push you into a pool Dear Mr Darcy we don’t mean to be curt But we only want to see you in a wet white shirt