This version of the Bennet family and Mr. Darcy is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.
Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.
Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . . And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.
In general, I think Jane Austen is overdone and overused in romance novels — as a reader, writer, and editor, I’d love to see something else mentioned. Despite that feeling, I decided to pick up this audiobook to listen to on a long drive.
This book was weird to read. It was hard to mesh the idea of the Bennet family with hate sex, artificial insemination, and transgenderism, but it all works. It may be a more liberal take than some people are comfortable with, but it really is necessary to capture the tension, drama, and romance of the original story. Most of the issues in the original P&P wouldn’t work in a contemporary retelling — Curtis Sittenfeld’s interpretation made it work though.
I will say that I REALLY didn’t like Lydia, Kitty, and Mary. Previously I’d felt like they got along slightly, but in this book they didn’t seem to like anything about each other. I wasn’t a fan of that.
If you like retellings of classic stories, I recommend this book. It’ll stretch your boundaries, but in a fun way (I think).
Rated R for language and thematic elements. Get your copy here!