4

Netherfield Prep: There’s More to This than Pride and Prejudice

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Netherfield Prep

YA / Retellings / Romance / Contemporary
580 Pages
Sleeping Dragon Books
Publication Date:  April 6th, 2017
Get a copy here!

 

A modern reimagining of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

When Lily Brewer’s mum dies, she’s shipped to the other side of the world to her step-sisters’ pompous English boarding school, Netherfield.

There, she meets Austin Cooper. Arrogant as hell but with abs to die for, Austin soon becomes the bane of her existence.

His twin brother, Jax, is the complete opposite. Kind and sweet, Jax soon strikes up a thing with Lily’s roommate, Anne.

Austin, though seems keen to keep them apart.

Will pride and prejudice ruin them all?

Or, will love win the day?

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4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: P&P Retelling for the win!; I mean really, do I need any other reason to adore this?!; the characters are superbly individualized, with enough hints at the original to keep them straight in my mind; lovelovelove the modern day boarding school setting; a lot of weird comma usage?

Huge thanks to Elizabeth Stevens and Sleeping Dragon Books for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Be still, MY beating heart! I know what you’re all thinking. “Really, Beth?! ANOTHER P&P retelling?! Haven’t you read enough of those yet?!?!?!?!” And the answer is….NEVER. I can never ever ever read enough P&P retellings for it to get old, so….get used to it and suck it up, beakers. You’ll be seeing a lot more of them to come; they’re here to stay! They’ve lugged their many suitcases out of the car, dragged them up the stairs, and perched themselves on my shelves –both the physical and the digital ones– in pretty little rows. They’re not going anywhere…except maybe to work with me, tucked into my purse.

That being said. Elizabeth Stevens brought a hint of the new along with the classic in this modern-day retelling, and I absolutely ADORED every step of the journey! The characters have all been given different names. The relationships in a lot of instances have been changed–for instance, not all of the Bennet sisters are ACTUAL sisters in this version. I adored how out of the box and creative Elizabeth Stevens decided to be with these characters; she gave them all such vibrant, loud personalities, while still maintaining the integrity of the original characters. It was both a refreshing change and a beautiful nod to the original content, I’m super impressed.

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There was, throughout, a weird issue with commas in random or wrong places that sort of broke me out of suspended disbelief…but these were such minor and easy to forget issues, I didn’t have trouble quickly falling back into the story and following the flow of the plot. In fact, I got rather used to the awkward comma placement, and learned how to ignore it whenever they popped up. The plot, the characters, and the entertainment were more than enough to make up for such a small grammatical problem, it didn’t subtract from my enjoyment of the read at all!

This was a super adorable, entertaining, modern-day P&P retelling and I will be on the lookout for more of Elizabeth Stevens’ works in the coming future. The characters are vibrantly written and imbued with their own unique quirks…while still maintaining enough of the original characters for readers to tell who’s meant to be whom. I definitely recommend this to lovers of Pride and Prejudice, boarding school romances, and bad-boys turned “good.” Don’t pass this ball down the field, penguins; run with it and score!

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Top Ten Tuesday (#43)

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HOSTED BY: The Broke and The Bookish
DESCRIPTION:  Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Last week’s theme: Books I’ve Added to My TBR Lately

Find their latest post here!

But as usual, IIIII want to go a different direction ENTIRELY.  Instead, I give you:

Top Ten Favorite Episodes from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

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Because I loooooooove me some Lizzie Bennet.  In fact, I looooooove me some ANYTHING Pride and Prejudice, but I don’t feel I’ve obsessed enough in recent weeks.  Let me fix that for you all.

Find ALL episodes by clicking on the cast image right up there ^^^ .  Go watch…and enjoy!

Episode 14–I Really Suck at Video Games

I just….I sort of love?  the glimpse of sisterly affection and rivalry we see in this episode.  This is one of the first times we see Lizzie and Lydia actually SORT OF bonding, and I adore it.

Episode 37–Lydia vs. Mr. Collins

When you put Lydia Bennet up against Ricky…. Ahem, MR. Collins….you get a very awkward and hilarious mess.

Episode 45–Wickham Story Time

BATMAN!…. But seriously, this episode?  Full of teasers and foreshadows and….yeah, looking back on it, I should have known better.

Episode 58–Care Packages

Okay, y’all–Fitz is ABSOLUTELY one of my favorite characters in this web series.  Can anyone say ADORABLE?!  And quirky?!  And just generally epic?!  Because yeah, all of that.

Episode 83–Corporate Interview

This episode gives me LIFE.  LIFE, I TELL YOU!  And at the same time, in one fell swoop, it SNATCHES IT AWAY!  Gaaaaaaaaah!

Episode 94–Revelations

I just….there’s so so so much heart to this episode, I can’t even handle it.

Episode 98–Gratitude

YAS!  YAS!  YAAAAAAAAAS!

Yes, that’s all I have to say to this one.

Episode 99–Future Talk

Trust me, this one will get you RIGHT in the feels.  RIGHT THERE IN THE FEELS, MAN!

And because there are OTHER side episodes that go right along with these main ones…here are two of my favorite side eps!

Episode 25 of The Lydia Bennet–Kicks

This episode…. It hit me hard, and probably not for the reasons you expect.  See, the first time I watched this series?  I knew.  I sort of had an inkling.  And all it took was looking at Lydia in THIS video, and listening to her…compared to all the ones that come before.  This is still one of the hardest episodes for me to watch, because I’ve been here.

Episode 5 of Domino Application Demo–If Else

And this one.  Because Gigi shows SO much strength, and poise, and clear-headed determination… I admire this woman.  I really, really do.

Have you guys watched this web series yet?!  If so, what did you think–and don’t like, we all know you loved it!  😉  If you haven’t yet… WHY THE HECKLES NOT IT’S AMAZEBALLS?!?!?!

Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments, or link me to your own Top Ten Tuesday!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet

About the Book:

Title: THE SECRET DIARY OF LYDIA BENNET
Author: Natasha FarrantThe Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: The Chicken House
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads

A fresh, funny, and spirited reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice, The
Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet brings the voice of the wildest Bennet sister to life.

Lydia is the youngest of the five Bennet girls. She’s stubborn, never listens, and can’t seem to keep her mouth shut — not that she would want to anyway. She wishes her older sisters would pay her attention, or that something would happen in her boring country life.

Luckily, that something is right around the corner, and it’s the handsome Wickham, who arrives at Longbourn to sweep her off her feet. Lydia’s not going to let him know THAT, of course, especially since he only seems to be interested in friendship. But when they both decide to summer in the fasionable seaside town of Brighton, their paths inevitably become entangled again.

At the seaside, Lydia also finds exciting new ways of life and a pair of friends who offer her a future she would have never dreamed possible. Lydia finally understands what she really wants. But can she get it?

About Natasha:

14439497131443949692norfolk-beachI am one of those rarities, a Londoner born and bred.  And like most true Londoners, I’m not completely English, but three-quarters French with a little bit Dutch thrown in.  I can’t imagine living anywhere else, though I would like a horse, a big old house with a secret passage or two, a fig tree, a walnut tree, lots of dogs and a vista of rolling hills on one side and the sea on the other.  All of which are sadly incompatible with both life in the city and my income.

I write partly because in my stories I can live the lives I’m not…

I have two teenage daughters, Justine and Lily, who provide endless inspiration for my books.  I am pleased to say inspiration works both ways. One of them has dyed her hair pink, and the other has taken to hanging out on the roof in the middle of the night.

The “person” I talk to most is my tortoiseshell cat, Amber.  This is because as a writer you spend a lot of time alone, which makes you go slightly mad.  Amber repays me for my conversation by trashing my house.  Soon we are goig to buy a dachshund puppy called Blue, and presumably he will be equally destructive.

I get very grumpy if I don’t have a good book to read, if I’m not writing, if I’m hungry, tired or don’t get enough exercise.  Otherwise I am a generally cheerful person.

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about my life as a writer.

WebsiteFacebookTwitter | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive finished copies (CLICK HERE!) of THE SECRET DIARY OF LYDIA BENNET, US Only


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4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: I just…Wickham, you’re a scoundrel, but somehow I love you in this version?; this adaptation/companion/retelling helped to breathe a different life into characters I wasn’t so sure about or fond of before; also, we get Lydia’s story!; great characters, humorous and entertaining read; yet another perspective on a well-known and much-beloved story

Huge thanks to Natasha Farrant, The Chicken House Publishers, Edelweiss, and Rockstar Book Tours for sending me a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinion on this book.

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If you’ve been following my reviews for ANY amount of time, you’ll probably already know that I am head-over-heels in love with Pride and Prejudice. I own an entire bookshelf of retellings, adaptations, and companion novels. I have watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries upwards of seven times since discovering it last year. If I could live inside the world of a book for a day, I’d pick Jane Austen’s beloved classic…and I’d enjoy every moment of it. It should be no surprise, therefore, that when I saw this book in a book tour email… I immediately jumped at the chance to read and review it. I HAD to. There was no other choice.

 

I did NOT, however, expect to have my feelings about one character in particular swayed so very much by a single book. So this is what I’m going to start with: Wickham, you’re a scoundrel….but somehow, you made me love you?! How?! How did you even MANAGE that, when before I was so set against you and everything you stood for? Seriously, penguins–if you’re of the same mind I was before this read, and loathe Wickham entirely… Maybe you shouldn’t read this book. Because by the end of things, you will be so, SO conflicted and confused. Wickham especially is one of those characters that surprises you, and this book was written in just such a way as to make readers view him as complex, flawed…and entirely human. I bow down to Natasha Farrant, actually–it is difficult, once my mind is so set against a character, to make me change it, and she managed that in just over 300 pages.

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This is SUCH a lovely and well-written nod to Jane Austen’s classic, guys. Lydia’s story is allowed to breathe and shine through, LYDIA! is allowed to breathe and shine through these pages…but the original story is still there, woven throughout, shifted and molded to match the appropriate perspective. In fact, through Lydia’s eyes, we are able to see a much different story occur–and able to make a more fully formed opinion of the situation as a whole. Natasha Farrant tipped her head to Jane Austen, while still maintaining enough distance to make this wholly and individually her own.

 

And her voice! Oh my penguins, guys, Lydia’s a uniquely individual and AWESOME character, and I am so so glad we are finally able to see her in all her glory. She is adventurous at heart, but always tied down by societal opinions and judgments on what proper “females” should or should not do. She, like most women I know today, longs to strike out on her own, do something for herself–find her place with like-minded and understanding individuals. I just… there is SO much growth and emotion behind Lydia’s story. I adored every moment spent within her head, hearing about the world from her own words–it was an entertaining, often laugh-out-loud experience.

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This is an entertaining, hilarious nod to Jane Austen’s much-beloved classic, and I am so so happy I was given the chance to read this for review. Lydia shines in this story, allowing us to see the world–and her!–from a new and intriguing perspective. Wickham, also, caught me by surprise–and is rather endearing in this version of events. I recommend to those obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, historical fiction, and characters just trying to find their place in the world. Natasha Farrant, you did Jane Austen good–and I can’t wait to see what you do next!

2

Lit Cube Unboxing (February 2016)

Unfortunately, this is the last Lit Cube I’ll be receiving for a while–I just don’t have the funds right now to keep purchasing them, much as I ADORE them all.  I’m very sad about this (though VERY happy with this last box!)

Lit Cube: February 2016

Theme: Classic Romance

Items Include:

Designed EXCLUSIVELY for Lit-Cube:

— Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy Magnetic Bookmarks ( happyhelloco )
***I mean, I just… I squealed.  I squealed SO HARD.  They’re so freaking adorable!***

Pride and Prejudice 5×7 Art Print
“I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

–Austen-Inspired Perfume ( fictionfragrances )
Description:  The Elizabeth Bennet fragrance is a light floral perfume with hints of freshly picked strawberries.  Perfect for strolling through Pemberly Gardens.
***AND OH, MAH GOSH, this smells so freaking good!  Like, seriously.***

— Lavender Lemon Truffles ( jackvalleytruffles )
Ingredients:  White chocolate, organic heavy cream, organic lemon oil, organic sunflower oil, lavender oil, lavender.
***I might have eaten one already. SO. FREAKING. GOOD.  I mean, I keep saying this, but seriously–YUM!***

Wuthering Heights Wallet ( chicklitdesigns )
***I haven’t READ Wuthering Heights yet…but this is adorable.  I don’t even want to use it, for risk of ruining it!***

AND, of course, the book….

— Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
***I told you last month, didn’t I, that if I got yet another copy of P&P the husband was going to murder me?  Expect that to happen soon.  BUT IT’S SO PRETTY!***

I just…I could not have chosen a better box to end my subscription (for the moment) on.  This box ROCKED!

2

A Review of The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

Goodreads Rating: 4.00 Stars
380 pages
Touchstone Publishing
Get it here!

A modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice based on the Emmy Award-winning phenomenon, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries chronicled Lizzie’s life as a 24-year-old grad student, struggling under a mountain of student loans and living at home with her two sisters – beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. What may have started as her grad student thesis grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets – and for Lizzie’s viewers. Suddenly Lizzie – who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman – was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet provides more character introspection as only a book can, with revelatory details about the Bennet household, including Lizzie’s special relationship with her father, untold stories from Netherfield, Lizzie’s thoughts and fears about life after grad school and becoming an instant web celebrity.

Written by Bernie Su, the series’ executive producer, co-creator, head writer, and director, along with Kate Rorick, the novelist, TV writer, and consulting producer on the series, the novel features a journal-entry format, complementing the existing web series, while including plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new listeners alike.The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like it’s never been done before.

– – – – –

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice; based on youtube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries; such a great supplementary read to the web-series, filling in otherwise “skipped over” details/gaps; humorous, quirky narrator; awesome, deeper look at the characters and their motivations

Okay, guys—I’m sure you ALL know how much I live and breathe Pride and Prejudice, so I won’t waste time harping on it yet again. You should know, however, that I am also OBSESSED with the web-series this book is based on, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Seriously, if you love Jane Austen’s classic and are looking for an awesome modern-day retelling of the tale, you need to go to youtube right now and check this one out—it’s amazeballs. I’ve watched it like three times all the way through, and am currently on my fourth rewatch. I have a problem, yes…but it’s a problem I don’t mind owning up to.

“Two parts of me have been at war. Your… odd family, your financial troubles- your in a different world from me. people expect me to travel in certain circles. And I do respect the wishes of my family, but not today. I’ve tried to fight it for months now, but Lizzie Bennet… I’m in love with you.”

There is something realistic and wholly human about this read that helps to tie together the book and the web-series in a way I didn’t get watching the series alone. I think a BIG part of this is the fact that this “diary” pulls in all the little moments we don’t see or aren’t granted access to on the series—little details that are mentioned in passing, but never fully doled out. If you’ve watched the series, and found yourself perplexed or confused by certain things…definitely pick this read up. It just… It ties everything together in a neat, clean package—and will satisfy your inner “need-to-know.”

While still remaining solely Lizzie’s POV, this book pulls in all the things we aren’t shown—which means that despite it still being Lizzie’s diary, there is less “on the fly” drama and more “telling it like it really was.” There’s no costume theater in this book; things aren’t sugar-coated or avoided, but instead faced head-on. Even little things that are mentioned and forgotten about on the series are pulled into this read in a more convincing, awesome way—and shed light on the story more deeply.

She fished inside and brought out two movie choices. “This evening’s distraction. Do you want to watch pretty people fall in love or things blowing up?”

I eyed them both. “Do you have anything with pretty people blowing up?”

There are some weird grammatical and spelling things that caught my attention at the beginning of this read, and managed to make me stop to back-track and figure them out. Things like…switching randomly from “past” to “present” tense in the middle of the same sentence, or mixing up “thing” with “this”–I was a bit frustrated with it at first, to be honest, as it seemed to be happening every few pages. BUT! Push through it; around page 100, these become much less obvious and the entries flow much more smoothly. I promise, after that, I didn’t have any trouble “losing” myself in the read.

The characters also seem much more human and realistic. Where on the web-series, we’re given truncated and (at times) comical versions of them…this diary helps to make them vivid, and real. Even characters we don’t see outside Lizzie’s “costume theater” (such as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, or Catherine de Bourgh) make appearances in this book, and are made to be much more relatable and redeemable than the web-series sometimes makes them. Mrs. Bennet, especially, I found to be much less “silly” than she’s portrayed—which helped to drive home the fact that she IS human, and therefore not perfect. Nobody is without their flaws, after all.

“Do you want this job?”

“No!” I sniffled. “It would be terrible. But if you need me to—”

“Then don’t you dare.” His words came out fierce—fiercer than I’ve ever heard in my entire life. “Your mother’s and my financial problems are our own. You don’t get to carry that burden. You’ll have your own as soon as your student loans come due, so don’t worry about us.”

“But—”

“You have dreams, Lizzie.” He laid a hand on my shoulder. “Goals. Now is the time in your life to pursue them. Don’t put them on hold. Because if you do, pretty soon you’ll be middle-aged with three children, working a job simply to pay the bills. And you’ll have forgotten what those dreams were.”

I feel safe saying THIS is my new favorite modern-day retelling of the classic I adore. I can’t WAIT to pick up the companion novel, The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet, in the near-future…and getting the chance to see even deeper into that character’s motivations and life. I recommend the read to all Pride and Prejudice lovers…and anyone who’s watchedThe Lizzie Bennet Diaries and discovered a desire for more from those characters. This was a fun, enlightening read—I was definitely not disappointed!

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Bookishly Obsessed (#1)

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Huge thanks to Maria @ Marwhal Reads for putting this idea into my head!

This is going to be a weekly post for Saturdays featuring anything “Bookish” I find myself obsessed with.  In most cases, this will be a certain type of book/read/author.  I might branch out to include covers, as well, but we’ll see.  By “obsessed”…I mean I own tons of/go out of my way to collect!

This week:

Pride and Prejudice

Because…I’m obsessed!  Check it out:

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Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
(The Barnes & Noble Classics edition)
Because why wouldn’t I have at least one copy of the original?!

All of the following, of course, are co-authored by Jane Austen.

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Some “classic” retellings or reimaginings:

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Two of the weirder retellings I’ve stumbled across:

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And…that’s it!  Except I’m sure it’s not, because I can’t stop buying them and will probably be adding more soon!  How are you guys at collecting things?  Do you find your shelves inundated with many copies of the same book, or various retellings?  What book(s) do you do this with?!  Let me know below!

Feel free to join in on this with me, if you’d like, and share what you’re Bookishly Obsessed with!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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A Review of Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, by Amanda Grange

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A married man in possession of a dark fortune must be in want of an eternal wife…

My hand is trembling as I write this letter. My nerves are in tatters and I am so altered that I believe you would not recognize me. The past two months have been a nightmarish whirl of strange and disturbing circumstances, and the future…

I am afraid.

If anything happens to me, remember that I love you and that my spirit will always be with you, though we may never see each other again. The world is a cold and frightening place where nothing is as it seems.

– – – – –

Rating: 4/5 Stars
Quick Reasons: a paranormal, vampiric continuation of Pride and Prejudice (I can’t help it, I LOVE these characters! I’m obsessed); unique and interesting vampire lore I’d have loved to learn more about; thrilling action; a sense of mystique, like dreaming

“No”, she wanted to say. ” I don’t want you to care for me, I want to be with my husband.” But nothing came out. She turned beseeching her eyes to Darcy and she saw him as if from a great distance, through a distorting glass, but his words were firm and clear. “She has no taste for your company,” he said.

“No?” said the gentleman. “But I have a taste for her.”

Hers, thought Elizabeth. He should have said hers.

“Let her go,” said Darcy warningly.

“Why should I?” asked the gentleman.

“Because she is mine,” said Darcy.

If you’ve been following my reviews for a while, you’ll know without my telling you that I have a HUGE obsession with all things Pride and Prejudice. Someone should have warned me, when I first set out to read the book (and then, watch the 2011 film!) that it would be something akin to chocolate for me: I just can’t get enough! I suppose it helps that the cover for this particular reimagining is absolutely gorgeous.

The writing for this is much like that from the original Pride and Prejudice: elegant, verbose, and breath-takingly exquisite. I found myself slipping back into the world, its traditions and customs… Everything about this read leaped to life for me from page one. Because this takes place just after the wedding of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, and they leave Hertfordshire to travel on their wedding tour, there were some characters I sorely missed seeing in these pages… but seeing the relationship grow and mold, given the secret Darcy has been hoarding for decades, made up for it.

“Do we say to the wind, do you wish not to blow? Do we say to the thunder, would you rather be silent? No. We never think of these things.”

There are a TON of fresh, new faces making an appearance here. I found, at times, that Elizabeth suffered from morose and depressed moods I couldn’t quite connect with or understand—they moved so quickly from one place to the next (though in reality, “quickly” means a matter of weeks in the course of the book) that I sometimes felt a bit of whiplash. This also made it difficult, at times, to keep up with what was happening. If I have on complaint for this read, it’s that one character who shows up repeatedly is not thoroughly or adequately explained; he seems more a device to keep the plot moving than to bring anything substantial to the story. He’s a pawn, really, to get the characters from point A to point B. I wish he’d been more fully explored.

It is clear, though, that Amanda Grange has done her research and done it well for the time period. While we were privvy to several different cultures and traditions, each were well-examined (she even details the differences in fashion between the regions!) and really helped to pull me deeper into this world and enable me to see it more clearly. I had a ton of fun reading about the adventures—though I rather hoped to have a bit more climactic ending than we were given! Amanda Grange detailed (briefly) how the vampires in this world differ from those we are more familiar with, and I wish we’d been given MORE glimpse into that other world in this read—why couldn’t Elizabeth have found out sooner what she married? Why did the ending, with a magical cure, feel more like a cop out?

For the moment she was caught between the two worlds, neither one thing nor another. She would be sorry to let the former depart and yet she was longing for the latter to arrive: a new name and with it a new world and with it a new life.

Regardless, I enjoyed this read well enough to not be real bothered by the things I detailed above. This was a fun, suspenseful reimagining of a world I’ve become deeply enthralled by, and I am happy to have picked it up! I’d definitely recommend to lovers of Pride and Prejudice or its many variations and retellings—this is one you shouldn’t miss out on!

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A Review of Prom and Prejudice, by Elizabeth Eulberg

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From the much-buzzed-about author of THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB (already blurbed by Stephenie Meyer, Lauren Myracle, and Jen Calonita), a prom-season delight of Jane Austen proportions.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.

After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be – especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk – so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

– – – – –

Rating: 4/5 Stars
Quick Reasons: DUH, Pride and Prejudice; most of the same characters with unique and personalized twists/changes; same story, modern day setting; quick, fun, intelligent read; takes a close look at “class” differences…and how our prejudices/pride, even today, often get in our way

You wouldn’t know how to punch the right buttons on a girl if we came with manuals.”

So. Okay. I’m going to be honest here: despite my LOVE for all things Pride and Prejudice (I mean I seriously own AT LEAST 20 different versions/retellings/etc…I’m a smidge bit obsessed) I was a little leary about this particular book when I found it on a book swapping site recently. Looking back on it now, I’m not sure what my aversion was—this was an entertaining read, and Elizabeth Eulberg worked very very hard to stay true to the source material.

In fact, the characters remain pretty much the same as the original book—with the exception of a few, and well-chosen, changes to their personalities. Also, not ALL of our original crew shows up…and some of those who do, are not even CLOSE to their base characters. I LOVED that this was set at a boarding school. Longbourn Academy, to be specific. Their “brother” academy? Pemberly. I just adored the play on names that happened here, taking the two most prominent scenes from the original material and turning them entirely her own. This was only the beginning of the inventive, creative changes I’m sure Elizabeth Eulberg will blame on her “writers’ license of freedom.” And I love pretty much all of them.

The writing is first person, from the perspective of our one and only Elizabeth Bennet—a scholarship student studying the piano at Longbourn. Of course, even in today’s world, being a scholarship student at such a prestigious and elite boarding school isn’t easy—her classmates are quick to make clear just how much they loathe and detest her for even being there. It was refreshing, in some ways, to see this classic tale told in the modern-day teenage world; to be honest, while this has a sense of Gossip Girl ridiculousness (how many times can you honestly dump a drink on, steal the coat from, or generally humiliate the same person before you get bored and move along to someone else?) I really enjoyed the witty banter of our main narrator, the emotional rollercoaster readers face on their journey with her, and the clever way Elizabeth Eulberg managed to reintroduce Jane Austen’s most beloved characters.

Talking to them was like being placed into conversational purgatory, with no hope of being released without significant damage to one’s self-esteem.

Elizabeth Eulberg also manages to stick pretty close to script despite the unique liberties she employed. Instead of being repulsed by or terrible at the piano, Lizzie is sort of a genius at it. Darcy’s parents are both still alive—and very much part of their children’s world, though rather a secret until the “turning moment.” Lizzie is an only child—but don’t worry, Lydia still makes several very loud and rambunctious appearances, and Jane is still just as sweet as ever.

The writing is fun, spontaneous, and befitting the world of Jane Austen. Elizabeth Eulberg reinvented the source material with a sensitive, deep-seated passion for retaining the main premise. The characters practically leap off the page; at times, I found myself rehashing the original material (come on, I’ve got that pretty much memorized by now!) right beside the new twists. The prose is “modern,” but still has the elegance of Austen’s patented style. And while, NO, there are no marriage proposals at the end of this book—it’s meant for a younger audience in a VERY different world, after all—I don’t think readers will be disappointed in the end result.

It’s very easy to get a boy to leave the room.
It’s much harder to get him to leave your thoughts.

I think I was probably most disappointed that there wasn’t a “midnight in their nightgowns show down” between Lizzie and the formidable Catherine deBourgh. In fact, Catherine in this book isn’t an aunt at all—but she makes several pointed and ruthless appearances, so I can’t be TOO disappointed. Still, that was a scene I rather loved from the source material I wish had been included; it might have been interesting to see how Elizabeth Eulberg crafted it to fit her own setting/style. Alas, such is how things go.

Overall, I really enjoyed stepping into the world created so lovingly here. The read was quick, fun, and at times just as dramatic as the source—and very, very awesome. I highly recommend to lovers of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; this is a retelling worthy of your time, for sure.