The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh Book Review

One of the great things about fanfiction is that the writer has the opportunity to shine the spotlight on characters who the reader knows very little about in the original text.

The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh by Molly Greeley, was published at the beginning of the year. The novel focuses on Anne de Bourgh. In Pride and Prejudice, Anne is the daughter of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and the cousin of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Supposedly sick from birth and engaged to her cousin, she fades into the background without the audience truly knowing who she is as a person.

The Anne we are introduced to in Greeley’s novel is not the quiet, retiring character that exists in Austen cannon. She is vivid, intelligent, and curious. But because her imperious mother continues to believe that her daughter is unwell, she is prevented from the experiences that she would have had otherwise. Finally gathering enough nerve to break with Lady Catherine, Anne flees to London, where is she welcomed by her cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam.

When Anne’s strength has recovered, she begins to see what life can truly offer. But being that she has been locked away from society her entire life, she is unprepared for the not so polite underbelly of the season. This includes love with a person that she could have never expected. Anne must not only contend with forbidden romance, but with her mother, who is still determined to rein her daughter in.

I loved this book. This is how fanfiction is done. The balance between what the reader knows about Anne de Bourgh and where Greeley goes with the character is fantastic. I loved the LGBTQ twist that she adds, elevating what could be a predictable narrative into a story that the reader does not see coming.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Darcys: New Pleasures Book Review

The fanfiction genre is a genre that has never gone out of fashion. Readers and writers are always eager to know what has happened to their favorite characters after the original book ends.

The Darcys: New Pleasures is the third sequel of a series of Pride and Prejudice fanfictions by writer Linda Berdoll.  It’s been 25 years since Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy repeated their marriage vows. Their children are now young adults and going through everything that young adults go through. The problem is that Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, like all parents of children who are of similar ages, can’t exactly reconcile that their children are on the way to growing up. While this is happening, Elizabeth is dealing with a thorny medical issue and their son, to his father’s chagrin, is not only crushing on a village girl, but spending his time with his uncle Wickham’s son, who is becoming more like his father everyday.

I wanted to like this book, I really did. Taking Mr. and Mrs. Darcy 25 years into the future was an interesting choice for Ms. Berdoll to take as a writer. I also liked her previous books in the series. I can’t put my finger on it, but for some reason this book didn’t do it for me, as much as I hoped it would.

Do I recommend it? No.

Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice Book Review

Jane Austen’s novels are full of plots and characters that we are all very familiar with. That being said, it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to see why many writers over the years have tried to put their own spin on Pride and Prejudice. However that does not mean that every Pride and Prejudice fanfiction or reboot holds up to the original text.

The newest Pride and Prejudice reboot is Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld. 

Taken out of early 19th century rural England, this adaptation of Jane Austen’s most famous novel takes place in modern-day Cincinnati.  Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are still the parents of five daughters. But instead of living on a small estate in Hertfordshire, they live in a dilapidated mansion. Elder sisters Jane and Liz, 40 and 38 respectively, live in New York City, away from the tumult, drama and chaos that is the Bennet household. Younger sisters, Mary, Kitty and Lydia, all in their 20’s still live at home and are happy to live under their parent’s roof.

Enter Chip Bingley, Ms. Sittenfeld’s answer to Charles Bingley.  Chip has two very good things going for him: he is a doctor (meaning in Mrs. Bennet’s eyes, he must be waiting to marry one her daughters) and he starred in Eligible, a Bachelor like reality show.  New to town, Chip is holding a Fourth Of July Barbecue to get to know his new neighbors. Joining Chip is his good friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy. Chip and Jane hit it off immediately, but Liz and Fitzwilliam are more apt to have a verbal battle than play tonsil hockey.

I will be honest. I wanted to like this book. I wanted to like it because I adore Pride and Prejudice.

I didn’t like it. There were parts of the novel that were slow and almost made me put the book down altogether before I finished it. My main problem is that while Ms. Sittenfeld was able to translate Pride and Prejudice to a modern setting, I lost Austen’s voice and the certain quality that is only contained within an Austen novel.

Do I recommend it? Sadly no.

%d bloggers like this: