My pick this week is Melissa Nathan’s fabulous Pride and Prejudice retelling, which I read for the first time in college. I’ve since re-read it at least four times. It’s the only Jane Austen spin-off in novel form that has received that treatment. What I’m trying to say (in not so many words) is that Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field stands on its own as a funny, charming and worthwhile piece of fiction.
Although the plot obviously follows the general outline of the original Pride and Prejudice, this version is completely modern without losing the social commentary, hilarious antics, and crisp dialogue that Jane Austen fans expect and love. It’s not an ‘update’ of the story so much as a re-imagining. And Nathan has the writing chops to pull it off.
Ultimately I was so enchanted by this book that I went searching for more of Nathan’s writing. She has another modern take on Austen in Persuading Annie (based on Persuasion), but unfortunately she’s passed away and won’t be delighting us with further Austen-esque tales. All the more reason to read and appreciate what she DID write: cute, engaging fiction that doesn’t patronize the reader and speaks for itself with a good dose of spunk, sass and wit.
It starts as a lark for Jasmin Field, the charming, acerbically witty columnist for a national women's magazine. She joins a host of celebrities gathering in London to audition for the season's most dazzling charity event: a one-night only stage production of Jane Austen's immortal Pride and Prejudice, directed by and starring the Academy Award-winning Hollywood heartthrob Harry Noble. And nobody is more surprised than Jasmin herself when she lands the lead of handsome Harry's love interest, Elizabeth Bennet. But things start to go very wrong very quickly.
Ms. Field's delicious contempt for the arrogant, overbearing Harry Noble goes from being wicked fun to infuriating. Her brief moment of theatrical glory looks as if it's going to be overshadowed by the betrayal of her best friend, the disintegration of her family and the implosion of her career. And suddenly she can't remember a single one of her lines. But, worst of all, Harry Noble - who, incidentally, looks amazing in tight breeches - has started to stare hard at Jazz with that sort of a glimmer in his eyes...
Fresh, wild, wonderfully romantic and absolutely hilarious, Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field is Jane Austen as the great lady herself never imagined it.
Did I mention that the book cover is absolutely sensational? It’s three-quarters of the reason I picked the book up in the first place! If you’d like to win your own copy of Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field, be sure to enter my Everything Austen Giveaway!