Posts tagged ‘janeausten’

July 20th, 2011

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Prom and Prejudice

Author: Elizabeth Eulberg

Published: January 1st, 2011

Number of Pages: 288

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

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?

Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season — prom or otherwise. [From Goodreads]

Quote:

It was bad enough to see friendship and love in terms of politics. But seeing it in terms of business was even worse.

Review:

DISCLAIMER: This book is based on Pride and Prejudice and should therefore be judged leniently and not critically compared to the work of Jane Austen. (Duh.)

Because, let’s face it, there’s no winning in a situation like this one. Some people would take one look at Prom and Prejudice and run for their lives. How can a book written in the twenty-first century and written for a teen audience ever compare to the epic Pride and Prejudice? Yet, somehow, my initial doubt faded as I read this book.

Elizabeth Eulberg must have a wide range of interests. I’ve read another of her novels, The Lonely Hearts Club, and it includes tons of references to Beatles songs. Beatles to P&P? Clearly Eulberg’s brain is an interesting specimen, and I admire her for it.

The most enjoyable part of this novel was identifying the parallels between Pride and Prejudice and Prom and Prejudice as I read. Which events correspond with each other? How does Eulberg take a nineteenth century character and shove them into the twenty-first? Does she give them an iPod, North Face jacket, and a vehicle with an engine? I loved seeing my beloved Pride and Prejudice reborn, but not recorded over. It’s evident that Eulberg respects Austen’s version of the story and didn’t want to violate it, but make it more light-hearted and easier for the teens of today to relate to. I’m definitely planning on recommending this to a friend of mine who would as soon read the original version of the story as pee her pants (Honestly. The other day she said to me, “I don’t do Jane Austen.”).

While Prom and Prejudice is a wonderful adaptation of the original, I did have some problems accepting it. For instance, I kept getting caught on the awkward phrases and vocabulary. The characters seem confused as to what time period they’re supposed to be in. Their way of speaking was unnatural. Their sentence structure and vocabulary was modern one second and then, jolt!, some nineteenth century lingo wiggled its way in. The mixture of the two time periods wasn’t as seamless as I had hoped. However, I don’t think many could have done better.

Additionally, there were a few events that are sadly missing in Prom and Prejudice that occurred in Pride and Prejudice. While I understand that this isn’t Austen’s book – it’s Eulberg’s – I did notice and miss the scenes that this book is lacking. There is no Catherine de Bourgh, for example. On the other hand, I was surprised multiple times by the way Eulberg tackled certain storylines. She managed to condense and/or twist things to fit her version of the story, and it all worked together brilliantly in the end. I admire her for the ingenious way she made the tale work for her.

I know that the entire experience was enriched by my prior knowledge of Pride and Prejudice, and I seriously recommend reading Austen’s version first (or at least watching the long movie). I had so much fun drawing comparisons and found much more to admire about the book because I know how difficult the plotting must have been. Eulberg had a lot to live up to, and ultimately, she did an impressive job of remodeling the classic love story and creating something fresh and appealing to both fans of Pride and Prejudice and those people who just don’t do Jane Austen.

February 20th, 2010

These Three Remain by Pamela Aidan; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: These Three Remain

Author: Pamela Aidan

Published: January 2, 2007 by Simon and Schuster

Number of Pages: 464

Rating: 4/5

Quote:

Brougham broke their silence with a sigh and then, with a wry smile, leaned his elbows once more upon the table and looked Darcy square in the eye. ‘I think you had better tell me about her, old man,’ he prescribed, his voice compassionate but firm. ‘She must, indeed, be of incomparable worth if she has so won your heart.’

“From habit, Darcy bridled at Dy’s quiet request that he lower his defenses; but the old reserve, the shield between himself and the world, had already been rent by a young woman from Hertfordshire. Why should he hold it up against his oldest friend? He would not reveal all; it was too much, and the details were unimportant now. But he would tell him something of it, enough to understand.

“‘Her name is Elizabeth,’ he began, looking past Dy’s shoulder the better to maintain shreds of something akin to dignity, ‘and I am the last man in the world that she could ever be prevailed on to marry.'”

Review:

I know it looks like I’ve been using the fact that I’m being very generous and giving away a copy of The Book Thief as an excuse not to post (FYI: if spoken, this sentence would have been dripping with a tone that told you I was joking) – I’m not. I’ve been sick and lazy (primarily the latter), which has kept me from my blogging duties. I apologize! As a side note: the aforementioned giveaway is doing splendidly, and there’s still time to enter so drop by!

On to These Three Remain, book three in the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentlemen series, which, you will notice, I’ve been surprisingly fond of. When I read the first book, I was shocked by the fact that I could look past the fact that the name Pamela Aidan was on the cover, as opposed to Jane Austen. I’ve enjoyed the series immensely. If you’re going to read Pride and Prejudice spin-offs, first of all, read P&P, and second, read this trilogy. Pamela is a fantastic writer.

I read These Three Remain quite awhile back, and my memory’s a bit fuzzy. I can assure you, however, that I was not disappointed in what Aidan managed to do with the most pivotal part of the P&P story. We begin at Rosings Park, where, we all know, Mr. Darcy runs into Miss Elizabeth Bennet once again. Unfortunately for Darcy, she squirms herself back into his life so immediately after he’s sworn her off that his resolution isn’t quite strong enough to hold back the tidal wave of his renewed feelings. It seems our Mr. Darcy simply can’t get Elizabeth off his mind, despite how much he’d like to.

The wonderful thing about These Three Remain is that it not only does wonderfully with the story we already love, but Aidan brings back the favorites of the characters she’s taken upon herself to flesh out and allows us to obsess over them as well. My favorite of these characters (well, actually, this man and Fletcher are both eligible candidates for this spot), Lord Dyfed Brougham, burst back into the story, as intriguing and charming as ever.

Duty and Desire (book two – see my review here) strolled far off of Austen’s path (it’s up to you to decide whether you like the direction Aidan took. I thought it was interesting and rather fun, personally), which couldn’t really be helped, seeing as Pride and Prejudice was relatively Darcy-free during that period of time. Austen’s story could guide Aidan’s a bit more in this third installment, yet Aidan didn’t relax her hold on the story for a second. This book is infused with subplots that revolve around the story-lines that Aidan has taken on completely on her own. Darcy’s sister, for example, develops much in this novel and her story becomes more and more interesting as both she and her relationships with various people progress. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to delve into the lives of people whom I never would have “met” or gotten to know if it weren’t for Aidan’s refusal to step back from her post as author.

I’ve probably lost a few hard-core, P&P fans already. Come back! Come back! Don’t shut off your computers and run to Borders to rip all Austen spin-offs (WARNING: There are millions. Try explaining the thousands of dollars you’ll spend buying ruined books to your families). I’ve focused so far on the new, but there’s plenty of old to go along with it.

This book takes place during our very favorite part of our beloved Pride and Prejudice. We meet Lady Catherine de Bourgh, stay at the Collins’, and travel far past that to the very finish of the story – and we all know what happens then. Hardly anything can top this classic story, and it’s simply delicious to relive it through Darcy’s eyes.

I think I’ve mentioned before that, however much I might like Darcy in Aidan’s books, I’m absolutely certain that Austen wouldn’t quite agree with this particular portrayal, but then again, don’t we all have our own version of Mr. Darcy tucked away somewhere inside? There’s no universal Darcy, and I think that adds to the fun of seeing such a deep, interesting and heartfelt version in these books. You’re getting a glimpse of someone else’s Darcy. (I think many of us will agree however, that our Darcy’s look like the one on the right…)

Many surprises are tucked within the covers of These Three Remain, and although many don’t directly pertain to the events of Pride and Prejudice (don’t worry, folks, the ending’s the same. These books are faithful to the origin), I can happily and honestly say that I would love to see another book. There are characters I’m not quite finished with.

Stay tuned for an interview with Pamela Aidan, coming up soon!