Title: Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Curtis Sittenfeld
Publisher: Random House, April 19, 2016
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Sexy Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
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. **
This was an absolute fun read. Bringing Liz and Darcy into the modern day is not a new idea but this is the first one I’ve read that was so page-turningly delightful. Curtis Sittenfeld is masterful at creating the overachieving Liz, the sweet Jane, the bookish Mary and the wild and crazy Kitty and Lydia. Darcy was hunky and Bingley was just as you’d expect, besotted with Jane. Sittenfeld weaves all the nuances that we loved in Pride and Prejudice into this very updated version. There is a transgender marriage as well as a reality TV show. Liz is no demure woman she wants Darcy but only for sex. No one is more surprised that she fell in love with him than Liz. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are both pretty much like the parents in the original book; he being sarcastic, witty and oblivious and she being chronically overwhelmed by modern mores, political correctness and common sense.
Did I find 512 pages too many? Yes. Did I still read every word? You betcha! Perhaps Janeites will not like Ms. Sittenfeld’s Bennet family but this is a work with fine characterization, and lovely prose and humor, not to mention a family we may all relate to on some level.