It tends to be the case that once you’re a fan of Pride & Prejudice, you’re a fan for life.
And when you’re a fan for life, you can’t help but notice just how much other stuff is in hommage to Pride & Prejudice. There is an entire cottage industry devoted to Pride & Prejudice tributes, popping up constantly, when you least expect them.
When a new retelling is published – and it happens with almost alarming regularity – as a true fan, you’re likely to find yourself drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. It’s dangerous, it can’t end well, yet you go there anyways.
So when it was announced via the “Austen Project” that we were set for an official-ish retelling of her most famous novel, we were horrified, yet intrigued.
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen with Lizzie and Darcy if it were set in modern-day, here’s your answer.
Darcy is a doctor – a surgeon, in fact, a neurosurgeon. Because of course he is! He’s handsome and haughty and – American? Yes. Modern Pride & Prejudice takes place in Cincinnati.
In all honesty, if you picked this one up because you wanted to read Pride & Prejudice, you’ll be disappointed. Pride & Prejudice is still the original and best version of itself, and if that’s what you’re here for, just go and re-read it.
But if you’re up for it, Eligible is a fun and thoroughly modern update of a story readers have been obsessed with for roughly 200 years.
Lizzie is a journalist, Bingley is a reality star (really), Darcy is the owner of a large estate, and the Bennet sisters are still for the most part up to their same old tricks.
Assuming the story isn’t instantly crushed under the weight of your own expectations, Eligible is still sharp and observant and great fun to read.
It takes liberties, glosses over characters and storylines and shows a wonton lack of respect to tradition – much like the 2005 film starring Keira Knightley, Eligible won’t cut it if you’re a diehard fan of the original.
But if you secretly liked the film – maybe even better than the Colin Firth version – then Eligible is going to be right up your street.
And if you don’t like or have never read Pride & Prejudice at all, you’ll like it too; treating it as a story in its own right rather than a retelling is probably the best way to enjoy this one in all its glory.