What if you took Jane Austen’s famous novel Pride and Prejudice and switched the genders and set it in modern times? That’s what Melissa de la Cruz, author of countless YA novels, does in Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, on sale this October 17th. I received an early galley from the published to review, and here we go.
Darcy Fitzwilliam is a millionaire hedge-fund manager in New York City who comes home to Pemberly, Ohio for Christmas when her mother has a heart-attack. She and her best friend, the ridiculously named Bingley Charles, reunite with the lesser-than Bennett Family, particularly, Luke (Male Lizzy) and Jim (Male Jane) and yes, Bingley and Jim end up together and Darcy tears them apart for what last about thirty seconds and two pages before it is resolved. Darcy has had an off-on relationship with the nice but not exciting Carl Donovan since high-school, and she eventually became estranged from her family because she didn’t want to marry Carl, but now she’s back in Pemberly and so is Carl and maybe they will get back together, but then Luke comes into the picture. There’s kissing and declarations of love that felt lackluster but it’s Pride and Prejudice and you know how it ends. I can’t spoil that for you. You know that Lizzy and Mr. Darcy end up together, so guess how it shakes out for Luke and Darcy?
I wanted to like this book, but as I started reading, I just became more and more confused about how someone thought this was a well-written novel. The idea is fascinating, but the execution is poor. Some of the writing is just downright bad. The way she deals with such crucial moments in the Austen work is down-right criminal, I say as an English major. Also, there’s SO much telling and not showing and it’s frustrating. Here are some of the quotes that made me roll my eyes.
Literal quote from Darcy Fitzwilliam “I’m going to call Bingley. There’s nothing more soothing than spa day with your bestie.”
Another one, from Luke: “I had to really push you away, give you a good reason to hate me. And it wasn’t hard to fake it; I just channeled that inner part of me that always thought I didn’t deserve you.”
It bastardizes the complicated love that is Pride and Prejudice. I wish the novel had been called something different and the names changed and it would have been a fine, cheesy romance novel without any sex. Calling it Pride and Prejudice was clearly a marketing ploy but as an English major, it ruined any chance for me to enjoy the book.
When I found out it was going to be made into a Hallmark movie everything made since. It’s a Christmas romance without the sex and it really is a Hallmark movie in novel form, cliched sentences and over explanation of emotions and all. Now, looking back over some of the most cringeworthy moments of the book, I can see a beloved Hallmark movie taking shape, and I have no doubt my grandparents will tune in when it airs.