Despite the atrocious star rating at Goodreads I thought I'd give this book a chance anyway. A gender-swapped 'Pride and Prejudice' set in the modern day? That just sounded like such a good premise I couldn't resist.
Darcy Fitzwilliam is a 29 year old hedgefund superstar. She left Pemberly, Ohio after not wanting to deal with her family or the drama or her past or be tied to her hometown and money. However, her mother has become ill and it's time to return home and face the ghosts of the past. And from there we get romance shenanigans, younger siblings who are a hassle, disappointed parents, drunken kisses and an eventual happy ending, relatively speaking.
As a concept it was really great. Author Melissa de la Cruz did a good job in updating the P&P storyline without trying too hard to shovel all the characters and story elements into a modern setting, which I thought was a problem with Curtis Sittenfeld's 'Eligible'. Some of the issues in Austen's day wouldn't really have the same impact or create the same problems today so the "younger sibling gone astray" trope had an interesting twist which I thought was a good change. How that particular story thread gets resolved was not particularly realistic though.
Which brings me a problem with the book. Maybe flipping this around made the story seem more like a "rich people problems" type of book (which I don't care for) but I was skeptical of how "younger siblings gone astray" was resolved by Darcy. That money was the tool was fine but as Darcy is pretty much a stranger (despite being a member of a very wealthy family) just made it a bit too convenient. It could have worked but unfortunately de la Cruz didn't quite close that deal.
Which is sort of an ongoing theme. The book starts well and the premise is great. But the characters are often incredibly annoying and there were times where I wondered if I was reading a book aimed at YA readers instead. The author couldn't quite decide to make Darcy a vulnerable young woman who has to grow up emotionally or just an outright jerk, which may have less to do with intent and more of the writing not quite forming most of the characters very well.
It kept me reading since I was curious enough to care to see how everything was resolved but that may have been my fondness of the original that made me wonder how this would work itself out. I think a 2.5 rating for me is closest: there's a wonderful book here but unfortunately it seems like a first draft is what ended up being printed and there was no editor to really sit down and draw out what could have been an excellent retelling. I wouldn't be surprised if this gets adapted into a miniseries or movie, though. Definitely borrow from the library if you really want to read it but it's also fine to skip it entirely.
With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an open and honest review.
Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe is a festive retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
The book starts with Darcy Fitzwilliam returning to Pemberley, Ohio because her mother has had a heart attack. Eight years earlier, Darcy had a furious row with her father because she did not want to marry her boyfriend Carl who came from a well connected family in Pemberley. When her father threatened to stop financially supporting her she fled to New York. Darcy is now a partner in a hedge fund and is the third wealthiest woman under 29 in New York.
Her mother is recovering well from her heart attack and insists they should still hold their annual Christmas party. At the party she is reunited with her best friend from high school Bingkey Charles who now lives in LA. She gets very drunk with Bingley at the party and she meets her neighbour Luke Bennett. At school she hated Luke and he thought she was selfish and entitled, as they start trading insults under the mistletoe he kisses her passionately. Darcy is shocked because she felt sparks. Luke is a simple carpenter happy with his lot in Pemberley, how can she be with a man like that?
In my twenties I only read chic lit books. Now I am older I read psychological thrillers mainly but I still read Marian Keyes, Katie Fforde and Holly Martin . However I love Christmas and I enjoy festive romcoms this time of year.
This was not a bad book, however I thought the plot was unsophisticated and lacked any humour. The explanation for Darcy becoming estranged from her whole family in the first place was ridiculous. I could understand why she wanted a career before marriage but why did she allow herself to be cut off from her family for 8 years. Also Darcy was supposed to be a successful 29 year old million heiress but I found her immature and tempestuous. I think this booked is aimed more for teenagers then adults
Title: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
"Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe" by Melissa de la Cruz
If you are looking for a 'feel good' quick read for the holiday you may like this one by this author focusing on Darcy Fitzwilliam and Luke Bennet. We find that a lots will happen as Darcy returns home for the holiday after her mother has had a heart attack. Darcy was quite a successful woman however she also had a life that was full of insecurities. I enjoyed how this author was able to deliver a modernized retelling of 'Pride and Prejudice' and let's not leave out the Mistletoe where there will be a 'complete flip of characters.' What will happen when one of the richest women who doesn't have time for nothing but work...comes home after been gone for eight years, having to deal with her strained relationship with her father, mother's illness and having to attend her parents's yearly Christmas party? Will a lots of the events that take place in this story set off some events from the past that seem to collide with Darcy's future? What will happen when Darcy meets up with Luke Bennet...the carpenter? What happens when Darcy begins to think that maybe living the simple life would be better than the one she now has? Now to get all of these questions answered and so much more you will have to pick up this novel [Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe] and understand that its a spin off/flip of the original 'Pride and Prejudice,' a Jane Austen Classic however, this will be a quite a different story that is full of twist and turns, 'lightheartedness, self discovery and second chances.'
What can I say about this book? The reader irritated me with her whiny, nasal voice. She is one of the actors in the Descendants series (which I think is on the Disney Channel). She may be a fine actor, but her reading was all about OVER-acting.
The story itself was interesting. The villains have all been exiled to the Isle of the Lost. There is a magical shield that prevents the use of magic. The children of the worst Disney villains are trying to live up to expectations of their parents. There is a quest and the villain children bond and blah blah blah.
I liked the idea of the villains trying to live without magic. But, it seemed a travesty that the children are being punished for the sins of their parents. The food and everything else on the island comes from the stuff that the "good guys" in Auradon throw away. I guess either they aren't worthy of better or they don't care, I'm not sure which.
My least favorite part was when they plugged the Disney Channel show at the end of the audiobook. It was like the whole book was written as a commercial for the series.