Blog Tour: Love at First Slight
J Marie Croft
Meryton Press, 2013
This is one of those books that is just plain fun. Croft took the familiar and beloved tale of Pride and Prejudice, and gave it a fresh new update that is sure to make you laugh out loud. (I did, the cats were frightened). She keeps the original context, it's a historical, Regency novel - and the key scenes definitely do happen. You know, important stuff like the ill-fated first encounter at the Assembly, and a visit to Rosings Park - not to mention the surprise encounter on Pemberley's grounds. But everything plays out with an entertaining flair and a whole new flavor. You see, all the gender roles have been reversed in Croft's rendition.
Admittedly, it's a little unusual at first glance: No Mr Darcy! But once you start reading, and the five Bennett brothers take over, it works. Our Darcy is now Elizabeth - a much sought-after heiress with a fortune beyond belief. Her starcrossed lover is the middle Bennett brother, William. (He. Is. Awesome. Also a reverend). Mr Bennett is prone to nervous complaints and has an urgent need to marry off his five sons to rich wives. It is Casper Bingley who is after Miss Elizabeth Darcy, and his sister Jane - a wealthy widow - catches the attention of Charles Bennett. Mr Collins is himself, however he has a sister who is ... a force to be reckoned with. And then there is Sir de Bourgh and his sickly son Andrew. Seriously, this gender-switching works so much better than I'd have expected - and the added hilarity of knowing these characters as other characters amplifies the fun.
The story itself follows the pattern of the familiar original -there are misunderstandings, bad decisions, rash words, fierce encounters. With the different gender roles, the way things play out at the end is a little different, but I found it refreshing and not un-Jane. I love Lizzy, and really, really love Will Bennett. At times irreverent, always carefully fun and light, this is definitely a worthy addition to the Austenesque collection.
Book provided by publisher for review.