Sunday, May 13, 2018

Book Review: First Impressions as Last Impressions

*This is a book review based on a review copy I received from Bethany House Publishers Book Reviewer Program*

Like any English Major worth their salt...or maybe like any stereotypical English Major, I love Jane Austen and all of the Austen Land spin-offs. I'm also a Bronte fan and have read more Jane Eyre retells than I care to count. So, when Bethany House listed First Impressions: A Contemporary Retelling of Pride & Prejudice in their options for review, I immediately opted in.

I wish I hadn't.

I can read pretty much anything, and I'm a fast reader, but this...I just couldn't get past the first fifty pages.

Dave (Darcy) is a mysterious business man who doesn't want anyone to find out his real identity (I didn't stick around long enough to find out what that is). He lives with his lovely Aunt Maddy and designed his mega-mansion to her specifications after he had to save her from financial ruin when her husband died and left her penniless.

Eddi (Elizabeth) is a new(ish) transplant to the quaint town of London, Texas. She's a well-educated lawyer trying to prove herself in the macho town.  Her sisters are either more beautiful than her or undercover alcoholics, but their parents have their hands full.

The story itself centers around Aunt Maddy's dramatic production of Pride & Prejudice, which, since a tornado destroys the town's theater in the first pages of the book, will be performed as a dinner theater.  Of course, Dave and Eddi are cast as Darcy and Elizabeth.

Dave tells his friend, Calvin, who he really doesn't want to find out about his true identity, that Eddi "would need to be way more classy to keep my attention for long," and also complains she's too short. As expected, Eddi overhears this and keeps wanting to get with Dave.

Still, the two just can't explain the heat between them.

I mean, who wouldn't want a man who thinks you aren't classy, objects to your height, or lack thereof, and desperately doesn't want you to find out his real job. He also hides in his man-shed throughout the first play rehearsal and calls his own character "Darby." That's a Texas-catch if I ever read about one.

The original tale showed us the faults in some antiquated systems around marriage and love, but this version shows a self-made woman who just can't help falling in love with a jerk.  Why???? Let's just not.

Then, as I searched for the photo and link to post in this review, I discovered (what I could have easily discovered had I simply looked at the print details), that Bethany House originally released the book in 2004.  Perhaps the publishers are trying the title out with a new audience, but it doesn't hold against the other titles waiting patiently on my nightstand.  So, off to Trevor Noah's, Born a Crime

But...if you hear of any other Austen remakes, I'm game to at least give them a try, because I'm that reader and that English major.

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