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Pride/Prejudice: A Novel of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, and Their Forbidden Lovers Paperback – January 26, 2010

2.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

No Cliff's Notes required for this classic, recast by Herendeen (Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander) with a bisexual backstory that would have had the Regency author blushing. Though Herendeen claims she's merely unearthed the hidden story from clues already written into the original, what unquestionably occurs in this unlikely redo is erotic, witty and as often silly as refreshing. Here, Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy match wits and sexual appetites while engaging in same-sex relationships, she with older-and-wiser Charlotte, he with younger and pliable Charles Bingley, who struggles with his attraction to Elizabeth's sister, Jane. Sure, the permutations make the already complicated plot even more convoluted, but the sex—hokey as it is with all the pulsing and throbbing—helps ease the prideful misunderstandings and ignorant prejudices. (Jan.)
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Review

“Audacious and masterful. . . . True to Austen’s spirit, Ann Herendeen has given us a compelling, and sexual, novel of manners. In scenes that illuminate the motives and intellects of our favorite characters, we witness their most private moments. Delectable.” (Pamela Regis, author of A Natural History of the Romance Novel)

“Ann Herendeen has turned Jane Austen’s beloved classic novel on its head with this beautifully written ‘what if’ story. It is the erotic retelling of Jane’s very eighteenth century characters. The book is surprisingly creative and makes this version timely, realistic and clever fun. An entertaining read!” (Sandra Kitt, national bestselling author of Close Encounters and For All We Know)

“I gobbled up this delicious book in one sexy/cerebral reading orgy. Now I need to go back and marvel at my leisure, at its author’s wealth of insight and imagination.” (Pam Rosenthal, RITA Award-winning author of The Edge of Impropriety)
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"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; 1St Edition edition (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061863130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061863134
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,507,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Disclaimer: I'm pretty flexible when it comes to P&P adaptions. I'm also not easily offended, and the reviews gave enough hints to the slash content that it didn't come as a surprise (nor, obviously, did it prevent me from purchasing). As long as the characters feel true, I'm willing to suspend disbelief and go along for the ride.

That being said, this book didn't click for me. To start with, I had trouble buying into one of the main premises of the plot - the idea that the widespread reaction of men and women in Regency times to the constraints on interactions with the opposite sex was to engage in relations with their own gender...not so much as a matter of preference, but more as a practical response to the options that were available. Characters are fooling around with each other willy nilly but it's not supposed to affect our view of their virtues (or vices). That was a big leap for me. Gay, straight or bi, a character's approach towards sex - be it hesitant, thoughtful, callous, or casual - says something to us about who they are.

Also, the flaws that Elizabeth believes Darcy possesses when they meet are merely the tip of the iceberg in this version. Instead of imagining Darcy's motivations through Elizabeth's eyes, we get to see and hear confirmation of his arrogance, jealousy, self-absorption and bitterness. (Did I mention that he's also shallow, unprincipled and incredibly selfish?)

The scene where Darcy finds Wickham holed up with Lydia in London and literally 'let's him have it' was the low point for me.
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To start, I have absolutely nothing against the content of this book. I've been around long enough and read enough fanfiction based on many different series/books/movies spanning many genres. Pretty much nothing can faze me. I'm sure this book is meant to be tongue-in-cheek and a bit shocking. The "Achilles/Patroclus" type of relationship between Darcy and Bingley doesn't squick me. End disclaimer.

But you see, I'm a Pride & Prejudice retelling/reinvention/modern adaptation collector. I've got shelves full of books putting a different spin on P&P. This book won't find a home on those shelves.

My problem lies in the fact that I am simply unable to imagine the characters from Pride & Prejudice acting and speaking this way. Ever. Rather than creating this situation in Pride & Prejudice, the author would have been better off creating original characters in a similar setting. Hell, she pretty much did already and just slapped on the names Fitzwilliam Darcy, Charles Bingley and Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. Yes, they are that OOC.

I simply can't enjoy this book. If I could replace the characters names in my head I'd consider a higher rating. But when "Fitz" Darcy and Charles and Elizabeth are splashed across every page, I just can't take myself there.
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The main problem here isn't the fact that everyone is a natural born porn star ho / bi. No. If your reading this book, you assume that's going to be everpresent. My main issue is the horrible meanness applied to every simgle character--even Jane. Yes. Darcy nightly assaults Bingley-while he's asleep-with force. When Charles objects - Hell no!!! Darcy rape. Also, when he meets Wickham in London after Wickham runs off with the newly whorish Lydia, his main objective is to give him the ride of his life. And does. Hey, it's a book - but it does show that Darcy views sex as a very power-giving thing...

On to the Bennets. Luckily we don't ever learn of, say, Mr. Bennets forays with other men. This would be expected, given that every one in the Regency era did that kind of thing. Whatever. Jane gets annoyed with Lizzy, she has Huuuuge boobs, Lizzy is largely nice towards the beginning. But after she and Darcy marry and she produces an offspring, she is all 'meh' towards her daughter, seems to cringe whenever she looks at her, says that her daughter's wet nurse is more a mother to her than she is. Not even ruefully. Just factually. She doesn't even want kids, because it interupts her ability to have sex with Darcy anytime, anywhere. Towards the end - literally, like ten pages from it, she nonchalantly discusses new found ways to abort unwanted pregnancies with Jane, who is shocked. I just...don't see this from her. Ever.

Two little complaints. One, their is an obvious preference given to Mr. Bingley and Mr Darcy's illicet and inumerable 'nights together.' Fine. Whatever. However, there is no time given to CHarlotte and Lizzy. Just saying. This book was pegged to include her forbidden lovers too. Then Charlottes all, "Oh, I'm married Lizzy. No more!!
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This is one of the most intelligent variations that I've read which gives a very credible explanation for FD's officious interference in Bingley's affairs and love/hate relationship with Wickham.

That said, I can't imagine that many PnP fanfiction readers are going to be terribly happy about literature's greatest romantic hero being bi. Hence the low average star rating.
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