That's right. Jane Austen's classic tale of manners, marriage, morality, education and upbringing in the society of early 19th century English gentry was published 200 years ago this month, and doesn't it look good for its age. Movies and television miniseries interpretations, fiction inspired by Austen's Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, they all abound these many years later. If you have never read this classic, I highly recommend it.
However, if you've read it and are interested to see what else Pride and Prejudice has inspired in the realm of modern fiction, or if you're just looking for a good read, read on!
Dear Mr. Darcy, by Amanda Grange. A retelling of the classic tale, but told from Fitzwilliam Darcy's side of the story through a series of letters. Readers have gotten Elizabeth Bennet's angle on events, but in this novel, we get a chance to see the events that defined Austen's hero--the death of his father, his control of Pemberly, and of course, his courtship of the lively and willful Miss Bennet.
Ever wonder how much help Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet had in making their match? So did Mary Lydon Simonsen, and so we follow Georgina Darcy and her cousin Anne de Bourgh in their matchmaking schemes for the two lovebirds. Of course, no scheme of the sort runs smoothly, and so we have to wait to see how they will manage to win The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy.
How about Mr. and Mrs. Darcy as amateur sleuths? Start with Carrie Bebris's Pride and Prescience, where the newlyweds are besieged by a mysterious plot involving one of their wedding guests, a Miss Bingley, newly engaged to a rich and powerful American mogul. Her courtship has been marred by accidents and unexplained incidents until now, when the whole Bingley clan seems cursed. The Darcys seem to be the only ones to see the danger, and may be the only ones who can stop it. Carry on with Suspense and Sensibility.
Finally, what's a classic without the addition of the supernatural these days? In Seth Grahame-Smith's retelling (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), a plague in the quiet English village of Meryton has the dead rising from their graves. Elizabeth Bennet, never one to simply sit by and let things happen, vows to wipe out this menace, only to be distracted by one Mr. Darcy in the process. The most gruesome fun you ever had reading a classic tale.
I'll be back Thursday with the wrap-up of new titles coming in February. Happy reading!