Category Archives: Pride and Prejudice

T2 Pride and Prejudice Box

T2 and Penguin have joined forces to release book boxes that contain a classic novel, a cup (designed with the book in mind) and tea. Obviously I had to get the Pride and Prejudice one.

The box
Inside the box (the cup has a quote inside as well)
The Book in the Box

The three types of tea in this box are; French Earl Grey, New York Breakfast and Green Rose (all favourites of mine)

The other options are:

  • Romantic (Wuthering Heights)
  • Science Fiction (Dracula)
  • Mystery (Sherlock Holmes)

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First Impressions – Charlie Lovett

First Impressions – Charlie Lovett

I felt a bit of trepidation about reading this one – I have been burned before (sometimes I even wonder if we are reading the same novels to start with!), however, this one is a pleasant surprise.

Here is the blurb …

A thrilling literary mystery co-starring Jane Austen from the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman’s Tale.

Charlie Lovett first delighted readers with his New York Times bestselling debut, The Bookman’s Tale. Now, Lovett weaves another brilliantly imagined mystery featuring one of English literature’s most popular and beloved authors: Jane Austen.

Book lover and Austen enthusiast Sophie Collingwood has recently taken a job at an antiquarian bookshop in London when two different customers request a copy of the same obscure book: the second edition of Little Book of Allegories by Richard Mansfield.  Their queries draw Sophie into a mystery that will cast doubt on the true authorship of Pride and Prejudice—and ultimately threaten Sophie’s life.

In a dual narrative that alternates between Sophie’s quest to uncover the truth—while choosing between two suitors—and a young Jane Austen’s touching friendship with the aging cleric Richard Mansfield, Lovett weaves a romantic, suspenseful, and utterly compelling novel about love in all its forms and the joys of a life lived in books.

It is written in two different times – modern day and 1796 – one with Austen as the heroine and one with Sophie. It is a mystery (who is Richard Mansfield? and who can Sophie trust?), romance and historical fiction all rolled into one. It has a very interesting premise, which I won’t spoil for you, that I found to be plausible. The writing was lovely and swapped easily between the two time periods. My main issues were with plot – the villain was a tad too obvious and Jane Austen attended a funeral (women didn’t attend funerals in her day – pedantic I know).

It is an enjoyable to read and makes me want to read Pride and Prejudice again (not to mention Agatha Christie and several other novels mentioned in the text). It is a book for book lovers as well as Austen fans and would make a great movie.

More reviews

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen, by Charlie Lovett – A Review

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Pride and Prejudice 1995

Pride and Prejudice 1995

I have been watching Pride and Prejudice while knitting. This might be my favourite P&P adaptation.

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Eligible – Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible - Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible – Curtis Sittenfeld

This is the fourth novel of the Austen Project following Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope, Northanger Abbey by Val Mc Dermid and Emma by Alexander McCall Smith. I had high hopes for this one – how could I not? Curtis Sittenfeld was the selected author.

Here is the blurb …

From the “wickedly entertaining” (USA Today) Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife, comes a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. A bold literary experiment, Eligible is a brilliant, playful, and delicious saga for the twenty-first century.

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible both honors and updates Austen’s beloved tale. Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today

I was concerned to see a quote by Mark Twain at the start – did Ms Sittenfeld not know the antipathy Twain had for Austen?


To me his prose is unreadable — like Jane Austin’s [sic]. No there is a difference. I could read his prose on salary, but not Jane’s. Jane is entirely impossible. It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death.

and this

Everytime I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.

And then I read the rest and realised Ms Sittenfeld doesn’t like Austen and this is her revenge. I am sure she is laughing at Austen fans all of the way to the bank.

This Lizzie is rude not witty (and doesn’t appear to be overly bright) and the crisis (the equivalent of Lydia running with Wickham) is awful and such a non-crisis. Spoiler alert! I don’t understand how running away with a transgender man called Ham can be at all morally reprehensible. The Lydia in the original would have been cast out of society if Mr Darcy had not intervened. In this one, Mr Darcy reconciles Mrs Bennet to the elopement by describing Ham as having a ‘birth defect’.

Kate Fenton’s Lions and Licorice (published as Vanity and Vexation in the US) is a much better rewrite as is Pride and Prejudice and Jasmin Field by Melissa Nathan.

More reviews …

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Death Comes to Pemberley – T.V Series

Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley

So a brief respite from Mansfield Park I have been watching Death Comes to PemberleyFirst, I read the book and wasn’t that impressed. However, this adaptation is beautiful to watch and if I forget about it having anything to do with Pride and Prejudice it is quite enjoyable. If you get the chance to watch it, I think it is worth the effort.

I do wonder about Elizabeth’s green frocks – she only seems to wear green.

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Longbourn – Jo Baker

Longbourn - Jo Baker

Longbourn – Jo Baker

I thought I should read this book as it has been much discussed – and I do like Pride and Prejudice. This novel is written from the servants point of view.

Here is the blurb …

Pride and Prejudice was only half the story •
If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them.
In this irresistibly imagined below stairs answer to Pride and Prejudice,the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen’s classic—into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars—and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully realized world that is wholly her own.

First, I thought there weren’t enough servants. Only three and then a fourth when the ‘mysterious footman’ arrives. They seem to be very poorly dressed as well – I am sure there would have been some kind of uniform? What is clear is how much work is involved in keeping house prior to the industrial revolution; emptying chamber pots, fetching water, heating water, lighting fires, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, ironing clothes. etc.

This is a very political novel – Ptolemy Bingley is dark skinned and comes from the Bingley’s sugar plantation (we suspect he is Mr Bingley Senior’s natural child), Sarah’s (the housemaid) parents died when she was a child and she was rescued from the workhouse by Mrs Hill and we read about how the army treats its more humble soldiers.

I am not the target audience for this novel – not being into gritty realism – I would have preferred a jollier downstairs (and certainly a better dressed and cleaner one) and a bit more interaction with the upstairs. I appreciate that servants lives in this time could be dreadful – full of drudgery, dirt, neglect and despair, but I prefer my reading to be lighter and brighter.

More reviews …

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Lizzie Bennet Diaries

I have been watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries – some what obsessively I might add.

The writers have done a great job of updating Pride and Prejudice for a modern audience.

Here is a link

to the entire play list. Or here it is …

There is also a new version of Emma called Emma Approved.


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Pride and Prejudice 1980

I’ve been watching the 1980 version of Pride and Prejudice.

DVD Cover Pride and Prejudice (1980)

The screen play was written by Fay Weldon and it stars Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth and David Rintoul as Mr Darcy.

I thought it would be a bit dated like this version of Emma…

DVD Cover Emma (1972)

however, it’s fine. The costumes and setting aren’t as beautiful as modern adaptations, but it is very watchable.

Elizabeth and Mr Darcy dancing at the Netherfield Ball

Dearest, loveliest Elizabeth!

I like Fay Weldon’s screen play. The script is true to the spirit of the novel. She has the characters say things that the narrator expresses in the book. For example, the famous opening lines …

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Are expressed by Elizabeth while in conversation with Charlotte.

I thought the casting was good although I was a little but disappointed in David Rintoul’s Mr Darcy. He certainly looks the part – tall and handsome – and he does the proud disdainful stuff very well, but he doesn’t seem to change he still seems proud and disdainful at the end.

I think this adaptation is definitely worth watching (of course the 1995 adaptation is still my favourite). However, it is quite difficult to find. I eventually found a copy at

More reviews …






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Mary Bennet – Jennifer Paynter

I found this novel at the airport – heading home from a girls weekend away – and had to buy it despite my plan of only buying digital books from now on.

Here is the blurb …

 ‘No two views of a ball will be exactly alike. So many separate little worlds make up the whole (most of them whirling mindlessly about), and my own view of that Meryton assembly cannot help but be different from that of my sisters. For the first part of the evening, I was a mere onlooker—unmoving and unmoved. Nobody turned my head with compliments. Nobody asked me to dance.’

What if Pride and Prejudice were to be retold from the viewpoint of Elizabeth Bennet’s younger sister, Mary, the ‘odd one out’ of the Bennet family?

This is what playwright, author, and Jane Austen Society of Australia member, Jennifer Paynter, asked herself before writing Mary Bennet – the plot of which eventually transports the heroine all the way from Hertfordshire to Macquarie’s New South Wales.

The familiar and much-loved characters of Pride and Prejudice appear in Mary Bennet – though they may be a little altered when seen through Mary’s eyes. From her post in the wings of the Bennet family, Mary is well-placed to observe Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, for instance, but while she is able to view him quite dispassionately (and as it turns out, accurately) Mary may not be quite so clear-sighted when she finally falls in love herself.

Mary Bennet is the story of a young girl, desperate for attention and approval, who at last learns to question her family’s values and to overcome her own brand of ‘pride and prejudice’.

The novel covers time before, during and after the action of Pride and Prejudice. The way this novel fits in with Pride and Prejudice is very clever – Ms Paynter even manages to make Mary sympathetic. All those pompous statements, like …

 “Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful lesson: that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable; that one false step involves her in endless ruin; that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful; and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex.”

don’t seem so silly when you have Mary’s point of view. Some of the minor characters from Pride and Prejudice are fleshed out – Mrs Long’s nieces for instance – and extra characters added.  Although the style isn’t the same as Austen’s, it is well written and didn’t have any of those anachronistic moments, which remind you that you are reading a modern regency novel. This novel is different form the current spate of re-interpretations, re-tellings etc, in that it is more than just a romance – there is romance, but there is social commentary as well.

Other reviews …



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Death Comes to Pemberley – P D James

I like Jane Austen and I like P D James, so, obviously, I had to read this.

Here is the blurb …

 The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth’s beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball, the guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley’s wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham – Elizabeth’s younger, unreliable sister – stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered. Inspired by a lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen, PD James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story. Death Comes to Pemberley is a distinguished work of fiction, from one of the best-loved, most- read writers of our time.

There are a few factual errors or rather inconsistencies with Pride and Prejudice. For example, Mr Collins is described as Mr Bennet’s nephew and I am sure Lady Anne died before Mr Darcy (Darcy’s father) and not after.

I can’t say I loved this book, but I didn’t hate it either. Part of my problem is how the characters are portrayed in this novel. I liked Colonel Fitzwilliam in Pride and Prejudice whereas in this novel he was arrogant, cold and a bit of a snob.

I liked how the mystery played out. I don’t want to give anything away, but I thought it was very clever. If this novel had been independent of Pride and Prejudice, I would have liked it more.

I don’t think it will appeal to Jane Austen fans and I don’t think it will provide greater understanding of Pride and Prejudice, but if you like crime fiction, then give this one a go. I have no idea of the legal side of this is accurate or not, but I had a giggle about Mr Darcy, Mr Alveston and Colonel Fitzwilliam getting together to discuss their evidence (‘what exactly did Mr Wickham say?’) before the trial.

And one final thing, I found the bringing in of other Austen characters (Sir Walter, Mrs Knightley) annoying in the extreme.

Here are some more reviews …

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