Tag Archives: fenton

Vanity and Vexation – Kate Fenton

Years ago I read a novel by Fenton called Lions and Liquorice and loved it. So I snapped this one up when I saw it in the Borders closing down sale. Be warned: it’s the same novel renamed for the US market. Not to worry, I didn’t own a copy and I enjoyed reading this again.

Here’s the blurb …

A clever and cunning modern day retelling of the adored Jane Austen novel

“Tall, dark, and arrogantly handsome—not to mention distinguished, powerful, and rolling in money. Mr. Darcy? No, that’s just the woman director of Pride and Prejudice,” reports Nicholas Llewellyn Bevan, impoverished novelist and occasional (reluctant) journalist, when a TV production company trundles into his sleepy North Yorkshire valley. Amusedly he watches these glamorous invaders combine the filming of Jane Austen’s romantic classic with the much less modest pursuit, off-camera, of real-life romances with the locals.

Under his very nose, his bashful handsome neighbor John is plucked out of a village dance by the famously gorgeous (and wealthy) leading actress, Candia Bingham, with whom he at once falls completely in love. Our would-be hero manages only to trip over the black-booted foot of the intimidating and imperious director, Mary Dance. So he’s amazed—and a little bit alarmed—when her steely eye seems to be straying his way.

A witty and entertaining update on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Austen fans old and new will adore Vanity and Vexation’s modern take on her sublime blueprint of the romance game complete with sex, money, and power. With an assured and respectful hand, in the context of the contemporary world, Kate Fenton has penned a riveting story with a hilarious twist.

After all, it is a truth universally acknowledged that Hollywood taking an interest—better still an option—in a novelist’s work is a surefire way to propel that novelist into serious sales figures and the bestseller lists.

If you are a Pride and Prejudice  fan, then you will enjoy this modern, gender swapping version. Mr Darcy is Mary Hamilton (or Mary Dance) a successful film director and Elizabeth Bennet is Llew Bevan an aspiring novelist. This novel contains another novel where Llew (or Nick as he is known in real life) is writing a modern gender swapping version of Pride and Prejudice – confused yet? It will make sense when you read it. All of the major events of Pride and Prejudice are replicated, for example, the Lydia character (Nick’s son Chris) is rescued from Bangkok by Mary Hamilton (and her father’s private jet).

It is cleverly done and a light, entertaining read.

The story is a bit dated – quite a bit of time is spent using pay phones, finding pay phones and running out of coins for pay phones! It is a shame it didn’t get updated for it’s re-release, although whole climax might not work if everyone had a mobile phone.

This is one of my favourite Pride and Prejudice re-workings.

More reviews …

There is a whole page of reviews at Pemberley.com




Filed under Pride and Prejudice, Re-Interpretation