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If you’ve been hanging around here for a while, you’ll know how much I love Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
It’s a social commentary. It’s a romance. It’s a very special book to me. My husband actually proposed with a copy of P&P. We had P&P decor at our wedding in the form of paper roses made from pages of up-cycled paperbacks of Pride and Prejudice.
So today, in honour of the 243rd anniversary of Jane Austen’s birth (December 16, 1775), I want to share with you some of my favourite Pride and Prejudice Re-Imaginings.
These retellings bring the story into a new time or place, or tell the story from a unique perspective. They play with the characters and themes that Jane Austen wrote about and explore what makes them, and the story, work.
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Pride and Prejudice in a contemporary Toronto Muslim community.
Ayesha is a poet, who is working as a substitute teacher to help her family make ends meet. Her aunties all want her to hurry up and find a man, especially now with her younger cousin Hafsa is batting away marriage proposal after marriage proposal. Khalid is a traditional man who is frustrated with how he’s judged for the way he dresses. When Ayesha and Khalid have to work together on a project for their mosque, they butt heads. And yet… there’s something there.
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Pride and Prejudice set in contemporary Cincinnati, complete with a reality TV dating show.
Liz Bennet is a magazine writer in her late thirties. Her older sister Jane is a yoga instructor. Both single, they head home from NYC to help out after their father has a heart attack. Enter a handsome doctor or two, one of whom happens to be a reality tv star, add in a crumbling family home, some self-obsessed younger sisters, a mother determined to get her daughters married off, and you might just have a whole of of pride and prejudice.
Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Pride and Prejudice set in contemporary Brooklyn with an all black cast.
Zuri Benitez loves her neighbourhood and the apartment building she and her family have spent their life in. The community is tight and spend their time together gathering on the stoop and sharing block party meals. Then a rich family buys and renovates the run-down mini-mansion across the street and moves in. The Darcy family doesn’t fit into the neighbourhood. They’re part of the changes that keep coming. Zuri doesn’t like all this change, or Darius Darcy. And yet, his brother Ainsley seems to really like her sister Janae. And Janae seems really happy.
Longbourn by Jo Baker
Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of the servants.
Sarah the housemaid observes a lot. She doesn’t always understand it, and she often can’t hear or see the full story because she has a lot of work to do, but the happenings in the Bennett household are certainly interesting. And then, even more interestingly, a new footman arrives and upends all the normalcy below stairs as things go haywire above stairs. This book is a very different experience of Pride and Prejudice, and is definitely a worthwhile read.
There are so many more Pride and Prejudice re-imaginings out there that I haven’t read yet!
- Heartstone by Elle Katharine White (Pride and Prejudice with dragons!)
- Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London
- The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet: A Novel by Bernie Su (There’s a YouTube series too)
- Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz
- A Higher Education: A Modern Retelling of Pride & Prejudice by Rosalie Stanton
- First Impressions: A Contemporary Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Debra White Smith
- Pride and Prejudice and Passports: A Modern Retelling by Corrie Garrett
- Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal (Available January 15, 2019)
Have you read any of the ones I love?
Have you read any of the ones I haven’t read yet?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.