Magic in Books

For more bookish posts, go to It’s 5 O’ Clock Somewhere

 

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Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

So with everything that happened in July and with GISHWHES, I realized I totally forgot to post the last book we read for Book Club.

Just in case for anyone new, I started a book club with three other people. There is no theme or restrictions, just every month a different person has a turn to pick a book, we read it for the month, and afterwards meet to talk about it. Fun for everyone.

Last month’s pick was:

A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers

I first started reading Francine Rivers’ novels when a friend recommended Redeeming Love (a fantastic book that I strongly recommend). Afterwards, I started reading as many of her books as I could get a copy of. This one I put on my to-read list like five years ago and forgot all about it. I mean you know about to-read lists.

So when my friend brought it out as a suggestion, I was all for it.

That’s what I want

The story actually follows four main characters and how their lives intersect with each other, the decisions they make, and how they grow or regress as characters.

Character One: Hadassah

Hadassah is living in a time where Rome is in complete control and being Jewish or Christian can mean death. Unfortunately for Hadassah, she is both.

Yes, her parents were both Jewish but her father converted to Christianity when Jesus raised him from the dead (Luke 7:11-17). Her married Hadassah’s mother (who also converted to Christianity) and the two raised their three children as Christians.

Their lives have gone incredibly downhill as Rome marches on Jerusalem destroying it, with all of Hadassah’s family being murdered.  Hadassah finds herself unsure how she will continue on with her weak faith and uncertain future. Will she be able to trust God through it all?

Hadassah is saved from being killed; manages to survive the march to Rome, gets through a lice-filled boat, barely is maneuvered from becoming a temple prostitute, and is bought by a Jewish slave for his master, going into the powerful Valerian family. There she is given to serve the selfish, young, and beautiful Julia Valerian. Hadassah faces many ups and downs trying to live her Christian faith, set an example to others; while trying to walk the thin line that separates her from being thrown to the lions as a pre-show for the gladiatorial games.

She finds herself becoming friends with Julia’s older brother Marcus, praying hard for him and his family. But as her connection to Marcus grows stronger:

She finds herself unsure what path to take. Will Hadassah be able to serve God and receive a happy ending? Or will she cross that line and enter temptation? Or worse, death?

Character Two: Atretes

Atretes is a prince from Germany known for his wildness, strength, courage, and ability. After the death of his father he finds himself being handed the kingship and given a prophecy: a dark haired woman as his lover, being known throughout Rome, he will triumph over his foes, and being able to free his people from slavery.

That’s the kind of prophecy I’m talking about.

However, in the next battle skirmish, Atretes is captured by Roman soldiers. He tried hard to be killed in battle, but they decide to keep him and train him to become a gladiator.

At first he refuses to play along, but eventually becomes the star fighter as he discovers the only way to win his freedom is to follow along.

He achieves, money, fame, etc.; but still remains a slave and not given real freedom. His life changes when he meets Julia Valerian. She comes to him willingly, paying heavily to be with him. She appears to be everything foreseen by his mother and he begins to fall for her, and changes his perspective of “the game” as he fights for money, freedom, and the ability to marry the person he loves.

But will Atretes fullfill his prophecies of the woman he loves, overpower Rome, and free his people? Or will he discover that Rome doesn’t fight fair and that he will never truly be free from its grasp?

Hmm…

Character Three: Marcus Valerian

Meh.

Marcus Valerian grew up in a time of strife that has settles into prosperity and peace. His only hobbies in life are pursuing whatever pleases him: mostly making money and winning women. However, Marcus quickly becomes bored with this lifestyle and is always pursuing making more money and a harder challenge.

He is constantly going to the gladiator games, but becomes bored with those as well in life.

His father tries to instill a moral code in him, but Marcus refuses to listen to anything his father says as he feels that his father is “too old” and “behind the times”. He thinks his way is the best and his lifestyle-something he ends up instilling in his younger, naive, and impressionable sister.

Seriously, parents.

But when Hadassah enters the house she starts a ripple effect of a change of atmosphere. Everything about her and her beliefs challenges his lifestyle and the choices he is making in life.

Will Marcus find something real to fill his life? Will he ever be happy? Or will the choices he has made come back to bite him?

Hmm…

Character Four: Julia Valerian

Julia is the Marcus’ younger sister and has been sheltered her whole life and given every whim. In an effort to reshape her character and give her more morals, her parents give her Hadassah to be her servant; hoping that Hadassah’s kind and gentle spirit will rub off on Julia.

Hadassah

But all Julia cares about is being beautiful, idolizing her brother Marcus and his values, and seeks to become the most sough after gal in Rome. She ends up trusting women who are bad influences that like to manipulate her, not listening to any of the advice her parents try to give her.

She is married off to a kind man, but is too selfish and self-centered to appreciate him. Instead she sets her eyes on a handsome gladiator she sees training, Atretes. Later her foolish and heedless behavior causes the death of her husband, and she and Hadassah are sent back to her parent’s house.

Through it all Hadassah loves and cares for Julia as a sister, even when Julia is rude, crude, overbearing, etc.

Once again Julia chooses friends who don’t have her best interest at heart and are using her. She also marries a handsome, but abusive man. After she grows tired of being treated so cruelly she makes a decision that leads her down a dark path. As Julia continues to make bad decisions and hurt those around her, will Hadassah continue to care and help her? Will Julia turn from her dark choices? Will she have a happy ending? Or will she continue on her trail of destruction?

Hmm…

So what did I think of it?

I thought it was amazing! I started reading and I couldn’t stop:

And if that wasn’t enough, when I read the ending I was in SHOCK!!!

I quickly ran to get the sequel (literally ran)

The book was phenomenal. From Hadassah’s character:

To Marcus’ growth of character:

And all the twists and turns the novel took. You never knew what was going to happen next.

Wow

I definitely recommend it.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

For more Christian fiction, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

For more bible verses, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

Period Days are Reading Days

Ugh, I’m on my period:

No joke this enters my mind every month

And we women all know what that feels like:

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Being on your period is no fun at all, you don’t want to do anything.

Everything hurts, you hate everything, feel bad, etc. All you want to do is check out from life.

So the best thing to do is grab your blanket, ice cream:

Hot tea:

And a good book to read. After all:

Yep, there is no better way to ride out the storm of pain than with a good book

Period days are reading days.

For more period stories, go to Something’s Scratching at the Window

For more book posts, go to Hot Humid Days are Reading Days

For more Jane Smiley quotes, go to A Quest of Swords and Wizards: The Crown Conspiracy

Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

So every month  a different member in my book club chooses a book for us to read and discuss the following month; and it has worked out really well.

We only have four members in our club, so we have circled around them all and now it was my turn to pick a book again. I decided on:

The Darcy Monologues by various and edited by Christina Boyd

The Darcy Monologues is a collection of 15 short stories that retell the story of Pride and Prejudice but telling it from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. Half the collection is set in the Regency period: taking place during the novel, tweaking a bit of the novel, or taking place where Jane Austen left off.

Hmm…

The second half of the collection tells the story, but isn’t restricted by having to be in Regency times. One story is set in the Wild West, another during WWII, the 1960s, and of course present times.

Hmm…

So we all know how I feel about Jane Austen:

And we all know that I spend a lot of time reading Jane Austen, watching Jane Austen, and reading and watching variations of Jane Austen. Pretty much my life is:

But the other members are not exactly at the same level as I am. One member, Jessica, has seen the 1940, 1995, and 2005 film versions of Pride & Prejudice and read the actual book, but isn’t a fangirl. She likes Jane Austen, but is not a fangirl.

Don’t know why she isn’t.

Another member, Stella, loves Jane Austen but has never read the books. She only watches the films, and has seen both the 1995 and 2005 versions of Pride and Prejudice.

And our other member, Marissa, she has never read anything or watched anything Jane Austen.

So at first when we agreed to do this book I was excited:

But then I grew worried:

What if they didn’t get it, not being fangirls of the book? What if they didn’t like it? Maybe I should have had us read Pride & Prejudice first?

But I decided that we would just have to wait and see.

Hmmm….

So the day to meet came along and I decided to make the refreshments a regency-ish tea time. (Sadly I forgot to take pictures). I made some iced tea:

I had bough some chicken salad sandwiches and scones (I wanted to bake homemade ones but it has been too hot to turn on an oven) and then I made a berry salad, borriwing the recipe from my sister blog: Mysterious EatsIt is super tasty and perfect for a day of reading books or a tea time treat. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow, but you can also check it out here.

So everyone arrived and right away we had a problem. Stella didn’t get the right book. When she typed in The Darcy Monologues, the site sent her to a different book and she ended up buying The Darcy Connection. 

I’m going to lend my copy to her to read and then I will update this post with what she thought of it.

So first of all I just want to say that I have already posted what thought of the book (which if you want to read go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency or The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Erasand I loved it!

So I am just going to focus on what Marissa and Jessica thought of it.

Part I: The Regency

Both ladies were able to follow the stories and the thoughts of the authors, even Marissa who knew very little about what the story was based on. They also liked how it was from Darcy’s point of view and enjoyed the way the authors portrayed him, feeling as if they all captured the character. Jessica thought they did well in what Jane Austen wanted, and Marissa enjoyed being introduced to an introspective look of the character.

What Didn’t They Like?

Both ladies felt they would have enjoyed the book better if there had more variations of the story: such as when Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy where older, stories with their children, or sights into areas not shown by the original novel-such as what Darcy does when he leaves Netherfield before he meets up with Elizabeth in Pemberley-things like that.

hmm…

They both did not care for the story Death of a Bachelor by Caitlin Williams and they also did not like The Beast of Pemberley by Melanie Stanford as they thought it was too much Beauty and the Beast.

I KNOW?! How could they not like that one? I guess they just do not undestand how is Austenites find the works so similar. I mean:

To read more, follow this link.

Sorry for the tangent, moving forward.

What Did They Like?

Both loved From the Ashes by J. Marie Croft  as they found her portrayal of Darcy to not only be relatable but hilarious. In this story, Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth and been refused by her. He then goes home to write the letter against her objections to him, releasing his anger and frustrations out, until he has composed the best one to send her. We all thought she captured that the emotions of rejection and heartbreak perfectly.

They also enjoyed Clandestiny by KaraLynne Mackrory, espehially how she describes Darcy’s perfect order and way of life being completly thrown off kilter when Elizabeth enters his life. Both felt Mackrory was able to not only perfectly capture the character but describe what it is like when you aren’t expecting it, but meet the person who ends up changing your life.

In Terms of Perfect Composure by Susan Adriani, was another favorite of the two. Marissa enjoyed the recap as it gave her a stronger foundation into the story of Pride and Prejudice and what happened in the original novel. Jessica liked how this was something different from the other stories as it was a part that isn’t from Austen’s story, it is a part unseen of Mr. Darcy and shows his growth in character.

The Favorite?

Without Affection by Jan Hahn

Yes out of all the Regency stories, this one was both of the women’s favorite story. This story takes place when Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are much older, with Darcy having a flashback to when Elizabeth gave birth to their first child and almost died in the process. Darcy becomes afraid of losing her and reacts with a rule of no more sex for them, something Elizabeth does not agree with.

Both women liked how it showed Darcy and Elizabeth still in love years later, and just how they have had a great life together. They also loved how it captured the uncertainty of childbirth and Darcy as a father not knowing exactly what to do. One of them found it to be relatable to something they had gone through in their own life with their spouse. And we all agreed it was the perfect end to the first compilation.

Part II: Other Eras

Both women were intrigued with this part as they had never read any modern adaptions of classic literature before, let alone ones that took the material and placed it in other eras.

What Didn’t They Like?

Marissa would have liked more variety in the time periods, she was hoping they wouldn’t be as concentrated on present time.

Both did not care for the story Hot for Teacher by Sara Angelini. This one takes place in present times with Mr. Darcy as a principal, George Wickham as the literature teacher, and Elizabeth as the new art teacher. We all did not like how Angelini made the character of Darcy as he was too mean, temperamental, and dorky/awkward.

The Ride Home by Ruth Phillips Oakland was another one they did not like. In this Elizabeth is drunk after a disastrous date, so Darcy goes to give her a ride, the two talking during the drive home. Both ladies did not like how Oakland made Elizabeth drunk and they way she talked to Mr. Darcy. And we all agreed: How was she able to make him breakfast the next day? She should have had a massive hangover.

What Did They Like?

They enjoyed You Don’t Know Me by Beau North, which took place in the 1960s. In this Darcy is sent to Buffalo, New York to take control over the company’s new radio station. He and the top D.J Eliza Bennet clash in the beginning as neither understands the other.

They enjoyed how this story was not only talking about the novel Pride & Prejudice, but actually infused more of a social prejudice introducing a conflict of playing African American music on the radio, life as a Jewish American, and even the trials of having gone through the concentration camps (Eliza’s father). We all enjoyed how North coupled those threads of pride and prejudice with the original types of pride and prejudice in Austen’s work.

They also loved I, Darcy by Karen M. Cox. In this story, Darcy hates that his mother named him “Will” Darcy as everyone mentions Austen’s book. He meets two women who challenges his ideas on the book, surprisingly running into them later when he is starting up his farm to food restaurant.

We all loved how Cox had Elizabeth school him in the literature, causing him to be interested in rereading the book and falling in love with it. We all agreed that incorporating the novel in that way was really cute.

The Favorite?

Darcy Strikes Out by Sophia Rose

From beginning to end this story was just loved. Every part, every character, every single piece of the storytelling was beloved by us. Dandy Darcy? We all wanted him. Turning this into a full novel? We were all down for it. If this was sold separately from the others? All willing to pay.

For all of us Rose really knocked it out of the park!

Couldn’t resist

So what did they think of the whole thing?

They loved it!

Yay!

Yes, they may not have liked every story or every interpretation of Darcy, but that is why they and I loved it. Each author tried to capture the spirit of the character and succeeded in creating their own versions of Darcy that have everything we love about him, yet at the same time not making any exactly the same. By doing this you have many different Darcys to choose from, insuring that you will find the one best suited for you.

We all thought they did a fantastic job in presenting “their” Darcy and highly recommend you read this book.

For more on The Darcy Monologues, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

For more on these authors and Christina Boyd, go to I Have Been Remiss, My Deepest Apologies to The Darcy Monologues

For more on my book club, go to Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

For more on The Darcy Monologuesgo to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

And I just want to thank Christina Boyd for sending us these cute charms, we all loved them. I put mine on my bracelet right away and have been telling people about the book whenever they ask me about the charm.

Hot Humid Days are Reading Days

I don’t know about you all, but it is HOT here.

It has been in the 100s, so not pleasant at all. This being the first day of summer means it will only get worse.

In fact I don’t want to do anything, and I most certainly do not want to do anything outside.

I mean it feels like you are stepping out into an oven. Immediately sweat pours out of every pore.

So what is a girl to do?

Iced Tea

Yep, it is the perfect weather to sit indoors enjoying your air conditioning, iced tea, and a good book.

For more on hot weather, go to Summertime

For more book filled posts, go to Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

 

Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

So every month  a different member in my book club chooses a book for us to read and discuss the next month.

So the member who’s turn it was, was thinking of possibly doing a mystery. When our group met, she decided on this:

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus: A Novel by Beth Moore

This is Beth Moore’s first novel after years of nonfiction. It was something new but something she had been thinking about doing for a while.

Hmm…

Julia Stillwater is living in San Francisco in an controlling and very bad relationship. But when she discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her she is hit hard and unsure of what to do.

Then she receives a call that her long estranged father is dead.

And that her grandmother, the ice queen, who she also hasn’t seen in over twenty years is offering to pay her way to New Orleans so she could attend the funeral.

As her life is currently in shambles, Jillian decides to take it.

However, there is a lot that was kept from her. It turns out that the housekeeper, Adella Atwater, came up with the idea for a family reunion, not her grandmother, Olivia.

This could get ugly.

It also turns out that she lives in an church turned boarding house-full of all kinds of characters. There is David a forty-year old bachelor and music teacher; Carrie a student in medical school and always studying or working; and an elderly dementia suffering woman.

What have I gotten myself into?

With no money, no reason to go back to San Francisco, and not sure what to do…she remains in the house.

Seriously

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Police Department have been looking into the murder of Jillian’s father, Raphael. But while they try to uncover a killer, a lot of other strange things start happening. Baby things are left outside the house, someone tries to break into the house, things go missing, etc. The NOPD spend a lot of time coming to the house trying to figure out what does this all mean? A sentiment shared by the rest of the residents.

Besides that Saint Silvanus holds a secret from its first beginning as a church. Will it be revealed?

Hmm…

Will Jillian ever learn the truth about her fathers death? Will she grow to enjoy living in Saint Silvanus? Will her family rifts be mended? Or torn further apart?

Hmm…

So let’s start with what I didn’t care for or thought wasn’t as finished.

1)First of all Jillian is unsure what to do when she comes across the homeless. She has never had to deal with such things and finds the “sour smells” of the city unbearable.

Come on now. I am from California and have been to San Francisco many times. I have been everywhere from the high price areas to the touristy ones and there are homeless EVERYWHERE. They hide in bushes and jump out to surprise you; walk out into traffic; are on every street corner along with “sour” smells. I don’t know what San Francisco Moore encountered but that sounds nothing like the one in California.

2) What happened with the church?

So throughout the novel, Moore has the story of the church’s beginning and the first pastor intersecting with the story of Jillian. But she never really says why this matters to the characters as they have no connection to each other and they never say who killed the minister. Was it suicide or murder?

3) There are a lot of little details missing.

Hmm…

In my class, The History of the Novel, we read an article about how hard it is for a nonfiction author to switch to fiction as there are a lot of little things they aren’t used to writing about-how they look, the clothes they wear, the food they eat, etc. Moore falls into the same issue as she doesn’t always describe her characters. For instance she calls Julianna “dark”. Dark hair? Dark skin? Mexican? African-American? Greek? Spanish? Italian? Black hair? Brown? Chestnut?

I know it is her first time writing a “novel” so it makes sense there are a few kinks.

4) The mystery isn’t really mysterious

I knew as soon as the character entered the picture. It was extremely obvious the way they acted was not normal

So what was good?

1) The characters

The characters were amazing! I loved every single one and each felt extremely lifelike and ones you would meet in real life.

They all had their own hangups, issues, and backgrounds that were relatable-either to you or reminded you of someone you know. They made the book interesting, a page turner, and had you feel at home in Saint Silvanus.

This in itself made the book worth reading.

For more of my book clubs reads, go to Book Club Picks: At Home in Mitford

For more mysteries, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

So after this book it is my turn to pick the next book. I was going to bring a few choices to the meeting and pulled out a western, as you know I love stuff like that:

I also took out My Fair Godmother as that book cracks me up.

I was trying to think of a third option, when I decided on one book that’s been sticking in my mind:

Yes, my book club is going to read The Darcy Monologues. This will be very interesting as:

  1. One member has read the book and seen the 1940, 1995, and 2005 versions.
  2. One member has only seen the 1995 and 2005 versions, never read the book.
  3. And the other member has not seen any film or read the book.

Will they love it? Will they hate it? I don’t know, but I am sure of one thing:

And we all know what I thought of it:

Read what I think of Part I: The Regency and Part II: Other Eras

You Can Never Have Enough

That is false:

You can never have too many books:

You have no more room? Just make more space! Get creative, artsy, more shelving!

Only if they are bookshelves, Mr. Collins.

Yes, book lovers are never satisfied with what they have, they always need more.

But we book lovers wouldn’t have life any other way.

 

More book-filled posts, go to Rainy Days Are Reading Days

For more on Mr. Collins, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

Book Club Picks: At Home in Mitford

So as you know I started a book club this year:

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. I went first, the next month was someone choose Sandcastle Kings, and this month another member choose:

At Home in Mitford (The Mitford Years #1) by Jan Karon

This book is set in the fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina. The books center around the Vicar, Father Tim. Father Tim is turning sixty and feels like he should give up on being a minister. He feels as if his life is stagnant, his preaching dry, and that the community would be better off with a new rector. He promises one more year, but if things don’t change, then he will retire.

Hmm…

But soon things start changing in his life. A giant black dog shows up at his home and won’t leave. Barnabas, what he names the dog, is strangely only calmed down if one speaks a bible verse at him.

Then a beautiful woman moves in next door. She is scatterbrained, always in need of assistance, and stirs up feelings in the reverend’s dormant heart.

A painting found in an attic is donated to the church which may be a genuine Vermeer.

His best friends are going to have a baby, even though they are in their fifties; his secretary has started a romance with the mailman, he gets a holds-nothing-back housekeeper, and finds himself suddenly fostering a preteen boy.

Someone breaks into the church repeatedly, stealing nothing but food.

Hmm…

Then Father Tim gets word of a jewelry ring operating in the area with them smuggling them through customs in old antiques. Some of the jewels Father Tim finds hidden in an urn in the church. Could someone in the community be involved?

Miss Sadie is the last remaining member of the oldest and richest family in Mitford. She tells Father Tim the story of the love that got away and reveals a secret that has been hidden for over forty years.

So I really loved this book. I thought the characters were fun and realistic. The town felt like it could be your small town, and the characters, the people you know or interact with.

It was so cute how everyone cared about their town and each other-getting in everyone’s business to help out. It made me want to live there.

The back of the book hints at it being more of a mystery, but while there are elements that are puzzling I wouldn’t classify it as a mystery. Well, whatever it is it was a fun book and easy to love.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: Sandcastle Kings

Prom & Prejudice

psychPromjulietshawn

Prom.

Some of us loved it,

I love it!

Some of us hated.

Whether we planned for it

Or ignored it,

it is something that every person in public school in the United States encounters in their lifetime.

It’s true.

For me, I enjoyed prom. I tried to spend as little money as possible on everything and did extremely well. I had a beautiful blue gown, cost $2.50 at a thrift store sale, $8 to get it dry cleaned.

Oh yeah!

My shoes? Beautiful silver heels, extremely comfortable, and free-with the purchase of a bracelet for $8 (Kohl’s cash buy something $8-10, get something $8-10 free).

I like it.

Make-up? Free, my sister did it.

Yep!

Hair? Only $16 as I knew a hairstylist.

Limo? Free, my friend’s date father owned a limousine rental.

Sweet!

Dinner? Free, my friend had coupon that covered everything.

Awesome!

The most expensive thing? $25 tickets. So a total of $59.50, not bad.

But we don’t want to just hear about my experience. Oh no, this is a book review post:

Promandprejudice

Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

**Contains Spoilers**

Yes, if we go through prom, why not the Austen characters? (Or at least Pride & Prejudice Austen characters.)

promaustenmodernday

In Eulberg’s book Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Caroline, Mr. Darcy, Charlotte, Mr. Collins, and Mr. Bingley all get an opportunity to go to prom.

Why not?

This book came out when I was a young adult and I just happened on to it accidentally, started reading and LOVED it! In fact I think it is one of the best modern adaptions.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bennet is a scholarship student at the elite prep school, Longbourn. She was recruited for her musical talent, as she is an accomplished piano player.

07_animpianoorganmusicplayingcreepycarnivalofsouls

Sadly, piano playing is the only nice thing about being there at the school. Everyone treats her horribly as they want her to “know her place.” They dump drinks on her, call her names, give her the wrong room when she asks for directions, etc.

HateYou

She does have two friends in the school, one is a fellow scholarship student, Charlotte, and the other is the incredibly nice Jane.

So Lizzie has just returned from Hoboken, New Jersey to the school from winter break. While she is thinking about the spring concert and her studies; every other girl at Longbourn and every boy at Pemberley (school for boys) have only one thing on the brain: prom.

To not have a date would be the biggest faux pas; so all are prepping and conniving to have the best date.

While Jane is excited for prom, she is also thrilled that Charles Bingley will be returning from England where he spent the previous semester. Before he left the two had been heading toward something, and spent the whole summer emailing and writing; so Jane is eager to see if they  will become more.

 At the welcome back dance Lizzie is pleased to meet Charles as he is extremely nice and appears to be perfect for her friend Jane. Unfortunately, his twin sister Caroline is a real jerk.

Charles also brought his best friend Will Darcy, who is attractive and seems like a good guy, that is until he finds out Elizabeth is a scholarship student and just takes off, major diss.

What a jerk

Later she overhears him saying how he spent a year in London to try and get away from those kinds of people.

Ugh

Elizabeth tries to leave, but is stopped by Colin Williams (Mr. Collins) the only other person nice to her and the most boring person she has ever met.

Blah, blah

Oh, Mr. Collins:

While her way at school is paid, she still needs money to fund everything else and works at the local coffee shop as a barista. She runs into Darcy there, but the fate is sealed. She is not going to like him for anything.

Charles invites Jane and Lizzie to come with him, Caroline, and Darcy as they are headed to Vermont to ski. Lizzie agrees to support Jane although she has no clue about skiing. She decides to just wait inside playing the steinway (piano), doing homework, and sipping hot tea.

The next day everyone heads out to the slopes while Lizzie decides to head to the bookstore to pick up a book for school. Darcy offers her a ride, but Lizzie doesn’t want help. She finally agrees and the two talk on the drive. Darcy doesn’t get why she is being so snobby and down about school, while Lizzie lets everything out about how people are treating her.

That night things go a bit sour as Charles is taking Jane out and Lizzie is to be stuck at the house with her two favorite people, Caroline and Darcy.

Those guys

Darcy isn’t so bad, but Elizabeth Lizzie has to be there while Caroline tries to impress him. She starts with commenting on his email writing, then doing yoga moves, etc. The conversation moves to involve only Lizzie and Darcy, but Caroline doesn’t like that.

They all return to school, and in Lizzie’s case work, and things are back to normal. However, Lizzie meets George “Wick” Wickham who is handsome, charming, and hates Longbourn and Pemberley as much as she does. Wick tells her that Darcy and he became very good friends, but when Darcy’s father was paying too close attention to him Darcy got jealous and had him kicked out.

Charles is having a party and invites all kinds of people. Jane and Lizzie are going of course, and because Jane is going, her sister Lydia squeezes her way in. Jane’s father recently lost his job and that has downgraded her status at the school. It doesn’t help that Lydia is all kids of crazy and embarrassing and can’t stop about prom or boys.

If only she followed this advice.

Wick was supposed to come to the party but changed his mind, leaving Lizzie sad and upset as she wanted to spend the time with him. However, Darcy pays quite a bit attention to her and even asks her to dance.

The night ends even worse with nonstop attention from Colin, Lydia doing a bad dance/rockette/cheerleader routine, and her coat getting stolen. Could things get worse?

The next day things get even worse, as Colin asks her to prom and doesn’t want to take no for an answer. He then insults her and says that she will have no one else ask her poverty-stricken patootie (I added that).

When Elizabeth gets home, she is surprised with a new coat. Life seem to be brightening up, but then the dark cloud comes back as Charles just breaks off contact with Jane as “things came up.”

Two weeks pass and no Charles. He just drops off the face of the earth and poor Jane is heartbroken.

Noooo!

To add to that, it turns out that Wick didn’t consider he and Lizzie a couple, but has been dating a wealthy Longbourn girl who’s family has great connections. What a jerk!

But strangely enough, who should come every day to the coffee shop? Mr Darcy. And not only does he see her every day bit he leaves a big tip.

One day as she was walking, she runs into him and his cousin Fitzpatrick, and discovers that he broke up his friend’s relationship as the girl wasn’t right. Lizzie hooks on that it must be Jane and Charles. She is furious!

She tells Darcy her hours and hopes that he will avoid her. It is the opposite as Darcy seens to come more than ever.

And out of nowhere he drops the bomb:

And he asks her to prom. Elizabeth Lizzie’s reaction?

She is furious with him for Jane, Charles, Wick, Longbourn, everything!

She goes to write an email to her New Jersey friends, but finds one from Darcy instead! His letter contains the following:

  1. He’s had scholarship kids in the past try and get things from him-money, connections, social status, etc.-so now he avoids them. He’s sorry to have been so rude to Elizabeth, but that has became his instant reaction.
  2. He wasn’t the one who really pushed Jane and Charles apart, although he didn’t try and have them be together either.
  3. The guy and girl he was talking about? It was Colin who wanted to ask Lizzie out again and Darcy thought it was a bad idea.
  4. He had Wick kicked out of school because of two reasons:
    1. He got Darcy’s young sister, Georgiana drunk to try to get her to have sex with him.
    2. He broke into their house and stole a bunch of things.

Elizabeth realizes that she thought Darcy was the prejudiced and prideful one, but it turns out that she was as well. Because he was rich she thought the worse of him, and because he hurt her pride she was willing to believe anything horrible that was said of him.

They both are.

Things get weirder as it turns out that Wick and Lydia are “together”.

I guess his rich girlfriend didn’t work out.

Lizzie sees this and is horrified as she now knows that Wick is a sexual predator, looking for young, freshmen girls. She goes to Jane and lets everything out. She is just as shocked when she hears it all.

They keep a tight leash on Lydia and argue whether or not to reveal what happened to Darcy’s sister to keep Lydia away from Wickham. They decide to wait as it isn’t their story to tell.

They are both pleasantly surprised when Charles comes with a bouquet and begs Jane’s forgiveness. And as she is so sweet and adorable, she forgives him.

 Midterms end and Lizzie heads home for break, but she gets an even better surprise. Her piano teacher, Mrs. Gardiner, gives her two tickets to see her favorite pianist, Claudia Reynolds.

When Lizzie and her mother go to the concert they are thrilled with the amazing music, and Elizabeth is floored when she discovers that Claudia Reynolds is Darcy’s mother.

She meets Darcy in his own setting and sees all pretense gone. She also meets his adorable sister and sees how cute their little family is.

The have a great time and even make plans for Darcy and Georgiana to visit her in New Jersey. Their fun trip is cut short when Lydia goes missing with Wick and Lizzie and Darcy set out to find her.

Darcy goes through everywhere that Wick would want to stay at and finds the two utterly wasted in a trashed hotel room. He uses his father’s money and influence to remove Wick and settle the bill.

The rest of the break is uneventful and quiet, with no calls from Darcy. It seems that now that she wants him, nothing is heard from him. Don’t you just hate that? When they return to school Charles has a big dinner party for their friends, but Darcy doesn’t sit with Elizabeth Lizzie or talk to her, no matter how hard she tries to get his attention.

Soon Lizzie’s recital comes up and she rocks (figuratively). Afterwards Darcy asks her out, telling her he was waiting as he didn’t want to break her concentration.

Aw!

However, they will not be going to prom but be going out to enjoy their night together.

I loved this book.

Even though they didn’t follow the book exactly I thought Eulberg was able to capture the life of the characters and bring across what Jane wanted.

The only thing I din’t like was Darcy didn’t take her to prom. Come on, you guys could have just dressed casual or not spent a lot of money. I mean seriously.

Totally!

But there is something that really surprised me. I spotted this in the acknowledgements:

“I’d especially like to thank Stephanie Meyer for being so enthusiastic for my writer life and having that conversation about Pride and Prejudice that led me to the idea for this book.

Stephanie Meyer?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Stephanie Meyer who wrote Twilight?

The horror!

I can’t believe I have to thank her for something good!

Well that aside, it is a fantastic book and I recommend it for any Austen fan.

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Perfectea, A Perfect Cup of Tea or Tea for Two

For more on prom, go to Oh What A Night