Some of us loved it,
Some of us hated it.
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.
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.
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.
Hair? Only $16 as I knew a hairstylist.
Limo? Free, my friend’s date father owned a limousine rental.
Dinner? Free, my friend had coupon that covered everything.
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:
Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Yes, if we go through prom, why not the Austen characters? (Or at least Pride & Prejudice Austen characters.)
In Eulberg’s book Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Caroline, Mr. Darcy, Charlotte, Mr. Collins, and Mr. Bingley all get an opportunity to go to prom.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- He wasn’t the one who really pushed Jane and Charles apart, although he didn’t try and have them be together either.
- 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.
- He had Wick kicked out of school because of two reasons:
- He got Darcy’s young sister, Georgiana drunk to try to get her to have sex with him.
- 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.
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.
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?
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