Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz, published by Hodder on 16th November 2017
As partner at a major New York hedge fund, Darcy's only serious relationship is with her work cellphone. The truth is, she's too busy being successful and making money to have time for Christmas... let alone to allow romance into her life.
But this year Darcy is coming home to Pemberley, Ohio, for the holidays. There, she runs into her old neighbour and high-school foe Luke Bennet - the oldest of five wayward brothers. When Darcy's enmity with Luke is re-opened, along with a hefty dollop of sexual chemistry... well, sparks are sure to fly. Can Darcy fall in love - or will her pride, and Luke's prejudice against big-city girls, stand in their way?
A contemporary Pride and Prejudice retelling with a difference, involving gender swapping and a small town place called Pemberley, Ohio. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book when I first picked it up. Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favourite classics and I was curious to see how Melissa De La Cruz was going to put a fresh spin on the story. For the most part, I really enjoyed it, although there was never any doubt that Austen's original would be knocked off its perch.
The main character Darcy Fitzwilliam, is now a woman. Yes, that took me a minute to wrap my head around too. She is a successful partner in a New York hedge fund and is extremely wealthy. Like mega-bucks wealthy. She has the means to buy anything she could want, but the one thing she has failed to attain so far is love. When her mother is taken seriously ill, she returns home to her family for Christmas - the first time in years that she has returned Pemberley. At her family's Christmas party she meets Luke Bennet, who she once went to school. Sparks fly and before you know it Darcy has fallen heard for her own small town guy.
The gender-swapping aspect of the novel actually worked really well. It was interesting to see Darcy being the successful and independent businesswoman who has never had time to find real love, while Luke has never left Pemberley and has four brothers to contend with. In the original, a lot of the sub-plot revolves around Lizzie's sister Jane and her romance with Mr Bingham. This time, Jane is now Jim, Luke's older brother and Bingley is Darcy's gay best friend. I thought Jim and Bingley were really sweet together and this was a good way of bringing the story more up-to-date.
The story itself was pretty predictable and resembled quite a light-hearted rom-com that I finished fairly quickly. I enjoyed a new spin on a classic tale and the festive touches particularly appealed to my love of Christmas. If you are a fan of the original then sit back, curl up and enjoy this contemporary re-telling which I guarantee will make you want to dig out your battered old copy of Austen and read it all over again.