Lizzie is astounded to learn that this year, things at her precious school are changing. Not only are they doubling the population by adding boys to the formerly girls only school, but she has learned they also plan to change the name. The Jane Austen Academy is near and dear to her heart and she’ll fight tooth and nail with every journalistic bone in her body to prevent such a disastrous change. She’d stay focused a little better if snooty Dante would quit distracting her. The fact that he is attractive as sin goes out the window every time he opens his arrogant mouth. Can she ignore him long enough to accomplish her goals or is she doomed to fall under his spell?
Lizzie is a pretty relatable character. She’s struggling to hold onto tradition while the world around her moves on without really caring. Lizzie is determined to make them care. This year was supposed to be an easy year, rooming with Ellie, her BFF, but no such luck. Not only is she not roomie with Ellie, she is stuck with her nemesis, Anne and the headmistress blackmails her into staying there. Things look bleak at best, but she will make it work and she won’t let her friendship with Ellie fade just because they can’t room together or because Ellie’s new roommate becomes fast friends with her.
Anne isn’t as bad as Lizzie made her out to be. She’s not really uppity or snobby at all, just quiet and diligent and completely in love with the Academy. I really like Anne quite a bit more and I’m ready for her story.
Dante is everything he is supposed to be in a Darcy reincarnation. He’s snooty and quiet and kinda mean, but not really, just untrusting and unforgiving. Those are two traits I can relate to all too well, so I’m in no position to judge. I do think he is quite a bit overbearing with Georgiana, especially in this modern setting.
This is a Pride & Prejudice retelling. I love almost any incarnation of that story. I especially love the BBC mini series Lost In Austen, so it’s clear I’m okay with changing the rules up a bit, as long as we remain faithful to the original tale in spirit. In that regard, this succeeds. I love the idea of taking the main characters from Austen’s six novels and placing them in one story. Bravo Gray for a wonderful idea. Really, it’s a promising start. My problem is it wasn’t extremely well fleshed out. This novel is short, like less than 200 pages, and I feel like that isn’t room enough to do a P&P retelling, much less add in characters from the other works and do it properly. Lizzie and Dante’s story felt very rushed and a bit instalove-y, though the word love was never uttered.
But, despite my issues, the writing is good and the plot is interesting and it’s very readable (a term I seem to use a lot lately). It feels like the first or second draft to a story that will be epic if we just add and edit a bit more. Get it to 300 pages and I’ll probably fall in love with all the extras you’ve added. I do plan on reading the sequels because I feel this series has great potential and I want to see if it grows into more than what this one showed me.
****Thank you to Gray Life LLC for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****