Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, from New York Times bestselling author, Melissa de la Cruz, is a sweet, sexy and hilarious gender-swapping, genre-satisfying re-telling, set in contemporary America and featuring one snooty Miss Darcy.
Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family.
Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32-years-old and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?
Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.
Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.
She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.
Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).
She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.
2.5* This was okay. It was cute enough, a fun and quick read, but it didn’t have a lot of substance to it. I felt at times like I was watching a Hallmark movie while at other times I really appreciated what was being said (particularity about Darcy being an independent successful woman). This was super festive so it fulfilled that point, but everything seemed to happen out of the blue which was very odd. I have pretty mixed feelings essentially!
HO HO HO...ly Cow. I can't believe I didn't DNF this one.
This modern-day, gender-swapped version of the classic has about as much charm as Alvin & the Chipmunks singing "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" -- on repeat.
NOTHING about this story makes sense: - Our 29 year old female protagonist (Darcy Fitzwilliam) is continually hounded by friends and family for not being married. Um, hello! This is 2017, not 1950. - Darcy is supposed to be a mega multimillionarie hedge fund manager, but acts like a total ditz. No one could reach that level of professional success at such a young age and be so much of a mess. - Darcy's act of valor to aid the Bennett twins is baffling (as the Bennett twins' behavior is abhorrent) - The book contains silly editing mistakes. For example, the text referrs to Darcy going shopping at Bloomingdales while she's back home in Ohio. There are no Bloomingdales in Ohio (which an editor should have caught).
I could go on, but I need some eggnog to recover from this mess.
Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe is the first book I have read by Melissa de la Cruz. This is a modern day retelling of the classic, Pride and Prejudice.
Darcy Fitzwilliam is a twenty nine year old woman from Pemberly, Ohio that fled small town life to make her fortune in New York in the financial district. And she was successful. She is a multi millionaire and works hard. It has been eight years since she’s been home to see her family in Pemberly. She and her father had parted on bad terms when she didn’t marry the man her father had set his sights on for her. Darcy wanted to be independent. She didn’t want to rely on anyone. She figured that when the right man came along, she would know it. That she would finally feel something for him.
“Anybody who perceived Darcy as coldhearted and callous had misunderstood her. The truth was that beneath her cool exterior was a very warm, very willing heart, waiting patiently to give itself to the right person. She just hadn’t found him yet.”
Darcy has been informed that her mother has suffered a heart attack. So finally, after all these years, she rushes home to be at her mother’s side. But that means it is also time to face her father, and all the other towns people that looked down on her for leaving.
At her family’s annual Christmas party, Darcy is doing her best to try to avoid everyone when she spots the man that gave her a hard time all through high school, Luke Bennet. After a few eggnogs, Darcy might be a little tipsy, but since she and Luke find themselves under the mistletoe, they might as well take advantage of it. Neither of them expected what would happen when their lips met.
Both Luke and Darcy are dealing with on again, off again relationships that need to be figured out. With Darcy, it’s the man that her father originally wanted her to marry. They have continued to date here and there over the years but now he is pressuring Darcy for more. Luke has also had a long term relationship but Luke was just never ready to take the next step with her. Now, she is also giving him the ultimatum, make a decision or we are done. Add in the new found chemistry between Luke and Darcy and they have a mess on their hands.
So, I struggled a bit with this one. It was a sweet story. But Darcy, for me anyway, was really hard to love. She was such a brilliant, successful woman, but she was really emotionally immature. I felt kind of bad for her on again, off again boyfriend, Carl Donovan. Out of all the people involved, I think he got hurt the worst. I didn’t feel bad for Luke’s girlfriend, though. She tried to get what she wanted by manipulating him but shame on him for letting her. I even struggled a bit with Darcy’s interactions with her family. On a positive note, I thought the epilogue was really sweet.
If you are a big Pride and Prejudice fan, then you might really enjoy this. It was a sweet Christmas story, it just didn’t evoke any warm feelings for me. It’s a quick read, though, and I was interested enough to finish it to see how it all ended up.
This book had a great premise, and I really liked the idea of gender-swapped characters as an interesting twist! Sadly, it was terrible. Just, terrible.
Honestly the writing was just bad. I have never read any of this authors books before, so perhaps I just don't like her style of writing, but the whole time it felt like a book written by a preteen who was trying to imagine how adults behaved. This book is shelved in teen, despite all the characters being in their late 20s/early 30s, and it's probably due to the writing.
The characters were petty, shallow and judgmental. We know Darcy is a self-made, wealthy New York business woman, but she comes off as just... an awkward teenager. We never see her behave in a way that would indicate she's a) a grown woman or b) really good at her work. I liked Bingley and Jim, they were cute.
The story was all over the place, the characters spend most of the book drinking and then making bad choices because of the drinking, having stupid arguments and then ~grand reveals~ that suddenly make everything ok. There was also a really annoying habit of dropping in high-end brand names (to emphasis the wealth I guess?) that were really out of place and kept throwing me out of the story. Most of the conflict didn't feel organic (the potential set up at the start between Darcy and her dad had great promise that never played out), but just forced for the sake of moving the story along, or to tie the story to Pride and Prejudice.
All in all, the writing ruined what could have been a good story. Really glad I borrowed this instead of buying it right away!
lmao I hated this. I'm also convinced this was ghost-written or was never edited.
I gave it two stars because it was so much fun and so easy to make fun of it.
This had so much potential to be so awesome and amazing but instead it was rushed, full of plot holes, and so many redemption arc's that I constantly felt like I was on a swinging ferris wheel that would never end.
This was more a story of privilege being constantly thrown in other people's faces and less about Jane Austen's original story being rehashed and retold. I LOVE Pride and Prejudice, and usually most adaptations are somewhat fun, but this crossed over from fun to disappointing to disgusting towards the end that I sped through it just to continue making fun of it with a friend.
Also there was zero mentions of a Mr. Collins and "excellent boiled potatoes" so 0/10 would not recommend.
I read several reviews for this book and everyone said they hated it. So I had low expectations but I actually liked it. Maybe its because I've never read Pride & Prejudice or maybe its because I rate Christmas books much more kindly then I do other books.
Darcy Fitzwilliam our "heroine" is just awful. I wanted to drown her or run her over with a car the whole time I was reading. She is snobby, self centered, petulant, and condescending. At first I thought maybe its just me that feels that way but no ALL the other characters felt that way too. I don't need to like my MC but a lot of people do. If you are one of those people you won't like this book. If unlikable and complicated women turn you off then Darcy is not your girl.
Pride & Prejudice & Mistletoe is a cute, fun read. By the end of the book I no longer wanted her to die painfully. Which I think is the point of the story. Like the Grinch Darcy's heart grow a couple sizes and she let her guard down.
I may be in the minority here but I liked this book and would recommend it.
According to my profile page I am currently reading TWENTY-FOUR books. That is a boldface lie. I NEVER read more than one book at a time and since I was on vacation all last week I wasn’t even listening to an additional book to count as a plus one. I’m starting to tackle Mount Need To Review with this one because the Hallmark nonstop Christmas movies are my kryptonite and not only did this happen . . . .
But then the EXACT. SAME. DAY. I read it, this happened on the television . . . .
(You probably can’t zoom, but it’s totally the same damn thing.)
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd to top it all off???? It starred . . . . .
I thought Candace Cameron Bure was my one and only when it came to these effing movies, but I was sorely mistaken.
Anywho(ville), this was exactly what it claimed to be – a gender/bender version of my fave - P&P. If I had watched the film before reading the book I would have declared it a 5 Star Hallmark holiday selection because Darcy was so much more likeable in film format, Luke was an up-and-comer in his own profession, the pacing was waaaaay better and there was no bonus bullshit thrown in at the end that I hate. However, since I did read the book first I was a little bummed that the powers that be decided to “pray the gay away” or whatever the heck they want to call it and made Bingley not only straight, but also a woman . . . .
All in all, though, this was pretty much just what I needed so it gets 3 Stars.
Full Review: Thank you so much to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with a copy of this delightful “Pride and Prejudice” retelling by Melissa de la Cruz to read and review. I absolutely adored it! This super-cute retelling features a female Darcy Fitzwilliam and a male Luke Bennett, along with a delightful modernized cast of characters that give this a great 2017 twist.
We all know the story from Lizzy Bennett’s perspective… where Darcy is aloof and believes himself entirely too good for her. This was a great twist by placing us entirely in Darcy’s head and leaving our Bennett character’s motivations a bit more in the dark. I found the changes in characterization just delightful. The change of brothers versus sisters made for a great twist… I’m all for switching things up a bit in fairy tale and other retellings… otherwise it’s just the same tale repeated with nothing new to offer… and I LOVED how much Melissa de la Cruz had to add to her version of the tale. Bingley as the best friend still worked marvelously and I won’t give away spoilers but I loved the side plot there, too.
There were more twists and turns in terms of the romance than the original tale, but that was a necessary change for 2017 since there were no longer the same class conventions keeping them apart. I found the creativity and storytelling quite enjoyable and definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a good holiday romance.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author.
Darcy Fitzwilliam is twenty nine and extremely career orientated much to the dismay of her family. She doesn't like heading home to visit and getting the same old treatment of when she'll settle down and get married and would much prefer to continue to throw all of her attention at her career. However when Darcy gets a call to tell her that her mother has taken ill she immediately head back to Pemberley, Ohio to see to her mother and spend the holiday season with her family.
After Darcy arrives she only wants to spend time with her mother but finds herself pushed to attend the annual family Christmas bash that of course they haven't canceled. After a few drinks to get her through the night Darcy finds herself running into Luke Bennet under the mistletoe in which afterwards Darcy can't get him out of her mind. Things of course are never simple for Darcy and she finds herself torn between the two men and her family and career.
Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz is a modern day retelling of the classic Pride and Prejudice which adds it's own flavor to the story by switching up the genders. This story has been brought into the current times with it's characters and settings and reads more of a cute contemporary romance in today's world but of course has that touch of reminder of the original story.
My advice when picking up this version of a classic would be to not go into it expecting it to live up to the original. I actually enjoyed the tale with the changes the author made but thought of this one more as a lighthearted rom-com type of read than comparing every little detail to the original story which allowed me to enjoy this one and it's own story and found that to be a rather cute one in the end. It moved at a rather quick pace and could probably have used a bit more depth but was otherwise a likable romance when finished for me.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
This was bad. Real bad -- though, yes, I did still read it.
I have a soft spot for Pride and Prejudice adaptations. Every now and then one I find one that's well written and it conjures up just a little bit of the same magic I felt when reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time as a teenager. This, however, is not that book.
I liked the idea of the a gender swap but nothing could save me from the insipid characters. It felt like someone read the book cover of P&P and was like "oh they don't like each other but then they do! And one of them is rich and the other isn't! GOT THIS!" Instead of being motivated by differing senses of propriety and what is right, it's like each person is more selfish than the next. "Sure I'll string this person along for decades because no biggie right, right?"
Leaving aside how unlikeable everyone is, there was also just no tension for me. I won't spoil it by saying Darcy and Luke literally make out the first time we see them meet - WELL GEE, DO YOU THINK THEY MIGHT LIKE EACH OTHER?
OH. There's also the whole Darcy is literally only motivated by money thing. She literally raised herself on Ayn Rand and books about increasing her wealth. SHE'S REALLY REALLY THE WORST.
Other pain points to note:
- Her parents are idiots. It is completely unclear why it takes them a decade to have a real conversation with her. - Why does no one have an issue with literally everyone living at home? How is this not weird? - THE PRINCIPAL. WTF. Why on earth does the principal get bought off so easily by a random person barging in? - Darcy's clear mental breakdown. No seriously, if anyone flipped their behavior as much as her I'd be sending them to a psychiatrist.
Let’s start with the positives, shall we? A genderflipped Pride and Prejudice is an interesting idea, as is swapping around the names of the guys from Pride and Prejudice so they still go by Darcy (now female) and Bingley (still a guy and gay). The Bennet boys are now Luke, Jim, Kit, and Lyle, and Darcy has three brothers who I’ve already forgotten because they don’t matter.
Bingley and Jim Bennet are adorable. They get a meet cute and fall head over heels, moving very quickly which is both noted and hand-waved in text. Unfortunately, their relationship disappears about the halfway mark and is only mentioned once after that.
The writing is not the best… grammatically, it’s mostly okay, apart from perhaps too many long sentences and that time when Darcy “power-walked clumsily to the bed". There is a tendency towards telling rather than showing, and the middle of a kiss is not the appropriate time to internally monologue about Christmases Past. However, it’s the editing where it really falls down. There are continuity issues, inconsistent characterisation and backstory, characters reacting to things that hadn’t actually been said, and a minor twist is revealed only retrospectively at 96%. The author even gets her parents’ names wrong once.
I’m very much not a fan of the main character, Darcy Fitzwilliam. She received a well-deserved smackdown at 50% and instead of learning from it, everyone around her falls over themselves to convince her that it was undeserved and she’s like the best person ever. Even said smackdown-er apologises at least twice. The whole point of the Lizzie Bennet Smackdown (tm) is that it's right! And Darcy learns! And apologises! Not the other way around. She really is a terrible person who strings her high school sweetheart along for about twelve years afterwards "as a constant ego booster" and thinks buying her assistant a Christmas gift makes her not selfish! Her declaration of love comes when both of them are engaged to other people! Her own father acknowledges that she’s selfish and entitled but that’s okay because it’s a family trait. She doesn’t learn anything! Ever!
There’s also a bit of internalised misogyny as she is ashamed to like Britney Spears and Gilmore Girls, calling Kate Middleton a “social climbing puppet”. She constantly asserts that she doesn’t need a guy to be happy and then is unhappy until she gets the guy. This has the unfortunate implication that even if you’re happy and successful alone, you’re secretly not happy and would be happier with a husband and child, which… no.
Overall, this book was a great idea but has inconsistent editing and a selfish main character. Its only redeeming point is a cute side couple who disappear too quickly. I can’t really recommend it.
I received a copy of this story from the author through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I could not get into this one and De La Cruz did not really try to make the character's more original and modernized version of Austen's characters. I should have not bothered I really do not like De La Cruz's writing and this one was no different.
While I liked the idea of a gender-swapped Pride and Prejudice, and there were things about this I liked, I don't think it had all the emotional depth or the romantic feels of the original.
Darcy Fitzwilliam is a 29 year old partner at the second largest -- or was it second most-successful? Or both? -- hedge fund in Manhattan. She's the third wealthiest woman under the age of 29 in Manhattan. (Not sure who keeps track of that but ohhkkay....)
After her mother takes ill, Darcy rushes home for the first time in years to spend Christmas at the family estate in Pemberley, Ohio. (These were a couple of my stumbling blocks. Nothing against Ohio, I've been there and it's very pretty, but it just didn't seem like a place you'd find an ancestral estate. And her "estrangement" from her family over the fact that she wanted a career rather than marriage in her early 20s seemed a bit flimsy.)
In any case, at a family Christmas party, she meets her longtime high school nemesis, Luke Bennet.
I thought it was fun to see Lizzie turned into a guy wearing a tool belt and to see Lizzie Bennet's troublesome younger sisters, Kitty and Lydia, as high school delinquents. I liked that Jane Bennet was turned into a guy named Jim in a romance with Darcy's best guy friend, Bingley Charles.
But I also thought that having the story told from the richer/snobbier character's point of view didn't always work for me. A lot of the tension of the original revolves around Lizzie and Jane being poor and pressured to marry well. A lot of the romantic misunderstanding revolves around having Lizzie mistake Darcy's reserve as disdain. In some ways Lizzie's character reminded me more of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol than proud, proper Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Since we're actually in Darcy's head/POV for the whole book, we can see that she IS kind of snobby and materialistic, which didn't help me connect with her character. Also, this story had a sort-of love quadrangle, in which Darcy and Luke are engaged for a time to other people. (In the original, I'm pretty sure Darcy's possible relationship with Anne DeBourgh and Lizzie's proposal from Mr. Collins were possible betrothals, not actual engagements.)
In short: loved the gender-flip, but wished this had been a dual POV and that Darcy Fitzwilliam had been a workaholic rather than a shopaholic!
I am so, so disappointed by this. I've read a few reviews where people say that you shouldn't compare it to the original because of course nothing can live up to it. But the thing is, the author left the original title in the title of her book! How can you not compare!? This isn't just a story that's "inspired by" Pride and Prejudice, it's a retelling with a bit of a twist.
Now, I love the idea of the gender-swapped Lizzie and Darcy. I think that it's a really interesting idea and could have started such great conversations the way Austen's Pride and Prejudice does, but de la Cruz does not execute it well. De la Cruz tried really hard to stay close to Austen's original storyline and I think for a gender-swapped story, that just doesn't work. A lot would need to be changed to make it fit and flow better no matter what time period it takes place in.
Also, I feel like this was way, way, way too short and we barely scratch the surface of who these characters are which leaves them feeling shallow and flat. There isn't a single character in this book that I actually care about and I didn't really care about what happened to them. Honestly, I feel like the author didn't really understand the source materials characters very well or didn't do a well enough job making them her own.
Everything felt forced and almost as if it were purposely exaggerated to be almost comical - I mean, less than TWO DAYS with Bingley and Jim!?!? Her family bought her Christmas presents for eight years in the hope that she will return AND NOT ONCE do they have an adult conversation about this!? And the way Darcy goes back and forth all the time is weird - one minute she's ready to quit her job and cash out, the next she's freaking out because she doesn't want to leave her job and New York? So much just didn't make sense.
Even if you take out the comparison to Austen's Pride and Prejudice and read it as a romantic, winter novel it's still not very good. I haven't read anything else by Melissa de la Cruz, so I can't compare it to her other books and decide if her style isn't for me or if it's just this one book.
I don't often one-star books that I've finished, but this is a book in which I make an exception.
If you are one to pick up a few fluffy holiday reads, then Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe will definitely put you in the holiday spirit. The story is a unique retelling of the classic, with its gender swap. However, there isn’t much substance to the plot.
I am a huge fan of holiday books, so when I first heard about this book, I was really excited. It is quite a short story, which is something that actually draws me into a book like this because it is one that you can pick up and read quite quickly during the busy Christmas season. The holiday party at the beginning of the novel really sets the scene for a fun seasonal read.
There have been quite a few retellings of Pride and Prejudice over the years, but this is the first one that has a female Darcy that I have heard of. I really enjoyed this concept and the character of Darcy is definitely an interesting one. Darcy starts off as a bit of an unlikable character, but as the story goes on and we learn more of her backstory, her personality softens quite a bit.
I try not to expect too much from a fun seasonal read, but I would have enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe more if the plot was a little bit more realistic. Some of the events just seemed to be a bit far-fetched and a little bit confusing. That being said, the story moved along quickly and I really liked the ending, so there are some redeeming aspects to this one.
While Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe wasn’t as epic as I had hoped for, it is still a cute holiday themed read. The gender swap is one that gives this retelling a different flair. If you are looking for a fast-paced novel to jump into over the Christmas season, this may be a book that fits the bill.
I received an ARC from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.
I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.
I love a good holiday romance and I love Pride and Prejudice re-tellings, so Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe looked like it would be perfect for me. While it was a fun read, it ended up falling short of my (pretty high) expectations.
I loved the idea of a gender-swapped Pride and Prejudice. I can’t think of any other re-tellings I’ve read that took that angle. I also like the idea of getting Darcy’s POV instead of Elizabeth’s (or Luke’s, in this case). Unfortunately I felt like this was more of an “inspired by” then a true re-telling. If it wasn’t for the names of the characters (Darcy Fitzwilliam, Bingley Charles, Luke Bennett) and the title of the book I’m not really sure if I would’ve even noticed that it was supposed to be a re-telling. That said, the story wasn’t bad. It was a very quick and easy read and had many cute or funny moments.
Darcy was pretty unlikable, which was ok in the beginning because she was kind of supposed to be. However, I don’t think she ever became more likable. Even though she was supposed to be this brilliant, successful woman, she was super immature and self-centered and kind of oblivious. There’s several scenes where she explains how she’s just super confident and driven, and not snobby or selfish, but honestly I just didn’t buy it. I was rooting for her, though, and she did make some strides when it came to her family. Luke was more likable, but we actually don’t get a lot of him. There is not very much time spent with Luke and Darcy together before they are officially together, so I had a hard time really shipping them as a couple. We do get more of them together in the end, which I liked.
One thing that does kind of bug me, which is not the book’s fault, is that the synopsis sounds pretty different than the actual story. Darcy doesn’t really date the type of guys mentioned, I don’t recall a mention of multiple cell phones, and she comes home to see her mom, despite her estranged father and three brothers she’s never really liked. Luke is described as less ambitious than Darcy, but I don’t think he was ever referred to as a slacker. The “fall into bed” statement is also misleading. There were also some continuity issues within the story that bothered me. I’m hoping that those are just ARC issues, though, and will be ironed out in the finished copy.
Overall, Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe was a cute, quick, and easy read. I loved the concept for the book even though it didn’t quite live up to it’s potential. I think hard core Pride and Prejudice fans will find it a little lacking, but if you’re looking for a nice holiday romance I would recommend checking this out.
I am a huge Pride & Prejudice/Austen fan, so I was anticipating a modern-day retelling of P&P – because I lap them up! Austen fans can be rabid and I consider myself fairly easy going in several ways [in regard to reading.] That being said, this book was disappointing. I did expect more from this.
Darcy moved away from Pemberley, Ohio to New York City to make something of herself and to move out from under her overbearing father. She became a successful businesswoman, being part of the number one Hedge Fund companies and eight years later she still hasn’t visited home. Except when her mother has a heart attack she rushes back home.
Immediately it is displayed that Darcy is rather shallow, mean-spirited and selfish. We are all open to interpret Darcy as we will, but as a die-hard fan, it seems rather blasphemous because these are all things Darcy wasn’t.
Every one of the beloved characters seems to be genderbent, some roles are somewhat toyed with here. The primary one happened to be, none other than Lizzie, of course. Except this version is Luke, he’s cocky, arrogant and his plot twist cheapened the relationship or would-be relationship between Darcy and himself.
There were multiple instances where I just felt as though something was thrown into the book to shock the reader or something that was added in to just add more flare. It made it highly unrealistic, it lost its authentic feel along the way. Everyone is the richest or most famous. Best at this, or best at that. It is riddled with Mary/Gary Sues. Perhaps I would be okay with that – except there was no depth to the story and one of my favorite stories seems to be mocked.
Definitely not the best way to start the month. Let's be honest: it was boring and so unimaginative. It reads pretty quickly, that's a fact, but does it read pretty fast because it's good or because there isn't much to the story? Second option unfortunately.
Pick the most basic contemporary you've ever read set in a small town in America, and that's it, that's the book. There is no chemistry between Darcy and Luke, the side characters are a bunch of clichés, we know nearly nothing about Luke who's supposed to be Elizabeth Bennet, and Darcy who is said to be super smart doesn't know how to think before she acts ...
It wasn't necessarily bad, but definitely not good either.
I saw this book last year and was intrigued by a modern gender-bender holiday Pride & Prejudice variation and also was interested in trying this author's books for the first time. But, didn't get around to it until now thanks to a remarkable blessing known as my sister in law gifting it to me.
This was one of those variations that takes great liberties with the classic it is based on. In fact, that is the first adjustment someone looking for Jane Austen will need to make, quickly. But, the good news is that those less familiar or not at all familiar with P&P can still pick this one up and do well with the storyline and characters.
Personally, I could appreciate this story best by pretending it had little to do with the story it was based on. I enjoyed that it delivered a dramatic story that kept me wondering how things would turn out. It was interesting working out all the ties to the original which was done in unusual ways. Some worked for me and left me amused while others not so much. It was an interesting dynamic that Darcy was the oldest of four siblings with her parents being alive unlike Austen's character who only had one far younger sibling. Then instead of five sisters, the Bennets are made up of brothers one of which is Bingley's love interest.
There is romance, but it has to stay secondary to Darcy figuring herself out and making some big life choices once she does. Not to mention, she and her love interest had prior attachments they needed to work out before they could even consider getting up to something together. Early on, there was also the part where she is convinced that she hated Luke, hated his small town ways, hated that *gasp* he was in trade and not interested in the big bucks and money, and hated how he was the only one she felt vulnerable around besides her dad. But, on the other hand, Luke was no stalwart knight, either. He was wishy-washy and let himself get manipulated. He was as judgmental as she was. This leads me to say, unsurprisingly, that I didn't really care for the heroine, Darcy, from start to nearly finish nor for Luke.
I wanted to like and respect her because I was totally onboard with her decision to choose her own spouse, career, and lifestyle, even if that meant leaving town, but she was derisive about a whole town and anything not smacking of wealth and white collar career ambition. It was well past the half way point when she got a clue about herself, others, and how things really were and not just how she painted it to be in her head.
There is also something to be said for the fact that I felt like I was reading YA because of the maturity level of the characters and the author's voice in the story. Darcy was in her late twenties and supposedly a success in a billion dollar business and the others were twenty somethings so I shouldn't have been getting that vibe.
So, I don't want to give the impression that I hated this book. I didn't hate it; rather, I liked it a little. I felt it was missing a sparkle around the main characters and lacked chemistry in the relationships, had some awkward dialogue moments, but there was still enough to keep my interest and have me okay with how things ended even though I ground my teeth each time the 'misunderstood' theme about Darcy was mentioned.
I would recommend this book, but caution folks not to look for sugary sweet romance, heartwarming family and friends scenes, and an immediately engaging heroine. Treat it like a women's fiction and give the personal growth time to develop so your expectation is more moderate.
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Modern-day Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice
SETTING: Pemberley Ohio, almost Christmas
- Darcy Fitzwilliam: An independent, wealthy, but lonely hedge fund investor who left her hometown and didn’t look back eight years ago. - Bingley Charles: Her best friend from high school who moved to LA to be an actor. - Luke Bennet: Darcy’s childhood arch-rival who works in Pemberley as a carpenter. - Carl Donovan: Darcy’s on-again-off-again boyfriend that Darcy’s father wanted her to marry.
In this gender-swap retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Darcy Fitzwilliam has spent the last eight years estranged from her father and with little contact with anyone from her hometown. But her mother’s heart attack scare has her rushing home. Even though Darcy’s mother’s health improves, Darcy stays in Pemberley for a few days because a part of her is tired of the loneliness and emptiness of her life. While there, she encounters many classmates from her past, comes to terms with some hard realizations about her life, and makes some decisions about her future.
WHAT I LOVED:
- Successful Gender Swap: Sometimes P&P gender-swap stories aren’t my favorite because they portray such an unlikable and insufferable female Darcy. And I find it challenging to admire a book when I can’t admire the heroine. That wasn’t the case in this story. This Darcy isn’t too proud or arrogant, she is driven and respects herself. I loved how we saw this Darcy’s softer and more vulnerable side and her romantic ideals that she keeps to herself. Plus it’s easy to love a heroine who finds comfort in rewatching Gilmore Girls episodes! 😉 In addition, I loved that Bingley Charles was Darcy’s gay best friend!
- Engaging Premise and Conflict: I enjoyed how Ms. de la Cruz centered her story from Darcy’s perspective and how she introduced some conflict within Darcy’s family. There is still some pride, prejudice, and bad history between characters, but this story follows a refreshingly different path. Luke Bennet is not someone she just met, but a classmate who has always pushed her buttons. And even though there is some intense chemistry between the two, there are one or two roadblocks that prevent them from pursuing each other.
- Festive Holiday Spirit: With lots of eggnog, mistletoe, and caroling this holiday read is sure to get you into the festive spirit! I love stories with a holiday backdrop. But I also I thought setting this story during the holiday season served the author’s purpose well of bringing all these families and classmates together.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Abrupt and Sometimes Unbelievable: While I am fine with occasionally suspending my disbelief, some events in this story started to feel a little far-fetched. The quickly decided engagements, the abrupt jump from making out to declaring love, and Luke’s total 180 (although it is later explained) – all contributed to me feeling that some plot points weren’t well developed. In addition, some aspects of the story just didn’t feel plausible, such as a school principal and secretary working in their offices on Christmas Day (that isn’t a thing!) and Darcy’s lack of a relationship with her brothers all these years (Darcy was estranged from her father, did all 3 of her brothers excommunicate her too? If so, why?)
- Backtracking: (Spoiler Alert!) In a different turn of events, after Darcy and Luke get together Darcy starts to dwell on how Luke misjudged her and thought she was snobby and selfish. And then, she passive aggressively picks a fight instead of maturely bringing up her concerns. I wasn’t a fan of this development, or how Luke was so easily manipulated by his ex. The ending would have been better without this flare up.
Regardless of my complaints, I found myself enjoying this festive and fun holiday read! In the midst of the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, taking an afternoon to curl up under a blanket and read about finding love, repairing relationships, and coming together at Christmas is just the thing to get you into the holiday spirit!
If you throw a classic love story into a pot, add a few unexpected twists to the mix, and sprinkle it with some Christmas cheer, some familial angst, and some naughty bits, that’s pretty much what this book is all about.
Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz is as the title suggests a Christmas-themed spin on Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice. This novel however, also features some interesting gender-swaps and it is set in present time New York, within a fictional small town called Pemberley, Ohio.
Darcy Fitzwilliam, our heroine, is a beautiful, successful, and brilliant business woman who has never been in love. When she returns home to visit with her estranged family over Christmas, she bumps into her childhood rival Luke Bennet, and her life suddenly takes a dramatic turn for the romantic.
I appreciate the fact that Darcy Fitzwilliam was written as a strong, independent, and business savvy woman with an interesting inner life. I also liked Luke Bennet, the slightly antagonistic furniture carpenter who seems to be completely at peace with his small-town life. They are interesting opposites to each other, however, I found it hard to like Darcy. I also thought that the build-up to their romance was a little rushed and would have liked for some more back and forth between the two of them before they officially became an item. The relationship I ended up appreciating the most was that of Darcy and her gay best friend Bingley as it felt genuine. It was easy to picture the two of them sipping drinks together, making snide remarks about people in public and fussing over each other’s love lives.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I usually don’t enjoy straight up romance novels, so that is saying something. The romantic and sexy parts of the novel did not feel awkward or cliché. There were also some genuinely funny and emotional moments where I caught myself smiling along with the characters, or feeling upset on their behalf.
However, there were a few formatting and timeline issues in this novel that bothered me to such an extent that I completely lost the flow of the narrative, especially during the last chapter of the book. I also thought that the reason behind Darcy’s familial estrangement felt a little flimsy in such a contemporary setting. When I discovered why her relations with her father were so strained I felt disappointed, like there should be more to it.
In addition, the synopsis of the book is a little bit misleading. It mentions several things that never make an appearance in the book at all and paint a very different picture of who Darcy is as a character.
In conclusion, I found Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe to be an enjoyable quick read, and an interesting twist on the original novel, but I would clarify that it leans more towards being lightly “inspired by” the original, more so than being a modern re-telling of the story. Diehard fans of Jane Austen might not be the intended audience for this book, but if you like fun and light romance stories, and you are in the market for a laid-back Christmas read, this would be a book for you!
I was pretty disappointed with this book. It's a gender-swapped Pride & Prejudice that does not stay at all true to the source material. I thought I would be able to relate to Darcy-a career-oriented woman--but it seems like she's only career-oriented because she likes money. Sigh. 2 stars. Full review coming soon.
Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe. A very pleasant read to get all excited ready for Christmas. For the past eight years Darcy Fitzwiliam has lived in New York. Now after eight years she has returned home to Pemberley, Ohio, to see her mother who has had a heart attack. Her parents house is decorated with festive ribbon and of course hanging from the chandlers is fresh mistletoe. How exciting Darcy has arrived home just in time for annual Christmas party. At the party she meets her old neighbour and high-school friend Luke Bennett. Under the mistletoe Darcy and Luke kiss, but why did she kiss Luke twice he is engaged, and why did Luke kiss Darcy back both times? A great retelling romance of Pride and Prejudice at Christmas time.