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A Case of First Impression

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What if George Wickham hadn't married into the Bennet family?

A Case of First Impression — a modern twist on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – gives George and his accomplice, Mrs. Younge, the alternate endings they deserve. George Wickham's 21st Century counterpart, George Wickersham, is more corrupt than the original, but then again, who knows what the original is up to when he goes off to "enjoy himself in London or Bath."

Elyse Barret, an updated version of Elizabeth, narrates this modern tale. She’s the only family member her father trusts to keep an eye on Mrs. Younge's criminal trial, which involves a modern Mr. Darcy as a key witness.

214 pages, ebook

Published March 24, 2019

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A.M. Blair

4 books2 followers

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for Mary.
546 reviews11 followers
April 23, 2019

Dear Reader,

Our story is centred on the court case,the Commonwealth vs Margaret Younge,where she is being tried for aiding and abetting Mr Wickersham for trafficking women,to work,as unpaid slaves,in his ‘cleaning business’.

Quite an interesting and refreshing premise,it was great to see a modern slant on this story.

The Barrets own a tea shop and bakery,the backbone of which is,unsurprisingly,Elyse and Jayne,their parents,as in cannon,preferring to adopt a rather laissez-fairy attitude to the business.

Colin Williams,a distant relation,has invested in their business,Charlotte Luken,a family friend makes a brief appearance,and the Gardiners,in the guise of Julia and Eddie,are now looking after a quiet Lyla,still embarrassed and humiliated at the potential consequences of fleeing with none other than Mr Wickersham.

What I liked about this story were the various parallels between the original and this modern story,Daren Fayed and Elyse fail to to get off to a good start,she jumps to conclusions,and aware of their financial difficulties,he helps them gain potentially lucrative business contacts.

What I missed were the presence of Mr Bingley and his relationship with Jayne,chemistry and page time between Daren and Elyse,and too much time devoted to recipes and the menus in the cafe.

Also,it’s a short story,and I would have liked to have known more.
Profile Image for The Captain.
1,067 reviews360 followers
March 30, 2022
Ahoy there me mateys!  This be a contemporary retelling of a classic  title. I picked this book in 2019.  It be a pride & prejudice retelling.  I don't normally read them but this one focused on the trial of George Wickham's associate.  The combo of P&P and law is what drew me in.  It was okay.  This is likely due to the fact that I have never loved a P&P retelling. However, this concept was different and I wanted to see how it would play out.

I found I didn't really love the trial aspects and thought they got in the way of the story.  I rather enjoyed the different take on the Bennett family and the bakery that they run.  I would have liked to see more of this version of Mary.  Though I always want Mary to have a better story, not get subsumed by her family, and have a better ending.  I did like seeing more of Lydia and would have loved seeing more of Charlotte.  I think the characters were the best part of the book.

It was a quick read that entertained so I have no regrets.  Arrr!

Side Note: Ye can no longer get this on Amazon. The author was kind enough to give an explanation "Thank you for reading A Case of First Impression! I appreciate your feedback. I decided to pull it from Amazon. The early reviews were positive, but it stopped selling after receiving a certain number of low stars (without reviews to help future readers know if they would feel similarly or differently). I found it challenging to find the right audience for this story, which combines elements of many genres (classic retelling, legal drama, romantic elements without enough romance for some readers, etc.). I still love the story, so I’m planning to make it available on another platform in the future, but I might re-write parts of it to make it acceptable to a wider audience. There are a lot of copies out there, so people who already have it on their Kindles might give it a try. Thanks again for reading and reviewing it."
Profile Image for Melanie Page.
Author 4 books83 followers
April 26, 2019
I’ve been following blogger Amal @ The Misfortune of Knowing for several years. Her mixture of books and law have taught me so much about copyright, interpretation of law, and how individuals like herself are fighting daily for civil rights — in the court room! She’s also the mother of lovely twins and their younger sibling, about whom we read frequently when Amal shares thoughts about guiding — not censoring — young readers. As if she didn’t do enough, Amal also writes books! To support her work, I’ve purchased all four novels Amal has published. A Case of First Impression, her newest novel and the first of her work that I’ve read, was just released. I will try to be as honest as possible in my review, though my fondness for Amal (notice that I’m even using her first name) will inevitably make me biased to some degree.

A Case of First Impression explores a facet of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice — what happened between Lidia and Wickham when they ran off together? Amal updates her setting, shifting the story to a 21st century bakery and courtroom in Pennsylvania. The characters have new names; they’re similar to Austen’s original crew. This is where I confess that I’ve never read Pride & Prejudice. Say what you will, but Austen’s style of using semi-colons where we don’t today, and describing every little detail, make my eyes droopy. I do try, and I do understand why readers love her work. Like every Darcy-loving weirdo out there, I love Colin Firth in the BBC mini series and understand the plot of Pride & Prejudice as it is told in that rendition.

The novel focuses on Lyla Barret’s time with George Wickersham. When we meet George in the past, he throws on the charm so that Elyse Barret thinks he’s grand. But in the present scenes, he’s already convicted of human trafficking, and attempting to traffick sixteen-year-old Lyla. The court scenes focus on Margaret Younge, a woman accused of helping George hold Lyla against her will.

I think knowing the plot of Pride and Prejudice is helpful in reading A Case of First Impression. Much of the plot focuses on the court case, so having pre-established
feelings about each of the characters does a lot of the heavy lifting. You may even ask why there are five Barret sisters when only three of them seem to do anything. We could ask the same question of Austen, but since Austen did it first, Amal faithfully crafts five sisters who live/work in the family bakery. The father is largely absent, and the mother doesn’t leave her room. Without the character establishment from Austen’s work, readers may have some questions about the people in A Case of First Impression. However, fans of the original work will be entertained by reading these updated characters.

My favorite part about the novel was the courtroom setting. Skipping the TV/movie drama, Amal creates lawyers who follow procedure, and her legal expertise shows on the page. I was especially surprised that people on the stand didn’t tell these long, dramatic stories and instead answered each question directly and without offering more information than necessary. If there was more information needed, the lawyer would ask. I was relieved, to be honest, that courtrooms aren’t the zoos I’ve always imagined — surprise witnesses, someone busting through the court room door with a piece of evidence no one knew about, some kind of “you can’t handle the truth” off-the-rails speech.

Because there are two lawyers in Elyse’s family — aunts who live in another town — I wished that Elyse had always wanted to be a lawyer and then ended up changing her mind and becoming a passionate baker. While she claims that she is a capable Googler, which is where she gets her information about trials, her thinking goes beyond common knowledge, such as memorizing that the 6th Amendment says “justice must be ‘speedy,’ . . . but not at the expense of fairness.” At other times, Elyse will quote something verbatim. For example:
According to his firm’s promotional materials, it was Colin’s job to “assist companies in their quest to extract value from their intellectual assets,” including copyright, patents, and trademarks.
As a result, I thought the characterization was just a touch off. Would it be possible have in Elyse’s history a year of law school, and then she dropped out? Or could she have her phone in hand, be Googling information, and read what the phone says to us? These were questions I kept asking myself.

Although the trial is tough on the Barret family, the author soothes her characters and readers with lots of excellent details about bakery items and tea. Elyse experiments with local, in-season ingredients, especially from her sister Jayne’s garden, and Jayne advises patrons on which tea to pair with their baked good. I was completely transported to the Barret family business, and even enjoyed that not everyone loved their bakery/tea shop, such as Daren, who demands coffee but can’t get it. Elyse tells him that there is a local cafe in their village, and the Barret’s do not sell coffee because there is enough business for a cafe and tea shop without poaching customers. That kind of bigger thinking made me feel warm inside — and thirsty.

Overall, I enjoyed A Case of First Impression every time I picked it up. It’s carefully edited and written in a style of prose that doesn’t make you crossed-eyed trying to follow along (James Baldwin, I’m currently looking at you). When I was struggling with maintaining a work-life balance this past week, other books would be too much for me, but Amal’s novel was there to enjoy.

This review was originally published at Grab the Lapels.
7 reviews
March 28, 2019
I read most of this in one sitting. I needed to know the outcome of the trial, and I wanted to eat all the things Elyse/Elizabeth made. This book took a minor, minor, MINOR character from Pride and Prejudice and built a new story around her using the major characters and the main romantic plot of P&P. At times, I forgot this was a retelling (that is both a good and bad thing). Then the author would remind me with a certain line (or the entrance of a certain character (Collin! Charlotte!). I liked how the focus wasn't marrying the Barretts to wealthy men for economic security but instead finding economic independence through their business. That feels appropriately modern.
Profile Image for Kelly.
13 reviews
April 17, 2019
An unusual retelling of Pride and Prejudice that gets 4.5 stars from me. It begins long after Lydia runs away with Wickham and doesn't keep them together. That was satisfying and refreshing. The court setting was neat. One question, though...

Where is Mr. Bingley? Was he Amelia? (if so that's kind of cool)

I missed the romance between Jane and Bingley, but the romance between Elizabeth and Darcy was intact
Profile Image for Megan Mcallister.
291 reviews2 followers
August 20, 2019
In the court case it felt like nothing really happens. All the major stuff that the novel could have covered is seen in small flashbacks showing the end results.
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

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