My first reaction to a new Pride and Prejudice spinoff is usually to roll my eyes. Does the world really need another “Mr. Darcy and the Muddy Petticoats”?
But our appetite for Jane Austen-ish stories is insatiable, and – correct me if I’m wrong here – there has been a rash of Pride and Prejudice books lately that actually look really good. I think I’m ready to get on board with this whole Jane-Austen-for-the-modern-world thing.
Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James
If the story of a post-Pride and Prejudice murder mystery was pitched to me by anyone else, I don’t think I would’ve gone for it. But this is P. D. James. The woman knows what she’s doing. And I am kind of intrigued at the possibility of seeing behind the scenes of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy’s new lives at Pemberley; of getting a glimpse at life after the wedding.
Also, the BBC did an excellent three-part adaptation last year (which is coming to PBS soon) so this is at the top of my TBR now.
Longbourn by Jo Baker
Again the pitch didn’t really pull me in; Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of the servants downstairs, Downton Abbey style. But then I started hearing raves from a lot of people whose book opinions I trust, from Laurie Halse Anderson to Rebecca Mead to Rioter Kit Steinkellner. The concept is growing on me. Who does wash all those muddy petticoats?
Longbourn is out in paperback now and I am so ready to try it.
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries won an Emmy last year and now there is a book (The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet) based on the Youtube series (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries) based on the book (Pride and Prejudice). How meta. Or is there another word for this kind of spinoff of a spinoff?
I’m a big fan of the Youtube videos so I’m looking forward to reading this one. And it must being doing well, because it was recently announced that there will be a second book, this time from the perspective of Lydia.
Marvel’s Pride and Prejudice by Nancy Butler and Hugo Petrus
I saw this once on Hank Green’s bookshelf and it looks kind of great. Marvel = good. Pride and Prejudice = good. Has anyone read this one?
There’s also a Marvel Sense and Sensibility. I’d read that. I’d read that like nobody’s business.
So, of the many iterations of Pride and Prejudice, those are the four that have found their way onto my To Be Read list.
There are so many more books in the Austenverse… Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, for example; which I’m not really planning on reading but I’m kind of glad is a thing. There’s Austenland and The Jane Austen Book Club and even Bridget Jones’s Diary.
What do you think? Are there other versions of Elizabeth Bennet you love? Or are you against the whole Austen spinoff thing on principle? Enlighten me.