Mar 042013
 

Jane Austen Meets The Wizard of Oz

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Source: Paperbackswap

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Young Adult, Austen-Inspired,

TIME FRAME: Modern-day

MAIN CHARACTERS: Callie, Alex the Duke of Harksbury, Emily Thornton-Hawke, the Dowager Duchess

WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS NOVEL:

WHAT I LOVED:
  • The Parallels to Pride and Prejudice: This book is not intended to be a modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice. However, there are many common themes and subtle nods to Jane Austen and her characters such as: an arrogant and reserved hero, a heroine who suffers several misunderstandings, and a distinct social divide between them. As always, I enjoy searching for these small allusions to Pride and Prejudice, yet given the title I thought we might see some more.
  • The Parallels to The Wizard of Oz: Callie is kind of like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, she owns a pair of red shoes (brand-new Prada pumps), she hit her head, and she somehow woke up in a strange land…or in this case a strange time period – 1815. And similar to Dorothy, Callie doesn’t know how or why she arrived in this strange time period or how to get home!
  • The Conflict: Not only is Callie stuck in 1815 with the inability to return home, she has accidentally misled everyone into thinking she is their friend “Rebecca” (who is due to visit in four weeks) arrived early. Callie knows it is only a matter of time before the real Rebecca arrives and her lies are exposed! Having Callie mistakenly assume another person’s identity added a little bit more intensity to her predicament and I enjoyed the heightened drama and urgency it brought to the story.
  • Emily: The Duke’s cousin (who thinks Callie is her long-time friend, Rebecca) reminded me a little of Eleanor Tilney, in that she is the girl everyone wants to have as a best friend. Emily is sweet natured, earnest, and has a somewhat domineering patriarch. I found her to be a very likable and engaging character.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
  • The Callie and Alex Relationship: I know! It’s a Darcy and Elizabeth relationship – mistaken pride, misunderstandings, verbal swordplay…I should love it! But alas, I did not. I guess my main issue with it is I didn’t find the romance between them to be believable. It felt like the Duke suffered from a little bit of “insta-love” and with Callie’s petulant attitude and eagerness to assume the worse in him, I do not understand what brought on his feelings for her. In fact, I found her to be a little bit unlikable and frustrating. Perhaps he is going through a rebellious stage? Choosing an untitled and outspoken American that will infuriate his mother?
  • Inexplicable Time Travel: I don’t mind suspending my disbelief or believing in magic, but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that we never learned the how and the why of Callie’s time travel. Moreover, it kind of left the ending feeling a little unresolved.

CONCLUSION:

Despite my one or two quibbles, I found Prada and Prejudice to be a fun, whimsical, and lighthearted read!  It may not be my favorite Young Adult Austenesque novel, but it is a good clean novel that is perfectly suitable for young teen readers!

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7 Comments on "Prada and Prejudice – Mandy Hubbard"

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Ceri

I didn’t even know this novel existed until I saw it on your list a few days ago! I have it on my wishlist but I don’t think I’ll be rushing to read it. Thanks for the review, there is so much austenesque stuff out there that it’s nice to have some idea whether something is a must-read or a might-read.

Meredith

I’m so glad my review was helpful to you, Ceri! I know what you mean – the Austenesque genre is blossoming!

Sophia Rose

This book sounds like one of my day dreams when I was a teen. I dreamed of going back in time and being with my favorite book heroes. I can see why such a story would be fun.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Meredith

Definitely, Sophia Rose! The funny thing is though, Callie isn’t an Austen addict. She doesn’t get how lucky she is to be in 1815 staying at a Duke’s house. 🙂 If she only knew…

Nina Benneton

Thanks for the review. I’ve been looking for some YA Austenesque novels for my daughter.

Sophia Rose! I’m beyond teenage years and I still dream of going back to my literary heroes, especially now that I’ve discovered they had flushing toilet in some places.

Meredith

That’s wonderful Nina! This one would be very appropriate to share with your daughter. She is very lucky to have you for a mom!

LOL! Flushing toilet or not – I’d go to Pemberley any day! 😛

Christina Dudley (@CNDudley)

I thought this one was fun, too, and agree that the attraction didn’t quite do it for me. Hers seemed more like “he’s so hot!” and his…well…who knows? I was willing to swallow the unexplained time travel but was SO disappointed about not looking up his fate afterward!

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