Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
In this incredibly clever and rollicking romp of an Austenesque novel, J. Marie Croft decides to put the shoe on the opposite foot and have nearly all the characters of Pride and Prejudice swap genders!
- Instead of 5 Bennet sisters there are 5 Bennet brothers – Martin, Charles, William, and the troublesome twins, Kit and Laurie.
- Mrs. Bennet is a retiring and unsociable individual who prefers staying home reading novels and Mr. Bennet has nervous complaints and is anxious to get his sons married!
- The recently widowed Jane Davenport travels to Netherfield Park in company of her two dandy brothers, her sister-in-law, and her much sought after heiress friend, Elizabeth Darcy.
- Mr. Collins’s honorable and esteemed patron is Sir Lewis de Bourgh, who lives with his unmarried son, Andrew in Kent.
- The sycophantic Olivia Collins hopes to wed William Bennet, but he seems to only have eyes for the flirtatious and comely Felicity Wickham.
I most definitely loved how J. Marie Croft cunningly and craftily reconstructed the story of Pride and Prejudice with the genders reversed! It worked really, really well – the insult at the Meryton Assembly, the reason William travels to Kent, the disastrous proposal scene, the debacle in Brighton – were all slightly altered due to the gender change in a way that was satisfying and credible. For example, instead of chasing after and flirting with redcoats, Kit and Laurie (Kitty and Lydia) spend time idolizing and imitating the militia officers in Meryton.
Like Jane Austen, J. Marie Croft has a splendid command of language. Her narration is witty, subtle, and sharp, her characters engage in banter and pithy remarks, her scenes drip with sarcasm and satire. One of my favorite scenes is where Mr. Bennet is bitterly complaining and whining about Mary King being no longer a marriageable prospect for one of his sons. Mrs. Bennet remarks: “Indeed, dear. Now, shall we play piquet, or can I interest you in more of these grapes? They are rather sour though, are they not?” – page 85 (HA! Love it!)
I thoroughly enjoyed all the characters in this novel and loved how they all had their typical odd quirks and eccentricities. William and Elizabeth with their penchant for puns and quips, Cassie Fitzwilliam with her pointed machinations to make William uncomfortable, Mr. Bennet with his competition with Sir William Lucas, and Mrs. Bennet with her guilty pleasure of reading gothic novels! The only thing I felt lacking in this novel was a little bit more closure at the end for some of these characters. Olivia Collins, Jane Davenport, and Charles Bennet in particular – I would love to know what became of them!
If the assurance of an inventive premise, wit, hilarious misadventures, and humorous gender swaps isn’t enough to entice you to pick up a copy of Love at First Slight, then perhaps the fact that this novel may be the only novel where Elizabeth goes from being Elizabeth Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet will! 😀 I highly recommend!