Sep 042017
 

Snark and Drama!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Purchased

Jasmin Field knows she is no actor; she is a journalist for a woman’s magazine. But on a lark she decides to tag along with her sister (who is an actress) to an audition for a fundraising adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.  But just before her audition she overhears the play’s director – the great and famous actor, Harry Noble – refer to her as an “Ugly Sister.” In response, Jazz (as she is known to her friends) gives him a rendition of Elizabeth Bennet refusing Mr. Darcy’s first proposal that perfectly embodies her very real emotions of disbelief, contempt, and abject fury.

As you might guess, Jazz, even with her nonexistent acting experience, lands the role of Lizzy Bennet in the play. And during her rehearsals and encounters with Harry Noble, her opinion of the arrogant and exacting director sink further and further. Especially when she learns that he prevented fellow actor William Whitby from making it big in Hollywood and discovers that he convinced another actor to focus on his career and not his relationship with her sister. Could she despise this loathsome man any more?!? Just when she thinks the answer is no, Harry tells Jazz what he really thinks of her…

I am so glad I finally read this creative and clever modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice! It is always fun to see characters work on putting a theatrical together. 😉 And while it was perhaps a little cliché to have each character of Ms. Nathan’s story play the corresponding character in the P&P play, I greatly enjoyed being in the theatre atmosphere. One of the elements I enjoyed most about this modern update was that it didn’t completely follow a Pride and Prejudice formula and a lot of the events or situations were smartly updated! To me, the alterations and twists produced a sense of unexpectedness. Without giving too much away I will say I thought the Wickham/Georgiana history update unique and accessible, albeit a bit darker, and the Wickham/Lydia scandal stimulating because of everything else it brought about.

Another element I enjoyed about this story was that it was British! And filled with British slang, British expressions…and British profanity! With its “Rightie-ho,” “buggery bollocks,” and talk of shagging and snogging it kind of reminded me of Bridget Jones a little! 😉  And Harry – with his shy reserve, awkward attempts at friendship, and tender concern is definitely close to Mark Darcy material… 😉

The main reason this book didn’t earn five stars with me is its heroine, Jasmin. While I always love encountering Elizabeth Bennet reincarnations, I’m afraid this one was just a little too prickly to earn my love and admiration. Jazz is very quick and sharp with her wit, which is very like Elizabeth Bennet. But instead of it being charmingly impertinent, Jazz sometimes came across very hard and cynical for my taste. Perhaps if we saw more of her softer and kind-hearted side, her snarky side would have felt better balanced. However, I truly did enjoy witnessing the impact of her learning the truth/error of her ways and her period of self-evaluation and realization. That was well portrayed.

Diverting and clever – Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field is a wonderful choice for readers who can’t get enough of Mr. Darcy, modern Pride and Prejudice tales, and British romantic comedies. While it won’t make my list of top favorite modern Pride and Prejudice adaptations, I found much to appreciate and enjoy in the experience of reading this drama-filled rendition!

Due to the use of profanity, I’d recommend this story for readers over the age of 14.

A note to potential buyers, this book is also published under the title of Acting Up.

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  19 Responses to “Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field – Melissa Nathan”

  1.  

    Glad you enjoyed this as it was my choice. I couldn’t find it on Amazon but see it has a different title now so will check it out. Thanks for the great review.

  2.  

    Good review! Brought the story vividly back to me. It’s a common problem with modern adaptations that they make Elizabeth Bennet too harsh—snarky or resentful or angry or, the worst for me as a reader, vulgar. Really makes you appreciate Jane Austen’s moderation and subtlety!

  3.  

    Great review! Another one to add to my TBR list! Lol!

    •  

      After checking ‘Acting Up’ out on Amazon, I realized I’ve read another of Melissa Nathon’s books, ‘Persuading Annie ‘- I have it sitting on my shelf. It was a long time ago, so I don’t remember much about it. May have to re-read that sometime! Lol, if I can find the time! 😉

    •  

      Thank you, Candy! Yes, I think those are the only too Melissa Nathan books that are Austen-inspired, although she has several other books out. 🙂 I read Persuading Annie and had to go look up my review to jog my memory about it…I guess I don’t remember a lot about either! Gave it 4.5 stars though!

  4.  

    Great review Meredith. I think I also like my Elizabeth a little less prickly. Glad you liked this.

    •  

      Thanks, Jeanne! Yes, seeing Elizabeth take care of her sister or act kindly towards Georgiana are very endearing sides of her. It is great when an author includes those traits.

  5.  

    Lovely review Meredith! I will have to consider this one!

  6.  

    Since a few commenters mentioned more than one modern adaptation made Lizzy a much more harsh character than Austen’s, I’m wondering if most contemporary romance (with a comedic slant) make their heroines rather mouthy and snarky in general? Does this equate to intelligence and wit in a modern setting?

    If you gave it 4 out of 5 stars Meredith, it sounds like you considered it at least well written. I appreciate your bringing us all kinds of versions. And I’m trying to be more receptive to contemporary P&P variations because even though I have stated before they weren’t really of interest to me, I’ve been proven so very wrong on multiple occasions since I started reading your review.

    •  

      Very good point, Michelle! I think it does seem to be that way in some books. But I’ve read some modern P&P tales where Elizabeth isn’t too bristly, just a little judgmental.

      If you ever want some recommendations of modern P&Ps that might suit your taste let me know! 😉

  7.  

    I am intrigued by the variations and adaptions that put a fresh spin on the story. I struggle with some of the Elizabeth rewrites that tip into the ‘too harsh’ without charm so good to know about that ahead. Fun theatrical setting though. 🙂

  8.  

    sounds like a fun read!

    denise

  9.  

    Great Review. Haven’t read this one.

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