Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard, originally published as Prawn and Prejudice in 2009, is a diverting seaside retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This contemporary novel takes place in the British seaside town of Salcombe, and instead of carriages, balls and the militia, this tale is about boats, swimming, and lifeguards.
Every summer, it is a tradition for the Bennet family holiday in Salcombe where there are many aquatic and tourist attractions. This year, with two young and eligible bachelors vacationing nearby and a pack of brawny lifeguards in the vicinity, this Bennet family holiday promises to be the most exciting, romantic, and surprising holiday ever! The premise of this Pride and Prejudice retelling is very cute, and the setting of a seaside town makes this book ideal for summertime reading! I enjoyed how, instead of assemblies, dinner parties, and balls, the characters came together for barbecues, estuary swims, sand castle contests, and other town events. My favorite was the estuary swim (ball at Netherfield), where Mr. Collins, instead of being a deplorable dancer, was a shockingly bad swimmer!
While I enjoyed bits and pieces of this novel, there were several aspects that I wasn’t too fond of. I’m not sure if this was intended for comedic purposes or not, but the language used by the characters frequently switched from proper Regency speech to modern slang. It was perplexing and awkward to see the characters using phrases such as “chill out,” “hottest tottie,” “it’s so like not fair,” alongside “be not alarmed madam,” “the handsomest woman of my acquaintance,” and other Jane Austen quotes. In addition, this book takes place in modern times, wouldn’t these characters be calling each other by their first names, and not using Mr. Bingley, Miss Bennet, or Mr. Collins?
Another aspect I found confusing was trying to figure the age of these characters. With talk of university, A levels, and marriage, it was hard to figure whether these characters were in their teens, early twenties, or late twenties. Mr. Bingley is old enough to rent a house and propose marriage, yet he is “barely out of ‘A’ levels.” Furthermore, Mrs. Bennet is, as usual, anxious to get her daughters married, but one cannot help but wonder why? In today’s society there isn’t the same urgency for girls to marry that there was in Jane Austen’s time, especially if they are only teenagers!