Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.