Friday, August 13, 2010

The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice by Abigail Reynolds

I never read this book when it was titled Pemberley by the Sea, as at that time I was not reading Austen modernization. But, having opened my mind to the genre, it seemed Abigail Reynolds was the logical writer to turn to. I have long admired her Pemberley Variations and had heard many good things about Pemberley by the Sea, so when The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice was released, I immediately put it in my to be read pile.

Cassie Boulton is a tenure-track marine biologist at Haverford College working on Cape Cod for the summer when she meets Calder Westing III, the heir to a Kennedy-esque family of politicians. Cassie believes her background - thoroughly blue collar Chicago - an insurmountable obstacle to friendship, let alone a romance, with Calder, but, just like Mr. Darcy, there proves to be far more to the man than meets the eye.

This is a sweet, romantic story, and a thoroughly American approach to the Pride and Prejudice dynamic (especially in regards to the communications dilemmas). While I enjoyed the read, I am afraid I am finding my initial prejudices against modernization to be somewhat justified. When you take Elizabeth and Darcy's story and place it into the modern context, while it makes for a pleasant romance, it just lacks the charm, at least for me, that a tale set in the Regency possesses. Nevertheless, Ms. Reynolds' adaptation of technology into the story is very well done. For example, this series of email communications between Cassie and Calder does a fine job of capturing the spirit of Elizabeth and Darcy:
I'm looking forward to seeing Haverford and meeting some of those students you're teaching how to think. Here's hoping they don't eat me alive--it's not as if I've ever taught anything in my life

It's easy. Just listen to them, and talk to the like they're adults. You'll do fine.

Talk?? Me? I hope they don't expect the seminar to last over five minutes!

Now, now, I've heard you talk very nicely on occasion. Sometimes ever four or five words at a stretch. We'll advertise you as laconic.
Very cute, but still I prefer Ms. Reynolds other books (which I praised here). Perhaps I'm just a sucker for bonnets and cravats - if so, at least I'm in good company.


  1. Are you aware that Ms. Reynolds has a new Regency that will be available around the first of October? I've forgotten the title, but have already pre-ordered it.

    Regarding "The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice," one of the things I liked about the book was learning about the research that Cassie did. It was so interesting. If I'm remembering correctly, I understand that AR actually did some of the same research, which made it even more interesting to me.

  2. Hi Pat! Yes I am aware of it, and extremely excited. It's called Mr. Darcy's Obsession.

    I must admit, that the sciences are not something I am particularly interested in. I love the beach, love seeing fish, but I am not the sort of person who asks about their names or mating habits. I think it's probably for these reasons that I did not find Cassie's research to be particularly enthralling. I thought Calder's work process far more interesting.

    Now that I stop and think of it more, I suspect that I do not particularity like Cassie at all. She's deceptive and defensive - qualities I do not appreciate. This probably tainted my enjoyment of the book, but really I think I just prefer novels that transport me to a different time and place. As a native of Philadelphia, Haverford doesn't quite do it for me.