In A Nutshell

  • Genre: Jane Austen Adaptation, Published fan fiction, Romance
  • Notes: Good at points, bad at points, but a good vacation book.
  • Recommended for: Austen fans who don’t mind Darcy & Lizzy in America at points.
Darcy’s a judge and Lizzy’s a lawyer who appears before him daily – in San Francisco . . . Ok it’s not as bad as that sentence synopsis makes it sound. The synopsis is as follows:
A thoroughly modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice, The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy is a sexy, bold, and oftentimes hilarious story with a fresh and vibrant cast of characters.

I think the best thing about that synopsis is it really doesn’t promise much more than a good frolic through Austen’s universe – set in modern times of course.

What can I really say about this story? I always like JA adaptations when they are written well and I do think this was written well. There are several legal concepts that sort of bored me, but the gist is that because Lizzy is a lawyer that appears before Judge Darcy, they cannot have a relationship. But that idea doesn’t come into play in the beginning, because at first – Lizzy hates him.

I found the development of Darcy and Lizzy’s relationship to be well written and entertaining. I love the way Angelini writes Georgiana’s relationship to Darcy. Jane’s character was a little inconsistent, but it didn’t take me too far out of the book. I loved Mrs. Bennet being a pot head – I’m sorry but that was hilarious. I’m sure there are dedicated Austenites out there who would find that horrifying, but then again they probably wouldn’t even read this review let alone this book.

This book is a fun, funny, sexy, and snarky conversation. It doesn’t tread too deep into other themes. I really feel its strongest aspect  – and the reason it succeeds as a JA adaptation – is its storyline. If you read it with the P&P plot line in mind, you can see the constant parallels. A lot of JA adaptations fail because all they do is steal JA’s characters. If you do that you might as well write a completely new story with your own original characters. But you see the parallels in this plot line to P&P’s plot line. Lizzy even gets her first insult from Darcy at a bar in San Francisco called The Assembly Room.

There are differences that intrigued me, though. For example, Caroline Bingley is friends (sometimes with benefits) with Darcy in the beginning. This isn’t surprising for a modern version of this story, but what I found interesting is that she really is Darcy’s friend and confidante. I actually liked her character. Another character who I would never have found interesting in any other context: Louis Hurst. Louis Hurst, in this version, is Lizzy’s fabulous, gay best friend. He might have stolen totally stole the whole show for me. I loved his relationship to Lizzy and the way it was written. That friendship reminded me a lot of my friends and made me smile throughout most of the book.

My only real complaint with the book is that there got to be a point where the main conflict became a little repetitive and drawn out. **Spoilers** While I found the conflict interesting: that Lizzy might have to give up her job, instead of Darcy, to continue the relationship, I found that after a while it seemed like they should shit or get off the pot  make up their damn mind. There is a point where Darcy is going to give up his position, but it wouldn’t be for Lizzy, and then he seems to force her hand by trying to make her give up part of her career for a relationship with him. I found this to be high-handed – which is very Darcy – but also I had trouble with it as a reader. **Spoilers over**

Bottom Line: I think it’s a fun book, that the author had fun writing, which is usually the best kind to read. I really recommend it as a book for an airplane or a trip, where it doesn’t matter if you miss a few details as you read.