Happy birthday to Pride & Prejudice!
On this day, 209 years ago, Jane Austen gifted Pride and Prejudice to the world. Readers, including myself, have enjoyed it for many generations. It’s a memorable story; the witty humor and engaging writing inspired retellings, continuations, and so much more. So what better way than to celebrate this great day by reading books inspired by the original?
Enjoy this special day by encountering recently published great reads inspired by the beloved classic. Read as Elizabeth and Darcy participate in a murder mystery or read as Mary Bennet take the spotlight…so much imagination and intuition are explored with this book!
Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price
When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates.
Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case–and her feelings for Darcy–become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed. (Credit: HarperTeen)
Pride and Prejudice: A Retelling by Laura Wood
Bestselling and YA Book Prize shortlisted author Laura Wood brings Elizabeth and Darcy’s romance to life once more in a stunning and truly accessible retelling of Austen’s beloved classic.
Witty, intelligent Elizabeth Bennet has no desire for a marriage of convenience. And when she meets the handsome, wealthy Mr Darcy, her opinion of him is quickly set: he is aloof, selfish and proud – the last man in the world she would ever marry.
Until their paths cross again, and again, and the pair begin to realise that first impressions can be flawed… But as Elizabeth and Darcy become entangled in a dance through the strict hierarchies of society, will there be space for true love to bloom? (Credit: Barrington Stoke Ltd)
The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow
What if Mary Bennet’s life took a different path from that laid out for her in Pride and Prejudice? What if the frustrated intellectual of the Bennet family, the marginalized middle daughter, the plain girl who takes refuge in her books, eventually found the fulfillment enjoyed by her prettier, more confident sisters? This is the plot of Janice Hadlow’s The Other Bennet Sister, a debut novel with exactly the affection and authority to satisfy Jane Austen fans.
Ultimately, Mary’s journey is like that taken by every Austen heroine. She learns that she can only expect joy when she has accepted who she really is. She must throw off the false expectations and wrong ideas that have combined to obscure her true nature and prevented her from what makes her happy. Only when she undergoes this evolution does she have a chance at finding fulfillment; only then does she have the clarity to recognize her partner when he presents himself–and only at that moment is she genuinely worthy of love.
Mary’s destiny diverges from that of her sisters. It does not involve broad acres or landed gentry. But it does include a man; and, as in all Austen novels, Mary must decide whether he is the truly the one for her. In The Other Bennet Sister, Mary is a fully rounded character–complex, conflicted, and often uncertain; but also vulnerable, supremely sympathetic, and ultimately the protagonist of an uncommonly satisfying debut novel. (Credit: Henry Holt & Company)
The Bennet Women by Eden Appiah-Kubi
Welcome to Bennet House, the only all-women’s dorm at prestigious Longbourn University, home to three close friends who are about to have an eventful year. EJ is an ambitious Black engineering student. Her best friend, Jamie, is a newly out trans woman studying French and theatre. Tessa is a Filipina astronomy major with guy trouble. For them, Bennet House is more than a residence–it’s an oasis of feminism, femininity, and enlightenment. But as great as Longbourn is for academics, EJ knows it can be a wretched place to find love.
Yet the fall season is young and brimming with surprising possibilities. Jamie’s prospect is Lee Gregory, son of a Hollywood producer and a gentleman so charming he practically sparkles. That leaves EJ with Lee’s arrogant best friend, Will. For Jamie’s sake, EJ must put up with the disagreeable, distressingly handsome, not quite famous TV actor for as long as she can.
What of it? EJ has her eyes on a bigger prize, anyway: launching a spectacular engineering career in the “real world” she’s been hearing so much about. But what happens when all their lives become entwined in ways no one could have predicted–and EJ finds herself drawn to a man who’s not exactly a perfect fit for the future she has planned? (Credit: Montlake)
The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet by Katherine Cowley
Upon the death of her father, Mary Bennet’s life is thrown into turmoil. With no fortune or marriage prospects, Mary must rely on the kindness of her relatives. When a mysterious late-night visit by an unknown relative-a Lady Trafford from Castle Durrington-leads to an extended stay and the chance for an education, Mary gratefully accepts the opportunity.
But even as she arrives at the castle, she’s faced with one mystery after another. Who is Lady Trafford really and what is she hiding? Do her secrets and manipulations place the small seaside community at risk of an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte? Always curious, Mary sets out to discover the truth. But when she discovers the dead body of a would-be thief she outed prior to her father’s funeral, Mary jeopardizes her position at the castle and her family’s good name in her quest for the truth.
Never underestimate the observation skills of a woman who hides in the background. (Credit: Tule Publishing)
Being Mary Bennet by J. C. Peterson
Expected Publication Date: March 15
It is a truth universally acknowledged that every bookworm secretly wishes to be Lizzy Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.
A less acknowledged truth is that Mary Bennet might be a better fit.
For Marnie Barnes, realizing she’s a Mary Bennet is devastating. But she’s determined to reinvent herself, so she enlists the help of her bubbly roommate and opens up to the world.
And between new friends, a very cute boy, and a rescue pup named Sir Pat, Marnie finds herself on a path to becoming a new person entirely. But she’s no Lizzy, or even Mary–instead, she’s someone even better: just plain Marnie. (Credit: HarperTeen)
Sense & Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price
Expected Publication Date: April 5
When eighteen-year-old aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood discovers her beloved father slumped over the desk of his office study, she knows his death means dire straits for the Dashwood women. To make matters worse, an outdated will entails his estate—including Norland & Company, the private investigation firm where her younger sister Marianne worked as her father’s partner and protégé—to their half-brother and his haughty wife, who waste no time in forcing the Dashwoods out of their home and into a cramped apartment on London’s Barton Street.
But before they go, the Dashwood sisters make a startling discovery that points to foul play, and the killer might be family.
Obviously, the girls must investigate. It could be dangerous; it could ruin their reputations; and most importantly, it won’t bring back their father. But if the Dashwood sisters can combine their talents and bring their father’s murderer to justice, it may bring them all some comfort—and it might even lead to love. (Credit: HarperTeen)
Note: This is based on Sense and Sensibility but it is by the same author and part of the same series so it was fair to mention it on this list.
Debating Darcy by Sayantani DasGupta
Expected Publication Date: April 5
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Leela Bose plays to win.
A life-long speech competitor, Leela loves nothing more than crushing the competition, all while wearing a smile. But when she meets the incorrigible Firoze Darcy, a debater from an elitist private school, Leela can’t stand him. Unfortunately, he’ll be competing in the state league, so their paths are set to collide.
But why attempt to tolerate Firoze when Leela can one-up him? The situation is more complicated than Leela anticipated, though, and her participation in the tournament reveals that she might have tragically misjudged the debaters — including Firoze Darcy — and more than just her own winning streak is at stake…her heart is, too.
Debating Darcy is bestselling author Sayantani DasGupta’s reinterpretation of beloved classic Pride and Prejudice — imaginative, hilarious, thought-provoking, and truly reflective of the complex, diverse world of American high school culture. (Credit: Scholastic)
The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray
Expected Publication Date: May 3
The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a house party, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.
Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In a tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang. (Credit: Vintage)
Accomplished: A Georgie Darcy Novel by Amanda Quain
Expected Publication Date: July 26
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Georgiana Darcy should have been expelled after The Incident with Wickham Foster last year – at least if you ask any of her Pemberley Academy classmates. She may have escaped expulsion because of her family name, but she didn’t escape the disappointment of her big brother Fitz, the scorn of the entire school, or, it turns out, Wickham’s influence.
But she’s back for her junior year, and she needs to prove to everyone—Fitz, Wickham, her former friends, and maybe even herself—that she’s more than just an embarrassment to the family name. How hard can it be to become the Perfect Darcy? All she has to do is:
– Rebuild her reputation with the marching band (even if it kills her)
– Forget about Wickham and his lies (no matter how tempting they still are), and
– Distract Fitz Darcy—helicopter-sibling extraordinaire—by getting him to fall in love with his classmate, Lizzie Bennet (this one might be difficult…)
Sure, it’s a complicated plan, but so is being a Darcy. With the help of her fellow bandmate, Avery, matchmaking ideas lifted straight from her favorite fanfics, and a whole lot of pancakes, Georgie is going to see every one of her plans through. But when the weight of being the Perfect Darcy comes crashing down, Georgie will have to find her own way before she loses everything permanently—including the one guy who sees her for who she really is. (Credit: Wednesday Books)