Published by Random House on April 19th 2016
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This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.
Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.
Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .
And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.
Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, ELIGIBLE both honors and updates Austen’s beloved tale. Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.
Sittenfeld has written several of my all time favorite books with American Wife topping the list. I think I have read nearly every adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and this one will be in my top five of retellings. It clearly follows the plot and pacing of the original yet puts an original spin on setting and characters. I have seen Darcy as a rock star, a zombie assassin, a teen and as a banker, so being a doctor isn’t a far stretch. And who knew Cincinnati was so cosmopolitan?
Elizabeth Bennet is the good daughter who tries to undo her parents horrible management even though she has moved to New York to write for a hip women’s magazine with her yoga-instructor sister, Jane. Mary remains at home with Lydia and Kitty while the house around them is crumbling. Her mother tries unsuccessfully to get Liz to marry her step-cousin and save the house. Instead she becomes intrigued with Darcy when she meets at a party. The major attraction at the event is that the star of a Batchelor type show, “Eligible” is Darcy’s coworker at the hospital. Chip Bingley and his sister, Caroline (who acts as his agent), seem to have set everyone on edge as the ladies vie for his attention.
Caroline is just as hateful while Darcy remains aloof and Liz just wants him as friend with benefits at first. Of course, there are mixed signals, lots of interference from others and silly subplots to move the story along. The writing is pitch perfect and I really didn’t want this one to end. I can’t fully give this one 5 stars because it did drag in a few parts. If you are a fan of retellings, you will adore this.