by J. Marie Croft
Genre: Romance / Comedy / Historical / Austenesque / Pride and Prejudice Re-imagining
Ages: 15 and up
I received an advance e-copy of this book from Meryton Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Check out my interview with the author here.
In this humorous, topsy-turvy Pride & Prejudice variation, the gender roles are reversed. It is Mr. Bennet’s greatest wish to see his five sons advantageously married.
When the haughty Miss Elizabeth Darcy comes to Netherfield with the Widow Devonport (nee Bingley), speculation—and prejudice—runs rampant.
William Bennet, a reluctant and irreverent reverend, catches Miss Darcy’s eye, even though he is beneath her station. His opinion of her is fixed when she slights him at the Meryton Assembly.
As her ardour grows, so does his disdain; and when she fully expects to receive an offer of marriage, he gives her something else entirely ….
I laughed so hard while reading this book, there were times when I had to stop and bury my face in a pillow so I wouldn't wake anyone up. Even if I discounted the hilarious character interactions, the endlessly diverting twists to the story, the colorful and highly creative language, etc., the writing alone would have left me chortling.
With their genders reversed, Miss Austen's familiar characters have been turned completely on their heads. William Bennet is an out-doorsy, easygoing sort of fellow who develops an unreasonable dislike for the aloof, aristocratic Miss Elizabeth Darcy after she declares him to be 'tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me'. Mr. Bennet flutters about, trying to find rich wives for his five sons while his wife hides away with her novels and wine. I read with delicious anticipation, never quite knowing what to expect. Certain scenes were especially entertaining, particularly a rather damp accidental meeting...
My favorite parts of the novel were probably William's internal self-scoldings and the puns, oh, the puns! I'm not usually big on puns, but these were alternately utterly brazen or almost invisibly sneaky and I could not help but laugh, particularly when I caught them before the characters did. I also greatly enjoyed certain characters' alliterative tendencies and varied vocabularies, especially when revealed in the form of insults. I only have one complaint. Well, half of a complaint, really. Throughout the book, Elizabeth and William are engaged in a battle of quotes and pithy sayings. I loved the quotes, but the sayings were occasionally a little overwhelming.
While Love at First Slight is mostly a comedy, one mustn't forget the romance, which was just beautifully done from start to finish. I cracked up yet again at the realization that William and Elizabeth are fated to be...Mr. and Mrs. Bennet! I was supposed to be done mentioning the comedic qualities of the story, wasn't I? So much for that; the laughter just doesn't seem to stop!
Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme). Ratings may contain spoilers.
I rate it a 3.10 for mostly mild but highly colorful swearing.
I give it a 2.10 for the occasional risque joke or implication.
I give it a 1.10 for an angry slap (wouldn't you like to know whom got smacked by whom?) and a sword-fight.