Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review: The Muse by Jessica Evans

The Muse
by Jessica Evans

Genre: Romance / Contemporary / Pride & Prejudice Re-telling

Ages: 16 and up

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review, courtesy of Jakki Leatherberry.


Elizabeth Bennet, the newest corps de ballet dancer at Ballet Theater of New York, dreams of rising through the prestigious company’s ranks to become a prima ballerina. When she’s cast in superstar choreographer William Darcy’s newest work, she believes she’s one step closer to realizing her dream–until she meets him.

William Darcy, the former dance legend and ballet bad boy, is a jaded perfectionist who dancers both fear and admire. Although touted as the next big thing in the ballet world, he secretly battles a bad case of artist’s block–until he meets Elizabeth Bennet.

Tempers ignite between Elizabeth and Darcy, but he’s irresistibly drawn to the stubborn and beautiful corps de ballet dancer. Could she be the muse he needs to reignite his passion for ballet?

My Thoughts:

I loved this book. It is one of the best P&P stories I have read this year. It is a flawless blend of brilliant new ideas and everything I loved from the original Jane Austen. It made me laugh out loud with shocked, horrified humor more than once, but also made me sigh at some lovely moments of pure sweetness.

This is a very modern, no-holds-barred take on Darcy and Elizabeth, to warn those who prefer the more traditional adaptations. Elizabeth gets drunk and does stupid things, Darcy appears to briefly go through a midlife crisis, and yet...They are still completely lovable despite, or perhaps because of, these imperfections.

I was very impressed by the way the author channeled Darcy's intensity into art. Every scene where he was working on his dance was positively fraught with passion (and frequently sexual frustration). When he and Elizabeth worked together, the chemistry was sizzling despite the effort both of them put into ignoring their attraction.

There were many times over the course of the novel that I wanted to strangle Elizabeth, which, to me, is always a sign of excellent character development. There was never a moment when I did not care about what happened to her, what she chose to do next. She could be a little bit petty, a little bit jealous, but always striving to be better. I alternated between cringing for her or cheering her on.

One cannot review this book without making a point to mention the dancing. Oh. My. Goodness. The. Dancing. I have never been particularly interested in ballet, but this book made me want to go take lessons. Of course, I would also want Darcy to be teaching said lessons so we could have passionate glaring contests. Sigh.

Anyway, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dancing, romance and dazzling displays of temper.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme). Ratings may contain spoilers.

I give it an 8.10 for a few uses of the f-word and some mild to mid-level swearing.

I rate it a 7.10 for a couple of fairly descriptive scenes and innuendo, some a little crude.

There was no violence in this book.

                              Lieder Madchen


  1. Thank you so much for your wonderful review! I'm glad you enjoyed the book and feel especially gratified that I possibly created a new ballet fan! I do have to warn you though. Most dance teacher definitely do not look like Darcy... LOL. Thanks again!!

  2. Darcy is usually described as tall and broad-shouldered. Since I am 5'9", tall to me is well over 6'. It's hard for me to bring him down to a size typical of a modern male dancer. However, my imagination is fertile enough to do it.

    Thank you, Lieder, for your rating system. I'm rather particular about the books that I chose to read so I deeply appreciate your input.

    1. Hi Joy,

      I do picture Darcy on the taller end of the dancer spectrum, and Lizzy on the shorter end. In fact, it's one of the insults that Darcy throws Lizzy's way in the book: that she's shorter and curvier than most professional dancers. Nice, huh? ;)