Pride, Prejudice, and Peril by Katie Oliver

Another Pride and Prejudice variation…

Themes: Cosy mystery, Retelling, Jane Austen

The synopsis

Phaedra Brighton is perfectly content with her life of lecturing college students, gossiping with her best friends, and dreaming of Mr. Darcy. As a young, respected (if somewhat peculiar) English professor, her expertise lies in all things Jane Austen–but she knows that the closest she’ll ever get to being a real-life Elizabeth Bennet is in her dreams.

When Who Wants to Marry Mr. Darcy, a new reality TV show, starts filming at her best friend Charlene’s estate, Phaedra is intrigued. And when the producer asks her to lend her Austenian knowledge as a consultant on the show, she’s over the moon. But on the first day of filming, when Charlene’s new husband is found electrocuted and Charlene herself is accused of the crime, Phaedra comes crashing back to reality.

With murder on the syllabus and her best friend in dire straits, there’s no Mr. Darcy around to help Phaedra–she’ll have to get to the bottom of this mystery herself. 

The review

What can I say, I am a fan. So, yes I bought this book while I was in the mood for either a Regence book or a cosy mystery. And did I buy this book because of its cover? Totally.

And surprisingly for such a short book, I have some thoughts to share with you. I will begin with what I liked in this book: first the short chapters (I always like short chapters if they make sense) and the plot that is quickly introduced. Then, the atmosphere is exactly what you are expecting from the cover, with an old mansion, a murder, and a lot of drama. I liked how the murder investigation was meddling with the everyday life of the town, its inhabitants, and their daily issues. Then, even if the characters were not particularly well developed (but at the same time it is not what I am expecting for a mystery), I especially liked the mother in a hatred/love kind of way. Since our heroine is supposed to be a sort of Elizabeth Bennet of the modern days obviously we had to have our Mrs Bennet. And she got on my nerves as much if not more as the original one.

My biggest issue with this book is the male characters that woke up my feminist side. I hated how much they were all condescending towards women in general, including Phaedra. When she is as intelligent and capable as they are if not more! The other thing that bothered me was Phaedra’s behaviour itself. Why is she feeling guilty to put Mark in his place when he is the one that was rude in the first place ?! I also had the feeling that the author tried to give her a feminist side which fell flat when she began to say to everyone no I do not want to marry or find someone (what is wrong with that?) but was secretly hoping to find her prince charming… I am absolutely not against romance but I have an issue with it when in addition to being presented as the only way for a woman to be totally happy it is completed by a cringy love triangle (with the same male characters that were treating her as a child).

In brief: I enjoyed this book for its cosy atmosphere, the Pride and Prejudice theme, and the mystery which was good enough (even if I had some ideas about the culprit). I just hope that the sequel will see the author giving up her failing try to recreate a Darcy/Elizabeth relationship.

My rating: 3,5/5


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