It’s about five years after the Civil War ended and the Bennet family is moving from Meryton, Ohio to Rosings, Texas. Beth Bennet is not excited for the move because of her unbridled hate of Southerners due to the death of her brother in the war. But Texas holds some surprises. Not only is it beautiful country, but the people aren't half bad either, including the one northerner, George Whitehead. Jane marries Dr. Bingley, and the Bennets are close friends with many of the southern folk. Will Darcy is another story, however. He may own half the land and be a dashing man, but who can like such a snob? Certainly not Beth! When things at the bank, and scoundrels in town start becoming more menacing, perhaps Will Darcy can be of use.
With the emergence of many well-known characters from a slew of Jane Austen books, including Henry Tilney, the town’s pastor and Mary Bennet’s beau, the story keeps your interest. Pride and Prejudice in antebellum Texas actually works… Not only do we hear from Beth, but we also hear Darcy’s point of view as well. It was refreshing to hear from the man himself. This Darcy is not the snob he is in the original. I actually found that he was a fine character, but Beth was a little overbearing and judgmental. Instead of hearing mainly from her, I felt the focus was more on Darcy, which wasn't a bad thing. It was refreshing to hear more about Mary as well. I loved that she and Tilney were sweet on each other. Their relationship made Mary a focus and not just a satire in the novel. Charlotte Lucas and Fitz are also an item in this novel and get a little more time on the page, which was fun to read about. While playing up some characters/relationships, as mentioned before, others were not really mentioned. Jane and Bingley were married right off the bat and were pretty much left alone. The villains George Whitehead, Billy Collins, and Denny “the Kid”, were all played WAY up. They went from being annoying or morally corrupt, to being the worst of the worst. It was a bit much. I found that Caldwell may have tried a little too hard on some characters while not focusing enough on the nuance of others, like Beth.
The story is essentially the same, but it puts a very different spin on the characters and setting. I wanted to keep reading even though I felt the story became over the top towards the end. I enjoyed the placement of P&P in the south. This is a fun book. If you take it too seriously or are too staunch on your P&P fan fiction, you might hate it, but for my part, I found it was a fun, quick read.
Here are some other fun Pride and Prejudice fan fictions:
- An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan
- Mr. Darcy’s Obsession by Abigail Reynolds
- Pemberley Shades: A lightly gothic tale of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy by D.A. Bonavia-Hunt