Welcome to book spotlight where instead of giving you another book review, I’m just going to talk about books I’ve read recently that I enjoyed. Prepare yourself for the fangirl gushing.
I don’t know what’s happening but this must be the year of actually good retellings of Jane Austen novels because I’ve read four now that I enjoyed when usually I hate them. The most recent one to add to your list is Accomplished by Amanda Quain, a contemporary retelling that focuses on Georgiana Darcy (from Pride and Prejudice) as the main character.
This book was surprisingly fun. When I read the premise and started the novel, I was worried it would fall flat or go a little too far with the story line to the point of becoming annoying. I haven’t read many books that focus on Georgiana Darcy so I thought it was fun that she was the main character of this story and we are able to see the repercussions of what happened between her and Wickham.
Of course, being a modern retelling, this book switches a few things around, making the scandal with Wickham about drugs instead of running away together, which I found worked really well for the story being told and didn’t take it too far in the relationship direction. In addition, Georgie and Fitz (aka Mr. Darcy) are much closer in age than the original and the setting of Pemberley is a prep school instead of an estate.
But it was so well done. It shows Georgie struggling with living up to the Darcy expectation of being perfect. It focuses on her overcoming her past with Wickham (and honestly her standing up against him was amazing). It includes the Bennet sisters in lots of fun ways—and I love the depiction of Lizzie and Lydia; they reminded me of the versions from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which I adore.
And of course, it has a super cute romance with a new character named, Avery, who is adorable and must be protected at all costs. This kind of romance with the cute nerdy boy is what I live for.
Frat boy Charlie Bingley is also a fantastic version of Bingley’s character. This book just includes a lot of fun P&P references and jokes from other adaptations that fans of Austen will enjoy. I appreciate when you can tell an author knows their source material and the fan base.
The only thing that tripped me up is that Georgie swears. A lot. I understand that this book is trying to be realistic in a modern setting and whatever, but there was just a bit too much swearing throughout the book. I could understand if it was here or there during the big moments that really throw a wrench in the plot, but it was much more constant than I expected from an Austen heroine. Maybe it’s just me, but I wasn’t expecting that much from Georgie Darcy.
Still, this was a fun retelling that follows the original plot while also giving Georgie her own story. I love that she tries to play matchmaker with her brother. I love that she’s in band and plays trombone. I love that she tries to be perfect and messes up and can still be great. Accomplished is a solid YA retelling of Pride and Prejudice, but most importantly, it’s fun.