If you’ve ever wondered about the sex lives of the protagonists in Jane Austen's beloved
novel Pride and
Prejudice, wonder no more. In Pride/Prejudice, Ann Herendeen covers this subject
in enough detail to make any nineteenth century lady blush and with a twist that turns the
story on its head.
Who could have imagined that the real reason behind Mr. Darcy’s opposition to Mr. Bingley’s
engagement to Jane was his personal, sexual interest in his younger friend? As for the cause of
the enmity between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickman? Yes, you have guessed right, they were also lovers.
And that is just the beginning.
Young Elizabeth Bennett, we soon learn, has a secret of her own: a love affair with Charlotte,
her close friend and confident who eventually marries Mr. Collins.
It is a farfetched premise, but
the author pulls it off with ease, and with an engaging prose that matches the nineteenth century
Told mostly from Mr. Darcy’s point of view, the misunderstandings and tension between Lizzy and
Mr. Darcy still create sparkles in this reading. And despite the fact that I knew exactly where the
plot was going, I was most eager to see where the author would take me. Until the wedding.
Unlike the original story, Pride/Prejudice does not end on the wedding day, but continues
for another ninety pages. On these pages we are given a detailed description of the married life of
the main characters and some further developments in the lives of some minor ones. And interestingly
enough, it was here, when the story was new and thus I should have been more interested in its outcome,
that I found my attention wandering. Once Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, and Jane and Mr. Bingley are happily
married, the conflict disappears and the story loses its bite.
Still, Pride/Prejudice is a highly entertaining and well-written addition to the long list
of new versions of Jane Austen’s novels.
And in case you wonder about the slash in the title, it refers, the author tells us, to a kind of
fan fiction where a known story is retold with same sex relationships between some of the characters.
And so, now we know.