I’ve recently read not one but two reworkings of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in my role as a book review for Reader’s Favorite. As one of these had a decidedly Halloweeny slant, here are my reviews for them both.
All Hallow’s Eve by Wendi Sotis
All Hallow’s Eve is an imaginative, highly original reworking of the Darcy – Elizabeth Bennett love affair from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Characters absent from the original book are introduced to us, such as Darcy’s parents and Elizabeth’s grandparents, and all the familiar ones have some new and highly original characteristics. Who’d have guessed that the prickly Mr Bennet was an Immun, an expert weapons instructor, although I think we’d have guessed that our hero and heroine were destined to be Soul Mates. You have to concentrate quite hard during the first chapter to grasp everyone’s new roles but it all falls into place in the following events. The action begins at Halloween with the ceremony of Sanun, when the dead return to interact with the living. It’s crucial that the High Priestess stays in control of the happenings, but at the end of this novel there’s real tension at the next Sanun when the priestess is involved in a rather life-changing event at the same time!
All Hallow’s Eve is a hugely successful paranormal take on the famous novel by Jane Austen. Sotis is something of an expert on the story, having written several novels based on this wonderful classic. You could call this novel fanfic but that’s rather a dismissive term. Staying generally true to the language and mannerisms of the era in which it is set, Regency England, this is a fitting tribute to Jane Austen. She’s known for her humour and would probably love to see how her characters have been tweaked in a fantastical direction. Entertaining and ingenious reading.
And now, Pulse and Prejudice by Collette Saucier
Jane Austen’s novels in general, and Pride and Prejudice in particular, must be the works of literature that have been rewritten the most. Author Collette Saucier offers her contribution with Pulse and Prejudice and makes a brilliant substitution. Instead of an honorable and custom-stifled gentleman, Fitzwilliam Darcy is now a relatively honorable vampire with a complicit valet. This depiction of Darcy is a stroke of genius! Now he’s not just after Elizabeth Bennet’s hand in marriage but her blood too. He’s not the only vampire. The roguish Wickham is a much less pleasant fellow bloodsucker that Darcy has to keep a close eye on. How will Elizabeth cope with this? She’s one of the feistiest and confident heroines ever depicted but could this be too much for even her? Could Mrs Bennet, always eager for grandchildren, cope with a dhampir?
This is a very imaginative and clever novel. Faithfully following the main events of Austen’s work, Saucier inserts her paranormal element and creatively relates the consequences of this. She also injects a large dose of sensuality which is sexy and fun. Saucier is also mainly true to the atmospher, language and mannerisms of Austen and her times. The anonymous shires that are referred to and the obsession with how many thousand a year someone is worth keep their place. What would Jane Austen have thought? I think she would have loved this book. She might even have written it herself had she lived in a less constrained age.