I am a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice. It was one of my favorite “you must read this” books assigned in my English classes, and I like to think that I have a bit of Elizabeth Bennett’s wit and verve. While watching different interpretations of the book on screen is endlessly entertaining, however, I’m generally reluctant to pick up a re-imagined version of the actual story. (Zombies? No thank you.)
Fortunately, Heather Lynn Rigaud’s Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star stays true to Austen’s original characters and follows the general plot nearly to perfection. Set in the modern music industry, our favorites from Pride and Prejudice come together in a professional relationship that quickly develops into a mass of romantic tension familiar to any reader – only this time, laced with sexual tones that illustrate the difference in attitudes between 1813 and 2011. (More below…) Darcy, Charles Bingley and Richard Fitzwilliam are Slurry, an immensely popular band (Rigaud likens to Puddle of Mudd) in need of an opening act for their upcoming tour. Enter the ladies of Long Borne Suffering: Elizabeth and Jane Bennett, and Elizabeth’s best friend Charlotte Lucas. Sparks fly from their first meeting, and as the tour heats up so do the offstage encounters…
The biggest issue with a reload of a well-known novel, of course, is that the reader most likely knows how the story will end. Riguad recognizes that and, rather than forcing the ending, uses the narrative arc to explore new depths in her characters’ personalities and reworking minor plot threads to give the story new life. Anne de Bourgh, for example, is given a serious attitude and far more exposure in her recast as the A&R Executive at de Bourgh Records (a personal triumph for me – I had one six-word line as Lady Anne in the stage production); also, readers who were dissatisfied with Charlotte’s choices in the original story can take a closer look at how she moves on from those choices.
As mentioned above, with the 21st-century rewrite Rigaud has added a decidedly sexual twist to the story – acknowledging the evolution of romantic relationships – that unfortunately takes away from the narrative rather than adding to it. Pages at a time are devoted to explicit descriptions of the various characters’ sexual encounters, which are written in a way edging dangerously close to soft-core porn. I’m no puritan, but even I had to skip some of the more salacious scenes.
All in all, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star is poised to introduce the timeless themes of Pride and Prejudice to an all-new audience that can perhaps relate more closely to the modern setting. As long as the reader is okay with the sex scenes (or okay with skipping pages), this is a more than ideal read for a warm night.
Shannon lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her fianc é and a room full of books that she peruses when she isn’t trolling Apartment Therapy for new decorating ideas. In her free time she enjoys maintaining her blog, The Writer’s Closet, planning her wedding, and baking tasty gluten-free treats.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Sourcebooks Landmark. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.