Pride and Premeditation

HarperTeen. (Jane Austen Murder Mysteries: Bk. 1). Mar. 2021. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062889805.
Gr 8 Up–Seventeen-year-old Lizzie Bennet would be the best solicitor in her father’s law firm, and she knows it—but the restrictions of Regency-era England stand in her way. When the young Mr. Bingley is arrested for murder, Lizzie sees an opportunity to prove her worth by proving his innocence, even if he’s already chosen the infuriating Fitzwilliam Darcy to help him. As Lizzie searches London for clues and a culprit with only days to spare, she and Darcy unwittingly find themselves in the sights of a killer. Price’s knowledge of Austen’s original novel shines through in this delightful, fast-paced reinterpretation, balancing the intentionally loosened historical accuracy. While the plot is of its own design, Austen’s characters are recognizable by both their names and actions, with Charlotte Lucas a notable exception to the almost all-white cast (her father is white, her mother from the West Indies). However, while the story addresses the social implications of her background, Charlotte shoulders the burden of teaching and there is little reflection on it by Lizzie.
VERDICT Price’s YA debut is a clever, twisting murder mystery adaptation that will keep both Austen fans and newcomers on their toes. This first book in the series will intrigue readers of Brittany Cavallaro’s A Study in Charlotte and Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper.

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