What Would Lizzy Bennet Do?
by Katie Oliver
Publishing Date: 15th January 2016
Series: The Jane Austen Factor #1
Source: Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 376
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Buy the Book: Kindle
When your name is Lizzy Bennet, and the object of your affections just happens to have the surname Darcy, it seems fitting that life should imitate art, and you should end up together – right?
So when a film crew arrive to shoot Pride and Prejudice’ at the Darcy estate next door to the Bennet home, and Hugh Darcy arrives home after 8 years away, Lizzy knows that their time has finally come. Until, that is, he introduces her to Holly – his fiancée…
What is Lizzy to do? It can’t hurt that Holly knows nothing about country life, and that her ex-boyfriend and film star Ciaran Duncan just happens to be the main star of the new movie. And it’s clear that Lady Darcy does not approve of Holly either. Lizzy knows Holly isn’t right for Hugh, but can she make him see that and get her Austen ending after all?
I had a pleasure to read some books written by Katie Oliver before, and while they are not life – changing, I can remember them as nice, entertaining reads. Each book by this author has something in common with Jane Austen’s books, and while I am not such devoted fan of Ms Austen, thousand years ago I’ve read and enjoyed almost all of her novels, and so why not to read a light interpretation of them? „What Would Lizzy Bennet Do?” is the first book in the author’s new trilogy about three sisters, named after – surprise, surprise – Jane Austen’s characters, who live next to the Darcy’s Manor (yes) and where right now Jane Austen’s adaptation is being filmed. Too much Jane Austen?
The blurb, as well as the title, suggests that Lizzy Bennet is going to be the main character in this story, whereas I found that it was Holly James – the book focused mainly on Holly and her relationship with Hugh. And oh man, please don’t let me start on Hugh. I disliked him with my whole heart. He was pompous, slightly arrogant and concentrated only on himself. I don’t remember how often I wanted to slap him and remind him that it is his fiancée in the same room with him. I couldn’t get the way he was behaving towards Holly and my heart shrank each time she tried to break the ice, when she tried to flirt with him, when she directly asked what’s the problem, and the only things he could say was that they’re going to talk later/they’re not going to talk right now because they are at his parents’ house (SO WHAT???) and somebody might hear/see that they hold hands or – God forbid – kiss!!! Hello? Are you engaged or not? Isn’t it obvious that when your mother put you and your fiancée in two different rooms you sneak in the night to her room? Really, so deprived of humour character, I just couldn’t warm to him.
I don’t know what was the author’s intention, but I disliked Lizzy as well. This whole being in love thing seemed so unrealistic and unlikely and I really couldn’t comprehend what gave her right to behave like this – she was so in love with Hugh Darcy, and it’s okay, you can fell in love, but it happened because he has helped her EIGHT YEARS AGO after the girls’ mother died, when Lizzy herself was sixteen years old, and since then she has dreamed of becoming Mrs. Darcy, even though Hugh moved out, had his own life and they weren’t in touch. Is this really love? Or obsession?
I was also overwhelmed with the number of characters. I had a feeling that every time the author was looking for something to fill the pages, she has just introduced a new character to us. Eventually, I stopped paying attention to who is who and what’s their role in the story – it was really too much for me.
Then we have the Bennet family: the three sisters and their agonized and ever baking scones father. They were all adults, with Charlotte being the youngest one at eighteen years old. Lizzy and Emma were over twenty. So when I kept reading and reading how they called their father „Daddy” all the time, I just wanted to scream. When I kept reading how their Daddy (yes, I did it deliberately) forbad them, as a punishment (!!!) to go to the neighbours, and they obliged (!!!), I wanted to scream. I understand, Austen here or there, but the story took place in 21st century!
The only scenes that put a smile to my face were those with Lady de B., Hugh’s godmother.
The author was all the time adding something new to the plot, more events, tangling the plot, and it slowly started to resemble a snowball getting bigger and bigger, but I am really not sure if this all was necessary
Needless to say, I won’t be reading the other books in the series – I haven’t warmed to any of the main characters, and as the books are going to follow the Bennet sisters’ I don’t see a point in annoying myself again and again. Predictable, too far – fetched, unbelievable, and I had a feeling the author tried too hard to write incredibly funny and entertaining story. Sadly, in my case, it was neither funny nor entertaining, it was mostly annoying and there was nothing new and original, and I figured out the ending very quickly. I think if the author would tone the story down, gave the characters normal names, it would also work. I more than once rolled my eyes at the way the characters spoke and acted, it was too soap – opera – ish for my liking and too unbelievable. I would so love to read something different from Katie Oliver, something that is not a re – telling of Jane Austen because she is a very talented author and I am sure she can write something great of her very own.