Curtis Sittenfeld writes a delightful reworking of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, so much more enjoyable than I assume those zombie mashup books are (I refuse to touch them so can’t even glimpse inside to confirm the first sentence). I hate the cover, with its chick-lit diamond ring glowing like a beacon, but once you open it, you’re swept up in the present day life of Liz Bennet, 38-year-old writer in NYC, along with sister Jane who’s pushing 40, also in NYC and getting artificially inseminated so she can have kids before it’s too late. They’re back in Cincinnati taking care of a post-heart attack dad whose medical bills are astronomical without health insurance and who has the family mired in debt after spending through his inheritance. Mrs. Bennet refuses to pull her head out of the sand, cultivating an online shopping addiction. The family home is infested with spiders and falling apart. Three younger sisters live at home: Lydia, the youngest, who elopes with transgender Crossfit gym-owner Ham; Kitty, who paints her nails all day and whom Liz convinces to get a job in cosmetology once the family finances become known; Mary, the plain one who perpetually takes online classes towards various advanced degrees and who sneaks out every Tuesday night to some unknown destination (spoiler: she goes bowling).
Swirling around all this is the arrival into Cincinnati of the eligible bachelor doctor, Chip, who was recently on a reality TV show. Jane & Chip hit it off, Liz is repelled by Chip’s pal Darcy after overhearing some remarks he makes about the women he’s being set up with. Of course Liz & Darcy end up together, but it’s a 500 page tale of twists and turns to get there. Highly entertaining, gulped down in a few hours of decadent glee.
Discovered by way of her New Yorker article about a friend dying of cance.r