Pride and Premeditation, by Tirzah Price

Tailor-made for fans of the Enola Holmes movies, Tirzah Price's Pride and Premeditation is a fun historical whodunit that takes the characters of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and puts them in a slightly different setting... and facing several very different challenges.

Pride and Premeditation re-imagines Austen's characters as upper-middle-class Londoners: lawyers, tradesmen, and their assorted wives, sisters, and daughters. Sixteen-year-old Lizzie Bennet dreams of following in her father's footsteps, but a female barrister is unheard of in 1813, so her father intends to hand his firm over to his chosen successor, the pompous Mr. Collins. Determined to prove herself, Lizzie finagles a meeting with an accused murderer. The man already has a lawyer—Fitzwilliam Darcy, heir to the one of London's most prestigious firms—but Lizzie is determined to see what she can uncover, too.

I was delighted to find a Pride and Prejudice variation that moves the characters *down* the social ladder. There are so. many. Austen fanfics that play up the most fairytale elements of Pride and Prejudice: Darcy is suddenly richer than God! Elizabeth is secretly titled! The Bennet sisters and mother are pure liquid evil! I have enjoyed plenty of stories in that vein, but they're a dime a dozen. Price's decision to make her characters working-class both helps her novel stand out and gives everyone more room to maneuver when it comes to “acceptable” social behavior. I had a couple of quibbles—Lizzy's ambition is so far-fetched as to be nearly delusional, and Price could have used a slightly pickier editor—but this novel is a fast, engrossing read, with genuinely unexpected twists on familiar characters and relationships. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Sense and Second-degree Murder, and even more excited about the upcoming Manslaughter Park, because let's face it—there are a lot of characters in Mansfield Park that could do with a little murdering.
Posted by: Julianka


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