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Old 06-13-2011, 04:00 PM   #9722
ATDrake
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Put a dent in my library book backlog and finished Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell which was yet another Austen-derivative; in this case, basically a Pride and Prejudice Elseworlds, which recasts the story into the post-US Civil War landscape of Texas in order to make some points about North/South tensions.

It was an okay story that actually would have held up decently on its own without the P&P transplant grafting, albeit seeming a bit unbalanced due to the bulk of the "good" people who are being misunderstood being on the Southern side and the balance of the "bad" people doing the misunderstanding being on the Northern side (and coming around to the Southern way unless they're totally irredeemable). And some stuff about how slavery wasn't one of the really important factors in the US Civil War; it was mostly about "states' rights!"; which I understand is some sort of blame-shifting thing that gets taught in parts of the US.

But the back bio says this is the author's first novel and he grew up in Louisiana, so I can give him a pass on that.

Mild recommend for the novelty value. It's not badly written, comes with a few nice historical footnotes, and does moderately interesting things with the characters in their new setting. And I'm pleased that having changed so much about the original story, the author isn't a stickler for the original character outcomes and thus Charlotte Lucas ends up with someone far more deserving than Mr. Collins.

Best read if you're curious about Austen-derivatives which aren't direct continuations/retellings from a different character viewpoint of the original story and want to try one of the more relatively imaginative retakes.
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