, , ,

What are your favourite Pride and Prejudice-inspired books? With Valentine’s Day coming up, since this novel is one of the great love stories, I thought I’d share a short list of some of my favourite P&P-inspired books. And of course I’d be glad to hear your recommendations.

The first one that comes to mind for me is Bridget Jones’s Diary, which I read, and loved, on a trip to London in the summer of 1997. I also loved Death Comes to Pemberley (2011), by P.D. James, though I remember thinking it seemed, at least in places, more Dickensian than Austenian. I’m a fan of the Cozy Classics board book version of Pride and Prejudice (2012), created by Jack and Holman Wang, and I’ve given it as a present to friends and relatives with newborns more times than I can count. I love the illustrations in Lizzy Bennet’s Diary (2013), written and illustrated by Marcia Williams, and in Goodnight Mr. Darcy (2014), by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Alli Arnold.

I enjoyed recognizing some elements of character and plot from Pride and Prejudice in Uzma Jalaluddin’s Ayesha at Last (2018), and I admire the way she created new twists and turns in her novel in a way that kept me guessing right up until the last chapters. I won’t give away the plot twists here, but I can say it’s easy to spot Lady Catherine as an inspiration for Farzana, the mother of the Darcy-inspired character: Farzana tells the heroine, Ayesha, that when her son Khalid “spoke about the teacher who was helping him plan the conference, I knew it was time for him to get married. Before he was duped by a pathetic spinster pretending to be more than she was.” Mr. Collins makes an appearance as “a life coach for wrestlers” who thinks of himself as “a doctor of the heart” and offers “motivational mantras” in times of tension. And there are echoes of Mrs. Bennet’s obsession with “the clothes, the wedding clothes!” in the words of Samira Aunty: “We had so much fun picking out her wedding lengha. It cost five thousand dollars and is being shipped from Pakistan direct!” I’m really looking forward to reading Jalaluddin’s new novel, Much Ado About Nada, which will be published in June.

Some of the other Pride and Prejudice-inspired novels I’ve enjoyed include Definitely Not Mr. Darcy (2011) and Undressing Mr. Darcy (2013), both by Karen Doornebos; Longbourn (2013), by Jo Baker; Pride (2018), by Ibi Zoboi; The Clergyman’s Wife (2019), by Molly Greeley; and Unmarriageable (2020), by Soniah Kamal.

I know there are many more—a quick search on Goodreads tells me there are at least 520 books inspired by Pride and Prejudice. What titles would you recommend?

P.S. I thought I’d share some early spring flowers with you. My sister Bethie took the pictures of snowdrops and flowering quince in Bonn earlier this week. The witch hazel was a present from my friends Hugh and Sheila Kindred, who came to my house for tea yesterday. This little bouquet is a nice spot of colour on a gloomy, snowy, slushy day in Halifax.