Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors

by Sonali Dev

HRH’s take on it was this advice to his children: “This is our home. This country is yours. Take everything you need. Give everything you have. From the beginning of time, humans have migrated. We’ve claimed land and let it claim us. Don’t ever fulfill anybody else’s definition of your relationship with your country. How many generations ago their forefathers got here may be how some people stake their claim, but I stake mine with how much I give. How wholly I love. This place called to me, I’m here, it’s mine. And now, it’s yours.”

I’m a soft touch for novels that are re-imaginings of or sequels to Jane Austen‘s works in film or on the page. I have a soft spot for even ones that are not all that good. This is one of the best ones. Sonali Dev did a masterful job of using P and P as an inspiration for similar themes while making it wholly her own. The looseness of the adaptation worked very well. A reader who enjoys contemporary romance or women’s fiction would enjoy this even if they haven’t read Pride and Prejudice. There are many characters in Dev’s novel that are not in the original and many characters and situations Austen’s classic that are not in Dev’s novel. Yet while they diverge in interesting ways, they also mirror each other in the essentials. There is the prideful, arrogant, but socially inept aristocrat (Trisha), the formidable love interest from a suspect background (DJ), victimized loved ones past and present, the evil opportunist, The cold and powerful head determined to “protect” the family from scandal, and the sweet and good sister. But they are deliciously shuffled up. A few scenarios are faithfully and delightfully reset in today’s times. One of the highlights of Austen’s work and this one as well is when Trisha (Darcy) pours out her heart to DJ (Elizabeth) and is rejected.

“I have absolutely no interest in you, Dr. Raje,” meeting the wild pleas in her eyes…it hadn’t struck her for one instant that he might not lap up her proposition or whatever this was.
“This might baffle you, but despite not being a physician, I do have some pride. Although most certainly not enough to withstand the kind of beating you’re capable of dealing to it. The kind of beating you’ve repeatedly dealt it from the first time we’ve met. You’re right, I value honesty, so I’ll tell you that I make it a practice not to find women who insult me at every opportunity attractive.”
…she looked entirely devastated. Had no one ever denied her anything?

One thing I really liked about it was how the black hero in the book was portrayed. Too often, lately, it seems like authors are using diverse ethnic characters to make a political statement but they are ethnic in looks alone. In one book I read recently, we’re told that the swoony successful love interest looks like Barack Obama, but other than that, he might as well be a white guy. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but it’s like the author wanted points for having a diverse cast of characters but didn’t want to make her mostly white readership too uncomfortable. Kind of like the Hallmark channel checking the boxes. Oh well, baby steps. In this one, Trisha, although “brown” has always had power and privilege. Unlike DJ who knows very well what is probably going to happen if a white cop sees him breaking into his own luxury car.

“Are you laughing because you think you taught me some sort of lesson?” Because he had, he had pulled the world from beneath her feet…DJ had stood there helpless as a cop reached for his gun for no reason other than fear based in prejudice…Trisha didn’t want him to be standing there in that inequitable ocean, unable to do anything about it. She wanted to live in a world where the waves hit everyone the same way, where everyone could choose how they surfed them. Where the only thing that mattered was ability. And she had allowed herself to become oblivious to the fact that they did not live in that world. 

I was not too impressed with the first book I read by Ms Dev. This one also slowed to a crawl in several places. It was repetitive (the constant rhapsodizing about food got old and kind of creepy in places, to me) There were a little too many tangents explored and too much detail which did little to advance the story. But even so, it kept my interest. Sometimes the sentence structure seemed a little off and sentence meaning was a little obscured at first. But this book was a really good novel and a superbly creative riff on Pride and Prejudice. I love books about interesting families and especially ones I have to do a family tree to keep everyone straight. 4 stars for the novel and 5 stars for the Pride and Prejudice connection. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

May 16, 2020

9 thoughts on “Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors

  1. If you don’t watch this because you think it might offend you you’d be right. 🙂 Remember, this is all your fault! 😉 I’m reading the Tomalin biography now and loving it.


          • Almost. I checked them out first though and decided maybe not to watch some or no need. I almost missed the BBC Sense and Sensibility though. I loved it. I think all the protagonists were pretty much age appropriate and it made a difference? I’m satisfied with Persuasion and Emma and Northanger and Sense and Sensibility Mansfield and both P&Ps 🙂 But please, if you have any suggestions. I can’t believe how many books I’ve read and also seeing that the more I know the more I learn if that makes any sense. I am loving Tomalin’s book so much! I really want to think that Cathy Moreland is an alter ego or wish fulfillment. (The John Mulaney piece was talented, though, in an amusing enough way. ) I think I’ll watch it again. I’ll smile. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, let me delve. There might be 2 or 3 I’m unfamiliar with but anything in the 70’s I think I’ll rule out. I know I’ve covered Northanger Abbey and Persuasion and probably Mansfield Park and I’m pretty sure I’m set on S&S. I’m also not going to watch Sanditon or one other early one or anything unfinished. Meanwhile here’s you a gift. Just watch from 14:00 to 15:30 or so……Khatia and Zubin have a moment. 🙂 The whole thing is wonderful but I really love that part. .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have seen Clueless a while ago. I’m more interested in Jane Austen as an historic figure than I am her stories it seems. And anything giving an accurate representation of the period. I’ll watch any documentary, and I have!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I watched the BBC S&S again last night and I think it’s brilliant even without Hugh Grant. I could watch it again tonight. So, that gives me an opening for one more off topic wonderful moment………talk about owning the house….look how long she holds that last note! 🙂 ❤


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