This book will irresistibly remind its readers of Jane Austenís immortal Pride and Prejudice. The similarity between these two books only begins with the title, spilling over to a plot that basically revolves around a group of people putting together a play of P&P.
When journalist Jasmin Field goes to audition for this play along with her sister and her best friend, sheís not serious about getting a part. In fact, her sister Georgia is the acknowledged beauty as well as the professional actress in the family. But the play is being put together for charity, and people from all walks of lives are to be chosen to play the characters. As a person deeply interested in life and people, Jasmin goes there mainly to see and observe the famous and the not-so famous audition, but without any serious acting ambitions. Harry Noble, the Oscar-winning actor who comes from a long line of professional thespians, is to direct the play, which in part is also a reason for Jasminís presence at the auditions. But when Jasmin overhears him make a hurtful remark about her, sheís angry enough to try and prove him wrong, and gives such an excellent audition as to surprise Harry into giving her the lead role of Elizabeth Bennett.
Soon afterward the rehearsals begin. The rest of the plot from here on out closely resembles Pride and Prejudice. At times the characters of this book mouth the very same dialogue as Austenís, only with a more modern vocabulary. Sometimes these characters are aware of this tendency, though they pass it off as getting too much into character. Basically what author Melissa Nathan has done is to modernize Austenís book and make it more palatable to todayís women and teenagers. For example, instead of the class difference which was a gulf between Mr. Darcy and Lizzie, itís their differing opinions on each otherís professions that is the cause of dissension between Harry and Jasmin; and instead of giving Jasmin a letter redeeming himself, Harry sends her an email instead Ė things like that. Nathan also tries to give this book a happier ending than the original work. Everything else, in essence, remains the same.
Nathanís version of P&P is fresh, breezy, entertaining, and more in terms with the world today. But as Jane Austen had already done most of the basic work more than a century ago, not much credit can be given to Melissa Nathan. And the charm and delightful plays on words at which Miss Austen excelled in and presented with such panache in her Pride and Prejudice is missing from this one.