Eligible (The Austen Project #4) by Curtis Sittenfeld

This version of the Bennet family and Mr. Darcy is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . . And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

How did I get the book? StorytellersInc Book Club 

Genre: Retelling

Previously Reviewed: Prep

Review: The idea of reading another Curtis Sittenfeld didn’t particularly thrill me. Prep was a miss (while I could certainly appreciate the writing I never did connect with the story or character) and as much as Pride and Prejudice is enjoyable it’s been retold so many times that you wonder if it should just be left alone now. So, yes – trepidation prior to entering another Liz Bennet adventure.

Eligible is incredibly engaging as a read, I found myself at 300pages before I even noticed the time. You know the characters – but again you don’t. Curtis Sittenfeld has put a clever new spin on the sisters, their parents and Liz’s foe and friends alike.

The narration and story embraces its own ridiculous, how Mrs Bennet’s world and that of today clash and there is self-deprecation in the text – which is good because I think if I thought this book itself seriously I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much.

Is it the best retelling? Not for me. Are their faults? Yes probably. However throughout the entire book I enjoyed myself and despite knowing that it would all work out somehow (because how could it not) I never felt like the story was predictable or boring.

Recommend it?


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2 thoughts on “Eligible (The Austen Project #4) by Curtis Sittenfeld

  1. In my opionen Eligible is one of the better Jane Austen retellings. Like you I was several hundred pages in before I even noticed it 🙂

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