Thursday, April 15, 2010

Longbourn's Unexpected Matchmaker by Emma Hox

Longbourn's Unexpected Matchmaker
Title:  Longbourn's Unexpected Matchmaker
Author:  Emma Hox
Publisher:  Rhemalda Inc.
Publication Date:  April 15, 2010
Format:  Paperback, 326 pages
Age Group:  Adult

Emma Hox takes a new look at Jane Austen's classic, Pride & Prejudice, in her adaptation, Longbourn's Unexpected Matchmaker.  What if Colonel Fitzwilliam had been at Netherfield with Bingley and Darcy?  What if Mr. Bennet had a larger role in the story?  And what if Miss Elizabeth Bennet had not seen Pemberley until after she became Mrs. Darcy?

I read Pride & Prejudice for the first time in anticipation of reading this adaptation.  To be honest, it was a bit of a struggle to get through.  It took me some time to get used to the language of the period and it really didn't help that the edition I was reading had quite small print.  I found I was only able to read a chapter or so at a time before taking a break.  So when I discovered Longbourn's Unexpected Matchmaker was written in the language of Austen's time, I had to suppress a groan.  Thankfully, I had either read enough Austen to familiarize myself with the language or Hox updated it just enough to make it a lot easier for me to read than the original.

I greatly enjoyed Hox's take on Pride & Prejudice.  While the characters are familiar and the book starts out following the events of Pride & Prejudice quite closely, Hox definitely provides her own take on the classic.  It is when events begin to veer from the original story, that Hox really comes into her own as a writer.  In Pride & Prejudice, the characters are so tied up in the conventions and rules of their time that I didn't really feel I got to know them as individuals.  I honestly didn't see the appeal of Mr. Darcy when I finished reading the story.  While reading Longbourn's Unexpected Matchmaker, I was able to see the spirit of Elizabeth as she was released from some of the conventions of society.  I got to know Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bennet much more intimately and found them both very likable characters.  The family of characters expands as we meet more of the London relatives but also shrinks as we hear less of Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Collins, and the three younger sisters.  While Wickham and Lady Catherine appear in the story, they have different roles and are even more intent upon bringing ruin to the Darcys.  I also felt there was more activity and conversation in Longbourn's Unexpected Matchmaker while Pride & Prejudice seemed to be filled with long descriptive passages.

I am certainly no expert on Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice, or Austen adaptations but I thoroughly enjoyed Longbourn's Unexpected Matchmaker.

Don't forget today is the last day to enter the giveaway for your own copy of Longbourn's Unexpected Matchmaker.

Thank you to Marissa at JKS Communications for providing me with a copy of the book to review and the other content that has appeared this week as part of the blog tour for Emma Hox.


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