It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you describe your book as a ‘retelling of Pride and Prejudice’, I will buy it. The newest (maybe? The newest one I’ve read) is The Season by Jonah Lisa and Stephen Dyer, which has been picked up by Warner Brothers and will be made into a movie. The Season takes place in the over the top world of Dallas high society and our Elizabeth Bennet is now soccer star and very un-girly-girl college student Megan McKnight. Her mother signs Megan and her twin sister Julia up for the very exclusive and very ridiculous rite of passage of becoming a debutante, which probably made perfect sense in the 1900’s. Megan goes along with it because it means a lot to her sister and obviously how else are we going to eventually get to Darcy?
Megan, like Lizzie before her, is pretty great. She is tough and smart and loves her family enough to learn to dance and curtsey and inane stuff like that. Mostly though, she is an independent and fierce woman who is not going to fundamentally change anything about herself, even to get a husband that she in no way actually wants. She immediately meets the smashing Hank who has blackguard written all over him from page 1, but it takes Megan a while to figure it out. Her sister Julia is as sweet as Jane and falls into an adorable relationship. We are spared from dealing with Kitty, Lydia and Mary so the dramatics they were allotted in P&P are heaped onto Megan and Julia, which kept the pace of the book brisk and fun. Last but not least we have our Darcy pretender, Andrew, who is awkward and weird, as all Darcys must be, and is dating a fellow debutante named Lauren. Kudos to the authors for creating a character that I hated even more than Caroline Bingley. Accomplishment!
The Season is actually really fun and I enjoyed it a lot. Instead of falling into the tired routines of the debutante and society trope, Megan figures out how to mentor young girls and be an example of modern feminism to them. The story of their family is much deeper than it appears – this is no social climbing tale – and turns into a mystery that was fun to unravel. The characters are well developed, realistic in a modern setting, and so very likeable. I think it is meant to be YA, but like all very good YA, it absolutely does not matter. Try it for a fun, light read even if you don’t worship Austen.
The Season – Grade B+