Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price

Pride and Premeditation

Information

Goodreads: Pride and Premeditation
Series: Jane Austen Murder Mystery #1
Source:
Library
Published:
2021

Official Summary

When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates.

Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case—and her feelings for Darcy—become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed.

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Review

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a brilliant idea, conceived and executed by a clever young woman, must be claimed by a man.”

Pride and Premeditation is a lighthearted retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that centers the action not around romance, but rather around mystery. Lizzie Bennet is an enterprising young woman determined to uncover the true killer of Mr. Bingley’s brother-in-law, lest Mr. Bingley be found guilty instead. Getting in her way, however, is the ambitious (and handsome) Mr. Darcy, who, like Lizzie, wishes to prove himself in order to advance in his father’s law firm. While character names are consistent with the original novel, most of the plot points are not. Pride and Premeditation will likely appeal most to Jane Austen fans who do not find the original text sacred, and who are willing to accept a number of historical inaccuracies along with numerous deviations from Austen’s work.

Like many books written by contemporary authors, but set in the past, Pride and Premeditation imagines an alternative Georgian era, where young ladies have far more agency and social leeway than they really did. Lizzie not only believes that she can one day become a solicitor in her father’s law firm, but also routinely roams about the town all by herself–but also sometimes arm-in-arm with a dashing young man. Unchaperoned, too! Readers looking for a historically accurate depiction of Jane Austen’s time period will not find it here, because, in all truth, being historically accurate would make the plotline impossible. Pride and Premeditation is thus a book best enjoyed by those willing to suspend their disbelief and simply go along with the premise of an assertive Lizzie breaking barriers far before those barriers were broken in real life.

Pride and Premeditation is also best enjoyed by those willing to accept that this story is not a strict retelling. Very little of the original plot remains; even most of the romance has been cut to create more room for mystery. Additionally, most of the secondary characters are relegated to mere background noise. Jane appears only to offer Lizzie her unconditional support. The other three girls periodically show up to say something annoying. Charlotte is a legal secretary and a woman of color, but is underutilized and seems present mainly as an attempt at diversity. While it is fascinating to watch Lizzie try to solve a mystery, it is a real shame that the author does not seem interested in weaving together the threads of multiple tales, as Austen did. This takes away much of the pleasure of the original story.

If one can get past these issues, however, Pride and Premeditation is a fun romp. Yes, the author tries a bit too hard to adopt a writing style reminiscent of Austen’s. And, yes, much of the plot feels like wish fulfillment for contemporary audiences, who seem to like protagonists of historical fiction to be far ahead of their times. And, yet, Pride and Premeditation is an enjoyable read. Because this Lizzie is witty and clever, just like the original. And this Darcy is caring and noble, again like the original And the plot is absolutely a riot. What Austen fan would not find the thought of Mr. Bingley being accused of murder equally hilarious and intriguing? Pride and Premeditation is not like the original, but perhaps that is its charm. It takes an old tale and gives it a clever little twist that many a fan will not be able to resist.

4 stars

My Favorite Austen Heroine (Classic Remarks, Guest Post by Michael @ My Comic Relief)

Classic Remarks

WHAT IS CLASSIC REMARKS?

Classic Remarks is a meme hosted here at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation.

HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE?

Leave your link to your post on your own blog in the comments below. And feel free to comment with your thoughts even if you are not officially participating with a full post!

You can find more information and the list of weekly prompts here.

(Readers who like past prompts but missed them have also answered them on their blog later and linked back to us at Pages Unbound, so feel free to do that, too!)

THIS WEEK’S PROMPT:

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUSTEN HEROINE? OR HERO?

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Why Lizzy Bennet is my favorite Austen heroine

It’s always exciting to write a guest post for one of my favorite blogs and today – as I take over hosting duties on a Classic Remarks post (!) – I get to write about something truly iconic. Jane Austen is an author with legions of fans through the ages. She has her own category at the PCA/ACA conference on popular culture every year. There’s so much to her and to her work. Getting to chat about my favorite Austen heroine then is stepping into vast and sacred literary waters. I’m excited! Are you excited?! I KNOW. Let’s just jump right into it.

Who’s my favorite Austen heroine? Lizzy Bennet. She’s in Pride and Prejudice. Have you heard of that? I read the book. I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, too. And I’ve seen the Keira Knightly film a lot, but I’ve never watched the Colin Firth one because it’s a miniseries and that feels like too much of a commitment.

Now, you may be rolling your eyes because I’ve picked arguably the most widely known of all Jane Austen characters from the most widely known of all Jane Austen novels. You may even be wondering if I wrote this piece the day it was due – with ideas flowing from my mind immediately onto the typed page before being emailed to Briana and Krysta. Both of those presumptions would be true. But Lizzy’s still my favorite and I’m ok with that. And here’s why.

It’s a pretty iconic story. Plucky young heroine has to chose between security and following her heart. She makes the bold choice, throwing aside societal convention, and love finds a way! Happily ever afters all around! It’s so good it’s the inspiration for like seven different Hallmark Christmas movies (one involves pets (and I think a pet hotel (but, full disclosure, I only see the parts that are on when I visit my parents (or brother (or aunt (or cousin (or Grandma when she was alive (or anyone/everyone else in my family who watches Hallmark Christmas movies nonstop from October through the New Year (so while I’ve not seen any from start to finish I’m kind of a tangential expert on Hallmark Christmas movies (and nested parenthesis (not to brag))))))))). Pride and Prejudice is a classic for a reason. Lizzy Bennet is a classic for a reason. And I dig the story and I dig her character.

I think though, as the internet has allowed us to find large pockets of fans who share our obsession about the things we love, making the minutiae we adore seem more mainstream, sometimes we feel bad about liking the main character (or maybe I’m projecting). It can feel like loving the most minor of side characters with a passion that yields an encyclopedic knowledge of them somehow proves you’re “a real fan,” or at least a better one. And that’s simply not true. Don’t get me wrong – I love the deep dive. I can still name more He-Man characters than I can algebraic functions (Mech-a-Neck! Stinkor! Teela!). I absolutely respect (and am kinda in awe) of the knowledge how the kid at Little Caesar’s puts me to shame with his knowledge of Doctor Who, both Classic and Nu. And I MAY’ve bought collections containing dozens (and dozens :8) of Harley Quinn comics once I watched her animated show on HBO Max and decided I wanted – nay, needed – to know more about her. So I love all that! But encyclopedic knowledge of side characters and minute plot points doesn’t prove my love of something. It just shows I’ve read a lot of it…or that my brain remembers cartoons more than math…or both.

All this is to say, in a room of diehard Austen fans and seasoned Austen scholars, I could feel a bit intimidated to say Lizzy Bennet is my favorite Austen heroine. Or, I could feel a bit intimidated to say Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Austen novel – and that it’s the only one I’ve ever read. But I shouldn’t be! I’m not claiming encyclopedic knowledge. I’m just saying I read a Jane Austen novel and Lizzy was my favorite character.

Plus, I’d argue this is how it should work or at the very least Jane Austen would be stoked to hear this. To say I love the main character best is another way of saying the author did their job really well. I’ve identified with the main character! I relate to them! I’m inspired by their journey!

And Lizzy Bennet is fantastic. And she’s inspiring. And I love her for it. I think many of us stay in relationships we shouldn’t because they’re safe. As a result, we sort of coast by. We settle. We’re happy…but never as happy as we could be. Things could be better. Our needs could be met with greater attention. Yet, looking for all that can be scary. Why walk away from something that is good enough? Why walk away from something stable? Why give up the dream of the married-with-kids-in-a-nice-house that culture tells us is the real goal? Why risk all of that just to follow something as mysterious and potentially ephemeral as our heart?

Lizzy shows us why in an example that has echoed down through the centuries. Why give up something safe and stable to seek the mysterious desires of the heart? Because we’re worth it.

The fact that Pride and Prejudice is such an enduring classic, seeing so many revisions and retellings and sequels and prequels says something. It says the story speaks to us. I’d argue part of the reason it speaks to us is because, deep down, we know we’re worth it. Lizzy’s a heroine who gives us permission to follow our hearts and offers a model as to how we do it. And for that, she has my heart and respect and I’m proud to admit it…no matter how mainstream an answer that may be ;D.

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Michael J. Miller writes and rambles about comic books and comic book movies (not to mention Doctor Who and Star Wars and whatever else randomly pops into his head) on his blog My Comic Relief. He teaches theology at Mercyhurst Preparatory School in Erie, PA – including classes on Star Wars as modern mythology and the intersection of comic books and social justice. Should it be your thing, you can also find him on Twitter @My_ComicRelief but he tweets sporadically at best because social media can be exhausting.

If You Like Pride and Prejudice, Then Read…

If You Like, Then Read is a feature where we offer reading suggestions based on books you already like, scheduled once a month. If you have more suggestions, feel free to tell us in the comments! You can check out the rest of these lists here.  Or click for books inspired by Jane Austen! 

Pride and Prejudice

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Years ago Elliot North refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart Kai because she believed her duty lay with her family’s estate.  After all, as a member of the upper class, she has a responsiblity to care for those affected by the Reduction–the genetic mutation that caused the world to crumble and nearly all scientific advancement to stop.  Now Kai has returned as a successful explorer and Elliot suddenly wants to share his world, the world that embraces change and dares to think that the Reduction is finally over.  But Kai remains bitter and distant, and Elliot fears to leave all her old values behind.  A science fiction retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

At twenty-nine, Valancy Stirling is single and living with her family, who treat her like a child.  Then her doctor informs her that her heart complications mean she has only months to live.  Determined to find happiness in the time she has left, Valancy strikes out on her own and even proposes to the man she has come to love.  But can romance thrive in a marriage based on pity?

Middlemarch by George Eliot

As England prepares to vote on social and political reform, the inhabitants of Middlemarch find their personal lives in upheaval.  The idealistic Dorothea Brooke sacrifices herself in a loveless marriage while newcomer Dr. Lydgate finds himself ensnared by the town’s flirt.  Young Fred Vincy pines after his childhood friend, but she refuses to have him until he decides on a career.  Peter Featherstone’s relatives wait for his death while Mr. Brooke’s friends fear his public disgrace.  Meanwhile, the arrival of a young man of questionable heritage throws the entire town into panic as they consider the consequences his presence could have on the reputations of some of their leading men and women.

Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James

Six years after the marriage of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, Lydia arrives on the doorstep of Pemberley screaming that a man has been killed in the estate’s woods.  A quick investigation puts Wickham on trial, but is he truly capable of murder?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

After growing up in a neglectful household and a mismanaged school, Jane Eyre finds employment as a governess at Thornfield Hall.  Though she enjoys the company of her new employer, Edward Rochester, mystery surrounds both him and his house: sinister laughter, a ghostly walker, and violent attacks on both Rochester and his guests.  If you already know and love Jane Eyre, be sure to check out our recommendations for “If You Like Jane Eyre“!