June 2009 by Razorbill
Amazon + Good Reads
"Fifteen-year-old Callie buys a pair of real Prada pumps to impress the cool crowd on a school trip to London. Goodbye, Callie the clumsy geek-girl, hello popularity! But before she knows what's hit her, Callie wobbles, trips, conks her head...and wakes up in the year 1815!
She stumbles about until she meets the kind-hearted Emily, who takes Callie in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. Sparks soon fly between Callie and Emily's cousin, Alex, the maddeningly handsome - though totally arrogant - Duke of Harksbury. Too bad he seems to have something sinister up his ruffled sleeve...
From face-planting off velvet piano benches and hiding behind claw-foot couches to streaking through the estate halls wearing nothing but an itchy blanket, Callie's curiosity about Alex creates all kinds of trouble. But the grandfather clock is ticking on her 19th century shenanigans. Can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, win a kiss from Alex, and prove to herself that she's more than just a loud-mouth klutz before her time there is up?"
I usually find a lot wrong with Jane Austen inspired stories that drop a modern day girl/woman into the Regency era... but Prada & Prejudice was actually not that bad. It was a tad unbelievable how willing the family that Callie stays with was in accepting a young girl who so clearly had no grasp on social norms... but I decided to let that go and just roll with it. When I could get over this initial speed bump, I found the book to be very entertaining and light.
It is very loosely based off of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Callie is a head strong and stubborn girl, much like our beloved Elizabeth, and the seemingly pretentious and brooding Alex makes our Darcy. But these characters had their own quirks and stood apart from Austen's characters... and I appreciated that Hubbard didn't force them into unnatural scenarios so that they felt like Austen clones. I can see the inspiration behind Callie and Alex... but also enjoyed that they were also different from Elizabeth and Darcy.
Besides getting a look at the behind-the-scenes Regency era, the best part of Prada & Prejudice was the character development. When we first meet Callie, she is misguided at best but also really dang snobby in the way that only 15 year old girls can be. But over the course of the story, Callie is forced to look at her behavior and come to the realization that, even if she doesn't agree with everything around her, she doesn't get a free pass to act like a jerk just because she is unhappy.
Is Prada & Prejudice the best Jane Austen/P&P re-imagining that I've read? No, but I don't think that it is supposed to be. It was fun, light, and kind of perfect for the summer.
Have you read Prada & Prejudice? Let me know your thoughts!