Book List, Staff Post

Austen Adaptations

Jane Austen is comfort food for me. When I’m in a reading slump, I reach for the familiarity of that Austen wit. They’re perfect stories. Romance! Happy endings! And consequences for the “bad guys”! Ooh la la! (It doesn’t hurt that Lizzy & Darcy have the perfect “enemies to lovers” trope going on.) Lucky for me, there are so many great retellings of Austen’s work. Here are six of my favorite retellings.

Each book cover link’s to the book’s page on our website for purchase and is followed by my blurb and the publisher’s description!

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Zuri Benitez and the rest of the afro-latino Benitez clan love living in Brooklyn, but their neighborhood is rapidly changing with gentrification. When the wealthy Darcy family move in across the street, first impressions meet culture clashes. Along with being our classic Pride and Prejudice story, this book was a beautiful love letter to home, family, and Brooklyn.

In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and PrejudiceNational Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic. A smart, funny, gorgeous retelling starring all characters of color. 

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

This is my favorite retelling of Pride of Prejudice. In this gender-bending tale, Dr. Trisha Raje is a brilliant neurosurgeon in San Francisco. Her family is a wealthy and prominent family in the area. DJ Caine is an up and coming hard working chef with a rough background. Issues of classism, miscommunication, and prejudice collide in this fun and imaginative retelling.

Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.

Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:

·       Never trust an outsider

·       Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations

·       And never, ever, defy your family

Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.

Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.

As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with…

A family trying to build home in a new land.

A man who has never felt at home anywhere.

And a choice to be made between the two.

Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev

If you liked Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, I’d go ahead and read the second book in Sonali Dev’s series. Taking on Austen’s Persuasion, Ashna Raje is a chef struggling to keep her late father’s Indian restaurant afloat. She decides to join a celebrity reality cooking show to help put her business on the map. She didn’t count on being paired with her old flame, the famous Brazilian soccer star Rico Silva. Can they get over their broken hearts?!

From the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors comes another , clever, deeply layered, and heartwarming romantic comedy that follows in the Jane Austen tradition—this time, with a twist on Persuasion.

Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen? 

Rico Silva, that’s what.  

Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster. 

FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her. 

But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico.  Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…? 

In Recipe for Persuasion, Sonali Dev once again takes readers on an unforgettable adventure in this fresh, fun, and enchanting romantic comedy.

The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

Persuasion in Space?! Hundreds of years in the future, humanity has fled earth due to climate change. Now, people live their entire lives on old spaceships. Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg is the heir to her family’s dying ship. She needs to secure a wealthy husband so she can save her family’s ship. She didn’t count on her old flame Elliot, who once served on her family’s ship, to return a successful and wealthy captain of a whiskey enterprise. Will she fall in love again with Elliott?!

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, has only one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin? 

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love, Elliot, returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one who got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

Fans of Katharine McGee and Kiera Cass will be dazzled by this world of lost love and royal intrigue. 

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Ayesha is proud Indian Muslim, but her family is full of drama! Ayesha just wants to be a poet, and to repay the debt her family owes her uncle. Then there’s the pressure in her community to marry soon! Ayesha meets the very handsome yet judgmental Khalid at an open mic event. She overhears his rude and judgmental comments about her and instantly dislikes him. Unfortunately for Ayesha, the Muslim community in Toronto is small. Forced to plan a convention together through their mosque, Ayesha and Khalid might discover they have more in common than they think.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith

This was silly and fun! I laughed a lot. What if Pride and Prejudice takes place in an alternate reality where a plague has infected England with Zombies? The Bennett sisters are the best zombie killers in town. Cue the actual physical fighting and romance!

Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is an audacious retelling of English literature’s most enduring novel. This expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem begins when a mysterious plague falls upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. It’s the perfect read for literature lovers, zombie fans, and anyone who loves a reanimated Austen.

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