Elizabeth Eulberg recast Pride and Prejudice so it takes place at a prestigious girls’ school named Longbourne. Lizzie Bennet is a scholarship student there. While she’s there for an excellent music education and the academics, many of the girls seemed focused on one thing only–prom. As a new student, and a charity case in the eyes of many, Lizzie has to deal with an unspeakable amount of hazing. After one semester, the only friends she has are fellow scholarship student Charlotte and Jane Netherfield, who is kind to everyone. The only downside to Jane is her brash freshman sister Lydia.
The book picks up just after winter break. Jane is excited because Charles Bingley will be back from a semester in London. Will Darcy has also recently returned to the US. Both boys attend Pemberley, a boys’ school in the area. Lizzie meets both at a reception that Jane drags her to, a reception meant to kick off the start of ‘hunting’ season as the girls of Longbourne maneuver to catch the boys for prom dates. While Jane is enraptured with Charles’ return, Lizzie is once more the target of a socialite and has coffee dumped all over her dress. Darcy attempts to help her, but his demeanor changes completely when he learns she’s a scholarship student.
Many of the events of the original are mirrored in this book. The trip where Jane falls sick and Lizzie ends up at Bingley’s house becomes a ski trip. While working at the local coffee shop, Lizzie meets Wick, and is intrigued by this former Pemberley scholarship, who spreads his usual lies about Darcy’s reprehensible behavior. Lizzie is drawn to his view of things because of being closer to his status and enjoying his attention. Charles suddenly abandons his quest for Jane. Darcy’s long letter after his botched attempt to speak of his affections becomes an email. Lydia foolishly chases after attention and what she wants without thinking of the consequences.
The characters remain fairly true to themselves. Caroline Bingley is still odious; Jane is practically a saint. Darcy is complex and perplexing. Lizzie will not be content to be downtrodden. Will’s cousin Fitz, while only in the book for a brief scene, is well done. Colin does not know when to stop talking or what listening means. Georgiana is sweet. Certain adult characters found in the original are never on screen, so if you are looking for the dynamics of the original Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, you will not find it.
One marked difference with Prom and Prejudice is that Lizzie is a talented musician who practices constantly. On many days, the only positive thing is her time at the piano and at her instructor. Her interest in music allows Darcy a great opportunity for surprise. My favorite part of the book comes when Darcy, Lizzie and Jane are searching for Lydia when she’s run off with George Wickham.