This review was originally posted on my blog: www.acreads.blogspot.com.
Prada & Prejudice is the story of 15 year old Callie who goes on a school trip to London after her best friend moves away. Callie quickly realizes that without her security blanket of a best friend, she'll need to leave her comfort zone and actually attempt to make friends. Her only problem? For most of her life, Callie has been a total snob - making fun of the "popular" kids - and now she realizes that she'll actually need to make an effort with the other girls on her trip. In a misguided attempt to capture their interest and hopefully snag an invite to hang out with the girls, Callie drops $400 on a pair of sky high red Prada heels. As she's walking back to her hotel, she trips and bumps her head....... and wakes up in 1815.
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.