Jane Austen – Katherine Woodfine: Pride and Prejudice (Hodder and Stoughton 2019)
Almost everyone knows Jane Austen’s perhaps most famous work, even if they haven’t read it. It has also been adapted to several films and books by several authors. One of its modern reinterpretations is, for example, Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding, but it has also been rewritten from the perspective of other characters: Jo Baker focuses on the servants of the Bennet family in her book Longbourn, and Natasha Farrant concentrates on Lydia in her novel of the same title. Now I read a book specially designed for younger readers, in which Katherine Woodfine rewrote the classic. At the age of 12, the writer received a hardcover edition of Pride and Prejudice and the BBC TV adaptation on videocassette for Christmas and immediately became a fan of the story. She has read every Jane Austen novel, but her favorite since then is Pride and Prejudice. It was a big challenge, but also fun to retell it.
Elizabeth Bennet lives with her parents and four sisters in a beautiful country house, Longbourn. Their lives are quiet until a rich, unmarried young man moves into their neighborhood. Suddenly, the whole surroundings is in an uproar, as every family would love to marry their daughters to the young man. However, the rules of life in England at the beginning of the 19th century were quite different than they are today. People were still distinguished by their wealth, and women were expected to marry at a young age. Jane Austen created her enduring works in an age when women were not assigned any role other than running the household. The contents of her books are still very relevant and valuable today.
The book is illustrated by the French illustrator Églantin Ceulemans, who herself is a fan of Jane Austen. She felt honored to be able to illustrate the famous author’s works, as she has always loved stories full of love, beautiful clothes, brave young heroines and happy endings. Austen’s characters lived so vividly in her imagination that it was fun to draw them with their friendly pets (whom she hid in many pictures).
You can read about the other volume of the Awesomely Austen series here. Persuasion was published in Hungarian this September, and I will definitely write about it in the future. Retellings of all six Jane Austen novels have already been published in English, so I hope we can read them all in Hungarian soon.