Darcy however, has no idea of Elizabeth’s negative feelings towards him. He notices the feeling she infuses into her dance, the expression in her eyes and arm movements. He feels inspired to choreograph by her dancing. Rather than feel appreciation for working with such a talent Elizabeth feeds her resentment towards Darcy, focusing on his arrogance, and constant corrections of her movements. She also resents him for the depth of passion she feels towards him.
‘The dark timbre in Darcy’s voice sent her flesh tingling. She hated herself for it. She hated the way she reacted to him. She hated that Darcy, despicable man though he was, made her quiver in fear, fury and fervor.’I thought this was an extremely successful update. One thing I thought worked really well was the depth of Darcy’s arrogance, which is quite often reduced significantly in modern updates to help build sympathy for his character – here Elizabeth doesn’t get to see just how arrogant he is, but the reader does as we are privy to his thoughts.
One difference from canon was the change in Elizabeth’s philosophical attitude. It is something that resonated with me as I read ‘Pride & Prejudice’ because I am quite like that myself – there are many things that make me angry but I deal with things by tucking them away or laughing myself out of it, which is very much canon Lizzy’s philosophy too. This Elizabeth, on the other hand is a pretty angry young woman and she nurses her bitter feelings in a way that canon Elizabeth has the sense to laugh off. This makes her a tad less likeable than ‘Pride & Prejudice’s heroine, especially when she takes things out on Jane (who is just as nice as canon Jane, so being mean to her is akin to kicking a puppy!).
However, other things were very close to canon such as the strata of levels of importance in the ballet company mirroring the levels in society that existed in P&P. I loved some of the nods back to Austen’s work too – the Lady Catherine de Bourgh character is a patron of the arts, which is how the character saw herself in P&P, and the Sir William Lucas character is the artistic director, directing the dance as he did in P&P.
This is a very readable and engaging work. Although William and Elizabeth are both very flawed individuals you are rooting for both of them from the first and can see what each of them inspires in the other. They have wonderful passion, whether it is used for loving or hating, and they both spend a lot of effort improving themselves in the light of what they learn from their interactions. There are sex scenes but they are in flashback and not very detailed though they retain their steaminess. There is some swearing but it’s not excessive. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I’d really recommend it. It’s a five star read in my book.