Callie is tired of being a clumsy geek-girl. So during a school trip to London she buys her ticket to popularity: a pair of real Prada pumps. But then she wobbles on the cobblestones, trips in her too-high heels, and conks her head. When she comes to, it’s the year 1815!
Luckily she meets kindhearted Emily, who mistakes Callie for a long-lost friend. Sparks soon ignite – of the nice and not-so-nice variety – between Callie and Alex, the handsome but totally arrogant Duke of Harksbury. Too bad Alex seems to have something sinister up his ruffled sleeve…
Can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, win a kiss from Alex, and prove to herself that she’s more than just a loud-mouth klutz before her time in the past is up?
Callie is an odd mix: she is insecure, but has a tenacious strength of will when she believes she is right; she exhibits a penchant for internal whining, but is bright and can hold her own in a bout of verbal sparring; and there are times that you want to shake her when she is demonstrating one or all of these traits. My problem was that throughout the course of the novel I never quite warmed up to her; I felt flashes of sympathy (especially since she seemed proned to inopportune face plants) and sporadically shared in her feelings of empowered exhilaration. As I read, I wondered if she might be one of those characters you either love or hate, but then found myself amused if somewhat ambivalent at the end, and so there went that idea.
Because the story is hung on the framework of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the underlying plotline couldn’t help but be predictable and the ending inevitable. (I also found myself casting shades of Lost in Austen on the book, as there are parallels to be drawn, but that was my own doing, and most likely only done because I so recently saw it.) None of that, though, is meant to be a negative and in general doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the story.
There were, in fact, little moments that were wonderful. One such moment – that won’t spoil anything – was when several young boys asked Callie to show them an American dance.
But what do I share? MC Hammer? The Running Man? The Electric Slide? A little Macarena?
“Uh,” I say, stepping forward. “How about, um, the Robot?”
The romance of the story, for me, was found in the time period rather than the sparks between Callie and Alex. I loved reading about the dresses, the gloves, the etiquette. And I loved watching Callie find her place among all of it. Oh, don’t get me wrong – Callie and Alex were great, too, as their relationship simmered deliciously during certain scenes, and spilled over into something quite lovely. It was just…beautiful estates! carriages drawn by gorgeous gray horses! dancing in the glow of oil lit lamps! Sigh…
Overall, I really did enjoy Prada & Prejudice – it was quick and light and fun and just the sort of thing for a rainy day.