In brief: Georgiana Darcy, reimagined as a teenager in modern America. Still in trouble due to Wickham, and seeking to reclaim her position in high school and with her stern older brother, Fitz.
The good: The recognisable names and places in a modern setting.
The not-so-good: Georgie was rather boring at times, and ruminated a lot where she could have acted.
Why I chose it: I’m a Pride and Prejudice fan. Thanks to Pan Macmillan for the copy.
Publisher: Wednesday Books (Pan Macmillan)
Setting: New York State
Rating: 6 out of 10
Like many, many other people, I am a big fan of Pride and Prejudice. Therefore, it makes it difficult for me to resist sequels, prequels or stories about the other characters. Accomplished is one of the latter, taking Georgiana Darcy and plonking her story in contemporary America. It sounded like a great idea – Pemberley is an exclusive boarding school and SUNY Meryton is where Fitz Darcy and Lizzie and Jane Bennet attend university. In practice, I found Georgie’s ruminations and inability to read the room quite annoying and repetitive.
The story opens as Georgie is preparing to return to Pemberley after a major scandal involving Wickham’s sideline in selling drugs out of her dorm room. It’s only because she’s a Darcy (as Fitz reminds her and as Georgie constantly reminds herself) that she’s allowed to go back to school this year. To make matters worse, Fitz has transferred colleges to be much closer to Georgie and home. Georgie feels lost, guilty and a pariah at school where virtually no one will give her the time of day. Even her marching bands colleagues don’t want to know her – or so she thinks. It’s just Georgie against the world, with only her fascination with a Downton Abbey-like show and fan fics to keep her company. Gradually, Georgie lessens her constant self-loathing and makes friends with Avery who becomes her great support as she opens up to him. But things come to a head when she is snapped in a compromising position on social media and she runs again. Can Georgie tell Fitz how she feels and get over her shame?
I get that Georgie feels like she’s let everyone down, particularly Fitz who is her only family. I get that she feels left out and hated by her peers. But Georgie doesn’t really do a great deal to help herself, which made this reader frustrated. She’s not really good at reading the room (case in point: surprise catering a ton of food for the band, which makes others feel like she’s buying them off with her wealth). Perhaps because she’s been so sheltered, Georgie isn’t great at defending herself or sticking to her guns. At the first sign of trouble, she retreats. A lot of the narrative is Georgie’s feelings of self-loathing, then doing something stupid (like sending massive bouquets to Lizzie at university) and then repeat. It was really frustrating at times.
There are some really cute nods to P&P in the narrative, especially in the minor character creation. Mr Bingley is a hot frat boy and Lydia works at Target. (I would have loved to have seen what Mary was up to in a modern world where she can read and study to her heart’s content.) Fitz is just as stern at times, which didn’t really work in the modern setting (no wonder Georgie is in a shame spiral) but what we see of Lizzie is fun. Overall, this just didn’t work for me with the shame-drama-repeat style but others may find Georgie more likeable than I did.