Good Morning BookNerds!
So I was recently browsing through GoodReads when I came across this novel. The Muse: A Pride & Prejudice Variation by Jessica Evans. If you happen to know me, you’d understand why I went straight to Amazon and bought the ebook. I love Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen and recently have been gulping down some retellings, variations and spin-offs. I started following a GoodReads user, Meredith (Austenesque Reviews), since she reads a lot of these types of novels and has some good reviews. It’s how I’ve mainly been finding some of these novels. If you’re on GoodReads and like Jane Austen then I’d suggest checking out her profile.
Needless to say, I read this one quickly. Continue on for my review! Quick on time? Check out my Need to Know section!
The Muse by Jessica Evans follows Elizabeth Bennet, the newest corps de ballet dancer at Ballet Theater of New York in NYC. Along with her sister Jane, Elizabeth loves to dance and dreams of rising through the ranks of the company. Shortly into the new season, Elizabeth is cast in the newest work of famous choreographer William Darcy. This is her chance to work hard and gain one more step up the ladder to fulfilling her dreams–then she meets him. Things couldn’t be worse as she constantly butts heads with the arrogant former dance legend. Soon he’s constantly calling her out in each class and then he takes over her time as he insists she stay after class to help him choreograph the pas de deux. Elizabeth can’t stand him, even if he’s slightly more than attractive and makes her feel things when they dance together. She’d never like him though–he’s condescending, arrogant and just plain horrible. Right?
Let’s just say first off that I will definitely be rereading this in the future. From previous reviews, I’ve mentioned how much of a dance/music freak I am and I love watching and reading stories revolving around these topics. Add in one of my favorite classics and you’ve got gold for me!
Jessica Evans does a great job making this story her own. While the overall story follows the same arc, Evans brings out the modern personalities of each character and takes her readers into the world of dance. Not only was I drawn to the Austen storyline, I was drawn into the backstage look of a ballet company. Seeing how Elizabeth’s character handled the competitive world and her reactions were great. I connected with her for the first time and all over again as both Austen’s character and Evan’s character collided. Seeing Lizzy as a ballerina and then later on as a passionate dancer wasn’t hard to believe as someone whose read the original work. I believe Evans did a suburb job with writing her version of Elizabeth.
Where Elizabeth was great, Darcy was even better. What I loved about The Muse, was reading from Darcy’s point of view. Evans brought out more of Darcy’s insecurities and softer emotions that were not always shown in the original work. Darcy was at a road block in his choreography and still struggling with a career set back. Evans’ Darcy was more than a standoffish character with a protective and loyal inside; he had goals and dreams. Seeing Darcy’s growth in this novel was a lot more enjoyable. I truly applaud Evans for her William Darcy character. For while he shared the characteristics of Austen’s Darcy, William in The Muse was definitely Evans’ own character.
When Darcy and Lizzy interacted it was like ‘hurry grab the popcorn, fireworks are about to start!’ Evans definitely had the chemistry going in this one. Both characters were giving off sparks like a down electric wire on the road. While the sparring scenes were nearly my favorite, I have to say that I fell in love with when they danced together. Those scenes were my top favorite.
I could go own about this novel and in more depth about the comparisons, but I’ll keep it short 😉 I do want to mention that I liked the secondary characters: Jane, Charles, Greg (aka George) etc. They were not as in the forefront as Lizzy and Darcy, but they held their own and had a bit of a freshness to them as well.
Overall, Evans masterly crafted a novel of Austen inspiration combined with her own writing brilliance. This has been one of my favorite variation/modern retellings of the novel so far. Evans really brought new life and modern personalities to Lizzy and Darcy. Add in the backstage world of ballet and I’m hooked for life. If you’re a Austenite enthusiast or just in the mood for contemporary romance, I’d suggest you pick up this book for a quick read. It won’t leave you disappointed!
- Modern-day retelling of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen focused on a aspiring soloist for the Ballet Theater of New York, Elizabeth Bennet, and a former dance legend turned choreographer, William Darcy.
- Both Elizabeth and Darcy are fresh takes on the classical characters with a great look into backstage ballet companies. Darcy shows more aspirations and insecurities through his POV narration–making him more Evans character than Austen’s. Elizabeth still has the same growth to accomplish, but Evans again allows this modern Lizzy to shine through.
- THE DANCE SCENES!! THE SPARKS & CHEMISTRY!! ❤
- Evans masterly combines her own story with the Austen-inspired story arc.
- 5 STARS! Will definitely be rereading this one and more than likely will be purchasing the physical copy as I bought the ebook.
Thank you for stopping by! I hope you found a great new read!
What are your thoughts on The Muse? Are you a Austenite too? Let me know I’d love to discuss! Just drop a line below 🙂
Psst…It seems you could win an autograph copy of this novel on GoodReads. Here’s the link 😉