Saturday, June 13, 2009

Book Review: Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I own a pair of Prada boots. Not heels. Never heels. I’d instantly fall on my face like Callie, the main character, does, but I’m pretty sure doing so wouldn’t transport me back to 1815 where I’d get to live in a mansion with a hot, green-eyed duke and wear fabulous dresses. So yeah. I’ll stick with my boots (even if they are several seasons ago by now).

Since I love time travel stories, Prada, and Jane Austen, this was a slam dunk premise for me. But the execution didn’t entirely win me over. I’m all about suspending belief, but I like the story to at least try to offer some logic as to the whole time travel component, and this one did not. It was bam!, she’s in the past, and bam!, she’s back. Are the red heels magic like in THE WIZARD OF OZ? Was it all a dream? I guess the fact that there were no rules frustrated me to the point that I had a hard time really enjoying the novel despite its undeniable charm.

Callie is a more complex character than you’d usually find in such a confection. Sure, she’s a clumsy, and at times clueless, blonde. But she’s also smart in math and science with a penchant for regaling her 19th century pals with all sorts of scientific trivia while they are riding around in elegant carriages on their way to fancy balls. She may not think things through all the way, but her heart is in the right place, and her brand of Girl Power just might start an Austen era revolution of sorts.

PRADA AND PREJUDICE just came out this week. Visit the author at http://www.mandyhubbard.com/.

31 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

It is a cute idea - like the magic red ballet shoes for grown ups!

beth said...

I think this looks like a great beach read! I will definitely be picking it up.

PS: The Penguin prize books came! The surprise books were EON: DRAGONEYE REBORN (squee!), THE MAN WHO LOVED CLOWNS, and SIMON BLOOM: THE OCTOPUS EFFECT. That's right--there were actually TEN books in the box!!! Thanks again so much...and I hope to start posting reviews of them soon!!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I do like the sound of this, whether they give a reason for the time travel or not. I really need to try and read this soon or something.

-Lauren

Lenore said...

RIB - Exactly!

beth - That's awesome! I can't wait to see what you think of them :) And yes, this would be a great beach read!

Lauren - It is really fun! I'm probably one of the few with a time travel logic quirk, but I had to be honest.

Lisa said...

No, I have to admit that the lack of logic would bother me. I get the same way about tv shows that make big factual errors - if you don't make the effort to make sense, I feel insulted.

bermudaonion said...

Sorry it didn't totally win you over. It does sound like a fun premise.

Melanie said...

This looks like a really interesting premise, but I'm wondering how accurate the title is. Other than the time period, does it have anything to do with Jane Austen?

Thao said...

I like the idea of this one. I think the title sounds really cool too.

Lenore said...

Lisa - Well, I didn't feel insulted, but I'm glad to hear I'm not alone ;)

Kathy - Fun and cute indeed.

Melanie - The romance between Callie and the duke is reminiscent of Elizabeth and Darcy, but otherwise, no.

Thao - I adore the title!

Nicole said...

I love the cover and the title! It's right up there with Misery Loves Cabernet.

Lenore said...

Nicole - When a book has a great title, I always want to give it a chance.

Elizabeth said...

The lack of explanation would irritate me, too -- although, sometimes I think no explanations are better than really, really bad ones. But yeah, if it's at the point where you don't know whether it's supposed to have really happened or not, that makes it pretty hard for you as reader to fill in the gaps!

Lenore said...

E - Not to spoil it, but there is proof that it happened, just not HOW.

Kate said...

I like the idea of this book. I think I would enjoy it as a summer read. Thanks for an honest review :)

Susan @ Reading Upside Down said...

What is it about Pride & Prejudice (beside the fact that it is such an amazingly wonderful novel) that inspires so many sequels/spoofs/imitations? There are other great novels that don't seem to create anywhere near as much modern publishing action.

I have just finished Darcy's Passions by Regina Jeffers, a P&P companion-style novel that presents the action of the story from Darcy's perspective. A few annoying quirks, but reasonably enjoyable.

As far as the P&P time travel goes, we recently had a UK mini-series called "Lost in Austen" screen here that was supposed to be quite good (I missed it). I think it was a BBC production - an Austen fan finds herself in the Bennett home thanks to a mysterious time-portal door in her apartment bathroom.

infiniteshelf said...

Ooooh! A cute cover, a Jane Auste kinda title, and a regference to the Wizard of Oz... I want to read that one! :)

Mandy Hubbard said...

Susan, I'm not sure what it is about Austen (and Pride & Prejudice, especially) that has inspired such a spin-off craze. Other than Darcy, of course. :-P.

If it helps any, this book was originally titled HOW TO SNAG A DUKE (atrocious, I know) had was not a parallel to Austen's work at all. I was obsessed with regency romances-- the slightly more contemporary kind that come in mass market format--and simply sent a girl to 1815.

The title changed later, before it went onto submissions with editors. And thanks to the title, they kept asking for more Austen. Through revisions and a rewrite, it's become a little closer to PRIDE & PREJUDICE, though the plot/action is still a bit different. It doesn't recreate PRIDE & PREJUDICE so much as mimic some of the themes.

Anyway, thank you Lenore for the review-- and thanks to everyone for their interest/comments!

writemeg said...

Sounds like a fun book, but I'm sure I'd agree that time travel books without any mention of how the shift took place would be really distracting! Not that time travel makes all that much sense to begin with, haha. But it's such a fun idea!

Still, I love Jane Austen too -- and have been priding myself on working my way through all the Austen fiction I can find! :) It's definitely taking me so much time. Good review :)

Belle said...

I love the title, and enjoyed your description of Callie. This sounds like it would be a good, fun read for the beach!

Jess said...

I love modern novels inspired by Austen. This sounds like a fun read. Have you tried What Would Jane Austen do? It's a great read.

Lenore said...

Mandy - Thanks for the background! I love behind the scenes looks at books.

Joanne said...

Thanks for the review. I had thought this would be a fun read, I love time travel themes but I really need it to be explained in some way.

I have a pair of Prada 3 inch kitten heels and they are amazing. The heels are so well-placed that I never feel a wobble.

Zibilee said...

Sounds like a fun book to be taken lightly. Sorry it wasn't totally your cup of tea though it sounds like you did enjoy most of it. I think I might take a closer look with this book, I need an entertaining read right now!

Sassy CC said...

I would pick it up if I saw it in a store because even if the logic of time travel isn't there I'd hope that Callie as a smart clumsy clueless blonde would draw away form that. The cover is also rather cute.
Nice clear review.

Seahn
#1 extra entry(hope that is correct)
seahn-gallagher(at)hotmail(dot)com

Debbie's World of Books said...

LOL. I don't own any Prada but I love Pride & Prejudice. This story sounded like a really fun read.

The time travel part sounds pretty jarring. You know what this book reminds me of from your review? The tv mini series Lost in Austen. #extra entry

dissectingperfection said...

Awww I was actually looking forward to reading this a lot. It just sounds like one of those books that shouldn't be overthought or anything - just used as a fun read visualizing Taylor Swift's video! =D Still, great review.

#extra entry (that should make 5, i think)

Elise said...

I've thought about reading this book, but I also hate when they don't add logic to the time traveling. Great review!

#extra entry

The Book Girl said...

I've been meaning to read this one. I'm not really sure how I'll feel about the lack of time travel rules, but I'm still most definitely giving it a try! The Austen-esk theme sounds cute as well, so can't wait!

And I'm glad you still enjoy your boots, despite the seasons past :-p

Llehn said...

I thought the cover was very clever and considering that I like Jane Austen, this is probably one I will read.

#4 extra entry

Laina said...

You realize that I'm now incredibly jealous of your boots?

Sorry you didn't love the book, though. I'm not still sure if I want to read this one or not. It doesn't seem like quite my things.

#extra entry (Also, does this, the #extra entry thing, remind anyone else of #squarespace on Twitter?)

Alexa said...

I've wanted to read this book for a long time. It sounds like something I would enjoy. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

#extra entry