Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen Children’s Stories) by Gemma Barder

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Many thanks to Sweet Cherry Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC! This book will be released on July 9 2020.

My Rating: 5 stars

This is a charming adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that’s perfect for introducing young readers to classic literature. Though it is abridged, it features all the key characters and events and even some of Austen’s original wit and irony. And there are adorable illustrations throughout.

The text has been simplified in many places to help the intended audience understand the story, but there are a few lines that remain almost exactly the same. Highlights include: “Because a single man of good fortune must want a wife!” “I was thinking about a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman.” “My feelings cannot be denied. You must allow me to tell you how deeply I admire and love you.” and “My feelings and wishes are unchanged. However one word from you will silence me forever.” It was such a joy to see these lines included, and I can just imagine the excitement of a girl who read this in childhood coming upon those moments in the original text.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Barder didn’t skim over or simply cut out Lydia running away with Mr. Wickham. Sometimes abridged classics like this shy away from dealing with the more unpleasant aspects of the original books, and I’m glad that’s not the case here. Including it helps young readers get a full grasp of the story, and it allows for discussions between parents and children about why Wickham is a bad person and the differences between today’s society and the 19th century.

Overall the book is a delight. I can’t wait to buy it for bookish friends’ kids and to see the rest of the set!

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