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Book Review and New Release: Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London

 

Title: Definitely, Maybe in Love
Author: Ophelia London
Genre: Contemporary new adult romance
Published: 2013
Pages: 260
Format read: ebook
Rating: B+

I’m a total sucker for a good Pride and Prejudice retelling, so when I found out about Ophelia London’s new adult version, Definitely, Maybe in Love, I jumped right on it! As modern P&P versions go, it definitely (no maybes here) did not disappoint.

Spring Honeycutt’s goal in life is to be taken seriously as an environmental science major. She’s completely remade herself while at Stanford University–overloading her schedule with classes, increasing her visibility by taking up important causes, becoming a vegetarian, embracing “girl power” music, and even getting her hair done in a set of tiny braids. She finally feels like she’s got a handle on the new her–until the professor in charge of her thesis throws a huge wrench into the works. He suggests that she make her paper stronger–and more liable to be published–by learning the other side of the argument. Now Spring has to find an economics major–or at least someone with a better grasp of the subject than she currently has–to help give her sustainability argument its needed depth.

Enter Henry Edward Knightly III, or “Trip” to his family and friends. Henry is a law student, and comes from very old money. His minor was in finance, and now he’s studying corporate law with an emphasis on property development–basically, he’s Spring’s worst nightmare.

Too bad he’s totally hot, living across the street, and his best friend is dating her roommate. Oh, and they’re going to be working together for the foreseeable future.

You don’t have to look too hard to find the Pride and Prejudice parallels in this one–they’re not particularly hidden, though quite a few of them are fairly cleverly done. The spirit of the original is definitely maintained, and for the most part the narrative arc parallels Jane Austen’s classic. If you haven’t read the original one, though, (and why haven’t you? Please tell me you’ve seen the BBC/Colin Firth classic, at least. Or watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Even Mini Moe #2 has done both of those, plus read the graphic novel version. So honestly, there is no excuse.) this novel will stand on its own as a good read. The writing here kept the story fresh, even though the basic plotline  recently had its 200th birthday.

Having the protagonists be in college, where passions for one’s major and the need to do good for the world runs rampant, was definitely a strength in establishing the needed acrimony between Spring and Henry. Since self-discovery is also a huge part of the development of Spring’s character, this also rings true. College is the perfect place to figure out who you are and what your contribution to the world will be, after all.

The relationships between characters are another strength in this novel, and those familiar with the original can clearly see where they come from. The idea of turning Elizabeth’s sisters into Spring’s roommates was a good one–roommates are definitely a bigger part of your college life than siblings, at least during the semesters there. Alex Parks (George Wickham) is perfect as a hard-drinking, lecherous and lying party guy, and college is of course the environment for him as well. Unfortunately. Every Darcy does need his Wickham foil, though, and Definitely‘s got it.

I only had two minor complaints with the novel as a whole–first, the names. I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the incredibly long and somewhat awkward names of the hero and heroine–Springer Elizabeth Honeycutt McNamara Shakespeare-Barnes is a mouthful and a half, and Trip’s name encompasses not one but three different Austen heroes, though, oddly enough, not Fitzwilliam Darcy. (Why? It had me shaking my head more than once; it seemed to be such an odd decision.) Spring’s best friend is named Mel(anie) Gibson–that just threw me right out of the story every time I read it.

Secondly, the characters often acted more like high school students than college, giving the novel more of a YA than an NA feel. Overall, this wasn’t a huge problem–it’s still a good read, and definitely one that I can safely pass on to my fourteen-year-old Austen fan, but it doesn’t quite fit the age the characters are supposed to be.

Neither one of these issues was a deal breaker, however.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a sweet and clean YA/NA romance–especially if that someone is also an Austen fan. I can even see this novel inspiring a new generation of readers to give the classic version a try, which is nothing but good news all around. B+ rating.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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