Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Review: The Girl from Summer Hill by Jude Deveraux

The Girl from Summer Hill (Summer Hill, #1)THE GIRL FROM SUMMER HILL
by Jude Deveraux
Series: Summer Hill #1
Genres: Contemporary, Retelling
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Source: ARC received for review purposes
Rating: ★★★1/2
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Enter Elizabeth Bennet. Chef Casey Reddick has had it up to here with men. When she arrives in the charming town of Summer Hill, Virginia, she leaves behind a demanding boss at a famous D.C. restaurant and a breakup with a boyfriend jealous of her success. Some peace and quiet on the picturesque Tattwell plantation are just what she needs to start fresh. But the tranquility is broken one misty morning when she sees a gorgeous naked man on the porch of her cottage.

Enter Mr. Darcy. What Tate Landers, Hollywood heartthrob and owner of Tattwell, doesn’t need on a bittersweet trip to his anecstral home is a woman spying on him from his guest cottage. Mistaking Casey for a reporter, Tate tries to run her out of her own house. His anger, which looks so good on the screen, makes a very bad first impression on Casey. Hollywood he may be, but he’s no sweetheart to Casey—and she lets him know it!

The plot thickens. Sparks fly—literally—when Casey is recruited to play Elizabeth Bennet opposite Tate’s Mr. Darcy in a stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Just brushing past Tate makes Casey’s whole body hum. As they spar on and off stage, she begins to think she’s been too quick to judge. Tate’s more down-to-earth than Casey expected, and she finds herself melting under his smoldering gaze. But then, Tate’s handsome ex-brother-in-law, Devlin Haines, who is playing Wickham, tells Casey some horrifying stories about Tate. She is upset and confused as she tries to figure out who and what to believe. As she finds herself falling for Tate, Casey needs to know: Is the intense, undeniable chemistry between them real or is this just a performance that ends when the curtain falls?

What a fun book!! The Girl from Summer Hill is a Pride and Prejudice retelling that is set within a story in which the characters are putting on Pride and Prejudice as a play so kind of a retelling in a retelling! This one definitely worked for me and here's why:

The Players
  1. The role of Lizzy is played by Casey, a chef that recently quit her job after a break-up and on the verge of burn-out. She's come for a break but she discovers a lot more than she bargained for. Casey was so cool -- very Lizzy like and I loved reading about all the marvelous things she cooked and baked!
  2. The role of Darcy is played by Tate, a heartthrob actor that has a serious weak spot for his sister and niece. He's recently purchased a huge house that his mother spent her childhood summers in but has only recently gathered the courage to visit the house and relive those memories. Tate is super swoony -- maybe a little less pride than we typically expect of Darcy but definitely book boyfriend worthy!
  3. The role of Jane is played by Casey's half sister Giselle, who is kind of a daredevil and totally fearless. She is so sweet and so good -- definitely a Jane!!
  4. The role of Bingley is played by Tate's best friend, Jack, who is also an actor who is primarily in action movies and does his own stunts. He falls for Giselle quickly and I really liked how the author portrayed cannon between he and Giselle.
Doesn't Take Itself Too Seriously

I've only read a few of Jude Deveraux's books but they all feel a bit the same to me in terms of pacing and that they feel old fashioned even when set in contemporary times. This isn't a bad thing -- she does a really good job of adding levity and comedy to her books and to her characters. I liked that this retelling didn't try to take itself too seriously as though it were actually Jane Austen. Instead, we got a fun and contemporary spin on P&P.

Fun Setting

This is set in rural Virginia and, as I iterated above, take place during the summer where the town is putting on Pride and Prejudice as a play. The setting definitely felt like summer and was described well -- I wanted to visit Summer Hill!

This book is also the first in a trilogy -- no word on whether the other books will also be retellings but I definitely can't wait to read more about this family and this town! There were so many good secondary characters that I could see the other books going so many different ways, all of which intrigue me.
"Acacia, I like you very much. I like the way you see through the outside of me to what's underneath. I like that I can be myself with you, that you have no preconceived ideas of what I should be. I like your enthusiasm for life. I especially love our bodies together."

Have you read books by Jude Deveraux before? What are some of your favorite P&P retellings?
Let me know in the comments below!