Published by HarperTeen
Which Classic: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This take on the perennial favorite is possibly the most unexpected one I’ve ever come across, as it not only switches the gender of our beloved Elizabeth Bennett, but it takes place in almost pre-historic times.
Seventeen-year-old Kol lives with his family in the cold northern areas near the Great Ice where they follow the herds and fish the sea to survive. He and his four brothers are in desperate need of wives if their clan is going to continue, but there are no girls in their small clan of twenty-six souls.
When Mya and her sister Seeri unexpectedly visit Kol’s clan they bring with them the hope that the bitter relationships between their clan and his might be mended and marriage alliances formed. Unfortunately Mya’s long-held prejudices and Kol’s pride might upend everything.
Best Classic Moment: In the original, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett spar wickedly across the dining table, one upping each other in both wit and disdain. In Ivory and Bone it’s wildly different yet strikingly similar.
“What about girls?” you ask. No one replies at first, and I wonder if maybe I imagined your voice. But then you continue. “We’ve talked about the traits that make a man a good choice for a mate. But I wonder what might the necessary female traits be?”
My mouth has gone dry, but I force myself to swallow before I speak… “The traits that make a girl a good choice for a mate…That list could include many things: even-temperedness. Cooperation. Patience.” I try to look at you—it would be rude to reply to your question while staring at my food—but I can’t force my eyes to meet yours…. “Above all, a lack of a certain kind of arrogance that might cause her to assume that every offered word or gift—whether a simple pouch of honey or the pelt of a cat—is meant as a bribe.”
I wonder if I’ve gone too far. My gaze finally flits up to meet yours. No discreetly dropped eyes—instead, you are watching me with a piercing stare. You are game for this exchange.
How It Stacks Up: Excellent
It took me a while to realize that this was a retelling, which, in my book, is a good sign. It means the revamped story is strong enough to stand on its own. But once I did, it was fun to spot the ways that Eshbaugh wove the original into this completely unique setting, style and voice.