Book Talk Tuesday: Austen Takes the South

Today’s review is actually a two-fer. A friend mentioned in passing that she’d downloaded a book she loved and she knew I’d love it to. Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway. When someone says they thought of me while reading, I’ve got to check it out. I’m glad I did.

Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits is to Pride and Prejudice what Fifty Shades of Grey is to Twilight. Without the porn and with a Christian worldview. I loved Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits. (And, honest confession coming: I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey.)

P,P & CG is delightful. I loved the beginning scene when the prejudiced heroine meets the proud hero. I enjoyed the nods to Austen in the story and the chapter epigraphs. It’s wholesome and clean without being preachy.

Shelby Roswell is a professor at a small southern college. Her recent book was savaged in a review by Ransom Fielding. Guess who’s taken a guest post teaching at Shelby’s school for the term?

Yep. Sparks fly when Shelby and Ransom meet and we’re off for a fun, light read. Of course, one of them is prideful, the other prejudiced. Just like in the original, I’m not entirely certain who is which because both make unwarranted judgments and assumptions about the other.

I listened to the first half of the book on my Kindle while I was driving so I thought the non sequiturs stemmed from me not hearing the electronic voice correctly. Then I read the rest of the book with my own eyes.

Oh dear. My apologies to the nice Kindle voice who did the best she could. The edition I downloaded in early September was riddled with typos and grammatical errors and continuity issues. There were no cheese grits in the story. A character was introduced as David Bishop but a few pages later became David Whitcomb. Normally that type of thing forces me to close the book so it’s a testament to Hathaway’s story that I didn’t give up and continued to enjoy her novel.
I recommend this book but with the caution that you must have a high tolerance for editorial mistakes.

Because of those issues with P,P & CG, I opened Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili–Slaw Dogs with excitement tempered with trepidation. I’m pleased that the typos were much fewer and I had only one quibble with a continuity thing (more of an emotional logic issue). And the chili-slaw dogs made an early appearance so I could quit searching for them.

Caroline Ashley gave up a promising career in journalism to return home to Thorny Hollow and take care of her mother. Brooks Elliott is her close friend and cousin-in-law. Sort of. I think.

Anyway, they’ve been the best of friends and each is the other’s emotional support as they deal with family and home issues.

When a good looking newcomer makes advances toward Caroline, Brooks tries to warn her about him and about Caroline’s plans for the young woman she’s mentoring. Caroline ignores him and dives headlong into the mess. After all, Brooks has secrets from her: he’s seeing the lovely Lauren. Or so Caroline thinks. When Caroline and Brooks finally admit their true feelings for each other, the ending is swift and satisfying.

Both books are fun to read. I recommend them, especially to readers who love Austen and the South.

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