I am one of those people who puts a lot of pressure on the first book I read in a year, so I asked for your help in choosing what should be my first read of 2022. A Certain Appeal and Firekeeper’s Daughter received the majority of the votes, so I started with A Certain Appeal and I am currently reading Firekeeper’s Daughter, so look out for a review of the latter soon!
After a betrayal derailed her interior design career, Liz Bennet found a fresh start in New York. Now an executive assistant by day and stage kitten by night, she’s discovered a second home with the performers at Meryton, Manhattan’s top-tier burlesque venue. Love’s the last thing on her mind when she locks eyes with Will Darcy across the crowded club. The spark between them is undeniable–that is, until she overhears the uptight wealth manager call her merely “tolerable.”
Bennet is determined to write Darcy off, but once their besties fall head-over-heels, they’re thrown into each other’s orbit again and again. Each encounter begins to feel more heated than the last, but is their chemistry enough to topple that terrible first impression? What’s more, when a charming newcomer arrives on the scene with accusations against Darcy, his claims leave Bennet torn. And when a sudden development leaves Meryton’s fate in jeopardy, she will have to decide who to trust in time to salvage her design dreams, her heart, and the stage she shares with her found family…
I never knew that I needed a Pride and Prejudice retelling set at a burlesque club, but it was the perfect book to start off my 2022 reading. I hope it sets the tone for the rest of my year!
I love what Vanessa King did with Liz and her character and how she puts Darcy in his place, especially when it came to his perspective on burlesque. I knew nothing about the burlesque world going into this book, but I have a new appreciation for it now having seen it through Liz’s eyes.
The friendship between Liz and Jane (who is a male jazz singer in this story) is perfect, as is the chemistry between Liz and Darcy. Jane and Bingley are adorable as well. I also thought that the inclusion of Wickham and the conflict that he added to the story was pretty ingenious. What reading this book made me realize is that the formula of Pride and Prejudice just works for me. Take these characters and put them in any time or place and there is a high chance I am going to connect with them. Vanessa King made some major changes to these beloved characters, but they still felt true to the originals, which is not an easy feat.
I also found the ending to be super satisfying! It is quite different than the one in Pride and Prejudice, but I think readers will appreciate it.
Keep in mind that this book revolves around burlesque and Liz is a stage kitten (aka the person who picks up the performers’ clothing and props as they take them off), so expect a lot of steam!
I had so much fun with this debut and look forward to more from Vanessa King!