Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits truly is a delightful contemporary Jane Austen romp type of story which follows loosely the storyline of Pride and Prejudice while also throwing in the delightful charm of the south, thus where the cheese grits fit it. The novel opens ,as any good Pride and Prejudice based novel should, with a scene where the main character , in this case Shelby Roswell, a Civil War historian and professor, crossing swords with a visiting professor named Ransom Fielding, who also happens to be the one who gave her book a scathing and damaging review. As she enters his classroom and creates quite a stir, she also leaves quite an impression on Ransom. I can’t possibly give you the details here as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you, but I will say that in Elizabeth Bennett fashion she dresses him down a bit and had me the reader laughing out loud. Poor Mr. Darcy, uh…Mr Fielding.
With that rough start the two main characters aren’t very fond of each other at first, and with Shelby ,working hard to earn her tenure at her small college named Midlands located in Mississippi is finding that her college’s administration have determined it quite an accomplishment to have landed the prestigious Ransom Fielding straight from Yale to come in for a guest professorship and will basically move heaven and earth to keep him happy. When the two of them do not get along, they make it very clear that they will come down on Ransome’s side of any argument, which means she may be kissing her long sought after tenure” Goodbye”. But just as Darcy against his will becomes taken with Elizabeth, so does Ransom with Shelby. Despite her many social “faux pas’, he somehow falls for her. I found Ransom’s backstory to be touching as he is recovering from losing his wife and so he is leaving his Ivy league Academia to come to this small college near his hometown to recover a bit and ends up meeting Shelby and so his journey to seek out peace and quiet is a bit sidelined as she is anything but that .
For true Jane Austen fans, this isn’t an exact replication of the story Pride and Prejudice in a contemporary setting, as certain characters are morphed into one- e.g- the Mr Collins and Mr, Wickham character become one to make up the “bad guy” of the story, and there isn’t a whole lot of emphasis on Shelby’s siblings and their stories, but as I was engaged in this story, it didn't matter to me as I enjoyed this storyline and where the author took these characters. The character of Shelby certainly had plenty of “Elizabeth Bennett” spunk as well as a bit more thrown in for good measure as her mouth so often got her into trouble whenever she was in social situations- very cringe-worthy at times- but I have to say that just led me to really loving the character of Shelby even more. Just as in Pride and Prejudice, Shelby and Ransom butt heads a lot initially and their pride and their prejudice keep them from each other, but as the story unfolds and they understand where each other are coming from, their relationship starts to develop.
This was an enjoyable read for me and I am so happy to see that there is a series here with Emma, Mr Knightley and Chili Slaw dogs on deck. If it follows the same vein as Pride,Prejudice and Cheese Grits, then it will definitely be a winner. Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits delivers, faith love and fun all rolled up into one great book with some good old fashion Southern charm thrown in as well.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.