6 Modern Books for Fans of Pride and Prejudice

I’ve always been a fan of Curtis Sittenfeld, from Prep to American Wife and even Sisterland. And like most young women, I devoured Jane Austen in my early teen years. So when I heard that Sittenfeld would be writing a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, I was beyond excited.

It took several years, but finally I got an advanced copy of Eligible in the mail (Thanks, Random House!). I was thrilled, and it took everything I had not to beg off work to spend the afternoon devouring it.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

But I waited until Saturday morning, got some coffee and Muncher’s donuts, and curled up on the couch to read it in one sitting, which is in my opinion, the best way to read a book.

With quick chapters, witty dialogue, and memorable characters that echoed their inspiration while being wholly modern and original, it was quite delightful. I didn’t love it as much as Pride and Prejudice or Sittenfeld’s earlier books, but it was entertaining. I may have laughed out loud several times.

Once I was finished, I was craving more modern stories that have the same feel of Pride and Prejudice—the keen insight into characters, the family drama and the romance, wit and wisdom but also a heavy dose of gossip.

So here are some more books in the same vein. Or more accurately, pick up on one of the themes of Pride and Prejudice and run with it.

books for fans of pride and prejudice

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P by Adelle Waldman

If you like smart romance with a keen insight into characters, this story of finding love in modern day New York will hit the spot. Our boy Nate is a rising star in New York’s world of publishing, and has his pick of women to date; he’s also a blundering, neoliberal fool. Waldman writes with a sort of anthropological detachment, dissecting what it means to be a man in today’s world. If you really wanted to get more into Darcy’s head while reading Pride and Prejudice, this is the book for you.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

This novel has the intimate look close relationships between women that so many love about Pride and Prejudice coupled with an adorable romance that is not without its share of bumps. Lincoln is an IT guy at a newspaper just before the new century, with the banal task of reading through his co-workers emails. What he doesn’t expect is to become engrossed with the daily drama of Beth and Jennifer, and especially doesn’t expect to fall in love.

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

Dry humor and sweet friendships make this a fun look at modern quest for love. This addictive read is an insightful look at what (relatively privileged, single white ladies) lives are like in New York in their 20s. I absolutely hate the term chick-lit, as if funny books about the lives of women can’t be capital-L literature. So without any derogatory implications, this is chick-lit.

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

If you love the Brontë sisters like you love Austen, this modern story of a woman on a Brontë themed scavenger hunt to find her inheritance (with the help of a condescending but charming professor) will surely please. A little bit gothic mystery, but with a protagonists full of quips, this enthralling novel will captivate.

Burning Down the House by Jane Mendelsen

Austen’s novels also subtly critique social customs around wealth and privilege. A bit darker than the previous suggestions, this literary drama focuses on a young woman adopted into a world of privilege, and a nanny who was trafficked as a child. An intimate look at a complicated family and a critique of capitalism. Mendelsen’s characters are authentic, equally vulnerable and vain, extravagant, and vividly imagined. What would Jane Austen think of modern globalization and its effect on intimate family relations? This might give some insight.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld will be available April 19th. Preorder it today, or put it on hold at your local library.

Do you have a favorite memory of reading Jane Austen? What modern books would you recommend to fans? 

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  • Not only are you making me want to reread Pride and Prejudice (it’s been years!) but now I have a whole list of things to add to my list. I think Burning Down the House stands out the most as one I’d really like to pick up.
    By the way, thanks for stopping by my blog and leading me back to yours–I can’t wait to read more of your book picks and food posts!

  • What a great list! As a Pride and Prejudice fan, I will definitely have to add some of these to my list!

  • I have heard of Eligible and will have to pick it up! Have you heard of “Lizzy and Jane” and “Dear Mr Knightley” by Katherine Reay? They are loosely based on Austen and Bronte works and are SO good!!

    • I haven’t read those! There are so many books inspired by Austen – I tend to go for books that are less straight inspired and evoke the same feel. But those might be worth checking out!

  • Is it weird that I immediately noticed the Muncher’s…? haha I love Austen as most do, I actually saw the Kiera Knightly version at Liberty Hall before I read it (unheard of for me!) and then read and loved it. I read Persuasion in a day. I think the thing for me about Austen is how timeless the stories are. Between reading the originals, the ones inspired by, and watching things like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on Youtube and movies like Austenland and P&P&Z … it’s so relevant and can be tucked into so many genres and spaces. I have loved most watching some of these things with my (not usually bookworm-y) husband. Seeing him crack up because of the characters is probably the best part! It might be a little crazy… but I absolutely see P&P in Fiddler on the Roof! XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    • Haha, I always zero in on the Munchers, too. Gotta love those cinnamon twists fresh from the oven. The Kiera Knightly is my favorite P&P movie!

  • I’ve been hearing such good things about Elligible! It might have to get it from the library. I should also probably get a move on with Girls in White Dresses and The Madwoman Upstairs. Great recommendations!

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