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Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld


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Can a retelling of ‘Pride and Prejudice' possibly work? Well, this novel proves it can. The Austen Project consists of six contemporary authors, each retelling one of Jane Austen’s novels. Just imagine being paired with Pride and Prejudice, where on earth would you even begin? Well…Curtis Sittenfeld, bestselling author of American Wife, has moved the setting to Cincinnati, has included a reality TV show, sex before marriage and increased the ages of both Elizabeth and Jane to 38 and 40 - gulp! Curtis Sittenfeld has been particularly clever, keeping the essence of the story complete, yet cranking it up to be an eminently readable 21st century relationship story. Mr and Mrs Bennet are an absolute delight (and fright), transferring perfectly and making me both chuckle and cringe, I also have to admit to now seeing Jane Austen’s Elizabeth with new eyes. So, I embraced the changes as I read, stopped analysing and just enjoyed this thoroughly modern tale. ~ Liz Robinson

May 2016 Book of the Month.

The titles in the Austen Project series are:

Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope
Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid
Emma by Alexander McCall Smith
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

If you like Curtis Sittenfeld you might also like to read books by Elinor Lipman, Robyn Sisman and Kim Edward.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Julie Evans - 'WOW I actually felt that I was part of the story, living in Cincinnati with them...A fantastic read for summer!'
  • Phyl Smithson - 'Such is the incredibly quality of Sittenfeld’s writing I was totally absorbed and flew through the +500 pages of this modern Pride and Prejudice interpretation.  Brilliant.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'I loved this book! I am a huge fan of the original, and seeing this modern day take of the story just goes to show that no matter how much time goes by it is ageless.'
  • Sarah Harper - 'Eligible holds a modern day mirror to Pride and Prejudice perfectly. An accomplished and joyful re-telling of the classic as well as a cracking good read in its own right. Contented sighs all round!'
  • Pauline Braisher - 'I loved, loved, loved this book! So much so that I read all 514 pages in less than two days.'
  • Humaira - 'Reading this books makes me want to read Pride and Prejudice again and read all the fan fiction there is about it! I loved this book so much.'
  • Doreen McKeown - 'I really enjoyed the book, the writing style gives a nod to Jane Austen, but is very easy to read and I liked the way the story was constructed, with short chapters, which enticed me to read 'just one more'.'
  • Sarah Musk - 'A modern update of Pride and Prejudice set in America. Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are still set on finding the rich man of their dreams.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'A nice, fun, light novel and one that Jane Austen would read herself and enjoy, giggling at the same dry humour she wrote in her own wonderful books!'
  • Suzanne Marsh - 'A brilliant page turner saga for the twenty-first century.'
  • Melanie Kane - 'Eligible was completely and utterly brilliant, witty, entertaining and delightful to read. The storyline was fantastic and superbly written and touched on some serious issues with great humour.'
  • Liz Bloomer - 'A delightful read! Picture Pride and Prejudice brought smack up to date! The same characters but with a modern twist - most enjoyable.'


Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

'Sheer joy...Giddy and glam and a hearty update of Pride and Prejudice' Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist From the bestselling author of Prep, American Wife and Sisterland comes this brilliant retelling of Austen's classic set in modern day Cincinnati. The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City. Liz and Jane are good daughters. They've come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development. Once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family's BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men ...Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he's a reality TV star too. But Chip's friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father's mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn't only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste. But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.


Praise for Eligible:

‘In 2009 it was One Day. Four years ago it was Gone Girl. This year the book of the summer is going to be Eligible’
The Times

‘Love! Sex! Darcy! ... It’s the book we’ll all be reading this summer – Pride and Prejudice, but not as you know it’
The Times

'Sheer joy… Giddy and glam and a hearty update of Pride and Prejudice’
JESSIE BURTON, author of The Miniaturist

Woman and Home

'If there exists a more perfect pairing than Curtis Sittenfeld and Jane Austen, we dare you to find it


'Novelists get called master storytellers all the time, but Sittenfeld really is one'
Maggie Shipstead

'Sittenfeld has an astonishing gift for creating characters that take up in residence in reader's heads'
Washington Post

'When it comes to tearing apart contemporary American family life, Sittenfeld is up there in a class of her own'

'Curtis Sittenfeld has a knack for capturing characters so vividly it's uncanny'
Daily Mail

'Like Kate Akinson with Life After Life, Sittenfeld is a reliably realistic (if slightly dreamy) novelist who has here tackled a somewhat far-fetched concept outside her normal range and displayed impressive comfort in doing so'
Sunday Times

'Curtis Sittenfeld shares with Salinger a knack of capturing, in effortless prose, a teenager mindset...It feels important...Most vitally of all, it feels like adolescence'
The Times

'Sittenfeld is a pin-sharp observer'
Independent on Sunday

'The summer's most delicious read'
Entertainment Weekly

'Casts an unshakable spell and has plenty to say about class, sex and character...One of the Ten Best Books of 2005'
The New York Times

About the Author

Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis Sittenfeld is a graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was taught by Marilynne Robinson. As well as four bestselling novels, Curtis has also written for publications such as The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Guardian, Glamour and Time magazine, where she interviewed Michelle Obama.

Author photo © Josephine Sittenfeld

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Book Info

Publication date

21st April 2016


Curtis Sittenfeld

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The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


528 pages


Romantic Fiction
Books of the Month
Literary Fiction
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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