I have noticed a trend over the last few years that, much like the movie industry, everything old is new again. Many of the darlings of classic literature are in the public domain and are gaining new life as with a twist on the story or characters that live in the present day.
I am neither a classics snob or a literary purist. So I read these books with abandon. Mostly out of curiosity. I love to see how someone can take the framework of a well known (and well loved) story and turn in on it’s head. Sometimes they are so-so, sometimes terrible and sometimes they are great.
Here are a few of the good ones. Literary purists be damned.
A A Study in Charlotte imagines what the world would be like in Sherlock Holmes and James Watson were real guys that hung out and solved mysteries. And what would happen when their decedents end up at the same stateside boarding school and someone frames them for murder.
Jane Steele twists the Jane Eyre into a gritty tale where Jane has a tendency to kill some people. Not because she is a crazed killer, but because these men where terrible assholes, and while I don’t like to blame the victim, they had it coming.
Longbourn is a Pride and Prejudice tale but this time you learn is what is going on in the Bennett house Downton-style. We get to hang out with Sarah, a housemaid that even while dealing with the daily duties of running a household catches the eye of a mysterious footman.
For a modern twist on Jane Eyre, you should check out Re Jane, which takes place in Flushing and follows half-Korean Jane as she leaves her uncle’s home and strikes out on her own as a nanny to a hipster couple in Brooklyn. And yes, there is a crazy lady in the attic.
Eligible is another P & P tale set in present day Cincinnati. Liz works at a magazine, Darcy is a neurosurgeon, Jane yoga instructor and the youngest Bennett’s are bratty Millennials. It is fun and feminist-y. Don’t worry Mrs Bennett is still obsessed is marriage.