Cover Image: A Certain Appeal

A Certain Appeal

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I love Pride and Prejudice and have read multiple new versions of the story.  I was so excited to try another.  This one was not my cup of tea.  In this version I had a really hard time connecting to the characters and they actually started to annoy me at some parts.  I appreciate what the author was trying to do and I am sure some people will love it but this was not a book for me.
Was this review helpful?
This fun romance gave Pride and Prejudice the modern, fresh-take it was thirsting for. I loved the way King put her own take on the characters, their lives, and their importance. I was swooning the entire time, and I loved the elite NY setting!
Was this review helpful?
Vanessa L. King’s A CERTAIN APPEAL is sheer perfection! King’s brilliant retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is set amid the popular NYC burlesque scene. Liz Bennet is a part-time “stage kitten” who seeks to restart her career in interior design. Will Darcy is a private wealth manager. The narrative adheres to major beats of the source material, but King’s reimagining – with its contemporary plot twists and casting choices - is  singularly memorable.  Fans of close-knit found family, flirtatious humor, and flashy, titillating stage performances will especially adore King's dazzling debut.
Was this review helpful?
I wanted to like this book more than I did.  King gave the classic Pride and Prejudice, a modern turn, and in some ways, it was great and, in others, it was lacking.  King's update of Jane and Charles's romance was the highlight of the book.  Their relationship was sweet and romantic.  Also, the world of the burlesque show was perfectly written with great details and fun characters.  My issue with the book was Bennet and Darby's relationship.  King relied on the reader knowing the classic romance, and the relationship in "A Certain Appeal" felt underdeveloped. The book was fun, and I will read other things by this author, but it didn't live up to my expectations.
Was this review helpful?
As a self proclaimed snob when it comes to Pride and Prejudice retellings, I came into this book with much trepidation. These fears, however, were totally unwarranted. Vanessa King's A Certain Appeal was fantastic!

The story is close enough to P&P that credit had to be given, but it was new and fresh enough that I wasn't constantly directly comparing it.

The author captures Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy remarkably well, and I love the transformation of the Bennet sisters into other dancers at the burlesque show. Basically just the way whole story was transformed was so inventive and enjoyable.

Special shout out to the reimagining of the first proposal scene which was MAGNIFICENT. OH THE ANGST. Fellow Janeites, give this book a read.

Thank you to Netgalley, Putnam, and the author for the eARC in exchange for my review.
Was this review helpful?
Take one of my favorite classics and add enough steam to make it a contemporary romance?! YES PLEASE.

I’m a die hard Pride & Prejudice fan and so when I saw this was a retelling, I’ll admit to being initially skeptical. But it only took a few pages to completely draw me in. It’s set in the world of NYC burlesque which was so much fun to learn about. I loved the reimagining of the cast for the modern era, with the racial and sexual diversity of present day NYC. 

Our Darcy is swoony - he brings all the loyalty, steadfastness, and stern energy of the original while adding heat and smoulder. Liz Bennett is so endearing. Her passion and her love for her found family are infectious. The supporting characters are so delightful; they’re well developed and nuanced enough that they stand alone as characters I really loved. I also thought this had just enough references to the original without being too heavy handed, a hard balance to strike when retelling such a well known story. This is the debut from this author and I cannot wait to see what she does next!

Thank you to GP Putnam and NetGalley for the early copy. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This is a funny, smart, and sexy retelling. I loved all these characters, but the burlesque setting was the star. It makes the story unique and fun to read.
Was this review helpful?
I have to admit I'm a huge sucker for Pride and Prejudice retellings AND burlesque, so this was such a treat to read. I absolutely adored the way King translated the original story over to a very different, much more modern setting, mixing and matching various iconic aspects of P&P to create something that felt utterly unique and refreshing. I appreciated the book's insistence on the importance of bodily autonomy and the freedom that comes with expressing one's sexuality. All in all, I absolutely loved this book!
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this retelling. With the representation and clever alterations to the retelling, I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Certain Appeal. I am instantly loved Jane and Charles, Liz and Darcy, and the whole plotline including the burlesque club. I learned so much about burlesque through this book and I think i.t. was written about in such an empowering lens - and how sex work is just as valid as any other work. I don't usually enjoy P&P retellings as they tend to be bland or not related to Austen's original tale, but A Certain Appeal delivered on the parallels and in making the retelling interesting and engaging.
Was this review helpful?
Vanessa King's debut, A Certain Appeal, reimagines Pride and Prejudice in the New York burlesque world. Liz works part-time at a struggling burlesque show and counts the performers as her closest friends, and Darcy is a wealthy investor. There are no shortage of Pride and Prejudice retellings (it seems like a new one is published each week) that I was a bit uncertain that the world needed one more, but King makes a compelling case. The burlesque setting highlights elements of the original story, while providing a fresh take. I look forward to seeing what King does next.
Was this review helpful?
OK, I loved this book! In the first chapter I got burlesque dancers, stretching and titty tassels! Plus, add in the pride and prejudice storyline and I was hooked.

This is truly a very well written book. Never once did I feel like things were moving slowly. And this is one of those books where you will often be caught grinning at the page. There were just some great banter and relational moments between characters that had me giggling. 

A Certain Appeal gives us LGBTQ representation as well as a beautiful curvy burlesque dancer, Ming, who celebrates her body. Love, love, love how confident The character was written and how positively our lead, Bennett, speaks about her.

Another thing that truly solidified my love for this book was the fact that the “reasoning” behind burlesque dancing was explained by Bennett. Each individual in the story had their reasoning for being a part of the burlesque scene, but Bennett was able to, very articulately, explain the reason why she loves being a part of the scene. As a professional dancer who experiences many people are not understanding why I do what I do, this was really wonderful for me to see in a book that others will read. The men and women in this book aren’t “attention seeking“ there is power, there is confidence, and so many other very positive reasons behind why they are a part of this art form that they love so much.  It was just very refreshing to read in a book some of the same feelings that I have about my own career. I am not a burlesque dancer, but fully in awe of what they do! The same sentiments and reasoning are ones that I am very familiar with and I can’t wait for main stream individuals to get to read about that in this book. Some will probably still not “get it”, but even if one person does, I think that is amazing and really appreciate that the author made that message a part of this book.

My only grievance against this book is that in some moments the pride and prejudice references are very literal. Some of the storyline moments feel directly pulled out of Jane Austen‘s work. That was probably intentional, so you can probably ignore this small issue that I had with it, but I did have a hard time getting over some of those moments or the fact that the love interest “Will” Darcy is Mr. Darcy and the main characters name is Elizabeth Bennett(she just goes by Bennett). We also had A Jane, Mr. Bingley, and Mr. Wickham. Once you get past this small thing, you are golden! The last 20% of the book is very original and had me staying up way too late to read it. Haha!

Do yourself a favor and pre-order this book. You will not regret it!
Was this review helpful?
This is a unique and creative contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I was intrigued that the backdrop for this story was a burlesque club in New York City. As much as I generally enjoy Pride and Prejudoce retellings, I think that this story would have been more engaging if it hadn’t felt so bound by the structure of the classic novel. There was some great diversity and inclusion with characters, and some clever moments. Yet, after awhile the story felt bogged down and  artificial. 

I never developed an attachment to Lizzie or Darcy or their relationship. Some secondary characters were interesting but some, such as the cousin and her husband, seemed to have been there just to check a box to correspond to Pride and Prejudice. 

I know this book will be more enjoyable for other readers.
Was this review helpful?
Thoughts: This cute but kill and a fun take on Pride and Prejudice. It gets a little spicy towards the end but still has direct quotes from the book which I could have been left out. I felt like the characters and plot are similar enough that it didn’t want the quotes it kind of threw the vibe of the off for me. Overall it’s a fun take on the Pride and Prejudice story and very quick read
Was this review helpful?
I am so sorry, but I couldn’t get into it. The premise of the story was interesting, but sadly  I couldn’t feel the vibe and of the original classic nor the magic of our dear Dar y and Lizzy. Giving it 2.5 stars because of the excellent writing! 

The book wasn’t for me, but I’m sure it will be for someone else! 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for gifting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A Certain Appeal is everything that I could want in a P&P retelling.  Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books of all time and this is definitely the best retelling that I have read thus far.  The character growth, the caliber of writing, and steam level, paired with the most heartwarming found family arcs are *chef’s kiss*. I also think that this is one of the more balanced rom-coms that I have read lately.  The synopsis advises that this is a perfect read for lovers of The Kiss Quotient and The Roommate which I think is absolutely spot on.  I can’t wait to pick up a hard copy to add to my ever-growing P& P collection!

Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Group Putman, and Vanessa King for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
In the heart of New York, Kitten Caboodle prowls the stage of Meryton, a bustling Burlesque venue. Her role is to collect the dancer's clothes and assist her girls with any help they need. During the day, she is Elizabeth Bennet, an executive assistant at a company with the dreams of returning to her passion of interior design. Devastated by her failed career, she takes on the job as stage kitten at Meryton. Luckily, she found her best friends and safe haven in one place. When she sees the most handsome man sitting at a table alone, its lust at first sight for Bennet. And she thinks this man is reciprocating her intentions... Except that's not the case. 

William Darcy, the man she was interested in, had the nerve to call her "tolerable". She is fierce and perfect!! What is there to be tolerated? She has no interest in chasing after a broody man who thinks less of her. When her best friend Jane becomes enamored with his best friend, Charles, the two are constantly thrusted in each other's space. Darcy can be kind at times, but he is also harsh. He is polite, but the wrong things seem to come out of his mouth whenever they are together. When a misunderstanding, heartbreak, and a business deal are thrown at the Meryton family, Bennet knows she needs to act fast. As these situations unravel, so does Darcy and Bennet's mutual growing attraction. Are their feelings enough to repair what has been torn by prejudice? 

3 stars to this romantic comedy spin on Pride and Prejudice that had a twist of burlesque magic and a little spice. Everyone knows Darcy and Bennet are the original grumpy sunshine! King delivers the story in an interesting manner, but some points had me completely disinterested. The fact that Elizabeth has so many nicknames were a bit weird, (Ben, Bennet, Lizzy, Lizard)... As well as a lot of repetition of facts and words (i.e cackles- there is more than one way to describe laughter.) I loved some of the secondary characters, and appreciated the inclusivity and diversity, but I was not fully engaged with the writing. A big thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
A Certain Appeal by Vanessa King is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Loved all of Bennet's friends and the world of Burlesque. Will and Liz keep bumping into each other because their friends run the same social circles. The more time they spend together the more their relationship blossoms!
Was this review helpful?
I have to say, this was my least favorite Pride and Prejudice retelling. That being said, it was also the most unique one. The book was slightly influenced by the classic Austen novel, but it was too different to be a retelling. I didn’t feel as though the essence of the classic was really there. I liked the premise and the relationships between the characters. However a lot just fell short for me and I found myself skimming through at times. A decent book, just not for me.
Was this review helpful?
This cover is everything and it is what made me request this galley!  I love a good retelling and this one here of Pride and Prejudice just made my heart swoon.  I found it extremely creative, clever, and a breath of fresh air in the romance arena.  I am here for these characters!
Was this review helpful?
This book was so smart, funny and sexy! The modern twists that were used with the characters of “Pride and Prejudice” made them very real and relatable. The setting as well was very compelling I didn’t know much about the burlesque world and I found it to be compelling to have these characters embrace their power and sexuality through performance. The found-family aspect was honest and sweet and the romance was very swoon-worthy, I would like to re-read this again and again!
Was this review helpful?