In envisioning his younger days, William suddenly thought of Elizabeth Bennet. He thought of her dancing. She was still clumsy in some of her movements, but she danced with an energy that he recognized: fierce and delicate at the same time. In her eyes, he recognized a passion for expression that he, too, had once felt. Elizabeth Bennet, he could tell, loved to dance.
(from The Muse)
Quick summary: In The Muse, an imaginative, modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet is a corps de ballet dancer at the Ballet Theater of New York, and William Darcy is a dance-legend-turned-choreographer. After overhearing William criticizing her dancing and her body, Elizabeth is surprised to be cast in the piece he is choreographing, and she is even more surprised when he uses her to create the pas de deux — a move than angers prima ballerina Caroline Bingley. William knows it’s wrong to get involved with a corps dancer, but the sensual moves he creates with Elizabeth make him feel alive. Although his feelings for Elizabeth soften over time, she feels nothing but hatred for him for how he treated Greg Wickham, how he put a wrench in her sister’s career, and how his unwanted attention put a target on her back.
Why I wanted to read it: I’m amazed at how many different ways Pride and Prejudice can be retold. I can’t say I’m a big fan of ballet, but this variation was too unique to pass over.
What I liked: I don’t know if Jessica Evans is a dancer herself, but she’s definitely well-versed in ballet, from the behind-the-scenes operations to the dance itself. I could picture the movements in my mind, and Evans brings the sensual dances between William and Elizabeth to life. I loved how Evans incorporated the secondary characters and plot lines, and bringing Elizabeth and Darcy into the world of ballet was clever and definitely out of the ordinary.
What I disliked: There were a couple of parts that felt slow to me, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. In fact, I think the problem probably was my impatience and inability to read faster to find out what happened next!
Final thoughts: The Muse is a novel about two strong-willed, passionate dancers stumbling through life on their own but whose movements are graceful and perfect when they dance together. Evans’ take on Pride and Prejudice is a breath of fresh air in the realm of retellings, with just the right amount of drama, sex, and misunderstanding.
Disclosure: I received The Muse from Meryton Press for review.
© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.