Thursday, December 08, 2011

Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATs

I really enjoyed Paula Marantz Cohen's Jane Austen in Boca, a modern-day riff on P&P, when I read it a few years ago and have been meaning to read her Persuasion-inspired modern-day Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATs for awhile now. Having just finished a couple of major reading projects (namely Little Women and John Adams), I decided I needed something light, fun, and quick for a change.

I was not disappointed. It was light, fun, and a quick read. Plus, with two kids in high school and one in college, the world of high-expectations high school families, while overdrawn by Cohen for the sake of humor, is one with which I am all too familiar. And, you simply can't go wrong with a Persuasion story--the premise of two people who are perfect for each other coming back together and reconnecting after years of heartache and misunderstanding is a tried and true winner.

The heroine and hero, Anne and Ben, were true to their originals, Anne and Cpt Wentworth, in being the only sane people in a world of crazies and in being lovely, caring, and intelligent. Cohen changed the names enough to make searching for the originals in the new characters a fun game, and I absolutely loved how she handled the William Elliot/Mrs. Clay subplot, which was funny and unexpected.

In a nutshell, Anne is a guidance counselor in a high school and Ben is uncle of a new kid in school. She has a wretched family, and he is engaged. Her family is down on their luck, while he has been fabulously successful since their parting years ago.

Definitely a fun read for a winter's day.


  1. This one sounds fun - I'll look out for it.

  2. I loved this book. Having taught high school for many years, I have heard the conversations found within it. Paula Cohen will be one of our guests in March for our contemporary Jane Austen adaptations/sequel celebration at Austen Authors. Please stop by and join in the fun.