Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey Blog Tour | #COYER Book Review

November 8, 2013 Blog Tours, Challenges & Readathons, Giveaways, Reviews 23

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey Blog Tour | #COYER Book ReviewAttempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey
Published by Tall House Books on January 24, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher

Kelsey Edmundson is a geek and proud of it. She makes no secret of her love for TV, movies, and, most especially, books. After a bad breakup, she retreats into her favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice, wishing she had some of the wit and spirit of Elizabeth Bennett.

One night at a party Kelsey meets handsome Australian bartender Mark Barnes. From then on, she always seems to run into him when she least expects it. No matter how Kelsey tries, she always seems to say the wrong thing.

After a particularly gaffe-filled evening around Mark, Kelsey is in desperate need of inspiration from Jane Austen. She falls asleep reading Darcy’s letter to Lizzy and awakens to find herself in an unfamiliar place that looks and sounds suspiciously like her favorite book. Has she somehow been transported into Pride and Prejudice, or is it just a dream?

As Kelsey tries to discover what’s happening to her, she must also discover her own heart. Is Mark Barnes destined to be her Mr. Darcy? In the end, she must decide whether attempting to become Elizabeth is worth the risk or if being Kelsey Edmundson is enough.

My Initial Reaction…

As one of the biggest Pride and Prejudice (P&P) fans out there (I’ve read the book 17 times in as many years!), Attempting Elizabeth  was a book I had to read. I was nervous though, since Jessica Grey was going to be taking a lot of license with a story and characters I’ve grown to love. Not only was she creatively retelling the greatest story every written, but she was letting her main character go into P&P to interact with and be the  characters; characters I’ve grown to know on a very personal level over the years. This could have been a disaster, if Grey didn’t know her stuff! But thankfully, she does and every moment inside P&P was a treat for me.

The Characters…

Any serious P&P fan will realize pretty quickly that Kelsey, the main character from who’s point of view Attempting Elizabeth is told, is a creative twist on Mr. Darcy. I absolutely loved this, since it was very unexpected. I figured she would be Elizabeth. But Kelsey is the aloof and distant one, who probably seems pretty full of herself to those who don’t know her and makes a ridiculously prejudiced judgement about Mark, the love interest in the book. I could easily turn into a crazy fan girl right here pulling up all the little details that Grey managed to work in to really make this characterization work, but I’ll simply say Grey knew what she was doing. If you’re hyper aware like me, you’ll see it. If you’re not, you’ll still enjoy it, because Kelsey is a lovable character. She’s your typical nerdy girl – working on her MA in literature, lover of Star Wars, and lacking any internal filter. She either speaks her mind or shuts down completely (just like Darcy, I might add – which is why he comes off as so proud).

Mark I suppose was supposed to be the modern day twist on Elizabeth. Even though I can make parallels, they aren’t as overwhelming for me as the Darcy-Kelsey connections, but I think that’s because this isn’t his story. Regardless, I did find him to be an immensely likable character. First off, he’s hot. Secondly, he has an Aussie accent. So on a very superficial level, he’s great. But behind the surface, he’s just this really sweet, friendly guy. He’s a history teacher, who loves what he does. He and Kelsey get off on the wrong foot, though and you can’t help but wonder if they’ll ever get it right. Even though I was convinced that this was a P&P retelling, enough was different that I was still not sure how things would develop. I knew I hoped they’d make it work, because I really liked Mark and I hoped he’d give her a few more chances to get it right.

The Story…

When we meet Kelsey she’s getting over a bad breakup. Her boyfriend – Jerkface Jordan as he’s affectionately called – had an affair and Kelsey is realizing that she seems to always hook up with the George Wickhams (the womanizer of P&P) of the world. It’s put her into a bad mood and all she wants to do is lose herself in a good book. Her best friend, Tori (who is pretty much Bingley if any P&P fans were wondering), insists that she come with her to a party. This party will make P&P fans giddy with all the parallels to THE ball where Darcy and Lizzy first meet. It’s at this party that Kelsey meets Mark and judges him because he’s slinging drinks. And that he overhears her making rude remarks about him to Tori. (Like I said, giddy!) Anyway Kelsey’s put her foot in her mouth and after that whenever their thrown together (which is often since Tori is dating one of his friends) things are awkward.

One time, when Kelsey isn’t obsessing about how much she’s messed things up with Mark, whom she can’t seem to get out of her head, she sits down to read P&P and falls asleep reading a scene about Darcy’s sister Georgiana. And she ends up in that scene, as Gerogiana. I loved this tip into P&P since Kelsey is trying to figure out what’s happened to her and decides to tell off some characters that I think every P&P fan has wanted to tell off at least once. You also wonder how in the world she’s going to get out of the book, because she’s definitely stuck in the wrong body. She needs to be Elizabeth, not Darcy’s sister! I won’t tell you how, but she manages to get out and she tries going in over and over so that she can be Elizabeth. This turns out to be difficult and I had a blast wondering if she’d ever manage it, seeing her appear as different characters, and falling into memorable scenes from my favorite book. Grey has written this so well that if your a P&P fan you’ll immediately know what’s going on, but if you aren’t, there’s enough detail and explanation that you’ll have no trouble following.

Concluding Sentiments…

So if it’s not ridiculously clear by now, I loved this book. I’m having a seriously hard time restraining myself from talking about all the parallels and neat twists on such a classic book. It’s an original enough love story that you don’t have to love Pride and Prejudice to enjoy it (hell, you don’t have to have even read it). But, if like me, you’re a huge fan, this will be non-stop fun. I think I may be rereading this alongside my annual re-read of P&P from now on!


Jessica Grey & Xpresso Tours have been gracious enough to give us the opportunity to provide an eBook copy of Attempting Elizabeth and since I loved it so much, I had to give you all a chance to have it too! Enter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About Jessica Grey

Jessica Grey is an author, fairytale believer, baseball lover, and recovering Star Wars fangirl. A life-long Californian, she now lives in Montana with her husband and two children where she spends her time writing, perfecting the fine art of preschooler-wrangling, and drinking way too much caffeine.


Photo of Berls
About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

23 Responses to “Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey Blog Tour | #COYER Book Review”

    • Berls

      Thanks!! I obviously highly recommend you read P&P (but I’ve read it 17x so you saw that coming, right?) LOL

      Seriously though this book was really fantastic and you could easily enjoy it without having read P&P, you just wont have the same fan meltdown as I did 😉 Kelsey is a great character, and her Star Wars commentary is pretty fantastic!

  1. A'ishah Rose

    I love this review! I have mixed feelings about P&P, but have always loved seeing people interpret it in new ways, and you had me hooked when you said that Kelsey is characterized more as Mr. Darcy than Elizabeth. The book sounds really fascinating. Thank you for sharing this!
    A’ishah Rose recently posted…Review: My Soul is Wherever You AreMy Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks A’ishah! I thought Kelsey being like Darcy was a really neat twist to the story. Jessica really put a great spin on P&P, I hoe you get to check it out 🙂

    • Berls

      Which movie version do you prefer? I feel that the Colin Firth one is way better than the Matthew Macfadyen, but I know plenty of people who feel the other way.

      Anyway – if you love P&P then I think this is a must read. Good luck in the giveaway 🙂

    • Berls

      If you’ve seen the Colin Firth one (which is IMO the better one) then you’ve practically read the book. No, you haven’t read all the little details that I adore, but that one is extremely faithful to the book, even reproducing a lot of the actual dialogue (probably why it’s so long). Obviously I seriously recommend reading P&P but even in if you don’t Attempting Elizabeth should be really enjoyable.

  2. Michelle

    Don’t hurt me but I have not read P&P 🙁 I have always wanted to but and you usually read it in school but we never did. I seriously love your review even without reading the actual book it’s based on.

    Awesome Review my friend!

    • Berls

      My heart is breaking over here – I can’t believe you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice! And you seemed so sensible too 😉

      Seriously though, this is a book you should enjoy even if you haven’t read P&P. You won’t get the same fangirl high that I did, but the story itself is pure greatness.

    • Berls

      Thanks Lark! Jessica does a great job situating you so that you’ll know the scene even if you’ve only seen the movies honestly. But if you want to really nerd-out while reading I recommend a reread. I know the book so well (too well probably) so things were leaping out at me left and right. I hope you enjoy it!

    • Berls

      Thanks Kimba! If you love P&P I definitely recommend this one – Jessica never once frustrated me with her interpretations of P&P (which is not an easy feat!)

    • Berls

      Thank you so much for such a wonderful book. I had one massive fan-girl moment after the other with this one 🙂 I will definitely check out indie Austen Lovers, sounds like it’s right up my alley!

    • Berls

      Thanks Giselle! I think it’s enjoyable even if you haven’t read P&P, though I (of course) totally recommend you read P&P LOL>

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    This is an excellent review, Berls! I totally went all fangirl on this book in my review! 😉 I loved it too – and I’m in the same league as you in being one of the biggest P&P fans out there! Every time I re-read it, my husband makes fun of me. 🙂 I loved what Grey did with the story, with these characters. It was amazing. And I was kinda shocked to realize when Kelsey makes her quick judgement about Mark that she was Darcy in this tale. Anyway, I love your review and I love Attempting Elizabeth!

    Happy Friday!
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ Attempting Elizabeth ~ Jessica Grey**My Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Brandee – I’m glad I’m not the only one still getting teased for how many times I’ve read this book. I still get so caught up in it every time I read it, it’s like I’ve never read it before… even though I’m mentally reciting the lines before I read them!

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