cover image A Certain Appeal

A Certain Appeal

Vanessa King. Putnam, $16 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-33071-5

King’s irresistible debut gives Pride and Prejudice a fresh look, transplanting the classic story to the sexy, sequined world of a contemporary burlesque club. Liz Bennet lands in New York after a professional betrayal crushes her interior design dreams in Los Angeles. She finds an unexpected home in Meryton, the upscale Manhattan burlesque club where her best friend and roommate (a sweet-natured, gender-swapped Jane) sings. Soon she’s balancing her day job as an executive assistant with her evening duties as “stage kitten.” When starchy wealth manager Will Darcy visits Meryton, he’s far from prepared for the saucy show—or confident Liz’s scantily clad flirtations. She’s equally taken aback to overhear his infamous “tolerable” verdict on her appeal, setting off a slow-building dance of attraction and antipathy as the pair continue to cross paths socially and professionally. King nails the building tension, but what stands out most is her obvious affection for the endearing supporting cast and the richness of their nocturnal world. Both are used to great effect when a twist leaves Meryton’s fate in jeopardy and all must band together to preserve their found home. Between the camaraderie and the costumes, this immersive look at the burlesque scene is sure to win many fans, Austenite or not. (Nov.)