cover image The Girl from Summer Hill

The Girl from Summer Hill

Jude Deveraux. Ballantine, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-1-101-88326-6

In this enjoyable start to a new trilogy set in the small town of Summer Hill, Va., Deveraux (True Love) playfully riffs off Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Casey Reddick leaves her demanding job as chef of a high-end Washington, D.C., restaurant and retreats to the Tattwell Plantation guesthouse, unaware that its owner is movie star Tate Landers, who’s famous for playing romantic leads. She’s hired to cook for the cast and crew of a theatrical production of Austen’s novel and unexpectedly finds herself cast as Lizzie to Tate’s Darcy under the direction of the mysterious Kit Montgomery. Deveraux’s characters are modern counterparts to Austen’s, and their casting in the film is telling: for example, 15-year-old Lori plays Lydia, the youngest Bennet sister, and is also wooed and used by Tate’s devious ex-brother-in-law, Devlin, who plays Wickham. Chapter titles (“Act One, Scene Two: Elizabeth Doesn’t Tempt Darcy”) ensure that readers familiar with Austen’s work will catch and enjoy the reinterpretation. From the steamy opening scene to Tate’s audacious theatrical proposal, with numerous other love affairs thrown in for good measure, this book will delight fans of Austen and Deveraux alike. (May)