Read An Obstinate, Headstrong Girl by Abigail Bok Online


If Jane Austen were magically transported in time to late 20th-c. America, what would she make of it? What stories would she tell? In An Obstinate, Headstrong Girl, she arrives in rural California in 1999 and discovers that the more things change, the more they stay the same for Fitzwilliam Darcy and the Bennet family....

Title : An Obstinate, Headstrong Girl
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781631320057
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 350 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

An Obstinate, Headstrong Girl Reviews

  • S.K. Rizzolo
    2019-02-20 03:01

    I don't generally review books (especially those being written today), but I just came across this one on my shelf and remembered how much I enjoyed it when I read it a few years ago. A sprightly, polished, and very entertaining read!

  • Ceri
    2019-02-11 00:53

    This review was first published on Babblings of a Bookworm: http://babblingsofabookworm.blogspot....This is an update of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ with an unusual premise: what if our beloved Jane Austen was to somehow find herself in California in the year 1999. What type of book would ‘Pride & Prejudice’ have been if Jane Austen had been writing it now?Elizabeth Bennet lives with her large family in Ohio. The Bennet family comprises the lugubrious Mr Bennet, who hides away from his family in his den, Mrs Bennet, who is a bit of a social climber, and five children, John, Lizzy, Mary, Kitty and Lydon (yes, the Bennet children are mixed sex here, with a Bennet brother oldest and youngest). Lydon is married to Jenny, the daughter of an army Brigadier General, being persuaded to marry after he was caught in a somewhat compromising situation with her. Although Mr Bennet was lucky enough to inherit a beautiful house he hasn’t made much of an effort to better the family’s financial situation and Mrs Bennet is still bitter that her husband was overlooked for an inheritance, which instead went to his estranged sister, Evelyn. The story begins with the Bennets receiving word that Evelyn Bennet has died. She hasn’t fulfilled Mrs Bennet’s dearest wishes by righting wrongs and leaving Mr Bennet all her money. Instead, Elizabeth, who was Evelyn’s goddaughter, has been appointed as Executor of the estate and received instructions to oversee the creation of a non-profit enterprise, the purpose of which is to act as a public library for all the citizens of Lambtown, California. Evelyn has requested that she keep her bequest a secret, but without giving a reason for the secrecy.Lizzy hopes to go to Lambtown alone, but she is foiled in this by her mother, who wants to take the whole family along to try and iron out this inheritance issue. Mr Bennet can’t be bothered opposing her, so they rent out the house for a year, and the entire Bennet family goes to California. They find Lambtown a sharply-divided community. On the one hand there are the families who are members of the Enclave, a country club where the members are all rich ranch or vineyard owners – the conversation revolves around horseracing, horse breeding or polo. At the other end of the scale there are the Mexican migrant workers, some of whom are in the country illegally. Lizzy isn’t that impressed with the young people she meets from the Enclave:“The people around here are insufferable! They’re so class-conscious and self-satisfied, as if just being rich made them important.”However, she is more impressed and flattered by the dashing George Carrillo (who goes by the name Jorge Carrillo), who is descended from Mexicans who immigrated to the area many years ago, before people of European origin arrived there. Jorge pours a tale of woe and land-snatching into Lizzy’s ears and she’s eager to listen. Jorge has cultivated a persona of somebody in touch with the land which his family has had roots in for many years, and Lizzy really gets caught up in the romance of the idea. Obviously as this is a ‘Pride & Prejudice’ retelling, we the readers won’t be so easily fooled and will realise Jorge isn’t the person he’s making himself out to be.John Bennet, Lizzy’s older brother, is gay, which I thought adds a different dynamic to possible objections to a relationship between Jane Bennet/Charles Bingley of canon; these days a person’s relatives being a bit uncouth is not such a barrier, but becoming part of a gay couple when you’re not officially out in a small community that you fear may not accept you is a believable barrier that could prevent a relationship if Bingley isn’t completely committed to taking that irrevocable step:“Charley certainly is good-natured and he has a way of disarming even those who might be prejudiced against him – this a pretty conservative area you know.”You may be wondering, what of Darcy? Well he’s here but in my opinion he doesn’t really get enough page time. I would have liked to have seen more interaction with him and Lizzy so you could see his feelings towards her grow. As it is, aside from insulting her within her hearing, he is just a very quiet man who Elizabeth has decided to hate mostly in what appears to be a fit of inverse snobbery. She is determined from the first that the people with money are bad and those with none are good and of course, things are really not that simple. There is certainly more that the rich people of Lambtown could be doing for the poorer in the community, and a huge amount of snobbery going on, but Lizzy lives up to the title of the book and takes some steps which are guaranteed to set people’s backs up at a time when she should really be being a bit more humble and currying favour with the powerful people in the community to ensure her aunt’s bequest to the community can succeed.Style-wise, this book really stands out, because it’s not entirely modern. There are quite a few lines of text taken from ‘Pride and Prejudice’ or in the style of that book, but in a modern setting. I wouldn’t have thought that this would work, but I felt that it actually worked really well. It is like modern circumstances being described in an older style:“I give you permission to like him John; such a paragon of every imagined virtue indeed cries out for admiration. And it’s important to take care that we admire those who admire us already: it makes for a pleasing symmetry in our social relations.”One thing I always enjoy about reading Jane Austen is her humour, she would add in some very dry asides and droll utterances, and there were some nice instances of a similar humour here, such as Mr Bennet’s reflections to his wife on the loss of Mr Collins’ society:“Morris Collins’s conversation was indeed a joy to us all, and I for one shall miss it,” remarked Mr. Bennet. “Greatly though I valued his discourse, however, I can’t go so far as to say that we are bereft of any joy when deprived of it. After all, there remain all the pleasures of your company, my dear.”I thought the plot of this book stayed very close to ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in so far as the relationships between the characters went. Though quite a few plot points were different, such as the library and the Lydia/Wickham storyline is entirely altered as Lydia here is Lydon, a male and neither he nor Jorge are interested in each other that way. For those who like to know these things there are no sex scenes in this book. In fact, at one point a character mentions 'sleeping with' somebody and I was actually quite shocked!I felt the spirit of the update was very close to ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and some of the changes in the plot were to make it work in modern times. I very much enjoyed reading this book. I enjoyed the author’s style particularly, the mix of the old and new language, and the humour, and I’d rate it as a 4½ star read.*I received a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

  • Jeffrey
    2019-01-27 03:06

    The author sits at her laptop putting the finishing touches on An Obstinate, Headstrong girl. A feminine apparition dressed in ancient garb crouches behind her occasionally whispering something into her ear. The author, Abigail Bok, has signed this novel “by a lady.” Who else signed her work “by a lady?” As a contemporary retelling of the timeless classic Pride and Prejudice, it reads suspiciously like it was indeed ghost-written by none other than Jane Austen!The Bennet family has just relocated from central Ohio to the small central California community of Lambtown to accompany Elizabeth who has been chosen by her recently deceased wealthy aunt to be the executor of her estate. Of course, Mrs. Bennet has ulterior motives in that she plans to contest the will because none of the money went to her family but instead to the founding of a benevolent trust. Lizzy’s late aunt sought to improve relationships between Hispanic migrant workers and the established community by way of a bi-lingual library that would cater to the needs of both groups. There lies the crux of the plot.The principals in the Bennet family have been portrayed with all of the faithful qualities that Jane Austen intended for them in the original. How can this be since “Lizzy” now has two brothers and two sisters? Older sister Jane has morphed into John and youngest sister Lydia becomes brother Lydon, the family profligate. Stranger yet, older brother John (gasp) is a gay man! Trust me on this. If it seems impossible to imagine, I assure you it is not. It becomes so fitting and works in every sense of the word. And, younger sisters Kitty and Mary are just SO Kitty and Mary.The plot of the story works on two levels much like the original: First, there is the romantic clash between Lizzy, a professional landscaper turned community activist and Fitzwilliam Darcy, the proud owner of the largest ranch in the region. Second, the author showcases lessons on the class prejudices between established ranchers and the migrant workers in Lambtown and also the suspicions of the community witnessing a gay romance right in their midst.Charles Bingley is Charlie, Fitzwilliam’s best friend and the other half of the growing gay relationship with John. George Wickham becomes mysterious Jorge Carillo, the handsome and charismatic son of one of the more established Mexican-American families in Lambtown. Catherine DeBourgh owns a prestigious ranch and is the haughty leader of the landed establishment in a group known as “the enclave” who set themselves against the migrant workers and their champion “Lizzy” Bennet. How can this modern retelling, on the one hand, be so wildly different from the original but, on the other hand, be so genuinely devoted to the portrayal of Miss Austen’s beloved characters? The prose, for one, is largely from the exquisite Regency style……elegant, complex, and lofty. To be able to combine the venue of this modern story and yet retain the authenticity of the original characters onto a story with such compelling contemporary political/social issues is a testament to the author’s creative abilities. All of the dramatic moments are suspended on the classic framework from Jane Austen’s original in accurate detail along with some of her more famous quotes.In a sweet moment prior to Morris Collins’s wedding to Charlotte, Lizzy talks to Mrs. Gardiner, contrasting her brother John’s sterling qualities up against the present obstacles in his growing relationship with Charlie. “Yes, isn’t he amazing? Not only does he never speak ill of anybody, he’s hurt if I do so. He’s capable of finding goodness in everyone; but if I mention his own perfections, he denies and disclaims and will have none of it. I only wish he could have the happiness he deserves but the prospect has never seemed more distant. How can anyone be unkind to someone like him?” To which Mrs. Gardiner replies “You’re asking others to see people as they are, not as we think they ought to be.”Finally, if the prospective reader of this tale had never heard of Jane Austen, the story would still stand confidently on its own with the compelling urgency of both personal and community conflicts, how they unfold in their complexity, and the beautiful way in which the author seeks to resolve them. Indeed it had me examining my own prejudices on the social/political issues presented. This remarkable story deserves more exposure and I hope you will find a place for it in your stack of must-reads.

  • Abigail Bok
    2019-02-02 20:54

    Robin Schachat says, "What a pleasure to find a modern-day Pride and Prejudice written in the voice of a modern-day Jane Austen! So many authors try to give it to us, but cannot achieve the kind affection for her characters that lies beneath the intelligent irony. Finally, those of us who consume Austen and her followers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner have found an author who delivers the inimitable voice of our true heroine. Many cheers for Abigail Bok, who has channeled the master as an observer of life, love, and social behavior on the ranches -- and in the ice cream shoppes -- of California wine country. When will we see a modern Persuasion? I am waiting!!"

  • Debbie Payne
    2019-01-30 21:10

    I really enjoyed this book. The writing style was wonderful. It was just like reading from the time of the original Pride and Prejudice! It did not seem contrived with an old-fashioned style of writing with a modern version of Ms. Austen's book; plus, there was a challenge to figure out just what the characters were saying. It has been a long time since I read The Pride and the Prejudice. When I find some extra time, I am going to go back and read the original again. Once a classic, always a classic.

  • Anna Faversham
    2019-02-02 20:56

    Headstrong Girl - It is delightful. It trips along so easily - very Jane Austen. It is also inspiring. The author says that the aunt 'lived with a kind of grace'. I find that inspiring - I want to do that!It was interesting to read the early American history of the West and the author scatters little historical details which bring that part of America alive to a Brit. She has a fascinating turn of phrase, absolutely expert, and it is written with wit and style.And I just love Darcy's wedding gift to his wife!

  • Susanne
    2019-02-06 23:13

    I "won" an autographed copy of this novel through a blog-party during the book's release. The author, "a lady" who is supposedly Jane Austen who has entered the year 1999 via a time-travel machine, writes an updated form of her most famous novel, set in late-20th century Ohio and California. There are several major changes in characters: Jane becomes "John," Lizzy's elder brother who is gay, and Lydia becomes "Lydon," the youngest son who was caught sleeping with a brigadier general's daughter and was forced to marry her; thus "Jenny," who is much like Lydia too, enters the family. Lizzy is a landscape gardener while Mary is a strict evangelical Christian and Kitty follows Lydon and Jenny's partying ways. Mr. Bennet is self-employed, and Mrs. Bennet is a social climber, of course, wanting to belong to the country club set despite not having the money or the importance to do so. When Mr. Bennet's estranged sister, Evelyn, dies, she leaves Lizzy a legacy in California: a secret behest to alter her home into a bilingual library for Lambtown, California, near Santa Barbara. Lizzy takes on the project and the stress of moving from Columbus to California with her entire family in tow because Mrs. Bennet is sure that Evelyn's money must be shared by the family despite everything that Lizzy and the lawyer tell her about Evelyn's will. Lambtown is an interesting mix of the upper classes, represented by the families of the Enclave, a type of country club set, the middle-class business people and professionals, and the poor itinerant farm laborers whom Lizzy champions and tries to help with limited success. The town mayor, Morris Collins, is also a real-estate agent and is true to the Mr. Collins of the original P&P. Fitzwilliam Darcy owns Pemberley Ranch while Catherine de Bourgh owns Rosings, another ranch, both of which George (Jorge) Carillo (the Wickham character), descended from the local Native American tribe of the area, claims was taken unfairly from his forefathers. Charley Bingley, Darcy's best friend, opens a new shop in town called The Chocolate Bar with various hot chocolates, snacks, etc., and employs John, a former Starbucks barista, and the couple seems to start falling for each other although Charley isn't officially "out." And of course, Charley's sister Caroline is pursuing Darcy as usual....And thus the story unfolds... This story presents many interesting twists of the original P&P plot while also looking into the culture of the Santa Ynez Valley and the plight of the farm workers who live hand-to-mouth while the country club set ignores the poor right on their doorstep. It's a clash of cultures: the rich white Enclave set and the Native Americans/illegal workers whom Lizzy tries to help by creating a community garden in the center of town, an act that angers Catherine de Bourgh and the business people of Lambtown to no end. The writing style smacks too much of Austen's style and wording at times which may have been deliberate since the premise of this novel is that Jane Austen is actually writing this story after being whisked from 1810-ish Britain to 1999 America. But often the effect is that of poor paraphrasing of Austen's original work with too much of the vocabulary of the British early-19th century interjected into late-20th century American culture. But really, that's the only weakness of the novel...well, along with a very two-dimensional Darcy. I like to see his character fleshed out more than it is here as the limited development makes it difficult to identify and empathize with him. I found myself turning pages and quite enthralled with the twists and turns of the story. I am not usually a great fan of modern versions of P&P, but this one was quite fun and different. Technically, I'd probably give this book a 3.5, but I like to round "up." ;)It was a lovely gift to receive this book autographed by "the Lady...with kind regards," and I certainly found the novel entertaining and at times quite fascinating.

  • Tina
    2019-02-10 22:57

    This book is a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The author did a good job of keeping to the main plot of the timeless tale. Lizzy ends up being a crusader for human rights and is secretly building a private library to be open to the public for both English and Spanish speaking people in the community at one of her Aunt's last requests. Jane in this story becomes John who still ends up with Bingley in the end. Lydia become Lydon who is Elizabeth's youngest sibling and he is married to Jenny, a general's daughter. Of course our story has to have a Wickham in the story though he is called George (Jorge) Carillo is this story and is a drug dealer. There is no Georgiana in this version but as she didn't really have a big part in the original Pride and Prejudice can you blame the author for removing her all together? The rest of the Bennets are just as they are originally though Kitty is a lot more spoiled. Mrs. Bennet is worse than she was in P&P. All she was concerned about was her family's social status. Mr. Bennet is just as unconcerned with his family as he usually is. I really enjoyed this book and when I wasn't at work I was reading this constantly. I'm eagerly awaiting more books from Ms. Bok.

  • Kirk
    2019-02-19 22:51

    Loved it!!! Loved the poetry in. Loved that one of the best lines in the book was given to Mary Bennet! Just wished that one character from the original was in this adaptation. I won a copy from Ceri's blog(thank you!).

  • Jennifer
    2019-02-19 19:46

    This book was pure delight from the very first page! filled with fun, wonderful dialogue, and great social commentary, I look forward to reading more from this 'time trapped' author. ;)

  • Megan
    2019-02-03 19:47

    I loved the story. Once I got the hang of reading the formal language, I enjoyed that it was something different. Definitely a unique read!

  • Nicolthepickle
    2019-01-28 20:58

    An Obstinate Headstrong Girl is a fascinating, modern take on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.It is the good old story of Eliza Bennet and her family and their trials and triumphs in life and love. I've read Pride and Prejudice many times, and wasn't sure quite what to expect from this version of it. The author gets the characters quite right. She writes about their foibles and follies in a way that Jane Austen would have appreciated (or so I imagine.). Eliza Bennet is a landscaper. She works hard to make her way. She lives with her family. And like everyone's family she both enjoys them and suffers with and for them. Eliza Bennet's aunt dies and in her will gives Eliza a trust to build a library in Lambtown. She deals with many political and racial problems in her building of the library and on the way finds true love. Mr Collins (A pompous mayor, and disdained swain) and Mrs. Bennet (Eliza's overbearing mother) are very well written. And the author has a wonderful grasp of the English language. She turns a phrase very well. I did find that the relationship of John Bennet and Charley Bingley was over mentioned. It seemed a little like a hobby horse of the authors rather than a genuine furthering of the story.In the end as in all good books, everyone lives happily ever after.This is a fun book for a rainy-afternoon read.I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Goodreads and the Author. This is my opinion and yours may differ.One more thing: This book is written "by a lady". How intriguing is that!