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Pemberley by the Sea: A modern love story, Pride and Prejudice style    by Abigail Reynolds order for
Pemberley by the Sea
by Abigail Reynolds
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Cassie Boulton is a dedicated marine biologist, the ocean her life's work. Year after year, she returns to Woods Hole to continue her study of the marshlands surrounding the picturesque tourist town. When her best friend Erin invites Cassie to lunch to meet her new boyfriend, Cassie accepts. As always, her unlucky-in-love friend is looking for Cassie's seal of approval in her choice of men. She's surprised to discover that boyfriend Rob has brought along a friend, a darkly handsome man Cassie finds very attractive. Surprised by her reaction, Cassie is eager to learn more about Calder, but it's clear the man finds the entire situation uncomfortable. It's only later that Cassie learns that Calder is a member of a wealthy and very powerful family.

Calder Westing III has reason to be wary of others. As the son of a powerful and popular state senator, he's spent his life in the limelight and as constant fodder for the voracious paparazzi. Women with designs on his fortune are forever throwing themselves at him. Cassie Boulton, however, doesn't fit the stereotype and might actually have been telling the truth when she admitted she had no idea who he was. Even so, Calder vows to stay away from her - eventually her true colours will show. But as the weeks go by, the pair spends more time together - and they eventually fall into an affair. Calder realizes that Cassie Boulton has changed his life. But can their love survive the machinations of his powerful family? Time apart gives each the opportunity to re-evaluate their relationship and priorities in the hope that they can move toward a happy ending.

Jane Austen might well find herself pleased with Abigail Reynolds' modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Reynolds does a nice job portraying Calder as aloof, introverted and inherently suspicious about strangers' intentions. Cassie, whose verve for her work and life in general is like a breath of fresh air for the brooding Calder, is his polar opposite. Reynolds has created a wonderfully fresh retelling of a perennial classic, starring two great characters who suffer through a series of misunderstandings, disappointments, secrets and interfering family members. A picturesque Cape Cod setting adds even more to the story, making Pemberley by the Sea a delightful contemporary romance.

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