Not one to be read on the commute to work (or in any public place, for that matter), Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts is a raunchy rewriting of Jane Austen’s classic. The beloved characters are given a horny lease of life, which is seemingly impossible to satisfy despite their constant liaisons. Jane Austen must surely have been spinning continuously in her grave as Mitzi Szereto penned her version.
Each of the characters from the original novel features in this version. However, if Pride and Prejudice is one of your beloved favourites, you might like to carefully reconsider reading this book. If you hold the characters in any sort of innocent affection, being exposed to their exposures will most likely fill you with horror. The subtle, underlying sexual tension in Pride and Prejudice is one of its strong points. For fans of this subtlety, Szereto’s version will likely cause some kind of brain implosion.
Setting the tone in the opening chapter, Mr Bennet is overcome with the urge to relieve himself after receiving an erotic painting in that morning’s post. However, his efforts aren’t entirely satisfactory; the trajectory unintentionally aimed at his eye. The injury he receives from this terrible shot troubles him for days.
Lydia, the youngest of the Bennet sisters, has an insatiable sexual appetite and frequently tries to relieve herself by rubbing against inanimate objects. She much prefers rubbing against soldier’s thighs, however. Mr Bingley is particularly fond of getting Mr Darcy so inebriated that he falls into unconsciousness, allowing Mr Bingley to undress him and perform sexual acts on him, while Mr Darcy dreams happily of Elizabeth Bennet. The clergyman enjoys spending time with angelic, willing choirboys slightly more than the Church may recommend. However, this suits his new wife just fine, as she far prefers the company of women.
For fans of erotic literature, the book certainly does not disappoint in terms of the abundance of encounters and the detail in which they’re described. However, the variety of the participants causes one to question the intended market of the book – heterosexual sex, homosexual sex, solo explorations – if the reader is particularly strongly inclined in one direction, some scenes may be too strong for their taste.
The writing, often repetitive, is slightly questionable in style and the plot is also disappointing. For a book that already had its plot written for it, the few original ideas Szereto contributes are inconsistent and, at times, thoughtless. Mr Bingley’s love for Mr Darcy is one of the few engaging storylines, and yet it is dropped for a large mid-section of the book and is only returned to towards the end.
At times humorous, the book is certainly an entertaining read. Nothing is left to the imagination and it may ignite a further passion for fans of the era. However, it is best read a chapter at a time, and only occasionally: reading it continously only highlights the repetitiveness of certain phrases and the lack of attention to plot.