Lizzie Venetidis is confident in her decisions. Moving to Seattle with her sister Jane after she graduated from Stanford, for instance, was a no-brainer. Adult life, however, turns out to be more difficult to navigate than she expected.
What career should she pursue with a bachelor’s degree in art history and no marketable experience amongst a tech-heavy job market? How responsible is it to drink that fourth cocktail while out with friends? And what should she do about Darcy—the aloof yet captivating guy she met her first night in town?
All the Things I Know is a one-mistake-at-a-time retelling of Pride & Prejudice, set against the backdrop of modern-day techie Seattle. Full of wry observations, heartache, and life lessons, All the Things I Know shares the original’s lessons of correcting ill-conceived first impressions and learning who you really are.
As someone who once considered studying art as her major in college, I was eager to read Audrey Ryan’s debut JAFF novel. All the Things I Know. As a recent college graduate with a degree in art history, Lizzie Venetidis finds herself relocating to Seattle, Washington, to live with her sister Jane, who is just embarking on her new career as an attorney and trying to discover how to make a go of her own life in this new city. Soon after arriving into Seattle, Lizzie meets Fitzwilliam Darcy, a reserved and hard-to-read man from a very wealthy family, through his friendship with Chip Bingley. Before long, sparks of attraction develop between Lizzie and Darcy. However, the disparities in their ages and in their career trajectories make the gulf between them seem too wide to bridge and neither of them is really certain about what to do with their feelings.
As Elizabeth and Jane struggle through their personal and professional challenges to discover what is essential to their own personal happiness, the sisters find it difficult to confide in one another about their deepest concerns. In their attempts to find their niches, they also uncover some pretty significant revelations about the kinds of lives they want for themselves outside of their careers. Will they both be able to reconcile their concerns for their futures with what their hearts truly desire?
The characters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet serve to highlight their daughters’ ties to their family and they serve as a source of understanding the complexities of these characters. Sometimes in a modern JAFF story, their roles are portrayed in ways that make them quite unlikable, but here I felt that Audrey Ryan did a great job making them characters we could relate to and empathize with throughout the story. That’s not such an easy feat for these characters, and yet, I found I enjoyed both of them in this story.
The slow developing chemistry between Darcy and Elizabeth, which naturally starts as an outgrowth of their physical attraction towards each other eventually becomes something more meaningful once the “Hunsford” moment passes between them. Their relationship unfolds with a lot of the self-exploration and soul-searching found in Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, which makes the title of the book not only perfect for this story, but it also serves as a fitting mantra for Elizabeth‘s character in this story. The parallels between this modern update and Austen’s original story are evident throughout the storyline. Yet, Ms. Ryan’s incorporation of even the smallest of details, such as certain phrases from Austen’s text or mannerisms from her original characters into her story feels familiar and innovative at the same time. For me, that is one of my favorite aspects of the best kinds of modern JAFF stories.
Ms. Ryan’s writing style contains a fluidity and a tangible energy that was consistent throughout her story and that helped her story unfold at a consistent pace. I loved the first person point-of-view that was used to shape Elizabeth’s story because it allowed me to feel very connected to her while allowing me to experience the story with her. I also had fun reading her supporting characters too because she was able to take Austen’s original characters, such as the Bingley sisters, Charlotte, and Mr. Collins and update their characters for a modern audience in ways that were humorous and relevant.
Collectively, Ms. Ryan has written a new adult story that captures a variety of the themes from Austen’s Pride & Prejudice within a modern setting and timeframe and allowed her characters’ stories to shine in their own ways, just as a true work of art should be allowed to shine!
Audrey Ryan is the nom de plume of Andrea Pangilinan: daydreamer, wife and step-mother, and obsessive story consumer. She studied writing in college, dreamt about becoming a novelist and slowly forgot about it when real life took over. With a particular affection for contemporary retellings, adapting Pride & Prejudice to modern day has always been a dream.
When she’s not reading and writing, Andrea is a marketing slave to the internet industry. She enjoys talking crazy to her weirdo cat, consuming copious amount of wine and coffee with her girlfriends, and record shopping with her husband. Oh yeah, and there’s that small Jane Austen obsession. That doesn’t take up any time at all.
12- 3 Austenesque Reviews; Author Interview, Giveaway
12- 4 My Jane Austen Book Club; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
12- 5 Babblings of a Bookworm; Character Interview, Giveaway
12- 6 From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, Giveaway
12- 7 Night Owl Reader; Review, Excerpt
12- 8 Just Jane 1813; Review, Giveaway
12- 9 My Love for Jane Austen; Vignette, Giveaway
12-10 Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway
12-11 Of Pens and Pages; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway
12-12 Margie’s Must Reads; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway
12-14 My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, Giveaway
12-15 Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
12-16 More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, Giveaway
It’s Giveaway Time!
Terms and Conditions:
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.
Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.
This book is also available on KindleUnlimited.
I’d like to thank Janet Taylor and Meryton Press for inviting me to participate in this book tour.