There have been many Jane Austen sequels and knock-offs, and many are pretty dubious, but I found this book surprisingly charming. The setting is a Florida retirement condo complex, and the main characters are a group of widowed women searching for companionship and love.
The author does a wonderful job of revisiting many of Austen's themes and situations in a setting that at first glance couldn't be more different than 19th-century England. But the social situations, the rules and strictures of the society of retirees, and the misunderstandings between the sexes all carry over beautifully. Very enjoyable!
I enjoyed the book. It was a fast read with interesting characters. Carol tries to engineer a match between her mother in law and a widower. Problem? Carol is in NJ and May, her mother in law, is in Boca Raton, Florida, where she resides in a retirement community. Does this stop Carol? NO - not much could. May and her 2 best friends, Lila and Flo,carry on in their day to day routines, which are interrupted by men, Jane Austen, and grandchildren. Oh, and Carol.
[From Library Journal] A clever update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, this first novel is set in a Jewish retirement community in Boca Raton, FL. Carol Newman is obsessively seeking a mate for her widowed mother-in-law, May. When Carol decides that the recently bereaved and very wealthy Norman Grafstein is the ideal candidate, the resulting comedy of manners is worthy of Austen herself.
This was an hilarious romp of a book. Taking place in a South Florida retirement community, the story unfolds with some very quirky and funny characters getting involved with each other. Cohen writes about the elderly in their retirement years with insight and poignant humor. Having lived in that part of Florida for awhile, I can say she captured them perfectly.
A witty twist on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, set in a Jewish retirement community in Boca Raton, Fla. Kind of a wacky "golden girls" revolving around Social Security checks, AARP membership and a little innocent matchmaking--because older available gentlemen are hard to find! Nothing deep, but cute and fun to read.
In her send-up of Pride and Prejudice, Paula Marantz Cohen, as one might expect, centers her novel on "three or four families in a country village." But in this case, the "country village" is Boca Festa, a retirement community in Boca Raton, Florida, and the "three or four families" are a trio of Jewish widows on the look-out for husbands to replace their departed mates. The result is a witty and penetrating first novel.
Flo Kliman is just what one would expect and wish Elizabeth Bennet to be in her new setting: wise-cracking, clear-headed, opinionated, and fiercely loyal to her two best friends, May Newman/Jane Bennet and Lila Katz/Charlotte Lucas. With an able assist from Carol Newman, May's daughter-in-law and a worthy successor to the harassed Mrs. Bennet, the novel charts the course of May's romance with Norman Grafstein, who plays Mr. Bingley to cranky Stan Jacobs' Mr. Darcy. Add to this mix the buffoon Hy Marcus as Mr. Collins and the smarmy Mel Shrimer as Mr. Wickham and you get one the most amusing novels I've read in awhile.
And like her predecessor, Miss Austen, Dr. Cohen provides an abundance of social commentary, both incisive and insightful. Very little escapes her discerning eye, from shopping mores to methods of parenting, anti-semitism to anglophilia, culinary tastes to gay rights, interior to landscape design, and senior hair styles to retirement couture. All this is served with such a mix of affection and acuity that it proves to be a very tasty dish indeed!
According to the dust jacket, Paula Marantz Cohen is Distinguished Professor of English at Drexel University, a background I suspect gave rise to the ultimate chapter of the book, the raucous and unruly opening session of Stan Jacobs' senior enrichment course on "Jane Austen and Her Adaptors." Many in the class hasn't read the book, but were happy to plunge into a vehemently digressive discussion, thereby providing some astute alternate readings of Pride and Prejudice. Thoroughly familiar with male-dominated family businesses, these elderly burghers had no trouble accepting the entail on the Bennet estate. Coming from cultures where marriages were often based on familial considerations, they approved of Mr. Collins' generous proposal to Elizabeth, but thought Mary Bennet might have been a better choice for him. But most of all, they thought Mrs. Bennet was the real heroine of the novel and were impressed by her Herculean efforts at marrying off five daughters, especially that Elizabeth, who was just a little "too sarcastic" for their taste.
These are people for whom one wishes nothing but the best and who deserve all happiness. But you know they'll all make it in the end, because as Flo Kliman puts it: "Take it from me. A nice widower with a comfortable living can be nudged into settling down by a not-so-young woman who plays her cards right."
- John T. Farrell
This is a fun, witty book. It is a modern slant on Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice. Takes place in a retirement complex in Florida. Perfect read for seniors or anyone who knows a senior - and we all do!!! Full of fun, laughter, and matchmaking!