The new Curtis Sittenfeld (“American Wife,” “Sisterland”) novel “Eligible” is a retelling of Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” Set in Ohio, sisters Lizzy and Jane are the oldest of five sisters living in New York City. When their father’s health declines, they return to their hometown to help take care of him and both have life-changing experiences. The Bennet family fortune is declining as the is the family homestead falling under disrepair. Liz is a modern, hip journalist whose life has been stuck dating a married man for over ten years. Jane is approacing 40 and considering sperm donors due to a lack of eligible suitors. The three younger sisters all live at home and are blind to the family’s financial decline while busy with their 20-something lives.
Fitzwilliam is the modern-day Darcy character. He projects a disdainful opinion of the small Ohio town (Cincinnati) he has recently moved to in the position of surgeon at the local hospital. This tension between Darcy and Liz builds until hate becomes predictable love. Of course, it turns out Fitzwilliam is wealthy beyond belief and a nice guy after all. Although the novel turned out to be more chick-li than I expected from Sittenfeld, I enjoyed discovering the eventual futures of each of the five sisters and was eager to learn how each would turn out. I listened to the audio edition.