Georgiana Darcy gets the Pride & Prejudice retelling she deserves in Accomplished, a sparkling contemporary YA featuring a healthy dose of marching band romance, endless banter, and Charles Bingley as a ripped frat boy.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Georgiana Darcy should have been expelled after The Incident with Wickham Foster last year – at least if you ask any of her Pemberley Academy classmates. She may have escaped expulsion because of her family name, but she didn’t escape the disappointment of her big brother Fitz, the scorn of the entire school, or, it turns out, Wickham’s influence.
But she’s back for her junior year, and she needs to prove to everyone—Fitz, Wickham, her former friends, and maybe even herself—that she’s more than just an embarrassment to the family name. How hard can it be to become the Perfect Darcy? All she has to do is:
– Rebuild her reputation with the marching band (even if it kills her)
– Forget about Wickham and his lies (no matter how tempting they still are), and
– Distract Fitz Darcy—helicopter-sibling extraordinaire—by getting him to fall in love with his classmate, Lizzie Bennet (this one might be difficult…)
Sure, it’s a complicated plan, but so is being a Darcy. With the help of her fellow bandmate, Avery, matchmaking ideas lifted straight from her favorite fanfics, and a whole lot of pancakes, Georgie is going to see every one of her plans through. But when the weight of being the Perfect Darcy comes crashing down, Georgie will have to find her own way before she loses everything permanently—including the one guy who sees her for who she really is.
***Accomplished: A Georgie Darcy Novel comes out July 26, 2022**
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for this copy in exchange for an honest review.
CW: bullying, emotional manipulation/toxic relationship
Are you a fan of Pride & Prejudice? Have you read all the retellings that you can possibly get your hands on? Well, this may not be focused on Lizzie Bennet but you can bet Accomplished still has plenty of heart, romance, and family issues to deal with.
Georgie Darcy is the younger sister of Fitz Darcy, the sole Darcys left in their family now that their father has passed and their mother ditched them (whoops, motherly instincts were never her strong suit). But that’s okay because Fitz is all the family Georgie needed, or so she thought before everything came crashing down.
This retelling focused on the younger Darcy sibling surprised me in more ways than I anticipated. I barely remember her in the original story so I suppose that helped with minimal expectations. Georgie was by far a perfect protagonist. At the start of the book, we already knew she had a very tumultuous previous year with Wickham, an unfortunate family friend who took advantage of her while Fitz was away at college. Yet she was also someone I highly empathized with. Bullied and isolated by her classmates for things that she didn’t necessarily do or deserve (why do teenagers insist on liking the drug dealer over the patsy he controlled?), Georgie displayed more strength than even I would have as she devised a plan to gain the respect of her peers and her brother once again. Honestly, if I were in her shoes, I’d probably want to hold up in my room and just cry.
I liked how her character grew through the ordeal. She struggled and tried in the only way she knew how to – by sometimes throwing around her Darcy money to help make grand gestures to show she cared about those around her. Yes, perhaps she may have needed to learn to read the room, but it all came from a place of genuine want to fit in and to do good for the people around her. I was also happy to see a little conversation with Fitz at one point discussing their privilege. While being rich (or SUPER rich in their case) did NOT negate the bad things that happened to them as they’re still very valid hardships they suffered, it did provide a large cushion that did in a number of ways make things easier for them than a lot of others in the same situation.
Of course, the romance was a large feature in the book and I’m not just talking about Fitz and a certain Lizzie Bennet who aggravated him unlike anyone else did (aside from Georgie). I’ll get back to them. No, I’m talking about Georgie’s band classmate, Avery. When no one else gave her the time of day or even a nod of acknowledgment in the hallways (like, come on, how hard is it to even just acknowledge someone’s presence?), Avery did.
After everything with Wickham which could only be described as emotional manipulation where Georgie struggled to feel like she could be on her own without him, Avery was a breath of fresh air and exactly what she needed after she healed. I don’t want to spend too much time talking about Wickham because it was a little sickening the way he practically groomed her and isolated her from everything except to say it’s a large part of her story. It’s not heavily focused what he did exactly but the aftermath is definitely present. Thankfully, Avery is the complete opposite and their friendship-turned-romance was everything I was here for. He grounded her but also liked who she was. She wasn’t just her name, her money or the legacy being a Darcy brought, which frankly mostly associated with negative things.
For P&P fans, no worries, we do get to see Lizzie and Fitz in more than a cameo appearance. I liked the reimagination of these two iconic characters in a modern setting, not to mention Charlie Bingley as a frat boy. It felt realistic to the core characters Austen brought to life while fitting seamlessly into Georgie’s story here. One reprieve from the more emotional aspects of Georgie’s life is her scheme to matchmake them to get Fitz off of her back and simultaneously do one good thing for him to make him happy after all the stress she gave him. Her plans and set ups were surely fanfic level ideas, something Georgie is also super into, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing whether they would actually bring these two stubborn people together successfully.
Whether you’re a fan of Pride & Prejudice or not, Georgie Darcy’s story stands out on its own. With such an empathetic character even with her flaws and her failures, maybe because of them, she shines bright as we follow her attempts to accomplish all that a Darcy should be and find herself in the process. Is she only a Darcy or can she be more as simply Georgie? This isn’t a story that sees happily ever after dependent on some boy righting her world but rather about a young woman learning she can be happy for herself with the help of those she loves. If that’s something you’d cheer for, then this is the book for you, my friend.
Accomplished delivers an emotional coming-of-age story about Georgie Darcy, the younger Darcy sibling, while featuring familiar names from Pride & Prejudice. After disappointing her brother, all her peers and herself when she got entangled with the toxic Wickham, Georgie tackles a grand plan to win back everyone’s respect and approval by being the best Darcy she could be with the help of her only friend, Avery. Their friendship and romance was a highlight, but what really tugged my heartstrings is Georgie herself as she navigated her struggles and failures. I laughed and cried with her as she learned more of who she wanted to be, not only who everyone expected her to be. This is a retelling you don’t want to miss.