My second Jane Austen remix this year (and back to back with Jane of Austin), Sonali Dev’s Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors is a fun read that made me hungry for Indian food. That’s because the Darcy in this novel, DJ Caine, is a talented chef who is trying to make a go of it in San Francisco, having upped and left a Michelin star restaurant in France to be closer to his sister, Emma, who is fighting brain cancer.
He first encounters, Trisha Raje, while catering a fancy fundraiser for her brother, who is an aspiring senatorial candidate. Not only is her wealthy family the key to helping DJ move towards his goal of being a private chef, but Trisha is the talented surgeon who believes she can save his sister with a new surgical technique—something that no other doctor thinks they can do. However, DJ has no idea of the connection between Trisha and Emma when they first meet in the kitchen of the Raje compound.
Just as in the novel, their first encounter does not go well. Trisha makes a comment about how much her hands are worth and that the dish she almost ruined by trying to sneak a taste is “just food.” That does not go over well with DJ and things are made even worse later when DJ overhears Trisha and her sister talking and Trisha refers to him as the hired help. So clearly in this version, DJ (whose first name is Darcy) is Elizabeth Bennet and Trisha is Darcy.
The misunderstandings and miscommunications continue on both sides but over the course of the novel, as you might predict from the title, both DJ and Trisha are forced to rethink their first impressions. All that and throw in a wealthy Indian immigrant family who seem to value Trisha’s brother’s accomplishments more than her own, the machinations of a female version of Wickham, and lots of wonderful food descriptions. The result is a light but enjoyable read.