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Imperfect Bliss by Susan Fales-Hill

Friday, June 8, 2012
Rating: 1 STAR

Synopsis: Jane Austen meets the Bachelorette in this twenty-first-century comedy of manners about a suburban family, their four eligible daughters, and what happens when reality TV comes to town.With her acclaimed first novel, One Flight Up, author Susan Fales-Hill is on a roll, already leaving her chick-lit predecessors “in the dust,” as the New York Post put it. Now, in Imperfect Bliss, she offers up a hilarious take on genteel family life with a cast of irresistibly eccentric characters.     Meet the Harcourts of Chevy Chase, Maryland. A respectable middle class, middle-aged, mixed-race couple, Harold and Forsythia have four eminently marriageable daughters—or so their mother believes. Forsythia named her girls after Windsor royals in the hopes that one day each would find her true prince. But princes are far from the mind of their second-born daughter, Elizabeth (AKA Bliss), who, in the aftermath of a messy divorce, has moved back home and thrown herself into earning her Ph.D. All that changes when a Bachelorette-style reality television show called The Virgin takes Bliss’s younger sister, Diana, as its star. Though she fights it at first, Bliss can’t help but be drawn into the romantic drama that ensues, forcing her to reconsider everything she thought she knew about love, her family, and herself.

Review: Imperfect Bliss: A Novel by Susan Fales-Hill is a contemporary story inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The story's concept is like nothing I've read before and I found it to be an unusual take of Austen's most beloved story. I found this story somewhat entertaining but overall it was not what I was expecting. The beginning was tediously slow and I found myself struggling and I really had to force myself to finish the story. There were several times through out the book that it seemed the author was trying to play off of pop culture references but it just did poorly for the overall story. It was like she was trying to be hip but I honestly felt like she trashed Austen's work. It felt forced and unnatural. Bliss whom we are supposed to believe is (Elizabeth Bennett) is bland and not the leading heroine I have come to love, at all. Her mother Forsythia Harcourt (Mrs. Bennett) is disturbing, narrow-minded and extremely annoying. I honestly felt that the story perhaps would've been better if it dropped the whole Austen imitation. I really thought the concept of Jane Austen meets the Bachelorette to be an exciting and unique idea but the execution was not what I thought it would be. One of the things that I did like was Bliss' sisters I thought although they were annoying at times, they were funny and over the top for the most part. I wanted to like this story but overall I thought it was lacking. In reality, although I didn't like Imperfect Bliss I've heard great things about Susan Fales-Hill's books so I look forward to reading her other works.
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