Meet the Benedettos

Harper Perennial. Dec. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9780063324145. pap. $17.99. F
At the heart of Cotugno’s (Birds of California) modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice are the five sisters of the Benedetto family; think of them as a failed Kardashian clan. They had a reality show for a couple of years and are now struggling to further their careers while the bills pile up. June, the eldest, falls for their new neighbor, action-film star Charlie Bingley, while the next oldest, Lilly, keeps squabbling with Charlie’s best friend, Will Darcy. Then Lilly meets Nick, and he tells her an awful story about Will. Will tries to warn Lilly about Nick but doesn’t give her any details, so it’s just a matter of time before Nick shows his true colors and everything comes to a head. For readers familiar with any of the iterations of the Austen masterpiece, all the players in Cotugno’s novel will be recognizable. It is also a commentary on reality-television programming and the Hollywood lifestyle, wrapped up in a lighthearted read with a rather abrupt ending.
VERDICT Austen fans will enjoy this new spin on what has become a franchise; think Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, Sonali Dev’s Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, or Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding.
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