Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne @NikkiPayneBooks @BerkleyRomance @BerkleyPub @sophiarose1816

Posted January 25, 2023 by Sophia in Book Review / 24 Comments

Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne @NikkiPayneBooks @BerkleyRomance  @BerkleyPub @sophiarose1816Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne
Published by Berkley on November 15, 2022
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 409
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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Liza B–The Only DJ That Gives a Jam—wants to take her neighborhood back from the soulless property developer dropping unaffordable condos on every street corner in DC. But her planned protest at their corporate event takes a turn after she mistakes the smoldering hot CEO for the waitstaff. When they go toe-to-toe, the sparks fly—but her impossible-to-ignore family thwarts her every move. Liza wants Dorsey Fitzgerald out of her hood, but she’ll settle for getting him out of her head.

At first, Dorsey writes Liza Bennett off as an over-caffeinated woke weekend warrior. As the adopted Filipino son of a wealthy white family, he’s always felt a bit out of place, and knows a fraud when he sees one. But when Liza’s protest results in a viral meme, their lives are turned upside down and Dorsey comes to realize this irresistible revolutionist is the most real woman he’s ever met.

Occasionally, I’ll pick up a contemporary book that reminds me of my age- or, more so, that I am slowly becoming less flexible with the mental gymnastics necessary to feel in touch with a story of today.  I say that because I suspect I will do rather poorly at spotlighting what should really be appreciated as a clever, on-point stylization of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice classic and I know I missed some significance that others more in tune will catch.  Nikki Payne most certainly lavished homage toward the original while incisively writing her own modern class difference clash and heads up about gentrification, gender, race, economics, modern family, and love.

When one deliberately chooses a retelling of a classic, there is the early excitement to see how the new will meld with the original and how the original will step out into modern light.  For those who have never picked up the original P&P, Pride & Protest does fab as a standalone contemporary.

So, the modern setting is metro Washington DC.  The heroine is fiery Liza Bennet who is a DJ calling out and protesting for social justice where she lives.  The latest outrage is a big money business developer who has eyes on her neighborhood.  Liza and Dorsey Fitzgerald have a dumpster fire of a meet cute and it sets the tone for many chapters to come as they heat the pages with an enemies to lovers romance full of witty dialogue and five-alarm fire attraction.  The romance development was not as steady throughout and rushed at the end when the last conflict hurdle was over.  There are other elements like their sexual attraction, the entertaining cast of secondary characters and all the layered elements to keep this from being too obvious.

Liza sees only big money greed and cold disdain in Dorsey, but readers catch glimpses that there is more going on under the surface with him.  I found the choice to make them an inter-racial couple and bring the rich diversity that comes with that a good thing.  Additionally, she comes from a struggling family of granny, single mom with issues, and one of four kids while he is adopted into a wealthy white family to make both their family lives complicated.  There is a conscience versus duty struggle and other socioeconomic factors for them to face, too, but most of all, they got off on a bad foot and have to overcome the age-old classic pride and prejudice all of their own making to have something together.

There is drama, but there is a solid balance of comedy.  Liza and Dorsey had their issues, but the pair could sling shade and sparkle with wit across the texts, radio, emails, and more.

All in all, I think this was a well-tuned modern retelling with a good authorial style of writing that will appeal to modern readers who like their contemporary familiar with today’s city neighborhood, family, issues, and of course, romance.


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Posted January 25, 2023 by Sophia in Book Review / 24 Comments

24 responses to “Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne

    • Yeah, I’ve read a few moderns that worked best as a contemporary romance and not so well when meant to be closely tied to a classic. This one was thoughtfully connected so it was clear it was connected, but not so much that it was awkwardly so.