Coming Full Circle, by Amanda Kai

Coming Full Circle, by Amanda Kai

Coming Full Circle: The rom-com that was inspired by Pride and Prejudice and in turn, inspired my Elizabeth and Darcy novella.

It’s no secret that Pride and Prejudice has been the inspiration for countless books, movies, and TV shows. Almost every enemies-to-lovers story has its roots in Jane Austen’s most popular novel. 

James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan in The Shop Around the Corner
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

The Shop Around the Corner, a 1940 film starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan, while not directly a modern take on Pride and Prejudice, definitely shares some common themes with it. Both characters initially dislike each other, culminating in the heroine abusing the hero to his face, then coming to learn that he’s actually a wonderful man and falling in love with him. The main difference between this story and Pride and Prejudice is that the main characters are unknowingly falling in love with each other through their anonymous letters, all while butting heads in real life. If you’ve never seen this charming classic movie, I highly recommend it! I found it for free on and for rent on 

James Stewart would have made quite a good Darcy, in my opinion. In fact, he could have given Lawrence Olivier a run for his money.  By the way, If you’ve yet to watch the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice which also came out in 1940 and starred Lawrence Olivier, that’s another fun classic to add to your list (just take it as a P & P variation set in the 1860’s and the costumes and changes to the book will sit all right with you!). You can rent that one from Amazon as well. But I digress…

The Shop Around the Corner was so popular, it spawned two musicals, In the Good Old Summertime (1949) starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson, and She Loves Me (1963). Then, in 1998, the story was remade again, this time as the modern-day rom-com You’ve Got Mail, with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as the leads.

You’ve Got Mail is my favorite 90’s rom-com and has long been on my list of all-time favorite movies. Two people who meet anonymously in an online chat room and fall in love over their emails, but in real life, they are enemies and competitors who butt heads at every turn.  I’ve made the case before that You’ve Got Mail is a modern-day Pride and Prejudice-inspired story, in my list of all the Pride and Prejudice adaptations. If The Shop Around the Corner had its roots in Pride and Prejudice, then You’ve Got Mail definitely took it up a notch. If you want proof that there’s a connection? Kathleen Kelly’s favorite book is Pride and Prejudice, and Joe Fox makes fun of her for getting emotionally worked up over whether or not Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are really going to get together (despite the fact that she reads it annually!). The comparison doesn’t stop there. I could write a whole paper outlining the parallels between You’ve Got Mail and P&P, but for the sake of time, I’ll just let you watch the movie and come to your own conclusions. 🙂 It’s currently available for free on HBO Max and for rent on Amazon.

So how does a beloved classic, that inspired a movie, that inspired a remake, come full circle? Why, with a Pride and Prejudice retelling that is inspired by all of these, of course! In my Pride and Prejudice novella, Elizabeth’s Secret Admirer, Elizabeth Bennet receives a Valentine card from a secret admirer. She in turn posts an advertisement in the paper asking her secret admirer to correspond with her, and he does! She is gradually falling in love with this mysterious man she is writing to, all the while unaware that he’s the same man that she absolutely detests– Mr. Darcy. When she learns the truth of her admirer’s identity, Elizabeth has to decide what matters more, her hatred of him, or the love she felt through his letters.

This is a FREE story that I give out exclusively to my newsletter subscribers. You can sign up for my email list to get your copy here. It begins and ends on Valentine’s Day, which makes it the perfect story to cozy up with for the coming holiday, or any time of the year, really!  It’s sweet and clean, and set in the Regency era. 

So now you’ve got some great movies to watch and a new free story to treat yourself to!

Until next time, Happy Reading,

Amanda Kai

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Bronwen Chisholm
February 8, 2022 7:48 PM

I love those movies! When I find something I like, I get copies of every version and I have all the Shop Around the Corner remakes. You are so correct! You’ve Got Mail is totally a modern P&P – and I fell in love with it before I ever read P&P. Thank you for the free story, it is on my TBR pile and I can’t wait. 😀?

Last edited 4 months ago by Bronwen Chisholm
Jean Stillman
Jean Stillman
February 6, 2022 7:32 PM

Very cute and fun comparisons to two of my favorite movies! And in reading the comments below your article, we can see many people can compare their relationships to those of Daercy and Elizabeth. Thanks for some very entertaining observations!

February 6, 2022 3:24 PM

May I add my own family’s P&P connection? When my mom and dad first met, she couldn’t stand him. She confided in me all the reasons why she didn’t like him at first when I was a young teenager (she died shortly thereafter). Her biggest complaint was his arrogance! Interestingly, my father was often compared to Jimmy Stewart in both looks and mien. After my mom told me why she initially didn’t care for him I asked my father whether he liked my mom from the beginning and he told me he did, but that there were a few things about her that he did not like — mostly that she was a little too independent! But he said he knew from the beginning that he would marry her. Until I read this post it never occurred to me that their romance was inspired by Jane Austen :-).

February 6, 2022 3:09 PM

I’ve seen the movies mentioned and although I like The shop around the corner and You’ve got mail, for some reason I’ve never loved them like I love P&P.

Riana Everly
February 6, 2022 1:13 PM

It’s ages since I’ve seen You’ve Got Mail. I should go and rewatch it with P&P in mind. I’ve definitely veered into that territory in my musings about possible variations.

February 6, 2022 12:18 PM

Many thanks for the freebies! Now I just need more time to actually read all the books on my TBR.
I love You’ve Got Mail and have watched it many times. I’ve also seen the 1940 P&P but I wasn’t as keen on that, the costumes and the changed storylines really didn’t appeal I’m afraid.

Mirta Ines Trupp
February 6, 2022 10:36 AM

Great post. I’ve enjoyed all the movies you mentioned. I loved Jean Stapelton’s role in “You’ve Got Mail” and the mother/daughter twirling scenein the shop….pullls at the heartstrings. Thanks for sharing and best wishes for continued success.

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
February 4, 2022 7:08 PM

Good post! I’ve seen You’ve Got Mail before but never thought of it that way. Now that I think of it it does definitely seem like Pride and Prejudice! I am reading Elzabeth’s secret admirer right now and I love it!

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
February 4, 2022 11:51 AM

I loved Shop Around the Corner [which was the name of the bookstore Meg Ryan owned]. It was her saying she read P&P every year that made me think… hey, I can do that. So, I started trying to read it every year. RL often got in the way but I was pleased when I could manage it. And I adored the 40s P&P. Even though the costumes were off, I still enjoyed seeing how many different ways to design a hat or dress of the same style. Shades of Lydia Bennet tearing up a bonnet to redesign. So many possibilities. This was also a cute take on Lady Catherine. Sorry, I’m off our topic. I have downloaded your freebie. Thank you. I look forward to reading it. Blessings on all your hard work.

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