“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”—Jane Austen
December 16th marked what would have been Jane Austen’s 242nd birthday and it’s safe to say that without Austen, literature today might be lacking in brilliant heroines and insightful social commentary. This wonderful list of Austen-inspired reads are perfect for Janeites and is our way of saying Happy Birthday to one of the greatest novelists in history.
Cheers to Jane Austen!
Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Obersver of the Human Heart by Adriana Trigiani, Jo Beverley, Margaret Sullivan, and Janet Mullany; Edited by Lauren Ann Nattress
“My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” If you just heaved a contented sigh at Mr. Darcy’s heartfelt words, then you, dear reader, are in good company. Jane Austen Made Me Do It is a delightful collection of never-before-published stories inspired by Jane Austen—her novels, her life, her wit, her world.
In Lauren Willig’s “A Night at Northanger,” a young woman who doesn’t believe in ghosts meets a familiar specter at the infamous abbey, Jane Odiwe’s “Waiting” captures the exquisite uncertainty of Persuasion’s Wentworth and Anne as they await her family’s approval of their betrothal, and Adriana Trigiani’s “Love and Best Wishes, Aunt Jane” imagines a modern-day Austen giving her niece advice upon her engagement.
Regency or contemporary, romantic or fantastical, each of these marvelous stories reaffirms the incomparable influence of one of history’s most cherished authors.
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.
Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.
Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming . . . And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.
Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan
Jane Austen never goes out of style. Since the first publication of her six novels in the 19th century, she has delighted generations of fans with classic stories that have never changed—and countless covers that have. Jane Austen Cover to Cover compiles two centuries of design showcasing one of the world’s most beloved and celebrated novelists. With over 200 images, plus historical commentary, Austen trivia, and a little bit of wit, this fascinating and visually intriguing look back is a must for Janeites.
Longbourn by Jo Baker
The servants take center stage in this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice. While Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters fuss over balls and husbands, Sarah, their orphaned housemaid, is beginning to chafe against the boundaries of her class. When a new footman arrives at Longbourn under mysterious circumstances, the carefully choreographed world she has known all her life threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended. Mentioned only fleetingly in Jane Austen’s classic, here Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Regency England and, in doing so, uncovers the real world of the novel that has captivated readers’ hearts around the world for generations.
The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret Sullivan
Every young lady dreams of a life spent exchanging witty asides with a dashing Mr. Darcy, but how should you let him know your intentions? Seek counsel from this charming guide to Jane Austen’s world. Its step-by-step instructions reveal the practicalities of life in Regency England, including sensible advice on how to behave at your first ball, how to decline an unwanted marriage proposal, and how to throw a dinner party.
Offering readers a glimpse into day-to-day life in Jane Austen’s time, The Jane Austen Handbook is the perfect companion for fans of her novels and their film adaptations, complete with detailed information on love among the social classes, currency, dress, and nuances of graceful living.
Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos
Thirty-five-year-old American social media master Vanessa Roberts lives her thoroughly modern life with aplomb. So when her elderly Jane Austen–centric aunt needs her to take on the public relations for Julian Chancellor, a very private man from England who’s written a book called My Year as Mr. Darcy, Vanessa agrees. But she’s not “excessively diverted,” as Jane Austen would say.
Hardbound books, teacups, and quill pens fly in the face of her e-reader, coffee, and smartphone until she sees Julian take his tight breeches off for his Undressing Mr. Darcy show, an educational “striptease” down to his drawers to promote his book and help save his crumbling estate. The public relations expert suddenly realizes things have gotten . . . personal. But can this old-fashioned man claim her heart without so much as a GPS? It will take three festivals filled with Austen fans, a trip to England, an old frenemy, and a flirtatious pirate re-enactor to find out.
Mary B: A Novel by Katherine J. Chen
Set before, during, and after the events of Pride and Prejudice, Mary B pays homage to the beloved classic and tells the story of the overlooked middle sister, Mary Bennet.
What is to be done with Mary Bennet? She possesses neither the beauty of her eldest sister, Jane, nor the high-spirited charm of Lizzy. Mary knows she is lacking in the ways that matter for single, not-so-well-to-do women in nineteenth-century England who must secure their futures through the finding of a husband. As her sisters wed, one by one, Mary pictures herself growing old, a spinster with no estate to run or children to mind, dependent on the charity of others.
In Mary B, readers are transported beyond the center of the ballroom to discover that wallflowers are sometimes the most intriguing guests at the party. Beneath Mary’s plain appearance and bookish demeanor simmers an inner life brimming with passion, humor, and imagination—and a voice that demands to be heard.
Coming in July 2018!
Jane and the Waterloo Map by Stephanie Barron
Jane Austen turns sleuth in this delightful Regency-era mystery.
November, 1815. The Battle of Waterloo has come and gone, leaving the British economy in shreds; Henry Austen, high-flying banker, is about to declare bankruptcy—dragging several of his brothers down with him. The crisis destroys Henry’s health, and Jane flies to his London bedside, believing him to be dying. While she’s there, the chaplain to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent invites Jane to tour Carlton House, the Prince’s fabulous London home. But her visit takes a startling turn when Jane stumbles upon a body—sprawled on the carpet in the Regent’s library. The dying man utters a single failing phrase: “Waterloo map,” sending Jane on the hunt for a treasure of incalculable value and a killer of considerable cunning.