If you’re like me, you ran out of Jane Austen works to read a long time ago. My first was, of course, Pride and Prejudice then I moved on to Emma, Mansfield Park, and my favorite Northanger Abbey. After you read the most popular ones, you want to read everything and so I did until I had nothing left. It’s such a sad feeling when your favorite author has nothing else for you to read and has passed on many years ago so there’s no chance of anything new.
That’s when I found out about Jane Austen variation novels. Wow! What a brand new world opened up to me. You could probably read a book a day for the rest of your life and never run out of Jane Austen inspired works—that’s how many of them there are. But what I found after reading a few of the most popular ones was, not everyone gets it. Not every author can capture our characters like they should be captured. Not every author can make us feel like we’re reading a brand new Jane Austen book.
To help you weed out the rubbish and perhaps bring a few new authors into your wheelhouse I’m going to list several of my favorite Jane Austenesque authors. If you have one I haven’t listed, please feel free to share at the bottom of this post so that other JA readers can benefit from your knowledge.
I’ll start with the first one I came across many years ago. Because I read Elizabeth’s work so long ago I do not recall details of her books and I admit I need to catch up on newer ones. I do know that I enjoyed them so much that I read them all within a month. That was back when I bought books at an actual bookstore, so there were a lot of trips to Barnes and Noble involved. Thank you Elizabeth for being my first, without your skillz, I might have never found any of these other authors and understood what good JA fiction was like.
Now this is a strange one for me to bring in because I’m not much of a mystery reader. Carrie’s books hold not only a Jane Austen voice but also a fun sort of whimsy with Elizabeth and Darcy solving mysteries. My favorite was Suspense and Sensibility, which involves a magic mirror. Of course Darcy being very straightforward and not believing in magic made it all the more fun. Carrie, thank you for a fun look at the Darcys after marriage.
While perhaps not the most entertaining Jane Austen themed book, Sybil cannot be overlooked as the first one to write a Jane Austen sequel. Her book came out in 1913, and while storyline has no great shock in it and the characters are what we expect, it is not to be missed for any Jane Austen fan. Thank you Sybil for paving the way.
I won’t bore you too much with my fangirl ravings on Kara because I’ll have a full post dedicated to her on June 29th to celebrate her new book. However, I will tell you, when I found Kara’s books I felt just as if I had discovered Jane Austen for the first time again. Her first book for me was Darcy’s Voyage and after that I was hooked. I have read every one, except the brand new one which I am devouring every night on my Kindle. Thank you Kara for bringing me back from the brink of giving up on Austen fictions. I was really done with the bad ones.
Every once in a while, being a horror addict and Regency fan pays off. This was the case when I read Steve Hockensmith’s Dawn of the Dreadfuls. The first book that came out in this series was called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and I did not enjoy that one. But Dawn of the Dreadfuls takes a fresh look at the Bennet girls pre-Darcy/Bingley. Steve brings in a ninja master and also involves one of my favorite side characters of the Bennett family, Mr. Bennet. The comedy in this book will also thrill anyone with a dark sense of humor. I love the bits where the gals are learned to fight. The sequel Dreadfully Ever After is good too. Thanks Steve for saving this series for me.
What I love most about Pamela Aidan’s work is that it comes from the viewpoint of Darcy. I didn’t think the first book or the third book were all that shocking as it’s basically just retelling the Pride and Prejudice story, but I love seeing Darcy’s viewpoint of it. Also, the second book explores what might have been happening in his life when he wasn’t with Lizzy. I love that Darcy saves a few strands of thread that were Lizzy’s in his pocket to carry with him. This image sticks with me even though I read her books when they very first came out. Thank you Pamela for giving me Darcy’s view.
Lastly, I bring you Abigail Reynolds. Not because she is the least talented of the bunch, but because she is newest to me. Having just read her book, Alone with Mr. Darcy, I am already in love with her work. Lizzy and Darcy snowed in for days alone? What’s not to love? Thank you Abigail for carrying on the tradition!
Now that I’ve told you a few of my favorite Jane Austen authors (and by no means is this a full list) why not tell me one of your favs?