The good news: books will never go out of fashion as holiday gifts. The bad news: the number of shopping days until December 25th insists on dropping by one every 24 hours.
If you’re planning some printed purchases, here a few Austenesque suggestions for you based on what I’ve read and/or heard good things about. Then at the end some blogs where you can find further ideas.
(This is where you might expect me to plug my own book, but it’s hard to wrap an ebook. The paperback version comes out in late January; timing was never my strong point.)
Let’s start with those books lovingly crossed off my “to-read” list and sent to the gentle caresses of the “read” shelf:
Unlike the other suggestions, this one tackles Mansfield Park. If your first thought is “Mansfield Park!” (with a dismissive “!”), then throw away your preconceptions. This is an excellent read. Rich storylines, authentic characters (old and new), and writing I found hard to discern from the original (truly that good).
A not-so-secret favourite if you follow me on Twitter. Two of the wittiest Jane Austen creations are Mr Bennet and Mr Collins. Imagine an ongoing correspondence between the two, replete with Austenesque humour, charm and ingenuity, all wrapped up in an authentic writing style. Voila – you have the Longbourn Letters.
A Pride and Prejudice variation dripping in the atmosphere of the Deep South in post-WWII America. It tackles various social themes with a deft touch while telling an excellent and original story. And with a few startling scenes thrown in for good measure. Author Beau North also contributed a short story to the next suggestion…
I’m not really the target market for this one, but I read it as a quick way to see how different authors tackled the Elizabeth / Darcy dynamic and brought unique perspectives (and different eras) to their stories. Lots of excellent writers contributed and those who like a regular dose of Darcy can dip into it like a big box of Christmas chocolates.
If you prefer your heroes a little more rough around the edges, the same editor – Christina Boyd – just brought out a second collection featuring Jane Austen’s less salubrious characters and another great lineup of accomplished authors.
Now for the books screaming “Pick me! Pick me!” as I browse my to-read shelf. I’ve linked to their Goodreads’ pages so you can see why for yourself:
- Fair Stands the Wind by Catherine Lodge
- Mistaken by Jessie Lewis
- The Best Part of Love by Amy D’Orazio
- The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn
And, finally, there are many more wonderful Jane Austen variations and adaptations out there. Fortunately, a fair few blogs do a tremendous job of reviewing or collating the best alternatives. Look out, for example, for the monthly “Novel Finds” at Austenesque. Or browse these book and review blogs:
- Just Jane
- My Love for Jane Austen
- Laughing with Lizzie
- More Agreeably Engaged
- Babblings of a Bookworm
- From Pemberley to Milton
- So little time…
- My Jane Austen Book Club
- Obsessed with Mr Darcy
- Darcyholic Diversions
*Clicking the cover image takes you to the Amazon page. The only way to legitimately use the covers is through an associate agreement with Amazon. This also means if you buy the book, they give me a “finder’s fee”. Just so you know.