Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's a Jane Austen World

I've recently been obsessed with all things Jane Austen,  There is no denying that she is one of the greatest authors who ever lived.  Her books are relevant, even though they were written two hundred years ago.  So I've set out to read every one of them.  This is where my subscription to Audible comes in handy.  I've purchased all of her books in audio book form (except Emma, which I bought, but had to return because the narrator was horrible) and am now working my way through them.  So far I've finished Persuasion and Northanger Abbey in audio, and I've read Pride and Prejudice and Lady Susan in book form.  I'm currently listening to Mansfield Park, and plan to read Sense and Sensibility next, and then to try Emma again.
She intrigues me with her wit, her insights and her characters.  Not many books capture my attention so fully.  She gives modern readers a view of what life was like, especially for women, in the 1800s.  Even though every book has a totally unique plot, each one presents us with a hero to adore, a heroine to root for and secondary characters to either hate or love.   
My Austen obsession doesn't end with just reading her books, though.  My reading list and Kindle library are full of fictional books about her, modern retellings of her stories and "continuations" of the lives of her most popular characters-generally Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett.  None of these can hold a candle to the original writings of Austen herself.  Most of them are not even very well-written with crazy, impossible plots.  One particular author nearly kills Darcy off in every book.  By the time the last one ends, he must be nearly bedridden from all the injuries he has suffered beneath her pen! There is one exception to poor post-Austen works.  This is Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.  It is totally out of the vein of anything Austen would have written, but somehow it works.  It is a must-read for all Austen fans.
Here's a few of the Austen sequels and retellings that  you might enjoy:
1. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
2. The Darcy's and the Bingley's by Marsha Altman
3. Expectations of Happiness by Rebecca Ann Collins
4. Experience by Meg Kerr
5. And This Our Life by C. Allyn Pierson
6. Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway
Most of these books have received widely varied reviews on Amazon, so if you get a chance to read any of them, let me know what you think!
Have you read any good Austen-esque books that you recommend?

Happy Reading!

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