Friday, July 8, 2011

Read Alike: Inspired by Jane Austen

While Jane Austen was not well known during her life, her novels and characters continue to withstand the test of time. Her collected works are still popular today and many of her novels have been made into movies. I admit to being partial to Emma and Pride and Prejudice both in print and on film. I've enjoyed all versions of the films but my favorites are the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth as "Mr. Darcy" and the Hollywood version of Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow as "Emma Woodhouse". Of course I also loved Clueless starring Alicia Silverstone which is a modern day take on the Emma story and Bridget Jones’s Diary loosely based on Pride and Prejudice. Beyond film the characters created by Jane Austen have lived on and so has Jane. The following list of books are not Jane Austen read-alikes but they are inspired by Jane Austen and the characters she created.

Mr. Darcy’s Daughters by Elizabeth Aston

The five daughters of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy arrive in London to stay with cousins while their parents are on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople. We follow the romantic and marital travails of the two eldest daughters, Letty and Camilla; the spirited 17-year-old twins, Georgina and Belle; and the youngest, Alethea. Also try Mr. Darcy’s Dream.

The Third Sister: a Continuation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility by Julia Barrett

When Margaret, the youngest sister in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, is 17, she despairs of finding someone who will marry her without a dowry.

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron

When Jane Austen visits her friend Isobel, Countess of Scargrave, Isobel's husband dies from poisoning, and Jane investigates the crime. (First of the Jane Austen mysteries)

The Matters at Mansfield, (or, The Crawford Affair) by Carrie Bebris

Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy's delight over the birth of their first child is overshadowed by a family crisis involving marriage machinations, star-crossed lovers, and mistaken identity. (Part of the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mysteries)

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues by Linda Berdoll

Begins the day after Darcy and Elizabeth's wedding and follows the couple through the ups and downs of married life. Other major Austen characters also appear – Elizabeth's sisters Jane and Lydia, as well as Bingley and the charmingly detestable Wickham.

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laura Viera Rigler

One moment Courtney Stone is a modern-day L.A. career woman lamenting a lost love; the next she is Jane Mansfield, a well-to-do, willowy (though not particularly buxom, unlike her twentieth-century namesake) lady in nineteenth-century England. What could account for this transplant of time and place? Courtney has no opportunity to ruminate over such matters; she must quickly learn to interact with inhabitants of the brave old world in which she finds herself. There's her mother, determined to marry 30-year-old Jane off to handsome Mr. Edgeworth; her artist father, more inclined to his daughter's free-spirited frame of mind; and faithful servant Miss Barnes, who helps her mistress manage everything from chaperones to corsets. (Thank goodness Jane has read Pride and Prejudice more than a dozen times.) It's not long before Jane finds the lines blurred between her two vastly different selves.

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

For Lizzie Bennet, a music scholarship student at Connecticut’s exclusive, girls-only Longbourn Academy, the furor over prom is senseless, but even more puzzling is her attraction to the pompous Will Darcy, best friend of her roommate’s boyfriend.

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Loosely based on Pride and Prejudice, this tale of neurotic London singleton, Bridget, who has a dotty mother, an absent-minded father, and an unhealthy attraction to her bad-boy boss, Daniel Cleaver. Enter Mark Darcy, a handsome barrister who insults Bridget at first meeting her, then finds himself falling in love with her.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

Five women and one man living in California meet regularly to discuss Jane Austen's novels. As they debate the personalities and relationships in Austen's books, the romantic and family relationships of each book club member are revealed. The discussion of Austen's books is not presented merely as a sideshow; it is actually quite thoughtful and illuminating. For those who haven't read all of the books, or haven't read them in a while, there's a guide to each of Jane Austen's novels in the back.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: the Classic Regency Romance, Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

A mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton--and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy.

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Because her obsession with Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice," is ruining her love life, Jane Hayes is delighted when she gets the chance to take a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women.

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough

The novel begins 20 years after Austen’s classic ends, with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy trapped in a passionless marriage, Jane a spineless baby machine, Lydia an alcoholic tramp, Kitty a cheerfully vapid widow and Mary a na├»ve feminist and social crusader. Shrewish Mrs. Bennet’s death frees Mary from her caretaker duties, and, inspired by the writings of a crusading journalist, Mary sets off to document the plight of England’s poor. Along the way, she is abused, robbed and imprisoned by the prophet of a cave-dwelling cult. Darcy is the book’s villain, and he busies himself with hushing up the Bennet clan’s improprieties in service of his political career. His dirty work is carried out by Ned Skinner, whose odd devotion to Darcy drives his exploits, the nastiest of which involves murder.

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters

The Dashwood sisters are evicted from their childhood home and sent to live on a mysterious island full of savage creatures and dark secrets. While sensible Elinor falls in love with Edward Ferrars, her romantic sister Marianne is courted by both the handsome Willoughby and the hideous man-monster Colonel Brandon. Can the Dashwood sisters triumph over meddlesome matriarchs and unscrupulous rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels?

Please stop by the Recommendations Desk on the first floor, check out NoveList Plus on the library's website, or visit W. 11th & Bluff next week for more reading suggestions. Or submit a Personal Recommendations request, and we'll create a reading list just for you!

No comments:

Post a Comment