“Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again.” Catherine turned away her head, not knowing whether she might venture to laugh. “I see what you think of me,” said he gravely — “I shall make but a poor figure in your journal tomorrow.”
“Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Friday, went to the Lower Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings — plain black shoes — appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed me by his nonsense.”
“Indeed I shall say no such thing.”
“Shall I tell you what you ought to say?”
“If you please.”
“I danced with a very agreeable young man, introduced by Mr. King; had a great deal of conversation with him — seems a most extraordinary genius — hope I may know more of him. That, madam, is what I wish you to say.”
“But, perhaps, I keep no journal.”
“Perhaps you are not sitting in this room, and I am not sitting by you. These are points in which a doubt is equally possible. Not keep a journal! How are your absent cousins to understand the tenour of your life in Bath without one? How are the civilities and compliments of every day to be related as they ought to be, unless noted down every evening in a journal? How are your various dresses to be remembered, and the particular state of your complexion, and curl of your hair to be described in all their diversities, without having constant recourse to a journal? My dear madam, I am not so ignorant of young ladies’ ways as you wish to believe me; it is this delightful habit of journaling which largely contributes to form the easy style of writing for which ladies are so generally celebrated. Everybody allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female. Nature may have done something, but I am sure it must be essentially assisted by the practice of keeping a journal.”
― Jane Austen,
I received Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart for my birthday last year. I’ve already reviewed the stories based on Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey , as well as several that are more generally Jane-esque. In this post I review the stories based on Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, as well as a few Christmas stories (the first three listed).
Jane and the Gentleman Rogue: Being a fragment of a Jane Austen mystery by Stephanie Barron ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Overall, I enjoy Barron’s Jane Austen mysteries. Lord Harry is a fun character, but Jane herself lacks something. The stories don’t have the wit and sparkle of Austen’s writing.
Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss by Jo Beverley ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
The heroine thinks P&P is racy and fanciful, and yet she competes with her own daughter for a rich man’s affection. Weird.
Nothing Less Than Fairy-land by Monica Fairview ⭐ ⭐
Sure, change the personality of several major characters (from Emma) to make writing your story easier. No one will notice.
Waiting by Jane Odiwe ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
A nice look at one woman’s idea of Anne and Captain Wentworth’s first courtship.
Heard of You by Margaret C. Sullivan ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
I was looking forward to this one, as I LOVE Sullivan’s other books! I enjoyed seeing a young Wentworth and watching Admiral Croft and Sophy fall in love.
When Only a Darcy Will Do by Beth Pattillo ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
A sweet little romance.
Mr. Bennet Meets His Match by Amanda Grange ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Mr. B. has always been one of my favorite literary characters! Reading a story about him as a young man was delightful!
Letters to Lydia by Maya Slater ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
The story was decent, covering the back 1/2 of P&P from Maria Lucas’ POV. The writing was like Regency Era texting, which was probably the point, but was difficult to stomach.
Me and Mr. Darcy, Again . . . by Alexandra Potter ⭐ ⭐
Basically, Em is delusional, willing to go all the way to England because she had a fight with her boyfriend, and generally annoying. The only reason I gave is a second star was for the character names. The MC is Em (my sister’s name) and her sister is Stella (my nickname), and Em has a boyfriend named Spike (my other nickname). That made me smile.
The Riding Habit by Pamela Aidan ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Meh, it was okay, I guess. I’ve certainly read better P&P fanfic.
The Love Letter by Brenna Aubrey ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
This story won a contest to be in this book, and I’m not surprised it won. It’s one of the best stories in the collection!
Intolerable Stupidity by Laurie Viera Rigler ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
An interesting idea, but muddled and confusing.
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is “Ten Books Every X Should Read (up to you! Examples: every history nerd, memoir lover, ballet lover, feminist, college student, etc etc.)”
I give you the Books Every Janeite Should Read:
- Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion by Jane Austen. I don’t think you can properly call yourself a Janeite without reading all of her major works, right?
- Austenland by Shannon Hale. Be sure to catch the film too!
- Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. There are a bajillion P&P retellings, and this is the best.
- Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Covers by Margaret C. Sullivan. So FUN!
- The Jane Austen Mysteries by Stephanie Barron. For those who love cozy mysteries.
- There Must be Murder by Margaret C. Sullivan. One of the best of the myriad sequels.
Some to avoid:
- The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik. An abysmal Mansfield Park retelling.
- The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. Blech.
- The Jaine Austen Mysteries by Laura Levine. The name is a hook that doesn’t deliver, and the mysteries are infuriating!
- This Side of Married by Rachel Pastan. The worst P&P retelling!