January 28, 2013, marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, yet the novel has not lost any luster despite all this time. It might be so because many qualities of this and other novels of Jane Austen share characteristics of what many of us would recognize as superb story telling. I personally love Jane Austen for her dry wit, her very astute observations of human nature, and the fact that her characters – even though created 200 years ago – are still confronted by the same social and emotional problems as many of us face today. Finally, imagine without Jane Austen, there wouldn’t have been the wonderful 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, … no I actually do not want to imagine it.
However, since the pool of Jane Austen novels is quite limited, there are only 6 of them, I’ve put together a short list of 11 other novels inspired by Jane Austen. These novels come from many different genres and writers, set in the Regency period and in contemporary times, and are attempts of retelling Pride and Prejudice or writing a sequel. I hope that you will find one here that will inspire you to read it.
For all those who loved the original book, and could not get enough of both the TV and the movie adaptations, Mr and Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy is volume one in a series that you will probably really enjoy, the happy ever after just goes on and on….
Some of us had favorite characters, and judging from the numbers of Austen sequels written on the subject, that favorite is probably Mr Darcy. If you are after Mr Darcy’s perspective you have a lot of books to choose from. You can start with Mr Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange: charming and elegant, just like Mr Darcy himself. However, if you really can’t get enough of Mr Darcy, look for the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy by Pamela Aiden. An Assembly Such As This is the first installment of this fun series that lifts the veil on the biggest question from Pride and Prejudice ‘when did Darcy fall in love with Elizabeth?’
For those who would like a bit more “steamy” fun, look for Mr Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll: sexy, epic, hilarious, poignant and romantic sequel to Pride and Prejudice that goes far beyond what Jane Austen was able to write in her life time.
Mr Darcy’s is not only the most popular character – his dark, brooding nature, his good looks and his sexual undercurrents have inspired a whole list of novels in very different genres. Many writers imagined him as a vampire; in fact there are so many vampire versions of Mr Darcy that one can divide them into further subcategories of serious vampire stuff and pastiche like cameos. I am listing three that will either send shivers down your spine or make you crack-up with laughter every few pages.
For fans of paranormal romance, check out Mr Darcy Vampyre a tale full of danger, darkness and deep romantic love that imagines the life of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy after Pride and Prejudice.
If you are seriously into vampires and like something that connects Jane Austen with some other stories on this subject check Vampire Darcy’s Desire. Regina Jeffers is a huge fan of Austen and had a few different takes on Austen novels but in this one she used an actual Scottish ballad to tie the story line with Pride and Prejudice … and then there is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I have to confess that I am not a massive fan of zombies, but I still could not resist this retelling of Jane Austen. I remember reading it in the course of an evening and laughing out loud for a good part of it, very clever and very funny.
Jane Austen is loved by many contemporary authors, quite a few of them are very successful in their own right, but not many “have the nerve” to try to retell Austen’s work. The 2011 release of Death comes to Pemberley by P D James is a notable exception. Arguably, P D James is one of the greatest living British mystery writers, and yet interestingly the mystery plot of this book might be the weakest part of it. However, I would still highly recommend it, because where P D James failed in terms of mystery, she more than made up for it in terms of amazing description and a really fantastic way of weaving other Austen novels into one story , not to mention the introduction of a few new characters that will leave you wanting more…
Not surprisingly Jane Austen’s writing has also inspired some comedy and exploration of identity and destiny in the present day world. If you love imagining yourself in the Regency world don’t miss Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, a hilarious and sassy story of a contemporary LA girl who wakes up as an Englishwoman in Austen’s time.
For those who would love to meet Mr Darcy outside their dreams, I would also suggest Austenland by Shannon Hale, another contemporary novel with a young American heroine who just can’t find a man of her life because all her choices pale beside Mr Darcy. Her luck takes a different turn when she arrives in an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women.
Karen Joy Fowler turned her love for Jane Austen into a New York Time bestseller The Jane Austen Book club. This novel is set in contemporary California where a small group of mostly women join the book club which discusses Jane Austen novels. Much like in the actual Jane Austen novels, this book is also a sort of comedy of contemporary manners where relationships are tested, affairs develop and love happens.
I hope that this list has whetted your appetite for more because there is a lot more and you can find a sample of it on our site by searching by tags.
If you are member on our site and would like a quick way to see the whole list of these books, follow these instructions:
1. Click on any book title listed in this blog
2. Click on the tag that says “For Jane Austen Fans” (Located on the left hand-side of the book profile page under “Tag this book”)
3. You will see the whole list of titles that has been tagged as books for Jane Austen fans. There are already over 40 books on this list.
4. Once you are viewing the list, you can then easily add all of these titles to your bookshelf, wish list, or maybe even your 2013 reading list.
5. If any of your favorite Jane Austen inspired novels is not on the list please add it. You can do so by simply adding a tag ‘For Jane Austen Fans’ in the “tag this book box” which exists on every book profile page.