When I read about Lady Vernon and Her Daughter, a new novel based on Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan, I got a total Austen adrenaline rush. Due out next October from Crown Publishing Group, we will finally have a novel based on Austen’s brilliant and vicious jewel. Here is the description.
A delightful interpretation of Jane Austen’s early novella Lady Susan – a treat for fans of literature’s most beloved woman of letters, as well as historical fiction readers.
Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan was written during the same period in which she produced Elinor and Marianne. Like Elinor and Marianne, Lady Susan focused on the economic and romantic plights of two heroines displaced when the family home passes to an unworthy heir; but while Elinor and Marianne was revised and happily expanded to become Sense and Sensibility, Lady Susan was abandoned. Until now.
In Lady Vernon and her Daughter, Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway have taken letters from this novella and transformed them into to a vivid, authentic, and more recognizably “Austen” milieu. Lady Susan Vernon and her daughter must navigate a society where a woman’s security is at the mercy of an entail, where love is hindered by misunderstanding, where marriage can never be entirely isolated from money, and yet romance somehow carries the day.
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Crown (October 6, 2009)
Not only is this an interesting concept, it is written by a mother – daughter team, mirroring the two main characters in Lady Susan. Here are their bios from their literary agent Marly Rusoff & Associates website who continue to have an eagle eye for fresh Austen inspired talent after they hit a home run with Laurie Viera Rigler’s Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict in 2007.
Jane Rubino holds a BA from NYU in Dramatic Literature, Theatre and Cinema. She lives in Ocean City, NJ and is the author of a contemporary mystery series set at the Jersey shore, and a volume of Sherlockian novellas. She has also written several short screenplays that have been produced as student and independent films; one of the films was recently awarded a jury prize at San Francisco’s annual WYSIWYG Film Festival.
Caitlen Rubino-Bradway holds a BA in English Literature and an MA in Publishing from Rosemont College. While in college, she interned with LeFrak Productions, Tor, and Jane Dystel Literary. She currently lives and works in New York City, where she has attended the Monday “day after” dissections, sponsored by the Jane Austen Society of North America, of the most recent series of Austen teleplays.
Both avid readers of Austen, Caitlen and Jane re-examined her six great novels in order to reproduce Austen’s distinctive style and apply the fundamentals of her storytelling to expand this short work into novel length. Lady Vernon and her Daughter, while retaining much of the original text, restores Lady Susan and Frederica Vernon to a vivid, authentic, and more recognizably “Austen” milieu: much like the Dashwood’s (Sense and Sensibility), the Bennet sisters (Pride and Prejudice), and Anne Elliot (Persuasion), Lady Susan Vernon and her daughter must navigate a society where a woman’s security is at the mercy of an entail, where love is hindered by misunderstanding, where marriage can never be entirely isolated from money, and yet romance somehow carries the day.
Can’t wait to learn more about this one! If we can judge this book by its beautiful cover, then we may have another winner from this literary agency.
Pre-order Lady Vernon and Her Daughter at Amazon.com
Read Lady Susan by Jane Austen online at Mollands
Listen to an audio sampler of Lady Susan at Naxos AudioBooks
You made my day! I was starting to despair of having anything to look forward to but another ‘further-adventures-of-darcy’ – tho I love P&P – cannot wait for this one.
PS – I do remember the Rubino series – she had a character in one of them named ‘Jane Austen’ – always got a real kick out of that!
I’m not a sequels reader since I am very critical, for example one of my pet-peeves is when someone dares to write about Jane Austen and her novels without knowledge of British titles of nobility. Unfortunately the title of this sequel is an example. A more informed writer and his/her editor should have know that Lady Susan was NOT Lady Vernon. She was Lady Firstname because her own father was at least an earl, just like Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her sister Lady Anne Darcy.
Lady Surname as the title of this sequel puts it would be because her birth rank would have been inferior to an earl’s daughter and her husband should have had a title and nothing from Jane Austen’s novella indicates that he had it. Even if he had, she would have still Lady Susan, unless he would have been an earl, which of course he was not.
Cinthia, thanks for the explanation – but you lost me. If Lady Susan is the same level in nobility as Lady Catherine de Bourgh, then why can she not be called Lady Susan Vernon? Why would you call Darcy’s mother Lady Anne Darcy if her husband was not nobility?
Unfortunately, British titles are a language and logic that few understand – including myself. Thanks for the insight.
I agree and dont agree – Lady ‘FirstName’ is what an earls daughter would be called and why Lady Catherine who was married to a ‘Mister’ is ‘Lady’. So far I agree with Cinthia.
But – I have not read the book. The review mentions ‘Sense and Sensibility’ that we all know was changed a lot from the first version to the last one – there may be a reason in the book why ‘Lady Vernon’ is ‘Lady Vernon’ – why dont we all wait and see instead of thrashing it in advance? I for one would love to se what has been done with this book because next to Elizabeth Bennet I always thought Lady Susan Vernon had the potential to be one of Austens most scintillating ladies.
Thanx Laurel Ann for giving us a tipoff on this one! its on my TBB – To Be Bought – list already! – and austenprose is bookmarked. And agree with Laurel Ann that the cover is really beautiful.
I read Lady Susan not long ago…there are a lot of reprinted editions out and you can even read it online…yes she is called Lady Susan but there are so many places on the web where you can fine out how the nobles were addressed that i have to think she is Lady Vernon as opposed to Lady Susan for a reason – i AM a sequels reader because i read a lot of mystery books – including Jane Rs which are fanstastic – and where would Sue Grafton be if she had to stop with ‘A’?? Or Janet Evanovich if she had to stop with ‘1’?? I love the idea of bringing back Lady Susan!
I sorry if my explanation seems confusing, I admit is not an easy subject but it was one of the first things I learnt as soon as I joined The Republic of Pemberley many, many years ago (by then I also was able to understood how things are managed in books by Georgette Heyer and Anthony Trollope, where more titled characters appear).
The clearest chart is here:
For a more detailed account Laura Wallace designed a very extensive site:
Kathryn, Lady Catherine was not married to a ‘Mister’, Sir Lewis de Bought was either a knight or a baronet (is not clear in P&P what he was), but that is a few ranks below an earl.
The only way Lady Susan could became Lady Vernon is that she married to at least a viscount, so her marriage rank would be higher than her birth rank, and the viscount title would be Viscount Vernon. Highly unlikely. And from what we know of the end of the novella, her second husband is Sir James Martin, so she becomes Lady Susan Martin, NOT Lady Martin because again her birth rank keeps her above her marriage rank.
By comparison remember for example Lady Bertram, the late Lady Elliot and Lady Lucas, they are Lady Surname because by birth they were only plain Miss.
BTW, I am not British, I’m Mexican, so I only learnt about this because I wanted to understand properly why titled characters in Jane Austen’s novels and other authors are called as they are.
I forgot to answer your question, Laurel Ann. Yes, Lady Susan was at least the same level that Lady Catherine, before her second marriage her full name was Lady Susan Vernon, in short form Lady Susan, never Lady Vernon, unless as I said, her first husband would have been a viscount, and he was not.
Can’t wait! Something fresh I’m certain to devour. Heading over to Amazon to pre-order. Thanks for the heads-up!
There is a very good and detailed explanation of this whole matter to be found on the following site —
It will explain the titles and addresses of everyone from Dukes down to Baronets and Knights and their Ladies.
I do not mind at all when people “dare” to write about Jane Austen or the Regency as these are among my very favorite type of reading and I am looking forward to reading this book. Thank you Laurel Ann for bringing this to our notice.
Please, let’s just celebrate this new Austen inspired novel on the horizon! I understand the historians frusteration with writers getting titles and address wrong, but even after I have read all the excellent explanations, it is still a muddle. Let’s give the authors the benefit of the doubt and wait and see how they have interpreted the story before we discount it. I am just darn happy that we have a sequel or retelling to something besides Pride and Prejudice in the queue. I do dearly love Lizzy and Darcy mind you, but this is a breath of fresh air, so let’s be happy. I am!
This one sounds great – I’m looking forward to it’s arrival!
I am with Laurel Ann on this one. In Pride and Prejudice Lizzy completely mischaracterizes Darcy because she judges him before she knows him. Until we all get to read this book I dont think we ought to be judging its content. They say you dont judge a book by its cover but in this case if the book is as great as this enchanting cover it will have a special place on my ‘Austen Shelf’
An example of a (fictional) character who went from Lady Firstname to Lady Lastname upon her marriage is Lady Barbara Wellesley from the Horatio Hornblower series. Lady Barbara is the youngest sister of the Wellesley brothers, Arthur and Richard–you might know the former big brother as the Duke of Wellington. Lady Barbara is, of course, entirely fictional, made up by C.S. Forester, while her “brothers” were real people.
Anyway, as the daughter of the Earl of Mornington, she was Lady Barbara Wellesley by birth. She first married Sir Percy Leighton, who was a baronet; since her husband was not a peer, she was styled Lady Barbara Leighton. Sir Percy was killed in action.
Hornblower was promoted to the peerage (Baron Hornblower of Smallridge) after escaping from a French prison, and when he married Lady Barbara, she was styled Lady Hornblower as her husband was a peer. *whew*
Not to belabor the point or cast aspersions on the book under discussion, but Cinthia is absolutely right; and unless the author made some fairly major changes to Jane Austen’s story, “Lady Vernon” is not a correct style for Lady Susan Vernon. While it’s great to see a new idea in JA paraliterature, it doesn’t give a lot of confidence when something as simple as her title is wrong, or raises a question with the person who is thinking about reading it.
Actually I think I got the timing of Hornblower’s peerage wrong–he was knighted when he escaped from the French prison, and raised to the peerage later. And of course his estate is Smallbridge, not Smallridge. And I call myself a fangirl. *slaps self with Clue Trout*
Interesting to know that this is a mother-daughter writing team. My review of this novel will be up at Necromancy Never Pays tomorrow (July 28, 2009). You’ll find that the title Lady Vernon is not used in accordance with the rules discussed in the comments here, and that the character of this “Lady Vernon” has little or nothing in common with the character conveyed in Austen’s original letters. The story revolves around the idea that the letter-writers were misconstruing Susan’s motives all along. This Susan (Lady Vernon) is a paragon of traditional womanly virtue for the period.
I’ve read one OK rewrite of Lady Susan . . . it’s time for a really good one. There are reviews of Lady Vernon and Her Daughter on Amazon already.