Top 20 Jane Austen-inspired Books of 2011

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Happy New Year Janeites! 2012 promises to be a glorious Jane-packed reading extravaganza for Austenesque and Regency fans.

In the next few months we are looking forward to several novels: the debut of Austentatious, by Alyssa Goodnight (January 31), a new mystery, Midnight in Austenland, by Shannon Hale (Jan 31), and Jane Vows Vengeance: A Novel, by Michael Thomas Ford (February 28), the third novel in the hilarious Jane Bites series. This summer we can look forward to no less than two novels from the venerable Amanda Grange: Pride and Pyramids: Mr. Darcy in Egypt, co-authored with Jacqueline Webb (July 01), and Dear Mr. Darcy: A Retelling of Pride and Prejudice (August 01). Such a bounty!

There are also quite a few new nonfiction titles in the coming year focusing on insights into why we love our dear Jane so much: Everybody’s Jane: Austen in the Popular Imagination, by Juliette Wells (Mar 29) and Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures, by Claudia L. Johnson (June 01), should put Janeites under a microscope; The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, by Elizabeth Kantor (April 02), intrigues us to find out how Jane can help in the “fix your life department,” and All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year-long Journey with Jane, by Amy Smith (June 01) is an curious title that may take us on a Jane Austen road trip!

In the queue on the Regency front: Pistols for Two, by Georgette Heyer (Feb 7), the long awaited re-print of Heyer’s short story anthology that has not been in print in North America for several years; The Garden Intrigue, by Lauren Willig (Feb 16), the ninth, and highly anticipated installment in the popular Pink Carnation series (Woohoo); and Glamour in Glass, by Mary Robinette Kowal (April 10), the second in her Regency magic series.  Huzzah all around!

2011 was another stellar year for Jane Austen inspired sequels, et all. There was a plethora of “Mr. Darcy does something” to choose from. Dear publishers, we do dearly love Mr. Darcy, but please, we really would read other Austen-inspired books that did not include the most popular romantic icon ever, or the greatest novel ever written! We hope you will take this gentle nudge in the spirit in which it was offered from those who are quite passionate about their Austenesque fare.

There were literally dozens of new Jane Austen inspired novels and nonfiction books published in 2011. One of them, *blush,* was my own Austen-inspired short story anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It. Our top choices of the year represent selections first published in 2011 and reviewed here on Austenprose. So, if your favorites are not represented, please don’t be miffed. Amazingly, we did not read everything Janeish that was published this past year, but we gave it our best try.

Top 10 sequels, prequels, retellings or contemporary inspired (alphabetical order):

The Ballad of Gregoire Darcy: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice Continues, by Marsha Altman (5 Stars)

Henry Tilney’s Diary, by Amanda Grange (5 Stars)

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (5 Stars)

Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, by Kara Louise (5 Stars)

Persuade Me, by Juliette Archer (5 Stars)

The Trouble with Mr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan (5 Stars)

The Truth About Mr. Darcy, by Susan Adriani (5 Stars)

The Unexpected Miss Bennet, by Patrice Sarath (5 Stars)

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly (5 Stars)

A Wife for Mr. Darcy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen (5 Stars)

The best of the rest…

Regency inspired:

The Orchid Affair, by Lauren Willig (5 Stars)

Venetia, by Georgette Heyer (5 Stars)

Best Mysteries:

Jane and the Canterbury Tale, by Stephanie Barron (5 Stars)

The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen, Lindsey Ashford (5 Stars)

Best Paranormal:

Jane Goes Batty: A Novel, by Michael Thomas Ford (5 Stars)

Mr. Darcy Bites, by Mary Simonsen (5 Stars)

Best Nonfiction:

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, by William Deresiewicz (5 Stars)

Best Indie:

An Arranged Marriage, by Jan Hahn (5 Stars)

Best Young Adult:

Sass and Serendipity, by Jennifer Ziegler (4 Stars)

Debut Author: (tie)

My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park, by Cindy S. Jones (4 Stars)

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos (4 Stars)

Many thanks to the authors for offering up another great year of reading. 2012 already promises to be quite engaging.

Happy reading,

Austenprose review staff

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2007 – 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

24 thoughts on “Top 20 Jane Austen-inspired Books of 2011

  1. Last year was very exciting for Austen related stories and this next year looks no different.

    I was glad to see several that I read and enjoyed make your top list.

    Thanks for the post!

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  2. No, I didn’t read’em all because that would have been a physical impossibility for me. However, I’m a sucker for a good selection of short stories so will confine my comments to that particular art form:

    I was gratified that JAMMDI made the list because the group of heavy-hitters who wrote them did justice to Jane. Thanks, L A, for bringing it to the world.

    I have read Georgette Heyer’s Pistols For Two and hope many readers here will do the same because I promise Ms Heyer’s short stories will not disappoint.

    Another exciting discovery I just made while digging through offerings for my Kindle is an anthology of 100 (if I read that right….yikes!) short stories from L. M. Montgomery, who is quietly become my favorite author right behind Miss Austen.

    I’m really charged up for what this year offers in Austendom….

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  3. Thank you, Laurel Ann! I’m very honored to be tied with Cindy Jones for best Debut Author!!!

    And I’d like to award JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT as best Jane Austen-inspired short story collection of 2011!!!

    Happy 2012 as we lead up to the 200th anniversary of P&P in 2013….

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  4. Looks like I will be adding more books to my TBR list!!! I have read four of your top twenty and am reading a fifth one now. Looking forward to several of the new books due out this year too! Congratulations to all the authors on the list!

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  5. Congratulations to all the Austen-inspired authors on the list and a big thanks to Laurel Ann and her excellent reviewers. I am so pleased to be included. Thank you. Happy 2012!

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  6. I loved Carrie Bebris’ Deception at Lyme too! Great mystery. Next year let’s do like MTV Movie Awards… Best Kiss, Best Fight Scene, Best Set-Down, Best Darcy, Best Elizabeth, etc etc etc. (Okay, now I am just being silly.)Happy reading in 2012- such a bounty to read — it would be a crime to neglect!

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  7. Hmmmmm…. I think I may have a few new ones to add to my Spring Reading list from here! I have a sequel or two on the Winter Reading queue right now, but I think that they were written a while back. Out of all of the newest sequels, which would two would you most recommend for staying true to Austen’s characterizations?

    Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Not so fast there, Christina! I don’t think there is anything silly at all about your “MTV Best Categories.” What a GREAT way to foster interest and enthusiasm in our reading adventures. Time permitting, let’s develop your idea a little further?? I already have a list of zingers to dredge up and share from 2011….

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  9. Thank you so much, Laurel Ann. What an honor to be included in your special list! Congratulations to all the winners!

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  11. Laurel Ann, a huge thank you to you and your fabulous reviewers! I’m honored beyond words to be part of such an incredible list of Austen-inspired titles. Congratulations to everyone on your list for 2011!

    Best,
    Susan

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  14. Excellent choices for the top 20 list. I confess I have not read all of the books in your list but based on it, I will try to read them when I find nothing else that will do.

    Btw, I’m not sure whether it’s typo or is Amanda Grange’s real name is Amanda Jones. This is because you write Jones as the co-author of Pride & Pyramids: Mr. Darcy in Egypt.

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