A Preview of 5 Jane Austen-inspired Books about Life, Love, and Marriage

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

We have long believed that everything we ever needed to know about life and love, we learned (and are learning) from Jane Austen. She has been our life coach for over thirty years and has not failed us yet!

It appears that other authors think so too. We are happy to reveal five new titles in the queue to be published starting April to June of this year that all share in our belief: Jane Austen is a master of life skills and relationships if you are paying attention. And if you missed a few important insights, then they will happily explain it all in detail for you.

Each of these non-fiction and one fiction work peaked our interest and will be reviewed in their publication month here at Austenprose.

We have had the pleasure of reading two titles already and we think readers will be delighted with the insights, humor and solid sensibility that they offer. Here is a preview of each of the titles from the publishers.

Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, by Elizabeth Kantor (2012)The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, by Elizabeth Kantor

Have you stopped believing in happily ever after?

Women today are settling for less than we want when it comes to men, relationships, sex, and marriage. But we don’t have to, argues Elizabeth Kantor. Jane Austen can show us how to find the love we really want.

In The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, Kantor reveals how the examples of Jane Austen heroines such as Elizabeth Bennett, Elinor Dashwood, and Anne Elliot can help us navigate the modern-day minefields of dating, love, relationships, and sex. By following in their footsteps—and steering clear of the sad endings suffered by characters such as Maria Bertram and Charlotte Lucas—modern women can discover the path to lifelong love and true happiness.

Charged with honesty and humor, Kantor’s book includes testimonies from modern women, pop culture parallels, the author’s personal experiences and, of course, a thorough examination of Austen’s beloved novels.

Featuring characters and situations from all of Jane Austen’s books (including unfinished novels, and stories not published in her lifetime), The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After tackles the dating and relationship dilemmas that we face today, and equips modern women to approach our love lives with fresh insights distilled from the novels:

  • Don’t be a tragic heroine
  • Pursue Elizabeth Bennet’s “rational happiness” —learn what it is, and how you can find it
  • Don’t let cynicism steal your happy ending
  • Why it’s a mistake to look for your “soul mate”
  • Jane Austen’s skeleton keys to a man’s potential
  • How you should deal with men who are “afraid of commitment” (from Jane Austen’s eight case studies)
  • Learn how to arrange your own marriage—by falling in love the Jane Austen way

About the Author: Elizabeth Kantor is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guideto English and American Literature and an editor for Regnery Publishing. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.A. in philosophy from the Catholic University of America. Kantor has taught English literature, served as the editor of the Conservative Book Club, and written for publications ranging from National Review Online to the Boston Globe. An avid Jane Austen fan, she is happily married and lives with her husband and son in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Regnery Publishing (April 2, 2012)
Hardcover (304) pages
ISBN: 978-1596987845


The Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Woman, by Lori Smith (2012)The Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Woman, by Lori Smith

Jane Austen has become our patron saint of romance, our goddess of happy endings. Her name is synonymous with romantic sighs, period costumes, and the ideal of what love should be. But if she could give us advice about life and love, what would she tell us? What would she make of Match.com, of our Real Housewives, or of our obsession with finding The One?

Austen’s stories give us relationship advice that still works today, but her life offers us so much more wisdom than just that pertaining to love. In our fame-obsessed culture, it’s refreshing to think that Austen preferred to remain anonymous. Ironically, Jane Austen—master of love stories—never married and can teach us something about being single. She also endured many painful circumstances and managed them with grace and humor.

In this light biography and guide, author Lori Smith surmises about Austen’s sensible advice for twenty-first-century women—on everything from living our dreams, being a woman of substance, finding a good man, managing money, and much more.

As such an astute student of human nature, Austen can teach us an awful lot about ourselves and about what it means to live well.

About the Author: Lori Smith is an adorer of Jane Austen and a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. She feels connections to Austen on many levels—as a writer, a single woman, an Anglican, and as someone struggling with a mysterious chronic illness. She is the author of A Walk with Jane Austen, which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Smith’s writing has also appeared in Washington Post Book World, Publishers Weekly, Beliefnet.com, Skirt! and Today’s Christian Woman. Lori lives in Northern Virginia with her sweet but stubborn English lab, Bess. Visit her online at http://www.writerlorismith.com or at the Jane Austen Quotes blog, www.austenquotes.com.

Regnery Publishing, Inc (May 01, 2012)
Hardcover (224) pages
ISBN: 978-0762773817


The Jane Austen Marriage Manual, by Kim Izzo (2012) The Jane Austen Marriage Manual, by Kim Izzo

It is Fall 2008, the recession is in full swing and Kate Shaw is about to turn forty. As an acting beauty editor for a fashion magazine, Kate has glided from contract to contract only to be told that, due to cutbacks, her services are no longer required. Through no fault of her own she finds herself single, homeless and desperate to help her family survive its own financial and emotional crises. Known for her love of all things Jane Austen, Kate is given a freelance gig that changes everything: is it possible, in these modern times—and at a certain age—to marry well?

What starts as an article quickly turns into Kate’s real-life quest. From the polo fields of West Palm Beach to the slopes of St. Moritz and the glamour of London’s social scene, Kate, who gets mistaken for an aristocrat—Lady Kate—chases the man of her dreams, a charming and elegant older financier. But she keeps running into a brooding Englishman, Griffith Kent, who works at an impeccably Austenesque estate called Penwick Manor. Caught between Mr. Rich and maybe Mr. Right, Kate must choose what she really wants out of life: to marry for money or marry for love.

About the Author: Kim Izzo is a journalist and best-selling author of two etiquette books including The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Decorum. Her advice has appeared in The New York Times Sunday Style section, New York Daily News, The New Yorker, InStyle, Marie Claire, Glamour, Redbook, Real Simple, and Cosmopolitan.

St. Martin’s Press (May 22, 2012)
Trade paperback (320) pages
ISBN: 978-1250003454


The Marriage of Faith Christianity in Jane Austen and William Wordsworth, by Laura Dabundo (2012)The Marriage of Faith: Christianity in Jane Austen and William Wordsworth, by Laura Dabundo

Near its heart, English Romanticism—across many writers—acknowledges and celebrates a community that is not just secular but that derives meaning from a religious association and, in fact, a particularly defined religion, that is, Anglican Christianity.

William Wordsworth and Jane Austen, premier English Romantic poet and novelist, were baptized, confirmed, and buried (and for Wordsworth, married) in conformity with the Church of England. Of course, Wordsworth’s commitment flagged in his twenties, but with marriage and responsibility came respectability and parishioner status. However, most twentieth-century critics interpret these writers’ works outside the Christian realities with which their lives were much imbued, except for late Wordsworthian poems from his purported decline into conservative politics and religion and evident poetic senility. Jane Austen did not live long enough to have a late decline, but critics have nonetheless overlooked her faith. It is not necessarily the surface of her writing, but Christianity is unquestionably the sea out of which her characters arise, her plots bubble up, and her themes unfold. It was her and their reality. Notwithstanding this negative or blind critical precedent, Laura Dabundo highlights what most readers are conditioned to disregard, the ways in which the church saturates the writing of Wordsworth and Austen. The Church of England’s liturgy has traditionally been based on Scripture, which these writers would have known. This book, then, links their faith to their works.

About the Author:  Laura Dabundo is a professor of English and coordinator of Religious Studies at Kennesaw State University. She is the editor of The Encyclopedia of Romanticism: Culture in Britain, 1780–1830s and Jane Austen and Mary Shelley and Their Sisters: Romantic Women’s Fiction in Context and has written articles on many Romantic writers. Born in Philadelphia and educated in Pennsylvania, she teaches British Romanticism, the Gothic, the Bible as Literature, Mystery and Detective Fiction, and editing. Currently, she is studying Irish Romantic writers and their faith.

Mercer University Press (May 30, 2012)
Hardcover (160) pages
ISBN: 978-0881462821


All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year-long Journey with Jane, by Amy Smith (2012)All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year-long Journey with Jane, by Amy Smith

Does the magic of Jane Austen hold its power across borders, languages and cultures? Armed with only a suitcase and dozens of copies of Austen’s novels, professor Amy Elizabeth Smith took to the road to find out, organizing book clubs in six different Central and South American countries. Along the way, she battled through a life-threatening illness, discovered friendship and love, and learned more about life–and the power of Austen–than she ever could have imagined. All Roads Lead to Austen celebrates the wisdom of letting go and becoming, no matter what our age, a wide-eyed student once again.

About the Author: Amy Elizabeth Smith has an undergraduate degree in Music and a Masters and Ph.D. in English. She teaches writing and literature (including a course on Jane Austen) at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Originally from Pennsylvania, she loves traveling, dancing, classic cinema, and watching squirrel videos on YouTube. She is currently engaged.

Sourcebooks (June 01, 2012)
Trade paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978-1402265853


We purchased a copy of the book for our own enjoyment or received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose.com is an Amazon affiliate. Text by Laurel Ann Nattress © 2012, austenpros.com

10 thoughts on “A Preview of 5 Jane Austen-inspired Books about Life, Love, and Marriage

Add yours

  1. I can’t wait for all 5 of these. I love Lori Smith and haven’t seen anything new by her so I’m really revved up! I’m also really interested in The Marriage of Faith about Jane Austen and William Wordsworth. Critics always make light of religion and its authentic part of famous peoples’ lives. It is often referred to as a weakness. My faith as a Christian is the most important thing about me and I’m a rational person who is successful in my career, having raised 3 children to adulthood, and remain married to the same spouse I married at 21. My faith was all over this. To speak of Wordsworth as being in decline because he became more “religious”. But I’m still I’m looking forward to all of the books!


  2. All these novels sound really good, save for the faith-themed novel (I’m not a religious person). Thanks for the list — they’ll be sure to find a home on my ever-growing bookshelves at home =)


  3. Looking forward to reading each of these books! Just stopping by to thank you again for hosting the recent Bingley Tea giveaway. My package arrived in the mail yesterday, complete with delicious, dried rosebuds, and a beautiful teacup and saucer that I am sure will make the tea taste ever better. Thank you!


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