A Preview of Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated, by Whit Stillman

Love and Friendship Wit Stillman 2016 x 200Writer, director, and friend of Jane Austen, Stillman has written a companion novel to the film also entitled Love & Friendship with the added subtitle: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated.

For those who have read Austen’s original novella, you will remember that Lady Susan Vernon is described by Reginald De Courcy as “the most accomplished coquette in England.” and by others as devious, wicked and “with a happy command of language, which is too often used, I believe, to make black appear white.” To vindicate her scurrilous behavior is an intriguing premise indeed!

Love & Friendship, the novel, is told from the perspective of a new character, Rufus Martin-Colonna de Cesari-Rocca, Lady Susan’s nephew. His voice throughout the book is very Austenesque, with tongue-in-cheek humor and inside Austen jokes that will delight Janeites.

Released in hardcover, ebook and audiobook, Love & Friendship debuted on May 3, 2016, by Little, Brown & Co. Here is the publisher’s description:


Whit Stillman has taken Austen’s never-finished epistolary novella, Lady Susan, re-imagined it as a straight narrative, and added the hilarious new character of Rufus, Susan’s apologist nephew, who aims to clear Susan’s good name come hell or high water (even if he is doing it from “the ignoble abode” of debtors’ prison ). Despite many indications to the contrary, Rufus insists that Susan is, “the kindest, most delightful woman anyone could know, a shining ornament to our Society and Nation.” Rufus then appends his earnest tale with a collection of his aunt’s letters, which he claims have been altered by Austen to cast the estimable Lady Susan in a bad light.

Impossibly beautiful, disarmingly witty, and completely self-absorbed, Lady Susan Vernon, is both the heart and the thorn of Love & Friendship. Recently widowed, with a daughter who’s coming of age as quickly as their funds are dwindling, Lady Susan makes it her mission to find them wealthy husbands——and fast.

But when her attempts to secure their futures result only in the wrath of a prominent conquest’s wife and the title of “most accomplished coquette in England,” Lady Susan must rethink her strategy.

Unannounced, she arrives at her brother-in-law’s country estate. Here she intends to take refuge——in no less than luxury, of course——from the colorful rumors trailing her, while finding another avenue to “I do.” Before the scandalizing gossip can run its course, though, romantic triangles ensue.

With a devoted Austenian sensibility and absurd theological commentary, filmmaker and writer Whit Stillman ingeniously reimagines and completes one of our greatest writers’ unfinished works. As much homage to its muse’s perennial influence as testament to its author’s brilliance, Love & Friendship is a sharp comedy of manners, and a fiendishly funny treat for Austen and Stillman fans alike.

Love & Friendship brings a healthy helping of scandal, along with lots of laughs, to Georgian and Victorian London.

I am very pleased to be participating in a blog tour for Love & Friendship with fellow Jane Austen fans in honor of this new book.

Love Friendship Blog Tour graphic banner x 500


June 13 – 24, 2016

Award-winning writer-director-filmmaker Whit Stillman tours the blogosphere June 13 through June 24, 2016, to share his latest release, Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated. Thirteen popular book bloggers—card-carrying Jane Austen fans one and all—will feature interviews, book excerpts and reviews of this highly acclaimed novel. A fabulous giveaway contest, including hard copies of the book, will be open to those who join the festivities.   


  • June 13                  AustenBlog (Interview)
  • June 14                  The Calico Critic (Review)         
  • June 15                  Diary of Eccentric (Excerpt)      
  • June 16                  Laura’s Reviews (Review)
  • June 17                  My Jane Austen Book Club (Review)
  • June 17                  Confessions of a Book Addict (Excerpt)                            
  • June 20                  Austenesque Reviews (Review)
  • June 20                  Austenprose (Interview)                      
  • June 21                  So Little Time…So Much to Read (Excerpt)
  • June 21                  Luxury Reading (Review)                    
  • June 22                  Just Jane 1813 (Review)                                         
  • June 23                  Savvy Verse & Wit (Excerpt)                         
  • June 24                  Austenprose (Review)            

I hope you can join us for the revelry in celebration of the new movie and its companion novel.

Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated, by Whit Stillman
Little, Brown & Company (2016) 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

Cover image courtesy of Little, Brown & Company © 2016; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2016, Austenprose.com

28 thoughts on “A Preview of Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated, by Whit Stillman

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  1. I have heard a lot of great things about the movie! I can’t wait to see it. I hadn’t heard about the book though and am now also looking forward to picking it up. ❤


  2. I have heard such wonderful reviews of this movie–I can’t wait to see it! Fingers crossed it will come to my little town now that we have an ‘art house’ theater! (Am I dating myself with that term? Growing up, that was what we called the theater that showed art, foreign and slightly subversive films!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I definitely agree,Greta.I’m so thankful we still have these small artsy theaters. I knew it would be at least an hour drive to find Love and Friendship.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I look forward to seeing this much-feted film, which sounds remarkably creative and fun, and possibly to reading the Stillman novel as well. But I think Austen lovers will take issue with the publisher’s description of the new Love & Friendship as “Austen’s never-finished epistolary novella.” The epistolary novella “Lady Susan” WAS finished (with a conclusion and a clear “Finis”.) The title “Love and Freindship(sic)” was taken from another minor work and applied to Lady Susan’s tale. Stillman has reimagined for Lady Susan what Austen did, in fact, end as she wished. There is a difference.


    1. This jumped out at me too. Mr. Stillman will be interviewed by Margaret Sullivan of AustenBlog and Devoney Looser (Austen scholar) on Austenprose during the tour. We shall see what he has to say on the subject or claiming that Lady Susan was an unfinished work and why he changed the title!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. The fact that they took the title from one Jane story, and tacked it onto a completely different Jane story, irritates me. Why not just call the movie Lady Susan?


  5. I so agree with both Sherry and Melissa! And I saw the movie on the first weekend it was out in CA, in a theater that features more artsy and documentary type films, so love supporting it when I can, though it is over an hours drive from home. I also laughed out loud and enjoyed the whole movie very much! I believe it has received some very good reviews in main stream media as well! YEAH! for Jane Austen!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I absolutely loved the film at my not very local Arts cinema as did everyone else appear to in the rather full auditorium. Methinks the powers that be underestimated the popularity of the film, only showing it for a limited time in an even more limited number of cinemas! It appears to have been a triumph! I too am rather perplexed at the name change and look forward to both an explanation and your exciting blog tour. Wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh I’m so jealous!! It’s not coming to any cinema near me and I’m gutted. I was counting down the days to it. I’ll also be interested to see in the interviews why he changed the name.


    1. Teresa, the movie is being co-distributed by Amazon, so it will be available there after the theatrical run. It was great fun and I would love to see it again. The dialogue is very quick and I missed some of it. The second viewing is always the one that it all sinks in for me.


  8. I found Love and Friendship disappointing. The beginning was confusing and the dialogue did not ring true as being in the style of Jane. It was written by a male. The main female character had little or no redeeming qualities. She was completely egocentric. I believe with that quality she would have not been Thee central character in a Jane Austin novel


    1. Hi Heather, thanks for your comment. I encourage you to read Lady Susan. It is an early work by Jane Austen and much different in style and approach. I think you will understand the movie more after you read it.


  9. I’ll have to wait until it is streamed or out on DVD, but seeing all the excitement has me eager for my turn. It will be fun to read the tour posts.


    1. A blog tour is a cyber book tour visiting blogs over a set time frame. It can include interviews of the author, excerpts from the book and book reviews that each blog posts on a specific day. It’s like following an author book tour through many cities, except it is conducted on the Internet. I hope this helps. The Church-hill reference from Love & Friendship the movie is very funny.


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