Writer, 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 – THE JANEITE BLOG TOUR
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)
Cover image courtesy of Little, Brown & Company © 2016; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2016, Austenprose.com