There has been a steady parade of Jane Austen-inspired fantasy/paranormal books published over the last several years. We have reviewed quite a few of them here on Austenprose in the Historical Fantasy/Paranormal and Contemporary Fantasy/Paranormal categories. They infuse zombies, vampires, witches, dragons, werewolves, and angels into Jane Austen’s plots in very creative ways. If you are open to having some fun with her characters, or Austen herself, and do not have a problem with disarming reproof, they can be very entertaining.
There have also been a few books featuring Jane Austen as a ghost. The thought of talking with her directly is intriguing to me. What would I ask her if I could? What would we do together? What intriguing insights would she share? Some of my questions were answered in the new book, Jane Austen’s Ghost, by Jennifer Kloester, in which a modern-day heroine, a magical spell, and the Bardess of Basingstoke make for an enchanting, paranormal experience. Here is a description of the book from the publisher and an exclusive excerpt from the author for your enjoyment.
A masterpiece of wit, ingenuity and impeccable style, Regency maven Jennifer Kloester brings the great Jane Austen into the modern world in this enchanting, exhilarating adventure of love, literature and life everlasting…
With her life a mess, Cassandra Austin seeks refuge in Winchester with her eccentric great-aunt – but Aunty B has problems of her own. Ghost problems.
Cassie doesn’t believe in ghosts, but she’ll do anything to help the only person who’s ever loved her. Besides, a simple spell in the cathedral crypt couldn’t do any harm, could it? Well, except for the two-hundred-year-old curse on Jane Austen, that is.
Overnight, life is suddenly a whole lot weirder and it’s up to Cassie to save the day with the help of a dour Bishop, two literary geniuses, a couple of wise-cracking geriatrics and the enigmatic Oliver Carling.
Magic and mystery abound in this genre-bending contemporary-historical paranormal romance with a Regency twist.
Jane Austen watched Pride and Prejudice with all the intensity of a mother watching her child take its first steps.
I was dying to know what she thought of it, but she didn’t seem to want to talk. The only hint of her feelings was the occasional disturbance in her ghostly essence: a soft pink that coloured her milky-white translucence when Mr. Darcy appeared naked in the bath and a series of scarlet ripples whenever Elizabeth confronted Darcy or Caroline Bingley. Other than that, she gave no sign.
It wasn’t until I pressed the pause button that I got a reaction.
‘For heaven’s sake, Cassandra!’ cried Jane. ‘What are you about? Can you not see that Mr. Darcy is about to call upon Elizabeth while everyone is at Rosings Park? Pray, make it continue this instant.’
‘Sorry, Jane, but I need a bathroom break.’
‘But I wish to see what will happen.’
‘You know what happens.’
She waved an impatient hand. ‘You go along. I shall not mind watching alone.’
‘But you will mind if you’re suddenly pulled through two walls. We’re bound, remember, and I’m pretty sure the bathroom is further away than I can safely go.’
‘Oh, very well,’ she said impatiently. ‘But mind you do not linger.’
‘I’ll be sure to pee quickly,’ I muttered, ignoring her disapproving sniff at my indelicacy.
She easily beat me back to my – our – room. By the time I reached it, she was already on the bed with a ball of purple ectoplasm spinning over the play button on the remote. ‘Here you are at last. Hurry and make yourself comfy, Cassandra, so that we may continue.’
‘Actually, Jane, I’m awfully tired. I was thinking we could watch the rest tomorrow—’
‘Tomorrow?’ she exclaimed. ‘No, indeed, for I long to hear what Mr. Darcy will say to Elizabeth while Mr. Collins and the others are from home.’
I gazed at her eager face and thought of the marriage proposal to come, of Elizabeth Bennet’s rejection of it, of Darcy’s mortification, his smouldering looks and suppressed emotion, of his famous dive into the lake, his return to Pemberley in a state of truly sexy undress, of his shock at walking smack into the last person he ever expected to see and – I gave in. After all, who wouldn’t want to see Jane Austen’s reaction to one of the hottest scenes in television history?
She loved it.
She didn’t say so in words, but I could see it in her face as Darcy strode down the hill, and in the way, she leaned forward when he and Elizabeth Bennet came unexpectedly face to face outside Pemberley. By the time he met Elizabeth again at the inn at Lambton, Jane was perched on the end of the bed, and when Darcy and Bingley returned to Longbourn to propose to Elizabeth and her sister, she was only a few feet from the screen. When we reached the final scene, Jane was floating before the television with her face just inches away from Darcy as he leaned in to kiss his ‘dearest, loveliest Elizabeth’. As the credits rolled Jane pulled back in wide-eyed wonder.
I decided it was even more fun watching Jane Austen watch Pride and Prejudice than watching Pride and Prejudice itself. ‘Is he like your Mr. Darcy?’ I couldn’t help asking. ‘I mean, is he anything like the Darcy you imagined when you wrote the book?’
A dimple peeped beside Jane’s mouth. ‘Perhaps.’
‘But what did you think?’ I demanded. ‘Was it close enough to your novel? Did you like seeing it acted that way? What did you think of Elizabeth and Wickham? And what about Mrs. Bennet? Did you think she was too shrill?’
She laughed. ‘So many questions, Cassandra! At this moment I do not exactly know what I think, for it is all so new to me. I own it was strange to hear my words spoken thus, and curious to watch living people portray my characters as though they were a portrait brought to life. It is a peculiar sensation seeing the images of one’s own imagination made so real.’
‘Yes, but did you like it?’
‘Why, I… I hardly know what I feel. Only…’ Jane suddenly soared upwards, did a backflip and drifted slowly back down to the bed. ‘Only… may I watch it again?’
- “Jane Austen’s Ghost is a fabulous, fun read full of fantastical twists – mind-candy for anyone who has heard of Jane Austen. Meticulously researched, this work is nevertheless a tour de force of the imagination. Although steeped in all things Austen, due to its imaginative presentation, this work will appeal to readers everywhere – from Austen scholars to the man in the street. This is a work that transcends genres, incorporating a contemporary-historical paranormal adventure, a sweet romance, and a female protagonist in a coming-of-age arc. A truly not-to-be-missed read destined to become a classic.” — Stephanie Laurens, #1 New York Times bestselling Regency romance author
- “Jane Austen meets Bridget Jones meets Harry Potter in this fast-paced romp from Georgette Heyer expert Jennifer Kloester. There are laugh out loud moments but genuinely scary moments, too, in this diverting tale. Supernatural elements mix with Regency manners as Jane Austen finds herself grappling with the twenty-first century in Jane Austen’s Ghost.” — Amanda Grange, author of Mr. Darcy’s Diary
Jennifer Kloester first read Georgette Heyer’s novels while living in the jungle in Papua New Guinea and re-read them while living in the desert in Bahrain. In 2004, she completed a Doctorate on Georgette Heyer and her Regency Novels. Since then she has written extensively about Heyer and the Regency and has given writing workshops and public presentations in the UK, USA, Australia, and New Zealand. She is the author of Georgette Heyer’s Regency World and Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller. Jennifer also writes fiction; her novel Jane Austen’s Ghost is out on October 29, 2019.
Some Austenprose readers might recognize Jennifer Kloester as an authority on author Georgette Heyer. We have reviewed both of her books: Georgette Heyer’s Regency World; and her biography Georgette Heyer. The connection between Heyer and Austen is a short leap, so it is easy to see why Kloester was able to pen a novel inspired by Jane Austen. If your “imagination is very rapid,” you should be able to jump from Georgette Heyer’s brilliant Regency romances; to Jane Austen’s witty drawing-room comedies; to Jane Austen as a ghost in a moment.
Jane Austen’s Ghost: A Novel, by Jennifer Kloester
Overlord Publishing (October 29, 2019)
Trade paperback & eBook (312) pages
Cover image courtesy of Overlord Publishing © 2019; Excerpt Jennifer Kloester © 2019; Text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2019, Austenprose.com