Austenesque, Book Reviews, Editor's Picks, Persuasion Sequels, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion: An Austen-inspired Tale of Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion, by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright — A Review

Mr Darcys Persuasion by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright 2021From the desk of Katie Jackson:

In Jane Austen’s final complete novel, Persuasion—published six months after her untimely death—the heroine, Anne Elliot, is influenced by her prideful father, a baronet, to break off an engagement with Captain Frederick Wentworth, who was considered a poor match due to his low social status and lack of wealth. Similarly, in Austen’s earlier novel, Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is the prideful man causing heartbreak over his disapproval of an undistinguished family. The consequences of such prejudiced persuasion collide spectacularly in Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion by prolific writing duo Cass Grafton and Ada Bright.

Mr. Darcy is in denial. In a letter to his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, he insists, “Despite your suggestion to the contrary, no young lady has caught my attention.” (152) Yet he flees Hertfordshire posthaste following the ball at Netherfield hosted by his friend Mr. Bingley, whom he has advised to avoid a growing attachment to Miss Jane Bennet. All the while, Darcy knows his own hypocrisy as he likewise advises himself to avoid the undeniable attraction he feels toward Jane’s younger sister, Elizabeth. He acknowledges that the Bennet family is far beneath the notice of a wealthy gentleman landowner such as he, thus he removes himself from danger and warns his smitten friend to do the same. Continue reading “Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion: An Austen-inspired Tale of Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion, by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright — A Review”

Austenesque, Book Previews, Persuasion Sequels, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion: An Austen-inspired Tale of Pride, Prejudice, and Persuasion, by Cass Grafton & Ada Bright

Mr Darcys Persuasion by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright 2021Happy Friday, Gentle Readers. It is full-on winter here, however, there is hope.  My tulips are starting to sprout despite the cold and pounding rain, so Spring is on its way. This ebullience of nature, despite the challenging conditions, is reassuring during a difficult time. I hope that things look brighter in your corner of the world too.

I am delighted to welcome Cass Grafton and Ada Bright back to Austenprose today to share their forthcoming release, Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion. The premise of this novel is intriguing—it combines characters from two of Jane Austen’s beloved novels, Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion. How creative! I was so curious how they would pull this off. Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion: An Austen-inspired Tale of Pride, Prejudice, and Persuasion, by Cass Grafton & Ada Bright”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Contemporary Fiction, Persuasion Sequels

Persuading the Captain: An Austen Inspired Romantic Comedy, by Rachel John— A Review

Persuading the Captain by Rachel John 2020From the desk of Sophia Rose:

Modernizing a classic through a retelling can be fraught with authorial peril. One must do more than simply slap a pair of blue jeans on a heroine and put some slang on her lips, but at the same time, one has a duty to the legacy of the classic and the reader should recognize the original story within the fresh tale. Did author Rachel John avoid these pitfalls in Persuading the Captain, inspired by Jane Austen’s final novel Persuasion? Stick around and see.

Anne is about to start a new chapter in her life when her family must leave her childhood home in Hollywood when her actor father’s fading career is not generating the money to match the extravagant lifestyle that he and her older sister think that they deserve. Anne is done catering to their whims and has taken a step away toward her own dreams by getting a dinosaur museum job up in San Francisco along with taking on part-time babysitting for her younger sister Mary in exchange for room and board. She is joining Mary and Continue reading “Persuading the Captain: An Austen Inspired Romantic Comedy, by Rachel John— A Review”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Contemporary Fiction, Editor's Picks, Persuasion Sequels

All Stirred Up: A Novel, by Brianne Moore — A Review

All Stirred Up by Brianne Moore 2020From the desk of Sophia Rose:

A modern-day Persuasion retelling set in Edinburgh against the backdrop of the high-end restaurant world. What could be more delicious? I eagerly picked up this book by a debut author who knows her way around a professional kitchen and resided in Edinburgh. It was quite obvious the author made these, along with her love of literature, the superb ingredients she stirred into a low-heat second chance romance.

Susan Napier closes a restaurant in London and her life there. The failure hadn’t been her fault—that lay with her father who knew nothing about food and even less about business. She is flying ahead of her family to Edinburgh and back to her grandfather’s original Elliott’s to take over this flagging restaurant that once was the gem of the Royal Mile and, hopefully, can turn it around again. Unfortunately, this return brings with it all the regrets and painful memories of her past. It was at this Elliott’s under her grandfather and her Continue reading “All Stirred Up: A Novel, by Brianne Moore — A Review”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Contemporary Fiction, Persuasion Sequels

Recipe for Persuasion: A Novel, by Sonali Dev—A Review

Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev 2020From the desk of Sophia Rose:

Jane Austen’s Persuasion gets a modern facelift Desi-style in this standalone sequel to Sonali Dev’s 2019, Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors, as Indian American chef, Ashna Raje, and Brazilian footballer, Rico Silva, encounter each other once again as acrimonious cooking partners on a reality TV show. I love that the author has cooked up a series of modern retellings of Jane Austen’s classic works by giving members of the Raje family their chances at romance.

In Recipe for Persuasion Ashna’s family is convinced a reality cooking show is just the jumpstart her dying restaurant needs and she is willing to do anything to preserve this last bit of her father who opened the restaurant.

As a pro footballer at the top of his game, Rico thought he had moved on from Ashna’s rejection. That is until he is injured badly and yet another relationship didn’t work out.  He decides he has to do something about not Continue reading “Recipe for Persuasion: A Novel, by Sonali Dev—A Review”

Austenesque, Book Previews, Contemporary Fiction, Persuasion Sequels

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of All Stirred Up: A Novel, by Brianne Moore

All Stirred Up by Brianne Moore 2020I have been watching several romcoms lately to offset the stress and anxiety generated from a world health crisis. Last week I enjoyed Father of the Bride (1991), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Made of Honor (2008), and The Wedding Date (2004). Do you notice a theme here? No, well they are all romances set during a wedding, an event ripe with comedic possibilities.

In my reading life, I have been searching for lighthearted romantic comedies too, so when a publisher sent me a contemporary romance inspired by Jane Austen’s novel, Persuasion, I leapt with joy. All Stirred Up is a forthcoming romcom novel set at a failing Edinburgh restaurant named Elliot’s. It retells the second chance romance plot of Jane Austen’s classic steeped in the famous culinary community in Scotland with tons of food, tears, and laughter. The author has generously shared an exclusive excerpt for my readers to give you a taste of the narrative and tone. Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of All Stirred Up: A Novel, by Brianne Moore”

Austenesque, Book Previews, Persuasion Sequels

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Persuaded to Sail: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men (Book 3), by Jack Caldwell

Persuaded to Sail, by Jack Caldwell 2020Raise your hand if you agree that the “half agony, half hope” love letter written by Captain Frederick Wentworth to Anne Elliot in Jane Austen’s Persuasion is the most romantic love letter in literature. If not, by the time you get to the “you pierce my soul” line, you will be a convert.

At the conclusion of the story after Frederick and Anne are reunited and agree to marry, Austen asks us, “Who can be in doubt of what followed?” The reader is left in suspense wanting more. Well, we are happy to share that a sequel to their life together at sea has been written by Jack Caldwell. Persuaded to Sail will be available on May 11, 2020, from White Soup Press. It is the third book in the popular Jane Austen’s Fighting Men series.

A companion novel to the first two books: The Three Colonels (2012) and The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel (2016), Persuaded to Sail also takes place during the Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Persuaded to Sail: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men (Book 3), by Jack Caldwell”

Austenesque, Persuasion Sequels, Science Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of The Stars We Steal, by Alexa Donne

The Stars We Steal, by Alexa Donne (2020TGIF Janeites. Do you have your reading lined up for your weekend yet? If not, I present for your consideration, The Stars We Steal, a new young adult novel inspired by Jane Austen with an out of this world twist.

Yes, it’s Persuasion in space. Who would’ve thought Jane Austen’s Regency-era plot and characters could be transported on to a spaceship hundreds of years in the future?

Author Alexa Donne did! She has re-imagined Miss Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth as two teens in the future traveling through the galaxies. Here are a book description and an exclusive excerpt from the publisher to give you a taste of Austen from another era and universe. Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of The Stars We Steal, by Alexa Donne”

Austenesque, Book Previews, Persuasion Sequels

A Preview of How to Rescue a Rake, by Jayne Fresina

How to Rescue a Rake by Jayne Fresina 2016 x 200Please help me welcome author Jayne Fresina today to Austenprose.

Jayne’s third book in her Book Club Belles series, How to Rescue a Rake, has just been published by Sourcebooks Casablanca.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this new Regency romance features heroine Diana Makepiece whose life and troubles resemble Austen’s Anne Elliot in many respects. Here is a description of the book from the publisher:


Nathaniel Sherringham has returned to Hawcombe Prior a changed man. Gone is the reckless rake who went out on a limb to propose to Diana Makepiece three years ago. Now Nate’s mysterious new wealth has the town’s rumor mill spinning. To stir things up (and get Diana’s attention), Nate boldly announces his plans to marry “any suitable girl” under the age of 25.

Diana, now 27 and still single, is acutely aware of Nate’s return. When her mother suggests a trip to visit a cousin in Bath, Diana leaps at the chance to escape the heartbreak and regret she can’t help but feel in Nate’s presence…and avoid his irritating charade to find a bride.

But for Nate, Diana has always been the one. He might just have to follow her to Bath and once again lay his heart on the line to win her attention-and her heart.


Here to tell us more about her inspiration for the Book Club Belles series, and her love of Jane Austen is author Jayne Fresina.


I have been an Austen fan since I first read Pride and Prejudice when I was fifteen. It was a recommendation by my English Literature teacher at school because a BBC production had just started airing on Sunday evening TV and she suggested we might want to read the book too.

It was love at first read.

After that, I worked my way through each of her books, greedily absorbing every word (checking the dictionary for a few of them) and learning about that strange world of manners and morals, balls and carriage rides, parasols, and fine prospects. It was wonderful to escape from the dreariness of this teenager’s life, in a cold, rainy Northern England town in the 1980s. So I owe a huge debt of thanks to that teacher — Ms. Jones — who, with her big shiny glasses and bubbling enthusiasm for all things Austen, made me a convert.

Many years later, when I finally became a published author, I flirted with the idea of writing another version of Pride and Prejudice, but there were a lot of other authors who had the same idea and the results were not always well-received. Was there room for yet another Austen-inspired book? Was it superfluous? Were people tired of all that?

I didn’t want to upset Austen fans, of course, by doing anything that might be seen as insulting to Jane or her characters. (“Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?” – Lady Catherine de Bourgh squawks in my ear) But I really wanted to create a tribute of my own to Jane and her stories. I kept putting it off, but the idea always crept back in, poking away at me. It’s a very dodgy business taking on something like that and I spent quite a long time deciding how I might do it in a way that would add to the story, not just purloin the plot or the characters.

Finally, as I was reading an Austen biography one day and looking at a sketch of a Regency-era lending library, I came up with the idea of a Book Society – a small group of young ladies reading Austen’s works when they were first published. Wouldn’t it be fun, I thought if their lives begin to follow the plot of whichever book they are reading? They certainly had more chance of meeting a “real” Captain Wentworth, Mr. Darcy or Colonel Brandon than anyone living today.

For one thing, men just don’t dress that way today. Sigh! Not since Elvis has there been a man who could carry off a good sideburn!

I sent the series proposal to my editor at Sourcebooks and she loved it. And so the idea for the Book Club Belles was born. Justina and Catherine Penny, Diana Makepiece, Lucy Bridges and Rebecca Sherringham were soon sketched out in my mind and then filled out on paper. As young ladies living in Austen’s time, her books are a form of escape for them too, just as they once were for me — and as they continue to be for so many readers, old fans and new.

I thought it was important that the books have a sense of humor, so I kept them light-hearted and not too “angsty”. As I wrote I was very conscious of staying as true to the period as possible. The ladies of my book society, however, are considerably more rebellious and daring than Miss Austen’s heroines — a sign of these times, I’m afraid. Hopefully, Jane can forgive me for that!

After all, Mr. Darcy is now remembered by many as Colin Firth walking out of his lake in a rather fabulous wet shirt— a state of undress in which the real Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy would never be caught. Whenever I watch that scene (drool over it, maybe more accurate), I wonder what Jane Austen would think of all this— of how beloved her characters have become to so many generations of readers (and watchers now too). What would she think of all these TV adaptations and movies? What would she make of all these books influenced by her work?

I can’t help thinking she’d be laughing. Once she got over the shock of Mr. Darcy’s impromptu swim and delightfully bedraggled wet curls.

Yes, it’s a chancy business taking on the work of an author like Jane Austen and giving the story a new twist, but I think she would agree that, if a little fresh treatment brings more readers to her books and introduces them to that wonderful world, all the better!


Jayne-Fresina 2016 x 150Jayne Fresina sprouted up in England. Entertained by her father’s colorful tales of growing up in the countryside, and surrounded by opinionated sisters, she’s always had inspiration for her beleaguered heroes and unstoppable heroines. She lives in upstate New York. Learn more about the author at, follower her on Facebook as Jayne Fresina and on Twitter as @JayneFresina.

How to Rescue a Rake (Book Club Belles Society #3), by Jayne Fresina
Sourcebooks Casablanca (2016)
Mass market paperback & eBook (384) pages
ISBN: 978-1402287824

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

Cover image courtesy of Sourcebooks Casablanca © 2016; text Jayne Fresina © 2016,