My Top Ten Favorite Retellings & Spinoff Novels Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion

Anne and Captain Wentworth at Lyme, by Marsha Laurence at Etsy

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

The new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion aired on Netflix on Friday, July 15, 2022. It takes a creative approach to the Regency-era second chance love story, adding contemporary language, an American actress Dakota Johnson in the key role of heroine Anne Elliot, and breaking the fourth wall by having her speak directly to the audience while looking at the camera. The tried-and-true Janeites were all Continue reading “My Top Ten Favorite Retellings & Spinoff Novels Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion”

Summerhaven: A Regency Romance, by Tiffany Odekirk — A Review    

From the desk of Katie Patchell: 

Dear readers, what I am about to say will have you thanking your lucky stars: if this was a space for spoiler-filled reviews, I would have written a word count of thousands. Fortunately for us all, this shall be as abridged and spoiler-free as possible; a tricky task, as Tiffany Odekirk’s 2022 debut, Summerhaven, keeps one guessing about the heroine’s journey to a happy ending until the very last pages. Continue reading “Summerhaven: A Regency Romance, by Tiffany Odekirk — A Review    “

Jane and the Year Without a Summer: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 14), by Stephanie Barron — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

Jane Austen—that lauded, shrewd observer and chronicler of humanity—was also a skillful sleuth. Or so readers are thoroughly convinced in the fourteenth book of acclaimed historical mystery author Stephanie Barron’s Being a Jane Austen Mystery series, Jane and the Year Without a Summer.

Off to the Less-Celebrated Watering Hole

It is 1816, and Jane Austen is facing ill health of unknown cause. In an attempt to treat her ailments, she travels with her sister Cassandra to drink allegedly restorative mineral waters, attracted to the remedy Continue reading “Jane and the Year Without a Summer: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 14), by Stephanie Barron — A Review”

Who Speaks for the Damned: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery (Book 15), by C.S. Harris, narrated by Davina Porter — A Review

From the desk of Sophia Rose:

Over a decade ago, CS Harris released the first in a long-standing series of Regency Era historical mysteries featuring an aristocratic detective who starts out as the suspect solving his first crime to a renowned amateur detective in his own right. That book, What Angels Fear, introduced a complex hero who must solve murders and at the same time, the mystery of his own past. He must deal with what he discovers, learn the hard lessons of love, and come into his own throughout the series alongside other series regulars.

From the beginning, I was enamored with Sebastian St. Cyr and the rest of the characters who joined him Continue reading “Who Speaks for the Damned: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery (Book 15), by C.S. Harris, narrated by Davina Porter — A Review”

The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen: A Novel, by Shannon Winslow – A Review 

From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder: 

It seems to be a great injustice indeed that we, as lovers of all things Jane Austen, spend such a small percentage of our time thinking about Jane’s own love life, as we are instead wrapped up in the lives of her amazingly-created characters. With that in mind, I was excited to hear that one of my favorite Austen authors, Shannon Winslow, was dedicating a book to Ms. Austen herself and the potential influences she had in writing one of her two posthumously published works, Persuasion. It is aptly named The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen. I couldn’t wait to read this once it came out, given how much I admired Winslow’s Continue reading “The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen: A Novel, by Shannon Winslow – A Review “

Jane Austen and Food, by Maggie Lane – A Review

Jane Austen and Food by Maggie Lane 2013 x 200From the desk of Sarah Emsley:

Is it easier or harder to write if you’re also responsible for feeding and looking after your family? “Composition seems to be impossible, with a head full of joints of mutton and doses of rhubarb,” Jane Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra in September 1816, after a period in which she managed the household at Chawton Cottage in Cassandra’s absence. Fortunately for Jane – and for us, as readers of her fiction – most of the time it was Cassandra who filled this role, freeing Jane to write. In her writing, she doesn’t mention food very often, yet Maggie Lane’s book Jane Austen and Food shows her references to it are significant because “she uses it to define the character and illustrate moral worth.” Jane Austen and Food was first published in 1995 by The Hambledon Press, and it’s newly available as an inexpensive e-book from Endeavour Press. It isn’t a cookbook, but a discussion of food in Austen’s letters and fiction.

I’ve always loved that line from her letters about composition and reading Jane Austen and Food helped me understand it better. I learned that “mutton” isn’t always just mutton, and that “rhubarb” isn’t what I think of Continue reading “Jane Austen and Food, by Maggie Lane – A Review”

Living with Shakespeare: Essays by Writers, Actors, and Directors, edited by Susannah Carson – A Review

Living with Shakespeare, edited by Susannah Carson (2013)From the desk of Br. Paul Byrd, OP:

Is there, as an English teacher, anything more intimidating and yet thrilling than teaching Shakespeare? He is, after all, the one author whose works are thought essential to a “good education.” But having just finished a three week unit on Macbeth, I am confident only that I have invited my students to the conversation about Shakespeare’s greatness; I’ve yet to really convert them. In Living with Shakespeare, Susannah Carson–who previously compiled the excellent essay collection in praise of Jane Austen entitled A Truth Universally Acknowledged–brings the conversation about Shakespeare to a whole new level by presenting over forty extraordinary voices in dialogue about their connections to Shakespeare. Carson writes “I’ve attempted to bring together as many perspectives as possible, not in order to be exhaustive–but to celebrate the many different approaches to appreciating Shakespeare that there are possible” (xvii). To that Continue reading “Living with Shakespeare: Essays by Writers, Actors, and Directors, edited by Susannah Carson – A Review”

Find Wonder in All Things: Persuasion Revisited, by Karen M. Cox – A Review

From the desk of Christina Boyd:

Jane Austen’s most serious and compelling work, Persuasion, is all about retribution, forgiveness and second chances.  Her masterpiece begins seven years after the broken engagement between the young heiress, Anne Elliot, and a junior naval officer, Frederick Wentworth—when he is thrown back into her sphere and both must face the pain from their past.  Karen M. Cox’s award winning novel, Find Wonder In All Things is a modern day homage to this Austen classic.  The tale begins with a lakeside friendship in the Continue reading “Find Wonder in All Things: Persuasion Revisited, by Karen M. Cox – A Review”

Searching for Captain Wentworth, by Jane Odiwe – A Review

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

We can only imagine what life would have been like in the great Georgian resort town of Bath, England circa 1800. There are vintage illustrations of buildings, maps of the winding streets, and descriptions from travelers and writers of the time to help us visualize. And then there is the Bath that we know of from Jane Austen’s two novels: Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Her characters visit the famous pump-room, dance at the Lower Assembly Rooms, climb that noble hill Beechen Cliff, and propose on the gravel walk. Continue reading “Searching for Captain Wentworth, by Jane Odiwe – A Review”

A Pemberley Medley: Five Pride & Prejudice Variations, by Abigail Reynolds – A Review

From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder: 

Whenever I finish an Abigail Reynolds book, I never feel like I’m completely done with the story.  What I mean by this is her writing always gets me totally engrossed in the stories making me wish they’d never end.  I always feel satisfied with where they’ve gone plot wise, but she writes characters so well that I always end up wishing for more. Fortunately for us Reynolds fans, she published A Pemberley Medley, a collection of short stories that represent different “what if” scenarios for our beloved Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.  All five short stories are variations on the original Pride and Prejudice that we all know Continue reading “A Pemberley Medley: Five Pride & Prejudice Variations, by Abigail Reynolds – A Review”

Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen (Naxos AudioBooks), read by Juliet Stevenson – A Review

Northanger Abbey is the exuberant lesser-known child of Jane Austen’s oeuvre. Even though it was her first novel to be completed and sold in 1803, much to Austen’s bemusement it was never published and languished with Crosby & Co for thirteen years until she bought it back for the ten pounds that the publisher had originally paid. It was finally published posthumously together with Persuasion in late 1817. If its precarious publishing history suggests it lacks merit, I remind readers that in the early 1800’s many viewed novels as lowbrow fare and unworthy of serious consideration. In “defense of the novel” Austen offered Northanger Abbey as both a parody of overly sensational Gothic fiction so popular in the late eighteenth-century and a testament against those opposed to novel reading. Ironically, Austen pokes fun at the critics who psha novel writing by cleverly writing a novel defending novel writing. Phew! In a more expanded view, it is so much more than I should attempt to describe in this limited space but Continue reading “Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen (Naxos AudioBooks), read by Juliet Stevenson – A Review”

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