My Favorite Books of 2018, by a Partial, Prejudiced and Ignorant Jane Austen Fan

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Dear readers:

Along with oodles of other media outlets and book bloggers, it’s time to reveal my own favorite books of 2018. It has been a serendipitous journey—full of adventure, comfort, and surprises—mostly generated from reading beloved authors and stepping outside my sphere.

Traditionally I gravitate toward classic or modern authors in the historical fiction genre, focusing on novels inspired by Jane Austen. My reading choices this year were diverse within historical and contemporary fiction, romance, mysteries, and nonfiction, exploring new tropes and themes. However, they all share a common thread—sharp writing, comprehensive research, compelling stories, and levity.

In my very, very small way, I hope that my reading experiences this past year will act as a catalyst to those seeking a curated list of books from the vantage of a Janeite. Enjoy!

BEST AUSTENESQUE FICTION

The Longbourn Letters x 150The Longbourn Letters, by Rose Servitova

Lo and behold. Mr. Bennet and Mr. Collins are pen pals! For those familiar with these two minor characters in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, you will not be disappointed in the full story of their relationship featuring Mr. Bennet’s dry sarcasm in all it’s glory  while he goads his cousin and heir in pursuit of amusement, and in return the Odious Ones (Mr. Collins) obsequious prosing and sermonizing right back at him. I enjoy Austenesque novels that expand upon Austen’s characters more than any other type in the genre. Servitova’s creative and reverent take on the Bennet & Collins relationship is an impressive debut novel that many Janeites will enjoy, if only they knew about this sharp sleeper. 5 Stars Continue reading

Austenprose’s Best Austenesque & Jane Austen Era Books of 2015

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What a great year of Austenesque reading! We reviewed 40 fiction and nonfiction books in the Austenesque, Regency or Georgian genre this past year and would like to share our list of what we feel were the most exciting, memorable and rewarding books of 2015. 

Best Austenesque Historical Novels 2015:

  1. Brinshore: The Watson Novels Book 2, by Ann Mychal (5 stars)
  2. Jane by the Sea: Jane Austen’s Love Story, by Carolyn V. Murray (5 stars)
  3. Alone with Mr. Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Abigail Reynolds (5 stars)
  4. Pride, Prejudice and Secrets, by C. P. Odom (5 stars)
  5. The Darcy Brothers, by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds (4.5 stars)
  6. Suddenly Mrs. Darcy, by Jenetta James (4.5 stars)
  7. Yours Forevermore, Darcy, by KaraLynne Mackrory (4.5 stars)
  8. The Second Chance: A Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility Variation, by Joana Starnes (4.5 stars)
  9. A Will of Iron, by Linda Beutler (4.5 stars)
  10. Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley, by Shannon Winslow (4 stars)

Best Austenesque Contemporary Novels 2015: Continue reading

Austenprose’s Best Austenesque/Jane Austen-inspired Books of 2014

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Another fabulous year of reading has passed with many memorable books for Janeites to devour. We reviewed 68 of them this past year and would like to share our list of what we feel were the Best Austenesque Books of 2014. 

Best Austenesque Historical Novels 2014: 

  1. Consequences: A Cautionary Pride and Prejudice Variation, by C. P. Odom (5 stars)
  2. Jane Austen’s First Love, by Syrie James (5 stars)
  3. The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, by Shannon Winslow (5 stars)
  4. The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet’s Pride and Prejudice, by Jennifer Paynter (5 stars)
  5. The Secret Betrothal: A Pride and Prejudice Alternate Path, by Jan Hahn (5 stars)
  6. Pirates and Prejudice, by Kara Louise (5 stars)
  7. Emma and Elizabeth: A story based on The Watsons, by Jane Austen, by Ann Mychal (5 stars)
  8. Mr. Darcy Came to Dinner, by Jack Caldwell (5 stars)
  9. Follies Past, by Melanie Kerr (5 stars)
  10. First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen, by Charlie Lovett (4.5 stars

Continue reading

Austenprose’s Top Jane Austen-inspired Books of 2013

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Huzzah! It has been a banner year for Jane Austen-inspired books in 2013. The bicentenary of Pride and Prejudice motivated many authors to take up their pens in celebration resulting in a fabulous selection of new titles. From historical and contemporary novels to non-fiction and scholarly, Austen-inspired books were present in several genres making our favorite author even more popular than ever.

We reviewed 76 books and short stories in 2013. Here is our annual list of top favorites .

Top 10 Austenesque Historical Novels: 

  1. Return to Longbourn, by Shannon Winslow (5 stars)
  2. One Thread Pulled: The Dance with Mr. Darcy, by Diana J. Oaks (5 stars)
  3. Loving Miss Darcy: The Brides of Pemberley, by Nancy Kelley (5 stars)
  4. The Pursuit of Mary Bennet: A Pride and Prejudice Novel, by Pamela Mingle (4 stars)
  5. Longbourn: A Novel, by Jo Baker (4 stars)
  6. The Passions of Dr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan (4 stars)
  7. Falling For Mr. Darcy, by KaraLynne Mackrory (4 stars)
  8. Darcy’s Decision: Given Good Principles Volume 1, by Maria Grace (4 stars)
  9. When They Fall in Love: Darcy and Elizabeth in Italy, by Mary Simonsen (4 stars)
  10. Young Mr. Darcy in Love: Pride and Prejudice Continues (The Darcys and the Bingleys) (Volume 7) by Marsha Altman (4 stars)

Continue reading

Top Jane Austen-inspired Books of 2012

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2012 was a banner year for Jane Austen-inspired books. From historical fiction to self-help to mysteries, Austen was visible in several genres and as popular as ever. Here are our top favorites reviewed here at Austenprose.com in 2012 with a bonus category, Readers Choice Awards.

Top 5 Historical sequels, prequels or retellings:

The Three Colonels: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men, by Jack Caldwell (4.5 stars)

Dear Mr. Darcy: A Retelling of Pride and Prejudice, by Amanda Grange (4.5 stars)

The Journey, by Jan Hahn (5 stars)

The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, by Syrie James (5 stars)

A Pemberley Medley: Five Pride & Prejudice Variations, by Abigail Reynolds (5 stars)

Top 5 Contemporary inspired:

Compulsively Mr. Darcy, by Nina Benneton (4 stars)

Mr. Darcy Forever, by Victoria Connelly (4.5 stars)

Find Wonder in All Things, by Karen M. Cox (4.5 stars)

Hidden Paradise, by Janet Mullany (4.5 stars)

Darcy Goes to War: A Pride and Prejudice Re-imagining, by Mary Lydon Simonsen (5 stars)

Regency inspired:

The Garden Intrigue, by Lauren Willig (5 stars)

The West Yet Glimmers: The Lord & Lady Baugham Stories, by Gail McEwen & Tina Moncton (5 stars)

Mysteries:

Midnight in Austenland: A Novel, by Shannon Hale (4.5 stars)

My Particular Friend: A Charlotte House Affair (Volume 1), by Jennifer Petkus (5 stars)

Paranormal:

Jane Vows Vengeance: A Novel, by Michael Thomas Ford (5 stars)

Searching for Captain Wentworth, by Jane Odiwe (5 stars)

Nonfiction:

The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, by Elizabeth Kantor (5 stars)

The Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Woman, by Lori Smith (5 stars)

Scholarly:

The Marriage of Faith: Christianity in William Wordsworth and Jane Austen, by Laura Dabundo (5 stars)

Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures, by Claudia L. Johnson (5 stars)

Self-published:

Mr. Darcy’s Proposal, by Susan Mason-Milks (4 stars)

For Myself Alone, by Shannon Winslow (4 stars)

Young Adult:

The Beresfords, by Christina Dudley (4.5 stars)

Persuaded, by Jenni James (4 stars)

Debut Author: (tie)

All My Tomorrows, by Colette Saucier (5 stars)

Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story, Book 1: So Rough a Course, by Laura Hile (5 stars)

Readers Choice Awards:

1.) The West Yet Glimmers, by Gail McEwen & Tina Moncton

2.) Persuaded, by Jenni James

3.) The Journey, by Jan Hahn

4.) Echoes of Pemberley, by Cynthia Ingram Hensley (tie)

4.) Find Wonder in All Things, by Karen M. Cox (tie)

5.) Pulse and Prejudice, by Colette L. Saucier

Congratulations to all of the authors! Thanks for another great year of fabulous reading.

Cheers,

Austenprose review staff

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2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Last Day to Vote for Your Favorite Jane Austen-inspired Book of 2012!

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Make haste! The poll closes at 11:59 pm PT tonight for Austenprose’s Readers Choice Award for Austen-inspired books that were published in 2012 or have been reviewed here last year. One vote per IP address.

Best of luck to all of the authors!

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2013, Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Vote for your favorite Pride and Prejudice-inspired book

Top 20 Jane Austen-inspired Books of 2011

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Happy New Year Janeites! 2012 promises to be a glorious Jane-packed reading extravaganza for Austenesque and Regency fans.

In the next few months we are looking forward to several novels: the debut of Austentatious, by Alyssa Goodnight (January 31), a new mystery, Midnight in Austenland, by Shannon Hale (Jan 31), and Jane Vows Vengeance: A Novel, by Michael Thomas Ford (February 28), the third novel in the hilarious Jane Bites series. This summer we can look forward to no less than two novels from the venerable Amanda Grange: Pride and Pyramids: Mr. Darcy in Egypt, co-authored with Jacqueline Webb (July 01), and Dear Mr. Darcy: A Retelling of Pride and Prejudice (August 01). Such a bounty!

There are also quite a few new nonfiction titles in the coming year focusing on insights into why we love our dear Jane so much: Everybody’s Jane: Austen in the Popular Imagination, by Juliette Wells (Mar 29) and Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures, by Claudia L. Johnson (June 01), should put Janeites under a microscope; The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, by Elizabeth Kantor (April 02), intrigues us to find out how Jane can help in the “fix your life department,” and All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year-long Journey with Jane, by Amy Smith (June 01) is an curious title that may take us on a Jane Austen road trip!

In the queue on the Regency front: Pistols for Two, by Georgette Heyer (Feb 7), the long awaited re-print of Heyer’s short story anthology that has not been in print in North America for several years; The Garden Intrigue, by Lauren Willig (Feb 16), the ninth, and highly anticipated installment in the popular Pink Carnation series (Woohoo); and Glamour in Glass, by Mary Robinette Kowal (April 10), the second in her Regency magic series.  Huzzah all around!

2011 was another stellar year for Jane Austen inspired sequels, et all. There was a plethora of “Mr. Darcy does something” to choose from. Dear publishers, we do dearly love Mr. Darcy, but please, we really would read other Austen-inspired books that did not include the most popular romantic icon ever, or the greatest novel ever written! We hope you will take this gentle nudge in the spirit in which it was offered from those who are quite passionate about their Austenesque fare.

There were literally dozens of new Jane Austen inspired novels and nonfiction books published in 2011. One of them, *blush,* was my own Austen-inspired short story anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It. Our top choices of the year represent selections first published in 2011 and reviewed here on Austenprose. So, if your favorites are not represented, please don’t be miffed. Amazingly, we did not read everything Janeish that was published this past year, but we gave it our best try.

Top 10 sequels, prequels, retellings or contemporary inspired (alphabetical order):

The Ballad of Gregoire Darcy: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice Continues, by Marsha Altman (5 Stars)

Henry Tilney’s Diary, by Amanda Grange (5 Stars)

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (5 Stars)

Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, by Kara Louise (5 Stars)

Persuade Me, by Juliette Archer (5 Stars)

The Trouble with Mr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan (5 Stars)

The Truth About Mr. Darcy, by Susan Adriani (5 Stars)

The Unexpected Miss Bennet, by Patrice Sarath (5 Stars)

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly (5 Stars)

A Wife for Mr. Darcy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen (5 Stars)

The best of the rest…

Regency inspired:

The Orchid Affair, by Lauren Willig (5 Stars)

Venetia, by Georgette Heyer (5 Stars)

Best Mysteries:

Jane and the Canterbury Tale, by Stephanie Barron (5 Stars)

The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen, Lindsey Ashford (5 Stars)

Best Paranormal:

Jane Goes Batty: A Novel, by Michael Thomas Ford (5 Stars)

Mr. Darcy Bites, by Mary Simonsen (5 Stars)

Best Nonfiction:

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, by William Deresiewicz (5 Stars)

Best Indie:

An Arranged Marriage, by Jan Hahn (5 Stars)

Best Young Adult:

Sass and Serendipity, by Jennifer Ziegler (4 Stars)

Debut Author: (tie)

My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park, by Cindy S. Jones (4 Stars)

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos (4 Stars)

Many thanks to the authors for offering up another great year of reading. 2012 already promises to be quite engaging.

Happy reading,

Austenprose review staff

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2007 – 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

My Top 20 Jane Austen Books of 2010

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Happy New Year Janeites. 2011 promises to be a joyous year for Jane Austen fans. The bicentenary of Sense and Sensibility should keep Jane Austen in the limelight and publishers keen to feed our need to read more Austen inspired fare.

There are many books in the queue that we are looking forward to reading: Jane Goes Batty: A Novel, by Michael Thomas Ford, the second in the series arrives in February, My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park, Cindy S. Jones’ debut novel arrives in late March and the highly anticipated Wickham’s Dairy, by Amanda Grange arrives in April. We shall also be immodest and mention our own short story anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, premiering in October. *blush*

2010 was another stellar year for Jane Austen inspired sequels et all. Mysteries dominated the field with Stephanie Barron triumphant return, Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron, her tenth novel in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery series, Carrie Bebris kept me on edge and laughing out loud in The Intrigue at Highbury: Or, Emma’s Match, her fifth novel in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy series, Tracy Kiely presented Murder on the Bride’s Side, the second novel to her contemporary Elizabeth Bennet detective series, and an incredible debut mystery from Lynn Shepherd, Murder at Mansfield Park blew me away!

There were dozens of new Jane Austen inspired novels and nonfiction books published this year. Our top choices of the year represent selections that we read and reviewed here on Austenprose. So, if your favorite is not represented, please don’t be miffed. Amazingly, we did not read everything Janeish that was published in 2010.

Sequels, prequels, retellings or contemporary inspired:

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, by Beth Pattillo

The Darcy Cousins, by Monica Fairview

Pemberley Ranch, by Jack Caldwell

Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister, C. Allyn Pierson

Dancing with Mr. Darcy: Stories Inspired by Jane Austen and Chawton House, edited by Sarah Waters

Regency inspired:

The Mischief of the Mistletoe, by Lauren Willig

Venetia (Naxos AudioBooks), by Georgette Heyer & read by Richard Armitage

Betrayal of the Blood Lilly, by Lauren Willig

The Convenient Marriage (Naxos AudioBooks), by Georgette Heyer & read by Richard Armitage

Mysteries:

Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron, by Stephanie Barron

Murder at Mansfield Park, by Lynn Shepherd

The Intrigue at Highbury: Or, Emma’s Match, by Carrie Bebris

Murder on the Bride’s Side, by Tracy Kiely

Paranormal:

Jane and the Damned, by Janet Mullany

Nonfiction:

 

Fashion in Jane Austen’s Time, by Sarah Jane Downing

Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen and edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks

The Heroine’s Bookshelf: Life Lessons from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder, by Erin Blakemore

 

Randomly not Jane:

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson

Season of Second Chances, by Diane Meier

Debut author:

Murder at Mansfield Park, by Lynn Shepherd

Many thanks to the authors for offering up another great reading year. 2011 already promises to be quite engaging.

Happy reading,

Laurel Ann

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© 2007 – 2010 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

My Top 20 Favorite Austenesque Books of 2009

Another year – another plethora of Austen inspired sequels, re-tellings, mash-ups and nonfiction fare devoured!

In 2009 we saw zombies invade Pride and Prejudice hungry for more brains and ascending the bestseller lists for months, Mr. Darcy go paranormal in a way we could never have imagined before with Mr. Darcy Vampyre, and Jane Austen get some payback for everyone else making money off her name for close to 200 years in Jane Bites Back.

In retrospect, here are my top 20 favorite Austenesque books that I read in 2009, a year so diverse in Austen inspired reading adventures that Catherine Morland and Isabella Thorpe would have been delighted.

Prequel, sequel, re-telling or contemporary inspired:

  1. Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler
  2. Willoughby’s Return, by Jane Odiwe
  3. The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy, by Maya Slater
  4. Jane Austen Ruined my Life, by Beth Pattillo
  5. Mr. Darcy’s Dream, by Elizabeth Aston

Regency inspired:

  1. The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer
  2. The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, by Lauren Willig
  3. Ransome’s Honor, by Kaye Dacus

Nonfiction:

  1. Jane Austen: An Illustrated Treasury, by Rebecca Dickson
  2. A Truth Universally Acknowledged, edited by Susannah Carson
  3. Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen, by Jennifer Adams
  4. All Things Austen, by Kristin Olsen

Paranormal:

  1. Jane Bites Back, by Michael Thomas Ford
  2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
  3. Mr. Darcy Vampyre, by Amanda Grange

Debut authors:

  1. Monica Fairview – The Other Mr. Darcy
  2. Tracy Kiely – Murder at Longbourn
  3. Marilyn Brant – According to Jane
  4. Kathryn L. Nelson – Pemberley Manor
  5. Mandy Hubbard – Prada and Prejudice

Congrats to all of the author’s for a most entertaining and enjoyable year of reading, and I look forward to more great Austen inspired books in 2010.

Gentle Readers, I would love to hear which Austenesque books you enjoyed in 2009 and which new author really blew YOUR bonnet off, so please cast your vote. (multiple selections and write in nominations accepted)

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