Austenprose’s Best Austenesque & Historical Novels of 2021

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

Happy New Year’s Eve dear readers!

2021 proved to be a fabulous year in the historical book arena. From creative Austenesque variations, to Regency romances upending tropes, to reimagined gender-switched classics, to compelling historical fiction and mystery, we have been duly entertained and enchanted. A big thank you goes out to all of the authors and their publishers for keeping us supplied with so many stories to binge during these challenging times. Continue reading “Austenprose’s Best Austenesque & Historical Novels of 2021”

Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words, by Shannon Winslow — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

In a November 1814 letter to her niece, Jane Austen wrote that “nothing can be compared to the misery of being bound without love.” She had brilliantly illustrated her point with many unenviable couples in her novels serving as warnings of what her protagonists should strive to avoid. Likewise, readers found in her most famous story, Pride and Prejudice, a hero dutifully resigned to such misery and a heroine determined to evade it. Prolific Austenesque author Shannon Winslow explores that hero’s path from misery to love in her latest Pride and Prejudice adaptation, Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words. Continue reading “Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words, by Shannon Winslow — A Review”

Murder at Northanger Abbey: Sequel to Jane Austen’s Spoof on the Gothic Novel, by Shannon Winslow—A Review

Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow 2020From the desk of Sophia Rose:

Do you ever read a book and enjoy it to such an extent that your mind continues to dwell on the characters, and you imagine your own continuation of the story? If that story is Northanger Abbey, then it is no stretch to imagine that the heroine, Catherine Morland, must have her dream of living inside one of her delicious gothic novels fulfilled even while reveling in the happiness of being married to her Henry. Oh, not as the gullible young girl who conjured up ghouls and mystery where it did not exist, but a heroine worthy of adventure when the adventure finds her. If you perked up at this possibility, then, like me, dear reader, you are primed for Shannon Winslow’s Murder at Northanger Abbey. Continue reading “Murder at Northanger Abbey: Sequel to Jane Austen’s Spoof on the Gothic Novel, by Shannon Winslow—A Review”

Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley, by Shannon Winslow – A Review

Miss Georgiana of Pemberley, by Shannon Winslow (2015)From the desk of Lisa Galek:

Georgiana Darcy might be a minor character in Pride and Prejudice, but we know that she’ll go on to play a very important role in the lives of the future Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. As a resident of Pemberley, Georgiana’s daily life would have been intimately connected with the lives of her brother and sister-in-law. How would she have learned from them? How would she grow into a woman? Would she ever find her own true love? In Shannon Winslow’s book, Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley, all those questions are answered and more.

Our story begins about a year after the events of Pride and Prejudice. Georgiana Darcy is about to turn eighteen years old and lives at Pemberley with her brother and Continue reading “Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley, by Shannon Winslow – A Review”

Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley Book Launch with Author Shannon Winslow

Miss Georgiana of Pemberley - blog tour banner x 200 x 2Tuesdays are special days in the book world. They are the designated release days in publishing—and today is the debut of Austenesque author Shannon Winslow’s latest novel, Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley.

I am very pleased to welcome Shannon to Austenprose today in celebration of the release and official opening of her blog tour sponsored by her publisher Heather Ridge Arts. Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley is a new Austenesque novel told from the point of view of its eponymous heroine. The story parallels Winslow’s best-selling The Darcys of Pemberley.   

Shannon has generously offered a guest blog sharing her inspiration to write her new novel—and to add to the festivities—we will be offering an amazing selection of giveaway prizes. Just leave a comment following this blog post to enter. The contest details are listed below. Good luck to all.

Please join us in welcoming Shannon Winslow:

Thank you, Laurel Ann, for generously offering to host the launch of my new novel! I’m very excited to be here at Austenprose again and to share with your readers my inspiration for writing Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley.

After spending a very satisfying year in the world of Persuasion, researching and writing The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, I felt a strong pull to return to my first love: Pride and Prejudice. But what could I write Continue reading “Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley Book Launch with Author Shannon Winslow”

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley, by Shannon Winslow

It is my pleasure to introduce a new book by author Shannon Winslow to our readers today. Writer of several popular Austenesque novels, Shannon will be releasing Miss Georgian Darcy of Pemberley on July 21, 2015.

A companion novel to her best-selling The Darcys of Pemberley, the story is told from the point of view of Mr. Darcy’s little sister Georgiana and parallels the events we experienced in the first novel. Here for your enjoyment is a preview and exclusive excerpt.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

What’s Georgiana Darcy’s story? Jane Austen tells us so little in Pride and Prejudice that we’re left to wonder. How did the early loss of her parents shape Miss Darcy’s character? And what about her near-disastrous affair with Mr. Wickham? Is that the true source of her shyness? She adores her brother and his new wife Elizabeth, but will their guiding influence be enough to steer Georgiana clear of new trouble as she comes of age and falls in love again? Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley, by Shannon Winslow”

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

The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, by Shannon Winslow (2014)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 previous works, The Darcys of Pemberley and Return to Longbourn. So, without any more fanfare, I eagerly began reading.

The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen is based on the premise that Austen had her own object of affection: a sea captain by the name of Philippe Devereaux. Introduced to the Captain by her cousin Eliza at her wedding Continue reading “The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen: A Novel, by Shannon Winslow – A Review “

Book Launch with The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, by Author Shannon Winslow 

I am very pleased to welcome author Shannon Winslow to Austenprose today to officially open her virtual book launch party and blog tour of The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, published today by Heather Ridge Arts.

This new Austenesque novel is a fascinating combination of fact and fiction, exploring Jane Austen’s unknown personal journal— revealing her secret romance with a Royal Navy officer, Captain Devereaux, who was the inspiration for her final novel, Persuasion.

Shannon has generously offered a guest blog sharing her inspiration to write her new novel.

BOOK DESCRIPTION 

For every fan who has wished Jane Austen herself might have enjoyed the romance and happy ending she so carefully crafted for all her heroines: The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, by Shannon Winslow.

What if the tale Jane Austen told in her last, most poignant novel was inspired by momentous events in her own life? Did she in fact intend Persuasion to stand forever in homage to her one true love? While creating Persuasion, Jane Austen also kept a private journal in which she recorded the story behind the story, her real-life romance with a navy captain of her own. The parallel could only go so far, however. As author of her characters’ lives, but not her own, Jane Austen made sure to fashion a second chance and happy ending for Anne and Captain Wentworth. Then, with her novel complete and her health failing, she prepared her simple will and resigned herself to never seeing the love of her life again. Yet fate, it seems, wasn’t quite finished with her. Nor was Captain Devereaux. The official record says that Jane Austen died at 41, having never been married. But what if that’s only what she wanted people to believe? It’s time she, through her own private journal, revealed the rest of her story.

GUEST BLOG

What inspired me to write The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen?

I can’t quite put my finger on when the concept for this book first occurred to me. It was more of a slowly germinating seed rather than a bolt out of the blue, something that needed to ruminate in my brain a while before emerging onto the page. But this will give you an idea how my thoughts about the book evolved.

First, I am no different than any other fan. Which of us hasn’t at some point wished Jane Austen had met with a better fate? She, who has given pleasure to countless thousands through her novels, surely deserved to have experienced the same romance and happy ending she carefully crafted for each of her heroines. That’s what motivated me.

But perhaps there was more to her story than is generally known, I considered. Since most authors draw heavily from people and situations in their own lives, it didn’t seem unreasonable to me that Jane Austen had more real-life experience in the field of romance than the official record suggests—obviously, not a married-her-sweetheart-at-twenty-and-lived-happily-ever-after kind of affair. But what about a bitter-sweet romance marked by grand passion, misfortune, and long separation? That would be a better fit. Perhaps, something on the order of her novel Persuasion.

Persuasion by Jane Austen banner

Ah, Persuasion—her last and most poignant novel. Yes, that was the model! A young couple falls rapidly and deeply in love. They are soon cruelly parted again, however – so soon that few people, even in their own families, ever know about it. When fate brings the two together again, years later, it should be their second chance at happiness. But pride and resentment get in the way, keeping them estranged. Only surprising, near-miraculous events serve to reunite them in the end.

So, Persuasion became the basis for my novel about Jane Austen’s secret romance.

No. It’s the other way round, really, for it’s my contention that Jane’s secret romance with a navy captain of her own actually inspired her to write Persuasion in the first place. Doing so allowed her to pay public homage to the man who was the love of her life, whilst at the same time keeping their true story strictly private in a journal she wrote alongside the novel. The two run parallel, the events of one reflected in the other, and together forming a fuller picture then either one alone… which reminds me of a passage in The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen. Jane, having just completed the novel and her journal, writes:

These two now lie alongside one another before me. Their pages are written in the same hand. Their stories merge as almost to form one body. Indeed, they are so fiercely intertwined as to be impossible to cleanly divide. When one is wounded, does not the other bleed? 

But why the secrecy, you ask? If Jane Austen truly lived and loved more largely than we’ve been led to believe, why did she and her family keep the story so tightly under wraps? That was the difficult puzzle I had to solve before I could even begin. Then it all became clear. But it’s Jane’s secret, and I’d best leave it for her to explain in her own way and her own time. She begins her personal journal by writing…

What people may hereafter say about my life, I cannot control. My biographers, if any, must do the best they can with the sources available to them. It is necessary that this, my own account, shall remain for some time to come concealed from their eyes. For now, the story belongs to me alone – to me and to that one other.

And so it has remained for nearly two hundred years, until there is no longer any need for concealment. This new novel represents Jane Austen’s account of her life-long romance with a gentleman by the name of Captain Devereaux.

Captain Peter Parker (1785-1814) by John Hoppner

Captain Peter Parker (1785-1814), by John Hoppner

So what makes this different from other books, delightful novels that have portrayed augmentations to the famous authoress’ love life before? I took it one audacious step further. I wasn’t content with Jane finding romance. I desperately wanted it all for her, including the happy ending. I didn’t know if it would be possible, but that was my goal at the outset—to find a plausible and more pleasing alternative outcome for her, something that would fit within the framework of what we know (or think we know) about her life.

You can decide for yourself if I have succeeded, but I shall be satisfied thinking Jane Austen might have approved—of my motives at the very least. Borrowing a phrase from the end of the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan, I mean it as a final act of kindness to her, in partial repayment for all she has done for me.

AUTHOR BIO

Author Shannon Winslow (2013) Shannon Winslow specializes in fiction for fans of Jane Austen. Her popular debut novel, The Darcys of Pemberley, immediately established her place in the genre, being particularly praised for the author’s authentic Austenesque style and faithfulness to the original characters. For Myself Alone(a stand-alone Austen-inspired story) followed. Then last year Return to Longbourn wrapped up Winslow’s Pride and Prejudice saga, forming a trilogy when added to the original novel and her previous sequel. Now she has given us a “what if” story starring Jane Austen herself. In The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, that famous author tells her own tale of lost love, second chances, and finding her happy ending.

Her two sons grown, Ms. Winslow lives with her husband in the log home they built in the countryside south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio facing Mt. Rainier. Learn more at Shannon’s website/blog (www.shannonwinslow.com). Follow her on Twitter (as JaneAustenSays) and on Facebook.

TOUR SCHEDULE

Read an exclusive excerpt of The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen

The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen: A Novel, by Shannon Winslow
Heather Ridge Arts (2014)
Trade paperback (266) pages
ISBN: 978-1500624736

Cover image courtesy of Heather Ridge Arts © 2014; text Shannon Winslow © 2014, Austenprose.com

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen: A Novel, by Shannon Winslow

The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, by Shannon Winslow (2014)We are very happy to share the exciting news of the upcoming publication of Shannon Winslow’s next book, The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, to be released on August 11, 2014.

Those who are familiar with her bestselling The Darcy’s of Pemberley and Return to Longbourn will be thrilled to learn about this new “what if” story focusing on Jane Austen’s personal inspiration to write her final novel, Persuasion. Here is a brief preview and exclusive excerpt to peak your curiosity.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

For every fan who has wished Jane Austen herself might have enjoyed the romance and happy ending she so Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen: A Novel, by Shannon Winslow”

Return to Longbourn: The Next Chapter in the Continuing Story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, by Shannon Winslow – A Review

Image of the book cover of Return to Longbourn, by Shannon Winslow (2013) © Heather Ridge Arts 2013From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder: 

Ever since Shannon Winslow debuted with The Darcys of Pemberley (DoP) in 2011, she’s been an Austen fan-fiction author that I’ve kept on my radar. In the two years since she published DoP I’ve not only read everything else she’s written, For Myself Alone (2012) and Mr. Collins’s Last Supper (2012), but have shared countless conversations with her about life, Austen, and everything in between. She is a woman that truly understands people and deep feelings. It’s easy to understand this without knowing her when you read her latest novel Return to Longbourn. The depth of feeling that the characters go through by the end of the novel is nothing short of astounding.

Mary Bennet is happily ensconced at Netherfield Park as the governess for the Farnsworth family. All is well in her life until her father suddenly passes away. Back at home in mourning with her family she realizes how alone she feels. Her sisters Elizabeth and Jane have their husbands to turn to, while Kitty has Lydia. She feels that her only value is to remain stoic and take care of the household while the rest of her sisters fall apart emotionally. It’s this event that triggers a sudden heaviness in her life. When it’s announced that her cousin Tristan Collins (the heir to Longbourn) will be notified of Mr. Bennet’s death, well, that’s when her life turns a bit hectic. Mrs. Bennet announces her plan to have Kitty marry Mr. Collins so that they can remain at Longbourn, while Kitty confides to Mary that she is planning her escape to Pemberley. Mary understands Kitty’s reluctance to enter a marriage without love and agrees to keep their new cousin occupied until Kitty is summoned back to Longbourn. Much to everyone’s surprise, Tristan Collins arrives and is the complete opposite of his odious older brother William in every way. Mary feels herself beginning to fall in love with him and internally questions her decision to live her life without the love of a man. Add to all of this the bipolar friendship she maintains with her employer, the widowed Mr. Farnsworth, and you have the makings of much soul searching. Will Mr. Collins return her feelings? How will Mr. Farnsworth deal with her possible leaving Netherfield Park?

Upon first glance, many readers will find this to be a story about love, and in some aspects, redemption.  The deeper, more beautiful story to take away from this novel is that of a young woman trying desperately to find her place in a world where she begins to feel valueless. Winslow’s Mary (and Austen’s too) is a stoic individual, not much taken with the fancies of romance, men, balls, or fine clothes. She much prefers to toil her hours away with books and reading. She can at times be a woman of unyielding character, but deep down past this hardened exterior is a woman just like any other. She wants to have a purpose, she wants friendship, and yes, she even longs for love. In Return to Longbourn, we see a Mary who is beginning to question the way she has lived her life emotionally. Add to that the grief from her father’s death and the relationships of her sisters and brothers-in-law, and you find a very lost woman indeed. All of this coupled together makes Mary a very relatable character. For who among us can claim to never have felt lost in their own skin and unable to make sense of a multitude of new and unusual emotions? Continue reading “Return to Longbourn: The Next Chapter in the Continuing Story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, by Shannon Winslow – A Review”

Return to Longbourn Book Tour with Author Shannon Winslow

Return to Longbourn, by Shannon Winslow (2013)It is always a red letter day when one of my favorite Austenesque authors releases a new book – so I am so pleased to share this guest blog with you today from Shannon Winslow. Her new “darling child” has arrived and it is a treat.

Return to Longbourn is her second installment after her popular The Darcys of Pemberley was published in 2011. Please help me welcome Shannon by leaving a comment to enter a chance to win one of three copies of her new novel available.

GUEST BLOG

Thanks, Laurel, for having me here today. It’s always a pleasure to visit Austenprose, especially when I have a new story to share! Continue reading “Return to Longbourn Book Tour with Author Shannon Winslow”

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Return to Longbourn, by Shannon Winslow

Return to Longbourn, by Shannon Winslow (2013)Good morning, readers. Here is a special treat for you today. Author Shannon Winslow has graciously offered an exclusive sneak peek to Austenprose readers of an excerpt of her new Austen-inspired novel, Return to Longbourn, which releases on February 26th.

I have had the pleasure of reading an advance copy and I can share that Shannon is in peak form channeling Jane Austen characters and creating new ones too. This new sequel to her popular The Darcys of Pemberley is sure to please her many fans.

The passage that she has chosen for us also includes a letter from one Tristan Collins, the heir to Longbourn, the estate of the Bennet family in Pride and Prejudice. Some of you might recognize similarities in phrase and tone to his elder brother Mr. William Collins whose unexpected demise in The Darcys of Pemberley made Tristan the heir to the Longourn estate.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

“Now you shall see why I am in such a flutter,” Kitty said. She drew a packet of paper from her pocket and held it out to Mary…“It is from the heir to Longbourn – Mr. Tristan Collins! He has written from America, and it is a great secret because Mama has not yet read it. Nor must she! …Kitty held up a hand to forestall the anticipated protest. “I know you will say that I should not have taken it. But before you quote me a sermon, read the letter yourself and hear my proposal. Then, on the grounds of sisterly loyalty, you must come to my aid, else before Michaelmas Mama will have me engaged to this stranger and forever miserable.”

Mary looked grave, and yet she opened the letter.

Dear Madam,

I feel myself called upon by our relationship to condole with you on the grievous affliction you are now suffering under, of which I was only yesterday informed by a letter from your solicitor in London. I pray you will forgive me for introducing myself to your notice at this difficult time, and that you will not think my sympathy any less genuine for the awkwardness of our situation. I write chiefly to reassure you that I am very sensible of the severity of your loss, and that I mean to in no way add to your misery where it can be helped. Therefore, although I propose myself the satisfaction of coming to you without delay, I do not anticipate any need for you to vacate your comfortable abode at once. I ask only that you allow me to be a guest therein whilst we sort out between us what is best to be done… My intention is to follow this letter as soon as I am able to settle my business affairs, and I hope to arrive within three weeks of your receipt of the same. Until then, please convey my respectful compliments to all your family.

Tristan Collins, esquire

“Well? What do you think of it?” Kitty demanded.

“I think it is a very good letter – well composed and clearly expressed.”

“Is that all you can say on the subject?” cried Kitty in exasperation. “How can you be so tiresome, Mary?”

“Very well, then. Let me look again.”

Mary’s second appraisal was more comprehensive and more gratifying to her sister’s feelings.

“The content reveals nothing so very remarkable. It was always to be expected that he would come to inspect his property. This is only a little sooner than anticipated. As to the style of the letter, I must say that I am pleased with it. His generous sentiments do him credit, and they are elegantly conveyed.” Mary took a moment to consider before adding one more point. “There is a certain something in his way of expressing himself, however. It is rather reminiscent of a person we used to know.”

“Exactly! I can see this Mr. Tristan Collins now,” said Kitty, evincing horror at the specter before her mind’s eye. “The man is his brother to the very core, and he will be here in less than a month!”

AUTHOR BIO

Author Shannon Winslow (2011) Shannon Winslow, her two sons now grown, devotes much of her time to her diverse interests in music, literature, and the visual arts – writing claiming the lion’s share of her creative energies in recent years.

In addition to three short stories (one a finalist in the Jane Austen Made Me Do It contest), Ms. Winslow has published two novels to date. The Darcys of Pemberley, a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, was her debut. For Myself Alone, a stand-alone Austenesque story, now follows. Her third novel Return to Longbourn is the next installment of her Pride and Prejudice series.

Shannon lives with her husband in the log home they built in the countryside south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio facing Mt. Rainier. Visit Shannon at her website/blog Shannon Winslow’s Jane Austen Says, follow her on Twitter as @JaneAustenSays, and on Facebook as Shannon Winslow.

© 2013, Shannon Winslow, Austenprose

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