Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl, edited by Christina Boyd, was released earlier this year. The fourth book in a series of five Jane Austen inspired anthologies, this edition contains a series of short stories inspired by Austen’s most famous heroine.
Like it’s predecessors, I loved this book. I could feel the presence of Austen’s voice and point of view as a writer, which in the world of fanfiction, is not always present. Balancing Austen’s original narrative and their vision of Elizabeth Bennet, the stories reminded me of why I continue to adore the novels of Jane Austen.
I absolutely recommend it.
P.S. The royalties from these anthologies go directly to Chawton House. I can’t think of a better way to give thanks to Jane Austen and to those who are keeping her legacy going.
But it was not always this way. It is thanks to the original members of the Jane Austen Society that Jane Austen is alive and well in our culture.
Coming out next Spring, The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner tells the story of the founding of the Jane Austen Society. Just after World War II, Chawton, the village where Austen wrote and/or revised her six novels is a sleepy little English town. There is a trickle of visitors to Chawton House, the ancestral home of Jane’s older brother, Edward Austen Knight, but not enough to call it a tourist attraction.
Through their love of their local celebrity, the original members of the Jane Austen Society are able to preserve the memory of Austen’s name and work for generations to come.
I really liked this book. Though the characters are fiction, they embody why Jane Austen is still one of the most popular authors today. The characters in this book are all different, but what brings them together is the love of Austen and the beloved fictional worlds that she created.
To be related to someone famous is both a blessing and a curse. One on hand, it opens doors. But on the other hand, there is a certain expectation because of one’s famous relation.
Caroline Jane Knight is the fifth great-grandniece of Jane Austen. She is the last descendant of the Austen/Knight family (she is directly descended from Edward Austen Knight, Jane’s brother who was adopted by wealthy and childless cousins) to reside in Chawton, the Knight family residence for centuries. In her new book, Jane & Me: My Austen Heritage, Caroline writes about what it was like to grow up in the home and the shadow of one of the world’s most respected authors.
Currently residing in Australia, Ms. Knight was not always comfortable with her heritage. But over time, she grew to accept and love that she comes from the Austen family.
I absolutely recommend it.
P.S. I recommend that you purchase the book if you can. For every book that is purchased, a small portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.