Tag Archives: Jane Austen Fanfiction

By the Book: A Novel Book Review

Among the Janeite community, Persuasion regularly lands on the top spot or near the top spot when it comes to ranking Jane Austen‘s six published novels. The story of love, loss and second chances has resonated with readers for more than 200 years for a reason.

By the Book: A Novel was published last year.  Written by Julie Sonneborn, the novels follows the story of Anne Corey. Anne has a lot on her plate: a book to write to ensure tenure at the university where she is employed, her aging father whose health is fading and a new boyfriend who is her college’s the writer-in-residence. The last thing she wants or needs is her ex-fiance, Adam Martinez. Recently hired as the new President of her college, Adam’s presence is a reminder of what was and what may never be again.

Anne is trying to focus on what she needs to do, but Adam’s constant presence brings up old feelings. Will Anne and Adam have a second chance at love or is their relationship fated to be referred to as past tense?

I really enjoyed this novel. Ms. Sonneborn successfully marries Persuasion with the modern world. Anne Corey is still Anne Elliot and Adam Martinez is still Frederick Wentworth. From my perspective, the best thing about this book was that I knew what was coming in terms of the narrative, but I was still surprised by the end of the story.

I recommend it.

 

 

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Fanfiction, Jane Austen, Persuasion

Rational Creatures Book Review

When it comes to creating well written fanfiction, a good writer knows how to balance their narrative and their voice with the narrative and voice of the original work.

Christina Boyd’s new Jane Austen inspired anthology, Rational Creatures, was published back in October. Containing 16 new stories from well-respected JAFF (Jane Austen Fanfiction) writers, the focus of the stories of Austen’s female characters. The question that each story asks is if the heroines are the standard romantic heroines or strong, capable women who are able stand on their two feet in spite of the era that they live in?

I’ve been a fan of Ms. Boyd for the last few years, I enjoyed her previous anthologies, The Darcy Monologues and Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues. This book is well written and an easy read. I would caution, however, that this book is not for the newbie Jane Austen fan. It requires a level of knowledge that comes with multiple readings of Austen’s work and a deep knowledge of the fictional worlds that she created.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Emma, Fanfiction, Jane Eyre, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility

Holidays with Jane: Summer of Love Book Review

One of my favorite aspects when it comes to Jane Austen’s novels is that her stories still ring true to readers in the early 21st century as  much as they did in early 19th century. This has led to the explosion of Jane Austen fanfiction, for better or for worse.

In 2016, Holidays with Jane: Summer of Love, was published. Each of her six completed novels is condensed into modern short stories that are set in and around summertime and summer vacation. I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because I felt like the writers achieved the delicate balance of being true to Jane’s novels while letting the modern version of the characters shine.

I recommend it.

 

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Emma, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility

Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility Book Review

When rewriting a classic novel for the modern age, it takes more than merely transplanting the narratives and characters from one era to another. It is the writer’s job to ensure that the emotions of both the characters and the reader is equally transplanted.

In the Sense and Sensibility reboot, Jane if Austin: A Novel, by Hillary Manton Lodge, the Woodward sisters Jane, Celia and Margot have dealt with quite a few upheavals in their lives. First their mother dies in a car accident. Then their father is accused of a business scandal. Jane and Celia must take care of themselves and Margot, who is a few years behind her elder sisters. A few years after they have rebuilt their lives, the upheaval happens again. When the rent is raised on their tea shop in San Francisco, the sisters find a new home in Austin.

While temporarily living with a cousin, the sisters have their fair share of issues with their love lives. Celia’s relationship with Teddy ended just before she and her sisters left for Austin. Jane is infatuated with Sean Willis, an up and coming musician. Meanwhile Captain Callum Beckett, a retired Marine is watching Jane from afar while dealing with his own past.

In terms of Jane Austen fanfiction, this one is well done and extremely enjoyable. While it was still Sense and Sensibility, I felt like the author was able to weave her own voice in the story as well.

I recommend it.

 

 

 

 

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The Darcys: New Pleasures Book Review

The fanfiction genre is a genre that has never gone out of fashion. Readers and writers are always eager to know what has happened to their favorite characters after the original book ends.

The Darcys: New Pleasures is the third sequel of a series of Pride and Prejudice fanfictions by writer Linda Berdoll.  It’s been 25 years since Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy repeated their marriage vows. Their children are now young adults and going through everything that young adults go through. The problem is that Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, like all parents of children who are of similar ages, can’t exactly reconcile that their children are on the way to growing up. While this is happening, Elizabeth is dealing with a thorny medical issue and their son, to his father’s chagrin, is not only crushing on a village girl, but spending his time with his uncle Wickham’s son, who is becoming more like his father everyday.

I wanted to like this book, I really did. Taking Mr. and Mrs. Darcy 25 years into the future was an interesting choice for Ms. Berdoll to take as a writer. I also liked her previous books in the series. I can’t put my finger on it, but for some reason this book didn’t do it for me, as much as I hoped it would.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Mr. Darcy’s Proposal Book Review

Proposing to one’s (hopeful) future spouse is never easy. The question is, how does one frame the proposal? Does one try to convey the unending love and respect that one has for their beloved or does one use their income and societal status as temptation while basically insulting the one they love? In Pride And Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth Bennet is unfortunately the latter.

Writer and Janeite Susan Mason-Milks imagines a different narrative for the second half of Pride and Prejudice in Mr. Darcy’s Proposal. Just before Mr. Darcy is to propose to Elizabeth while she is staying with Mr. and Mrs. Collins in Huntsford, she receives a letter from home. Her father is extremely ill and may not be long for this world. Knowing full well that her cousin and her father’s heir, Mr. Collins may turn her, her mother and her sisters out of Longbourn as soon as her father is cold in his grave, Elizabeth accepts Mr. Darcy’s proposal.

While Mr. Darcy is thoroughly in love with his bride to be, Elizabeth initially sees this marriage as a marriage of convenience. She respects him and acknowledges that he is an honorable man, but she is not in love with him. Will this marriage become one for the ages or will it be in name only?

I wanted to like this book, I truly did. The initial chapters were fine. But then, the editor in me started to speak up. When I am reading a book, I don’t want to be thinking about the writing and editing choices that I would have made. I want to just enjoy what I am reading. That in a nutshell, is the problem with this book.

Do I recommend it? Maybe not.

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Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice Book Review

Jane Austen’s novels are full of plots and characters that we are all very familiar with. That being said, it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to see why many writers over the years have tried to put their own spin on Pride and Prejudice. However that does not mean that every Pride and Prejudice fanfiction or reboot holds up to the original text.

The newest Pride and Prejudice reboot is Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld. 

Taken out of early 19th century rural England, this adaptation of Jane Austen’s most famous novel takes place in modern-day Cincinnati.  Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are still the parents of five daughters. But instead of living on a small estate in Hertfordshire, they live in a dilapidated mansion. Elder sisters Jane and Liz, 40 and 38 respectively, live in New York City, away from the tumult, drama and chaos that is the Bennet household. Younger sisters, Mary, Kitty and Lydia, all in their 20’s still live at home and are happy to live under their parent’s roof.

Enter Chip Bingley, Ms. Sittenfeld’s answer to Charles Bingley.  Chip has two very good things going for him: he is a doctor (meaning in Mrs. Bennet’s eyes, he must be waiting to marry one her daughters) and he starred in Eligible, a Bachelor like reality show.  New to town, Chip is holding a Fourth Of July Barbecue to get to know his new neighbors. Joining Chip is his good friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy. Chip and Jane hit it off immediately, but Liz and Fitzwilliam are more apt to have a verbal battle than play tonsil hockey.

I will be honest. I wanted to like this book. I wanted to like it because I adore Pride and Prejudice.

I didn’t like it. There were parts of the novel that were slow and almost made me put the book down altogether before I finished it. My main problem is that while Ms. Sittenfeld was able to translate Pride and Prejudice to a modern setting, I lost Austen’s voice and the certain quality that is only contained within an Austen novel.

Do I recommend it? Sadly no.

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Twenty One Years

It has been a very long time since I published my last fanfiction. Reviews are welcomed and appreciated.  Thank you to my friend (who shall remain nameless on the blog, but she knows who she is), who beta read the story.

*The only characters that are not mine are Marianne and Christopher Brandon. The rest I have created.

*In honor of the late Alan Rickman. Twenty one years ago, he stole our hearts as Colonel Brandon, and never gave them back to us.

Twenty One Years

Mrs. Marianne Brandon sat in her drawing room, trying not to imagine the worst. She tried to concentrate on the book, but her mind kept going back to her husband.

Two days ago, her husband, Colonel Christopher Brandon, was inspecting a tenant’s roof after a storm when he suddenly collapsed. After he was brought back to Barton Park, he lay in state between life and death.

An hour ago, Mr. Jenkins arrived to re-examine Christopher. Having examined Christopher just after he arrived at Barton Park unconscious, Mr. Jenkins returned as promised to check on the patient.

“Colonel Brandon is awake, Madam,” Andrews, the butler announced at the door away.

“Thank you, Andrews. Has Mr. Jenkins completed his examination?” Marianne asked.

“I believe he has”.

“Thank you, Andrews.” Retuning the book to the shelf, Marianne tried appear collected as she walked upstairs.

“Madam, may I have a word with you?” Dr. Jenkins asked, walked out of the bedroom.

“Of course”.

“Madam, I wish I could tell you that Colonel Brandon will recover. I can only advise you to make him comfortable and pray for an easy passing.” the doctor said solemnly.

“Thank you, Mr. Jenkins. Andrews will show you out.” The doctor disappeared down the stairs.

“Mama, is Papa dying?” Before Marianne could turn her attention to her husband, their daughter Mary, ran to her mother’s arms. At the age of 10, Mary was the youngest of her four children and a miniature of her father.

“Why don’t you go downstairs and play something for your father? Leave the door open so he can hear.” Marianne encouraged.

“Yes, Mama.”

“What did Mr. Jenkins say? Will I live forever?” Christopher asked as she entered their bedroom and sat down beside her husband. The music from the pianoforte flowed throughout the home, reaching the bedroom.

The look in Marianne’s eyes spoke volumes.

“I am sorry, my love, that I am not immortal. For you, I would become immortal.” Tangling her fingers through his, Christopher’s eyes never left Marianne’s.

Silently, Marianne climbed into their bed, letting her husband’s warmth comfort her.

“I love you.” Marianne said quietly.

“Till the day I die, my dearest Marianne.”

A week later, Colonel Christopher Brandon closed his eyes for the final time. For the last twenty-one years, Marianne Brandon had lived with the love of her life and the father of her children.

Now Christopher was gone, and it was up to her keep his legacy and their love going.

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Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife Book Review

It is universally acknowledged that Jane Austen never married during her lifetime and ended her stories with the traditional happily ever after. It is therefore, in the eye and the imagination of the reader to create the post cannon life of her characters, in and out of the bedroom.

Inspired by the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, Linda Berdoll continues on with the story of Pride and Prejudice. Over the course of approximately 10 years and three books, starting with Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife , Ms. Berdoll imagines what the married life of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy would look like.

The responses to her books have been mixed. I know some of my fellow Janeites did not like her books. But for me, I enjoyed them. The writer in me has sometimes asked about the lives of the characters after the wedding vows are complete. Ms. Berdoll answers that question in a way that, for the most part, is true to the characters as we know them. I will be blunt that it is at the end of the day, a fanfiction. A published fanfiction, but a fanfiction nevertheless.

Would I recommend it and did I enjoy it? I would recommend it and I did enjoy it, but that does not mean that this book and the two sequels that follow are everyone’s cup of tea.

 

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Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star Review

Jane Austen, like many writers, had a formula to her storytelling. The ending was a happy ending, the conclusion was marriage. But that’s where the story ends. The rules of her era dictated that a respectable unmarried woman did not know the pleasures of the bedroom.

So, what does a Janeite writing a fanfiction do when s/he wishes to know the bedroom life of their favorite Austen couple?

They make it up.

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Lynn Rigaud, transports Pride and Prejudice from rural 19th century England to modern day. Instead of being a wealthy land owner, Fitzwilliam Darcy is the front man for Slurry, one of the biggest bands in the world. The Slurry lineup is completed with Charles Bingley and his cousin, Richard Fitzwilliam.  Longbourne Suffering, a band looking for their big break has Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Bennet on vocals while Charlotte Lucas plays the drums. Slurry has lost the opening act again and needs a new opening act.  What they do not is that the summer that Longbourne Suffering opens for Slurry will change their lives forever.

Is this the best Austen fanfiction that I’ve ever read? No. It’s a little on the cheesy side. The sex scenes are sort of robotic.  It’s the kind of book I would pack when I am going on a long trip and  I need to do something to kill time.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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