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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Favorite Jane Austen Sequels {Five Favorites}

I love Jane Austen's novels. Unfortunately, Jane Austen only wrote six major novels before she died at the young age of  41 years old. Several years ago, a few friends and I were having a discussion about Jane Austen's novels, and one of my friends mentioned a sequel she had recently read about Pride and Prejudice. I did not know that there were sequels to Jane Austen's novels. Today, you can find enough prequels, sequels, and adaptations to keep you reading for years, but you have to be careful because they range from very steamy and somewhat scandalous to fantasy and the supernatural. At my last counting, I have read 20 books that have either continued her novels, reworked them in some way, or have storylines where Jane Austen is the main character. And I have many left on my wish list to read.



There are six books in my list, but I consider two of them to be part of a set; therefore, I count them as one.





1. My favorite Pride and Prejudice sequel is Illusions and Ignorance: Mary Bennet's Story, written by Eucharista Ward. Since I first read this book, the book has a new title and cover. It is now titled A Match for Mary Bennet: Can a serious young lady ever find her way to love? The author, Eucharista Ward, was unhappy with sequels to Pride and Prejudice. She felt that several authors ignored Jane Austen's final chapter hints and in some cases completely contradicted her, so she set about writing this sequel in her free time. I think Ms. Ward did an excellent job in continuing where Austen left off. Mary develops from a boring and somewhat judgmental girl to a woman with a more mature understanding of love and the world around her. Most of the original characters of Pride and Prejudice return and a few new characters add a bit of mystery and intrigue to the story. At times, it is a bit slow, but not so much that it ruins the overall feeling of the story. There are many references to faith and Christianity, but I think that follows right along with the impression that Jane Austen intended her readers to have of Mary Bennet. I enjoyed this story. So far, I have read it two times, and I am sure I will read it again in the future.


2. Jane Dawkins manages to write two moderately entertaining Pride and Prejudice sequels with Letters from Pemberley: The First Year (Pride & Prejudice Continues) and  More Letters from Pemberley . In both books, Elizabeth shares her joys and fears as the new Mrs. Darcy, reports on the current situations of many of her family members and friends, and describes her everyday life at Pemberley in letters she writes to her sister, Jane. Also, the author incorporates several characters from other Austen books under different names or with vague descriptions. Overall, the books are simple, sweet, and quick to read.


3. Darcy and Anne: It is a truth universally acknowledged that Lady Catherine will never find a husband for Anne... is written by Judith Brocklehurst. Due to an unforeseen accident, Miss Anne de Bourgh finds herself separated from her mother and a guest at Pemberley. With Darcy and Elizabeth's attention and kindness, Anne starts to come out of the box that her overbearing mother, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, has forced her into. On her own, she learns to trust herself and to enjoy her newly found freedom. Will Anne find true love? Or will Lady Catherine show up and ruin everything? Darcy and Anne is fun and unpretentious. The changes to Miss Anne de Bourgh make her interesting without totally changing her from the woman that Jane Austen intended her to be. Also, there is a silly little twist at the end involving Lady Catherine that is not quite believable, but it is entertaining. This book is everything I like a Jane Austen sequel to be.


4. Mr. Knightley's Diary is a retelling of Jane Austen's Emma through Mr. Knightley's private thoughts. Amanda Grange does a good job of staying true to Jane Austen's novel while allowing us to get to know Mr Knightley more intimately. As a bonus, she introduces a charming new character and adds another happy union to a story that already had so many. My Knightley's Diary is a quick and enjoyable read, a perfect little story for lazy summer days.


5. A Darcy Christmas is fun to read during the holiday season. It is a compilation of three novellas that revolve around Christmas festivities. I have read it every year during the Christmas season for the last several years. 



Linking up at Call Her Happy for 5 Favorites

4 comments:

  1. A Darcy Christmas all loaded on the Kindle and ready for the next snowy day (preferably before Christmas)... LOVED this post, had NO idea such joy existed!!! (the geeky English major in me just did a backflip - the old lady in me now needs a nap)!!

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  2. I am excited to read some of these. I read "Death at Pemberly" and thought it was just okay. Have you read it? What did you think?

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  3. I hope you enjoy it! I always remind myself that the books won't be as good as Jane Austen' s novels before I start reading a new one. Some of them are just awful, but I definitely enjoyed the ones on my list.

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  4. I have not read the one, Emily. Isn't that the one that was recently made into a miniseries for Masterpiece Theatre? I watched it and only mildly enjoyed it.

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