Although nothing can beat reading Jane's own novels, sometimes it's nice to read an 'Austenesque' story. These can be based on Jane's novels, a prequel or sequel to them, in the same kind of style... We can't say for sure what makes a story an Austenesque story, but what we can be sure of is that there are a lot to choose from! In this blog post, Meredith from Austenesque Reviews runs through her recent top ten Austenesque retellings.
While many Austenesque stories take place in the Regency era and many take place in modern times, there are a handful that are set somewhere in between. These stories take Jane Austen’s beloved characters and bring them to new time periods and/or settings. Sometimes these stories are referred to as ‘alternate universe,’ but I like to use the term – Retellings. Often times in these stories the setting feels like a character in and of itself. And I love seeing how authors immerse Jane Austen’s characters and the reader in these unique and diverse settings.
The amount of Austenesque Retellings (that are not modern-day retellings) published may be small, but many of them are such sensational reads I thought it would be fun to highlight my favorites!
Here are 10 fabulous Austenesque retellings that are so deserving of praise and recognition!* These lists are based only on the novels I have read and reviewed and are my top ten favourites. **These lists are subject to change.
***(in alphabetical order) 1932 Author: Karen M. Cox Type of Novel: Retelling, Mature Audiences My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars “Ms. Cox’s writing style is captivating and charming. I love the time period she chose, the new predicaments she gave the Bennet family, and the intrigue she created about Georgiana.” At the Edge of the Sea Author: Karen M. Cox Type of Novel: Retelling, Mature Audiences My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars “I was utterly charmed and enthralled by this novel! Having read the other two superb Austenesque novels by Karen Cox, I knew I could expect a high-caliber story rich with dynamic characters, intelligent insights, and evocative prose. At the Edge of the Sea is a poignant and expressive love story that should not be missed!” Darcy on the Hudson Author: Mary Simonsen Type of Novel: Retelling My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars “If you are looking for an Austenesque novel with just the right amount of historical content, Mary Simonsen is an author you simply must check out. Mary Simonsen has proven numerous times over that she is quite proficient when it comes to entwining history and Jane Austen! I can’t wait to see where and when she will take us next!” Darcy’s Hope: Beauty From Ashes (Great War Romance #1) Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey (Great War Romance #2) Author: Ginger Monette Type of Novel: Retelling My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (for both!) “I love so much of what the author began in this series – the beautifully constructed integration, the setting, the emotional journeys, the well-drawn characters. Well, Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey is just as well-written, action-packed, and emotionally turbulent as the first book. And once again, I found Ginger Monette’s premise and execution to be masterful” I Could Write a Book Author: Karen M. Cox Type of Novel: Retelling My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars “Perceptive and compelling, I Could Write a Book is a wonderful and worthy retelling of Jane Austen’s timeless tale. With eloquent style, grace, and insight Karen Cox has proven, once again, she can indeed ‘write a book!’” Longbourn’s Songbird Author: Beau North Type of Novel: Retelling, Mature Audiences My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars “Longbourn’s Songbird is a soulful and poignant Pride and Prejudice retelling that encompasses a much bigger story than Darcy and Elizabeth fighting and finding love. Emotive, deep, and sincere – this debut novel is well-deserving of all the praise and accolades it is receiving! I highly recommend!” Mr. Darcy’s Mail-Order Bride Author: J. Dawn King Type of Novel: Retelling My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars “Filled with rugged terrain, rough hardships, and rocky relationships – this unique and enthralling retelling of Pride and Prejudice is one that I thoroughly enjoyed! A perfect choice for readers who enjoy gripping western romance, and definitely my new favorite from J. Dawn King!” Pemberley Ranch Author: Jack Caldwell Type of Novel: Retelling, Mature Audiences My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars “I was enthralled by this remarkable and adventurous variation of Pride and Prejudice! I found it to be a spectacular integration of romance, war, history, adventure, and conflict. Not to mention a brilliant blend of Civil War prejudices and Jane Austen’s moral guidance. Mr. Caldwell is a skilled story-teller and his debut novel, Pemberley Ranch, is sure to entrance and excite lovers of history and the Old West.” Undeceived Author: Karen M. Cox Type of Novel: Retelling, Mature Audiences My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars “With her latest release, Karen Cox delivers an incredibly unique and riveting tale that brilliantly blends together action, high-stakes danger, espionage, history, and Jane Austen! I love the adventure and the time travel through history this story took me on! I cannot wait to see what Karen Cox writes next!” Undercover Author: Cat Gardiner Type of Novel: Retelling, Mature Audiences My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars “Communist schemes, sizzling chemistry, and solving crimes – Cat Gardiner’s Austen-Inspired noir mystery is an enthralling adventure that envelopes readers in the sights, sounds, and realities of another time and world. I loved the combination of intrigue, history, danger, and scorching-hot romance! Thank you, Ms. Gardiner for another supremely creative and engrossing tale!” What are some of your favorite Austenesque Retellings?
***Meredith is the blogger behind this wonderful post from Austenesque Reviews, shared with us with her kind permission. Austenesque Reviews was founded in 2009 as a blog devoted to the reading and reviewing the hordes of Austenesque13 novels that are recently published, as well as the ones that were published years ago.
Thank you, Jane Austen Centre, for reposting Meredith’s list of Top 10 Austen Retellings! It’s an honor to be in this caliber of authors and listed with such ardent fans of Jane. Austensque fiction at its finest is not an imitation of Miss Austen (as if that were even possible anyway, right?) but instead, its is a tribute to her genius and her ability to reach into our lives 200 years later and see ourselves in her characters. There has never been another writer like her – she was a literary pioneer, and an amazing mind!