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What to read after Jane Austen

I Love Jane Austen

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Edited: Feb 10, 2009, 9:32pm Top

There was an interesting article in the Globe & Mail last weekend titled "So, Who's the Next Jane Austen?" This article is for those who are looking for an alternative to "rereading Emma for the 32nd time."

Turns out the suggestions are not new authors, but pre-Austen authors who influenced her.

Edited to delete the link, as it has expired. The full article is now below in post #9.

Jan 27, 2009, 3:25pm Top

Here are some of the suggestions from the article:

Eliza Haywood, including Love in Excess, 1719
Charlotte Lennox, Harriot Stuart, 1750 & The Female Quixote, 1752
Ann Radcliffe, including Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794
Frances Burney, Elvina, 1778, and others

Jan 27, 2009, 3:49pm Top

this is such a coincidence. A friend showed me this article yesterday but I didn't note the paper and I wanted to read it in depth. Thank you :)

Jan 27, 2009, 4:25pm Top

Nice article. Thanks for posting!

Feb 9, 2009, 3:38pm Top

That post was great, thanks!

I've just finished reading Fanny Burney's Evelina and, although it has been a nice and enlightening reading I've found it lacking Austen's wit. I think I'll give a try to the some of the others.

Feb 9, 2009, 5:57pm Top

>1 Nickelini:, "Turns out the suggestions are not new authors, but pre-Austen authors who influenced her."

Thank God. When I saw the title of the article, I figured we were going to be subjected to a truly horrible list. Like when every new young Hollywood actress is suddenly compared to Audrey Hepburn.

>2 Nickelini:, Thanks also for posting some of the suggestions. I was sad when I couldn't read the article.

Feb 9, 2009, 11:07pm Top

#6 - Like when every new young Hollywood actress is suddenly compared to Audrey Hepburn.

Oh, as a major Audrey Hepburn fan, that one really makes me nuts. No, sorry, Julia Roberts is NOT Audrey Hepburn. At all. She's Julia Roberts, actually.

Fanny, tell me why you couldn't read the article. Did you get an error message, or was the link broken, or no longer there? Maybe I can get it to you somehow. I always hesitate to post links from newspapers because I know not everyone can read them. But I'm sure I can get it for you. Or do you have access to a university library website?

Let me know and I'll help you get it.

Feb 10, 2009, 8:54pm Top

>7 Nickelini:, Nickelini - It said I needed a subscription to access the full article. No big deal, a lot of sites are like that! :)

Feb 10, 2009, 9:30pm Top

Thanks for letting me know, Fanny. It seems that the articles are only available for free online for a limited time and then you have to pay for them (miffs me, because I subscribe to the paper already). Anyway, I found it on Lexis-Nexis and I'll copy it here:

So, who's the next Jane Austen?;
Nobody can be as witty and elegant as Austen, Susan Catto says, but here are four authors who provide a nice alternative to rereading Emma for the 32nd time

BYLINE: Susan Catto


LENGTH: 1412 words

Jane Austen fans, it's time to widen your horizons. Austen's novels and her life story have inspired almost 30 movies and miniseries in the past two decades, and many readers think of her books as cherished old friends, revisiting them again and again. Still, Austen wrote just six novels in her too-short life (she died at 41 in 1817), and it's possible that screenwriters - not to mention avid readers - have finally exhausted the material she left behind. Even the once-thriving genre of Austen pastiche (including "sequels" that picked up where her novels left off as well as homages such as Bridget Jones's Diary) appears to have played itself out. The recent miniseries Lost in Austen, for example, aired to disappointing ratings in Britain and hardly registered with North American audiences.

So where can devotees turn to find other clever books about love and courtship set in a pre-Victorian milieu of balls, bankruptcies and social stratification?

They can look to the writers whose books were beloved by Jane Austen herself, the early women novelists who laid the groundwork, both stylistically and socially, for Austen's achievement. These 18th-century authors were blending satire and sentiment before Austen ever put pen to paper, and their personal lives - invariably more dramatic than Austen's - would appear positively racy if given the Hollywood treatment.

Austen paid homage to some of these writers in her own novels, borrowing character names, plot contrivances and (in the case of Northanger Abbey) the entire premise of her book. And who are we to argue with Jane Austen's literary opinions?

Here, then, is a short list of nominees for the role of "the next Jane Austen," chosen for their influence on Austen, their availability in recent editions and their chances of appealing to modern readers.

Eliza Haywood (1693-1756): There's no actual proof that Austen read Eliza Haywood's novels, but then Haywood's association with erotic fiction meant that women of good reputation rarely admitted to enjoying her books. Haywood wrote dozens of novels and plays and pamphlets, and her political activism was almost as controversial as her sexual frankness. Haywood's steamy love scenes are notable for their descriptions of female desire - indeed, many a Haywood character actually gives way to illicit passion, though this lapse is typically followed by misery and regret.

Haywood's first novel, Love in Excess (1719), features the rakish hero Count D'Elmont, whose path to redemption is littered with a series of seductions and attempted rapes. Love in Excess was an immediate success, as were subsequent explorations of love and lust.

By the mid-18th century, however, Haywood's brand of sensational fiction had been overtaken by the sentimental novel, a genre focused on virtue and emotions. Haywood responded with her own sentimental tome, The Adventures of Miss Betsy Thoughtless (1751). The heroine learns to value virtue and propriety without having any serious lapses herself, but the titillating affairs of a secondary character are related with particular relish.

Therein, perhaps, lies Haywood's influence on Austen. Austen's heroines are perfectly virtuous, but each of her novels (except Emma) is enlivened by a spicy subplot about another woman's lust, seduction or ruin.

Charlotte Lennox (ca. 1727-1804): A failed actress and one of the first female journalists, Lennox was a relentless self-promoter who used her first novel, Harriot Stuart (1750), to win entrée into polite society. (She gave Harriot a fictionalized - and more upscale - version of her own backstory, then tacitly encouraged readers to view the book as a memoir.) Writing to support her deadbeat husband and their children, Lennox won the admiration of literary giant Samuel Johnson. Her female contemporaries, however, were less enthused: As Frances Burney put it, "though her books are generally approved nobody likes her."

Lennox's most successful novel, The Female Quixote (1752), was praised by Austen in her letters and became the model for Northanger Abbey. In The Female Quixote, the isolated heroine Arabella grows up believing that the 17th-century romances on her dead mother's bookshelf reflect contemporary mores and behaviour. This leads to foolish assumptions and comic faux pas, capped by Arabella's reckless leap into the Thames to avoid "ravishment."

Arabella's delusions are more absurd than those of Northanger's Catherine Morland, whose devotion to Gothic novels leads her to suspect that her host (and future father-in-law) murdered his wife. Still, both heroines cling to fictional worlds where women exercise power and self-determination - a more fulfilling universe, in its way, than the reality they eventually come to accept.

Ann Radcliffe (1764-1832) Though she was one of the most successful (and best-paid) writers of her era, Gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe never sought personal fame; indeed, she quit writing at the height of her success. Her quiet, decorous life (she married young but had no children) stands in vivid contrast to the lives of her heroines, who endure bloodcurdling adventures in foreign lands.

In the 2008 movie Becoming Jane, a young Austen finds literary inspiration in a meeting with Radcliffe. That encounter is entirely fictional, but the influence of Radcliffe's books, especially The Romance of the Forest (1791) and Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), is written all over Northanger Abbey. While gently mocking the excesses of the Gothic form - the ruined and haunted buildings, the improbably sinister aristocrats - Austen also conveys the page-turning suspense of Radcliffe's works.

Even today, readers of, say, The Italian (1792) might find themselves thumbing rapidly through Radcliffe's famed landscape descriptions to find out how the hero, Vivaldi, manages to rescue his beloved Ellena from kidnapping, assassination attempts and imprisonment in a convent.

Frances Burney (1752-1840):

If the makers of Becoming Jane could turn Austen's uneventful life into a tempestuous tale of elopements and thwarted love, imagine what Hollywood could do with Frances Burney, more commonly known as Fanny Burney. The intellectual author's copious diaries record her struggles with a domineering father, her stultifying stint in the court of George III, her controversial marriage to a Catholic escapee from the French Revolution and her wince-inducing mastectomy (conducted without anesthesia).

Burney's first book, Evelina (1778), follows the heroine's struggle to be acknowledged by her high-born father, who denies he ever married her mother. Like Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice, Evelina is saddled with vulgar and embarrassing relatives; their behaviour is as off-putting to her eventual husband, Lord Orville, as Evelina's own obscure birth. Sir Willoughby, a handsome cad whose pursuit threatens Evelina's reputation, became the namesake for Marianne's duplicitous lover in Sense and Sensibility.

Burney's later novels reveal a subtlety, wit and psychological complexity that few writers of either sex achieved before Austen. Cecilia (1782), for example, goes beyond the romantic plot to include a harrowing depiction of a compulsive gambler. (Austen likely drew the title of her most famous book from the conclusion of Cecilia, in which the phrase "PRIDE and PREJUDICE" occurs three times.) Camilla (1796), which, like Cecilia, is praised by name in Northanger Abbey, plumbs the repercussions of both reckless and excessively cautious behaviour, and has clear echoes in both Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility.

Haywood, Lennox, Radcliffe and Burney are just four of many women who influenced Austen; others include Frances Sheridan, Frances Brooke, Jane West, Charlotte Smith and Elizabeth Inchbald. (Male authors, most notably Samuel Richardson and Henry Fielding, were also enormously significant in shaping Austen's style.) None of these authors are as consistently witty or elegant as Austen - to be fair, no one could be - but their books provide a compelling alternative to rereading Emma for the 32nd time or watching another remake of Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen will never go out of style, but it is only a question of time before another sprightly writer is plucked from the obscurity of academia and given a lavishly costumed miniseries or two.

Susan Catto is a Toronto-based writer and editor, with a doctorate in 18th-century literature from Balliol College, Oxford.

Feb 11, 2009, 6:06am Top

I know that this may leave some of you reeling when I suggest this, because she is simply not considered "highbrow" or fashionable, but I love a good Regency novel by Georgette Heyer to satisfy my Austen cravings. Austen she is not, but her books are so good for a giggle and I read them for pure indulgence. I used to be such a literary snob, but then my husband, of all people, insisted that I give tham a try. They really are good fun, if a little "schlockish"!

Feb 11, 2009, 7:06am Top

From what is being said I think reading the authors that influenced Jane Austen is like reading research. It isn't her, but that doesn't mean they aren't any good. Someone said they lacked her wit, maybe that is why she started writing. Maybe she loved the stories and couldn't find one with the humor she desired. So, she wrote her wonderful legacy. Lastly, I would never say her topics have been explored to death or everything has been done. Never underestimate the imaginations of the future. There was a log period of time between Ms. Austen's P&P and Bridget Jones. imho

Feb 11, 2009, 10:48am Top

Totally different time period, but I found that Nancy Mitford had a somewhat Austen-ish sense of humour.

Feb 11, 2009, 11:01am Top

I agree with both Georgette Heyer and Nancy Mitford as witty writers (though quite different); both poke gentle fun at the foibles of their characters.

Someone like Mrs. Radcliffe, though, is really nothing like Austen. Northanger Abbey itself pokes fun at Radcliffe's style; Austen's heroine has obviously read and been influenced by Radcliffe's highly melodramatic Gothic stories, but her own situation is fraught with everyday issues and misunderstandings, some resulting from her overwrought imagination.

Feb 11, 2009, 11:10am Top

Vanity Fair, Jane Eyre, and Middlemarch all seem like good follow-ups, if you're looking for somewhat kindred reads rather than influences.

Feb 12, 2009, 8:07pm Top

Thanks for posting the full article, Nickelini!

Feb 24, 2009, 10:17am Top

Now I'll have to give Udolpho a go again. I keep starting it and then go no further. Middlemarch is a good suggestion - once you really invest time in it, it's fantastic.

Feb 24, 2009, 10:23am Top

It took me 200 pages to get into Middlemarch, but I am SO glad I stuck with it! Once it gets going, it's hard to put down. Brilliant, brilliant writing and characterizations.

Udolpho can be a bit hard to get through, especially with Radcliffe's excessive (but then-accepted) use of commas. But when you read it with Northanger Abbey in mind, it's an absolute scream!

Feb 24, 2009, 5:52pm Top

Re read Jane Austen?

Feb 24, 2009, 7:23pm Top

Msg 18 above? I've reread Jane Austen many times with great love and enjoyment.

Feb 24, 2009, 9:43pm Top

I also re-read her, but let's face it, it's not a huge body of work.

Feb 25, 2009, 11:06am Top

Point taken -- allow me to suggest Barbara Pym. I have read and re-read Excellent Women many times and thoroughly enjoyed it. Crampton Hodnett is another one, a humorous triangle with an amusing love story of sorts.

Edited: Feb 25, 2009, 2:21pm Top

I read Barbara Pym before I read Austen, and enjoyed that. I know there's not a lot of Austen, but what's there is choice.

ETA: I am a BIG re-reader, and recognize that not everyone does this. It's a comfort thing.

Feb 25, 2009, 2:23pm Top

I've seen Pym's name, but never read anything by her. My interest is piqued to hear her recommended in connection with Jane Austen!

Feb 25, 2009, 2:41pm Top

I tell everyone who's an Austen fan, looking for the next thing, to read Anthony Trollope. He's not the wit that Austen is, though he can be funny. He is, however, one of the best observers of human character and behavior I've ever read.

He can make you care, passionately, about who will be the next Vicar in a small country town.

For Austen fans, I'd suggest starting with Barchester Towers. For Austen fans who also like a good mystery, I'd suggest The Eustace Diamonds.

Feb 25, 2009, 2:48pm Top

And there's plenty of Trollope to go around, to boot! :)

Feb 25, 2009, 7:20pm Top

I thoroughly enjoy the Barset novels! Very nice. You might start with Doctor Thorne. That's a nice love story.

Apr 5, 2009, 10:13pm Top

Joining this conversation rather late, as I only recently discovered Library Thing.

I'll second (third? fourth?) the Trollope recommendation. But before Trollope, read Margaret Oliphant! She's a contemporary of Trollope with a bit more wit and snark, and she's absurdly under-rated. I'd suggest starting with her Carlingford series. Also Elizabeth Gaskell (start with Wives and Daughters), Frances Burney, Thackeray's Vanity Fair, Emily Eden.

Apr 7, 2009, 5:59pm Top

I can't get enough of Austen; I have re-read Pride and Prejudice several times, which is saying a lot for me!

I am working my way through her other works again, Sense and Sensibility right now. However, I agree, I would like something else to read that would remind me of Austen. I hate finding a book I love because it inevitably ends, even though I want to remain in that story forever! Austen is one that can do that for me!

I have been meaning to read Mysteries of Udolpho since I read Northanger Abbey last year. I know it won't be the same since, as someone noted above, Austen is making fun a little, but why make fun of something unless it is worth your time to begin with?

I'll have to give those other suggestions a look once I finish S&S soon! Until then, I'll just head off to add them to my library of "to be read" books!

Thanks for the article!!

Apr 7, 2009, 6:13pm Top

Although it's a bit "light" (dunno why reviewers always use that damning word), if you can catch the TV series "Lost In Austen" it is well worth a look. The conceit : a feisty 21st Century Jane Austen-loving London girl suddenly finds herself with Elizabeth Bennett in her bathroom, who has just come through a "portal" into her world. She gets to swap places with Elizabeth and ends up living the plot of Pride and Prejudice, though as herself, not Elizabeth.

That sounds pretty awful, but it's not. It is spread over 4 hour-long episodes, and I loved it. Ok, it only just counts as "after Jane Austen", but if you can, see it, it has a lot of charm, wit, and unexpected plot deviations from the original book.

Apr 8, 2009, 5:34pm Top

I'm really looking forward to seeing Lost in Austen. I'm such a sucker for this kind of thing that I ordered the DVD from Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Austen-Jemima-Rooper/dp/B001PJRAUS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8.... It's supposed to arrive in about a week.

Apr 9, 2009, 12:37am Top

As for Austen's forebears and contemporaries, I have to say that I have read very few, but am not really motivated to dig into that literature--Austen portrayed her milieu better, I think, than I an imagine anyone else doing so, and as for Radcliffe's novels, I can only say that if you are expecting a sensibility similar to Austen's, you will be in for a disappointment.

I completely agree with those who suggested Barbara Pym. I've read most of her books now, and she delights me in the same way Austen does.

Although a very different kind of writer, I am also very partial to Rose Macaulay.

Apr 9, 2009, 4:18am Top

Just seconding riodbrrd #27 - Wives and Daughters has less wry humour, but otherwise all the atmosphere and characterisation of Jane Austen. Read it in conjunction with the BBC adaptation, is my recommendation. :)

Jun 2, 2009, 2:41pm Top

I liked Wives and Daughters but I think North and South is even better! And a very very nice miniseries to go with it as well (rated as high as P&P95 on IMDB.com).

I'm reading Evelina at the moment and enjoying every minute! It's nice to 'see' a bit more of London and to see even sharper class contrasts than in Austen...

Has anyone read anything by Maria Edgeworth?

Jun 17, 2009, 1:47pm Top

I would second the Elizabeth Gaskell. I also enjoyed E.M. Forster, especially A Room With a View. Forster was a big fan of Austen.

Jun 17, 2009, 3:31pm Top

I have very much enjoyed the two novels by Georgette Heyer that I've read so far, Cotillion and Friday's Child. They don't have the sharp social commentary of Austen, but they are very funny and witty, with great characters.

Nov 8, 2009, 6:06am Top

I would second the suggestion of Anthony Trollope. I was taken by surprise on the third page of the first Trollope I picked up, a few years ago, and realised that right then, that soon, I didn't want to put it down. I'm not especially into pre-20th century novels (with notable exceptions of course, or I wouldn't be on this thread!) but somehow I find Trollope completely involving. Totally agree with sskwire (Message 23). And I so root for the girls always!

Nov 8, 2009, 7:35am Top

#36 Have to check him out.

Nov 8, 2009, 8:26am Top

I'm with JoannaON on Trollope. The man has a gift for sucking one into a story because of his vivid characterizations. I've been surprised how much I've actually enjoyed reading both Trollope and (although inferior to Trollope) Wilkie Collins.

Edited: May 28, 2010, 10:58am Top

This one is a little aside, but what about Anna Karenina? Tolstoy is neither as economical nor as witty a writer as Austen, but shares a similar keen interest in the psychology of his characters and values their everyday social interactions. The ballroom scene where Anna meets Count Vronsky is superb, and a little reminiscent of the many dancing sequences in Austen. He is strong on both men and women characters, and values the everyday lives of his female characters as much as his male protagonists.

May 28, 2010, 12:51pm Top

I don't think I'd put Tolstoy in Austen's camp. Tolstoy doesn't have the sense of humor that Austen does or her compassion for human foibles. He's brutal in his descriptions of Anna. Compare that to the way Austen describes Emma, or even her foolish minor characters like Lucy Steele or Lydia Bennett.

May 28, 2010, 1:57pm Top

Anne Brontë. Gentle satire, strong moral vision, ability to see through charming cads; recommended to those unimpressed by Mr Rochester.

May 28, 2010, 5:47pm Top

235711 -- yes! I love AB's irony, esp when she's dealing with Rochestery guys!

Jun 3, 2010, 1:46am Top

I still love anything by Louisa May Alcott, in particular Little Women.

Jun 4, 2010, 2:25pm Top

>40 susanbooks: Brutal? I don't see it that way at all. His plot is certainly cruel to her, but he seems understanding of her predicament until her final dissolution. And, certainly, he is sympathetic to Levin's confusion.

I completely agree on the sense of humor issue.

Jun 4, 2010, 5:45pm Top

44 -- I think the 3d person narrator is pretty scornful of Anna. But, yeah, the narrator is exhaustingly sympathetic to Levin, as in W&P with Pierre.

Jun 4, 2010, 5:49pm Top

I never considered the narrator sympathetic to Pierre; if anything, the narrator seemed frustrated, because it takes Pierre the entire novel to "get it," only to wrap himself up in a bad cause again in the epilogue. I find Tolstoy's narrator to be distanced from the characters in W&P -- except when it came to fanboying General Kutuzov.

Jun 9, 2010, 6:13am Top

"The ballroom scene where Anna meets Count Vronsky is superb, and a little reminiscent of the many dancing sequences in Austen"

It is reminiscent of Austen because Tolstoy was a Janeite.

"still love anything by Louisa May Alcott, in particular Little Women."

...which also owes much to Jane Austen's novels, particularly Pride and Prejudice

Jun 27, 2010, 11:16pm Top

Pride and Prescience: Or, A Truth Universally Acknowledged, by Carrie Bebris. I'll probably get booted off this site, but I enjoyed the writing in this book almost as much as Jane Austen's writing. I've just joined librarything and possibly this book has been mentioned. Also, I enjoy listening to the Jane Austen books on CD because the British accent does as much for my enjoyment as the words themselves.

Edited: Jun 28, 2010, 12:06am Top

>48 GrammyPat: Pat, welcome to LT! You'll never get booted off for expressing your opinion, whether other people agree or not.

One hint: try putting square brackets around book titles to make the touchstones work--people can go right to the book and find out about it. As: Pride and Prescience . . .

Jul 22, 2010, 8:00am Top

I dont think you should get booted. Some of the JA 'paraliterature' (i heard it called that) is interesting and good reading - tho some of it is awful! I like Bebris, Carey Bligard and Eucharista Ward who all did JA continuation books - but my favorite was 'Lady Vernon and Her Daughter' an adaptation of an early Austen work 'Lady Susan'. 'Lady Susan' was a short novel done in 'epistolary' format that is an exchange of letters and this reworked the format - the writing sounds just like Austen. There is also an audio book read by a British actress that is very good.

Jul 22, 2010, 8:04am Top

I don't think this one has been mentioned... has anyone here read the first Austen sequel, Old Friends and New Fancies by Sybil Brinton? I think it was originally published around 1901 or something like that (don't quote me on the date). I own it but haven't read it yet.

Jul 22, 2010, 12:39pm Top

Has anyone else read Jude Morgan's novels set in the Victorian era? I recently read Indiscretion and An Accomplished Woman and found both to be somewhat reminiscent of Austen. Not quite the same writing style, but a lot of the important elements such as a dry sense of humour, witty dialogue and good characterization.

Jul 23, 2010, 11:50pm Top

I love Trollope but I can't stand George Eliot. Nor am I fond of Gaskell. But Trollope's great.

And I also recommend Georgette Heyer. Her books are unadulterated fun.

Jul 26, 2010, 8:02am Top

I have read Old Friends and New Fancies. It takes characters from all the Austen books and puts them in contact with each other. Some of the more minor characters are given center-stage. I especially liked that Emma, now a married woman living in London, is still trying to arrange marriages! I guess Mr. Knightley's influence didn't stick. It is the first Austen sequel to be published. Worth a read.

Feb 16, 2011, 2:48pm Top

I like Maria Edgeworth - Belinda, Patronage (published the same year as Mansfield Park and surprisingly similar in parts) and Helen. Of the three, I think I liked Helen the best - it was her last novel and written without her father's interference.

Feb 16, 2011, 3:10pm Top

Sometimes I feel like I'm alone in my taste, considering that I love Jane Austen and the Young Adult genre in almost, almost equal parts... but when I read "Enthusiasm" by Polly Shulman, I realized I might not be all that alone, since there is a market for such a book.

(jnwelch, you'll love this) Enthusiasm is about these two girls who live next door to each other, one of which is a fan of Jane Austen's literature, and the other is a fan of... well, pretty much everything, in alternating time periods.

That book is a lot of fun, and a perfect read for those 'freaks' like Yours Truly, who love Jane Austen novels as well as those silly, Young Adult books. =) There's plenty of winks and nudges for the true Austenite, from the countless mentions of a certain Mr. Darcy, to the main character's birthday. And there's also a wink to Shakespeare, hidden in plain sight. Is it too obvious that I absolutely adored this book? *grins*

Feb 19, 2011, 10:52am Top

Enthusiasm looks like a fun read, girlfromshangrila! Thanks for mentioning it - somehow I completely missed this one. I'll definitely get a hold of it.

Feb 21, 2011, 10:01am Top

I'm sure you'll enjoy it, jnwelch. It's a little girly-girl at parts, though, but it more than makes up for it with a very well-paced plot, plenty of literary references, an impressive vocabulary, and gentle nods to the Alert Austenite. I would definitely read more from Polly Shulman, JA-related or not.

Feb 22, 2011, 12:46pm Top

Due to your enthusiastic :) recommendation, I've requested that title from BookMooch. Thanks girlfromshangrila! :)

Edited: Feb 22, 2011, 2:55pm Top

LOL A very fitting pun, my friend. When reading this book, I had to stop and chuckle at parts, thinking of how well I could relate to The Enthusiast. =)

I do hope you enjoy reading it, wisewoman. It really is a fun (and funny!) book.

Feb 22, 2011, 2:54pm Top

You might consider reading two light novels placed in the Regency, both by Jude Morgan. The first is Indiscretion and the second is An Accomplished Woman. Both stand up well in terms of plot and language.

The other thing I've read recently (within the past three months) is Murder at Mansfield Park which flips Jane's characters a bit. Mary Crawford is the heroine and Fanny a spoilt heiress.

All three titles are fun and possess a whiff of Austen's humor and satire.

Feb 22, 2011, 8:35pm Top

A Visit to Highbury and Later Days at Highbury by Joan Austen-Leigh are enjoyable companion reads to Emma but no longer in print.

Feb 23, 2011, 4:01am Top

Threads like this one are dangerous! I just ordered Indiscretion and Enthusiasm... Now let's get back to work and stop this procrastination! ;-)

Feb 23, 2011, 10:06am Top

>63 celiacardun:: Keep dreamin' m'dear... =)
And I agree: threads like these can only end up in one's TBR pile growing taller and taller.

>61 jillmwo:: The first two sound really good! It will take a lot of work to get hold of them, but I'm willing. Thanks for the recommendations!

Feb 27, 2011, 9:05am Top

Enthusiasm was great fun, girlfromshangrila. Thanks again for recommending it!

Feb 28, 2011, 12:04pm Top

My pleasure absolutely. I owed you since that Jay Asher recommendation. =)

Feb 28, 2011, 2:19pm Top

I'm not sure I can explain why, but when I read this topic, the person who immediately came to mind is Alice Munro. Her works are set in a different time and place, but to my mind she captures the essence of that time and place just as cleverly as Jane Austen did with hers - even in short story form.

Mar 2, 2011, 5:49am Top

#56 Enthusiasm was a lot of fun to read, thanks for the recommendation!

#61 I'm now reading Indiscretion and I already love the book, although I've only read about 30 pages or so. I love the way it is written, somewhat resembling Jane Austen style, and I already very much like the main character Carolina. I'm very curious what kind of adventures she's going to have and how she is going to handle them. What I've read so far promises some fun reading, and the book is nice and fat, so I have many hours of reading ahead! :-) Thanks!

Mar 2, 2011, 8:12am Top

More praise for Enthusiasm! Good! =)

I'm glad you enjoyed it too, celiacardun.

Mar 4, 2011, 5:43pm Top

I love Jane's writing style totally

Edited: Sep 26, 2011, 9:31pm Top

I'm currently reading Fanny Burney's Evelina and so far it's really good. Many people compare her to Austen, yet in fact Burney wrote before Austen, and it is said that Austan was herself a fan of Burney's novels.

Has anyone read any of the "other" Austen stories/novels like Lady Susan? Is it any good?


I also loved North & South.

Sep 27, 2011, 12:23am Top

I've just discovered Anthony Trollope and loving it. So far I've read The Warden and Barchester Towers. Not quite as precise as Austen, sometimes just as funny; uses the small village and its people to point out our common humanity.

Sep 27, 2011, 10:09am Top

> 71

Lady Susan is fantastic! If my memory serves, it’s her only piece of with a villain as a main character, villain which is delightfully wicked by the way. Plus it’s a very short story. It’s not funny like Love and Freindship, and there is no Mr. Darcy anywhere in sight, but it’s still a pretty neat experiment and further proof of Austen’s genius.

You can read it online here and here

Sep 28, 2011, 9:12pm Top

>73 girlfromshangrila:
ok, thanks. I'll probably just buy a copy. So Love & Friendship is also good? what about the Watsons? Are there any other Austen stories I'm missing?

Sep 29, 2011, 8:14am Top

If you want to read one of the newer books that 'sounds' like Jane Austen, I recommend 'Lady Vernon and Her Daughter'. It is an adaptation of 'Lady Susan'. 'Lady Susan' was a short novel in letters and very much in the style of 18th century books, but 'Lady Vernon' is more in the line of how Austen styled her plots and characters. Just loved this one! I would also read 'A Match for Mary Bennet' by Eucharista Ward - one of the better Austen sequels. I would not call either book 'fan fiction' - really good historical novels in the Austen style.
In Austens diaries, she talks about reading a book called 'The Heroine' by E S Barrett, and books by Sir Walter Scott; also saw the play 'The Farmer's Wife' - they may be on Gutenberg.

Sep 29, 2011, 10:30am Top

>74 novelandmangacrazy:: Love and Freindship (sic) is very good. It's completely nonsensical, which makes for a very funny read. And it's quite unlike anything else by Jane Austen.

I haven't read The Watsons, and I don't think I ever will. You see, Austen never got to finish it, which doesn't make it exactly appealing to me. But you should give it a try if you want to.

There are more short stories out there, most of them very tiny, that she wrote in her teens (hence they are collectively called her Juvenilia), including an adaptation of a play, and a "historical" account. Here's one of many comprehensive lists: http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/janeinfo.html

And there's also her letters, which the true Austenite must read. (I haven't -- they're really hard to find in the physical form.)

>75 LibrarianBarb:: Those are great recommendations! I have heard nothing but praise for Lady Vernon and Her Daughter, but haven't been able to secure a copy. =(

Sep 29, 2011, 11:39am Top

> 75, 76 I agree with the Lady Vernon and Her Daughter recommendation. (I had been contemplating recommending it myself once I saw the original question). It really does feel like it could be an Austen novel, unlike most of the other Austen sequels I've read so far. The audio book version is excellent, for any audio readers out there.

Edited: Sep 29, 2011, 12:07pm Top

How about Angela Thirkell? Her books are set in Trollope's invented Barsetshire, and are frequently witty in that delightfully understated way, though less satirical.

Sep 30, 2011, 6:16am Top

Very much 20th century but do try Stella Gibbons - the obvious starter would be Cold Comfort Farm but there are several others to choose from too.

Sep 30, 2011, 8:18am Top

I agree about the audio of Lady Vernon - wanted to listen to it to see how the 'sound' held up. It was read by a British actress who had a recurring part in the tv series Lost. I think she did a really great job.

Sep 30, 2011, 8:43pm Top

No Barbara Pym fans here? I can't help think her works would appeal to anyone who enjoys Jane.

I have to say that I found Cold Comfort Farm a bit of a disappointment. But I was expecting a read like Jane Austen--not a parody of Hardy or Lawrence.

Oct 1, 2011, 9:41pm Top

thanks for all of the responses, I'll keep them in mind.

>76 girlfromshangrila: "And there's also her letters, which the true Austenite must read. (I haven't -- they're really hard to find in the physical form.)"
Do you know the name of the book that would include these letters?

Oct 1, 2011, 11:53pm Top

I have Jane Austen's Letters edited by Deirdre Le Faye.

Nov 22, 2012, 2:16pm Top

No Barbara Pym fans here? I can't help think her works would appeal to anyone who enjoys Jane.

I haven't read her yet, but I think I'll like her too. Barbara Pym has been compared to Elizabeth Taylor, who has been compared to Jane Austen. I just finished Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, and I found her wry social observations and sharp wit to be very Jane Austen-ish. It depends what it is about JA that readers are looking for--some really like the Regency period aspects, and on that, Pym and Taylor don't deliver. But if it's the humour and social critique, then they might.

Nov 26, 2012, 3:36pm Top

I liked Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont a lot, and I can see the connection you're making.

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