Home  |  Reviews  |  Vlogs  |  Interviews  |  Guest Posts  |  Fairy Tales  |  Jane Austen  |  Memes  |  Policies

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Anna’s Guide to Austen Variations, from Diary of an Eccentric

Today's guest post comes from Anna @ Diary of an Eccentric, who is sharing with us some of her favorite Austen adaptations, and her thoughts on what makes for a good adaptation.
Some of these are on my wishlist, and a couple more are now being added!
Take it away, Anna!

Okay, so I'm addicted to all things Jane Austen.  I could read her novels over and over again and leave it at that, but I'm the type of person who wants to know more and delve deeper into my favorite stories.  This explains why I have several shelves' worth of variations on Austen's novels and get weak in the knees when I see Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth's name in a book title.  Austen's novels are full of vibrant main characters, a multitude of secondary characters who are just as entertaining, and even characters who hardly make an appearance but are oh-so-intriguing.

Those of you who read my book blog,
Diary of an Eccentric, know I can't get enough of the Austen variations and read as many as I can get my hands on.  I'm sure some of my readers are just waiting for the day when I say enough is enough, I can't take it anymore, I'm sick of the same story lines over and over.  But I'm not anywhere near burned out yet. 

Why do I spend so much of my time reading these books?  Of course, they will never outshine Austen's novels, but that doesn't matter.  If you've ever fallen in love with a cast of characters and didn't want to let them go, or wondered what happened to them after the book ends, or wondered what would happen if the story took a different turn in the middle, or was curious about a certain character sitting on the sidelines who you know would have so much to tell if someone just stopped and paid attention, then you understand why I'm intrigued by all the different takes on Austen's masterpieces.

So, what makes a great Austen variation, at least for me?  I've given this a lot of thought over the last several months, and I've determined that my favorites in the genre fall into a few different categories:

1.  Almost like reading Austen herself -- Jane Odiwe's
Mr. Darcy's Secret was a seamless transition from Pride and Prejudice to the married life of the Darcys.

2.  A focus on the other characters -- Had enough of Elizabeth and Darcy stealing the show?  Check out
Lydia Bennet's Story by Jane Odiwe, A Match for Mary Bennet by Eucharista Ward, Mr. Darcy's Little Sister by C. Allyn Pierson, and Darcy and Fitzwilliam by Karen V. Wasylowski

3.  What if?  -- If you've ever wondered what would happen if Darcy smartened up right away or Elizabeth didn't reject Darcy's first proposal, there are plenty of "what if" variations worth checking out, like What Would Mr. Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds, To Conquer Mr. Darcy by Abigail Reynolds, basically all of the books in Abigail Reynolds' Pemberley Variations series, and Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman by Maria Hamilton.

4.  From the heroes' point of view --  What was Captain Wentworth thinking when he saw Anne again for the first time?  What was Mr. Darcy really thinking during the whole Lydia debacle? 
Captain Wentworth's Diary by Amanda Grange, Captain Wentworth's Persuasion by Regina Jeffers, and Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange are good places to start.

5.  A whole new story -- It's a breath of fresh air when an author takes Austen's characters down a completely different road and/or introduces new characters.  Check out
Darcy's Voyage by Kara Louise, Only Mr. Darcy Will Do by Kara Louise, and Mr. Darcy’s Obsession by Abigail Reynolds.

6.  Historical retellings --
Searching for Pemberley by Mary Lydon Simonsen combines a WWII-era story with the search for the couple who inspired Austen to write Pride and Prejudice; Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set just after the Civil War.  Darcy as a cowboy, Fitzwilliam as a ranch hand…LOVED IT!

7.  They make the characters their own without disrespecting Austen --  Anne Elliot as a long-distance runner? Darcy and Bingley discussing The Kama Sutra?  Check out
Anne Elliot: A New Beginning by Mary Lydon Simonsen and Marsha Altman's series starting with The Darcys & the Bingleys for humorous takes on Austen's characters that go beyond the original novels.  I wouldn't recommend them for Austen purists, but I have a feeling Austen herself would find them entertaining.

So that's Anna's Guide to Austen Variations, which is in no way comprehensive.  I didn't even touch upon the paranormal mash-ups, the modern-day retellings, and the sexy (gasp!) variations!  There is so much to be had within this genre!  My only question is:  When are the publishers going to release more variations of
Persuasion?  I love Mr. Darcy and all, but other Austen novels should be getting some attention as well.
~ Anna

Click to be taken to Main Page & Schedule


  1. Thanks for having me as a guest today! I'd love it if your readers told me their favorite Austen variations. I'm always looking for more to read. :)

  2. Wow! I didn't really realize how many variations I have read until reading your post here, Anna! I think the only two on your list I have yet to read is Capt. Wentworth's Persuasion; however, I am currently waiting for that from the library, and The Darcy's and Bingley series. There are so many more I have read too that are not on your fav's list. We must have similar tastes in books, because these are mostly my fav's too! I would add The Truth About Mr. Darcy to the What if category!
    I know this is a long post, but in reguards to your variations question about Persuasion, have you read Abigail's modern, Morning Light? I am planning on reading it later this month. (I did read the first chapter from her website and I can't wait to finish it)!

  3. Hi Jakki! I guess we do have a lot in common in terms of reading!

    I haven't yet read Morning Light, but when I saw Abigail Reynolds mention it on Facebook last week, you can bet I added it to my TBR!

    Also, with regard to Persuasion, I have Susan Kaye's books, but haven't had a chance to read them yet. (Must make time soon!) And I read somewhere that there are some variations about Anne's sister, Elizabeth, but I don't know the titles.

  4. Yes, there are too many books and not enough time! It's a good thing I stay at home other wise I might end up fired like Lily Berry in My Jane Austen Summer!;)

  5. I have the same problem as Lily, though I'm able to pull myself away from books, however reluctantly, after my lunch break ends.

  6. Thanks for the guide to Austen variations, and I agree with all of these categories and assessments.

    I have to add that A Match for Mary Bennet is also very close to Austen's original writing, which made it doubly enjoyable for me, at least.

    Anna is a connoisseur of Austen retellings, etc. If I haven't read the variation, I always check with her first to see what her take is.

    Great guest post.

  7. Oops, I forgot to mention that I also would like to see variations of Austen's other novels too!

  8. Thanks, Serena! You're right, A Match for Mary Bennet fits in both categories. Some of the others fit in multiple categories, too.

  9. Glad to know I'm not alone in wanting variations of other Austen novels!

  10. Excellent post. Exactly what I needed. I'm only just beginning the whole Austin variation category this month. Thank you Anna.

  11. I would love to see more of Persuasion.

  12. Great idea since I love JA. And nice post Anna. I really want to read Odiwe's book

  13. A lovely breakdown, Anna! It truly is amazing how many different directions an author can go!

    My favorite include: Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Being a Gentlman, Charlotte Collins, Pemberley Ranch and anything by Abigail Reynolds, Laura Hile and Kara Louise.

  14. Thank you Anna.
    I've just started reading Jane Austen spin-offs. Actually only one. But I have many on my list.
    The first one was a good one to start off with. Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd. It was great. The villian was exactly who I thought it should be. And, rightly so. I guess we just don't want these wonderful stories to end. :)

  15. I think I have read probably at least 50 published P&P variations/sequels/what-ifs. I am trying to branch out into some of the other novels but I just love P&P so much that I keep getting sucked back in! LOL My TBR list is endless.
    I think, overall, Abigail Reynolds' books are my favorites. I loved Darcy and Fitzwilliam by Karen Wasylowski! I just love Col. Fitzwilliam, and Lady Catherine is hilarious in it. Pemberley Ranch is also great. Mr Darcy Takes the Plunge by J. Marie Croft is a fun read, as well. Carrie Bebris has 4 or 5 books in a Mr & Mrs Darcy Mystery series that bring L&D into the acquaintence of characters from other Austen novels.

    Ok, I'll stop now.

  16. Anna, I really appreciate this post from you! I think it's awesome that you love Jane Austen's novls so much that you enjoy them frequently and many of their off-shoots.

    I had no idea there were so many variations of her books. I knew there were a lot though because I've tried before to figure out which one to read! I'm a fan of Jane Aussten and thought it would be fun to try a variation of her books by a different author. It was over-whelming trying to choose one, though...and I didn't have all of these on my list.
    I have an email from you in which you responded to a question from me asking which one you recommended. I'm definitely going to read your recommendation but I'm also going to copy parts of your post here with the book versions that pique my interest.

    Thank you, Anna and Misty!

  17. @Inoli: My pleasure! Stop by my blog and let me know what you think about your first variations. I'd love to hear from you.

    @Serena: Me, too. You know how much I love Captain Wentworth.

    @Blodeuedd: I really think you'll love Odiwe's books. Thanks for stopping by to read my guest post!

    @Meredith: Charlotte Collins is on my TBR. Will have to check out Laura Hile. Thanks for the recommendations!

    @phastings: I haven't read Murder at Mansfield Park, but I'll have to check it out. Hope you give other variations a try and enjoy them as much as I do!

    @MonicaP: I borrowed Mr. Darcy Takes the Plunge from a friend, and hopefully I'll have time to read it soon. I'll have to check out Carrie Bebris. Thanks for the recommendations!

    @Amy: My pleasure! You'll have to let me know which ones you read. Hope you enjoy the variations as much as I do!

  18. Thanks for the lists. I enjoy reading variations. I really enjoyed The Darcys and the Bingleys. I'll have to try some of the others.

  19. @mbreakfield: You're very welcome! Enjoy!

  20. Anna -- marvelous post! I too can't wait for more Persuasion variations -- how can anyone resist Wentworth?

  21. @Audra: Thanks! I know I can't resist him. :)

  22. I am going insane trying to find a variation that I read but cannot remember the name of it. In the story, Darcy and Georgiana leave for a year and then come back. Elizabeth is staying with Charles and Jane and is being courted by a friend of Charles. This friend ends up being in love with Charles and hiding it by finally marrying Caroline. Darcy and Elizabeth end up together and getting married in the middle of the night. Can you please help??? Does this sound familiar? Anyone help please!!

    1. You know, it honestly doesn't sound familiar to me, but I'll tweet it out and see if it sounds familiar to anyone else. =)

  23. I am going insane trying to find a variation that I read but cannot remember the name of it. In the story, Darcy and Georgiana leave for a year and then come back. Elizabeth is staying with Charles and Jane and is being courted by a friend of Charles. This friend ends up being in love with Charles and hiding it by finally marrying Caroline. Darcy and Elizabeth end up together and getting married in the middle of the night. Can you please help??? Does this sound familiar? Anyone help please!!


Tell me all your thoughts.
Let's be best friends.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...