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Friday, August 31, 2018

Jane Austen Read-Alikes!

Before I leave you alone for another long year (tragedy!), I thought it’d be best to offer up some Austenesque “read alikes” to keep you going until the next Austen in August. These are books that are not straight Austen retellings – they may not be Austen retellings at all! But they capture some of the same feel, hit the same notes, create the same kind of happy, as Austen, and are a place to go when you’ve run out of Austen and JAFF. Below you’ll find some of my own recommendations, as well as favorites of this year’s participating Janeite Conversation authors – but I hope you’ll contribute your own in the comments!
(And yes, an Austen continuation or sequel or two may have snuck in here. Those incorrigible Austenesque authors!)

I'm just starting to get into sweet regency romance, so I'm not an expert but I know there's a lot out there that have the same feel. But as to giving me that same feeling, that hit the same sweet spot, my go-to books are any of Kasie West's contemporary YA romances. They have the fun, the depth, the interesting female MC's, different family dynamics, plus all the sweet swoons. They are must-reads for me. ~ Melanie Stanford

[Edit from Misty: I’ve never heard this comparison, and it immediately bumps Kasie up my list, which is nice, since I do own a book or two by her! I think…]

Favorite read-alike is definitely Karen M Cox’s “Son of a Preacher Man”. Not a reimagining of P&P, I enjoyed the subtle inspiration in this sultry, summer coming of age story set in 1959 Kentucky. ~ Christina Boyd


For Austen-like catharsis I turn to Frances Hodgson Burnett and E.M. Forster. If I just need a Regency fix, Georgette Heyer does the trick. ~ Alexa Adams


Georgette Heyer is always delightful to read, and her Regency romances probably kindled as many flames as did Jane Austen herself. There is so much excellent literature out there these days, it’s hard to pick one or two tales. If we’re going back to 19th-century authors, Anne BrontĂ« is wonderful, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall hits all the right notes for me. ~ Riana Everly

Nobody comes up to Austen, but some of the other novels of the period are worth reading. The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox is worth looking at. ~ Lona Manning

On some points I think L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables hits a similar spot for me. ~ Maria Grace

Anne absolutely hits the same spot for me, and I'll add another favorite I've mentioned before, and that's An Old Fashioned Girl, which is a bind-up of Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom (both Anne and Old Fashioned I read before P&P, and were already favorites, so I guess Austen hits a Montgomery and Alcott spot for me?) ~ Misty

I have two picks which might seem unusual at first. Despite the different genres, there is something about the way the stories are told, and especially the way the characters are crafted and their secrets revealed, that reminds me of Jane.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield: If Jane Austen wrote a mystery, this is what I imagine it would be like. It’s not a murder mystery or heist story--it’s a story of family secrets, slowly being revealed. It’s a story you read once, then go back and read it again after you reach the big reveal.
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White: Imagine if Jane Austen had written YA fantasy. The world is very heavily influenced on the culture and history of Regency England. There are class differences between the hero and heroine. There is a rogue, who pretends to be good. And the ending is perfect. ~Nancy Kelley

On Beauty by Zadie Smith. Although On Beauty is a modern homage to E.M. Forster'sHoward's End, it’s definitely a "three or four families in a country village” kind of novel. Its witty, fascinating, and sometimes highly amusing observations of human nature remind me a great deal of Austen. The first time I read it, I immediately turned back to the first page and read it all over again. That’s how much I love this book.
Nick Hornby is the other contemporary author who reminds me a lot of Austen. He has that deep, Austenian understanding, compassion for, and hilarious exposure of human nature at its best and its worst. I love all of his novels, but my favorites are A Long Way Down;Juliet, Naked; and About a Boy. ~Laurie Viera Rigler

And because some of the Austen authors couldn't resist sneaking some retellings in there...

Laura Hile’s Mercy’s Embrace series made me like Elizabeth Elliot. (I’m all astonishment!) Since I  truly despised that character, I must give Laura props. Her Darcy By Any Another Name (sci-fi!)  body swap is a favorite, too. I also enjoy Wendi Sotis’ books. Some of hers have paranormal  elements, like The Gypsy Blessing and All Hallow’s Eve.
In 2017 Laura, Wendi, Barbara Cornthwaite, and I published an anthology together (A Very  Austen Christmas). I’m a big fan of all three of them, and I’ve read everything they’ve written.
I’ve found sweet spots in the writings of Pamela Aiden and Regina Jeffers  (Vampire Darcy’s Desire). ~Robin Helm
Some Austen favorites: The Falmouth Connection by Joanna Starnes, Conceit and Concealment by Abigail Reynolds, and One Thread Pulled by Diana J Oaks Also, its a little later than Austen, but a lot of the witty side notes in Vanity Fair struck the same chord that Austen does. ~ Leigh Dreyer


My favorite go-to books are any by Linda Wells or LL Diamond.  There’s just something about these books that speak to me. ~ Debra-Ann Kummoung

Are any of these favorites of your own? What have you found that hits that same sweet spot that Austen does, or that makes you feel, even if just for a fleeting moment, that it could fit right in with Jane, no matter how different or modern it may seem? 
Leave your recommendations in the comments!


  1. I love Georgette Heyer books! I can see where they have an Austenique atmosphere!

  2. There are some I'd not heard about in that group and others I totally nodded my head over. Thanks, ladies!

    I have read a few women's fictions that had that sharp observations, witty dialogue, and village feel to them, but can I remember them off the top of my head? In fact, I just read a Margery Sharp that struck me that way.

  3. There are some very intriguing recommendations in here--thank you all! This was a great idea for a discussion topic, Misty, and it's been another wonderful Austen in August. Thanks for all the hosting magic!

  4. Enjoyed reading these recommendations as there were a few I had not heard of before and will have to check out.

  5. Thank you for another great August in Austen! xO

  6. Excellent idea for an AiA post! There are some great recommendations here. And thanks for the shout-out to Son of a Preacher Man :)

  7. Thanks for the shoutout! Great posts throughout August.

  8. I love One Thread Pulled by Diana Oaks, too.

  9. I love the Anne of Green Gables Series and want to begin reading Georgette Heyer. I have a few on my audible account. There are a number I have read and some new ones to check out.

  10. I mostly read Austenesque books these days so I don't have anything new to add. If I do branch out and read other genre, this list of recommended titles are quite useful to have.


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