The Jane Austen Experience

So, did you read my review last week about Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson? Well, you should (and I’m not like biased or anything.) Did you run out and order it like I did? OK, good. So while you’re waiting for it to be released or (if you’re reading this AFTER February 2021) you want something similar, I present to you: Jane Austen Retellings and Read Alikes!

If you are a fan of Jane Austen, you may be interested to read these books that are follow the plots of her novels but in a modern (and sometimes even more futuristic way):

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Probably my favorite retelling of Pride and Prejudice – if the Bennets live in Cincinnati, Elizabeth is a journalist, Darcy is a brain surgeon, Bingley is a reality show veteran, and Jane is a yoga instructor. Add into the mix Lydia’s obsession with Crossfit and you’ve got yourselves a par-tay. Seriously. I love this one.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Ever wondered what Pride and Prejudice would look like in the city? Fear not, Zuri Benitez, her family, and her Afro-Latinx neighborhood are the perfect background to highlight showcase the critical themes in P&P such as the differences between the haves and the have nots. This is such a great YA retelling of this classic story.

Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson

A wonderful retelling of Sense and Sensibility. I loved this one so much that should write a whole rave about this one! Oh wait, I did! To read that (and you totally should), click here.

The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

So this one, well, this one is a YA dystopian retelling of Persuasion but set in space. I know it sounds crazy, right. But you’ll have to trust me that it totally works. Princess Leo is searching for a wealthy husband to save her family from financial ruin. She already had to turn down her first love for being too poor, so when he returns newly wealthy, Leo wonders what could have been. As many of you know, it’s never too late for true love in Austen-land, but will pride stand in the way?

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Ah, the one that started it all. If you haven’t heard of Bridget Jones’s Diary (or seen the Renee Zellweger/Colin Firth rom-com masterpiece), I’m concerned that you’ve been living under a rock for a very, very long time. Bridget’s love life follows all the highs and lows of Elizabeth Bennet, finally trying to seal the deal with her very own Mr. Darcy.

Need more? Well there are a lot of books that feature Jane Austen characters in other situations. Try some of these on for size?

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow

I haven’t had the chance to read this one yet, but it’s high up on my TBR list. Following the least explored Bennet sister, this book explores life has in store for Mary Bennet (you know, the smug, superior one.)

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Recommended to me by a reliable source (but hasn’t reached the top of my TBR list – yet), Longbourn explores Pride and Prejudice as viewed from the help. Ever thought, “What would Mrs. Patmore say?” or “Thomas would have had thoughts about that!” Well, this is the book for you. (Not sure who Mrs. Patmore and Thomas are? Immediately go watch Downton Abbey – at least seasons 1-3. Those were the best!)

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

This one was a sort -of mashup of Jane Austen’s characters and an Agatha Christie murder mystery (I mean, I assume it’s like Agatha Christie – I haven’t read her yet either.) Imagine if six years after the end of P&P, Wickham had been murdered. I read this so long ago that I don’t remember the specifics, but there was an adaptation that aired on PBS, so after you read it, you can totally watch it too.

Not so keen on a Jane Austen retelling? Want something more than just an homage to Jane Austen’s characters? But something that also reads like a Jane Austen novel? Well, here are some of my favorite books that will give you some Jane Austen-type feelings.

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson

A YA retelling of Much Ado About Nothing (which I know is not Austen, but it gives off so many Austen vibes.) It’s a great social commentary on high school today but also features such sparking banter that one would read in a Jane Austen novel. I definitely enjoyed this one.

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

This is Alexa Donne’s debut novel (see The Stars We Steal above) and it is a delightful YA retelling of Jane Eyre set in – you may have already guessed – space. While faithful to the original, this book was a surprisingly delightful read.

My Lady Jane (and the rest of the Lady Janies series) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Another one of my favorite YA books follows the true story of Lady Jane Grey and her nine days as Queen of England – if by follows you mean that it is loosely based on the history with some fun magic and then history is thrown out all together. The characters have the Jane Austen sparkle, there’s witty dialogue and this just gives me all the feels. The other books in the series follow the stories of Jane Eyre and Calamity Jane, but my heart will always belong to this one (and G.)

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Do you love Jane Austen for the female relationships? Do you love the friendship and frustrations between Lizzy and Jane, Elinor and Marianne, or Emma and Harriet? Then this book is for you. This book features a loving yet tumultuous relationship between Claire and Sydney, two sisters who have been estranged for years but are reunited when Sydney mysteriously returns to their hometown. Reconciliation is at the heart of this book and with just a touch of magic.

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Watch the small town of Chawton come together after WWII to heal and to preserve the legacy of Jane Austen’s time in their town. I wrote a whole post about this one – so you know it’s good. Read my full review here.

Do you like Jane as much as I do and have a suggestion of a book that deserves to be on this list? Leave me a comment and let me know!

2 thoughts on “The Jane Austen Experience

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s