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Alternative Austen Giveaway

I’ve decided to launch a competition to win a six book bundle of Alternative Austen novels. One of them will be mine, of course, but I wanted to showcase the work of other Austenesque writers.


Pride and Prejudice

It is a sad truth universally acknowledged that in the world of JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) there is a lot of poorly written material that makes little attempt to emulate Austen’s immaculate prose or to deepen or widen our understanding of her characters. The story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy is rehearsed again and again, rehashed, placed in alternate settings and time zones and impeded by improbable obstacles. But it always comes out the same way in the end. I certainly wanted to avoid any of those books, so, as my Pride and Prejudice alternative I chose Sallianne Hines’ sequel, Her Summer At Pemberley.


This Pride and Prejudice sequel is a Regency coming-of-age adventure/clean romance. Readers say it is ‘equal to Jane Austen’ and ‘unputdownable.’

Kitty Bennet must marry well, but she also means to marry for love. Longbourn holds no hope for that. She must escape the shadow of her wild sister Lydia to re-establish her own reputation as a respectable young lady. A summer at Pemberley would do the trick. But to Kitty's surprise it takes more than a new location—she must learn who she is without Lydia, and what she wants in life beyond swaggering officers and pretty bonnets. Kitty's defiant passion for riding horses connects her with enigmatic Lady Drake and creates a bond with Mr. Darcy. A dashing geologist and an inscrutable horseman catch Kitty's eye. New friendships, the power of legends and stones, and a journey to the royal mews in Windsor bring heartache, insight, and delight to her life-changing summer at Pemberley.


Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey is probably Jane Austen’s least popular novel. It was written early in her career but not published until after her death. I’d say it is arguable that she wouldn’t have been too happy to know that it had been put into print as I am sure there are things she would have liked the chance to improve or change on the strength of her later experience and developed skill. Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow is a delightful sequel that reprises the mischievous spirit of Austen’s original spoof on the Gothic novel, while giving Catherine a genuine murder mystery to unravel. Readers say it is ‘A wonderful continuation’ with ‘writing that sparkles’.

Newly married to her beloved Henry, Catherine’s eyes are now open to the grownup pleasures of wedded life. Yet she still hasn’t quite given up her girlhood fascination with all things Gothic. When she first visited Northanger Abbey, she only imagined dreadful events had occurred there. This time the horror is all too real. There’s been a murder, and Henry has fallen under suspicion. Catherine is determined to clear her husband’s name, but at the same time, she’s afraid for her own safety, since there’s a very good chance the real murderer is still in the house.


Sense and Sensibility

Colonel Brandon ranks among Austen’s most admired heroes; strong, silent, reliable and yet also strangely vulnerable. He has suffered. Colonel Brandon’s Diary by Amanda Grange is an expertly-told supplement to Sense and Sensibility, one of the world's great love stories. Readers say it is ‘a character masterpiece’, ‘beautifully written and well researched.’

This sensitive and insightful retelling of Jane Austen's much loved work sheds a dazzling new light on an old classic. At the age of eighteen, James Brandon's life is set fair. He is in love with his father's ward, Eliza, and he is looking forward to a lifetime of happiness with her. But his world is shattered when Eliza is forced to marry his brother and James joins the army in despair. Returning to England, Brandon finds Eliza in a debtor's prison where she has found herself after her divorce and subsequent destitution. He rescues her from her terrible position, but she is dying of consumption and he can do nothing but watch and wait. Heartbroken at her death, he takes some consolation from her illegitimate daughter, whom he raises as his ward. But at the age of fifteen, the young Eliza goes missing...



Mansfield Park

Many readers struggle with Mansfield Park because the heroine is demur, shy and downtrodden. Of course events prove her to be morally the strongest inhabitant of Mansfield Park. In her retelling of this book, Lona Manning imagines that ‘a contrary wind’ keeps Sir Thomas from home, allowing the ill-advised theatricals to go ahead. The Fanny Price who emerges from this debacle is a very different kind of woman indeed! With thoughtful twists and skilful execution, readers say it is ‘an impressive feat’ and ‘a tour de force.’

Fanny Price, an intelligent but timid girl from a poor family, lives at Mansfield Park with her wealthy cousins. But the cruelty of her Aunt Norris, together with a broken heart, compel Fanny to run away and take a job as a governess. Far away from everything she ever knew and the man she secretly loves, will Fanny grow in strength and confidence? Will a new suitor help her to forget her past? Or will a reckless decision ruin her life and the lives of those she holds most dear? This variation of Jane Austen’s novel includes all the familiar characters from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, and some new acquaintances as well.



Persuasion

This modern retelling of Persuasion is an award-winner. Critics say it is ‘a magnificent modernization of Jane Austen’s Persuasion’.

Mountain Laurel Elliot is like her name—she blooms best in the cool comfort of shade, hidden in the Kentucky foothills of Appalachia. Alone on her mountain, she lives a private existence with only her pottery—and her regrets—for company. James Marshall had a secret dream and Laurel was part of it, but dreams sometimes lead to unexpected places. James’s heart broke when Laurel cut him loose, but he moved on—and became successful beyond his wildest dreams. For one glorious summer, James and Laurel had each other, but life has kept them far apart. Until now.



Emma

Last, and probably least, I offer my own alternative telling of Emma. This is a book that has intrigued me since I first read it. As Jane Austen herself predicted, I didn’t like the heroine much and couldn’t forgive her faults. Jane Fairfax interested me far more, and this book is my exploration in the characters of Jane and Frank, the story of their childhoods and meeting in Weymouth that Austen hints at but never pursues. Dear Jane is an award-winning companion and tribute to Jane Austen’s Emma, described as ‘rich with comprehensive detail, thoughtful developments and emotive prose’ and ‘lovingly-crafted and brilliantly executed’.

Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. Readers of Emma will be familiar with the conclusion of Jane and Frank’s story, but Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over its remainder.



All six of these books will be won by one lucky winner. Sign up on the home page or follow this link: https://mailchi.mp/bec6861f79d6/alternative-austen-giveaway


The draw will be made on 31st January 2021 and the books will be shipped internationally once the winner provides his or her postal address.

Good luck!


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