by Laurel Ann Nattress
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“My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” If you just heaved a contented sigh at Mr. Darcy’s heartfelt words, then you, dear reader, are in good company. Here is a delightful collection of never-before-published stories inspired by Jane Austen—her novels, her life, her wit, her world.
In Lauren Willig’s “A Night at Northanger,” a young woman who doesn’t believe in ghosts meets a familiar specter at the infamous abbey; Jane Odiwe’s “Waiting” captures the exquisite uncertainty of Persuasion’s Wentworth and Anne as they await her family’s approval of their betrothal; Adriana Trigiani’s “Love and Best Wishes, Aunt Jane” imagines a modern-day Austen giving her niece advice upon her engagement; in Diana Birchall’s “Jane Austen’s Cat,” our beloved Jane tells her nieces “cat tales” based on her novels; Laurie Viera Rigler’s “Intolerable Stupidity” finds Mr. Darcy bringing charges against all the writers of Pride and Prejudice sequels, spin-offs, and retellings; in Janet Mullany’s “Jane Austen, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” a teacher at an all-girls school invokes the Beatles to help her students understand Sense and Sensibility; and in Jo Beverley’s “Jane and the Mistletoe Kiss,” a widow doesn’t believe she’ll have a second chance at love . . . until a Miss Austen suggests otherwise.
Regency or contemporary, romantic or fantastical, each of these marvelous stories reaffirms the incomparable influence of one of history’s most cherished authors.
I have long been a fan of Jane Austen and was excited to read this collection. Jane Austen Made Me Do It, is a collection of short stories written by modern authors who love Jane Austen. As with any collection of short stories I have read, not all of them were my cup of tea. Overall, I truly enjoyed this wonderful collection. The book boasts a wide range of authors and a few of my personal favorites. I was also delighted with the mixed genres including paranormal, suspense, gothic romance and contemporary fantasy. There is a mix of journal entries, short stories and letters. One of my favorites was Elizabeth Aston’s short story entitled “The Ghostwriter”. A young writer named Sara comes home to find a Dear John letter from her boyfriend. It contains a departing gift, a locket containing a piece of Jane’s hair. After crying herself to sleep, she wakes to find the ghost of Jane at the foot of the bed. The story that unfolds is simply delightful and the ending had me laughing out loud. Jo Beverly’s work, “Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss”, finds a widowed woman with four young girls. The widow takes Jane’s advice and finds love. In Beth Pattillo’s story, “Only a Darcy Will Do”, a young woman studying abroad gives guided tours. Dressed in vintage garb, she leads them on a walk of places Austen has visited in London. This is the third Sunday she hasn’t had a single customer when a young man dressed as Mr. Darcy asks to take the tour. This is only a glimpse of the adventures inside this charming book. This would make a great holiday gift for anyone who loves Jane Austen and a must have for Austen enthusiast. This book will be available October 11, 2011.