I’m a huge Austenite! Jane Austen is what really got me into loving books, so I have a soft spot for her. And one thing I love in the world of Austen is all the “What-ifs” and retellings that have come from her books. So here are a few favorites.
This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.
Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.
Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .
And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.
Beginning on their wedding day, Darcy and Elizabeth are two people who are deeply in love with one another and are excited to begin their marriage.
Their courtship was tempestuous; misunderstandings and misgivings nearly tore them apart. But now that they’ve seen each other without prejudice, their trust, attraction, and delight in each other grows with every passing day. Both are inexperienced and innocent, sharing moments of shyness and boldness as they discover the kinds of intimacies that a newlywed couple shares.
As their love story unfolds, they reveal their innermost secrets and feelings, embracing each other in a marriage filled with romance, passion, humor, and drama that will keep you spellbound.
a. lose 7 pounds
b. stop smoking
c. develop Inner Poise
“123 lbs. (how is it possible to put on 4 pounds in the middle of the night? Could flesh have somehow solidified becoming denser and heavier? Repulsive, horrifying notion), alcohol units 4 (excellent), cigarettes 21 (poor but will give up totally tomorrow), number of correct lottery numbers 2 (better, but nevertheless useless) . . . “
The year is 1803, and Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth’s beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball, the guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley’s wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham – Elizabeth Bennet’s younger, unreliable sister – stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered.
A modern love story with a Jane Austen twist…
Marine biologist Cassie Boulton likes her coffee with cream and her literature with happy endings. Her favorite book is Pride and Prejudice, but Cassie has no patience when a modern-day Mr. Darcy appears in her lab.
Silent and aloof, Calder Westing III doesn’t seem to offer anything but a famous family name. But there is more to Calder than meets the eye, and he can’t get enough of Cassie Boulton. Especially after one passionate night by the sea. But Cassie keeps her distance. Frustrated by Cassie’s evasions, Calder tells her about his feelings the only way she’ll let him-by rewriting her favorite book, with the two of them in the roles of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. It’s up to Cassie to supply the ending . . .
What if Mr. Darcy did not simply ride away in anger when he met with Mr. Wickham that day in Meryton? What if he had actually warned Elizabeth Bennet of that gentleman’s despicable character? In the spirit and wit of Jane Austen, Affinity and Affection explores the possibility of what might have happened had the proud and haughty Mr. Darcy decided to come down off his high horse, quite literally, so to speak, to lay his personal dealings with his childhood friend and father’s former favourite open before the eyes of the bewitching Elizabeth Bennet. Would his forthrightness have set the stage for a better understanding between them? Would it have changed Elizabeth’s mind about how she perceived the taciturn Mr. Darcy sooner, rather than later? And what else might have transpired as a result?
“Be that as it may, Elizabeth saw Darcy go with regret; and in this early example of what Lydia’s infamy must produce, found additional anguish as she reflected on that wretched business.” The tragedy of that fateful moment at the Lambton Inn is one of the most memorable scenes in Pride & Prejudice, leaving generations of readers to wonder how the outcome would have differed if Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy had chosen to speak their feelings rather than to assume the worst about the other. From Lambton to Longbourn gives Jane Austen’s beloved characters a chance to reach out one last time before they part. As they create a new path forward, adventures and misunderstandings ensue as they learn about each other and the meaning of love. THE PEMBERLEY VARIATIONS by Abigail Reynolds is a series of novels exploring the roads not taken in Pride & Prejudice.
If the two of them weren’t so “stubborn . . . ”
It’s obvious to Georgiana Darcy that the lovely Elizabeth Bennet is her brother’s perfect match, but Darcy’s pigheadedness and Elizabeth’s wounded pride are going to keep them both from the loves of their lives.
Georgiana can’t let that happen, so she readily agrees to help her accommodating cousin, Anne de Bourgh, do everything within their power to assure her beloved brother’s happiness.
But the path of matchmaking never runs smoothly . . .
If you want more recommendations, visit my Jane Austen Variations page.