Advent with Austen, Fluff

Jane Austen Made Me Do It – ed Laurel Ann Nattress – 3/10

“‘You made us too perfect’ said Elinor”

This is a collection of short stories inspired by Jane Austen, all never-before-published. Unfortunately, for many of them, that is for a good reason. The start to the blurb rather gives away why:

“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.

I thought I could keep an open mind about fan fiction. It lasted as far as the second story; I rather liked the first, a nightmare of Jane’s in which she finds herself in Bath, meeting all of her characters – Marianne is incensed that she was portrayed as so emotionally useless, Elinor and Fanny that they were too perfect, Lizzy and Jane are delighted with the husbands she gave them. Another very clever episode was an exchange of letters between Lydia Bennet and Maria Lucas (Charlotte’s younger sister) – two very minor characters in the novel and the retelling from their perspective was amusing, if somewhat predictable.

After that, there were rather too many re-imaginings; I wasn’t that happy with the idea of pursuing the characters of P&P after their wedding in Death Comes To Pemberley (review to come soon), but most of these stories reinforced all of my snobby ideas about fan fiction – one-dimensional,  far too many dared to set themselves from Jane’s perspective, and everyone wants to get with Darcy (WHY??? He may have £10,000 a year, but not even Colin Firth made him attractive!).

I know that there are fan fiction fans out there, and to them I heartily recommend this volume. It is a diverse and yet entirely Austen-focussed collection.

I just don’t get the point.

Other links: a guest blog by Laurel Ann Nattress and Nattress answers 8 out of 20 questions

Read for Advent with Austen.

Additional info:
This was a personal copy, recently bought with much excitement!.
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 432 pages (paperback)
Order Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart from Amazon*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards giveaways.
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7 thoughts on “Jane Austen Made Me Do It – ed Laurel Ann Nattress – 3/10”

  1. Now I remember the first story, yes, I enjoyed that one.

    I actually thought that in the Jane Austen “fan fiction” genre, most of the stories published here were weak compared to the longer novels. Though I recently tried 3 that weren’t good either.

    1. Which I think is partly the fault of the shorter format. In novels e.g. Darcy’s Story, there is much more time for character development and an author can show off how they have cleverly extended Austen’s work.

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