Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature's Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart

Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature's Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345524966
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/11/2011
Edition description: Original
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 474,888
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.98(d)

About the Author

A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of Austenprose.com, a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. Nattress is a lifetime member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected. Classically trained as a landscape designer at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, she has also worked in marketing for a Grand Opera company and at present she delights in introducing neophytes to the charms of Miss Austen’s prose as a professional bookseller. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Seattle, Washington, where it rains a lot.

Read an Excerpt

JANE AUSTEN'S NIGHTMARE

Syrie James

Chawton, Wednesday 2 August 1815

An extraordinary adventure which I only just experienced proved to be so vivid and distressing-and yet ultimately so illuminating-that I feel I must record it in its entirety.

It was a gloomy, grey, frigid afternoon, and I found myself traversing a strangely quiet and deserted street in Bath. (Bath! It is indeed the most tiresome place in the world, a visit there surely akin to a descent into Hades.) A low fog hung in the air, dampening the pavements and obscuring the heights of the long rows of limestone townhouses on either side of me.

I wondered how I had come to be there, and why I was alone. Should I not be snug at home at Chawton Cottage? Where were all the residents of Bath-a city generally so filled with crowds, noise, and confusion? Where did I get the (very smart) pale blue muslin gown in which I was attired, and the grey wool cloak with its beautiful lace collar, both too handsome to be seen much less worn? As I shivered and wrapped my cloak more tightly about me, I observed a pretty young woman of about seventeen years of age emerge from the fog and venture in my direction. I could not prevent a little start of surprise, for the newcomer looked exactly like Marianne Dashwood-at least the Marianne that I had envisioned while writing Sense and Sensibility.

How wonderful it was, I thought, that a real-life woman and a complete stranger should so closely resemble the character whom I had created entirely in my mind! I was about to politely avert my gaze when, of a sudden, the young woman's eyes widened and she marched determinedly up to me.

"Miss Jane Austen, is it not?" exclaimed she, stopping directly before me.

"Yes," replied I, uncertain how it was possible that this young woman should be acquainted with me.

"Surely you recognise me!" persisted she in an impassioned tone.

"Should I? I am very sorry. I do not believe we have ever met."

"Of course we have! You created me. I am Marianne."

I was at a loss for words. Had I imbibed too much wine at dinner? Was this exchange simply another one of my imaginative flights of fancy? Or could it be that, by some remarkable twist of fate, it was truly occurring? Whatever the cause, I did not wish to appear rude. "Of course," said I, smiling as I extended my hand to her, "I did think you looked familiar. How lovely to make your acquaintance in person at last. How have you been?"

"Not well. Not well at all!" cried she with a vigorous shake of her curls as she ignored my proffered hand. "I have wanted to converse with you for such a long time, I am grateful to at last have the opportunity." Her eyes flashed as she demanded, "What could you have been thinking, Jane-I may call you Jane, may I not?-when you wrote all that about me?"

"When I wrote what?" responded I uncertainly.

"In every scene throughout that entire, horrid novel," answered Marianne, "you presented me as the most selfish and self-involved creature on the face of the earth. I was always waxing rhapsodic about poetry or dead leaves, harshly critiquing somebody or something, or crying my eyes out in the depths of despair! Could not you have given me even one scene where I might have behaved with equanimity?"

This verbal assault, so entirely unexpected and delivered with such depth of emotion, took me utterly aback. "I-I was simply attempting to make you different from your sister," explained I, my voice faltering, "to portray two opposite temperaments."

"By my example then, do you mean to imply that having passionate feelings is a great evil?" cried Marianne.

"No-not at all. My aim was to illustrate the injurious nature of wallowing in excessive emotion and the importance of self-restraint."

"If that is so, was it truly necessary to enforce such suffering upon me to get across your point? You made me look ridiculous and pathetic! You humiliated me at a party! You nearly had me die-literally die! And the most cruel offence of all, Jane: you broke my heart. You had me fall madly, passionately in love with a man who was akin to my second self, and then you deliberately and remorselessly snatched him away!" Marianne choked back a sob as she dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief from her reticule. "All the other heroines in every one of your novels end up with the man they love, except me. You married me off to a man nearly twice my age! How could you do it?"

A paroxysm of guilt pierced through me with the speed of an arrow. Every word she spoke was true. Had I indeed sacrificed Marianne's happiness to convey a lesson? But no-no.

"I am sorry, Marianne," murmured I with sincere compassion. "I did indeed put you through a great many trials in my novel-but in the end, everything turns out well. I hope you and Colonel Brandon are very happy?"

"Colonel Brandon is the most loyal, amiable, and good-hearted of gentlemen," retorted Marianne testily. "He loves me, of that I am well aware, and I suppose I love him back. Every day I try to remind myself how fortunate I am to be his wife. But every day is just as quiet, spiritless, and dull as the last! We read. We take walks. We ride horses. We dine. He cleans his rifle and hunts. I do needle-work and play the pianoforte. Oh! Were it not for my mother's and sisters' visits, I think I should go mad! Where is the heart-pounding excitement I felt in every encounter with Willoughby? Am I never to feel that way again?"

"Marianne," answered I solemnly, "the excitement you describe might be thrilling for a moment, but it is not the preferred way to live. A marriage based on affection, respect, and companionship is a more desirable union, and will make you far happier."

"Happier? What do you know of happiness, Jane? Upon what do you base these assumptions? You, who have never married!"

Her brutal and tactless remarks made me gasp-yet I reminded myself that I had created her-I had made her what she was. "I base them upon my observations of other married couples. I could not in good conscience allow you to marry Willoughby. He was greedy, selfish, and fickle, and would have made you miserable. I thought you understood that at the end."

"You put words in my mouth to show what I had learned-but they were your words, Jane, not mine. I know the truth. I know why you stole my Willoughby away: it was because you could not have Mr. Ashford. You suffered, so you made certain that I suffered, as well!"

At the mention of Mr. Ashford's name, my heart seized and I let out a little gasp. Not a day passed that I did not think of Mr. Ashford. He was the one, true love of my life, but for good reason, I had told no one about our relationship-no one except Henry and my sister. How could Marianne know about him?

"It was most unfair of you, Jane! Most unfair!" Tears streamed down Marianne's cheeks now and she took a quivering breath. "Could not you have given me and Willoughby a second chance? You might have redeemed him at any time had you chosen to, but you did not. I declare, I will never forgive you!" With this last, heated remark, she turned and darted away.

"Marianne, come back!" cried I, running after her. "Have you forgotten Eliza, whom Willoughby seduced, disgraced, and abandoned? I saved you from Willoughby! He was one of the worst offenders I ever created! Colonel Brandon is worth a hundred Willoughbys! He is the true hero of the novel!"

But the fog enveloped Marianne's retreating form and she disappeared from my view.

I stopped, catching my breath, remorse and confusion coursing through me. If only she had given me more time to explain! But even if she had, how could I defend what I had done? Should I have redeemed Willoughby? I had barely the briefest interval, however, to contemplate these misgivings when, from a tea shop but a few yards ahead of me, emerged two young ladies deeply engaged in conversation.

I recognised them at once: it was Marianne's sister Elinor, walking arm in arm with Fanny Price. I was astounded. How was it possible that these two women from entirely different novels should be acquainted with each other? Moreover, what were they doing in Bath? They looked up, exchanged a brief, surprised glance, and hurried up to me.

"Good afternoon, Miss Austen," said Elinor with a graceful curtsey. "How lovely to see you."

"This is an extraordinary coincidence," murmured Fanny with a shy curtsey of her own. "Mrs. Ferrars and I were just talking about you."

"We only just met an hour ago," explained Elinor, nodding towards the establishment behind them, "and already we have become fast friends. We discovered that we have a great deal in common."

"You are indeed very much alike," agreed I with a smile, pleased by the notion of their new friendship. "I have dearly loved you both since the moment of your inception."

"You see?" said Fanny quietly, darting a meaningful look at her companion.

Elinor nodded gravely but remained silent.

A foreboding feeling came over me. "Is any thing the matter?" asked I.

"Not a thing," said Elinor.

"The weather is very cold and damp," observed Fanny, "do not you think?"

I knew them both too well to be taken in by the polite composure on their faces. "You need not keep any secrets from me. If there is something you wish to say, please speak freely."

"Well," said Fanny reluctantly, "we do not mean to complain. It is just that-" She could not go on.

"It is about our characters," interjected Elinor quickly.

"Your characters?" answered I. "But what is wrong with your characters? You are both excellent, intelligent women, with sincere and affectionate dispositions, strength of understanding, calmness of manner, and coolness of judgment."

"Precisely," stated Fanny.

"You made us too perfect," said Elinor.

"Too perfect?" cried I. "How can any one be too perfect?"

"I always behaved with the utmost of propriety," said Elinor, "no matter how difficult or oppressive the circumstance. At only nineteen years of age, I was required to be the model of patience, perseverance, and fortitude, obliged to keep my entire family financially and emotionally afloat, and to conceal my pain beneath a façade of complete composure, even when my heart was breaking."

"Yes, and you are admired for your strength of character, Elinor," insisted I.

"Admired perhaps, but not liked. No one likes a character who is flawless, Miss Austen."

"It was the same for me," remarked Fanny. "How I succeeded in maintaining even a modicum of self-respect in such a hostile, belittling, and unfeeling environment as Mansfield Park is purely due to God's grace and your pen. You made me sit timidly by while the man I loved chased after another woman, had me refuse a charming man who was almost entirely good, and would not even allow me to participate in a private play, insisting that it was indelicate and wrong! How I disliked myself! No one is fond of a shy, priggish, and passive character, Miss Austen. No one!"

"I am very fond of you," returned I emphatically. "Edmund likes you. He loves you."

"Only because you made him just as good and virtuous as I."

"The book has oft been praised for its morality and sound treatment of the clergy!" insisted I a little desperately.

"That may be so," said Fanny, "and please correct me if I am wrong, but your own mother finds me insipid, your niece Anna cannot bear me, and the reading public at large finds Edmund and I both annoying and as dull as dishwater."

To my mortification, I could not refute her statement.

"People love strong, outspoken characters," said Elinor, "who will not allow themselves to be trampled on by others-characters who have flaws but overcome them. Yet in our books, you imply that by being consistently patient, good, and silent, a woman can rise above difficult circumstances."

"Surely this message controverts everything you told us about life in that other book," said Fanny.

"What other book?" asked I.

"Why, the book that is everyone's favorite," answered Elinor with a tight little smile. She then said good-day, and after Fanny made a final comment about the weather, the pair linked arms, turned, and made their way down the damp, grey pavement.

My thoughts were in such a state of disarray that I hardly knew what to think or feel. I strode off in the opposite direction, crossing the road, when a carriage suddenly appeared out of the fog and nearly ran me down. It was some time before my heart returned to its natural pace. How long I walked on in this distracted manner along the nearly deserted streets I cannot say, but at length I passed the Abbey Church and found myself standing outside the Pump-room. A cacophony of voices issued from within, proof that not all the inhabitants of Bath had stayed at home.

As I was cold and thirsty, I hurried inside the Pump-room, where a crowd milled about in spacious elegance, and musicians in the west apse performed a pleasant air. A cursory glance revealed that I had no acquaintance there. Appreciative of the heat emanating from two large fireplaces, I made my way to the fountain, where I paid the attendant for a glass of water and drank it down. As I turned, I nearly collided with a handsome young man smartly dressed in the uniform of a naval officer, exactly like that of my brothers Frank and Charles.

"Forgive me," said he with a bow, before purchasing his own glass and moving on. The naval captain made a most arresting figure, and I wondered what lay behind the sad look in his eyes. My attention was soon diverted, however, by the sight of an attractive, fashionably dressed young woman who was intently studying all the passersby, as if seeking out some one in particular. She looked strangely familiar. All at once I knew why: it was Emma Woodhouse.

Emma! In my view, one of the most delightful creatures I had ever conceived! Upon catching sight of me, Emma started with recognition, a look that quickly turned to worry as she glided to my side.

"There you are! I have been looking every where for you, Miss Austen. Have the others found you?"

"The others?"

"Word has got out that you are in town. There are quite a few people who are-" (she hesitated) "-most anxious to speak with you."

Oh dear, I thought, my heart sinking. This could prove to be a most exhausting day. "Thank you. I will keep an eye out for the others, whoever they may be. But how is it that you are here, Emma? My book about you is only just completed. It has yet to be sold or published."

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Jane Austen Made Me Do It 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Amberwin More than 1 year ago
I must first admit that I have never read a Jane Austen novel in my life. This looked intriguing, so I picked it up. Every short story is enjoyable, even if I did not understand some of the literary references. Well-written and engaging, every page! My favorite was the Misletoe Kiss. Maybe now I will have to go down that Jane Lane...
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Review by Robin: I could write something about each story but that would just ruin it for you. Overall I loved this collection allot. Each and every contributor understands and loves the work of Ms. Austen. Jane Austen Made Me Do It; is a very clever collection of short stories written a wide array of genres and subjects that take us from gothic romance to fantasy. We find Jane herself along with many of her more recognizable characters in each story. Each story is unique but when added makes every person wanting to be a Jane Austen follower. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves Jane Austen. Even if you never read anything written by her this collection makes you want to go out and read her classic stories, and fall in love all over again.
V_LynnTX More than 1 year ago
I have had this item on pre-order ever since I heard about it from the editor, Laurel Ann Nattress via her website Austenprose. Finally received it recently! LOL It is a wonderful collection of Jane Austen-inspired short stories that I'm sure anyone who LOVES Jane Austen's works, or JA-inspired continuations, will want to add to their own collections. This book has a little of everything for everyone: mystery, humor, suspense... I could go on!! I love this book & I'm sure anyone who has a serious JA "addiction" will love it too!
Jutzie More than 1 year ago
Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature's Most Austute Observer of the Human Heart. Introduction by Laurel Ann Nattress *Jane Austen's Nightmare by Syrie James As Jane finds herself in Bath, her characters show up and complain what Jane did wrong with them in her books. Only the Darcy's and Bingley's are content. *Waiting: A story inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion by Jane Odiwe Anne Elliot & Captain Wentworth are thinking about what happened nine years ago as he once again goes to Anne's father to ask for her hand in marriage. *A Night at Northanger by Lauren Willig Ghost Trekkers TV show goes to check out the ghosts at Northanger Abbey. When Cate retires to her room early, after the power goes out, she meets the ghost. *Language *Jane and the Gentleman Rogue: Being a fragment of a Jane Austen mystery by Stephanie Barron. Jane Austen helps Lord Harold as he tries to protect naval plans from getting to France. And she tries to protect him while he duels Lord Cecil. *Faux Jane by Diane Meier and Frank Delaney writing as F.J. Meier Nicola & Charles Scott help a spoiled actress and her fiance' Lord to get to the bottom of a autographed Jane Austen book she is paying a million dollars for. *Nothing Less Than Fairy-Land by Monica Fairview The Knightley's have their first trials when they return from their honeymoon and have to find a way that two men can both live under the same roof. *Love and Best Wishes, Aunt Jane by Adriana Trigiani Jane Austen writes a letter of congratulations to a niece on her engagement. *Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss by Jo Beverly Jane Austen tells the story of the mistletoe bough to a widow and her three daughters. That if kissing their one true love under the bough, their hearts will know. *When Only a Darcy Will Do by Beth Pattillo Elizabeth, an American in London. Is giving Jane Austen tours to make some extra money. No bites until Mr. Darcy shows up for the tour. *Heard of You by Margaret C. Sullivan From Persuasion; the story of how Captain Croft & Sophie Wentworth meet. They recap the story for Anne and tell her how Frederick was their matchmaker. *The Ghostwriter by Elizabeth Aston Charles left Sara, due to her unending love for Mr. Darcy. He left a locket with Jane's hair which brings Jane to Sara. She helps her with her book and Charles before leaving. *Mr. Bennet Meets His Match by Amanda Grange On the day of Jane & Lizzy's wedding John Bennet thinks back to the time of his parents pushing him to get married and how he chose Jane Gardiner. *Jane Austen, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! By Janet Mullany Julie teaches as a all girls school, during detention with three girls she teaches them how exciting Jane Austen can be when she replaces the characters with the Beatles. *Letters to Lydia by Maya Slater Lydia Bennet's friend, Maria Lucas sends her letters. The first of them from her stay with the Collin's and reporting what she thinks is happening between Lizzy & Mr. Darcy. *The Mysterious Closet: A Tale by Myretta Robens Cathy is staying at an Abbey. She is given the Ratcliffe Suite in the haunted section. She meets Henry. Finally a man she could love, if he were only real rather than a ghost! *Jane Austen's Cat by Diana Birchall While her brother James is visiting at the small house, Aunt Jane takes time from writing to tell her nieces stories. This one happened to have cats as the characters. *Me and Mr. Darcy, Again... by
KSowa More than 1 year ago
This collection of short stories range in time from Regency to contemporary and each takes a different approach to showing the influence that Ms. Austen has left on all readers and romantics the world over. There are few things I love more than a Jane Austen novel and I was very excited to read this collection. The stories range in subject and setting. There is a story of a ghost hunting reality show that meets a real ghost at Northanger Abby, and another where Jane Austen meets some of the characters she created and they aren't too happy about some of her plot-lines. One of my favorite is a story where Mr. Darcy confronts the authors of the many Pride and Prejudice sequels! (I admit I have read several of those, myself). If you love all things Austen, I think you will find this quite diverting and enjoy the fun that the authors had with the wealth of material that Ms.Austen supplied throughout her writing career. I truly enjoyed this little visit into different dimensions of the Jane Austen universe. I gave it 4 stars. I received this as a galley from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The key to the twenty-two short stories collection is how the various contributors pay homage to Jane Austen in diverse ways; the authors stayed true to their prime genre but did it while honoring the great writer. A woman spends "A Night at Northanger" (by Lauren Willig) where she meets a famous ghost. Sara receives a gift of a locket with Austen's hair inside as her boyfriend ends their relationship; when she wakes up she finds Austen;s spirit at her side to guide her as "The Ghostwriter" (by Elizabeth Ashton). In 2010 Austen sends her "Love and Best Wishes, Aunt Jane" (by Adriana Trigiani) to her engaged niece while Jo Beverly brings humor in "Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss" and Janet Mullany's "Jane Austen, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!" shows one degree of separation between Jane and the Beatles. With hooks to the novels like Jane Odiwe's "Waiting" for Persuasion" and Laurie Viera Rigler's law suits against Pride and Prejudice rip-offs (see "Intolerable Stupidity"), this is a fun anthology; sub title aside. Harriet Klausner
quaintlittlehead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is not great literature, but it is absolutely fun fan-fiction. From stories about Jane Austen herself to reimaginings of her characters, and from period to modern settings, this book takes you through a series of merry romps through England's great places and through the ever-steadfast human heart. The story's authors are sometimes even able to laugh at themselves and the world of the Janeites, as in Laura Vieira Rigler's closer, "Intolerable Stupidity," which imagines the writers of all the Austen-inspired literature and film so popular today on trial in Lady Catherine de Bourgh's court, sued by a Mr. Darcy who has grown tired of being perpetually wet-shirted. If I had read any one of these stories on its own, I might have considered it just a bit of good fun, but having them all together in this volume actually does prompt me to think seriously about Jane's world: why is her writing so much more popular than that of her contemporaries? What was its enduring importance? Why are so many readers today obsessed with the specific romances she kindled, even when so many of her characters were flawed? Is it all really because Colin Firth is just that good-looking? This book doesn't raise great moral or philosophical questions on its own, but the stories are creative, and I found after reading the book, when looking back at a list of the titles, I could actually remember the specifics of almost every story I had read in it. And yes, it made me want to go read more Jane Austen, and what more could you really ask for? I was also particularly impressed with Jane Rubino's and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway's "What Would Austen Do?" which imagines the perspective of a teenage boy grappling with what people really are and what they seem to be in the world of a modern day high school. I was pleased to read that what I considered probably the most promising piece in the book is being developed into a full-length novel, one that I will be very interested to seek out. If you've read all the Jane you can get your hands on and can't get enough, or even if you haven't and want to believe that serious literature can be fun, this is a jolly good diversion.
bookworm12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This collection contains more than 20 original short stories by many well-known authors. Some are set in modern day; others pick up the threads where they left off in one of Austen¿s beloved classics. The book was edited by Austen fan Laurel Ann Nattress, creator of Austenprose.com. The subject matter covers almost everything Austen wrote. We see what happens to Emma and Mr. Knightly after they marry and have to take care of her father. We learn about Mr. Bennet¿s youth, before he married Lizzy¿s exasperating mother. Persuasion¿s Anne and Captain Wentworth retell the story of their romance to friends in ¿Waiting.¿Even though I did enjoy some of the pieces, I never found myself reaching for the book. Instead it sat, untouched, until I reminded myself that I really needed to finish it. I¿d pick it up, read a few stories and by the next day I had all but forgotten them.My problem with the collection is the same one I have with most Austen fan fiction. The stories either return to one of Austen¿s original characters or the main character is obsessed with Austen¿s work. They try to add a new element to the story or make some reader fantasy come to life. Either way, the stories tend to make me want to re-read the original books instead of the new one. They always feel a little weak or empty compared to Austen¿s work and when you write fan fiction you can¿t help but set yourself up for that comparison. I did enjoy Syrie James¿ story, which provides a nightmare scenario where all of Austen¿s characters confront her with their complaints about how their stories unfolded. ¿Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss," by Jo Beverley, was another one that worked well for me. Interestingly, the book closes with Laurie Viera Rigler¿s story "Intolerable Stupidity." The premise is that Darcy is suing authors of Pride and Prejudice spin-offs and films because their stories are affecting his everyday life. In other words, he¿ll grow vampire fangs in the middle of dinner with his wife or walk down the street and realize his shirt is soaking wet. The reason this story was ironic, in my opinion, is because it¿s criticizing the very category of fiction that it falls into. Obviously, by the end it justifies these stories and shows their importance, but I can¿t say I was convinced. I agree that fan fiction has made Austen more popular, but is that really a good thing if the people who are introduced to it never read the original books? I know many people who have read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies but don¿t intend to ever read the original. In fact, they now think they already know the story, so they don¿t need to and that¿s truly a shame. I know many others read the fan fiction because they already love the originals, which is great, but it has never worked that way for me.If you adore Austen fan fiction, you¿ll probably love this. If you love Austen and have read all of her major novels, you might enjoy this one. If you have dabbled with a few books, but aren¿t sold on her, this probably isn¿t for you.
mjmbecky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Whether you are a fair weather fan of Jane Austen, or a die hard Janeite, Jane Austen Made Me Do It has a wonderful variety of original short stories to catch any reader's attention. Some of the stories are retellings, based on the characters in Austen's famous novels. Other stories are modernizations, featuring Austen characters or themes. Honestly, there is a little something for everyone. Longtime Austen fans will quickly recognize the authors featured in this compilation. Authors like Lauren Willig, Laurie Viera Rigler, and Beth Pattillo (to name a few) have short stories in the book, alongside a few newbies like Brenna Aubrey, who was the winner of the Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest that was held at The Republic of Pemberley (as mentioned in Laurel's guest post on Sunday). Regardless of the author, the stories are filled with great character sketches, romantic longing, and Austen-like whimsy. For readers who are hesitant to try out a retelling or modernization, this is a great way to try out the stories available on the market, as many of these authors have also published longer Austen-expired novels. Without going into too much information about each of the stories, let me just share a few that I really enjoyed. One of my favorites was "When Only a Darcy Will Do," by Beth Pattillo, in which Mr. Darcy steps into a modern tale and sweeps the heroine and reader off their feet--yet again. Although I honestly enjoyed each story, a few others that stood out to me were those based on Persuasion, which I keep hoping some of these authors will take on and write more about (hint, hint, nudge, nudge). "Waiting: A Story Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion" by Jane Odiwe was a delightful peek inside Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot's long awaited for reunion, and had me loving this sweet story even more. I also got a real chuckle out of "Intolerable Stupidity," by Lauren Willig, which is a literary courtroom drama that puts the authors of these retellings and modernizations on trial. The playful mix of Austen characters, stories, and tongue in cheek poke at authors such as those who wrote stories for the book, was too smart for words! And to top it off, I 100% agree with the winner of the short story contest, "The Love Letter" by Brenna Aubrey; its modern equivalent for Persuasion had me cheering on love that can endure.I swore I wouldn't pick out individual stories, but I hope that the few I highlighted--out of a book filled with delightful treasures--will better show the nice range included in the book. There are homages to Northanger Abbey's Gothic ghost story, episodes with the newly wed Darcys, and even Emma. Whether you are a true-blue Janeite, fair-weather Austen fan, or formerly-nervous Austen purist, this book has a great selection of stories for every reader.
JQuist on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had such a blast reading Jane Austen Made Me Do It! This short story collection is all about Austen, but the stories are so unique and creative that I didn't get any Austen fatigue. A must for Austen lovers!
BookishDame on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Published by: Ballantine BooksPages: 464Genre: Fiction, General & Historical RomanceThe Dame's View:Will it be enough to say that I wish this book had gone on and on just like a Jane Austen novel? Laurel Ann Nattress has achieved a coup in this first of her books. Who could have imagined that so many "mash-up" short stories would have been released about Jane Austen's novels and her characters? I'll bet the great Jane wouldn't have. And, I'll bet she's having a delighted laugh over this one because it's by far the best of the best in concept and expression of any books like it.Fun, luminous, entertaining, in the original sense; meaning a time when a book was meant to entertain before television and video games, "Jane Austen Made Me Do It.." is the book of this literay season that you'll want to give your best friends, your daughters, neices and mother. I'm getting copies for Christmas gifts.How on earth Ms Nattress ever chose from what had to have been a mountain of fabulous entries, because those that made it are the finest of the finest, I have no idea. With writers such as Stephaine Barron, Janet Mullany, Lauren Willig, Margaret C. Sullivan...and I could go on, I just can't fathom who was left out!These stories are about nightmares, ghostly visitations, visits from Austen characters, ideas and imaginations mixed with readings of Jane's books and more. Short stories that lead one into another until you want to grab the orginal books and thumb through them to laugh or cry again at the characters and Jane Austen quotes. And, Jane is quoted with such majesty here.What more can I say except this is a book great fun to have in your Austen collection. And I know anyone who's read this review so far, by this lackluster blogger, has a Jane Austen collection.5 tearoom nodsDeborah/TheBookishDame
whitreidtan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I freely admit I am a bit of a Jane Austen addict. And that addiction happily extends to sequels, prequels, and other Austen inspired writings. My shelves groan under the weight of books written by other Austen lovers. So when I saw this book was being published, I knew it had to find a home on my shelves.This is a varied and entertaining collection of stories, many of which are written by the biggest names in Austen sequel writing. The stories are linked thematically by their Austen inspiration but they range a wide gamut aside from that initial similarity. There are stories that use Austen characters, some that use Austen (or her ghost) herself, and some that are modern retellings of classic Austen. They run from mysteries, to romance, to paranormal, and everything in between. As is the case in collections, there were stories I enjoyed more than others but even those that I expected to find less than appealing kept my attention and made me smile. Never once did I want to walk away from the book, reading voraciously through each story, enchanted by the so many differing and wildly inventive ways in which the authors had imagined their Austen inspirations. A fun and pleasurable read, this certainly earned its spot on my keeper shelves amongst the other Jane Austen related writings.
Bodagirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable mix of stories encompassing a wide range of Austen adaptations, spin-offs, and inspired bys. My favorite was "Intolerable Stupidity," followed closely by "The Love Letter."
lupoman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this ARC through the LibraryThing members, and even though this book is not in my favorite genre, I still found this collection of 22 short stories fascinating at the very least and at the most, riveting.Some of the riveting stories (and thus my favorites) are: 1) "The Love Letter" by Brenna Aubrey, 2) "The Chase" by Carrie Bebris, 3) "The Ghostwriter" by Elizabeth Aston, and 4) "What Would Austen Do?" by Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway.I highly recommend this book to any Jane Austen fan, especially the ones who read all 6 of her books numerous times; this book is for you!
BookDivasReads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jane Austen and her books have been the inspiration for a wide variety of books over the years as sequels, adaptations or inspired stories. All have kept Miss Austen and her characters alive in a myriad of forms. Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature's Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart edited by Laurel Nattress is new to the Austen inspired works and is an anthology of twenty short stories.It is rather difficult choosing favorites from these original stories, but some did stand out more than others. "Jane Austen's Nightmare" by Syrie James features Jane Austen being confronted by her characters during a walk around Bath. Some characters are pleased with their attributes and others find fault with Miss Austen's characterization. "A Night at Northanger" by Lauren Willig is a modern day ghost hunter tale set at Northanger Abbey. "The Ghostwriter" by Elizabeth Aston features a frustrated writer who encounters the ghost of Jane Austen."What Would Austen Do?" by Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway is a tale about a modern teenage boy. He is forced to participate in summer activities at the local library/community center, takes a dance class, and winds up reading Jane Austen which changes his dress, manners and life.Ms. Nattress has provided an Austen-inspired fiesta with Jane Austen Made Me Do It. As with most of the Austen inspired works, there are some that use Austen characters and others that prominently feature Miss Austen as the focal point. Rather than read one story after another, I read one story at a time with breaks spanning a few hours. I found that this allowed me time to enjoy each story before reading the next. If you love Jane Austen then it will not matter if you read this in one setting or take a few days, you will find enjoyment. Some of these stories may be more pleasing than others but I find this to be true about Miss Austen's original works as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all of Jane Austen's books. This is such a fun read. Loved this collection of stories based on her novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jb_elizabeth More than 1 year ago
After being quite disgruntled with a few Austen books, I never thought that I would love her again. I purchased this book the first day I got my Nook and after reading the first story in it I was hooked. The range of stories is amazing. From a small continuation of "Emma" to girls in detention comparing the men in "Pride and Prejudice" to the Beatles...WOW! A must read for anyone who has ever read an Austen book. And yes, it made me fall in love with Austen all over again. It is worth the money and then some.
Vic-Richmond More than 1 year ago
One regret I have in my busy life is the lack of leisure time I have for reading. Right now there are four stacks of books on the floor of my office, all waiting to be read. So many books! So little time. Given my schedule, I am glad I set aside the required hours to read 'Jane Austen Made Me Do It', an anthology of Jane Austen-inspired stories by published Jane Austen sequel authors and edited by Laurel Ann Nattress. I rarely read anthologies front to back, but flit here and there, landing instead on a story with an intriguing title or by a favorite author. In this instance I began with Stephanie Barron's tale of 'Jane And the Gentleman Rogue: Being a fragment of a Jane Austen mystery'. I am so glad I did, for it prompted me to linger longer over dinner and read another short story. Beth Pattillo's 'When Only a Darcy Will Do' was a delight, as was Margaret C. Sullivan's 'Heard of You', which I read just before going to bed. The list of authors in this anthology is impressive: Pamela Aidan * Elizabeth Aston * Brenna Aubrey * Stephanie Barron * Carrie Bebris * Jo Beverley * Diana Birchall * Frank Delaney & Diane Meier * Monica Fairview * Amanda Grange * Syrie James * Janet Mullany * Jane Odiwe * Beth Pattillo * Alexandra Potter * Myretta Robens * Jane Rubino & Caitlen Rubino Bradway * Maya Slater * Margaret Sullivan * Adriana Trigiani * Laurie Viera Rigler * Lauren Willig. I've always enjoyed reading anthologies. They allow one to pick and choose on a whim, and finish a story in a short space of time. Anthology stories serve as literary versions of amuse bouches, those tasty bites served at the start of dinner. Even the most the discerning reader is bound to find selections and authors they will love. (Or discover a new author!) I favored some stories over others, but won't share them with you for the simple reason that some of the stories I disliked received rave reviews on other blogs. Anthologies appeal to a variety of tastes, and I found it remarkable how many in 'Jane Austen Made Me Do It' captivated me. If you decide to purchase this book, I can guarantee that you will discover new authors and stories that you will want to reread. This is due, no doubt, to the hard work that editor Laurel Ann Nattress put into the project. As a blogger, I can't imagine how much of her time was spent in contacting the authors and working with them, overseeing a contest for an unpublished author (the honor went to Brenna Aubrey), working with her publishing house in editing the stories, and now publicizing the book. I tip my hat to Laurel Ann for overseeing this ambitious and very worthwhile project, for this is her first book. This is why I gave 'Jane Austen Made Me Do It' five out of five stars! Vic, Jane Austen's World and Jane Austen Today
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kimba88 More than 1 year ago
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. A special thank you to netGalley and Random House Publishing Group for sending me this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.
MissBurney More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for this to be released. Ms. Nattress lives, breaths and works Jane Austen. This is sure to be a treat!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You and most others have terrible grammar and spelling. I think it would be best for you to get help for problems with not only english, but with nook sex. You were probably abused as children, which caused you to physiocally scarred.