Jane Austen Spinoffs
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Modern Jane Austen Sequels and Spinoffs

Perhaps you have finished reading all of Jane Austen's novels more than once, and are still yearning for more summer reading in the same vein. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, many modern-day authors have offered Austen plenty of praise lately with their sequels and spinoffs of the author's beloved novels. Below are several Jane Austen book sequels and spinoffs for your reading enjoyment.

Pride and Prejudice Sequels and Spinoffs

An Unequal Marriage: Pride and Prejudice Twenty Years Later by Emma Tennant has been criticized as a "badly written soap opera" with many unlikely plot twists and romantic pursuits. For example, Mr. Darcy's son marries a barmaid, while his steward is in love with Lizzie. Darcy's cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam--who has for all these years pined away for Lizzie and never married--eventually marries a noblewoman who turns out to be a spiteful mate. Darcy himself is portrayed in this novel as the scheming, arrogant, haughty man from the beginning of Austen's novel, except that in Tennant's sequel, he does not have a redeeming inner persona. In addition, the novel will not please most Austen purists, who rejoiced when Darcy and Lizzie found true love; true to the title, this sequel portrays the couple as living in an unequal, unhappy union.

The Bar Sinister, Pride and Prejudice Continues by Linda Berdoll is perhaps the most well-known sequel to Pride and Prejudice. Berdoll's novel begins where Austen's ends and offers the steamy details of Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage (including their bedroom antics, so sensitive readers should be aware of the novel's explicit sexuality). The novel focuses primarily on the discovery of a boy working at the Pemberley estate, who is purported to be the illegitimate son of Mr. Darcy. After Elizabeth is unable to bear a child, the boy appears to be the only possible heir to Darcy's vast fortune. The novel also offers relates stories relating to Mr. Collins, Georgiana Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Jane Bingley.

Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice, and follows the life of a thirtysomething Brit who struggles with her cigarette smoking habit, weight, and anxiety of still being single. Bridget's life takes a turn when she has an affair with her charming cad of a boss. However, she eventually learns that the recently divorced barrister, Mark Darcy, whom she detests upon introduction, may offer more than what appears on the surface. In between her romantic travails, Bridget also deals with her suburban mother, who suddenly becomes a chat-show hostess and unrepentant adulteress.

The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Mary Street tells the story of Pride and Prejudice from Darcy's perspective, and provides some original details of his dealings with Wickham and with Lady Catherine de Bourgh, among others. Street follows Austen's storyline closely and makes a believable narrative come alive.

Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer closely follows the plot of the original Pride and Prejudice (with much of the same conversations from Austen's novel), but is told from Darcy's point of view. The story begins the summer before Darcy and the Bingleys go the Netherfield, when Georgiana and Wickham nearly elope. This version provides more background of Darcy's family and greater detail of the events at the end of Austen's work, but does not offer substantial original material.

Desire and Duty by Ted Bader and Marilyn Bader is the story of Georgiana Darcy, with the story beginning when her new sister, Elizabeth, comes to live at Pemberley. Through Georgiana's eyes, the reader sees a glimpse of the loving marriage between Darcy and Elizabeth. At the first Christmas celebration for the new couple, the Bennets, Bingleys and several other neighbors (including a Mr. Thomas Staley, Georgiana's childhood friend) arrive. Georgiana enjoys his company but the relationship does not progress further, and he later departs for Cambridge. For the next few years, Georgiana grows closer to Elizabeth, befriends Kitty Bennet, supports her new sister in law through a difficult pregnancy and assists in the delivery of her twin nephews. The novel them jumps ahead to the return of Mr. Staley to Pemberley, as tutor to the Darcy children. Georgiana falls deeper in love with him this time, but before she can find true love, she must overcome her own shyness and the formidable schemes of Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

The Diary of Henry Fitzwilliam Darcy by Marjorie Fasman begins as something of a "prequel" to Pride and Prejudice. Fasman gives the reader a perspective on what may have made Mr. Darcy the character he was. Giving an account of his childhood and adolescence, the book also provides history of Darcy's relationship with Wickham, as the two boys grew up together in the same household. Then the diary gives added insight into Mr. Darcy's thoughts as he first meets Elizabeth Bennet and concludes with their married life. This makes for an interesting read into Mr. Darcy's inner life and motivations.

Excessively Diverted: The Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice by Juliette Shapiro begins where Pride and Prejudice essentially ends. Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are living happily at Pemberley and expecting their first child but it is not long before their peaceful lives are interrupted by a series of events. While Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Caroline Bingley still continue their disdain for Elizabeth, Elizabeth's sister Lydia suddenly returns under alarming circumstances. Mr. Darcy again must show his true character as he and Elizabeth face these challenges together.

Honour and Humility by Genevieve Wimer begins where Pride and Prejudice ends. While Elizabeth must learn to contend with Mr. Darcy's aunt, Jane continues to deal with Mr. Bingley's sisters and their disdain of her. Meanwhile, the embarrassments of the Bennet household continues to trouble Elizabeth and Jane, from the impropriety of their mother to the unreformed character of Mr. Wiccam.

Jane Austen in Boca: A Novel by Paula Marantz Cohen recasts the Bennet daughters as elderly Jewish widows living in a South Florida retirement community. May Newman is a sweet, gentle woman in her 70s who enjoys the companionship of her best friends, Lila Katz, a pragmatic redhead in search of a well-to-do husband, and Flo Kliman, a sharp-tongued retired librarian. May's pleasant daily routine is disrupted when her matchmaking daughter-in-law introduces May to recently widowed Norman Grafstein, a particularly eligible senior. Despite herself, May finds she enjoys Norman's company, but Flo takes an instant dislike to Norman's best friend, cranky English professor emeritus Stan Jacobs. The Austen parallels are cleverly drawn and culminate in a class on Pride and Prejudice offered by Stan, who discovers that the women identify with the meddling Mrs. Bennet rather than the heroine, Elizabeth Bennet.

Lady Catherine's Necklace by Joan Aiken begins where Pride and Prejudice ends and tells the story of what happens one day when a sudden storm causes a carriage accident. Needing assistance, Ralph Delaval and his sister Priscilla arrive at Rosings Park, and are taken in. But Anne, Lady Catherine's daughter, suspects that they may have other motivations which eventually lead Lady Catherine on an amazing journey.

Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins takes the form of 25 letters written by Elizabeth Darcy to her sister Jane Bingley. In her letters, Elizabeth related the details of her life as mistress of Pemberly as well as news and happenings about characters both old and new.

Lions and Liquorice by Kate Fenton is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and involves a reversal of roles. Nick and John Bevan are two brothers who represent Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. Mary Dance is in the role of Mr. Darcy, a young American woman who falls in love with Nick although their relationship gets off on a rocky start.

Mr. Darcy's Daughters by Elizabeth Aston is yet another sequel to Pride and Prejudice. Set in 1818, the novel begins with Mr. and Mrs. Darcy's departure on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople, leaving their five daughters in London with Darcy's cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and his wife. The two eldest daughters, bossy Letitia and rebellious Camilla, look forward to London's social whirl; the youngest, 16-year-old Althea, has an opportunity to study voice with an Italian master musician; and 17-year-old twins Georgina and Belle cannot wait to flirt with London's eligible gentlemen. The country girls, however, encounter pitfalls and cause a stir with their behavior.

Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Other Stories by Anne Fafoutakis is a compilation of short stories. The story which also provides the title for the book examines the life of Elizabeth Bennet after her marriage to Mr. Darcy, and focuses in on Georgiana Darcy and her development from a shy young lady to a strong, vibrant woman.

Pemberley or Pride and Prejudice Continued by Emma Tennant follows the life of Elizabeth Bennet after her marriage to Mr. Darcy. As mistress of Pemberly, she and Mr. Darcy have much to contend with: factious relatives like Lady Catherine De Bourgh and Mr. Wickham, Elizabeth's inability to conceive a child, the fate of Pemberley, Mr. Bennet's death, and much more.

Presumption: An Entertainment by Julia Barrett is another sequel to Pride and Prejudice. It centers mainly around Mr. Darcy's younger sister Georgiana, who has just come out into society. Although she vows to remember the lesson she learned from her experience with Wickham, she soon meets the charming Captain Heywood, a man who turns out to be not so different from Mr. Wickham. Meanwhile, a young architect who has been renovating Pemberly, falls in love with Georgiana, but she doesn't seem to be interested. At the same time, Elizabeth must deal with yet another scandal that has befallen the Bennet family.

Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field: A Novel by Melissa Nathan is a modern-day love story based on Austen's favorite romance. In this novel, sharp, witty Jasmin Field is a columnist for a national magazine and has just landed the coveted role of Elizabeth Bennet in a fundraising adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The play’s director, Hollywood heartthrob and Oscar-winner, Harry Noble, is every bit as obnoxious as she could have hoped, which provides material for her column and fun in the rehearsals. When Jasmin's best friend abandons her for a man not worthy to buy her chocolate, her family starts to crumble before her eyes and her award-winning column loses momentum. But as the rehearsals continue, Jasmin realizes that she cannot remember her lines and Harry Noble looks amazing in breeches!

Virtue and Vanity by Ted Bader and Marilyn Bader is the followup story to the couple's Desire and Duty, the first sequel to Pride and Prejudice. In this second novel, Sarah Bingley is a governess for the children of Sir Thomas and Lady Staley (Georgiana Darcy), living in Paris and then in Derbyshire, England. The story follows Miss Bingley's relationship with the heir of Pemberley Hall, Andrew Darcy. The novel offers a further of the characters and plotlines from the first, with more intrique and comedy.

Sense and Sensibility Sequels and Spinoffs

The Third Sister: A Continuation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility by Julia Barrett is a sequel to Sense and Sensibility that follows 17-year-old Margaret Dashwood, the younger sister of Elinor and Marianne. In this novel, which begins three years after Austen's ends, Margaret is self-absorbed, living with her mother at Barton cottage and serving as a part-time nanny to her neighbor Lady Middleton's bratty children. Margaret's simple life is enlivened by the appearance of William de Plessy, a dashing half-French army lieutenant; however, Margaret has been so emotionally scarred by her older sisters' traumatic courtships that she flees du Plessy's attentions into the unscrupulous arms of George Osborne, a distant relative.

Emma Sequels and Spinoffs

A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh (who is the real life great-granddaughter of Jane Austen's nephew). This playful retelling of Emma comes from the point of view of Mary Goddard, headmistress of the school where Harriet Smith boards, through an exchange of letters between Mary and her sister, Charlotte Pinkney. Mrs. Goddard regales her sister, currently trapped in a joyless second marriage, with a chronicle of Harriet's romantic mishaps. Woven into the letters are details of Mrs. Pinkney's life, including a trip to Bath where she meets Mr. Elton and his bride-to-be.

Aunt Celia by Jane Gillespie is the author's second sequel to Emma and takes place 18 years after the events of Jane Austen's novel. The plot revolves around Frank and Jane Churchill's daughter Stella and Frank's 18-year-old half-sister (Mr. and Mrs. Weston's daughter), Celia. The Churchills have come to spend the summer Donwell Abbey (where Mr. Woodhouse continues to reside while the Knightleys are living at Hartfield.) The two girls become fast friends and also befriend James Aske, a tutor who is also a poet. When Stella gets Celia in trouble with her father, Celia plots to run away to London, but will her plan succeed? The book is a light-hearted sequel which develops its story through new characters.

Emma in Love: Jane Austen's Emma Continued by Emma Tennant begins in Emma's fourth year of marriage to Mr. Knightley. Although she loves Knightley, she finds herself growing increasingly bored, and soon takes up the happy challenge of matchmaking once again.

Jane Fairfax: Jane Austen's Emma, Through Another's Eyes by Joan Aiken provides the backstory to the relationship between Austen's heroine, Emma Woodhouse, and the sweet Jane Fairfax, whom Emma resents. The novel fleshes out the childhood histories of both leading ladies, providing insight into their temperaments, and presents Jane as a complex character in her own right. The novel then parallels the events of Austen's novel. The book also provides greater insight into Frank Churchill's character and makes him somewhat more sympathetic and worthy of Jane's regard.

Later Days at Highbury by Joan Austen-Leigh continues her retelling of Emma through correspondence between Mrs. Goddard and her lonely sister, Mrs. Pinkney, now living in London. The Knightlys, Vicar Elton and his wife Augusta, Harriet and Robert Martin, the kind and beautiful Miss Elizabeth Martin and poor, chattering old Miss Bates are still thriving and carrying on about such matters as the importance of a new ball gown. However, Emma's family home, Hartfield, has been let to strangers, and there are new characters such as Mrs. Pinkney's niece, who runs away to Barbados with an Irish footman.

Perfect Happiness by Rachel Billington takes a look at Emma's married life after Jane Austen's novel ends and questions the idea of her living "happily ever after" with Mr. Knightley. The author weaves together characters both old and new in her interpretation.

Truth and Rumor by Jane Gillespie is set twenty years after the events of Jane Austen's original novel. It focuses on the lives of Eltons and the Martins, and their respective children. The Eltons have a daugher named Francesca who becomes good friends with Perdita, the eldest daughter of Harriet and Robert Martin. When a mysterious Dr. Gray arrives in town, their lives are soon turned upside down with rumors of seduction and intrigue.

Mansfield Park Sequels and Spinoffs

Mansfield Revisited by Joan Aiken follows the adventures of Susan, Fanny Price's younger sister, who has come to reside at Mansfield Park. While Fanny and Edmund are away at the family's Antigua estate, Susan meets and falls in love with Tom Bertram. But things are complicated when she faces Mrs. Norris' disdain and reunites with Henry and Mary Crawford.

The Youngest Miss Ward by Joan Aiken tells the story of Harriet Ward, sister to Lady Bertram and Mrs. Norris of Mansfield Park. When Hatty is sent to her uncle's estate in Portsmouth, where she is forced to work as an unpaid governess to her troublesome cousins. She eventually moves on but finds herself in equally difficult situations. Only Hatty's resolve and her imaginative mind can sustain her through her trials.

Miscellaneous Sequels and Spinoffs

Old Friends and New Fancies: An Imaginary Sequel to the Novels of Jane Austen by Sybil G. Brinton was originally printed in 1913 and was the first sequel ever written to any of Jane Austen's novels. Based around the lives of Georgiana Darcy, Kitty Bennett,and Colonel Fitzwilliam, it weaves together characters from all six of Jane Austen's novels.