Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jane Austen Made Me Do It

Jane Austen Made Me Do It. Edited By Laurel Ann Nattress. 2011. Random House. 464 pages. Featuring stories by Lauren Willig • Adriana Trigiani • Jo Beverley • Alexandra Potter • Laurie Viera Rigler • Frank Delaney & Diane Meier • Syrie James • Stephanie Barron • Amanda Grange • Pamela Aidan • Elizabeth Aston • Carrie Bebris • Diana Birchall • Monica Fairview • Janet Mullany • Jane Odiwe • Beth Pattillo • Myretta Robens • Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway • Maya Slater • Margaret C. Sullivan • and Brenna Aubrey, the winner of a story contest hosted by the Republic of Pemberley

Jane Austen Made Me Do It is a great, great short story collection!!! While I didn't LOVE each and every story in this one--some I merely liked--there were so many good stories in it, that it is definitely worth reading!!! This isn't one of those short story collections with one or two or even three good stories worth your time. No, this collection has MANY good stories to offer Austen fans. Granted, your favorites may not be my favorites, and my favorites may not be your favorites. There's just enough diversity in these stories to please everyone.

The collection begins strong with Syrie James' Jane Austen's Nightmare. In this story, Jane awakes from a nightmare. She shares it, of course, with her dearest companion. In her dream almost all of her characters were confronting her, challenging her. None of her characters were happy with how they'd been presented. Of course, not all of her characters were complaining--Jane, Elizabeth, Darcy, and Bingley have more than enough reason to thank their creator. But for readers who dare to question the text, this story is playful and fun. Was Jane Austen 'too mean' to some of her characters? Should some of her bad boys have been reformed? Were some of her heroines too good to be true? Did any of her characters deserve different fates?

"Waiting," "Heard of You," and "Love Letter" relate to Persuasion, my favorite Austen novel. "Waiting" by Jane Odiwe stars Anne and Captain Wentworth. "Heard of You" by Margaret C. Sullivan imagines the love story of Wentworth's sister, Sophy, and Admiral Croft. And "Love Letter" by Brenna Aubrey uses a page ripped from a novel--the novel--to reunite a couple after years apart.

"Nothing Less Than Fairy-land"  by Monica Fairview imagines just how tricky a happy marriage might prove to be for Emma and Mr. Knightley. How her father won't be the easiest person in the world to live with, and how their happily ever after will have to be fought for day by day, not that it's not possible to love someone, to stay in love with someone. But that it takes work, it isn't effortless by any stretch of the imagination.

"Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss" by Jo Beverley is a nice addition to this collection because for once it is the mother (the widow with grown daughters) who wins the guy...

"Mr. Bennet Meets His Match" by Amanda Grange imagines the courtship of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet.

"Jane Austen's Cat" by Diana Birchall is a quirky story, it's true, it may not be for everyone, but it's fun for cat lovers.

But my favorite story, my FAVORITE, FAVORITE, FAVORITE story from the collection is "Intolerable Stupidity" by Laurie Viera Rigler. This story is amazing, witty, clever, joyful. It is a true must read!!! Every page of has sparkle, has wit. It just begs to be read aloud so the giggles can be shared. In this story, the authors who have dared to touch the Creator's works have been put on trial. For any author who has dared to adapt, retell, modify, etc. This includes those who have filmed adaptations--the wet Mr. Darcy scene, for example. This includes those who have dared to add vampires, zombies, mummies, and sea monsters. To those who have dared enter the bedroom... This is very much a trial--and it features many characters from the novels! Including Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, of course. And Lady Catherine!!! Anyway, it's a true delight!!!! I just LOVED it.

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

5 comments:

Morning Star Froyd 9:13 PM  

This looks very interesting, thanks for your input :)

Kailana 10:20 PM  

I read this collection last year and didn't enjoy it as much as I would have hoped...

MG S 11:17 AM  

I loved most of those stories. Yes, a very good collection! Kudos to Laurel Ann Nattress and all the Austen Authors featuring their tales. MG

JaneGS 9:15 PM  

Glad to hear you enjoyed the stories--I'm still slowly making my way through them, but the range is wonderful.

Laura Fabiani 6:53 PM  

I have this one on my bookshelf but have yet to read it. Your review is making me reconsider reading it sooner rather than later. Thanks for linking to the Short Story Challenge page.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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