Weekly Lists #146: Must Read Jane Austen-Retellings

Okay, so, I love Jane Austen. Well, every book of hers that I’ve finished at least. And the only thing I (maybe) love as much as I love Jane Austen? Well, that’s these must read Jane Austen-retellings!

So, for the sake of brevity throughout this post: I’m opting to just go for books I’ve actually read and finished. I know that, undoubtedly, there’s so many others out there that might also be amazing. And, honestly, if you know of any of those? Be sure to let me know below! And, of course, there’s all the movie adaptations, and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries which are a must-see in and of themselves, but, you know… If I were to included all of those in this post? Well, there’s no way I could ever choose! Or this post would just have to be never ending. And nobody wants that, do they? :p So without further ado, let’s get into this!

1. Persuading Annie, Melissa Nathan

Retelling of: Persuasion

After years as a sweet, good-natured pushover, Annie Markham has had to face up to three hard truths:

You’ve got to be tough to succeed in business and romance.
Sometimes your meddling loved ones are right about your worthless, no-good boyfriend being worthless and no good.
The only reliable thing about men is that they’re totally unreliable.
Okay, she’s been persuaded. So now, seven years after wisely and abruptly dumping the “love of her life,” Jake Mead, things should be going better for Annie Markham, right? Unfortunately, her life’s going nowhere, her family’s going mental, and the family business is heading straight down the tubes. Could it get worse? Of course! Jake’s back, Annie’s getting ready for bankruptcy, and no one’s ready for Christmas … let alone a happy New Year.

And no amount of persuasion will ever convince Annie that magic does happen and dreams do come true, not even at the stroke of midnight on December 31 at New York’s Plaza Hotel … will it?

I think I’d read this book 5 times before finally realizing that, shocker, it as actually a retelling. That’s how well this book functions as a standalone. With Persuasion being my favorite Jane Austen-book? Honestly, I feel like that’s saying something! (Find it on Goodreads)

2. Acting Up, Melissa Nathan

Retelling of: Pride and Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a large ego must be in want of a woman to cut him down to size…

When journalist Jasmin Field lands the coveted role of Elizabeth Bennet in a one-off fundraising adaptation of Pride and Prejudice she discovers that the play’s director, Hollywood heart-throb Harry Noble, is every bit as obnoxious as she could have hoped. Which means a lot of material for her column. And a lot of fun in rehearsals.

And then disaster strikes. Jazz’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 hits the skids. Worse still, Harry Noble keeps staring at her. As the lights dim, the audience hush and Jazz awaits her cue, she realises two very important things, one: she can’t remember her lines, and two: Harry Noble looks amazing in breeches…

Fun fact: this one was originally published as Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field. If that doesn’t clearly give it away, I don’t know what does. Which, you know, might also explain why I did get on to this one. And not to the first book in this list, by the same author. Honestly – this book is amazing. It has just the right amount of meta (they’re doing Pride and Prejudice, ffs) and separate story and, just … It’s amazing 🙂 (Find it on Goodreads)

3. Mr. Darcy’s Diary, Amanda Grange

Retelling of: Pride and Prejudice

Monday 9th September
“”I left London today and met Bingley at Netherfield Park. I had forgotten what good company he is; always ready to be pleased and always cheerful. After my difficult summer, it is good to be with him again. …””

The only place Darcy could share his innermost feelings was in the private pages of his diary…

Torn between his sense of duty to his family name and his growing passion for Elizabeth Bennet, all he can do is struggle not to fall in love.

Mr. Darcy’s Diary presents the story of the unlikely courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Darcy’s point of view. This graceful imagining and sequel to Pride and Prejudice explains Darcy’s moodiness and the difficulties of his reluctant relationship as he struggles to avoid falling in love with Miss Bennet. Though seemingly stiff and stubborn at times, Darcy’s words prove him also to be quite devoted and endearing – qualities that eventually win over Miss Bennet’s heart. This continuation of a classic romantic novel is charming and elegant, much like Darcy himself.

Pride and Prejudice has inspired a large number of modern day sequels, the most successful of which focus on the rich, proud Mr. Darcy.

Once upon a time – yes, really – I started writing a fanfiction on Mr. Darcy’s side of Pride and Prejudice. I’m kind of happy I never finished it, now, because honestly? I would’ve had to take it down after reading this. It’s so good. And Mr. Darcy is so funny. And his journey to “non-arrogance” (“less-arrogance”?) is amazing. And you basically just kind of need to read this if you like Pride and Prejudice 🙂 (Find it on Goodreads)

4. Sense and Sensibility, Joanna Trollope

Retelling of: Sense and Sensiblity

John Dashwood promised his dying father that he would take care of his half sisters. But his wife, Fanny, has no desire to share their newly inherited estate with Belle Dashwood’s daughters. When she descends upon Norland Park with her Romanian nanny and her mood boards, the three Dashwood girls—Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret—are suddenly faced with the cruelties of life without their father, their home, or their money.

As they come to terms with life without the status of their country house, the protection of the family name, or the comfort of an inheritance, Elinor and Marianne are confronted by the cold hard reality of a world where people’s attitudes can change as drastically as their circumstances.

With her sparkling wit, Joanna Trollope casts a clever, satirical eye on the tales of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Re-imagining Sense and Sensibility in a fresh, modern new light, she spins the novel’s romance, bonnets, and betrothals into a wonderfully witty coming-of-age story about the stuff that really makes the world go around. For when it comes to money, some things never change. . . .

Sometimes, you don’t need to change things too much, right? That’s this one.  (Find it on Goodreads)

5. Prom & Prejudice, Elizabeth Eulberg

Retelling of: Pride and Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.

After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be – especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk – so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

From the retelling that proves you can, sometimes, change almost nothing to the retelling that… Well… Changes almost everything? While still staying completely true to the spirit of Pride and Prejudice, naturally. And to almost everything else. Basically, this takes place in high school and I just really needed at least one of those books in here. Honestly, there are so many of these YA-JA retellings? It’s kind of ridiculous. And really amazing 🙂 (Find it on Goodreads)

What other Jane Austen-retellings should’ve been on this list, according to you? Be sure to let me know below!

-Saar