Saturday, March 24, 2018

Austen Inspired Fiction, with Guests and Giveaways!

In which we offer a number of books for your 
consideration and end with a most charming gift offer 

With a topic like Austen Inspired Fiction, I thought I’d bring in two special guests! 

First up, Janet B. Taylor of More Agreeably Engaged. I asked her to explain Austen-inspired Fiction, because, as you'll see by all of the stories we've included, it's a cornucopia of delights!  I 'met' Janet when Austen in Austin was first out, in early 2016, and I was thrilled to find someone so involved in the world of Austen fiction who happened to live in TEXAS!

Thank you, Debra, for inviting me to share my thoughts on Austenesque fiction and some of my favorite books. I’ll begin with how I categorize books. My method is pretty straight forward. 
--I usually consider variations, alternate paths, and vagaries to be basically the same. An alternate path is a detour or in JAFF, a different route to HEA (Happily Ever After), from canon. A variation is a different or distinct form or version of the original. A vagary is an unexpected or inexplicable change in someone’s behavior or situation. A synonym for vagary is variation. Regarding the definitions of the words, there might be a slight variance, depending on how critical one reads them, but I still consider them to be one in the same.
--We all know what Sequel and Prequel represent so there is no need to discuss those descriptions. 
--A Re-telling is recounting the story but in a different time or location. The story changes are based more on locale and time rather than seeing what might transpire if one major or minor plot point was changed. An example of re-telling would be the Austen in Austen two volume set with eight stories, total. Each story is set near Austin, Texas, in an era different from canon. These are great stories representing all of Austen’s novels and are wonderfully interwoven.
Each of us probably has our own view of what these descriptions indicate. For my purposes as a reviewer, and even a reader, I prefer to keep the categories simpler.
--When someone uses JAFF in reference to a book or topic of discussion, I automatically think it will be based on one of Jane Austen’s novels. Most are based on Pride and Prejudice but JAFF is all inclusive in my mind. Jane Austen Fan Fiction could be about any of Jane’s books. If a book is inspired by Jane Austen’s writings, but not about any of her books, per se, I don’t feel it would be considered JAFF.
Now on to the fun part
I get to talk about some of my all-time favorite Austenesque novels. I have literally read hundreds of them, as have many Jane Austen fans. A few stand out and hold a place in my best and most memorable reads. Those are the ones that I will go back and read again. They have made an impression on me and stayed in my thoughts long after I finished reading them. They left me feeling good, and that’s the mark of a worthy premise and a well-written book. None of the books that I mention have explicit sex. All have romance and electricity but are clean reads. 
Nicole Clarkston (this author also writes North and South variations based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s original)
These Dreams is undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve read. It has many layers, and each is handled skillfully and with depth and understanding. Mystery, kidnapping, romance, all are involved. A connection of abiding love and the strength of it is masterfully portrayed.
The Courtship ofEdward Gardiner was a fun novella with a little angst thrown in. The reader gets to see how Edward Gardiner and Madeline met. Lizzy and Jane are young girls and traveling with their father and Edward. Guess who they meet while visiting Lambton? This story is delightful.
Cassandra Grafton 
A Quest for Mr.DarcyDarcy has determined to forget Elizabeth Bennet and traveled for some time to keep her out of his heart and mind. When he returns to Pemberley, he finds her living on his land. What? Of course, all it takes is one look for him to realize all was for naught! The story that follows has a little mystery, lots of fun with the Bingley twins, and of course, time with Darcy and Lizzy in company.
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen – The reader gets to meet Jane Austen and it seems almost real. What would the world be like without any of her writings? This story answers that question and more. It is set in Bath. (Deb's note-a contemporary!)
For the sheer beauty of Cassandra Grafton’s writing, I also recommend her three book series, A Fair Prospect. She gets in Darcy’s head and lives there. The reader is privy to his thoughts, his torment, and his deep love.  It is a beautifully written set of books.
Joana Starnes (nobody can torture Darcy quite like Joana Starnes. I recommend any book by this author.)
The Falmouth Connection is such a good book. Darcy follows Lizzy across England to Falmouth, where Lizzy is staying with her aunt. Joana Starnes, living in the UK, has visited all the places of which she writes and can describe them in a way that makes the reader see what she has seen. Her writing is excellent.
The Subsequent Proposal and The Second Chance are two books that combine Pride and Prejudice with Persuasion and Sense & Sensibility, respectively.
Kara Louise (I enjoy all this author’s books. You can’t go wrong picking up one of her titles)
Darcy’s Voyage has, as the title suggests, the main setting aboard a ship. Of course, that means that Darcy and Elizabeth will be spending some time together. This was one of my early reads and remains amongst my favorites.
Pirates and Prejudice is an adventure that is fun, different, and exciting! I fell in love all over again with this Mr. Darcy.
Regina Jeffers (This author has many books and I have read most all of them. I enjoyed each of them.  She has several that are mysteries and they are excellent.)
Captain Frederick Wentworth’s Persuasion is as the title suggests, a variation of Persuasion. I enjoyed this story and author’s style of writing this one.
The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy is a murder mystery. As with the others, Darcy and Lizzy are married and it is up to them to solve the mystery.
Jan Hahn (Any book by Jan Hahn is a good book. Her latest The Child, is on a virtual blog tour right now and is already getting many good reviews.)
An Arranged Marriage is the first novel I read in this genre. It is still one of my all-time favorites. I love a forced or arranged marriage for Darcy and Lizzy as that allows us much time in their company. It is written from Lizzy’s point of view.
The Journey takes a detour from the original when Darcy and Lizzy are kidnapped and must spend much time together. It is lovely to watch as they learn more about one another and witness Lizzy seeing Darcy for the man he truly is.
I’ve gone on too long so will stop here. Thank you, again, Debra, for inviting me to share my thoughts.
You are very welcome. 
More ways to follow Janet -  Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook 

What a list!  I've enjoyed learning about each one, Janet, and  I'd like to just not write or work for a month and march through your list.  I know readers are going to enjoy the many ways Authors are incorporating Austen characters into fiction. And this is only a tiny amount of what's out there

Next, let me introduce Ceri T., whom I also ‘virtually’ met when the Austen in Austin Collection was first released and I contacted some of the Austen blogs I’d been following. Well, I’ll have her explain:

Hi there! I am Ceri, I live in the UK, and a few years ago I discovered that there was a whole genre devoted to the works of my favourite author, Jane Austen. I’ve read continuations, modernisations, variations (where the original story is changed) and different era versions. I have a blog, Babblings of a Bookworm, which started off as a blog of the books I’ve read, but over time has morphed into an Austenesque blog.

The most visited post in my blog archive is my review of Austen in Austin, Volume 1. You can see it here if you’d like to add to its stats! I really enjoyed this book of 4 stories and when one of the authors, Debra E Marvin, asked me for some Austenesque recommendations to pass on to her readers, I was happy to oblige. To add to your reading lists, I would suggest:

Bluebells in the Mourning by KaraLynne Mackrory – this is a Pride and Prejudice variation which sees one of Elizabeth’s sisters dying and explores the impact of that. I loved the unexpectedly uplifting nature of this book, considering the subject matter. It’s a very romantic read without sex scenes, which can be said of all of this author’s books.

George Knightley Esquire books by Barbara Cornthwaite  – this is a set of two books showing Austen’s Emma from Mr Knightley's Point of view. The first is called Charity Envieth Not, and the second is Lend Me Leave. I thought it was a wonderful idea for a book, to see things from the hero’s point of view, particularly as Emma misinterprets his views so many times. The humour in this book was an unexpected delight. I think you’d have to be familiar with Emma to get the most out of this pair of books.


The Beresfords by Christina Dudley is an updated version of Mansfield Park. It’s set in the 1980s rather than being a contemporary read. This is a book with strong Christian themes, which makes sense, as the Edmund character is planning on entering the church, like Edmund in MP. When you think about Austen’s MP, one of the things looked at is the fact that the Bertram children had principles that only went skin deep – they used to put on a facade for their parents, and this book had the same thing happening. It’s the most faithful update of MP that I’ve read.

A wildcard choice, if I may: the Archer brothers set of books by Karen Witemeyer - these aren't JAFF, however, I think readers of your anthology may like them because they are set in a similar time and place. You might well have heard of these if you read Christian fiction, I think she's quite popular. They are Christian but the second one has very strong themes. They are wonderful reads, very exciting! The books follow the fortunes of four brothers, who were orphaned when the oldest, Travis, was just 15. He is left trying to bring up his brothers while fighting off the threat of the family being split up, or the brothers being cheated out of their land in a recently-settled area. First in the series is Short Straw Bride, which sees the brothers drawing straws to see who will be the groom to a girl to save her reputation. Following this is Stealing the Preacher, where the brother who has a religious calling goes to try out as a preacher in another town and gets kidnapped from the train. The third story is a short story, A Cowboy Unmatched, which is available to buy on its own or as part of an anthology called A Match Made in Texas.

My last recommendation for the ‘to be read’ lists is: Austen in Austin Vol 2, obviously! I haven't read it yet, but I have it on my kindle :)

I hope you enjoy these books if you decide to give them a try! Thank you to Debra for inviting me to select some recommendations for you.

Thank you Ceri! I love the variety of stories you've brought us. I'm really intrigued. I thought asking for a list of your favorites would be great fun for our readers, but it's also made me long to go shopping!

Readers, I suggest you follow Ceri's blog, and she's offered her twitter as well! follow Ceri on Twitter, (@Frawli1978) . She suggests you'll find a lot more Austen to love at her favorite Facebook group, Mr. Darcy's Extensive Readers
(devoted to the reading of fine Austenesque Literature!) where you'll see Ceri, Janet, and Claudine Pepe of Just Jane 1813 as well.

And here's our own Austen Fan Girl, with a few Regency era stories of her own, and my partner in Crime, 

Susie Dietze! 

It's a good excuse to bring out this fun photo again!

When I asked Susie  to toss out some Austen inspired stories, she shared these titles off of her freshly starched muslin cuff. Just as the movie Clueless was modeled after Emma, we'll be showing you some stories even farther from the canon! We haven't read them all, but parade them by for your entertainment.

Beth Pattillo's series: Mr. Darcy Broke my Heart, Jane Austen Ruined my Life and The Dashwood Sisters Tell All 
Teri Wilson's Unleashing Mr. Darcy. After all, they made a Hallmark movie out of it!
Okay Austen Fans! Are you surprised? Intrigued? Have you been aware of the breadth of the Austen online community that Janet and Ceri are part of? Following my guest’s blogs will take you far deeper into this subject than we can touch here! I have to add another wonderful blog I follow: 

an online community that fosters a book club experience with its readers, to bring you JAFF and other Austen-related book reviews, giveaways, and posts pertaining to everything Austen, all the time.
Just Jane is hosted by Claudine Pepe, another reader/reviewer I had the enjoyment of meeting through Austen fiction. Especially when I can  share this award for Austen in Austin Vol 1:

And now, Deb adds these Contemporary Austen-Inspired reads (Surprise! Because I am so not a contemporary reader!)

The Katherine Reay collection: Dear Mr. Knightly, Lizzy and Jane, The Bronte Plot (available separately, of course!) 

Jane of Austin  (Okay, so I have to admit I hoped readers found ours by mistake—the benefit of a similar title!—but we wish Hillary Manton Lodge continued success! Such a clever cover!)

The Jane Austen Takes the South Collection by Mary Jane Hathaway: Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs; Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin’ Cornbread;  Pride and Prejudice and Cheese Grits (available separately! And so much fun!)

To celebrate our Austen in Austin Boxed Sets (for the low, low price of 99cents adds our announcer who favors Johnny Lee Miller), Anita Mae Draper and Dina L. Sleiman are giving away PAPERBACKS - that's one Volume One and one Volume Two


To enter the drawing, please check out our Inkwell Inspirations Facebook page (liking or following at your discretion), but be sure to comment and tell us you are interested. Are you a true JAFF reader? 

Note: We may just giveaway an ebook or two as well.

If you’ve connected with us on our Inkwell Facebook Page, we will be able to contact you. Otherwise, please leave your email address safely in your comment--please be sure we have a way to contact you.

Drawing will occur March 31 at 9pm. At which point we will be having the most exemplary of vegetables and speak kindly of you with our neighbors.

The Vol 1 Authors! Anita, Gina, Susie and Deb

Don't forget to visit Janet's Blog _ MORE AGREEABLY ENGAGED


Well, gosh, I might as well add this:

Goodreads  Readers voted for their favorite Austen Fan Fiction

Learn more about the Austen in Austin collection - 
with links to purchase, should you be so inclined
And because, basically, I've just done a lot of work to show you many other stories you should buy!  (Wait, what was I thinking?)

Volume One 

Volume Two

or the two book set

Discover eight heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love--Jane Austen style. 
Volume 1 includes:

If I Loved You Less by Gina Welborn, based on Emma
A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor.

Refinements by Anita Mae Draper, based on Sense and Sensibility
A misguided academy graduate spends the summer falling in love . . . twice.

One Word from You by Susanne Dietze, based on Pride and Prejudice
A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career.

Alarmingly Charming by Debra E. Marvin, based on Northanger Abbey
A timid gothic dime-novel enthusiast tries to solve the mystery of a haunted cemetery and, even more shocking, why two equally charming suitors compete for her attentions.

Volume 2:

Simply Lila by Suzie Johnson, based on Lady Susan
Yearning to find a real-life hero, a wallflower must learn to live outside the pages of an Austen novel.

Fully Persuaded by Niki Turner, based on Persuasion
A brokenhearted artist struggles with the shame of her family s bankruptcy and the return of her first love whose proposal she d spurned because he was poor.

Mansford Ranch by Dina L. Sleiman, based on Mansfield Park
An aspiring novelist with a keen eye for character must determine who is worthy of playing her own leading man.

Sense and Nonsense by Lisa Karon Richardson, based on Sense and Sensibility
A would-be missionary is determined to make it to Ceylon, but when her funds disappear, she has to accept help from the man she most wants to avoid.


  1. I'm so thankful for my guests, Ceri and Janet! Not only for their encouragement when the Austen in Austin collection releases, and the time they put into creating a list for us, but for their friendship. I love meeting people through fiction and finding them someone I want to stay in touch with!

    I hope readers find something to love in this long and varied list!

    1. I appreciate your kind words, Debra. I feel the same about meeting people through fiction. I do hope we stay in touch.

  2. Thank you for the wonderful recommendations ladies! I've added a few books to my wish list.
    At first I thought I haven't read many Austenesque books, then I looked at my Kindle content! LOL!
    Happy Weekend to you!

    1. Thanks Andrea! There are definitely new releases every week on the Austenesque facebook groups!

    2. Hi Andrea! I've added a bunch of books to my wishlist too!

  3. I was not aware of these books. Thanks for the info.

    1. Thanks Gina! And I APPRECIATE seeing you here. Thanks for commenting!

    2. Hi Gina! Don't these books look fun? Hope you're having a great weekend!

  4. Would love to be entered for the giveaway of volume 2 (have volume 1 and plan to read that soon!). Thanks for the great post and introducing me to Just Jane.

    1. Hooray! I sure hope you like it. haha! When we wrote the Austen in Austin collection, I knew there were plenty of Austen fans out there, but it wasn't until I really started searching that I found out the extent of Austen fan blogs and facebook groups! SO MUCH FUN! So I've been following Ceri's, janet's and Claudine's as well as lurking in three facebook groups. I've never thought I was ready for a JAFF myself, who knows?!

  5. Thank you, Debra, for inviting me to help celebrate your release of the boxed set of Austen in Austin. All of you authors did such a fabulous job of interweaving the stories and characters. I was impressed.

    You mentioned that I am from TEXAS. Not only am I from TEXAS but I live NW of AUSTIN. That made reading your books all the more special as I am familiar with many of the places you mention in the stories. It was fun to see everything set in this area. I learned a few things too. :)

    1. I did too. Austin is the only place I've set a story that I haven't personally visited, and even so, I "visited" virtually to the 19th century when it was the brand new state capital! We learned so much about the streets, the capitol, the universities... I love old maps and Austin also has an amazing collection of old postcards and photos showing the city's history. We were able to get permission to use one of the post cards as the background for our covers! So that's really Austin in the background! And I did know you were close to Austin! so much fun! Thanks so much for your huge contribution to this blog!

    2. Hi Janet! Thank you for your help and hard work on this post! I learned a lot and I appreciate the introduction to some new books. So nice to meet you!

  6. Wow! I had no idea there were so many and was not aware of most of these. I would love to be entered in the drawing and have not read either one.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Perrianne! I've definitely found a few I'm very interested in!
      You are in the drawing!

  7. A huge bouquet going out to Debra for organizing this social event and inviting our esteemed guests, Ceri and Janet. I see the invitations are still going out so I shall endeavour to do my part. Tah!

    1. Thank you Anita! It was fun to pull together and it gave me a chance to chat again with these two ladies!

    2. Thank you so much for your hard work on this beautiful post, Deb! So fun to meet Janet and Ceri, and such a treat to learn about some books I'd love to read.

  8. Thanks for all of the great suggestions!

    1. Thanks Connie! And thanks for sharing it on your social media! I appreciate it!

  9. I love the comprehensive list of books I need to read! Thanks for the giveaway,

    1. Thank you Kara! It was so much fun for me to see Ceri's and Janet's lists. We can all recommend books, but there's something special about sharing those favorites that someone will gladly read again and again. I appreciate your comments!

  10. Wow--I knew there was a lot out there, but much of this surprised me! I will be bookmarking this page to come back to when I need a Jane read! Thanks! I'm headed over to your Facebook page now. Danandlyndaedwards (at) msn (dot) com

    1. Thanks Lynda! I appreciate it. And I thank you for being a reviewer. It means so much and I will always be glad to see your friendly face around the internet!

  11. I have a read a number of the books listed but found a couple new to me! :) Mary Jane Hathaway's set of three are delicious and my daughter is reading them at the moment.

    1. Hi Arletta! Thank you so much for commenting. The Austin books are totally YA friendly as well ( I have no idea how old your daughter is, obviously). The Jane Austen Takes the South series is outstanding. I've read two of them!

  12. Loved the first volume of Austen in Austin! Great stuff. This is a list of books I will be copying down. I have read a few and have a couple sitting on my shelf. The Jane Austen Takes the South was such fun! I guess I am a Jane Austen fan. I spent half an hour pinning things to a Jane Austen board today! paulams49ATsbcglobalDOTnet

  13. Thanks so much for the recommendations. They all look so good. I have the first Volume of Austin in Austin and I’m wanting to get Volume 2.

    1. Hi Brenda! Thanks so much for stopping by. I recall that you were one of our first readers for Vol 1. It's been over two years, already. But we're really enjoying the fact that Whitefire has put them in this 'boxed set' format at such a great price. You are definitely in the drawing.

  14. Thank you for the generous offer, ladies. I know all of the suggested books but I only read some of them. evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. I'm so glad you found us and have had a chance to enjoy some of this great list! Nothing sells a book for me like the top praise of a very experienced reader!


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We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.