by Joana Starnes, Katie Oliver, Karen M Cox, Jenetta James, Beau North, J. Marie Croft, Christina Morland, Lona Manning, A. D'Orazio, Christina Boyd (Editor)
shortlisted for Book of the Month
AMAZON UK £3.68
AMAZON US $4.90
AMAZON CA $6.38
Jane Austen fan-fiction
‘ “One has all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it.” Jane Austen. Jane Austen’s masterpieces are littered with unsuitable gentlemen—Willoughby, Wickham, Churchill, Crawford, Tilney, Elliot, et al.—adding color and depth to her plots but often barely sketched. Have you never wondered about the pasts of her rakes, rattles, and gentlemen rogues? Surely, there's more than one side to their stories. It is a universal truth, we are captivated by smoldering looks, daring charms ... a happy-go-lucky, cool confidence. All the while, our loyal confidants are shouting on deaf ears: “He is a cad—a brute—all wrong!” But is that not how tender hearts are broken...by loving the undeserving? How did they become the men Jane Austen created? In this romance anthology, eleven Austenesque authors expose the histories of Austen’s anti-heroes. "Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues" is a titillating collection of Georgian era short stories—a backstory or parallel tale off-stage of canon—whilst remaining steadfast to the characters we recognize in Austen’s great works. What say you? Everyone may be attracted to a bad boy…even temporarily...but heaven help us if we marry one.’
To dip in and out of short stories is a blessing sometimes after a busy day, or on a journey, when it is not always desirable to become engrossed in a two-or-three-hundred page novel. This Jane Austen spin-off is a delight. I guess all of us who are familiar with Austen’s novels have often wondered more about the background lives of the important sub-characters: Willoughby, Wickham, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Thomas Bertram et al, as these authors obviously have – and their ‘wonderings’ have paid off nicely.
Some stories are tongue-in-cheek, some somewhat sad, some intriguing, some imaginative: yes some are better than others, but that is a matter of personal taste for they are all well- and cleverly-written with well-portrayed characters and lovely touches of witty humour, or tear-jerking episodes of sadness. I could, at times, almost expect to hear Ms Austen gulping back a tear or chuckling quietly to herself whilst browsing through the lives of these scoundrels, rakes and rogues.
Most excellent about this compilation of stories is how the individual authors have skilfully retained the feel of Austen’s original novels, through attention to detail, dialogue and a very good research of the period.
Perhaps it is not original (I think I have heard this as a joke elsewhere) but one line which made me laugh out loud was ‘'I'd have married her if it wasn't for something she said... she said no.”
© Ellen Hill
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