Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!
Today, December 16th 2016, would have been Jane Austen’s 241st Birthday. Given that she was born in 1775, it is astounding that Jane is still so relevant today, with people not only still reading her books, but with dozens of new adaptations coming out year after year. Having read Pride & Prejudice (weirdly enough, completely independently) when I was in my pre- teens, I have since gorged myself on Jane Austen film & TV adaptations from the Pride & Prejudice movies and miniseries, to the Death Comes to Pemberly miniseries, to all the Emma and Sense and Sensibility movies I could get my hands on. Modern adaptations have a special place in my heart, and through movies like Clueless, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bride & Prejudice, I’ve discovered that Austen’s books truly are an endless treasure trove of ideas.
So if you’re looking to get your Austen fix this year, look no more. Here are some novels inspired by Jane and her timeless stories:
The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet By Natasha Farrant
The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet reimagines Pride &Prejudice, giving a voice to the youngest and wildest Bennet sister. It warps scenes from the original work to fit Lydia’s perspective, and manages to fill in some blanks, including what Wickham and Lydia got up to when they ran away together.
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Prom and Prejudice is Pride & Prejudice with a modern twist. Set in a posh high-school in Connecticut, it tells the story of scholarship student Lizzie Bennet and wealthy Pemberley student Will Darcy, who for some reason, don’t seem to get along. Also, there’s a prom looming.
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Another modern re-telling of Pride & Prejudice; Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties from New York City who returns to her childhood home in Cincinnati to see her father. There she meets Chip Bingley, a handsome doctor who recently appeared on the TV dating show Eligible, and his friend Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Interference by Kay Honeyman
A modern re-telling of Emma, Interference revolves around a congressman’s daughter, Kate Hamilton, who is known for ‘interfering’. When her family moves to West Texas, she has an itch to play matchmaker and interfere in things even though she told herself she wouldn’t. Oh, and then there’s the irritatingly handsome Hunter Price…
The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik
A high-school take on Persuasion, The Last Best Kiss sees Anna Eliot and Finn Westbrook reuniting three years after Anna broke his heart. While Finn has no interest in having anything to do with her, Anna secretly believes that they’re meant to be.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
Ever wondered what Pride & Prejudice would be like if it had more zombies in it? Well look no further. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has Elizabeth and Darcy falling in love amidst a full-blown zombie apocalypse. Teeming with romance and heartbreak, as well as swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a comedic take on the Austen classic.
Book Covers courtesy of The Chicken House and Arthur. A. Levine Books