Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review: Jane Austen Made Me Do It by Laurel Ann Nattress

Post crazy migraine that has been haunting me since last night, I'm sneaking online to share my review of Jane Austen Made Me Do It.  This great compilation of short stories center on the nearly infallible Ms. Austen and her wonderful novels.  What more need I say?

Whether you are a fair weather fan  of Jane Austen, or a die hard Janeite, Jane Austen Made Me Do It has a wonderful variety of original short stories to catch any reader's attention.  Some of the stories are retellings, based on the characters in Austen's famous novels.  Other stories are modernizations, featuring Austen characters or themes.  Honestly, there is a little something for everyone. 

Longtime Austen fans will quickly recognize the authors featured in this compilation.  Authors like Lauren Willig, Laurie Viera Rigler, and Beth Pattillo (to name a few) have short stories in the book, alongside a few newbies like Brenna Aubrey, who was the winner of the Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest that was held at The Republic of Pemberley (as mentioned in Laurel's guest post on Sunday).  Regardless of the author, the stories are filled with great character sketches, romantic longing, and Austen-like whimsy.  For readers who are hesitant to try out a retelling or modernization, this is a great way to try out the stories available on the market, as many of these authors have also published longer Austen-expired novels. 

Without going into too much information about each of the stories, let me just share a few that I really enjoyed.  One of my favorites was "When Only a Darcy Will Do," by Beth Pattillo, in which Mr. Darcy steps into a modern tale and sweeps the heroine and reader off their feet--yet again.  Although I honestly enjoyed each story, a few others that stood out to me were those based on Persuasion, which I keep hoping some of these authors will take on and write more about (hint, hint, nudge, nudge).  "Waiting: A Story Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion" by Jane Odiwe was a delightful peek inside Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot's long awaited for reunion, and had me loving this sweet story even more.  I also got a real chuckle out of "Intolerable Stupidity," by Lauren Willig, which is a literary courtroom drama that puts the authors of these retellings and modernizations on trial.  The playful mix of Austen characters, stories, and tongue in cheek poke at authors such as those who wrote stories for the book, was too smart for words!  And to top it off, I 100% agree with the winner of the short story contest, "The Love Letter" by Brenna Aubrey; its modern equivalent for Persuasion had me cheering on love that can endure.

I swore I wouldn't pick out individual stories, but I hope that the few I highlighted--out of a book filled with delightful treasures--will better show the nice range included in the book.  There are homages to Northanger Abbey's Gothic ghost story, episodes with the newly wed Darcys, and even Emma.  Whether you are a true-blue Janeite, fair-weather Austen fan, or formerly-nervous Austen purist, this book has a great selection of stories for every reader.

*FTC Disclosure:  This review was based on an advanced copy provided by the publisher & Netgalley.

Don't forget to stop by the "Guest Blog & Giveaway" post to hear more from Laurel Ann Nattress about this fun compilation, and also to enter to win a copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It.  The giveaway ends this Sunday, November 13th, so stop by today!


  1. I have great news for you. The one true benefit of growing older is that most of us stop having migraines later in life. No set date, it just seems to happen as we age. My husband and I both had them, his worse than mine, and now we've both been free of them for years.

  2. I just got this in the mail today! It does look really good.