Monday, November 11, 2019

Six new and upcoming Austenesque reads for Janeites and historical fiction fans

Jane Austen fans, rejoice: historical novels with Austenesque themes are regaining prominence in the genre. Five to ten years ago, Pride and Prejudice retellings and sequels, and more novels inspired by her work, commanded a large presence.  Others have appeared periodically since. There are hundreds of them in all, and you can find many reviewed at Austenprose, Laurel Ann Nattress's impressively detailed blog dedicated to Austen's life and works. The half-dozen selections below are all new or forthcoming, and there's been buzz about them among fans. Even within this theme, the topics are diverse, including literary sequels featuring Austen characters, a novel re-imagining her sister's life, and another featuring characters inspired by her work.

This spotlight post forms part of a blog tour for Diana Birchall's The Bride of Northanger,which follows.

The Bride of Northanger by Diana Birchall

On the eve before her wedding, Catherine Morland learns from her intended, Henry Tilney, about a supposed centuries-old curse on his family. A level-headed young clergyman, Henry doesn't personally believe in curses, even though the specifics of this one appear to have materialized in recent generations.  The wedding gift the Tilneys receive from his father doesn't exactly bode well, either. So begins this witty, gently satirical Gothic mystery that continues the story of Austen's Northanger Abbey in prose resembling the original. White Soup Press, Sept. 2019. [see on Goodreads]

The Clergyman's Wife by Molly Greeley

Subtitled "A Pride & Prejudice Novel," Greeley's debut novel centers on Charlotte Collins, who had married the pompous vicar Mr. Collins, and in doing so chose practicality over personal contentment. But what happens when she meets a man, a kind local farmer, who seems interested in what she has to say? William Morrow, Dec. 2019. [see on Goodreads]

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow

Mary Bennet, the plain, book-loving middle daughter in Pride and Prejudice, lives in the shadow of her more vibrant sisters, but here readers see her through her own eyes, examining the circumstances that shaped her and the motivations for her personal growth. Henry Holt, March 2020. [see on Goodreads]

Miss Austen by Gill Hornby

Cassandra Austen, beloved older sister and friend of Jane, is granted center stage in Hornby's novel, which depicts her as a woman in her sixties, long after Jane has passed away, and also re-creates the scenarios which caused her to destroy their faithful correspondence. What revelations did those letters contain, and what might they have told us about both Jane and Cassandra?  Flatiron, April 2020. [see on Goodreads]

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

I had the opportunity to read The Jane Austen Society via Edelweiss, after seeing recommendations on social media, and loved it. Debut novelist Jenner sets her gently charming story in Chawton, the Hampshire village where Austen lived at the end of her life. In the post-WWII years, a group of individuals from various walks of life are drawn together to form a literary society to celebrate and preserve the memory of their favorite author. The cast exhibits their own Austenesque dramas, but even newcomers to Austen should enjoy this one. St. Martin's, May 2020. [see on Goodreads]

A Completing of The Watsons by Rose Servitova

An unfinished Austen work has proven too tempting for many novelists to resist. Focusing on Emma Watson, youngest daughter of a clergyman, Irish writer Servitova begins with Austen's work and then continues her heroine's story, following with what happens after Emma leaves her wealthy aunt's home and returns to live under her father's roof. Wooster Publishing, Sept. 2019. [see on Goodreads]

Please follow along with more stops on the blog tour via Austenprose.


  1. A lovely lineup Sarah. It is great to see so many Austen-inspired books in the spotlight. I have read them all in advance of publication and readers have many happy hours of Austenesque reading ahead of them. Thanks for shout out too.

  2. Hi Laurel Ann, thanks for organizing the tour, and good to hear you recommend all of the novels, too. I'm looking forward to reading them as they appear!

  3. Sarah, so much gratitude. Thank you for reading my work and for enjoying it, and thank you for including me in this wonderful array of upcoming titles. I was fortunate to get to read ARCs of Rose's, Molly's and Gill's books (reviews have been posted on Goodreads) and am so excited for Austen fans - and discriminating readers - everywhere. It's a thrilling time to be an Austenite xx

  4. Hi Natalie, it definitely is! I was very happy to include Jane Austen Society - readers are going to love it when it comes out next year.

  5. Oh goodie! More for my reading list! They all look interesting! (Rubbing my hands in glee)

  6. Hi, Loretta, pleased you liked the post! Lots of good reading ahead :)

  7. I read two variations (not on the list) both to do with time travel and though it sounds a bit outlandish it worked out very well.

  8. I read one a few years ago that involved going back to Austen's time. You have to accept that idea for the purposes of the story, but it worked well.

  9. Thank you for this spotlight on these novels. It's very interesting. I was lucky enough to be given a proof copy of 'The Jane Austen Society' by the author and I loved it. I also loved Rose Servitova's completion of 'The Watsons'. Looking forward to reading the others when they're released.

  10. Hi Elaine, that's great you also got to read The Jane Austen Society early. Glad you enjoyed the sequel to The Watsons, too. I just had a copy of The Clergyman's Wife arrive in the mail, so it's moving up on my list as well.

  11. Thanks so much Sarah for generously including my humble title on your list. Your blog is wonderful. Thanks again.

  12. Hi Rose, thanks so much for your comments! Happy to spread the word about your new book.