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Dancing with Mr. Darcy: Stories Inspired by Jane Austen and Chawton House Paperback – Bargain Price, October 19, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 1 edition (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061999067
  • ASIN: B005DI8CUO
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,827,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Comprised of the three winners of the Chawton House Library short story competition as well as 17 runners up, this collection offers a wide variety of takes on Austen, her life, her literature, and her impact—with nary a zombie in sight. The winning entry, Victoria Owen’s “Jane Austen over the Styx” finds Jane on judgment day being called to task by five characters she skewered in her novels. Elsa A. Solender’s “Second Thoughts” draws from Austen’s biography to explore her decision to accept the proposal of Harris Bigg-Withers, only to recant the next day. Kirsty Mitchell’s “Jayne” gets inside the head of a soft-core model who is both well read and eminently practical. Elizabeth Hopkinson’s “The Delaford Ladies’ Detective Agency” sends up Alexander McCall Smith’s series, casting the now married Elinor and Marianne Dashwood as sleuths in a light-hearted mystery. Clair Humphies details an Austen-themed bachelorette weekend that goes awry until a dashing Mr. Darcy type shows up in “The Jane Austen Hen Weekend.” A lively and diverse collection. --Kristine Huntley

Review

“What a wonderful collection! Each story is like a little treasure just waiting to be unwrapped, bringing its own unique and engaging perspective to the Austen mythos. A real treat for Jane Austen fans.” (Syrie James, bestselling author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, and Dracula, My Love. )

“A lively and diverse collection” (Booklist )

“Taken together, the tales in Dancing with Mr. Darcy show both why and how Jane Austen’s work continues to resonate in a far faster-paced, far more intense world than hers.” (Infodad.com )

More About the Author

Lane Ashfeldt is an Irish writer who grew up in Dublin. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals and anthologies, and she has read at festivals and events such as Bloomsbury Festival, WordFactory and West Cork Literary Festival. Her stories can be read at Guardian.co.uk, Southword, Identity Theory, and at Dead Drunk Dublin. Her début collection of short fiction, SaltWater, is published in print form in Spring 2014 by Liberties Press. SaltWater contains a dozen or so short stories inspired by the sea, including stories which have won the international Fish Short Histories prize and the Global Short Stories prize. @ashfeldt

Customer Reviews

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See all 12 customer reviews
Since they are short stories, I finished reading this book in one evening.
bookworm2bookworm
The inspiration for these stories was taken from any theme in Jane Austen's novels, like a character or single sentence.
Vic
This was a fun collection and would be enjoyable to both Austen fanatics and those who just appreciate a good story.
Michelle Boytim

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Vic on October 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
Dancing With Mr. Darcy is a fabulous book. A book reviewer isn't supposed to reveal an opinion right away, but I have many reasons for liking this compilation, which began as a short story competition in 2009 sponsored by Chawton House Library to celebrate the bicentenary of Jane Austen's arrival in the Hampshire village of Chawton. This was a momentous occasion in Jane's life, for she would enjoy her most productive years there.

Dancing with Mr. Darcy is great for bed time reading.

When my head hits the pillow, I can stay awake for 20 minutes at the most. That's just the right amount of time to savor one of these stories, which is between 2,000-2,500 words in length, reflect upon it, and turn off the light. The book will remain on your bedstand for at least 20 nights if you stick to this schedule. But here's the kicker: It's hard to put down.

The stories are truly original.

The inspiration for these stories was taken from any theme in Jane Austen's novels, like a character or single sentence. Authors could also draw upon Chawton House, an Elizabethan mansion, as their muse. Whatever they decided, they were encouraged to get their creative juices flowing. And were they ever!

The book opens with a story inspired by Chawton and a dead Jane Austen crossing the River Styx . She is accused in a Higher Court by the older female characters she created for wilfully portraying them as manipulative harpies and scolds. I wondered how author Victoria Owen would resolve this curious plot, but it ended beautifully and logically.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary J. Gramlich VINE VOICE on October 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Everyone has a memory about a Jane Austen book, a special phrase or sentence that brings a smile to your face. This book takes that inspiration and explores from a writer's perspective how the works of Ms. Austen moved them. It is different stories of fiction based on muse of one writer walking in the shoes of another.

Would Jane ever have to face her characters in the afterlife? Would any of us be able to deal with repercussions of turning away a potential suitor? Could we talk about our life changing experiences with clarity and emotion and not evoke pity?

These authors have taken the concept of what inspires you and proven that every author and reader for that matter has any number of writers and books that serve as comfort in bad times, warmth on a long winter night and dreams of what life might have been like in another time and place. Wonderful read - enjoy the story and the short explanation from each author as that completes the thought.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on November 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
It's given that there could have been more thought given to the title of this short story collection, Dancing with Mr. Darcy by various authors. And I began reading expecting a fanatic homage to Jane Austen. I was happily surprised to find some of the better stories actually shine a critical light on some aspect of Jane's work or life. "Jane Austen Over the Styx" and "Jayne" come to mind as memorable stand outs. Each story is illuminated by a short paragraph on the author's inspiration. Fans of Ms. Austen, and those who enjoy short stories should delight in this collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Meredith VINE VOICE on October 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
Dancing Mr. Darcy is a collection of winning entries from the Jane Austen Short Story Competition held in 2009. This competition was in celebration of the bicentenary of Jane Austen's arrival to Chawton village; and writers were asked to compose a short story that had a connection to Jane Austen, her novels, her Chawton home, or the Chawton House Library. The twenty writers chosen are all women of various ages; some even still in college! Although some are American, majority of the writers live in the United Kingdom. These women make a living as journalists, educators, artists, screenwriters, librarians, actresses, and of course, published writers. The stories range from seven to ten pages in length and have varying connecting links to Jane Austen. With some stories the connection is strong and obvious, like a story about Jane Austen characters, and with others the connection is more abstract, like contemporary stories inspired or influenced by Jane Austen.

MY READING EXPERIENCE:
I read this compilation over the span of one week, reading two to three stories a day. I put a post-it on each story's first page, so I could leave myself some notes reminding me the themes and topics addressed in each story. Fifteen of the stories were contemporary or modern-day, five of them were historical. I gave each story a rating on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest. Here is a breakdown for each rating: 5 stars (six stories), 4 stars (six stories), 3 stars (five stories), and 2 stars (three stories).
My average rating was: 3.75

MY ASSESSMENT:
It is amazing to see how many diverse and unique ways Jane Austen can inspire writers! From Wentworth's feeling of "half agony, half hope," to Lydia Bennet's ill-advised purchase of a bonnet!
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