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Lady Vernon and Her Daughter: A Novel of Jane Austen's Lady Susan Hardcover – October 6, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307461661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307461667
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,345,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Inspired by Jane Austen's novella Lady Susan, this biting social comedy from mother-daughter duo Rubino (the veteran author) and Rubino-Bradway (the first-timer) is a delightful, worthy homage to Austen. In 19th-century England, Lady Susan Vernon is left nearly penniless after her honorable, wealthy husband dies and his unscrupulous little brother, Charles, bilks Susan and her daughter, Frederica, of their share of his fortune. Forced to rely upon the kindness of friends, the two spend several months bouncing from home to home. Subjected to the two-faced machinations of her social circle (particularly from Charles's wife, Catherine), Susan cleverly (and believably) turns several of her enemies against each other, using their own words. As in Austen's novels, securing a generous dowry and a good marriage (that is, one with money and status) is the all-important goal of every woman, but Susan is a dynamic character more than capable of delivering a shocking surprise. (Oct.)
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Review

"Like any worthwhile pastiche, this entertaining novel prompts a renewed appreciation of the subtlety and wit of the real Jane Austen, who would never have had a character say '. . . everything is all about money!' even when it was."--Boston Globe

"One imagines it is precisely what Austen would have done with the character had she the inclination to turn her novella into a novel"--Newark Star-Ledger


"Inspired by Jane Austen's novella Lady Susan, this biting social comedy from mother-daughter duo Rubino (the veteran author) and Rubino-Bradway (the first-timer) is a delightful, worthy homage to Austen. In 19th-century England, Lady Susan Vernon is left nearly penniless after her honorable, wealthy husband dies and his unscrupulous little brother, Charles, bilks Susan and her daughter, Frederica, of their share of his fortune. Forced to rely upon the kindness of friends, the two spend several months bouncing from home to home. Subjected to the two-faced machinations of her social circle (particularly from Charles's wife, Catherine), Susan cleverly (and believably) turns several of her enemies against each other, using their own words. As in Austen's novels, securing a generous dowry and a “good” marriage (that is, one with money and status) is the all-important goal of every woman, but Susan is a dynamic character more than capable of delivering a shocking surprise."--Publishers Weekly


"Cleverly inverts the premise of Austen's Lady Susan, with a richness of background and detail that enlivens the original epistolary novel. Should delight the most acute Austen fans."
—Stephanie Barron, national bestselling author of the Jane Austen Mysteries

"A captivating read with a charmingly redeemed heroine–Jane Austen fans will love it!"
—Syrie James, author of the bestselling The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontè

"Austen devotees will appreciate the authenticity of language and setting as well as the many witty allusions to the canon."
—Laurie Viera Rigler, author of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict

"A delightful trip through the complex world of the Regency, exposing goodness and hypocrisy with equal skill. I was sorry to see it end!"
—Abigail Reynolds, author of Impulse & Initiative

"This solid rethinking of Lady Susan deserves a place on the shelf of any Austen aficionado."
—Marsha Altman, author of the Darcys & the Bingleys

"A delightfully clever resculpting of Austen's youthful Lady Susan. Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway have rewarded honesty and perseverance in the style of Sense and Sensibility. Good fun!"
—Kathryn L. Nelson, author of Pemberley Manor

"I loved this book! A brilliant tour de force in Austen-related fiction and I believe that Jane Austen would be the first to congratulate the authors on their achievement."
—C. Allyn Pierson, author of And This Our Life: Chronicles of the Darcy Family

"I admire the way the authors have paid homage to the Austen style throughout. I loved it."
—Jill Pitkeathley, author of Cassandra & Jane

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Customer Reviews

The main characters are interesting and the scene well-developed.
C. Maynard
And though it's true, this book lacks some of the subtlety of a full Austen novel, the characters, plots, and settings are very true to the original author.
L. King
So, when not compared to Jane Austen herself, Lady Vernon and Her Daughter is a wonderful diversion.
Avid Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Julia James VINE VOICE on November 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love love love Jane Austen. I love her stories, her language, her wit, her sentence construction, and, you know, pretty much everything else about her, too. I've read all the novels several times a piece. I consider it one of the world's greatest tragedies that she died without writing a dozen more books (okay, maybe that's being a bit dramatic...but only a tiny bit).

And I couldn't get through the first few chapters of the book. IT'S NOT THE SAME. The language in this book strives to be Austenesque, but falls flat. It feels stilted and silly, and lacks that Austen sparkle. If this were a "sequel" to one of the other books, maybe I'd try to suffer through it, but since it's Lady Susan, I'm just not that compelled to keep going. Maybe if you love Lady Susan, really just for the story and not for the writing, you'd like this. And maybe if you love the other Austen fan fic out there, you'd enjoy this. I've only read one or two that I actually enjoyed at all, but this had such good reviews I thought I'd give it a try. Not worth it.

Read Elizabeth Gaskell or the Bronte sisters if you're having a craving. Or re-read Pride & Prejudice again. Or Persuasion, which I appreciate more each time I read it. But don't bother with this book.

(PS - I'm sorry that it looks like people believe all negative reviews to be unhelpful. I hoped to be helpful to those who haven't enjoyed other Austen fan fic but wondered if the positive reviews on this book meant that it would be better. Those of you who are marking this review unhelpful, I'd love to hear more (leave a comment) about what else I could say to make a negative review more helpful.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By AZ Reader on July 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I completely agree with Chapati and disagree with Julia Rietmulder-Stone. This is the first Austen-esque novel I've read that came anywhere near the Jane Austen "voice" in terms of both language and wit. Both are modernized enough to flow smoothly for today's reader, without going over the top to what amounts to the near val-gal speak from so many Austen wannabes.

I especially liked the way the characters interacted, so much like Austen's amused dissection of society of her own day. Yes, some characters and plot threads were a bit overdrawn, but hey, it's a romantic novel, not heavy literature. An author--or two, in this case--can stretch things a bit without ruining the reader's enjoyment. All I can say is, I was _happy_ while reading this book. Thank you, Jane-tility!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gypsi Phillips Bates VINE VOICE on August 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It was with mixed feelings that I began this book. As a huge Austen fan, I have found that I am rarely satisfied with Austen spin-offs (Pemberly Shades being the exception) but, again as a die-hard Austen fan, I keep trying. Lady Vernon and Her Daughter began well, with the first paragraph engaging me and promising an Austen-esque style. But, sadly, that was the only bit that did. The first pages ramble on and cover two generations with barely a nod at each. Lady Susan (as she should be referred to, not as Lady Vernon) is never developed as a character, with emotions and reasons and thoughts. The other characters are equally unreal, and the plot just never becomes interesting.

While I did not expect Rubino and Rubino-Bradway to BE Austen, I did expect that these ladies would have spent enough time in studying her writings to capture the flavor of the language and descriptions. After all, the are calling this novel "A Jane Austen Novel". The prose feels very flat, lackluster and insipid, and what they meant to be witty Austen-isms simply were not. Even the author Pride, Prejudice and Zombies was able to capture the Austen feel, while going WAY off on a tangent, whereas these authors failed.

My advice is to go back to Austen, if you need an Austen fix, or, if you must read a "continuation" or spin-off, hunt down a copy of Pemberly Shades. (Frankly, I enjoyed Pride, Prejudice and Zombies immensely more than I did Lady Vernon and Her Daughter.) And, please, don't let this novel be your only acquaintance with Austen!
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Chapati VINE VOICE on September 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Lady Vernon and Her Daughter is a full-length novel based on Jane Austen's early, unpublished work, Lady Susan. Austen's epistolary work portrays Lady Susan as conniving and amoral, determined to find well-to-do husbands for herself and her daughter. The mother-daughter author team of this novel turns Austen's on its head, portraying the two in a much more favorable light. I have never read Lady Susan, by Jane Austen, so I cannot say how plausible the Rubinos' spin on the tale is. I found their version of the story to be engaging and entertaining.

Lady Vernon is widowed suddenly by a husband whose will was not changed before his death. She and her daughter are left with very little money, as most goes to her husband's heir, his brother. Susan unwittingly becomes the desired object of a married man, and thus becomes the focus of unkind rumors that scurry about society in letters and exaggerated conversations. Her daughter, Frederica, also is not spared. The story explains how this happens, and how the mother and daughter deal with the backlash.

In terms of language and interaction, I found this novel true to Austen's sharp wit. The authors made an effort to convey the tone of Austen's writing, and I appreciated that. The main characters, too, were fleshed out and interesting, though there was a very large cast, and I found the connections confusing. The main quibble I had with the story was one misunderstanding on the part of gossip-mongers that persisted throughout the whole story, about which gentleman was courting which lady. That seemed to stretch past the belief point to me, and I didn't see why it was necessary for the rumor to last for nearly the entirety of the book, and for people to so staunchly believe it.
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