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Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature's Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart Paperback – October 11, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Jane Austen Made Me Do It is the rare short-story compilation in which each and every one of the twenty-two stories manages to shine. Each contains a new take on Austen, a new concept of what Austen hoped to do with her life and work or even a new take on modern romance from Austen’s viewpoint." --Romance Junkies

"If you love all things Austen, I think you will find this quite diverting and enjoy the fun that the authors had with the wealth of material that Ms.Austen supplied throughout her writing career.  I truly enjoyed this little visit into different dimensions of the Jane Austen universe.  I gave it 4 stars." --Ex Libris

"This anthology has a little something for every Jane Austen fan." --Rakehell

“The overall quality of the collection is high, and rare will be the reader who fails to find a few favorites to delight an Austen-loving heart.” --Just Janga

"I was impressed with all the clever approaches in which Austen themes can be recreated, intriguing and entertaining me with new characters and their stories. This collection of stories is a must for all fans of Jane Austen, and it is a great tool for introducing the authors of the Austenesque genre as well." --Burton Book Review

"All the stories were enjoyable, but some had that little quirk that really made me think or laugh. Laurel Ann Nattress has created a volume that will have something (more than one something, of that I'm sure) for everyone." --Citivolus Sus

"I tip my hat to Laurel Ann for overseeing this ambitious and very worthwhile project, for this is her first book. I give Jane Austen Made Me Do It five out of five Regency tea cups!" --Jane Austen's World

"Jane Austen Made Me Do It was another Anthology that I loved. . . there is a little bit of everything for everyone." --A Buckeye Girl Reads

"Each story in this anthology is very unique. I had so many favorites among them that it was really hard to pick just two. If you're a Jane Austen fan, you have to read Jane Austen Made Me Do It!" --Popcorn Reads

"I am all praise for Laurel Ann Nattress who has collected a fine group of writers, and a fine volume of stories showcasing everything from historical to contemporary to young-adult fiction to paranormal." --The Little White Attic

"I enjoyed this collection of short stories more than I anticipated. It had everything, really – continuations; spin-offs; stories about Jane; stories inspired by Jane; even a couple stories where Jane's ghost was involved." --Readin' and Dreamin'

"For fans of "Austenesque" fiction, this collection will be a box of bonbons." --The Seattle Times

About the Author

A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of Austenprose.com, a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. Nattress is a lifetime member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected. Classically trained as a landscape designer at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, she has also worked in marketing for a Grand Opera company and at present she delights in introducing neophytes to the charms of Miss Austen’s prose as a professional bookseller. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Seattle, Washington, where it rains a lot.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Original edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345524969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345524966
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,016,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
What a fun collection of stories, all inspired in one way or another by Jane Austen! Some feature Jane Austen herself, like one that has her confronted by angry versions of some of her own characters who are extremely unhappy with the personalities she gave them, and another that has her haunting present day Northanger Abbey. One of the more intriguing interpretations of Jane has her compare herself not to the lively Elizabeth Bennet, but to the overly proud Mr. Darcy.

Other stories reveal details about the early days of Emma's marriage to Mr. Knightley as he tries to adjust to living under the same roof as her demanding father, the pre-Persuasion backstory of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth, the inadvertent role Maria Lucas's secret letters to Lydia played in bringing Elizabeth and Darcy together, and the believable and touching reasons behind Mr. Bennet's initial attraction to his animated but silly wife. A wonderfully ridiculous story has the impervious Lady Catherine de Bourgh as a judge presiding over a trial of Austen sequel writers and interpreters, in trouble because their story versions have caused pain and distress to Austen's characters. Because of Collin Firth's famous scene at Pemberley's lake in BBC's Pride and Prejudice and all the new vampire versions of that novel, poor Mr. Darcy finds himself constantly wet-shirted and fanged.

Like any anthology I enjoyed some tales more than others--several stories were so good that as soon as I finished them I bought full length books by the authors.
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"It is only a novel... or, in short, some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language." Northanger Abbey, Volume 1, Chapter 5

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, Original Stories Inspired by Literature`s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart is a collection of twenty-two original Jane Austen-inspired stories including contributions from best-selling authors Pamela Aidan, Stephanie Barron, Carrie Bebris, Laurie Viera Rigler and Lauren Willig. Editor Laurel Ann Nattress, and blog mistress of Austenprose - A Jane Austen Blog, has assembled her dream team of authors and for this anthology asking them to "stay within the theme of exploring Austen's philosophies of life and love by reacquainting readers with characters from her novels or introducing original stories inspired by her ideals. From historical to contemporary to young-adult fiction to paranormal, five of the major novels and Austen's life are featured in this anthology," p. xiv. In addition, one story by a previously unpublished author, Brenna Aubrey, was picked as Grand Prize winner via a contest hosted by the Austen fan site Pemberley.com. With such a significant range in this compilation, surely one would agree, "One cannot have too large a party. A large party secures its own amusement." Emma, Volume 3, Chapter 6

On my first reading of this anthology, I must admit that I singled out my favorite authors first. Yes, yes. I realize out of order was not how the editor intended it to be read, but, "One man's way may be as good as another's, but we all like our own best." Persuasion, Volume 2, Chapter 1.
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Format: Paperback
I love, love, love Jane Austen. I have read every one of her novels, as well as a lot of the sequels, prequels, inspired-bys, etc. When the opportunity arose for me to read this anthology of Austen-inspired stories, I jumped. Some of them were better than others, but they were all different and interesting in their own ways.

I liked how these various authors played with Austen names, and when they used actual characters, they stayed true to the original. One of the ones that I thought was creative was "Intolerable Stupidity" by Laurie Viera Rigler. In this story, Lady Catherine de Bourgh is a judge in a hidden court, but what's interesting is that the Austen characters (specifically Mr. Darcy) change appearance based on the perceptions of the audience. So while he always shows up in a dripping wet shirt, sometimes he has fangs (as a vampire hunter), sometimes he doesn't. However, that story was kind of hard to keep everything straight; but part of that may be because I read it over two days.

I also liked "Mr. Bennet Meets His Match" by Amanda Grange. It tells the purported story of how Mr. Bennet came to meet and marry Mrs. Bennet. A relationship that almost all think is a horrible one comes about in an interesting way. "Letters to Lydia" by Maya Slater also tells a hidden side of a tumultuous story. It's the story of Maria's letters to Lydia when they are apart, especially when Lydia is eloping. Interestingly enough, Maria knew where Lydia was before Lydia's family knew. I like to think about how that would have changed the story if Jane had added it.

Several stories are told in the present day - with characters who are Austen fans looking for their "Darcy", and the supernatural (or coincidence) plays a part in their relationship.
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