Review by Allison Thompson
Mr. Darcy goes to Hogwarts.
No, wait, that’s not quite true, since the posh boarding schools Longbourn Academy for girls and Pemberley for boys are located in the U.S.
To increase “diversity” (meaning accepting people whose fathers make less than a seven-figure income) and to improve its academic and arts programs, Longbourn awards scholarships, called “charity cases” by the girls. Entering as a junior on a music scholarship, and hazed unmercifully by the snobbish rich girls, Lizzie Bennet from Hoboken, New Jersey, has a chip on her shoulder when she meets wealthy Will Darcy, just back with his friend Charles Bingley from a semester at a London school. Everything is gearing up for spring prom, the biggest event of the junior girls’ year. Lizzie’s sweet best friend, Jane, hopes to attend with charming Charles, but stuck-up Will doesn’t seem to like Lizzie, apparently because she is a charity case. Continue reading
Review by Ben Millett
My wife Katie and I attended the 11 June production of a Sense & Sensibility staged reading. The new adaptation by Kerry Skram was performed by the Repertory Theater of Iowa at Terrace Hill, the Iowa governor’s mansion. A light supper of carrot-ginger soup, a chicken salad sandwich and open-faced cucumber sandwich, grapes, and apple slices was served. We were seated with seven of the other 40 or so attendees. Five had previously attended productions at Terrace Hill and were not necessarily Janites. The others at the table had a cat named Bingley, so it should be obvious why they were at a performance of a Jane Austen adaptation. We had an enjoyable discussion during supper about our favorite of Jane’s novels and some of their adaptations. Continue reading
Review by Emma Carton, Age 10
The Beautifull Cassandra was written by the precocious young Jane Austen, and we thought it might be fun to have this edition reviewed by another precocious young lady of our acquaintance, Miss Emma Carton (and yes, she is named for you-know-who). Miss Carton kindly agreed and provided the following review of this edition of the story, illustrated and with an afterword for young readers, by Juliet McMaster.
The Beautifull Cassandra is a wonderful tale about a young mouse that falls in love with a bonnet, places it on her head, and then ventures from her home to seek her fortune. The young mouse leaves her home confident, but becomes discouraged when she does not attain her fortune. At the end she comes home without her bonnet or fortune, and states that it was a day well spent.
I loved this book because it was written by a kid for kids. I loved the illustrations, although I think it might have distracted from the main purpose of the story by turning the characters into animals. I thought the book wasn’t supposed to be funny but learned otherwise when my friends wouldn’t stop laughing until I pleaded with them to stop.
Jane Austen is a wonderful writer and I can’t wait to read more of her books. I would greatly encourage young readers of my age to read this delightful book.
Review by Lisa Galek
When a teenage Jane Austen becomes gravely ill at boarding school, her sixteen-year-old cousin, Jenny Cooper, wanders out at midnight into the dangerous streets of Southampton in order to send word to the Austen family. There, she meets the handsome Captain Thomas Williams, who offers her his protection and guidance. When the two girls are taken from the school and Jenny goes to stay with the Austens, she believes she will never see Captain Williams again, but when their paths cross at a ball, Jenny worries that the captain has the power both to ruin her reputation and break her heart. Continue reading
Review by Trai
I have to say that out of all the mashups I’ve read, Emma and the Vampires is the only one that has left me wondering why the mashup part was even necessary. Josephson allegedly wrote this at the request of his teenage daughter. It seemed like not much thought was put into what the vampires could do to the story, and the result is a jumbled mess of a watered-down version of Emma with a sporadic sprinkling of vampires. Continue reading
Review by Allison T.
What kind of immortality would you choose: to be forever young, sexy, and beautiful and enjoy night after night of delightful orgies? Or to have your name on the binding of a book that may crumble away, unread?
That is the question posed in Jane and the Damned by Janet Mullany. The book bears the catchy sub-title “It’s more than her wit that’s biting,” and this is true because Jane, disappointed that a publisher has once again turned down her novel of two sisters who live in the country, attends the Basingstoke Assembly, where she bitten and made a vampire by a rather Darcy-ish vamp. Continue reading
Review by Lisa Galek
On her high school trip to London, fifteen-year-old Callie buys a pair of real Prada shoes, hoping to impress the other girls in her class. While walking back to the hotel in her new heels, she trips, hits her head, and wakes up in Regency England.
Once she arrives in the English countryside she meets Emily who (as luck would have it) mistakes Callie for her long-lost American friend, Rebecca. Emily’s cousin is the Duke of Harksbury, a nineteen-year-old hottie named Alex, who is (surprise, surprise) exceedingly hoity and arrogant. Callie knows she only has a short amount of time before the real Rebecca shows up and she’s kicked out of Harksbury for good. She has to figure out a way to get back to the present. But how?
The premise of Prada and Prejudice is pretty interesting (it’s hard not to call it the young adult version of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict) and I found myself liking the story a lot. The tone and language are perfect for teens (and for those of us who like reading about them). Callie is clumsy, but likeable, and it’s fun to follow her growth and development throughout the novel. I liked how the author kept me guessing right until the end, though there were a few points where the story became a bit predictable. Continue reading
Review by Trai
I was asked to include that Del Rey publishes this book in the United States, whereas Titan Books does in the UK.
If you’re a Janeite, or even if you’re not, I’m sure you know about the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies craze by now. I’m sure that many of these mashups were in development before PPZ and were released once it was known there was an audience, but many of them have not had the same success as the original. I’m one of the more accepting of the craze myself, but I still find myself rolling my eyes as more and more books join the fray. Having read this graphic novel adaptation of the work that started it all, it seems like an attempt to join in on the cash cow–one that doesn’t seem to have worked quite that well.
So we all know the schtick by now: it’s Pride and Prejudice, plus zombies. The original author, Seth Grahame-Smith, worked closely with Austen’s text to figure out which parts he felt needed more action–mainly, the parts that he found boring. I can’t speak for myself–a few other Jane fans I know and I agree that if you’ve read the original, PPZ can be quite slow going–but of the (mostly men) non-Jane fans I know who have read it, they all seem to be in agreement that the zombies help them get through and actually enjoy the book. To each their own, one supposes. Continue reading
Longtime Gentle Readers will remember news a few years ago about a student film made by the Department of Communications at Ball State University, a modern-set adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. It was said the film would be made available via iTunes, but we’re not sure if that ever happened. However, Alert Reader Amy H. took the initiative to contact a professor at the university, who offered to send a DVD for review. Information for ordering a DVD of the film will be available at the end of the review. Thanks to Amy for tracking down the film and for her review! –Ed.
Review by Amy H.
“Ellie & Marianne,” released in 2006, is a modern-set adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic Sense and Sensibility. The film was written and produced by and stars the students of Ball State University. In brief, Ellie (Elinor) is a paralegal who sketches and draws. Marianne is a former soap opera star who takes up a role in a local play. Together the sisters follow Austen’s canon pretty closely. In the end Ellie ends up with Edward (a professor in Art) and Marianne with Brandon (who has a job crunching numbers and is a peer in this film) only after being tossed aside by Willoughby, who moved onto the next pretty girl. My best comparison for this film would be to the Mormon “Pride and Prejudice”; I neither really liked nor disliked it. I found parts quite amusing and enjoyable, while others were just hard to watch due to over-acting. Now, that being said, I highly commend the students for their wonderful efforts in putting together such a project and I did find the script pretty solid. I would say it’s worth the watch for those diehard “Sense and Sensibility” fans looking for anything S&S-related. I would also like to thank Tim Pollard, Associate Professor, Department of Telecommunications at Ball State University. I had emailed Prof. Pollard inquiring about “Ellie & Marianne”, and it’s thanks to him that we are able to get our Janeite hands on this film. So a big Thank You goes out to him!
You can purchase the “Ellie & Marianne” from Ball State University at the following links:
TAXABLE – Indiana residents
NON-TAXABLE – non-Indiana residents
Article by Allison Thompson
I picked up Pride and Prejudice at age 14—and almost immediately put it down again as too boring and hard to understand! (I clearly have changed my mind since then.) Instead of Austen my real introduction to the Regency period was through the novels of the incomparable Georgette Heyer (1902-1974). Her novels were romantic and even sensual, in the writer’s meaning of being filled with concrete textures of smells, tastes and sounds and other details of life in Regency England. They charmed me at 14 and they charm me still.
Austen’s novels have survived so well and lend themselves so easily to new incarnations in part because there is little detail. There are certainly background nuances that, if you understand them, add so much more to your reading of Austen (as our Esteem’d Editrix showed us in her recent article on carriages). But you don’t have to know your phaeton from your landau to enjoy Austen. Similarly, she gives us little detail about her character’s physical appearance, leaving plenty of scope for the imagination. Continue reading