Monday, August 3, 2009

A New Found "Austen" Fix...

As most of my blog follower's know, I LOVE JANE AUSTEN!!!

I am always regretting that we only have 6 1/2 novels, plus one short epistolary novel (Lady Susan), of hers from which to get our "Austen" fix. However, I consider myself fortunate in that I am not a complete "purest" when it comes to Austen. I am happy with any variation of her works that I can get, as it tends to satisfy my need for more "Austen!" That is why I enjoy everything closely linked to Jane Austen's works. One of the most recent additions is the release on DVD of "Lost in Austen."

This is the story of a modern day Londoner, Amanda Price, who accidentally switches places with Elizabeth Bennet, at the beginning of the story of "Pride and Prejudice." Amanda spends the rest of the show trying desperately not to mess up the story of "P&P" that she loves, and which she has landed in unintentionally, but she fails completely. Some fans may think it almost blasphemous towards P&P, the way this movie ends
, but I loved to see the possibilities of a different ending but still invoving the same characters that we love.

Anyway, getting to my real reason to post this.

I just finished a book entitled Old Friends and New Fancies by Sybil G. Brinton. It was published originally in 1913 and was the first sequel to any of the Jane Austen books.

I was especially intrigued by this book as it includes a few to several characters from all 6 of JA's books. Of course the main characters are Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, Georgianna Darcy and the Bingley's. It begins 3 1/2 years after the Darcys are married. But throughout the book we are reacquainted with several other Austen characters, to name a few, Col. Fitzwilliam, Mr. Bennet (P&P), Mary Crawford, William Price (Mansfield Park), James Morland (Northanger Abbey), Elinor(Dashwood) and Edward Farrars(S&S), Emma (Woodhouse) Knightly (Emma), and my personal favorites, Anne and Captain Wentworth (Persuasion).

The language of Old Friends & New Fancies is the closest Austen's original language, of all of the sequels that I have found, and I have read several other attempts by authors to try to replicate her books in sequels. Also, Brinton gives us the opportunity to let our imagination "fill in the blanks" just as Austen does with her original works. Everything is not spelled out for us, but is alluded to, so we can imagine a scene as we want it to be, if that makes sense to anyone but me.

My only complaint is that in the beginning of the book, I found it somewhat confusing with all the different characters. However, as the book continues, the characters are weeded out and the last half focuses on a select few to continue and conclude the story. I found it a very entertaining and enjoyable excursion back into Regency England and a chance to visit once again some of those characters we have come to love or hate from Jane Austen's wonderful stories.

It was a great JA fix!