Readers told me 3 books they loved, 1 book they hated, and what they’re reading right now. In turn, I’m recommending 3 books for each reader. (Or more, if I can’t help myself.)
This week we’re choosing books for Emmy Cecilia, whose books are:
Love: Anything Jane Austen (though I’m meh on Mansfield Park), Anne of Green Gables series, His Good Opinion by Nancy Kelley (still Austen-related)
Hate: Angels in America, which is technically a play. Forced to read it in college and I hated it. Or anything heavy like Anna Karenina.
Last read: Pride and Prejudice; currently reading: Emma. As you can see, I’m stuck in an Austen circle and am looking for new things to read.
Emmy Cecilia says she’s stuck in an Austen circle—an experience many MMD readers are familiar with. (Although if you’ve never read Pride and Prejudice, you’ve got plenty of company. But seriously, what are you waiting for?)
Emmy Cecilia’s love for Jane Austen is the strongest factor in these picks—noting that she loves a good Austen spin-off—but I’m also taking her love for Anne-with-an-e into consideration.
I’m giving more options than usual, because I think the likelihood of her having already read some of these is high.
Classics: Middlemarch, An Ideal Husband, Elizabeth Gaskell, Dorothy Sayers
And more classics: the Shoe books, Louisa May Alcott, Betsy-Tacy
Contemporary Fiction: The Grand Sophy, None But You
More by L. M. Montgomery: The Emily series, The Blue Castle, Jane of Lantern Hill
Nonfiction: What Matters in Jane Austen, What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew
Let’s start with a few classics that any Jane Austen fan should think about reading next: I chose Middlemarch, An Ideal Husband, and Dorothy Sayers (of which Gaudy Night is my favorite) for their wisdom and wit, and we’ve already established that Gaskell is an obvious next step for the Janeite who ran out of Austen novels. Louisa May Alcott’s books also have the bright feel of Austen’s novels.
The Shoe books and the Betsy-Tacy series are good choices for Anne fans, but before you move on to those, make sure you’ve explored some of Montgomery’s other works: the Emily series, The Blue Castle, and Jane of Lantern Hill are my personal favorites.
Emmy Cecilia’s professed love for His Good Opinion helped me choose two contemporary novels for her: Georgette Heyer writes smart and funny Regency romances; The Grand Sophy is one of her best. None But You does for Persuasion what His Good Opinion does for Pride and Prejudice: it’s a retelling of Persuasion from Captain Wentworth’s perspective. A warning: fans who love these love them. But there are fans who will never forgive Kaye for a few of her imagined plot points.
Please share YOUR recommendations for Jane Austen fans in comments. Thank you!