What to read when you’re stuck in an Austen circle.

What to read when you’re stuck in an Austen circle.

The details on this ongoing project, and the factors I’m taking to heart.

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.

What to read after you finish Jane Austen's novels. Again. | Modern Mrs Darcy

My picks: 

Classics: Middlemarch, An Ideal Husband, Elizabeth Gaskell, Dorothy Sayers
And more classics: the Shoe books, Louisa May Alcott, Betsy-Tacy
Contemporary Fiction: The Grand SophyNone 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 MiddlemarchAn 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 seriesThe 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.

And if you haven’t yet, indulge in a little Jane Austen nerdery and pick up What Matters in Jane AustenWhat Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew for a very readable look at the era.

Please share YOUR recommendations for Jane Austen fans in comments. Thank you!

View all the literary matchmaking posts here.

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  1. Elise Curran says:

    I was surprised at how few people mentioned Georgette Heyer as a follow-up read to Jane Austen. She is by far the best successor, and was actually the person who started the Regency romance genre. She wrote 30-40 Regency/Historical books (and mysteries, too), and a great one to start with is Frederica. I agree with someone else’s comment that Clare Darcy is similar but not quite on her level. I used to cycle through my Austen, then Heyer, then Darcy, and then I found a modern Regency writer, Joan Smith, who I also liked, though her last few books seemed to have been partly written by someone else. She had that humor that I always appreciate in my light reading.

  2. Mim Müller says:

    I love all Austen books. I can´t stop reading. In German you can say TAGTRAUM… You read, dream with open Eyes.
    I love Dickens Little Dorrit and The old curriosity shop and C. Bronte Jane Eyre and E. Bronte Wuthering Heights, of course.

    I always cry and at the end I´m happy for “my” girls, and begin with the next again and again and again…. and if I`m tired The BBCs are always my friend 🙂

  3. I see people have mentioned Barbara Pym but I haven’t seen Penelope Fitzgerald and Angela Thirkell. Also the spirit of Jane Austen alive and well in some of the early Henry James–The Europeans, for example.

  4. Raela says:

    After bingeing on–and loving–PBS’s most recent Poldark, I went back and found the books. Haven’t quite finished book 1 yet, but it’s a good rec for Jane Austen fans!

  5. Beth says:

    I would recommend the Stephanie Barron books that feature Jane Austen as an excellent sleuth. Her fine perception of her society meshes with discovering murderers very well, and combines my love of Jane Austen with my love of detective fiction. The first book in the series is Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor, and they get nothing but better from this beginning.

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