In senior year of high school, our teacher introduced us to all things Jane Austen. We watched the BBC version of “Pride & Prejudice.” The girls swooned, the boys pretended to throw up (I maintain that those boys loved it, regardless of all that fake vomiting), it was the most amazing welcoming to all things Jane Austen. I became an Austenite. From then on, I began the journey. Reading her books, ruminating on the life she lived, watching the movies all over again, falling in love with these stories. The fascination only grew in college (“Read Persuasion? Sure,” she said mock casually, eyeing the book like a candy bar).
But after school comes real life and work and busy schedules.
But after real life and work and busy schedules comes a recommendation from an old friend to read a trilogy by *Pamela Aidan, an author who decided to reimagine the entire P&P saga from the vantage point of Fitzwilliam Darcy.
I finished the three books in about two weeks. I devoured them. I missed my Metro stop for them. I told fellow Austen fans to acquire them and read them immediately. (After going on and on about them to another friend of mine, also an Austenite, her husband surprised her with the three books, which infinitely delighted both she and I). And it was only the beginning.
Now, it has become an full out obsession with finding similar books. The thing is, all of Austen’s books are accessible. Every last one of them can be found in the local bookstore or library. But, um, I want more. I want to sit back and read reimaginings and retellings and “sequels” and the like, to delve back into the Austen world, but with the touch of a writer who has decided to put their particular brand on the story. Of course, these new books are hardly replacements to the originals. Just, simply, new twists to old, treasured stories.
Right now, I’m reading Mr. Darcy Broke my Heart. Next: Searching for Pemberley. It’s a sweet sickness.
*An Assembly Such as This, Duty and Desire, These Three Remain