Happy Birthday to Ms. Jane Austen
In honor of Jane Austen's Birthday my picks this month focus on her incredible legacy of love, literature and history.
Longbourn by Jo Baker
This recently published "below-stairs" rewrite of the events in Pride and Prejudice is pretty amazing. It follows the lives of Sarah, the housemaid, Mrs. Hill and the footman who all play small roles in the original novel. This new spin however gives these inconsequential characters whole lives and dreams. It puts them in new light sharing their tragic experiences, dramatic plot twists and reveals their humanity. I really enjoyed venturing back to Longbourn but with the ability to step into a different pair of shoes. A don't miss for anyone who loves this time period. I would also recommend it as a gift for the Jane Austen fan who has everything else!
Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer
My favorite rewrite of Pride and Prejudice this version tells the entire story from Darcy's point of view. I found that the author did a phenomenal job staying true to Austen's characters and writing style while giving us a new perspective on the events we think we know so well. I thought that this book really humanized Darcy for me and I often found myself flipping between this book and the original to see the internal dialogue between Darcy and Elizabeth. A fun, quick read this book is definitely a great one for curling up by the wood stove and revisiting some old acquaintances.
The Annotated Emma by Jane Austen and David Shapard
The Annotated Emma is the full text of the original Emma with edits and annotations by David Shapard. What results is a great in depth look at the history, fashion and culture of the time period allowing the reader to better understand some of the nuances of the story. I really enjoyed reading this because it allowed me to see certain parts of the story afresh with a better understanding of much of the vocabulary. An interesting way to reread a book I am sure many of us have already reread several times this is just one of many annotated Austen favorites.