Wednesday 21 December 2011

Review: - Jane Austen Made Me Do It ed. by Laurel Ann Natress

Look how well I'm doing at my reading of Jane Austen related books! I'm very proud of myself. Admittedly I have totally failed at watching any of the films for Advent with Austen, but this is the third Jane - related book I've read in December! I won a copy of it from the 24 hour readathon, but it has been very slow going.

Jane Austen Made Me Do It is a collection of short stories inspired by Jane Austen. Some are about Austen herself, some continuations of her novels, and some completely new stories merely using characters Austen created. I'd read some mixed reviews of this before I started, so I was a little apprehensive going in. Also, while I love Austen, I'm not generally a fan of the Romance genre. The first story, Jane Austen's Nightmare by Syrie James was really good, and so calmed some of my fears, but after that there were a few I enjoyed less and I started to struggle a bit, hence why a collection of short stories has taken me over a week to finish.

Generally the stories I enjoyed the most were either about Jane herself, or modern tales incorporating an Austen character. There were some ghost stories (A Night at Northanger by Lauren Willig, The Ghostwriter by Elizabeth Aston, and Me and Mr. Darcy, Again.. by Alexandra Potter) which I really enjoyed despite them tending towards the slightly ridiculous - although I suppose as a person who doesn't believe in ghosts and such, ghost stories are always going to seem a little bit silly in the best possible way.

Reading Jane Austen Made Me Do It was a positive experience despite the unevenness of the collection. I would say it was probably a 60/40 split and if I'm honest after a while I started giving up on stories if they weren't interesting me after a couple of pages. I'm glad I own this book as it means I can return to the ones I didn't finish at a later date.

I think this will probably be my last Advent with Austen book. I do have Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence sitting on my nightstand, but although I definitely want to get to it in the future, I kind of feel that for the moment I'm all Austened out. I have really enjoyed this event, though, and the fact that (in my eyes at least!) I've been really successful, has set me up in a positive frame of mind for all the challenges and such that I've signed up for in 2012!


  1. I've read a lot of reviews of this one lately and everyone complains about the unevenness of the stories. 60/40 seems to be around the general opinion, which is a shame.

  2. I missed out on winning this from Library Thing, but got a copy of it at the JASNA convention a couple of months ago. I wonder how well (or not) I'll like the stories - some of the authors I had heard of before seeing this book, and some are new to me, so I'm hoping to find a new author I'll enjoy!