Sep 032014
 

Pride and Prejudice- The Scenes Jane Austen Never Wrote160+ Vignettes That Take Place During the Course of Pride and Prejudice

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

OVERVIEW:

In this massive compilation twenty-two skilled authors with a fervent devotion to Jane Austen collaborate to give readers an anthology filled with imaginative snapshots and scenes to accompany Pride and Prejudice. This comprehensive tome is filled with over 160 short stories (ranging 2-10 pages in length) that illustrate intriguing sub plots, conversations that didn’t take place on page in Pride and Prejudice, and retellings of famous scenes from a variety of diverse point-of-views. While many of these vignettes still center upon Darcy and Elizabeth, there were others that held the spotlight over other characters like Charlotte Lucas, Mr. and Mrs. Hurst, and Mr. Denny.

MY READING EXPERIENCE:

I read this compilation over the course of four months and rather than read all the stories straight through in succession, I chose to pick up this anthology in between other reads. Sometimes I’d read just a handful of stories, other times I’d read a hefty chunk of 100-150 pages (which could be anywhere between 15-30 stories total). I greatly enjoyed reading the compilation this way. The stories were self-contained, satisfying little morsels – wonderful glimpses of the characters, events, and life we all love to immerse ourselves in. Β Some stories had an underlying thread or connection with each other which I thoroughly enjoyed.

MY ASSESSMENT:

What a challenging feat this must have been! The Austen Authors Collective did a marvelous job of creating stories that were entertaining, illuminating, and varied. I am amazed at how well the stories were able to fit together and how the frequent change of author’s voice didn’t prove distracting or jarring. Congrats to these authors for collaborating so well together!

WHAT I LOVED:

  • Anything About the Servants: Whether it was seeing the daily journal entries of Netherfield’s housekeeper or witnessing scenes below stairs where the servants would speculate over whether Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth, I loved seeing the servant class receive some page time! In fact, I would have loved to have seen more (not like Longbourn though – that was only about 5 servants and a little too dark and gritty for my taste).
  • Charlotte Lucas’s Surprising Tale: This was a very intriguing twist for practical and supposedly unromantic Charlotte. Definitely evoked some emotion and brought some tension and heartache to the compilation. However, I was sad to see the story taper off towards the end, would have loved seeing more of her tragic love affair!
  • The Comic Relief Bits: I loved Lydia Bennet’s adorable sense of humor in some of these stories, to hear her thoughts – just hilarious! Oh, and I had big belly laughs over Mr. Collins’s prized cucumber. πŸ™‚
  • The Hursts: Yes, I know! How unlikely, right? There were only two stories of this seemingly unhappy couple, but I dearly wish we had a dozen more! Such an interesting take on their relationship and private personalities.
  • Lady Catherine and Anne De Bourgh: I enjoyed every trip to Kent in this anthology – Mr. Collins’s interview, Miss de Bourgh’s failed attempts to attract Mr. Darcy, and Lady C’s diatribes over Elizabeth’s refusal to refuse Darcy. I particularly enjoyed seeing a more spirited and not-so-insipid Anne.

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

  • Repeated Scenes: In the introduction it is mentioned that a conscious decision was made to leave all stories β€œas is” even if there were inconsistencies in timeline or repeated versions of the same event, I appreciated this warning and understand why the decision was made. And while it was confusing to see events like Easter Sunday occur in different parts of the month, it didn’t prove too distracting. In truth, the stories that felt were repetitive and not quite as engaging were the ones that didn’t showΒ anything new or different to what has already been written. I refer mostly to the scenes from Mr. Darcy’s POV. Of course I love Darcy and love seeing the story from his eyes, but that’s been done before with many authors and series. While these stories were indeed β€œscenes Jane Austen never wrote,” they were similar scenes illustrated in other books and couldn’t help but feel a little repetitious.

CONCLUSION:

If Pride and Prejudice is one of your favorite novels and you long to spend your days visiting the inhabitants of Meryton, Kent, and Derbyshire, Pride and Prejudice: The Scenes Jane Austen Never Wrote is the anthology for you! A superb companion to Jane Austen’s masterpiece and most deserving of a place on every Janeite’s bookshelf.

And the best news is, it looks like this talented group of authors is at it again with their Persuasion 200 Project! Can’t wait!

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  41 Responses to “Pride and Prejudice: The Scenes Jane Austen Never Wrote – The Austen Authors Collective”

  1.  

    Yeyyyyy Meredith, you finished it and now I will order it due to your excellent review and 4.5 stars. Have been missing for a while as have been on holiday to California. I love visiting America. Thank you also for your recommendation of MLS’ book Another Time in Place – I absolutely loved it, so now I have enjoyed both her books on time travel, although must admit I do enjoy all her books. Looking forward to the Persuasion 200 Project too – thank you to the wonderful Austen authors!

    •  

      Thanks, Michelle, for the compliment on APIT. So glad you enjoyed my time-travel romance. πŸ™‚

      •  

        Just wondering if you have any more ideas re another time travel romance? Wouldn’t it be fab if such a machine did exist. If I had been Beth Hannigan, I think I would have stayed and had Mr. Darcy to myself! However I have read all your books apart from When They Fall in Love as can’t bear the fact that Darcy has been married to someone else and has a child (but that is just me!). Regardless, looking forward to reading any new novels you are to have published.

        •  

          I would love to go back in time, but I’d have plenty of hand sanitizer and toilet paper with me. If I had Beth end up with Darcy, I would have been strung up by my toes, and I wouldn’t blame the mob. D&E belong together. I do have a JA out. It’s a modern mystery that takes place in England. A London detective has to investigate a murder at a JA convention in Devon where everyone quotes JA. You might enjoy that. It’s called Dying to Write. No gore or graphic details.

    •  

      Aww! Thank you, Michelle! And sorry for the long wait with this review! Glad I was finally able to catch up with my reading time! Thrilled to hear you enjoyed Another Place in Time! Mary is such a fantastic storyteller, isn’t she? I’m just about to start Dying to Write, which is one of her Patrick Shea mysteries, but this one takes place at a JA convention! πŸ™‚

      Hope you enjoyed a lovely holiday in California, I’ve never been there. πŸ™‚

  2.  

    Great to read your review, Meredith! I enjoyed this book, it was a lovely idea to throw light into the corners that Jane Austen only keeps us guessing about πŸ™‚
    Thanks for flagging it, I think I’ll dip into it again.
    Hope you had a fun summer xx

    •  

      Thank you, Joana! What an excellent way to describe it. I loved seeing all these scenes that we know must’ve taken place but weren’t on the page – ie Mr. Collins job interview, Caroline and Louisa having private convos. So much fun to explore!

  3.  

    I enjoyed this one too. It was definitely fun to get the servants perspectives. I laughed many times over minor characters’ antics.

  4.  

    Didn’t you just love Charlotte’s backstory in this? Maybe love isn’t the best word, considering, but you know what I mean. πŸ˜‰ Can’t give too much away. And yes! Mr Collins’ s famous cucumber! Haha Quite the mystery, that was.

  5.  

    Looking forward to reading this one in book format. It’s on my wishlist! Thanks Meredith!

  6.  

    I love Darcy’s POV and if repeated scenes are the only things you were not fond of then I know on a whole this book will be a gem πŸ™‚ Thanks for the review Meredith! I have this book and now cannot wait to read it πŸ™‚

    •  

      πŸ™‚ Really couldn’t find any other cause to quibble. And I’m sure to some it may sound like such a weird thing to quibble about. I hope you get the change to read it soon, Tamara!

  7.  

    Great review once again, Meredith. I read this one earlier in the year and there is such a variety of stories in it, aren’t there? It seems that you and I enjoyed all the same things about this book. I’d have loved to read more about Charlotte’s story and the Hurst’s marriage and as for Mr. Collins’ cucumber……!

    I tried to read the free sample of Longbourn from the Kindle store but couldn’t finish even that much. Not because of the writing – I thought that was fine, but as you say, it was a bit too “dark and gritty” for my tastes, too.

    •  

      Hi, Anji. So glad you enjoyed my contribution to SJANW. Mr. Collins is such a ridiculously delicious character.

    •  

      Thank you, Anji! I appreciate you saying so! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed many of the same stories I did – it was a lot of fun to explore these characters a little more.

      I was so hoping to love Longbourn – it received so much publicity and positive reviews – I guess I like my Jane Austen novels to be a bit more light and bright! πŸ˜‰

  8.  

    definitely adding it to my list!

  9.  

    Thanks for the review of P&P: Scenes JA Never Wrote! Your thoughts will be helpful as we create the Persuasion200 scenes.

    •  

      Thank you, Susan for arranging this wonderful opportunity for me to read and review! I’m so happy to have finally read all the stories! πŸ™‚ Greatly looking forward to Persuasion200! Love this idea! πŸ˜‰

  10.  

    Hi, Meredith. What a wonderful review. And you are right, it was a colossal joint effort. As a writing group, we learned a lot from this project, and Susan Mason-Milks has organized things so that everything for Persuasion 200 is going smoothly or as smoothly as things can go with so many spoons stirring the pot. But we do have very talented authors.

    So glad you enjoyed my contributions about Mr. Collins’s cucumber and the Hursts. I always thought Louisa was a bit of a lightweight, so I wondered, what is she like when she’s not under her sister’s thumb. I decided she needed to be happy with Mr. Hurst. πŸ™‚

    •  

      Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my review, Mary! I think all your efforts were very successful for the first time working on a project like this! It is amazing! Can’t wait to read Persuasion200! I love that you made the Hursts happy! Such a refreshing change!

  11.  

    I read this book shortly after it came out and thoroughly enjoyed it. Had to send lines about Mr. Collins’ garden to friends, relatives and acquaintances even if they are not JA Fans. My comment in reviewing is something like…I would love to have loose leaf book of both this and P&P and be able to stick the scenes in sequence among the original text to read some day.

  12.  

    I love this book even without having read it yet!. I appreciate your review very much and I see it’s the perfect gift for a fan of Jane Austen πŸ˜‰
    It has been a great idea that a lot of authors join together to write the ” backstages” scenes of P&P including so different points of view like servants’ opinions, the Hurst’ s story…
    And it’s fantastic they’re going to do the same with “Persuasion” because I’ve just finished reading it ( I know, better late than never LOL) and I think there’ re quite gaps to fill with, for example, Captain Wentworth’s visit to his brother, or more domestic stories of the Musgrove family ans even more details of Anne when she was a young girl in her school days…so there’s scope for imagination, isn’t it, Meredith?

    •  

      You are so sweet, Teresa! That’s wonderful that you read Persuasion! I’m hoping to read it again this December – can’t wait! Very true, Jane Austen gives a lot of opportunities for these creative authors to invent and flesh out more. πŸ™‚ I hope you get the chance to read this soon!

  13.  

    Thanks for reviewing The Scenes Jane Austen Never Wrote, Meredith! I’m delighted you, Monica and Anji all enjoyed the Charlotte story. I almost ended up removing it from the final version of the book because the early reader reviews on Amazon were very negative about it. Apparently people either love it or hate it! It was fascinating to dig under Charlotte’s placid surface.

    P&P200 was a very stimulating project, and I’m thrilled readers like you are enjoying it!

    •  

      Oh my goodness, Abigail! I’m so glad you didn’t! Whew! It is quite a different take on Charlotte’s situation and I can understand how some might find it a little surprising (for lack of a better word) But I thought it explained Charlotte’s decision to marry Mr. Collins so perfectly!

  14.  

    Thrilled that you enjoyed The Scenes Jane Austen Never Wrote, Meredith!! It was certainly a pleasure to get to be a part of the project, and we’re having a blast with Persuasion now πŸ˜€ .Thank you for taking time to read all of our P&P vignettes!

  15.  

    This is such a fun read, because it is “a book you are “able” to put down, as opposed to a book you are “unable” to put down. My little joke is often not understood because of the lack of formatting options to emphasize the play on words. My first time reading was straight through, then later by skipping around. I’m glad the writer are doing it again with Persuasion!!!
    Thanks, Meredith, for the review. I always like to read your opinion, especially on a book I really like!

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