Happy Wednesday, readers!! I am very excited to welcome back Jayne Bamber to Austenesque Reviews today! Jayne, as you might remember, released her debut novel Happier in Her Friends Than Relations, not too long ago. And today she is back to celebrate her newest release – Unexpected Friends and Relations. While we haven’t read this series just yet, we have enjoyed all that we have heard about it and our exchanges with Jayne! Jayne planned an extra fun post to share with you today and we were thrilled to take part in the discussion with her. We hope you will share your thoughts with us too!
Villainy & Vindication
By Jayne Bamber
The Friends & Relations series imagines a world where all of Austen’s characters from her six completed novels, and the unfinished fragment Sanditon, are all connected through either friendship or family relation. Familiar heros and heroines are thrown together in unlikely ways, and though Lizzy and Darcy get their happy ending, a lot of other couples are re-imagined, and get a HEA with someone from an entirely different novel, or even an original character. All the familiar villains of Austen’s works make an appearance, too, though many of them have rather different story arcs. Some are painted as even worse schemers than we had even known them to be, some are surprisingly redeemed, and some are ruined or even killed off!
The villains Jane Austen imagined are, to me, some of her best characters, and I’ve had a wonderful time toying with them, even getting into their heads a little too much, at times. In the first book, Happier in her Friends than Relations, which largely focuses on Elizabeth Bennet and Marianne Brandon nee Dashwood, I have a great time getting into Wickham’s head, and the scenes with him reacting to both Lydia Bennet and Evil Jane were some of my favorites to write.