Sunday, September 16, 2012


1975, 1976 Signet edition
Jane Austen and Another Lady
Original price $1.95, purchase price 75 cents
Paperback in poor condition

I gave the uncompleted fragment of Sanditon a B+, but this is still one of the better Austen spin-offs.  Another Lady does a decent pastiche of Austen, although there are times I suspect she's lifting direct (or nearly) quotes, as with Charlotte's description of Sidney that sounds suspiciously like Catharine's thoughts on Mr. Stanley in Catharine.  A.L. does get closer to chick-lit than Austen, and judging from the ads for other Signet books inside, this was aimed at the Regency Romance reader.  Indeed, the blurb on front, "Jane Austen's enchanting heroine sets out to snare Regency England's most dashing, eligible bachelor," does a disservice to the sensible, unscheming Charlotte Heywood.  Kudos to A.L. for keeping most of Charlotte's sense (although she does become irrational about Sidney), and keeping Clara, the secondary heroine, likable.

There are other Sanditon continuations out there, but I haven't read them because I like this one so much.  It might make a better film adaptation than some Austen-only works, since it has a nice twisty plot but the characters aren't as complex.  It's a good, soothing book to take on airplanes, although I don't quite agree with A.L.'s belief that Austen offers an escape from "the shoddy values and cheap garishness of our own age."  You can enjoy the elegance and wit of the Regency while also appreciating the beautiful tackiness of the mid 1970s.

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