"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Amanda Grange and Jane Austen retellings



I just completed another of Amanda Grange's books, Mr. Knightley's Diary, a retelling of Jane Austen's Emma.  I had fully intended to make this journal a highlight of the author herself since I have now read and enjoyed four of her books that retell the Austen stories from the heroes' points of view.  However Ms. Grange is apparently a very elusive person and I wasn't able to find out much about her.  Even her own website doesn't have any links to much more than a cursory biography saying that she was born in Yorkshire and as a teenager enjoyed reading Austen and Georgette Heyer.  I did find another blog, Title Magic, that hosted an interview of Grange in 2008.  I redirect you there if you want to know more about this modern-regency author.  The interview is very interesting.  Here is my favorite quote from it:

I love them all for different reasons. I'd always felt that Darcy was the ideal man to fall in love with and that Mr Knightley was ideal husband material. Then, when I wrote Cpt Wentworth's Diary, I was amazed that I hadn't been in love with him for years, because he can do everything! He can captain a ship, and yet he can also say to Anne, 'You pierce my soul.' That's an incredible combination of toughness and tenderness. What a man! Then again, Edmund Bertram really grew on my whilst writing his diary. But perhaps the most surprising hero for me has been Col Brandon. In Sense and Sensibility he comes over as silent and grave, until he tells Elinor his history, and suddenly this dry stick of a man is revealed as a passionate romantic who is the survivor of a tragic love affair. I loved bringing his history to life, and I hope readers will see him as I do, as an excellent hero who has a second chance of love - one of the themes of the novel - and who has the courage to take it.---Amanda Grange interview, Title Magic

To my mind one of the reasons that all of Austen's books have remained so popular over the years is that her characters are so real and there are obviously stories behind the stories.  Why are the Bennets so poor? Why did Captain Wentworth continue to love Anne for eight years of separation? Why was Elinor and Marianne's brother so ungenerous with them? Amanda Grange's book help us imagine more of the story that Austen just alluded to.  I've always like Mr. George Knightly, but now I really like him and want him to win over the heart of his dearest friend, Emma.  And now I can root for Edmund Bertram's heart to change directions in time to see love at his doorstep.

Are you an Austen fan?  Read all her books several times?  Maybe it is time to pick-up an Amanda Grange novel for a retelling of your favorite story from the male point-of-view.  I enjoy them and hope you will, too.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the recommendation. I believe I will give it a try. Great post!

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  2. Wow, I hadn't even heard of these books! I'm definitely going to give them a try. I received a Jane Austen retelling called, Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer, but I haven't read it yet either. I guess I should catch up. lol

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