But Jane Austen’s real legacy is her books. Not only did she write six brilliant major novels, which are still read the world over, but she inspired two distinct romance genres: Austenesque fiction and Regency romances. It’s those genres I thought I’d write about today. They are so popular that Amazon.com has a dedicated Regency romance chart and I wasn’t surprised to find that Austenesque fiction features prominently. There are six Austenesque works in the current top 100, as well as an audio version and a paperback version of Pride and Prejudice. That makes 8 works out of 100 that are directly influenced by Jane. Not bad for an author who has been dead for nearly two hundred years!
There’s a wide variety of styles in the top 100, too, reflecting the wide variety of Jane’s own novels. There’s a servant’s viewpoint (Longbourn by Jo Baker) and a couple of ‘variation’ novellas (Mr Darcy’s Rescue: Darcy and Elizabeth What If? #2 by Jennifer Lang; and The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter by Rose Fairbanks).
There’s a romantic mystery with an Austenesque title (Pride and Pleasure by Sylvia Day ); there’s a novel that includes a love interest for Lady Catherine (Remember the Past by Maria Grace), and there’s part of an Austenesque trilogy by Gianna Thomas.
And then there are the Regency romances. The names are not Darcy and Elizabeth, and the events are not those of Pride and Prejudice, but the stories and characters have much in common with Austen’s novels. There are arrogant heroes and feisty heroines who meet at balls, in carriages and on picnics. There are matchmaking mothers, interfering aunts, indolent fathers and annoying sisters. There are books with gentler couples like Jane Bennet and Mr Bingley, or longstanding friends turned lovers, like Emma and Mr Knightley.
I’ll be looking at some of these in my next post, because I have a lifelong love of Regency romances in all their forms.Everyone else on the blog has the same love. In fact, between us, we’ve written hundreds of Regencies and Austenesque novels, and we have read thousands of them.
So which are your favourites? Do you love Austenesque fiction, and if so, what is your favourite kind of story - retellings, what if? stories or sequels? Are you a Regency fan? Do you love the arrogant, haughty heroes or do you prefer the gentler gentlemen? Do you like your heroines to be heiresses or do you prefer them to be young ladies who have to seek employment because of family misfortune? Or perhaps you prefer the wilder side of the Regency universe, with ghostly hauntings, time slips or paranormal elements? Let us know!