After Jane – what to read next
The theme of the 2021 JASA Christmas Lunch was ‘After Jane – who to read next’. Attendees were asked to recommend a book to those who love the novels of Jane Austen: something with a similar style to Jane Austen, or of the same era, or inspired by Jane Austen, or in some other way appealing to members.
Our panel presented their recommendations and members were asked to share their own choices. The committee has collated the responses and we present them here for your perusal.
Elizabeth Gaskell (recommended by Lesley Rickman)
Mid-nineteenth-century writer, whose books focus on strong and interesting female characters, and also have an element of social critique.
Where to start: North and South, Wives and Daughters or Cranford
E.F. Benson (recommended by Walter Mason)
Edwardian author of comic stories chronicling a dying breed of pretentious provincial remnants of the upper middle class.
Where to start: Queen Lucia and other books in the Mapp and Lucia series
Georgette Heyer (recommended by Toni Pollard)
Mid-twentieth century writer who virtually invented the genre of Regency romance, but whose wildly funny novels are draw on meticulous research on the period.
Where to start: Arabella, Frederica or Cotillion
Vikram Seth (recommended by Susannah Fullerton)
Indian novelist and poet whose A Suitable Boy has echoes of Pride and Prejudice, and many other references to Austen, but is also a story of the newly-independent India, sweeping through history, the caste system, love affairs, land reforms, religious strife and politics.
Where to start: A Suitable Boy
Lois McMaster Bujold (recommended by Amanda Jones)
Science-fiction and fantasy novelist, whose Vorkosigan series is set in a patriarchal society, but with strong female characters and relationships based on respect and trust – and with A Civil Campaign having echoes of Pride and Prejudice in its structure.
Where to start: Komarr or Cordelia’s Honor
We asked the members present to also provide their recommendations for what to read next. You can download the list using this link.