Jane Austen and her books have been the inspiration for a wide variety of books over the years as sequels, adaptations or inspired stories. All have kept Miss Austen and her characters alive in a myriad of forms. Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart edited by Laurel Nattress is new to the Austen inspired works and is an anthology of twenty short stories.
It is rather difficult choosing favorites from these original stories, but some did stand out more than others. “Jane Austen’s Nightmare” by Syrie James features Jane Austen being confronted by her characters during a walk around Bath. Some characters are pleased with their attributes and others find fault with Miss Austen’s characterization. “A Night at Northanger” by Lauren Willig is a modern day ghost hunter tale set at Northanger Abbey. “The Ghostwriter” by Elizabeth Aston features a frustrated writer who encounters the ghost of Jane Austen.”What Would Austen Do?” by Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway is a tale about a modern teenage boy. He is forced to participate in summer activities at the local library/community center, takes a dance class, and winds up reading Jane Austen which changes his dress, manners and life.
Ms. Nattress has provided an Austen-inspired fiesta with Jane Austen Made Me Do It. As with most of the Austen inspired works, there are some that use Austen characters and others that prominently feature Miss Austen as the focal point. Rather than read one story after another, I read one story at a time with breaks spanning a few hours. I found that this allowed me time to enjoy each story before reading the next. If you love Jane Austen then it will not matter if you read this in one setting or take a few days, you will find enjoyment. Some of these stories may be more pleasing than others but I find this to be true about Miss Austen’s original works as well.
Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
It’s difficult to imagine that anyone in the US hasn’t heard of Bernie Madoff or his Ponzi scheme that bilked thousands of people out of billions of dollars. For some people it is still difficult to presume that his wife, Ruth Madoff knew nothing about his business dealings. Ms. Elin Hilderbrand has tackled this very touchy subject in the saga of Meredith and Fred Delinn in Silver Girl.
Meredith is a society wife and mother that lived a glamorous life style with multiple homes, cars, etc. Even she is shocked to find out that her husband of nearly 30 years has built his investment firm on false pretenses. Meredith is left with nothing but a few articles of jewelry received from her family, a few personal items (pictures and a record album) and some clothes. She is considered a suspect in her husband’s scheme simply because he asked her to move some funds days prior to his arrest. Meredith is truly lost in New York City, no money, no friends and she can’t even have contact with her children because they are suspects as well. After Fred’s arrest, when she thinks she’s at her lowest, Meredith calls upon her childhood best friend for a rescue, Connie Flute.
Connie is there for Meredith but they have issues to deal with from their past. One of the biggest is that Meredith wasn’t there for Connie when her husband was dying and she never even came to the funeral. But even with that Connie knows that Meredith wouldn’t have called if she didn’t need her, and she takes her to Nantucket to get away from it all. If only life were that easy, there are simply too many people on Nantucket that Meredith’s husband cheated and her refuge becomes anything but when Connie’s house is vandalized and she is confronted by a former “friend” in a local hair salon. Dealing with her husband’s business fraud is one thing, but then it comes out that he was having an affair for over six years with their interior decorator.
Silver Girl seems to be a story not only about resilience and surviving but about friendship and family. Connie learns that she has problems to confront and she has to move on with her life. She learns to do this with the help of Meredith. Meredith learns that she is more than Mrs. Delinn and she works hard at assisting the investigation into the recovery of funds. Both Connie and Meredith get thrown curves but together they deal and move on. I think that Connie and Meredith’s relationship epitomizes true friendship, a willingness to be there for one another no matter what. This is not a light-hearted read but it was one that I enjoyed even with all of the drama.
Disclaimer: I received copy of this book free for review purposes from the publishers through NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”