For a quick read, perhaps you’re looking for a light summer-time book, or good distraction, here are three Jane-Austinish amusements.

How do I define a Jane-Austinish book?

  • Regency era or thereabouts.
  • Romance, definitely must have a romance, but it’s modest and mostly-restrained.
  • Witty conversations and tempered emotions, until there is a SCANDAL. (Gasp)
  • Flirting
  • Dancing and dinner parties
  • Fashionable, well-dressed men and woman
  • No zombies, or sea monsters or air balloons added to the text.

None of these three stories are stunning, literary masterpieces. The characters are hardly original, or complex, and the plots are rather simple affairs. It’s probably wrong to compare them to Jane Austin. A better name is probably Regency fantasy/romance. But I still think of them as Jane-Austin-ish.

loveliesspiesLove, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey

A charming little story about a young woman who has decided not to marry, but is attending the London Season anyway, in order to get her research book published. She is a bit too obsessed with ladybugs, and everyone knows it except her. Her Aunt Phyllis is disapproving and unreasonable, and her cousin Carrie is full of youthful exuberance at her first Season.

But none of that matters. The real delight here is the romance between Juliana and Mr. Spencer Northam, the blue-eyed stranger who saves her from various awkward and mildly dangerous situations. They spend most of the book staring at one another longingly.

newts emeraldNewt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

Her real name is not Newt, that’s just what her cousins’ nicknamed her. This is set in a magical world, and the best part has to be the disguises. Not to mention the romance that blooms between Newt and Major Harnett.

mrkowalShades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

This one is also set in a magic-world. It’s been a while since I read this, but I remember being utterly smitten by the romance that Jane encounters. The glamour magic used in the book is really just about making three-dimensional illusions, like decorations around the house, but it suits the society very much. Why wouldn’t a young woman learn embroidery, painting, and illusion magic?

Have you read any Jane-Austinish books? Magical or not, let me know.

Current Reading Project: 30 of 35 books by Diana Wynne Jones, next up Archer’s Goon
On my Kindle: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash 4
Still distracted by? The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild


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