Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Ella Enchanted

Happy Mother’s Day!

For those who are celebrating, I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day. To honor my mother, today’s book was a recommendation from my mother. I am always thankful for her patience toward my obstinacy.

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers is something I started a while back for fans of Jane Austen who are looking for something to read.

There are Jane Austen’s works and numerous variations, but while those adapts are fun, sometimes you don’t always want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but something different. But what can you read instead?

That’s why I started this series. I will be reviewing books that have the things we love about the Austen novels, but are not another retelling.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

A few years ago I reviewed Ella Enchanted as part of my 30 Day Challenge: Literature Loves (something I ended up running out of time to finish but will one day complete. I think I’m only short two books). And at the time it made me think of Pride and Prejudice, well at least Prince Char made me think of Mr. Darcy.

I always meant to write a post about how it reminded me of elements of Jane Austen, but I ended up forgetting all about it as I was sidetracked by other reviews and life. You know how it goes…

My life motto right there…

But now not only do I have this new series to put it under, Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers but I also have reread it and decided it’s finally time to finish the post I drafted three years ago.

If you are interested in a full synopsis/review of this book and why I love it, then you should check out my post: At Midnight, Your Coach Will Become a Pumpkin Again, and the Animals Will Regain Their Original Shape Until Your Next Ball: Ella Enchanted.

But for those who do no want to go to a separate post, I’ll do a quick synopsis. Ella Enchanted is a retelling of Cinderella and one of my favorite retellings.

In Ella Enchanted, Ella is “blessed”, really cursed, with obedience. She must always do what someone tells her to do, it is physically impossible for her to deny an order. This has made life really hard for her, as she struggled to make the best of her situation. Ella has a sharp mind and tongue, her words sometimes being the only thing that can get her through some days.

Ella’s mother dies at a young age and Ella is raised by her father, who does not really care about her, but himself and status more. She is sent away to finishing school where she is controlled by two girls who discover her secret, Hattie and Olive.

Ella escapes finishing school and charms ogres, reunites with the Prince (who she earlier befriended), and discovers that her father has lost his fortune and plans to remarry. Not only is the horrible woman Mum Olga going to be her stepmother, but her stepsisters are going to be the terrible Hattie and Olga. When these ladies discover Sir Peter’s lack of finances, they poor their angry into ordering Ella about. Will Ella survive life with these horrible ladies? And will she ever discover a way to break the curse?

This book has action, adventure, romance, and more. I highly recommend it.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

But why do I recommend this book to Jane Austen fans? First of all Ella reminds me of Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse. All three women are beautiful, witty, from a life of privilege, and brave enough to face on people head to head. But while they are all witty and intelligent, they all tend to act rashly and make decisions that make things difficult for them later on. All of these ladies: Ella, Elizabeth, and Emma; tend to make quick judgements, like to be right, and can have issues with humility.

Areida, Ella’s only friend from finishing school, is extremely sweet and caring, just like Jane Bennet. Areida is bullied at finishing school as her family isn’t wealthy and she has an accent as she is from Ayortha. However, when one of the mean girls who likes to humiliate Areida becomes ill, Areida stays up all night to take care of her. That is such a Jane Bennet thing to do.

Sir Stephen is one of Prince Char’s knights, and while he isn’t in the book long; the way he talks about his dogs reminds me of Sir John. Both men are kind, sweet, and absolutely love their hounds.

Sir Peter, Ella’s father, is extremely similar to General Tilney. He is not a kind man, and only cares about wealth and status. Both men will eagerly trade their children’s happiness to achieve what they want. Like General Tilney, Sir Peter can pretend to be kind and charming to woo a rich woman, in order to gain the wealth and status he desires.

General Tilney

The step family of Olga, Hattie, and Olive remind me of the Elliot’s from Persuasion: Sir Walter Elliot, Elizabeth Elliot, and Mary (Elliot) Musgrove. Like Sir Walter, Dame Olga only cares about status, looks, and having the right presence in society. Hattie and Olive both love to use Ella and have her take care of everything, slowly sucking the soul out of her; just like how Elizabeth and Mary treat Anne. Hattie and Elizabeth only care about themselves and are constantly putting down their sisters. Like Mary, Olive constantly wants attention and likes it whine about how she has the short end of the stick, compares her life to her sisters. When Anne is with her sisters she is often treated as a servant, the same stays that Hattie and Olive downgrade Ella to.

And last, but not least as he is the one that inspired this post: Char. Char reminds me of Mr. Darcy. While Char is full of responsibilities, having been taught at a young age how to be and how his actions reflect on the kingdom (just like Mr. Darcy and Pemberley), they also both share the same characteristic of “when their opinion is lost it is lost forever.”

mr-darcytemperopinion

However, this sentiment does not apply to the woman they care for.

And while Char can be open and fun, he tends to be closed off when he is with people he doesn’t know and only really shows his true self to a select full-like Darcy with Bingley, Elizabeth, Colonel Fitzwilliam, etc. Char also loves and cares for his younger sister, just like Darcy.

It’s one of my favorites and I strongly recommend it.

For more Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Secrets of the Heart

For more Mother’s Day posts, go to Book Club Picks: Julie

For more on Ella Enchanted, go to At Midnight, Your Coach Will Become a Pumpkin Again, and the Animals Will Regain Their Original Shape Until Your Next Ball: Ella Enchanted

For more fairy tales, go to Once Upon a Time There Were Three Sisters…

What’s a Girl To Do When Your Parents Won’t Allow You to Live Your Gothic Dreams?

I love Northanger Abbey and I have mentioned it multiple times before that I think it is really sad it isn’t as widely known as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma.

Some of you might know this but for those who don’t, Northanger Abbey was written to be a play on the Gothic genre, and I personally feel specifically on novel The Female Quixote or The Adventures of Arabella.

When you read Northanger Abbey there is such wit in the words; along with little allusions and digs at other Gothic works-if you know what they refer to they are absolutely hilarious, but even if you aren’t a big fan of Gothic fiction it still remains a fun book to read.

Gothic Fiction

For example, the beginning of Northanger Abbey sets up our protagonist, Catherine Morland as the complete opposite of a gothic heroine as she has no trauma propelling her forward. She comes from a complete family: no broken familial bonds, no separation between her parents, no hatred in the marriage, and unfortunately both her parents are alive and she regrettably was not placed under the household of a horrible relative.

To make matters worse, not only are both of her parents alive but they also treat her and her siblings well! Her father “was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters”, her parents don’t hide her away from society, they feed her proper meals-it is all disheartening.

And her family isn’t even poor, but well off! Oh my goodness, what’s a girl to do with this lot in life?

Now this is all written sarcastically and said in mock fun, (just like how Jane Austen wrote it), but this was a prevalent theme in gothic fiction. Most of the the time our hero or heroine is placed in some type of traumatic situation or surrounded by abusive people that propels them forward into the plot.

Catherine luckily gets her tale, and while going on ups and downs, she has her happy ending with the most well-adjusted man in gothic literature.

Like I’ve said before, if you haven’t read Northanger Abbey you totally should. It is so funny and just plain enjoyable.

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Have You a Stout Heart?: Northanger Abbey (1987)

For more on the text of Northanger Abbey, go to Did Jane Hate a Richard?

MadsenCreations’ New “Spring” Jane Austen Items!

So I don’t know about those of you in colder parts of the world, but here in CA the weather has turned slightly warmer making many think about Spring and Summer plans.

MadsenCreations is no different as she has started rolling out new Jane Austen items in her “Spring Collection”.

Hmm…?

First we have a Pemberley Est. T-Shirt:

I assisted a bit (gave a suggestion of what should go under Pemberley). This shirt is cute and perfect for any Jane Austen fan. Order by clicking here

And then for the Northanger Abbey fans, a Northanger Abbey Crop Top:

If interested order here

Not to mention you can still order the items from the Get Spooky! Collection that I helped design. Such as the Northanger Abbey sweatshirt, Northanger Abbey shirt

Which also comes in children’s sizes!

Or a Jane Austen Catrina/Sugar Skull Mug.

If those aren’t your cup of tea you can also order your very own Jane Austen Runs My Life Shirt.

We also designed a Jane Austen crop top and full tee based off the one Selena wore in Selena: The TV Series.

Is there a Jane Austen item you want and have been unable to find? Reach out to MadsenCreations and she can help make it a reality. AustenTherapy wanted a Jane Austen Henry Tilney Fanny Pack and MadsenCreations made it!

And don’t forget to use the code Janeaustenrunsmylife for 10% off your total order (Jane Austen and non-Jane Austen items).

For more on MadsenCreations go to Jane Austen Runs My Life Holiday Gift Guide: Jane Austen Products

For more Jane Austen Stuff, go to Pride and Prejudice: The Game

Jane Austen (Little People, BIG DREAMS)

Jane Austen (Little People. BIG DREAMS) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Another Jane Austen biography for children?

What can I say?

But before I start my review, let me pause and say:

Happy Birthday Jane Austen!

Yes, today marks her 246th birthday, and I thought what better way to celebrate than by reviewing a Jane Austen biography.

This year for my littlest niece’s (5 years old) Christmas gift, I bought her some tiny tea cups that she could have tea with. You see when she visited this summer I converted her to a love of tea and tea parties and want to reenforce that as much as possible.

Party time!

Of course something else I am trying to brainwash encourage in the younger members of my family is a love of Jane Austen. I had already bought this niece the Babylit books and needed something else Jane Austen related that fit her age. I thought about gifting her the same book I gave my 10 year old niece, A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice, but decided to wait as that book was more advanced and designed for older children. Instead I starting searching for something suitable for a 5 year old.

Hmm…?

I started searching through Amazon (I don’t have a local bookstore) and found this biography from the Little People, BIG DREAMS series. It looked cute so I ordered it, and of course had to give it a quick read and review.

I really liked the amount of pictures to text this book had as it was a great balance for a children’s book. It gave a basic biography in easy to understand terms, while still telling a cute story that children in the age range of 4-7 years will enjoy following.

I also loved how it highlighted her playwriting and the way her family would act her works out.

But the thing I enjoyed most of all about this book is that instead of just mentioning Pride and Prejudice or Elizabeth Bennet, it actually highlights all the heroines of her novels. You hardly ever see anything that mentions Fanny Price/Mansfield Park, Catherine Morland/Northanger Abbey, or Anne Elliot/Persuasion in kids books and I’m so happy this one did. I need to lay the groundwork for Northanger Abbey.

If there are parents, or kids, who are interested in knowing more about Jane Austen, there is an expanded short biography in the back of the book.

I thought it was a cute book and a great one for kids.

If interested in purchasing, click on this link. (If you do choose to purchase through the link provided, a small percentage does go to me through the Amazon affiliate program).

For more Jane Austen children’s books, go to A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice

For more Jane Austen biographies, go to Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper

For more picture books, go to How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea

Jane Austen Runs My Life Holiday Gift Guide: Jane Austen Books

So I don’t usually write one of these, but thought why not do a holiday guide this year? A few days ago I posted on Jane Austen products, but I thought I would I also share some books that would make the perfect gift for the holidays.

I do not receive any money from any of these books for promoting them, I am just honestly sharing books I have enjoyed and I think you, or your loved ones will. I have attached links to all the items if any of you are interested in purchasing any of these products. If you do choose to purchase an item from Amazon, by going through these links, I will receive a small percentage through the affiliate program.

So enough business:

It’s time for Christmas!

This list of books are the perfect gift for Janeites in your life OR you could always share this list with your loved one that may be struggling to find you the perfect gift.

The books are all listed in alphabetical order and it was SO HARD to choose just 10 books. I really tried to create a variety of books and genre types in order to ensure I have something for everyone.

Just as difficult as choosing 10

Babylit Jane Austen by Jennifer Adams and Allison Oliver

Do you have a little one on your Christmas list? Why not start their love of Jane Austen early with these Babylit board books? Babylit has taken three Jane Austen novels and turned them into board books that cover topics important in children’s development from birth to 5 years old. Each one has lovely illustrations and are the perfect addition to the young child in your life’s bookcase. Sense and Sensibility covers opposites, Pride and Prejudice is on numbers, and Emma is on emotions.

I absolutely LOVE these books and they are always a constant on my gift list. Every time I gain a new niece, cousin, or a friend has a baby, these three becomes a birthday or Christmas gift.

To order, click here

Quill Ink Anthologies edited by Christina Boyd

The Quill Ink had published several anthologies on Jane Austen variations: some are set in different time periods, some answer “what if” questions, are told from secondary characters’ points of view, etc. There are so many great stories in these anthologies that I just couldn’t pick one, I had to include them all. If interested in more detailed reviews, just click on the titles.

Does the person you love, LOVE Mr. Darcy? Buy The Darcy Monologues. Is Elizabeth their favorite character? Buy Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl! Are they a fan of Jane Austen’s bad boys? Get Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes and Gentlemen Rogues! Are you searching for a Jane Austen Christmas combo? Then Yuletide is perfect for you. Do they like all the Jane Austen main characters? Rational Creatures is the book to fulfill your shopping list.

These books are available in print, as ebooks, and in audiobook format; so however they like to read, there is an option for them! I personally don’t feel like Christmas is coming until I listen to my audiobook of Yuletide (over and over and over again).

To order, click here

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (The Rajes #1) by Sonali Dev

Is the person on your shopping list looking for a more contemporary Jane Austen novel? Maybe they would like to see diverse characters? Then Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors is a great choice for them. In this Darcy is Trish Raje, Indian royalty and a doctor; with Elizabeth having become D.J. Caine, multiracial chef (Anglo-Indian and Rwandan). After a series of misunderstanding in their first meeting, Trish and DJ end up being thrown together when Trish has to take over the planning of an event for her sister. There are a series of missteps and mistakes, but in the end romance will always triumph.

As a biracial person I really enjoyed seeing that represented, along with this not only be a story of falling in love, but the love and comfort food and family can bring to us.

To order, click here

Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge

Do you have a friend that loves Jane Austen and devotionals? Then this is the one that you need to get them. There are 31 chapters to read, for every day of an average month, that take you section by section through Jane Austen’s prayers. This is a great way to refocus your life, learn about Jane Austen, and increase your prayer time.

I really enjoy this devotional and read it at least once a year (typically in the days that lead up to Christmas). Plus Rachel Dodge has great customer service. I ordered autographed bookplates for her books for Christmas last year and they never arrived. I contacted her about it and she sent new ones immediately.

To order from her website, click here

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos

This is an older book, as it was published in 2011, but it is such a wonderful and funny book and perfect for fans of dating shows (and a great way to pass the time while we wait to see if Peacock will really make their Pride and Prejudice/Regency inspired dating show.) in this Chloe Parker is a single mom in need of money to keep her business afloat so she applies to be on a Jane Austen TV show. However, when she gets there she finds out that the network felt they needed a change and now it has become a “The Bachleor-esque”competition. Chloe is convinced to stay and try to win her own “Mr. Darcy”…but what if she doesn’t fall for the “Mr. Darcy” but for another man on the show? Will Chloe get her Jane Austen ending? Or go home with no money and no man?

A hilarious book that any Janite will love.

To order, click here

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

I LOVE THIS BOOK! This is the sequel to Austenland, although both books are independent stories and do not have to be read in order. This book has romance, mystery, comedy, and more. It’s the perfect book for anyone who loves Agatha Christie and Jane Austen.

After Charlotte’s husband cheats on her, leaves her, and remarries she finds herself at a loss of what to do. She ends up finding a teenage list of things she wanted to do before 30, one of which is to read all the Jane Austen novels. She does and of course becomes a fan, deciding to take a vacation to Austenland in England. While the Regency activities are fun, something mysterious is going on. Will Charlotte be able to figure out this whodunnit, or will she become the next victim?

This is a fantastic book and I strongly recommend it.

To order, click here

Emma: Manga Classics adapted by Stacy King and illustrated by Tse

Do you have a teenager you want to introduce to Jane Austen? Do you know someone who loves Manga and Jane Austen? Then this reimagined classic is perfect for your holiday shopping list! This Emma manga has beautiful illustrations that bring the classic tale to life.

I bought this for my teenage niece, of course had to read it first, and loved it! It is definitely a great addition to a Janeite’s shelf.

To order, click here

Just Jane by Nancy Moser

Are you looking for a biographical fiction book on Jane Austen for someone on your list? This is a wonderful book and fits that slot! This book is part of a series on famous women, but do not have to be read in order and all the books are independent of each other.

This book is on Jane Austen’s life and was extremely well done. Not only was it a fun story, but brought up little real life anecdotes that I just had to learn more about, and would often fall down a research rabbit hole. As there are parts of Austen’s life that we know little about, the author does take some liberties in telling the story. However, I felt the author tried to tell a story that does its best to represent Jane Austen.

I really enjoyed it and I think that if you have a friend who loves Jane Austen and wants to know more about her, but doesn’t care for typical biographies, this is a great route to take.

To order, click here

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfruend

Do you know someone who loves Jane Austen but is also into science fiction? Then this is the perfect book as this adaption of Persuasion has a SciFi twist. Set in the not too distant future, the author has welded Austen’s classic take of love lost, love returned, and misunderstandings with cyborg-like accruements. Elliot’s (Anne) old love has returned with a new name and new enhancements. But can the bitterness and hurt be laid to rest, or will this couple face even more odds at romance.

I enjoyed this book a lot and felt that the fusion of genres was extremely well done.

To order, click here

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries by Emma Thompson

Do you have a friend/family member that loves Jane Austen and their favorite film is Sense and Sensibility (1995)? Then this would be perfect for them. The book has an intro by producer Lindsay Doran, the screenplay to the film, and the notes Emma Thompson made while filming. It is a great behind the scenes look that is perfect for the Janiete on your list.

I personally loved reading about how they had to work together to overcome cultural and at times language barriers-being an American producer, British screenwriter/actress, and a Taiwanese filmmaker.

To order, click here

So of course this is just a small sampling of all the Jane Austen adaptations out there, but I hope that this has helped some of you who might be searching for that perfect Jane Austen gift for your friend or loved one! If none of these strike your fancy, I will post links to my posts that list all the Jane Austen adaptions I have reviewed.

I wish you all a happy holiday and happy holiday shopping!

Sense and Sensibility Adaption Reviews

Pride and Prejudice Adaption Reviews: Part I

Pride and Prejudice Adaption Reviews: Part II

Pride and Prejudice Adaption Reviews: Part III

Mansfield Park Adaption Reviews

Emma Adaption Reviews

Northanger Abbey Adaption Reviews

Persuasion Adaption Reviews