Mr. Darcy and his soggy shirt are the stars of what is probably the most popular
Jane Austen adaptation out there, the 1995 miniseries that also starred Jennifer
Ehle as Lizzy Bennet. And, hey, you’ll get no argument from me. That series is a
delight from start to finish.
But how about some lesser-known Austen adaptations and Austen-inspired movies
and TV shows? Without further ado, I give you my four favorites.
The 2007 version of Persuasion, starring Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot and Rupert
Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth. Interestingly, PERSUASION isn’t my favorite
Austen novel. But this adaptation! It is glorious. I’m particularly fond of the
last scene, where Anne goes running after Captain Wentworth, tearing though the
streets of Bath in a most unladylike manner as the camera jiggles around like
crazy. Oh, my heart!
The Jane Austen Book
Club, a 2007 Hollywood movie about a group of friends who start a Jane
Austen-reading book club to cheer up one of their members, who has just been
dumped by her husband. If I recall correctly, this movie was not a huge critical
success when it came out, but honestly, what’s not to love? A bunch of people
sitting around talking about Austen’s novels? I mean, come on.
Lost in Austen, a 2008
TV show in which our modern-day, Austen-obsessed heroine accidentally falls
through time and switches places with Elizabeth Bennet from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
The expected fish-out-of-water shenanigans ensue, in both the 19th and 21st
centuries, and Amanda, our modern girl, tries to keep the plot of her favorite
novel from derailing even as she falls for Mr. Darcy herself. There’s even a
Colin Firth soggy shirt homage.
2007’s Northanger Abbey
movie (why the heck was 2007 such a good year for Austen adaptations?!), which,
funnily enough, stars Carey Mulligan and Felicity Jones before anyone had heard
of them. I don’t know of any other NORTHANGER ABBEY adaptations, and my sense is
that it’s not Austen’s most popular novel, though I don’t know why because it’s
hilarious. The film keeps the book’s satirical tone. And, let’s face it, given
its heroine’s obsession with Gothic novels, it’s eminently relatable. (That is,
unless you don’t know what it’s like to be unnaturally obsessed with
books and unwilling/unable to distinguish them from reality?)
So there you have it. I have discovered that all of these, with the exception of
The Jane Austen Book Club,
are on YouTube. So I’m not really sure why you’re still reading this—you’ve got
your work cut out for you!
Jenny Holiday started writing in fourth grade, when her awesome hippie
teacher, between sessions of Pete Seeger singing and anti-nuclear power plant
letter writing, gave the kids notebooks and told them to write stories. Most of
Jenny's featured poltergeist, alien invasions, or serial killers who managed to
murder everyone except her and her mom. She showed early promise as a romance
writer, though, because nearly every story had a happy ending: fictional Jenny
woke up to find that the story had been a dream, and that her best friend,
father, and sister had not, in fact, been axe-murdered.
From then on, she
was always writing, often in her diary, where she liked to decorate her
declarations of existential angst with nail polish teardrops. Eventually she
channelled her penchant for scribbling into a more useful format. After picking
up a PhD in urban geography, she became a professional writer, spending many
years promoting research at a major university, which allowed her to become an
armchair astronomer/historian/particle physicist, depending on the day.
Eventually, she decided to try her hand again at happy endings--minus the
All Lady Catharine,
Viscountess Cranbrook, wants is a little excitement. Bored of playing the role
of the ton’s favorite slightly scandalous widow, she jumps at the chance to go
undercover as a courtesan to help with an espionage mission. After all, beneath
her outrageously low bodice beats the heart of a patriot.
James Burnham is conducting a study of vice in England’s capital. Driven by his
own secrets, he is methodical, intelligent—and wickedly handsome. Catharine is
the last sort of woman the upstanding James should want. But want her he does,
though she stands for everything he opposes.
When Catharine and James are
forced to band together to advance their causes, they’ll be drawn into a web of
secrets and lies that endangers their lives—and their hearts.