"Jane Austen as seen through the eyes of others!"
Reviewed by Sharon Galligar Chance
Posted March 17, 2011
Writers have long been inspired by Jane Austen, and this is
never more evident than in DANCING WITH MR. DARCY: STORIES
INSPIRED BY JANE AUSTEN AND CHAWTON HOUSE, a collection of
twenty stories from winners and runners-up in the Jane
Austen Short Story Competition.
The inspiration for these stories was taken from any theme
in Jane Austen's novels, like a character or single
sentence. Authors could also draw upon Chawton House, an
Elizabethan mansion owned by Jane's brother Edward, and
where she spent many creative writing years, as their muse.
And what a wide variety of stories this competition
The book opens with Jane Austen Over The Styx by Victoria
Owens, a story inspired by Chawton and a dead Jane Austen
crossing the River Styx . She is accused in a Higher Court
by the older female characters she created for willfully
portraying them as manipulative harpies and scolds, and
their judgments are surprising to Jane.
Other creative stories that stand out in the collection
include Snowmelt by Lane Ashfedlt, the story of an aging
librarian who refuses to embrace the computer/technological
age that is encroaching on her library and Cleverclogs by
Hilary Spiers, a tribute to a loving grandmother who
encouraged reading and loving words.
From historical to contemporary, from the absurd to the
charming, there is a little something for everyone in this
collection of short stories inspired by the amazing Ms.
Two hundred years ago, traumatized by her parents' decision
to give up the rectory in Hampshire where she grew up, Jane
Austen found herself unable to write for a decade. During
that time she moved from one rented property to another, and
it was only when her brother Edward offered her a permanent
home in his Chawton House Estate that she was able to pick
up her pen again. In fact her time spent there was so
productive that all of her novels were written or published
while living there.
The Jane Austen Short Story Competition celebrates the
author, her works and the home that allowed her to write
some of the most beloved and enduring novels ever written.
Dancing with Mr. Darcy features the winning piece of fiction
and nineteen other stories, with introductions from Sarah
Waters and Rebecca Smith, the great-great-great-great-great
niece of Jane Austen.
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