Updated: Sep 16, 2019
R eblogged with courtesy from Just Jane 1813
Happy launch day, Rational Creatures !
After heading home from the latest JASNA AGM conference, where I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda Root, the actress who played Anne Elliot in the 1995 version of Persuasion, I am extremely excited to launch the latest Austenesque anthology from Christina Boyd and her all-star cast of Austenesque authors. It was because of my recent attendance at the ATM, where I listened to nearly ten lectures all dealing with various themes, historical perspectives, and academic insights surrounding Jane Austen’s autumnal novel, Persuasion, that I made the decision to begin reading this anthology with the stories inspired by Persuasion.
However, I am sure that most readers will begin at the beginning of this collection of stories, which start at the earliest point of publication from Austen’s canon, with a story told from Elinor Dashwood’s perspective, as she is preparing herself and her family for the emotional and financial challenges of leaving Norland Park. The anthology flows from one set of stories to another, with each set telling the stories of the heroines connected to each story from canon. With sixteen stories in all, there are plenty of opportunities for readers to explore the depths of each character’s backstory, while each of these authors displays her unique abilities for developing stories which add thoughtful insights into the evolution of each heroine’s journey.
As readers of JAFF love to explore new sides to Jane Austen’s characters, readers of Rational Creatures will be in for a big treat as this collection aims to provide JAFF readers with a collective view of Austen’s heroines that is varied in its tone, nuanced in its execution, and an overall delightful reading experience. I found myself impressed with the creative ways that each author approached the heroine of her choosing. I was also impressed with the way that various authors incorporated Austen’s primary and secondary characters into these stories because it made reading this collection a thoroughly engaging experience as some of our favorite characters, such as Elizabeth Bennet, were featured in more than one story in this collection.
This collection exemplifies for me why readers adore JAFF! Readers are treated to savor the delights of an engaging Regency-inspired read while also enjoying stories that will appeal to the modern-day woman as she, similar to Austen’s own heroines, is provided the opportunity to examine what it means to be a woman while navigating the choices within her own circumstances.
The fact that this collection includes such a diverse set of characters also allows readers to delve into a broad range of character-driven situations, which I also found this to be a strength of this collection. We meet women at different stages of their lives and within different stages of their relationships, which helps to add another dimension of complexity to the overall effects of reading this entire collection. We experience the joys, the pains, the struggles, and the very real obstacles that these characters faced, reminding us that Austen didn’t write about cookie-cutter people, and neither have these authors. Just as Austen wrote about complex and varied women who we can easily feel a kinship with, so did the women who crafted these stories. That’s the kind of Austenesque anthology readers long to spend time with and why I believe that Rational Creatures is the must-have read on every JAFF readers list this fall!