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My JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) Addiction

I might have a problem by Saucy Salad, on Flickr
My name is Natasha…and I’m a Jane Austen Fan Fiction addict!!!  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this kind of fandom, I’ll provide a brief description. JAFF is a sub-genre inspired by the original narratives of Jane Austen's (1775-1817) beloved novels.  JAFF novels run the gamut of numerous sub-categories. The varieties are classified according to the story’s main theme, which include: prequels, sequels, re-tellings, variations, continuations, mash-ups, paranormal, bio-fics, mysteries, anthologies, young adult, and moderns.  It is because Jane Austen left her characters' lives to continue in our imaginations that we want them to.  Each new imagining is just that, a conception of what those lives might be as envisioned by other writers.  The timelessness of Austen’s work is a marvelous thing.  Of course, Jane Austen’s writing is unparalleled, but these explorations are nonetheless compelling.
The particular fascination with Elizabeth Bennet & Mr. Darcy, Pride & Prejudice’s (1813) enduring couple lends itself to the perpetuation of the sub-genre. Many fans want to see into their hearts, their minds, their future, and yes their love beyond Elizabeth’s acceptance of Mr. Darcy’s second proposal. Don't get me wrong, there is definitely a wealth of angst-filled “how will they ever get together with all the misunderstandings?” stories out there, but they usually end with the couple’s wedding or the birth of their first child.  I delight in reading romances that have a hero and heroine working together to combat conflict instead of letting it keep them apart. I’m partial to stories where not only do you see the main characters fall in love, but you also really get to understand who they become after they marry.
Pride---Prejudice-british-period-films-4 by norika21, on Flickr
You see, I already owned a few Pride & Prejudice inspired novels, but being a devoted fan of the 2005 motion picture adaption, I began to yearn for books inspired by this adaptation and/or Mr. Darcy based on Matthew Macfadyen’s portrayal. I found two favorite authors who meet these distinct criteria.  In fact, this site was among the search results that led to my discovery of Sharon Lathan’s sequels and after reading that series too many times to count, further investigation guided me to Linda Wells’ variations.  My interest has been revived and has grown to such a proportion that I read JAFF and historical romance almost exclusively.  I thought it appropriate that I make my confession on the very blog that birthed my obsession.  I love the ingenuity and insight that both Lathan and Wells have brought to the sub-genre and would like to elaborate on the details that make their storytelling uniquely appealing.
Pride-and-Prejudice-british-period-films by norika21, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License by  norika21
 (author of the Darcy Saga series)  (sequels/continuations), consists of five volumes that focus on the continuation of the lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy and his bride Elizabeth; a Christmas novella, two novels that feature Georgiana Darcy and the original character Dr. George Darcy; Book One of a prequel which recounts the period of Darcy & Elizabeth’s engagement (by the by, I’m anxiously awaiting the release of Book Two of the Duo). Lathan’s series follows the love and day to day life of the Darcys and their friends.  The first three novels focus almost exclusively on Elizabeth and Darcy and provide an intimate look at their first year of marriage.  The plot is not filled with wild antics and high suspense, but is about the passage of time, their travels and how these events affect them. Gradually, other characters are introduced with their own tales gaining prominence. The fourth and fifth novels advance further in time, with increased action, excitement, and interwoven stories.  This saga is told with a great deal of attention. I appreciate the continuity and the intricate details. One of the standout features of these books is the extensive Darcy family lineage. For example, during the course of her narrative, Lathan elaborates not only on the immediate, but the extended and previous generations of the Darcy Family.  One of the outcomes of her imagination is the audacious and irrepressible George Darcy, who is the lead character of The Passions of Dr. Darcy.  I can only imagine the tremendous effort it took to keep track of all the specific details and timelines that were mentioned in the previous novels. The reader comes away with a real sense of life in the regency era and the lives of these two people who become increasingly more attuned to one another and are deeply in love. It’s incredibly romantic, an excellent example of marital felicity and happily ever after. If you’re a romantic at heart like me, it gives you the hope that true love really does exist. Like Austen, it’s about people going through life and finding love. Visit Sharon Lathan's website here:  http://sharonlathanauthor.com

Linda WellsVariations (what-ifs/re-imaginings), this author’s Pride & Prejudice inspired works include two regency stand-alones, two regency series and one modern. She is currently posting an ambitious work in progress set in World War II.  Each book takes a unique approach to the original story’s sequence of events.  Wells carries each tale in new directions that elicit a myriad of questions that are answered in intriguing ways.  In my opinion, the best aspect of her stories and her signature is that she brings our dear couple together early and allows us to see their love mature.  Wells’ Elizabeth and Darcy characters have intense chemistry; they are united and fiercely protective of one another.  Their problems include adapting to each other, adjusting to the differences between their stations and simply dealing with outside circumstances. Wells develops each incarnation of the couple around the premise of the re-imaginings.  They are all essentially the same, but completely different as a result of each specific set of conditions.  I adore them all! I particularly enjoy her character development. The original characters are true to form, but their traits and behaviors have been amplified.  Wells has a way of taking aspects of a character’s personality and details from the original novel that are mentioned or vaguely suggested and expanding them for further examination within the context of each story.  It makes for more intrigue and leaves so much for us to contemplate.  Case in point, in Wells’ Memory series, she magnifies Mr. Bennet’s indolence, Mrs. Bennet’s crass and obtuse behavior and explores the adverse effects their poor parenting has had on their five daughters.  I can’t get enough of how Wells weaves elements of canon, comments from her readers, and facets of her own experiences into each story.  That's what so awesome about a GOOD BOOK, you never want it to end. Thank goodness Wells knows how to write epic tales!!! Visit Linda Wells on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Wells/e/B001HO7GTQ

Although, these two authors differ in their respective categories, they share similarities and commonalities in their visions. They both create couples, who are caring, strongly connected and committed to one another; they grow stronger after conflict, communicate openly and regard the other’s point of view.  For those who blush easily, each author writes Elizabeth and Darcy as a very passionate couple. They include lovemaking scenes that bring them closer together and illustrate the remarkable love these two people share.  They laugh, love, cry and live with and for each other.
Pride-and-Prejudice-period-films-9805037 by norika21, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License by  norika21
I also enjoy and savor the believable lives of the characters old and new that are fully realized, of which are influenced in one way or another by Elizabeth and Darcy's intense and exceptional love. They make this couple’s lives, conversations and trials so realistic that it's hard to think of them as fictional characters. Each author has a talent for spinning absorbing intricately woven tales with so much depth with our dear couple at the center of it all.  Their writing is so vibrant that I can feel all the emotions being portrayed.  It’s just not their stories.  They educate, their enormous research of the vast cultural and historical accuracies that took place during those times adds richness to the backdrop. I’m transported into the very scenes they write about.

Reading can be a portal into another world – new fictional experiences might change your perspective on real, everyday life or spark great dialog.  So when you need to escape reality check out these authors and others in this great sub-genre (Austen Authors,http://austenauthors.net; Good Reads, http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/405.Best_Jane_Austen_Fan_Fiction) – or if you’re in need of a JAFF daily fix, check out these popular sites (The Meryton Assembly, http://www.meryton.com; FanFiction, https://www.fanfiction.net/book/Pride-and-Prejudice/; Darcy and Lizzy, http://blog.darcyandlizzy.com; Derbyshire Writers' Guild, http://dwiggie.com;  Austen Underground, http://austenunderground.com/).

© Natasha Shubrick is a P&P Blog guest blogger/contributor. She loves all things Jane and is a devoted fan of the 2005 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much, Natasha, what a lovely surprise! Your passion for JAFF positively shines from the page. I'm delighted to know that you love my stories and that you put me in such good company. You are very kind, and I wish you could see how big my smile is.
    Linda

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  2. Beautiful first post, Natasha! Loved and enjoyed reading it. Welcome and THANK YOU so much for joining me here at the P&P Blog as one of my guest contributors! Great to have you here and I look forward to reading more of your upcoming posts/articles! :-)

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  3. You're very welcome Linda. I'm so glad that it made you happy. Coming up with a topic for my very first blog post wasn't difficult in the slightest. Discovering your writing has brought me so much joy and is like a balm to my soul. This genre has become such an integral part of my life. If it had not been for you I wouldn't have been introduced to the Meryton Assembly, its talented authors and other JAFF sites that feed my addiction. I anticipate each new installment and my Sunday mornings would be incomplete without you. I thank you and am very honored by your acknowledgement.

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  4. Thank you so much Jeane! Without you affording me the opportunity I wouldn't have been able to take these first steps. Your instruction, encouragement and most importantly your generosity are greatly appreciated. I look forward to our future collaborations. I can't believe we've finally got this party started! You absolutely rock!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You're very welcome, Natasha. Thanks again for joining me here on this blog. Looking forward to our future collaborations, indeed. :-)

    ReplyDelete

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