Jane Austen, the British author, died almost 200 years ago, but her works have never been more popular. A couple of years ago I wrote a paper for a course in literary sociology. The paper (published (in Norwegian) on my website) was called “The Austen mania”, and it tried to give some possible answers to why Jane Austens works are so popular today. I won`t repeat all that, but there is definately something about the characters, the setting and the stories that makes new Janeites (a nick name for really devoted Jane Austen fans) every day.
I am ready to confess that I am one of those fans. There is nothing like a dose of “anything Austen” to cure me if I have had an exhausting day. Maybe it is sugar and gossip that makes the tea sweet, but it is buttered scones and Austen that makes a wrong day come right. Therefore, I decided to venture into the great market of Austen fan- fiction. Until about a week ago, I hadn`t really dared to go there in fear of being disappointed. Then I came across something that caught my eye. It was a novel called The Dashwood sisters tell all by Beth Pattillo. I knew the name well as I already follow her on twitter, but I hadn`t gotten around to reading about her books until she announced that her novel was available in the Kindle Store.
The novel is a modern day twist to Sense and Sensibility (in a broad sense). The two American sisters, Ellen and Mimi, travel to England to fulfil their deceased mother`s last wish. They are obligated to participate in an Austen walking tour and to find a place to scatter their mother`s ashes. And of course, there is a mystery to be solved, too.
I don`t think that the author would be very upset if I said that I think the originals will outlive this one. It isn`t the kind of novel that you read thinking that you just experienced something important and eternal, like when you read Dickens or Austen, but still.. it was well worth the $7.79 I paid in the Kindle store. I don`t think I would recommend it to someone who hadn`t read Austen, simply because there are many references to the Austen novels. To a fan like myself, however, it is comforting and funny. It leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy, just like eating a really delicious piece of Belgian chocolate.
I just had my first fan- fiction moment, and even though, like I said, it`s not the “Great American Novel”, I went straight to the Kindle store and found another of Beth Pattillo`s books. Jane Austen ruined my life – here I come..