Few authors have achieved a degree of popularity that rivals Jane Austen’s. Her first six novels have not gone out of print since Richard Bentley republished them in 1833. They’ve captivated audiences so completely that new adaptations, remixes, and spin-offs appear on a regular basis, more than 200 years later, to widespread success. For readers eager to dive into Austen’s world, we’ve picked out the 20 best Jane Austen spin-off books for you here.
Like many great artists, Austen was not famous until after her death. She published her first four novels as “A Lady.” Her brother, Henry Austen, revealed her identity to the public when he posthumously published her final novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. That she has spent nearly 200 years in print is a marvel. It’s truly wild to think that six books—written by a woman of little means, who never revealed herself to be their author—gave birth to an entire subgenre: the Regency romance.
Unlike the novels that inspired them, not every Jane Austen spin-off book is a Regency romance. On the list below, you’ll find stories about Mr. and Mrs. Darcy’s adventures after Pride and Prejudice, continuations of Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, and even a murder mystery starring Austen herself! Keep scrolling to read more about Jane Austen, her literary legacy, and the best Jane Austen spin-off books you can read right now.
About Jane Austen
Jane Austen was born into a middle-class family at the Steventon Rectory in southeastern England on Dec. 16, 1775. She was the younger of her parents’ two daughters and the seventh of eight children. Her father, George Austen, was a clergyman who ran a small school for boys out of their home.
Unlike her heroines, Austen never married. She did have a few paramours, however, and she even accepted a marriage proposal from Harris Bigg-Wither, a man she did not love. She changed her mind the next day. When her niece, Fanny Knight, asked Austen for romantic advice, she famously replied: “I…entreat you not to…think of accepting him unless you really do like him. Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without affection.”
Women who did not marry in Regency England often found their futures in jeopardy. Much like the Dashwoods in Sense and Sensibility, the three Austen women—Jane, her sister Cassandra, and their mother, also named Cassandra—were left without a stable place to live after George Austen’s death in 1805. Unlike the Dashwoods, the Austens had support from Jane and Cassandra’s elder brothers: Edward, James, Henry, and Frank. The trio eventually settled at a small cottage in Chawton, near Edward Austen’s residence, in 1809.
About Jane Austen’s Publishing History
Austen had been writing for many years by the time she moved to Chawton. She did not publish any of her works until Sense and Sensibility appeared in 1811, credited only to “A Lady.” Pride and Prejudice followed in 1813, and Mansfield Park the year after that. Emma, released in 1815, was the final novel Austen published during her lifetime.
After more than a year of decline, Jane Austen died on July 18, 1817. She was 41 years old. Theories as to Austen’s cause of death vary, but the most popular explanations for her unexpected downturn include Addison’s disease, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and arsenic poisoning. A few months after her death, Henry Austen published his sister’s remaining novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, in a single volume. He added a short biographical note at the beginning of the text, revealing Austen’s identity to her readership for the first time.
Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were the first of Austen’s four posthumously published books. Her early novella, Lady Susan, appeared in print in 1871. She left her seventh novel, Sanditon, unfinished at the time of her death; it was not published until 1925.
Jane Austen Books
Austen’s published works are:
- Sense and Sensibility (1811): in which three sisters must move into a small cottage with their mother after their half-brother inherits their father’s estate.
- Pride and Prejudice (1813): Austen’s most famous novel, in which a young woman forms an unfavorable opinion of a wealthy bachelor.
- Mansfield Park (1814): about a woman from a poor family who is raised among wealthy relatives who mistreat her.
- Emma (1815): about a very wealthy young woman who plays matchmaker for her friends, but has sworn off marriage for herself.
- Northanger Abbey (1817): a send-up of 18th-century gothic novels, published posthumously with Persuasion.
- Persuasion (1817): published posthumously with Northanger Abbey, about a woman in her late 20s who is thrust back into the orbit of the man she rejected years earlier.
- Lady Susan (1871): a novella that Austen never tried to publish in her lifetime, about a widow who manipulates and seduces unsuspecting men.
- Sanditon (1925): her final, unfinished novel, in which a collection of unmarried young people meet and mingle at a burgeoning seaside resort.
Although Pride and Prejudice has the most spin-off books of any Jane Austen novel, it’s worth mentioning that Sanditon has attracted much attention from Austenites looking to finish the story themselves. With that being said, there are so many Jane Austen spin-off books that every reader is sure to find a continuation of their favorite Austen novel waiting for them in their local bookstore.
The Best Jane Austen Spin-Off Books
It’s worthwhile to note that books inspired by Pride and Prejudice are overrepresented among Jane Austen spin-offs, due to the popularity of the 1813 novel. We’re not playing favorites; the publishers are!
Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken
We don’t get to learn much about Jane Fairfax in Emma, aside from a few scant details about her secret engagement to Frank Churchill and the fact that Emma is jealous of Jane’s accomplishments. Joan Aiken retells Emma from Jane’s perspective, in Jane Fairfax.
Longbourn by Jo Baker
Jo Baker’s 2013 novel takes its name from the Bennets’ home in Pride and Prejudice. Like Jane Fairfax above, Longbourn retells the Austen novel from a different perspective—those of the Bennets’ servants. The focus here centers on a domestic servant named Sarah, who finds herself torn between two potential love matches: James Smith and Ptolemy Bingley.
Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron
How about a Jane Austen spin-off in which Austen herself plays a central role? Stephanie Barron’s Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor recasts Austen as an amateur sleuth. The Earl of Scargrave dies unexpectedly when Jane comes to visit his wife, Isobel. Now, Jane’s newlywed friend is a widow, and someone is threatening to accuse Isobel of murder. It’s up to Jane to find out who really killed the Earl in this series-starter.
Old Friends and New Fancies by Sybil Grace Brinton
Sybil Grace Brinton’s Old Friends and New Fancies is a continuation of Austen’s first six novels. First published in 1913, Brinton’s book introduces new faces alongside your favorite heroines and heroes, examining the challenges Austen’s power couples might have faced early in their marriages.
Mary B by Katherine J. Chen
None of Pride and Prejudice’s myriad secondary and tertiary characters has captured the imagination quite like the middle Bennet sister, Mary. She’s not particularly attractive, and has a “pedantic air and conceited manner” that many find off-putting…but is that who she truly is at heart? In Mary B, Katherine J. Chen gives the third Bennet daughter a voice—one which she uses to comment on her sisters’ romances.
The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn
Sci-fi fans will want to snag a copy of The Jane Austen Project. Kathleen A. Flynn’s inventive novel centers on two scholars who travel back in time to find a lost Austen manuscript. To get it, they’ll have to befriend Austen herself—a task that quickly poses a problem as one of the pair, a medical doctor, starts to piece together a diagnosis for the writer’s deadly illness.
The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray
The Tilneys’ daughter joins forces with the Darcys’ son in this inventive Jane Austen spin-off. If there’s one thing worse than crashing a party, it’s getting yourself murdered once you’re there. That’s exactly how Wickham has managed to ruin the newlywed Knightleys’ dinner party. Amateur sleuths Juliet Tilney and Jonathan Darcy have their work cut out for them—after all, who wouldn’t want to kill Wickham? Find out who did him in, in The Murder of Mr. Wickham.
The Clergyman’s Wife by Molly Greeley
Charlotte Collins, née Lucas, is one of the most polarizing Austen characters. Did she make the right decision when she agreed to marry Mr. Collins, or is she to be pitied for making a poor match? In Molly Greeley’s The Clergyman’s Wife, Charlotte struggles to adapt to the quiet of Hunsford Parsonage, instead dreaming about what a less respectable life might be like. Then a handsome tenant farmer enters the picture and turns Charlotte’s world on its head.
The Highbury Murders by Victoria Grossack
This short book promises a fun mystery romp that will delight readers whether they have read Austen or not. Mrs. Bates has died, drawing the Churchills back to Highbury. Ever the busybody, Emma Knightley sets out to uncover all she can about Mrs. Bates’ death and the Churchills’ relationship. But Mrs. Bates isn’t the only Highbury resident fated to die this season, and it will soon fall upon the Knightleys to hunt a killer, in Victoria Grossack’s The Highbury Murders.
The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow
Another novel of Mary Bennet, The Other Bennet Sister imagines how Mary might have made her own match. She’s fully eclipsed by her sisters in Pride and Prejudice, but comes into her own in Janice Hadlow’s debut. Here, Mary fields romances with two very different men as she struggles to find a place to fit in.
So Rough a Course by Laura Hile
So Rough a Course kicks off Laura Hile’s Mercy’s Embrace trilogy. The novel focuses on Anne Wentworth’s older sister, Elizabeth Elliot. In true Austen style, So Rough a Course sees Elizabeth weigh the pros and cons of several prospects—but can she find a wealthy man to marry before her father’s ailing health catches up to him?
Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby
Gill Hornby explores the real-life friendship between Austen and Anne Sharp in Godmersham Park. When Edward Austen Knight invites his family for an extended visit, his daughter’s governess forms strong attachments to two of her employer’s siblings: Jane and Henry. Growing too close to the family is sure to result in Anne’s eviction from Godmersham, but she’s not sure she can resist the charismatic Austen siblings.
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
Preparations for the Darcys’ ball are in full swing when Lydia Wickham turns up on their doorstep in a real state. She’s fully aware that she and her husband are not welcome at Pemberley, but she doesn’t know where else to turn. Mr. Wickham has been murdered, and there’s no way the Darcy estate can avoid the scandal, in Death Comes to Pemberley.
What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean
Kitty may be the most neglected Bennet sister. Even Mary, with her plainness and bookish tendencies, stands out more than poor Kitty, who often seems to be no more than a milder version of Lydia. What Kitty Did Next follows its eponymous heroine as she tries to overcome the sour taste the Wickhams’ affair has left in society mouths, only to find herself implicated in a scandal that could obliterate her chances of marrying well.
Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd
Murder at Mansfield Park plays switcheroo, turning Fanny Price into a bratty snob and making Mary Crawford the kind and gentle star of the show. Fanny’s sudden disappearance is chalked up to a scandalous elopement with Henry Crawford…until she’s found murdered on the grounds of Mansfield Park. Is Mary’s brother guilty of murder, or did someone else want the haughty heiress dead?
Miss Eleanor Tilney by Sherwood Smith
Sherwood Smith’s novella retells the events of Northanger Abbey from the perspective of her titular “reluctant heroine.” What did Eleanor and Henry Tilney really think of Catherine Morland as the novel unfolded? Find out, in Miss Eleanor Tilney.
The Value of an Anne Elliot by Kate Westwood
Persuasion often feels like Austen’s most overlooked novel. Kate Westwood gives it some much-needed attention in The Value of an Anne Elliot. Newlyweds Anne and Frederick don’t have much time to enjoy their marital bliss before he’s called away to matters concerning the brewing war, leaving his new bride to weather the days without him at Kellynch Hall. As she longs for her husband, Anne soon finds herself wrapped up in torrid domestic affairs when the Crawford siblings turn up on her doorstep.
Murder at Northanger Abbey by Shannon Winslow
When someone is murdered at his ancestral home, Henry Tilney becomes the prime suspect, and his wife must race to clear his name before it’s too late. Catherine has let her imagination get the better of her before, but now she’s stuck in the middle of a real crisis. A killer may be lurking just around the corner, in Murder at Northanger Abbey.
The Austen Girls by Lucy Worsley
The Austen Girls follows two of Austen’s nieces, Fanny and Anna, as they make their high-society debut. Mrs. Austen Knight is an overbearing mother, and Fanny wants nothing more than to leave the marriage mart entirely. Enter Aunt Jane, who makes her own money in secret and knows how to weigh the pros and cons of the single life. Can Jane help her nieces escape, or will they decide to settle down instead?
A Life of Her Own by Wendy Zomparelli
Margaret Dashwood was too young for romance in Sense and Sensibility, but she’s all grown up in Wendy Zomparelli’s A Life of Her Own. A surprise inheritance leaves Margaret with enough money to visit the continent and see the ruins of Pompeii for herself. Spending the money may make her less attractive to potential suitors, who might want to marry a woman of means, and the mere thought of an unmarried woman traveling alone is enough to scandalize 1820s England. Margaret must tread carefully if she wants to have it all.
Those are the 20 best Jane Austen spin-off books you can read right now! We hope you’ve found some fantastic additions to your TBR among the titles above.
What classics should I read if I like Jane Austen?
Georgette Heyer is a must-read author for Austen fans. Between 1935 and 1972, Heyer wrote intensively researched Regency romances, including Regency Buck, April Lady, and Lady of Quality.
We would be remiss if we did not recommend books from a few Victorian-era writers as well. Although they were not Austen’s contemporaries, Elizabeth Gaskell and the Brontë sisters wrote many novels with similar themes. Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford and Wives and Daughters, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Villette, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall will all appeal to Austenites.
Which is the easiest Jane Austen book to read?
That depends entirely on what you mean by “easiest.” Being a novella, Lady Susan is the shortest Austen title, and Northanger Abbey is the shortest of the author’s novels. But readers familiar with the film and TV adaptations of Austen’s work may find Pride and Prejudice easier to read, if only because they’re already familiar with the story.
Which is the shortest Jane Austen book?
Lady Susan is the shortest Jane Austen book.
What should I read after Pride and Prejudice?
We recommend reading Sense and Sensibility or one of the Jane Austen spin-off books listed above after you finish Pride and Prejudice.
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