Dancing with Mr. Darcy Edited by Sarah Waters

Dancing with Mr. Darcy presents the winning entry-and nineteen runners-up-in Chawton House Library’s 2009 Jane Austen Short Story Competition. The collection does serve as a kind of literary love letter to Austen, but the stories are anything but bland, doting facsimiles of her style and works. The winner (“Jane Austen over the Styx”), for example, follows the beloved author to Hades where she must defend herself against a panel of aggrieved characters from her novels. “The Delaford Ladies’ Detective Agency” casts Elinor Dashwood (the heroine from Sense and Sensibility) in the role of intrepid sleuth in a ghost mystery. And “Jayne” by Kirsty Mitchell puts a modern spin on the “hard, pragmatic edge” Mitchell found lurking in some of Austen’s characters. What fun! (By the way, you have till March 31st to get your entry in to Chawton House Library for the 2011 contest!) (CH) From Bas Bleu.

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