This post was originally from June 8, 2008
Old Friends and New Fancies distinguishes itself from the spate of Jane Austen sequels we’ve seen in the last several years in that it was written in 1913—now almost a century ago but, then, just 100 years after the publication of Austen’s most famous novel. Furthermore, it is a sequel to all six of Austen’s novels. Characters from Northanger Abbey (1798), Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1816), and Persuasion (1818, published posthumously) interact, intertwine, and, of course, eventually intermarry! In the foreword to her book, Sybil G. Brinton acknowledges the presumption and difficulties of the task she has undertaken. Nevertheless she succeeds nicely in imitating the cadences and stylistic nuances of the originals, carrying the characters forward in this pleasing novel.