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Rational Creatures: Stirrings of Feminism in the Hearts of Jane Austen's Fine Ladies
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“But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” (Persuasion, Jane Austen)
Jane Austen: True romantic or rational creature? Her novels transport us back to the Regency, a time when well-mannered gentlemen and finely-bred ladies fell in love as they danced at balls and rode in carriages. Yet her heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and Elinor Dashwood, were no swooning, fainthearted damsels in distress. Austen’s novels are timeless classics because of their biting wit, honest social commentary - because she wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day. True to their principles and beliefs, they fought through hypocrisy and broke social boundaries to find their happily-ever-after.
In the third romance anthology of The Quill Collective series, 16 celebrated Austenesque authors write the untold histories of Austen’s heroines, brave adventuresses, shy maidens, talkative spinsters, and naughty matrons. Peek around the curtain and discover what made Lady Susan so wicked, Mary Crawford so capricious, and Hettie Bates so in need of Emma Woodhouse’s pity.
Rational Creatures is a collection of humorous, poignant, and engaging short stories set in Georgian England that complement and pay homage to Austen’s great works and great ladies who were, perhaps, the first feminists in an era that was not quite ready for feminism.
“Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will become good wives; - that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.” (Mary Wollstonecraft)
Stories by: Elizabeth Adams, Nicole Clarkston, Karen M Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Jessie Lewis, KaraLynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Sophia Rose, Anngela Schroeder, Joana Starnes, Brooke West, and Caitlin Williams
Edited by Christina Boyd
Foreword by Devoney Looser
Full list of authors includes Brooke West.
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What's Not to Love?
This is collection of 16 short stories told by some of the best writers of Jane Austen fan fiction. The stories are meant to take a deeper look into some of Austen's great female characters. Some of these characters were fully fleshed out by Austen herself, and others have backstories merely hinted at. The characters range from main characters like Lizzy Bennet or Emma Woodhouse, to lesser players like Miss Bates, Mrs. Croft, and Penelope Clay.
The stories themselves stay within the boundaries of Austen's writing, meaning that they fill in moments in Austen canon, like Anne Elliot's refusal of Capt. Wentworth, or Harriet Smith's meeting and courtship of Robert Martin. The stories are so well written, as I've come to expect from these authors. The stories stayed faithful to the language of the period and the personality of the original characters, which I always appreciate. I could never pick a favorite, each one had something to love. If I had to pick a single moment I'd say I loved watching Emma get just a little taste of how she made Mr. Knightley feel! It took me longer than usual to finish this book because I had to go back and revisit my favorite passages from the original works, it was that good.
The narrator was perfectly matched to the stories, she was able to perform different characters and was a pleasure to listen to. I requested a copy of the audiobook, and I'm voluntarily leaving a review. After listening to the previous two anthologies, I would highly recommend all three to Austen fans!
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