jane austen birthday soireeNote to my readers: As part of the Jane Austen Birthday Soiree, hosted by  Maria Grazia at My Jane Austen Book Club and Katherine Cox at November’s Autumn, I’ve joined some 30 Austen bloggers and authors for a special birthday celebration. We are delivering our “gifts” to Jane and as a gift to you, offering wonderful prizes on our blog. Simply visit one of the sites listed below and comment for a chance to win. I’m offering a signed copy of The Unexpected Miss Bennet.

Here is my gift to Jane:

Dear Miss Austen,

Because you are a great reader, I wanted to pass along the books that have given me great pleasure over the years. I am sure that you would have loved them too, had you been able to live as long as your own books have.

Not long after your death, if I may speak of so sad an event on this anniversary of your birth, a writer called Charles Dickens took the world by storm. You would have LOVED him. Your concerns were the same, even though his world was darker and coarser. But civility, society, and how we look upon people without prejudice and do our best to do right by even the poorest, would have surely captivated you.

The Bronte sisters. Everyone thinks you were so sheltered but I don’t think so. You wouldn’t have been scandalized by Wuthering Heights. I bet you would have liked Jane Eyre better though. It is the better book.

The United States was a fledgling nation during your life, but we produced some pretty good writers in the past 250 years. Mark Twain for one. Huckleberry Finn is his masterpiece, and rightfully so, but he also wrote numerous short stories, and his book about his travels in Europe in Innocents Abroad would have probably amused you and Cassandra and Fanny.

I think you would have admired Louisa May Alcott as well, and would have seen your influence in her novels.

What would you have thought of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky? I am sure that you would have preferred War & Peace to Anna Karennina and Crime & Punishment to The Brothers Karamazov, if only because you understood the importance of a well-placed ampersand in good title.

I have probably given myself an impossible task — how to provide a survey of world literature in a single blog post. I’m not that well-read and I’m leaving out a lot of my cherished books. Maybe my readers can help me out in the comments — what books do you think Jane Austen would have liked?

I will say that the Nora Roberts’ body of work would have probably appealed to you. I don’t know about science fiction and fantasy –you just missed Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and I doubt that Lord of the Rings or I, Robot or the Dragonriders of Pern would have fascinated you.

But mysteries! Ah, there’s a genre for you! Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers would have probably been favorites, and I can see you enjoying the Sherlock Holmes books too. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has fans that are almost as rabid as us Janeites, did you know that?

Happy birthday dear Jane Austen. Thank you for some of the best literature in the world.

Patrice Sarath

To my readers: What books do you think Jane would have liked? Make your suggestions in the comments and be entered for a chance to win a copy of The Unexpected Miss Bennet. And don’t forget to visit the other bloggers! Thanks for visiting!


Here is a list of participating sites:

Sharon Lathan
Giveaway : Miss Darcy Falls in Love

Emily Snyder
Giveaway: Letters of Love & Deception

Laurel Ann Nattress
Giveaway: signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It

C. Allyn Pierson
Giveaway: Mr Darcy Little Sister (open worldwide)

Cindy Jones
Giveaway: a signed copy of “My Jane Austen Summer” and a package of Lily Berry’s Pink Rose Tea by Bingley’s, Ltd.

Farida Mestek
Giveaway: I was Jane Austen Best Friend by Cora Harrison

Marilyn Brant
Giveaway : A canvas ACCORDING TO JANE tote bag and a pair of A SUMMER IN EUROPE luggage tags.

Prue Batten
Giveaway : Anna Elliot’s “Georgiana Darcy” (Kindle book)

Erin Blakemore
Giveaway : a set of Potter-Style Pride and Prejudice notecards

Giveaway: Jane Austen’s Little Instruction Book (Charming Petites) By Jane Austen, Edited by Sophia Bedford-Pierce, Illustrated by Mullen & Katz, Introduction by Barbara Paulding

Karen Doornebos
Giveaway: 2 Jane Austen Candles and 2 signed DNMD books plus drink coasters and tea!

Regina Jeffers
Giveaway: An autographed copy of “Christmas at Pemberley “

Alyssa Goodnight
Giveaway: Jane Austen Action figure

Giveaway: JASNA 2012 calendars from the Wisconsin JASNA Region

Laura Hile, Susan Kaye, Pamela Aidan, and Barbara Cornthwaite
•    One copy of Young Master Darcy: A Lesson in Honour by Pamela Aidan
•    One set of Frederick Wentworth, Captain (Books 1 and 2) by Susan Kaye
•    Two copies of Mercy’s Embrace: So Rough a Course (Book 1) by Laura Hile
•    George Kinghtley, Gentleman (Books 1 and 2) by Barbara Cornthwaite

Juliet Archer
Giveaway: a copy of “Persuade Me” and one of “The Importance of Being Emma”

Jane Greensmith
Giveaway: a copy of “Intimations of Austen” and Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated)

Jenny Allworthy
Giveaway: a copy of Northanger Abbey DVD starring Felicity Jones and JJ Feild (The winner will choose region 1 or 2 DVD)

Sitio Jane Austen
Giveaway: – Spanish edition of Sense and Sensibility for the 200th Anniversary + A DVD package with adaptations of Jane Austen
(It’s only zone 2, but it’s in Spanish and English ) + blu-ray of the BBC’s Emma with Romola Garai

Kaitlin Saunders
Giveaway: “A Modern Day Persuasion”

Becky Rhodehouse
Giveaway: selection of Austenesque Reads

Adriana Zardini
Giveaway: DVD – Sense and Sensibility (1995) – English / Portuguese subtitles

Jane Odiwe
Giveaway: a mug with one of Jane Odiwe’s illustrations and a copy of her “Mr Darcy’s Secret”

Courtney Webb
Giveaway: Noble Satyr by Lucinda Brant (Regency Romance)

Jennifer Becton
Giveaway: An ebook of the Personages of Pride and Prejudice Collection, which contains all of my Austenesque works: Charlotte Collins, “Maria Lucas,” and Caroline Bingley. The giveaway will be open internationally.

Vera Nazarian
Giveaway: a copy of Vera Nazarian’s gift hardcover edition of her inspirational calendar and diary, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Abigail Reynolds
Giveaway: a signed copy of “Mr. Darcy’s Undoing”

Giveaway: Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester

Katherine Cox
Giveaway :$10 B&N Gift-card (US only)

Maria Grazia
Giveaway : A selection of Austenesque reads


blodeuedd · December 16, 2011 at 9:06 am

I do think she truly would have liked Jane Eyre 🙂 And North and South

booksforlife01 gmail dot com

Danielle · December 16, 2011 at 10:04 am

I would hope I could get her to read Tolstoy. I think she would appreciate his style of writing.

Andrea Staten · December 16, 2011 at 10:52 am

I believe Jane would have like Jane Eyre.

Lisa Wagner · December 16, 2011 at 11:02 am

I think you are right; Miss Austen would love Jane Eyre. As for modern fiction, I think she may appreciate Diana Gabaldon. I know I do!

Happy Jane’s Birthday! I would love to be chosen for the drawing!

Patricia Finnegan · December 16, 2011 at 11:45 am

I think she would have enjoyed Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell’s Victor Hugo and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works

Adelaide · December 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Fantastic birthday!

Danae · December 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I believe she would have enjoyed Jane Eyre, and North & South (another well-place ampersand). I wonder what she would think of all the spin-offs from her own stories?

Ian Miller · December 16, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I think Jane Austen might have liked Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal – a sort of reimagining of the Regency with magic – similarly Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

Also, I’m not convinced that she wouldn’t have liked The Lord of the Rings – after all, it is a travelogue, like many of the Gothic novels she simultaneously loved and skewered.

Lena M. · December 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I think she would enjoy Charles Dickens and Gothic novels of all kinds 🙂

Olga · December 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I think she would have loved North and South by Emily Gaskell.

Olga · December 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Ooops! Make that Elizabeth Gaskell.

Patrice Sarath · December 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I think I need to read North and South — it’s gotten tons of recommendations.

Elaine Dale · December 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Dear Jane, I believe you would like Death at Pemberley by P.D. James. I think you and P.D. James would also have had great conversation together!

Laura Hartness · December 16, 2011 at 9:23 pm

If Jane lived in a later time, I think she would have enjoyed Georgette Heyer. Similar writing, especially with the Regency novels.

Thanks for the giveaway– what a great hop!

Laura Hartness
CalicoCritic at gmail dot com

araminta18 · December 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I like to think she’d like Gothic novels, but considering Northanger Abbey, I think perhaps not. Maybe Virginia Woolf? For some reason, it strikes me that she might have liked her….

Thanks for the post–and the giveaway!

BeckyC · December 16, 2011 at 11:56 pm

North and South or Jane Eyre.

Happy birthday, Jane!

Lieder Madchen · December 17, 2011 at 12:03 am

I think she would enjoy the works of Elizabeth Gaskell, particularly North and South. I also believe she would like The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy and everything by Louisa May Alcott. 🙂

Thank you for the wonderful giveaway!


Meredith (Austenesque Reviews) · December 17, 2011 at 6:47 am

What clever gifts to give Jane Austen! And what a good question. I think she would greatly enjoy Little Women, although she might disagree with the ending… And I’m sure she would be a big Georgette Heyer fan!! LOL! She probably would find her most diverting!

Btw I’m hosting a giveaway of The Unexpected Miss Bennet on my blog right now, and all the commentors have had some nice things to say about Mary…

Katrin W · December 17, 2011 at 8:25 am

Mentioned a few times already, I thought of Elizabeth Gaskells North and South as well!

Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! 🙂

Lúthien84 · December 17, 2011 at 10:25 am

Maybe JA would like the works of Elizabeth Gaskell namely Cranford, Wives & Daughters and North & South.

Thanks for the giveaway. I know I would love to read The Unexpected Miss Bennet after reading some wonderful reviews.


Kelli H. · December 17, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Lovely post! I believe that our dear Jane would have enjoyed Jane Eyre, Anne of Green Gables, The Little House on the Prairie series and Georgette Heyer’s novels! I think she would like Little Women but I don’t know how she would feel about Jo and Laurie’s ending! I know I’m not happy about it!=) Thanks for the giveaway!!

Maria Grazia · December 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Hello, Patrice.
Thanks for joining our party and contributing to make it a success 🙂

Felicia · December 17, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I think (or maybe hope) she would like Elizabeth Gaskell and also Charles Dickens.


felicialso @gmail. com

Mary Preston · December 17, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Georgette Heyer for sure. I have no doubts.


Margay · December 18, 2011 at 10:28 am

I’ve been following along the birthday bash trail and I have to say, you authors are really asking some interesting and thought provoking questions. I think Jane would have liked Elizabeth Gaskell, especially her book North and South, she might have gotten a kick out of Jane Eyre, since she liked to mock gothics in Northagner Abbey, and she might have liked the works of Thomas Hardy, to name a few.


Monica P · December 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm

What an interesting question! I’m not that well-read but I agree that she probably would’ve liked North&South and Jane Eyre. Maybe Thomas Hardy’s Mayor of Casterbridge or Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

Thanks for the giveaway. I’ve heard great things about The Unexpected Miss Bennet.


Patrice Sarath · December 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Of course, Hawthorne and Melville both. Both towering figures of American lit. Would Jane have gotten through Moby Dick?

I bet she would have enjoyed Washington Irving too. Rip Van Winkle and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow are picturesque and amusing.

Farida Mestek · December 20, 2011 at 12:03 am

Oh, I totally agree with you about Sherlock Holmes. In fact, when I’m reading these stories, the language and the style of writing greatly reminds me that of Jane’s. As for me I always wondered if Jane Austen would like Harry Potter series, so I would definitely present her with a set if I could 😀

Else Tennessen · December 20, 2011 at 8:43 am

I love your gift–Jane would have certainly enjoyed so many of these books. Thanks for a great post, and for the giveaways!

rainakochan · December 20, 2011 at 11:11 am

i think it is very intesresting to ask would she have enjoyed the authors and events that followed her death ?
i’m not sure if she would have enjoyed the bronte sisters’ because one of them made a very harsh critise of “pride and prejudice” from what i read 🙁
merry christmas


Claire · December 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Dear Miss Austen,
I love to hear your opinion of “North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell. Another novel of very different time and style I would like to introduce you to is “My Orange-Lime Plant” by José Mauro de Vasconcelos, I’m sure that despite cultural differences, their eyes would fill with tears with this.
I wish you the happiest of birthdays in a heaven surrounded by friends and congratulations to all who celebrate it like a dear friend’s birthday.
My e-mail address is tiernarebeldia@gmail.com

Courtney · December 20, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I adore the idea of sharing other classics with Jane especially “Jane Eyre” which is personally my favorite novel. I always say that Jane Austen is my favorite author and yet “Jane Eyre” is my favorite book. Thanks for the lovely gift idea and giveaway! Happy Happy Birthday Miss Austen!

Kirk · December 20, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I agree with North & South! We read it at my Boston based Jane Austen book club(Austen in Boston) and all loved it. The movie was awesome too. Speaking of Boston based, I just finished our January book The Family Fortune by Laurie Horowitz. It is Persuasion set in Boston. Lol, not a Mary fan, but interested to read the book.

Denise Adorian · December 21, 2011 at 8:34 am

Oh do please include me in your giveaway.I read the snipit of your book and I think I will enjoy it.Why not Jane too.So I’ll just say give her a copy of your book also.I know she would enjoy it. Denise @ knuckled54@yahoo.com

IdentitySeeker · December 21, 2011 at 11:30 pm

I think Jane Austen would love Paulo Coelho’s writing, because he shows a similar level of introspection and accurate observation of human behaviour that Jane Austen did. I would like to witness her reaction to the Harry Potter series, even though I don’t think it would be her normal reading material but I’ve seen too many people become fans despite their inhibitions to believe that she would not like it.


Katherine · December 22, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I would love a copy of The Unexpected Miss Bennet. I have it on my hold list at the library but there’s a bit of a wait. 🙂 Thank you for joining Maria Grazia and I for the Soiree.

gaskellblog gmail com

Marlene Breakfield · December 23, 2011 at 6:22 am

I think that she would have liked Jane Eyre.

Robert Burns · February 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Just read “The Unexpected Miss Bennet’ – Feeling rathe sceptical and that you might well be presumptious. I grovel – I read it in a few glorious hours (I wept twice – should I be ashamed????) and was totally absorbed and amused – thanks and showers of blessings…….

Patrice Sarath · February 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Well thank you! I appreciate your kind words.


» Austen and Gaskell — a comparison | Author Patrice Sarath · January 12, 2012 at 9:15 pm

[…] many readers suggested North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell in the comments during the Birthday Soiree that I decided to read it over Christmas. I can see why so many readers love the book and suggested […]

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