Jane in January and You – Meeting Jane Austen — 109 Comments

  1. My daughter was 15 when the 95 P&P came out, and it really turned her on to Jane Austen. So much so that she studied her in university. Her love of Jane soon sparked a similar love in me. Now I am addicted to JAFF as well as Jane.

  2. The 1995 BBC P&P was my introduction! I would have been about 15 years old. I own Jane’s books, but am yet to make my way through them all! I’ve only just discovered JAFF last year, but have read over 100 so far and I’m definitey addicted!! Who knew there were so many variations written!
    So I would have to say that of Jane’s works, I’ve preferred the films over the books, but aim to get through her books this year! P&P is my favourite, followed by Persuasion ❤️

  3. In my early teens many, many, many years ago I chose P&P as my Sunday School prize and loved it. I eventually read her other books and enjoyed S&S, Emma & Persuasion – the other two not as much, however P&P is by far my favourite. Then I watched the 1995 series and loved it. I had to have my own copy!. I also loved the 2005 film and bought that as well. I also watch them whenever they are on tv. In early 2014 my book club had a copy of Two Become One by Sharon Lathan and I was hooked. There were a few more advertised in the back so I went on Amazon to find them and wow! A whole new world! I have loved reading all my life and now most of the books I read are about Darcy and Elizabeth. All I can say is thank goodness for kindles or I may have had to move my furniture out to make room for all my books. My only problem now is finding time to read and ‘re read them all. Perhaps if I do shorter comments I would have more time 🙂
    I’m in the UK and apparently Amazon no longer let us download books so please don’t include me in the draw. 🙁

    • So glad you discovered Jane Austen! I know there are ways to get the ebooks to UK – including sending a mobi file to your kindle email address. I know that we can also gift the kindle here, and you change it into an gift card to buy the book. Others might want to comment here, as well, but I know it can be done. 🙂

      • I have no technical ability. A couple of authors have sent me mobi files but I can’t work out how to get them on my kindle. Claudine sent me a PDF file and talked me through downloading it on my old laptop then e-mailing it to my kindle but my laptop doesn’t want to download mobi files so that’s not going to work. I did get a gift book from .com and clicked on exchanging for a gift certificate but I didn’t hear any more about it (and there was no mention of .co.UK) Regina did actually send me a UK gift certificate to buy her book! I think it’s probably just me and I should probably stick to buying them but thank you for trying.

          • If you change the country for Amazon, you can buy the ebook. I live in Canada and am often told a book is not available in my country, so I go to (for USA) and buy it there.
            I don’t have a Kindle. I use the free Kindle-for-PC app and read these books on my laptop.

  4. My high school did Pride and Prejudice as a play, and I loved it! That was my first acquaintance with the story. In later years, as the adaptations came out on film, I became more and more interested in Austen, and started reading her books. I’ve been hooked ever since. A few years ago, I was at a book store and found Amanda Grange’s Mr. Knightley’s Diary in the sale bin. I picked it up, loved it, and started looking for other Austen-inspired writing. I found Pamela Aidan’s trilogy, read that, and in my continued searching, found the whole JAFF genre. I love the creativity in the variations and the chance to continue engaging with these beloved characters!

    • How fun to have seen it performed as a play! And then discovering JAFF is a whole other story, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. I was assigned P&P in high school English class….hooked from that moment! IN the 40 + years since then, I have read them all, joined JASNA as a life member in my 20’s but have yet to be able to make a meeting, and watched every version of Austenesque movies I could find. It took me a long long time to come round to the Kiera Knightly version as being canon. I thought there was a lot left out (ie E and Jane don’t share as much) but I slowly decided that the basic story was there and that it brought new Austenites to the fold and that was a good thing. Since then, I have become totally addicted to JAFF. I am happy e-books were invented because then my family doesn’t see how many of them I read since I would never hear the end of teasing!
    I have 3 daughters…one likes Austen, one uses the 1996 P&P as comfort watching, and my musician doesn’t see the point in Dear Jane yet.

    • What a fun story! I wasn’t thrilled with the Kiera Knightley version, except the cinematography was beautiful! But like you, I know that it reached many more people to discover Jane Austen. And I love what you shared about your 3 daughters. I just have one son, who I don’t think has read or seen anything Jane Austen – but my husband has enjoyed her books, the films, and even my books!

  6. I first got into Jane Austen when I was a teenager by watching Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow I then found the book at the bookstore bought the book bought another book and another book and another book until I found Pride and Prejudice and after that I was hooked. I love everything about the story it’s my favorite I have read countless variations published and unpublished my shelves are lined with books different publications of Pride and Prejudice different variations they all make me happy.

    • The films really do reach people, don’t they? After I bought my one copy of P&P, my next purchase was the large book of all her novels. It was fun to read through them. And now I probably have at least 10 copies, one way or another of P&P. Thanks, Jess!

  7. I was more of a Thomas Hardy reader in high school with all that terrible angst and emotional torment. Appealed much to my teenage sensibilities in a twisted way. I thought my English Lit class required read of either P&P or Emma or S&S (I don’t remember which) was painful and trite…everyone gets married and lived happily ever after — all wrapped up in a neat little bow. I suppose you can say my first meeting with Miss Austen was less than stellar. It wasn’t until 2005 when I saw the Adaptation of P&P that I became interested in all things Austen and entered the fandom. Not long after I read P&P, then the rest of The Six, became a LifeMember of JASNA, went to my first AGM, bought a subscription to Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine, discovered online fanfiction, bought all the movie adaptations, bought all the book CDs (way before audible), began reviewing for Amazon Vine, then began reviewing for Austenprose, then started editing for Meryton Press, and now, 20 books later, I edit under my own banner, The Quill Ink. I own well over 300 print Austenesque novels and countless more in my kindle library. In May 2017, I was fortunate to visit Miss Austen’s Chawton cottage and the Great House as well as cities she visited in England…and I can’t wait to go back! That’s more or less how I met Miss Austen. (Forgive any typos here as I am all thumbs at 5:49am on iPhone.)

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Christina! It seems you have been around the JAFF community longer than that! 🙂 I love hearing people’s stories!

  8. I don’t remember details, but I’m pretty sure my mom suggested I read P&P when I was in junior high or high school. Our family had a huge collection of books, both fiction and non-fiction. I know I also read Emma (in fact, it was included in one of my college classes)and possibly Persuasion and/or S&S around that time. Then for a long time, I was mostly a SF/fantasy reader. About 10-15 years ago, I started seeing some of the films (and then PBS ran their series), and that got me re-reading Austen and also Georgette Heyer and then other regencies, and then somehow I discovered JAFF in the library – I’m not sure but I think Abigail Reynolds “Impulse and Initiative” was the first – and then I was hooked.

    • I wish I could have read one of her novels when I was younger. It would be interesting to know if I would have been interested in her. But since I read Jane Eyre and loved it, I think I would have loved one of hers. I imagine you probably loved P&P and Zombies! 🙂 thanks for sharing, Miriam!

  9. Hi.
    I was introduced to Jane 10 years ago when I had surgery on my neck and had to be in bed. I have to admit I wasn’t big on reading like my Mom was. So I started flipping through the channels and started watching P&P 2005 rendition on HBO. That was it I was hooked. I went on line to the library to see if I could read P&P and went from there to Amazon and started buying books. While searching I found out there was a community I would join and love. Thank you to not only Jane for the original books, but to all the talented Authors published and non published. I now appreciate all the reading my Mom had done all those years ago.

    • It’s amazing how the story of P&P really draws you in! Isn’t the Jane Austen community amazing? Thanks for sharing, Maria!

  10. I believe my first exposure to JA was the Sense & Sensibility film, which I just loved. I then went on to read all of her works, finished or not. Persuasion is my favorite.
    Now, it’s all JAFF, all the time (since her oeuvre is limited), and my family tolerates me.

    • It’s good to have that family that tolerates you – even though some may not understand. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Ginna!

  11. I had read P&P in high school but it wasn’t until 1995 Darcy that opened my eyes to all things Jane! I’ve now got an embarrassingly large Jane movie and TV adaptation collection plus multiple copies of her novels and JAFF titles. I’m with you – P&P is my favorite with Persuasion a close second. I enjoy the books as much as their movies, and especially as audiobooks – Jane’s use of language is wonderful read aloud!

  12. I discovered P&P in early 2008 when PBS broadcast the 1995 version on Masterpiece. From there I bought the book, the movie, then the rest of her books. I think I re-read P&P for a year straight, but I did move on to reading the sequels, and, finally, I started on the “what-ifs”. I swore I would never get an e-Book reader, but I finally broke down and bought one in 2013 so I could continue reading (in comfort) all of the free stories found on JAFF sites. Here is a big Thank You to all of the authors for writing and sharing their stories.

    • I love these stories! I wonder how many kindles amazon has sold due to everyone wanting to buy all the JAFF ebooks. I find it nice to bring one device on a trip and have access to many stories in case I finish one! Thanks, Linda!

  13. My mom loved the ’95 version of P&P but as a teen I thought it was so not cool. And then my older sister was watching it one day and suddenly I was a lot more interested. 😉 I started watching from when Elizabeth visits Pemberley and I was hooked from then on! The Emma Thompson version of S&S also helped keep my interest but I didn’t read the rest of her works (aside from P&P and S&S) until my early twenties.

    • I find it interesting that our interest in her works changes and evolves and improves! Thanks for sharing your story, Melanie.

  14. My first introduction to Austen was in 1993 or 94. I was a teenager and going to visit my grandma with my parents. I’d been on the drive enough times that I knew four hours would be terribly boring without something to do. I had just finished my book and didn’t have time to go to the library, so I raided my brother’s room. He’d had P&P as an AP English assigned reading shortly before, and I saw the book and picked it up. I’d never really heard of Austen, but I figured anything was better than nothing, so I took it. I read through the entire 4 hour drive, then I read in bed at my Grandma’s until I finished the book (yep, the entire thing in essentially one sitting). I finished it at 1:30 am, and then went to sleep. The next day I read the whole thing again. It’s been my favorite ever since. I then read my way through the rest of Jane’s published books. Persuasion was my next favorite, followed by Emma and S&S, and I didn’t really care for NA or MP. However, I read NA again when I was older (30+) and thought it was hilarious. Of course, by then I knew more about the period and the gothic novels and understood the humor. I need to give MP another try. I just remember that I had heard it was like a ‘more mature P&P’ and was so disappointed that it lacked the lighthearted sparkle of P&P that I didn’t like it. Anyway, that was my intro to Jane, and I’ve been a fan ever since!

    • I’m curious what your brother had thought of it, having to read it as an assignment in school. 🙂 So glad you discovered her, and while MP isn’t particularly a favorite, I can say it’s tolerable. I do love NA, too! Thanks, Alecia!

  15. When I was young I loved to watch black and white movies. One of the favorite movies was Pride and Prejudice starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. From that moment, I searched out all things Jane Austen reading the books and watching all the adaptations that I have been able to find.

    • Ah, we have a first – with the 1940s P&P! So glad it led you to her books rather than discourage you. I consider that film the first ‘variation’ as so much was changed, especially Lady Catherine at the end. 🙂

  16. I’ve always been an avid reader and would read anything I could get my hands on. I always had my face in a book. My older sister was assigned Pride and Prejudice in high school and I quietly “borrowed” her copy when she was finished with it. I was probably 11. I still have that paperback with her name written on the front flap. It’s first few chapters are loose but I may never give it up.

  17. Like you, I had never read Jane Austen in high school. I was also a voracious reader and read Tolstoy, the Bronte’s, Sherlock Holmes, Dickens, and moved on to historical romances, but Miss Austen’s books never crossed my path. Then in 1995 I saw the 6 part mini-series of Pride & Prejudice and I was completely captivated. I watched all the other adaptations I could find and my collection grew. Then I found JAFF and the rest is history!!! Thank you for a chance at the giveaway.

  18. For me, my addiction began after I saw the 1995 miniseries. It was love at first sight, and it’s still going strong! I then discovered and the JAFF there. Hyacinth Gardens was a favorite place to read as well.

    • I think the films have had a big effect on people – drawing people to her that may not have discovered her through her books. Thanks Pam!

  19. I discovered Jane Austen as an adult. On a whim I went to see the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice in the theater. I’d never watched a movie of this era before so I don’t quite know why I went. Fate, it seems. I loved it. I came home and ordered the book. After reading the book, I sought out the other movie/TV adaptations and watched them all. The Colin Firth is my favorite but I watch all of them once a month probably. I read her others and watched the adaptations. My favorite Austen book is Northanger Abbey and my least favorite is Sense and Sensibility (although I like the miniseries version with Charity Wakefield). I’ve recently been watching web series of them as well. The Lizzie Bennett Diaries was brilliant and I loved Emma Approved and the Cate Morland Chronicles. The actress playing Cate was adorable.

    I was introduced to the world of Austen variations by you! I was randomly in Barnes and Noble one day and saw that they were having a book signing. Fate again. Yours was the only book I bought that day (Darcy’s Voyage) and I remember being nervous and saying something very dumb while you were signing it. After I read all of yours, I branched out to other authors. My Kindle is full of them. I even tried to write my own for NaNoWriMo but I fear I lack the talent.

    • I remember our first meeting, after your first meeting with Jane Austen. It was also fun to connect with you and your daughter a few times after that. Hope you’re doing well! Thanks for sharing!

  20. I have been an avid reader from a very young age. I was about 12 (Jr. High anyway) I think and we were assigned P&P as an assignment and I loved it. But I didn’t know there were others. I had exhausted whole sections of our local library and so asked for suggestions from the librarian who directed me to the classics (Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Twain, Alcott et al.). I was terribly excited to realized there was more Jane. I read all of her books and then asked for them for my birthday. I had re-read them many times by the time my mid-30s self stumbled across a JAFF in a bookstore. I was shocked and a bit giddy. I’ve been around it for many years now and have read hundreds of stories. LOVE it. I really don’t care for movies much but have watched all of the adaptations available (and own most of them) in the last 5 or 6 years. I still prefer the joy of reading to the movies though. 🙂 This is a great topic, so many ways we all come to the same place.

    • How nice to have discovered her at such a young age! And I love that you said finding the Jane Austen variations made you giddy! I hope it would make Jane Austen giddy. 🙂 Thanks Stephanie!

  21. Like many here, I found Jane through the 1995 BBC adaptation, it was running on Sunday evenings in a channel here in my country (Portugal) and I was hooked. After two episodes I begged my mother to buy the book and read it before the series was over, because I just couldn’t wait! Then I bought the other books, read them all, and watched every series and film based on her stories (I have almost all in DVD…). In 2005 I watched the film twice on the theaters, because once wasn’t enough! My favourite book is P&P, followed closely by Persuasion, because I think Anne is the most wonderful character! Even more so than Elizabeth, because she is just so… good! I found the variations some years ago, the first one was a book about Mary Bennet, and then I found fanfiction, and then discovered Sharon Lathan and Abigail Reynolds and all the wonderful authors out there, including you! I also bought a kindle because of the books (amazon has the largest selection) and I have kindle unlimited since the summer, because I had so much time to read during my vacations I just had to try it! I’m a huge fan of it!

    • How fun that you were so inspired by the second episode you went out and read the whole book! I watched it all from a DVD, so spent the whole day watching the whole thing and didn’t have time to go out and buy the book! 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Ana!

  22. Kara,

    I was lucky enough to study P&P for my first state exam. Looking back on my old and battered copy,I smile at the notes in the margin reminding my young,teenage self where each set of characters lived and their relationship with each other! Looking at all the paragraphs of fantastic quotes,underlined in red pen and the reasons for their significance always brings a smile to my face,never once thinking that I would grow to love this book and this author!

    Years later,I,too,watched the ’95 version and loved it.
    Indeed,I fixate on the characters starring in this depiction whenever I read both the original and variations of such.

    During book week,I always tell the kids that P&P is my favourite book. Indeed,my photo hangs proudly on the wall beside the kids’,under a brief description of why we love our chosen books!!
    There’s nothing like a classic!! ☺️
    Thanks for this trip down memory lane!!

    • Thanks for such a sweet story, Mary! It must be nice to have your initial thoughts down in the margins of the book! One of the things these comments are doing is – as you said – taking me down memory lane to my first encounter!

  23. I was 46 when my hubby introduced me to the 2005 version of P&P. He said he thought I might like it as I loved historical fiction. So we watched it together. I was reluctant to read her works as I had never heard of Jane Austen. I bought the book for my NOOK and then BOUGHT the rest of her books. Then found JAFF, there were not many at the time, only a few. As for whether I like the book or movies better it depends upon my mood. I also look for different antique versions of Jane Austen’s books.

  24. How intuitive of your husband to suggest the movie to you! The world has certainly exploded with more books than we can count since then, hasn’t it? Thanks, Deborah!

  25. It was the 95 P and P that did it for me. I’m glad to see that I wasn’t the only one. There is a magic spell that it casts whenever it comes on.

    • Very true, Jenne! It is a movie I can watch over and over – and I love watching it with people who have never read it or seen it. We have fairly new neighbors and hope to soon watch it with her. 🙂

    • A woman in our city goes through lots of red tape to get BBC permission to show the 1995 P&P on the big screen every year. BBC had not looked into movie rights, so this person is not allowed to charge admission, therefore it’s shown as a marathon viewing in the movie theatre in the reconstructed museum village here in Edmonton (Canada). The period hotel next door offers a sumptuous afternoon tea, hay rides, and a dinner buffet for the breaks. I always go in Regency garb. You are right; it’s magical!
      We’re the only ones in the whole wide world that get to see this on a movie screen.

  26. In high school, I faked a book report on Pride and Prejudice as I was ears-deep in a psychology project and didn’t have time to read that month. I read the first chapter, the last chapter, and the back of the school library’s cheap Bantam paperback (with pages already yellowing), and managed to piece together a passable book report, the only time I ever faked anything academic in my life.

    I didn’t read any Austen in my undergrad literature major, but I ran head-first into Austen in a grad school seminar entitled “Gender and Satire” (which I took as a bit of a break from Middle English and the medieval works that were the focus of my Master of Arts in English). We drew an author’s name from a bowl for our final essay, and I pulled Jane Austen. So I read three novels, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, and I finally GOT IT. In fact, I was forced to leave the university reading room, where silence is brutally enforced, because I was laughing out loud while reading Sense and Sensibility for the first time. I didn’t actually do well on the paper (which focused on the concept of civility in Jane Austen) because my very feminist professor thought I wasn’t “militant” enough in tone; I was “too gracious”…which is rather ironic for an essay on civility.

    I read the rest of the novels, and hated Emma–goodness, she drove me batty!!–enjoyed Northanger‘s thinly-veiled attacks on Gothic novels, and left Persuasion for a delicious last…which is now in my top three.

    Then I discovered the movies: first the six-part P&P (wonderful!!!), then S&S with Emma Thompson, and although Mansfield Park is perhaps my favorite Austen novel, I have not been happy with any of the film versions. I really enjoyed the many newer film versions of Austen’s works that came out around 2007-2008, especially Sense & Sensibility, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey.

    But I love the books the best. (Except Emma. In that case, Clueless most definitely wins.)

    Susanne the Medievalist 😀

    • What a different story! You faked a book report! Well, at least you eventually read it and her others. Thanks, Susanne the Medievalist! 🙂

      • BTW, as a homeschooler, I made sure that my kids read P&P and watched film adaptations of most of the other novels. Of course, my daughter loved them, but my boys weren’t as devoted. Our middle soon was in the backseat with a friend discussing being homeschooled, and I overheard him telling the friend with a groan, “My mother INFLICTED Austen upon us.” As if…. 😉


  27. I first read P&P when I was 13, so loved it and then read all the others! P&P has been replaced by Persuasion as my #1, but Elizabeth and Darcy are the fictional couple I love best. I read all the JAFF
    for fun and continue to reread Jane Austen. I enjoy all the movies immensely, especially the updated stories like Bride and Prejudice and Clueless. Of course, the ‘95 P&P is my personal favorite.

    • Thanks, Susan! I love hearing about young teens reading her work and loving it! I find it interesting that you love Persuasion best, but Elizabeth and Darcy are your favorite couple!

  28. I actually stumbled on to Jane Austen through the Bronte sisters. We had to read Wuthering Heights in high school, but I hated it. (Still not a fan, really.) So I went looking for something different and found Jane Eyre. THEN I found P&P, but was kind of indifferent to it until college. My roommates and I had a Sunday afternoon/evening ritual of watching period dramas. P&P (1995) was the hands-down favorite. From there, I discovered the other books and their movie adaptations. But the real discovery was the day I came across the JAFF books in the library. Ohhhh, the fun! They deepened my appreciation for the originals and entertained me thoroughly. Oddly enough, the first JAFF books I read were based on Sense and Sensibility….huh….

    • I’m not a fan of Wuthering Heights, either, but I loved Jane Eyre. Glad you discovered Jane Austen and JAFF! Thanks, MeriLyn!

  29. for some reason, her books weren’t on the list of required readings we had to choose from in high school. I came to Jane a little later, too. I saw the ’95 Masterpiece adaptation, then I read the complete works. I’ve watched a lot of other movie/tv adaptations of her books, and I’ve read Jaff. I love hunkering down with a book, but I do enjoy the movies, too.

    I remember being disappointed last year when my son’s English teacher said she wasn’t teaching Austen, but the other English teacher was.

    • She wasn’t offered in my classes either, but there were several times we could pick out a book on our own. I just don’t think I had ever even heard anything about her. Too bad about your son’s class. Maybe another time, Thanks, Denise.

  30. I read Pride and Prejudice at about age 10. We lived far from the public library and I was an avid reader, so I read all the books in our home. I remember getting so mad at Lizzy and Darcy for not telling each other what they thought. I read it again 30 years later when my elderly mother came to stay and was looking for a copy; she mentioned that the wonderful thing about getting old was that you could read all your favourite books again for the first time.
    After that, I looked for the other books, and it was not trivial finding them all!
    Eventually I joined the Jane Austen Society of North America, researched Regency topics and gave presentations.
    When my son was in 11th grade, he announced his class was going to study Pride and Prejudice. I said, “That’s so unfair ! _I_ never got to study it in school. I’d KILL to be in your class for that unit.”
    He told his teacher, and reported back that I was invited to join the class while they explored P&P. At one point, the class was divided up into small groups, each to explore a chapter and come up with sort of “hypertext” about it – they were to explain their chosen chapter by reading between the lines – anyway without using Austen’s words. Some groups changed the words to outrageous slang and did skits. One girl, later a career pianist, created her chapter in music on the piano. It was wonderful! I was so privileged to see these creations. Afterwards I asked my family if they thought the teacher was going to hold me to my offer to “kill” to study P&P with them. My son said, “That depends. Did she give you a list?”

  31. I don’t remember how old I was when I read P & P but I know I was a teenager. I didn’t really understand the era it was written in and thought that it was bizarre that Mr. & Mrs. Bennet called each other Mr. & Mrs. I reread all the books when I was in my 30’s and became a fanatic.

    • I would imagine reading it at different ages would change the way we see things. It is easy to become a fanatic about her! Thanks, Suzanne!

  32. I first found Jane Austen through P&P 6 part film. Then I had to read everyone of her books. I watched all the movies then started reading any sequels,prequels what ifs I could find. An advertisemnt in the local paper told of a Jane Austen Society meeting !!!??? In Saratoga Springs NY. Who knew? I was and have hooked since. I am currently the regional coordinator of the NY Capital Region of JASNA. I have been to the DC AGM but no other. Jane helps me escape into another century.

  33. Pride and Prejudice was required reading in my high school English class, along with Milton’s Paradise Lost, Dickens’ Great Expectations, and Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. Although it was not love at first sight with Pride and Prejudice, it was the only book from that list I was ever interested in rereading. When I read it for the second time a few years later, I suddenly noticed the humor and wondered how all of those funny parts had come to be added into the book I remembered as being dry and stilted. Needless to say, I was hooked from that moment on. My first Pride and Prejudice movie experience was watching the Sir Laurence Olivier version on TV while visiting my parents. At that time, it had been a few years since I had read it, so I had to find my old copy (couldn’t locate it so I bought a new one) to see how the movie compared with the book. I soon acquired all of her books and tried (quite unsuccessfully) to introduce all of my friends and family to the glories of Jane Austen. Fortunately for me, the 1995 adaptation was so well made that it became required watching whenever the women in the family would get together for holidays (even the men would wander in and join us, but they would always try to pretend it was an accident and the only reason they were staying was because we had the best snacks or the other men were snoring or the light was better in our room or… just imagine any lame excuse and it was tried).

    • I had to laugh about the men joining the ladies to watch the ‘95 P&P and their excuses! Glad you were willing to go back to P&P and reread it. Thanks, Jan!

  34. My goodness, Kara, our stories are nearly identical. Austen was not required reading in school, but I had seen Emma, Sense and Sensability, and Clueless. When I was around 40 years old, I shared an office with a 25 year old girl who was shocked that I had never seen or read Pride and Prejudice. She brought in a copy of the 1995 Colin Firth version and I was hooked. I borrowed the book from the library and within a few weeks I had read all 6 published works. I then went online and found JAFF. I filled a shelf of my bookcase (including several of yours) and then switched to Kindle. I was already writing women’s fiction and soon started imagining variation stories. Now I can’t imagine going any length of time without reading or writing something Austen related.

  35. After I had my third child, Afton, my mom gave me the 1995 Pride and Prejudice because I was up all night with her. It got to the point that when she heard the intro theme she would fall asleep. However I still would sit and watch the episode rocking her. I probably have seen that version over a hundred times. I still love it and practically have it memorized.

    • What a sweet story, Kristin! I love that she would fall asleep when she heard the theme! I think many of us have both her books and movies memorized! 🙂

  36. I am a little ashamed to admit. At my slightly old age :), I really didn’t know Pride and Prejudice until The pride and Prejudice an Zombies came out. I bought the DVD and blu ray and just kept watching it. Then I went to the library and borrowed the book. Searched the internet and found an online library I can borrow (p & P variations). That was the start-I subscribed to KU and I am still subscribing. I had read 200+ books for a year most were P & P variation. Little by little I am building my P & P collection. I may not be satisfied or ready to move on to another book until I read all the variations …;)

    • While P&P&Z wasn’t a favorite, I think a lot of us can appreciate that these different films (and books) open the doors to someone not familiar with it! There are a lot of variations out there – keep reading!

  37. I discovered Jane Austen together with George Eliot about twenty years ago in a Geneva bookshop while I was perusing the English section, looking for a classic. I was instantly hooked by the wit and beautiful style and read the six of them, my favourite being Persuasion because of the underlying deep but untold feelings and, in my opinion, because it is the more mature of her novels. I discovered the TV/movie adaptations a few years ago to my great delight (and I have a great many DVD’s on my shelves), my favourite being the 1980 BBC mini-series of P&P. Although it is a bit stilted (just a tad 🙂 I love how Elizabeth is portrayed, she is full of charm and wit and never gives offense (and there is a good deal of lace). I discovered variations only three or four years ago, to my great delight, and my kindle is full of them (I am not sure there is anything else in there). I do not know what is my preference, if it is the books or the adaptations as they all have their special charm as long as dear Jane and her characters are here to entertain and make me dream, laugh or cry.

    • How nice that you discovered Jane so long before realizing there were films and variations out there to delight you. I think it’s great your favorite is the 1980 BBC version of it. Thanks, Nathalie!

  38. Great passage Kara! I was the opposite. Jane Eyre came later and I loved that story later in life. However with our dear Jane Austen I was fortunate that my english curriculum included Pride and Prejudice in 1979. I could not follow the story at first, having never read English Lit before. Luckily the ABC released the 1980 adaptation staring David Rintoul and Elizabeth Garvie (who will always be my favorite Elizabeth). I fell in love with the story and characters. I found the book much easier to follow and reread it. A few years later I discovered the DVD and watched it so many times. I found out Jane Austen had more novels and read them all and followed up with the dvd’s for each adaptation (my collection is now extensive). The 1995 adaptation is outstanding and covers so much of the original story that is has become my favourite. Once internet arrived I was able to find all of the wonderful authors who wrote either variations or sequels to my all time fav story Pride and Prejudice. Including your wonderful books which are among my favourites Kara. Thanks for the chance to reminisce.

    • Thanks, Vee! What a lovely story! I think the films do help people get a better grasp of the stories, and then makes it easier going back to read them. Thanks for your kind words! And it certainly is fun to reminisce! 🙂

      • My pleasure! I forgot to mention reading about England and the grand Pemberley inspired a trip to England as well. A highlight in my life. Thanks again for the fun!

  39. My absolute favorite JA novel is Persuasion. Full of understated passion, regret and new/old love. I’d love to have a hero good boy/bad boy who finally realizes his great love will always be his only love. I’ve read all of Austen’s novels over the years, but Persuasion remains my all time favorite. And, last month was it’s 200 year anniversary of its publication. I wish I could find more variations/stories on this wonderful novel!

    • I love Persuasion, as well. I am slowly working on a modern Persuasion story – I don’t know if that will satisfy your sweet-tooth for a Persuasion inspired story. It’s a ‘sequel’ to my Drive and Determination, following Denton’s (Darcy) sister Gina.

  40. I discovered Jane Austen later in life… yep, I don’t remember which came first the book or the ’95 BBC classic. I do know that ‘You’ve Got Mail’ gave me the idea of reading P&P every year. And I have done that now for years. I find that I suddenly relax when I start reading P&P because it is of an era when time slows down. I wouldn’t want to live then… but I can read of the slower pace and I just ease away from my anxieties and stress and let JA take me away. I have read most of your books but there are still a few that are on my TBR list and my wish-list. I wanted to comment so I could thank you for your hard work in providing us with our JA fix. Thank you.

  41. My favourite Jane Austen book has to be Pride and Prejudice. After mt first reading of family copies when I was about 13 I have returned and read Jane Austen often. We had a red leather bound copy of Emma which was a delight to read as the leather cover was so soft to the touch. I now have Jane Austen on Kindle and many JAFF works also on Kindle.
    I think I prefer the books to the films because I can see the characters so clearly in my head and sometimes the film portrayal does not live up to my imagined image. However I do like Colin Firth as Darcy and for me he is Darcy.
    In answer to earlier emails about downloading copies I have had difficulties to but solved it by having pdf copies which I can read on Acrobat reader on my computer and transfer on to Kindle too. Not easy top do and my very own dear husband aka Mr Knightley had to help a great deal.
    For my eighteenth birthday my friend gave me a copy of all the six major novels of Jane Austen in a huge volume. It is lovely to still have it and read it.
    Thank you Kara Louise for this opportunity to think about my life with Jane Austen

    • Thanks for sharing, Ann, and I’ve really enjoyed everyone’s comments and stories! Thanks for your advice to those who struggle with getting the US kindle. There are ways to do it. Appreciate your suggestion! (And my Darcy is Colin Firth, as well!)

  42. Being an art historian with special interest in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries I thought it incumbent to get some insight in Regency culture and thinking. Therefore, jane Austen was a must. So I bought and read some 40 years ago the Penguin paperback edition of P&P. Of course I fell in love with it from the first page and the book still remains among my top favourites since. It goes without saying that I promptly acquired and enjoyed all of Jane Austen’s other books. Secondly after P&P I appreciate S&S, Persuasion and Emma. Supposedly Sanditon would have been a major creation, too, had destiny allowed it. Ever since my interest in Austen has been alert. P&P 1995, especially Jennifer Ehle’s magnificent Elizabeth, lead on to P&P 1979 (with a convincing David Rintoul as Darcy, much better than C.Firth, and matched only by E.Cowan) and to P&P 2005 (a I stated already in Jack Caldwell’s movie thread, I’m no fan of it) and others, some of them more strange than inspiring, e.g. the Italian version. After some hesitating I then dived into JAFF and soon became captivated. Until now I own approximately 430 JAFFs, mostly E-Books (just because my shelves are more than full). Yet, some authors I still prefer to consume in paperback, among them a certain A.R. and a certain K.L. (my absolute favourite : Master Under Good Regulation) and others. Well now, I’m an old man but am looking forward to increase my library till my chamber resembles Mr.Bennet’s study, secretly and only in an illusory way dreaming of Pemberley-like dimensions and rooms. So, please, keep writing and publishing more JAFF!

    • What an adventurous story! 🙂 Thanks for your kind words about Abigail and me – MUGR has a special place in ny heart, as we have had our own Reggie for 7 years now. Not as well-trained as ‘the original’ AND our Reggie is a she, but she is near and dear to us! Thanks for sharing!

  43. Because of a difficult home life, books were my escape and my passion from a very early age. At the beginning of the 4th grade, when I was 8 years old (birthday in December), my best friend and I made a bet to see who could be first to read all the books in the school library. The school was K-8th grade and had a pretty varied selection of books as this was in the early 50’s and no TV around to speak of. Of course, Jane Austen was among the first group of authors and I loved Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, and Sense & Sensibility. In later years, I found her other books, but the first few are still my favorites. When I had a chance to see the Laurence Olivier movie, I was thrilled, and of course, as films or TV series came along through the years, I have watched and tried to collect as many as possible. The 1995 BBC series of P & P with Colin Firth is still my favorite, but I enjoy them all. I try to re-read the whole Jane Austen collection annually, because it is like visiting with old friends. Over the course of 64 years (I just turned 73), I can’t even think how many times I have visited and enjoyed Miss Austen’s amazing world. I only discovered fan fiction about 3 months ago when I got a Kindle finally, and have consumed a couple of hundred stories already, with no end in sight. Of course I still have to re-watch the movies and TV series as well. Endless entertainment!

  44. When I was about 12 years old, my mother handed me a book from her school library. It was an abridged copy of P&P. I remember liking the story but nothing particular comes to mind as I just enjoy the straightforward tale. No Regency customs, entail, etc. A few years later, my friend lend me her three-part volume of Jane Austen’s novel and I devour P&P but didn’t read the other two works. Then I have to return it to her as it wasn’t mine to keep. Years later I finally bought my own copy and found some Jane Austen film adaptations to watch. My favourites are the 1995 BBC P&P mini-series, Persuasion (2007), Emma (2008), Emma (1996 with Gywneth Paltrow) and Sense & Sensibility (1995 and 2008). I prefer both the book and film versions.

    • I often wonder how I would have felt if I had been really young and read it. But since I enjoyed Jane Eyre in High School (and I think I was a junior or senior), I think I would have enjoyed it then. But probably not as much if I had only been in junior high (middle school). Isn’t it wonderful to have both books and films to enjoy? Thanks for sharing!

  45. I read Pride and Prejudice in the 12th grade. I can still remember the paper I wrote on it and still have the class notes. I was reintroduced to it in the BBC 1995 mini-series. I have already preferred to read classics so was motivated to read all of Jane Austen’s books and those I could find with critical commentary. I have since read annotated ones. I just love learning about the Regency period and the more I learn (and especially from the JAFF authors from many blogs) the more the meaning of the books mean when I reread them. Yes, I also like the film versions. Some are way to historically inaccurate for me but will still watch them. Thank you for the giveaway.

    • I appreciate it when a filmmaker takes the time to do her films right! How awesome that you still have your class notes on it! Thanks, Eva!

  46. I first learnt about Jane Austen in 1982 when my English teacher at the French university gave us a list of English books we should read. I read Pride and Prejudice and just loved it. Well I guess I didn’t appreciate at that time all the subtilities of Jane’s writing. Then in 1985 when I was an au pair in London, I bought Emma. I must confess I didn’t like it. It took me ages to read it. I can’t remember which other novels I read afterwards and when. But I remember I introduced my best friend to Jane’s world and she is still addicted. We happened to discover the P&P series in 1995 (my friend is still in love with Colin Firth) and it was a great revelation! Back then, there were few websites for fans. I surfed through the Republic of Pemberley which was a treasure land… With my friend, we have now collected, here in France, dvds, books, etc… and still share this passion for Jane Austen, Regency period and British culture in general.

    • How wonderful to have introduced your friend to Jane Austen and still share that passion together! I have some friends who like it, but not as much as I do. Thanks, Rosa!

  47. My aunt gave me a copy of Pride and Prejudice when I was around ten. It was bound with Sense and Sensibility, but after the first reading I ignored it while reading P&P over and over. I remember sitting with the dictionary, looking up words like felicity.

    I got a copy of Persuasion when I was in my twenties, and it eventually became my favorite. This was one of the few times I disagreed with my best friend, who loved Emma. I simply could not stomach her, and could not finish the book.

    I saw the Olivier movie, and absolutely hated it. So I approached the 1995 series with great trepidation. What a lovely surprise to see this gem. I did enjoy the 2005, but 1995 will always be the best. My favorite Persuasion is also 1995.

    Did anyone here fo to see Love and Friendship? It was odd, but fun.

    Back to my best friend. We disagreed in our twenties. We are now in our sixties, and Vicki mentioned to me that she was retreading Persuasion for the hundredth time. Seems as the years went on, she came around fo my thinking. But then, she is a lovely, witty, and intelligent woman, and I am grateful for this lifelong friendship.

    • Yes I saw Love and Friendship I agree very odd but still fun to watch. I got the DVD for my birthday from my son so very special. I also read the Jane Austen novella version called Lady Susan and the book version of the film written by Whit Stillman. Generally prefer Jane Austen original and this is the case here as well for me.

    • As I said to Rosa, above, how lovely to have a friend to share our love (and disagreements) of Jane Austen with. P&P and Persuasion are my top 2 favorites. Emma is OK. I saw Love and Friendship and thought it was fun. I had tried reading it years ago, but I don’t do well reading epistolary novels. After seeing the movie, I went back and read it. It’ is not particularly a favorite. Thanks for sharing, June!

  48. Like Kara Louise, I discovered Jane Austen as an adult. I picked up a paperback version of P & P and made it about 50 pages into the book when I realized I did not have a clue what was happening and did something I rarely do, which was to cast it aside. A few years later I picked it up again and had the same result. I would get to the end of a paragraph/page/chapter and realize I had totally lost the topic. Finally I watched the BBC version of P & P (still my favorite), and a light came on. Basically I needed to pay more attention to the flow and style of her writing since it is so different from contemporary writers. I needed to make mental adjustments for the use of language, style and her propensity for [charming] run-on sentences. I picked up my copy of P & P and was finally able to read it. The other books followed quickly and now 30 years later, I choose one to re-read every summer.

    • So glad the film helped you understand and appreciate her writing! I think reading from that era comes more easily to some than others. A confession: I had to read Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors in high school. A few years later, I saw a play performed of it and literally thought, “This book was about 2 sets of twins?” I think Shakespeare is much more difficult to read than Jane Austen, and she is much more enjoyable. 🙂

  49. I first “met” Jane one Sunday afternoon way back in the winter of 1966/67 when I saw the 1940 Laurence Olivier/Greer Garson film of P&P on TV. I was 11 years old and in my first year at secondary school (what my US friends call high school, I think). I went to the school library the next day and borrowed the book. Apart from being somewhat disappointed that the “archery scene” wasn’t in the book, I loved it! So I’ve just racked up half a century as a Janeite. OK, a lot (if not all) of the nuances of the writing passed me by at that tender age but I eventually read the remaining five novels whilst still at school. My year never got to study any of Jane Austen’s works in English Literature whilst it was still a compulsory subject up to age 16 and I specialised in sciences after that during my final two years before University. When I was there, I can remember hurrying back to my student residence for a number of weeks as there was a BBC radio serialisation of P&P once a week in the late afternoon.

    Marriage came a year after graduation, and two years in West Africa after that. Just after we arrived there, I was given a (rather dog-eared) volume of the six novels by a departing expatriate, which was read often enough over those two years that it eventually disintegrated! The year we returned to the UK, the BBC broadcast the David Rintoul/Elizabeth Garvie version of P&P, then there were various adaptations of other novels in the 80s: Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibilty, the rather bizarre Northanger Abbey but not Persuasion or Emma. I still carried on re-reading the books.

    I guess we have Andrew Davies and Colin Firth’s wet shirt to thank for the surge of interest in our beloved Jane’s works after P&P 1995. Then there were two Emmas, Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility shortly afterwards, followed by a goodly number of others since plus such variations as Lost In Austen, Bride and Prejudice and Death Comes to Pemberley.

    In 2011, I discovered Audible and found Pamela Aidan’s trilogy, plus a couple of other Darcy POV stories (Amanda Grange and Maya Slater) but aomehow never found any others. It wasn’t until 2014 that I stumbled across this site literally days after it launched and was instantly hooked by The Darcy Brothers weekly postings. The rest, as they say, is history! My Kindle is probably groaning at the seams with the hundreds of JAFF works downloaded on it, my JAFF audio library far outnumbers the other genres and I’ve even had the pleasure to act as a British beta for some of our lovely JAFF authors.

    Last year, the 1940 film was shown again on TV and though it’s far from a faithful adaptation, I was still able to find enjoyment in it and also to laugh at its absurdities. After all, I probably wouldn’t be typing this if not for seeing it all those years ago. So, things have rather gone full circle from that winter Sunday afternoon 50-odd years ago.

    • I saw the 1940s film about 3 months after I discovered the ‘95 film and read her books. It was a little jarring, but I was able to enjoy it for what it was. As I have said several times in this thread, each film has contributed many new fans of Jane Austen, and we can be thankful for that. Thanks for sharing, Anji!

  50. Thanks to everyone for sharing their story! I apologize for not commenting on each one, as I left last Thursday for 5 days at Disney World in Orlando, Florida! I promise I will eventually read each one! These have been so much fun! Thank you all!

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