One of the most well-known authors of all time is Jane Austen. For good reason, her books have been read and re-read for generations. Jane does it better than anyone else, but her body of work is rather limited. Let’s face it: You can only read Pride and Prejudice so many times! These five authors are worth a try if you’re in the mood for some Jane Austen but want to branch out.
In the eighteenth century, Frances Burney was one of the most popular female novelists of her time. Additionally, she wrote a number of “bestsellers,” such as Evelina, Cecilia, and Camilla, which shed light on daily life in the period. If you’re noticing a pattern here, it’s because she likes to title her novels with the names of her heroines.
Burney’s unique ties to Austen provide yet another reason to give her a shot. When it comes to authors, you can’t get much better than Jane Austen. According to folklore, Jane Austen based the title of her first novel on a line from Burney’s best-known novel, ‘Cecilia.’ “Pride and prejudice” are to blame for the whole sorry situation, according to Dr. Lyster. In Northanger Abbey’s famous defense of novelists scene, Jane Austen defends her as a favorite author.
The novel Cecilia is a good choice if you’re eager to read France Burney’s work. However, it’s a bit of a drag. If you’d prefer to start with something simpler, Evelina is one of her most well-known and enduring works, and one of the many books on my “re-read” list.
One of the most prolific novelists of the eighteenth century, Eliza Haywood is credited with helping to establish the “novel” form. Alexander Pope, in his poem “The Dunciad,” singled her out for praise because of her renown as a writer after she began publishing in 1719 with Love “In Excess.” Her success or his views on women’s roles in the literary world didn’t stop Haywood from continuing to write.
In her lifetime, she published over 70 works, but her novel ‘The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless,’ widely regarded as one of the first novels in the world to focus on the development of female characters, is perhaps her most well-known. For Haywood, writing from a female perspective was still a novel idea in the 18th century, and Betsy Thoughtless is her crowning achievement in this regard.
She’s not just a novelist; she’s also a playwright, a translator, a poet, a conductor, and the first woman to publish a magazine specifically geared toward female readers, The Female Spectator. Since then she has moved away from writing “amatory fiction” and has instead focused on novels that advocate for women’s rights. My opinion is that she’s a superhero!
Authors such as Jane Austen enjoyed greater initial success than Maria Edgeworth when she began her career as a writer. Even as a stand-alone author, she is just as deserving of recognition as Jane Austen because of her connection to the author.
Edgeworth, an Englishman born in Oxfordshire in 1768, spent time in Ireland as a child, where he developed a deep affection for the land and its people. Her works are often set in Ireland, which provides a fascinating insight into Irish society at the time compared to Austen’s novels, which were primarily set in England.
In 1795, Edgeworth published ‘Letter for Literary Ladies.’ When her first novel, Castle Rackrent, was published without her father’s knowledge, it was an instant success. A Jane Austen fan might find ‘Belinda’ the most appealing. In this novel, published in 1801, love, courtship, and marriage are all discussed, as is how society’s expectations and a free spirit differ. Additionally, it depicts the marriage of an African servant and an English farm girl, which at the time was a controversial topic.
The famous Charlotte Bronte detested Jane Austen. But bare with me, because, like it or not, Bronte was Austen’s natural literary successor in many respects. In Charlotte’s opinion, Austen’s writing was too stifled and constrained. There is no doubt that Charlotte’s most famous work, “Jane Eyre,” is filled with passionate feeling, but thematically, the two works are similar.
Both authors, in their own unique ways, emphasize the importance of female empowerment for their protagonists. Nothing but the desire to be well married is in question for Lizzy Bennet, and if she were determined to find any husband at all, she might follow Charlotte’s lead, as Austen has her say. Jane Eyre, in a similar vein, declares, “I would always rather be happy than dignified. It is important for women to do their best with what they have been given, and both authors stress this point. Jane Eyre explores themes that Jane Austen never did, such as the role of a working governess, madness, and adultery, and as a result, it may reveal more than Austen ever did.
Whenever I read Charlotte Bronte’s bitter account of Austen, I’m always struck by the hypocrisy. In many ways, Jane Austen was the more liberated of the two. As an illustration of this point, unlike Charlotte, she was never restricted to writing only under a male pseudonym. How would Charlotte Bronte have been able to express herself in her writing had she done so under her own name? There is no way of knowing for sure, but it’s something to consider.
In the eyes of many, Georgette Heyer is Jane Austen’s heir apparent. As the author of more than 50 novels set in the Regency era, she essentially invented the genre. Despite the fact that she is the only author on this list to write historical fiction, this is a positive. To a modern reader, her heroines often act in ways that are more relatable.
In her books, Heyer manages to completely submerge the reader into the story’s world. They’re jam-packed with information that Austen, writing for readers who already knew about the time period, omitted. Think opulent attire, delectable cuisine, and impressive architecture!
Heyer’s witty dialogue and romantic plots are ideal for Austen fans. Each of her novels was meticulously researched, and she was known to use Regency-era slang at times. She also has a novel set in the 1800s, Regency Buck, which is full of period characters as well. Venetia, Cotillion, and Friday’s Child are just a few of the many excellent novels out there, but my personal favorite is Friday.