Stevie‘s review of A Certain Persuasion by Julie Bozza, Andrea Demetrius, Sam Evans, Lou Faulkner, Adam Fitzroy, Narrelle M. Harris, Sandra Lindsey, Fae Mcloughlin, Atlin Merrick, JL Merrow, Eleanor Musgrove
Contemporary and Historical LGBTQ+ Short Story Anthology published by Manifold Press 01 Nov 16
I’m very fond of Jane Austen’s novels, and I love pastiches and stories inspired by her works, so this book of LGBTQ+ stories following that theme was an anthology I couldn’t pass by. Pretty much every letter of the QUILTBAG is represented here, along with retellings, prequels, sequels, and stories about readers of the various novels. There are even references to Colin Firth tucked away in there. Of course, such a mixed collection is going to have some stories that appeal more than others; however, in this case none of them disappointed me.
I think my favourite stories were those that subverted Regency Era gender roles. In Atlin Merrick’s Hide nor Hair Adam becomes guardian to his much younger twin siblings, and finds a most unusual governess for them, while in Sandra Lindsey’s Man of War, William Price discovers that not only is the young ordinary seaman he is tutoring remarkably bright for a lad of his background, he is also concealing some unexpected anatomical features beneath his shirt.
My absolute favourite out of the trans* stories was Eleanor Musgrove’s Father Doesn’t Dance, which reimagines Pride and Prejudice with the threat of an entail on the estate hanging over the Darcy family as well as over the Bennet girls. Lavinia Darcy will do anything to protect her mother and her younger sister Georgiana from the loss of her home, even leaving them for a supposed religious life, only to return as her long-lost brother Fitzwilliam. The new role suits him, and soon he has others who can be trusted to keep his secret, although Wickham lurks in the background – as he is wont to do in many stories. We don’t get to see what Darcy makes of the Misses Bennet in this story, but I have high hopes of finding more stories from this author that follow a similar vein.
Now, gentle reader, do not fear that I didn’t also enjoy the stories of Regency men finding love with each other, nor of those about Regency ladies emulating the two who resided in Llangollen (who, indeed, are mentioned in two of the stories as heroines to be emulated); and let it not be said that I didn’t enjoy the modern stories, because indeed I did. I just expect that I’ll be rereading the stories I paid particular attention to in this review more than I do any of the others.
A highly enjoyable book whether read from cover to cover in a single sitting or dipped into at will over a prolonged period.
Thirteen stories from eleven authors, exploring the world of Jane Austen and celebrating her influence on ours.
Being cousins-by-marriage doesn’t deter William Elliot from pursuing Richard Musgrove in Lyme; nor does it prevent Elinor Dashwood falling in love with Ada Ferrars. Surprises are in store for Emma Woodhouse while visiting Harriet Smith; for William Price mentoring a seaman on board the Thrush; and for Adam Otelian befriending his children’s governess, Miss Hay. Margaret Dashwood seeks an alternative to the happy marriages chosen by her sisters; and Susan Price ponders just such a possibility with Mrs Lynd. One Fitzwilliam Darcy is plagued by constant reports of convictions for ‘unnatural’ crimes; while another must work out how to secure the Pemberley inheritance for her family.
Meanwhile, a modern-day Darcy meets the enigmatic Lint on the edge of Pemberley Cliff; while another struggles to live up to wearing Colin Firth’s breeches on a celebrity dance show. Cooper is confronted by his lost love at a book club meeting in Melbourne while reading Persuasion; and Ashley finds more than he’d bargained for at the Jane Austen museum in Bath.
Read an excerpt.