Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel

Alice McVeigh
Narrator: Heather Tracy

HISTORICAL: Set after “Pride and Prejudice” but before “Emma”, many of Jane Austen’s characters show up in “Susan”, with the backstory of “Susan” being the focus. Susan Smithson is a beautiful sixteen-year-old girl who is too clever for her own good. When she is accused of improprieties, she is expelled from her boarding school and sent to her aunt and uncles’ home in London. As scandal threatens again, her aunt and uncle send her to her uncle Collins rectory in Kent to learn to be a help around the house, and mature enough to properly enter London Society. But Susan, with her charming ways, convinces the local squire to put on a play. The play allows for a group of unwed youth to interact in ways society would never approve of, all under the guise of playacting. Susan is able to manipulate almost any situation to her advantage and seeks to do so.

With elegant prose and an Austen-worthy plot, Alice McVeigh has truly accomplished a prequel. McVeigh captures perfectly the essence of this historical period without making the novel another story of marrying a young lady off. She mirrors Austen’s language and style, transporting the reader to a world already known and loved. Once there, a journey begins with new characters interspersed with old. With clever whit and banter, the story teases as it unfolds. Susan’s character development is fantastic. The backdrop of a play allows for unique situations which otherwise would be out of place in this period. The play helps create relationships and friendships as the group engages in intimacies otherwise never allowed in polite society. A sensational homage to Jane Austen and a must read for any Austen fan.

Heather Tracy’s narration is wonderful. Her easy style brings you right into London society. Ms. Tracy gives each character a unique voice perfectly suited to their person. With good pacing and beautiful diction, Ms. Tracy makes this book a delightful listen! Fans of Austen won’t want to miss this exceptional tale!

Cara Cieslak