Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel (Warleigh Hall Jane Austen Regency Romance)


Sixteen-year-old Susan Smithson has been expelled from a school for young ladies in London, England. Lovely, but poor, she is sent to her uncle and aunt’s. There, she meets the wealthy and determined Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who desires young Susan to come to her mansion regularly to attend her by reading and doing various other chores. At the de Bourgh estate, Susan attracts the attention of the rakish nobleman Lord Oliver. With a scandal whispering through proper society, her uncle sends her to stay at her Uncle Collins’ rectory in rural Kent, a safe place where “nothing ever happens”. Bored and more than a bit mischievous, Susan wastes no time in turning boring Kent on its ear.

Jane Austen fans rejoice! Behold, a regency romance told in the true style of Jane Austen herself! The story boasts realistic period details, accurate language, familiar characters like Frank Churchill, and more, plus language that echoes Pride and Prejudice, and other Austen works. Like a true regency, this novel offers a unique storyline, sharp dialogue, and good characterization. Unfortunately, it also blurs multiple points of view throughout, and the pacing tends to drag. Susan is the heroine, but some may find the ending is not what one wishes for her, and a twist with her cousin in the most unexpected way may leave readers surprised at the conclusion. Regardless, “Susan” is a sweet story, with secrets abounding and a cast of characters replete with old friends borrowed from Jane Austen’s library.

Emerson Matthews