Today, I am hosting another of my fellow Austen Authors, Sarah Price. Sarah is one of the “queens” of Amish literature, and she often mixes it with a bit of Jane Austen.
Most of the time, when people mention Jane Austen, they immediately think of Pride and Prejudice or Sense & Sensibility. True diehards will mention Emma and Persuasion. Mansfield Park only occasionally creeps into the discussion.
Personally, I enjoyed Northanger Abbey much more than Persuasion and Mansfield Park. But, in my experience, very few people ever bring up Northanger Abbey.
Why is that?
Perhaps it’s because Northanger Abbey was the first book that Jane Austen wrote, but the last one she published. Her style of writing clearly had evolved over the years, as well as her ability to dissect human behavior within the social structure within Regency era upper class.
Or perhaps it’s because Northanger Abbey has a very different storyline. Jane Austen was making a satirical commentary on the Gothic novels that were popular at the turn of the 19th century. Despite the satire, Jane Austen’s first novel is a love story that, in many ways, is the most believable and true-to-life of all her novels.
Consider both John Thorpe and Henry Tilney, the former who is rather forward in his affections toward Catherine, while the latter is much more restrained, leaving Catherine Morland wondering whether or not he does care for her as more than a friend. Underlying the romance is John Thorpe’s quest to better himself—he thinks Catherine will inherit money—as opposed to Henry Tilney, who has money but is rather understated about it.
I don’t know about you but, in my life, far too often I encounter fortune seekers, people who look for quick “Get Rich” schemes or try to rise to fame and fortune by taking short cuts. In some circles, especially with the younger generation, it’s expected that they will be rich and, when forced to work for it, they baulk. Of course, there are always examples of people who are willing to work hard and sacrifice. But I’m sure that most people have one or two John or Isabella Thorpes in their lives.
As an author, I encounter many people who have the Thorpe Syndrome. They like to take from others but rarely give and, if they do, no matter how reluctantly, it’s usually with a caveat for something in exchange. In a strange way, it’s comforting to me to realize that the Thorpe Syndrome is not new, that such personalities existed in Jane Austen’s time.
And that is what I love the most about Jane Austen’s novels. They are timeless classic, books that transcend time and culture. People who read her novels can relate to the story lines, the characters, and the emotions that Jane Austen evokes in us. And, to me, that’s what a great book ought to do.
Newbury Acres: An Amish Retelling of Northanger Abbey
Once again, author Sarah Price provides a lively and inspirational retelling of a classic romance by Jane Austen. In Newbury acres, a young Amish woman is invited to vacation with her neighbors at the sleepy vacation town of Banthe near Lake Moreland for several weeks. Catherine loves to read Amish romance novels and daydreams of one day living such a romance. At Banthe, she makes new friends but quickly learns that some people are not what they seem and occasionally have hidden agendas. To make matters worse, she finds herself daydreaming about Henry Tillman while thwarting the romantic advances from John Troyer. Catherine’s naiveté gets her into all sorts of trouble, especially when she continues her vacation with the Tilmans at their large farm in Newbury Acres.
Will the end of her vacation translate to the end of any possible romance with Henry Tilman? Or will she finally find that storybook ending that she so longed to live?
Newbury Acres is both a satirical parody of Amish romance novels and the story of a young Amish girl’s maturation into womanhood.
These are the other books in her Austen-inspired series:
Mount Hope: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park
Second Chances: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion
The Matchmaker: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma
First Impressions: An Amish Tale of Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen’s Classic
Meet Sarah Price
ECPA Christian Fiction Bestsellers: First Impressions (June 2014, July 2014), Second Chances (October 2015), Secret Sister (December 2015), Sense & Sensibility (March 2016)
Follow her on social media:
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During the early 1700s, the Preiss family arrived in America aboard an old sailing vessel called the Patience. The family left Europe, escaping Catholic persecution for their Anabaptist beliefs. Sarah Price comes from a long line of devout Mennonites, including numerous church leaders and ministers throughout the years. Her involvement with the Amish dates back to 1978. Her writing reflect accurate and authentic stories based upon her own experiences with several Amish communities.
Ms. Price has advanced degrees in Communication (MA), Marketing (MBA), and Educational Leadership (A.B.D.). Ms. Price was a former full-time college professor. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, she now writes full-time.
Amish fiction has never appealed to me. Maybe because there is a large Mennonite/Amish community in our area so they’re not so “exotic” or romantic to me, or maybe I’m just not sure that an outsider could do justice to the Mennonite/Amish way of life. Whatever the reason is, once you add Northanger Abbey, my favourite JA book, into the mix, you get my attention immediately. I will certainly give this one a try, and have added it to my Must-Read list.
Janis, Sarah’s bio says she is from a long line of Mennonites. Sarah is also one of our merry band on Austen Authors.