6 Clean and Charming Jane Austen Adaptations to Read

The Joyous Living: 6 Clean and Charming Jane Austen Adaptations Books

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Are you having trouble finding enough books to read during the Stay at Home orders? I have put together a list of 6 clean and charming reads that are based on well-known and dearly loved Jane Austen novels.

These books are PG in nature without much swearing (if any) and no steamy sex scenes. Enjoy!

#1. Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs (Mary Jane Hathaway)

Imagine Jane Austen's EMMA in modern America in this clean adaptation. #emma #janeausten #books #fiction #christianfiction #cleanfiction #knightley #janeaustentakesthesouth #maryjanehathaway #thejoyousliving

When it comes to Jane Austen’s Emma, I have two particular favorite modern adaptations. There is Juliet Archer‘s Emma that has adult language and a steamy scene and this clean Southern romance by Mary Jane Hathaway that gives John Knightley (Mr. Knightley’s brother) a bigger role.

Editors Synopsis

Caroline Ashley is a journalist on the rise at the Washington Post until the sudden death of her father brings her back to Thorny Hollow to care for her mentally fragile mother. The only respite from the eternal rotation of bridge club meetings and garden parties is her longtime friend, Brooks Elliott. A professor of journalism, Brooks is the voice of sanity and reason in the land of pink lemonade and triple layer coconut cakes. But when she meets a fascinating, charismatic young man on the cusp of a brand new industry, she ignores Brooks’ misgivings and throws herself into the project.

Brooks struggles to reconcile his parents’ very bitter marriage with his father’s devastating grief at the recent loss of his wife. Caroline is the only bright spot in the emotional wreckage of his family life. She’s a friend and he’s perfectly happy to keep her safely in that category. Marriage isn’t for men like Brooks and they both know it… until a handsome newcomer wins her heart. Brooks discovers Caroline is much more than a friend, and always has been, but is it too late to win her back?

Characters

Emma Woodhouse = Caroline Ashley. A journalist at The Washington Post who has to come home to take care of her mentally fragile mother (after the death of her father).

Mr. Knightley = Brooks Elliott. Brooks is a journalism college professor.

Harriet Smith = Lexi Martinez. A budding artist.

Frank Churchill = Franklin Keene. A publisher.

Jane Fairfax = Lauren Fairchild. A photographer putting together a coffee book table.

John Knightley = Manning Elliott, Brooks’ brother who is married to Caroline’s sister.


Why I Love This Version

I loved the chemistry between Caroline and Brooks. There was one particular scene in a cafe when they are with Brooks’ brother where Hathaway did a fabulous job weaving together romance and comedy.

While it is written by a Christian author, there is no specific scene where one feels the subject of a sermon.

Note. This book is #2 in a series “Jane Austen Takes the South” but can be read as a standalone novel.


#2. Mount Hope: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (Sarah Price)

I had previously read Sarah Price’s version of Persuasion which I felt fell flat especially due to the nature of some of the characters from Jane Austen’s novel. Mount Hope, however, was an excellent adaptation since many of the values from Mansfield Park translate so well to the Amish setting.

Editor’s Synopsis

When her father can no longer provide for his large family, Fanny Price is sent away from her small Amish community in Colorado to live with her aunt’s family in Mount Hope, Ohio. Fanny immediately feels out of place at the Bontrager farm but finds a friend in her aunt’s stepson, Elijah Bontrager. As time passes, Fanny begins to long for their friendship to blossom into something more, but her hopes are dashed when Elijah starts to court someone else. With her uncle pressuring her to marry a man who can take her off his hands, Fanny must learn to rely on God for her future.

Characters

Fanny Price = Fanny Price, Amish relative of the Bontrager family.

Edmund Bertram = Elijah Bontrager, Fanny’s step-cousin.

Mary Crawford = Mary Coblentz, the niece of the Bishop.

Henry Crawford = Henry Coblentz, the flirtatious nephew of the Bishop.


Why I Love This Version

Fanny Price is a difficult character to translate to a modern setting. Many find her boring and bordering on being a doormat. So the decision to put Fanny into an Amish setting was genius.

For a Christian reader who is looking for a clean romance and chance to learn more about the Amish culture, this is the book for you.


#3. Northanger Alibi: The Jane Austen Diaries (Jenni James)

Allow me to preface this by saying that YES I was a fan of the Twilight saga and saw every single movie. Perhaps it was due to my age but when I saw the movies I was more attracted to Bella’s dad, Charlie (Billy Burke), then either of the teenage fantasies. So reading a teen romance like Northanger Alibi I tried not to take it too seriously and that allowed me to see how Jenni James was writing a parody and nothing in the story was to be taken too literally.

Editor’s Synopsis

The Russo family and Seattle, Washington, are no match for Claire Hart and her savvy knowledge of all things vampire-related. Thanks to her obsession with the Twilight series, if there is anyone who would know a vampire when she saw one, it’s Claire. And she’s positive totally hot Tony Russo is a vampire – she just has to prove it!

In this modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, follow Claire’s hilarious journey on her first summer adventure away from home, where she learns everything isn’t what it seems, and that in some instances, reality is way better than anything she’d ever find in a book.

 

Characters

Catherine Morland = Claire Hart, a Twilight obsessed teen
Henry Tilney = Tony Russo, a mysterious boy who looks like “Edward Cullen” and likes to tease Claire
John Thorpe = Jaden Black, a dark and overbearing Quileute who reminds Claire of “Jacob Black”


Why I Love this Version

Jenni James has the ability to write her comedy effortlessly so that I, as a woman in my 30s, am laughing out loud in the middle of the night and hiding under my covers so I don’t wake up the household. Her characters are quirky, fun, and for the most part likable. And parents need not worry about any sex or foul language as these tween/teen novels are squeaky clean.

#4. Persuasion: A Latter-Day Tale (Rebecca H. Jamison)

Persuasion is my all-time favorite Jane Austen novel so I have read any adaptation I could get my hands on. Time and time again I find myself returning to Jamison’s modern-day version that is free of curse words and sexual content. While I am not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have never felt like I am being preached at except for a couple of small scenes involving the reading of the Doctrine & Covenants and a Blessing.

Editor’s Synopsis

When Anne broke off her engagement eight years ago, she thought she’d never see Neil Wentworth again. But when Neil’s brother buys the house she grew up in, it seems fate has other plans in store, and Anne is woefully unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions that accompanies Neil’s return.

Characters

Anne = Anne. An accountant.

Frederick Wentworth = Neil. A police captain who was Anne’s first love.

William Elliot = Will. A lobbyist who romances Anne.


Why I Love This Version

It seems hard to find adaptations of Persuasion that are not filled with huge amounts of foul language and sexual content. So I love Jamison’s clean adaptation with her modern changes to include 3 NEW characters to the story. Jack is Neil’s brother who buys Anne’s family home, Linda is Jack’s wife who joins the Stake Choir with Anne, and Marcy is Anne’s roommate. They all serve as the conscience for our romantic leads prodding them in the right direction much as the reader would like to do.

My only issue with the story has to be with the lead character of Anne. She is constantly freaking out about her makeup (or lack thereof) which seems not in keeping with the Mormon faith. Also, we all know that Anne is constantly being “rescued” by Wentworth in the original and in this version too but Anne keeps freaking out because she doesn’t like being “rescued” hence making it a bigger issue than it ever was before.

Note. This author is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and includes portions that some might find “preachy”.


#5. Pride and Prescience: Or, A Truth Universally Acknowledged (Carrie Bebris)

Fans of Jane Austen and Agatha Christie will love Carrie Bebris Mysteries #agathachristie #janeausten #carriebebris #mysteries #cozymysteries #regency #fiction #darcy #mrsandmrsdarcymysteries #thejoyousliving

I love a good cozy mystery and Carrie Bebris delivers in her series featuring Mr. and Mrs. Darcy as amateur sleuths in line with Agatha Christie‘s Tommy and Tuppence. In the first book, the Darcys must uncover the truth of Caroline Bingley’s charismatic fiance.

Editor’s Synopsis

Pride and Prescience (Or, A Truth Universally Acknowledged), a Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery, embroils the joyous newlyweds Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy in a mystery involving one of their wedding guests.

The lovely Caroline Bingley is engaged to marry a rich and charismatic American. Unfortunately, this windswept courtship is marred by many strange events– nocturnal wanderings, spooked horses, carriage accidents, and even an apparent suicide attempt. Soon the whole Bingley family seems the target of a mysterious plot, with only the Darcys recognizing the danger. Sinister forces are afoot and the Darcys must get to the bottom of the plot before the blushing bride descends into madness–or worse.

Characters

No changes to characters. The story takes place during the 1800s in keeping with Jane Austen’s original novels.


Why I Love This Version

Carrie Bebris does a great job entertaining her readers with this cozy mystery while keeping true to Jane Austen’s characters. I love how she puts the focus on supporting characters who never had a chance to be given the spotlight in the original material. Fans of light mysteries in the vein of Tommy and Tuppence will enjoy this series too.

#6. Colonel Brandon’s Diary (Sense and Sensibility Adaptation by Amanda Grange)

This is the story of James Brandon (aka Colonel Bandon) and his first love, Eliza, and later love for Marianne from Sense and Sensibility. This novel from Amanda Grange’s diary series (including Darcy, Tilney, and Wentworth) draws us into the backstory of Colonel Brandon, and by the time he meets Marianne, we are rooting for her to love him since he is everything a hero should be.

Editor’s Synopsis

At the age of 18, James Brandon’s life is set fair: he is in love with his father’s ward Eliza, and he is looking forward to a lifetime of happiness with her. But his world is shattered when Eliza is forced to marry his brother and James joins the army in despair.

Characters

No changes to characters. The story takes place during the 1800s in keeping with Jane Austen’s original novels.


Why I Love This Version

As with Amanda Grange’s other diary novels, I love how we are given an inside look into our hero’s heart and mind. Colonel Brandon is fleshed out and unlike the other novels listed above – this one works as a great companion novel to the original since it gives so much background.

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Looking for a Jane Austen adaptation book without sex and foul language? #janeausten #books #cleanbooks #christian #bookblogger #thejoyousliving

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What is your favorite Jane Austen adaptation?
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21 Comments

  1. I actually had no idea that there were any Jane Austen adaptations out there. It’s one of my favorite books. I’m glad to see there are versions like this that I can share with my daughters.

  2. I haven’t heard of these suggestions before. I will look into these over the weekend! I’m always looks for new reads especially with all the free time i have now.

  3. I think that #5 Pride and prescience… Looks super interesting, because I really like mystery plots.

  4. Thanks for this list. my wife loves Jane Austen and I can get her some of this adaptations a mother’s day gift!

  5. I hope I can find a copy of Northanger Alibi: The Jane Austen Diaries (Jenni James) in our bookstore. I want to read it.

  6. I never realized there were so many adaptations of this book! I’ll have to give them a read. I love that I can share them with kids, too.

  7. I had no idea there were so many adaptations of Jane Austin’s books. Well, I knew of some movies like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies haha, which I haven’t seen yet. I like the Twilight movies, I never read the books. But those all seem like great adaptations.

  8. I wasn’t at all aware of these adaptations and it really is good to find some that are essentially rated PG for all to enjoy. A great time to be looking at some good reads like these, especially while stuck indoors during the current pandemic.

  9. I had no idea that adaptations of Jane Austen existed, lol. I would love to read Pride and Prescience. That combines two of my favorite genres.

  10. I have honestly not read a good book in a LONG time is. I will definitely check out these books once I have a free moment!

  11. I hope to read Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs! It sounds so exciting! Can’t wait to start on it.

  12. I know that Jane Austen is really a good author because my best friend said so. I love to try one of her books especially Chili-Slaw Dogs! <3

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