Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation


Fiction - Literary
318 Pages
Reviewed on 01/28/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Alice is a London-based ghostwriter, tennis addict and professional cellist.

She has been published by Orion/Hachette in contemporary fiction, by Unbound - writing as Spaulding Taylor - in speculative thrillers, and by Warleigh Hall Press in Jane Austenesque fiction.

Her novels have been praised by the Sunday Times ("masterful"), The Sunday Telegraph ("very enjoyable, and not quite as light as it pretends to be"), Publishers Weekly ("In SUSAN, A JANE AUSTEN PREQUEL, McVeigh's prose and plotting are pitch-perfect") They have each won numerous awards.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation is a work of fiction in the literary and dramatic subgenres. It is intended for the general reading audience and was penned by author Alice McVeigh. Taking on the Austen classic novel, Emma, this second work by the author in her Austen-themed series follows the character of Harriet Smith, protégé to Emma, who shares the narration of events with the elusive Jane Fairfax. What results is a fresh perspective on the characters, relationships, and situations of the classic tale that is sure to put a smile on the face of any Austen aficionado who picks up a copy.

Author Alice McVeigh has crafted a highly engrossing work of fiction that really captures the spirit of Austen and celebrates all the best qualities of her work from new and innovative angles. One feature that I especially enjoyed during my reading experience was McVeigh’s sense of period, which adds new details to the imagination and brings history to life, perhaps even more so than Austen did since she is writing with readers of our time period in mind. This enables her to use a guiding hand to add clarity to some of the social graces and complications of the original story whilst also creating innovative new twists and surprises that fit perfectly but are wholly unexpected. If you think you know Emma, think again, and enjoy reading Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation. A highly recommended read for fans of classic literature and lovingly crafted dramas with plenty of twists and turns.

Heather Stockard

In Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation by Alice McVeigh, Harriet Smith is not nearly the dunce that she pretends to be, at least when she is in Emma Woodhouse’s company. Harriet is really quite clever and ambitious, but she knows that Emma wants an amusing project and is willing to go along in order to gain access to higher society. After all, orphans of unknown parentage have limited opportunities, and Harriet hopes to do better than a farmer for a husband. But her head and heart are telling her two different things. Jane Fairfax is another lovely orphan, but unlike Harriet, she has wealthy benefactors who have introduced her into society. Jane is much admired for her musical abilities, but her lack of personal fortune means that she is often overlooked. Then she meets Frank Churchill. The two connect and fall in love but must keep their engagement a secret. This proves increasingly difficult, especially when they return to Highbury and reconnect with family and friends...

In this retelling of Jane Austen’s beloved Emma, Harriet Smith and Jane Fairfax take center stage. Austen hints at their mysterious and interesting backstories in the original novel but Alice McVeigh brings them to life and develops their stories and personalities and adds new dimensions. Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation is a clever reimagining of a classic. It is well-written and feels true to Austen's style and the Regency time period. This book is a must-read for any adventurous Jane Austen fans.
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Pikasho Deka

Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation is the latest iteration of Jane Austen's famous novel Emma by Alice McVeigh. In this installment, McVeigh relates the events circulating around the characters of Hartfield House through the eyes of Harriet Smith, Emma's loyal friend and confidante, and Jane Fairfax, a talented young woman raised by Colonel Campbell. After rejecting Robert Martin's first proposal of marriage, Harriet and Emma discuss her future prospects. Meanwhile, Frank Churchill becomes enamored with Jane Fairfax, and upon receiving mutual feelings, the two get secretly engaged. However, Mr. Dixon's unwanted advances make things difficult for Jane, which is further complicated by Emma's well-intentioned yet completely unnecessary meddling. While Harriet becomes increasingly besotted with Mr. Knightley, the revelation of a shocking truth will change lives forever in Hartfield.

Bookworms who love Regency-era stories will find Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation a thoroughly rewarding reading experience. Author Alice McVeigh puts a unique spin on this fresh take of one of Jane Austen's most popular works. The author focuses upon the characters of Harriet Smith and Jane Fairfax as they navigate their social status, men, and friendships in this compelling character drama. The characters are vibrant and full of life. McVeigh hits the mark spot-on, capturing the essence of Jane Austen's work and providing a rare glimpse into the headspace of some of her most popular secondary characters. I can honestly say that I didn't foresee the twist toward the end. Yet, in hindsight, it felt satisfying to read. Anyone who's a fan of character-driven drama novels should grab themselves a copy of Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation.