(Ignore the ugly acronym in the title, I just didn’t want to bother typing out “what to read if you liked”, which is what I have just now done anyway.)
Introducing a new rec series! Because I’m getting kind of tired of only having Five for Friday happening, I figured what better way to rec books than a series aimed at diversifying your bookshelves.
So here’s how this is gonna work. It’s fairly self-explanatory: I’ll pick (or you’ll suggest) a popular book, series or even author and rec you more books, based on what aspects of the book you liked. Simple, right?
First up is Jane Austen. I’ve likely mentioned this before, but I’m not the biggest fan of classics. Most of the time I find them too dry and tedious. Jane Austen is an exception to that. And there are aspects of her books done so well, I’m always on some level searching for that kind of validation elsewhere.
Which is why I’m going to share with you two recs per book, based on my favourite aspect of that book.
Pride and Prejudice: Hate to Love
If what you most enjoyed about Pride and Prejudice, then look no further than these two books. Hold Me is a new adult romance with the most excrutiating slowburn, but best of all, Courtney Milan takes the time to properly develop Jay from being a dickhead at the start to a love interest you can root for at the end. Amelia Westlake is an f/f YA, featuring two rivals who have to reluctantly work together to expose the secrets of their school, and the best slowburn relationship.
Persuasion: Second Chance Romance
Next on this list is Persuasion (my personal favourite of all of Austen’s works). Because central to the plot is a second chance romance, these next recs are going to focus on that. The first, After the Eclipse, is a mystery/thriller about a woman whose sister went missing when she was younger, and now, 16 years later, a second girl is gone. The romance is more of a secondary plot, but it’s also f/f, so… My second rec is The Right Swipe. This is less second chance romance in the sense that there was an actual relationship to have a second chance at, and more that there could have been but then the guy fucked up. But it’s so good (and honestly, the whole series is going to be epic. I can just tell).
Northanger Abbey: Humour and Satire
This theme was a little harder for me than the rest, I’m not gonna lie. I don’t read a huge number of actually-laugh-out-loud books, although I do appreciate some comedy in what I’m reading. So yeah. Difficult. My first pick is In Other Lands, a portal fantasy featuring one of my favourite characters ever (and one of the best slowburn hate to reluctant friends to love storylines in history). My second pick, Steel Crow Saga, I will admit is a bit of a left-field one (and is also not yet released, but something you should absolutely go and preorder right now). But bear with me, because it has some actually funny moments, and some amazing character development. And also multiple LGBT characters.
Emma: Friends to Lovers
Emma is, unfortunately, my least favourite Austen novel. Part of that is to do with the titular character, but another part is that the main relationship (a friends to lovers relationship too!) is just way too creepy when read through a modern perspective. Luckily, here I can provide you with two great friends to lovers romances, without the creep factor: Wonders of the Invisible World and Outrun the Moon. Neither is a romance in the sense that it’s central to the plot, but both have lovely developments from friendship to relationship.
Sense and Sensibility: Sisters
It was a little hard to identify an aspect of Sense and Sensibility that I wanted to rec books based on. And, sure, you might be thinking that sisters is a bit more of a thing in Pride and Prejudice. But, I would argue, S&S centres more on sisters than P&P does, really. I mean, the title itself refers to Eleanor and Marianne. So sisters I went with. Empire of Sand is a bit of a cheat here, but my argument is that, while the sisters do not have much page time together, a lot of what Mehr does in the book she does for her sister (and it’s also just a book I will take every opportunity to rec). The True Queen is more obvious in this respect, then. It’s about two sisters who do not know where they come from and are sent to England to find that out for themselves.
Mansfield Park: Neurodiverse MC
Do not get me started on how badly wrong the end of this book went for me (pairing the MC with her overbearing and pretentious dickwad of a cousin? Ain’t it, Jane). But anyway. I’m not bitter. Two recs I’m giving you based on this book are a little different to the rest (which are themes/tropes). Here, I’m reccing based on the MC (who can be read as having anxiety). I’m expanding that a little more to say “neurodiverse MC”. A Duke by Default (MC with ADHD) is my first rec, because I just had to get Alyssa Cole onto this list somehow. I love the whole Reluctant Royals series and, up until book 3 came out, this one held the top spot in my heart. My second rec is A Tiny Piece of Something Greater (MC with cyclothymic disorder), a beautiful little book about getting through life and navigating adulthood and falling in love.
Have you read any of these books? Which others would you rec?