100 books like The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet

By Katherine Cowley,

Here are 100 books that The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet fans have personally recommended if you like The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Hope For Mr. Darcy

Amanda Kai Author Of Not In Want of a Wife: A Pride and Prejudice Variation

From my list on Jane Austen fanfiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been hooked on Jane Austen ever since my mom took me to see the movie Pride and Prejudice in theaters. After watching the movie, I bought all of her books and devoured them. I still wanted more, but what do you do when your favorite author has been dead for over 200 years? Well, you turn to fanfiction! After reading numerous sequels, twists, and retellings of my favorite novels, I began writing my own stories. As a stay-at-home mom of three kids, I've been blessed to be able to pursue my passion for storytelling while raising a family. Jane Austen continues to be my primary source of inspiration for my historical and contemporary romances.

Amanda's book list on Jane Austen fanfiction

Amanda Kai Why did Amanda love this book?

I would have to say, hands down, that this is the best Jane Austen variation I have read so far. The story begins with Elizabeth Bennet having a near-death experience. The description of Heaven during this experience was so striking and poignant, it brought tears to my eyes and made me think that this was exactly how Heaven ought to be. Throughout the story, Ms. Ellsworth’s message of hope and purpose was inspirational. For me, personally, it was a wonderful reminder of the hope that I have in God and the plans that He has for my life. The story is incredibly romantic, and a very unique approach to the Darcy and Elizabeth drama which I have not seen in any other novel. I also liked that she gave alternate outcomes for Lydia and Charlotte than the fate that Austen originally gave them. A must-read for fans of Regency-era variations…

By Jeanna Ellsworth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hope For Mr. Darcy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Still shaken from his horrible proposal, Elizabeth Bennet falls ill at the Rosings Parsonage upon reading Fitzwilliam Darcy’s letter. In her increasingly delirious state, unfathomable influences inspire her to write an impulsive response. The letter gives Mr. Darcy hope in a way that nothing else could.

As her illness progresses, Darcy is there at her side, crossing boundaries he has never crossed, declaring things he has never declared. A unique experience bridges them over their earlier misunderstandings, and they start to work out their differences. That is, until Elizabeth begins to recover.

Suddenly, Elizabeth is left alone to wonder what…


Book cover of The Phantom of Pemberley

Amanda Kai Author Of Not In Want of a Wife: A Pride and Prejudice Variation

From my list on Jane Austen fanfiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been hooked on Jane Austen ever since my mom took me to see the movie Pride and Prejudice in theaters. After watching the movie, I bought all of her books and devoured them. I still wanted more, but what do you do when your favorite author has been dead for over 200 years? Well, you turn to fanfiction! After reading numerous sequels, twists, and retellings of my favorite novels, I began writing my own stories. As a stay-at-home mom of three kids, I've been blessed to be able to pursue my passion for storytelling while raising a family. Jane Austen continues to be my primary source of inspiration for my historical and contemporary romances.

Amanda's book list on Jane Austen fanfiction

Amanda Kai Why did Amanda love this book?

This book also falls into the mystery subgenre of Jane Austen variations. The story takes place as a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, with Elizabeth and Darcy at the center of it. I found this story to be completely chilling, with a surprise twist at the end that I did not see coming. Ms. Jeffers delivered a page-turner that I couldn’t put down!

By Regina Jeffers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Phantom of Pemberley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

HAPPILY MARRIED for over a year and more in love than ever, Darcy and Elizabeth can’t imagine anything interrupting their bliss-filled days. Then an intense snowstorm strands a group of travelers at Pemberley, and terrifying accidents and mysterious deaths begin to plague the manor. Everyone seems convinced that it is the work of a phantom—a Shadow Man who is haunting the Darcy family’s grand estate.

Darcy and Elizabeth believe the truth is much more menacing and that someone is attempting to murder them. But Pemberley is filled with family guests as well as the unexpected travelers—any one of whom could…


Book cover of A Thousand Letters

Amanda Kai Author Of Not In Want of a Wife: A Pride and Prejudice Variation

From my list on Jane Austen fanfiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been hooked on Jane Austen ever since my mom took me to see the movie Pride and Prejudice in theaters. After watching the movie, I bought all of her books and devoured them. I still wanted more, but what do you do when your favorite author has been dead for over 200 years? Well, you turn to fanfiction! After reading numerous sequels, twists, and retellings of my favorite novels, I began writing my own stories. As a stay-at-home mom of three kids, I've been blessed to be able to pursue my passion for storytelling while raising a family. Jane Austen continues to be my primary source of inspiration for my historical and contemporary romances.

Amanda's book list on Jane Austen fanfiction

Amanda Kai Why did Amanda love this book?

This was a modern-day retelling of Persuasion. I’ll admit, Persuasion has long been my least favorite Jane Austen novel. But Staci Hart finally made me fall in love with it. The story is told in first person, alternating between the perspectives of the hero and heroine, which made me feel that I was given a glimpse into their minds and hearts, something that the original novel failed to do. The added complication of the hero’s father being terminally ill really added depth and emotion to the story. I was completely wrecked—in the best way, of course!—by the end of this book. Read it with a box of tissues!

By Staci Hart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Thousand Letters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I lost him with a word.

A thousand letters couldn’t bring him back.

He’s home for his father, not me, that much is painfully clear. But I barely recognize the man he’s become, though I can still see a glimmer of the boy who asked me to be his forever, the boy I walked away from when I was young and afraid.

Maybe if he’d come home under better circumstances, he could speak to me without anger in his voice. Maybe if I’d said yes all those years ago, he’d look at me without the weight of rejection in his…


Book cover of Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words

Amanda Kai Author Of Not In Want of a Wife: A Pride and Prejudice Variation

From my list on Jane Austen fanfiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been hooked on Jane Austen ever since my mom took me to see the movie Pride and Prejudice in theaters. After watching the movie, I bought all of her books and devoured them. I still wanted more, but what do you do when your favorite author has been dead for over 200 years? Well, you turn to fanfiction! After reading numerous sequels, twists, and retellings of my favorite novels, I began writing my own stories. As a stay-at-home mom of three kids, I've been blessed to be able to pursue my passion for storytelling while raising a family. Jane Austen continues to be my primary source of inspiration for my historical and contemporary romances.

Amanda's book list on Jane Austen fanfiction

Amanda Kai Why did Amanda love this book?

In Shannon Winslow’s Regency retelling of Pride and Prejudice, we finally get to experience the story from Darcy’s perspective. The story closely follows the original novel, but with some added scenes that fill in the gaps during the time when Darcy is apart from Elizabeth. Ms. Winslow cleverly added an original character as a rival love interest for Darcy. I enjoyed seeing a totally different side to Austen’s most famous novel and witnessing Darcy’s character growth as he struggles to overcome his own pride and prejudice and find true love.

By Shannon Winslow, Micah D. Hansen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What was Mr. Darcy’s life like before he met Elizabeth Bennet? – before he stepped onto the Pride and Prejudice stage at the Meryton assembly? More importantly, where is he and what is he doing all the time he’s absent from the page thereafter? And what is his relationship to a woman named Amelia?

With "Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words," the iconic literary hero finally tells his own story, from the traumas of his early life to the consummation of his love for Elizabeth and everything in between.

This is not a variation but a supplement to the original…


Book cover of Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England: How Our Ancestors Lived Two Centuries Ago

Sue Wilkes Author Of A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England

From my list on understanding Jane Austen’s England.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a little girl, my parents bought me a children’s edition of Pride and Prejudice. Ever since, I have loved Jane Austen’s works. As I grew older, I really enjoyed learning about her, and researching the history of her times. I hope you will enjoy reading these books as much as I did!

Sue's book list on understanding Jane Austen’s England

Sue Wilkes Why did Sue love this book?

What were the lives of ordinary people like during Austen’s day?

They were far removed from the elegant folk depicted in her novels. The authors look at topics such as child miners, chimney sweeps, crime and punishment, personal hygiene, and how to do the laundry.

True stories look at the horrors of surgery and childbirth in those days of no anesthesia and little understanding of infection. 

By Roy Adkins, Lesley Adkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England explores the real England of Jane Austen's lifetime. It was a troubled period, with disturbing changes in industry and agriculture and a constant dread of invasion and revolution. The comfortable, tranquil country of her fiction is a complete contrast to the England in which she actually lived. From forced marriages and the sale of wives in marketplaces to boys and girls working down mines or as chimney sweeps, this enthralling social history reveals how our ancestors worked, played and struggled to survive. Taking in the horror of ghosts and witches, bull baiting, highwaymen and the…


Book cover of Now We Shall Be Entirely Free

Alison L. McLennan Author Of The Secret Story of a Mormon Turned Madam

From my list on existential and experimental historical fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My imagination opened a portal into the past. And then I found myself spending years researching, reading, and traveling to historical sites across the western United States. Upon visiting historical places, I sometimes become overwhelmed by a visceral sense that is difficult to describe but has compelled me to write about people and places whose stories and spirits are lost and forgotten. An anecdote about a madam in a local museum stirred around in my consciousness for many years before I started writing Ophelia’s War as my MFA thesis. 

Alison's book list on existential and experimental historical fiction

Alison L. McLennan Why did Alison love this book?

This novel takes place during the Napoleon Wars.

The guilty conscience, PTSD, and war crimes of a British Captain drive him to seek tranquility in the Scottish Hebrides. Before reading this novel, I knew little about this time period and had never heard of the Scottish Hebrides.

The author transported me to the Hebrides so accurately that when I looked up pictures after finishing the novel they were the exact replicas of those in my imagination.

This novel has an existential heart yet is plot-driven and action-packed with romance and even moments of humor. The flow of prose and the incorporation of dreams into the story carried me to the last page and made me sad when it ended.

By Andrew Miller,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Now We Shall Be Entirely Free as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* WINNER OF THE HIGHLAND BOOK PRIZE *

* SHORTLISTED FOR THE WALTER SCOTT PRIZE *

The rapturously acclaimed new novel by the Costa Award-winning author of PURE, hailed as 'excellent', 'gripping', 'as suspenseful as any thriller', 'engrossing', 'moving' and 'magnificent'.

One rainswept winter's night in 1809, an unconscious man is carried into a house in Somerset. He is Captain John Lacroix, home from Britain's disastrous campaign against Napoleon's forces in Spain.

Gradually Lacroix recovers his health, but not his peace of mind. He will not - cannot - talk about the war or face the memory of what took…


Book cover of The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age

Lona Manning Author Of A Contrary Wind

From my list on Regency England beyond balls and bonnets.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer of Jane Austen-inspired fiction who fell down a research rabbit hole and perhaps I’ll never climb out. Dr. Johnson said, “The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading… a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” The five books I’m recommending offer a window into the long 18th century, the era of the Enlightenment, and the dawn of the industrial revolution. In these books I’ve met philosophers, romantics, and reformers who brought literacy to the underclass and emancipation to the enslaved. These books have helped me place the characters of my novels within a fascinating, consequential period of history. 

Lona's book list on Regency England beyond balls and bonnets

Lona Manning Why did Lona love this book?

A book about a group of London intellectuals – sometimes friends, sometimes frenemies – who expressed their influential ideas with an elegant style that I find irresistible. (Dr. Johnson strongly influenced Jane Austen, so if you like Austen, you’ll like Johnson.) This book is filled with anecdotes of friendships, rivalries, partying, and bickering, with a fair amount of Georgian bawdy humor sprinkled throughout. You’ll meet writers, poets, playwrights, legislators, and bluestockings. The Club gives you multiple biographies plus a portrait of London in the late Georgian period. Spending time with this book is like spending a few hours with Dr. Johnson and his witty friends at a London coffeehouse.

By Leo Damrosch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the group of extraordinary eighteenth-century writers, artists, and thinkers who gathered weekly at a London tavern

Named one of the 10 Best Books of 2019 by the New York Times Book Review * A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019 * A Kirkus Best Book of 2019

"Damrosch brings the Club's redoubtable personalities-the brilliant minds, the jousting wits, the tender camaraderie-to vivid life."-New York Times Book Review

"Magnificently entertaining."-Washington Post

In 1763, the painter Joshua Reynolds proposed to his friend Samuel Johnson that they invite a few friends to join them every Friday at the Turk's Head…


Book cover of Blood & Sugar

Maggie Humm Author Of Talland House

From my list on re-visioning history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like many readers, I am fascinated by strong creative women in the past and how their lives can inspire women today. As an academic, before my Creative Writing Diploma and transformation to a creative writer, I taught historical novels of many kinds. I now enjoy devising fascinating women whose lives have significant importance for today’s issues. To talk about my favourite historical figure Virginia Woolf, I have had invitations from galleries and universities around the world, including several in the US and Europe, as well as Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Mexico, and Norway. France Culture and Arte TV, and Turkey TRT Television also featured my writing. 

Maggie's book list on re-visioning history

Maggie Humm Why did Maggie love this book?

Winner of the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown Award, Blood & Sugar is a page-turner of a crime thriller set in London and Greenwich 1781. Captain Harry Corsham must discover why his old friend the abolitionist Tad Archer was murdered. Corsham’s quest may do irreparable damage to the slave trade. I live in Greenwich, much of which is unchanged architecturally since the eighteenth century. Walking the streets portrayed in the novel brings alive that world. Slave trade monuments are currently being taken down in the UK and US and Blood & Sugar depicts the beginnings of that emotional and necessary journey.

By Laura Shepherd-Robinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blood & Sugar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A page-turner of a crime thriller . . . This is a world conveyed with convincing, terrible clarity'
C. J. Sansom

Blood & Sugar is the thrilling debut historical crime novel from Laura Shepherd-Robinson.

June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock - horribly tortured and branded with a slaver's mark.

Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham - a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career - is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable…


Book cover of Lucy: Ultimate Survivor

Peter Hain Author Of The Elephant Conspiracy

From my list on thrilling page-turners.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an activist-politician, who’s been both militant anti-apartheid protestor and Cabinet Minister, someone who tries to convey sometimes complex issues in straightforward terms, impatient with taking refuge down academic rabbit holes, striving to see the wood-for-the-trees. With the exception of George Orwell, each of the books I have recommended is by an author I know personally. My new thriller, The Elephant Conspiracy, sequel to The Rhino Conspiracy, reflects dismay at the corrupt betrayal of Nelson Mandela’s freedom struggle and the values which inspired it, the main characters fighting to revive those values of social justice, liberty, equal opportunities, and integrity, as well as service to others not selfish enrichment. 

Peter's book list on thrilling page-turners

Peter Hain Why did Peter love this book?

I enjoyed commenting on early drafts of this dramatic Georgian historical fiction written by my wife Elizabeth about her great-great-great-grandmother: painstakingly researched and vividly portrayed, it’s about love, betrayal, and survival. Lucy, strong-willed daughter of English landed gentry, born in the late 18th century, married Sam Lord, a plantation owner and fortune hunter from Barbados, at a time when women were their husband’s chattels with no rights even over the children. Abused and imprisoned by him in Barbados, she escaped with the help of enslaved people after giving birth at sea, braving disease and cruelty, and witnessing the abject misery of slavery in her descent from a life of pampered luxury to a struggle for survival in a far-off land.  

By Elizabeth Haywood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lucy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A dramatic and intriguing true Georgian tale of love, betrayal and survival. Lucy, a strong-willed girl from a wealthy family, was brought up on the English–Welsh border and married a Caribbean plantation owner, Sam Lord, for love, meanwhile he married her for her fortune, at a time when a woman was a chattel and everything she had, including her children, became her husband’s. Abused and imprisoned in Barbados, she escaped with the help of enslaved people. A vibrant intimate description of early 19th-century life – giving birth at sea, braving disease and cruelty, and witnessing the abject misery of slavery…


Book cover of The Politics of Empire at the Accession of George III: The East India Company and the Crisis and Transformation of Britain's Imperial State

Christian R. Burset Author Of An Empire of Laws: Legal Pluralism in British Colonial Policy

From my list on the rise of the British Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a legal historian with a particular interest in eighteenth-century Britain and the United States. My research has investigated the history of arbitration, historical connections between law and politics, and changing attitudes to the rule of law. Since 2018, I’ve been a professor at Notre Dame Law School, where I teach courses in legal history, civil procedure, conflict of laws, and the rule of law.

Christian's book list on the rise of the British Empire

Christian R. Burset Why did Christian love this book?

Why did Britain’s empire take the form it did? It’s easy to assume that it all happened automatically—that Britain “conquered and peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind,” as the historian J.R. Seeley famously put it.

The Politics of Empire challenges that assumption, reconstructing the political movements and ideologies that led Britain to build a territorial empire in India—as well as the kinds of empire Britain chose not to build. 

By James M. Vaughn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Politics of Empire at the Accession of George III as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An important revisionist history that casts eighteenth-century British politics and imperial expansion in a new light

"An important book . . . . Vaughn has greatly added to our understanding of Britain's empire and politics."-Journal of Modern HIstory

In this bold debut work, historian James M. Vaughn challenges the scholarly consensus that British India and the Second Empire were founded in "a fit of absence of mind." He instead argues that the origins of the Raj and the largest empire of the modern world were rooted in political conflicts and movements in Britain. It was British conservatives who shaped the…


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