Sanditon by Jane Austen and “Another Lady”

The first eleven chapters of Sanditon were written by Jane Austen between January 27 and March 18, 1817. While writing this she had less than six months to live, and it’s hard to believe she was still able to keep her characters so witty and engaging with death at her door.

“Another Lady” says her completion of the manuscript is not intended for literary critics but for Jane Austen fans. She takes over half-way through chapter eleven. Jane Austen’s last words being, “Poor Mr. Hollis! It was impossible not to feel him hardly used: to be obliged to stand back in his own house and see the best place by the fire constantly occupied by Sir Henry Denham.”

I imagine this was how Wheel of Time fans felt when Robert Jordan died before finishing his final novel in the series. Good thing he left extensive notes. Unfortunately Jane Austen didn’t, all “Another Lady” knew was that 1) in five of six novels, the heroine lives in a country village until a rich bachelor arrives 2) each heroine has a rival and 3) nobody dies on stage and you can expect a happy ending.

Details, Please

It all starts with a couple’s carriage being overturned near the heroine Charlotte’s home. Because her family helps them out and takes care of the gentleman’s ankle they take Charlotte back home with them to Sanditon, a seaside resort for a vacation. There Charlotte meets all sorts of dashing and extravagant people. Including Mr. Parker’s brother Sidney. One thing I really loved about Sidney Parker was he reminded me of Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey my favorite Austen novel. Sidney is charming and witty and teases Charlotte mercilessly. This is hilarious because her character is extremely practical and cautious and he disconcerts her to the point of bafflement.

So What?

Some purists claim the novel was better left unfinished, but I’m glad “Another Lady” did. I mean you have to give her credit for even attempting. She admits that Austen’s writing can’t be faithfully copied and for that she apologizes, and I don’t mind. To be honest I didn’t notice the switching of authors, it was that seamless to me. I’m not a scholar on the subject though so maybe to others it would be more evident. The ending was more like a Georgette Heyer ending in that it was a bit more fantastical, but that made it all the more enjoyable.

Overall

If you’re an Austen or Heyer fan read it. Take it to the beach and laugh. I hold Charlotte Heywood and Sidney Parker right up there with Austen’s other characters. “Another Lady” did a really good job.

P.S. I’ll leave off with some pictures my awesome niece took of our day at the beach… it’s not Sanditon, but hey, it’s our beach 🙂

16 comments

    1. Amazon!! I purchased a paperback from them in 2011 Have now read it 3 times and just wish it would have been into a movie…. a little more exciting at the end than Jane may have written it, but is still a gread read.

  1. I had no clue that this work was “completed.” I am an Austen fan, even though I don’t admit that much. I’m curious to see if I would notice the change of writers.

    Love the photos. Looks like a great time!

    1. @ themisanthropologist Yeah, I randomly ran across it, and I’ve never seen it anywhere else.

      @ TBM I didn’t know either till I found it. lol. Your photos always make my day.

  2. Same here, I didn’t know anyone attempted to finish a Jane Austen novel. Would be interesting to find out how well she managed.
    I’m jealous of your beach btw. Switzerland offers quite a lot but no beaches.

    1. @ Caroline I’d love to visit Switzerland, maybe one day you can visit a Texas beach 🙂

      @ Hannah nothing really compares to Pensacola beach though. When you went to NC it didn’t compare, right?

  3. I read Jane Austen’s Sanditon written with help by a Lady and enjoyed it thoroughly. Then I read it without a Lady’s help and didn’t think it was so good. Very nicely written review!

  4. I finally found a copy of this in a bookstore today…purely by accident! Strange thing though, my copy said it’s by Jane Austen and Juliette Shapiro. I wonder if she’s “Another Lady” who finally identified herself, or if there are actually different versions of this book, “co-written” by different people??

    1. How cool! I looked up my version on goodreads and someone said “Another Lady” was a woman named Marie Dobbs. So I guess different people “co-wrote”….but now I’m wondering about Juliette Shapiro’s version. 🙂

      1. Well I saw on wikipedia that I think more than 5 people “co-wrote” Sanditon. According to wikipedia, Juliette Shapiro didn’t use any original text from Jane Austen..but the cover of the book I got said by Jane Austen and Juliette Shapiro. So I guess different writers used different approaches in completing the work. Now I’d feel that I need to buy and read the different versions I come across (If I ever come across anymore). Maybe we should compare notes? 🙂

      2. Yes, Let’s do that :). I moved recently so my copy is back where I used to live, but I remember what happened. Lol…Five different co-authors? Wow, it would be interesting to read all of them. It’s odd that Shapiro didn’t use any of the original text. I know some people wrote they could tell when the author changed with “Another Lady” (I couldn’t tell)…maybe Shapiro was trying to avoid that.

  5. It would be interesting to read all of them, but I doubt I’d ever find another copy 😦 I was a bit disappointed when I learned that Juliette Shapiro didn’t use any of the original text. I thought she would have just continued where Jane Austen left off. I think I would have liked it better if she used Austen’s original text. I hope I can find that one by “Another Lady” someday.

    I will make sure to update you when I start reading it. Hopefully by mid January 🙂 I’m still excited regardless of the fact that it wasn’t really written by Jane Austen lol.

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