Feb 24, 2015

Author's Influences on Authors

"But to have a really good story-you have to engage a complex and authentic character. If I can related to/empathize with/care about a character, then her journey becomes mine and I learn about myself and the world around me-perhaps in ways I never imagined. And that's provactive..." -Katherine Reay

Lizzy & Jane

Katherine Reay 

Thomas Nelson 


Lizzy and Jane never saw eye to eye. But when illness brings them together, they discover they may be more like Austen's famous sisters after all.

Lizzy was only a teenager when her mother died of cancer. Shortly after, Lizzy fled from her home, her family, and her cherished nickname. After working tirelessly to hone her gift of creating magic in the kitchen, Elizabeth has climbed the culinary ladder to become the head chef of her own New York restaurant, Feast. But as her magic begins to elude her, Paul, Feast's financial backer, brings in someone to share her responsibilities and her kitchen. So Elizabeth flees again.

In a desperate attempt to reconnect with her gift, Elizabeth returns home. But her plans are derailed when she learns that her estranged sister, Jane, is battling cancer. Elizabeth surprises everyone-including herself-when she decides to stay in Seattle and work to prepare healthy, sustaining meals for Jane as she undergoes chemotherapy. She also meets Nick and his winsome son, Matt, who, like Elizabeth, are trying to heal from the wounds of the past.
As she tends to Jane's needs, Elizabeth's powers begin to return to her, along with the family she left behind so long ago. Then Paul tries to entice her back to New York, and she is faced with a hard decision: stay and become Lizzy to her sister's Jane, or return to New York and the life she worked so hard to create?


Dear Mr. Knightley

Katherine Reay

Thomas Nelson


Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen.

Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.

My thoughts: 

My Jane Austen addiction may be getting out of hand. The flowery language and tight-knit relationships. Ahh! Swoon! I realize I'm probably in the minority. Katherine Reay and other authors have taken the liberty to strip down the book to its core themes and morals and repackage them into a modern wrapping for a new generation to absorb. Perhaps, like it did to me, inspire you to go back and revisit the classic text. 


  1. I completely missed the Jane Austen connection for 'Lizzy & Jane' until I looked at the cover and it clicked. I can be very blond, I guess! Both of these reads sound really good and as you say, it is great how these authors make the core of other stories their own by repackaging it in a completely new way! Thanks for dropping by, I'm following on Twitter so I hope we stay in touch :)
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  2. I've been dying to read Dear Mr. Knightley! I'll take just about anything and everything related to Jane Austen, and I love the inspiration she takes from Austen. I have found in the past, though, that reworkings sometimes don't work for me and only make me want to read the original. :)

    Rachel @ Paper Cuts


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