It is a truth universally acknowledged that the works of Jane Austen are beloved. She managed to create fascinating characters, from the swoon-worthy leading men to the heroines that we can either relate to or that we want to become. Jane Austen also created some of the best rogues and rakes that have ever appeared in literature, from Tom Bertram to John Willoughby.
Published on the 7th of November, Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues is a peek into the lives of the most notorious bad boys of Austen, with a glimpse at Darcy’s cousin Fitzwilliam, General Tilney, and Sir Walter Elliot as well.
Edited by Christina Boyd and published by Quill Ink, a variety of authors write the short stories in this collection. Each writes with her own unique style. They all take a different Austen Bad Boy and give us a short story about them. These either tell us what these characters were doing before the book or during the novel itself. For the most part, they served to humanize these bad boys of Austen. They give them a backstory where there wasn’t one before.
These stories also answer questions about what these characters were doing. What was Tom Bertram doing before he came back to Mansfield? How did Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax meet and fall in love? What happened to Henry Crawford? I want to know more about Fitzwilliam! Was General Tilney ever in love? These questions were answered beautifully in Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues!
Some of the short stories tie together many characters from Austen’s work. My favorite example of this was in “Willoughby’s Crossroads,” where Darcy, Bingley, and Willoughby all attended school together. I also really enjoyed “Fitzwilliam’s Folly,” because I always wanted to know more about Darcy’s cousin in Pride and Prejudice.
If I was going to be completely honest, though, I really couldn’t pick a favorite. I finished the collection feeling bad for Willoughby, disliking Frank Churchill, and rooting for Tom Bertram to find happiness. I also found myself feeling a little more sympathetic towards General Tilney, something that I never expected to feel.
This is a collection of short stories by some very talented authors. Each tells a story that was left out of Austen’s original works. They manage to tell each in such a way that feels authentic to her vision and style. They are also using their own unique writing styles. This makes the book a lot of fun to read. Some of these stories end in happily ever after, or redemption for some of our favorite bad boys, and some of them do not. The tragic endings were just as wonderful as the stories that had a happy ending.
It is important to note that, since these are stories about romance and rakes, some of these stories have content warnings. These are labeled clearly. This way, you can skip anything with a content label that is different than what you’re looking for.
If you are looking to spend more time in the world of Jane Austen, enjoy stories about gentlemen bad boys, or if have a specific bad boy from the works of Jane Austen that you have a soft place in your heart for, this is a collection that you should not miss. Some of the stories made me dislike these characters even more than I did while reading the book. Others made me feel a little sorry for these guys. Overall, it is a beautifully crafted and fun book. The stories range from sweetly romantic to sassy and a bit tragic. I think that Jane Austen would approve.
You can buy Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues on Amazon.
Which of Jane Austen’s Rakes and Rogues is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!
“You had me at hello.”
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My
feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me
to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”