Review: Sanditon: Official ITV Tie-In Edition by Kate Riordan and Jane Austen

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a big Jane Austen fan. I love her novels with my favorite being Persuasion. I have read most of her popular novels but confess I haven’t had a chance to read her unfinished works such as Sandtion.

With the show being released finally here in the US, I thought this would be prime time for me to check out this unfinished novel by Austen, that Kate Riordan picked up and completed.

The show looks fantastic, plus Theo James need I say more. I haven’t yet watched it (I am so behind on my shows!) but I love period dramas and with an author like Jane Austen you simply can’t go wrong!

Summary

In the vein of Downton Abbey, Jane Austen’s beloved but unfinished masterpiece-often considered her most modern and exciting novel-gets a spectacular second act in this tie-in to a major new limited television series.

Written only months before Austen’s death in 1817, Sanditontells the story of the joyously impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood and her spiky relationship with the humorous, charming (and slightly wild!) Sidney Parker. When a chance accident transports her from her rural hometown of Willingden to the would-be coastal resort of the eponymous title, it exposes Charlotte to the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the make, and the characters whose fortunes depend on its commercial success. The twists and turns of the plot, which takes viewers from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London, exposes the hidden agendas of each character and sees Charlotte discover herself… and ultimately find love (summary from Goodreads)

Review

I will absolutely have to agree with the summery here—this is Austen’s most modern novel! I also want to take a minute and point out that Riordan had her work cut out for her. Austen is incredibly talented and wildly popular, I commend her for having the courage to undertake this book and complete it. Obviously no one really knows exactly what little nuances and edits Austen herself might have made to the story as she died before it was completed, so Riordan had to take the bare bones of this novel and make it her own while trying to maintain the integrity of the novel and characters. Obviously that wasn’t an easy task but I thought she stepped up to the plate and did a bang up job.

Fans of Austen’s other books will find her hallmark character traits in this book—feisty heroines and rakish but charming heroes. Many other readers felt like this book was basically just a rip off of Pride and Prejudice but I disagree. I think Austen wrote about women characters as she hoped they would be but perhaps couldn’t be in real life. Many of her characters are extremely similar in character as are her heroes. When it comes to this book, I feel like Austen and Riordan stuck with that worked for Austen. I hope that makes sense.

While the characters in Sandition might not have been ‘new and exciting’ but some standards, I thought the fact that Austen incorporated a woman of color in her novel was very forward thinking and progressive. I really enjoyed reading Miss Lambe plot, she wasn’t there as a servant or slave but rather as an educated and rich young woman and I thought that alone made this novel very different from her others even if some of the characters were similar from other novels.

Bottom line, no one knows exactly what Austen had planned for this novel and its characters but Riordan did a great job at trying to give us a conclusion and plot. I enjoyed reading it very much and am really looking forward to watching the show finally. As part of this book tour, I was also provided with a copy of THE WORLD OF SANDTION that gave a lot of background information on not only the period drama but the novel itself. I have that copy proudly displayed on my coffee table because it has excellent pictures and I thought really brought life to the novel that I was reading since I had yet to see the show.

Book Info and Rating

Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 31st 2019 by Grand Central Publishing
ASIN B07W47LH9H
Free review copy provided by publisher, Grand Central Publishing in partnership with Austen Prose, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: classic, historical fiction

QUICK FACTS

  • Title: Sanditon
  • Authors: Jane Austen & Kate Riordan
  • Based on Andrew Davies’ TV adaptation/continuation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel written in 1817
  • As seen on Masterpiece PBS, premiering January 12, 2020

PURCHASE LINKS

AUTHOR BIO

Kate Riordan is a writer and journalist from England. Her first job was as an editorial assistant at the Guardian newspaper, followed by a stint as deputy editor for the lifestyle section of London bible, Time Out magazine. There she had assignments that saw her racing reindeers in Lapland, going undercover in London’s premier department store and gleaning writing tips (none-too subtly) during interviews with some of her favorite authors. After becoming a freelancer, she left London behind and moved to the beautiful Cotswolds in order to write her first novel.

SANDITON REVIEW ROUNDUP SCHEDULE

January 13                Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog

January 14                History Lizzie

January 17                Babblings of a Bookworm

January 20                Confessions of a Book Addict

January 20                Living Read Girl

January 25                Margie’s Must Reads

January 26                My Jane Austen Book Club

February 03              The Lit Bitch

February 10              Unabridged Chick

February 10              Laura’s Reviews

February 13              Bookfoolery

February 14              Half Agony, Half Hope

February 17              Scuffed Slippers, Wormy Books

February 18              Impressions in Ink

February 23              From Pemberley to Milton

February 24              So Little Time…

February 24              Vesper’s Place

February 26              Austenesque Reviews

February 28              My Vices and Weaknesses

 

3 thoughts on “Review: Sanditon: Official ITV Tie-In Edition by Kate Riordan and Jane Austen

  1. I’ve yet to read sanditon myself, I just can’t bring myself to reading something unfinished by Austen. It just seems almost too sad! I was super excited to watch that show too…but I ended up abandoning it after two episodes oops! Maybe I should try again. Great review :)))

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