Can’t wait to find out what happens next on Sanditon? While we breathlessly wait for more of Charlotte’s adventures, read how other authors continued Jane Austen’s Sanditon book. From one rare version written by Austen’s niece, to an all-time fan favorite, and even a mystery, be prepared for surprise, romance and intriguing new takes! Learn about the plots and points of view, plus find out what Austen experts had to say about each book.
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Jane Austen’s Sanditon: A Continuation by Anna Austen Lefroy
This work by Austen’s own niece only came to light in more recent times, and is an intriguing starting point for Sanditon adaptations. Anna Austen Lefroy and aunt Jane actually discussed and corresponded about the seaside story’s beginnings and its main characters. Upon Jane’s death, Lefroy inherited the original manuscript fragment. An author in her own right, she attempted to finish the story, but later wrote it “was too little advanced to enable one to form any idea of the [final] plot.” Lefroy’s work was ultimately unearthed in a 1977 auction and published, (in its incomplete state), in 1983. She introduces new characters, including Sidney Parker’s eligible comrade Mr. Tracy. Charlotte and Sidney carry on as the presumed love match, but their affections are still not developed.
This author’s “personal knowledge of her aunt’s literary predilections, their literary discussions, their writing collaboration, and especially their discussions about the characters in Sanditon, give Anna Austen Lefroy’s continuation literary significance,” says a review in Persuasion, a journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Unfortunately, the book is currently out of print and difficult to find. (Chiron Press, 1983)
Sanditon: Continued and Completed by Another Lady by Jane Austen and Marie Dobbs
You may want to begin with the most acclaimed continuation of Sanditon to date. Author Dobbs (pseudonym) is praised for her subtlety, satire and discretion. After Charlotte Heywood comes to town as the Parkers’ guest, the new story continues apace and includes an excursion to another coastal town, a lavish ball, talk of elopement and a final, unexpected plot twist! Reviews consistently note the author’s skillful parody of Austen’s characteristic wit to comment on Regency era society. First published in 1975, this is a “most enjoyable read. …It remains one of the better examples of what to do right with a sequel or continuation and every Janeite and potential Austenesque author should read it,” says the blog Austenprose. (Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1998)
A Cure for All Diseases by Reginald Hill
If you relish a good mystery as much as a period romance, this resumption of Austen’s story fits the bill! The title is actually the 23rd in Hill’s popular series featuring Yorkshire detectives Andrew Dalziel and Peter Pascoe. The fictional Sanditon is replaced by Sandytown, where Superintendent Dalziel is recuperating from his last case. He makes friends with fellow visitor, Charlotte Heywood, a recent psychology graduate researching the town’s alternative therapies. When one of the resort’s distinguished investors meets a ghastly end, the two partner up to investigate, meddling with DI Pascoe’s probe. “One of [Hill’s] best. … [He] is a brilliant and witty observer of whatever social order he happens to look at,” says The Globe and Mail. (Seal Books; mass market paperback, 2009)
Sanditon: Jane Austen’s Unfinished Masterpiece Completed by Jane Austen and Juliette Shapiro
This continuation is completed by Austen authority, Juliette Shapiro, who chose not to include Austen’s fragment upfront; it must be read separately. The idiosyncratic Parker family, crusty Lady Denham, and the clear-eyed Charlotte Heywood remain featured characters. Sidney Parker is stamped as a “saucy fellow” who is bemused by his family and–let it be known–falls for Charlotte somewhat hastily. In Shapiro’s telling, “The ending is happy, the ‘bad guy’ fails, and all difficulties are humorously resolved. … most Janeites will enjoy this completion,” says AustenBlog. (Ulysses Press; Reprint edition, 2009)
The Suspicion at Sanditon (Or, the Disappearance of Lady Denham): a Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery by Carrie Bebris
Invite Austen characters Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy to Sanditon and you get quite an unexpected plot! The seventh title in Bebris’ award-winning Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries involves a dinner hosted by Lady Denham where the female guests commence to disappear over the course of the evening. Charlotte Heywood joins the Darcys to frantically work out what’s happened before anyone else is lost. “Plenty of Janeites will appreciate this kind of lively and at times tongue-in-cheek, Austen-toned escapism,” says Publisher’s Weekly. (Tor Books; Reprint edition, 2016)
Sanditon by Jane Austen and Kate Riordan
Riordan’s take captures the first (and only the first) season of the Andrew Davies’ adaptation for MASTERPIECE on PBS. Charlotte Heywood is transported from her rural home to the up-and-coming coastal resort of Sanditon, where she meets an eccentric cast of characters whose futures rely on its profits. There is a dog-eat-dog battle for inheritance, swoon-worthy balls, a co-ed cricket match and a regatta, not to mention several love triangles–including one with a rather cheerless end.
You can most certainly appreciate the book without having watched the series. “It’s well written and fast paced, with good characterization and highly descriptive passages, twists and turns abound as well as passionate romance and intrigue. If you expect Jane Austen’s refined 18th century style, you may be disappointed, but if you look for a thrilling Regency rom-com, this book won’t disappoint,” says the blog, My Jane Austen Book Club. (Grand Central Publishing, 2019)