The Austen ProjectI’ve been reading Sense & Sensibility, not the original, but the first volume of ‘The Austen Project‘.

The AustenProject teams up contemporary authors with 19th century classics written by one of my favorite authors of all time – Jane Austen.

The first novel in the series is written by British bestselling author Joanna Trollope, and I’ve enjoyed reading her reworking of the classic tale of Elinore and Marianne,  two very different sisters – one ruled by her brain, the other by her heart.

The idea is fascinating – take a 19th century classic, maintain the story, the characters, and the plot points, but transport the story two centuries later than its original setting, so that it takes place in modern times.

Admittedly, as an Austen fan, half the fun is trying to see how 19th century conundrums (property entailed away from daughters to the closest male heir? a secret engagement? a compromising, unchaperoned outing between a young man and woman?) will be dealt with in the reworked version.

The Austen ProjectI must say, Trollope has handled them quite deftly. 19th century characters concerned primarily with money and status transport quite nicely into modern times. Frivolous, empty-headed characters in the modern world simply shift their attention to Facebook and texting.

It’s a fun read, especially for Austen fans.

Book two in The Austen Project is already out – Northanger Abbey, reworked by Val McDermid. Pride & Prejudice will be the third in the series, out later this year, and authored by Curtis Sittenfield.

The other three Austen novels will follow, and I look forward to reading them. All Jane Austen fans – and those who still need to become Austen fans : ) – be sure to take a look at the interesting Austen Project.

Maybe this could catch on with other authors – the Brontes? Wharton? Dickens?