Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation by Alice McVeigh
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HARRIET is an intriguing and original “take” on Jane Austen’s immortal EMMA, by Publishers Weekly’s 2021 BookLife Prize quarterfinalist, Alice McVeigh.
Emma, a privileged young heiress, decides to mentor Harriet Smith, a pretty boarding-school pupil, and to matchmake her as eligibly as she can… But how is she to guess that Harriet has a secret?
Meanwhile, the brilliant, penniless Jane Fairfax consents to a clandestine engagement with Frank Churchill – though not daring to confess, even to him, that she is being relentlessly pursued by her best friend’s husband.
HARRIET sidelines Emma herself in favour of the ingenious Harriet and the fascinating Jane Fairfax. It is EMMA – but an EMMA with a surprisingly believable twist in its tail.
“A dynamic take on a revered classic. This is still Austen’s EMMA—but the story that unfolds through the recollections of these two “side” characters feels remarkably fresh… With or without an understanding of EMMA, HARRIET contains a fully-formed narrative that should satisfy even the choosiest Austen fans… Readers will rarely find the words ‘page-turner’ and ‘Jane Austen’ in the same sentence, but McVeigh’s impeccably written HARRIET certainly fits the bill.” (IndieReader)
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Alice McVeigh is a multi-award-winning novelist, ghostwriter and tennis addict. Before taking her fiction seriously, she spent over 15 years touring with the world as a cellist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Her first two contemporary novels were published by Orion/Hachette; her third, Last Star Standing (Unbound Publishing, 2021) a Kirkus-starred speculative thriller, is current a semi-finalist for the Cygnus Award and a Wishing Shelf Book Award (adult fiction) finalist, as well as a just-announced Distinguished Favorite (finalist) for the 2022 Independent Press Awards (Action/Adventure).
Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel was a BookLife 2021 quarterfinalist, rated 10/10 in Publishers Weekly (“This Jane Austen-inspired novel echoes the master herself.”) It won an IndieBRAG medallion, along with gold medals/First Place/the gold medal in the Pencraft and Global book awards. Shelf Unbound magazine selected it as one of 100 “Notable Indies” of 2021 (included non-fiction). It is currently shortlisted for several other prizes.
Her newest novel (Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation) has only just been published on Feb. 3, 2022. Just as SUSAN imagined a youthful Lady Susan, HARRIET imagines a Harriet Smith clever enough to appear stupid and malleable to the great Emma Woodhouse. It has over 100 reviews at 4.6 on Goodreads and over 4.5 on Amazon, and – at launch was #1 bestseller (not only in hot new releases) in Historical British Fiction.
A few of its editorial reviews:
“An immersive, high stakes, and heartfelt take on the classic – and a fantastic tribute to Austen’s Emma.” (Clarion Reviews)
“A dynamic take on a revered classic. This is still Austen’s Emma—but the story that unfolds through the recollections of these two ‘side’ characters feels remarkably fresh… With or without an understanding of Emma, Harriet contains a fully-formed narrative that should satisfy even the choosiest Austen fans… Readers will rarely find the words ‘page-turner’ and ‘Jane Austen’ in the same sentence, but McVeigh’s impeccably written Harriet certainly fits the bill.” (IndieReader)