There are a lot of them out there: continuations, sequels, spin-off, retellings, books inspired by Jane Austen's novels. Even though they are often not that great, for some reason I still end up wanting to read more. However, there are some good ones that I've discovered too. So I've decided to put together a list of the Jane-Austen-related books that I've read - the good and the not-so-good.
Lady Catherine's Necklace by Joan Aiken
This was OK. It wasn't quite believable as a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, but if you ignore that it is a sequel it isn't a bad story in its own right.
Georgiana Darcy's Diary by Anne Elliott
This was a fairly enjoyable sequel to Pride and Prejudice, focusing on Georgiana (obviously) and her search for romance. It wasn't anything special but I did enjoy it. (I got it as a free Kindle download; you can still get it for free now at Amazon (UK or US).
The Matters at Mansfield, or, The Crawford Affair by Carrie Bebris
I actually did really enjoy this book. It's part of a series which involves Elizabeth and Darcy solving mysteries, which involves them meeting characters from each of Jane Austen's novels (in this case, the characters of Mansfield Park, although most of these characters play a fairly minor part in the novel). The mystery was intriguing, the dialogue felt fairly authentically Regency and the characters were pretty close to their original representations, so overall, this was a very enjoyable read. (There is a slightly gruesome description of a murder, but it's not that bad.) I intend to read the rest of the series, sometime.
Mr. Darcy's Diary and Mr. Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange
Both of these books were quite good, an entertaining look at Pride and Prejudice and Emma, respectively, from the hero's perspective. I have to admit that I don't remember that much about either of them, so they didn't leave a very lasting impression, but I did enjoy them, although I preferred the former.
Longbourn by Jo Baker
This was one that I didn't enjoy. I liked the concept of it and it started out fairly well, but then it kind of went downhill and the middle section was just ... not good. I kept reading in the hope that it would get better, which it did, a bit, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Jane Austen: Her Complete Novels in One Sitting by Jennifer Kasius
This book provides a brief summary of the characters and plot of each of Jane Austen's novels. It's a useful reminder if you can't exactly remember the plot of each novel or have trouble keeping track of the characters (I know I used to).
Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard: A Tale of Tide and Prejudice by Belinda Roberts
This was another book that started off fairly well but I got bored of it towards the end. It is quite funny, but I think the jokes get tiresome after a bit and it gets a bit ridiculous towards the end. So overall it wasn't that great.
Dear Mr. Knightley and Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay
These books are not so much spin-offs from Jane Austen's works as just books that are inspired by them. In both cases the main characters have a strong interest in classic literature, especially Jane Austen, and this influences their perceptions and how they think about things, and there are a lot of references to Jane Austen and other classic authors in them. I enjoyed them both, perhaps not quite as much as I'd hoped to, but they are both good stories in their own right, and definitely worth reading if you like classic books or a good story. (You can read my review of Dear Mr. Knightley here.)