"Chick lit is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly. Although it sometimes includes romantic elements, chick lit is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because the heroine's relationship with her family or friends is often just as important as her romantic relationships." - Goodreads
"[Romance] books are about the celebration of falling in love and emotion and commitment, and all of those things we really want." - Nora Roberts
Jane Austen blazed the trail that every writer of romance and chick lit ever after has followed. Her popularity is still strong after 250 years. Numerous film adaptations of her novels, including the recent Austen-meets-horror film mashup, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, continue to be produced, watched, and admired, and discussed.
Like any chick lit/modern-day romance heroine, Elizabeth Bennet's relationship with her father, mother, and sisters is every bit as important to her as her relationship with Mr Darcy. Emma Woodhouse is devoted not only to Mr Knightley, but also to her father and her governess, Miss Taylor. And certainly no two sisters are more different - or more close-knit - than Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. And like any chick lit worth its cover price, there are always plenty of humorous moments to be found in Austen's novels in addition to a deeply satisfying romance.
Imagine, then, if Austen had to write for today's market. How might Darcy, Elizabeth, Anne Elliot, Captain Wentworth and the rest fare between the covers of, say, a Harlequin romance novel?
One of the first rules of current romance fiction is to throw the hero and heroine together as often as possible, from the very first page. Pride and Prejudice and Emma both manage this very well. Like any modern heroine, Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse are young, spirited, and possessed of determination and (in Emma's case, in particular) self-assurance in spades. They spend a great deal of time in Darcy and Knightley's company. They flirt; they cast sidelong glances at the object of their (reluctant) affection; they argue; they ponder; they weep, and rage, and misconstrue. They want to marry, but on their own terms; they want to fall in love and be loved in return. They will settle for nothing less.
And eventually, after numerous and ever more serious misunderstandings, they find their way to lasting love, better self-understanding, and a happy ending.
So far, so good…
Persuasion, however, is a romance fail if judged against this first rule of romantic fiction. Anne Elliot spends little time with Captain Wentworth over the course of the novel. She regrets her actions and pines for the man she was persuaded to turn away. She stoically perseveres through a downturn in her family's fortunes, even as Wentworth's return confirms him as a self-made success. Not until the book is nearly over do Anne and Frederick finally admit their true and lasting feelings for one another.
If Anne were a Harlequin heroine, she'd 'meet cute' with Wentworth early on and, despite her initial attraction, allows her snobby mother to convince her she could do better, so much better, than marry a man of no wealth or distinction. She'd have a wisecracking best friend, an over-achieving older sister, and a Pomeranian named Lacey. She'd drive a Honda and work part-time shelving books in the local library. But rather than suffering in silence like Austen’s Anne, she'd share her doubts and innermost thoughts with her bestie over a Venti skinny latte at Starbucks.
And she'd spend a lot more time in Wentworth's vicinity - arguing, ignoring him, laughing, flirting.
The second irrefutable rule of romantic fiction is: provide conflict. To keep readers turning the pages, a story must have conflict, and plenty of it...both inner and external. Austen manages this to excellent effect in both Pride and Prejudice and Emma. Darcy thinks Elizabeth is 'not handsome enough to tempt me,' and she in return she finds him prideful and humorless. She's outraged when she learns he warned Mr Bingley away from her sister Jane, as he did not think the girl worthy of his good friend's affections.
Cue Lizzy's understandable anger, her indignation and hurt, and wait for the inevitable conflict with Mr Darcy that follows...
Then as now, whether in the pages of today’s chick lit romances or within a classic Regency novel by Jane Austen, we're none of us more vulnerable (or comical) than when we fall in love, displaying our foibles and insecurities for the entire world to see. As Miss Austen's books and film adaptations prove time and again, romance (and the war between the sexes) never fails to amuse...and will never go out of style.
My website is www.katieoliver.com/ko/blog and I'm also on Twitter ( @ katieoliver01 ), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/KatieOliverWriter/) and Instagram ( katiewriter ).
When your name is Lizzy Bennet, and the object of your affections just happens to have the surname Darcy, it seems fitting that life should imitate art, and you should end up together – right?
So when a film crew arrive to shoot Pride and Prejudice at the Darcy estate next door to the Bennet home, and Hugh Darcy arrives home after eight years away, Lizzy knows that their time has finally come. Until, that is, he introduces her to Holly – his fiancée…
What is Lizzy to do? It can’t hurt that Holly knows nothing about country life, and that her ex-boyfriend and film star Ciaran Duncan just happens to be the main star of the new movie. And it’s clear that Lady Darcy does not approve of Holly either. Lizzy knows Holly isn’t right for Hugh, but can she make him see that and get her Austen ending after all?
About the author
Katie Oliver loves romantic comedies, characters who "meet cute," Richard Curtis films, and Prosecco (not necessarily in that order). She currently resides in South Florida with her husband, two parakeets, and a dog.
Katie’s been writing since she was eight, and has a box crammed with (mostly unfinished) novels to prove it. With her sons grown and gone, she decided to get serious and write more (and hopefully, better) stories. She even finishes most of them.
Check the Dating Mr Darcy Series at
and the Marrying Mr Darcy Series at
Grand Giveaway !
Have a look at the amazing prizes in our grand giveaway. Click on the dots in the rafflecopter form to discover the prizes one by one: a great deal of goodies! All for one winner and open internationally! To enter the giveaway use the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!!!