Origins of this feature:
Every so often I get emails from a certain big box bookstore that I've purchased from in the past with the declaration, "If You Liked...., Then You'll Like...." The trouble is I often wonder how these books are related. Who made the decision that these books are similar enough that having liked one, I'll like the other? Was it a real person? Or a computer generated list? I've thought about this form of marketing and believe I know a few books that belong together. If there was a box set of related books, like they do those movies at Halloween or Valentine's Day, these are the ones I'd choose to package together.
Young Ladies’ Entrances Into the World
Evelina by Fanny Burney
Evelina finally gets to leave her home in the country for the big city of London. While there, she fights off unwanted encounters in the backs of carriages, is kidnapped a couple of times, endures the machinations of her vulgar relatives, and even gets taken for a walk with a couple of prostitutes. You know, everyday stuff.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Catherine Moreland also finally gets to leave her country home for the city of Bath. Catherine grew up on the works of authors like Burney and is looking for adventure. Luckily, she finds some but her misadventures skew toward the social faux pas of others. She’s manhandled much less than poor Evelina, although she is taken for an unwanted carriage ride with a ne’er do well.
Jane Austen parodied many books, especially the gothic potboilers, that were popular novels of the time in Northanger Abbey. Evelina was one of them. Although not a gothic novel, Evelina’s plot involved a naive young girl in a constant danger of losing her virginity. Even though it was a more extreme novel than Northanger Abbey, both satirize the society the authors’ live in.
If you’ve read all the Austen novels but would like something similar, I recommend reading Evelina.