I don't know about you guys, but I love it when an author takes on the challenge of writing a prequel, sequel or re-write of a classic. There is something about meeting favourite characters in a different setting and under different circumstances that is just really quite satisfying. Particularly when they are characters that are memorable and lovable (or even hate-able, actually). I thought I'd share 10 such books which do just that and have been particularly memorable - one of these novels I read when I was about 15. If you hang about to the end there are also a couple of bonus recommendations!
1. Havisham by Ronald Frame
A prequel to Dickens's Great Expectations which focuses on the character of Miss Havisham. The writing style is rich and rewarding and the story intriguing.
2. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Feminist retellings of fairy tales - vicious, violent and so so good.
3. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
A prequel to Jane Eyre focusing on 'the madwoman in the attic' and the background to her madness. It seems to be a marmite book but I enjoyed the writing even if the story didn't grab me as I expected it to.
4. The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
I guess you could call this a sequel - Horowitz has written another Sherlock Holmes mystery that is full of twists, turns and all the phrases you expect to read. Elementary.
5. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
A retelling of Homer's Odyssey. This is one of the most amazing retellings I have ever read, so much so that I reread it every couple of years.
6. Mrs De Winter by Susan Hill
Hill's sequel to du Maurier's Rebecca has been much slated (so I have just found out) but I liked revisiting the story and Hill's writing is always top notch.
7. Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin
A retelling of Jekyll and Hyde from the point of view of Mary Reilly, Dr Jekyll's servant. As with everything Martin has written, the story is engaging, enthralling, riveting etc. etc. (you get that I liked it?).
8. William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher
I don't think this needs any explanation. Shakespeare and Star Wars is a marriage made in Lit Nerdy heaven.
9. The Innocents by Francesca Segal
This is roughly and loosely based on Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence and was longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction in 2013.
10. Not So Quiet...Stepdaughters of War by Helen Zenna Smith
Commissioned to write a satire of All Quiet on the Western Front, Smith thought 'screw it' and wrote a harrowing 'female' version instead which looks at the lives of a group of female ambulance drivers just behind the front line.
Movie - 10 Things I Hate About You
Based on one of the best Shakespeare plays (in my opinion, at least), The Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things I Hate About You puts Shakespeare in an American high school with hilarious and heart warming results. There is Heath Ledger. And he sings. I rest my case.
TV Series - Shakespeare Retold
This mini series of four Shakespeare plays retold in new settings was aired way back in 2005. Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Taming of the Shrew were adapted and modernised by the BBC with an all-star cast for each 'play'. As much as I love Willy-Shakes, I always enjoy a modern adaptation and these are some of the best I've seen.
Have you read/seen any of these? Can you recommend any other prequels, sequels or re-writes?