Outlander meets Bridget Jones’s Diary in Jane Austen’s Regency England.
THE AUSTEN AFFAIR
by Madeline Bell
St. Martin’s Griffin, September 2025
(via KT Literary)
C-list actress Tess Bright grew up in a messy SoCal apartment watching Jane Austen flicks on repeat with her mom. When Mom passes away and Tess lands a breakout role as the female lead in a Northanger Abbey adaptation, she emerges from her grief cocoon with everything to prove. One big problem? Her upsettingly handsome castmate, Hugh Balfour, whose rigid acting methodology allows no room to collaborate with a go-with-the-flow whirlwind like Tess.
When sparks fly between the leads (literally) and an electrical accident zaps the pair back in time to the Regency era, Tess and Hugh must grudgingly learn to cooperate, leaning on each other to navigate the strict protocols of the past and find their way back home. Soon, they’re faking an engagement to misdirect the neighbors’ suspicions about their sudden arrival in country society.
Between militia rakes, nosy ancestors, and persistent suitors, the couple is swept into a comedy worthy of Austen herself. Tess never thought she could fall for anyone as uptight as Hugh, but as she gets to know his sensitive side, she realizes she might have misjudged him. With the romantic tension swelling between them, and her childhood fantasy made miraculously real, what happens if Tess doesn’t want to risk what they have by returning to her lonely 21st century reality?
Madeline Bell is a romance writer who has never met an enemies-to-lovers trope she didn’t like. She spends much of her free time ranking and continually reranking different adaptations of Jane Austen novels, and like a true rom-com heroine, she has a quirky day job working in a creative arts field in New York City.