The Widow’s Fire (Austen-Gothic)

The Widow’s Fire (novel), Endorsements, Reviews, Appearances, and Purchasing Options:


“The Widow’s Fire is an intriguing re-visioning of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, told from several points of view: the narrators are Mrs. Smith, Nurse Rooke, Captain Wentworth, and, interestingly, a freed slave, Plato, who is not ‘seen’ in Austen’s novel (though indeed he may be in attendance, in livery, in the Assembly Rooms). It is difficult to discuss the action of the novel because to do so would spoil its many surprises. Suffice it to say that they are worth waiting for. Sinister motives emerge, and the union of Frederick and Anne is gravely threatened. What makes The Widow’s Fire of particular value is the light shed on the characters of Wentworth and Anne. Frederick is a hero at sea, but an innocent on land, who must learn to accept his weaknesses, while Anne gradually and firmly emerges as a strong, principled, compassionate woman who establishes the novel’s moral basis. Butler has given us a well-crafted piece of work, clever and thoughtful, provocative. One wonders, of course, what Austen would have thought of Butler’s version. Read it and decide for yourself.
Frances Beer, Professor Emerita, Graduate Program in English, York University, and author of Pilgrims in Love


“The Widow’s Fire is a wonderfully subversive, well-aimed take on Jane Austen’s delicate moral patterns. An intriguing read.”
Donna Morrissey, author of the national best-selling novel, The Fortunate Brother


“. . . one of the delightful things about the book is not knowing what’s going to happen next. It went places I really didn’t expect it to go. I was biting my nails at one point, I was so worried. It made me wonder – as it did Frances Beer in her blurb on the back of the book – what would Jane Austen think about this version of events? Personally, I think she would approve, and even applaud, this version (as well as Butler’s nerve to write it).” Naomi Mackinnon (Consumed by Ink), guest review for the Miramichi Reader

The Widow’s Fire included in Consumed by Ink‘s Best Books of 2017.


“Sequels to Austen novels abound, but this is a startlingly original take, neither cozy nor romantic — even if love triumphs in the end. Mr. Butler spins a gothic-feeling tale of blackmail, spying, and a few kinds of forbidden love. It seriously messes with what we thought we knew about several main characters in Persuasion, but doesn’t feel like a betrayal of them, more like something that could be true,” Kathleen A Flynn, author of The Jane Austen Project.


Purchase The Widow’s Fire:

In Canada:

Chapters-Indigo chain

In the USA

Jane Austen Books

Barnes and Noble

In the UK


See Goodreads page for reader reviews

Upcoming Appearances for 2018:

Presentation on The Widow’s Fire and Jane Austen: Shelf Life Books, Calgary, Alberta, March 10, 2-4 pm.

Presentations Made in 2017:

  • June 12, Westminster Books, Fredericton, reading,  4 – 5:30 pm.
  • June 27, Audrey’s Books, Edmonton, reading, 7.00. pm.
  • September 23rd, Word on the Street, Lethbridge, Alberta, reading, time TBA.
  • 2017 JASNA AGM, Huntington Beach, California, Jane Austen in Paradise: Intimations of Immortality, presentation: Updating Jane’s Morality in 21st Century Fiction October 5 – 8.
  • October 23, , 4.30 pm, University of Lethbridge Bookstore, fall launch and reading.
  • November 18, 2-4 pm, Calgary, Jane Austen Society of North America, Calgary branch presentation.
  • November 29, 7.00 pm, Waterstones, Ipswich, UK, presentation.