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Best Books Made into TV Shows

While it’s always exciting when your favourite book gets made into a film, a TV is even better - usually at least 3 times as long, so it is more likely that they won’t cut up the book and omit important bits!

 

Here are my favourite book-to-TV picks - maybe some of your favourites are here, and maybe some new ones too.

 

 

  1. Sanditon by Jane Austen

Year: 2019-2023

 

 

Whilst everyone has seen the BBC miniseries of Pride & Prejudice, did you know Jane’s last unfinished novel was recently made into a TV show? Granted, since she didn’t finish it before she died, there is a hefty amount of story embellishment in order to fill a miniseries.

After a chance encounter,  a young and unmarried Charlotte Heywood travels to visit new acquaintances in the small and unassuming seaside town of Sanditon. It turns out to be rife with gossip, intrigue and barely concealed ambition, and before she knows it is she is embroiled in a troubled rivalry between two brothers…

 

 

While some Jane purists have the series tries too hard to cater to modern tastes, others were just excited to have a new Austen content to watch! 

 

2. Anne With an E (Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery)

Year: 2017-2019

 

 

The Netflix has introduced this quirky red-head to a whole new generation. Whilst purists may have struggled to warm to this new incarnation of Anne, many quickly fell in love with this faithful re-telling of literature’s most singular female character. Filmed on location on Prince Edward Island, it is worth watching for the breathtaking scenery, which plays a central role in this heartwarming series.

 

 

11-year old Anne is adopted by two elderly siblings to help out on their farm, Green Gables. Little did they know this bright and curious child would turn their staid worlds upside down. The story follows pre-teen and teen years growing up on the Island, her adventures in school and making friends and enemies. It is charming and wholesome viewing.

 

3. Z: The Beginning of Everything by Therese Anne Fowler

Year : 2015-17

 

 

With lavish design and a star-studded cast, this series is a feast for the eyes and will delight lovers of literature. This biopic on the life of Fitzgerald’s glamorous and troubled wife, Zelda, only lasted one season. Despite this, it is still worth watching. Overshadowed by her husband’s literary success, Zelda was an artist and writer in her own right, whose own career was sadly cut short by serious bouts of mental illness, which would eventually claim her life. However, this short-lived series shows her pre-Fitzgerald origins as glamorous socialite and party-girl in early 1920s New York.

 

Zelda Fitzgerald Book Quote Print

 

4. Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Year: 2013-2016

 

 

Forget hackneyed re-tellings of this classic tale that have come before. This 3-season show is a faithful adaptation of Dumas’ story. Whilst still retaining the humour and camp that swashbuckling stories rely on, what could have been an average adaptation is lifted out of the doldrums with a stellar cast and impressive set design and costumes.

 

Alexandre Dumas Book Quote Print

The story is not complicated - 3 highly trained soldiers in 17th century Paris are bodyguards to the King. They have recently been disbanded by a villainous cardinal, when a young D’Artagnan joins their ranks. This new version doesn’t deviate from the original plot points, which purists will appreciate. 

 

5. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

Year : 2014

 

 

Based on one of Du Maurier’s most sinister novels, this series is a suitably dark adaptation with a capable cast.

Du Maurier was bewitched by the Cornish coast, especially Bodmin Moor. You could not pick a more perfect setting for this story of murder and greed than the bleak and desolate landscape.

 

 

Mary Yellan is sent to live with her aunt and uncle, who are the landlords of Jamaica Inn. But there is more to this dreary outpost that what is seems - her Uncle Joss is part of a group of shipwreckers who lure boats to their doom on the Cornish coast in order to rob the cargo. After she witnesses this one night, she becomes entangled in a dangerous trap, with no clue as to whom she can trust.

With a suitably muddy and creepy setting, this is an close re-telling of Du Maurier’s story. The tension is well-maintained throughout the episodes, and those who have not read the book will be kept well in suspense for the final shocking twist.

 

What's your favourite tv adaptation? Comment below with your recommendations!

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