The new issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World is “out”!
It’s time to announce the winner of the hardcover copy of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen. The lucky winner drawn at random is:
- TracyH who left a message of December 17, 2013
Congratulations TracyH! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by January 02, 2014 or you will forfeit your prize! Shipment to US addresses only.
Thanks to all who left comments and to Race Point Publishing for the giveaway copy.
Happy Birthday Jane Austen!
Cover image of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen courtesy of Race Point Publishing © 2013; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose.com
Huzzah! It has been a banner year for Jane Austen-inspired books in 2013. The bicentenary of Pride and Prejudice motivated many authors to take up their pens in celebration resulting in a fabulous selection of new titles. From historical and contemporary novels to non-fiction and scholarly, Austen-inspired books were present in several genres making our favorite author even more popular than ever.
We reviewed 76 books and short stories in 2013. Here is our annual list of top favorites .
Top 10 Austenesque Historical Novels:
- Return to Longbourn, by Shannon Winslow (5 stars)
- One Thread Pulled: The Dance with Mr. Darcy, by Diana J. Oaks (5 stars)
- Loving Miss Darcy: The Brides of Pemberley, by Nancy Kelley (5 stars)
- The Pursuit of Mary Bennet: A Pride and Prejudice Novel, by Pamela Mingle (4 stars)
- Longbourn: A Novel, by Jo Baker (4 stars)
- The Passions of Dr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan (4 stars)
- Falling For Mr. Darcy, by KaraLynne Mackrory (4 stars)
- Darcy’s Decision: Given Good Principles Volume 1, by Maria Grace (4 stars)
- When They Fall in Love: Darcy and Elizabeth in Italy, by Mary Simonsen (4 stars)
- Young Mr. Darcy in Love: Pride and Prejudice Continues (The Darcys and the Bingleys) (Volume 7) by Marsha Altman (4 stars)
Top 5 Austenesque Contemporary Novels:
- Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match, by Marilyn Brant (5 stars)
- Undressing Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos (5 stars)
- My Own Mr. Darcy, by Karey White (4 stars)
- Sense & Sensibility (Austen Project), by Joanna Trollope (3.5 stars)
- Finding Colin Firth: A Novel, by Mia March (3.5 stars)
Top 5 Austenesque Paranormal/Fantasy Novels:
- Jane, Actually, by Jennifer Petkus (5 stars)
- Project Darcy, by Jane Odiwe (4 stars)
- Austensibly Ordinary, by Alyssa Goodnight (4 stars)
- Attempting Elizabeth, by Jessica Grey (4 stars)
- A Jane Austen Daydream, by Scott Southard (4 stars)
Top 5 Austen-inspired Nonfiction Books:
- Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom, by Deborah Jaffe (6 stars)
- The Annotated Northanger Abbey, edited by David Shapard (5 stars)
- Walking Jane Austen’s London, by Louise Allen (5 stars)
- Mr. Darcy’s Guide to Courtship: The Secrets of Seduction from Jane Austen’s Most Eligible Bachelor, by Fitzwilliam Darcy (5 stars)
- The List Lover’s Guide to Jane Austen, by Joan Strasbaugh (4.5 stars)
Top 5 Austen-inspired Scholarly Books:
- The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things, by Paula Byrne (5 stars)
- Jane Austen’s England, by Roy and Lesley Adkins (5 stars)
- Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks (4 stars)
- Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity, by Janine Barchas (4 stars)
- What Matters in Jane Austen: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved, by John Mullan (4 stars)
Top 3 Austenesque Young Adult Novels:
- The Trouble with Flirting, by Claire LaZebnick (4.5 stars)
- Emmalee (Austen Diaries), by Jenni James (4 stars)
- For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund (4 stars)
Top 3 Austenesque Self-published Novels:
- Return to Longbourn, by Shannon Winslow (5 stars)
- One Thread Pulled: The Dance with Mr. Darcy, by Diana J. Oaks (5 stars)
- Loving Miss Darcy: The Brides of Pemberley, by Nancy Kelley (5 stars)
Top 3 Austen or Austenesque Audio Books:
- Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, read by Emilia Fox (5 stars)
- Mr. Darcy’s Diary, by Maya Slater, read by David Rintoul (5 stars)
- Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World (A Pride and Prejudice Variation), by Abigail Reynolds, read by Rachel E. Hurley (4 stars)
Top 3 Regency Romance Novels:
- The Tutor’s Daughter, by Julie Klassen (5 stars)
- The Passion of the Purple Plumeria: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig (5 stars)
- Blackmoore: A Proper Romance, by Julianne Donaldson (5 stars)
Debut Austenesque Author:
- Diana J. Oaks, One Thread Pulled: The Dance with Mr. Darcy (5 stars)
Our thanks and congratulations go out to all of the authors and their publishers, whose endeavors entertained us so aptly. A very grateful thank you to all of our loyal readers.
The Austenprose review staff
- Top 20 Jane Austen Books for 2009
- Top 20 Jane Austen Books for 2010
- Top 20 Jane Austen Books for 2011
- Top Jane Austen-inspired Books of 2012
Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose.com
*throws confetti in air* It’s Jane Austen’s 238th birthday today! Let the party begin by entering a chance to win a beautiful collector’s edition of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen, published by Race Point (2013). Details are listed below.
The festivities are especially poignant to me this year after visiting Jane Austen’s birthplace and home for twenty-five years on our tour of Jane Austen’s England last fall. Our stop at the former site of Steventon Rectory, and St. Nicholas Church, were my favorite sites along the tour. The original rectory was demolished in 1823, however the site is still viewable as an empty field where cattle now graze. Just up the road is St. Nicholas’ Church where Austen’s father, Rev. George Austen, was rector for forty years (1761-1800). The church is a small, simple, Norman building which was originally constructed around 1200. It has had a series of revisions over the 800 of years that it has been in existence, including the addition of the prominent spire in the mid nineteenth century.
Of all the many Austen related sites that we visited on our 10-day tour, my visit to St. Nicholas Church was the most moving. The neighborhood is very isolated and rural with large oak trees lining the narrow roads and other mature trees, including the huge 900-year-old yew tree, spanning 50 feet, at the front the church property. When we departed the coach, I was immediately struck by the quiet, unassuming, and uncommercial atmosphere we were privileged to enter. The church is surrounded on three sides by a graveyard and many of the local family names Jane mentions in her letters appear on the stones, including the Digweeds and LeFroys. The graves of her elder brother James Austen, who followed her father as rector of the parish, and his two wives are situated there; and inside is a plaque in their memory.
It would not be Jane Austen’s birthday if I did not talk about my favorite Austen books in my personal library. Here is a list of my top-ten favorite biographies, historical bio-ficts and nonfiction books that I have enjoyed over the years. Just click on the links to read a review or to learn more about them.
Jane Austen Biographies:
(the life of Jane Austen)
- The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things, by Paula Byrne (2013)
- Jane Austen: A Life, by Claire Tomalin (1997)
- Jane Austen: A Life Revealed, by Catherine Reef (2011)
- Jane Austen (Christian Encounters Series), by Peter Leithart (2010)
- Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World, by Claire Harman (2009)
- Jane Austen: A Family Record, by William Austen-Leigh and Richard Austen-Leigh, and revised and enlarged by Deirdre Le Faye (2003)
- Jane Austen: A Life, by David Nokes (1997)
- Jane Austen’s World: the Life and Times of England’s Most Popular Author, by Maggie Lane (1996)
- A Memoir of Jane Austen by Her Nephew, by James Edward Austen-Leigh (1870)
- Jane Austen’s Letters, edited by Deirdre Le Faye (1997
Jane Austen Bio-Fict:
(Jane Austen as a fictional character)
- The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, by Syrie James (2007)
- The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen, by Lindsay Ashford (2011)
- Jane Bites Back, by Michael Thomas Ford (2009)
The entire Being a Jane Austen Mystery series by Stephanie Barron
- Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor(1996)
- Jane and the Man of the Cloth (1997)
- Jane and the Wandering Eye (1998)
- Jane and the Genius of the Place (1999)
- Jane and the Stillroom Maid (2000)
- Jane and the Prisoner of the Wool House (2001)
- Jane and the Ghosts of Netley (2003)
- Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy (2005)
- Jane and the Barque of Frailty (2006)
- Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron (2010)
- Jane and the Canterbury Tale (2011)
- Jane Austen: Her Life, Her Times, Her Novels, by Janet Todd (2013)
- In the Garden with Jane Austen, by Kim Wilson
- Tea with Jane Austen, by Kim Wilson
- All Things Austen: A Concise Encyclopedia of Austen’s World, by Kirstin Olsen (2008)
- What Matters in Jane Austen: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved, by John Mullan (2013)
- Jane Austen’s England, by Roy and Lesley Adkins (2013)
- Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom, by Deborah Yaffe (2013)
- Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures, by Claudia L. Johnson (2012)
- Everybody’s Jane: Austen in the Popular Imagination, by Juliette Wells (2012)
- A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me about Love, Friendship, and the Things that Really Matter, by William Deresiewicz (2011)
A GRAND GIVEAWAY
Enter a chance to win a hardcover copy of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Lady Susan) in one volume with a slip case. Just leave a comment with your favorite Jane Austen quote by 11:59 pm, Wednesday, December 25. 2013. Winner to be announced on Thursday, December 26, 2013. Shipment to US addresses only. Good luck to all!
Happy Birthday Jane!
Cover image of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen courtesy of Race Point Publishing © 2013; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose.com
Happy Holidays Janeites!
Tis the season to go shopping, and Janeite family and friends always need suggestions to fill the reticules, stockings, and gifts under the tree for those whose special interest is everything Austen. I have several categories to select from – and I would happily be the recipient of any of these fabulous items!
Jane Austen Book Marks from TheCastleOnTheHill
Created by London painter Jess Purser, this pack of six bookmarks, features a print of one of her Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, paintings on vintage book pages. There are the five Bennet sisters and Mr. Darcy too. Can you pick out which sister is which?
Professionally printed onto silky smooth card stock at 350gsm weight they each measure 1.6″ (4cm) in width by 6.3″ (16cm) in height.
Your bookmarks will come packaged in a cello sleeve so they stay nice and safe for their journey to you.
Visit Jess at her Etsy Shop, CastleOnTheHill to order.
Lizzy & Darcy note cards by Janet Taylor
From the very talented artist Janet Taylor, these beautiful notecards capture a unique moment in the 1995 miniseries, Pride and Prejudice. Select from a variety of sizes and images.
Visit Janet at her website J.T. Originals to order.
Jane Austen: Her Life, Her Times, Her Novels, by Janet Todd
I discovered this enchanting book at The British Library bookshop during my trip to England last fall. It is packed full of great text from Austen scholar Janet Todd, images, pull out copies of original documents and other delights. Here is the publisher’s description:
Over the last 200 years, the novels of Jane Austen have been loved and celebrated across a diverse international readership. As a result, there is a bottomless appetite for detail about the woman behind the writing. Jane Austen traces her life and times; her relationships with family and friends; the attitudes and customs of the time that shaped her and were in turn shaped by her work; and the places where she lived, worked and set her novels, from rural Hampshire to fashionable Bath Spa. Chapters on each of her novels run throughout the book and place them in the context of her life. For such a renowned novelist, there is remarkably little direct material available, but this volume draws on archives for a truly insightful view.
Jane Austen: Her Life, Her Times, Her Novels, is currently available in the UK and in the US in April, but you can order it through Book Depository with free international shipping!
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (Pulp! The Classics)
In this celebratory year of the bicentenary publication of Pride and Prejudice, there have been oodles of new covers of our cherished classic, but none reaches the unique irony, nor embraces the pop-culture frenzy that we have witnessed this year better than the Pulp! The Classics cover illustrated by David Mann. This series is a new imprint from Oldcastle Books that “gives the nation’s favourite classic novels original retro covers in a pulp fiction style – with a dash of wry humour. Redesigned and reset, using the original unabridged text from some of the best writers that have ever lived, Pulp! The Classics promises readers their favourite books with stunning and highly original jackets.” No kidding. Any Janeite will recognize actor Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy on the cover! Ha!
Pick up this perfect stocking stuffer at Amazon.com
The Beau Monde: Fashionable Society in Georgian London,
by Hannah Greig
*sigh* The title and cover had me at hello. For those who are not as impulsive as I am, here is the complete description from Oxford University Press:
Caricatured for extravagance, vanity, glamorous celebrity and, all too often, embroiled in scandal and gossip, 18th-century London’s fashionable society had a well-deserved reputation for frivolity. But to be fashionable in 1700s London meant more than simply being well dressed. Fashion denoted membership of a new type of society – the beau monde, a world where status was no longer determined by coronets and countryseats alone but by the more nebulous qualification of metropolitan ‘fashion’. Conspicuous consumption and display were crucial; the right address, the right dinner guests, the right possessions, the right jewels, the right seat at the opera.
The Beau Monde leads us on a tour of this exciting new world, from court and parliament to London’s parks, pleasure grounds, and private homes. From brash displays of diamond jewelry to the subtle complexities of political intrigue, we see how membership of the new elite was won, maintained – and sometimes lost. On the way, we meet a rich and colorful cast of characters, from the newly ennobled peer learning the ropes and the imposter trying to gain entry by means of clever fakery, to the exile banned for sexual indiscretion.
Above all, as the story unfolds, we learn that being a Fashionable was about far more than simply being ‘modish’. By the end of the century, it had become nothing less than the key to power and exclusivity in a changed world.
This new Regency-era nonfiction book topped my wish list at number one. I could not wait. I bought the digital edition. Buy the print edition if you want to be able to see the illustrations.
Take a peek inside this must read for Regency-era authors, history lovers and Jane Austen fans at Amazon.com.
Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey, by Emma Rowley
This book has nothing what-so-ever to do with Jane Austen, the Georgian or Regency eras, but what-the-heck, we love this period drama series and many other Janeites do too!
The fourth season of Downton Abbey will soon air this side of the pond on Masterpiece Classic PBS on January 5th. This is the perfect gift for those addicted to the Crawley family saga which spans Edwardian, WWI, and now the post war Roaring Twenties England. We live for Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham’s, acerbic comments. Don’t you? Here is the publisher’s description:
Gain unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to Downton Abbey in this official Season 4 tie-in book, complete with never-before-seen photos giving fans insight into the making of the runaway hit.
Expertly crafted with generous inside knowledge and facts, this book will delve into the inspiration behind the details seen on screen, the choice of locations, the music and much more. Step inside the props cupboard or the hair and make-up truck and catch a glimpse of the secret backstage world. In-depth interviews and exclusive photos give insight into the actors’ experiences on set as well as the celebrated creative team behind the award-winning drama. Straight from the director’s chair, this is the inside track on all aspects of the making of the show.
Jane Austen Mansfield Park Calendar 2014
from The Republic of Pemberley
My Austen year would not be complete without my calendar from the good folks at The Republic of Pemberley. This year they have two to choose from: the classic Jane Austen 2014 Rancor Vertical Wall Calendar and Jane Austen Mansfield Park Calendar 2014 in honor of the bicentenary of the publication. It is very hard to decide if you want to chortle over Austen’s witty quotes from her letters or spend the year in a love triangle between Fanny Price, Mary Crawford and Edmund Bertram. Decisions!
Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy Ornaments
from The Jane Austen Centre Gift Shop
I first discovered this adorable Mr. Darcy ornament during my visit to The British Library, when harkened from across the large gift shop floor I heard a cry of joy from fellow traveler, and Austenesque author Nancy Kelley, “MR. DARCY”. Tallyho! It was only my second hour in England, but it was the first thing I bought. I was delighted to find the matching Elizabeth at Winchester Cathedral gift shop, AND a Mr. Knightley and Emma at the Roman Bath’s gift shop. They all now proudly hang in pride of place, from my Jane Austen book case of course. Get your very own Mr. Darcy and Lizzy from The Jane Austen Centre online gift shop, though we wish they would spell Elizabeth’s name as Austen intended: Lizzy not Lizzie.
Happy Holidays to all, and may all your Austen wishes come true.
© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose.com
Fall is always a peak season for great novels in publishing so I am happy to host the virtual book launch party of Project Darcy, by popular Austenesque novelist Jane Odiwe. In celebration Jane has kindly shared an exclusive excerpt of her new novel with our readers.
Please enter a chance to win one of two gift packs available, including a copy of the book, prints of Jane’s wonderfully enchanting artwork and note cards, by leaving a comment below this post. Details for the giveaway are listed at the bottom. Good luck to all!
Laurel Ann, I am so excited to be here as a guest to launch my new book, Project Darcy – thank you so much for inviting me to celebrate today and share an exclusive excerpt!
The 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice has been a special year for Jane Austen’s wonderful book, and I couldn’t let it go by without celebrating it myself with a new novel!
Five friends who have recently finished university, volunteer for an archaeological dig at Jane Austen’s childhood home in Steventon, Hampshire. Ellie, Jess, Martha, Cara and Liberty, are all excited to go on the trip for very individual reasons – Ellie is an illustrator and loves painting landscapes, Jess is obsessed with Jane Austen’s books, Martha is keen to indulge her interest in archaeology, and Cara and Liberty can think of nothing but the guys they might meet and the possibility of starring in the documentary that’s going to be made.
One of the girls, Ellie, has an unusual gift – she often picks up vibrations from objects and places, which help her to see into the past. Whilst in Steventon, this happens more and more and with such intensity that she is transported back in time to become another person – Jane Austen!
Here’s an excerpt from Project Darcy, which I hope you’ll enjoy!
As soon as supper was over, the girls disappeared off to their various rooms agreeing to meet downstairs in the drawing room before they went out to meet Charlie and the others. Ellie got changed in about five minutes and with plenty of time before they were due to go out she fetched her sketchbook from her bedroom and ran downstairs. She had an idea to try a drawing of the front elevation of Steventon Rectory based on what she’d learned that day, and was really looking forward to talking to the other girls about all the ideas she had. The door to the drawing room was closed, but as soon as Ellie touched the handle, she could sense that the very air was different. Sounds, smells and furniture were all changing before her eyes beyond anything she recognised. Gone was the circular table in the hall, and instead a pier table and ornate looking glass graced one side of the corridor. There was an umbrella stand and a bookcase full of heavy tomes, two mahogany chairs either side of the doorway, and a familiar object in the recess where it had probably stood for over two hundred years telling of the moments, seconds, minutes and hours that passed. She heard the Grandfather clock in the hall whirr into action and chime again and again, with each sonorous strike of the bell seeming to take her further and further back in time.
Painting of Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy by Jane Odiwe
I brushed my hands over the blue and white checked poplin of my morning gown, and despaired. The hem was spattered with mud from the walk but more than that I knew my faded dress had seen better days, and would have been improved for having another three inches added to its length. My hair, always unruly and curly to the point of being wild, was threatening to fall entirely down my back from the knot on top of my head, and tucking stray strands behind my ears was not doing a very sufficient tidy-up. Though why I was so keen to impress the stranger come to Ashe, I could not think. I’d lived in the world for twenty years and had not yet worried about my appearance when meeting any single young man. But, I’d heard enough from my dear friend, Madame Lefroy, to be exceedingly curious about her nephew Tom – his coming to visit his aunt and uncle had often been talked about, but never accomplished. When at last he’d been expected, every morning visit in Steventon had included a mention of the well-composed letter his aunt had received. Every lady in the village had been full of the news.
‘I suppose you have heard of the handsome letter Mr Tom Lefroy has written to Madame?’ said Mrs Bramston. ‘I understand it was a very handsome letter, indeed. Mrs Harwood told me of it. Mrs Harwood saw the letter, and she says she never saw such a splendid letter in her life.’
Art print of Steventon Rectory in winter by Jane Odiwe
We knew that he hailed from Ireland, which lent him an air of romanticism. I loved some of the country airs and songs that were composed by his countrymen, and I suppose I had imagined him to be something of a romantic figure. We were told he was clever, and I remembered someone saying that overwork was the reason for his visit. After a suitable rest, he was going to study law in London and until then he was to spend Christmas with his relations. When the invitation came, I couldn’t believe I was to meet him. He’d achieved almost mythical status, and he surely couldn’t live up to the nonpareil of my imagination.
‘Jane, your hair!’ my mother exclaimed. ‘Why did you not let Rebecca see to it this morning?’
‘I do not like to be always asking her to be looking after me with tasks I can do for myself. She has quite enough to do with running errands for Nanny Littleworth and Nanny Hilliard.’
‘You will have to do, I suppose. Just remember not to talk too much and run on like you do at home.’
We entered by the parlour door, and saw a young gentleman sitting with Madame. The Tom Lefroy so long talked of, so high in interest, was actually before me. He was introduced, and at first, I did not think too much had been said in his praise. He was very tall and fair, his hair the colour of buttercups in sunshine. But, it wasn’t his shock of yellow hair that drew my attention. It was his eyes I noticed straight away. They were the colour of the sea on a winter’s day and as restless as the waves crashing to the shore. The grey coat he wore intensified the shade – one minute they were as lavender as sea thrift, the next as pale as pebbles in sand. He was a very good-looking young man; and his countenance had a great deal of spirit and liveliness. I felt immediately that I would like him; but as the afternoon wore on I found I was completely deceived in my first impressions. There was no well-bred ease of manner, or a readiness to talk, which convinced me that he had no intention to be really acquainted with me. Taciturn and proud were the words that sprang to mind. He looked as if he were there on sufferance, that the invitation from his aunt was most unwelcome.
Art print of Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy dancing at Ashe ball by Jane Odiwe
My mother and Madame did most of the talking, but on feeling that perhaps we were a little overwhelming for someone who was not entirely well, I moved from my chair on the opposite side of the room to sit next to him.
‘You have come from Ireland, I understand, Mr Lefroy.’
‘Yes, from Dublin, Miss Austen.’
‘Ah, and is Dublin the town where you were born?’
‘No, that is Limerick.’
‘Thomas has been studying at Trinity College,’ Madame offered, as she caught our rather one-sided conversation.
Thomas nodded in assent, got up and walked over to the window where he stood looking out. It was then that I gave up trying to engage him further. Every now and then, I felt his eyes on me, and when once I dared to look back at him, he stared at me in such a way as to make me feel decidedly uncomfortable. I did not know what to make of him.
‘Well,’ said my mother on the walk home, ‘what a very proud and conceited young man. And never to open his mouth the whole time … Irish airs are all very well, but he’ll not make many friends if he looks down his nose at his aunt’s Hampshire neighbours. I suppose his father is a Colonel and fancies himself very high and mighty, and there I was thinking that I’d heard his mother was a very sensible woman.’
‘I understood from Madame that Thomas has been ill, that he is suffering the effects of too much work and that his eyesight has been affected.’
‘A poor excuse to behave badly, in my opinion,’ answered my mother. ‘He is most disagreeable, and rude. Why, I should have given him a dressing down if I were his aunt. To stand up and walk away when you were trying your very best to converse with him, I never heard of such a thing!’
He was dressed in a dark coat and satin breeches for the Basingstoke Assembly just a day later, a distinguished figure who seemed to have no wish to join in either the conversation or the dancing, merely standing at the edge of the dance floor with the Lefroy party almost as if he looked down on anyone who chose to take part. He walked here and there, occasionally whispering something in his cousin Lucy’s ear, which despite his serious expression seemed to make her laugh heartily. Nevertheless, there was something about him I could not dismiss, and I was intrigued by his haughty manner. It seemed improbable that he’d look my way, and yet I wished he would. I wanted him to notice me. He intrigued me in a way no other person ever had, and yet, he made me cross. I was angry with him for being so superior in his manners, but I loved a puzzle, and there was no doubt, Tom Lefroy was an enigma. I could not help staring at him, enjoying the way his yellow hair curled into the collar of the coat that closely fitted broad shoulders and skimmed over neat hips. He didn’t smile; he only observed the other dancers. I wondered if he knew that I watched him, but all I could see was his static expression, and an eyebrow twitching in response to his observations.
End of excerpt.
I’ve had a lot of fun writing this novel. There are several stories running alongside – I enjoyed thinking about both the modern stories as well as those in the past. I wanted to reflect the themes of Jane’s Pride and Prejudice and attempt to keep it ‘light and bright’ – there is, of course, a happy ending!
I’d love to know if you’ve ever imagined you were transported back in time. Have you ever visited anywhere that almost made you feel you’d re-visited the past?
Many thanks to Jane for visiting today. We wish you great success with your new novel, Project Darcy.
Jane Odiwe is the author of five Austen-inspired novels, Project Darcy, Searching for Captain Wentworth, Mr Darcy’s Secret, Willoughby’s Return, and Lydia Bennet’s Story, and is a contributor to Laurel Ann Nattress’s anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, with a short story, “Waiting”.
Jane is a member of the Jane Austen Society; she holds an arts degree, and initially started her working life teaching Art and History. When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting and trying to capture the spirit of Jane Austen’s world. Her illustrations have been published in a picture book, Effusions of Fancy, and are featured in a biographical film of Jane Austen’s life in Sony’s DVD edition of The Jane Austen Book Club. Visit Jane at her website Austen Effusions; her blog Jane Austen Sequels; On Twitter as @JaneOdiwe; on Facebook as Jane Odiwe and Pinterest.
A Grand Giveaway
Enter a chance to win one of two gift packs available in celebration of Project Darcy’s book launch. The first pack contains a print copy of the book and one 16.5” x 11.7” signed, original art pint by Jane Odiwe of Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy dancing at Ashe Rectory, and the second pack contains one 16.5” x 11.7” signed, original art print by Jane Odiwe of Steventon Rectory with one pack of 6 holiday cards in two designs, 3 each of Christmas at Steventon with Jane and Cassandra walking in the snow, and 3 each of Steventon Rectory . To enter, leave a comment either asking Jane a question about her writing process, or tell us who your favorite character is in Pride and Prejudice and why, by 11:59 pm PT, Wednesday, November 13, 2013. The two winners will be drawn at random from the comments and announced on Thursday, November 14, 2013. Shipment is international. Good luck to all.
Note cards: Christmas at Steventon with Jane and Cassandra, design 1
Note cards: Steventon Rectory by Jane Odiwe design 2
Project Darcy, by Jane Odiwe
Paintbox Publishing (2013)
Trade paperback (326) pages
Cover image courtesy of Paintbox Publishing © 2013; text Jane Odiwe © 2013, Austenprose.com
Those folks at HarperCollins really know how to make Janeites scream with joy—well—at least this Janeite, who is over the moon from their announcement last Friday that Alexander McCall Smith is slated to re-write Emma for The Austen Project.
One of my favorite contemporary authors, McCall Smith is renowned for his delightful No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, filled with the intimate characterizations and laugh-out-loud social humor. Better yet, he is a huge Jane Austen fan! His writing talents are an ideal match to Jane Austen’s Emma, a masterpiece of “minute detail” layered with unique characters and intricate plot. I am on my knees in gratitude to publisher Kate Elton (we promise not to call her Mrs. E.) for her choice. In my humble opinion McCall Smith is the perfect choice for a contemporary re-write and I am all anticipation of its release in 2015, the bicentenary year of Emma’s original publication.
The Austen Project will include contemporary reimagining’s of all of Jane Austen’s six major novels by popular authors. First up in the series will be, Sense and Sensibility, by Joanna Trollope which hits book shelves (and digital readers) this month on October 29th followed by Val McDermid’s interpretation of Northanger Abbey on March 27th 2014 and Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld in 2015. That leaves Mansfield Park and Persuasion still up for grabs.
Speculation abounds in the Jane Austen community over who has been short listed for the last two novels. Each presents certain challenges in matching up the appropriate author, but Mansfield Park even more so. Considered Austen’s dark horse, MP needs to be handled carefully by an author whose skill with intimate family dynamics and incisive wit is key in retelling the story for a contemporary audience. Readers either love MP or hate it, complaining about its timid heroine and weak hero. I am more than a bit biased in favor of the novel’s protagonists: prudential Fanny Price and namby-pamby Edmund Berturm. However, few will fault its brilliantly wicked antagonists: siblings Mary and Henry Crawford. They are the stuff that writers dream of.
There are many talented writers who excel at family stories: Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale), Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex), Ian McEwan (Atonement), Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees), Anna Quindlen (Every Last One) and Cathleen Schine (Fin & Lady) to name only a few. All of these authors exhibit qualities that could suit, but it will take more than an ear for a family tale to pull off a modernization of MP. It needs someone who has sensitively infused family drama into their stories with a keen sense of pathos and humor. Who better to tell the tale than the world’s best storytellers, the Irish. Call is genetic, or cultural, or whatever, there is nothing like James Joyce, Frank O’Connor, John McGahern or Frank Delaney to rip your heart out and then turn around and make you laugh.
Austen’s MP can be read as a sharp social comedy but it is so, much, much more. I believe that is why some readers do not understand or enjoy it as much as Austen’s other work. They don’t quite get the themes Austen was driving towards: passions vs. principles, virtue vs. vice, money vs. charity, and expect a light, bright and sparkly romance like Pride and Prejudice. The characters transfer into an Irish family drama quite seamlessly. Just imagine the Bertram’s embroiled in dark family secrets (Fanny), booze (Lady Bertram), Catholic guilt (Sister Norris), booze (Lady Bertam), clandestine liaisons (Maria & Father Henry, and Tom Bertram & John Yates) and corruption (Sir Bertram) and you will get my drift.
2014 marks the bicentenary of Mansfield Park’s first publication. From the choices that have been made for The Austen Project to date, publisher Kate Elton has “taught me to hope” that they will choose carefully and might be amenable to my giant hint.
“What is right to be done cannot be done soon enough.” – Emma
So, gentle readers, do you agree with MY choice, or who would you like to see rewrite Mansfield Park?
- Please join us on Wednesday, October 30th for our review of Sense & Sensibility (Austen Project), by Joanna Trollope
Image of Alexander McCall Smith courtesy of Random House © Michael Lionstar; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose.com
80 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of six copies available of Jane Austen’s England, by Lesley and Roy Adkins. The six winners drawn at random are:
- Carol Settlage who left a comment on Aug 19, 2013
- Lindsay who left comment on Aug 19, 2013
- Emily Bell who left a comment on Aug, 19, 2013
- Jim Nagel who left a comment on Aug 20, 2013
- Betsy on Aug 21, 2013
- Jane who left a comment on Aug 24, 2013
Congratulations ladies and gentleman! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by September 4, 2013 or you will forfeit your prize! Shipment to US addresses.
Thanks to all who left comments, to authors Lesley and Roy Adkins for their great guest blog, and to their publisher The Viking Press for supplying the giveaway copies.
Book cover image courtesy of The Viking Press © 2013; text © 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
Summer is here — and it time to head to the beach or take that well-earned holiday and read great books!
Summer reads are always fun—and little light hearted and playful—and the Austenesque & Regency faire in the queue is so exciting that the Jane Austen Book Sleuth is thrilled to share what we will be reading and reviewing here on Austenprose in the coming months. Included are release dates and descriptions of the titles by the publisher to help you plan out your summer reading. Pre-order and enjoy!
Walking Jane Austen’s London, by Louise Allen (June 25)
The London of Jane Austen’s world and imagination comes to life in this themed guidebook of nine walking tours from well-known landmarks to hidden treasures –each evoking the time and culture of Regency England which so influenced Austen’s wise perspective and astute insight in novels such as Pride and Prejudice. Extensively illustrated with full-color photographs and maps these walks will delight tourists and armchair travelers as they discover eighteenth-century chop houses, elegant squares, sinister prisons, bustling city streets and exclusive gentlemen’s clubs among innumerable other Austenesque delights.
- During Jane Austen’s time, 1775 – 1817, London was a flourishing city with fine streets, fashionable squares and a thriving port which brought in good from around the globe. Much of this London still remains, the great buildings, elegant streets, parks, but much has changed. This tour allows the reader to take it all in, noting what Jane may have experienced while citing modern improvements such as street lighting and privies!
© 2013 Shire
Mr. Darcy’s Guide to Courtship: The Secrets of Seduction from Jane Austen’s Most Eligible Bachelor, by Fitzwilliam Darcy (July 23)
Inspired by the works of Jane Austen, the amusingly tongue-in-cheek Mr. Darcy’s Guide to Courtship is written from the perspective of Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy and closely based on real Regency advice manuals. It is a hilarious and irreverent picture of the social mores of the period and of how men thought about women – and sheds amusing light on men of the modern age, too!
Readers can dip into different sections for Darcy’s views on a myriad of issues, including “What Females Want”, “The Deceptions of Beautiful Women” and “Winning Their Affections, Flattery, Making Conversation, and Flirting!” Also included are sections written by Pride and Prejudice’s Miss Caroline Bingley and Mr. Darcy’s correspondence with famous Regency figures including the Duke of Wellington.
© 2013 Old House
Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom, by Deborah Yaffe (Aug 6)
For anyone who has ever loved a Jane Austen novel, a warm and witty look at the passionate, thriving world of Austen fandom
They walk among us in their bonnets and Empire-waist gowns, clutching their souvenir tote bags and battered paperbacks: the Janeites, Jane Austen’s legion of devoted fans. Who are these obsessed admirers, whose passion has transformed Austen from classic novelist to pop-culture phenomenon? Deborah Yaffe, journalist and Janeite, sets out to answer this question, exploring the remarkable endurance of Austen’s stories, the unusual zeal that their author inspires, and the striking cross-section of lives she has touched.
Along the way, Yaffe meets a Florida lawyer with a byzantine theory about hidden subtexts in the novels, a writer of Austen fan fiction who found her own Mr. Darcy while reimagining Pride and Prejudice, and a lit professor whose roller-derby nom de skate is Stone Cold Jane Austen. Yaffe goes where Janeites gather, joining a pilgrimage to historic sites in Britain, chatting online with fellow fans, and attending the annual ball of the Jane Austen Society of North America—in period costume. Part chronicle of a vibrant literary community, part memoir of a lifelong love, Among the Janeites is a funny, touching meditation on the nature of fandom.
© 2013 Mariner Books
English Regency & French Monarchy Fiction
The Passion of the Purple Plumeria: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig (Aug 6)
Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation novels have been hailed as “sheer fun”* and “charming.” Now she takes readers on an adventure filled with hidden treasure and a devilishly handsome English colonel….
Colonel William Reid has returned home from India to retire near his children, who are safely stowed at an academy in Bath. Upon his return to the Isles, however, he finds that one of his daughters has vanished, along with one of her classmates.
Because she served as second-in-command to the Pink Carnation, one of England’s most intrepid spies, it would be impossible for Gwendolyn Meadows to give up the intrigue of Paris for a quiet life in the English countryside—especially when she’s just overheard news of an alliance forming between Napoleon and an Ottoman Sultan. But, when the Pink Carnation’s little sister goes missing from her English boarding school, Gwen reluctantly returns home to investigate the girl’s disappearance.
Thrown together by circumstance, Gwen and William must cooperate to track down the young ladies before others with nefarious intent get their hands on them. But Gwen’s partnership with quick-tongued, roguish William may prove to be even more of an adventure for her than finding the lost girls….
© 2013 NLA Trade
Blackmoore: A Proper Romance, by Julianne Donaldson (Sept 10)
At eighteen, Kate Worthington knows she should be getting serious about marriage, but her restless heart won’t let her settle down. To escape her mother s meddlesome influence, she dreams of traveling with her spinster aunt to exotic India. But when the opportunity arises, Kate finds herself making a bargain with her mother: she will be allowed to go only if she spends a season at the family s wealthy estate, Blackmoore, where she must secure and reject three marriage proposals. Enlisting the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield, Kate sets out to collect her proposals so she can be on her way. But Henry’s decision to help threatens to destroy both of their dreams in ways they could never imagine. Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to listen to her heart. With hints of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, Blackmoore is a page-turning tale of romance, intrigue, and devotion.
© 2013 Shadow Mountain Press
Confessions of Marie Antoinette: A Novel (Marie Antoinette Trilogy), by Juliet Grey (Sept 24)
A novel for fans of Philippa Gregory and Michelle Moran, Confessions of Marie Antoinette blends rich historical detail with searing drama, bringing to life the first years of the French Revolution and the final days of the legendary French queen.
Versailles, 1789. As the burgeoning rebellion reaches the palace gates, Marie Antoinette finds her privileged and peaceful life swiftly upended by violence. Once her loyal subjects, the people of France now seek to overthrow the crown, placing the heirs of the Bourbon dynasty in mortal peril.
Displaced to the Tuileries Palace in Paris, the royal family is propelled into the heart of the Revolution. There, despite a few staunch allies, they are surrounded by cunning spies and vicious enemies. Yet despite the political and personal threats against her, Marie Antoinette remains, above all, a devoted wife and mother, standing steadfastly by her husband, Louis XVI, and protecting their young son and daughter. And though the queen secretly attempts to arrange her family’s rescue from the clutches of the rebels, she finds that they can neither outrun the dangers encircling them nor escape their shocking fate.
© 2013 Ballantine Books
Victorian & Edwardian Fiction
Rutherford Park: A Novel, by Elizabeth Cooke (July 3)
Snow had fallen in the night, and now the great house, standing at the head of the valley, seemed like a five-hundred-year old ship sailing in a white ocean…
For the Cavendish family, Rutherford Park is much more than a place to call home. It is a way of life marked by rigid rules and lavish rewards, governed by unspoken desires…
Lady of the house Octavia Cavendish lives like a bird in a gilded cage. With her family’s fortune, her husband, William, has made significant additions to the estate, but he too feels bound—by the obligations of his title as well as his vows. Their son, Harry, is expected to follow in his footsteps, but the boy has dreams of his own, like pursuing the new adventure of aerial flight. Meanwhile, below stairs, a housemaid named Emily holds a secret that could undo the Cavendish name.
On Christmas Eve 1913, Octavia catches a glimpse of her husband in an intimate moment with his beautiful and scandalous distant cousin. She then spies the housemaid Emily out in the snow, walking toward the river, about to make her own secret known to the world. As the clouds of war gather on the horizon, an epic tale of longing and betrayal is about to unfold at Rutherford Park…
© 2013 Berkley Trade
A Fatal Likeness: A Novel, by Lynn Shepherd (Aug 20)
With The Solitary House, award-winning author Lynn Shepherd introduced readers to Charles Maddox, a brilliant private detective plying his trade on the gaslit streets of Dickensian London. Now, in this mesmerizing new novel of historical suspense, a mystery strikes disturbingly close to home—and draws Maddox into a world of literary legends, tormented souls, and a legacy of terrible secrets.
When his great-uncle, the master detective who schooled him in the science of “thief taking,” is mysteriously stricken, Charles Maddox fears that the old man’s breakdown may be directly related to the latest case he’s been asked to undertake. Summoned to the home of a stuffy nobleman and his imperious wife, Charles finds his investigative services have been engaged by no less than the son of celebrated poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his famed widow, Mary, author of the gothic classic Frankenstein. Approached by a stranger offering to sell a cache of rare papers allegedly belonging to the legendary late poet, the Shelley family seeks Maddox’s aid in discovering whether the precious documents are authentic or merely the work of an opportunistic charlatan.
But the true identity of his quarry is only the first of many surprises lying in wait for the detective. Hardly a conniving criminal, Claire Clairmont is in fact the stepsister of Mary Shelley, and their tortured history of jealousy, obsession, and dark deceit looms large over the affair Maddox must untangle. So, too, does the shadow of the brilliant, eccentric Percy Shelley, who found no rest from the private demons that pursued him. With each new detail unearthed, the investigation grows ever more disturbing. And when shocking evidence of foul play comes to light, Maddox’s chilling hunt for the truth leads him into the blackest reaches of the soul.
Steeped in finely wrought Victorian atmosphere, and rife with eye-opening historical revelations, A Fatal Likeness carries the reader ever deeper into a darkly magnetic tale of love and madness as utterly harrowing and heartbreaking as it is undeniably human.
© 2013 Delacorte Press
Happy Reading Everyone!
Cover images and book descriptions courtesy of the respective publishers: text © 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
Happy Friday everyone! Huzzah! A new issue of our favorite Jane Austen-inspired magazine Jane Austen’s World is now available.
Did you know that you can now read it digitally on your iPad, NOOK, Kindle or other tablet devices? This was the best news possible for me and I did the happy dance all day.
I am sharing with you Deb Barnum of Jane Austen in Vermont’s excellent announcement of the release of the new issue. Enjoy!
Originally posted on Jane Austen in Vermont:
The July/August 2013 (No 64) edition of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine is now out – watch out for it in your mailbox over the next few weeks. In the new issue you can read about:
- Austenland: we speak to Jerusha Hess about her new film depicting one woman’s amazing hunt for her Mr Darcy
- Read our exclusive preview of this year’s Jane Austen Festival in Bath
- The Countess of Jersey, serial adulteress and debauchee is this issue’s Regency Rogue
- Letters from Jane: a look at Austen’s correspondence
- Plump cheeks and thick ankles: Jane Austen used appearance to size up her characters
- A social reformer and a place called Harmony: the tale of Robert Owen
Subscribe today to Jane Austen’s Regency World, the full-colour, must-read, glossy magazine for fans of the world’s favourite author – delivered to your doorstep every two months direct from Bath, England. Plus reports from Austen societies in the UK, US and Australia; news, letters, book reviews, quiz and much, much more!
Just in case you were interested to know how much your first editions of Jane Austen’s works were worth, this video featuring Adam Douglas, Senior Specialist in Early Literature at Peter Harrington, a rare book dealer in London, introduces a selection of Jane Austen’s first editions and explains how bindings affect value.
We just love how he handles the books. It’s like an aphrodisiac for an Austen fan as he sensually glides his hands over first editions of Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park and speaks in reverent and seductive tones! Adam, you are such a Willoughby!
73 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of copy of Celebrating Pride and Prejudice by Susannah Fullerton. The winner drawn at random is:
- Sharee Burton who left a comment on February 17, 2013
Congratulations Sharee! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by February 27, 2013. I have several giveaways running, so PLEASE STATE WHICH ITEM YOU WON in your contact email. Shipment is to US addresses only.
Thanks to all who are participating in The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge and to Voyageur Press for the giveaway.
© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
Gentle readers: Here is a special treat for you today. Author Shannon Winslow has graciously offered an exclusive sneak peek to Austenprose readers of an excerpt of her new Austen-inspired novel, Return to Longbourn, which releases on February 26th.
I have had the pleasure of reading an advance copy and I can share that Shannon is in peak form channeling Jane Austen characters and creating new ones too. This new sequel to her popular The Darcys of Pemberley is sure to please her many fans.
The passage that she has chosen for us also includes a letter from one Tristan Collins, the heir to Longbourn, the estate of the Bennet family in Pride and Prejudice. Some of you might recognize similarities in phrase and tone to his elder brother Mr. William Collins whose unexpected demise in The Darcys of Pemberley made Tristan the heir to the Longourn estate.
Excerpt from Return to Longbourn
“Now you shall see why I am in such a flutter,” Kitty said. She drew a packet of paper from her pocket and held it out to Mary…“It is from the heir to Longbourn – Mr. Tristan Collins! He has written from America, and it is a great secret because Mama has not yet read it. Nor must she! …Kitty held up a hand to forestall the anticipated protest. “I know you will say that I should not have taken it. But before you quote me a sermon, read the letter yourself and hear my proposal. Then, on the grounds of sisterly loyalty, you must come to my aid, else before Michaelmas Mama will have me engaged to this stranger and forever miserable.”
Mary looked grave, and yet she opened the letter.
I feel myself called upon by our relationship to condole with you on the grievous affliction you are now suffering under, of which I was only yesterday informed by a letter from your solicitor in London. I pray you will forgive me for introducing myself to your notice at this difficult time, and that you will not think my sympathy any less genuine for the awkwardness of our situation. I write chiefly to reassure you that I am very sensible of the severity of your loss, and that I mean to in no way add to your misery where it can be helped. Therefore, although I propose myself the satisfaction of coming to you without delay, I do not anticipate any need for you to vacate your comfortable abode at once. I ask only that you allow me to be a guest therein whilst we sort out between us what is best to be done… My intention is to follow this letter as soon as I am able to settle my business affairs, and I hope to arrive within three weeks of your receipt of the same. Until then, please convey my respectful compliments to all your family.
Tristan Collins, esquire
“Well? What do you think of it?” Kitty demanded.
“I think it is a very good letter – well composed and clearly expressed.”
“Is that all you can say on the subject?” cried Kitty in exasperation. “How can you be so tiresome, Mary?”
“Very well, then. Let me look again.”
Mary’s second appraisal was more comprehensive and more gratifying to her sister’s feelings.
“The content reveals nothing so very remarkable. It was always to be expected that he would come to inspect his property. This is only a little sooner than anticipated. As to the style of the letter, I must say that I am pleased with it. His generous sentiments do him credit, and they are elegantly conveyed.” Mary took a moment to consider before adding one more point. “There is a certain something in his way of expressing himself, however. It is rather reminiscent of a person we used to know.”
“Exactly! I can see this Mr. Tristan Collins now,” said Kitty, evincing horror at the specter before her mind’s eye. “The man is his brother to the very core, and he will be here in less than a month!”
End of excerpt
Author Bio: Shannon Winslow, her two sons now grown, devotes much of her time to her diverse interests in music, literature, and the visual arts – writing claiming the lion’s share of her creative energies in recent years.
In addition to three short stories (one a finalist in the Jane Austen Made Me Do It contest), Ms. Winslow has published two novels to date. The Darcys of Pemberley, a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, was her debut. For Myself Alone, a stand-alone Austenesque story, now follows. Her third novel Return to Longbourn is the next installment of her Pride and Prejudice series.
Shannon lives with her husband in the log home they built in the countryside south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio facing Mt. Rainier. Visit Shannon at her website/blog Shannon Winslow’s Jane Austen Says, follow her on Twitter as @JaneAustenSays, and on Facebook as Shannon Winslow.
A Grand Giveaway of The Darcys of Pemberley
Get ready for the release of Return to Longbourn by entering a chance to win one of three copies available of the first book in the series The Darcys of Pemberley. Just leave a comment stating what intrigues you about the letter from Tristan Collins or reading a Pride and Prejudice continuation. The contest is open until 11:59 on Wednesday February 13, 2013. Winners will be announced on Thursday, February 14, 2013. Print copy shipment to US addresses only. Digital copy shipment available internationally. Good luck!
© 2013, Shannon Winslow, Austenprose
61 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one paperback copy of either The Passing Bells, Circles of Time, and A Future Arrived in The Greville Saga, by Phillip Rock. Winners drawn at random are:
- The Passing Bells: Colleen Turner who left a comment on January 16, 2013
- Circles of Time: Anne who left a comment on January 15, 2013
- A Future Arrived: Heather R. who left a comment on January 14, 2013
Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by February 6, 2013. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.
Thanks to all who left comments, TLC Book Tours and publisher William Morrow for the giveaway copies. I hope everyone will read this fabulous series that has found its way back into my TBR pile after a 30 year absence!
© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
68 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one copy of Pride and Prejudice (Naxos Audiobooks), by Jane Austen, read by Emilia Fox. The winner drawn at random is:
- Tricia who left a comment on January 12, 2013
Congratulations Tricia! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by Wednesday, January 23, 2013. Please state which item you have won in the subject line of your email and let me know if you want CD’s or a digital download. Shipment is to US addresses or digital download internationally.
Many thanks to Naxos Audiobooks for the giveaway copy. Happy listening to the winner!
© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
In 1980 a read a book about an aristocratic English family during WWI that I absolutely adored. I was so enthusiastic about it that I promptly loaned it to my best friend who never thought of it again until about a year later when I asked for it back. She had no idea where my copy was. I was devastated. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to write down the title or author. I could only remember that bell was in the title.
Decades passed and the book never left my list of “to find titles.” When Internet search engines and online used book stores became available to me I searched again to no avail. Last month I was perusing the new release table at work and a book title caught my eye. The Passing Bells sounded vaguely familiar so I read the back description and checked the copyright date. “Originally published in 1978.” I stood and stared at the cover in stunned silence. I had found it again. It was a book miracle. After never giving up the search—we had been reunited—and, better yet, it was part of a trilogy! A red letter day all around for this book geek.
I immediately purchased a digital copy for my Nook and commenced reading. Would my endearing memory of the story of the Greville family entrenched in World War I stand up to my ideals so many years later? I was compelled to find out and share my conclusions with you all. I shall chuse to increase your suspense, “according to the usual practice of elegant females” by making you wait for my reviews of the trilogy before I reveal any insights, but here is a preview of each of the novels and a giveaway chance to win one copy of each of the novels compliments of TLC Book Tours and the trilogy’s new publisher William Morrow. Fans of the popular period drama Downton Abbey will see certain similarities and be as captivated as I was.
The guns of August are rumbling throughout Europe in the summer of 1914, but war has not yet touched Abingdon Pryory. Here, at the grand home of the Greville family, the parties, dances, and romances play on. Alexandra Greville embarks on her debutante season while brother Charles remains hopelessly in love with the beautiful, untitled Lydia Foxe, knowing that his father, the Earl of Stanmore, will never approve of the match. Downstairs the new servant, Ivy, struggles to adjust to the routines of the well-oiled household staff, as the arrival of American cousin Martin Rilke, a Chicago newspaperman, causes a stir.
But, ultimately, the Great War will not be denied, as what begins for the high-bred Grevilles as a glorious adventure soon takes its toll—shattering the household’s tranquillity, crumbling class barriers, and bringing its myriad horrors home.
A generation has been lost on the Western Front. The dead have been buried, a harsh peace forged, and the howl of shells replaced by the wail of saxophones as the Jazz Age begins. But ghosts linger—that long-ago golden summer of 1914 tugging at the memory of Martin Rilke and his British cousins, the Grevilles.
From the countess to the chauffeur, the inhabitants of Abingdon Pryory seek to forget the past and adjust their lives to a new era in which old values, social codes, and sexual mores have been irretrievably swept away. Martin Rilke throws himself into reporting, discovering unsettling political currents, as Fenton Wood-Lacy faces exile in faraway army outposts. Back at Abingdon, Charles Greville shows signs of recovery from shell shock and Alexandra is caught up in an unlikely romance. Circles of Time captures the age as these strongly drawn characters experience it, unfolding against England’s most gracious manor house, the steamy nightclubs of London’s Soho, and the despair of Germany caught in the nightmare of anarchy and inflation. Lives are renewed, new loves found, and a future of peace and happiness is glimpsed—for the moment.
The final installment of the saga of the Grevilles of Abingdon Pryory begins in the early 1930s, as the dizzy gaiety of the Jazz Age comes to a shattering end. What follows is a decade of change and uncertainty, as the younger generation, born during or just after the “war to end all wars,” comes of age.
American writer Martin Rilke has made his journalistic mark, earning worldwide fame with his radio broadcasts, and young Albert Thaxton seeks to follow in his footsteps as a foreign correspondent. Derek Ramsey, born only weeks after his father fell in France, and Colin Ross, a dashing Yankee, leave their schoolboy days behind and enter fighter pilot training as young men. The beautiful Wood-Lacy twins, Jennifer and Victoria, and their passionate younger sister, Kate, strive to forge independent paths, while learning to love—and to let go.
In their heady youth and bittersweet growth to adulthood, they are the future—but the shadows that touched the lives of the generation before are destined to reach out to their own.
Born in Hollywood, California, Phillip Rock lived in England with his family until the blitz of 1940. He spent his adult years in Los Angeles and published three novels before the Passing Bells series: Flickers, The Dead in Guanajuato, and The Extraordinary Seaman. He died in 2004.
A GRAND GIVEAWAY
Enter a chance to win one copy of The Passing Bells, Circles of Time, or A Future Arrived, by Phillip Rock by leaving a comment revealing what intrigues you about the series and why it is a must read for Downton Abbey fans. The contest ends on 11:59pm, Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Winners announced on Thursday, January 31, 2013. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only please. Good luck.
P.S. We are eternally grateful to the brilliant editor at William Morrow, who by choosing to re-issue this wonderful trilogy, solved my mystery book hunt of 30 years. Our only regret is that author Philip Rock is not with us still to enjoy the revival of his work.
© 2013, Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
152 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of the many prizes available during the book launch party for The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, by Syrie James.
The winners drawn at random are:
One box of Miss Lucy Steele tea from Bingley’s Teas
- Beth Cohen who left a comment on December 30, 2012
One small box of 10 Lizzy and Darcy notes cards from JT Originals
- Laura S. who left a comment on December 31, 2012
One Jane Austen charm bracelet by justbedesigns
- Dana Huff who left a comment on December 30, 2012
Five print copies of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen
- Amanda M. who left a comment on December 30, 2012
- Roselle N. who left a comment on December 30, 2012
- Danielle C. who left a comment on January 09, 2013
- Maggi G. who left a comment on December 30, 2012
- Colleen Lane who left a comment on December 30, 2012
Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by January 16, 2013. Shipment is to US addresses only please.
Many thanks to author Syrie James for her fabulous guest blog and all the comments she left for the participants during her book launch. Also, a big round of applause to all of the kind giveaways from: Bingley’s Teas, JT Originals, Justbedesigns and Penguin USA! What a wonderful time we had and I hope everyone is inspired to read this superb new novel. Happy reading to the winners!
© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
40 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of three copies available of Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Masterpiece, by Susannah Fullerton. The winners drawn at random are:
- Kelli H. who left a comment on January 08, 2013
- Melissa W. who left a comment on December 26, 2012
- Courtney who left a comment on December 30, 2012
Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by January 16, 2013. Shipment is to US addresses only please.
Many thanks to Susannah Fullerton and Voyageur Press for the giveaway copies. Check back in February for my review of this new book during The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013. Happy reading to the winners!
© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
On January 28, 1813, Jane Austen’s most popular novel Pride and Prejudice was published in three volumes by T. Egerton, Whitehall, London. 2013 will mark the Bicentenary anniversary—200 years of the classic story of Mr. Darcy’s pride and Elizabeth Bennet’s prejudice—and all of her other very memorable characters. Few will dispute the novel’s lasting impact on writers and readers.
There will be much to celebrate next year, including many new books honoring Austen’s classic tome. The first up on my reading list will be Susannah Fullerton’s Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Masterpiece, published on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2013. And—what a great way to ring in the New Year it shall be. Here is a brief description from the publisher:
Jane Austen’s brilliant work Pride and Prejudice is incomparable for its wit, humor, and insights into how we think and act—and how our “first impressions” (the book’s initial title) can often be remarkably off-base. On the two-hundredth anniversary of the book’s publication, Celebrating Pride and Prejudice, written by preeminent Austen scholar Susannah Fullerton, delves into what makes Pride and Prejudice such a groundbreaking masterpiece. Fullerton explores the story behind the book’s creation, its initial reception, and its tremendous legacy, from the many films inspired by the book (such as the 1995 BBC miniseries starring Colin Firth) to the even more numerous “sequels,” adaptations, and mash-ups.
Interspersed throughout are fascinating stories about Austen’s brief engagement, the “Darcin” pheromone, the ways in which Pride and Prejudice served as bibliotherapy in the World War I trenches, and much more. Celebrating Pride and Prejudice is a wonderful celebration of a book that has had an immeasurable influence on literature and on anyone who has had the good fortune to discover it.
About the Author
Susannah Fullerton is President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia (the largest literary society in the country), a post she has held for the past fifteen years. She is a popular literary lecturer, the author of Jane Austen and Crime and many articles about Austen, and the co-editor of Jane Austen: Antipodean Views.
My “first impressions” of this tribute to one of my favorite novels was the stunning cover resplendent with the plume of a peacock (the iconic symbol or pride) and appropriately in peacock blue! As I peruse the pages I am impressed that the book is really a substantial offering at 240 pages and stuffed with full color vintage and contemporary images. The chapters are broken down to interesting topics such the writing of, the reactions to, the style of, the heroine, the hero, illustrations, sequels and adaptations, theatrical versions, and a whole chapter devoted to the famous first sentence: (if you forgot what it is, I’ll give you a hint—“It is a truth universally acknowledged…”
A GRAND GIVEAWAY OF CELEBRATING PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
I will be reviewing this new edition in February, but just to get you psyched up for this beautiful new book, Voyageur Press is offering the chance to win one of three copies available. Just leave a comment stating your favorite quote from Pride and Prejudice. Please share why it stands out in your mind as one of the most memorable. The contest is open to US residents and ends at 11:59 pm PT on Wednesday, January 9, 2013. Winners to be announced on Thursday, January 10, 2013. Good luck to all.
Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Masterpiece, by Susannah Fullerton
Voyageur Press (2013)
Hardcover (240) pages
As the year winds down, it’s time for the reviewers here on Austenprose to reflect upon our past year of Austen-inspired reading/reviewing and compile our annual Top 20 Austen-inspired Books of 2012.
This year we will be adding a new category entitled Readers Choice which will include the Top 5 choices from our reader poll. Below is a list the 60 Austen-inspired books published or reviewed here in 2012. It also includes the balance of the books we will be reviewing in December. It is a totally awesome selection from Austenesque and Regency fiction and nonfiction. We have added the list to the poll, with the option for readers to add their favorite Austenesque books that we did not read and review that were published in 2012.
Let your voice be heard and vote for your favorite. One vote per IP address. The poll will be open until January 31st to allow books published in December to be considered.
UPDATE: It appears that the write in votes are not working as planned, so if you have an additional title you would like added to the poll, please leave a comment and I will add it to the list.
Have fun and good luck to all the authors.
© Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
Gentle readers: Here is a special treat for you today. Author Syrie James has graciously offered an exclusive sneak peek to Austenprose readers of an excerpt of her new Austen-inspired novel, The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, which releases on December 31st.
I have had the pleasure of reading the entire novel and I can share with you that you have a great treat ahead of you. Here is a brief description of this exciting new book from the author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte.
Samantha McDonough cannot believe her eyes—or her luck. Tucked in an uncut page of a two-hundred-year old poetry book is a letter she believes was written by Jane Austen, mentioning with regret a manuscript that “went missing at Greenbriar in Devonshire.” Could there really be an undiscovered Jane Austen novel waiting to be found? Could anyone resist the temptation to go looking for it?
Making her way to the beautiful, centuries-old Greenbriar estate, Samantha finds it no easy task to sell its owner, the handsome yet uncompromising Anthony Whitaker, on her wild idea of searching for a lost Austen work—until she mentions its possible million dollar value.
After discovering the unattributed manuscript, Samantha and Anthony are immediately absorbed in the story of Rebecca Stanhope, daughter of a small town rector, who is about to encounter some bittersweet truths about life and love. As they continue to read the newly discovered tale from the past, a new one unfolds in the present—a story that just might change both of their lives forever.
We will also have the honor of hosting Syrie’s launch party for The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen right here on Austenprose.com on Monday, December 31, 2012. Syrie will be sharing her inspiration and insights into writing her new novel, discussing characters, and of course Jane Austen’s influence. So be sure to mark your calendars — there will be great giveaway prizes and fun conversation. It is the perfect way to ring in the New Year with one of our favorite Austenesque authors. Now, on to the excerpt. Enjoy!
How It Began
The minute I saw the letter, I knew it was hers.
There was no mistaking it: the salutation, the tiny, precise handwriting, the date, the content itself, all confirmed its ancient status and authorship.
I came upon it entirely by accident. It lay buried between the pages of a very old book of eighteenth-century British poetry that I’d found at a used bookstore in Oxford—an impulsive purchase I’d made to add to my library back home and to keep me company during a few days of sightseeing in England.
It was to be a quick trip—less than a week. When I’d learned that my boyfriend, Dr. Stephen Theodore, was attending a medical conference in London, I hadn’t been able to resist tagging along. Although I knew he’d be tied up almost the entire time, it was a great excuse to do some touring on my own. My first stop was Oxford, the site of my unfinished education. I still felt pangs about having to abandon my doctoral studies in English literature, and returning to the “city of dreaming spires” filled me with nostalgia. I’d spent a lovely June afternoon and evening exploring my favorite old haunts—wishing, every step of the way, that I could have shared them with Stephen—but we kept in constant touch via e-mail, phone, and text.
I’d found the book in a dusty pile on a shop’s back table, unappreciated and ignored. I could see why. It wasn’t the prettiest of volumes. It was still in its original, temporary binding—the pages hastily sewn together inside a cheap, cardboardlike cover, with the title printed on a tiny paper label pasted on the spine. The publication date was missing, but I judged the book to be at least two hundred years old.
I didn’t have a chance to really study my new treasure until the morning after I’d bought it. I awoke to grey and stormy skies, and after a leisurely English breakfast at my B&B, I decided to wait out the rain with a cup of coffee in my cozy little room. I sank down into a comfortable chair by the window, turned on the old-fashioned lamp, and carefully opened the aging volume.
The pages at the beginning were brown and soiled at the edges, but as I went further in they became clean and white, with only a light brown speckling in the margins. I slowly thumbed through the volume, smiling at the familiar, much-loved poems set in antique type. The edges of the pages were ragged where the original owner had used a knife to cut open the folds. Near the end of the book, I noticed that a few pages hadn’t been cut, but were still joined at the edge, creating a kind of pocket. I borrowed a letter opener from the B&B proprietor and gently sliced open the remaining pages. To my surprise, tucked in between the leaves of the last pocket, I discovered a single sheet of paper neatly folded into envelope shape and size.
I opened it. It was an unfinished letter. The paper was of substantial weight and bore a watermark and the distinctive ribbing from the paper molds of yesteryear. The ink was black-brown. The date and elegant cursive hand proclaimed that it had been written by quill. I read the greeting, and my heart jumped. With disbelieving eyes, I read it through.
Tuesday 3 September 1816
My dearest Cassandra,
Thank you for your Letter, which was truly welcome. I am much obliged to you for writing so soon after your arrival, and for sharing the particulars of your Lodgings, which I suspect provided far more entertainment for the reader, than for the writer.—Although your Bedroom sounds comfortable enough, I am sorry you had no fire, and am appalled that Mrs. Potter thinks to charge three Guineas a week for such a place! Cheltenham is clearly to be preferred in May! Your Pelisse is no doubt very happy it made the journey, for it will be much worn. I hope Mary gains more benefit from the waters than I did. Do let me know how she gets on. We are well here. The illness which I suffered at the time of your going has very kindly taken its leave, without so much as a good-bye, and I am happy to say that my back has given me very little pain the past few days. I am nursing myself into as beautiful a state as I can, so as to better enjoy Edward’s visit. He is a great pleasure to me. He is writing a Novel—We have all heard it, and it is very good and clever. I believe it could be a first-rate work, if only he can bring himself to finish it.
Listening to Edward’s composition has put me in something of a melancholy state and given rise to Feelings I had thought long got over, and of which I may give vent only to you. I promise to indulge for no more than five minutes.—It brings to mind that early Manuscript of my own, which went missing at Greenbriar in Devonshire. Even at a distance of fourteen years, I cannot help but think of it with a pang of fondness, sorrow, and regret, as one would a lost child.—Do you recall my theory as to how it came to be lost? I still maintain that it was all vanity, nonsense, and wounded pride. I should never have read it out to you that night during our stay but kept it safe with all the others—although we did have a good laugh! (What banner years for me—two Proposals!) It is tragic that I had only the one Copy.—And yet perhaps it was simply fate, and it was never meant to be seen. You did persuade me to tell no one about it while I was writing it, and you were right; it might indeed have troubled that most valued member of our family. Every time I thought of trying to write it out again, something happened to prevent it—all our travels—so difficult, you will recall, to work at Sydney Place—and then papa died, and it was quite impossible. To recall it now from memory would prove to be a task beyond my power. I have been inspired, however. Yesterday, I sat down and poked fun at my poor, lost creation with a piece of foolishness I call Plan Of A Novel. It is in part what I remember of that Story, embellished with hints from Fanny and others who have been kind enough to suggest what I ought to write next. I hope it will make you laugh.—Which reminds me. To-night, we are to drink tea with
It ended there—a fragment, unfinished, and unsigned.
Hands trembling, I read the letter a second time, and a third. There was only one person who could have written that letter; one person, and she happened to be one of the most famous and beloved authors of all time: Jane Austen. That she was my personal favorite author—that I had studied her life and work in detail, and that she had inspired the topic of my never-completed dissertation—only added to my astonishment and excitement.
If this was authentic—and I felt in my bones that it was—then I had come upon something extremely rare and valuable. Jane’s sister Cassandra, shortly before her death, had burned most of her correspondence with Jane, or expunged those parts she preferred to keep private, before giving them as mementos to her nieces and nephews. Some 161 letters survived and had been published—and I was certain this was not among them. This was something new.
End of excerpt. Be sure to join us on December 31 for all of the festivities!!!
The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, by Syrie James
Berkley Trade (2012)
Trade paperback (432) pages
© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
For two hundred and one years readers have had the pleasure of reading Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. For the bicentenary celebration last year, Penguin Classics issued this new edition with an introduction by Cathleen Schine (The Three Weissmanns of Westport) and cover illustration by Audrey Niffenegger (yes the author of The Time Travelers Wife is also an artist).
The cover shows us a tempest in a teacup. While I love the design, I’m not sure that it exactly mirrors the action in Sense and Sensibility. The phrase tempest in a teacup, or teapot, has a slightly derogatory implication, like making a mountain out of a molehill. I personally think that Austen’s drama is not puffed up and only her heroine Marianne Dashwood is exaggerated (on purpose) to show her overly romantic personality. But, that’s just me.
Elinor could not be surprised at their attachment. She only wished that it were less openly shewn; and once or twice did venture to suggest the propriety of some self-command to Marianne. But Marianne abhorred all concealment where no real disgrace could attend unreserve; and to aim at the restraint of sentiments which were not in themselves illaudable appeared to her not merely an unnecessary effort, but a disgraceful subjection of reason to common-place and mistaken notions. – Sense and Sensibility, Ch 11
For those who have not had the pleasure yet of reading Austen’s tale of two divergent sisters and their financial and romantic challenges, what are you waiting for? If you need further inducement or would like a refresher on the plot, characters and style, you can read my reviews of the print book, Naxos audio recording and four movie adaptations from 1971, 1981, 1995 and 2008 Episode One, Episode Two.
Make haste and purchase this lovely Penguin Classics Bicentenary Edition of Sense and Sensibility directly at the Penguin website.
Many happy reading/listening/viewing hours await all those who seek the Dashwood story.
© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
48 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of three copies available of Emma: An Annotated Edition. The winners drawn at random are:
- Greta who left a comment on September 18, 2012
- Julie Buck who left a comment on September 17, 2012
- Lady T. who left a comment on September 20, 2012
Congratulations to all the very lucky winners! You are in for a treat. To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by October 3, 2012. Shipment to US addresses only.
Emma: An Annotated Edition is a sumptuous new illustrated edition of Jane Austen’s classic novel from Harvard University Press who kindly contributed the books for this giveaway. Many thanks to all who left comments. I loved reading your replies. Happy reading to the winners!
© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
Holiday book giving is just around the corner, and top on my list to many of my Janeite friends will be Harvard University’s new annotated edition of Jane Austen’s Emma. It will be officially released tomorrow, so mark your calendars and wait for the fireworks.
I was agog over their two previous volumes, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, so when the next in their publishing quest to bring all of Jane Austen’s six major novels to us in sumptuously illustrated and enlightened editions arrived on my doorstep, I needed my aromatic vinegars to revive myself. Filled with hundreds of side notes and over 119 color illustrations, this new volume is the heavy weight of the set at four pounds and 576 pages. Wow!
The beautiful cover illustration is an inset from Sir James Dromgole Linton’s Waiting. If you think that the enticing folds of the opulent fabric of the lady’s frock is a herald of what awaits inside, then hold on to your bonnets. It gets even better. Here is a brief description from the publisher:
“Bharat Tandon’s edition of Emma is a delight to read, as pleasurable as it is thought provoking. He captures both the delights of Austen’s novel and the way that those delights are shadowed by the dark intimations.” – Deidre Lynch, University of Toronto
Inside the World of Emma Woodhouse
Emma Woodhouse is one of the most endearing and exasperating figures in fiction – “handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition,” yet often frivolous, inconsiderate, and carelessly manipulative. Now her stubbornness, vanity, cleverness, and independence can be more fully understood thanks to Emma: An Annotated Edition (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; September 17, 2012; $35.00), edited by Bharat Tandon. Like the previous volumes in Harvard’s celebrated annotated Austen series, this is a beautiful and illuminating gift edition that will be treasured by readers.
Stimulating and helpful annotations appear in the book’s margins, offering information, definitions, and commentary. In his introduction, Bharat Tandon suggests several ways to approach the novel, enabling a larger appreciation of its central concerns and accomplishments. Appearing throughout the book are many illustrations, often in color, which help the reader to better picture the Regency-era world that serves as the stage for Emma’s matchmaking adventures.
Whether explaining the intricacies of early nineteenth-century dinner etiquette or speculating on Highbury’s deliberately imprecise geographic locations, Tandon serves as a delightful and entertaining guide. For those coming to the novel for the first time or those returning to it, this volume offers a valuable portal to Austen’s world.
Bharat Tandon is Lecturer in the School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and the author of Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation.
GIVEAWAY OF EMMA: AN ANNOTATED EDITION
The good folks at Harvard University Press are offering a giveaway chance for one of three copies available of Emma: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen, edited by Bharat Tandon. To qualify, tell us what you love or hate about Austen’s most troublesome creature, Emma Woodhouse. If you have not had the pleasure of reading Emma yet, tell us what entices YOU into reading the novel? Contest open until 11:59 pm Pacific time, Wednesday, September 26, 2012. Winners will be announced on Thursday, September 27, 2012. Shipment to US addresses only. Good luck to all!
Emma: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen and edited by Bharat Tandon
The Belknap Press (September 17, 2012)
Hardcover (576) pages
© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress & Belknap Press, Austenprose
Fall is in the air today in the Pacific Northwest. Parents are swarming into my Barnes & Noble with school reading lists for their darling children, fantasy football magazines are front and center in the newsstand, and the scholarly Jane Austen books are queuing up for those who crave a deeper look at their favorite author. Here is a list of my selections for Fall 2012 including the publisher’s descriptions:
Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity, by Janine Barchas
In Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity, Janine Barchas makes the bold assertion that Jane Austen’s novels allude to actual high-profile politicians and contemporary celebrities as well as to famous historical figures and landed estates. Barchas is the first scholar to conduct extensive research into the names and locations in Austen’s fiction by taking full advantage of the explosion of archival materials now available online.
According to Barchas, Austen plays confidently with the tension between truth and invention that characterizes the realist novel. Of course, the argument that Austen deployed famous names presupposes an active celebrity culture during the Regency, a phenomenon recently accepted by scholars. The names Austen plucks from history for her protagonists (Dashwood, Wentworth, Woodhouse, Tilney, Fitzwilliam, and many more) were immensely famous in her day. She seems to bank upon this familiarity for interpretive effect, often upending associations with comic intent.
Barchas re-situates Austen’s work closer to the historical novels of her contemporary Sir Walter Scott and away from the domestic and biographical perspectives that until recently have dominated Austen studies. This forward-thinking and revealing investigation offers scholars and ardent fans of Jane Austen a wealth of historical facts, while shedding an interpretive light on a new aspect of the beloved writer’s work.
Janine Barchas is an associate professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin. She is the author of Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel.
Johns Hopkins University Press (September 13, 2012)
Hardcover (336) pages
Near its heart, English Romanticism—across many writers—acknowledges and celebrates a community that is not just secular but that derives meaning from a religious association and, in fact, a particularly defined religion, that is, Anglican Christianity. William Wordsworth and Jane Austen, premier English Romantic poet and novelist, were baptized, confirmed, and buried (and for Wordsworth, married) in conformity with the Church of England. Of course, Wordsworth’s commitment flagged in his twenties, but with marriage and responsibility came respectability and parishioner status. However, most twentieth-century critics interpret these writers’ works outside the Christian realities with which their lives were much imbued, except for late Wordsworthian poems from his purported decline into conservative politics and religion and evident poetic senility. Jane Austen did not live long enough to have a late decline, but critics have nonetheless overlooked her faith. It is not necessarily the surface of her writing, but Christianity is unquestionably the sea out of which her characters arise, her plots bubble up, and her themes unfold. It was her and their reality. Notwithstanding this negative or blind critical precedent, Laura Dabundo highlights what most readers are conditioned to disregard, the ways in which the church saturates the writing of Wordsworth and Austen. The Church of England’s liturgy has traditionally been based on Scripture, which these writers would have known. This book, then, links their faith to their works.
Laura Dabundo is professor of English and coordinator of Religious Studies at Kennesaw State University. She is editor of The Encyclopedia of Romanticism: Culture in Britain, 1780–1830s and Jane Austen and Mary Shelley and Their Sisters: Romantic Women’s Fiction in Context and has written articles on many Romantic writers. Born in Philadelphia and educated in Pennsylvania, she teaches British Romanticism, the Gothic, the Bible as Literature, Mystery and Detective Fiction, and editing. Currently, she is studying Irish Romantic writers and their faith.
Mercer University Press (September 30, 2012)
Hardcover (152) pages
Uses of Austen: Jane’s Afterlives, edited by Gillian Dow and Clare Hanson
This collection of essays focuses on the ways in which the life and work of Jane Austen is being re-framed and re-imagined in 20th and 21st-century literature and culture. Tracing the connections between the construction of a Modernist Jane Austen in the early 20th century and feminist and post-feminist appropriations of her texts in the later 20th century, the essays in this volume also examine the ways in which Austen has more recently emerged as a complex point of reference on the global stage, her novels being adapted in settings ranging from Amritsar to California, her name being invoked in political discourse on internet sites and in the printed press as shorthand for English or more broadly Western liberal cultural values. The volume is distinctive in its international scope, and in its focus on Austen as a dynamic cultural signifier. Together, the essays explore the richness and complexity of the cultural encounters generated through re-inscriptions of an imagined ‘Jane Austen’, and ask what they can tell us about contemporary desires for cultural authority and authenticity.
Gillian Dow is Lecturer in English at the University of Southampton, UK, and Director of Research at Chawton House Library. She has published on French and British women’s writing of the Romantic period, on translation, on the reception of foreign literature in Britain, and on the cross-channel rise of the novel in the long eighteenth century. Clare Hanson is Professor of English at the University of Southampton, UK. She has published extensively on twentieth century women’s writing, is a founding member of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association and co-editor of the journal Contemporary Women’s Writing. Her most recent books are A Cultural History of Pregnancy (2004) and Eugenics, Literature and Culture in Post-war Britain (2012).
Palgrave Macmillan (October 2, 2012)
Hardcover (256) pages
Jane Austen’s Manuscript Works (Broadview Editions), edited by Linda Bree, Peter Sabor and Janet Todd
When Jane Austen died, at the age of 41, she left behind not only her six novels but a large number of manuscripts, ranging from juvenile works to the novel that she was writing at the time of her final illness. The six published novels are now undisputed classics. The manuscripts, however, despite the brilliant writing they contain and the way in which they illuminate Jane Austen’s work as a novelist, are much less well known. From the brilliance of the juvenilia to the urbane modernity of “Sanditon,” these works show Austen pushing the conventional boundaries of fiction, exploring the implications of vulgarity and violence, experimenting with different styles and tones, practicing and refining her arts of narrative, and adding a whole new dimension to her own comment about her writing as a “little bit (two inches wide) of Ivory, on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour.”
Linda Bree is Editorial Director, Arts and Literature at the Cambridge University Press and the editor of the Broadview Edition of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Peter Sabor is Professor of English and Canada Research Chair in Eighteenth Century Studies at McGill University, and the editor of the Broadview Edition of Sarah Fielding’s The History of Ophelia. Janet Todd is President of Lucy Cavendish College at the University of Cambridge and the editor of the Broadview Edition of Charlotte Smith’s Desmond.
Broadview Press (November 30, 2012)
Paperback (350) pages
© Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose