Hot off the Presses!! ~ Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine, No. 68

Laurel Ann (Austenprose):

The new issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World is “out”!

Originally posted on Jane Austen in Vermont:

JARW68-cover

New issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World!

The March/April 2014 issue [No. 68] of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine is now published and will be mailed to subscribers this week.  In it you can read about:

  • William Beckford, the remarkable author and architect who led a somewhat sordid life
  • Joanna Trollope on her rewriting of Sense & Sensibility for HarperCollins’s Austen Project
  • Mary Russell Mitford, the writer who sought to emulate Jane Austen
  • How Jane Austen supported her fellow writers by subscribing to their books
  • The story of Julie Klassen, marketing assistant turned best-selling Regency romance novelist

 ***********

Plus: News, Letters, Book Reviews and information from Jane Austen Societies in the US and the UK.

And: Test your knowledge with our exclusive Jane Austen quiz, and read about the shocking behaviour of our latest Regency Rogue

You should subscribe! Make sure that you are…

View original 28 more words

Giveaway Winner Announced for The Complete Novels of Jane Austen

The Complete Novels of Jane Austen, Race Point Edition 2013It’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

Austenprose’s Top Jane Austen-inspired Books of 2013

Jane Austen Pop Art Banner

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: 

  1. Return to Longbourn, by Shannon Winslow (5 stars)
  2. One Thread Pulled: The Dance with Mr. Darcy, by Diana J. Oaks (5 stars)
  3. Loving Miss Darcy: The Brides of Pemberley, by Nancy Kelley (5 stars)
  4. The Pursuit of Mary Bennet: A Pride and Prejudice Novel, by Pamela Mingle (4 stars)
  5. Longbourn: A Novel, by Jo Baker (4 stars)
  6. The Passions of Dr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan (4 stars)
  7. Falling For Mr. Darcy, by KaraLynne Mackrory (4 stars)
  8. Darcy’s Decision: Given Good Principles Volume 1, by Maria Grace (4 stars)
  9. When They Fall in Love: Darcy and Elizabeth in Italy, by Mary Simonsen (4 stars)
  10. 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: 

  1. Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match, by Marilyn Brant (5 stars)
  2. Undressing Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos (5 stars)
  3. My Own Mr. Darcy, by Karey White (4 stars)
  4. Sense & Sensibility (Austen Project), by Joanna Trollope (3.5 stars)
  5. Finding Colin Firth: A Novel, by Mia March (3.5 stars)

Top 5 Austenesque Paranormal/Fantasy Novels:

  1. Jane, Actually, by Jennifer Petkus (5 stars)
  2. Project Darcy, by Jane Odiwe (4 stars)
  3. Austensibly Ordinary, by Alyssa Goodnight (4 stars)
  4. Attempting Elizabeth, by Jessica Grey (4 stars)
  5. A Jane Austen Daydream, by Scott Southard (4 stars)

Top 5 Austen-inspired Nonfiction Books:

  1. Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom, by Deborah Jaffe (6 stars)
  2. The Annotated Northanger Abbey, edited by David Shapard (5 stars)
  3. Walking Jane Austen’s London, by Louise Allen (5 stars)
  4. Mr. Darcy’s Guide to Courtship: The Secrets of Seduction from Jane Austen’s Most Eligible Bachelor, by Fitzwilliam Darcy (5 stars)
  5. The List Lover’s Guide to Jane Austen, by Joan Strasbaugh (4.5 stars)

Top 5 Austen-inspired Scholarly Books: 

  1. The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things, by Paula Byrne (5 stars)
  2. Jane Austen’s England, by Roy and Lesley Adkins (5 stars)
  3. Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks (4 stars)
  4. Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity, by Janine Barchas (4 stars)
  5. What Matters in Jane Austen: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved, by John Mullan (4 stars)

Top 3 Austenesque Young Adult Novels: 

  1. The Trouble with Flirting, by Claire LaZebnick (4.5 stars)
  2. Emmalee (Austen Diaries), by Jenni James (4 stars)
  3. For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund (4 stars) 

Top 3 Austenesque Self-published Novels:

  1. Return to Longbourn, by Shannon Winslow (5 stars)
  2. One Thread Pulled: The Dance with Mr. Darcy, by Diana J. Oaks (5 stars)
  3. Loving Miss Darcy: The Brides of Pemberley, by Nancy Kelley (5 stars)

Top 3 Austen or Austenesque Audio Books:

  1. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, read by Emilia Fox (5 stars)
  2. Mr. Darcy’s Diary, by Maya Slater, read by David Rintoul (5 stars)
  3. 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: 

  1. The Tutor’s Daughter, by Julie Klassen (5 stars)
  2. The Passion of the Purple Plumeria: A Pink Carnation Novel, by Lauren Willig (5 stars)
  3. Blackmoore: A Proper Romance, by Julianne Donaldson (5 stars)

Debut Austenesque Author:

  1. 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

Related posts

Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose.com

Happy Birthday Jane Austen: A Celebration with Recommendations of the Best Books in My Personal Library and a Giveaway!

*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.

St Nicholas Church, Steventon Jane Austen Tour 2013

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.

Laurel Ann at St. Nicholas Church, Steventon during Jane Austen Tour 2013

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.

Image of the book cover of The Real Jane Austen, by Paula Byrne © 2013 HarperCollins

Jane Austen Biographies:

(the life of Jane Austen)

Image of the cover of The Lost memoirs of Jane Austen, by Syrie James

Jane Austen Bio-Fict:

(Jane Austen as a fictional character)

The entire Being a Jane Austen Mystery series by Stephanie Barron

Jane Austen, Her Life, Her Times, Her Novels by Janet Todd (2013)

Jane Austen-inspired:

(non-fiction)

The Complete Novels of Jane Austen by Race Point Publishing 2013

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

My Top Picks for Jane Austen-inspired Holiday Gifts for 2013

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!

Ephemera

Jane Austen Book Marks by TheCastleOnTheHill

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 and Darcy note cards by Janet Taylor

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.

Books

Jane Austen, Her Life, Her Times, Her Novels by Janet Todd (2013)

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!

Pulp! The Classics: Pride and Prejudice 2013

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 by Hannah Greig (2013)

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 (2013)

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.

Visit Masterpiece Classic PBS for all the latest on the new season, and by all means, please buy the book at St. Martin’s Press.

Calendars

Jane Austen Mansfield Park Calendar (2013)

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!

Miscellaneous

Elizabeth and Darcy doll ornaments

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.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose.com

Project Darcy Book Launch & Blog Tour with Author Jane Odiwe & Giveaways!

Project  Darcy, by Jane Odiwe (2013)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! 

Welcome Jane…

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

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

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

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.

Author Jane Odiwe (2013)Author Bio:

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.

Jane Austen cards by Jane Odiwe design 1

Note cards: Christmas at Steventon with Jane and Cassandra, design 1

Steventon Rectory cards by Jane Odiwe design 2

Note cards: Steventon Rectory by Jane Odiwe design 2

Project Darcy, by Jane Odiwe
Paintbox Publishing (2013)
Trade paperback (326) pages
ISBN: 978-0954572235

Cover image courtesy of Paintbox Publishing © 2013; text Jane Odiwe © 2013, Austenprose.com

Austen Project Announces McCall Smith for Modern Reimagining of Emma

Author Alexander McCall Smith (2013) by Michael LionstarThose 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?

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

  • 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

Giveaway Winners Announced for Jane Austen’s England!

Jane Austen's England by Lesley and Roy Adkins (2013)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