Giveaway Winner Announced for A Proper Companion

A Proper Companion, by Candice Hern 40 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a paperback or digital copy of A Proper Companion, by Candice Hern. The winner drawn at random is:

Christina who left a comment on January 24, 2013

Congratulations Christina! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by February 6, 2013. You may choose which format you would like. Shipment of paperback to US addresses only. Digital copy sent internationally.

Thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in the Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013. We are reading all nine novels or short stories by the fabulous Candice Hern. The challenge is open until July 1st, 2013, so please check out the details and sign up today!

© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

The Pride Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge (2013) 2013 is a celebratory year for the legion of Jane Austen fans. It marks the bicentenary of her second published novel, Pride and Prejudice.

For two hundred years we have been enjoying her romantic, dramatic, and witty story filled with memorable characters – the Bennet sisters: angelic Jane, spirited Elizabeth, pedantic Mary, impressionable Kitty and impetuous Lydia; and the men in their lives: amiable Charles Bingley, charming Lt. George Wickham, and the proud Mr. Darcy. There is so much to praise in Jane Austen’s most popular novel which has inspired many movie adaptations, book sequels and spinoffs. In its honor, we are very pleased to announce another reading and viewing challenge for our readers:

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

We had a fabulous year here in 2011 during The Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge and are pleased to offer another new challenge for Pride and Prejudice. If you have not read Jane Austen’s masterpiece (or would like to revisit it in honor of its special anniversary), seen all of the movies, or read all of the sequels and spinoffs, this is the year to join the challenge along with other Janeites, historical fiction, Regency romance, and period drama movie lovers.

Challenge Details

Time-line: The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013 runs January 1, through December 31, 2013.

Levels of participation: Neophyte: 1 – 4 selections, Disciple: 5 – 8 selections, Aficionada: 9 – 12 selections.

Enrollment: Sign up’s are open until July 1, 2013. First, select your level of participation.  Second, copy the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013 graphic and include it in your blog post detailing the novels or movies that you commit to reading and watching in 2013. Third, leave a comment linking back to your blog post in the comments of this announcement post. If you do not have a blog you can still participate. Just leave your commitment to the challenge in the comments below.

Check Back Monthly: The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013 officially begins on Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 with my review of the Naxos Audiobooks edition of Pride and Prejudice, read by Emilia Fox. Check back on the 2nd Wednesday of each month for my next review in the challenge.

Your Participation: Once the challenge starts, leave a comment in my monthly post including the book, movie, television, or web series that you finished and a link to your blog review. If you do not have a blog, just leave a comment in the monthly post about what you did read or view with a brief reaction or remark. It’s that easy. (To clarify, the post you are reading right now if the announcement and sign-up post for the challenge. Leave your reviews in future monthly posts as the year progresses.)

Resources: Since there are literally hundreds of Pride and Prejudice prequels, sequels, re-tellings, variations, mysteries and paranormal novels – both historical and contemporary – now in print or digital format, and many film adaptations to choose from on DVD or online, I will not begin to list all the possible choices that you could select for this challenge. Many are available for purchase through online book and DVD retailers. Some of the movies can also be rented and viewed on your own tablet, computer or television. Your local library is also an excellent resource.

My Choices: I have decided to start off the challenge by honoring the origins of our challenge by listening to an audio book of Pride and Prejudice, and then revisit or discover many early and classic sequels that I read many years ago, or have been on my TBR list for years. We will end the year with a TBA novel inspired by Pride and Prejudice that is new this year. Here is my list of my 12 selections:

My Reading & Viewing Schedule:

I hope you can join us. It shall be a wonderful year reading Pride and Prejudice, and visiting all of its varied offshoots.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

The beautiful Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013 graphic was designed by the very talented Katherine Cox of November’s Autumn

• PARTICIPANTS!

Please leave comments or links to your reviews in the monthly reviews as we progress through the year. The list and links to each monthly review is listed above. This post is a sign-up and commitment post. Thanks!

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Announcing the Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013: Featuring Candice Hern

The Regency Romance Reading Challenge (2013)Yes, gentle readers it’s time for a new reading challenge—and for 2013 we are stretching our wings and embracing a new author.

We are very pleased to announce the Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013 featuring the very talented author Candice Hern. If you are unfamiliar with Candice, I am excited to introduce her to you. She writes witty and romantic traditional Regency romance novels with endearing heroines and swoon-worthy heroes highlighted by incredible historical accuracy. If you enjoyed any of Georgette Heyer’s great romance novels or laughed along with Lauren Willig’s characters in the Pink Carnation series, I highly recommend joining in the challenge—affording you the perfect opportunity to discover Ms. Hern’s great novels and short stories along with other Janeites, historical fiction and Regency romance lovers.

We will be reading and reviewing one title a month and posting on the third Wednesday through September. Here is our schedule:

The Regency Romance Reading Challenge Review Schedule:

Challenge Details

Time-line: The Regency Romance Reading Challenge runs January 1, through September 30, 2013.

Levels of participation: Neophyte: 1 – 2 novels & short stories, Disciple 3 – 5 novels & short stories, Aficionada 6 – 9 novels & short stories.

Enrollment: Sign up’s are open until July 01, 2013. First, select your level of participation.  Second, copy the Regency Romance Reading Challenge graphic and include it in your blog post detailing the novels or short stories that you will read in 2013. Third, leave a comment linking back to your blog post in the comments of this announcement post. If you do not have a blog you can still participate. Just leave your commitment to the challenge in the comments below.

Check Back Monthly: The Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013 officially begins on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 with my review of A Proper Companion. Check back on the 4th Wednesday of each month for our next review in the challenge.

Your Participation: Once the challenge starts, leave a comment including the novel or short story that you finished and a link to your blog review. If you do not have a blog, just leave a comment about which novel or short story you finished with a brief reaction or remark. It’s that easy.

The Prizes

Oh, of course there are prizes! Author Candice Hern has very generously offered one paperback or an eBook of each of the novels, and one eBook of the short stories that we will be reviewing each month here on Austenprose.  The winners will be drawn from comments left with each post. There will also be one lucky Grand Prize Winner who will receive a copy of the entire set: either print or eBook of the novels, and an eBook copy of the short stories drawn from comments left at any and all of the Regency Romance Challenge reviews left on this blog. Winners will be announced monthly one week after the blog post, and a Grand Prize Winner will be announced on Thursday, October 3, 2013. Print book shipment to US addresses only. Ebooks available internationally.

Bonus Stuff: Yes, of course there is more to get happy about. Availability of each of the novels and short stories is great. The novels can be purchased as print copies or eBook download at most online book retailers and the short stories are available as eBooks. Your local library might have copies too, so do check there if that it your preference.

One of the delights of Ms. Hern’s stories is the incredible historical detail. To expand upon our reading journey in 2013, visit author Candice Hern’s extensive website including her Regency World pages where you will find information on many aspects of the era such as fashion, people, places, a glossary and much more.

So, make haste and join the challenge today. I am so looking forward to re-visiting many of the novels and short stories in the Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013 and hope you can join in too.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

The beautiful Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013 graphic was designed by the very talented Katherine Cox of November’s Autumn

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Giveaway winner announced for Jane and the Barque of Frailty

Jane and the Barque of Frailty, by Stephanie Barron (2006)18 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a signed copy of Jane and the Barque of Frailty, by Stephanie Barron.

The winner drawn at random is Kelli H. who left a comment on November 17, 2011.

Congratulations Kelli! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by November 30, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011. We are reading all eleven novels in this great Austen-inspired mystery series this year. Next month we will be wrapping up the year-long event with Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Jane and the Canterbury Tale: Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron – A Review

Jane and the Cantebury Tale, by Stephanie Barron (2011)There is a trail that winds through the edge of the grand country estate of Godmersham Park in Kent owned by Edward Austen-Knight, elder brother of the authoress Jane Austen. Pilgrims have traversed this foot-path for centuries on their way to the shrine of the martyr Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Chaucer based his famous narrative, The Canterbury Tales, on pilgrims who travel across this path. Author Stephanie Barron places her eleventh novel in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery series in this rich, historical environment and spins a fascinating murder mystery to rival any story offered by the Knight, the Nun or the Miller in Chaucer’s original.

In the fall of 1813, while visiting her wealthy, widowed brother Edward at his grand estate in Kent, Jane attends a wedding at the neighboring Chilham Castle. Joined that day in connubial bliss are the beautiful young widow, Adelaide Fiske, and the dashing Captain Andrew McCallister. Jane’s young niece Fanny Austen-Knight is also in attendance and being courted by a queue of eager Beaux. While locals John Plumptre, James Wildman and George Finch-Hatton watch her dance the waltz with visiting dandy Julian Thane, a footman delivers a curious gift to the bride, a silken reticule that she accepts with some trepidation. Inside are dried brown beans. Jane is quick to observe that the bride’s reaction must have some hidden meaning.

The following morning a man is found dead upon the pilgrim’s path on the Godmersham estate near the ancient parish church dedicated to St Lawrence the Martyr.  At first it is thought that he was felled by a stray hunting shot by one of the young local men out for a mornings sport of pheasant, but Jane sees the signs of an entirely different transgression. Her brother Edward, First Magistrate for Canterbury, is called to the scene and concurs that this was no hunting accident. The corner arrives to offer his assessment and soon discoveres that the deceased is none other than Curzon Fiske, the thought to be dead first husband of the recently married Adelaide, who after abandoning his wife in a flight from his creditors four years prior, departed for India and died there. Inside the depths of his coat pocket was a stained note with St Lawrence Church written upon it and one dried brown bean – an ominous tamarind seed.

As the mystery swiftly unfolds we are privy to an interesting collection of characters who each have their own tale to tell: a grieving widower, a young girl experiencing romance and heartbreak, an odious clergyman, a Bond Street Beau, a loose maid, a callous and calculating mother, and our adventurous detective Jane Austen, ever observant, always witty, relaying all of their stories in her journal and cleverly solving the crime.

Each chapter is epigraphed by pertinent quotes from Chaucer’s tale and every word of this novel is a treasure. Barron is a Nonpareil in channeling my dear Jane. After eleven novels I never doubt her historical detail or unerring voice. This may be the last in the series, and I am sorely grieved at the loss. Jane and the Canterbury Tale is engaging, rich and dramatic. The ending is a shock, but not nearly as devastating as the possibility of the demise of this series.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

This is my ninth selection in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011, as we are reading all eleven mysteries in the series this year. Participants, please leave comments and or place links to your reviews on the official reading challenge page by following this link.

Grand Giveaway

Author Stephanie Barron has generously offered a signed paperback copy of Jane and the Canterbury Tale to one lucky winner. Leave a comment stating what intrigues you about Jane Austen as a detective, or if you have read Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tale, which was your favorite character by midnight PT, Wednesday, September 21, 2011. Winner to be announced on Thursday, September 22, 2011. Shipment to US addresses only. Good luck!

Jane and the Canterbury Tale: Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron
Bantam Books, NY (2011)
Trade paperback (320) pages
ISBN: 978-0553386714

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy: Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron – A Review

Jane and His Lordships Legacy, by Stephanie Barron (2005)It is 1809, a significant year in the life of our esteemed authoress Jane Austen. After close to five years of being shuffled about England between relatives, the three unattached Austen ladies: widower Mrs. Austen and her two unmarried daughters Jane and Cassandra are given permanent refuge by Jane’s elder brother Edward Austen Knight in the village of Chawton. They will live at Chawton cottage the former residence of the recently deceased steward of Edward’s vast estate there. Still privately grieving the tragic death of her dear friend Lord Harold Trowbridge (The Gentleman Rogue) nine months prior, Jane arrives in the village to find an uneasy welcome to the Squire’s family. It appears that the villagers are unhappy that the widow of Edward’s former steward was asked to vacate the cottage in favor of his family, and more seriously, Edward as an absentee Squire has been remiss in his duties since the death of his wife Elizabeth the previous year.

Within hours of Jane’s arrival at the cottage she receives an unexpected visit from contemptuous Mr. Bartholomew Chizzlewit, attorney to the family of His Grace the Duke of Wilborough. Performing his duty as family solicitor, he deposits on Jane’s dining-parlor floor a curiously carved chest announcing that she is listed as a legatee in Lord Harold’s Last Will and Testament. His bequest (should she accept it) is that she accept his personal papers and diaries, “a lifetime of incident, intrigue, and conspiracy; of adventure and scandal; of wagers lost and won,” and write his life story! After the Duke of Wilborough’s family contested the legacy in a London court and lost, they are bitter about the arrangement and hold it against Jane. Not only is this startling news, the thought of reliving the Gentleman Rogues life, far before she met him, and then through his entire life as a spy for the British government, is both curious and painful to her. When the huge chest is removed into the cottage’s cellar, another startling discover brings Jane’s first day at Chawton to a scandalous close. A body of a man lies rotting and rat eaten on the floor.

Jane’s brother Henry arrives the next day and the inquest into the mysterious death begins by the local authorities with Jane and Henry in assistance. After Lord Harold’s trunk is stolen, Jane is convinced that it contains information that someone did not want her to discover. Could the theft be linked to the Wilborough family trying to cover up their son’s notorious life? Or, could it be the newcomers to the neighborhood, Julian Thrace, a young London Buck who is rumored to be the illegitimate heir apparent to the Earl of Holbrook vast wealth, and his half-sister Lady Imogen, the Earl’s acknowledged heir? Or, is the dead body in the cellar a personal vendetta by the bitter Jack Hinton, eager to make trouble for the Austen family? He claims to be the rightful heir to the Knight family estate of Chawton that Jane’s brother Edward inherited. There are suspects and motives, suppositions and accusations galore for our observant and clever Jane to ponder and detect before she solves the crime.

One chapter into the eighth novel in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery series and I am totally convinced that Jane Austen is channeling the actual events of her life through author Stephanie Barron. She has so convincingly captured her witty, acerbic and penetrating voice that I am totally mesmerized. Like Jane, I am still grieving the tragic death of her secret crush Lord Harold. Reading his letters and journals was like bringing him back to life. Delightful torture for those Gentleman Rogue fans such as myself. This mystery was very well-plotted and fast-paced, but Barron really shines with her incredible historical details and the fact that in this discriminating Austen-obsessed mind, no one will ever be able to match her unique ability to channel my favorite author’s voice so perfectly.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

This is my eighth selection in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011, as we are reading all eleven mysteries in the series this year. Participants, please leave comments and or place links to your reviews on the official reading challenge page by following this link.

Grand Giveaway

Author Stephanie Barron has generously offered a signed hardcover copy of Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy to one lucky winner. Leave a comment stating what intrigues you about this novel, or if you have read it, who your favorite character is by midnight PT, Wednesday, August 24, 2011. Winner to be announced on Thursday, August 25, 2011. Shipment to US addresses only. Good luck!

Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy, Being a Jane Austen Mystery (No 8), by Stephanie Barron
Bantam Books, 2005
Mass market paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978-0553584073

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Jane and the Ghosts of Netley: Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron – A Review

Jane and the Ghosts of Netley, Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron (2003)It is the fall of 1808 and Jane Austen and her family are in mourning after the sudden death of Elizabeth “Lizzy” Austen, the elegant and enchanting thirty-five year old wife of Jane’s elder brother Edward and mother of eleven children. To entertain the two eldest boys while they stay with her in Southampton, Jane takes them rowing up the Solent to the ruins of Netley Abbey, a Cistercian monastery long abandoned and now a picturesque ruin worthy of a Radcliffe Gothic novel, resplendent with tales of ghosts haunting its halls. Startled by a dark figure lurking in the shadows, Jane is called to immediately attend her friend aboard a Royal Naval vessel anchored nearby.  It is an unusual request, but she cannot refuse any summons by the Gentleman Rogue. Yes, Gentle Readers. Lord Harold Trowbridge has re-appeared after two years without any communication with our dear Jane.

Her heart is aflutter and her keen mind piqued when he requests her assistance to spy upon a local lady of interest; the beautiful and cunning widow of a French merchant, Sophia Challoner, a Diamond of the First Water who trifled with Lord Trowbridge’s heart, flattering and deceiving him into revealing state secrets to pass along to aid Bonaparte’s cause. Having just returned from Portugal, she now resides at Netley Lodge adjacent to the ruined abbey. Jane’s assignment is to keep “a weathered eye on the activity of that house” and discover how Sophia dispatches her intelligence to France. To aid the investigation, Jane will befriend the dubious and dangerous lady while arson and murders a plenty puzzle the plot, – and Lord Harold and Jane take center stage in the investigation and secretly in each others hearts.

The seventh mystery in the series, Barron really hits her stride with more fluid language from Jane’s perspective, the intricate historical details of the Peninsular War against France, and the political intrigue that fuels spies and generates murder. Having so much dialogue devoted to Lord Harold and Jane is a delight, but readers will be disarmed by the concluding pages and dispatched into a crying jag that could take a week to recover from. This is a three hankie weepie that will startle and sear your soul. Great writing makes it all compelling and tragic. *sigh* Seven is definitely not a lucky number for Jane and the Gentleman Rogue. I loved every word, and hated the ending all the same. *sniff*

6 out of 5 Regency Stars

Jane and the Ghosts of Netley, Being a Jane Austen Mystery (#7), by Stephanie Barron
Bantam Books (2003)
Mass market paperback (352) pages
ISBN: 978-0553584066

This is my seventh selection in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011, as we are reading all eleven mysteries in the series this year. Participants, please leave comments and or place links to your reviews on the official reading challenge page by following this link.

Grand Giveaway

Author Stephanie Barron has generously offered a signed hardcover copy of Jane and the Ghosts of Netley to one lucky winner. Leave a comment stating what intrigues you about this novel, or if you have read it, who your favorite character is by midnight PT, Wednesday, July 27, 2011. Winner to be announced on Thursday, July 28, 2011. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Giveaway Winner Announced for Sense and Sensibility 1995

Sense and Sensibility (1995) DVD cover24 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a DVD of Sense and Sensibility 1995, staring Kate Winslet & Emma Thompson. The winner drawn at random is Nicole who left a comment on June 24th, 2011.

Congratulations Nicole! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by July 13th, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge 2011. We are reading and viewing several S&S inspired books and movies this year in honor of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s novel. You can read other reviews in the S&S Bicentenary review archive!

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose