The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After Blog Tour with Author Elizabeth Kantor & Giveaway!

The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, by Elizabeth Kantor (2012)Please join us today in welcoming author Elizabeth Kantor on her blog tour in celebration of the publication of The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, released today by Regnery Publishing. Elizabeth has generously shared with us some insights on her inspiration for writing the guide and offered a giveaway to two lucky readers.

The time: Nearly eight years ago.

The scene: Me, reading a Washington Post article on why women love Jane Austen.

The action: Me, yelling at the paper–“No, no, no! You’re getting it absolutely, perfectly, 180 degrees wrong. Women don’t love Jane Austen because her novels are so much like our own lives. Her world has everything we don’t have–and that we’re longing for!” (Or words to that effect.)

So I started writing an article about why women really love Jane Austen, and what we want from her, that we don’t have. Not just the gorgeous Regency dresses, and not just the beautiful grounds of Mr. Darcy’s Pemberley estate. Jane Austen heroines’ love lives have such dignity! And they seem to be so smart about men—not to mention, about what they themselves really want. Lizzy and Elinor and Emma (especially Emma) make mistakes, of course. But their whole conduct of their affairs just seems to be on a higher plane, one we wish we could get to!

As it happened, I was writing another piece at just around the same time–an article about the trials and tribulations of dating in the twenty-first century. And at some point along the way, it dawned on me: Jane Austen is the answer to all the complaints modern women have about our love lives—the solution to all the problems we have disentangling ourselves from the wrong guys, finding the right one, and getting to happily ever after. Her heroines follow rules that have gotten lost in the mists of time, kind of like “the Rules”—if you remember that self-help book from back in the ’90s—only they’re not tricks for manipulating men, they’re fundamental principles of relationships, based in Jane Austen’s keen insights into human nature.

So I started working on a book that would distill Jane Austen’s wisdom and apply it to modern love lives. In the process, several things became clear. As I read more first-person accounts of “modern mating rituals,” it became obvious that an awful lot of women (and men, too!) are really unhappy—bitter, angry, and distrustful of the opposite sex—because of how their love lives are going. And as I continued to read and reread Jane Austen over those eight years, it became increasingly clear that she understood a lot of important things that modern women simply don’t know—so that if I could only find a way to help women today apply her principles to their lives, they might start getting very different results from the ones that were making so many of them so unhappy.

In the process of trying to work that out, I also reviewed my own “past conduct,” as Jane Austen called it. And I can’t say I’ve always acted in accordance with her principles. But I can say that when I did, things sure worked out better than when I didn’t! There are some stories in The Jane Austen Guide from my experiences with guys–starting with the time during my freshman year in college when, Maria Bertram-like, I justified sticking with a man I really didn’t love, because of his status.

Though the book is meant to be a lot of fun to read, the process of writing and getting it published was quite painful! I actually wrote and published a completely different book during that time—partly because I knew it would make it easier for me to get a contract for The Jane Austen Guide. But when you think about the fact that Jane Austen herself published her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, about 25 years after she began writing, and about 15 years after she began writing that novel, then you can’t complain!

Especially in the last stages of writing the book, I didn’t have much time for reading anything that wasn’t directly relevant to whatever chapter I was working on at the time. But now that I’ve come out of my den and looked around the Jane-o-sphere a bit more, it seems impossible to overestimate women’s enthusiasm for Austen’s novels. If there’s one thing I hope my fellow Janeites will take away from The Jane Austen Guide, it’s that Jane Austen can change our real lives. Just this morning I saw a tweet from Yvette Hudson (@mrsdarcydreamer): “That awkward moment when you realize Pride and Prejudice is not your life story.” I know, right? But when things gets awkward, relationships disappoint, and our lives seem to be in a mess, we don’t have to settle for escapist fantasies about Mr. Darcy’s smoldering good looks. If you put Jane Austen’s principles to work in your real life, she really can help transform you—in Laurel Ann’s beautiful phrase—into the heroine of your own life.

Author Elizabeth Kantor (2012)Author Bio:

Elizabeth Kantor is author of The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to English and American Literature and an editor for Regnery Publishing. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.A. in philosophy from Catholic University of America. Kantor has taught English literature, served as the editor of a book club, and written for publications ranging from National Review Online to the Boston Globe. An avid Jane Austen fan, she is happily married and lives with her husband and son in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Visit Elizabeth at her on Twitter as @ElizabethKantor and on Facebook as Jane Austen Guide.

Grand Giveaway of The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After

Enter a chance to win one of two copies available of The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, by Elizabeth Kantor by leaving a comment stating what you learned about life and love from Jane Austen, or what intrigues you about Elizabeth’s new book, by 11:59 PT, Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Winner announced on Thursday, April 12, 2012. Shipment to US addresses only. Good luck!

Many thanks to Elizabeth Kantor for her delightful guest blog and to her publisher Regnery for the giveaways. Be sure to check out the back cover for my quote about this enchanting new book!

The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, by Elizabeth Kantor
Regnery Publishing (2012)
Hardcover (304) pages
ISBN: 978-1596987845

© 2007 – 2012 Elizabeth Kantor, Austenprose

74 thoughts on “The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After Blog Tour with Author Elizabeth Kantor & Giveaway!

  1. I am so excited about this giveaway. The book looks like so much fun. And truly, who else should advise me in Life other than Ms. Austen herself!

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  2. This was a very interesting post. I’m intrigued by the idea a relating modern dating and mating problems to the Regecy era. And, by the way, I love the cover of this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

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    • Thank you! Working on the book, I found some surprising parallels between then & now. Can’t you just hear Fanny Price humming that Taylor Swift song–“Why can’t you see–you belong with me”? But it goes deeper than that, because the principles Jane Austen heroines try to live by could apply to situations today, only they’re pretty much forgotten.

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  3. I learned that in life and love, nothing is black and white. There are layers to characters, their actions and their feelings. Darcy is my favorite example of how a character can be so good but thought to be so bad. People are sometimes not what they seem and it takes true effort to discover the layers beneath the surface.

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    • I think Jane Austen heroines, with their polite detective work, are our best models for the effort you recommend–what I’ve tried to do in the book is distill the skills they have, & also Jane Austen’s truly amazing insights into male & female psychology, for modern women.

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  4. May I just say that you are a breath of fresh air, Ms. Kantor! The study of relationships fascinates me, as I’m also a writer, and the last self-help books I read, The Female Chauvenist, had a very dismal ending and was no help at all. I am very interested in reading your take on the social situation. Every time I pick up one of Austen’s books, I think, “It is not relationships that have changed over time, but how we deal with them.” Her witty honesty about human nature, and how love transforms life when it is handled properly, are lessons we all need to take to heart.

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  5. We are living in what I perceive is a mean-spirited world, unlike the polite civility of Jane Austen’s day. Reading Jane Austen has somewhat tamed the savage beast that I was. Women today have much greater advantages and freedoms than those in Jane Austen’s day but I still don’t think we currently treat them with the respect and honor they deserve. Thanks for the generous offering….

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  6. I have loved Jane Austen I think mainly because the people showed respect for one another. I know they didn’t always truly respect the person but they just didn’t treat one another the way we see people treat each other today. So for me I think that I have learned that respect is highly important to me, if people don’t want to give it (not only to be but others) then I don’t want to be around them.

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  7. Civility, courtesy, and leaving an air of mystery about oneselves have largely been lost in today’s world but something that Jane Austen valued and reflected in her characters…this looks like a great read!

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  8. One of the main reasons I fell in love with Austen was that she had created this amazing heroine in Elizabeth Bennett – a bright, opinionated young woman who was not afraid to stand up for herself and speak her mind, even when it brought the derision of others. What a role model! And of course, it helps that her forthrightness attracts one Mr. Darcy.

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  9. I LOVE what you said about yelling at the Washington Post article, Elizabeth. I completely agree with your reasons for writing your book, and from what I’ve read in your description, I’d enjoy reading the rest. Thank you, and Laurel Ann, for the chance!

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  10. I LOVED what you said about yelling at the Washington Post article, Elizabeth. I completely agree with what you’ve said in your description of your book, and I’d like to read it. Thank you, and Laurel Ann, for the chance!

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  11. I love the idea of having a Jane Austen guide! There are so many things I’ve learned from reading and loving Jane Austen’s novels. From civility, to learning from your mistakes, to laughing at oneself. Jane Austen is such a comfort!

    Felicia

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      • My very first exposure to Jane Austen was through Pride and Prejudice. Like so many others, I was drawn to Elizabeth Bennet. I wanted to *be* Elizabeth! She was intelligent, witty, opinionated, and a brilliant conversationalist, etc, etc. Even with her foolish mother, distant father and three “silly” sisters, Elizabeth (Jane, also) was respected by society. Although not original, and not the only lessons learned, two that come to mind are 1) to resist quick judgement and 2) to think before acting.

        Also:
        “Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings” A quote taken from Mansfield Park, but it fits with all Jane’s novels. I’ve learned not to take the everyday things for granted.

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  12. Thank you! I get irritated when people think I only like Austen because of the romance. Yes, I do like romance, and yes the Austen movies portray that well, but I like the world Austen takes me to and the people she introduces to me.

    Congratulations on your release. I, for one, am looking forward to the book.

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  13. I think I look at this from my perspective as a junior high English teacher. Sometimes it can be like pulling teeth to get kids to want to relate to literature and to enjoy reading for its own sake. I love that your book allowed you to do some self-relfection–something that my students aren’t too good at and society as a whole isn’t too good at anymore. With life moving so fast we don’t take the time to reflect and really examine the choices we’ve made. Austen’s characters take the time to do that (plus they had a whole lot more time…) and to learn from it.

    Congrats on the book! I am extremely intrigued and excited to get my hands on a copy! :)

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  14. I learned that the “stuffy” rules of communication that I felt hindered by when first reading Austen were really quite practical. Politeness and courtesy were the rules of the day, even when they were said without being meant. I learned many things but that’s the one that popped to my mind. While reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time, after having seen the 1995 movie, I wanted Elizabeth to just tell Darcy already that she had come to esteem him or when he left her at the inn at Lambton and she thought he was leaving her because he could no longer associate with her because of her lowered social status, I wanted him to tell her that he was going to do all he could to help the situation. Later I realized that this was the culture of the day and there was much to be learned from it.

    Congratulations on the book. I am very hopeful to be a winner of it!

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    • Yes! Taking the modern attitude, you’d think relationships today would go so much better now that we’re so much more “honest” with each other. In the book, I go into how honesty is not enough, how to be smart about when to tell your feelings, &c. Jane Austen can teach us so much!

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      • this is something i’d sooo luv to learn… just in the beginnings of this new again part of my life and would benefit much from what you’ve graciously gifted us with by writing Jane’s love learnings… TY! Elizabeth

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  15. I learned that you can still control your own destiny no matter what your situation.You just need to stick to your guns so to say.Looks like an interesting perspective into the lives of JA characters.Can’t wait to read it.

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    • Thanks, Sally. V. interesting to look at what Jane Austen heroines do control, and what they don’t. What I think they’re amazing at (when they’re doing things right–Emma being the obvious exception that proves the rule), is knowing the difference & not wasting their energy & causing problems for themselves by expending a lot of effort on what they can’t control . . .

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  16. This looks like a fascinating book! I’m looking forward to reading it! There is a dignity and respect in Austen’s novels that is sadly lacking in modern social settings; and I can’t help but think that the lack of civility in behaviour contributes to a lack of success in finding love.

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  17. This book looks fabulous! It would be a perfect gift for our three teenage girls who are on their own! I have luckily instilled in them a love of Jane Austen, and who better to guide them to their happily ever after than our Dear Jane – with her thoughts that First Impressions can be misleading, it is always better to carefully review one’s character before flinging oneself in the path of a man in a Red Coat, and that being yourself is the best way to ensure that you will have a happily ever after – as you will not have to pretend for the rest of your life… these are things I have learned from Jane Austen!

    Thanks for the chance to win this wonderful Guide!

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  18. I have learned from Jane Austen’s books that politeness in ANY circumstances is always perfectly proper and recommended. I love her books, They have been my constant companions these 20 years at least. As a woman often “confined to her bed” I find they keep the melancholy at bay and keep me in good humor despite my illness. I would certainly enjoy winning The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After.

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  19. Wonderful, wonderful post! What I learned from Jane Austen is to take a second, or even third, look at someone before judging them :-)

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  20. I loved the PIG guide to American and English Lit, so I’m sure this will be a great book as well.

    What has Jane Austen taught me about love and life? That it pays to be the good girl (S & S, Persuasion, Mansfield Park) that silliness leads to consequences (Emma, P & P, Northanger Abbey) and that Mr. Right doesn’t have to be Mr. Perfect. :)

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  21. Shoot, I am having trouble leaving a reply. I’ll try once more.
    First I learned from Jane that I was born in the wrong time, in the wrong place. I want Pemberley, and letters and green rolling fields. And then, somehow, she also was the first person to teach me that life is not a Harlequin Romance. There isn’t a happily ever after without a lot of work!

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  22. I think one of the best things to take away from any Jane Austen book is that a hero doesn’t have to be good looking, like Edward Ferras( though he is in the films) ,doesn’t have to be exciting, like Mr. Bingly, and can be older, like Colonel Brandon. What is unique and quite special about an Austen hero is that he cares deeply for the woman he loves and protects her in every way. It isn’t just the money, estates or lavish lifestyles women are wanting. We all want a man who cares for us deeply and respects us. Someone who will be with us through the thick and thin. And good girls will find a Mr. Darcy or a Captain Wentworth. Even a Mr. Knightley who guides us through those sticky situations that crop up in life.

    I think a modern twist on the Austen ‘mating rituals’ sounds quite interesting in many aspects.

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  23. I don’t think it’s very simple to put into words because I think she means different things to different people. But I think a universal theme is that you have to look deeper because not everything is as it seems on the surface.

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  24. From Jane Austen I have learned the importance of fully understanding yourself. It is crucial to hold your standards and values at the highest importance and to never settle for less in order to achieve full happiness.

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  25. What I’ve learned from Austen is to never make assumptions about anything or anyone, because things and people are rarely as they appear at first glance or first meeting… that the most important things in life are the people you know and care about, and the everyday things you experience, so don’t take them for granted… that for a marriage (or friendship) to be successful, the partners must respect, admire, and be completely honest with each other, before they can truly love… and that no one is perfect, but if you are self-aware, can recognize your mistakes, and learn to change, you will be a worthy hero or heroine … and have/deserve a happy life.

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  26. I learned from Jane Austen that the most important things in life are the every day things and the people you know and care about, so don’t take anything for granted… that you should never make judgments or assumptions about anything, for people and things are rarely as they seem at first glance… that true love and true friendship are founded on honesty, respect, and admiration … that a true friend or lover wants the best for you, and is not afraid to point our your mistakes… that no one is perfect, but if you can recognize your mistakes, learn from them, and change, then you are worthy of being a hero or heroine, and will have/deserve a happy life. :) I’d love to win this book!

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  27. I must chime in and say that I was one of the first to be honored to read this new Austen-inspired book. It was like being wrapped in a warm blanket of comfort for me. I have long harbored the belief that everything that you need to know about life and love you can learn from Jane Austen — if you are paying attention — so, to see all of my beliefs in print was a payday of affirmation for me. Thanks Elizabeth. Many, many Janeites and readers will connect with the message in this book. A big hand of applause!

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  28. I have been very fortunate after a few Marianne adventures, to find my own Capt. Wentworth; I work with younger women, and would love to be able to pass the wisdom on.

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  29. Oh, I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of this book! It sounds wonderful! There is so much to learn from dear Jane and her characters! I think one can never stop learning from them! Thanks so much for the giveaway! :)

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  30. what you learned about life and love from Jane Austen?
    i learned that true love runs deep and ‘waiting’ does not mean ‘never’!
    thanks to JA’s Persuasion…

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  31. This sounds very interesting. It definitely is amazing how much her books have appealed to so many women. Well there’s a few men out there too. I think even her life is interesting almost more to me that her novels.Thanks would love to read it!

    Margaret
    singitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  32. I loved your post, Elizabeth and I laughed when I read the quote from Yvette Hudson. That is so true! Don’t think I’m there yet! :) Your book sounds fantastic and I will be reading it soon. There is so much to glean from Jane’s characters and I look forward to seeing how you have brought it all together for us. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

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  33. what i think i learned from JaneAusten’s writings about life, particularly Elizabeth, is that it is ok to speak your mind & stand up for yourself & still be respectful, dignified & graceful…….i hope & try to do just that everyday!!!!

    please enter me for this giveaway!!!

    thank you!!!

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  34. Great post! This book sounds like something I should have had years ago.
    Jane Austen’s heroines, especially Elizabeth Bennet and Anne Elliot, have such self-respect. I would love to read Elizabeth Kantor’s book. Please enter me in the giveaway.
    lauren@heyerwood.com

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  35. I so agree with Elizabeth we do love Jane for the things in her books we don’t have, you made me think, why I love Jane so much I thought it was because I felt as though I married a Mr. Darcy but really its because I long for the time period she was in, the beauty the words Austen writes are dreams to us women. Dreams that we read in her books and some of us long for in life. Love the post thanks for making me think. Jane Austen obessed fan. Krista

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  36. I’ve learned that people are people – and you should never trust the smooth-talkers ;o) LOL!

    This book sounds so awesome, very excited for chance to win & read!

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  37. I have learned that not all mothers die in child birth (northanger abbey), common sense is to be prized above wishful thinking (sense &sensibility), the measure of a woman is not in what the world thinks she has accomplished (pride & prejudice)…and so much more. I look forward to reading Elizabeth’s book.

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  38. I have learned that you can miss the oportunity of being happy if your are as unjust and resentful as Cpt. Wentworth whom I feel most related to (more than all heroines in Jane’s novels).

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  39. I don’t think it is possible to stop learning from Jane. Every character is so unique and always has one thing you can relate to in them. Besides being completely enchanted by the sensibilities and styles of the time I think some of the most important things I’ve learned from Jane is that Respect for everyone even if they may not be your favorite person and a delicate honesty are always the best policies. But I think the most important and useful thing I’ve learned from Jane over the years is that what you think you want, that glamorous and fanciful dream you build up during little moments in the day, often obscures and hides the amazing things that you already have.

    Thanks for this book. Being a young woman it’s difficult to convince peers of my day of the usefulness of understanding Jane for understanding life. I hope your beautiful book convinces the doubters to pick up Jane and try her.

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  40. The lessons in Jane’s books abound. Like the old saying, you can’t judge a book by its cover, Elizabeth Bennet found that out the hard way. (as I have done myself) I also can appreciate her attitude of not always having such a good memory instead of harboring ill feelings and things that make one unhappy. This book sounds fabulous. I look forward to reading it. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

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  41. I’ve learned so many lessons from Jane Austen’s books. For a few years now I’ve taken to analyzing the people I meet on whether or not they seem like an Isabella Thorpe, A Mrs. Elton, A Henry Crawford, or A Mr. Willoughby (the list goes on) this has saved me from heartbreak in friendships and in love. I’ve also been fortunate to find a Jane Bennet, Elinor Tilney, and others in my life that have been blessings to me. Her books have guided me to handle situations with grace and kindness, and an understanding of others that I didn’t have before. I’ve learn through her novels how to be the heroine in my own life novel, to stand up and be a strong woman despite people telling me what I should or shouldnt be, because we know ourselves best and we should follow what we know about ourselves and not what others think they know. I’m so thankful that Jane’s books have taught me so much about life. Each time I read them I learn even more than I learned before.

    This book “The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After” Sounds absolutely wonderful. From the summary I see that it is exactly what I’ve been looking for in a book about Jane Austen’s characters. It’s a good opportunity for the reader to learn more about the characters, about themselves, and about the people around them. Thank you for this opportunity.

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  42. Pingback: Giveaway Winners Announced for The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After « Austenprose – A Jane Austen Blog

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