The Time Traveler’s Guide to Regency Britain: A Handbook for Visitors to 1789–1830, by Ian Mortimer — A Review

From the desk of Tracy Hickman: 

Austenesque fiction like The Jane Austen Project and the BBC TV series Lost in Austen have entertained Janeites with fantastic stories about journeying back in time to Austen’s Regency Britain. While I cannot imagine being tempted myself, unless guaranteed a round-trip ticket, the idea of a virtual visit to Austen’s Britain with an experienced tour guide who is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a writer of Continue reading “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Regency Britain: A Handbook for Visitors to 1789–1830, by Ian Mortimer — A Review”

10 Facts You May Not Know About Jane Austen and Her Novels

Jane Austen Bookstack, by Bea Harvie

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

English novelist Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, the seventh of eight children of Rev. George Austen and his wife Cassandra Austen, nee Leigh. Her six major novels concern the pursuit of security, and love, for women dependent upon marriage among the landed gentry in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century England. Continue reading “10 Facts You May Not Know About Jane Austen and Her Novels”

Jane Austen’s Table: Recipes Inspired by the Works of Jane Austen, by Robert Tuesley Anderson — A Review

From the desk of Tracy Hickman:  

One of my favorite Austen quotes from her letters concerns food: “I shall eat ice and drink French wine and be above vulgar economy.” This was penned in anticipation of a visit to Godmersham, where her brother Edward provided luxuries beyond Jane’s regular fare. From the white soup that Mr. Bingley’s kitchen staff prepare for the ball at Netherfield, to the picnic at Boxhill in Emma, food sustains the Continue reading “Jane Austen’s Table: Recipes Inspired by the Works of Jane Austen, by Robert Tuesley Anderson — A Review”

A Preview of Two New Books Featuring Martha Lloyd, Jane Austen’s Second Sister

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

Have you ever read a book and felt an immediate infinity to the author—like they were your best friend and had written the book just for you? It doesn’t happen very often for me, but it did when I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time many years ago. I had to discover who Jane Austen was and what she was like. When I learned that Martha Lloyd was her best friend, I was immediately jealous. Who was this Martha, and why did my Jane consider her, “…the friend & Sister under every circumstance.”?

Two new books will illuminate  a lot. Martha Lloyd’s Household Book, is a copy of the actual book compiled and written by Martha that she used in the Austen household when she lived with them, and Continue reading “A Preview of Two New Books Featuring Martha Lloyd, Jane Austen’s Second Sister”

A Preview & Slideshow of Jane Was Here: An Illustrated Guide to Jane Austen’s England, by Nicole Jacobsen, Devynn Dayton, & Lexi K. Nilson

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

Hello readers! Do you have plans for the weekend? While international and local travel is restricted during the pandemic, would you like to visit Jane Austen’s England from the safety of your armchair?

It is great to know that we can still visit Jane Austen country via Jane Was Here. This copiously illustrated travel guide takes us to all of the hot spots in Austenland: London, Chawton, Bath, Lyme Regis, and the Peak District. Authors Nicole Jacobsen and Devynn Dayton have planned out a delightful itinerary illustrated by Lexi K. Nilson. Continue reading “A Preview & Slideshow of Jane Was Here: An Illustrated Guide to Jane Austen’s England, by Nicole Jacobsen, Devynn Dayton, & Lexi K. Nilson”

Costuming in the EMMA (2020) Movie with Fashion Historian Hilary Davidson

 

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

The new film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn opened in general release in the US on March 6th. This enchanting and visually stunning interpretation of Austen’s classic tale of Miss Emma Woodhouse as the misapplying matchmaker of Highbury has received raves from the press and viewers alike.

The costumes beautifully define the film, greatly adding to the characterization and the drama. Joining us here today is fashion historian Hilary Davidson who has generously contributed a guest blog to share her Continue reading “Costuming in the EMMA (2020) Movie with Fashion Historian Hilary Davidson”

Dress in the Age of Jane Austen: Regency Fashion, by Hilary Davidson — A Review

Dress in the Age of Jane Austen, by Hilary Davidson (2019)“Fashions come and go; bad taste is timeless.” — Beau Brummell

So saith the arbiter of style in the Regency era when all of Jane Austen’s books were published and she and her characters dwelled. Since fashion is mentioned sparingly in her novels how is one to know, two hundred years after the fact, what is fashionable and what is in bad taste? Is that actress in the current period drama wearing clothing appropriate to the era, her age, and her social status? Is the hero wearing a top hat that Victorian author Charles Dickens would have worn? Is that pelisse polyester, and is a half “updo” hairstyle totally inappropriate? Dress in the Age of Jane Austen, by Hilary Davidson explores these dilemmas for modern readers of Austen’s fiction, the adaptations of her works, and those set during the same timeframe.

When I first opened this book and skimmed its pages, I was overcome by its beauty. Page after page of eye-popping images of Regency clothing, portraits, landscapes, fashion plates, and cartoons by famous artists and illustrators of Austen’s day. The publisher states that the book boasts 180 full-color illustrations, and I do not doubt it. Here is a slide show of a few that I found especially significant to give you a glimpse of the extensive research that the author conducted to bring the book to life.

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Continue reading “Dress in the Age of Jane Austen: Regency Fashion, by Hilary Davidson — A Review”

Regency Spies: Secret Histories of Britain’s Rebels & Revolutionaries, by Sue Wilkes – A Review

Regency Spies by Sue Wilkes 2016 x 200

From the desk of Stephanie Barron:

PARANOIA RUNS DEEP

From the moment I saw the title of Sue Wilkes’s latest book, Regency Spies (Pen & Sword Books, 2015), I was desperate to get my hot little hands on a copy. In a distant chapter of my life I was trained in espionage by the CIA, and I have a habit of inventing spies in my Jane Austen novels—most of them working nefariously on behalf of Bonaparte, but a few ready to die for King and Country. There’s a paucity of scholarly data on tradecraft, recruitment, and spy running during Jane Austen’s heydey, as Lauren Willig’s fictional Eloise discovers in the absorbing adventures of the Pink Carnation. A century ago, Baroness Orczy handed us the consuming history of the Scarlet Pimpernel and forever transformed our sense of the French Revolution. (Can there be any pleasure greater than tucking oneself up in bed with a soothing drink Continue reading “Regency Spies: Secret Histories of Britain’s Rebels & Revolutionaries, by Sue Wilkes – A Review”

A Jane Austen Christmas: Celebrating the Season of Romance, Ribbons & Mistletoe, by Carlo DeVito – A Review

A Jane Austen Christmas by Carlo DeVito 2015 x 200From the desk of Lisa Galek:

If you’ve ever wondered how your favorite author celebrated Christmas in the 18th century—or just know someone who has—A Jane Austen Christmas: Celebrating the Season of Romance, Ribbons, and Mistletoe by Carlo DeVito is the perfect package to place under the tree this holiday.

A Jane Austen Christmas takes us through Jane’s life story but focuses only on events that happened around Christmastime. We begin with the holiday season of 1786, when Jane is only 11-years-old and spends time with her visiting cousin, Eliza, and ends with the Christmas of 1815 when Emma is published for the first time. On the way, we get to know more about Jane Austen and her family, read about holiday traditions in 18th-century England, and learn to make some delicious, Regency-era Christmas treats. Yum! Continue reading “A Jane Austen Christmas: Celebrating the Season of Romance, Ribbons & Mistletoe, by Carlo DeVito – A Review”

The Beau Monde: Fashionable Society in Georgian London, by Hannah Greig – A Review

The Beau Monde by Hannah Greig (2013)From the desk of Tracy Hickman:

Several recent histories have popularized Georgian England as “The Age of Scandal” with members of the beau monde starring in colorful “stories of gambling, adultery, high spending, and fast living” (30). Author, lecturer in 18th-century British history, and historical consultant Hannah Greig takes an alternate approach in The Beau Monde. By focusing on the fortunes of the beau monde as a whole, rather than concentrating on the biographies of a few individuals, such as the Duchess of Devonshire, she seeks to present the culture as “a new manifestation of social distinction and a new form of social leadership, one oriented to the changing conditions and contexts of the period.” (31)

After ousting James II from the throne with the support of the English nobility, William III began a series of wars that required him to summon parliament regularly to secure funds for his war chest. Beginning in 1689, the titled nobility came to London for the yearly meeting of parliament and the London season was born.  Continue reading “The Beau Monde: Fashionable Society in Georgian London, by Hannah Greig – A Review”

Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer, by Lisa Pliscou – A Review

Young Jane Austen by Lisa Pliscou 2015 x 200From the desk of Lisa Galek:

Very little has been written about Jane Austen’s life before she started writing at the age of 12. That’s probably because so very little is known about that time. In Young Jane Austen, author Lisa Pliscou focuses on these early years to give us a better understanding of how one of the greatest novelists of all time got her start.

The author begins by letting us know that this particular biography will be a “speculative” one. Since so little is known about Jane Austen’s early years, Lisa Pliscou draws on a wide variety of Austen scholarship to give us a charming portrait of the artist as a young girl. She begins in 1775 with the birth of little Jane—nicknamed Jenny—and takes us up through 1787 when Jane first decides to put pen to paper for the amusement of her family. Continue reading “Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer, by Lisa Pliscou – A Review”

Life in an Eighteenth Century Country House, by Peter and Carolyn Hammond – A Review

Life in a Eighteenth Century Country House Peter and Carolyn Hammond x 200From the desk of Tracy Hickman:

The Grove was a large country house and estate in Chiswick, England owned by Humphrey Morice, the son a highly successful London merchant and slave trader. Morice was an animal lover, and in contrast to the common practices of his day, did not destroy animals that were unable to work any longer. He kept a number of horses, dogs, and other animals at Grove House, causing many of his contemporaries to consider him an eccentric.

The main attraction of Life in an Eighteenth-Century Country House is the series of letters written by head groom Will Bishop to Morice during his stay in Italy from 1782-1785. Bishop wrote regularly to his employer, sending detailed accounts of all the bills for the house and stables for Morice’s approval. This was unusual, as most Continue reading “Life in an Eighteenth Century Country House, by Peter and Carolyn Hammond – A Review”

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