Giveaway Winners Announced for The Dashwood Sisters Tell All

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All, by Beth Pattillo (2011)26 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of three signed copies of The Dashwood Sisters Tell All, by Beth Pattillo. The winners drawn at random are:

  • jennythelibrarian, who left a comment on April 7
  • Jennifer W., who left a comment on April 7
  • Marcie, who left a comment on April 9

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by April 20th, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and to author Beth Pattillo for her great replies to my interview questions!

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Chatting with Beth Pattillo: Author of The Dashwood Sisters Tell All

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All, by Beth Pattillo (2011)Please welcome Austenesque author Beth Pattillo today to chat about her new novel.

LAN: Welcome Beth. Congratulations on the launch of The Dashwood Sisters Tell All on April 1st. Following Jane Austen Ruined My Life (2009) and Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart (2010), this is the third novel in your “Formidables Series,” inspired by the fictitious secret society of guardians of Jane Austen’s lost letters, manuscripts and diaries. I love this concept, especially since your heroines get to go on an adventure of Austen history and self-discovery. How were you inspired to write this new novel, and what did you learn while writing it?

BP: For a long time, I have wanted to write about Jane’s sister, Cassandra, who in my fictional world founded the Formidables. I knew that the book would need to be about sisters.  In my first book, I used the imagined existence of Jane Austen’s lost letters.  In the second book, it was a fictional early version of Pride and Prejudice.  For this book, I decided the next logical step would be diaries, and The Dashwood Sisters Tell All focuses on Cassandra’s diary.  I don’t have a sister, but I’ve heard enough tales of sisters reading each other’s diaries to know that the premise had a lot of potential!

LAN: Many elements in The Dashwood Sisters Tell All parallel Jane Austen’s own novel, Sense and Sensibility. Could you share some of your research into the characters and how they are similar and different from your own?

BP: I used some basic elements of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood to bring my own characters to life. In my novel, Ellen and Mimi’s mother is a huge fan of S&S, so it’s a bit hard to say how much of the similarity between the pairs of sisters is nature and how much is nurture! The idea of the bond – and the struggle – between sisters also carried over into thinking about Jane and Cassandra themselves.  In part, I wanted to show that whether sisters were fictional or real, modern or historical, their relationships carried some common themes.

The differences came in the distance between my characters. Jane and Cassandra Austen were always very close, as were Elinor and Marianne in the novel.  My sisters are estranged at the beginning of the book and have a much further emotional distance to travel before they can come to appreciate one another and their relationship.

LAN: Your two heroines Ellen and Mimi Dodge travel to England and embark on a walking tour of Hampshire. To write about their adventure accurately, I understand that you had to do some hands on research by walking in Jane Austen’s footsteps yourself! Having not had that pleasure, I am very curious about your experience. Were your expectations met, and what was your favorite place that you visited? Continue reading

Giveaway Winner Announced for The Dashwood Sisters Tell All

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All, by Beth Pattillo (2011)37 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one copy of The Dashwood Sisters Tell All, by Beth Pattillo.

The winner drawn at random is Danae who left a comment on March 28th. Congratulations Danae! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by Wednesday, April 6, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and watch for an interview with author Beth Pattillo and another giveaway of her great new book The Dashwood Sisters Tell All.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All, by Beth Pattillo – A Review

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All, by Beth Pattillo (2011)This is my third selection in the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge 2011, my year-long homage to Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. You can follow the event as I post reviews on the fourth Wednesday of every month and read all of the other participants contributions posted in the challenge review pages here.

Following Jane Austen Ruined My Life (2009) and Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart (2010), Austenesque author Beth Pattillo presents the third book in the “Formidables Series,” The Dashwood Sisters Tell All. If you are wondering what “Formidables” are, besides being the thread that binds all three of these modern Jane Austen themed novels together, it is a clever play on Jane’s own stern moniker for herself and her sister Cassandra in their later years, and, the appropriately named secret society of devoted Janeites safekeeping Austen manuscripts and letters thought to have been destroyed ages ago. Each of the novels involves an American heroine (or in this case heroines) thrown into the investigation of Austen documents held (or wanted) by the society while she is visiting England. They are Jane Austen meets the Da Vinci Code; light-hearted mysteries/Austenalia/romances that have become one of my favorite light, bright and sparkly indulgences to loose myself in with a cup of tea and a little fantasy.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, the plot of The Dashwood Sisters Tell All parallels many elements in Austen original story. Any Janeite worthy of their set of The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen will recognize siblings Ellen and Mimi Dodge as Austen’s divergent protagonists Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. These two modern thirty-something Dashwood’s don’t have much in common personality wise, nor do they like each other very much, but to honor their mother’s dying wish they travel to England for a walking tour of Hampshire. Taking the Jane Austen pilgrimage to Steventon Rectory, Chawton Cottage, and the Chawton Great House, their journey concludes at her final resting place, Winchester Cathedral. Along the way they must decide where they want to scatter their mother’s ashes and what to do with a diary she gave them that may have been written by Jane’s sister Cassandra. Each of the sisters reacts differently to the realization that the diary may be authentic and valuable. Shallow and vain Mimi smells money to fund her desire to open a fashion boutique in New York City, and practical and stoic Ellen wants to read, understand and discover if the diary is indeed authentic and if they want to sell it.

Mysteriously, others in the tour group, especially the Jane Austen expert Mrs. Gwendolyn Parrot, seem to know who the sisters are and why they are there, even though they have not shared any of the details with her. Also popping back into Ellen’s life after fifteen years, and into the tour group is Daniel, her college heartthrob and the only man she has ever loved, even though he never knew it. He is now an antiques dealer and Ellen assumes that her mother also sent him on the tour to help her daughters with the diary, and rekindle the unrequited love that Ellen never pursued. On the other hand, Mimi who fails in and out of love as quickly as the changing fashion season immediately hooks up with another enigmatic gentleman on the tour, the hunky Ethan Blakemore, a descendant of Jane Austen who has recently inherited a local estate. Ellen secretly questions why a local would take a walking tour in his own backyard? Mimi doesn’t wonder anything about Ethan, except when he will propose.

As the sisters travel through the countryside following in Austen’s path, they also read the diary revealing secrets in Jane and her sister Cassandra’s relationship that so tested their love and friendship for each other that it nearly tore them apart forever. While Ellen and Mimi have their own Elinor and Marianne Dashwood romantic entanglements and disappointments, they are drawn together when they question if the plot in Sense and Sensibility is based on the author’s real life experiences, and others in their group who are part of the “Formidables” go to great lengths to prevent them from discovering the truth.

Anyone eager for a vacation from the usual Austenesque fare inspired by Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy will appreciate the creative, unique, and intriguing contemporary theme and snap this novel up without a second thought. Pattillo has the clever knack of combining a romantic contemporary tale with historical connections centered around Austen lore. The Dashwood Sisters Tell All nourishes Jane Austen fans senses, and romance readers sensibilities! Come for the Austen travelogue and get lost in the romance and adventure.

P.S. – we are still patiently awaiting the invitation to become a Formidable.

4 out of 5 Regency Stars

A Grand Giveaway

Win one copy of The Dashwood Sisters Tell All, by Beth Pattillo by leaving a comment by midnight PT Wednesday, March 30, 2011 stating what intrigues you about this Sense and Sensibility inspired novel or who your favorite character was in Beth’s previous two novels in the series. Winners will be announced on Thursday, March 31, 2011. Shipment to US or Canadian addresses only.

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen, by Beth Pattillo
Guideposts (2011)
Trade paperback (288) pages
ISBN: 978-0824948740

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose