A Preview of Jane Austen’s England: A Travel Guide, by Karin Quint

Jane Austen's England: A Travel Guide, by Karin Quint (2019)Every Jane Austen fan dreams of visiting her England – strolling through the Georgian streets of Bath in the footsteps of Catherine Morland; visiting Lyme Regis where Louisa Musgrove jumped from the Cobb seawall missing the arms of Captain Wentworth; picnicking on Box Hill like Emma Woodhouse and her party from HIghbury; touring Austen’s haunts of Regency London; and exploring her last home at Chawton Cottage in Hampshire. It is the ultimate pilgrimage to experience the rolling hills of her England, her fabled country homes, and the cities she frequented and wrote about in her novels.

Planning a trip like this could take months of research, or the services of a skilled company who specializes in Austen tours. Imagine having all that knowledge and expertise at your fingertips in one beautifully illustrated and detailed book?

Karin Quint’s new travel guide, Jane Austen’s England claims to be the “first and only travel guide that focuses on Austen’s life, work, and legacy.” Hmm? There are many other Austen-themed travel guides in print, but I do agree that this takes it to an entirely different level by focusing on her life, work, world, and country. Here is a preview of this new guide.

DESCRIPTION:

Walk in Jane Austen’s footsteps with this unique travel guide – the first book to explore England in relation to its most beloved Regency author. Rambling across the rolling fields of Hampshire, along the bustling streets of London and around the golden crescents of Bath, Jane Austen’s England is the perfect companion for any Janeite planning a pilgrimage.

Functionally arranged by region, each chapter tracks down the most iconic scenes from both the big and little screen, as well as the key destinations where Jane lived, danced and wrote. Descriptions of each location are interspersed with biographical anecdotes and local history. Subsections focus on various stately homes that have been featured in every adaptation of every novel, from the beloved Pride and Prejudice television series (1995, Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth) to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016).

With a compilation of websites, seasonal opening hours and tour details, this compact book contains everything you need to immerse yourself in Austen.

A LOOK INSIDE:

 

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Memorable Moments During My Jane Austen Tour 2013

Jane Austen Tour 2013 signpost in Chawton

I have been home from my Jane Austen Tour to England for almost two weeks yet I am still basking in the afterglow. We visited many amazing cities, museums, stately homes and gardens associated with Jane Austen and her family which will fill up many future posts, but as I looked through photos and memorabilia for inspiration on where I should begin it brought back moments when my world went silent in surprise and awe. After years of appreciation and study of Austen’s novels and her world, this was my first trip to the country that she and her characters lived in—and my first step back in time to an era two hundred years ago—far removed from our lives of modern conveniences and technology. Here for your amusement are a few personal moments that I would like to share of my journey through Jane Austen’s world. Continue reading

Walking Jane Austen’s London: A Tour Guide for the Modern Reader, by Louise Allen – A Review

Walking Jane Austen's London, by Louise Allen (2013)From the desk of Katie Patchell:

Have you ever wanted to experience Jane Austen’s London? To see all the sights (comparing past and present) and to literally walk in Jane’s footsteps, all without being slowed down by an actual tour guide? If so, then Walking Jane Austen’s London: A Tour Guide for The Modern Reader is just for you!

Walking Jane Austen’s London includes eight highly informative walks that are between 1.75 and 2.5 miles. Each walk (or chapter) starts with a very useful box of information, which includes the starting location of your walk, the nearest tube station and bus stop, the length of your route, and the opening hours of any Regency or Georgian historical site that is on your way. Also included in each chapter is a well-marked map detailing your walk route, as well as the streets and other attractions close by. With a picture (sometimes two) on every one of the 109 pages, this provides an attractive and entertaining read no matter where you are.

These are some of the places seen in the following walks: Continue reading

All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane, by Amy Elizabeth Smith – A Review

All Roads Lead To Austen, by Amy Elizabeth Smith (2012)Guest Review by Syrie James

Amy Elizabeth Smith, an English professor at a private California university, uses her development leave to test a theory: how do Jane Austen’s novels resonate with readers in Latin America? Do people identify with her characters and story lines? In other words, does Austen translate across time, distance, and language? In All Roads Lead to Austen, Smith explores these questions and more in six different countries, conducting Jane Austen reading groups “on the road.” Along the way, she’s immersed in local culture, history, and literature, makes valuable friendships, and… meets and falls in love with the man she is going to marry.

Yes, you heard right! Smith hooks us Janeites right off the bat by revealing that her real-life adventure has a very Austen ending—and what could be better than that? She writes in a clear, personable style that is witty, intelligent, engrossing, and filled with interesting details.

Smith’s travels begin with a Spanish language immersion course in Guatemala, followed by a romantic stay in Mexico where, on the first day, she spends all her money on books instead of groceries. She (alarmingly) becomes seriously ill with a life-threatening tropical disease, thankfully recovers, feeds tame iguanas in Ecuador, flees the police in Chile, dines on delicious food in Paraguay, and encounters tango dancers on the street in Buenos Aires.

Amusingly (at least to this reader), it seems that everywhere she goes, Smith is hit upon by men looking for a hot date. She learns the hard way that her naturally friendly disposition is unintentionally giving the wrong signals. When she innocently accepts an invitation from a (married!) older man—the doorman of her apartment building—to “have coffee, just as friends,” to her shock and dismay, he grabs her and French kisses her. Later, one of Smith’s new female friends tells her:

“You’re pretty dumb for a smart woman… First of all, you can’t be friends with Chilean men. Period. Any Chilean man asking you anywhere, unless it’s strictly work related, is coming on to you… Second… university professors do not date doormen. I’m not saying this is right—I’m just telling you how it is. This Alberto knows that university professors don’t date doormen, so he naturally assumed that if you were willing to go out with him, it’s because you were looking for some fun. You know—something physical.”

All those reports about Latin lovers, it seems, are true! And as Smith points out:

Class is an issue in all of Austen’s novels… [along with] the precise ranking of who is above whom (and how far) and who can be matched with whom… Apparently, if I magically landed in Emma, my being a professor means that Robert Martin, the kind farmer who loved Emma’s protégé Harriet, would be off limits—except for a roll in the hay.

Smith spends her days reading the celebrated local authors, filling her suitcases to the bursting point with books, and sending home box loads more. Many of the cities she visits have areas with extensive book malls, book stalls, and book shops that are, as she puts it, “used book heaven.” Smith writes:

This sort of book commerce has all but disappeared from the States, a fact that truly makes me sad. A person simply can’t earn a living in a major city with a bookstall of the size operated by many people in Santiago. Large chains and Internet businesses are efficient, but for real booklovers, there’s nothing to replace the pleasure of browsing used bookshelves and visiting with people who know every title they have for sale.

My favorite parts of the story were the small book group sessions, where Smith discusses Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma with animated, interesting people, and we learn what her Latin American readers think of Austen. Overwhelmingly, they agree that people today can identify with the people, situations, and human emotions in Austen’s novels, which reflect aspects of their own lives.

I give Smith props for her fearlessly honest and often moving portrayals of the people in this book, especially considering that many are identified by their real names. My only mild disappointment was that she didn’t devote more time to the romance. I would have liked more emotions, more intimate details—more love story. But I can totally understand why, since this is a true story, the author might have been reluctant to reveal too many personal details on that score.

I picked up All Roads Lead to Austen thinking it was going to be an Austenesque novel, and when I discovered that it was a non-fiction travel memoir, I wasn’t sure it would be my cup of tea… but I absolutely loved it, and couldn’t put it down! It’s Eat, Pray, Love meets The Jane Austen Book Club—an unforgettable journey of the mind and heart.

Who does Smith end up marrying? I’ll never tell! But I will say this: when it comes down to making her decision, she does what any good Janeite would do: she relies on Austen as a guide to help her recognize her own Señor Darcy. Amy Elizabeth Smith’s memoir proves that we all have something to learn from Jane Austen, if we will only listen. Her tale is so fascinating, thought-provoking, and real, I felt as if I were there with her, every step of the way. I cheered at the ending, and so will you.

4.5 out of 5 Regency Stars

All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane, by Amy Elizabeth Smith
Sourcebooks (2012)
Trade paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978-1402265853

Syrie James, hailed by Los Angeles Magazine as “the queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings,” is an admitted Anglophile who loves All Things Austen. She is the bestselling author of five critically acclaimed novels: The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen (Best First Novel, Library Journal); The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë (2011 Audie Romance Award; Great Group Read, Women’s National Book Association); Nocturne (Best Book of 2011, The Romance Reviews, Suspense Magazine, and Austenesque Reviews); Dracula, My Love; and Forbidden, a YA paranormal romance that she co-wrote with her son, Ryan M. James. Syrie’s books have been translated into 16 foreign languages. Her short story leads the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It. A lifetime member of JASNA, RWA, and WGA, Syrie’s next novel, The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen—the romantic story of a woman who discovers a previously unknown Austen novel—will be published by Berkley/Penguin Books in January 2013. Visit Syrie on Facebook, Twitter, and at syriejames.com.

© 2012 Syrie James, Austenprose