UPDATED! Download Free Jane Austen-inspired eBooks on her Birthday, December 16, 2010

Sourcebooks Jane Austen Birthday Banner 2010

Update 16 December 2010: 1:00 pm PT

Breaking News:

Sourcebooks has extended the one day offer through 17 December 2010.

Next Thursday, December 16th is Jane Austen’s 235th birthday and Sourcebooks, the world’s leading Jane Austen publisher, is throwing a huge one-day-only birthday book bash. They will be offering ten of their best Austen-inspired novels for FREE. Yep. That’s right. FREE!

Anyone with a digital eReader, or free application on their computer, or blackberry, or iPhone, or Android, or iPad can download the books. Just go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc. online on December 16th and download away! (I highly recommend Barnes & Noble’s free Nook applications if you do not already own an eReader like me! You can read the eBooks on five different electronic devices )

Here is the list of amazing titles available:

  • Eliza’s Daughter by Joan Aiken – 9781402225963
  • The Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman – 9781402233227
  • Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll – 9781402234859
  • What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown – 9781402227370
  • The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins – 9781402234996
  • The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview – 9781402245329
  • Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange – 9781402225727
  • Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan – 9781402235184
  • Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe – 9781402234651
  • Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Abigail Reynolds – 9781402246289

But that’s not all – read on.

The party doesn’t stop there. For one day only Sourcebooks will also be offering free illustrated eBook editions of all six of Austen’s major novels filled with unabridged texts and the legendary color illustrations by the Brock brothers circa 1898.

  • Sense and Sensibility: The Illustrated Edition 9781402256813
  • Pride and Prejudice: The Illustrated Edition – 9781402256776
  • Mansfield Park: The Illustrated Edition 9781402256875
  • Emma: The Illustrated Edition – 9781402256790
  • Northanger Abbey: The Illustrated Edition – 9781402256837
  • Persuasion: The Illustrated Edition 9781402256851

♥ Here is a link to Sourcebooks for the free Jane Austen eBooks with all of the links to download for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Sourcebooks, Google eBookstore and Sony eBookstore. 

Don’t be a Mr. Knightley and miss the party. Make haste and mark your calendars today.

Many thanks to Sourcebooks for their generous tribute to our favorite author!

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2007-2010 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown – A Review

What Would Jane Austen Do? (2009), by Laurie Brown This time travel romance novel has a great hook in the title – Jane Austen’s name, and we all know that it caught your attention, cuz, you’re reading my review! 

When an author sets out to ‘entrap’ (or more kindly stated) ‘entice’ us into noticing their book over all of the other thousands of books published each year by choosing a catchy title, it’s called clever marketing. Add to that, a provocative cover sporting a set of six-pack abs that we hoped we might find under Mr. Darcy’s wet shirt, and the façade of a Regency manor house a la Pemberley, and you know that they have really pulled out all the stops to make a sale. Let’s hope they can deliver the goods. After all, if the author was in doubt at any point in writing their story, all they had to do for a solution was to ask what Jane Austen would do, right? 

Heroine Eleanor Pottinger is a costume designer from Los Angeles who arrives in Hampshire, England for Regency Week jetlagged and downtrodden after being unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend. She has booked her accommodations at Twixton Manor Inn, an eighteenth-century grand manor house converted into a hotel whose staff has lost her reservation and must put her up in the only room left available – the haunted one that they never use. Undaunted, Eleanor just wants sleep and does not care if she shares it with anyone, spectral or otherwise. When the two ghostly sisters Mina and Deirdre materialize to haunt her, she strikes a bargain with them to travel back to Regency times to thwart a deadly duel that kills their brother Teddy if they will in turn introduce her to their neighbor, her favorite author Jane Austen. Eleanor awakens in 1814 to meet the sisters and their family living at Twixton Manor with a house full of guests including hunky rake Lord Shermont, an agent for the crown who is secretly hunting for a Napoleonic spy among them. Eleanor quickly becomes his chief suspect. Motivated to meet Jane Austen, Eleanor engages in a week of social activities to discover which of the sister’s honor will be compromised provoking Teddy into duel with Shermont. Somehow she must figure out how to alter history and avert the deed and save his life. As a twenty-first century woman, Eleanor struggles with the Regency lifestyle and often asks herself “what would Jane Austen do?” in the same situation which works beautifully until romance gets in the way as she is courted by Teddy and the known womanizer Lord Shermont. Questioning their motives may be the key to her unraveling the mystery and discovering if she has fallen in love with a spy or an Austen-esque hero. 

Author Laurie Brown has pulled together elements of several genres – historical romance, spy thriller, time travel, and Jane Austen – in an ambitious endeavour. The plot moved very quickly and was evenly paced. Contrary to scandalous rumor, I do enjoy historical romance novels, which What Would Jane Austen Do? would qualify. I have two requirements in my romance reading that this novel satisfied; — that the characters are believable and the plot has substance. I enjoyed traveling back in time with Eleanor, meeting Lord Shermont and of course encountering Jane Austen. Who wouldn’t? Brown obviously researched her Regency history and has read Austen’s novels quoting characters and scenes (though I must correct her reference to Knightley criticizing Emma Woodhouse after the picnic at Boxhill where she had treated Jane so badly! It was Miss Bates who was abused not Jane Fairfax.). Taken as a fun and frothy summer read, I have very few quibbles. However, when an author chooses to use Jane Austen or her characters that ups the ante in my book, and the standards are raised. Unfortunately, the opportunity to distinguish the present and the past with language nuances was missed as modern words such as Tarzan, yummy, omigod leaked in to the Regency world, and misnomers such as Arabian thoroughbred was used to describe Lord Shermont’s horse. Additionally, at times I would like to have rested and discovered more about characters and their motivations, which was Austen’s forte. In the end, I knew very little about the heroine and hero’s inner thinking and felt the plot skipped past moments to elaborate and reflect just a bit more. The author did however supply the requisite Austen-esque heroine transformation and happily-ever-after ending, which Jane would have chosen to wrap-up more swiftly with far less effusion. In the end, was I entrapped by Jane Austen’s name into reading this novel? You betcha! Do I have any regrets? Like Austen’s character Emma Woodhouse, in this instance “I would much rather have been merry than wise.” 

4 out of 5 Regency Stars 

What Would Jane Austen Do? , by Laurie Brown
Sourcebooks Casablanca, Naperville, IL (2009)
Mass market paperback, (352) pages
ISBN: 978-1402218316 

Additional Reviews

Austen Book Sleuth: New Books in the Queue for May

What Would Jane Austen Say? (2009), by Laurie BrownThe Jane Austen book sleuth is happy to inform Janeites that many Austen inspired books are heading our way in May, so keep your eyes open for these new titles. 

Fiction (prequels, sequels, retellings, variations, or Regency inspired) 

What Would Jane Austen Do? by, Laurie Brown 

Are you ready for an historical romance laced with Jane Austen’s influence for your light and fun summer reading? In this time travel fantasy, take a trip back to Regency England as the heroine attempts to alter the past and thwart a deadly duel. Publisher’s description: Eleanor is a costume designer in England for the Jane Austen festival, where her room at the inn is haunted. In the middle of the night she encounters two ghost sisters whose brother was killed in a duel over 200 years ago. They persuade her to travel back in time with them to prevent the duel. Eleanor is swept into a country house party, presided over by the charming Lord Shermont, where she encounters and befriends Jane Austen. But there’s much more to Lord Shermont than the ghosts knew, and as Eleanor dances and flirts with him, she begins to lose her heart. Sourcebooks Casablanca, ISBN: 978-1402218316 

Cousin Kate (2009), by Georgette HeyerCousin Kate, by Georgette Heyer 

Sourcebook’s continues on its quest to reissue all of Georgette Heyer’s classic novels with Cousin Kate, originally published in 1968. This novel is one of only two Heyer Gothic Regency romances, and is sure to be a treat for historical romance and Gothic novel readers. Publisher’s description: Kate, in dire circumstances, is surprised to receive an invitation to live with a distant aunt. Her aunt, uncle, and cousin welcome her to their estate, buy her new clothes, and provide all the amenities a Young lady of quality should have. Slowly, however, as strange events unfold, Kate begins to realize that her aunt’s apparent benevolence hides an ulterior motive. To assure succession of the title, her aunt intends Kate to marry her cousin Torquil, until his increasingly bizarre behavior culminates in violence and tragedy. A compelling tale exploring mental illness in the Regency period. Sourcebooks Casablanca, ISBN: 978-1402217685 

Austen’s Contemporaries  

Corrine, or Italy (2009), by Madame de StaelCorinne, or Italy (Oxford World’s Classics), by Madame de Stael 

Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein (1766 – 1817), commonly known as Madame de Staël, was a Swiss author living in Paris whose writings strongly influenced literary tastes in Europe at the turn of the 19th century. She was highly praised by her male contemporaries during her lifetime and credited as the foundress of the Romantic Movement. Corinne, or Italy was published at the height of her writing skills in 1807 and considered her greatest achievement.   

Madame de Stael may have been a renowned authoress, but her notorious reputation preceded her when she arrived in London in 1813. Jane Austen passed up the opportunity to meet her that year when she was visiting her brother Henry in London. Nineteen years later he would explain her rejection of the invitation, “To her truly delicate mind such a display would have given pain instead of pleasure.” Madame de Stael may have privately thought Pride and Prejudice “vulgaire,” but in my estimation she redeemed herself by acquiring a copy of Mansfield Park for her home library at Coppet, Switzerland. 

Publisher’s description: Corinne, or Italy, is both the story of a love affair between Oswald, Lord Nelvil, and a beautiful poetess, and an homage to the landscape, literature and art of Italy. Stael, the subject of recent feminist rediscovery, weaves discreet political allusion into her romance, and upon its publication Napoleon renewed her order of exile. Sylvia Raphel’s new translation preserves the natural character of the French original, while the notes and introduction place this extraordinary work of European Romanticism in its historical and political context. Oxford University Press, ISBN: 978-0199554607 

The Romance of the Forest (Oxford Worlds Classics) 2009, by Ann RadcliffeThe Romance of the Forest (Oxford World’s Classics), by Ann Radcliffe 

Author Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) may be best known to Janeites for heroine Catherine Morland’s fascination with her Gothic novel The Mysteries of Udolpho in Northanger Abbey, but another Austen character also admired her horrid novels! When Harriet Smith in Emma suggests The Romance of Forest to her beau Robert Martin, the simple tenant farmer is more inclined to read Agricultural Reports than Gothic novels, and his hesitation gives fuel for Emma Woodhouse to discredit him as a proper suitor to her little friend Harriet. Don’t delay like Robert Martin! If you have not ventured into Gothic fiction before, this is an excellent choice, full of ruined abbey’s, skeletons and mystery. Publisher’s description: The Romance of the Forest (1791) heralded an enormous surge in the popularity of Gothic novels, in a decade that included Ann Radcliffe’s later works, The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian. Set in Roman Catholic Europe of violent passions and extreme oppression, the novel follows the fate of its heroine Adeline, who is mysteriously placed under the protection of a family fleeing Paris for debt. They take refuge in a ruined abbey in south-eastern France, where sinister relics of the past – a skeleton, a manuscript, and a rusty dagger – are discovered in concealed rooms. Adeline finds herself at the mercy of the abbey’s proprietor, a libidinous Marquis whose attentions finally force her to contemplate escape to distant regions. Rich in allusions to aesthetic theory and to travel literature, The Romance of the Forest is also concerned with current philosophical debate and examines systems of thought central to the intellectual life of late eighteenth-century Europe. Oxford University Press, ISBN: 978-0199539222 

Until next month, happy reading! 

Laurel Ann