Austenesque, Book Reviews, Regency Era

Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words, by Shannon Winslow — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

In a November 1814 letter to her niece, Jane Austen wrote that “nothing can be compared to the misery of being bound without love.” She had brilliantly illustrated her point with many unenviable couples in her novels serving as warnings of what her protagonists should strive to avoid. Likewise, readers found in her most famous story, Pride and Prejudice, a hero dutifully resigned to such misery and a heroine determined to evade it. Prolific Austenesque author Shannon Winslow explores that hero’s path from misery to love in her latest Pride and Prejudice adaptation, Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words.

Fitzwilliam Darcy believes that he is destined to fulfill his familial duty by securing a society-approved mate for himself and proper mistress of Pemberley—and by choosing prudently, hoping for mutual respect at best, and knowing that love was neither desirable nor wise. “My early years had taught me, again and again, that to love was to suffer pain. To love was to surrender a part of oneself, to give the object of that love power over one’s life – power to wound or to destroy, either by accident or with intent.” (189) Therefore, Darcy resolutely heeds his late father’s advice by discreetly selecting a decorous lady from a suitably wealthy and consequential family, ever mindful of his family’s expectations and his own responsibilities. “To choose the wrong path, to be careless of the way, to neglect minding every step, was to invite calamity of a kind most painful and permanent.” (171) Continue reading “Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words, by Shannon Winslow — A Review”

Book Previews, Jane Austen's Works, Regency Era

A Preview of Pride and Prejudice: The Complete Novel, with Nineteen Letters from the Characters’ Correspondence, by Jane Austen & Barbara Heller

Pride and Prejudice The Complete Novel, with Nineteen Letters 2020 coverLet me ask you a serious question, Janeites. How many copies of Pride and Prejudice do you own? Fess up. Five, ten, twenty—or more than you will publicly admit to?

I fear that I fall into the latter category, having collected new and vintage copies of the classic novel since my teens when my mom gave me my first copy from her library. Since then it has been an uphill battle against my willpower. When a new shiny P&P hits the market, it’s mine.

Imagine my delight then when I spied a new P&P that included nineteen handwritten letters tipped in. WHOA! Pride and Prejudice: The Complete Novel, with Nineteen Letters from the Characters’ Correspondence, by Jane Austen & Barbara Heller contains the full unabridged text and recreated letters that Jane Austen’s characters wrote to each other during the course of the novel designed to look like they just arrived by post in 1813! I kid you not. Physical letters to hold in my hot little hands. Continue reading “A Preview of Pride and Prejudice: The Complete Novel, with Nineteen Letters from the Characters’ Correspondence, by Jane Austen & Barbara Heller”

Blog Tours, Book Previews, Critiques & Analysis, Nonfiction

Blog Tour Launch of There’s Something About Darcy, by Gabrielle Malcolm

There's Something About Darcy, by Gabrielle Mallcom (2019)For over two hundred years, Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy has been an enigma and an idol—prompting Pride and Prejudice fans to re-visit the novel, create books and movies, and inspire writers to model their own heroes after his noble mien to relive their time with him in the original novel.

What is it about Darcy that makes him so admired, igniting passionate debates? Is he an arrogant snob, or a shy introvert? Why does his character arc in the novel move some so deeply, and anger others? Why do some actors excel in their portrayal of the iconic hero on screen, and others fail? While the discussions continue, Dr. Gabrielle Malcolm offers insights on all these questions, and more, in her forthcoming There’s Something About Darcy, publishing on November 11, 2019, from Endeavour Quill.

Like Mr. Darcy, this new literary criticism is much more than what appears on first acquaintance. We will not proclaim it tolerable (as he did when he first met Elizabeth Bennet), but declare it as tempting as his £10,000 a year income to any grasping Regency era mother. Here is a description from the publisher and an exclusive excerpt from the author. 

BOOK DESCRIPTION: 

For some, Colin Firth emerging from a lake in that clinging wet shirt is one of the most iconic moments in television. What is it about the two-hundred-year-old hero that we so ardently admire and love?

Dr. Malcolm examines Jane Austen’s influences in creating Darcy’s potent mix of brooding Gothic hero, aristocratic elitist and romantic Regency man of action. She investigates how he paved the way for later characters like Heathcliff, Rochester and even Dracula, and what his impact has been on popular culture over the past two centuries. For twenty-first-century readers the world over have their idea of the ‘perfect’ Darcy in mind when they read the novel and will defend their choice passionately.

In this insightful and entertaining study, every variety of Darcy jostles for attention: vampire Darcy, digital Darcy, Mormon Darcy, and gay Darcy. Who does it best and how did a clergyman’s daughter from Hampshire create such an enduring character?

A must-read for every Darcy and Jane Austen fan.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:  Continue reading “Blog Tour Launch of There’s Something About Darcy, by Gabrielle Malcolm”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Regency Era

Given Good Principles: Boxed Set, by Maria Grace – A Review

Given Good Principles Boxed Set by Maria Grace 2013 x 200From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

I have a confession to make dear reader: I’m a book series binger. I’ll find myself reading the first novel in a series (in this case Darcy’s Decision by Maria Grace), and find it so intriguing that I have to buy the rest of the (available) books in the series and read them one right after another. It’s not a huge problem when it’s a series of three books or less, but when it’s four-plus books, my husband starts to get worried that I’ll begin collecting dust from immobility. So, with all of that in mind, I offer to you a post on Maria Grace’s Given Good Principles series.

Grace starts off her series with two completely creative and unique prequel novellas:

Darcy’s Decision

Beginning with the death of Darcy’s two parents and ending with preparations for his trip to Hertfordshire with Bingley, this unique and creative prequel (and about The Future Mrs. Darcy as well), is that Darcy and Elizabeth must go through situations that make them question their natures PRIOR to the meeting. This means that as they are introduced to each other for the first time, they are aware of their own personal flaws. I fell head-over-heels in love with this idea. It’s not something I’ve seen in any other Pride and Prejudice re-telling, so from page one Grace had already hooked me with this fresh approach. The creation of the character of John Bradley was a stroke of genius. His fatherly, no-nonsense approach to discussions with Darcy was a pleasure to read. He simply tells Darcy how it is and doesn’t “scrape and bow” just to appease Darcy’s status. Continue reading “Given Good Principles: Boxed Set, by Maria Grace – A Review”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Contemporary Era, Reading Challenges

Undressing Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos – A Review

The Pride Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge (2013)This is our twelfth and final selection for The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013, our year-long blog event honoring Jane Austen’s second published novel. Please follow the link above to read all the details of this reading and viewing challenge. Sign up’s are now closed but you can read the reviews and comment through 31 December 2013.

From the desk of Christina Boyd: 

With a title like Undressing Mr. Darcy, author Karen Doornebos’ new release is sure to turn a few heads this holiday season. “Sex sells, even to smart, liberated women, and Mr. Darcy was the smart girl’s pinup boy.” p. 7 And like the novel’s heroine, a master PR rep who has turned tweeting into an #artform, Doornebos has carefully crafted another contemporary romance novel about an ambitious, highly energized, very modern woman who meets a charming Mr. Darcy re-enactor, sure to draw the attention of Janeites and romance readers alike.

When Vanessa Roberts, PR extraordinaire with the perpetually-present smartphone and ever-ready clever social media tweet or posting, takes on a pro-bono job as a favor for her elderly Jane Austen loving aunt, little does she expect promoting the English author of, My Year as Mr. Darcy, to turn her organized world topsy-turvy. When she finally meets Julian Chancellor, who has capitalized on his good looks “as he gives a little historical background on his Regency-era clothing as he proceeds to take it off –down to his drawers” at his book signings, she finds she too, like the throngs of Darcy fans in the audience, is caught by his artful allurements.

When she realizes his incentive for writing his book is to raise money to support the restoration of his ancestral home, coupled with his charm and gentlemen-like behavior, she can’t help herself but start to fantasize about what a fling, nay relationship, with him might be like. As they all attend the Jane Austen Society North America (JASNA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Chicago, while surrounded by Austen lovers fully immersed in the hubbub, Vanessa is busy promoting her author, “Want to tie the knot with Mr. Darcy? He’s in Cravat Tying 101 right now.#JASNAagm #UndressingMrDarcy #OrDressingMrDarcy?” p. 71 Surprisingly amongst all the bonnets and lace, she discovers she might be open to the possibilities of something more to life than constantly being plugged in.

It felt as if some of his Austen quotes were speaking directly to her at times, and it occurred to her that it might be time that she gave the author another chance. Perhaps her aunt had been on to something all these years. Was there something beyond the happily ever after stories and the demure portrait of a woman in a white ruffled cap that popped in Vanessa’s head every time ‘Jane Austen’ was mentioned?” p. 36

Continue reading “Undressing Mr. Darcy, by Karen Doornebos – A Review”

Austenesque, Contemporary Era, Giveaways, Guest Blog

Undressing Mr. Darcy Book Launch with Author Karen Doornebos and Giveaway!

Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos (2013)Please join us in celebration of the launch of author Karen Doornebos’ second novel, Undressing Mr. Darcy, published today by Berkley Trade.

Karen has joined us to chat about her inspiration to write her new book, a humorous contemporary romance inspired by the chemistry between Jane Austen’s characters Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Her publisher, Berkley, has also generously offered a giveaway chance for a paperback copy of Undressing Mr. Darcy to three lucky winners. Just leave a comment with this blog post to enter. The contest details are listed below. Good luck to all.

Thank you for joining us Karen.

Inspiration for Undressing – shall we say – a flame? 

Laurel Ann asked me to talk a bit about my inspiration for Undressing Mr. Darcy. Full disclosure: when I was researching Regency male clothing for my first novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, I hit upon an English website called The History Wardrobe that did a show called Undressing Mr. Darcy. It seems a “Mr. Darcy” would disrobe down to his drawers while a woman lectured about his articles of clothing.

Wow. What more could a Darcy fangirl ask for?! I never saw the show and it’s now defunct, but my imagination started clicking and it wasn’t long until I came up with: Continue reading “Undressing Mr. Darcy Book Launch with Author Karen Doornebos and Giveaway!”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Contemporary Fiction

My Own Mr. Darcy, by Karey White – A Review

My Own Mr Darcy, by Karey White (2013)From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

How often do we envision the partner we will (hopefully) spend the rest of our lives with? What will he/she look like? For those of us who have read Pride and Prejudice, I’m sure Mr. Darcy has played a part in those visions. Anyone fortunate enough to have seen the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice knows Matthew Macfadyen’s portrayal of Darcy is a good place to start (I’m a Colin Firth girl myself though!) When I heard that Karey White had written a book about the pursuit of a perfect Mr. Darcy a la the wonderful 2005 film adaptation, I figured I had to give it a try.  My Own Mr. Darcy is the title, and it is an interesting idea to say the least.

Elizabeth has seen the man she wants to have for the rest of her life. The only problem is that he is Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice. After Elizabeth first glimpses Macfadyen when she watches the movie with her mother, she vows to never date another man until she finds one that matches her idealistic views. However, this seems to do her more harm than good, as six years pass without Elizabeth going on a single date. Finally, Elizabeth is convinced by her roommate to attempt ten dates with a man named Chad. Although she finds the idea revolting, she soon finds that Chad is kind and down to earth. As a school science teacher and swim coach, Chad is not the kind of guy that Elizabeth envisioned herself dating. However, while dating Chad, she meets Matt Dawson, a wealthy bookstore owner who appears to be everything she saw in Mr. Darcy from the beginning. However, as she gets to know Matt, she finds that what she originally wanted in a man may have been wrong from the beginning. Will Chad’s nondescript background be enough to sway Elizabeth from the dazzling Matt Dawson?

I think that contemporary novels inspired by Austen’s works are my favorite works to read in the sphere of Jane Austen fan fiction. I’m always curious to see how authors will modernize Austen’s storylines or characters, or how their story will be influenced by Austen. I was really impressed with the way White’s story was influenced. The idea of holding out for the perfect man (aka Mr. Darcy) is something I’m sure many women have done. I give White a lot of credit for also pushing forth the idea that sometimes the idea of what is perfect for us is actually disastrous. So many times books that focus on relationships about idealistic men or women in larger-than-life scenarios directly impact what we want and wish for in real life. Elizabeth is a perfect example of what perfectionistic romances can do to a woman! White gets two thumbs up from me for writing romance with a realistic approach. Continue reading “My Own Mr. Darcy, by Karey White – A Review”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Contemporary Fiction

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, by Helen Fielding – A Review

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, by Helen Fielding (2013)From the desk of Christina Boyd:

We were first introduced to Bridget Jones’ Diary in 1997. Readers kept it on the New York Times bestseller list for over six months. We were utterly addicted to this new confessional literary genre author Helen Fielding had created—the unguarded, neurotic ramblings of a London singleton in search of love—and her obsession with Jane Austen’s romantic hero Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice, (admittedly Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC/A&E mini-series). We devoured the sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in 1999, and the subsequent movies with an all-star cast of Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, and, yes, Colin Firth as dishy, love-interest Mark Darcy. Now 14 years later, Fielding has resurrected her most popular character …

STOP. If you haven’t heard about the big, gigantic, SPOILER in her new novel, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy—DO NOT PROCEED. This is your chance to bail now. Save yourself the trouble and time of ranting at me in some long-winded diatribe. You have been given due notice. But, please do come back here and let’s compare notes, once you have read the book, of course.

However, if you have heard the big news about this third book in the series, then carry on. My little review won’t ruin anything for you that has not already been broadcast worldwide. Also, a slight warning as to the sailor-like language sprinkled throughout that we have come to expect from Bridget and friends. (My apologies to sailors everywhere who do not swear or speak in a vulgar manner. Terrible, terrible stereotype. I know.) Though jarring, cringe-worthy really, if any of my American friends were to spew such vulgarity, coming from Bridget, any Brit really, this American reviewer tends to give a pass. Maybe it’s the charming British accent? Or the Renee Zellweger narrative I hear in my head? Continue reading “Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, by Helen Fielding – A Review”