Giveaway Winners Announced for Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen

Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, by Sally Smith O'Rourke (2012)27 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of three digital copies available of Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen. The winners drawn at random are:

  • Melissa Cecilia who left a comment on October 2, 2012
  • historia who left a comment on October 3, 2012
  • Lynn F. who left a comment on October 5, 2012

Congratulations to all the very lucky winners! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by October 17, 2012.  Digital download internationally.

Many thanks to Sally Smith O’Rourke for her guest blog and to all who left comments. Happy reading to the winners!

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen Blog Tour with Sally Smith O’Rourke & Giveaway

Yours Affectionatley, Jane Austen, by Sally Smith O'Rourke (2012)Please help me welcome today Austenesque author Sally Smith O’Rourke during her blog tour for her new novel, Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, a sequel to her popular The Man Who Loved Jane Austen (2009). A time-travel novel from present day Virginia to 1813 Chawton, England, Sally broaches the eternal question: was Mr. Darcy based on a real character in Jane Austen’s life or from her fertile imagination?

An English friend told me after reading The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, that it was the first time he had ever thought of Austen as a real person. To him she was an icon who was not particularly interesting. I think Jane’s sister Cassandra’s attempts to create a perfect personification by editing and destroying her personal correspondence really did her sister a disservice when she was such a wonderful, inventive and interesting individual.

I’ve often wondered if Cassandra’s zeal in protecting Jane’s memory included the destruction of journals. Here was a woman who wrote regularly, thousands of letters (although only 160 remain), a history, poems, prayers; she even wrote sermons for James, her eldest brother. How was it possible that she kept no diary or journal of any kind? A question, I’m afraid, that will never be answered.

At one time I thought it would be fun to create a journal, ostensibly written by Austen. A chronicle of the five days Fitzwilliam Darcy spent in Hampshire the spring of 1810. After several false starts and an overwhelming feeling of pretention (who was I pretending to be Jane Austen?) I opted instead to write the sequel to The Man Who Loved Jane Austen. Here is the backstory:

Researching a letter she found from Jane Austen to Fitzwilliam Darcy takes Manhattan artist Eliza Knight to a centuries old Virginia estate, Pemberley Farms. There she meets Fitz Darcy, his tale of love and romance in Regency England leaves Eliza in no doubt that he is the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero. And she’s falling in love with him. But can the man who loved the inimitable Jane Austen ever love average, ordinary Eliza Knight?

Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen takes place for Jane during the summer of 1813 after the successful publication of Pride and Prejudice. For Darcy it is the week following his heritage Rose Ball in present day Virginia.

While Eliza and Fitz’s relationship starts to blossom things begin to happen in the quiet hamlet of Chawton, England that could change everything. Will the beloved author become the wedge that divides Eliza and Fitz or the tie that binds them?

For your enjoyment, here is an excerpt from chapter 5 of Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen.

Author Sally Smith O'Rourke (2012)Author Bio:

“Where shall I begin? Which of all my important nothings shall I tell you first?” (J.A. June 15, 1808)

That I reside in a Victorian village; a mere two miles from my place of employment. A local hospital where I spend most daylight hours in the operating room as a scrub nurse.

That I am a native Californian, and spent most of my life in and around Southern California with a relatively short span of years in Nevada where I attended school.

That I was widowed some time ago. That I have very domestic hobbies like sewing, cooking, baking, candy making and cake decorating. Oh, yeah I write, too. Mike, my late husband and teacher, taught me that writing has to be treated like a job so every day no matter how tired I am I edit, research one or more projects and write.

That I am working on a new book; a story of reincarnation that takes place in Pasadena, CA and am making notes for a ghost story set in San Francisco. Two stories running around in my head and often colliding but I untangle the debris and continue on.

There you have a few of my nothings.

Visit Sally at her blog Sally Smith O’Rourke Author; websites Austenticity and Austen Authors; on Facebook as Sally Smith O’Rourke; and on Twitter as @Chawton1810.

Thank you for visiting with us today Sally and sharing a bit about your new novel. I look forward to reading it. Best wishes on its success.

Giveaway of Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen

Enter a chance to win one of three e-book copies available of Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen by Sally Smith O’Rourke. Just leave a comment answering if you believe if Austen’s character Fitzwilliam Darcy was based on a real person she knew or from her imagination. The contest is open until 11:59 pm Pacific time, Wednesday, October 10, 2012. Winners will be announced on Thursday, October 11, 2012. Digital shipment internationally. Good luck!

Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, by Sally Smith O’Rourke
Victorian Essence Press (2012)
Digital e-book (261) pages
ISBN: 978-1891437052

© Sally Smith O’Rourke, Austenprose

The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, by Sally Smith O’Rourke – A Review

Cover of The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, by Sally Smith O'Rourke (2008) Was fictional hero Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice based on a real person who author Jane Austen met and fell in love with in 1810? In this reissue of her 2006 novel, author Sally Smith O’Rourke cleverly re-engages our fascination with Austen’s ultimate romantic hero Mr. Darcy and presents readers with a contemporary heroine pursuing the question if Darcy’s character was inspired by Austen’s personal experience?

New York City artist Eliza Knight is a 21st-century Austen fan who discovers two old letters tucked behind the mirror of her new antique vanity table addressed to “Dearest Jane” from F. Darcy, and the second unopened letter to Fitzwilliam Darcy, Chawton Great House. Puzzled, Eliza knows that Mr. Darcy is Jane Austen’s fictional creation and not a real person, or is he? Determined to find out if the letters are real or a crafty hoax, she presents them to an Austen scholar and Head of the Rare Document Department at the New York Public Library who skeptically examines them. When the scientific testing and hand writing analysis prove they are authentic, Eliza is shocked. In addition, she learns that another similar letter has recently surfaced leading her to its owner, a wealthy horse breeder in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Determined to meet him, she travels to his estate Pemberley Farms to learn about his interest in Jane Austen and why he shares Fitzwilliam Darcy’s name. When Eliza reveals to him that she has discovered additional letters similar to his, he is anxious to know at any price the content of the sealed letter and is very keen to purchase them. When she refuses to sell the two hundred year old letters, his intense reaction and admission that the message in the unopened letter was meant for him is unbelievable. Eliza knows that the notion is absurd, until he begins to tell her the entire amazing story.

This is not your typical Jane Austen sequel; in fact, it is not a sequel at all; falling into a uniquely new Austen book category – Austen paranormal mystery romance! To say more would spoil the multi-dimensional plot, but just imagine a blending of a Jane Austen biography, a contemporary romance novel and the movie Somewhere in Time and you might begin to understand my meaning. This is a ‘what if’ story that asks the reader to imagine another possibility of how Jane Austen was inspired to create her most alluring and romantic hero, Mr. Darcy. Austen purist will have to turn a blind eye to the historical and biographical flubs, (and there are more than a few), and disarm the ‘breach of etiquette’ alarm in their heads in order to just let go and enjoy the ride. Romance readers will take pleasure in Ms. O’Rourke’s breezy modern style which at times was dryly witty and at others hampered by contrite clichés. The possibility that Fitzwilliam Darcy was actually a real person is an intriguing notion that many Austen scholars have researched and enthusiasts have speculated upon for years. I commend her creativity in trying to fictionally answer the riddle but felt that the story could have been more convincing if she had taken her audience and herself more seriously. None-the-less, The Man Who Loved Jane Austen is a pure bit of escapist muslin that will in turns miff and amuse you.

3.5 out of 5 Regency Stars 

The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, by Sally Smith O’Rourke
Mass market paperback (303) pages
Kensington Publishing Corp, New York (2009)
ISBN: 978-0758210388

© 2009, Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Jane Austen Book Sleuth: New Books in the Queue for January 2009

Frederica Heyer by Georgette Heyer, Sourcebooks (2009)The Austen book sleuth is happy to inform Janeites that Austen inspired books are heading our way in January, so keep your eyes open for these new titles. 

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

Frederica, by Georgette Heyer. Accolades to Sourcebooks for taking up the banner and reissuing thirteen Georgette Heyer novels to date and more scheduled in the queue for 2009! My co-blogger Vic (Ms. Place) at Jane Austen Today has religiously read each one as they have been released and you can catch up on the reviews at her blog Jane Austen’s World. I have yet to venture into Heyer territory, so am pea green with envy. This month, we are presented with Frederica which was one of Heyer’s later romance novels originally published in 1965. (publisher’s description) In Frederica, Georgette Heyer explores the difficulties of a woman of the Regency era operating without the patronage and protection of a man. A country beauty and a very capable young woman, Frederica is burdened with the responsibilities of being head of her family, leaving her little time to think of herself and her own future. When she brings her brood to London to find a husband for her stunningly beautiful younger sister, she naturally expects the patronage of their guardian, the Marquis of Alverstoke, who is, however, too bored and cynical to be bothered. But when Frederica’s younger brother’s obsession with such scientific innovations as ironworks and balloon flight leads to a devastating accident, the Marquis can no longer ignore his charges. You can read about all of the Heyer titles in print at the Sourcebooks website. Sourcebooks Casablanca ISBN: 978-1402214769 

The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, by Sally Smith O'Rourke (2009)The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, by Sally Smith O’Rourke. In this reissue of her 2006 novel, O’Rourke sends her contemporary heroine Eliza Knight on an investigation to discover if the letters she found in an old vanity table addressed to ‘Dearest Jane’ from ‘F. Darcy’ are indeed the Regency era novelist and her most famous character Fitzwilliam Darcy. The trail leads her to a majestic, 200-year old estate in Virginia’s breathtaking Shenandoah Valley and into the arms of man who may hold the answer to this extraordinary mystery. Kensington ISBN:  978-0758210388 

Imitations of Jane Austen, by Jane Greensmith (2008)Intimations of Austen, by Jane Greensmith. (publisher’s description) A collection of nine short stories including back stories, sequels and what-ifs to Jane Austen’s beloved novels. Greensmith provides sympathetic insights into characters you love to hate. Her what-if stories are realistic, true to Austen’s characters, and delightful to sink your teeth into. And always, Greensmith, Romantic that she is, calls forth the power and beauty of the natural world to heal, bless, and nurture the wounded, the misunderstood, the lonely, and the confused on their journeys through life. Visit the author’s blog Reading, Writing, Working, Playing for her insights on fiction, writing and Jane Austen. I missed this one in my December announcement, but it is well worth a mention. Lulu.com, ISBN: 978-1435718890 

Nonfiction 

Jane Austen and Mozart (2009)Jane Austen and Mozart: Classical Equilibrium in Fiction and Music, by Robert K. Wallace. Originally published in 1983, this reissue by the same publisher aims to give a detailed comparative analysis of the intriguing similarities between Jane Austen’s (1775-1817) writing and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s (1756-1791) music. This scholarly treatise will interest students and scholars who appreciate Austen’s classical vs. romantic style and Mozart’s restraint vs. freedom that defined both of their works. (note to publisher: pink covers do not equate chic lit sales) University of Georgia Press ISBN: 978-0820333915 

Cinematic Jane Austen (2009)Cinematic Jane Austen: Essays on the Filmic Sensibility of the Novels, by David Monaghan, Adriane Hudelet and John Wiltshire. Three professors contribute their academic insights on how Austen has been successfully transferred to the screen. (publisher’s description) The novels of Jane Austen are typified by their comedic power, often most powerfully demonstrated by the singular voice of their narrators. Yet what makes them arresting novels can also produce a less than satisfactory transformation to the world of cinema, where the voice of a narrator often becomes obtrusive. This work argues that despite the difficulties in adapting Austen’s writing for the screen, there have been many successes. Each author examines Austen’s texts for their inherent cinematic features, analyzing the use of these features in film versions of the novels. (note to publisher: pink covers do not equate chic lit sales) McFarland & Company ISBN: 978-0786435067 

A Companion to Jane Austen, editor Claudia L. Johnson (2009)A Companion to Jane Austen (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture), edited by Claudia L. Johnson & Clara Tuite. Professor Claudia L. Johnson of Princeton University may very well be Jane Austen’s finest advocate with her many scholarly works in print, lectures and academic presence worldwide. Her latest ambitious work includes editing and contributing to this volume that includes 42 essays by leading scholars serving as a reference and speculative development in Austen scholarship. Way over this Janeites head, but headed to an academic library bookshelf near you. Blackwell Publishers ISBN: 978-1405149099 

Austens Emma (2009)Austen’s Emma (Reader’s Guides), by Gregg A. Hecimovich. Clueless about Emma? This new student guide could be your best friend while reading the novel. (publisher’s description) This is a student-friendly guide featuring discussion points, questions, suggestions for further study and a comprehensive guide to further reading. Emma is one of Jane Austen’s most popular novels, in large part due to the impact of Emma Woodhouse, the ‘handsome, clever and rich’ heroine. This lively, informed and insightful guide to Emma explores the style, structure, themes, critical reputation and literary influence of Jane Austen’s classic novel and also discusses its film and TV versions. It includes points for discussion, suggestions for further study and an annotated guide to relevant reading. Continuum; Student’s Guide edition ISBN: 978-0826498489 

Austen’s Oeuvre 

Catharine and Other Writings, by Jane Austen (Oxford World's Classics) 2009Catharine and Other Writings (Oxford World’s Classics), by Jane Austen. A round of applause goes out to the good folks at Oxford University Press who have now re-issued all of Jane Austen’s novels and minor works with introductions written by prominent scholars and supplemental material to help students and Austen enthusiasts better understand her writing and her life in context to her times. This latest venture includes Austen’s boisterous and comical early works of short stories which readers will find quite different than her later novels. (publisher’s description) In addition to prose fiction and prayers, this collection also contains many of Jane Austen’s poems, written to amuse or console friends, and rarely reprinted. The texts have been compared with the manuscripts and edited to give a number of new readings. The notes recreate the texture of daily life in Jane Austen’s age, and demonstrate her knowledge of the fiction of her time. The introduction by Margaret Anne Doody sets the writings within the context of Jane Austen’s life and literary career. Oxford University Press ISBN: 978-0199538423 

Austen’s contemporaries 

Castle Otranto, Horace Warlpole (Oxford World's Classics) 2009The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (Oxford World’s Classics), by, Horace Walpole. Consider the granddaddy of Gothic novels, Castle of Otranto sparked a genre that would become a sensation in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and influenced Jane Austen’s gentle parody Northanger Abbey. Published in 1764, it includes all of the stereotypical trappings of a Gothic story including castles, dungeons and supernatural events. An absolute must for Austen fans and enthusiasts of the Gothic, this reissue is based on the 1798 second edition which was reworked by Walpole and includes an introduction by E. J. Clery, a Research Fellow in English at Sheffield Hallam University and author of The Rise of Supernatural Fiction 1762-1800 (1995). Oxford University Press ISBN: 978-0199537211 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge - The Major Works (Oxford World's Classic) 2009Samuel Taylor Coleridge – The Major Works (Oxford World’s Classics), by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. (publisher’s description) Samuel Taylor Coleridge, (1772-1834) poet, critic, and radical thinker, exerted an enormous influence over contemporaries as varied as Wordsworth, Southey and Lamb. This collection represents the best of Coleridge’s poetry from every period of his life, particularly his prolific early years, which produced The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christabel, and Kubla Khan. The central section of the book is devoted to his most significant critical work, Biographia Literaria, and reproduces it in full. It provides a vital background for both the poetry section which precedes it and for the shorter prose works which follow. There is also a generous sample of his letters, notebooks, and marginalia, some recently discovered, which show a different, more spontaneous side to his fascinating and complex personality. Oxford University Press ISBN: 978-0199537914 

Until next month, happy reading to all, 

Laurel Ann

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