Please join us today in welcoming author Elizabeth Kantor on her blog tour in celebration of the publication of The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, released today by Regnery Publishing. Elizabeth has generously shared with us some insights on her inspiration for writing the guide and offered a giveaway to two lucky readers.
The time: Nearly eight years ago.
The scene: Me, reading a Washington Post article on why women love Jane Austen.
The action: Me, yelling at the paper–“No, no, no! You’re getting it absolutely, perfectly, 180 degrees wrong. Women don’t love Jane Austen because her novels are so much like our own lives. Her world has everything we don’t have–and that we’re longing for!” (Or words to that effect.)
So I started writing an article about why women really love Jane Austen, and what we want from her, that we don’t have. Not just the gorgeous Regency dresses, and not just the beautiful grounds of Mr. Darcy’s Pemberley estate. Jane Austen heroines’ love lives have such dignity! And they seem to be so smart about men—not to mention, about what they themselves really want. Lizzy and Elinor and Emma (especially Emma) make mistakes, of course. But their whole conduct of their affairs just seems to be on a higher plane, one we wish we could get to!
As it happened, I was writing another piece at just around the same time–an article about the trials and tribulations of dating in the twenty-first century. And at some point along the way, it dawned on me: Jane Austen is the answer to all the complaints modern women have about our love lives—the solution to all the problems we have disentangling ourselves from the wrong guys, finding the right one, and getting to happily ever after. Her heroines follow rules that have gotten lost in the mists of time, kind of like “the Rules”—if you remember that self-help book from back in the ’90s—only they’re not tricks for manipulating men, they’re fundamental principles of relationships, based in Jane Austen’s keen insights into human nature.
So I started working on a book that would distill Jane Austen’s wisdom and apply it to modern love lives. In the process, several things became clear. As I read more first-person accounts of “modern mating rituals,” it became obvious that an awful lot of women (and men, too!) are really unhappy—bitter, angry, and distrustful of the opposite sex—because of how their love lives are going. And as I continued to read and reread Jane Austen over those eight years, it became increasingly clear that she understood a lot of important things that modern women simply don’t know—so that if I could only find a way to help women today apply her principles to their lives, they might start getting very different results from the ones that were making so many of them so unhappy. Continue reading “The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After Blog Tour with Author Elizabeth Kantor & Giveaway!”