Congratulations to the Monthly Austen Books Giveaway Winners for September!

Congrtualtions to Janeen who won a copy of Impulse & Initiative by Abigail Reynolds, and Colleen who won a copy of the Matters at Mansfield by Carrie Bebris.

Please e-mail me (austenprose at verizon dot net) by Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 to claim you prize.

Happy reading to all, Laurel Ann

The Austen Tattler: News and Gossip on the Blogosphere

“All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it.”
Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 31

Austen around the blogosphere for the week of September 21st

‘Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey’ begins on October 1st here at Austenprose, so start reading Northanger Abbey and gearing up for another great Austen novel event. I have been investigating Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho which will be our second group read and happened upon this nice article about the author and her work on PopMatters by Deane Sole.

The Austen Shopaholic deal the week is 40% off on the book New Friend’s and Old Fancies by Sibil Briton at Sourcebooks on line shop. This novel is reputedly the first Austen sequel ever published, though I do not think that scholars will ever let us believe that it was the first, but it has been claimed thus by Sourcebooks. Use code AUSTENSOURCE 10 at check out to receive your discount, and enjoy!

Austenesque author Lori Smith announces the release of her book A Walk with Jane Austen in the UK with a stunning new cover. We think that the pink Wellies are quite appropriate! Congrats, Lori!

With the movie The Duchess opening in the US theaters this week, Lady Georgian Spencer continues to be a hot topic in entertainment news. She married William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire, in 1774, and they resided at Chatsworth, a grand estate in Derbyshire. Musings on Pride and Prejudice blog writes about the Jane Austen connection and similarities in the Cavendish and Darcy families. You can also get three perspectives on the movie The Duchess at Jane Austen’s World.

Austen quote of the week from an interview of actress Amanda Lisman who is portraying Elizabeth Bennet in Tom Woods new stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice at The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Septmeber 20 – October 12. Read a review of a prevue on the production here.

In reading her, I realized how much Austen’s writing has influenced romantic comedy, the (mis-matched) couple overcoming obstacles after first impressions. I just think it’s so remarkable that such a young woman, so geographically isolated, had such insights into human nature. And was so witty…. And it still resonates, in specific situations and class structure, and in the humour. We were all pleased and surprised there was so much laughter in (first performances in) Banff: the humour of the characters, so many lines people love…. It’s a book that speaks to people’s hearts; it’s pretty iconic.

Austenesque book reviews for the week; The Jane Austen Book Club, Pride and Prejudice Board Game, Northanger Abbey, Me and Mr. Darcy, The Matters at Mansfield, Persuasion, Impusle & Initiative, Mr. Knightley’s Diary, Mansfield Park Revisited, Seducing Mr. Darcy, The Watson’s and Emma Watson, Jane Austen: A Life, Oxford World’s Classics: Emma, and The Darcys and The Bingleys. Wow! Lots of Austen readin’ going on out there folks. Keep it up.

Actress Brenda Blethyn who portrayed Mrs. Bennet in the 2005 movie of Pride and Prejudice is currently staring as faded southern belle Amanda Wingfield in Tennessee William’s classic play The Glass Menagerie at The Norwich Theatre Royal, September 22-27. Here is a great interview of actress Anna Chancellor who played Caroline Bingley in the 1995 mini-series of Pride and Prejudice, and presently appearing in the play Creditors at Covent Garden in London.

The Becoming Jane fan site has announced that The Jane Austen Centre on line magazine has added their biography of Madame LeFroy to their section on Jane Austen family biographies. Congrats ladies!

Author of Sex and the City Candace Bushnell has delusions that she is the modern Jane Austen!?! Well, not quite, but this writer likes to sensationalize a bit to get our attention. Did it work?

Lost in Austen, the ITV mini-series pastiche of Pride and Prejudice on UK tellie continues to amaze us in a bus accident sort of way. The whiplash rubber necking abounds as the media and on line blogs are deconstructing episode 3 which aired this past week.  Jane Austen in Vermont blog has an interesting vantage from a British viewer, Jane Austen’s World has some fabulous screen caps and a review, AustenBlog readers continue to tell it like it is with their comments, of course I had to have my share of the conversation, and here is some eye candy for you all as Jane Austen Today displays the Hunks of Lost in Austen.

The Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England opened on September 19th and will continue through September 28th. On Saturday the 20th, Regency finerie was afoot as participants paraded about the city in the grand Promenade. Talented photographer Owen Benson contacted Austenprose to tell us he had uploaded many stunning shots of the event, including someone that you might recognize, Austen intern Virginia Claire Tharrington, who looks quite stunning in her mustard ribboned bonnet. Lucky girl to be there. Pea Green of course!

So where is Jane Austen’s true home? Chawton or Bath? The debate continues as the two cities duke it out over bragging rights in Literary Smackdowns: Jane Austen Territory on The L Magazine blog and Satisfaction Will Be Demanded at AustenBlog.

Unseen Austen an new radio play on BBC4 by Judith French imagines Pride and Prejudice through an impertinent and over the top Lydia Bennet and available by Podcast. Oh la! Go Lydia! Feeling sentimental? Then listen to a Podcast from CBC Radio from 1996 entitled Jane Mania, focusing on the wave of popularity spawned by the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series. Sharon Farrell interviews novelist and film adaptor Fay Weldon (P&P 1979), Oxford scholar Marilyn Butler and Austen biographer Claire Tomalin. What an incredible group a well informed and witty women, talking about our favorite subject. Personally, I can never get enough of that!

The third annual R.I.P. reading challenge is underway until October 31st. This reading event is hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings and has a horror and Gothic theme. I have taken up the challenge and will be reading three ‘perils’ written or influenced by Jane Austen; Northanger Abbey, Pemberley Shades and The Mysteries of Udolpho. You can also join in this reading challenge since Austenprose’s two group reads during ‘Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey’ in October will qualify you for R.I.P. III. So, go Gothic with us in October y’all, cuz ya won’t regret it.

Until next week, happy reading!

Laurel Ann

The Matters at Mansfield: Or the Crawford Affair (A Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery), by Carrie Bebris – A Review

More accurately, Lady Catherine conversed. Anne listened silently, her attention straying to other parts of the busy room as her mother soliloquied unchecked. Wandering concentration, however, was endemic to participants in Lady Catherine’s conversations. It was how one survived them. Chapter 2

 

Austenesque author Carrie Bebris ventures into her fourth excursion in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries Series with the recently released, The Matters at Mansfield: or the Crawford Affair, continuing the story of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy after their marriage in Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. Once again we join the famous couple as they investigate crime and murder among the gentry of Regency England involving many familiar characters from Jane Austen’s novels.

 

It has been two summers since the Darcy’s marriage in 1803 and the story opens at Riverton Hall in Buckinghamshire, the ancestral home of Mr. Darcy’s mother Anne Fitzwilliam. The present Earl is giving a ball in honor of his new fiancé and the Darcy’s are house guests along with other family members: sister Georgiana Darcy, cousins Colonel Fitzwilliam and Anne de Bourgh, and their aunt, the officious and overbearing Lady Catherine de Bourgh still giving unsolicited advice and talking a blue streak.

 

Lady Catherine’s hen pecked and sickly daughter Anne is now 28 years old and being micro-managed by her mother to within an inch of her life. Lady Catherine is determined to secure a prominent match for her daughter since the mate chosen for her since birth, Fitzwilliam Darcy, defied her wishes and married that ‘gentleman’s daughter’, Elizabeth Bennet. Unbeknownst to Anne, her mother brokers a marriage to the son of a family friend and neighbor Lord Sennex, of Hawthorn Manor. This is purely a match of convenience as the future husband is a hot tempered Caliban, about as suitable a love match for fragile and retiring Anne as the odious Rev. Mr. Collins was for Elizabeth Bennet in the original novel.

 

Certain that her mother will chain her to an abysmal marriage, Anne makes an uncharacteristically bold move and elopes with a man unknown to her family or friends, Henry Crawford of Everingham in Norfolk. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam pursue the couple to Gretna Green, Scotland only to discover that they are too late. The irregular marriage has already taken place and duly consummated. At Lady Catherine’s biding, they escort the couple back to Riverton Hall for an audience with her Ladyship. Along the road they are detained in a country village quite familiar to Henry Crawford, Mansfield Park, the last village in England where we would like to be stranded. Unavoidably he must deal with the village locals and many of the characters in Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park such as Sir Thomas Bertram, Mrs. Norris and his former paramour, the spiteful Maria Rushworth. While there, a murder is discovered. Who, I will not reveal, but suffice it to say, if you ever felt the desire to kill off one of Jane Austen’s most undeserving cads, you will not be disappointed.

 

Ms. Berbris is truly fond of a good Austen quote skillfully applying them as a epigraph to open each of the chapters. In that spirit, I shall paraphrase a quote by Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Pride and Prejudice and exclaim that with The Matters at Mansfield  she “has given us a treasure.”  I was continually charmed by her imaginings of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy as the Nick and Nora Charles of the Regency set, exhibiting all the sensibilities that any Janeite would appreciate in an Austen pastiche: respect for the original author’s style, observance of period detail, reverence to the characters, and interjection of circuitous humour and lighthearted banter, all combined in a well thought out and absorbing whodunit that keeps us guessing and engaged to the last. My only disappointment was that it ended all too quickly, and I hope that the next novel currently being penned about Austen’s novel Emma will suspend our pleasure for a bit longer.

 

Rating: 4 out of 5 Regenct Stars  

 

The Matters at Mansfield: or the Crawford Affair (A Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery)

A Forge Book, published by Tom Doherty & Assoc, LLC, New York (2008)

Hardcover (286) pages

ISBN: 978-0765318473

 

Giveaway!

 

 Leave a comment by September 29th. to qualify in a drawing for a new copy of The Matters at Mansfield by Carrie Bebris. The winner will be announced on September 30th.  

Further reading

  • Review of The Matters at Mansfield  by The Bluestocking Guide
  • Visit author Carrie Bebris’ website

Mansfield Park Sequels: The Matters at Mansfield: Day 15 Give-away

THE SEQUELS 

What happens when you mix the classic novelist Jane Austen with mystery writer Anne Perry? Author Carrie Bebris’s delightfully funny and fresh Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery Series. Avid readers of Ms. Bebris will be happy to learn that the fourth book in the series, The Matters at Mansfield: Or the Crawford Affair will be available on September 2nd. for their continued amusement and delight. 

In the previous novels in this series; Pride and Prescience: Or, A Truth Universally Acknowledged, Suspense and Sensibility or, First Impressions Revisited, and North By Northanger, or The Shades of Pemberley, we follow Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy after their marriage as they visit their friends from the different Jane Austen novels and sleuth out murder and mystery throughout Regency England. I have not been able to acquire an advance copy of this novel to comment on it thoroughly, and it is a bit too soon for reviews to be about online, but here are some excellent reviews on the author’s previous title North by Northanger (which won the Daphne du Maurier Award in 2007) to give you an idea of her style and renown. 

“Bebris provides another feast for Janeites in . . . this well-told tale.” Publishers Weekly 

“Bebris captures Austen’s style and the Regency period perfectly, drawing her characters with a sure hand.” Library Journal 

“A new Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery is always cause for celebration in this household —  and the latest adventure featuring the amatuer sleuths is well up to Carrie Bebris’ usual high standard. . . . A terrific read: I devoured it in a single sitting.” Jane Austen’s Regency World 

“An utter delight . . . every aspect is pitch-perfect.” — Romantic Times Book Club (Top Pick) 

“The writing is crisp, dryly humorous, and consistent with Austen’s style. This book is the best of the three mysteries so far. It is tightly and credibly constructed down to the last detail, heavy on danger and intrigue, historically accurate, and engaging.” VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) 

Further reading 

  • Review of The Matters at Mansfield: or The Crawford Affair at Publishers Weekly
  • Author Carrie Bebris’s website
  • Read an excerpt of The Matters at Mansfield: or The Crawford Affair 

Mansfield Park Madness – Day 15 Give-away

Matters at Mansfield: or The Crawford Affair 

Part of the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries, by Carrie Bebris. Pride and Prejudice’s characters of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy going sleuthing in this detective mystery spinoff. Hardcover, 288 page, ISBN 978-0765318473 

Upcoming posts 
Only two days left to qualify for the many great give-aways
Winners announced August 31
Day 16 – Aug 30          MP: What People Are Saying
Day 17 – Aug 31          MP Madness Roundup & Conclusion