Friday, 10 January 2014

PERSUASION, LYME AND THE COBB - GUEST POST BY HELENA FAIRFAX

persuasion, janeausten, lymeregis, the cobb
The Cobb at Lyme Regis
My name’s Helena Fairfax. I’m a romance author and Jane Austen fan, and I’m thrilled to be here at My Jane Austen Book Club. I’m a British author, and I live in the north of England, in one of my favourite parts of the world – on the edge of the Yorkshire moors, the wild landscape which provided the setting for Emily Brontë’sWuthering Heights. 

My first two romance novels, The Silk Romance and The Antique Love, were published last year. (I’m proud to add here that The Silk Romance was described by one reviewer as ‘a mixture of Pride and Prejudice and Cinderella’. 

 As an Austen fan, her commentabsolutely thrilled me to bits.) This winter I spent some time on England’s south coast, in the county of Dorset. This part of the country was much loved by Jane Austen, especially the seaside town of Lyme Regis, which is the setting for Persuasion. If you follow me on Facebook you may already have seen some of my photos of Dorset on England's south coast, where I spent Christmas.

P1030762
 On Christmas Day we visited Lyme Regis, a small town in Dorset, by the seaside. I was most excited about this, as I've never been to Lyme before, and anyone who's read Jane Austen's Persuasion will know it as the setting for her novel. It's also the setting for John Fowles The French Lieutenant's Woman, which features this famous scene between Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons on Lyme's Cobb. 

The Cobb is a man made wall that protects the harbour.  As quite often happens with these things, both the Cobb and the harbour were a lot smaller than I imagined.
 The whole town is really quaint in a way that we northern England dwellers rarely find. Fortunately the sun shone the afternoon we were there, but the sea was fairly wild and there were dark clouds scudding across the sky. I walked right to the end of the Cobb, dodging the waves crashing beside me, and find it hard to believe that in these days of paranoid health and safety this sort of thing is still allowed :) It was brilliant. I find it harder to believe that Jane Austen allowed her characters to walk along there in their totally unsuitable long dresses! Here's the famous passage from Persuasion:


Jane Austen, the Coob, Persuasion, Lyme Regis There was too much wind to make the high part of the new Cobb pleasant for the ladies, and they agreed to get down the steps and all were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight, excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth. In all their walks, he had had to jump her from the stiles; the sensation was delightful to her. The hardness of the pavement for her feet, made him less willing upon the present occasion; he did it, however. She was safely down, and instantly, to show her enjoyment, ran up the steps to be jumped down again. He advised her against it, thought the jar too great; but no, he reasoned and talked in vain, she smiled and said, “I am determined I will:” he put out his hands; she was too precipitate by half a second, she fell on the pavement on the Lower Cobb, and was taken up lifeless!

the cobb, lymeregis, janeausten, persuasion



I'm so glad I visited Lyme and will never read this passage in the same way again. I can totally picture the scene, with the wild sea and skies and the rough stones of the Cobb. It was a magical visit, and like Jane Austen I fell in love with Dorset altogether. ‘A very strange stranger it must be, who does not see charms in the immediate environs of Lyme, to make him wish to know it better.'

I hope you enjoyed my photos of Lyme :) Do you love Persuasion as much as I do? And if so, do my photos of the Cobb show it how you imagined? Any comments at all,  please let me know - I'd love to hear from you!


Helena Fairfax



HELENA'S BOOKS

The Silk Romance

Jean-Luc Olivier is a devastatingly handsome racing-driver with the world before him. Sophie Challoner is a penniless student, whose face is unknown beyond her own rundown estate in London. The night they spend together in Paris seems to Sophie like a fairytale—a Cinderella story without the happy ending. She knows she has no part in Jean-Luc’s future. She made her dying mother a promise to take care of her father and brother in London. One night of happiness is all Sophie allows herself. She runs away from Jean-Luc and returns to England to keep her promise.

Safely back home with her father and brother, and immersed in her college work, Sophie tries her best to forget their encounter, but she reckons without Jean-Luc. He is determined to find out why she left him, and intrigued to discover the real Sophie. He engineers a student placement Sophie can’t refuse, and so, unwillingly, she finds herself back in France, working for Jean-Luc in the silk mill he now owns.

Thrown together for a few short weeks in Lyon, the romantic city of silk, their mutual love begins to grow. But it seems the fates are conspiring against Sophie’s happiness. Jean-Luc has secrets of his own. Then, when disaster strikes at home in London, Sophie is faced with a choice—stay in this glamorous world with the man she loves or return to her family to keep the sacred promise she made her mother.



The Antique Love

One rainy day in London, Wyoming man Kurt Bold walks into an antique shop off the King’s Road, looking every inch the romantic hero. The shop’s owner, Penny Rosas, takes this handsome stranger for a cowboy straight from the pages of a book… but Kurt soon brings Penny’s dreams to earth with a thump. He’s no romantic cowboy—his job is in the City, in the logical world of finance—and as far as Kurt is concerned, love and romance are just for dreamers. Events in his childhood have scarred his heart, showing him just how destructive passionate love can be. Now he’s looking for a wife, but wants a marriage based on logic and rational decisions. Penny is a firm believer in true love. She’s not the sensible wife Kurt’s looking for. But when he hires Penny to help refurbish his Victorian house near Richmond Park, it’s not long before he starts to realise it’s not just his home she’s breathing new life into. The logical heart he has guarded so carefully all these years is opening up to new emotions, in a most disturbing way…





4 comments:

kadeemcdonald said...

Very nice article, Helena! Thanks for sharing your visit.

Persuasion is my favorite of Austen's plots, as I've always been fond of "second change at love" stories. Your pictures are lovely and show that area of Lyme much as I see it in my mind's eye, whenever I remember the wonderful 2007 adaptation, which filmed scenes there.

I can only say that I would hope I would never be as foolish as Louisa and jump from those very slippery looking stone steps, even if the wonderful Capt. Wentworth were waiting to catch me. :)

kadeemcdonald said...

LOL...sorry...that should be "second chance at love" stories!

helenafairfax.com said...

Hi Kadee,
Persuasion is my favourite, too, and I was really excited about visiting Lyme. I'm glad the photos match your imagination of the book And I agree about jumping from the steps - especially in a long dress!
Thanks for coming by and your lovely comment!

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