|Donna Fletcher Crow at the Jane Austen Centre - Bath|
Hello dear Janeites and readers of My Jane Austen Book Club. Happy weekend to all! I'm here to introduce you a new friend and lovely Janeite: Donna Fletcher Crow, author of Jane Austen Encounter. There are 3 free ebook copies for you to win. Take your chances in the rafflecopter form below after reading Donna's guest post and good luck! Many grateful thanks to Donna for being our guest and for granting us the copies to give away.
I’ve been a Janeite longer than most of my readers have been alive. It all began my sophomore year in high school when my English teacher, little Mr. Hodgsen— who looked like Charlie Chaplin— knew me better than I knew myself and insisted that I delve into the English classics—while everyone else in my class was allowed to choose their own reading. I’ve never looked back. Nor have I ever quit saying thank you to Mr. Hodgsen because my love for Jane Austen has grown and flowered for more than half a century.
Long before the current craze for Jane Austen spin-offs in movies, television and books and the popularity of “I heart Darcy” book bags, I was curled up in a comfy chair with a book (not an ereader) walking across a green English field with Elizabeth Bennett, traipsing the streets of Bath with Anne Elliot, or attending a strawberrying party with Emma Woodhouse— pink ribands on my basket, of course (never mind how odious Mrs. Elton is). I was an only child living on a farm in Idaho so I spent my days entertaining myself and living in my own world.
My introduction to Jane Austen movies came when I was a high school English teacher. One of the other teachers rented the Laurence Olivier/Greer Garson “Pride and Prejudice” and invited my class. I took each of my classes and watched it seven times that day (including lunch hour). I’ll never forget the experience.
|Donna at a Regency Ball with her husband|
Then I started writing— and making trips to England for research. When visiting Bath— first as a side trip to various other projects— I always tried to see it through Jane’s eyes. And then, when researching A Jane Austen Encounter I had the fun of tracing all of Jane’s steps, as well as those of Catherine Moreland and Anne Elliott, through the consciousness of my literary sleuths Elizabeth and Richard.
That trip, following the Jane Austen Trail with my fictional literature professors, took me from Bath to the charming Chawton cottage where Jane’s writing flowered and the nearby Steventon church where her father was rector and her own faith established. I stood by her grave in Winchester Cathedral and had a wonderful personal tour of the lovely country estate of Godmersham, home of Jane’s brother Edward Knight. That trip was the fulfillment of a lifetime dream for me— as it was for my fictional characters Elizabeth and Richard. And I didn’t have to cope with any dead bodies.
Then, as a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, last autumn my husband and I attended the JASNA annual general meeting in Minneapolis. The lectures, classes and teas were all wonderful, but few things in my life have been as much fun as the Regency Ball. Stan and I took an English Country Dancing class to be primed for the intricate steps and I costumed in full Regency dress, including an ostrich feather in my hair. It was truly as if the characters had stepped out of all my favorite books. And I was dancing with my own Mr. Darcy.
There couldn’t have been a more perfect place to launch A Jane Austen Encounter, but I remembered to warn readers, “Beware: Evil lurks even in the genteel world of Jane Austen.”
“Jane Austen’s Regency World” Magazine said:
Playful mystery featuring an engaging pair of amateur sleuths.
A letter, apparently from Jane Austen’s great-niece, is at the heart of this entertaining literary mystery— the third volume in Donna Fletcher Crow’s Elizabeth and Richard series. American academics Elizabeth and Richard Spenser are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary with a trip to England to visit Jane Austen’s various homes. Their first port of call is Bath, where Richard— thanks to his distinction as an Austen scholar— is invited to help sort through a box of documents donated anonymously to the city’s Jane Austen Centre.
Delighted to discover a letter that seems to contain new material about Austen’s unfinished novel, The Watsons, Richard is then horrified to find the centre’s director wounded and unconscious— and the precious document gone. Cue a tour of Austenland, in search of answers— in the company of a clutch of suspects who wouldn’t be out of place in an Agatha Christie novel.
It’s great fun— but just as entertaining as the mystery itself are the settings. Fletcher Crow brings Bath, Winchester and Chawton to vivid life in her pages, with a good helping of literary history and numerous references to Austen’s writings that illuminate the narrative.
Donna Fletcher Crow
About the author
Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 43 books, mostly novels of British history. The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. She is also the author of The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave, A Darkly Hidden Truth and An Unholy Communion as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the literary suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 13 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.
To read more about all of Donna’s books and see pictures from her garden and research trips go to: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/
You can follow her on Facebook at: http://ning.it/OHi0MY
About the book
|Chawton Cottage - Donna's personal picture|
(Jane Austen Encounter is Book Three in The Elizabeth and Richard Mystery Series).
English professors Elizabeth and Richard are celebrating twenty years of marriage with their dream vacation—visiting all Jane Austen’s homes in England. But not even the overpowering personality of their Oxford guide or the careful attentions of their new friends can keep the tour free from lurking alarms. When a box of old documents is donated to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, Richard volunteers to help sort through it. Later that night, however, he finds the Centre’s director bleeding on her office floor. Could the valuable letter that has gone missing really lead them to new revelations about Jane Austen’s unfinished manuscript The Watsons? Encounter Jane Austen with Elizabeth and Richard on their tour. Visit all the sites so redolent of Jane Austen and her characters in the beautiful city of Bath. Stay in the Chawton House Library and visit the charming Chawton cottage where Jane’s writing flowered, and the nearby Steventon church where her father was rector and her own faith developed. Stand by her grave in Winchester Cathedral and enjoy your time at the lovely country estate of Godmersham. But don’t let your guard down. Evil lurks even in the genteel world of Jane Austen. (from Amazon.com)