Friday 31 August 2012


Romola Garai as Emma (BBC 2009)
Unknowingly, I was familiar with Jane Austen before I had ever picked up one of her novels. As a child of the 90s, I was captivated with the film Clueless. The film offered a glimpse into a glamorous world of designer clothes, wealth and romance. Although it was wildly out of my everyday reality, I viewed Cher Horowitz's Beverly Hills world as the quintessential representation of popularity in teenage America.
It wasn't until years later, when I was studying English literature in college, that I discovered the movie had been written as an adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. After re-watching the movie and reading the novel, I was pleasantly surprised at how well each of the works captured the snobbery, frivolity and generosity that is transferred between social classes.
Cher Horowitz and Emma Woodhouse are both arrogant, spoiled daughters of over-indulgent fathers. Though their time periods are separated by more than a century, there remain distinct similarities among the demands and expectations of their elitist societies. While Emma lives in the well-bred haven of nineteenth century England, Cher's Beverly Hill high school is ruled by a similar combination of money and charm. In both instances, snobbery is rampant.

Wednesday 29 August 2012


Synopsis: When aspiring writer, Sophie Elliot, receives the keys to the family townhouse in Bath, it’s an invitation she can’t turn down, especially when she learns that she will be living next door to the house that Jane Austen lived in. But, Sophie’s neglected ancestral home is harbouring more than the antiquated furniture and nesting mice, though initially Sophie tries to dismiss the haunting visions of a young girl. On discovering that an ancient glove belonging to her mysterious neighbour, Josh Strafford, will transport her back in time to Regency Bath, she questions her sanity, but Sophie is soon caught up in two dimensions, each reality as certain as the other. Torn between her life in the modern world, and that of her ancestor who befriends Jane Austen and her fascinating brother Charles, Sophie’s story travels two hundred years across time, and back again, to unite this modern heroine with her own Captain Wentworth. Blending fact and fiction together the tale of Jane Austen’s own quest for happiness weaves alongside, creating a believable world of new possibilities for the inspiration behind the beloved novel, Persuasion (from the author’s site)

Searching for Captain Wentworth is different from Jane Odiwe’s previous Austen-inspired novels, Willoughby’s Return and Mr Darcy’sSecret. Not only  because it deals mainly with characters and events connected with Austen’s last novel, Persuasion - while the others continued the stories of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice  respectively - but especially because the author adds a spicy ingredient to her narrative to avoid writing the usual sequel.  She adds time travelling and creates two parallel narrative levels between which the protagonist, Sophie Elliot, unexpectedly and inexplicably  moves. She   gets  involved in a series of different adventures and is torn between two men. Is it possible to fall in love with two differently  handsome,  kind, extraordinary  gentlemen , one living in Jane Austen’s time and one in the modern world? Make your acquaintance with Charles and Josh in Jane Odiwe’s new book and you will find yourself sympathizing  with the heroine.

Monday 27 August 2012


Welcome back to all the readers who commented Wendi Sotis's interview and entered the giveaway of her Dreams and Expectations.  Here are the names of the lucky ones!

1. suzan has won the paperback


2. kaewink gets the eBook  

Congratulations to both winners and many thanks to Wendi Sotis for being our guest!

Saturday 25 August 2012


(2010 - hardcover - 256 pp.)
(guest blogger Nancy Parker)

David Selwyn, the chairman of the Jane Austen Society and a leading authority in his field (editor of the Annual JAS Report since 2001,  and author of numerous works and articles on Austen), does a remarkable job highlighting her relationship with children in her novels in his  2010 book, “Jane Austen and Children.” Although not a mother herself, Austen’s works examine the relationships of children and their parents, as well as the role of children in society, how children function as models of behavior, and the nature of childhood. Austen understands that childhood and parenthood are multi-faceted, and Selwyn too knows that in order to investigate Austen’s interpretation of childhood, he must come at it from a multi-dimensional perspective. His expansive work highlights the unseen child as well as the historical background surrounding parenting and the morals of childrearing in this time.

One of the most effective aspects of Jane Austen and Children is the way in which Selwyn demonstrates how the unseen child is sometimes just as important as the child that is explicitly illustrated, as he shows how children who are not present in the novels are just as important as those who are. In a time when many women and children died during the arduous process of childbirth, it is significant to note how important it is that many of the family members who were not alive had just as important of an impact on the family sphere as those who were. As far as birth practices go, one of the most fascinating aspects of the novel was Selwyn's in depth look at the birthing practices of this time, a load of information that would make any modern mother thankful she was not alive in the 18th century.

Thursday 23 August 2012


Here I am to make two of my readers very happy. I've just picked up the names of the winners of Maria Grace's volume II of Given Good Principles: The Future Mrs Darcy.

Congratulations to ...

1. Jewels 1328 who wins the signed paperback
2. Luthien 84 who gets the e-book version

Thanks to lovely Maria Grace for being again a kind and generous guest and to all of you who read her post and entered the giveaway contest. 

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Guest Post - Barbara Tiller Cole: Party Like It’s Austen Regency Time At the Upcoming Decatur Book Festival: Now With 28 Authors Participating 

Barbara Tiller Cole, Austen-inpired author and Lady Host at Darcyholic Diversions, is here to present a great upcoming event to My Jane Austen Book Club readers. If you don't live far, you might even be interested in taking part in it. If only I didn't live in Italy! This would be a fabulous occasion to meet our favourite authors and bloggers. Read more and if you can, don't miss the chance to be there!

What happens when an independent Austen-inspired author and a rapid Austen fan join forces? The Jane Austen: Then and Now events at the upcoming Decatur Book Festival Labor Day weekend, that’s what—now with 28 authors participating as of today as Laurel Ann Nattress is joining us! It has been a joy to be the Author Liaison and Program Chairman for the upcoming event, working along the side of the Event Chairman, Jan Ashe.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Lovely Janeites: Lauren Bailey - Re-Approaching the Jane Austen You Knew in High School as an Adult

For high school students, one of the most groan-worthy aspects of summer vacation is typically the summer reading list. Even as an avid reader and book lover, I hated the summer reading list for school. Not only did I not want to be required to read seven books over my summer in the sun, I couldn't stand being told what I was allowed to read. Of course, I was proven wrong plenty of times. Most of the books on the summer reading lists were classics that I absolutely adored after the fact, but some I just couldn't get into. Sadly, Jane Austen was one of those authors I just couldn't connect with as a particularly young 14 year old just entering high school.

The summer before my freshman year in high school, Pride and Prejudice was on the "required reading" list. I picked up the book, hearing of it many times before of course and fully expecting to love it. But, that just wasn't the case. I couldn't find my footing in the lofty and unattainable language, I couldn't relate to the characters, and I was completely bored by the plot. I know, I know—you Austen-ites out there are begging to just shake my 14 year old self. I understand. But, I do think that my experience with Austen for the first time serves as an apt lesson. After only reading part of the novel and feigning having read the rest in high school, I sworn off Austen forever—at least that's what I said. 

Saturday 18 August 2012


Thanks to Amanda Grange for her interesting guest post: "How many stars out of five did Jane Austen get from her contemporaries?" and many thanks to all the readers who entered the giveaway leaving their comments.
Among them,  my congratulations to ...


who has just won a copy of Dear Mr Darcy, Amanda Grange 's latest release.

Friday 17 August 2012


Join me and welcome author Wendi Sotis at My Jane Austen Book Club! Get the opportunity to meet a new lovely Janeite and  talented writer,  as well as the chance to win either a paperback or eBook version of her Pride and Prejudice  variation, Dreams and Expectations. Read the giveaway details below. 

Fist of all welcome Wendi and thanks a lot for accepting my invitation. My first question for you is, how did you come to write a Pride & Prejudice variation?
I found the  Jane Austen fan fiction community while searching for a version of P&P from Darcy’s point-of-view. I found quite a few that I loved, but I also realized that they weren’t quite what I had envisioned myself.  So, I started writing one of my own.  One night, I had a dream of a scene that never happened in the original novel, and decided to create my own story around that instead.  This eventually became Dreams and Expectations, and incorporated most of what I had already written for the Darcy’s POV story.

Wednesday 15 August 2012


(by guest blogger Kelsey Clark) 
If you are a girl, as I assume most of you reading this are, then you know what I am talking about when I say we are looking for our Mr. Darcy. We are looking for that special someone who may not look the best from the outside but is secretly perfect for us on the inside.
Now, we need to be careful with this impulse to ‘Darcy-fy’ guys. Not all guys are like Mr. Darcy; a jerk at first glance but inside a gentleman. Some guys are just jerks through and through. A lot of women get this romantic view on guys. Like their coarse outer demeanor is really just cause by pain and loneliness and YOU will be the one to get through to them. This is how women get stuck with abusive and neglectful guys, even smart women.

Of course, I am sure there ARE guys like Mr. Darcy out there; ones that have trouble expressing their true selves. But there is a thin line between prejudice and wisdom. Prejudice keeps good people (like Elizabeth and Darcy) apart. Wisdom keeps good women from being sucked into relationships with bad men. Know the difference.

Sunday 12 August 2012


Join me and welcome Maria Grace at My Jane Austen Book Club. Read her guest post, leave your comment and get a chance to win "The Future Mrs Darcy". There is 1 signed paperback for US readers and 1 e-book version for readers from the rest of the world. So,  please,  don't forget to add your e-mail address to your comment and specify which country you write from. The deadline for this giveaway contest is 23 August.

Given Good Principles is a three part series that explores what Jane Austen’s  Pride and Prejudice  might have looked like if Darcy’s pride and Elizabeth’s prejudice no longer played a central role in their relationship. For both, mentors and situations provide opportunities for reflection and growth, making them very different people when they meet.

In the first volume of the Given Good Principles series, Darcy’s Decision, Fitzwilliam Darcy faces the challenges presented, when, in the midst of dealing with Wickham’s attempt to compromise Georgiana, he discovers his father’s darkest secrets. With the help of his mentor, Mr. Bradley, Darcy struggles to overcome some of the blackest moments of his life.

Wednesday 8 August 2012


This has been an incredibly prolific year for Austen-inspired author, Amanda Grange. After Henry Tilney's Diary and Pride and Pyramids, a new novel has just been released, Dear Mr Darcy. In this lovely guest post, Amanda wonders how many stars out of five would Jane have got from her contemporaries if Amazon or goodreads had been around at that time. Leaving your comment  and adding your e-mail address you can get a chance to win a copy of Amanda Grange's Dear Mr Darcy. Check the giveaway details at the end of the post.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan
As I’m a novelist with a new book out this month, Dear MrDarcy, I’m eager to know what everyone will think of it. This made me think about the reactions to Jane Austen’s books when she was a new novelist instead of a classic author.
Some of Jane’s family knew that she was “A Lady”, the author of Sense and Sensibility, but not all. When one of her nieces, Anna, came across a copy of Sense and Sensibility in the local circulating library, she threw it aside with “careless contempt, little imagining who had written it, exclaiming to the great amusement of her Aunts who stood by “Oh that must be rubbish I am sure from the title”
If Amazon had been around in 1811, no doubt Anna would have given it a 1* review!

Monday 6 August 2012


I found this video interview with Fran Lebowitz discussing Jane Austen's fame on You Tube by chance and it made me think over and over about something I have always been convinced of.  I have already mentioned that fact here on My Jane Austen Book Club, especially when I began writing this blog a couple of years ago. Maybe you noticed that I often asked Austen - inspired writers in our "Talking Jane Austen with..." sessions if they didn't think that movie and TV  adaptations had misled our reading and interpretation of Jane Austen's novels. Most  film versions -  if not all of them -  focus on the romantic aspect of the love stories told in the books and that gave start to the illusion that Jane Austen's work  was mainly romance. Honestly, Jane Austen is one of the least romantic authors  I've read in my life, of that I am definitely convinced. The most unromantic proposals or happy ending  in books can be found in  her works. She made slight exceptions for Emma (If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more)  and Persuasion ( You pierced my soul ) but, still, what Jane Austen cannot be considered  is a romantic writer. I don't love her the less for that, and you also know how much I love watching the TV series or the films adapted from her works. 

Thursday 2 August 2012


Bath - The Crescent
Bath - One does not love a place the less for having suffered in it

On my tour of England from north to south last year (HERE) I couldn’t complete my Jane Austen pilgrimage, since my friends and I were following more than one trail (Richard III, movie locations, literature, abbeys and cathedrals) and each of us had put her own special goals on our common schedule. This is why we decided we would complete my Austen tour this year  visiting the South – West region of the Island and  starting from Somerset (we landed in Bristol),  more precisely  from Bath.

Me at the Roman Baths
The most common opinion on the years Jane Austen spent in Bath wants them unhappy and unproductive.
Jane arrived in Bath with Cassandra and her parents in 1800, after her father had unexpectedly announced his desire to retire from the ministry. Young Jane must have been really depressed if not shocked, though Bath was not and is not an unpleasant place .
Those (1800- 1809) are the years of The Watsons, which she left unfinished, of Harris Bigg-Wither’s proposal (her only marriage proposal for what we know), which she rejected, but those are tragically and especially the years when her father died and left Jane, her mother and her sister doomed to live on the financial contributions of the Austen men.