Monday 29 October 2012


My students listening to one of their mates' lessons
I've been working on Jane Austen's novels with my students these days and you can only imagine what bliss that can be for me. Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are the novels we've been reading extracts from and working on. Now in one of the two class groups, they are going to read Emma - the whole novel - with their Italian teacher and, of course, we will discuss it in English together in my lessons after they finish. (You can find some of the materials and videos we used at my other blog LEARN ON LINE
1. My Students give their lessons: Persuasion by Jane Austen, 2.  Pride and Prejudice Part I  3. Pride and Prejudice Part II 4. Born to Be a Heroine: Watching Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey 
We discussed several issues like marriage, propriety and decorum, money and power, education of men and women in the Regency   but we also learnt something about irony and characterization in fiction.
This is what I wanted to share here tonight, something about characterization:  flat characters and round characters.
The difference was stated by the novelist E. M. Forster (I love all his novels!)  in his work Aspects of the Novel (1927)

Friday 26 October 2012


Beth Massey lives in Chicago with her husband of forty plus years. Her first love as a child was the theatre. A voracious reader, she devoured plays and novels with an eye toward imagining how she would play certain characters. Beth was recruited to the Chattanooga Little Theatre's youth troupe at age eight. At Barnard College in NYC, Beth threw herself into the struggle against war, racism, the emerging women's liberation movement and the Columbia University student strike of 1968. While there, she met her husband Bill. Together they have devoted their lives to political activism.

Now that both are retired from their day jobs, Ms Massey spends her days in the company of her well-informed best friend and the two are free to engage in a great deal of conversation. Jane Austen would approve, and Beth is quite certain that like Dawsey and Juliet they have had a discussion that encompassed Jonathan Swift, pigs and the Nuremberg trials.

Beth may have left a life in the theatre behind, but the desire for a creative outlet and a need to sketch the human character is still fervent.

Please welcome Beth on My Jane Austen Book Club and check out the giveaway details below to win her 

I am an oddity in the world of Jane Austen inspired literature.  To me, my favorite author neither wrote nor began the genre of romance novels.  Yes, she felt the need to provide a happy ending for her women protagonists.  Happy, if you assume marriage is the most fortuitous life for gently-bred females.  In real life, Jane did the unthinkable and followed a different drummer and has been inspiring many for the last 200 years to take another path—even when it was so very difficult.  Still I am no fool.  It is a truth universally acknowledged that the majority of her female devotees spend their time repining for Mr. Darcy and his many film iterations and pay scant attention to her literary legacy.

Wednesday 24 October 2012


Sally Smith O'Rourke is my guest today to present her new book, Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen. There's a giveaway for an e-book copy to giveaway in a contest open internationally (US readers can choose between e-book and paperback) Leave your comment + e-mail address to be entered. Deadline 2 November
Now it's time to welcome Sally Smith O'Rourke at My Jane Austen Book Club!

Hello and welcome, Sally! How would you introduce your new book in about 50 words?

Was Mr. Darcy real? Is time travel really possible? Eliza Knight thinks so. But can Fitz Darcy, The Man Who Loved Jane Austen love ordinary Eliza Knight? Things begin to happen in Chawton, England that could change everything. Will the beloved author be the wedge that divides or the tie that binds Eliza Knight and Fitz Darcy?

Why did you decide to give your “The Man Who loved Jane Austen” a sequel?

It wasn’t so much a decision as a kind of accident. I planned on a companion piece, a journal ostensibly written by Jane Austen. It would be her impressions and perception of the five days the American Darcy was in Chawton in the spring of 1810 from The Man Who Loved Jane Austen. I began feeling terribly presumptuous writing as Jane Austen and then one day I wrote an entry ending with “I wonder what Mr. Darcy is doing right now.” I found myself writing just that¸ what the tall Virginian was doing at that moment and Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen grew from there.

 How difficult was it to write Jane Austen as a character? Where did you draw your portrait of her from? Her work or her letters?

The answer to both of these questions is a complete immersion into everything I could find written by and about Jane Austen. I studied biographies, family memoirs, travel guides to the English countryside, books of etiquette of the era. I even read cookbooks and books on housekeeping. I wanted to capture her spirit and essence so read her letters many, many times. All the research in the world didn’t allow me to feel as though I could write as Jane but I definitely developed my own interpretation of who she was and how she lived and that’s what I wrote. All the research made it exceedingly enjoyable to write Jane and her story flowed naturally. It was not difficult at all but was a lot of fun.


Alexa Adams, author of First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice has planned something in honor of Halloween. It is a short story, posted in instalments over 8 days, beginning today October 24th and concluding on the 31st. She is my guest today to invite you to join her at her site for some fun. 

I adore the fall, “that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness.” My daughter and I, just steady on her feat, stomp through leaf piles and collect acorns, glorying in the mild temperatures. The air is scented with decay, always a surprisingly refreshing aroma, and the neighborhood decked with pumpkins and gourds, witches and ghouls. As we walk along, the spirit of the season overtakes me, and my imagination begins to run into realms most demented. 

It should come as no surprise to those who know me that I often inhabit something of an Austen dreamland. I have been currently sharing some of my most farfetched imaginings on my blog under the appellation Mixed Up Matchup, when

Tuesday 23 October 2012


Quick posting to announce the winner of  an  e-book copy of Matter of Trust, The Shades of Pemberley
Congratulations to Vesper Meikle!

Many thanks to all participants and to the author for granting the free copy.

Saturday 20 October 2012


Four winners for two great Austenesque reads!

Faith Hope and Cherrytea & Kaewink win Kimberley Truesdale's My Dear Sophy

Anna (paperback) and AoBibliophile (e-book) are the winners of Karen Wasylowski's Sons and Daughters

Thanks to all of you who entered the contest and grateful thanks to both authors for granting the copies of their books to give away.

Friday 19 October 2012


A great event linking 79 blogs in a Giveaway Hop which will give you lots of chances to win new Austenesque reads for your shelves and e-readers. The Jane Austen Giveaway Hop  is hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer  and vvb32reads  and  will go on until October   24 th. Get ready to visit all the sites involved ( see the list of links at the end of this post), have a lot of fun, meet other Austen fans from all over the world and, of course,  good luck on winning your favourite books!

Above my gifts for one lucky winner:  Victoria Connelly's Mr Darcy's Forever in the kindle edition, one of my favourite Austen - inspired modern romances (see my review) + a set of 3 Jane Austen bookmarks I bought in Bath - where the novel is set - last summer. The contest is open worldwide.

Tuesday 16 October 2012


The book

A young bride he recently married to prevent a scandal. A mysterious, wayward aunt he never really knew. A woefully misguided sister he removed from harm’s way. Undermining Darcy’s relationships with the three women in his life is a most disturbing bombshell about his nemesis, George Wickham.

Scandal, secrets, deceptions—this story has it all. Its premise is what if George Wickham was not the son of old Mr. Darcy’s steward? What if he is of Darcy lineage?

 The Author says ...

A father’s dying words. A long lost relative from the past. What lies and deceptions promise disruption of all he once knew to be right and wrong?

Fitzwilliam Darcy has a history of cleaning up after George Wickham—the person whom he despises more than anyone in the world. First, he acted to save his sister from the villain when he set out to elope with her while she was only fifteen. Not long thereafter, Darcy impetuously declared his intention to marry a charming young woman from Hertfordshire, whom he secretly admired, to save her from scandal and ruination at the hands of his nemesis.

Sunday 14 October 2012


Colette Saucier first book is a paranormal version of Pride and Prejudice in which Mr Darcy just happen to be a vampire: Pulse and Prejudice.  Do you want to discover more about  Colette’s  fondness for vampires? Read my 5 vampire questions and, especially, her answers to them. Finally,  try to win a signed paperback copy of her  novel, a new perfect Austen Halloween gift for you! Leave your comment and add your e-mail address to enter the giveaway contest. It is open internationally and will end on October 31st.

Welcome to My Jane Austen Book Club, Colette. Here's my first question for you: it seems the world has gone vampire crazy! (Meyer’s Twilight Saga and related films, TV series like True Blood and Vampire Diaries,  best – selling authors attempting their own vampire story) Have you got your own  interpretation of this phenomenon? Why is our world so attracted by this kind of supernatural characters?
At least now most of the vampires have been relegated to novels, films, and television (although an active vampire subculture thrives today). Myths surrounding demons and revenants who drink human blood go back to anitiquity, but the craze really took off in Eastern Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Just earlier this year, “vampire” graves were discovered in Bulgaria – skeletons with rods driven through their chests to prevent them from rising from the dead and feasting on the living. The desecration of graves in this manner became such a problem in the 1700s that the Empress of Austria finally had the claims of vampires investigated and declared they did not exist. These vampires, of course, bore little resemblance to those found in popular culture today. They were monsters – demons, witches, or the evil dead risen from the grave – who terrorized villages.
Why have vampires, in some form or another, always been part of the human psyche? Probably due to a fear of our own mortality and the dark unknown – death. Even in Christianity, believers drink “blood” to gain eternal life.  The current brood of vampires have the added appeal of being sensual, dark, mysterious, and complicated. Often
they are romanticized as fighting the temptation of succumbing to their desires but ultimately finding the object of that desire, typically a woman, irresistable. Sound familiar? Those are some of the same qualities that have caused women to fall in love with the enigmatic Mr. Darcy for two hundred years even though we learn so little about him on the few pages he inhabits in Pride and Prejudice.
Whether vampires exist or not, their mythology is immortal.

Friday 12 October 2012


Did you enjoy the movie Clueless? If so, you will also enjoy reading Jane Austen’s novel Emma. That’s because Clueless was actually loosely based on the novel. There are obvious differences; the movie is set in modern-day Beverly Hills, California, and the novel is set in Surrey County, England, during the Regency era. However, the underlying theme is the same.
The character of Cher (played by Alicia Silverstone) in Clueless is based on the character of Emma Woodhouse, the protagonist in Austen’s novel. Like Cher, Emma is young, beautiful and free of financial concern, thanks to her rich father and likely inheritance. However, Emma is 20 years old and unconcerned with higher education, since she’s pretty much set for life financially.
To fill up her time, Emma enjoys socializing with the people in her neighborhood, along with her friend, Harriet Smith, a pretty yet unsophisticated girl. Although the ways of the upper class are quite entrenched in Emma’s character, she is still compassionate towards everyone in all social classes. Recognizing Harriet’s potential in high society, Emma insists on playing matchmaker to find her friend a favorable husband. Emma is able to use her charm and self-confidence to convince Harriet that she is correct in her matchmaking efforts, leading to some pretty interesting events that create quite a dilemma for everyone involved.

Wednesday 10 October 2012


Jesse Kimmel-Freeman is the name I picked up through So, congratulations to her on winning this modern romance inspired to Jane Austen's PERSUASION: Find Wonder in All Things!

Many thanks to Karen M. Cox for being my guest and talking Jane Austen with me!

Monday 8 October 2012


SONS AND DAUGHTERS, a sequel to Karen V. Wasylowski’s 'DARCY AND FITZWILLIAM' (which was itself a continuation of Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE), again follows the iconic Fitzwilliam Darcy and his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam.  Now we see the two battling best friends as loving husbands and doting fathers, older and a bit wiser, making the sacrifices, the difficult (and frequently unpopular) decisions that men must make for the good of their families and we see their large brood of offspring - the ‘Fitzwilliam Mob’ - grow from childhood to adolescence then on into adulthood.  Along the way, Darcy and Fitzwilliam are viewed by their children first as heroes, then as the enemy, but eventually as mortal human beings and the children’s adored champions once again. 

Of her new book,  Karen Wasylowski says:

SONS AND DAUGHTERS (Book Two of Darcy and Fitzwilliam) was published October 2012 and I was able to continue my family saga.  It begins five years after the ending of DARCY AND FITZWILLIAM.  The men are in their thirties and have young children now, their marriages are older and more settled, familiar.  And, like all married men, their responsibilities have doubled.  Every decision they make now affects many lives; people they love deeply depend upon them to choose what is best for their futures – each man faces unique challenges to his character. 

Saturday 6 October 2012


Ever since I announced earlier this year to friends, family, and social media followers that I was writing an Austenesque novel about the Admiral and Mrs. Croft from Persuasion, people have asked me one question over and over: why Sophia Wentworth?

After I get over my perverse pleasure in simply answering "Why not?", I actually do have a few good reasons to choose Sophy Wentworth. Not the least of which is my deep and abiding love for Persuasion.

No one else has written about her. At least this is true to the extent that my internet and library researches can prove. If you are familiar at all with Austenesque fiction (and if you are not, Austenesque Reviews is a good place to get started), you will know that authors largely gravitate toward Pride and Prejudice, down to the minutest secondary characters. When it comes to Persuasion, authors have written some about Captain Wentworth (*swoon*) and Anne Elliot, but just haven't gotten to too many of the secondary characters.

Thursday 4 October 2012


I  invited Aurora Berkestam Drysén  to be our special reporter from Bath during The Jane Austen Festival. She accepted to be our eyes and  ears there during the week of the celebrations. Read her journal and admire her great pictures. Doesn't she really fit the role of an Austen heroine?

Promenaders walking along Milsom Street  
For many of today’s Janeites around the world stepping into a Jane Austen novel, transporting themselves back to the time when she lived, dressing in the style of clothes she would have been familiar with (and which we are too, thanks to the countless television adaptations and movies we’ve watched!), conversing or gossiping with other girls in bonnets and dancing at balls, is something we dream of. To my knowledge it is, unfortunately, not possible to really step into the pages of a novel (or else I believe I would have done that a long time ago!), but there are things you can do to at least get as close to it as possible. And for me the Jane Austen Festival in Bath has proven to be such a thing.
The annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath in England is famous amongst Janeites, and every year it attracts hundreds of visitors from near and far, all with one thing in common, a love for this great author and her work. For some 7 to 9 days the city of Bath is filled with people running around in Regency clothes, attending events that range from walking tours and costume talks to musical soirees and grand balls.
I have had the great pleasure and privilege to be able to attend this wonderful event four years in a row now. I have written a little journal here of what it was like this year, to share with anyone who wishes to go but was not able to do so (and for anyone else who feels like reading it too of course).

13th of September, 2012 – at home in Sweden
It’s the evening before I leave for Bath, the bags are finally packed and everything made ready. As always it is a struggle to fit everything I need into the, for this occasion, far too small bags! Airlines with their luggage restrictions show NO respect for people who want to travel with bonnets, hats, ball gowns, thick woolen coats and all the other essentials of a Regency lady’s wardrobe!

Wednesday 3 October 2012


Congratulations to Kelli H.,  the lucky winner of Mary Lydon Simonsen's new  re-imagining of "Pride and Prejudice", Darcy Goes To War,  and many thanks to the author for being my guest once again here at My Jane Austen Book Club.

Tuesday 2 October 2012


My guest today is Karen M. Cox, author of Austen-inspired books like 1932 and Find Wonder in All Things. Read my interview with her, leave your comments/questions + e-mail address and get a chance to win 1 signed paperback copy of her latest novel, inspired to Austen's Persuasion, Find Wonder in All Things. This giveaway contest is open internationally and ends on October 10th. Enjoy our chat and join us!

How did it come that you  started writing Austen – inspired novels?
Off and on during my life, since I was about nine years old anyway, I have written stories for my own enjoyment or as an outlet—to relieve anger, to soothe grief, to release pent-up creative energy.   But I never shared my writing because I was afraid; I was shy about it.  I found Jane Austen Fan Fiction in 2006, and devoured everything I could find until the spring of 2009, when I had a conversation with my son, who was then fifteen.  We discovered that we both read fanfiction, but in different genres.   As a mother, it’s hard to find something in common with your fifteen year-old son, so I kept talking with him about the stories we read, and the fandoms we were part of, and one day, he bowled me over by telling me that he also wrote stories...and posted them.  I asked him if he ever got flamed, and he said he had a couple of times.  When I asked him how he handled that, he just kind of shrugged and said, ‘I thanked the guy for his input and told him he could leave out the profanity next time.’  Well, all the Jane Austen fans seemed a lot nicer than THAT guy, so I decided to try my hand at posting a story too.  I could be as brave as my kid, right? 
So I posted a modern P&P story at A Happy Assembly called ‘D-Day: D Stands For...’  I had so much fun, I wrote another story, and another, and some short pieces, and then I wrote and posted 1932.  Meryton Press expressed an interest in publishing  it in the summer of 2010, and it was released in print and ebook formats later that year.  1932 won a Bronze medal in Romance at the 2011 Independent Book Publishers Book Awards (IPPYs), and that gave me the courage to try something else I’d always wanted to do, a modern variation of Persuasion.  That book, Find Wonder in All Things, was released in February of this year, and I was thrilled when Michele Reed at Meryton Press submitted it for the 2012 IPPYs, and floored when it won the Gold medal in the Romance category.  So, it’s been a whirlwind couple of years, full of  lots of hard work , but I loved learning about book editing and publishing.  It’s an opportunity and a privlege I never expected to have.