Saturday 28 September 2013


(by guest blogger Marcela De Vivo)
Pink cheeks and “fresh faces,” as the result of mild physical exertion outside like walks and horseback riding, or simply riding in an open carriage, were considered more desirable than the painted appearances of the preceding period. Skin care to improve the complexion, rather than covering it up, grew in estimation and in business. Fancy facial lotions hawked by door-to-door salesmen promising glowing skin were very popular with the well-to-do set, but probably were no more effective than the simple lemon, brandy, and milk concoction that many women employed as a cleanser at home. (It’s unsurprising that this cleanser was effective given that lemon and milk are both excellent exfoliants and are still popular ingredients in DIY facials.)

The characters in Jane Austen’s books seem to live in a glamorous world, full of dress changes for every daily event, gossip, intrigue, and a lot of leisure time. While Jane Austen’s writing did accurately reflect (and poke fun at) the social values and behaviors of the day, it never went into any great detail about the beauty habits that women employed to achieve the desired look of the Regency era.             

Friday 27 September 2013


My review

Can going to the cinema with your mum and best friend change your outlook on life and, especially, on  men? Can a  fictional  character wreck your love life? Elizabeth Barrett, the protagonist  of  My Own Mr Darcy, would answer YES to both questions, of course.

She unwillingly follows her mother to the cinema to see  Pride and Prejudice  only because,  probably, that will help her avoid reading Jane Austen’s book for a project. So she asks her best mate to go with her. Unexpectedly, seeing Matthew MacFadyen as brooding, fascinating Darcy on the huge screen brings her to quite surprising outcomes.

 Pride and Prejudice  becomes her favourite book, she reads it on and on dreaming of Mr Darcy and looking forward to meeting her own dashing gentleman one day.
But, as we well know, reality can very rarely be  compared to the world of perfection we create in our minds while reading, so what expects Elizabeth is a love life of disappointment and disillusionment: there is not one man who is Mr Darcy enough.

Wednesday 25 September 2013


The Jane Austen Festival Fayre - The Fayre was held upstairs at the Guildhall. Simply standing in that gloriously beautiful ballroom was worth the small price of admission (2 pounds). But beyond the beauty of the surroundings was a host of opportunities to relive the magic of the Regency Era. There were hats, gloves, bonnets, clothes and yes...even Regency facial hair for sale. I got my fortune told by an old-fashioned fortune teller who read my palm and did a card reading with tiny, numberless cards. There was a silhouette artist there, too, cutting gorgeous black silhouettes. And in the center of everything was a dance demonstration. We had the opportunity to see many different traditional Regency dances, all performed in authentic costume to live music.
The last event I attended was a discussion called Into the Shadows: The Darker Side of Jane Austen's Bath. This lecture was given by David Lassman and Terence James, authors of The Regency Detective. It was very informative, and provided a glimpse into parts of Bath that our beloved Jane likely knew little about.

Monday 23 September 2013


Hello,  Jeanna, and welcome at My Jane Austen Book Club. My first question for you is: When and How did your lucky encounter with Jane Austen take place?
My very first encounter was at a garage sale at least 10 years ago where I picked up my first copy of Pride and Prejudice (couldn’t tell you where that copy went since then). My reintroduction was with the 2005 movie, of which I loved and bought a copy immediately. But it wasn’t until my sister, KaraLynne Mackrory, started writing JAFF books and sending me the chapters as she wrote them that I went from liking the book, to loving the story, to obsessing over it and becoming a badge-wearing-fully-fledged-hopeless addict.  That was January 2012. I remember it well because my divorce had been final for just over a year and I hadn’t ventured into the dating world yet. Darcy looked pretty darn good to a romance-starved single mother of three daughters.

How did it change your life?
It has changed my life in so many ways. First, I started reading every JAFF book I could find on, at the library, loaned from my fellow JAFF addict sister, and those I researched online. I currently have about 6 JAFF books on my kindle waiting for me to read, a few more on my wish list on Amazon, and I just ordered another that will be coming in the mail.  I get a little jittery when I don’t have a “to be read next” list. But it is more than that. It changed the way I look at life. I wish I could be more like Elizabeth Bennet. My bad marriage and good divorce (let’s face it, a good divorce is better than any bad marriage) left me with a lack of faith in men in general and a sense of I-can-do-it-on-my-own-I-don’t-need-a-man attitude. I also went from repressing my inner Lizzy due to shell shock, to being a little impertinent at times, more so than before I fell in love with Elizabeth Bennet. It changed my vocabulary which now has affected my daughters’ vocabulary as well, whose affirmative answer to me when I ask them a question is now “Indeed”. It made me push myself outside of my very comfortable (and single) life into one where I risk loving and being loved, all because now I believe there are real Mr. Darcys out there, and let’s face it, I kind of would like to find a Mr. Darcy. And of course, it changed the fact that now I am an author, a title I never thought I wanted for myself.

Saturday 21 September 2013


When I wrote Darkness Falls Upon Pemberley I was hard at work on what will soon be my second full-length novel, In Doubt of Mr. Darcy. I was pretty much buried beneath a massive amount of regency-period research, the lot of which was starting to overwhelm me at the time, especially with my daughter starting third grade and having a mountain of homework each night. In short, I needed a breather before I made myself go mad and ended up needing a vacation!

At the time, it was early autumn here in the United States, which meant that one of my favorite holidays was fast approaching in October: Halloween. As it so happened, the group blog I belong to, Austen Authors, where I’ve been a member since its inception in 2010, was preparing to celebrate the spookiest month of the year as well. Several fellow authors who’d written books with a supernatural twist to them—Regina Jeffers, Mary Lydon-Simonsen, and Colette Saucier to name a few—were planning to include excerpts of their stories throughout the month, but there were a lot of slots to be filled. I started to think about how much fun it would be to contribute something in honor of the upcoming holiday. Unfortunately, the supernatural wasn’t something I’d so much as dipped my big toe into back then, but it was something I enjoyed reading, especially if there was a love story to be told.

Thursday 19 September 2013

Talking Jane Austen with ... Ulrike Böhm from Germany - Author of "Ein Engel für Mr. Darcy" (An Angel for Mr Darcy)

Hello Ulrike and welcome to our little Austen club online. First of all thanks for accepting my invitation to talk Jane Austen with me and here’s my first question: You & Jane.  When was your first encounter with Austen and her work? What was it like?

Hi Maria Grazia! First and foremost, let me thank you for your warm welcome and for giving me the opportunity to introduce my first novel to your blog readers.
My first encounter with a book by our Jane was in a library. I was 16 or 17 and an avid reader of all sorts of books. At that time I lived in a small village and the village library was literally my second home. One day I borrowed “Pride and Prejudice” and simply couldn’t put it down until I’d read it through. And then I started anew...Since then I read all of Jane Austen’s novels but none is as dear to me as “Pride and Prejudice”. I regularly read it all over again and again, it never tires me.

How came you started writing an  Austen-inspired book instead?

Not instead. Rather as well. I love to read not only the original by Jane Austen’s pen but I’m also a great fan of the so-called Fan Fiction. I started with reading them online, there are zillions of according websites as you and your readers must know. Then I discovered Amazon making it easy for me to order books from abroad and therefore “real” printed Fan Fiction  – prequels and sequels and parallels. I must have bought up to 160 different titles until now, I lost count as I started to buy ebooks. It won’t be long and they’ll outweigh the paper books.

Sunday 15 September 2013


The first day of the 2013 Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England, kicked off with the Jane Austen Festival Grand Regency Costumed Promenade. This traditional event always marks the official opening of the festival. Beginning at the Royal Crescent Lawn, 600 people dressed in Regency costume walked through the streets of Bath, ending at the Parade Gardens near Bath Abbey. The costumes were incredible and ranged from traditional men's and women's Regency attire, to red coats and navy officers. Led by the town crier and drums, participants walked a 90-minute route through the heart of Bath.

Tuesday 10 September 2013


my own
My Own Mr. Darcy 

After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough. Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.