Wednesday, 15 October 2014

AUSTEN ON STAGE: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE WITH 2 ACTORS - INTERVIEW WITH TWO BIT CLASSICS' S JOHANNA TINCEY


Hello Johanna and welcome at My Jane Austen Book Club! First of all congratulations on your excellent work  in this extraordinary adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.  While reading about your show, “Pride and Prejudice with Two Actors”,  I got really curious. How’s that possible? Two actors, twenty-one characters? Does that mean Nick, the other half of Two Bit Classics,   plays both Darcy and Mr Collins, and Wickham and Mr Bennet as well? And you play all the five Bennet sisters, Mrs Bennet, Lady De Bourgh, Charlotte Lucas? That’s amazing. That must be a real enterprise! 

Between us, Nick and I bring 21 characters to life, but Nick doesn't play all the men and I don't play all the women. There are so many double-acts in the book and we wanted to stretch our acting muscles to the max and have 2 of us bring them all go life between us.  We also want to invite the audience into Austen's wonderful world by encouraging them to imagine and invent with us. Our costumes and set are wonderfully creative and adaptable and we love the challenge of our nightly Austen dance!

Why Jane Austen and not Dickens or the Brontes?

I certainly wouldn't rule out either Dickens or the Brontes in the future, but Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite novels, it has this iconic status and all the characters are so famous it seemed like a natural starting point for a new company.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

SPOTLIGHT ON ... THE MADNESS OF MR DARCY BY ALEXA ADAMS + GIVEAWAY

Book Blurb

The year is 1832 and regrets beleaguer Fitzwilliam Darcy. All he ever cared for has been taken from him: his pride, his sister, and his true love, Elizabeth Bennet. Now, having nearly murdered a man in a fit of rage, he might lose Pemberley, too. More than just his home, his very identity is at stake. In desperation, he seeks the help of Dr. Frederick Wilson, owner and proprietor of Ramsey House, a madhouse for fine ladies and gentlemen. Is Darcy’s confinement the inevitable end to his tortured descent, or will he rediscover what he lost in the most unlikely of places?

About the author: Alexa Adams

A devoted reader of Jane Austen since her childhood, Alexa Adams is the author of Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice (First Impressions, Second Glances, and Holidays at Pemberley), the novellas Emma & Elton: Something Truly Horrid and Jane & Bingley: Something Slightly Unsettling, and the short story collection And Who Can be in Doubt of What Followed?: The Novels of Jane Austen Continued. Her next novella, Becoming Mrs. Norris, will be published on November 1st. Alexa resides in Delaware with her husband, daughter, and cat. When not daydreaming of life a few hundred years ago, she enjoys mythology, theater, yoga, and crafts.


Excerpt from Chapter Five

“There you are, Darcy. I thought I would never find you!” The Earl of Matlock called out with labored breath, capturing the attention of his cousin, who turned from his post at the crest of the tallest hill on the Pemberley property. He watched dispassionately as the earl climbed the last few yards to where he stood, and then took a few minutes to compose himself before speaking.

Monday, 6 October 2014

SPOTLIGHT ON ... GOODNIGHT, MR DARCY ( A BABY LIT PARODY ) - HOW TO INTRODUCE VERY YOUNG READERS TO JANE AUSTEN'S WORLD


About the Book  

The adored children’s classic Goodnight Moon gets a classic lit makeover in this charming parody of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice novel. In the opening of Goodnight Mr. Darcy ($16.99, Jacketless Hardcover, 10 x 8-1/2 in, 32 pages, 978-1-4236-3670-0), all of Austen’s much-loved characters are at the Netherfield Ball: In the great ballroom, there was a country dance, and a well-played tune, and Elizabeth Bennett; and Mr. Darcy surprised, by a pair of fine eyes . . . And don’t forget Jane with a blush and Mr. Bingley turned to mush, and a gossiping mother and father saying hush.
Parents and toddlers alike will enjoy this new take on Austen’s timeless work à la Goodnight Moon.



Wednesday, 24 September 2014

AUTHOR GUEST POST: BARBARA SILKSTONE, MR DARCY'S DOGS - WIN EBOOK OR SIGNED PAPERBACK!

My love affair with writing began in childhood but didn’t blossom until my midlife crisis. At the age of forty-something, I traveled the country interviewing men for what I thought would be a serious book on how men really felt about women and relationships. That adventure turned into a bittersweet dark comedy novel titled The Adventures of a Love Investigator. Emotionally spent from interviewing over five hundred men, I turned to writing a series of riffs on classic fairytales. Novels like The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters, were loosely based on some of my misadventures.

Enter Wendy Darlin: Spun from the essence of Peter Pan, Wendy became my alter-ego. She did things I would never dare, and things I did and regretted. She is a blending of Lucille Ball and Indiana Jones. After finishing five books in her screwball series I wondered: what next?

JAFF author Elizabeth Ann West suggested I bring my quirky sense of humor to Jane Austen’s timeless stories. I hesitated. It would be like wearing tennis shoes under a ball gown. My sense of screwball inserted in the ballrooms of Jane Austen? Could I do this?

I began the first in my Mister Darcy series – Mister Darcy’s Dogs – this summer. I discovered Elizabeth Bennet had much in common with Wendy Darlin and yours truly. We share an insubordinate sense of humor and a talent for mumbling under our breaths. We are attracted to and irritated by gorgeous men with chocolate-colored eyes and quirky personalities. We rarely hesitate leaping in to help a friend and occasionally regret it. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

BOOK BLITZ! FINDING MR DARCY: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION - DISCOVER MORE & WIN AMAZON GIFT CARD


Finding Mr. Darcy: High School Edition
Release Date: 09/16/14

Summary from Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Liza Johnson takes fangirl to a whole new level of crazy when she decides to take dating advice from her literary hero: Jane Austen.


With the help of her best friends, Liza sheds her ancient-speak and complete Austen wardrobe for something a bit more modern in an attempt at finding her very own Mr. Darcy.



Enter Will, the new kid and Liza's Darcy incarnate. Add her BFF's ex to mix and the sexy Brit who kisses with an accent, and Liza is in trouble.



So, what's a girl to do? Without her mom to go to relationship advice, Liza turns to the only person she can truly trust with matters of the heart via her mother's copy of COMPLETED WORKS OF JANE AUSTEN.


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

SPOTLIGHT ON ... MRS DARCY'S DIAMONDS - A JANE AUSTEN JEWEL BOX NOVELLA BY JANE ODIWE. NEW RELEASE!


Mrs Darcy's Diamonds

Elizabeth is newly married to Fitzwilliam Darcy, the richest man in Derbyshire, landowner of a vast estate, and master of Pemberley House. Her new role is daunting at first, and having to deal with Mr Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, is a daily challenge. But, Elizabeth is deeply in love and determined to rise to every test and trial she is forced to endure. When her husband presents her with a diamond ring, part of the precious and irreplaceable Darcy suite of jewels, she feels not only honoured and secure in her husband’s love, but also ready to accept her new responsibilities and position.

Elizabeth knows she will face exacting scrutiny at the approaching Christmas Ball, but it will be her chance to prove that she is a worthy mistress, and she is excited to be playing hostess to the Bennets, the Bingleys, and the gentry families of Derbyshire, as well as Mr Darcy’s French cousins. Antoine de Valois and his sister Louise have arrived at the invitation of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Elizabeth is delighted that this young and lively couple are helping to bring Miss Georgiana Darcy out of her shell. However, when her ring goes missing before the ball, Elizabeth is distraught, and her dilemma further increased by the threat of a scandal that appears to involve the French cousins. 
 

Read an excerpt from the book

Longbourn House, Hertfordshire - 11th December 1812
 
‘My dear, you are determined to vex me at every turn,’ said Mrs Bennet to her husband on the day before they were to travel to Pemberley House in Derbyshire. ‘I simply must know your opinion.’

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

THE PERSUASION OF MISS JANE AUSTEN BLOG TOUR - GUEST POST BY SHANNON WINSLOW


Many thanks to Maria for inviting me to visit as part of my virtual book tour for my new novel, The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen! For today’s post, Maria challenged me to devise a “top ten” list of some kind. I decided to go with my top ten personal favorite quotes from the book – excerpts I’ve never shared before. It’s a collaborative effort between Jane Austen and myself, as you will see.

The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen represents the private journal the great authoress wrote alongside the novel Persuasion, documenting the story behind the story – her real, life-long romance with a sea captain of her own. She’s reflecting back on their early days of exquisite felicity, their painful parting, and what became of their second chance years later – the events which inspired what she wrote in her final, most-poignant novel.

Jane’s relationship with her captain didn’t influence only Persuasion, though, but all her other books as well. She says…

Thursday, 28 August 2014

TALKING JANE AUSTEN WITH ... TERRY TOWNSEND, AUTHOR OF "JANE AUSTEN'S HAMPSHIRE"

Former graphic designer Terry Townsend from England,continues to pursue his passion for literary landscapes. In his latest book ‘Jane Austen’s Hampshire’ Terry takes readers on a tour ofthe beautiful and historic county where Jane was born and spent most of her days.
The in-depth exploration of the places where Jane lived, loved and found inspirationbegins with the Steventon neighbourhood that became the cradle of her talent. Following in Jane’s steps there are visits to Chawton and the cottage that saw the blossoming of her genius with an eventual pause for thought at her final resting place in the magnificent cathedral at Winchester.
Included along the way are the great maritime cities of Southampton and Portsmouth together with the market towns where Jane shopped, the villages where she visited friends, the country parks where she strolled, the country houses where she danced and the churches where she worshipped.
For the devotee who already has a wealth of knowledge about their favourite author and her novels, ‘Jane Austen’s Hampshire’ reveals many ofthe lesser known places that wereimportant to the Austen family and their brilliant daughter.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

LOVELY JANEITES: MEET SARAH OZCANDARLI, AUTHOR OF REVISIT MANSFIELD PARK + GIVEAWAY

Many thanks to Maria Grazia for giving me the opportunity to introduce my new book Revisit Mansfield Park, in which I give Henry Crawford the opportunity to change Fanny Price's opinion of him.
Jane Austen said of Henry: “Would he have deserved more there can be no doubt that more would have been obtained . . . Would he have persevered, and uprightly, Fanny must have been his reward.”
During Henry's two-month courtship of Fanny, she had no idea that his interest in her was genuine. She assumed that Henry was amusing himself by flirting with her, as he had with Maria and Julia Bertram. When Fanny finally learned that Henry truly wanted to marry her, he had only a few days to change her mind about him, but a few days was not nearly enough, given that Fanny disliked Henry intensely. Then Fanny went to see the Price family in Portsmouth, and Henry visited Fanny there, and talked to her of Everingham, his estate. He asked Fanny for her advice as to whether he should return to Everingham and continue the work he had started. I think what Henry really wanted was encouragement, and this was a pivotal moment: if Fanny encouraged Henry, he would be making progress with her, and if she did not, she most likely never would. This is the moment when Revisit Mansfield Park begins (though the first three chapters summarize Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, with a spotlight on Fanny).

Monday, 18 August 2014

TALKING JANE AUSTEN WITH ... LINDA BEUTLER ON HER LONGBOURN TO LONDON BLOG TOUR + DOUBLE GIVEAWAY


Welcome  to My JA Book Club, Linda ! Welcome back at My Jane Austen Book Club and thanks for accepting to talk Jane Austen with me.
You are very welcome, Maria. Thank you for being the very first stop on the Longbourn to London Blog Tour.

This is my first question for you: Longbourn to London is not your first Austenesque novel, it comes after The Red Chrysanthemum. But when and how you came to think of writing a Jane Austen – inspired book?
Actually, Longbourn to London came first. When I discovered Jane Austen Fan Fiction, in September 2011, I positively devoured every book I could get my hands on. I started with my local library, then on to Amazon and at Powell’s City of Books here in Portland (they also sell online). Through it all, I had no idea about the whole universe of blogs and posting sites like A Happy Assembly. Anyway, operating in something of a vacuum, I decided to try my hand. The sequels were probably my least favourite sub-genre, and I didn’t have a plausible what-if in mind at first, so I decided to look into Pride and Prejudice itself and was drawn to that great gulf Jane Austen left at the very end, rushing us through Elizabeth and Darcy’s betrothal with merely a couple of conversations. Hence, I expanded on the journey of discover Darcy and Elizabeth embarked upon when they became engaged.
     If you read Longbourn to London carefully, you’ll find the exact question Elizabeth asks Darcy that ending up being the inspiration point for The Red Chrysanthemum. By January 2013, both books were essentially complete.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

SYRIE JAMES, WHAT DID JANE AUSTEN WEAR AS A TEENAGER? - JANE AUSTEN'S FIRST LOVE BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY


Fashion was of great interest to Jane Austen. She often, in great detail, discussed aspects of her wardrobe in letters to her sister. The subject is equally important to her in my novel Jane Austen’s First Love, as in this moment in chapter 3 when Jane is contemplating their upcoming trip to Kent:
“Mamma,” said I over breakfast one morning, “what do you imagine the ladies will be wearing at Godmersham and Goodnestone? Will they be splendidly dressed?”
“I suppose they will,” replied my mother, as she thickly spread a piece of toast with butter and jam. “I shall never forget the elegance of Mrs. Knight’s gown when first I saw her all those years ago, nor her hat, which was the very height of fashion. I have no doubt the Bridges ladies will all be similarly attired.”

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

SPOTLIGHT ON ... SENSE AND SENSIBILITY A LATTER-DAY TALE BY REBECCA H. JAMISON

Book Blurb
As if it wasn’t bad enough to be getting food from Church welfare, I had to meet one of the Ferreros—and a good-looking Ferrero, at that.
Elly Goodwin, a brilliant programmer, is so desperate for a job that she takes one from her ex-boyfriend—the same man who put her family out of business. Then she meets Ethan Ferrero, who seems too good to be true. But Elly is far too sensible to unexpectedly fall in love—especially with her ex’s brother-in-law. 
But when Elly’s sister, Maren, dates the wrong guy, Elly must intercede before Maren’s passion clouds her common sense. Together, Elly and Maren must learn that a mixture of sense and sensibility is the perfect recipe for love.
Fans of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility will love this modern retelling of the classic romance novel.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

THE GENTLEMAN'S IMPERTINENT DAUGHTER BLOG TOUR - GUEST POST BY AUTHOR ROSE FAIRBANKS + GIVEAWAY


Finding inspiration ...

It took me a few days to think of a good topic to post about. I finally realized my lack of focused inspiration could be a topic. It’s very timely, in fact. I am new to published works, but I have been writing for online forums for just under a year and have written one full length story, three novella length works, and eight works ranging from 800 to 7,000 words. I also made additions to and recreated two of those novellas into something much better. Let’s not discuss the stories that are dying and/or patiently waiting in my hard drive to see the light of day.

I just finished writing and sending my third novella length story, A Sense of Obligation, through the editing process before posting online. And as you may have guessed, I’ve basically been writing non-stop for the last year. I have seven stories that show a lot of promise, and I am trying to pick between three of them to become the next story. It’s been over a month since I finished writing A Sense of Obligation and while a few short stories have come, my muse is just not captured by anything long at the moment. I will eventually finish each of the stories I am working on; I have an outline and know what I want to do. I’ve just never needed to just write before like it was a job. Just log in the hours and complete the sentences and get it done. I’ve always been inspired, possessed perhaps, by scenes and stories.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

REMEMBER THE PAST BY MARIA GRACE - BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY


I’m very excited to share a little bit about my new book, Remember the Past. Way back in the Dark Ages, when I was in college, my studies centered around sociology, psychology and behavioral sciences.  As a result, when I write, I like to explore how things might have been for our favorite Austen characters had their circumstances been a bit different—or a lot different. While I try to keep the core of the characters the same as Jane Austen wrote, changes in circumstances do change people. Some more than others. Some for the better, some, not so much. I love exploring those changes and possibilities.

One of the changes in this book was that Mr. Bennet was not the heir to Longbourn, but a second son who went into the navy. His naval experiences changed him from a lackadaisical man to a very active, powerful one, who would become Admiral Thomas Bennet, Rear Admiral of the White.

Why would a young Thomas Bennet have joined the navy rather than the army as Col. Fitzwilliam did? Unlike army officers, naval officers did not purchase their commissions, they earned them. Thus, the navy offered greater potential for social mobility than most institutions in Regency era society. Generally only the sons of gentlemen or perhaps wealthy middle-class parents could enter the path to becoming an officer, but the way was not entirely closed to others.

Promotion to lieutenant was perhaps the most difficult step for young men to make in their naval careers. In order to become a lieutenant, a midshipmen had to serve a minimum of six years at sea. On presenting himself as a candidate for commissioning, he would also be asked to show his personal log books for the ships in which he sailed. Then he would take an examination on the topics of writing, mathematics,astronomy, navigation, seamanship and gunnery. Not all midshipmen passed the test. In practice, some candidates were asked only token questions; others were grilled. It could depend on the mood of the Board and the severity of individual Commissioners.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

SPOTLIGHT ON ... PRIDE, PREJUDICE & THE PERFECT BET BY MARILYN BRANT + GIVEAWAY

Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet

The course of true love doesn’t always run smooth… 


Everyone thought Beth Ann Bennet and Dr. Will Darcy had an unexpected romance in Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match (Perfect #1, January 2013). Now, Beth’s best friend, Jane Henderson, and Will’s first cousin, Bingley McNamara, begin their own unlikely love story in Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet (Perfect #2), which starts at the Darcy/Bennet wedding when they find themselves in the roles of maid of honor and best man for the newlyweds. 



Jane is an interning school psychologist and a woman who wears an angelic mask in public, but she’s not as sweet tempered as she’d like everyone to believe. Turns out, she may have just crossed paths with the one person who’ll unnerve her enough to get her to reveal her true self. 



As for Bingley, he’s a wealthy, flirtatious and compulsively social guru of finance, who likes to wager on stocks and, let’s face it, on just about anything that strikes his fancy. But this dedicated ladies’ man may have finally met the woman who’ll challenge his bachelor ways! 


Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet…where life’s biggest gamble is the game of love. 

**Note to Readers: Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet is part of the "Perfect" series, but it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.**

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

BOOK REVIEW - JANE AUSTEN'S FIRST LOVE BY SYRIE JAMES

OUT ON AUGUST 5th!  

INSPIRED BY ACTUAL EVENTS

Book blurb

Fifteen-year-old Jane Austen dreams of three things: doing something useful, writing something worthy, and falling madly in love. When she visits her brother in Kent to celebrate his engagement, she meets wealthy, devilishly handsome Edward Taylor—a fascinating young man who is truly worthy of her affections. Jane knows a match between her and Edward is unlikely, but every moment she spends with him makes her heart race—and he seems to return her interest. Much to her displeasure, however, there is another seeking his attention

Unsure of her budding relationship, Jane seeks distraction by attempting to correct the pairings of three other prospective couples. But when her matchmaking aspirations do not all turn out as anticipated, Jane discovers the danger of relying on first impressions. The human heart cannot be easily deciphered, nor can it be directed or managed. And if others must be left to their own devices in matters of love and matrimony, can Jane even hope to satisfy her own heart?


My review

Syrie James confirms her skills as brilliant story-teller and creator of lively pictures of Regency life.  Well-researched historical novel as well as delightful summer read,  her  new Jane Austen’s First Love is based on an imaginative interpretation of Jane Austen’s  enigmatic  reference to a “Him, on whom I once fondly doated”    (from  one of Jane Austen’s  letters to her sister Cassandra).  Intriguing matter for a talented researcher and passionate Janeite like Syrie James. (1)

Saturday, 26 July 2014

TALKING JANE AUSTEN WITH ... MEDEA YORBA, AUTHOR OF "DARCY'S LAST PROMISE"

Welcome  to My Jane Austen  Book Club, Medea ! I’m always very happy to let my readers and Janeite friends meet new Austen-inspired writers, so thank you for  joining our on line club and  accepting to talk Jane Austen with me.

Thank you so much for inviting me and for such a lovely warm welcome Maria.

First of all,  I challenge you to advertise your  Darcy’s Last Promise  in less than 50 words. Ready to go?

Jane Austen’s beloved characters, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet and their deliciously romantic love story have captured imaginations for over two hundred years. In their final moments together, Darcy makes his Last Promise to Elizabeth. He vows that somehow he will find her and they will be together again.

This is my second question for you: when and how you came to think of  writing  a Jane Austen – inspired book?

In 2008, my mother introduced me to the wonderful world of Jane Austen. I fell absolutely in love with Darcy and Elizabeth and of course the other beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice. Naturally, once I had gobbled up the original, I went on to enjoy several movie versions and to read a great number of the sequels, spin-offs, and prequels based upon Pride and Prejudice. Like so many others, I couldn’t just stop when the story ended. I yearned for more, and then more. So I had the idea of writing a book that not only gave us more, but put them in a tailspin. Two hundred years later, they not only had to rediscover each again, but to go through the challenges of falling in like and then love again.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

SPOTLIGHT ON ... HOPE & SENSIBILITY BY P.O DIXON + DOUBLE BOOK GIVEAWAY


From the Author


Anyone who read and enjoyed He Taught Me to Hope will recall the story ended with a lovely little epilogue. It told of the Darcys’ happily ever after: how Darcy’s love for Ben was as great as if they were of the same blood, and how he had given Ben more than a home; he had given him a loving family such as Ben truly had never known.

I supposed at the time that was the end of the story. As more and more readers began embracing the story, not only did they find themselves falling in love with Darcy and Elizabeth all over again, many hearts and imaginations were also captured by young Ben, the precocious child who fancied himself Sir Lancelot and Darcy, King Arthur. So many of Ben’s adoring fans insisted the Darcys’ story continue, and I listened.


The Book


Hope and Sensibility (Darcy and the Young Knight’s Quest, Book 3)

Being the new father of a precocious little boy is but one of the challenges Darcy faces in this delightful sequel to He Taught Me to Hope. Extended family and friends—old and new—also demand their share of attention.

Join Darcy, Elizabeth, and Ben on a diverting adventure, which picks up where The Mission (Book 2 in the Darcy and the Young Knight’s Quest series) ends. Travel with them to Kent, and then Hertfordshire, and finally back to Derbyshire and enjoy young Ben's exploits along the way.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

JANE AUSTEN IN THE WORLD - A JANE AUSTEN BALL IN HUNGARY: MEET MOLNAR JULIA DORA

Mòlnar Jùlia Dòra
Confessions of a late Janeite

For a long time I didn’t consider myself as a Jane Austen fan – a Janeite as I learned the term a few months ago. Of course I knew the books, or at least I heard about them. But – the moment of truth – I was about 16 when I first saw (saw, not read) the Sense and Sensibility. The Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet movie. And I loved it. But still, the great recognition, the falling in love was still missing. I mean yes, Willoughby was handsome and I admire Alan Rickman, but come on... Neither of them is Darcy, am I right?

So I needed a few more years for The Day to come... My sister showed me the Pride and Prejudice. THE Pride and Prejudice. The BBC one. With Colin. And Jennifer Ehle. And I fell in love. Not just with Darcy, but with the whole ... Austen World! The atmosphere, the characters, the dresses, the balls, the story amazed me and I thought how wonderful it would be to relive or at least try to reproduce the Jane Austen era atmosphere.

After I got hooked,  I not only watched the series many, many times, but I showed the episodes to my best friends, and read the book in Hungarian and in English as well, and read many others and I discovered other writers. By the way my sister’s favourite is  Wives and Daughters (also BBC with Justine Waddell) from Elizabeth Gaskell's novel, but I don’t argue, because I love that too. So I think I can say that slowly but surely now I understand a little more about the regency era.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

LOVELY JANEITES: MEET ABIGAIL BOK, AUTHOR

First and foremost, I’d like to express my appreciation to Maria Grazia for so graciously inviting me to post as a guest on her fabulous Web site!

My life in Austen began at age thirteen. Someone gave me a one-volume collection of all six novels, and in an idle moment, I started to read. I kept going, and going, till I had read all thousand-plus pages. Then I went back to page 1 and started again. Five times before I could be torn away to read anything else.

Like so many Janeites, I’ve often thought about why her work so obsessed me, and I think I have an answer, at least for myself. At that point in my life, I spent night after night attempting to construct a viable plan for how I could survive after running away from my guardian. As it turned out, I never did run away, because I never came up with a plan that seemed realistic. For me, Jane Austen was never about the romance (though that part is a lot of fun!)—her books have always been about how a young woman, finding herself in a world in which she is completely powerless, crafts a future that offers her security without loss of integrity. It’s about how you find that one place where you belong.