Monday, 30 April 2012


In the June memoir, All Roads Lead to Austen the author Amy Elizabeth Smith took Jane Austen’s works along with her as she travelled to foreign countries. Her goal was to see if the magic of Jane Austen could hold its power across borders, languages and cultures. 

Blurb -  With a suitcase full of Jane Austen novels en español, Amy Elizabeth Smith set off on a yearlong Latin American adventure: a traveling book club with Jane. In six unique, unforgettable countries, she gathered book-loving new friends— taxi drivers and teachers, poets and politicians— to read Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice.
Whether sharing rooster beer with Guatemalans, joining the crowd at a Mexican boxing match, feeding a horde of tame iguanas with Ecuadorean children, or tangling with argumentative booksellers in Argentina, Amy came to learn what Austen knew all along: that we're not always speaking the same language— even when we're speaking the same language.
But with true Austen instinct, she could recognize when, unexpectedly, she'd found her own Señor Darcy.
All Roads Lead to Austen celebrates the best of what we love about books and revels in the pleasure of sharing a good book— with good friends.

Amy took Jane to far off countries – now her publishers at Sourcebooks want your help to take her even further! They are holding a contest called All Around the World with Jane! If you wish to join them on their  Austen love fest you should print out the Jane Austen “flat Stanley.”  ( see picture below) . Take pictures of yourself with Jane in your hometown or on your vacation, and submit it from April 30th – June 30th!

Sourcebooks publishers will award the following prizes to the individuals with the most creative picture:

1 Grand Prize Winner will receive:
  • An E-reader with all of our available Austen sequels/continuations downloaded on to it
  • A signed copy of All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith
  • A Skype session with Amy Elizabeth Smith
3 Second Place Winners will receive:
  • A signed copy of All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith
  • A choice of 5 Jane Austen sequels/continuations from Sourcebooks
5 Third Place Winners will receive:
  • A signed copy of All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith
 You can then submit your pictures on the All Around the World with Jane Facebook page or email your submission to

Below are some examples of where Jane has been already ( The Jane Austen Centre in Bath and Times Square, NYC) along with the flat Stanley that you can print off (also available on the Facebook page). 

One more thing! Barnes & Noble will be offering this title as a NOOK early exclusive and will be offering the e-Book at $6.99 starting Monday April 30thfor a limited time!

Amy Elizabeth Smith will be my guest on June 8th. Stay tuned!


What about starting from the end? I mean,  revealing the name of the winner? Congratulations to Jakki on winning Victoria Connelly's Mr Darcy Forever, a very romantic modern tale set in Bath during The Jane Austen Festival. Have you read my review? Impossible not to notice that I really loved reading this book! Many thanks to Sourcebooks for granting me the copy to give away and great success to Victoria Connelly's lovely romance.

Friday, 27 April 2012



- An Indonesian Novel

“Nothing can produce a better feeling for a mother, than to see her daughter
being married to a good man she loves.”

This is the tagline of my book. It is written as the very first sentence in my book. And if you’re a real Jane Austen fan, you should know that I’m trying to have the same legendary, most memorable tagline of all Jane Austen’s work. The very first sentence in Pride and Prejudice says it all.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession
of a good fortune, must be in want of a Wife.”

But of course, in my book the sentence is written in Indonesian language, not in English. Therefore, one can not merely put the original Indonesian sentence into Google Translate the same effect while reading it in English. It must be properly translated. And judging from the tagline, the readers will soon be aware that the book contains a story of mother-daughter relationship and the weddings at the end. Then, so be it!

When I started to write this book in early 2008, in order to relate the most of Jane Austen’s point of view with Indonesian way of life, I had no other option but to put it into a good-family perspective. I could see a close relation in terms of manners and how to regard love and marriage in an ordinary, modern, well-managed, good-moral Indonesian family, with the ones in Jane Austen time. Combining both similar values in one storyline seemed to be a wonderful idea for me to explore at that time. My book is finally done and published in 12 January 2012 by Gramedia, one of the biggest, oldest, most respectable publishers in Indonesia.


The book is in 464 pages, with the dimension of 13.5x20 cm. It contains one Prologue, two Parts, nine Chapters, and one Epilog. Some of the Chapters contain 2 to 4 Sub-Chapters. The story is told always by first person. There are four main characters: the mother called Ibu Sri [Ibu=Mrs.], and her three daughters named Emma, Meri and Lisa. Each character gets her own Chapter or Sub-Chapter in telling her own stories. In helping the readers to memorize in which character they are currently reading, the book provides header in every page informing the Chapter’s title and the character's name.

Telling a story in first person while some characters sometimes fall into one same scene, produces some retelling here and there. However, not all scenes need to be retold, it’s only for the important ones where the particular scene takes different impacts on each character. By doing this, we can explore into deeper feelings and thoughts by the characters in every meaningful scene. For me personally, as a starting writer, I find this situation very interesting and challenging at the same time. And the fact that the big publisher got it and then put it into a mass production, gave me an utmost relief and a wishful thinking, that people might enjoy this idea as well.


Ibu Sri is a real fan of Jane Austen! She has all the six novels and read it over and over again since high school. Her high school period was in London, and before it’s over she has to move back to Jakarta where she lives ever since. Her husband is a doctor in a particular hospital. This father character doesn’t appear at all in this novel. He still lives with Ibu Sri and their three daughters, but his presence is never told. Both the Prolog and Epilog contains a letter written by Ibu Sri to her husband when she – at last – has a chance of visiting London again with their daughters after they’re all married. In those letters she tells him how much she loves and misses him.

The Prologue tells a brief summary about Jane Austen and her books. In her letter to her husband, she’s reminiscing about how important those books are. She even names her daughters after the characters in Jane Austen books. Emma from Emma Woodhouse in Emma, Meri from Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, and Lisa from Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Although they’re named after certain characters, their stories are not necessarily similar to the related characters.

Ibu Sri uses Jane Austen books to give advises to her daughters on how to deal with love, since their high school time until present days. It’s like a holy book of romance for her, and she makes sure that her daughters will inherit all the wisdoms Jane Austen ever told in her books.

“My dear Husband, I don’t know whether you felt it or not, but the periods of searching for love and finding a husband were a very fragile phase for our daughters. And I had promised myself never to miss those moments. At that point, I felt like being obligated to understand and to give guidance to our daughters as they’re growing up. Turned out I needed guidance myself. Something to look up to, something modern. Religion was the most important value, and it’s mandatory for us to put it into their education. Tradition, norm and moral in living within the family and as part of society in Indonesia were also implemented in our daily lives. But I needed something more. There were some values – applicable in nature and related to romance –  in a girl’s life as she’s becoming a grown up, that needed a comprehensive guidance to conduct. Fortunately, I found it not very far from my own all-time amusement. The Jane Austen novels.”

And since the Prologue has revealed the ending of the story, that all the daughters are finally married, the heartbeat of this novel depends mainly on the journeys. And the journeys in this novel are defined as wrong turns, regrets, lessons learned, and letting go. As the writer I just hope that these kinds of journeys will keep the readers turning pages until the very end of the book. And in the last chapter – told by Ibu Sri – there’s a soft surprise on how the three weddings can be made possible.

(end of PART I) 


Hi, everyone! I’m Prima Santika from Indonesia. I live in Jakarta, the capital – as well as the biggest cosmopolitan – city in Indonesia. I studied Economics, and I’m currently working in a telco company. I was born in 1974, a husband to a beautiful wife, and a father of a handsome 4 years old son. I have just published my first book, entitled THREE WEDDINGS AND JANE AUSTEN. It’s a novel in Indonesian language,

I hope this writing of mine can give you a glimpse of what I have done to introduce Jane Austen to Indonesian audience. And for this opportunity, I should thank Maria Grazia, the owner of this blog, who appreciates my book although she hasn’t read it. I believe she only reads my guest post in the blog of MVBClub. And if only this book were translated in English, I would be more than happy to provide giveaway books for this blog’s readers.

To discover more about Prima Santika,  his love for Jane Austen, his fascinating country, his first novel , Bali and the “Eat Pray Love” movie,  read   Part II of his post coming soon on My Jane Austen Book Club. 

Contact points:
Twitter: @primasantika
My Self-Review [written in English] of the book in Goodreads Blog:

Thursday, 26 April 2012


Hello there! I haven't forgotten this giveaway contest. I've been away from home -  but didn't expect to be off line -  for three days. I'm back ready to apologize for the delay and to announce the name of the winners I've picked up with the help of

1. Catherine (e-book)
2. Brenda NZ (e-book)
3. Vava (paperback)

Congratulations to the three winners and 

many thanks to Jennifer Petkus for being such a kind and generous guest!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


Jane Austen's works are known and loved worldwide, her world of romantic adventures and comedies of manners beloved by millions of people. For many of those people, her books in black and white, or even brought to live through the magic of film and television, is not enough. Far beyond the panopoly of reading and writing groups, academic courses, and smorgesboard of fanfiction and discussion boards available online, some Janeites feel the need to go just that little bit further into Austen's world. Rather than seeking addiction treatment to wean themselves off regency-era romance, they unabashedly seek to recreate a sense of Austen's novels through various events. The festivals are all about the old-world glamour, elegance of dress, enjoyment of regency dance, and the joy of connecting with other fans, in a real-world setting.

Since the advent of the internet, and its blossoming into a place where people can meet and interact, these events have become increasingly popular with Janeites thirsting for a real taste of the world found in the books. These gatherings have become particularly popular in the English-speaking countries of not only Britain, but Canada, the U.S. and Australia. Austen aficienados are treated to a bevy of events, from the cerebral to the sensual: whether you are interested in learning how to participate in a country dance, make traditional food, create regency-era embroidery, or participate in open discussions, there's sure to be something for you at these events. Here, I've attempted to list just a few of these: from cruises to display dances to full-blown festival extraveganzas, most of them run yearly and are widely attended.

The Jane Austen Festival held yearly in Bath is, of course, the jewel in the crown of these. I dont think it would be going too far to say that every Janeite has an entry on her bucket list with this festival's name on it in bold letters. Running this year from the 14th - 22nd of September, it is a feast for the eyes, ears, and tastebuds. Fans can take in the rich Regency tradition of dance, song, and food while dressed in period costume. The programme is loaded with talks, reading groups, balls and plenty more, all hosted in the heartland of the writer herself. For nine days of period costume, drama, and fascinating insights into Austen's world, it simply can't be beaten.
Australian Austen lovers have their own array of events to attend, the largest of these being the Jane Austen Festival of Australia held in Canberra. The event for this year (running April 12 - 14th) has sadly passed, but runs annually, including talks presented by Austen academics, film screenings, workshops (sewing, dance, even archery!), scripted performances, house parties, picnics and much costumed frivolity. There's even a cosy country fair to visit.

One of the most decadent events on offer this year is undoubedly the Jane Austen Cruise. Running from the 18th - 26th of July, the trip takes in Holland, Guernsey, Spain and France, sailing from Southampton. The cruise features presentations by special guests, and includes a costume parade, gala ball, discussion groups, film festival, high tea, trivia contest, games, on-board market, costumed group photo shoot, and more! Just think, parading across the deck, bedecked in satin and lace, en-route to some of the jewels of coastal Europe whilst surrounded by Janeite delights! Whom amongst us wouldn't want to attend this charming event hosted on the high seas?

Austen events in North America are many, as most states in the U.S., as well as the Canadian provinces, boast their own Austen associations. These are mostly allied with the Jane Austen Society of North America, with some independent groups operating outside the JASNA. A few years ago, the society introduced 'Jane Austen Day' held on the 28th of April. As a result, many of these groups have full day of Austen events. Amongst these are a day of lectures by writers and academics in Pennsylvania. The Chicago chapter also has an Annual Spring Gala, a daytime event featuring talks by patrons and guardians of Chawton House Library (a charity dedicated to collecting the early works of female writers, set in the working estate of Jane Austen's brother), and including a spectacular dinner and entertainment located in the city's gorgeous Crystal Ballroom. Finally, the Mandeville Jane Austen Literary Festival, which runs in March every year, is another worthy festival dedicated to the writer's work. From costume contests to an array of lectures, interactive regency beauty workshops, and the famous 'Perfect Love Letter' competition, plus plenty of light-hearted carousing, the event is both playful and illuminating to lovers of all things Jane.

If all of these events sound fantastic, but you just can't make it this year, have about taking a part in Talk Like Jane Austen Day? Started last year in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sense and Sensability, the website encourages us to 'Take a long walk, visit friends, and talk like Jane Austen.' Make use of the writer's invented words and phrases such as 'irrepressible', 'raffish' (disreputeable), 'nidgetty' (trifling) or 'to catch one's eye.' The site has quite a list of tips available for the aspiring Austenophone!
Claire Jenkins

Saturday, 21 April 2012


There have been many interesting and interested comments to Robin Helm's guest post last week (HERE). Now it is time to reveal the name of the winner of the double giveaway: two paperbacks or e-books, a copy of Guardian and one of SoulFire. 
The lucky winner chosen through in this case is kaewink, who lives in Austria,  and for this reason will receive the e-book version of both books. 
My gratitude to Robin Helm for being such a kind guest and many thanks to all of you who commented and enter the giveaway contest. 

Robin Helm books are on Amazon  and Barnes & Noble 

Friday, 20 April 2012


Sarah and Mia Castle are closer than best friends and share just about everything, including a deep and abiding love for all things relating to Jane Austen. Their annual trip to the Jane Austen Festival in Bath is a highlight of their lives - until the year they discover that no matter how close two sisters may be, it's impossible to share one man between them. Even if he does seem their own perfect Mr Darcy, if one wins him, won't both of them lose?

The two main settings in this novel are dreamy places for any Austen fan: first Barton Cottage, or at least the house in Devon used in 1995 film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, the one to which Marianne and Elinor have to move after their father’s death,  and then Bath in the days of the Jane Austen Festival.

Bath is the place where Catherine Morland met Henry Tilney and it was where Captain Wentworth declared his love to Anne Elliot (p. 61)

Sarah is the Elinor-type and as a much elder sister in a family with no parents she has to take care of Mia,  Marianne’s alter ego in this modern romance. Sarah has the conservatism of  Elinor, the prudishness of  Fanny Price  and suffer from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) while Mia has the naivety of Catherine Morland, the recklessness of Marianne Dashwood and dreams of being an actress. Could two sisters be more different?

Sarah’s 18th birthday gift for Mia is a week to spend together, the two of them, at Barton Cottage but her plan will be ruined by an unexpected presence: Alec is the most handsome, fascinating man the two sisters have ever met. Mia loses her head and starts flirting openly with him, Alec seems more interested in Sarah though ...

This will be the beginning of the end for Sarah and Mia’s close relationship, they are more like best friends than sisters. But they can’t share the same man, can they?

Three years later and a great deal of life after the two sisters are both in Bath for The Jane Austen Festival, none of them knowing of the other presence. They haven’t spoken nor seen each other since their week in Devon.

Bath will offer them new chances and new acquaintances ( a Brandon-type and an Edward-Ferrars-type, of course! ) and, especially, an opportunity to meet again.
What about the Mr Darcy in the title? Read this lovely romp to the end and he will be there in his wet shirt for Mia, for Sarah and for all of you! 

What I especially like in Victoria Connelly's Austen-inspired trilogy is her humor. Her prose is witty and her narration characterized by a very light touch which makes you want to turn the page quickly and never put the book down. You are there - at least I was - giggling all the time. And daydreaming, of course! She deals with ordinary life, ordinary heroines/heroes with their ordinary misadventures but she succeeds in making them rather extraordinary, really special. 
Another element I definitely  appreciate is her ability to find the Austenesque in present day ordinariness. Bravo, Ms Connelly! These three modern day romances are really sunshine on a rainy day. I've loved them all. This latest one, Mr Darcy Forever, nonetheless. 


There's 1 new brand paperback  for the US readers interested in this book. I must thank Sourcebooks for granting  me the copy for this giveaway. Leave your comments adding your e-mail address and good luck. If you want an extra chance to win spread the word on twitter or facebook! The deadline for this contest is April 30th. Good luck!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton in North and South
When Maria Grazia asked me to write a guest post for her blog My Jane Austen Book Club, I knew which photo I would lead off with. For any of you who don't know Maria Grazia too well, she has another blog Fly High which often features items about Richard Armitage, to the delight of those of us who share her taste in men.

Anyhow...I have a blog called The Jane Austen Film Club (I know, eerily similar) which I have been writing for about 2 years now. I am an optometrist during the day, so this is a part time gig for me. How, I hear you ask, does a Canadian optometrist decide to start blogging about period drama? Well, it all started with these two people:

Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice 1995
Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth were in a photo similar to the one above which was plastered on the front of our weekly TV guide in 1995. As someone who had grown up avidly reading and watching Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie, my interest was piqued. I was also the mother of two young boys aged 4 and 1 at the time, so I needed a bit of television which didn't involve Winnie the Pooh.

And the rest, as they say is history. I taped the series on our old VCR, and subsequently wore out the video tapes. Thankfully, there were more films and mini-series on the way!

Sense and Sensibility 1995
By the time I heard that Sense and Sensibility was coming out, I had already devoured Jane Austen's wonderful book Pride and Prejudice, which is what many of you did after being captivated by Jennifer and Colin. For Sense and Sensibility, I had time to read the book first before seeing the film. With the book fresh in my head, I remember thinking what a genius Emma Thompson was to transform such a wonderful book into such a wonderful film. I was thrilled when she won the Oscar for her screenplay.

Persuasion 1995
Well, you can see where this is leading can't you? Again, like many other females in the 1990s, I was delighted that Hollywood and the BBC were anticipating the needs of an emotionally frazzled working mother by pumping out film after film that seemed like they were made just for me! Sigh!

Emma 1996

Even the big Hollywood movie makers were getting in on this phenomenon. Jane Austen was the new "It Girl" 200 years after she had written her books!

But, back to the story of my blog. As my children grew, so did my book and video (then DVD) collection. My two weaknesses are books and films and Amazon and IMDb were just enabling me! When the internet came along, I noticed that there were a lot of Jane Austen related blogs, but not many on the film adaptations of her books and other 19th century novels. And then I got a laptop!!!!

Wives and Daughters 1999
So finally, I stopped writing in my head (usually in the shower) and started writing on my new laptop. And then my sister suggested a blog instead of a book or a website which were my first ideas. So this blogging thing has been a journey for a woman with no writing experience, but just a lifetime of reading and enjoying film adaptations of my favourite books. I will admit that I prefer to see a film version first before I read the book. The book is always richer and often easier to follow after seeing a film version (especially with Dickens' many characters).

The Buccaneers 1995
Along the way, I have discovered other brilliant authors like Mrs. Gaskell and Edith Wharton and George Eliot and the Brontës. Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope have become my friends along with Thackeray and Hardy and P.G. Wodehouse. So many great books and so many great films! I get teased by my readers sometimes that I love ALL period drama and am not critical enough. I guess I am just so happy that they are making these films and mini-series AT ALL and I think even the worst period drama is better than the best reality TV. But I do have my faves of course, as do you I am sure.

I love the fact that my readers are always making suggestions of films I have yet to see. If only there was more time in the day!

Anne of Green Gables 1985
So if you would like to join the fun at The Jane Austen Film Club, come on by and add to the conversation. There are so many of us period drama junkies living all over this amazing planet and as far as I can tell, they are all really great people!

Thanks again to Maria Grazia for this opportunity to blather on about my favourite topic. It keeps me sane. And if you haven't read her hilarious account of going to see the village where the Vicar of Dibley was filmed, go take a look here
Jenny Allworthy

Monday, 16 April 2012


Jennifer Petkus divides her time writing Jane Austen-themed mysteries, creating websites for the dead, woodworking, aikido and building model starships. She has been a police reporter, web designer and programmer but now survives as a kept woman. She is also the author of Good Cop, Dead Cop.

Discovering Jane Austen relatively late in life made me that sort of frantic Janeite who makes up for lost time. In short order I had read the novels, much of the Juvenilia, a biography or two, several continuations and watched many adaptations, leaving me groggy (Lost in Austen in one sitting), confused (Did Darcy cripple Wickham; were zombies involved?) and happy.

And desperate to become a part of the world of Jane Austen as more than just a reader. But I know my limits and didn’t dare dream to copy Austen’s style and wit and most importantly did not have her confidence that the simple love of two people would be sufficient plot for an entire novel.

So I whined to my husband: if only I could find a way to combine Sherlock Holmes-style short stories with Jane Austen, then perhaps I might be able to find my métier and a framework around which to hang a tale (I didn’t say actually métier and hang a tale; that would be pretentious). To which he replied: “You could call it My Particular Friend.”

He’s done this before: given me a brilliant idea that turns my world upside down, unaware of the havoc he’s caused. Because I suddenly knew how to combine my newest particular friend, Jane Austen, with two of my oldest and best friends — those particular creations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — Sherlock Holmes and John H. Watson

Very quickly I came up with the not very clever names of Charlotte House and Jane Woodsen; and I confess at first Charlotte was simply Holmes in drag and Jane Woodsen the compendium of all those Austen heroines of discernment and understanding.

But soon an Austen character not known for her discernment and understanding also became a role model for Charlotte. I began to see in Charlotte a reflection of Emma. I thought, what would Emma be like had she read all those books? What if she had improved her powers of observation? And what if she had suffered a tragedy that made her no dilettante but a professional in matters of the heart?

I gave Charlotte many of Emma’s advantages: wealth, beauty and a former governess who owed her happiness to Charlotte’s interference. From Holmes, she acquired a keen mind, a fondness for trifles, a detestation of boredom (shared with Emma) and a sense of justice.

Jane Woodsen, however, owed more to Charles Dickens and the Brontës: a father who’d killed himself rather than face debtor’s prison; a determination to take risks; and the death sentence of being a governess.

Fortunately another particular friend surfaced to relieve the grimness of my gruel: P.G. Wodehouse. Since discovering Austen, I was often struck by the parallels, but where Austen characters sought marriage, Wodehouse characters often sought to escape it. Wodehouse added a much-needed dash of hot sauce, like one of Jeeves’ pick-me-ups.

In the end, My Particular Friend became a mishmash of styles: Austen, Doyle, Wodehouse, Dickens and even the BBC’s Blackadder. Like a medieval pottage, you don’t want to look too closely at the ingredients, but I hope they combined to form something edible … uh … readable.
Jennifer Petkus
The Book  

My Particular Friend - A Charlotte House Affair

Miss Charlotte House will not admit impediments to marriage, not even when those impediments include scandal, blackmail and even a duel to the death. With the help of her particular friend Miss Jane Woodsen, she deduces all that happens in Bath—both good and ill—and together they ensure that true love’s course runs smooth, even though both friends have suffered tragedies that prevent their own happiness. These six affairs, set in Bath, England, during the Napoleonic War, are inspired by the creations of both Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jane Austen.

Giveaway details

There are 2 e-books and 1 paperback edition for you. The giveaway is open internationally for all the copies! Leave your comment choosing the format you prefer and don't forget to add your e-mail address, please! This giveaway contest will end on April 23rd.

Follow @JenniferPetkus on Twitter

Sunday, 15 April 2012


Ready to discover the names of the three winners in this giveaway contest? Here they are then!

Joanne Angelina paperback
Farida Mestek e-book
Somersaultingthroughlife e-book

AnonymousThanks to Shannon Winslow for being my guest (HERE) again and  for granting you readers three copies of her new book!
Great success to her and a pleasant reading time to all the winners!

Friday, 13 April 2012


My guest today is Robin Helm who published the first two volumes of a trilogy (The Guardian Trilogy), Guardian and SoulFire, and is presently writing Legacy, the third and final volume, posting as a work in progress on four different forums. She has also published three Regency short stories. She and her husband have two daughters, the elder a Navy nurse stationed in Guam, and the younger a university senior. They live in South Carolina with their Yorkie-Poo, Tobey.
Ms. Helm graduated with a BA from Piedmont International University. She is a member of the Delta Epsilon Chi honor society, the American Legion Auxiliary, and the scholarship faculty of the United States Achievement Academy.
Volume III in Robin Helm's Trilogy
There are many things to love about Austen’s novels, but one of my favorite aspects of her time period is the importance placed upon music. Most well-born, accomplished ladies of Jane’s generation sang or played an instrument. Often, I think I would have enjoyed living during that era – preferably without the uncomfortable undergarments and certainly born into a gentleman’s family. The lack of air conditioning, central heating, electricity, and running water would also be lamentable, but I suppose I could adjust. What I would not change would be the freedom to practice for hours each day and the encouragement to excel. Though I would never have been an excellent walker, I should love to have the time to improve my mind by extensive reading.I smile when I think of Marianne, Mary, Anne, Emma, Elizabeth and others at their pianofortes, though Emma and Elizabeth claimed no superiority at the instrument. Jane Fairfax, Caroline Bingley, Louisa Hurst, and Georgiana Darcy were truly proficient. Those ladies who did not play or sing certainly enjoyed dancing, and the musicians at the balls provided part of the ambiance. The music of string quintets, flutes, and harps was in vogue. One of the best parts of the films of Austen’s works is the music; the soundtracks are wonderful.I majored in music performance with a piano proficiency, and I love to play at every opportunity. In fact, I am preparing to play with a church orchestra this coming Sunday. There will be four performances with the combined church choirs, and I am so looking forward to it. This week I am taking Lady Catherine’s advice and practicing more than I usually do, aspiring to be a true proficient.
I wonder what that grand lady would think of drums and guitars. It makes me laugh to think of it.
Robin Helm 
 The Books

Volume I in the Trilogy is Guardian, a religious fantasy fiction. The powerful and imposing Xander/Darcy, Chief of Guardian Angels  has protected exceptional humans from demonic forces over the course of ten millennia without losing a single battle. In 1989, he receives an unusual assignment which will forever change his ordered existence and alter the course of human history. Will he lose the battle for his own heart while guarding supernaturally gifted Elizabeth Bennet from the evil which surrounds her? Will he be strong enough to resist her as she grows from a precocious child into a beautiful, intelligent woman? The veil dividing the physical and spiritual planes is drawn aside to reveal warfare on an unprecedented scale as Elizabeth develops her gifts and her guardian discovers his emotions.

SoulFire, Volume II of The Guardian Trilogy, is a modern Christian fantasy romance written in the tradition of Jane Austen's masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice.

In the second volume of The Guardian Trilogy, Fitzwilliam Alexander Darcy, powerful Chief of all guardian angels, adjusts to life with a dual nature. An angel/human, Darcy seeks to win the love of his  beautiful partner in SoulFire Ministries, Elizabeth Bennet, as they travel together across the country. While keeping his true identity hidden, Darcy joins archangels Michael and Gabriel in defending and protecting Elizabeth from the schemes and trickery of Gregory, the Dark Prince, and Lucifer, his father.
Though the supernaturally gifted team of Darcy and Elizabeth is tremendously successful in their joint mission as they partner with evangelist Jonathan Edwards, the question remains, will Elizabeth find the strength within herself to forgive Darcy for his secrecy after she accidentally discovers the truth, that he was her guardian angel, or will Gregory be ultimately successful in separating this match made in heaven?

Giveaway details

Leave your comment below this post + add your e-mail address+ specify the country you write from. You can win the first two volumes of Robin Helm's Trilogy. If the winner is in the US, he/she will win Guardian+SoulFire paperback signed by the author, if he/she is from any other country in the world the prize will be the e-book copies (kindle or nook) of both books. So the contest is open internationally and it will end on April 20th, when the name of the winner is announced. Good luck!

Robin Helm books are on Amazon  and Barnes & Noble 

Thursday, 12 April 2012


Regina Jeffers's guest post,  Scottish elopment and the marriage act of 1753, here at My Jane Austen Book Club was linked to the giveaway contest to win a paperback copy of her new release, The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy. 
The lucky winner of Regina's new book is Kim

Congratulations to the winner and many thanks to Regina Jeffers for being my guest and for granting the copy to give away internationally!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Last week Jack Caldwell was here at My Jane Austen Book Club as my guest , one of the many  stops in his blog tour for the launch of The Three Colonels - Jane Austen Fighting Men (see guest post). On that occasion Sourcebooks granted you readers of this blog two copies of the book, 1 e-book version and 1 paperback. The giveaway contest ends today and I'm going to reveal the names of the two winners in a while. But  first,  I'd like to share my review of the book with you, since I was lucky enough to read  it meanwhile. 
Did I like The Three Colonels?YES! One of the best Austen sequels I've read so far!


Jack Caldwell contributes  a male outlook on Jane Austen World. His  The Three Colonels – Jane Austen Fighting Men  is sequel to Sense and Sensibility  and Pride and Prejudice with hints to Tolstoj's War and Peace. It also  includes  characters from  other major novels by Austen as well as new ones created by Caldwell himself.  What Jane Austen had not even hinted at – the Napoleonic Wars – Jack Caldwell  brings forward  in this brilliant tale set in one of England’s most challenging  moments .

Bonaparte, prisoner  in Elba, succeeds in escaping  and marches on Paris .  King Louis flees the country so Napoleon declares himself Emperor of the French Republic. It is war again and the country is not ready.  Lord Wellington needs his best men and they must urgently answer the dreaded call.

Colonel Brandon will have to answer that call, for example. He has long been inactive and is now a very happy husband to Marianne and proud father of a baby girl, Joy.  He is one of the few officers Lord Wellington trusts in his enterprise to stop Bonaparte once and forever.   Useless to say  Willoughby steps forward  on hearing Marianne is alone at Delaford Manor.

Colonel  John Buford  - a new fascinating character with the reputation of being a libertine entertaining married ladies -  meets, wooes  and marries  Caroline Bingley.  She used to be rude, grasping, selfish and cold, but ... love can do magic. When she becomes Lady Buford she totally transforms herself  into a generous woman in love.  At first she probably  marries John Buford  for his position and for his charm, while he marries Caroline for her good looks and her  brilliant personality.  Nonetheless their mènage  will be filled with  intriguing, passionate and even highly dramatic moments.   

Since Lady Catherine De Bourgh has estranged her other nephew,  Fitzwilliam Darcy both  as her trustee at  Rosings Parks  and as her favourite elegible husband to her daughter Anne, Richard Fitzwilliam  is coping with the hard task to  substitute  his cousin in those duties.  While trying to save his Aunt’s property from total failure in a period of  deep economic crisis, he realizes  he has new feelings for Miss De Bourgh. Anne’s health has greatly improved in the last  years and she has gained energy and charm.  Colonel Fitzwilliam’s  new plans and affections will have  a hard time since, suddenly,  he has to leave for Belgium and meet other  duties. 

Even Wickham’s regiment must join Wellington’s Army but  he  doesn’t like the idea of going to war.  He hadn’t joined the army to fight in a war and he  blames Darcy for his unfortunate destiny. 

The historical scenario described by Jack Caldwell moves from  London to Vienna for the  1815 Congress . He deals with politics, of course,  but  he doesn’t  spoil the excitement and glamour of the social gatherings  nor renounces to use the typical  Austenesque light touch.

As Lady Beatrice Wellesley, cousin to Wellington,  says to Caroline Bingley (now Lady Buford) :  “ It is far different from the London society or even the Court of St James. Here empires may rise or fall. Wars may break out or be ended. This world attracts a certain type of individual – hard clever people who are used to having their own way and know how to get it”

This novel was a delightful discovery . Different from other sequels I’ve read , yet in the trend of the Austenesque  vogue, it champions love, loss, redemption, duty and war . It is a real page turner and a must-read for lovers of Austen - inspired novels and historical fiction in general.  

Are you ready to discover who the winners of last week's giveaway contest are? Here we go, then! 

The paperback of The Three Colonels is GranJan 
 while the e-book version goes to Luthien84! 

Congratulations to both of you. I'm sure you'll enjoy your new read! Many thanks to Jack Caldwell for being my guest and to Sourcebooks publishers for granting the copies for the giveaway contest

Saturday, 7 April 2012


We met Shannon Winslow last year here at My Jane Austen Book Club on occasion of the release of her first Austen-inspired novel, The Darcys of Pemberley (HERE and HERE).
She's back with a new book and a new guest post for the readers of My Jane Austen Book Club. Enjoy Shannon's piece and get a chance to win her For Myself Alone. There are 2 e-book copies and 1 paperback for you! Three winners! The contest is open worldwide and ends on April 15th. Leave your comment , add your e-mail address and choose between the two formats, e-book or paperback.

The Darcys of Pemberley, a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, was my first novel, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. But for my second book, I set myself a new challenge: to write an entirely original story in the Jane Austen mode. I wondered what else she might have written had she lived. What direction would her creativity have carried her next?

Money (the want of it, more specifically) is a reoccurring theme in Jane Austen’s novels as it was in her own life – the well-bred young lady of small fortune, who had to marry or risk sinking into poverty (like Miss Bates). That’s how my heroine in For Myself Alone begins as well. But then I turn the tables by giving her a large, unexpected inheritance. Instead of solving all her problems, however, the money simply creates new ones, making Jo the target of fortune hunters and ultimately an unwilling party to a breach-of-promise suit.

Breach-of-promise suits are an intriguing phenomenon unique to the 18th and 19th centuries, and we think of them as being brought by a jilted woman against her former fiancé. And so it typically was in later years.  With a shorter “self life” and a more fragile reputation, a long engagement that came to nothing was far more likely to damage the intended bride’s future prospects than the groom’s. But as it turns out, early on in their history these suits were just as often filed by a jilted man, claiming emotional trauma or financial loss.

Going to court was perilous, though, often adding insult to injury. Tainted reputations could be further tarnished. And as for the monetary judgments, juries were notoriously unpredictable. They often ignored the evidence and the judge’s instructions to side with the barrister who put on the best show, awarding either nothing or an outrageous sum according to their collective whim. Defendants sometimes went to extreme lengths to avoid paying too, preferring imprisonment or even emigrating instead.

Breach-of-promise suits were a painfully messy business. But I showed no mercy; I threw my unsuspecting heroine right into the middle of one. How did she fare? Oh, no; I’ll never tell!

Shannon Winslow

The Book

Set in nineteenth century Hampshire and BathFor Myself Alone is the tale of Josephine Walker, a bright, young woman whose quiet life is turned upside-down by an unexpected inheritance. With a tempting fortune of twenty thousand pounds, she’s suddenly the most popular girl in town. Yet Jo longs to be valued for who she is, not for her bank balance. She cannot respect the men who pursue her for her money, and the only
one she does admire is considered the property of her best friend. Now, even the motives of her new fiancé are suspect. Does he truly love her for herself alone? There’s one sure, but extreme, way to find out… if she has the courage to take it.
You'll find For Myself Alone at Barnes and Noble as a Nook  or at Amazon as a paperback or a Kindle book.

The  Author 

Shannon Winslow specializes in creating novels and short stories for fans of Jane Austen. The Darcys of Pemberley was her debut novel in 2011. For Myself Alone – a standalone, Austen-inspired story – now follows. She is currently working on the next installment of her Pride andPrejudice series, which is entitled Returnto Longbourn. Ms. Winslow lives with her husband in the log home they built in the countryside south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio facing Mt. RainierFor more information, visit