Friday, 25 October 2013


Today we are at the Hunsford parsonage to discuss Pride and Prejudice with several characters from Love at First Slight. We are just waiting for Miss Collins and her houseguest to arrange refreshments and for three young ladies to arrive from Rosings Park. 

Before everyone assembles here in the parlour, it behooves me to apologize in advance. These dramatis personae are, after all, characters; and I cannot vouch for their conduct. More than anyone, I know how unpredictable their behaviour can be; and althou –

From the vicinity of the kitchen, voices are heard loud and clear. 

Miss Collins: “That cannot be an option. Even if such potation were befitting the occasion, my brother does not condone the imbibition of fortified wine by the fair sex, as he calls us. Good Christians should be filled with the Spirit, not spirits.  We do not stock alcoholic beverages here.”

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


(by guest blogger Marcela De Vivo)
Shannon Hale’s popular novel, Austenland, was recently adapted into a movie--the story features a woman who goes to an exclusive, Austen-themed resort in search of a husband.  But what if you’ve already found your Mr. Darcy/Mr. Knightley/Captain Wentworth/Mr. Tilney?  Well, then you’ll just have to hold a Jane Austen-approved hen party.  After all, what better way to celebrate the famed author (who is soon to grace the £10 note)?

Make it a costume party
What better way to celebrate Jane Austen than to wear those decadently beautiful Regency-era gowns?  We’ve all drooled over the beautiful cap sleeves in Emma, the crisp white muslins in Pride and Prejudice, and the at-times comical bonnets in Sense and Sensibility.  Luckily, Regency wear is among some of the easiest to make--well, it’s no walk in the park, but it’s still much easier than creating a fully-embellished Elizabethan gown!  And if you’re not quite the type to pick up a needle and thread, check out Etsy--it’s full of beautiful empire-waisted gowns that even Caroline Bingley would approve of.

Eat Jane Austen-approved food

While British cuisine isn’t exactly lauded the world over, you can still have a little fun with some Regency era food.  Apparently, Jane Austen herself created an ice cream recipe--plus, she accompanied it with the quote, “I shall eat ice and drink French wine, and be above vulgar economy”.  For real devotees, author Pen Vogler has created a recipe book--enticingly titled, Dinner With Mr. Darcy.  She was able to adapt many of the recipes from a book of recipes written by Martha Lloyd, a close friend of Jane’s.

Sunday, 20 October 2013


Newly-engaged Lizzy remembered that [Darcy] had yet to learn to be laughed at, and it was rather too early to begin.’ In my subversion of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, he has already been laughed at, and tricked into doing what will benefit himself, the Bennets, but mainly the trickster. For who is as brilliant at getting what(or who!) she wants than a teenage girl, a penniless princess, entitled without a title - Lydia Bennet. After many readings, it dawned on me that Austen roots for certain characters, and yet alternative interpretations shine through. Most post-Austen sequels or spin-offs stick to the orthodox views - Darcy the Ideal Alpha Male, Lizzy the feisty romantic heroine, Mrs Bennet a neurotic airhead, Mr Bennet clever (and who can blame him for hiding in the library), Lydia Bennet annoyingly stupid and shallow. But in fact husband-hunting Mrs Bennet has the brains - when Mr Bennet dies, which could be any time back then, they will all be literally homeless. Marriage, to a man able to support the whole family, was the only option for women. Mr Bennet’s scorn is cruel and selfish, he’s safe in Longbourn until he’s ‘carked it’ as Lydia would say. For Lydia, as Austen writes her, is a modern teenager, she loves shopping, fashion, flirting, fun, and why not? She’s only 15/16! She wants Wickham? So does Lizzy for quite a while. And he’s hot as hell, a sexy bad boy. What if powerless Lydia B is as brilliant

Friday, 18 October 2013

Challenging the Fates: Discovering A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM - Author guest post by Scott Southard

Scott Southard
The fates gave Jane Austen a bum rap.

Yes, she is remembered as one of the most important writers in all of literature, defined for generations what it means to be in love and have a successful relationship, and inspired countless writers and genres. That is all fine and very good, but that is now… for us.

For Miss Austen’s reality, she died young (only 41) in a cottage in a small village where she was living with her sister and mother and her books were published anonymously. Sadly, it is hard for us to even know her that well, with the destruction of many of his letters and writings by her sister. After that, we have to rely on a biography written by her nephew that seems more concerned with the family’s name as compared to the truth of this great person.  She joins Shakespeare in our mystery-lost genius category, the ones we only have our hopes and dreams to point to for truth.

This harsh and very cruel choice of the fates is what inspired a good part of A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM, my new novel. And honestly, writing this book terrified me for many years. See, I knew from the start I wanted to give Jane an adventure and a love story much like her own characters experienced, but taking that idea to the next step was where it became tricky.

Monday, 14 October 2013


First of all, welcome back Monica! It's a great pleasure to have you here at our online club.

Well,  let me say I’m delighted to be back again on My  Jane Austen Book Club. It’s been a while, but I’m looking forward to reconnecting with you all.

      Tell me one thing you deeply love in Mr Darcy and one flaw you can avoid noticing. Don’t tell me he is perfect, Monica!

*Splutters* What do you mean, Mr. Darcy isn’t perfect? When he’s the ideal man for so many women? He has to be perfect.

What I love deeply about Mr. Darcy is that he’s the type of person you can rely on to stand by you through thick and thin. He is noble enough to find Lydia and make sure she gets married, yet he does so annonymously, clearly not claiming the credit or expecting any kind of reward. In fact, someone else might have used the occasion to get some brownie points with Lizzy. Not Mr. Darcy. He does it selflessly.

Admittedly, he does have some flaws, at the beginning, but they all go away by the end. He’s arrogant, he’s condescending to everyone especially at the Meryton assembly, he doesn’t accept Lizzy because of her background, he’s open to being manipulated by Caroline Bingley (possibly his worst flaw) and he is no good at socializing.  I think what we all like about Darcy is that he’s able to overcome those flaws and become a hero.  He is willing to change, and for someone who’s so proud that’s a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


“Mr. Darcy is the best of men, and there is no danger of inflating either his or my vanity by making sure everyone acknowledges this fact.”

“Is there not?” her Charlotte chided. “Perhaps vanity poses no danger, but what shall you do when he does something truly exceptional – by Mr. Darcy standards, of course? Will not such accolades become commonplace if too readily invoked? You must save your loudest applause for special occasions and not become too appreciative an audience.”

Holidays at Pemberley, or Third Encounters: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Concludes is a book written out my own pressing need to complete the stories of my reimagined cast of characters. While the book is ostensibly focused on Charlotte Lucas, it is just as much about Elizabeth and Darcy, the entire Bennet clan, Darcy’s extended family, and, to an extent,  the Wickhams. I had intended Second Glances: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Continues to wrap up their adventures, but as I finished the final drafts of the story, the hanging threads proved too irksome to bear.

Second Glances originally included Charlotte’s romance with David Westover, the rector at Kympton, but I cut it because it didn’t mesh with the rest of the plot. It was intuitive to resurrect their minor storyline and structure a new plot around it, one which provided my flawed characters with an opportunity to learn those vital lessons Austen taught so well. There was still so much to be desired from them! My Darcy may not have begun so proud, but he was still unforgiving:

“It is insupportable, Elizabeth!” he declared. “I cannot sit down to dine with the Wickhams. They must leave at once!”

Sunday, 6 October 2013


Happy Birthday Mr. Darcy" is the fifth installment in the Austen Addicts series by Victoria Connelly. I've read and loved them all, could I miss this new one? 
A delightful novella set in the magnificent Purley Hall,  where two of the lovely characters we met first time in "A Weekend with Mr Darcy" are going to get married: Katherine Roberts and Warwick Lawton. 

It's been great to join all the familiar characters again and follow them while preparing themselves to take part in the wedding celebrations. Dame Pamela, Robyn and Dan, Higgins, Doris Noris, Mrs Soames, Mia Castle, Shelley Quantock, Gabe and Pie are excited to take part in a real Regency-style celebration. 

It is not only a great moment for Katherine and Warwick, but also Mr Darcy's birthday! And can the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice not influence the cheerful atmosphere at the Hall and the festive plans of such enthusiastic Austen fans? 

This is a fast paced, light-hearted novella you can plan to read on a rainy autumn day, in order to lit it up with romance, comedy and a lot of Austen quotes and references. 

Thursday, 3 October 2013


by guest blogger Victoria Grossack

Some may think that focusing on the art and importance of persuasion in Jane Austen’s last written novel, Persuasion, is inappropriate, for she did not choose this title herself.  The book was published after her death, and its title chosen by one of her brothers, Henry Austen.  While writing it Jane called the story “The Elliots.”  Henry Austen likewise chose the title for his sister’s other posthumously published work, Northanger Abbey, called“Susan” during Jane Austen’s life (readers may notice that Northanger Abbey has no Susan in it; when Jane Austen revised this work, she changed the heroine’s name from Susan to Catherine).Henry Austen may have selected the titlePersuasion based on its similarity to the titles of two of his sister’s other successful works: Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.  Perhaps Persuasion, being shorter, merits only a single word.

Jane Austen’s other novels contain explicit examples of persuasion that are vital to their plots.  In Sense and Sensibility, John Dashwoodis persuaded by his wife not to assist his half-sisters.  Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Bingley is persuaded by his sisters and Mr. Darcy to stay away from Jane Bennet, a decision he regrets and eventually puts aside.  Emma persuades Harriet Smith that Mr. Elton is in love with her.  The Thorpes persuade General Tilney that Catherine Morland is broke.Fanny Price is pressured by many to accept Henry Crawford as a suitor in Mansfield Park; even though she is generally considered the weakest of the heroines, she resists firmly. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Here is a contest for all the lovely Janeites out there! Jasmine Kyle,  singer-songwriter and a devoted Janeite, has gathered together three fantastic prizes to give away. Three lucky people will win  one of these wonderful prizes,  along with an autographed album: 

The ring! Sadly it won't come in the box.
The replica Jane Austen ring