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Monday, August 19, 2019

GIVEAWAY: Regina Jeffers Prize Pack!

You can catch Regina Jeffers thoughts in this year's Janeite Conversations (including this hilarious story about teaching "The Letter" to high schoolers), but today she's dropping by to offer up a chance for two of you to get your hands on two of her books!


Regina has offered up two prize packs of her books, In Want of a Wife and Where There's a Fitzwilliam Darcy, There's a Way to two separate winners!

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To enter, follow Regina on Twitter or on Facebook, and tweet or leave her a message mentioning Austen in August!
If you already follow Regina, you can email her at reginalm@rjeffers.com and mention that you're entering this AIA giveaway.
This giveaway is international, but act quick, because unlike the majority of the giveaways in Austen in August, this giveaway only lasts a week!

Karen M. Cox interviews Northanger Abbey's Catherine Morland!

Welcome to today’s event for Austen in August! I’m Karen M Cox, author of novels brushed with history and romance. I love writing Austen-inspired stories and flipping them into different times and places, so today, I have the privilege of introducing you to one of Austen’s charming leading ladies, updated for the 21st Century.
Is it Elizabeth Bennet? No, not THAT famous leading lady.
Is it Emma Woodhouse? No, she isn’t all that charming (just kidding, Emma fans—of which I am one—Emma can be quite charming when she applies herself.)
No, today we’re interviewing a modern version of Northanger Abbey’s young ingenue: the enchanting, romantic, darling, sweet, funny, headstrong—and, let’s face it, sometimes frustrating…

Catherine Morland

Our modern Catherine is U.S. college student, double-majoring in history and English literature. She likes historical romance novels, walks on the beach, and handsome, witty young men with avaricious fathers...

Karen: Welcome, Catherine!

Catherine: Thanks for having me on Austen in August! Wow!

Friday, August 16, 2019

GIVEAWAY: Austen in August Mega Prize Pack #3!!

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We're two full weeks down in Austen in August (how is this month going so fast?!), but we're into the third weekend, which means we've got our third Mega Prize Package up for grabs! This prize pack is, well, packed once again with a slew of books from our Austeneque authors!

In fact, this prize pack is the prize pack prize pack.
I promise I'll stop saying "prize pack," but this one is crammed with duos & trios from this year's amazing group of authors!

Click through to see what's up for grabs, and enter to win!

And don't forget to enter to win our other two mega prize packs, featuring 22 books plus swag, in total!


Assignment Austen #3: Finally.

So far this Austen in August, I've given you two homework assignments and a challenge, because I am a harsh task-mistress. And in keeping with that, below you'll find your third assignment (which, hey, fulfills one of the tasks in the challenge!).

This week, I want you to finally sit down and watch one of the Austen adaptations you've been meaning to, but haven't yet. This might be a hard one for some of you, being such devoted Janeites that you've seen everything. Every BBC version? Been there, done that (twice). Clueless and Bollywood and Scents & Sensibility? Yeah, you've been there. But I'll be there's something out there you haven't seen. (May I suggest youtube?)

For the rest of us, I'm sure there's a whole laundry list of adaptations you've been meaning to spend some time with.
Maybe it's the old black and white versions, because you get stuck in the current times (or current versions, because you're stuck in the past).
Maybe it's a different version of a favorite book, because you keep watching the same version of Sense & Sensibility over and over again, because it's so good (and you don't even know, because you haven't watched it, that there's another one that's even better).
Maybe you don't even know what's out there, and you need to spend some time googling and finding the period piece of your dreams. . .

Whatever it is, find an Austen movie you haven't seen yet, track down a copy, and finally watch it this weekend — and then let us know what you think!

As for me, since I've already gone traditional for two weeks, this week I'm going to watch a modern version I haven't watched yet: Scents & Sensibility. Is it going to be awful? Possibly. Am I going to love it anyway? Most definitely.

If you want to watch it with me, I'll be watching & live-tweeting the experience on Saturday night at 8:30pm EST, and you can join me with the hashtag #AustenInAugust on Twitter!
It's available for free viewing if you have Amazon Prime, and though I haven't checked, I feel fairly certain someone has uploaded it to youtube as well, because that's how these things go...
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Austenesque Anticipation... | A Janeite Conversation

Before we get into the second of today's posts, I just want to take a moment to say: you guys are killing it this year! The insight I've seen shared in the comments and on Twitter over the last two weeks is seriously blowing my mind — so many of you have made me think of scenes or characters in a new way, or added something to my understanding of Austen!

And I hope to continue that trend with today's Janeite Convo, were we're taking a look at one of my favorite things in all of reading, but especially in all of Austen: scene anticipation.

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I think one of my favorite things about reading (and rereading) Austen is the anticipation of certain scenes and events. Sometimes it's even minor things, a single line, that sets my little heart a-flutterin' pages in advance. What are those scenes for you (especially beyond the classics, like proposals)?

JESSICA: Anne seeing Wentworth the first time. Obviously Wentworth's letter is the best ever but I love how that scene is mostly just Anne's internal monologue. As the reader, we don't even really "see" Wentworth, just Anne's reactions to being in the same room and her pep talks to herself. I don't know why, but I love it so much! And when I did a Persuasion adaptation that's what I started with and it was as fun to write as I'd hoped!
DEBORAH: Sorry to be predictable, but the one that always gets me is The Letter in Persuasion. Every time Captain Wentworth returns to the room in the White Hart and places his letter in front of Anne “with eyes of glowing entreaty fixed on her,” I feel my pulse speed up.

If Austen Adaptations Were Diverse... guest post from Kerri

We've had some Austenesque dream-casting discussions here on Austen in August before, but today's guest post from Kerri (aka The Book Belle) takes Austen adaptation casting in a direction it sadly hasn't gone, and desperately needs to. After all, Jane is a writer of the people, beloved the whole world over. You can find Kerri on her blog or booktube channel, but before you jet off to internet-stalk her, click through to see who she would choose for some diverse Austen adaptation casting, and to share your picks in the comments!

The recent casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in the new live action Little Mermaid got me thinking. What if we recast Austen's characters with POC actors? It's no secret that all of her adaptations are very white, so let's bring them into the 21st century and imagine a more diverse casting!
Now, I can't recast every character or we'd be here all day (though I'd love to, tbh), so I decided I'd just recast the main couples in each of Austen's books. So without further ado, let's get this party started!

Pride and Prejudice

Yaya DaCosta attends the 2019  Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards LuncheonFox has cast
Inspired by Pride by Ibi Zoboi, I decided to cast Yaya Dacosta (Afro-Brazilian) as Elizabeth and Jessie T Usher (Black) as Darcy. You can't tell me that the look Yaya is serving isn't 100% Elizabeth.
Danilo Carrera
For everyone's favorite sweet beans that must be protected at all costs, I've cast Tessa Thompson (also Afro-Panamanian) as Jane and Danilo Carrera (Mexican) as Bingley.

[Side note from Misty: I'm here for Tessa Thompson all-the-things, but I especially love the idea of her as Jane, of all the characters! I'd like to see her sweet side.]

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Emma (1996): a Review in a Million Parts

As you probably know, the "homework" for this past weekend was to spend some time getting reacquainted with your first Austen — and though my first Austen is debatable, the one that stands out, that I remember as being most definitely my first knowing brush with Austen, is the Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam -starring Emma of the mid-nineties. (This was not the only Emma of the mid-90s, mind you. Or even the only Emma of 1996. Who was in charge of planning the 90s, because I would like to speak to them?)

ANYWAY, this weekend, I sat down to watch this long-standing favorite that I haven't seen in the better part of two decades, to see if it stood the test of time. What followed was a long, enthusiastic twitter chat, the highlights of which I'm going to share with you below. If you'd like to see the whole thing in all its somewhat snarky glory, you can find that here. Otherwise, click through, see what I had to say, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

"The British Amazons" from Maria Grace

Hello, my fierce, bow-wielding Janeites! Today brings us the second in a series from Maria Grace that takes a closer look at the place of archery, particularly for women, in Regency times. You can find the first part here. And of course, don't forget to check out Maria's answers in this year's Janeite Conversations, and her contributions to this year's giveaways!

The British Amazons

British Amazons? In the Regency? Not possible--or was it?

In 1781 Sir Ashton Lever and Thomas Waring formed the influential Toxophilite Society in London. The organization was dedicated to the sport of archery and to socializing. The society would later gain royal patronage in 1787 with the attention of the Prince Regent (ultimately King George IV), becoming the Royal Toxophilite society, which still exists today.

From the Manchester Art Gallery. Button from the Royal British Bowmen society.
 The success of this society inspired the development of other archery organizations throughout England.  Initially, the societies were male-only clubs.  Some permitted female guests of members to visit to shoot. One thing led to another and soon many had female members. In 1787, the Royal British Bowmen became the first archery society to allow women as full members. Interestingly, the Royal Bowmen had a reputation for being one of the most serious archery clubs of the period. They saw archery was a sport to be mastered, not an excuse to party.

Other societies were a bit less serious and more social. The clubs, like modern leisure organizations, had their own rules, and uniforms, and often used their common interest as an excuse to throw lavish parties and socialize among their peers. (Since club dues, uniforms, and equipment were expensive, the lower orders were effectively barred admission.) “In 1787, ‘several young ladies’ who shot with the Royal British Bowmen were said to have ‘added to their conquests the hearts of young gentlemen of honor and fortune’ and thus the society was responsible for the marriage of ‘not a few happy couples’.” (Johnes, 2004)

(Pride and Prejudice fans may find it interesting to note that in the late 1700’s Hertfordshire had an archery club that did admit women. Derbyshire had a club as well, but it is not clear whether or not it included ladies.)

Real British Amazons

“Female archers in Lewisham even organized a club of their own in 1788, called The British Amazons, the name referring to the mythic female archer-warriors of antiquity, mentioned by Homer in ancient Greece. A news-cutting from 1789 refers to:
The elegant and beauteous assemblage of Ladies Archers established last Summer at Blackheath under the name BRITISH AMAZONS, on Saturday last gave a splendid sup­per and Ball to a Society of Gentlemen who practice the science in the vicinity.
Not much is known about The British Amazons as they have no preserved records or regulations.” The society seems have been connected to The Kentish Bowmen. (Arnstad, 2019) I have to imagine some really fascinating women belonged to this group!

If you want to read more details, on these archery societies, this paper might be interesting.

Find references HERE

Read more about Regency era archery HERE
Discover more about Regency era amusements HERE

Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.

She has one husband and one grandson, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, is starting her sixth year blogging on Random Bits of Fascination, has built seven websites, attended eight English country dance balls, sewn nine Regency era costumes, and shared her life with ten cats.

Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event, Jane Austen fan fiction, JAFF, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty
Click here to return to the master list of Austen in August posts!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Jane Austen's Best Insults

Is it any surprise that Jane Austen is a master of the insult, the zinger, the perfect one-liner? After all, this is a woman who said of herself:
"I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal."

A post shared by Misty (@bookishmisty) on

A few nights ago, in my twitter chat Emma viewing, I said that one of the things I always tell people who haven't read Austen is that Jane Austen is FUNNY! There are many, many reasons why Jane is hilarious; truly, they are legion. But one of them — one of the best of them — is that she is damn good at an insult. Some of her insults are deliciously subtle (like Mr Collins' statement to Lizzie, "I have the highest opinion in the world of your excellent judgment in all matters within the scope of your understanding," made all the more hilarious because it's Mr Collins), and some are more overt, throwing-a-fit type insults ("Obstinate, headstrong girl!"). And of course, some of the most pivotal scenes in her books are based around insulting and being insulted (Hello, Darcy's entire proposal and also existence).

So collected here are some of my favorites, but before I get into them, this post was inspired by the following tweet, which is such the perfectly subtle Austen insult that I feel like a lot of readers miss it, or (like me, originally), think there's no way that's what she meant, right? Right?
(Hint: she totally did.)

Now, onto some of my faves! (There are truly so many!)

Austen's Best Heroes (for 2019) — guest post from Jennieke Cohen!

Today's post (likely, a controversial one) comes from Jennieke Cohen, whose debut novel, Dangerous Alliance, comes out this December. She's taken on the Herculean task of ranking Austen's men, not by who's the swooniest, or the handsomest, or the best at the quadrille, but by who best suits our modern sensabilities. Take a read through her reasoning below, and then let us know how much you agree or disagree and why, in the comments!

Greetings, Austenites!! I’m delighted to be taking part in Austen In August this year! Thanks, Misty, for having me and for letting me take on the question that Austen fans have debated for two hundred years: Who are Jane Austen’s best male characters??? No doubt EVERYONE has their own personal strong feelings on this subject, but I want to talk about who the best men are if we judge their personalities by 2019 standards. In this challenging, mixed-up, postmodern world of ours, I really think we ought to have some standards for judging the people we swoon over, so let’s pretend Austen’s men are magically transported into our time (and that they understand how everything works so they’re not wandering about staring at our modern conveniences as though they were magical) and see how they measure up. Here goes!

  1. Henry Tilney (Northanger Abbey). He’s friendly, good at making conversation, likes to dance, has a sense of humor, and he actually thinks about other people’s feelings! Oh, yeah, and thanks to his sister, he understands how to buy muslin, so he’d be happy to help you on a shopping trip if you think that’d be fun. And best of all, even after realizing you’re naive and flawed, he’ll still defy his father to be with you. Not sure how you top that?!

  2. Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility). Yeah, he’s not flashy, but he’s the kind of upright guy who’ll take care of your kid if something happens to you, fight a jerk for your honor, and do whatever he can in your hour of need (including getting a friend of yours a job even if he’s never met them). And, he’ll even give you space when he thinks you need it. If those aren’t praiseworthy qualities, I’m not sure what are!

  3. Mr. Bingley (Pride and Prejudice). It might seem a bit controversial to put Bingley so high on this list, but he’s another friendly type who isn’t fake and likes to get along with everyone. He’ll throw a party just so he can spend time with you, won’t try to make life complicated, and be generous to your family members (even the annoying ones). Does his good nature mean he’s sometimes too easily influenced by his friends and family? Sure, but that doesn’t mean he won’t eventually learn to listen to his own inner monologue and make decisions for himself.

  4. Captain Wentworth (Persuasion). Can he hold a grudge for a long time? Maaaybe, but he’ll still make sure to get his family to drive you home if he sees you’re tired, talk up your abilities to others, and buy you your own car so you have some freedom. And really folks, he writes the best love letters! “I have loved none but you.” Swoon!

  5. Edmund Bertram (Mansfield Park). You might make the argument that Edmund is a bit boring when the landscape of Austen’s men includes Tilney and Darcy and Wentworth, but he’s kind and compassionate, so he’ll cheer you up when you’re feeling forlorn, find books you’ll like, and come up with some exercises to keep your mind off your sad situation. He’s also generally accepting of others (though sometimes of people you might not approve of). If it turns out he’s a little too ready to accept and/or be influenced by some people, he’ll eventually see them for who they really are, and, hey, nobody’s perfect!

  6. Mr. Knightley (Emma). Knightley’s another stand-up guy who’s generous, kind, will try to get along with everyone, and will treat your friends and family well. Will he take an interest in improving your character? Probably yes, if he’s known you since childhood, and he may seem a bit judgy, but hey, most of his judgements turn out to be pretty accurate (and helpful…if you listen to them).

  7. Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice). Full disclosure: I love Mr. Darcy as much as anyone, but he’s brooding, quiet, and just might think he’s better than you because your social standing doesn’t match his. Are these super desirable traits in 2019? Not so much. Thus, his ranking here. But Darcy is honest (though that might anger you if you’re anything like Elizabeth Bennet), he’ll go to great lengths to fix his mistakes when he realizes he’s made them, and he’ll be really nice and accommodating to your relatives if you show up on his doorstep unannounced. You may have to put up with some mood swings, but he’s honorable and caring—if you have the patience to peel back some of his layers.

  8. Edward Ferrars (Sense and Sensibility). He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s not mercenary or class-conscious. He’s also really honorable, though probably not in a way you’ll understand. He’ll love your family, though he can rarely come to visit, and you may find yourself wondering why he just can’t tell you that thing that’s clearly on the tip of his tongue. Guess that’s why he’s at the bottom of the list. 🤷

So there you have it! My ranking of best Austen male personalities for 2019. Do you agree? Did I leave someone out? I’ve pointedly ignored the male antagonists for what I think are obvious reasons—if they were morally disagreeable two hundred years ago, I think there’s little hope for them today, but you may feel differently. Let the discussion commence! 😉

Jennieke Cohen, Dangerous Alliance, Austentacious Romance, Jane Austen, Jane Austen fanfiction, JAFF, Austen In August, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty
Jennieke Cohen (JEN-ih-kuh CO-en) is used to people mispronouncing her name and tries to spare her fictional characters the same problem. Jennieke is the author of the Jane Austen-inspired YA historical novel DANGEROUS ALLIANCE, which will be releasing December 3, 2019 from HarperTeen. She studied English history at Cambridge University and has a master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California. When not writing or researching little-known corners of history, you'll find her singing opera arias and show tunes, over-analyzing old movies, or discovering the best foodie spots in her native Northern California. Read more on Jennieke’s website www.JenniekeCohen.com or find her on Twitter or Instagram @Jennieke_Cohen

Jennieke Cohen, Dangerous Alliance, Austentacious Romance, Jane Austen, Jane Austen fanfiction, JAFF, Austen In August, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty, ya books, historical young adult
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Jane Austen in this witty, winking historical romance with a dash of mystery!

Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.

But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.

Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exact circumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day.

Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event, Jane Austen fan fiction, JAFF, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty
Click here to return to the master list of Austen in August posts!


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