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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Definitive Ranking of Austen Men: VOTE NOW!

As I mentioned a few days ago, I'm taking a different approach to our Janeite Conversations this year, and am encouraging all of you to weigh in on some Very Important Things, re: the best and worst of Austen.

Today's topic is something that draws a lot of Austen fans in, and keeps them coming back for more (and more, and. . .) and that is AUSTEN MEN.

Please tell me in the comments your absolute favorite, best of the best, Austen man. It can be a main character, it can be a side character, whichever gives you FEELS, rank him #1.

I know how hard it is to pick just one, so feel free to give me your top 3. Your top 5. The characters you wish you'd see more of in the books, the ones you think you'd get along with. Who would be your "Marries" in a game of Kiss, Marry, Kill — I wanna know them all. AND the bad ones — who don't you love? Who would you rather see fall off a cliff than have to be in a room with for more than 5 minutes?

Rate them. Rank them. Spill all the dirt on why.
I'll be taking people's answers, tallying up the math, and working everybody's answers together into an ultimate DEFINITIVE RANKING OF AUSTEN MEN, which will go up early next week, so get your rankings & swoonings in early!

Hells yes.

[Psst! If you need inspiration, or you just don't understand what the hell I'm talking about, make sure to check out past Janeite Conversations! You may find our discussion on Austen's bad boys especially helpful.
And feel free to weigh in on our Best of the WORST discussion while you're add it -- the answers will be going up soon!]

Return to the Austen in August Main Page by clicking here for more Janeite goodies!

Bringing Jane to Texas: guest post from Debra E. Marvin!

Bringing Jane to Texas.

The eight authors of the Austen in Austin collection are members of the Inkwell Inspirations blog. Many years ago, we chased the idea of an anthology of novellas as a way to move our writing careers forward—at the time few of us were published. We focused on two genres: Austen or Cowboys, and picked Austen-inspired! We brainstormed ways to incorporate Austen stories into a common setting, even though eight of us wanted to be part of it and Miss Austen had only six published novels. Everything was going well, and with much enthusiasm until one of us remarked that she was much more comfortable writing western settings than Regency. We didn't have to think twice about combining them, and Austen in Austin was born!

Finding a home for eight stories from eight new authors was a challenge, and the project stalled. I think we’d given up when WhiteFire Publishing wanted to give it a try. And look how lovely they are!

Adapting Austen to Austin!

The 1880s are quite far removed from the Regency period, whether set in England or Texas. But the flavor of an Austen tale easily carried to Late Victorian's gentle society. Our Austen inspired heroines attend a finishing school run by the very English and very delightful Mrs. Collins. Here’s a taste:

Discover four heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love--Jane Austen style. Volume 1 includes:

If I Loved You Less by Gina Welborn, based on Emma
A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor.

Romantic Refinements by Anita Mae Draper, based on Sense and Sensibility
A misguided academy graduate spends the summer falling in love . . . twice.

One Word from You by Susanne Dietze, based on Pride and Prejudice
A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career.

Alarmingly Charming by Debra E. Marvin, based on Northanger Abbey
A timid gothic dime-novel enthusiast tries to solve the mystery of a haunted cemetery and, even more shocking, why two equally charming suitors compete for her attentions.

Congratulations Misty, for another great Austen in August promotion! [Interjection from Misty: Thank you, thank you. *flourish & bow*]  I’m thrilled to be meet new readers and some old friends here. Tomorrow,  I’ll be giving away a paperback copy of Austen in Austin and one of my ebook Alarmingly Charming, so make sure to stick around for that! Volume Two is due out Sept 15. It’s not a prerequisite, but please let me know if you’d like to receive my newsletter*. I only send them out when I have a new release.

To promote both books, we’d like to connect with reviewers as well. Please let me know in the comments if you’d like to be involved. Promotional digital copies will be available soon, with priority to those who’ve taken the time to review Vol 1.

Readers, do you prefer Austen characters in new adventures, or Austen-inspired characters? Or are you equal fans of both. Don’t incriminate yourself!

[Second interjection from Misty: I would also like to know what your favorite non-traditional setting/time period is. Let us know your answers in the comments!]

*If you'd like to sign up for the newsletter, let us know in the comments or on tomorrow's Rafflecopter form, where you can leave your email address safely. Same for if you're a reviewer interested in a promotional copy -- let us know in the comments, or contact me directly, I'll be passing along a list. Please do not leave email addresses or sensitive info in the comments!

Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. Her published novellas include, “Alarmingly Charming” in Austen in Austen Vol 1 from WhiteFire Publishing, “Desert Duet” and "Starlight Serenade" from Forget Me Not Romances, after many unpublished contest successes including two finals for the Daphne DuMaurier award. Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University, and enjoys her family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends.

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B018QCI2AS
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Debra-E-Marvin-433266640199533
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebraEMarvin
Website: http://debraemarvin.com/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/debraemarvin/
Group Blog- Inkwell Inspirations: http://www.inkwellinspirations.com/

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

INTERFERENCE by Kay Honeyman | Review

Interference by Kay Honeyman
Get It | Add It
Contemporary, 352 pages
Expected publication: September 27th 2016 by Arthur A. Levine Books
Friday Night Lights meets Jane Austen's Emma in this wonderful novel about a big election, big games, the big state of Texas, and a little romance.

As a Congressman's daughter in Washington, DC, Kate Hamilton is good at getting what she wants -- what some people might call "interfering." But when her family moves to West Texas so her dad can run in a special election, Kate encounters some difficulties that test all her political skills. None of her matchmaking efforts go according to plan. Her father's campaign gets off to a rough start. A pro tip for moving to Texas: Don't slam the star quarterback's hand in a door. And whenever Kate messes up, the irritatingly right (and handsome) Hunter Price is there to witness it. But Kate has determination and a good heart, and with all her political savvy -- and a little clever interference -- she'll figure out what it takes to make Red Dirt home.

Terrifically funny and sweetly romantic, with whip-crack dialogue and a wise perspective on growing up, Interference is the perfect next read for fans of Jenny Han, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Elizabeth Eulberg, or Sarah Dessen.

Those of you who watched my First Impressions video on Interference will likely have suspected I was going to love this. I was smitten right from the first page, couldn't get over the voice and the fantastic dry humor, and well, everything, basically. There may have been "delighted jazz hands" in the video, so. . .  Basically I said it was on track to be a favorite of 2016, unless it took a nosedive, so now the question is: did it?

Thankfully, thankfully, it did not. Interference was strong from beginning to end. It was warm and endearing and funny, and captured the place-feel very well. As I said in the video, it set up a lot of interesting contrasts well right from the beginning (there vs here, then vs now, us vs them). I can't speak to the Friday Night Lights of it all, as I've never watched it (couldn't get past the nauseating shaky-cam of the first episode; someone tell me if the camera work gets better and its worth sticking around?), but I'd imagine that any YA small town slice-of-Americana that heavily features football probably garners the same comparison.

What I can speak to is the Austen of it all, and I gotta say, it hits Emma notes in very clever ways, much the same way Clueless did: not over-the-top, but with all these little nods and easter eggs for Austen fans, while interpreting and reinventing the story in fresh, fun ways. There's some really smart thinking in using the daughter of a politician to reframe the story of Emma for the modern day -- the theme of manipulation for the greater good and that sense of well-meaning superiority that is such a part of Emma's world fits perfectly with a daughter who has been raised on the campaign trail and in front of cameras. It's one of those strokes of perfect obviousness that is borderline genius — of course! Of course a modern Emma would get her manipulation skills and ability to spin things to her benefit from a politician father! Of course someone whose grown up in a world where people are both passionately fighting for what they feel is right while also being absolutely sharks would pick up some of Emma's puppet master tendencies. It's really a very clever mash-up.

Now, like Emma, whom many readers have MAJOR likability problems with, some readers may never connect to Kate, or may want to jump ship before she learns some lessons and wins her likability points. But as I've always said, Emma is one of my favorite characters, and I relate to her a lot. I relate to her hard, y'all. I've got as much Emma in me as I do Lizzy (that's right, I'm a self-important smartypants who knows whats best for everyone else, but never takes her own advice. Soz!), so I loved Kate from the start. One of the joys of Emma for me is that, even when Emma is getting herself (and those around her. Oops) into colossal snarls, following her own misguided compass, you can always see why she thinks she's right. Her actions, though inevitably wrong, make sense. The same is true of Kate; she doesn't listen when people tell her that she's interpreting something incorrectly, and she doesn't kowtow to someone else's greater understanding of a person's character that they've known their whole life — she knows how things have worked for her in the past, where she's from, and she knows how she'd expect people to react, and why should here be any different? She goes full-steam ahead with her schemes, convinced that she's right and someone just needs to try, and that may frustrate some readers, but I get her — because how do you know if you don't try? And frankly, I like a confident (some may say cocky, I say confident) YA heroine or young woman in general. (I think that's part of the reason that I actually resent Knightley a little bit. He just had to be right. 😒)

I don't know what else there really is to say. In many ways, it's a typical, familiar story; that doesn't bother me, because it just makes it seem relatable and familiar-like-a-friend, rather than just the same old, recycled storylines. (And I mean, it is a retelling, so... I expect that feel.) Its main character may put some people off, but I love her; but then, I do tend to love the MCs that no one else does (and I'm okay with that). As always, I'd say just know yourself as a reader: if you're not a fan of Emma, there's a good chance you won't like her rewritten. If you love fluffy, fun contemporary,* you might like this. And if you're not, you won't.

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments, especially if you've read this or watched my First Impressions and have thoughts on the style! Also, can I hear from some fellow Emma lovers out there? It was many, many years before I realized that a lot of people didn't actually like her (like, seriously, many years. I read it when I was 17, and I think I only realized last year when our read along was Emma. I was baffled(ish), startled, and a little bit heart-broken.)
And if you end up picking this book up, please come back or find me on twitter and let me know what you thought!

*Speaking of, the synopsis compares this to Elizabeth Eulberg (with which I agree) and Sarah Dessen, and now I wanna know: is this how Sarah Dessen writes? Is this the kind of story she tells? Because if so, I've been missing out and need to change that. Someone who's read this, let me know, pls!

Wanna get a taste for the writing style? Check out my First Impressions video, in which I share a sneak peek!
And don't forget, you can win your Austenesque book of choice (including this one!) in my AIA giveaway!

Return to the Austen in August Main Page by clicking here for more Janeite goodies!

GIVEAWAY: Courtship & Marriage in Jane Austen's World by Maria Grace!

Yesterday, Maria Grace stopped by to provide some background on just what exactly is going on in Sense & Sensibility; today, she's offering you a chance to win her latest, Courtship & Marriage in Jane Austen's World!
Check it out:

Courtship & Marriage in Jane Austen's World by Maria Grace
Jane Austen’s books are full of hidden mysteries for the modern reader. Why on earth would Elizabeth Bennet be expected to consider a suitor like foolish Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice? Would Lydia's 'infamous elopement' truly have ruined her family and her other sisters’ chances to marry? Why were the Dashwood women thrown out of their home after Mr. Dashwood's death in Sense and Sensibility, and what was the problem with secret engagements anyway? And then there are settlements, pin money, marriage articles and many other puzzles for today’s Austen lovers.

Customs have changed dramatically in the two centuries since Jane Austen wrote her novels. Beyond the differences in etiquette and speech, words that sound familiar to us are often misleading. References her original readers would have understood leave today’s readers scratching their heads and missing important implications.

Take a step into history with Maria Grace as she explores the customs, etiquette and legalities of courtship and marriage in Jane Austen's world. Packed with information and rich with detail from Austen's novels, Maria Grace casts a light on the sometimes bizarre rules of Regency courtship and unravels the hidden nuances in Jane Austen's works.

In celebration of her new book, Maria has offered up 1 e-book of Courtship & Marriage in Jane Austen's World to 1 lucky winner!
This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!
Ends September 10th at 11:59 pm EST
Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.
Good luck, and keep an eye out for an excerpt of the book, coming soon (as well as a chance at more bonus entries)!

The Wisdom of Fanny Price | guest post from Beth!

We all like to hate on Mansfield Park from time to time — but shockingly, today is not one of those times. Beth is back to share with us some of the wisdom that can be gleaned from Fanny's words and actions, so grab one of those mincemeat pies you've undoubtedly made since the last time Beth dropped in, take a seat, and lets all give Fanny her moment to shine. . .

Like just about everyone else, the first time I read Mansfield Park, I was bored out of my skull. After the sparkling wit of Elizabeth Bennet, the steadfast drama of Marianne, the meddling of Emma, and the imagination of Catherine Morland, Fanny Price was....well, dull.

At first reading, she comes across as sanctimonious and simply too perfect. And there's no big dramatic moment in the plot where simmering tensions boil over and declarations of love change the course of fate.

But as I've gotten older, and re-read the story from the perspective of a settled, old woman, it occurs to me that Fanny Price is actually one of the best models for real-life behavior.

She's boring because, unlike the torrid passions of the younger-type heroines, she knows herself. She can't NOT know herself; she's basically her only friends since childhood (unless you count Edmund, which I don't).

According to Fanny Price:

1.) It is not your responsibility to inspire another human being to improve themselves. (Henry Crawford be damned)
2.) Knowing your own heart is better than being a mysterious or exciting person. (If only Maria figured that out sooner)

3.) Discretion is the better part of valor. (Oh you may look like a doormouse, but also, nobody can blame you for betraying them, and everyone thinks of you as trustworthy and therefore an upright person)

4.) Be true to yourself, not other people's expectations of you. (Especially if they try to shame you into action)

5.) If you love someone, have the courage to hold your peace. Letting them decide if they feel the same, without pressure from you, is the only way to be sure they truly return your feelings. (Tough, and not dramatically satisfying, but isn't it infinitely better to be able to believe in their love absolutely?)

You can find more of Beth's Austen in August posts here, as well as on her own blog, Printcess (where you can also pick up some awesome lit-nerdy makeup, if that's your thing! And why wouldn't it be?).

Return to the Austen in August Main Page by clicking here for more Janeite goodies!

Monday, August 29, 2016

"Making Sense of Sense and Sensibility" | guest post from Maria Grace!

You probably recall Maria Grace from all of the amazing things she's done for Austen in August over the years. (And from her books. Probably from those, too.)
Well, she's back again this year with a whole host of stuff, but she's kicking it off with a little look into S&S, and just why all of those Very Significant Things (that you may have been confused about) are so significant.
Take a look below, let us know in the comments if there's anything else about S&S that you're baffled by, and keep an eye out for our next post from Maria! (Hint: it's a giveaway!)

Sense and Sensibility can be a particularly difficult book for readers because so much of the plot lies in customs and laws that were peculiar to the Regency Era. To help with the read along Misty’s hosting, here are some answers to some of the most puzzling questions about Sense and Sensibility.

Why doesn’t Mrs. Dashwood inherit the house or anything else when her husband dies?
In the early eighteen hundreds, inheritance was a little more complicated that it is today. While it was possible for women to inherit, it wasn’t common Usually an estate would go to the eldest son. Younger sons and daughters might inherit cash from a lump sum set aside for the purpose at the time of their parent’s marriage. . Wives had no right to their husband’s property; daughters could only inherit and estate if there were no sons born and the estate wasn’t entailed like the Bennet’s in Pride and Prejudice.

In the case of the Dashwoods, the eldest son inherited the estate. Provisions made by the previous owner of the estate, Mr. Dashwood’s uncle, prevented him from leaving any part of the property to his second wife and daughters.

Since the heir was not the current Mrs. Dashwood’s son, he had no obligation to her. Thus, she and her daughter’s had to leave their home and settle elsewhere.

Her marriage articles—a prenuptial agreement—laid out provision for her widowhood. The most typical arrangement would have been for an annuity (yearly payments) for the rest of her life amounting to one tenth of the dowry she brought into the marriage. She was also entitled keep the china and similar household articles that she brought into the marriage. Everything else stayed with the house and was property of the heir. So she and her daughters had something to live on, but it was a far cry from what they were accustomed to.

Still, 500 pounds a year was not a shabby income. A middle class family could live on that quite comfortably. It was not enough to maintain a carriage, though. That would require about 1000 a year. But they were hardly impoverished.

What was the problem with a secret engagement and why didn’t Edward Ferrars break things off with Lucy Steele when he fell in love with Elinor?
First, secret engagements were considered scandalous moral lapses. Since marriage was the backbone of society, one's marriage state (unmarried, engaged, married or widowed—divorced was not really an option) was an important piece of public record. Carrying on a secret engagement was tantamount to lying to society at large.

Second, an engagement was effectively a legal contract, one which could result in legal action for breach of contract. Secret engagements presented a host of difficulties in managing the legal aspects of the contract.

Third, in the era, it was really all about the betrothal. A promise to marry was all but as good as a legal marriage. So keeping the engagement secret was like keeping a marriage secret.
Moreover, since a betrothal was nearly a marriage, many couples anticipated their vows—one third of brides went to the altar pregnant. If an engagement was broke, most would assume that the woman had compromised her virtue with her intended, and her reputation would be ruined. An honorable man—and a man’s honor was hugely important in those days—would not break an engagement and cause such harm to a lady.

How did Mrs. Ferrars disinherit eldest son Edward when primogenitor was the law of the land?
Primogenitor referred to the inheritance of a landed estate. Mrs. Ferrars had a fortune which she herself controlled. She might have brought a large dowry into her marriage, had a sum settled on her in the marriage articles, or had a substantial jointure. The key point is that the money was hers, so she could do with it what she wanted. So, she could adjust her will to reflect her displeasure at her son.
The documents were set up in such a way that the change was irrevocable. So when the younger son, Robert, took up with Lucy, she could not change them to disinherit him.

Why were Marianne and Willoughby so shocking?
I think modern readers really miss this detail. Marianne and Willoughby were absolutely scandalous in their behavior. They broke every rule of proper decorum, leaving people to assume that they were engaged.

Riding alone in a carriage together, taking a lock of hair, walking without a chaperone, those were all highly improper and reserved for those married or engaged. When Willoughby took Marianne to see Allenham, he was effectively inviting her to start mentally setting up housekeeping. It was as close to making her an offer of marriage as he could get without actually saying the words. So everyone assumed they were engaged.

Going back to the earlier point about engagements and the behavior of engaged couples, Marianne was entirely compromised and her reputation ruined.

If you enjoyed this post, check out my new book, Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World. It details the customs, etiquette and legalities of courtship and marriage during the regency era and how it relates to all of Jane Austen’s works. The book is available for Pre-order now and will be available on September 1.

Courtship & Marriage in Jane Austen's World by Maria Grace
Jane Austen’s books are full of hidden mysteries for the modern reader. Why on earth would Elizabeth Bennet be expected to consider a suitor like foolish Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice? Would Lydia's 'infamous elopement' truly have ruined her family and her other sisters’ chances to marry? Why were the Dashwood women thrown out of their home after Mr. Dashwood's death in Sense and Sensibility, and what was the problem with secret engagements anyway? And then there are settlements, pin money, marriage articles and many other puzzles for today’s Austen lovers.

Customs have changed dramatically in the two centuries since Jane Austen wrote her novels. Beyond the differences in etiquette and speech, words that sound familiar to us are often misleading. References her original readers would have understood leave today’s readers scratching their heads and missing important implications.

Take a step into history with Maria Grace as she explores the customs, etiquette and legalities of courtship and marriage in Jane Austen's world. Packed with information and rich with detail from Austen's novels, Maria Grace casts a light on the sometimes bizarre rules of Regency courtship and unravels the hidden nuances in Jane Austen's works.

About the Author:
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, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six new novels in the works, attended seven period balls, sewn eight Regency era costumes, shared her life with nine cats through the years and published her tenth book last year.

She can be contacted at:
On Amazon.com:
Random Bits of Fascination (http://RandomBitsofFascination.com)
Austen Variations (http://AustenVariations.com)
English Historical Fiction Authors
On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace
On Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/mariagrace423/

Return to the Austen in August Main Page by clicking here for more Janeite goodies!

Giveaway: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James!

Yesterday, Jenetta James dropped in to talk about her road to Austen and how she became not only a Janeite, but an Austenesque author to boot!
Today, she's giving you a chance to win a copy of her latest take on Pride and Prejudice, The Elizabeth Papers!
Check it out:

The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James
Get a Copy | Add It To Goodreads
229 pages
Published May 29th 2016 by Meryton Press
“It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world,” said Elizabeth Bennet at the conclusion of “Pride & Prejudice”—but was it true?

Charlie Haywood is a London-based private investigator who has made his own fortune—on his own terms. Charming, cynical, and promiscuous, he never expected to be attracted to Evie Pemberton, an independent-minded artist living with the aftermath of tragedy. But when he is hired to investigate her claims to a one hundred and fifty year old trust belonging to the eminent Darcy family, he is captivated.

Together they become entwined in a Regency tale of love, loss, and mystery tracing back to the grand estate of Pemberley, home to Evie’s nineteenth century ancestors, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. As if travelling back in time, a story unfolds within their story. All was not as it seemed in the private lives of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, but how can they ever uncover the whole truth?

How could they know that in 1817 Elizabeth Darcy began a secret journal? What started as an account of a blissful life came to reflect a growing unease. Was the Darcy marriage perfect or was there betrayal and deception at its heart?

Can Evie and Charlie unearth the truth in the letters of Fitzwilliam Darcy or within the walls of present-day Pemberley? What are the elusive Elizabeth papers and why did Elizabeth herself want them destroyed?

"The Elizabeth Papers" is a tale of romance and intrigue, spanning the Regency and modern eras, reminding us how the passions of the past may inspire those in the present.

Jenetta James has offered up one (1) copy of The Elizabeth Papers, in their choice of paperback or e-book, to one lucky winner!
This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!
Ends September 10th at 11:59 pm EST
Fill out the Rafflecopter and comment on Jenetta's blog post to enter.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Return to the Austen in August Main Page by clicking here for more Janeite goodies!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

My Austenesque Favorites!

A question pops up in my inbox and on Twitter and in comment sections across my corner of the internet from time to time, and that question is: So, I hear you like JAFF; what are some of your favorites?

JAFF, for those of you who don't know, stands for Jane Austen Fan Fiction, aka sequels and continuations and reimaginings and reworkings of Jane Austen's work. The category is HUGE, and spreads into books and media that you might not even realize is influenced by Austen (her works are public domain, after all, and timeless in a way that allows people to make use of them in just about anything). Because it's such a huge category, and because I host a JAFF lovefest every year, new ones are constantly coming to my attention -- meaning that this list of "favorites" is likely to change, and change again, and keep growing and expanding for the foreseeable future -- though these are my favorites, for now. (Or, at least some that I've really liked, with a little something for everybody.)

If you want to see my whole Jane Austen collection (only slightly out of date...ish), check out this video.  Or head over to Austen in August to enter to win a JAFF book of your choice!

(no offense to any other Janeite author whose book I've read, these are just the ones that jump out at me when I think of some faves! And there are still a LOT of JAFF books out there and on my own shelves that I have yet to read, so... hope to be expanding this list in the future!)
Austensibly Ordinary
Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy
Persuade Me
There Must Be Murder
For Darkness Shows the Stars
Mistaking Her Character
Epic Fail
A Weekend with Mr Darcy
Murder at Mansfield Park
The Duff

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored video.

Return to the Austen in August Main Page by clicking here for more Janeite goodies!

Miss Jane Austen and me | guest post from Jenetta James!

You guys might recall Jenetta James from last years "On Austen...In August" post, as well as my review of her book, Suddenly Mrs Darcy. She's rejoined us this year to talk about her history with Austen and how she became a Janeite — which might just be a bit of a theme this year... — in celebration of her latest, The Elizabeth PapersMake sure to pop in tomorrow for a chance to win a copy!

Miss Jane Austen and me

Firstly, thank you to Misty for hosting me again during Austen in August. In addition to this post, I am offering a giveaway (open internationally, either e-book or paperback, whichever the winner prefers) of my recent novel, The Elizabeth Papers, so make sure to stop back by tomorrow to enter!

So, this is the second year that I have taken part in this blog event and for the second time, have found myself writing the post whilst on holiday. I am blaming the holiday spirit for my slightly reflective mood on both occasions. This post is about how I “met” Miss Austen and why (I think) it has turned out to be such an enduring acquaintance.

When I was 11, an Aunt of mine gave me the complete Jane Austen. She suggested that I wait a few years before reading any of it and in any event, that I should read Persuasion last. The reason for this was her view that Persuasion is the best one and the most mature. Being a bit of a contrarian, I immediately got started on Anne Elliott’s tale of second chances. I was mostly lost. The romance was not quite the sort to touch an 11 year old girl (although I did like Captain Wentworth, even then), and the social satire left me completely baffled. Back on the shelf went my Jane Austen library, for the time being.

Fast forward 2 years and the BBC’s now famous mini series burst into living rooms around the country, including ours. The series was very well advertised before it was broadcast and my Jane Austen donating Aunt called to check that I’d read it, to which I had to say, no. So, a friend and I decided to try to “read along”. Trouble was, the BBC didn’t issue guidance on how many chapters to an episode, and the whole thing turned into a bit of a comedy of errors. We hadn’t read as far as the Hunsford proposal and so were as astounded as Elizabeth when it came on screen.

Still, I loved it and it gave me the confidence, slowly, to move onto Sense & Sensibility and then Emma and so on. I finally read and enjoyed Persuasion at 29. Over the years, there have been lots of re-readings, lots of dipping in and out. I took Pride & Prejudice into hospital with me when I was in labour with my first baby, although it is fair to say that this was another misjudgement on my part, as there wasn’t much reading of anything involved.

Miss Austen is an author who seems to ask the reader to link arms with her and go for a wander. She is companionable in a way unrivalled by other classic writers. For myself, I put her long standing place in my life down to the acutely observed characters, who we can all recognise and the blend of satire and romance that pervades her work. There is a humour and a hopefulness in it which comes back to me time and time again and is, I suppose, why I never tire of any of it.

I would love to read about when and how you “met Miss Austen”…

Leave a comment below telling us how you became a Janeite as an entry in tomorrow's giveaway of The Elizabeth Papers

*To be officially entered, you will have to fill out the Rafflecopter on the giveaway page, in which one of the entries is leaving a comment. You will not have to leave a new comment to enter -- just click enter!

Jenetta James is the nom de plume of a lawyer, writer, mother and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practises full time as a barrister. Over the years she has lived in France, Hungary and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego. Suddenly Mrs Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers are available now!

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Best Worst Character: a discussion(ish)

Every year for the majority of Austen in August, I've hosted silly round-table discussions in which groups of Austen authors (or even fellow bloggers & AIA readers) let me interview them, pick their words apart and piece them back together in some of the silliest, most fun posts in all of AIA. I love them.

But I wanted to get more of you involved in the discussion, so this year I'm doing things a little different (and even more different than I intended to, since I forgot to post the questionnaire. . .).  This year, we're going to have our silly little conversations right here in the comments, and I'm going to pick apart YOUR words and piece them back together in a future post in which we will DEFINITIVELY (mostly) answer some burning Austen questions.

So, in the comments, if you please, I'd like you to make the case for which character YOU think is Austen's BEST WORST CHARACTER. 

You can interpret this how you will.
Is it a character you love to hate, like Caroline Bingley or Mrs. Elton?
A character guilty of dastardly deeds, like Willoughby or Wickham?
Is it a character everyone else hates, but that you absolutely love? (Lookin' at you, Crawfords.)
Or is it one of the single most irritating characters in all of literature; a character written so well and yet so horribly that they actually make you cringe with how much you'd dislike being around them in person? Ahem *MrCollinsMaryMusgroveMrsBennetMissBatesJohnThorpeMrsJenningsetcetc*

All I need is a quick sound bite from you (though of course, you are free to argue for your pick(s) at length), and then in a week or so, I will remix everyone's answers into a "discussion" in which we will try to determine once and for all just which character really is the best of the worst.

If you need inspiration, or you just don't understand what the hell I'm talking about, make sure to check out past Janeite Conversations! (You may find our discussions on Austen's bad boys, bitches, and unforgivables especially helpful.)

Hope to hear from you in the comments!

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Sense & Sensibility Was My Gateway Austen Drug | guest post from author Karen Cox!

The following is a clip-heavy post courtesy author Karen Cox, so make sure you click through to watch all of the S&S goodies!

Some time around 1996, I found Jane Austen for the last time.
I had tried to read Sense and Sensibility before, but had set it aside. I was a young mother, with no time to sit and parse the 18th century prose. I was working on my dissertation. I was trying to build a career. So I gave up on Austen, at least temporarily. I put her away for another time when life wasn’t so busy. I would return once my days settled down.

Well, my life never did settle down, but Jane came storming back into it when I happened upon Ang Lee’s “Sense and Sensibility”—you know, the one with the amazing Emma Thompson, and Kate Winslet, and Hugh Grant.
I don’t think I saw it at the movie theater, so I must have seen it on video (we called them VHS tapes back then.)
Movie adaptations of books are tricky things, but the beauty of this one—the slow, almost leisurely pace of it, and the bittersweet tang of romantic angst, ran through my veins like a drug. Add in the maddening manipulation of Lucy Steele, the hilarity of Mrs. Jennings, the avarice of Fanny Dashwood, and I was hooked. I had to read Sense and Sensibility. I made myself finish it. It took me two tries because I was so unused to reading classic literature. It’s still one of my least favorites of Austen’s published works. But finish it I did, and then I decided to tackle the best known of her books, Pride and Prejudice. I then discovered P&P 95, and Colin Firth, and that sealed my fate. I went on to read Emma, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and last year, I finally completed the Austen hat trick by devouring Northanger Abbey for the first time.
The Sense and Sensibility movie was the beginning for me. So for Austen in August’s Sense and Sensibility celebration, I decided my contribution should be called:

5 Best Reasons Why Ang Lee’s Sense & Sensibility Was My Gateway Austen Drug:
(and here we go)

Alan Rickman: He managed to make a 30+year-old man in love with a moody teenager who reminded him of his dead first love not at all creepy. I mean that sincerely—he charmed my socks off with gems like this scene:

Emma Thompson: In addition to writing the screenplay, she carried that movie with elegance and class, in scenes like these:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Austen Movie Weekend: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies review

Hey! It's Austen Movie Weekend! Tomorrow night we'll be live watching & twitter chatting up a storm for part one of Sense & Sensibility, so definitely pop in on Twitter with the hashtag #AustenInAugust to get in on that craziness. But until then, we're taking a look at something I had high(ish) hopes for. Was I a fool?  Let's find out!

As I'm sure we all know by now, I was not a fan of Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. It still stands out as one of the most personally disappointing books I've ever read, not because I was expecting a masterpiece, but because of the great potential it had to be really, really fun. As big an Austen fan as I am, I'm not very precious about retellings:  a good idea is a good idea, and I'm willing to see favorite stories remixed, picked at, completely dismantled and put back together in new configurations — it's all fair game, so long as whatever IT is is well done.
PPZ was not.

BUT because I thought the idea has so much potential, I was actually really excited when I heard it was being adapted for the big screen. I figured that all of the issues I had with the novel were really issues with SGS' writing, style, and choices, and that in new hands and playing out right in front of my eyes, it would probably be the cheeky, irreverent, hilariously well-mannered bloodbath that I'd been expecting from the book. . . And it was, in some ways. But in others, it really enforced just what it was that I didn't like about the book, but in new ways.


There are times when it does strike that fantastic balance between Regency precision and mores with light-hearted gore. There are occasional lingering shots that manage to meld the minutiae of a Regency-era woman's daily life (the pleasantries and the primping, the delicate manners and the subtle social ploys), with the harsher "realities" of life amidst the zombie horde — scenes of the Bennet girls joufully polishing their guns, for example, or strapping knives to thigh-holsters hidden under their empire-waist dresses. If it melded these more frequently and more thoroughly (a complaint I also had with the book), then I would have liked it heaps more.

It was, by and large, a very attractive cast (except for Darcy, who is supposed to be srsly handsome, but the actor did nothing for me — soz, Darce!), and most of them did seem to strive for that playful-serious balance; they didn't take themselves so seriously that they seemed cheesy, but they also didn't treat their characters so playfully that you couldn't believe them as Regency-era characters.

This is perhaps the first adaptation (and likely the only) in which I found Mr Collins actually delightful. I mean, he's still a buffoon, but Matt Smith played him hilariously, and if I'd rewatch this movie for anything, it'd be for the brief scenes in which Collins makes an appearance and does something random. [Side note: I've liked other Collins performances, but that is a different thing entirely than liking the character of Collins himself. Mostly, I just find him creepy, especially in the films, where the actors really amp up that factor, but Matt Smith was an awkward delight.
I also liked Lady Catherine, a bit, and thought Lena Headey played her with a great deal of subtle, quirky humor. I don't know what to say about the fact that I liked both Collins and Catherine, but I did. So there's that.

The cinematography was actually pretty great, and there was a cool little illustrated intro that was pretty neat.

THE PRONS (1/2 pro, 1/2 con):

They managed to wedge the now apparently-obligatory "Darcy in a wet shirt" scene in, not just once but THREE times. (I think. At least that.) And Darcy wears a leather tailcoat? I'm sure they were trying to make him more badass and fierce, but it actually came across as really, really cheesy. Though I'm sure someone in a production meeting somewhere was very pleased with themselves for that idea.

I'm not entirely sure what book they were following. . . I mean, maybe I blocked out quite a bit more than I thought, in my dislike of PPZ, but past a certain point in the movie, I didn't really recognize much of what was happening. Did I not finish the book? I finished the book, right, I'm basically 8000% certain that I trudged my way through the entire thing. There was so much that happened — like, the entire thrust of the main zombie plot — that seemed completely new or totally different to me. This is a pro because, hey! I didn't like the book to begin with. But it's also a con because, hey, if you liked this book, the movie is not the book you read AND BECAUSE some of the changes added to my overall cons, which we're about to discuss riiiiiiiiiiiight meow—


Much like the book, the movie never really found its footing for me. The tone remains pretty uneven throughout both, and I don't think either team (Quirk and SGS or the producers/director/screenwriter(s) of the adaptation) figured out where to skew their focus so that the whole thing could seem cohesive. By not playing up either the Regency aspects or the zombie aspects, the focus felt very split, and not in a way that worked to add tension or humorous contrast. Instead, it feels too literally like the "mash-up" that it is, and like Austen's original story is just the incidental vehicle for zombie-slashing (or vice versa), which in all likelihood, it is. Again, I'm not expecting a nuanced masterpiece, but both story and script really do seem like work-for-hire rather than a labor of love, and if you're going to do the story (which again, could be REALLY FUN), you need to love Austen at least a little bit. You need to care about at least some of the details.
It never felt like that was the case (which was my #1 complaint against the book).

The film also drove home my #2 complaint, which was style: unfortunately, at least in the beginning, they chose to embrace SGS's crudeness as a poor substitute for actual humor. Now, I know, I know, this makes me sound like the "I bet you're real fun at parties. /s" girl, and yeah, I'm not a huge fan of crude humor in general. There's a time and a place in which it really does work, but mostly it seems cheap and pointless to me. But for PPZ, there really is solid reasoning behind why it just doesn't work, and it's that at its heart, it's still a Regency Romance. In order to play up the humor in the absurdity of an Austen/zombie mashup, you really need to capitalize on the Regency aspects of the story. Aside from obvious changes caused by the invasion (like the girls training to kill), the further you get from a real Austen "feel," the less successful the mashup becomes. It's no longer Austen with OMG ZOMBIES HOW HILARIOUS AND WEIRD. It's just a bad zombie movie with girls in pretty dresses. You have to keep the heart of the story intact in order to successfully adapt it (and if you do, you can do just about anything).

Lastly, it felt chaotic. This goes back to the two-stories-mashed-into-one complaint, but everything felt rushed and never quite fleshed out (ba dum tss); the fantastic dynamic character reversal that Pride & Prejudice is known for never really comes to pass, or when it does, it's forced and tacked on rather than actualized and demonstrated. We never witness Darcy's careful transformation, and the Darcy that proposes at the end doesn't seem all that far removed from the Darcy who coarsely shatters a wine glass and stabs someone in the face at a card table in the opening scene (which, can we talk about that? Actually, forget that, let's not.). And other than rescuing Lydia, no foundation is really built for Elizabeth's change of heart, so that when she does claim to now love Darcy, it's not all that believable.

So all in all, it wasn't horrible, but it still didn't deliver what I hoped it would. And that's really all I have to say about it. I'm done ranting about Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, and I'm done being disappointed in its lack of realized potential. I think I need to just move on from this one and let it go. . .
The good news is, it's available to rent on Amazon for only $0.99 right now, and there are worse ways to spend a buck.
Here's the trailer, if you're undecided:

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Sense & Sensibility Read Along Discussion Questions, part 1

Hopefully many of you have picked up a copy of Sense & Sensibility for this year's read along (and hopefully if you have, you've actually cracked the book and gotten started!). For those of you who have already read it or started reading as soon as the Read Along was announced in July, it's time to gather round — with your teas and your coffees and your tiny, tiny sandwiches — and all begin talking over each other at once!
It's time for part one of our Sense & Sensibility discussion questions!

Note: S&S was originally published in 3 volumes, and currently, some copies are still split up into those volumes (with their own chapters), while others number the chapters contiguously and don't contain volume splits. So we're all on the same (figurative and maybe literal) page, I'm going to be using the contiguous chapter numbering from Project Gutenberg (which you can get for free here).  This first set of questions covers chapters 1-25; for clarity for those of you using different copies, this covers up to preparations to leave for London.

  • What are your first impressions of the book? The characters? Anything you find confusing, or were shocked by? 
  • Contrast Elinor and Marianne. Do you find yourself siding with or relating to one over the other? If you've read the book before, has your opinion  and/or "allegiance" changed since you first read it? 
  • There's a lot to be said for the female personalities in this novel — especially E & M, of course, since they exemplify the attributes of the title), but the male personalities showcased are pretty fascinating as well. From their brother's easily swayed callousness, Sir Middleton's jocularity, Edward's ease, Willoughby's charm and Brandon's quiet intensity, there's a lot going on to pick apart and dig into. Who stands out to you, and why? Are there any red flags about anyone's behavior that stick out to you at this point, and if so, what do you think they mean? Also, contrast their presentation and what you know of them with the female characters -- any major differences or surprises? Do you find them more or less open/understandable/relatable than the women of the novel, and why or why not?
  • Speaking of red flags, the first 1/2 of the book brings us two of the most manipulative women in Austen (and there Austen has written some doozies, so this is really saying something). Discuss Fanny Dashwood and Lucy Steele, and your reaction to them. Do you see any good intentions in their actions, or any excuses/defenses you can make for them (2 of Austen's most hated characters)?
  • What do you make of the pairings and longings so far? Do they feel well-suited? And what do you make of Col. Brandon's infatuation with Marianne, as he is roughly twice her age and only a few years younger than her own mother? 
  • Austen originally wrote S&S as an epistolary novel, or a "novel in letters" — how different do you think the book, and your reaction to it, would be if it had been written in letters? Can you foresee any major changes to plot points and events if the whole thing had been presented in letters (ie would things change or get lost in the telling rather than the doing)? Do you think you would have enjoyed it in epistolary form?
  • The end of Chapter 25 sees the girls leaving for London with very different feelings and outlooks. Discuss events so far, and your projections for what London will bring (if you've not read the book before, any predictions for what you think is going to happen in the second half?).
  • Anything else you want to discuss from the first 1/2 of the book? Significant events, favorite lines, etc?

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Mount Hope by Sarah Price | Guest Review from Sophia Rose!

You may recall Sophia Rose, author of the Austenesque story Second Chance at Sunset Beach, from last year's guest post in which she made the case for why Austen's minor characters are actually the best.
This year, she's dropping in to share her thoughts on the Austen-meets-Amish story, Mount Hope. Check it out below, and leave Sophia some love by sharing your thoughts in the comments!

Mount Hope by Sarah Price
#5 Amish Classics
Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction
Publisher: Realms  |  Published: 9.6.16
Pages: 304  |  Rating: 4
Format: eARC  |  Source: Net Galley
Sellers: Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

When her father can no longer provide for his large family, Fanny Price is sent away from her small Amish community in Colorado to live with her aunt’s family in Mount Hope, Ohio. Fanny immediately feels out of place at the Bontrager farm but finds a friend in her aunt’s stepson, Elijah Bontrager. As time passes, Fanny begins to long for their friendship to blossom into something more, but her hopes are dashed when Elijah starts to court someone else. With her uncle pressuring her to marry a man who can take her off his hands, Fanny must learn to rely on God for her future.

A blend of the Amish life and Jane Austen's classic tale, Mansfield Park was a curiosity that I just could not pass up particularly after enjoying the earlier released Sense & Sensibility story in the same series.

While part of the Amish Classics series, each of these books are standalone sharing only the classic story retelling set in the Amish world.

As with the last book I read by this author, I felt that by placing the stories in the Amish world that there aren't as many problems cause by cultural and societal differences in the times. The Amish daily life, family, courtship, religion, and character parallel the England of two hundred years ago quite well. Being immersed in the Amish world was intriguing for me and it all felt authentic from the way the characters thought and acted to the settings described and the activities they engaged in.

The author stays pretty close to canon with her retellings in that the story line and characters are easily recognizable. I did note nuances that are different for each character and even small adjustments to the plot. I think the one change that was small, but it made a profound difference for me came near the very end. I will say that the change was to Elijah (the Edmund Bertram character) and raised him a bit in my eyes as a romance hero. Oh, don't get me wrong, he's still in want of smacking for his obliviousness, but as a young Amish man, his actions made a bit more sense and he came to his senses sooner.

Fanny is the sole narrator for this one and really the focal character so the reader gets the scenes colored with her perspective and opinion. Her thoughts could be harsh and even snitty when she was so jealous of her rival for Elijah. But I also felt some pity and understanding, too. Fanny is written as this young woman who has grown up knowing she was unwanted by her parents and treated like an inconvenient burden when she arrives to hear her two aunts fussing over who will get stuck with her. From childhood on, she learns that she must blend in, stay in the shadows, and make herself indispensable because of knowing she is unwanted and unloved by those who are her family. In fact, the author writes the uncle character to be more harsh with her and her fears are realized when she angers him and he lashes out in an unjust brutal way. Aunt Naomi (Norris) is even more hard and demanding of others and self-centered causing misery and pain for everyone around her particularly Fanny. Mary is the object of her jealousy and a little envy because how easy this other girl has it and that she captured Elijah's attention without effort. Fanny can't compete because she only knows how to give selflessly and be true to what is right even if it doesn't bring her the object of her desire.

Speaking of Mary...this particular story had me so curious to see certain characters as Amish. I just couldn't imagine Aunt Norris, Maria Bertram, Henry and Mary Crawford, and Tom Bertram as Amish. I know Amish are just ordinary people, too, but this group of characters were a stretch to imagine them living humble, simple lives and following strict religious rules. And as I read, I was intrigued by how the author managed them as Amish. They lack some of the sparkle and wit that showed up in the original tale, but the makeover to Amish folks was enough so that the lack didn't show up in the story.

The author did some snipping so that the plot and pace moved along at a better clip. I appreciated that she didn't feel she had to do a one to one scene ratio with the original. I don't think this story is lacking for her choice to ditch some of the extra and stick with the more prominent story threads.

In summary, this was picked up as a curiosity piece, but I ended up impressed again with the author's voice, her adaptation in this retelling, and her creative way to bring the Austen story and characters to life Amish-style. I would recommend this story to those who enjoy Austenesque stories, inspirational fiction, and sweet romance.

I received this book from Net Galley in exchange of an honest review.

Discussion Questions: Does curiosity play a role when you choose your books? Do you like it when a variation or retelling places an Austen story in a different setting? What has been your favorite different setting of an Austenesque you’ve read so far?

About Sophia:
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

Social Media Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophia.rose.7587
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13418187.Sophia_Rose
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sophiarose1816/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiarose1816

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Save the Date: Sense & Sensibility Watch Along + Twitter Party

To go along with our Sense & Sensibility Read Along, we're also having another Watch Along this year -- and you guessed it, it's for S&S!  Now, the debate over which version is the best -- 1995 or 2007 -- will forever rage on, but the decision of which to watch this year was an east one: the 2007 miniseries is available on Hulu. Though I have a healthy stock of Austen movies, I try to make our watch-alongs something readily available for those who don't.
(Plus, this version is just damn good. Some may say, the best.

Because this is a longer version (originally a mini-series), it'll be split up into two parts over two weeks, one each Saturday.
The Deets:
  • Sense and Sensibility watch along, part ONE: Saturday, August 27th at 8pm EST
  • Sense and Sensibility watch along, part TWO: Saturday, September 3rd at 8pm EST
  • Watch and chat along on Twitter with the hashtag #AustenInAugust
  • The film is available for streaming on Hulu, or for digital rental on Amazon
These viewings will be part of an overall Austen Movie Weekend going on during both AIA weekends, so keep an eye on the blog, too, for some more Austen film goodies! 

I hope some of you will be able to join me in watching and tweeting along, but even if you can't make the live discussion, please feel free to hop on the #AustenInAugust tag at any point and share your opinions, whether about S&S or any other Austen-ish thing! 

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Eat Like Austen: Mincemeat Pies! | Guest Post from Beth @ Printcess

A good book is an immersive experience; it shouldn't just make you laugh or think, but make your hair raise when it's scary or your stomach drop when it's shocking. The more senses engaged while reading, the more you're going to feel the book -- you're going to live it, rather than just reading it. A clever writer knows this, and peppers (ahem) their prose with something sure to engage another sense: food. A good book may make you feel,  but a very good book will make you hungry.
Eat Like Austen

At least, that's my theory on the matter. Which means that it's a good thing that Beth from Printcess has stopped by again this year to share some Regency-era recipes with us, to help sate that Austenesque hunger being built up by this year's Read Along.
(You are participating, right? If not, allow me to give you some motivation...)

Take it away, Beth!

"On one side was a table occupied by some chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper; and on the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight of brawn and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high revel; the whole completed by a roaring Christmas fire, which seemed determined to be heard in spite of all the noise of the others."

"Did Charlotte dine with you?
No, she would go home. I fancy she was wanted about the mince-pies. For my part, Mr. Bingley, I always keep servants that can do their own work; my daughters are brought up very differently."
Pride and Prejudice


Mincemeat pies date back to the 11th century. Originally they did contain chopped up, leftover meat (making them popular with travelers and the economical) and seem to have always been associated with Christmas, mostly because they can be easily made ahead and are best served cold. So while your kitchen is hopping with that roast goose, the feast table can be laid out with these filling, sweet, spiced pies.

In the mid-1600s, owing to Oliver Cromwell's public pressure to forego meat (yay Puritans, outlawing Christmas as a Pagan holiday of gluttony and drunkenness), this pie was outlawed. But this beloved recipe was a natural rebel. I don't know how people went from "fill it with meat" to "fill it with fruit", but it works. And so it lives on today!


Modern Variation of the Recipe

Ingredients for 24

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sense & Sensibility Read Along: Motivation

*Note: this is a gif-heavy post, so click through to see it in all its glory!

As mentioned in this year's AIA invite, we're down to our last major Austen book for our yearly Read Along, which if you've been a studious little Janeite and kept track, you'll know is the one and only Sense & Sensibility.  Though this wasn't the first Austen book I ever read, it was my first exposure to Austen (thank you Ang Lee and Emma Thompson), and it did lead to my lifelong love of Alan Rickman, which is maybe a weird crush to have as an 11 year old, but I've made peace with it.

Tomorrow I'll be posting the first set of Read Along questions for us to discuss, and this weekend we'll embark on our expedition of watching and reveling in the most recent adaptation as part of our Austen Movie Weekends (twitter chat party this Saturday at 8pm EST for part 1. Save the date!), but until then, just wanted to pop on and encourage you to join us in this read/watch along! Whether you've read it before or have never even cracked open an Austen book, it's not too late! This is one of Austen's quickest and most relatable books, with all the personality clashes, scandals, star-crossed loves and dastardly scoundrels one could hope for. And best of all, you can READ IT FOR FREE!

Get it free on:

Or listen to the audiobook, if that's your thing

Actually, new best-of-all: you can read it with ME! And a bunch of other enthusiastic Janeites, who are more than willing to discuss and explain things and take sides (Elinor v. Marianne; Willoughby v. Brandon; Fanny v. Lucy for the title of The Worst. Discuss amongst yaselves. and me. don't forget me. I must have my share in the conversation! That's a little Austen humor there for ya.)

You really can't beat FREE and ME (she says, humbly and in the least gross way possible), but if that's not enough to get you started, let me provide some further motivation with a sampling of what you'll find within its pages. . .

Longing and Loving Looks


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