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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Love & Friendship: the aftermath

On Tuesday night, I hosted this year's Watch-Along of Love & Friendship, to go along with our Lady Susan group read.  Unlike movies we've watched in the past, this was my first viewing -- and though it looked riotously funny, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. (I mean, Pride & Prejudice &Zombies—both the book and the film—seemed like they were going to be hilarious, but both were actually pretty shaky.)

I definitely had my pros and cons (and prons, as I did with PPZ), but I mostly enjoyed it, and it certainly made for some interesting conversation. AND it has me mulling over some Austen stuff that I don't think I've mulled before, and I've mulled it all. I attribute this more to the conversations we were having around the movie, rather than the movie itself, which is why I love having these twitter chats (and why you should join in next year!)

Presented below, for those of you who missed it, is some of the highlights of Tuesday night's discussion. If you've seen the film, or just have LADY SUSAN THOUGHTS, please weigh in in the comments!

The Plight of Regency Era Widows | guest post from Maria Grace!

Maria Grace is joining us again this morning with a look at just how bad widows had it in the Regency era. Maybe (just maybe) it'll give us all a little more sympathy for Lady Susan. Maybe.
Maria has graced us with many an edifying post over the years, including some awesome ones this year, so make sure to give those a browse! And don't forget to check out my review of the first book in her Jane Austen's Dragons series, where you can enter to win a copy!

Jane Austen’s Lady Susan portrays a rather unique vision of a widow, a little surprising to modern eyes. In many ways the character embodied exactly what the culture most feared a widow would be; she is a caricature revealing the attitudes of the period. To better understand this, we need to look a little at widowhood in the era,

When a woman’s husband died, she was expected to spend a full year (long enough for a baby conceived in her marriage to be born) in full or deep mourning. During this time she was expected to dress in all black, refraining from public appearances. If you watch the movie Love and Friendship you can, watch for the changes in Lady Susan’s wardrobe as she moves from half mourning colors like greys and lavenders, in brighter, more showy garments.

While men often remarried quickly following the death of their wives with nary an eyebrow raised, women faced varying degrees of opposition to remarrying. Many conduct writers suggested a widow should continue to live a life of somber retirement for the remainder of her days. Without the man who defined her legal personhood, society had a difficult time understanding what to do with her. Keeping her out of sight and out of mind was one way of dealing with that.

A woman who married sooner than a year after her husband’s death was extremely suspect. Soldiers' wives, especially those who ‘followed the drum’ and accompanied their husbands on deployment often remarried within days or even hours of their husband's demise. They were deeply criticized as hardened, unfeminine creatures.

The choice though was usually one of necessity.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Austen Purist vs. Wild-Child: Wishes & Wants | a Janeite Roundtable discussion

We're nearly to the end of yet another Austen in August, which means we're down to our final 2 Janeite Conversations (frowny face). For today's chat, we're breaking down what type of Janeite we (mostly) are, traditional purist or out-there experimentalist, and what it is we'd most like to see as a result. I asked:
Are you an Austen traditionalist, or experimentalist? And based on that, what would you most like to see happen in Austen adaptations, that you haven't come across yet, or don't think there's enough of?
MARIA: I’m writing the Jane Austen’s Dragons series, I think that makes me an experimentalist, don’t you think? ;)

ME: Oh, yeah. . . I may have heard something about that. [Psst! There's a giveaway!]

Lost Love in Jane Austen | Guest Post & GIVEAWAY from Eliza Shearer

Joining us today is Eliza Shearer, author of Miss Darcy's Beaux. This is the first year she is dipping her toes into the Austen in August waters, so make sure to give her a hearty welcome in the comments! And before you leave, enter to win a copy of Miss Darcy's Beaux!

Lost love in Jane Austen

Many believe that Jane Austen wrote romantic novels. Janeites, of course, know that Austen’s works are much more than that. Austen is a romantic, yes, but she’s also a social chronicler with a sharp eye for detail, a witty observer of human nature and a mistress of satire.

What’s more, her understanding of romance goes beyond the girl-meets-boy narrative. Granted, all of her stories have a happy ending with the marriage of the heroine, but at the same time they invariably include the presence of love gone wrong, as if to remind the reader of just how lucky the loved up protagonist couple is.

In Austen’s novels, love goes wrong in many different ways.

A Definitive Ranking of Jane Austen’s Novels | Guest Post & GIVEAWAY from Karen M. Cox!

You can catch Karen M. Cox's answers to any number of Austenish things in this year's Janeite Conversations, but one thing we didn't discuss this year — which Karen is going to try to settle, once and for all — is just which Austen novel is the best, which the worst, and which smack dab in the middle.Read through to see her rankings, and her justifications for it, and then enter to win one of her books by commenting with YOUR pick!

Austen in August: A Definitive Ranking of Jane Austen’s Novels

For your perusal, gentle readers—a guide to which of Miss Austen’s books is the best.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Review & GIVEAWAY! Pemberley: Mr Darcy's Dragon by Maria Grace!

I'm no stranger to the more...interesting side of Austen retellings. Zombies, vampires, sea monsters, space ships, genetic engineering, football — if it's been mashed with Austen, I probably either have read it or own it (or both).
But today I'm taking a look at a new one, even for me: Jane Austen & dragons. Click through to read my thoughts on the first book of Maria Grace's
Jane Austens Dragons series, and enter to win a copy for yourself!

Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon by Maria Grace
340 pages, Published October 31st 2016 by White Soup Press
England is overrun by dragons of all shapes and sizes. Most people are blissfully unaware of them and the Pendragon Treaty that keeps the
peace between human and dragon kind. Only those born with preternatural hearing, like Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are able to hear and converse with dragonkind.

When the first firedrake egg laid in a century is stolen from Pemberley, the fragile dragon peace teeters on collapse. Darcy has no choice but to chase down the thief, a journey that leads him to quaint market town of Meryton and fellow Dragon Keeper, Elizabeth Bennet.

Elizabeth shares a unique bond with dragons, stronger than anything Darcy has ever experienced. More than that, her vast experience and knowledge of dragon lore may be the key to uncovering the lost egg. But Elizabeth can’t stand Darcy’s arrogance and doesn’t trust him to care properly for a precious baby firedrake. After all, he already lost the egg once. What’s to prevent it from happening again?

Can he win her trust and recover the stolen egg before it hatches and sends England spiraling back into the Dark Ages of Dragon War?

Jane Austen meets Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern. A must read for Pern fans.

Buy links:
amazon kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MECLQTW
Amazon: Amazon paper https://www.amazon.com/Pemberley-Prejudice-Variations-Austens-Dragons/dp/0998093718/
BN NOOK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pemberley-maria-grace/1124998231
B&N PB: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pemberley-maria-grace/1125041175
KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/pemberley-mr-darcy-s-dragon

So, as I said, Austen + Dragons is a new one, even for me. And it is one that I am totally onboard for. Dragons are just very underutilized, this day & age, if you ask me. Though they're certainly making a comeback (thank you, Khalessi). But even though I was all for it, I have to say, I was still surprised by how well this concept worked. Maria Grace makes the introduction of dragons into Regency life seem seamless, and in a very clever turn, actually uses them to explain a lot of the formalities and customs of Regency life. It's by turns clandestine and tense, and playfully silly, and I found myself weirdly invested.

GIVEAWAY: Hand Lettered & Watercolored Bookmarks!

And yes, one of those bookmarks does say "Call me Lizzie; Miss Bennet if you're nasty." 

It's been my tradition of the last few years to offer up a handmade giveaway for Austen in August.

Don't get me wrong, I love giving you guys books, but there's just something more special and personal about doing an individual, one of a kind item— and sending multiple such things out into the world.
It gives me warm fuzzies.

So this year, I'm doing a collection of watercolored and hand-lettered things.
Some of them are bookmarks, as you'll see right over there ←

There will also be some will be 5x7 frameable pieces, akin to what I did last year

like such (sans cat. She's just Vanna White-ing for you).  And some more will be added in, each different from the last, because why not. I like surprises.

So if you like surprises, and you like Jane Austen, and bookmarks, and watercolor and lettering and such, you should definitely enter this

In Want of a Single Man with a Large Fortune?; Or, Jane’s Cats | Guest Post from Nicole Clarkston!

If you've been following along to this year's Janeite Conversations, you'll have seen the name Nicole Clarkston popping up. If you're not already familiar with Nicole, she's the author of a whole host of Jane Austen (and Elizabeth Gaskell) adaptations, all of which you can find here. Today, she's joining us to share a fun confection written for the occasion, comprised of anybody who's anybody. And oh, how tongues will wag when claws come out. . .  Make sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!

It was unfathomable! Simply ridiculous, and Caroline Bingley was still baffled by it all. She swallowed her drink, glancing about the room at the assembled gentleman. Not one of them could compare with the prize she had lost: Fitzwilliam Darcy, the veriest fool in all of London.

Oh, certainly there were some appealing catches in the room. There was the gentleman brother of her host, a handsome colonel, a rake, a rogue, a rascal, and a widower. Not one had half so handsome a countenance, although a few possessed appealing prospects.

"Caroline, dear! What are you doing here? I had not thought to see you back in London so soon."

Caroline turned. Mary Crawford, a dear—or, rather, not so dear—friend from school days, wove her way through the party at the refreshment table.

"Why, Mary, dear," she smiled sweetly, "I always attend house parties whenever one of my favourite hosts opens his home. It would be the height of rudeness to decline. What of you? I had thought you gone to Northamptonshire to visit your half-brother. You are back very soon from such a long journey."

"Oh! As to that, I had enough of that dull set. So backward they are! I was forced to look elsewhere for amiable companionship. Do you know dear, I had the most dashing future baronet eating from the palm of my hand!"

REMINDER: Love & Friendship Twitter Chat, 8pm EST!

Just a reminder that TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT that we're watching & live tweeting Love & Friendship! This is to go along with our read along of Lady Susan (a super quick read, you should join us), and I have a feeling it's going to be hilarious and fun, and the chat is going to be hilarious and fun, and you should be a part of it!

What: Love & Friendship movie watch along and chat
Where: Twitter, with the hashtag #AustenInAugust
When: Tuesday, August 29 at 8pm EST
How: copies are available via Amazon (free with Prime!), YouTubeiTunes and GooglePlay

Hope to see you tonight! 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Lady Susan Read Along: Discussion Questions!

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things.
Of hats, spencers, and chemises.
Of shoe-roses and rings.

Also, of Lady Susan, that delightful little whack job.

For those of you who've been reading along with this year's group read, Lady Susan (or have read it in the past and are ready. to. talk!), the time has come to break down this short epistolary work of Austen's! If you haven't read it yet, there's still time! It's very short and very quick, and you can pick up a copy for free from lots of places -- more about all that here.

But now, let's get into it, shall we?

The Qs: 

  1. What were your first / general impressions of Lady Susan. It's very different from Austen's other works, and not only because of it's epistolary nature. Were you surprised by it? Would you recommend it? 
  2. Talk a bit about the character of Lady Susan. Did you find yourself feeling any sympathy for her? Do you make justifications for her scandalous or manipulative behavior? What was your favorite thing about her? Least favorite? What do you think really motivates her?
  3. Where would you place Lady Susan in the ranks of Austen's characters? Do you like her more or less than some of the more notorious "villains" and foils? (Think Caroline Bingley, Mrs. Norris, Fanny Dashwood, Lucy Steele, Lady Catherine. . . the list of unlikeable women in Austen is a long one.)
  4. What do you make of the epistolary style for this story? Is this your first time reading a story composed entirely of letters? Did it add anything to the story that you don't think you would have gotten otherwise? And are there things you feel were missing, or that came across awkward, for having to be conveyed through letters?
  5. Do you think Austen was just having a bit of fun by writing an anti-hero character like Lady Susan, or do you think she was modeled after someone in Jane's life? 
  6. Do you have a favorite letter, character or incident from Lady Susan
  7. Is there anything you would change, or anything you'd like to see happen in an adaptation of Lady Susan?
  8. Any final thoughts I didn't touch on? Would you reread or recommend Lady Susan

Feel free to skip around to any questions that intrigue you, or talk about things I didn't touch on -- whatever suits! You can answer in the comments, in a blog post of your own (drop us a link!), or on Twitter with the hashtag #AustenInAugust.

Click here to return to the Austen in August main page!

Excerpt & GIVEAWAY! A Less Agreeable Man by Maria Grace!

In Austens in August past, I've discussed the first two books of Maria Grace's Queen of Rosings Park series, Mistaking Her Character and The Trouble to Check Her [reviews here and here, respectively]. This series is a departure from the traditional Pride & Prejudice format, which sees the Bennet family in much altered circumstances and living at Rosings, of all places, and it's a favorite of mine for the ways in which is stays true to the alterations of the story as much as to the original aspects (one of my favorite things about adaptations!).
Today, Maria has offered up a sneak peek of book 3 in the series, A Less Agreeable Man, as well as a chance to win a copy! Click through to check it out and enter to win!

The little chapel hummed as it filled with Sunday morning congregants. Mary plucked at the braided trim of the periwinkle blue calico gown that she wore every Sunday.
Charlotte slapped her hand lightly. “You will spoil your dress. He will be here. Stop fretting.”
Mary laced her hands tightly in her lap and glanced over her shoulder. The Hunsford parish church appeared exactly as it always did: stark slate floor and grey stone walls. Sturdy dark wooden pews scarred with use, just a few more than absolutely necessary to accommodate the parish church-goers. Several cobwebs dangled in the corners, and the windowsills needed dusting.
But this Sunday was like no other.

Jane Austen Meets _________ : a Janeite Roundtable discussion

Daaaaaaaamn, Janeites! Back at it again with the constant adaptations of P&P! (Not that I'm complaining.)  With the news that P&P is going to be hitting the small screen again, and with the popularity of combining established characters, worlds, and stories with other characters, worlds, and stories, I thought it'd be fun to play a little game of TV mashup!  (Also, sorry for the impromptu hiatus yesterday! Life, man.)
Which current or past TV show would you most like to see "mashed" with Austen? How do you think it would turn out/what appeals to you about the pairing?
ME: Personally, I vote for all the things. Northanger Abbey + Ghost Hunters. How I Met Your Mother (even though I don't like HIMYM) + well, any of them, really. Pretty Little Liars + Mansfield Park, wherein all of the MP characters have their various secrets and turbulence, and you don't know who to trust. I mean, can you imagine? The more I think about this, the more I want to see it. . . What about the rest of you? What do you want to see?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

My Eye On. . . | Austenesque Audiobooks I'm keeping tabs on

Earlier today, I had a little interlude with an Audible Ambassadors post, which was coincidentally funny timing, since tonight I'm going to be talking to you, once again, about audiobooks. (This is not a sponsored post, FYI! I've just really been into audiobooks lately.)

It took me awhile to come around to audio, but I have to say, now that I have, I really regret all the time wasted. So, because I'm on an audio kick -- and because any new form of reading means I need to see how much Austen I can work in, obviously -- I thought I'd have a stroll through the pages upon pages of Austen-esque audiobooks and see what caught my eye.

Keep in mind, I haven't listened to anything more than the sample for all but one of these, but here are some audiobooks that most appealed to me and have been added to my to-listen list, and I thought you might be interested in them, too.

Fair warning: I may have gone overboard . . .

[Click on the book cover directly to be taken to its individual page]

The Jane Austen BBC Radio Drama Collection: Six BBC Radio Full-Cast Dramatisations
Obviously, we gotta kick off with the originals, yo!

LBD Cast Plays Marrying Mr Darcy

I know a lot of you are as big a fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries as I am — 2017 marks the 5 year anniversary (five years!!), and I still find myself bingeing old episodes now and then. Sometimes just a few key scenes, sometimes the whole damn thing all over again. I watch the bloopers. I watch the offshoots.
I can't get enough.

So obviously, when I saw a little LBD reunion on Mary Kate Wiles' (aka Lydia) youtube channel, I had to check it out. Even better, they're playing a game I've been wanting to get my hands on, Marrying Mr. Darcy. Win.

Thought you might like it, too. Enjoy!

The Perfections of Pemberley | guest post from Alexa Adams!

Joining us today is Alexa Adams, a name you'll definitely recognize if you've been around for previous Austens in August. (Austen in Augusts? Austens ins Augusts?)  Her current novel, Darcy in Wonderland, mashes up Pride & Prejudice and (you guessed it) Alice in Wonderland. I'll be featuring the book in a few days, but until then, Alexa has dropped by to talk a bit about the "character" of Pemberley, and adapting it to a Wonderland setting -- and she's included an excerpt for you to check it out yourself! Click through to read it, and let us know your thoughts in the comments! 

Elizabeth's mind was too full for conversation, but she saw and admired every remarkable spot and point of view. They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road, with some abruptness, wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; -- and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something! – Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 43
More than any other country house in Jane Austen’s six novels, Pemberley is the most romantic and fascinating to the reader. Not only does Mr. Darcy’s wealth guarantee his home’s superiority (only Mr. Rushworth of Mansfield Park surpasses him, and his house, like his personality, is generally acknowledged to be in need of improvement), but also the excellence of his character, which is always reflected in an Austen gentleman’s estate. Like Darcy himself, Pemberley is a place of order, prosperity, and a model for others. From Miss Bingley’s first sycophantic praises of the place …

Kismet + I Can't Make This Up... | Audible Ambassadors #Ad

Note from Misty: Please don't mind this brief interruption to your Austen in August schedule! As some of you may know, I'm an "Audible Ambassador" this year, and this month's feature was supposed to go up before AIA, but there were technical difficulties. That's not a euphemism -- there literally was a tech problem that prevented it from going up on time, sooooo: enjoy this quick interlude about Kevin Hart! AIA programing will return as planned later today, and funny enough, will include a post about Austenesque books on Audible... 😂

I'm a Kevin Hart fan.
I would imagine that most people who've ever heard a Kevin Hart routine are Kevin Hart fans.
One of my favorite memes, in fact, is of Kevin Hart. You know the one. It's that "the hell did you just say?" face -- absolutely delightful.

Gets me every time.

And in one of those weird coincidences of timing, just days after thinking that I wanted to a) listen to more comedic memoirs (after my gardening + listening enjoyment of Yes Please by Amy Pohler), and b) that something from Kevin Hart would make a good audiobook, and hmm, maybe I should look into whether he has one. . . I received the brief for this month's Audible Ambassadors post, and wouldn't you know it: Kevin Hart has a new audiobook, and it's being featured in August!
Kismet is weird, y'all.


I can't dig into it quite yet, what with Austen in August about to take over my life (it already has!), but needless to say I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons from Kevin Hart is now on my to-listen list. The long summer days may be winding down, but there's still plenty of gardening + listening to do.
And cleaning (ugh) + listening.
And taking long walks + listening. . .

And maybe I Can't Make This Up seems like something that might help you while away some otherwise tedious hours, too! But even if Kevin Hart doesn't do it for ya, there's plenty more -- comedic and otherwise -- on offer from Audible, and it can be yours, for the free, as part of a FREE 30 day trial from Audible.

about I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart
Superstar comedian and Hollywood box-office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller.
It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys.
The odds, in short, were stacked against our young hero, just like the odds that are stacked against the release of a new book in this era of social media (where Hart has a following of over 100 million, by the way).
But Kevin Hart, like Ernest Hemingway, J.K. Rowling, and Chocolate Droppa before him, was able to defy the odds and turn it around. In his literary debut, he takes the listener on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he's overcome each challenge to become the man he is today.
And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion.
He achieved this not just through hard work, determination, and talent: It was through his unique way of looking at the world. Because just like a book has chapters, Hart sees life as a collection of chapters that each person gets to write for himself or herself.
"Not only do you get to choose how you interpret each chapter, but your interpretation writes the next chapter," he says. "So why not choose the interpretation that serves your life the best?"
©2017 Kevin Hart (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible. The opinions and text are all mine.

Friday, August 25, 2017

First Impressions: The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

So, my viewer's choice is a pretty dead heat. I don't think I'm going to be able to do everything I listed in the video, but since everything was pretty heavily requested, I am going to try to do what I can -- starting with a first impressions of a very recent release: The One That Got Away, by Melissa Pimentel!

Check out my thoughts, as well as a reading of an excerpt of this modern Persuasion retelling, below. I've also included a written version of the excerpt, for those who are HOH or just plain don't want to listen to me read it, so click through for that. And one thing I forgot to mention: this book actually alternates between the present and what happened in the past! So, definitely looking forward to how that weaves together.

Make sure to let me know what you think in the comments!
And keep an eye out for Melissa's answers in this year's Janeite Convos! (The best of the cringeworthiest went up yesterday!)

Lady Susan, Master Manipulator | guest post from Maria Grace!

Lady Susan, the Jane Austen novella recently adapted into the film Love and Friendship is unique among all of Austen's works, for many reasons. Not the least of which is that it's something of a Regency train wreck. You just can't tear yourself away from the awfulness that is Lady Susan.
Don't get me wrong, I love the original novella, and I thought the movie was excellent. But, man does it leave me wondering who Jane Austen hung out with.

Lacking access to psychiatric textbooks, the internet, or even a local psychiatrist--Freud wouldn't be born for another 40-50 years yet--the only way Jane Austen could have so vividly, and accurately portrayed the narcissistic, sociopathic Lady Susan was to know someone just like her. But who?
In the wake of Lady Susan

I don't think it was someone she lived with. Living with someone like Lady Susan, who displays a pretty significant personality disorder, is an experience like no other. People like her are apt to go about the world manipulating half the people around them to do their bidding whilst the other half question their own sanity.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Excessively Diverted: the podcast!

Please give a big Austen in August welcome to Beau North & Sammi C, hosts of the podcast, Excessively Diverted!  I've mentioned a lot recently that I'm getting more into podcasts and audiobooks, and the like, so obviously a Jane Austen podcast is right up my alley. Today, Sammi & Beau are going to tell us a bit about what they do, what Austen means to them, some of their favorite episodes, and where to find their podcast!

Take a listen, and let us know your thoughts in the comments! Are you a podcast fan? Have any to recommend? And is Excessively Diverted now on your list? (If not, it should be!)

Hello, Book Rat readers. Thanks so much for letting us be part of Austen in August! As die-hard fans of Austen, it’s always a thrill to connect with fellow Janeites. If you’re not familiar with our show and what we do, here’s a short episode exclusively for the Book Rat!

Excessively Diverted is hosted by Portland, Oregon’s Sammi C and Beau North. Our love of Jane Austen and Cheesy Made-for-TV Movies gave us the idea for our show, to look at modern takes on Austen’s work and discuss what we liked, what we didn’t like, what was effective, and what would Jane think? We are currently in our second season, and can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, pretty much anywhere you find podcasts. We also have a Facebook Page and you can follow us on Twitter @spockgrrl and @beaunorth!

Our favorite episodes of Excessively Diverted: From Prada to Nada, Scents and Sensibility, Austenland, Jane Austen Book Club

Food for thought episodes: Before the Fall, Metropolitan, Lizzie Bennet Diaries Part 3 & 4

Click here to return to the Austen in August main page!

Cringeworthy Austen: a Janeite Roundtable discussion!

It's time for round 2 of this year's Janeite Roundtable talks, and I've got a fun one for ya today! One of my absolute favorite things to talk about is just how INSANELY GOOD Jane Austen was at depicting truly cringeworthy characters and situations. From botched proposals and secondhand embarrassment to people you just couldn't bear to spend 5 minutes in a room with (ahem), Austen consistently nails it.
What is the most awkward, cringeworthy scene in all of Austen, to you? And same question, but re: the movie adaptations -- what scene totally missed the mark?
NICOLE: Oh, this is a tough one!

ME: Give me the cringe. GIVE IT TO ME!

Lucy Worsley's Jane Austen Behind Closed Doors

Something you may not know about me, but could probably guess, is that, while I spend a month or two every year working directly on Austen in August, I spend the other 10 or 11 months of the year bookmarking all the things. Every time I come across something Austen, it gets bookmarked; I have countless Austen-related 'saved' links on facebook, and endless random youtube videos marked as 'watch later'— my bookmarks tab is a mess.

Some of these things end up making the cut come the next AIA, and some get promptly forgotten. . . and occasionally, I come across one of those forgotten bits of Austenhood and get really excited, because it's not only something I wanted to share during AIA, but also something I just wanted to look into, personally.

Jane Austen Behind Closed Doors is one of those things. I had completely forgotten about finding this documentary in its entirety on youtube. It's how I'm spending my night (it's currently open in another tab, in fact), though I should be writing more Austen in August posts, and I figured some of you may want to spend your morning, or day, or night with it, too.


Click here to return to the Austen in August main page!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Future Jane: a Trio of upcoming Janeish books!

Earlier today, we took a look at some past retellings of Jane Austen's work, centering on Lady Susan. And while it may not be all that easy to find retellings of Lady S. (I found 4) or some of Austen's other works, it's a truth universally acknowledged that there are always more being published.

And me being me, I'm always on the lookout for them. This post features three such upcoming works, which I came across when browsing the Winter 2018 catalog from the fine folks at Macmillan.

Take a look below, tell me if any are on your to-get list, and DEFINITELY point me in the direction of any upcoming Austenesque works that I may not yet know about!
(Seriously. I came across something recently that's coming out soon (I think?!) and I can't for the life of me remember what it was. It's driving me insane!)

Completing Austen: Lady Sooz & Then Some

As we've lamented on Austen in August before, when it comes to Jane Austen retellings, completions and sequels, you're sometimes hard-pressed to find one that's not about P&P. Sure, there are the occasional Persuasions, maybe an Emma or two. But for the most part, it's Darcy & Lizzy as far as the eye can see.

I mean, it's for good reason -- we do love them, and they are worthy of that love.  But if the general dearth of JAFF for the main novels is an accepted fact, then it's doubly — triply — so for the "minor" writings, the juvenalia, and those works left incomplete at the time of Austen's death.
Which means, when it comes to this year's read-along pick, Lady Susan, there's not a lot on offer.

But there is some, and that's what we're taking a look at today!

GIVEAWAY: Coming Home by Marilyn Brant

Two back-to-back giveaways, what what?! 

As I mentioned yesterday, when Marilyn Brant shared an exclusive full-scene excerpt of her upcoming novella duology, Coming Home, for AIA, today you're getting a chance to win a copy of your very own!

Click through to find out more about the book— and how you can get your hands on an advanced copy!


One lucky Austen in August reader will win an advanced PDF of Coming Home: a Mirabelle Harbor Duet!
This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

FLASH GIVEAWAY: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict!

Earlier today, I reviewed Laurie Viera Rigler's Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. I had then planned to do a little featurette, or tell you on Twitter, or something, that this book is currently on SUPER SALE -- a sale that is, coincidentally, lasting the exact length of AIA!

But then I thought, Misty... it's so cheap! Why not just give away a copy?
And since I agreed with myself, here we are.


One lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler.
This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.
Unlike any other giveaways in Austen in August, this giveaway will only be open for about a week!
Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter.
Must be 13 years or older, void where prohibited, and all that jazz.
DO NOT leave any personal info or email addresses in the comments; those comments will be deleted, and the entries invalidated. (Stay safe online, guys, jeez!)
Giveaway ends August 28th at 11:59 EST.
Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(And, um, obvs: if you don't want to wait on the chance to win a copy, as I mentioned -- this is on super sale. =D )

Historical/Time Slip, 304 pages
Published August 2nd 2007 by Dutton

In this Jane Austen inspired comedy, love story, and exploration of identity and destiny, a modern LA girl wakes up as an Englishwoman in Austen's time.

After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman's life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. But not even her love of Jane Austen has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condomless seducers, and marriages of convenience. Enter the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, who fills Courtney's borrowed brain with confusing memories that are clearly not her own.

Try as she might to control her mind and find a way home, Courtney cannot deny that she is becoming this other woman and being this other woman is not without its advantages: Especially in a looking-glass Austen world. Especially with a suitor who may not turn out to be a familiar species of philanderer after all.

Click here to return to the Austen in August main page!

Excerpt: Coming Home by Marilyn Brant

Please join me in welcoming back to Austen in August author Marilyn Brant! Today, she is stopping by to share with us an exclusive excerpt of a complete scene from her upcoming novella collection, Coming Home! Click through to read it in full, and then make sure to stop back by tomorrow for a chance to win a copy! 

**This is from Chandler & Jaleina’s story, SOMEONE LIKE YOU, my modern nod to Austen’s PERSUASION. This scene is from Jaleina’s point of view and takes place in mid-December, a few days before the wedding of Chandler’s twin brother (Chance) and Jaleina’s friend (Nia), the romantic couple featured in the first Mirabelle Harbor book, TAKE A CHANCE ON ME. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek!!**

I yawned. Clearly, I was getting too old for this routine.

As I unlocked the door to my bookshop, I figured I’d better start acting my age and getting a few extra hours of sleep. I should really push my workouts to eight thirty in the morning, rather than go to the gym at the crack of dawn. I’d been up since six a.m.—only because it allowed me to zip into Harbor Fitness for the earliest exercise class and then zip out again before Chance even arrived on the scene. Seriously, I needed to get over my aversion to running into members of the Michaelsen family.
Chance was a good guy and I’d always liked both him and his twin, Chandler, but I still didn’t relish spending a ton of time with their family. Didn’t matter how pleasant they all were to me. Thankfully, the big wedding was this weekend. I was happy to attend for Nia’s sake, but I knew I’d be relieved when Saturday was over.

I rubbed my eyes and went to plug in the coffee maker. C’mon, little stainless-steel machine. Start perking. Please.

The coffee had just begun to brew when I heard the bells chime and an early customer enter the store.

I turned to look at the door and—oh, hell!—speak of the devil.

Chandler Michaelsen.

After several years away, the guy still had a noticeable presence when he entered a room. A trait he shared with his brothers, although he was a slightly torn and tarnished version of his twin and tended to sport a little more facial hair than his clean-shaven mirror image.

But, wow.

Review: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

Click through to read my full thoughts on this Austenesque timeslip novel, and make sure you check back later today for a giveaway! And while you're at it, don't forget to peruse through our Janeite Conversations, past and present, for Laurie's hilarious take on all things Austen!

Historical/Time Slip, 304 pages
Published August 2nd 2007 by Dutton

In this Jane Austen inspired comedy, love story, and exploration of identity and destiny, a modern LA girl wakes up as an Englishwoman in Austen's time.

After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman's life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. But not even her love of Jane Austen has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condomless seducers, and marriages of convenience. Enter the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, who fills Courtney's borrowed brain with confusing memories that are clearly not her own.

Try as she might to control her mind and find a way home, Courtney cannot deny that she is becoming this other woman and being this other woman is not without its advantages: Especially in a looking-glass Austen world. Especially with a suitor who may not turn out to be a familiar species of philanderer after all.

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict has been on my to-read list for ages; every year when August rolls around, I always think: this is the year. And then time and my procrastination skills prove me wrong. But this year, when I was prepping (after much procrastination, of course) for Austen in August, I pulled a stack of books off of my JAFF shelf, Confessions among them, and read a tiny bit of each to see what would pull me in and get me psyched for the workload that is AIA -- and this was the book that did it.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Persuading Austen by Brigid Coady | review from Sophia Rose!

Persuading Austen by Brigid Coady
Women’s Fiction
Publisher: HQ Digital; Published: 7.18.17
Pages: 384  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Net Galley
Get It  |  Add It

It is a truth universally acknowledged that working with an ex is a terrible idea…
Annie Elliot never expected her life to turn out this way: living with her dad, working as an accountant – surely the least glamorous job in Hollywood?! – and dodging her family’s constant bickering.
Landing a job as a producer on a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice seems like the piece of luck she’s been waiting for. Until the cast is announced, and Annie discovers that the actor playing Mr Darcy is Austen Wentworth: the man she’s spent nearly a decade trying to forget.
Not only is Austen her ex – but while Annie’s life has stalled, Austen is Hollywood’s hottest property…and has just been voted World’s Sexiest Man.
With nowhere to hide, there’s just one question. Now the one who got away has come back, should Annie stand by her pride? Or give into Austen’s powers of persuasion?

A modern retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion set against the world of the British Period Drama and the production of Pride & Prejudice sounded like all sorts of fun so this was an easy sell for me after reading the blurb and wanting to try a new to me author.

With modern retellings, I am always keen to discover how Austen's original characters will translate into the modern world and what the author will choose for the modern setting. I thought it was clever to cast the Persuasion characters as actors and actresses and at the same time offer a fun wink at the more popular Austen novel, Pride & Prejudice.

I was all set to love this one to death, but I ended up settling for milder feelings of like.

5 Minutes with Jane Austen: a Janeite Roundtable discussion

A brand new year of AIA means a brand new round of roundtable questions! (See what I did there? Eh?) If you're unfamiliar, basically I round up a bunch of Austenesque authors (or even a group of you guys, as I did last year!), and ask 'em so half-serious/half-silly questions about Austen, and then I work those answers into one longer "conversation" piece. It's like we're all just sitting around, chattin' Austen, which you know is what we'd be doing if any of us got together IRL.

Our first question this year is one that — why did it take me so long to ask this? I mean, this should have been standard from day one.
If you had 5 minutes alone with Jane Austen, just you and her in a room, and you could ask or do anything, how would those five minutes play out?

ME: I'm gonna assume we're all perfect ladies, and that this "5 minutes alone in a room with Jane Austen" isn't going to turn into Seven Minutes in Heaven. But if it does. . . no judgement. *looks at you all judgmentally*

Introducing Lady Susan Vernon | guest post from Maria Grace!

To aid us in our group read along of Lady Susan, the fabulous Maria Grace has dropped by to lay a little learnin' on us. Enjoy!

I would like to introduce you to my favorite, little known Regency work Lady Susan, by Jane Austen. The most remarkable thing about this short, epistolary novel is how very modern it sounds. Possibly written in 1794 but not published until 1871, after Jane Austen’s death, Lady Susan is almost entirely unlike her better-known pieces.

What makes it so different? In modern terms, it is a train wreck. Imagine if you will The Real Housewives of… or The Bad Girl’s Club ‘reality’ shows. Now picture them set in Regency era London. A little hard to wrap your head around perhaps, but it does give you a feel for a book that starts off with a startling character that you love to hate and just can’t take your eyes off.

Lady Susan is nothing like Austen’s typical heroine. She is one part Gregory House from House MD television drama, one part a housewife from The Real Housewives of… pick your favorite city and one part pageant mom/dance mom, all wrapped up in an empire waistline and feathered turban. Doesn’t that alone make you want to pick this up and read it?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Save the Date: Movie Watch Along & Chat: Love & Friendship

Every year, I try to do a movie watch-along, where I watch an Austen movie and live tweet it as I do so, and invite you guys (gals, probably) to watch and tweet along with me. I know that it's not possible for everyone who wants to watch along to do so, purely due to timing (I mean, a good evening show time here in the Mitten might be the middle of the night for some of you, or the time you're usually struck in rush hour traffic, etc.).

BUT THAT'S OKAY! I encourage you to watch it and tweet (hashtag #AustenInAugust, of course) or weigh in where and when you can!

Especially because this year's film promises to be a fun one!
Since our group read is Lady Susan this year (a super quick read, you should join us), we're going to be watching Love & Friendship! I somehow haven't seen this one yet, even though it looked so hilarious that I'd intended to do something I rarely do, and see it in an actual theater.

I mean, just look at this:

And even if you haven't -- and don't intend to -- read Lady Susan, this is truly something anybody can watch, and most people will probably enjoy. I mean, it has the amazing Kate Beckinsale in it, how could it go wrong? So I hope you'll join me for our 2017 Love & Friendship Watch-Along, next Tuesday (not tomorrow, trying to give you lots of warning!)!

What: Love & Friendship movie watch along and chat
Where: Twitter, with the hashtag #AustenInAugust
When: Tuesday, August 29 at 8pm EST
How: copies are available via Amazon (free with Prime!), YouTube, iTunes and GooglePlay

I try to always find something that has a free option, but I know Netflix & Hulu are different in every country; I'm not sure if the same is true of Amazon rentals & Prime, but hopefully these venues will give all of you options! (And if you don't want to rent it, you have time to grab a copy from your library, if they have a DVD section!)

Hope to see you there!

Click here to return to the Austen in August main page!

Viewer's Choice: Vote on what you'd like to see during AIA!

Austen in August is going on RIGHT MEOW, so let me know which video you'd most like to see sometime in the next 2 weeks!

1. Review of an Austenesque book from my shelves (I'll let you guys pick if we get to that stage)!
2. A series of "first impressions" videos of 3 or 4 Austenesque books from my shelves!
3. A "tour" of all of the Jane Austen bits and bobs I've collected over the years!
4. An Austen-inspired book tag!
5. A step-by-step tutorial of Austen-inspired watercolor or word art!

I'll leave the voting open for about a week or so, and then record the winning video & post it for Austen in August!
Tell me YOUR choice in the comments and/or via the poll in the video!

Click here to return to the Austen in August main page!

Read Along Invite: Lady Susan by Jane Austen!

I know, I know.

We've read all of the Big Six, so earlier this year, I had a poll to determine what we'd read for our read-along this year, and technically, the winner was a bit of JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction for you noobs), aka a reinterpretation, sequel or adaptation of Austen's works. It won very slightly, but it won nonetheless.

And then I decided to toss that out the window, so...
Look, my reasons were GOOD, I promise. I decided that, for our first adaptation read along, I wanted much more planning to go into it. I wanted to have a whole series of things planned, and maybe work directly with an author or publisher to get you guys a discount on the book, so that everyone would have a little easier access to the title; I wanted to devote some serious time and thought to discussion prompts, and maybe have some kind of group reading thing on twitter or youtube live, or something.  And reading an adaptation just felt wrong, somehow.
Afterall, there's still a bit of original Jane to be read.

And that bit of Jane -- this year, at least -- is the silly, irreverent, absolutely madcap Lady Susan! It's been ages since I've read Lady S., and I've only read it once, so I'm coming to this with pretty fresh eyes, myself. But whether you've read it countless times, or never-not-once, I hope you'll join me not only in reading this very quick, very different incomplete novel from Our Lady Austen, but also in discussing and speculating and picking apart. . .

If you don't already own a copy, here are a number of options to pick it up (some even for free!):
FREE digital copies:

AUSTEN IN AUGUST 2017 Main Page!

Well hey there, you sexy Janeite, you! And welcome to our 8th annual Jane Austen celebration! If you're unfamiliar with Austen in August (which means you're probably new around here, so: welcome!), briefly: AIA is 2 solid weeks of non-stop Janery -- reviews, discussions, guest posts, giveaways. readalongs, etc., etc. -- if it's Jane, it's fair game. All are welcome in Austen in August, from the most diehard of Janeites, with their " If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more" tattoos and their invitations to Almack's*, to the most fresh-faced, wide-eyed initiates, who find no significance (as yet) in the term "fine eyes"... (noobs).
*If groups like this really exist, please tell me how to become one of your order...

Below is the schedule of events to help guide you through the next two WoJ (Weeks of Jane). The Austen in August button, seen above, will be at the bottom of every post, which you can click to be brought back to this main page, and from thense, onto your next bit of Janedom! Feel free to snag the button below and display it on your sidebars, tumblrs, or your own AIA blog posts, should you feel so inspired!

And speaking of your own posts - a lot of the amazing Jane goodness you're going to see during Austen in August was contributed by other bloggers and authors who are amazing and astounding and awesome, and I'm sure other words beginning with 'A,' so make sure to show them lost of love!

Also, while we're at it, I HIGHLY recommend that you join our read-along of Lady Susan (it's suuuper quick, I promise!), and the accompanying discussions, movie watching parties and/or twitter chats!

Last piece of business, I will be using page breaks this year, so if you see a post that interests you, click through! I've gone back and forth over the years, but the faster page load times and the minimization of clutter won out this year, so page breaks it is! But please, weigh in: if you'd much rather have each post in its entirety on the main page, let me know!

Now: let's get down to business. . .  (to defeat the Huns... wait, wrong fandom.)

(My, aren't you the belle of the ball?)

Sunday, the 20th 
Monday, the 21st 
Tuesday, the 22nd
Wednesday, the 23rd
Thursday, the 24th
Friday, the 25th
Saturday, the 26th 
Monday, the 28th
Tuesday, the 29th
Wednesday, the 30th
Thursday, the 31st
Friday, the 1st
to be revealed
Please note, posts will go live staggered throughout the day, so if a post isn't linked, or the link isn't active, make sure to check back later!

Want more Austen while you wait for tomorrow's fresh posts? Check out past AIAs!


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