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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

FINAL Austen in August Winners!

I know we just had a post full of many, many people who won things during Austen in August, but uh... we weren't done. The last few giveaways, because they were right at the end of the month, I decided to extend to give people more time to enter. 

Which I can do, since I'm the won sending these prizes from my brand new shop! 
Below you'll find the winners listed (they've all be contacted), as well as a sneak peek of some of the other things I've got going on at Wild Prairie Paperie. I've been blown away by the response, and want to thank you all for the support, shares, purchases, and good vibes! It all means a ton. <3

(And you may be seeing more giveaways from future launches, I'm just saying...)

THE WINNERS:

Jason
Erin
Amanda
John

Jessica

Sophia


All this and then some, with LOTS more to come!

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

Monday, September 6, 2021

Austen in August winners!

With the announcement of winners and winners and WINNERS, comes the official end of another Austen in August. So bittersweet. Thank you all so much for joining me this year; I always love everyone's enthusiasm, but (maybe because we took last year off) this year felt extra special.

Before we get into the endless list of winners, I want to say two things. The first is a MASSIVE THANK YOU to all of the authors and guest posters who contributed to this year's event. I always say I couldn't have done it without you, but this year, I really couldn't have. There would not have been an Austen in August without the time, creativity, and generosity of the many, many people who contributed to this event, so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

The second thing I want to say is, there are still two giveaways that are up and running until the 10th! There's an international giveaway for these art prints, and a US giveaway for a whole box of stuff from my new stationery line! --  so if you haven't entered them, make sure to do so! 

Now, onto the giveaways. The full list of giveaways and their winners can be found below, in the order they were posted during AIA. All winners (except 2***) have been contacted, so if you see your name and you're not sure if it's you or someone whose parents had the same idea, check your email! All winners have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize, or a new winner will be chosen.

***Wyndwhyspyr, I can't seem to find a way to contact you, so please contact me! Robin, your emails are bouncing back!

THE GIVEAWAYS / WINNERS:

Buturot
Colleen L.


Kelly W.

    Ceri

Stephanie C.

holdenj


Wyndwhyspyr

Beth

Tessa W. 

Nancy P.
Gabrielly

DarcyBennet (main prize)
Rachel G. (runner up)

John S.

Morghan V.
bn100

Congratulations to everyone, and I hope you all enjoy your prizes!!



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

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

#AustenInAugust x Wild Prairie Paperie GIVEAWAY!!

We've reached the end of another Austen in August, and if you follow me on Twitter you’ll know, it’s been…trying. I had a lot of plans and posts I wanted to get to, but the universe said “Nah, bitch,” so here we are. 

Among those plans was an entire vlog leading up to this giveaway and the moment my shop would go live, but uh… that has been delayed. But that doesn’t mean the giveaway has to be! Let’s send this summer off in style, shall we?


 

****GIVEAWAY ****
To celebrate another successful (?) Austen in August, and the upcoming (??) launch of my new business, I’m giving away a selection of products from the Jane Austen -inspired line of my new stationery company, Wild Prairie Paperie! And to make this super-special event even super-specialer, I’ve commissioned a mug from a friend’s shop to make the package complete! One winner will receive:
  • “Take Me to Pemberley” sticker sheet
  • “Obstinate, Headstrong Girl” sticker sheet
  • set of watercolor teacup stationery with matching envelopes, in white
  • set of Regency lady Stationery with matching envelopes, in cream
  • set of 4 “What are men to rocks and mountains?” blank notecards
  • “Take Me to Pemberley” tear-away notepad
  • “If a book is well-written…” art print
  • “To sit in the shade on a fine day…” art print
  • “If adventures will not befall a lady…” art print
  • “What are men to rocks and mountains?” art print
  • “Take me to Pemberley” ceramic mug
  • Probably some other random surprise bits…
To enter fill out the Rafflecopter below. Because of shipping costs and the fragility of the package, this giveaway is US only (sorry, international friends!!), but international readers do have a chance to win some of the stationery bits in the Mega Prize Pack 2 giveaway, as well as the 5x7 quote prints in the two giveaways I have running for it (on the blog and on Instagram).
Please do not leave any email addresses or sensitive info in the comments!
Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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

Eat Like Austen: Parmesan Ice Cream!

Beth has been a constant fixture this AIA-season, and for that (and helping save my sanity, on which I have a tenuous grasp once August rolls around), I thank her! She joins us today for one last post, and she's leaving us with a sweet* treat!
*maybe? Only time will tell!

Ices and ice cream were popular dishes in Georgian, Regency, and Victorian times, made in fantastic molds (or bombes) for dinner parties and available at confectionary shops. They appear to have ranged in consistency from a sorbetto-like fruit-based "ice slushy" to a gelato-like cream-based frozen custard. The surviving recipes for flavors- and there are quite a few- range from sweet to savory, mundane to bizarre. French and Italian confectioners in London helped to popularize ice cream, so I imagine the exotic flavors offered by them increased appeal.

Among flavors of the era? Hazelnut, elderberry, lemon, currant, bergamot, burnt sugar, elderflower, muscadine, lavender, royal (lemon/orange with a bit of spices and a hint of orange flower), rum, rye bread, and Parmesan. Frederick Nutt, a popular London confectioner, published The Complete Confectioner in 1789, which includes 32 different ice cream recipes. And I'll be honest, 30 of them intrigue me enough to try making at least once.

Today, I've decided to try making Parmesan. Nutt's recipe for it looks relatively simple and straightforward, and I'm intrigued by the contrast of a funky savory flavor with the sweetness we'd expect from ice cream. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 16 oz. heavy cream
  • 3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Make a simple syrup. Because this is a Georgian-era recipe, I went for a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. Leftovers can be used in cocktails, hot cocoa, or just about anything else.
    1. Heat 1 cup water over moderate heat- you want it hot but not boiling- and stir in the sugar until dissolved, then let cool.
  2. In a clean pot over low heat, combine 8 oz. of the cooled syrup, the eggs, and the heavy cream.
  3. Stirring constantly, gently bring to a bubble over medium-high heat.
  4. Still stirring, add the cheese. The texture will change immediately to a curds and whey consistency, then to a thicker porridge consistency.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool.
  6. Sieve through a strainer, gently pressing on the curds to expel any liquid into a bowl.
  7. Cover the bowl and set it in the freezer to harden. The curds can be reserved for snacking. The curds, in case you're curious, taste like a sweet, dense quickbread (especially when eaten cold).
What does it taste like?
The ice cream tastes like a subtle Parmesan cheesecake. The Parmesan is noticeable, but it hides behind the sweetness rather than fighting it. Overall, it's very rich and I found it delicious!

About the author of this post: I'm Beth: a bookwyrm, history geek, hobby baker, Austen fan, and collector of pastimes. Henry Tilney and Elizabeth Bennet are my Austen fictional crushes, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about me. I can be found blogging at https://bethwyrm.blogspot.com/ and creating general nonsense at: https://www.instagram.com/goddessbeth/https://www.tiktok.com/@artemishi, and https://twitter.com/ArtemisHi.
Find more posts from Beth here

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

Monday, August 30, 2021

The Bridgerton Effect: A Janeite Roundtable


The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things; of Dukes and hot goss and TV shows; of Netflix and other things...
In other words, it's time for our last Janeite Roundtable Conversation! Today we're taking on the "Bridgerton Effect," and the flood of Austen "updates" that seem to be coming our way (fingers crossed!). I asked:  

With the success of Bridgerton (and the quasi-success of Sanditon), it seems like networks and streaming services are scrambling for the next big Regency hit with a modern or edgy spin, and are of course looking to Austen -- including announcing a new P&P-themed dating show. It promises to be an absolute trainwreck, of course.  But my question is multi-faceted: are you excited for potential modern reimaginings of Austen?  If so, what would you like to see? What do you think would lend itself to a modern interpretation, however loose?

MARILYN: I absolutely laughed out loud when I read about that upcoming P&P-themed dating show!

MISTY: Very much, same.

MARILYN: I know curiosity will get the better of me, so I'm sure to watch at least the pilot episode, but we'll see the results of this particular reality TV experiment... 

MISTY: Even if it's awful, I think I'm in for the duration. Ha!

MARILYN: The thing I appreciate most about having Austen-inspired work in the media is the sheer amount of mainstream coverage it gets and, thus, the way it opens the door to conversations about JA and her novels. 

MISTY: Yes! That's what I'm hoping will be the inevitable result.  Original text-wise, but also movie-wise: we're overdue for a good spate of new adaptations, and I'd love to see some modern takes get the big budget treatment, too!

MARILYN: For some people, there will be little interest in digging deeper into her writing. But for others, it may be the perfect jumping off point, and they might become the newest Austen fans.
Modern reimaginings of Austen are my jam! Much as I enjoy all things Regency, I actively seek out contemporary interpretations because I love seeing Jane's plotlines and character types mingling with the modern world. To me, she's forever relevant and timeless. 

MISTY: And endlessly relatable! All around the world, in any number of cultures, you find people relating to her characters and her insight, and wanting to tell and retell her stories.

MARILYN: Her observations about humans are as true today as they were a couple hundred years ago -- and I'm sure that'll still be so in the future. On an even more personal level, wanting to highlight how applicable JA's insights are to modern life was a major driving force behind my desire to become a novelist. My debut novel According to Jane was almost completely inspired by the hope that I could show how human behavior, especially in pursuit of relationships, is no different now than it was in Austen's time.

CHRISTINA: I could easily see “The Darcy Monologues” anthology becoming a mini/series with each of the stories, regardless of era, being played by the same cast for key characters. 

MISTY: 1) I love that format, and the creativity and range it brings out of actors, and 2) Yes, please! I'm sold!

LONA: I would like to see Mansfield Park in an Asian or East Asian setting. 

MISTY: I want to see an entire series of the books in an Asian or East Asian setting! I love that we're starting to see more diverse takes gain traction.

LONA: I think such an adaptation would work very well. Maybe Sir Thomas Bertram is a sweatshop factory owner in Guangzhou or Bangladesh. 

MISTY: I don't need more reasons to hate him, honestly. But I would love to see the familiar stories and characters and romances play out against new backdrops, with new perspectives and cultures adding depth.

RIANA: I have to confess I’m not a big television-watcher. I’m also a bit cautious of how the networks are re-imagining some of the classics, if we can call Nancy Drew and Archie “classics.” Dark Austen? Is that what’s next? The Ghost of Netherfield Hall? The Phantom Spirits of Longbourn? 

MISTY: I'm honestly not opposed... but then, I'm shameless. And easy! Slap Austen's name on it and I'm in!

RIANA: We have had P&P&Zombies, so there is obviously interest. Still, anything to spread the love gets a thumbs-up from me. I can’t predict what upcoming shows would work well, but I thought The Lizzie Bennet Diaries of a few years back was brilliant. 

MISTY: Truly.

RIANA: The linked vlog posts, Twitter feeds, Pinterest pages, and all that, really came together fabulously to create realistic and relatable characters, while keeping to the gist of the story. If someone can recreate that, it would be amazing.

MISTY: Man! I'm definitely overdue for a rewatch of that series. And Emma Approved!

ALEXA: This isn’t strictly Regency, but I’d really like an historical cookoff show with a literately twist. 

MISTY: You are speaking my language, Alexa!

ALEXA: Maybe one episode challenges contestants to reproduce food from Austen’s novels, like white soup and syllabub. Maybe another episode focuses on Shakespeare, and they could make posset and wild boar. The judges could be a mixture of chefs and historians. It’d be great!


<hr> 

So, friends: what would you like to see? 
And what should we talk about next year? Let me know in the comments. But for now, that's us, signing off on another great year of Janeite Roundtable discussions! 

BIG THANKS to this year's roundtable of contributors:
Alexa Adams, author of The Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice series, et al
Christina Boyd, editor of  The Quill Collective anthology series
Lona Manning, author of the Mansfield Trilogy and the blog series "Clutching My Pearls"
Marilyn Brant, author of Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match, et al.
Riana Everly, author of the Miss Mary Investigates series, et al.

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

Guest Review: Jane by the Sea by Carolyn V Murray, from Beth!

Beth joins us today for a review of Carolyn V. Murray's Jane by the Sea; take it away, Beth! 

Synopsis

Very little is known about the young man that Jane Austen met during a seaside holiday in 1800. Her sister was later to say that she believed this young man was falling in love with Jane and was someone she felt was truly worthy of her sister. What transpired that summer? Perhaps it happened this way...

Jane begins her search for love with giddy optimism, but her first encounter proves devastating. The young Irishman who captured her heart is convinced by his family that marrying a penniless clergyman’s daughter would be a terrible mistake. Jane resolves never again to succumb to false hope, romantic delusions, and pathetic heartbreak.

Lieutenant Frederick Barnes is on medical leave from the Royal Navy. By the time he crosses paths with Jane, she has lost her faith in love and is determined to protect her heart at all costs.

But the Lieutenant is captivated and equally determined to break through her defenses. Jane must battle between what she knows and what she feels. What will happen to her heart if she is wrong again?

My Review

Having recently read Miss Austen, and previously read other works of fiction that touch on Jane Austen's supposed one (or two) moments of love, I found this to be the sweetest take on that quasi-known part of the author's personal history. Most of this book is supposition, by Carolyn V. Murray's admission, but she pulls from Austen's own published works (both in scenes and characters, and in direct lines from the novels), which makes this something of a love-letter to Jane Austen. 

I was a bit startled at Jane's writing scenes to express frustration by punishing her fictional characters- both the level of violence and the act of it felt immature, and not something I'd expect from a woman whose perception of human nature feels like it would come with self-awareness. But it was entertaining, and I don't honestly know if Jane wrote bloodthirsty scenes as a child (it's possibly reference to that survived in letters). 

Jane's own second-chance romance mirrors Persuasion so much that it's hard to not be charmed by Lieutenant Barnes. Even knowing what happens (from my previous reading), I had hope for a better ending for Austen. And I get the impression that Carolyn V Murray did, too.

So if you lean into the fiction part of historical fiction, and you're a fan of Jane Austen (the woman and/or her works), I highly recommend this sweet, entertaining story.


About the author of this post: I'm Beth: a bookwyrm, history geek, hobby baker, Austen fan, and collector of pastimes. Henry Tilney and Elizabeth Bennet are my Austen fictional crushes, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about me. I can be found blogging at https://bethwyrm.blogspot.com/ and creating general nonsense at: https://www.instagram.com/goddessbeth/https://www.tiktok.com/@artemishi, and https://twitter.com/ArtemisHi.
Find more posts from Beth here

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

Friday, August 27, 2021

GIVEAWAY: Jane Austen Quote Art Prints

Update: I've added a second giveaway of these prints, over on instagram. One winner will receive the full set of all four prints!

For whatever reason, I seem to enjoy putting extra work on myself whenever things are super chaotic. Case in point: my printables series

This year, I'm taking the printables idea a step further in that, I'm printing them and sending them directly to you! (Well, some of you, anyway...) What can I say? I'm just itching to have my stationery shop open, finally



If you'd like to see how these prints were created, you can check that out in the video above. And then, make sure to enter to win one of the four prints featured! And don't forget, I've also included tidbits from my stationery shop, Wild Prairie Paperie, in each of this year's Mega Prize Pack giveaways, so make sure to enter those, too!

 ****GIVEAWAY**** 

Win 1 of 4 hand-lettered quote prints, featuring some of my favorite Jane Austen quotes!
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below. Full terms in the Rafflecopter. This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL. 
Please do not leave email addresses or sensitive info in the comments. 
Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event, Jane Austen fan fiction, JAFF, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty
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Beth Reviews Clueless, arguably one of the best movies of the 90s

Beth is back today with a look at everyone's favorite modern take on Austen: the 90s classic, Clueless! I mean, it is everyone's favorite, right? You couldn't possibly love another as much. As if!

Adaptation of: Emma

Character Guide:

  • Emma = Cher
  • Mr. Knightley = Josh
  • Harriet Smith = Tai
  • Mr. Elton = Elton
  • Frank Churchill = Christian
  • Robert Martin = Travis
  • Mr. Woodhouse = Mel Horowitz

Notable Changes:

  • Rather than the Jane Fairfax secret romance, Christian is gay (props for a rare mid-90's LGBTQIA+ representation!)
  • There are a few new characters (Dionne, Murray, two teachers that are kind of stand-ins for Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston).
  • There's no Miss Bates analog.

Thoughts: 

Right off, I'm going to admit my bias toward this movie based on the fact that Paul Rudd plays Mr. Knightley. There's a small bit of cringe in some insensitive language, but that aside, it captures a cheeky self-aware silliness about a subculture in a point of time, and uses Emma as the framework in which to do that.

As adaptations go, it hits the major plot points, but less so the minor ones. However, the characters remain true to their original incarnations: Cher is a bit of a snob but she means well and has a maternal streak; Tai is hopelessly out of her depth but starts to believe herself "above her station", which brings her unhappiness; Elton is a social climber with a sleaze; Christian is relentlessly cool; Travis is kind-hearted throughout. Josh is less chastising than Mr. Knightley, but still nails the friends-to-lovers sweet spot.

Now, as oddness goes, my rewatch had me considering the age difference between Cher and Josh. There is one, clearly (milder than in the book, thankfully) and it's never fully stated what that is. But Cher is 16, and Josh is "college-aged"- I really hope that means 18, and not 20, or I'll be squicked out.

Verdict: 

Capturing the classism within the setting of high school popularity, and walking the delicate balance between sweet-MC and obnoxiously wealthy-MC, this mid-90s subculture-set adaptation of Emma is cheeky and approachable. It hits all the broad strokes of the book, with a fun soundtrack and (if you're an Old who grew up in SoCal, like me) a fair side of nostalgia. Worth a watch.


About the author of this post: I'm Beth: a bookwyrm, history geek, hobby baker, Austen fan, and collector of pastimes. Henry Tilney and Elizabeth Bennet are my Austen fictional crushes, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about me. I can be found blogging at https://bethwyrm.blogspot.com/ and creating general nonsense at: https://www.instagram.com/goddessbeth/https://www.tiktok.com/@artemishi, and https://twitter.com/ArtemisHi.
Find more posts from Beth here

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

Thursday, August 26, 2021

GIVEAWAY: Audiobook prize pack from Karen M. Cox!

Earlier today, Karen M. Cox stopped by to give us a bit of Emma vs. Emma; and, of course, you've gotten a few opportunities during AIA to win copies of her books. But how's about one last chance, eh? 



****GIVEAWAY****
Karen has offered up 2 mini-prize packs of audiobook copies of her books 1932 and Undeceived for 2 lucky winners! (And don't forget, you can also enter to win these books (and more!) in EACH of this year's Mega Prize Packs!)
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below. Full terms located in the Rafflecopter terms section. International.
Please do not leave email addresses or sensitive info in the comments. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

ABOUT THE BOOKS: 
 1932:  "Do anything rather than marry without affection.” (Pride and Prejudice) 
 During the upheaval of the Great Depression, Elizabeth Bennet’s life is torn asunder. Her family’s relocation from the bustle of the big city to a quiet family farm has changed her future, and now, she must build a new life in rural Meryton, Kentucky. 
 William Darcy suffered family turmoil of his own, but he has settled into a peaceful life at Pemberley, the largest farm in the county. Single, rich, and seemingly content, he remains aloof - immune to any woman’s charms. 
 Until Elizabeth Bennet moves to town. 
 As Darcy begins to yearn for something he knows is missing, Elizabeth’s circumstances become more dire. Can the two put aside their pride and prejudices long enough to find their way to each other? 

1932, Karen M. Cox’s award-winning debut novel, is a matchless variation on Jane Austen’s classic tale. 

 Undeceived: "...if I endeavor to undeceive people as to the rest of his conduct, who will believe me?" (Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 40) 
 Elizabeth Bennet, a rookie counterintelligence officer, lands an intriguing first assignment - investigating the CIA's legendary William Darcy, who is suspected of being a double agent. Darcy's charmed existence seems at an end as he fights for his career and struggles against his love for the young woman he doesn't know is watching his every move. Elizabeth's confidence dissolves as nothing is like she planned - and the more she discovers about Darcy, the more she finds herself in an ever-tightening web of danger. 
 Unexpected twists abound in this suspenseful Cold War-era romance inspired by Jane Austen's classic tale.
Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event, Jane Austen fan fiction, JAFF, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty
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Emma, Reimagined: Karen M. Cox reads from Emma and I Could Write a Book

Karen M. Cox joins us again today (you may remember her post from earlier this month, via Austen Through the Ages...). This time, she's sitting down to do a little storytime with us, sharing a scene from Emma, and its corresponding scene in her 1970's-set retelling, I Could Write a Book. Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and make sure to check back later today for a mini-prize pack of books from Karen!

And before you go, don't forget to download your free Austen-inspired desktop and mobile wallpapers, as a gift from Karen!

Take it away, Karen!


Hello everyone! 
This is Karen M Cox, back again for another post for Austen in August. I love this month-long celebration of my favorite author. Thanks, Misty, for playing hostess for the entire month of August!  
Today, I’m going to read a scene from Emma—one of my favorite scenes, where George and Emma work together to sooth Mr. Woodhouse at the Westons’ Christmas Party. 
Then, I’ll complement that with the same scene from I Could Write a Book, my Emma variation sent in the 1970s. 
The video is about 17 minutes long, so make a cup of tea, grab a biscuit and join me for an Austen-themed break. 

When you’re done, be sure to head back here to access a Google Folder with some desktop and phone wallpapers I’ve made, especially for Austen In August readers and listeners.  

To learn more about my books, please visit www.karenmcox.com

Thanks for listening!



About I COULD WRITE A BOOK: 

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever and rich…”
Thus began Jane Austen’s classic, a light and lively tale set in an English village two hundred years ago. Yet every era has its share of Emmas: young women trying to find themselves in their own corners of the world.
I Could Write a Book is the story of a self-proclaimed modern woman: Emma Katherine Woodhouse, a 1970s co-ed whose life is pleasant, ordered, and predictable, if a bit confining.
Her friend George Knightley is a man of the world who has come home to fulfill his destiny: run his father’s thriving law practice and oversee the sprawling Donwell Farms, his family legacy in Central Kentucky horse country.
Since childhood, George’s and Emma’s lives have meshed and separated time and again. But now they’re adults with grown-up challenges and obligations. As Emma orchestrates life in quaint Highbury, George becomes less amused with her antics and struggles with a growing attraction to the young woman she’s become.
Rich with humor, poignancy, and the camaraderie of life in a small, Southern town, I Could Write a Book is a coming of age romance with side helpings of self-discovery, friendship, and finding true love in the most unlikely places.


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

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Everyone's A Janeite (Jane Austen as The Great Unifier)

This is something I've been wanting to discuss for awhile now, but it took some time for the words to percolate; I'm not sure if they're fully-brewed anyhow, but man! They should did come spilling out.

Short story, if you're not the video-watching type: all are welcome in the Jane Austen world. More Janeites is a GOOD thing. And if someone gives you pushback on your place in Austenland, send them my way...


Check back tomorrow for a post highlighting diverse Austen retellings

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

Why Edward Ferrars Fails...But I Still Like Him | Guest Post from Harriet Jordan

I feel like, in the realm of Austen characters, Edward Ferrars is a controversial one. Harriet Jordan, one of the hosts of the Reading Jane Austen podcast, joins Austen in August today (welcome!) to tell us why E. fails as a hero -- but why he still might be worth loving, anyway...

Why Edward Ferrars fails as a hero – and why I like him anyway

Edward Ferrars, of Sense and Sensibility, is unlikely to top many lists of ‘favourite Austen heroes’. Some readers may actively dislike him, but I suspect the majority simply find him dull. Why is this so?

Although I haven’t done a detailed comparison, I believe Edward is the most off-stage of all Jane Austen’s heroes. There are 50 chapters in Sense and Sensibility, and Edward is present in only twelve of them (and even this is a generous estimate):

  • Chapters 3-5: at Norland (and in Chapters 3 and 4 he is described, and spoken of, without being physically present in any scenes, even though this all happens when he is at the house)
  • Chapters 16-19: at Barton (but in Chapter 19, he is only present for the opening paragraph)
  • Chapter 35: the unexpected encounter with Elinor and Lucy
  • Chapter 40: when Elinor tells him about the living
  • Chapters 48-50: return to Barton and the wrap up of the story
Furthermore, in four of these chapters, he has no dialogue at all. In fact, by my count he only speaks 50 times in the entire book, and at one point he is even described as sitting for some time ‘silent and dull’.
So it is not altogether surprising that many readers find it hard to engage with a character who is given so little opportunity to come ‘alive’ off the page.

And I think the biggest failure in presentation is Chapters 3-5 – the crucial chapters in which he is not only introduced to us, but in which he and Elinor are falling in love. But we don’t see any of this. Edward is described, and the Dashwood women talk about him, but there’s no scene of him interacting with Elinor. So we have to take it on faith that he is as Elinor describes him: ‘his mind is well-informed, enjoyment of books exceedingly great, his imagination lively, his observation just and correct, and his taste delicate and pure’. But even Elinor silently observes his ‘want of spirits’ and ‘dejection of mind’. And Elinor’s reflections come after – not before – the narrator’s fairly tepid description of him (‘not recommended to their good opinion by any particular graces of person or address’, ‘his manners required intimacy to make them pleasing’, ‘open, affectionate heart’, understanding was good’) and Marianne’s criticism of his lack of spirit. It’s not a very promising introduction!

So we come out of these scenes at Norland having been told that Elinor sees something in Edward to make her love him, but not having been given any real evidence of it. 

After these unrewarding opening scenes, we wait eleven chapters before seeing Edward again, when he arrives at Barton. And I think that it’s only during this first visit to Barton that we get a glimpse of the character Jane Austen envisaged, but did not properly show us. But before looking at this, I want to briefly go over his appearances in the remainder of the book.

The Chapter 35 encounter with Elinor and Lucy is largely dialogue-free – entirely so until Marianne’s arrival – and Edward’s contribution is two commonplace lines, although we do get a sense of his extreme discomfort with the situation. He speaks rather more in the Chapter 40 scene – the first scene in the whole book that is just him and Elinor - and as readers we can feel the undercurrents of what is not being said, but by this stage it is a bit late to be developing his personality. In Chapter 49 he again has a scene alone with Elinor, in which he has at least one lengthy speech about himself, not dissimilar to Darcy’s conversations with Elizabeth when they are out walking. But by this stage in Pride and Prejudice we have formed a clear picture of Darcy, having seen him in multiple conversations and interactions with others, and so are much more engaged for this type of infodump. Not so with Edward!

Everything I have gone through so far seems to show Edward as someone who is shy, slightly awkward, and frequently in low spirits. He is perhaps a little weak in getting involved with Lucy, and avoiding conflict with his family, but he also has the strength to stand up for what he believes is right, even in the face of being disinherited. However, none of this makes him seem like particularly good company. ‘Silent and dull’ does seem to sum him up.

But I think there is another Edward, hidden under the surface, and to find him, we need to look at Chapters 16 to 18. In these scenes we see him interacting with the Dashwood family as a whole. Even though he is frequently not ‘in spirits’, we finally have him taking a significant part in fully reported conversations. And there are even signs that he has a sense of humour! When talking about himself – in arguably a slightly self-centred manner – he wryly observes, in a beautifully balanced set of sentences, ‘I always preferred the church, as I still do. But that was not smart enough for my family. They recommended the army. That was a great deal too smart for me.’

And he and Elinor join in gently (and lovingly) teasing Marianne. While this may sometimes seem a little ponderous (‘Forgive me, if I am very saucy’) at other times he is genuinely amusing: ‘among the rest of the objects before me, I see a very dirty lane’; ‘she would buy up every copy, I believe, to prevent their falling into unworthy hands’. This suggests that in fact he can be good company.

Is this enough to redeem Edward – to let him stand alongside the best of Jane Austen’s heroes? No, not really. But for me at least, it’s enough to keep him from last place in the list. I feel I would like to have known him better, and the failure is that the book doesn’t let me do so.

Harriet Jordan
August, 2021


Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event, Jane Austen fan fiction, JAFF, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty
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Excerpt & GIVEAWAY: Misunderstandings & Ardent Love by Susan Adriani!

Below you'll find a sneak peek of Susan Adriani's Misunderstandings & Ardent Love, a brand-new Pride & Prejudice retelling that released just days ago! Check it out below, and then make sure to click through to enter to win a copy!

“I have never been able to forget you...I am yours, in body and soul, for as long as I am able to draw breath.”

AFTER MONTHS OF BROODING DESPAIR while Bingley prepares to wed Jane Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy realises he has no choice but to put his heart at risk and try to win the only woman he will ever love. 

ELIZABETH BENNET WOULD MORE THAN WELCOME his return to Longbourn. Yet despite such mutually ardent feelings, her most beloved sister and Darcy’s own uncle hold quite the opposite points of view.

TORN BETWEEN PERSONAL LOYALTIES and responsibilities, the couple must balance finding a discreet solution for a family scandal in London and dealing with new outrageous actions by Mr and Mrs Wickham, all while facing a Jane Bennet who cannot forgive Darcy his interference in her love story.

Can the two overcome misunderstandings and meddling and find their way to one another at last?

* * *

misunderstandings and ardent love, susan adriani, austen in august, the book rat, pride and prejudice retellings, jane austen retellings, mr darcy
Elizabeth could hardly credit that he, of all people, could be standing directly in front of her; but as she stared into his eyes, as dark and piercing as ever, and observed the strong line of his jaw, which was clenched so tightly his temples throbbed, she could not deny that it was indeed Fitzwilliam Darcy and no other.

What on earth is he doing here? she wondered in astonishment. He is far too early for Jane’s wedding to Mr Bingley if that is his purpose in coming. Oh! Confusing man! Why can I not be free of him, even for the span of one night?

Mr Ellis touched her arm, a fleeting brush of his fingertips against the sleeve of her glove, and enquired as to her well-being. His voice, as he spoke her name, held a note of puzzlement as well as concern and prompted Elizabeth to remember herself. She quickly tore her eyes from Darcy and fixed them on her friend instead.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Eat Like Austen: Whipt Syllabub Recipe from Beth!

Now that we've all enjoyed our slices of Caraway Seed Cake (yum!), Beth is back to teach us how to make whipt "syllabub," a very funny word you've probably read in Austen and thought, 'what the heck is that?'
Take it away, Beth!

Whipt syllabub has been a popular dessert dish since the 1500s. It's referenced in one of Jane Austen's letter from 1792, and her sister-in-law and friend, Martha Lloyd, documented a recipe for it in her Household Book. It's a super easy dish to make, with a silken mousse-like texture and plenty of bright sweetness.

The historic version of the recipe found in almost every Georgian cookbook is essentially the same (some with egg whites, some without), but modern appliances mean you can whip this up in far less time, and chill it to the perfect consistency.

For a non-alcoholic version, substitute sweet grape juice for the cream sherry and apple cider for the white wine. 

The original recipe, from Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • The juice and zest of one large lemon*
  • 1 cup sweet white wine
  • 1/2 cup cream sherry

*My lemon turned out to be a lemon, so I swapped for 3 Tblsp lemon juice and no zest. It turned out just fine, but if you have the option to use zest, it really adds to the recipe!

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the whipping cream, sugar, and lemon zest.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the lemon juice, white wine, and cream sherry.

3. Whip the cream mixture for about a minute. While it continues to whip, slowly pour in the wine mixture. If you pour too fast, it'll split.

4. Continue whipping for about 6-8 minutes total, until it looks more or less like whipped cream. The alcohol will keep it from reaching full whipped cream texture, but overwhipping will turn it to butter.

5. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Stir it a few times while it's chilling.

6. Serve in individual wine glasses, with a spoon. If you want to get fancy, garnish with a curl of lemon zest or a fresh raspberry.

This makes enough for about 6 servings. 

It can sit in the fridge for several days, but it will separate (whipped cream on top, wine below), so gently fold it back together before serving. The more times you do this, of course, the less whipped and more cream the texture will become.


About the author of this post: I'm Beth: a bookwyrm, history geek, hobby baker, Austen fan, and collector of pastimes. Henry Tilney and Elizabeth Bennet are my Austen fictional crushes, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about me. I can be found blogging at https://bethwyrm.blogspot.com/ and creating general nonsense at: https://www.instagram.com/goddessbeth/https://www.tiktok.com/@artemishi, and https://twitter.com/ArtemisHi.

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

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