We have a treat for everyone for Jane Austen’s Birthday: Our friend Cinthia García Soria, proprietor of Jane Austen Castellano, the Spanish-language Austen discussion mailing list, has written a long article about C.E. and H.M. Brock, brothers who illustrated all of Jane Austen’s novels at least twice (P&P three or four times!). Cinthia has collected the Brock-illustrated editions of Austen’s novels, and has made a study of the illustrators’ lives and work. In the article, she explains the differences between the various Brock-illustrated editions, and if you have ever been confused by seeing different styles or coloring of the various illustrations, or by a book that was described as “Brock-illustrated” and seeing different drawings than expected, then this article will explain it all. Cinthia has been working on this paper for a long time and we are incredibly proud that she has asked us to post it on Molland’s, where we have archived most of the Brocks’ Austen illustrations, along with some by other artists. Cinthia is the force behind that archive, and provided most of the Brock illustrations–we literally could not have done it without her! We encourage you to read this fascinating history over at Molland’s.
Review by Anna Horner
Definitely Not Mr. Darcy is a fun novel for any Jane Austen fan who ever dreamed about living in Regency England and finding her own Mr. Darcy. Chloe Parker, an Anglophile, divorced mom, and struggling business owner, leaves her young daughter behind in Chicago to appear on what she believes is a documentary set in Mr. Darcy’s Derbyshire that will enable her to show off her knowledge of all things Austen, win $100,000, and solve all her problems.
She’s a bit horrified to learn that she’s actually been cast in a reality show in which she and several women much younger than herself will compete to win the affections of the wealthy Mr. Wrightman. All she has to do is assume the role of an American heiress, live like it’s 1812, stay in character at all times, and get Mr. Wrightman to propose. Although she’s not interested in finding love, Chloe desperately needs the prize money. Enamored of leaving the present behind for a simpler, more romantic way of life, Chloe jumps headfirst into the game.
She soon learns that Regency life wasn’t all that romantic nor as fun as she’d imagined. She’s not just giving up her cell phone and e-mail; she also says goodbye to underwear, deodorant, daily baths, and toilets. She has to learn needlework and how to make ink. Worst of all, she has to give up the freedoms she enjoys as a modern woman and can no longer speak her mind or be alone with a man. Chloe not only struggles with the loss of modern conveniences, but she must also deal with bad news from home, her conflicted feelings for the Wrightman brothers, and the conniving Lady Grace – a rival contestant who would stop at nothing to send Chloe back home.
In Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, Karen Doornebos has crafted a hilarious novel with a spirited heroine who would make Jane Austen proud. Readers will enjoy watching Chloe navigate the challenges of the game and come alive in a way she hadn’t been since before her divorce. It’s easy to relate to Chloe and her desire for a simpler life, and you can’t help but cheer her on as she blunders her way through archery tournaments, tea parties, and balls. So much for a simpler life — no matter how hard Chloe tries, she’s always getting her gowns dirty and running afoul of the Regency rulebook, which makes for plenty of laughs.
Definitely Not Mr. Darcy is a lighthearted look at the customs of Jane Austen’s time that gives readers a new respect for her beloved heroines.
Anna Horner reviews books on Diary of an Eccentric, where she shares her love of the written word and indulges in her guilty pleasures of Jane Austen-inspired novels and books about World War II.
Editor’s note: we have several book reviews written by the Minions but with our recent slackage, they were never posted. This is the first of several. At this time, we are no longer accepting new books for review.
Review by Jenny Ellis
Short story collections such as Jane Austen Made Me Do It are great to have on hand when it’s been a stressful week at work and you can’t concentrate for long periods of time. It’s nice to read a couple stories put the book down, cook dinner and pick the book back up. I think there’s a story for everyone in this collection. It’s nice to see that so many authors were inspired by Jane Austen. Three stories really stand out to me. In Syrie James’s story “Jane Austen’s Nightmare,” Jane encounters all of her characters while out on the town. Marianne rips into Jane for having her end up with Colonel Brandon instead of Willoughby. If Marianne doesn’t want Colonel Brandon I’d be glad to take him off her hands. (Same here. –Ed.) I laughed out loud multiple times during this story because I think it’s every author’s nightmare to have their characters come to life and tell them how they really feel. Most of Jane’s characters’ responses made me laugh out loud. Author Beth Pattillo states “If only real life could be like one of Jane Austen’s novels”. Her story was short but sweet. It makes me wonder which novels I’d want my life to be like. I think I’d have to go with my favorite of hers, Persuasion. I like how Beth’s story shows you never know where you’ll find love. When I started to read Alexandra Potter’s “Me and Mr. Darcy Again” I thought the characters seemed familiar. It’s a sequel to her novel Me and Mr. Darcy from 2007. It made me want to re-read the novel. It was just enough of a continuation to make me happy. This book is a good mix of modern day settings and historic settings. My tastes lean towards the modern ones because I like how it shows how much Jane Austen and her novels are still relevant today.
Long time no see.
Edited to add: I have no excuses for the long absence, other than perhaps a severe case of blogger burnout. I actually have lots of stuff to publish–reviews and links and stuff. Anyway, check out the right column. I’ve added a Tumblr where I will publish links and stuff, even if I’m not necessarily blogging. Some of the stuff is old because I started doing this a couple of weeks ago…see, I have good intentions, really.
Review by Anna Horner
Persuade Me, the second book in Juliet Archer’s Darcy & Friends series, is a modern re-telling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, with lots of regret and resentment but also much humor and romance. Dr. Rick Wentworth is a marine biologist who returns to England to promote his book, Sex in the Sea, which, along with his striking good looks, has turned him into a celebrity. Rick has never forgotten the woman who broke his heart 10 years ago, and all of the anger and hurt is churned up when their paths cross. Anna Elliot, a professor of Russian literature at a college in Bath, never stopped loving Rick, and she regrets allowing her family to end their relationship.
Instead of confronting the past, Rick gets involved with Lou Musgrove, and Anna can do nothing more than sit and watch the two of them flirt. Meanwhile, Anna catches the eyes of both Rick’s friend and wannabe poet, James, and an old family friend and slimeball, William Elliot-Dunne, who ended a relationship with Anna’s sister, Lisa, to run off with a rich divorcee from Texas. Rick and Anna’s interactions are tinged with pain and jealousy, and of course, misunderstandings abound. Read more…
- Mozart’s Sister: a stunning new film tells of the talented musician eclipsed by a famous brother
- Oops, I did it again: drink, drugs, sex and gambling… lax morals prevailed in Georgian England
- Taking a tour around Steventon, birthplace of Jane Austen
- Rage against the machine: how the Luddites sought to protect their jobs and their families
- Exploring the character of Elizabeth Bennet
Plus all the latest news from the world of Jane Austen, your letters, round-ups from the Jane Austen Society of the UK and the Jane Austen Society of North America, book reviews and quiz.
And an extra note from the publisher:
STOP PRESS… Watch out for our NEW website and BREAKING NEWS pages – coming soon to www.janeaustenmagazine.co.uk!
In general the magazine is not available at newsstands, except at the JA Centre in Bath, but if you subscribe within the next month or so, you will probably receive this issue. Tell them the Editrix sent you!
Review by Kathleen A. Flynn
Part of the appeal of Jane Austen is that people read her work with very different kinds of pleasure, according to their level of understanding and what they seek. Some love the satisfaction of the smooth working-out of the love stories; others enjoy the wit and irony; some savor the mental journey to a world that seems more placid and stable, more refined and stately, than our own. And a few, like William Deresiewicz, a noted literary critic, find a guide to life. The premise of A Jane Austen Education is that reading the novels of Jane Austen taught him to be a better – kinder, wiser – person and was a vital part of his growing up.
Education takes us through the six novels and about seven years of Mr. Deresiewicz’s life, from age 26 to 33, tracing his progress from self-important graduate student, book-smart but incapable of genuine intimacy or independent life, to the moment he finally finds the right woman, having gained the insight that made real love possible.
Each Austen novel has its own chapter; each is presented as a way station on the writer’s journey to maturity. “Emma” looks at learning to see the importance of everyday, seemingly mundane matters. “Pride and Prejudice” focuses on the challenge of learning from one’s mistakes to see reality clearly, unblinded by emotion or self-interest. “Northanger Abbey” is about learning how to learn. “Mansfield Park” examines how to distinguish what is glamorous and appealing from what is morally right. “Persuasion” addresses friendship, and the challenge of finding and keeping true friends as one moves past early adulthood. “Sense and Sensibility” explores real love versus the false romantic version of it that popular culture bombards us with. Read more…