Posts Tagged ‘jane austen’

darcy's christmas wish

Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★★☆

He tried to recall her face again, but already the memory was even hazier than before. Her eyes, though… she had the most beautiful, fine brown eyes… He did not think that he would ever forget them…

(from Darcy’s Christmas Wish)

Quick summary: Darcy’s Christmas Wish is a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Penelope Swan in which Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet cross paths during the holidays, as he is staying with Lady Catherine at Rosings and she is staying with the Collinses at the parsonage. Elizabeth and Darcy grow closer as she takes a stand against his aunt’s treatment of a young maid, and when his cousin Richard’s son is in danger, Darcy revisits his memories from 15 years before and the young woman who saved his life.

Why I wanted to read it: Who can resist a holiday-themed Pride and Prejudice tale?  Not me!

What I liked: Darcy’s Christmas Wish is one of those books you read in one sitting. After meeting a young and fearless Fitzwilliam, there was no way I could put the book down. I also enjoyed Swan’s original characters, especially Colonel Fitzwilliam’s son, George, and Pirate the puppy. Swan changes up the timeline of Pride and Prejudice, with Jane and Bingley already married and on their honeymoon and Darcy and Elizabeth meeting at Rosings at Christmas, but she stays true to Austen’s beloved characters. Watching Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship evolve from misunderstandings to a partnership of sorts was delightful and perfect for a holiday tale.

What I disliked: Nothing!

Final thoughts: Darcy’s Christmas Wish is a sweet, heartwarming story that emphasizes the true meaning of the Christmas season: love, family and friends, and compassion for those in need. The novel opens in the past with a Christmas wish and comes full circle beautifully. If you are an Austen fan looking for a charming Christmas story, I highly recommend this one!

Disclosure: I received Darcy’s Christmas Wish from the author for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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finding the rainbow

Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★★☆

Holly took one last look at the ever-changing purples and greens and greys of the stunning valley and pushed off the stone wall to resume her jog. And to feel the pinch of regret that she couldn’t stay in this beautiful limbo forever.

(from Finding the Rainbow)

Quick Summary: Finding the Rainbow is the second book in Traci Borum’s series set in the village of Chilton Crosse in the Cotswolds that began with Painting the Moon. This is a standalone novel that focuses on a different set of characters, though some characters from the first novel make an appearance. Holly Newbury left college and returned to Chilton Crosse to care for her father and three younger sisters following her mother’s sudden death. Several years have passed, and she has settled into a routine of taking care of the household, working part time at the village art gallery and pub, and taking online classes to finish her business degree. But her life is upended when a film crew arrives to film an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. Holly befriends Fletcher Hays, the American who wrote the script, and starts a book club when her father’s Lady Catherine-esque cousin, Gertrude, says she has never read the Austen novel. Holly becomes dependent on Fletcher’s friendship when her father drops a bombshell on the family and her sister’s behavior gets out of hand, and Holly realizes she doesn’t know what to do with her life when it seems as though her family doesn’t need her to care for them anymore.

Why I wanted to read it: I was intrigued by the Cotswold setting and wanted to see how Austen factored into the story.

What I liked: I really enjoyed Painting to Moon, and Finding the Rainbow didn’t let me down either. Again, Borum has created a cast of memorable characters, and I liked how the villagers were like old friends this time around. I felt like I really got to know Holly and understand her devotion to her family. Her life was thrown into chaos when her mother died, but her new routine became comfortable over time, and she doesn’t know how to go back to the independence she knew before. Her family leans on her, and when Fletcher enters her life, she finally finds someone she can lean on. And just like in Emma, that friendship becomes confusing when other feelings come into play. I enjoyed the Austen references at the beginning of every chapter, as well as the similarities between Holly’s story and Austen’s novel.

What I disliked: Nothing. It was a charming, feel-good novel overall.

Final thoughts: Finding the Rainbow is a pure comfort read, complete with a sweet romance, family drama, literary references, and that charming small-town setting. I can’t wait to see what comes next in this series!

Disclosure: I received Finding the Rainbow from the author for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Review copy from Meryton Press
Rating: ★★★★★

Every light in the room went dark. A single spotlight illuminated her on stage as though she were the sole woman on earth. Unrivaled. Incomparable. Matchless. The room immediately fell to a hush, the only sound the low murmur of people in the room whispering as though they knew something auspicious was about to happen.

Then she started to sing, and everything changed.

(from Longbourn’s Songbird)

Quick summary: Longbourn’s Songbird takes Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to the Deep South shortly after World War II. In Meryton, South Carolina, Will Darcy spies Elizabeth Bennet taking a dip in Netherfield Pond and is immediately drawn to her beautiful voice. Despite persuading her sister, Jane, to break up with Charles Bingley and setting his sights on Longbourn Farms, Elizabeth thinks there’s more to Will Darcy than meets the eye. But the schemes of Caroline Bingley and George Wickham and a heartbreaking secret from Elizabeth’s past threaten to keep them apart. Longbourn’s Songbird is more than just a Darcy and Elizabeth love story as author Beau North fully immerses Austen’s characters into a postwar society where soldiers are haunted by the war, women are still seen as the property of their husbands, and racism and poverty abound.

Why I wanted to read it: I was intrigued by the setting and time period and wanted to see how Austen’s characters would fare in post-World War II America.

What I liked: I was blown away by this novel. North seems to get the setting just right, and there are so many layers to this story, but it never feels overdone. Moreover, I loved her take on Austen’s characters, particularly Richard Fitzwilliam’s PTSD and the reason why Charlotte Lucas is willing to marry someone like the “holy roller” Leland Collins. Bingley’s backstory and how it comes full circle with Collins was so well done, as was North’s portrayal of Anne de Bourgh. North makes the secondary characters come to life while creating a Darcy and Lizzie readers can’t help but love.

What I disliked: Nothing! I breezed through this book in almost a single sitting.

Final thoughts: Longbourn’s Songbird is among the most unique retellings of Pride and Prejudice that I’ve had the pleasure to read. Yes, there is a passionate love story (more than one, actually) at its core, but it’s so much more than that. North takes the societal constraints of Jane Austen’s time and finds the similarities in the postwar South (even discussing her inspiration and reasoning in a Q&A at the end of the book, which I really appreciated). It was amazing to see how well Austen’s characters and plots fit into this setting, and North’s attention to detail makes for a rich novel. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year!

longbourn's songbird banner

Disclosure: I received Longbourn’s Songbird from Meryton Press for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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These are all books I read over the summer that have been patiently waiting to be reviewed, so in order to clear them off my side table and feel accomplished, I figured some mini reviews were in order!

the war within these walls

Source: Public library
Rating: ★★★★☆

The War Within These Walls by Aline Sax, illustrated by Caryl Strzelecki

This young adult graphic novel chronicles the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 from the eyes of a teenager, Misha. When he can no longer stand to watch the disease, starvation, and violence take the lives of the Jews forced to live within the walls of the ghetto, he decides to join the resistance fighters planning to stand and fight the Nazis as they prepare to liquidate the ghetto. The War Within These Walls combines a first-person narrative with dark illustrations to emphasize the desolation and despair in the ghetto. It’s a powerful novel, and although I read it in one sitting, the images still haunt me months later.

emma, mr. knightley and chili-slaw dogs

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs by Mary Jane Hathaway

A fun modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma set in a southern town where people take their garden parties and Civil War reenactments seriously. The novel centers on old friends, Caroline, a journalist who leaves her job to care for her ailing mother, and Brooks, a journalism professor dealing with his own family issues, who must contend with their changing feelings for one another amidst all their disagreements. It was fun to pick out all the allusions to Austen’s novel, and there are recipes, too!

darcy and elizabeth lost in love

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

“Darcy and Elizabeth: Lost in Love” by Mary Lydon Simonsen

A sweet short story based on Pride and Prejudice by one of my favorite authors of Austen-inspired fiction. While touring Pemberley with her aunt and uncle, Elizabeth Bennet gets lost in a garden maze. Darcy is still dealing with Elizabeth’s rejection when he returns to his estate, and both are surprised to encounter one another. “Darcy and Elizabeth: Lost in Love” was a quick read that made me feel sad that it was over but satisfied at the same time.

almost persuaded

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

“Almost Persuaded: Miss Mary King” by P.O. Dixon

This short story inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice focuses on Mary King, the heiress who catches Mr. Wickham’s eye but who luckily manages not to be trapped into a marriage with the scoundrel. Tired of competing with the Bennet sisters, Mary finds herself easily charmed by Wickham. It was nice to get a glimpse of a secondary character that isn’t paid much attention, but I was surprised to see a bit too much of her in a steamy seduction scene. My only complaint is that it ended too soon, and because I’d grown to care for Mary a bit, I wanted to see if she ever got her happy ending.

bits of bobbin lace

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Bits of Bobbin Lace by Maria Grace

This was a free download from the author’s website that features bonus chapters from her Given Good Principles series of novels inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I’m a big fan of the series, so it was fun to revisit the characters again. I especially liked how the bonus chapters featured a wide variety characters, including Mr. Darcy’s parents, Elizabeth’s parents, Charlotte Lucas, and even Mr. Bingley’s sister, Louisa. However, you’ll definitely have to read the series first so you can appreciate these extras.

a tale of two matchmakers

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★☆☆

“A Tale of Two Matchmakers” by Marilyn Brant

This very short (and free, on the author’s website) story is inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma and involves a matchmaking fairy named Sylvia. Sounds odd, but it was sweet, humorous, and took only a few minutes to read. The story is set at the Box Hill picnic, and Emma tells the fairy about all the “matches” she has made, but Sylvia sees what Emma does not. It’s a fun little scene that is oddly satisfying given its brevity.

the poignant sting

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★☆☆

“The Poignant Sting: Homage to Jane Austen’s Emma” by Sherwood Smith

This is a short sequel to Emma, which mainly focuses on Emma Knightley’s friendship with Jane Churchill, both of whom are expectant mothers. I really enjoyed it, but it felt like it ended just as it was getting started.

amish knit lit circle

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★☆☆

“Amish Knit Lit Circle: Pride & Prejudice (Episode 1)” by Karen Anna Vogel

This is a short story about a group of women, some Amish, some not, who get together to knit and discuss books. I liked the writing style, and the characters were intriguing. However, despite being “Episode 1,” it felt like I was missing something. And then it ended pretty abruptly.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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the unthinkable triangle

Source: Review copy from author Rating: ★★★★★

Eyes tightly shut against the horrifying future, Darcy dug his fingers in his hair, his temples pressed hard between cold palms as though to force out thoughts that tore and slashed and hounded him into a world so dark that, by comparison, insanity seemed a generous blessing. Yet, as he knew full well, there was worse to come.

(from The Unthinkable Triangle)

Quick summary: Joana Starnes’ latest novel, The Unthinkable Triangle, is a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that imagines what could have happened if Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy’s beloved cousin, proposed to Elizabeth Bennet first and was accepted. Can Darcy put aside his feelings for her for his cousin’s sake, especially when events conspire to ensure they frequently cross paths?

Why I wanted to read it: I’ve been a fan of Starnes’ writing since The Subsequent Proposal, her clever mashup of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion.

What I liked: I loved The Unthinkable Triangle from start to finish. Starnes is not afraid to shake things up, and she certainly isn’t afraid to torture poor Darcy! She infuses so much emotion into these pages, yet it never feels overdone. She makes the premise completely believable and made me truly worried about how it was all going to play out. But most of all, I loved getting into the heads of these characters, feeling their joys and their sorrows. Starnes puts Darcy and Elizabeth through new trials, lets readers get to know secondary characters like Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana better, and introduces intriguing original characters, some sweet and some filled with malice.

What I disliked: Absolutely nothing! It has the perfect mixture of passion and despair.

Final thoughts: The Unthinkable Triangle is another winner for Starnes, and again she made me believe that another outcome could be possible. Her writing is beautiful, seemingly effortlessly moving from hope to regret to despondency and back again and taking readers along for the tumultuous ride. The Unthinkable Triangle is a contender for my Best of 2015 list and easily makes my list of all-time favorite Pride and Prejudice variations.

Disclosure: I received The Unthinkable Triangle from the author for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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the unthinkable triangleThank you, Anna, for having me as your guest today to talk about my latest release, The Unthinkable Triangle.

But firstly, may I speak of Mrs. Bennet? I must admit that I am rather fond of her. Partly because I am fast approaching the age I think she would have been in the original novel. Married very young and presumably pregnant with Jane almost immediately, she must have been in her late forties when Pride and Prejudice started to unfold. I am also rather fond of her because I simply cannot see her as an evil, scheming mother selling her daughters to the highest bidder, but rather as a realist. Of course her daughters needed to get married, preferably soon and hopefully well. What choices other than marriage or genteel poverty were open to them, should the worst happen and they lose their father and their home?

Lastly, as an author, I am very fond of her, and also of Lydia, because they are wonderful plot devices. A pair of blabbermouths can be extremely useful in moving the plot along, or having the main characters learn of details they would not yet dare disclose to each other – or would not have the crassness to mention themselves.

For instance, in The Falmouth Connection, my last book but one, Lydia makes Elizabeth see that Mr. Darcy might be in love with her. In my latest, The Unthinkable Triangle, Mrs. Bennet orchestrates a journey north that would allow Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy to finally reach their understanding. Moreover, it is thanks to her that Elizabeth finds herself travelling in Mr. Darcy’s carriage, along with her sister Mary, with Georgiana – and with the gentleman himself.

These days it takes mere hours to drive from Hertfordshire to some place or another in the vicinity of ‘Pemberley’. Not so 200 years ago, when a gentleman travelling with his own equipage and a large party of family and friends would take to the Great North Road with the expectation of covering roughly 50 miles in a day, weather permitting. They would have to frequently stop at coaching inns along the way to rest the horses and have them fed and watered, as the travellers partook of their own refreshments.

And then they would proceed at a stately pace again, and spend many hours in the close confines of a carriage. During those hours, in The Unthinkable Triangle, Elizabeth must confront her recently discovered feelings – a daunting task, in such close proximity, as the following excerpt shows.

* * * *

Coaching InnThe Unthinkable Triangle

Excerpt from Chapter 14

Meryton was far behind now, as the swaying carriages proceeded at a stately pace along the Great North Road.

In the first there was silence. Fed and content, the babe was sleeping in her mother’s arms, and the three other occupants were keen to prolong that desirable state of affairs for as long as they could.

In the second there was a mayhem of Lydia’s, Kitty’s and Mrs. Bennet’s making, which would cease for some ten minutes or so whenever Mr. Bennet determined he could not tolerate it any longer and threatened with bidding the coachman make an about-turn and head back home to Longbourn.

In the third there was no mayhem but, despite appearances, there was precious little peace. One of the seats was taken by the readers – Mary and Mr. Darcy. Presumably mortified by her father’s injunction, Mary took it to heart and forbore to say a word, devoting her full attention to Mr. Gibbon’s History of the Roman Empire. Mr. Darcy’s reading matter, although less ponderous, still lacked the power to engross him fully, and now and then he would close his book and leave it in his lap, his finger holding his place between the pages, until he would tire of staring out of the carriage window and take up reading again, with infrequent glances at the seat before him, where Elizabeth and Georgiana were maintaining a cheerful conversation.

Truth be told, the cheer was all on Georgiana’s side. Elizabeth’s sole contribution was to skilfully drop the necessary words here and there, that would encourage her young friend to share more tales of town and Derbyshire. No one could doubt Georgiana’s excitement and her delight with the company and the travel plans. She was chattier than ever, which was a surprise but no less of a blessing, for otherwise the carriage ride would have been mostly spent in awkward silence.

Elizabeth clasped her gloved fingers in her lap and smiled to Georgiana as she declared her intention to visit the Lakes in the very near future, thus providing the young girl with another topic that would bear lengthy and elaborate descriptions, and giving her leisure to cast a surreptitious glance towards her friend’s brother. She longed to speak to him – she did not dare – and her own unprecedented shyness vexed her beyond endurance.

He was intent upon his book, so she allowed her glance to linger. Dark tousled hair, a few long, wavy forelocks falling over the wide brow. Eyes cast down, lidded as though closed, with only the flicker of dark lashes to prove it was not so. Lips pressed together, presumably in concentration, making the chin jut ever so slightly forward. Strong jaw above the neckcloth and the pointed corners of the collar, no longer perfectly aligned, as they had been this morning. Cheeks vaguely shadowed. A very straight nose, the nostrils widening all of a sudden, with a deep intake of air. And then the lips again. Perfectly formed. Still tightened.

Did he kiss Miss Wyatt when he had offered for her?

She had no answer to that question. Likewise to another: what alerted people when they were being watched? A sixth sense, or whatever else it might have been, prompted Mr. Darcy to glance up so suddenly that he caught her staring. Someone who had nothing to hide might have met his eyes squarely. Those who still had their wits about them would have looked away casually and slowly, as if their mind was elsewhere and they were simply staring blankly into space. Sadly, the sensible alternatives occurred to her when it was all too late. When her cheeks were already flaming as though set on fire, and her eyes had darted in panic from his face.

She did not look his way again, not for a long time, and Georgiana was surprised to note that she was getting monosyllabic or rather odd answers to her questions. Across from them, Mr. Darcy turned to stare at the Bedfordshire countryside again.

There was at least another hour and a half till their next stop. And to their destination – one hundred and twenty-two gruelling miles.

* * * *

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it. There is an international giveaway of a Kindle copy if you would like to find out more – just leave a comment for the chance to win. The giveaway ends on Sunday, October 18.

Best of luck, thank you for visiting and many thanks again, Anna, for welcoming me as your guest.

* * * *

Thanks, Joana! It was a pleasure having you on the blog today!

Stay tuned for my review of The Unthinkable Triangle. In the meantime, check out my 5-star review of one of Joana’s previous novels, The Subsequent Proposal. You can also connect with Joana here:


© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Photo 1Thank you very much for allowing me to visit your blog today, Anna, to make my very special announcement!

In fact, rather than making my own announcement, I am going to let the wonderful Caroline Jane Knight, Jane Austen’s 5th great niece, tell you all!

“It is inspiring to see the positive influence Jane has on people’s lives today. They say life is about what you leave behind and I couldn’t be more proud of Great Aunt Jane’s legacy, my inspiration for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. As Jane’s popularity continues to grow, I wanted to extend her legacy by harnessing the global passion for Austen to improve literacy rates. Literacy is the key to self-improvement and unlocking potential. Reading and writing are essential skills for anyone who wants to understand, enjoy and influence the world around them. The foundation raises money to help create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS by providing FREE books and writing materials to communities in need around the world, in honour of Jane. We are a volunteer organisation with all monies raised spent on literacy resources and fundraising activity. We are currently raising funds to provide literacy resources for the displaced children of Syria, delivered on the ground by UNICEF.

Photo 2I only joined Facebook a year ago and was amazed to discover a world of Austen, involving Janeites from around the world, enthusiastically and vibrantly celebrating and discussing all aspects of Jane’s life and works. With over 7,000 websites and social media profiles associated with Jane, there is a never ending stream of content to keep even the most ardent Janeite engaged.

One in particular caught my eye; “Laughing with Lizzie,” a young woman who seemed to have a lot of fun dressing up in regency costume, visiting Jane’s former homes, participating in Austen events and sharing it all with thousands of followers in a well written blog. I was intrigued. Why did this young woman dedicate her time to celebrating Jane Austen? I reached out and arranged to talk to the woman behind the blog, Sophie Andrews. Sophie is a delight to know personally and her journey with Jane truly heart-warming, a story I will leave for Sophie to share.

Photo 3Before discovering Austen, Sophie wasn’t a big reader but the discovery of the magic that lay in the pages of Pride & Prejudice, that just got better with every read, changed that and was the start of Sophie’s love affair with the written word. As a keen writer herself, Sophie was able to imagine the frustration of wanting to write but having no paper or pen and without hesitation offered to help promote the foundation.

I am pleased to announce Sophie Andrews, aka “Laughing with Lizzie,” as an Ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. We are thrilled to have Sophie’s support to help us create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS, in honour of Jane.”

Thank you Caroline for such kind words, and more importantly, for allowing me the opportunity to be an ambassador for such a worthwhile charity. It is an honour and I am very much looking forward to doing all I can to help the charity!

Photo 4As Caroline mentioned, Jane Austen has been very important in my life, for many different reasons. I was just 9 when I saw the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, but I was a little too young to fully understand the language, so it didn’t really make an impression on me. I watched that film a few more times and as I grew up I began to fall completely in love with it! But I still wasn’t hooked on Jane Austen, it was just Pride and Prejudice – or actually, to be more accurate, I was just hooked on Mr. Darcy! However, back in 2011 I was going to be studying Pride and Prejudice for my English exams, and so that summer I had to read it – you have to understand that at the time I really wasn’t a reader. However, given I enjoyed the film, I was looking forward to it. When I was on my summer holidays I read it in a week. I just couldn’t put it down! It seemed strange to my family to see me engrossed in a book, as I guess I used to be like Emma Woodhouse in regards to books and reading! Pride and Prejudice was amazing from start to finish, and from that point I was caught up in the elegance and eloquence of Miss Austen’s world and words!

Fast forward a year or so, and after a lot of ‘persuasion’ (if you’ll excuse the pun!) from a friend, I eventually started my blog, Laughing With Lizzie. It was my space to rant and rave about my passion for Jane Austen. It was also my escape; I was having a hard time at school and some family illnesses at the time (that is a whole other story I won’t go into now!), and so I really threw myself wholeheartedly into the world of Jane, enjoying my escape into her world through her books, and subsequently my blog. Slowly, slowly my blog became more well known, and then about a year and a half ago I started my Facebook page. From there, I have no idea how, but so many amazing things have happened for me and I have participated in so many wonderful events. I have to pinch myself every day, as it is all beyond my wildest dreams.

Photo 5Fast forward again to a few months ago, when I noticed a certain Caroline Jane Knight had liked my Facebook page. I sent Caroline a message of thanks, and before I knew it, I was actually talking to Jane Austen’s descendant on Skype! Caroline told me all about growing up Chawton House, and about her charity she has recently founded. I was fascinated by both, but the foundation really caught my attention; a charity that was using Jane’s popularity and her legacy to do some good in the world. It really hit home with me, given how much Jane Austen has changed my life. We continued to Skype every few weeks, until Caroline asked if I would be an ambassador for the charity. As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance!

I mentioned earlier how I never used to be a reader; well, the truth is that I had never read another ‘proper’ book before Pride and Prejudice! Jane Austen brought me to reading, and so being able to have the opportunity to help bring the joy of reading to others, as Jane did for me, is truly wonderful.

The foundation is also helping to create proud writers, as well as confident readers, and this is also something I really would like to help in promoting, for without the ability to write, I would not be sitting here right now writing this post. I would not have had a blog.

Jane Austen really has been a huge influence in my life, even in just 5 years! As I cannot thank Jane Austen personally for all she done for me, this opportunity to help use her legacy to bring the ability to read and write to others seemed like the perfect way of saying thank you to Jane for bringing reading, and to a certain extent writing, to me.

Photo 6I am even more pleased to be able to say I had the opportunity to meet a fellow ambassador the other day. Simon Langton, director of the groundbreaking 1995 mini-series of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, was announced as the first ambassador a few weeks back, and during a recent conference at Chawton House Library – which is even more appropriate, given that the founder, Caroline Knight, was the last generation of Knights to grow up there! – celebrating 20 years since the mini-series. It was lovely to be able to meet him in person. He was a lovely gentleman and just as passionate about the charity as I am.

Photo 7Can you spot anything different about the front of the books we are holding? That little white label proudly adorning our books? What you can see is a very special Jane Austen Literacy Foundation bookplate! Bookplates are a traditional way to indicate ownership of physical books. Especially when books were scarce and expensive, labelling books was an important way of keeping track of your property, whilst still allowing them to be loaned out and circulated. And what is even better is that you can own one yourself, personalised with you name in Jane’s hand and its own unique number, perfect to stick into your favourite book, showing your support of the charity. All you have to do is head over to the foundation website – https://www.janeaustenlf.org/support-us – click on the donate button, and once your donation has been processed, you will receive by email your personalised bookplate! Simple as that!

Photo 8Once again I would like to say a big thank you for allowing me to come onto your blog to share my special announcement with you and your readers. I did not come empty handed either, I am able to say that I have a fantastic competition to enter!


Bath Boutique Stays have been so kind as to offer a 1 Night Mid-Week stay for two in an apartment at 4 Sydney Place, Jane Austen’s former Home in Bath.

All you need to do to enter to win this fabulous prize, is to predict the following question:

How many steps is it from Lizzy Bennet’s Penthouse Apartment to the carriage awaiting her at the front door of 4 Sydney Place? (Three flights of stairs and the hallway.)

4 sydney placePlease email your answers to Lucy Bennett (her real name!) at lucy@bathboutiquestays.co.uk, and the person who guesses the correct – or comes closest to it! – amount of steps will win!

The competition entries end on 2nd October.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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