Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘mansfield park’

I’m very excited to welcome Leenie Brown to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time today to celebrate the release of Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy, a continuation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Now, you all know how much I adore Pride and Prejudice and can’t get enough of those variations, but I’m always thrilled to see an author take on a different Austen novel. Please give Leenie a warm welcome as she talks about what inspired her to tackle Mansfield Park, gives us a peek at the novel, and offers my readers a generous giveaway!

Thank you, Anna, for hosting me today. I am delighted to be here to share with you and your readers about my newest book.

Last school year, I was fortunate enough to speak to a class of very young authors.  One of the questions that I got asked during that session was about where I get my ideas for my stories.  My answer? Everywhere.  You have to be curious. Inspiration for stories is all around us. Of course, each book I write tends to have a different source of inspiration and even within the book itself, there may be several sources of inspiration as characters and scenes unfold.  You could say that each story has a story of its own.

With that in mind, let me tell you a little bit about the story behind Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy.

Each Monday on my blog, I share music, writing news, and an excerpt of a current work in progress.  I count these as my accountability posts ─ the posts were I have to examine and share what I created during the prior week. There are days when I would rather do anything but write; however, I know that Monday is coming, and my readers are waiting to sample what I have been working on. Therefore, I write.

However, back in May of this year, I had just finished editing and publishing two books, a short novel and a novelette, and I was working on getting another novella ready that was scheduled to publish in June.  My brain was tired, but Monday was coming. So, I pulled out a story that had been hanging around for a while and attempted to work on it. I managed a few words but none that pleased me.  I knew I couldn’t share what I had written because I wasn’t positive the story was going as I wanted it to go.

Saturday, the day when I prepare my Monday post, arrived, and I had nothing new.  So, I pulled out something I had written for an Emma read along in which I had participated and shared that, explaining that I was between ideas and my creativity was flagging.

In the comments on that post, someone asked if I could write a piece making Henry Crawford redeemable ─ Henry Crawford! Of all the no good, rotten players to have to make likeable! I mean, I love Mansfield Park, but Henry Crawford? Oh, no, I do not like Henry Crawford.  Not. at. all.

However, the idea would not let me go. It begged me to consider it.  I spent that evening rereading sections of Mansfield Park and taking notes.  A story began to formulate, and by the end of the night,  I had even chosen a name for my heroine based on something Henry lacked. I spent another day or two allowing the story time to percolate and solidify into more of a plan, and then I began writing.

In the last chapter of Mansfield Park, Jane Austen writes

Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort and to have done with all the rest.

She then goes on to detail in part what the future holds for the characters we met in her novel.  Henry’s section is fairly lengthy and includes details about his affair with Maria and how it dashed all his hopes of happiness with Fanny.  And then, Jane leaves him in wretchedness.

That punishment, the public punishment of disgrace, should in a just measure attend his share of the offence is, we know, not one of the barriers which society gives to virtue. In this world the penalty is less equal than could be wished; but without presuming to look forward to a juster appointment hereafter, we may fairly consider a man of sense, like Henry Crawford, to be providing for himself no small portion of vexation and regret: vexation that must rise sometimes to self-reproach, and regret to wretchedness, in having so requited hospitality, so injured family peace, so forfeited his best, most estimable, and endeared acquaintance, and so lost the woman whom he had rationally as well as passionately loved.

This is where I decided to pick up that “other pen.”  Henry has had his transformative moment ─ that painful experience of having lost everything due to poor and selfish choices.  He has wallowed in his misery for some time, and he is now ready to make his change complete and find a woman of good character to take as a wife.

But change is never easy.  Sometimes it requires help.

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 4 as Henry begins his lessons with a very pretty and proper tutor ─ Constance Linton.  The other principal players mentioned in this section are Linton ─ Trefor Linton, Constance’s older brother ─ and Trefor and Constance’s Aunt Gwladys.

****

“Crawford,” Linton greeted the next afternoon as he entered the sitting room where Henry was waiting for Constance. “What brings you to my house again today?”

“Do try to sound civil,” Aunt Gwladys chided from her corner. “Remember that Mr. Crawford is your friend.”

Linton raised a brow at his aunt. “I remember precisely who Crawford is, and I see his curricle in front of my house and wish to know why.”

“He is taking Constance for a drive at my request.” Aunt Gwladys spared only a glance up at her nephew from her stitching. “Do you not remember that Constance and I are helping Mr. Crawford learn to be a proper gentleman?”

“You said you were going to instruct him on how to treat a lady.”

“And we are.”

“By sending Constance out in his curricle with him?”

Aunt Gwladys nodded and peered over her spectacles once again at Linton. “There is no better way to learn something than by doing. So, Mr. Crawford is going to practice courting a lady on your sister. There is nothing to fear. Constance is not so retiring that she will not tell him where he is going wrong, and you have been threatening the man with bodily harm for several years, have you not?”

Linton growled, and Henry worried the brim of his hat. “If you harm her or her reputation, I will see you pay.”

“I know, you have said so several times, and I do not doubt your words,” Henry replied. He swallowed as Linton stepped close enough to his side that their shoulders were touching.

“Do not break her heart,” Linton whispered, “or I will pierce yours.”

“I have no intention of engaging her heart.”

Linton scowled. “See that you don’t.”

Constance stopped at the doorway. She knew that her brother had said he threatened Henry on a regular basis, but she had never seen it until now. Though she did not hear any exchange of words, she could tell that Henry was not just uneasy but fearful. To give him time to compose himself and to spare him any embarrassment, she stepped back from view and called out cheerfully that she was ready as she entered.

Henry smiled at her. She was lovely. The blue of her eyes was heightened by the blue of her pelisse and hat. “Shall we go then?”

Constance shook her head and grinned. “No. A gentleman should always compliment a lady on her looks before they depart. We like that sort of thing. Begin again.” She caught how Henry darted a look at her brother. “He shall not harm you for saying his sister is lovely.” She crossed her arms and glared at Trefor. “Unless, of course, he thinks she is not.”

“Do not be ridiculous, Connie. You know I think you are beautiful.” He crossed the room to give her cheek a kiss. “I just find it difficult to hear other gentlemen say it.”

She patted the hand that had grasped hers. “Then do not listen.” She chuckled at his huff. “Mr. Crawford and I are only friends. He requested my help, and I am providing it.” She tipped her head and smiled up at her brother.

“Be careful,” Linton cautioned.

“When am I not?” Constance asked.

“You do not wish for me to answer that. However, I will say that you are intelligent enough to know how easily plans can go awry.”

“All will be well,” Constance assured him. “Now, my pupil awaits to tell me how fetching I look.” She gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. “You can question me about every detail over dinner.”

She turned away from her brother and back to Henry. All would be well, she assured herself. She could entertain the attentions of a charming gentleman without falling under his spell. This was Henry Crawford, after all. She had never before fallen for his pretty words. Of course, that was before he had taken on his current persona. No, she shook herself mentally, this was Henry. All would be well.

“You look lovely,” Henry said as he approached her and offered his arm. “Now, shall we go?”

She nodded and placed her hand on his arm. “That was much better. However, in the future, a more specific compliment might be better. You might wish to mention the colour of my ensemble as being flattering or some such thing.”

“Not with your brother present,” Henry muttered.

“Are your intentions less than honourable?” she questioned in a teasing voice.

“No.”

“Then you should not fear what a brother or guardian might think. They do the same when they greet ladies. I have heard Trefor do it.”

Henry laughed, looking over his shoulder at Linton. “Perhaps I should not fear your brother, but I do.” He gave Linton a knowing nod and was rewarded with something less like a scowl and more like a smile as they left the sitting room.

****

You know, of course, that not all will be well, right? There will have to be at least a few stumbles and moments of decision in which our hero, the reformed Henry Crawford, can prove his worth before we come to a happy ending. 

However, when this book ends, my time with Mr. Crawford and his friends will not.  There are currently two more stories that I would like to tell.  It’s amazing the ideas that a simple question from a reader has sparked! 

If you would like to have your say about which character’s story I should write next in this collection of books, stop by my Other Pens Readers Group before September 22, 2017, and cast your vote in my poll. 

Thank you so much, Anna, for the opportunity to share about my book with you and your readers.

Thank you, Leenie, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new release! I’m looking forward to reading it!

****

About Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy

He’s failed before, but with her help, this time, he might just succeed.

Henry Crawford has failed to secure the heart of a good woman before ─ and quite spectacularly so! There are few in town who have not heard of his scandalous affair. While his debacle might have proven great fodder for the gossips, it has left him with a shattered heart and a deep desire to change his ways.

However, change is never easy.

Old habits can die hard, and some friends may wish to see you say as you always were. Thankfully for Henry, there are others, such as Trefor Linton, who will wish to help and will offer his sister as a dance partner to help Henry ease his way into society.

While most girls her age dream of a rich and handsome husband, Constance Linton is looking for more. She wishes for an intelligent gentleman of good character who is not opposed to a bookish lady. But sifting through the dross in a ballroom in search of such a man is no easy task.

A gentleman with Henry’s reputation is not the sort of man for whom Constance seeks, yet she is not opposed to lending him her aid in achieving his desires.

What begins as a single dance will grow into a collaboration that will equip Henry with all he needs to win a woman of worth, while entangling hearts and leaving not only his own heart and reputation but also that of his friend and tutor at risk of being irreparably damaged.

Check out Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy on Goodreads | Amazon (global link) | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Other Retailers

****

About the Author

Leenie Brown

Leenie Brown has always been a girl with an active imagination, which, while growing up, was a both an asset, providing many hours of fun as she played out stories, and a liability, when her older sister and aunt would tell her frightening tales. At one time, they had her convinced Dracula lived in the trunk at the end of the bed she slept in when visiting her grandparents!

Although it has been years since she cowered in her bed in her grandparents’ basement, she still has an imagination which occasionally runs away with her, and she feeds it now as she did then ─ by reading!

Her heroes, when growing up, were authors, and the worlds they painted with words were (and still are) her favourite playgrounds! Now, as an adult, she spends much of her time in the regency world, playing with the characters from her favourite Jane Austen novels and those of her own creation.
When she is not traipsing down a trail in an attempt to keep up with her imagination, Leenie resides in the beautiful province of Nova Scotia with her two sons and her very own Mr. Brown (a wonderful mix of all the best of Darcy, Bingley, and Edmund with a healthy dose of the teasing Mr. Tilney and just a dash of the scolding Mr. Knightley).

Connect with Leenie Brown via email (LeenieBrownAuthor@gmail.com) | Twitter | Facebook | Other Pens Readers Group | Instagram | Blog | Mailing List | Austen Authors

****

Giveaway

Leenie is kindly offering 2 ebooks of Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and tell us what intrigues you most about this take on Mansfield Park. This giveaway will close on Sunday, September 3, 2017. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★☆

Holidays with Jane: Spring Fever is a collection of short stories set during Easter and the spring season. Each of the six stories in the book is a modern take on one of Jane Austen’s novels. I had hoped to finish the book before summer arrived, but I’ve been so busy these days that I’m just glad to have finished it! Besides, these holiday story collections can be enjoyed any time of year.

Here’s a short rundown of the stories in this collection:

“Extra Innings” by Jessica Grey (based on Persuasion)

Annie Elliot is the administrative assistant to the GM of the Chawton Choppers. Rick Wentworth is a former major league baseball player who returns to coach the team. The pair must come to terms with the end of their relationship so many years ago and figure out whether there’s a chance to move forward.

“Miracle at the Abbey” by Cecilia Gray (based on Northanger Abbey)

Kathia returns to The Abbey, the home where she lived as a teenager after her mother’s death, for her paranormal reality show. She is reunited with the owners’ son, Henry Trang, and is forced to come to terms with the past and the events that prompted her to flee The Abbey…and Henry.

“Whine and Wineries” by Melissa Buell (based on Sense and Sensibility)

The Dashwoods are forced to leave their family home upon the death of their patriarch. The move to a cottage at the Barton Winery separates Elinor from Edward just as their friendship seems to deepen, but her family’s involvement in a wedding planning business results in their crossing paths again.

“Emma’s Inbox: An Emma Story” by Rebecca M. Fleming (based on Emma)

Emma is a writer for the Hartfield Herald, and Noah Knightley is the town’s mayor. This story of matchmaking gone awry is told through emails and text messages among the various characters.

“No Vacancy at Mansfield Motel” by Kimberly Truesdale (based on Mansfield Park)

This story is set on the ocean, with Fanny Price stuck taking care of the Mansfield Seaside Motel while the rest of Bertram family does whatever they please. She had hoped to spend time with her favorite cousin Eddie while he is on break from school, but instead he is preoccupied with the friends he brings along, Mary and Henry Crawford, and fails to notice Fanny and all the dreams she’s pushed to the wayside to care for the family.

“Lydia Reimagined” by Jennifer Becton (based on Pride and Prejudice)

Lydia Bennet is determined to prove that she has learned from her failed relationship with George Wickham by attending his wedding. When she bumps into an old friend, Kyle Dennison, she is forced to consider her motives for being there and the larger questions of who she has become and what she wants.

As with the previous Holidays with Jane anthologies I’ve read (Trick or Sweet and Christmas Cheer), I enjoyed each of the stories. They were all unique and clever retellings of Austen’s novels. “Lydia Reimagined” is the story that stood out most to me. I loved seeing Lydia putting herself on the right track, bumbling through awkward situations with her head held high and with good intentions.

While the spring season itself wasn’t always front and center, each story did touch on the themes of renewal and hope. I really enjoy when these authors come together to celebrate various holidays and seasons, and of course, our love of all things Austen. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of these themed collections.

Read Full Post »

My guest today is Kyra C. Kramer, who is visiting Diary of an Eccentric with an exclusive video guest post to celebrate the release of her new novel, Mansfield Parsonage, a variation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. In the video, Kyra talks about Mansfield Parsonage and why Mary Crawford is arguably the most interesting and likeable character in Austen’s novel. Please give a warm welcome to Kyra C. Kramer:

Thanks, Kyra! What an interesting take on Mansfield Park! I’m definitely looking forward to reading Mansfield Parsonage.

****

About Mansfield Parsonage

mansfield_parsonage

Fans of Jane Austen will recognise the players and the setting – Mansfield Park has been telling the story of Fanny Price and her happily ever after for more than 200 years. But behind the scenes of Mansfield Park, there’s another story to be told.

Mary Crawford’s story.

When her widowed uncle made her home untenable, Mary made the best of things by going to live with her elder sister, Mrs Grant, in a parson’s house the country. Mansfield Parsonage was more than Mary had expected and better than she could have hoped. Gregarious and personable, Mary also embraced the inhabitants of the nearby Mansfield Park, watching the ladies set their caps for her dashing brother, Henry Crawford, and developing an attachment to Edmund Bertram and a profound affection for his cousin, Fanny Price.

Mansfield Parsonage retells the story of Mansfield Park from the perspective of Mary Crawford’s hopes and aspirations and shows how Fanny Price’s happily-ever-after came at Mary’s expense.

Or did it?

“This book captures Austen’s voice with a fascinating point of view.” – Maria Grace, Author of “Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World”

“Kyra Kramer delights with her cheeky take on one of Austen’s most misunderstood characters. Through sharp observation and a talent for turn of phrase, Kramer polishes Mary Crawford into the bright jewel she truly is. By the end, you’ll be wondering why the original wasn’t written from her perspective all along. This is Regency Era at its finest. Mansfield Parsonage, a true source of felicity!” – Adrienne Dillard, Author of “Cor Rotto”

Check out Mansfield Parsonage on Goodreads | Amazon

****

About the Author

Kyra C. Kramer

Kyra C. Kramer

Kyra C. Kramer is a medical anthropologist, historian, and devoted bibliophile who lives just outside Cardiff, Wales with her handsome husband and three wonderful young daughters. She has a deep – nearly obsessive – love for Regency Period romances in general and Jane Austen’s work in particular. Ms. Kramer has authored several history books and academic essays, but this is her first foray into fictional writing.

Connect with Kyra C. Kramer via website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

****

Giveaway

MadeGlobal Publishing is generously offering a hard copy of Mansfield Parsonage to my readers. This giveaway is open internationally. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and answer the question Kyra poses in her video post: are you pro-Mary or pro-Fanny/Edmund? This giveaway will close on Sunday, March 5, 2017. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

****

mansfield_parsonage_book_tour_poster

Read Full Post »

holidays with jane

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

“I’ve an assignment for you,” Samuel said as he clunked the cup back down.

Jane sighed. “I thought as much. Why does He always send you? Couldn’t He send someone with a sharper wit to entertain Cassandra and me?”

“It was either me or a Brontë, my dear girl. I thought I’d spare you that.”

(from “It’s a Wonderful Latte” in Holidays with Jane: Christmas Cheer)

Holidays with Jane: Christmas Cheer is a collection of six Christmas-themed stories based on each of Jane Austen’s novels.

“The Work of an Instant” by Jennifer Becton  (based on Persuasion)

An oddly dressed Santa working in the Mansfield Perk coffee shop informs Dr. Anne Elliot that she will receive her Christmas wish just before her old flame, Lieutenant Commander Frederick Wentworth waltzes in, apparently on leave from the USS Kellynch. Her nurse friend Louisa pounces immediately, but could a Christmas ball and some Christmas magic reunite Anne and Frederick after so many years apart?

“Mischief and Mistletoe” by Melissa Buell (based on Northanger Abbey)

Pastor’s daughter and aspiring fashion designer Catherine Morland gets a chance to spread her wings when she is offered a job making new costumes for the annual Dickens’ Christmas Festival in Santa Barbara. Cate is over the moon when she meets Henry Tilney, but she worries that a misunderstanding of her situation could alter his feelings for her.

“A Tale of Three Christmases” by Rebecca M. Fleming (based on Sense and Sensibility)

The lives of the Dashwood sisters are in chaos following the death of their father. The youngest, Maggie, finds solace in her writing, and a thoughtful gift from her father and a bit of Christmas magic help her navigate the family and romantic dramas over a period of three years.

“With Love, from Emma” by Cecilia Gray (based on Emma)

Emma Gold may not have any family to keep her company during the holidays, but she takes comfort in her matchmaking abilities. However, she fears her efforts to pair up members of the bridal party at her best friend’s wedding may have gone awry amid her confusing feelings for and competitive banter with Lance Knightley, whose bar is next to her flower shop and whose kiss under the mistletoe she can’t forget.

“It’s a Wonderful Latte” by Jessica Grey (based on Mansfield Park)

Mansfield Perk manager Evie and her best friend Frank find themselves at odds when the Piper siblings solicit their help for a fundraiser. Not sure what to do about her new relationship-going-nowhere and her complicated feelings for Frank, Evie needs the help of Jane Austen herself, who uses a bit of Christmas magic to help Evie realize love (and the real meaning of the novel Mansfield Park).

“Pride & Presents” by Kimberly Truesdale (based on Pride and Prejudice)

Liz Bennet is ready to take the reins at the Longbourn Community Center and enable her father to retire. She hopes for a Christmas to remember, with the help of basketball star Charles Bingley. Meanwhile, his lawyer friend Will Darcy has Liz all out of sorts, and he certainly made a bad first impression, so when he asks her out, she is shocked and turns him down. And then the fantastic Christmas she has planned for the children starts to crumble, along with her family’s grasp on Longbourn, and Liz must swallow her pride and realize she may not be such a good judge of character after all.

As with Holidays with Jane: Trick or Sweet, I enjoyed all of the stories in this collection, and again, I loved how they were connected in little ways, through the Mansfield Perk coffee shop and Cate’s Creations. In fact, this time it’s too hard for me to choose a favorite story! I also love how these are modern takes on Austen’s novels and how they aren’t straight retellings, and even though the stories are short, I was satisfied with all of the endings. I hope to squeeze more holiday reading in before the new year, but if I don’t have time, I’ll be thankful to have ended on a bright note. I’m looking forward to reading the other Holidays with Jane collections next year!

Merry Christmas!!

Disclosure: Holidays with Jane: Christmas Cheer is from my personal library.

Read Full Post »

trick-or-sweet

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Jane laughed, “I know exactly what you mean! That’s the beauty of novels, isn’t it? How well fiction can illustrate and even reflect everyday life. I never open a novel without reading about someone I know — and often meet people I’m already familiar with from the pages of a book.”

(from “Once Upon a Story” in Holidays with Jane: Trick or Sweet)

Holidays with Jane: Trick or Sweet is a collection of six Halloween-themed stories based on each of Jane Austen’s novels.

“Must Be Magic” by Kimberly Truesdale (based on Persuasion)

Anne Elliot is still learning how to control her powers — the powers that cost her the love of Fareed Walia eight years ago when she turned down an offer from him in order to find herself — when her family is forced to sell Kellynch House. Fareed comes back into her life at the same time as a dark figure from Anne’s past seeking a powerful talisman and revenge.

“Once Upon a Story” by Rebecca M. Fleming (based on Northanger Abbey)

College student Catie meets a pair of curious sisters at a coffee house as she attempts to piece together what went wrong at the annual Fall-o-Ween festival. Her research about the Battlefield Legend may have cost her the friendship of the Tilney family and the man she loves.

“Insensible” by Cecilia Gray (based on Sense and Sensibility)

Betrayed by her parents, Miriam Dashwood’s life and the family’s business, Dashing Events, are in shambles. She scrambles to pull off the ultimate Halloween party for Brandon Firestone’s law firm as she navigates her confusing feelings for him and the excitement of a motorcycle ride with the bad boy rocker from the band Willow Bee.

“Emma Ever After” by Melissa Buell (based on Emma)

Emma Woodhouse is planning the annual Fall Ball to benefit the charity in her late mother’s name and decides it would be a great idea to auction off local eligible bachelors. Her friend Grant Knightley is skeptical of the plan, her matchmaking abilities, and TV show host Frank Hill, who may or may not have his sights set on Emma.

“Mansfield Unmasked” by Jennifer Becton (based on Mansfield Park)

In a mash-up of Mansfield Park and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pug — Lady Bertram’s furry friend at the Mansfield Park Boarding House — wants to use his cupid magic to help his friend, Pryce, but things get all mixed up at an outrageous, last-minute Halloween party.

“Beyond Midnight” by Jessica Grey (based on Pride and Prejudice)

Will Harper loses a bet to his sister and must attend the high school’s Trick or Sweet dance dressed in the costume of her choice: Mr. Darcy. Things get very uncomfortable for Will when he insults Elena Marquez, who is unlike any girl he’s ever liked before, and he worries the magic between them will be lost when the dance is over and he takes off the Darcy costume.

All of the stories in Holidays with Jane: Trick or Sweet are fun, humorous, and romantic, not to mention quick and satisfying. The stories are connected in small ways, namely the Mansfield Perk coffee house, which I really wish existed! I enjoyed all of the stories, but if I had to choose a favorite, it would be probably be “Insensible,” as I really found myself drawn to Miriam and Brandon’s sweet relationship and how they both changed over the course of the story. All of these authors did an admirable job setting the autumn/Halloween scene and retelling important aspects of Austen’s novels in just a handful of pages, making them modern and very different (in a good way) at the same time. I can’t wait to read the rest of the Holidays with Jane collections!

Disclosure: Holidays with Jane: Trick or Sweet is from my personal library.

© 2016 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

Read Full Post »

then comes winter

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

What I did know was that I needed to go to that party. I was trying to be Elizabeth, not Fanny, after all. Fanny would stay at home and pine after her cousin (gross). Elizabeth would go and have fun, be witty, and impress men with her “fine eyes.”

(from Then Comes Winter, “Becoming Fanny” by Melanie Stanford)

Quick summary: Then Comes Winter is the second short-story anthology from Meryton Press, with stories inspired by the winter season and Jane Austen. There are a mix of modern-day re-imaginings and Regency-era stories, from a Northanger Abbey-inspired story set in Tahoe to a Pride and Prejudice-inspired story that has Elizabeth Bennet running a successful Italian restaurant. There’s something for everyone in this collection!

Why I wanted to read it: I was intrigued by the Austen connection, of course, but I also really enjoyed the summer-themed short-story anthology, Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer, so I just had to read the winter-themed one, too. And it’s the perfect time of year for a collection of stories that can be enjoyed by the Christmas tree with a cup of hot chocolate.

What I liked: The selection of stories was perfect, and I enjoyed them all. The anthology introduced me to several new authors, and again, editor Christina Boyd did an excellent job ensuring plenty of variety and a seamless flow from story to story. It would be hard for me to select a favorite story, but some that stood out were “Holiday Mix Tape” by Beau North and Brooke West, a modern-day take on Persuasion, “A Man Whom I Can Really Love” by Natalie Richards, a unique retelling of Sense and Sensibility, and “The Unexpected Gift” by Erin Lopez, a Pride and Prejudice-inspired tale in which Georgiana Darcy refuses to let her brother give up on love.

What I disliked: Nothing at all!

Final thoughts: Then Comes Winter is a perfect addition to my small library of holiday-themed books and would make a perfect gift for fans of Austen-inspired fiction. I’m very picky when it comes to short stories because I often feel like I’m left hanging at the end, but both Meryton Press anthologies are full of stories that leave readers satisfied. Not once did I think something was missing or that a story would have been better suited as a novel. It’s a delightful collection that can be read a little at a time amid all the holiday chaos.

Disclosure: I received Then Comes Winter 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.

Read Full Post »

old friends and new fancies

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★★

Elizabeth’s forecast created much amusement, and Miss Crawford said, “Everything I hear beforehand of Lady Catherine is very alarming to a stranger like myself.  I shall have to have caught a bad cold before her reception next week, for I shall not have the courage to appear and play.”

“Oh, no, Miss Crawford, you must appear,” said Darcy.  “We are all too bad, with our jokes about her, for really she means to be very kind.  But we have got into shocking ways since my wife married into the family.”

“On the contrary, I think I have educated you all admirably.”

(from Old Friends and New Fancies, pages 31-32)

Written in 1913 and published the following year, Old Friends and New Fancies is considered the first-ever Jane Austen sequel.  Sybil G. Brinton manages to believably bring together characters from all six of Austen’s novels to create happily-ever-afters for several secondary characters.  The book centers on the romantic ups and downs of Georgiana Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam (Pride and Prejudice), whose broken engagement in the first chapter leads to some awkward moments as they try to find true love elsewhere.  Colonel Fitzwilliam and the happily married Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy make their annual visit to Bath, where Lady Catherine de Bourgh mingles with characters from the other novels.

Mrs. Robert Ferrars and Anne Steele (Sense and Sensibility) are desperate to gain Lady Catherine’s approval, and their loose lips churn up events that Mary Crawford (Mansfield Park) would rather forget, separating her from the man she loves and making her vulnerable to the attentions of the obnoxiously vain Sir Walter Elliot (Persuasion) as he seeks a beautiful, well-to-do second wife.

Meanwhile, Kitty Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) is living it up in London as the protégé of Emma Knightley (Emma), who still fancies herself a matchmaker.  Back at Pemberley, Elizabeth and Georgiana warn Kitty not to assume the subject of her infatuation will make her an offer of marriage, but that doesn’t stop Kitty from confiding in the obnoxiously gossipy Mrs. Jennings (Sense and Sensibility) — a move that threatens her happiness and that of Georgiana.

Nearly every important character in Austen’s novels is at least mentioned in Old Friends and New Fancies, with a list included at the beginning of the book for reference.  Although I had to pay attention to follow the mingling of the characters, I never felt lost or overwhelmed.  I’m glad I waited until I finished all of Austen’s novels before delving into this one, but I suppose you could still follow and enjoy it with at least a working knowledge of Austen’s plots and characters.

Bringing together characters from six novels is very ambitious, but Brinton makes it seem easy.  The characters meet in believable circumstances and forge convincing relationships, and Brinton deftly knits together numerous plot threads into a story that captivated me from the very beginning.  The story branches out from two endearing but struggling characters, Georgiana and Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Brinton has fleshed them out so that they truly do feel like old friends.

Old Friends and New Fancies is one of the best Austen sequels I’ve read so far.  I had so much fun revisiting these characters and imagining a world where they could all live together.  If you’ve ever wondered what might happen if characters from one Austen novel hopped into the pages of another, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on this book.

Book 10 for the P&P Bicentenary Challenge

Disclosure: Old Friends and New Fancies is from my personal library.

© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »