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Showing posts from October, 2008

Lydia finds love at Hallowe'en

I wrote this short piece for a guest blog today on Serena's blogspot Savvy, Verse and Wit. I am grateful also to her for a review for Lydia Bennet's Story, which you can read by clicking here

October 31st, 1801

“I’ll bet you’ll see your true love by midnight,” said our maid Mary, and she looked so mysterious and meaningful that we took her at her word and arrived at the kitchen door as late as we dared. It was very quiet and I was all for bursting in at the door but Kitty was already nervous on account of being told to come without candle or lantern. At her timid knock, the door was suddenly thrown back and the vision that greeted us was so terrifying that Kitty let out the most bloodcurdling scream you have ever heard. When we realised it was Mary with a hollowed turnip candle held under her chin we laughed so hard, I thought I might be ill.

The kitchen was very dark but for the glow of turnip candles on every surface illuminating several strings of apples suspended from the ce…

Inns in Regency England

Fiction set in the Regency era often has an incident or event taking place in a country inn in England. The first thirty years of the nineteenth century saw the growth of such hostelries as the rise of coach and post-chaise travel expanded and peaked.I really like to read contemporary descriptions which help inspiration for writing. The first is by the English writer, George Borrow.
...an army of servants... was kept; waiters, chambermaids, grooms, postillions, shoe-blacks, cooks, scullions, and what not, for there was a barber and hair-dresser who had been at Paris, and talked French with a cockney accent...Jacks creaked in the kitchens turning round spits, on which large joints of meat piped and smoked before great fires. There was running up and down stairs, and along galleries, slamming of doors, cries of "Coming, sir," and "Please to step this way, ma'am," during eighteen hours of the four and twenty. Truly a very great place for life and bustle was this in…

Chilly Winds, Snow and a Warm Review from ExLibris Blogspot

The weather here in the UK has been getting colder with freezing winds blowing down from the north. Last night was most unusual for this time of year as autumn was quickly ousted by winter. Last night we had lightning, a thunderstorm, followed by snow - huge, fat flakes of twirling ice hurtling to the ground and settling to form a blanket over the garden and the street outside. Everywhere looks so pretty, and as I write there is a pink glow from the sun as it rises, gilding the tops of snow-covered roofs with rose and gold. A day to stay in by the fire, I think!

Here, in contrast to the chill outside, is a lovely review from Sharon at her blog, Ex Libris

Title: Lydia Bennet's Story Author: Jane Odiwe Publisher: Sourcebooks Rating: 5/5

"The true misfortune, which besets any young lady who believes herself destined for fortune and favour, is to find that she has been born into an unsuitable family." (pg. 9)

The opening line of Chapter 1 of Jane Odiwe's sequel to Jane Au…

Lydia's Big Adventure!

It is an extraordinary thought for me to contemplate, that an idea for a book which started in my head here in High Barnet, England, and was transmitted by e-mail 'over the ether' should now be sitting on shelves in book form all over the United States. You can imagine how much a new writer wishes to see her book on a shelf in a bookshop and here it is, kindly sent by Laurel Ann of Austenprose at my cheeky request. Thank you so much Laurel Ann, I can't tell you what it means to see Lydia on a bookshelf. I only must add that I am feeling very envious of her adventure and can only hope that one day I will get the opportunity to follow her!
I wanted to thank all those people who have taken the time to write to me about my book and I am absolutely thrilled to find that not only has Lydia visited the United States but several other countries too. I am very touched by all your good wishes.
Also, thank you very much to the lovely, hard-working Danielle at Sourcebooks who sends Lyd…

The Bingley sisters of Netherfield

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.
Tuesday, October 27th 1801

Our acquaintance with the ladies of Netherfield continues in a very poor way. We have returned their visit and mama expressed her pleasure at the park and house. I agree with Elizabeth - Miss Bingley and Mrs Hurst are supercilious in their treatment of everybody. I saw them sneering when my mother talked of Aunt and Uncle Gardiner in Gracechurch Street. Kitty and I were not addressed with more than a perfunctory nod in our direction and were not included in any conversation. Every time I opened my mouth to speak, Miss Bingley gave me such a withering glance, that I promptly closed it again. To Jane however, this does not seem to matter. To her, the Bi…

Jane Austen's home at Chawton and another painting of Jane

Here is another painting of Jane Austen which I'd forgotten about and came across whilst looking for something else, inspired, as ever, by Cassandra's sketch. The little painting that Cassandra produced is very delicate when seen close to and I have attempted a similar effect. However, Cassandra's brushwork was so fine that I found I could not produce anything like the sort of detail she managed in her lovely watercolour, but as I'm sure those of you who visit my blog regularly know, that does not stop me trying to improve!

Jane Austen lived at Chawton from 1809 until just before she died in 1817. I thought you might like to see this unusual view (at the bottom of the page) of the house from the garden. There are several outbuildings; two barns in the courtyard have been converted into a lecture room which houses a changing exhibition. The garden in Jane's day was much larger than it is now. There was an orchard, a shrubbery, a vegetable garden and a field where t…

Lydia and Kitty Bennet's favourite things

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.
Friday, October 23rd 1801

Kitty and I made a list of our favourite things today. I wonder, dear reader, if you can guess what came top?

1. OFFICERS in REDCOATS and the flirting which inevitably goes hand in hand, though it has to be said there is a dire shortage of officers in Meryton. I dream of the place being taken over by those gallants in scarlet - will my dreams ever come true?

2. Shopping - all forms except perhaps visiting the fish shop with Mrs Hill, as she is inclined to encourage us on occasion.

3. New gowns - which of course involves shopping for the said muslin. The linendraper in Meryton is a wonderful place with every variety of muslin, silk, satin and lace, but I d…

Interview With Jane Odiwe, Author of LYDIA BENNET'S STORY (With Giveaway!) from Diary of an Eccentric Blogspot

Interview With Jane Odiwe, Author of LYDIA BENNET'S STORY (With Giveaway!) From Anna at Diary of an Eccentric

Yesterday I reviewed Lydia Bennet's Story by Jane Odiwe, which fills in some gaps in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and gives readers a glimpse of how things fared between Lydia Bennet and George Wickham. It was an enjoyable read and put the spotlight on a different Bennet sister for a change.

I appreciate that Jane Odiwe was willing to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions, and I want to give a big THANK YOU to Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks for arranging the interview.

What inspired you to tell Lydia's story?

Wanting to tell Lydia's story crept up on me very slowly. Like many people I dreamed of writing a novel, but although I had written short pieces over the years, I had not attempted a full-length work. I knew I didn't want to write about Elizabeth and Darcy, I didn't have any interest in them at the time, because I felt…

Gossip from the Ball at Meryton

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.
Tuesday, October 20th

Charlotte and Maria Lucas called this morning to have over the events of last evening. When pressed by mama, Charlotte related the fact that she had heard Bingley declare Jane as the prettiest girl in the room. For all that Charlotte affects to be Lizzy’s best friend, she can be monstrous unkind. I think she was more than a little piqued that Bingley had only danced with her once and she was wicked to remind Lizzy that Mr Darcy only thought her tolerable. Lizzy declared she would never dance with him, even if he should ask her. Well done Lizzy!

After exhausting all talk of the Meryton ball, a decision to have a walk out was agreed upon. Kitty and I declined…

A Review for Lydia Bennet's Story from Diary of an Eccentric Blogspot

I wouldn't say I'm a huge Jane Austen fan, but I've read a few of her novels and enjoyed them. Of course, Pride & Prejudice is a favorite of mine, so when Danielle Jackson from Sourcebooks gave me the chance to read Lydia Bennet's Story by Jane Odiwe, I couldn't say no.

Lydia Bennet has always annoyed me. She was selfish, self-absorbed, and most of all, naive. But I've always been curious about her quick marriage to that scoundrel George Wickham that took up a good portion of Pride & Prejudice and made Elizabeth Bennet see Mr. Darcy in a different light.

Lydia Bennet's Story takes readers on the journey to Brighton, where Lydia's romance with George Wickham begins. Most of the chapters end with a diary entry by Lydia, so you get a chance to see what's going on in her head and understand that she was just a foolish child who always had to be the center of attention. She was boy crazy, and with a mother who did nothing but talk about marrying of…

Dancing at the Meryton Assembly

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.
Monday, October 19th, 1801

A splendid ball we had tonight - despite a lack of gentlemen Kitty and I jigged all night and were never without a partner, though it has to be said that some of them were hideously ugly and not one of them the sort of handsome beau I have dreamed about.

Mr Bingley, two of his sisters, the husband of the eldest and a very haughty looking gentleman, a Mr Darcy, were in attendance. With the exception of Mr Bingley the others all looked as if they were suffering from a bit of old mousetrap cheese up their noses, so sneering were their expressions. I have decided to like Mr Bingley, he is a cheerful sort of fellow but too simpering for my taste. Jane can …

Mr Bingley returns to Netherfield

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.

Sunday, October 18th

I have spent the best part of the day making over my old gown with some trimmings from Hill’s workbox. It is so unfair! Jane and Lizzy have had new muslins made up into the prettiest gowns you ever saw - a tamboured muslin for Jane and a sweet spot for Lizzy. I am heartily sick of being the youngest, even Kitty and Mary will see a new gown before I do.

We have heard that Mr Bingley has returned from London with a party of just six, his five sisters and a cousin and that they will be attending the ball tomorrow night.

“I do hope we shall be introduced to Mr Bingley’s sisters,” said Jane. “They must be very handsome if their brother’s looks are a recommendat…

Lydia Bennet's Accomplishments

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.

Thursday, October 15th 1801

We are stuck in at home by the miserable rain and are forced to entertain ourselves.
I do not think Mr Bingley has any intention of returning to Netherfield. In any case, the rumour is that he is to bring twelve ladies to the ball, so I cannot understand why this piece of news is causing so much excitement in the village - if he dances with every one of them, he'll be worn out before the rest of us manage to get hold of him.
Every girl in the village does nothing but practice their 'accomplishments', which, in their view, includes singing, dancing, drawing and dull sewing. Kitty and I drew up a list this morning of our accomplishments, whi…

Travelling in Regency England

I find illustrations very inspiring and I thought you might like this one by the illustrator of Jane Austen's books, Hugh Thomson.

Travelling in Regency England was just as hazardous as it is today. Apart from the possibilities of carriages overturning, if you were to travel for any distance you had to consider where you might stay on route. Not all coaching inns had the same level of comfort; bad food and uncomfortable beds, perhaps riddled with lice, were some of the hazards you might have to encounter.

Sharing a carriage could be equally troublesome for a lot of people, especially if they did not enjoy the close proximity of their fellow travellers. I love this poem by Swift.

Roused from sound sleep-thrice called-at length I rise,
Yawning, stretch out my arm, half close my eyes,
By steps and lanthorn enter the machine,
And take my place-how cordially-between
Two aged matrons of excessive bulk,
To mend the matter, too, of meaner folk;
While in like mood, jammed in on t'other side,
A …

Bakewell/Lambton, Saxon Crosses and Pride and Prejudice

Here are some more photos from my trip to Bakewell. The first shows a view of the church and the second shows some of the shops in the town.

This small market town was known as Badequelle in the time of the Domesday survey, which is a reference to the mineral springs and an ancient bath in the vicinity. The name was later corrupted to Baquelle before it became Bakewell, the name that we recognise today. In the parish churchyard of All Saints there is the remains of an old Saxon cross, which has an interesting legend attached to it. In 1501 Arthur, Prince of Wales, son of King Henry VII was visiting Sir Henry Vernon at Haddon Hall. Beneath the cross he saw a woman in white who predicted an early marriage and early death for him. When the Prince returned to Haddon he heard that his Spanish bride-to-be was in England and that he was to be married immediately. Four months later he became ill and breathed his dying words: ‘O, the vision of the cross at Haddon!’

I love this extract from Pride…

Elizabeth Bennet, Aunt Phillips and the joys of a good gossip!

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.

Monday, October 12th, 1801
This is a drawing of Lizzy by my sister Jane. Elizabeth enjoys reading as much as I love dancing and she declares there is nothing so wonderful as a good novel. La! I cannot agree. My particular preference is for good company, spiced with lots of diverting gossip! And this, my dear friends, may be found in plentiful supply at my Aunt Philips's house in Meryton.
She is my mother's sister and as dear an aunt as ever lived! - She is such a rattle! Kitty and I like to visit my aunt whenever we can - it is a house always full of interesting visitors. My Aunt and Uncle Philips enjoy a wide circle of friends and their house is always busy with people …

Jane Austen in Bakewell, Elizabeth Bennet in Lambton

I've started a new book - well, I've written a synopsis and a couple of chapters and am feeling really excited at the prospect of immersing myself in the world of another Jane Austen sequel. It does feel like escaping to another existence, albeit a fantasy one, and I must admit, I did have more than a little chuckle at the first episode of 'Lost in Austen', because I could identify so well with with the heroine, (even if we know deep inside that we all much prefer the time we live in). Of course nothing can equal Jane Austen's writing, but we sequel writers are compelled to carry on with the lives of her characters, inventing new stories, even if we know they are not exactly what she might have chosen to write about herself. Can we have too much Pride and Prejudice? I don't think so, or for that matter, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey or Persuasion.

On my northern tour with my sister, (well, it was just a long weekend really,) we s…

Lydia and Kitty step out into Meryton

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.

Friday, October 9th 1801

Walked into Meryton with Kitty but I have abandoned any hope of persuading papa that I need some extra allowance for the wonderful confection of straw and coquelicot ribbons that begs me to buy it from the window of Brown’s. Still, at least mama has finally persuaded him that Kitty and I may be of the party that attends the Assembly ball on Monday and we are beside ourselves with rapture. How I love to dance! Mr Swift, my dancing master, always used to praise me highly, saying I had the prettiest pirouette he had ever seen. I think it very unfair of papa to have dismissed him without so much as a by your leave. It was not his fault that he fell violentl…

Mr Bingley goes to Town

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.

Thursday, October 8th 1801

Mr Bingley returned our father’s call at last, but for all the excitement that entailed, I must own that I cannot see what all the fuss is about. I spied on him from an upstairs window and though he looks tolerably handsome in a blue coat, a regimental one of scarlet hue would work wonders for him in my opinion. Well, no doubt he will ask me to dance at the Meryton assembly. I will accept one turn about the floor, but he ought not to depend on me dancing more than once as, I daresay I shall be inundated with requests, - I ask you, can a girl help it if she is so popular?

Mother is out of sorts. Mr Bingley has gone to town and is not able to come to d…

Jane Austen's World Interview

Here is a link to an interview with yours truly over on Jane Austen's World.This is a wonderful site for research purposes or pure entertainment on all aspects of the life and times of our favourite author - accompanied by gorgeous illustrations.

The painting is of Cassandra and Jane Austen dressed for a ball. It was inspired by two silhouettes said to be of the sisters.

A Review for Lydia Bennet's Story from Austenprose

The true misfortune, which besets any young lady who believes herself destined for fortune and favour, is to find that she has been born into an unsuitable family. Lydia Bennet of Longbourn, Hertfordshire, not only believed that her mama and papa had most likely stolen her from noble parents, but also considered it a small miracle that they could have produced between them her own fair self and four comely girls - Jane, Elizabeth, Mary and Kitty - though to tell the truth, she felt herself most blessed in looks. Chapter 1

It was no surprise to me when I discovered that Elizabeth Bennet’s impetuous little sister Lydia had been honored with her own book, Lydia Bennet’s Story, only amazed that it had taken so long for it to arrive on the Janeite bookshelf in the first place. Of all of Jane Austen’s characters in Pride and Prejudice, Lydia Bennet was one of the most intriguing creatures to recklessly flirt and scandalize a family; and for readers who enjoy a good adventure she is well wort…

Mrs Bennet is elated!

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.
Monday, October 5th 1801

Mama has been in dire spirits for a week but, thank the Lord, everything changed today. So completely altered is her mood, that if a stranger happened to walk in on us this evening they might feel a certain alarm and deduce my mother quite ill! If I did not know better, I myself would suspect the hysterics, because all she has done tonight is laugh and flutter about like a deranged butterfly, dancing from sister to sister, alighting upon us with her lips pursed. My cheeks are damp with her kisses and I am certain papa's bald patch has suffered as a consequence of her frantic pecks - but it is such a relief to have her spirits restored, that I have e…

Mrs Bennet is vexed!

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.
Friday, October 2nd, 1801

I found this picture in mama's monthly museum. Is it not the most divine image you have ever seen? It is a picture of Madame Recamier and the entry explains the reason for her picture being published:

The portrait of this celebrated lady is given more to gratify the curiosity of our fair readers, than for any peculiar excellence the original may possess. We have heard her much praised as a beauty; and for taste in dress, she stands unrivalled in her own country.

She does indeed appear to be quite lovely, though I am sure if I was married to a rich banker it would not be so very difficult to look as fetching. I rather think the lady has a striking re…