Monday, April 4, 2011

Exciting news on all things inspired by Jane Austen!

As I'm sure you know by now the very lovely Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose  has a book coming out in October! Jane Austen Made Me Do It is being published by Ballantine books, and is available for pre-order! In case you've forgotten, though I'm sure I've mentioned it once or twice, I have contributed a short story to this amazing anthology. Just look at the fantastic authors featured on the cover - I'm thrilled to think that my piece inspired by Persuasion is to be amongst them, and I can't wait to read all the stories.
I am so excitied about this book, not least because there's a chance I may even see it on a bookshelf here in the UK, which will be a rare treat for me!

Adam Spunberg who runs the wonderful Jane Austen Twitter Project with Lynn Shepherd contacted me to tell me about an exciting interview he had with Deborah Moggach who wrote the screenplay for the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice. It's a lovely interview which also features our very own Sharon Lathan who was so inspired by the film. Sharon runs the group Austen Authors along with Abigail Reynolds - if you haven't come across this blog before do have a look. There are always quizzes and competitions to win our books, as well as articles of every kind to tempt you!

Laurel Ann also told me about a new production of Northanger Abbey here in the UK, which I would love to see - Traffic of the Stage presents Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen, adapted by John Cooper at the Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre, in Highgate, north London, 19 April to 14 May 2011.
Directed by Harry Meacher, designed by Bryan Hands , cast includes Ashley Charles (James Morland), Terry Diab (Mrs Allen), Victoria Emslie (Catherine Morland), Sasha Jacques (Mary Andrews/Alice), Oliver King (Henry Tilney), Anna Passey(Isabella Thorpe), Tom Reah (General Tilney), Fergus Rees(John Thorpe), Toby Spearpoint (Captain Tilney), Saskia Willis (Eleanor Tilney).


I'm pleased as punch with this gorgeous review from Meredith at The Librarian Next Door 
Thank you so much, Meredith, you've made my week!
Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy are now happily married and settled into life at Pemberley. As Lizzie sets out to learn about being the mistress of such a grand home, she tries to help Georgiana overcome her shyness and attempts to reconcile her husband with his disagreeable aunt, Lady Catherine. But it’s the gossip and innuendo from local families that threatens to destroy Lizzie’s hard-won happiness. Hints of hidden secrets swirl, leaving Lizzie unsettled. Meanwhile, Darcy is adamant that Georgiana marry quickly – and not for love, but for money. Suddenly, Lizzie isn’t sure she knows her husband at all.


Picking up where Pride and Prejudice left off, Jane Odiwe’s Mr. Darcy’s Secret explores the possibilities of Lizzie and Darcy’s life after the wedding. While there is certainly no dearth of Pride and Prejudice“sequels,” Odiwe’s book stands out for being both original and highly Austen-ish. Reading this book, you can almost imagine that Austen herself is continuing her story. While familiar faces continue to grow and evolve, they still resemble the people we know and love from the original. Add in an intriguing and intricate plot with new characters, secrets to discover and mysteries to unravel and you have a thoroughly enjoyable story.
As with Pride and Prejudice, everyone’s favorite literary couple are front and center. Odiwe’s Lizzie and Darcy are very much like Austen’s – Lizzie is still spirited, quick-witted and intelligent, while Darcy can still be arrogant and conceited. But they also learn from each other, changing over time. Lizzie is determined to fit into her husband’s world and prove the naysayers wrong, so she begins to bite her tongue and passively accept the things she cannot change. Darcy, meanwhile, realizes the benefit of tempering his pride and admitting his mistakes.
Any Austen fan wants a happily-ever-after for Lizzie and Darcy, of course, and while Odiwe does give it to them, she makes them work for it. The Lizzie and Darcy of Mr. Darcy’s Secret don’t have a perfect marriage. It’s flawed, but it’s also completely realistic and watching them stand up and fight for one another is my favorite part of this book.
A handful of subplots include Georgiana discovering her own strength and a certain talent for rebellion, a still-bitter Caroline Bingley falling for an artist and hilariously attempting to impress him, and near-perfect representations of Austen’s most outrageous characters, including Mrs. Bennett and Lady Catherine. The eponymous secret of the title keeps you guessing right up to the end of the novel and, to her credit, Odiwe doesn’t necessarily resolve the mystery neatly. There’s still just a hint of ambiguity, leaving the smallest seed of doubt in readers’ minds.
Jane Odiwe’s Mr. Darcy’s Secret is a beautifully written and well-told story that echoes Austen’s original and then takes off in a new and creative direction. It’s a great addition to the ever-growing world of Pride and Prejudice inspired literature – a must-read for any Austen fan or even anyone who has ever wondered what happened after Lizzie and Darcy said, “I do.”
This last nugget of news isn't really Jane related, but I wanted to say thank you to everyone who was so kind when our poor cat Marley died recently. We have a new kitten who is really helping to cheer us all up. Little Vinny is so cute - he's melted all our hearts, though I have to say when he's running up the curtains during one of his 'mad' half hours before he collapses and falls asleep, cute is not the word that immediately springs to mind. More like naughty scamp!

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