It's my great pleasure to welcome my guest, Laurel Ann Nattress, editor of Jane Austen Made Me Do It to the blog today. Everyone knows Laurel Ann from her wonderful blog, Austenprose, and now she's just become a published author! Over to you, Laurel Ann.
You Pierce My Soul Persuasion: A Look at Jane Austen’s Most Romantic Novel
Hi Jane, thanks again for hosting me during my Grand Tour of the blogosphere in celebration of the release of my new Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It.
Besides being total Jane Austen enthusiasts Jane, you and I share an affinity for Persuasion, Jane Austen's last and most romantic novel. I was so excited then you shared with me that you were inspired to write a short story for Jane Austen Made Me Do It based upon Jane Austen’s characters Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot. I adore their love story and was so interested to see what you would do with the backstory of their first meeting and early romance that is only alluded to in the original novel. I was thrilled with the result Jane, and I hope readers will enjoy your sojourn with one of our favorite Jane Austen couples.
Persuasion is really a unique novel in Jane Austen’s canon. It is the last novel that she completed before she died in 1817 at the age of forty-one, and reflects her more mature style with an intriguing introspective narrative.
At age twenty-seven, its heroine Anne Elliot is considered “on the shelf,” – past the marriageable age to catch a rich husband worthy of her snobbish father, Sir Walter Elliot’s approval. She and our hero Captain Wentworth’s failed romance and separation for over seven years is the center of the story. Themes of regret, misdirection, and lost hope all fuel the plot. This may sound very dour, but Austen’s brilliance as a writer, tempers the bad with the good to create conflict and humor with a wonderful resolution. The famous “you pierce my soul” letter by Captain Wentworth at the end of the novel is one of the most romantic ever written, and their eventual reunion and prospect for life together the most fulfilling “happily-ever-after” in literature. Even though Pride and Prejudice gets all the attention, I think Persuasion is a refined and mature work of a brilliant storyteller, and is really her masterpiece.
During the editing process of Jane Austen Made Me Do It, I was really delighted to see a few authors interested in writing stories inspired by Persuasion. The end result is some of my favorites in the anthology. Here is a brief preview of them:“The Love Letter,” by Brenna Aubrey
Young doctor Mark Hinton thinks his life is perfect. He is just about to finish his residency and has accepted the offer of a fabulous new job. Things could not be better… until the arrival of an anonymous letter in the mail forces him to confront the truth he’s been hiding from for seven years.
Sent on a quest by the mysterious contents of the letter, he is forced to discover the contents of his own heart thanks to Jane Austen, a canny librarian, a cantankerous patient, and a coolly observant sister.
“Waiting: A story inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion,” by Jane Odiwe
Captain Wentworth and his beloved Anne Elliot have waited almost nine years to be together. At last all misunderstandings are swept aside. They have declared their love for one another, and all that remains is for their union to be blessed by Anne’s father, the irascible Sir Walter Elliot, and for the family members to be told. As Anne and Frederick ponder their futures each is reminded of the past, and all that has happened. Anne recalls the heady days of their courtship, but Frederick finds his memories overshadowed by the recollection of Sir Walter’s former hostility. Anne waits patiently for the outcome, but is disappointed by her sister Elizabeth’s reaction to the news, and further dismayed when she sees Captain Wentworth’s expression telling her all has not gone well with his interview. However, Anne is resolute. Despite being persuaded in the past against the match, she is determined to marry the Captain whatever the opposition. To her relief she discovers that Sir Walter has given his blessing, albeit grudgingly, and that at least one of her sisters is moderately pleased for her. Anne and Frederick know there are more obstacles to their happiness to come, but rejoice in the old adage that ‘good things come to those who wait.’
“Heard of You,” by Margaret C. Sullivan
In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, we are told that Admiral and Mrs. Croft married a shockingly short time after their first meeting, but that they had heard a great deal about each other before they met. How could they have known each other so well? In the midst of war, an unlikely Cupid brings together one of Austen’s best married couples in a story inspired both by Persuasion and by Captain Frederick Marryat’s novel Peter Simple.
I hope that readers will be as charmed and delighted with how Persuasion inspired these three writers to create their unique stories.
Thank you Jane for your wonderful contribution “Waiting,” and for hosting me today on your blog. It was a pleasure.
Cheers, Laurel Ann
Thank you, Laurel Ann, for joining me today. I’m so thrilled to be a part of your wonderful book, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, and have enjoyed reading all the fabulous stories!
A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of Austenprose.com a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected and the Jane Austen Centre online magazine. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Snohomish, Washington. Visit Laurel Ann at her blogs Austenprose.com and JaneAustenMadeMeDoIt.com, on Twitter as @Austenprose, and on Facebook as Laurel Ann Nattress.
Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress
Ballantine Books • ISBN: 978-0345524966
Giveaway of Jane Austen Made Me Do It
Enter a chance to win one copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It by leaving a comment by November 6th 2011, stating what intrigues you about reading an Austen-inspired short story anthology. Winners to be drawn at random and announced on Monday November 7th 2011. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck to all!