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Showing posts from March, 2008

Jane Austen in Bath

In 1799 Jane Austen travelled to Bath with her mother, brother Edward and his wife, Elizabeth. The following is an extract from a letter she wrote to her sister. I saw some gauzes in a shop in Bath Street yesterday at only 4d. a yard, but they were not so good or so pretty as mine. Flowers are very much worn, and fruit is still more the thing. Elizabeth has a bunch of strawberries, and I have seen grapes, cherries, plums, and apricots. There are likewise almonds and raisins, French plums, and tamarinds at the grocers', but I have never seen any of them in hats. A plum or greengage would cost three shillings; cherries and grapes about five, I believe, but this is at some of the dearest shops. My aunt has told me of a very cheap one, near Walcot Church, to which I shall go in quest of something for you. I have never seen an old woman at the pump-room. Elizabeth has given me a hat, and it is not only a pretty hat, but a pretty style of hat too. It is something like Eliza's, only,

Happy Easter!

It doesn't look as though there will be much opportunity for donning our Easter bonnets here in the UK. It feels more like Christmas and we've had snow flurries today. Wherever you are in the world I hope you all have a chance to have a lovely weekend, whether you are celebrating Easter or not. And, whatever the weather, dust down that bonnet and give it a whirl! Jane Odiwe

The Pump Room, Bath

The Pump Room at Bath has always been a place for social gathering, where people take the water dispensed by the pumper who stands behind a bar and fills glasses with the warm spa water. If you have ever been to Bath, you will know that you can still sample the waters today in the Pump Room. This extract from Lydia Bennet's Story takes place in Bath. Lydia is accompanied by her friend Isabella and brother Alexander who have promised to help her discover the real truth behind some dreadful news. Isabella's beau, Mr Freddie Rowlandson and his sister Eleanor have just arrived in town. They planned to start the day with a trip to the Pump Rooms but Isabella was clearly more excited than she had been previously at the thought of meeting Mr Rowlandson. They hastened down to the town, with Alexander in tow, urging them both to slow down and were instantly gratified to see their friends already there and waiting for them under the clock. The usual felicitations preceded a request from

'My Idea of Good Company'

I am very lucky to consider amongst my friends two writers who are not only very talented but are achieving the success they deserve. Kathryn L. Nelson has been nominated for an award in the Jane Austen's Regency World Awards for best new fiction for her novel, Pemberley Manor. There are many nominations for all sorts of categories including awards for adaptations. You can vote by clicking here. Diana Birchall's novel, Mrs Darcy's Dilemma, has been taken up by Sourcebooks for international publication and is now available across the US in Barnes and Noble stores. Both these writers have written fabulous sequels to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and it's lovely to see their work being deservedly recognised for excellence. You can order both books online from Sourcebooks Inc. Click here for Pemberley Manor. Click here for Mrs Darcy's Dilemma

Another letter from Lucy to Lydia!

My dearest Lydia,

 La, I meant to write sooner, but the social whirl has me thinking of nothing but dresses and balls and handsome officers! To be sure Brighton is nothing like London at this time of year, but one would never know it for all the parties and dances we have been invited to attend. My mama has had the seamstress make up three new ball dresses, and I am simply dying to show them to you.

 Sir William Lucas has written my papa another letter. Is it true? Is Charlotte Lucas to be married? Goodness, but Meryton is a more exciting place to live than I once thought. Please, do tell me what has happened, and if there is a gentleman waiting in the wings for you. Oh, and do tell - is your sister Jane engaged to Mr Bingley? When are they to be wed?
 Your loving friend, 

 Dearest Lucy, 
 It seems such an age since you last wrote - I cannot tell you how jealous I am to hear of your new ball gowns - you are very lucky to have a family who spoil you. I've told you before - I

Bath - First Impressions

If you have ever been lucky enough to go to Bath, to see the places that inspired two of Jane Austen's books, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, you will know how easy it is to feel that you have stepped back in time. I love visiting Bath and being able to trace Jane Austen's footsteps. I could not resist having Lydia spend some of her time there. Although it is often said that Jane Austen disliked Bath, I cannot agree completely with this viewpoint as she chose it as the place for two of her heroines to fall in love. Here are some first impressions of Bath. Catherine Morland visits Bath with the Allens. From Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen They arrived at Bath. Catherine was all eager delight — her eyes were here, there, everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking environs, and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted them to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and she felt happy already. Anne Elliot's first view of Bath reveals a different reaction

Lydia Bennet's Story - a new publication!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Sourcebooks, the US publishers, are publishing Lydia Bennet's Story in the States in October. My book will be available in bookshops as well as online, so it goes without saying that I am very excited! I wish to thank everyone who has bought my book so far and for all the support you have given me, you've really helped to make my dreams come true! I am also very lucky because I have had the fantastic advice of two fabulous writers who have been an inspiration and instrumental in my book realising publication. Diana Birchall and Amanda Grange are selfless in their efforts to help new writers and I am indebted to them for their guidance and expertise, which they gave with such generosity. Diana Birchall's book, Mrs Darcy's Dilemma, is about to hit the shelves again in the US in a new publication, (more details next week) and Amanda Grange's latest book, Edmund Bertram's Diary, is currently available on Amazon. If you enjo

Maria Fitzherbert

Maria Fitzherbert at 27, was twice married and widowed before she met George, Prince of Wales, then aged 22, in 1784. He became quickly besotted with her but as a deeply religious person and a Roman Catholic, she resisted his attentions at first. It was impossible for them to be married because of her religion (the Act of Settlement made it impossible for the heir to marry a Catholic) and because he needed permission from his father to marry (the Marriage Act). One night he sent two of his friends and a surgeon, Mr Keate, to fetch Mrs Fitzherbert to Carlton House in London, where they said the Prince lay dying, having stabbed himself in despair over his love for Maria. Mrs Fitzherbert agreed to visit him, but took the Duchess of Devonshire to accompany her. They found the Prince lying on a sofa covered in blood and crying that nothing would persuade him to live unless she agreed to marry him. Maria consented, but convinced she had been tricked, decided to leave for France where she kne