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Showing posts from April, 2009

Looking up at Chatsworth and Yummy Meringues!

When walking around Chatsworth there is so much to see that it's difficult to know where to look first. In the painted hall alone which is the first major space you encounter there are statues and paintings galore all vying for your attention. Most incredible is the painted ceiling showing the apotheosis of Julius Caesar as a demi-god, which tends to overshadow everything else. They do provide mirrors to hold so that you don't have to get a crick in your neck! I'm always fascinated by these ceiling paintings in great houses and wonder what it must have been like for the poor artists who worked on them day in and day out - a truly remarkable feat. The photo to the left shows the painted ceiling above the Great Stairs which are also shown in this post. High up on the walls are coloured paintings in the style of Verrio's ceiling. There are three sculpted figures by Caius Gabriel Cibber brought in from the garden in 1692 and busts placed in the niches. There are also grisai

Willoughby's Return, a Sense and Sensibility Sequel

I've just received the cover from my editor at Sourcebooks for my new book Willoughby's Return. I am absolutely thrilled, I think it's gorgeous! Thank you to the designers who have worked on it, you've done a wonderful job, I don't know how I shall manage to wait until November to hold a copy in my hands! There's more information about this book, Lydia Bennet's Story and Effusions of Fancy on my website with extracts and some of my paintings.

'The Duchess' Costumes at Chatsworth!

I thought you might like to see some of the photos I took at Chatsworth of the exhibition they have on about Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. As well as personal items and letters there are costumes from the film 'The Duchess' which stars Keira Knightley as Georgiana, Ralph Fiennes as the Duke and Dominic Cooper who we've seen before as Mr Willoughby playing Georgiana's lover, Charles Grey. I thought the costumes in this film were particularly fabulous - the designer Michael O'Connor did a wonderful job! They had a little section about the filming of Pride and Prejudice with some photographs and the bust of Mr Darcy is also displayed - the nearest I got to finding him, I'm afraid. Still, best of all I got to see my husband don a wig in their dressing up room which is really fun. You can try on wigs and costumes whatever your age - I think he looks rather gorgeous in it!

Willoughby's Return, a Sense and Sensibility Sequel - Up on Amazon!

It's always an exciting moment when an author sees her new 'baby' go up on Amazon . The cover isn't there yet but I know the wonderful designers at Sourcebooks are on the case! Willoughby's Return is a sequel to Sense and Sensibility which is one of my favourite Austen novels. I've always wondered what might have happened to the Dashwood sisters after their marriages, and in particular how Marianne might have fared. In Sense and Sensibility Marianne has her heart broken by Mr Willoughby, her first love, but later finds true and lasting love with Colonel Brandon. Mrs Brandon is a passionate woman who gives her heart freely and I'm sure has found her equal in Colonel Brandon who despite his grave exterior has enough qualities and interests to satisfy his new wife - he is not only rich and gentlemanly, but he has proved his love for Marianne and he loves music and poetry as much as she! Elinor Dashwood, Marianne's sister, is also at hand having married Edw

A walk to Chatsworth

We were very lucky to be staying in Beeley because it is a short walk to Chatsworth. We set off across fields and over a bridge finding the river on the other side and following it all the way. It was a lovely sunny day when we first did the walk and signs of spring appearing in green shoots on the trees and primroses and daffodils in the hedgerows really lifted our spirits. This extract from Derbyshire UK  website gives us some information about the river on which Chatsworth sits.  The River Derwent, some 50 odd miles in length, is the longest river in Derbyshire. Apart from its short passage through the City of Derby it is a completely rural river, finally joining the River Trent just south of Derby. The Derwent's source is at Swain's Greave on Howden Moor on the flank of Bleaklow Hill. The river Derwent soon flows into the first of 3 large reservoirs, built in the early part of the 20th century to satisfy the growing demand for water from the expanding cities of Derby, Notti

In Pursuit of Pemberley and Mr Darcy!

I've been to Derbyshire for a few days on a research trip - (that's my excuse anyway) with my lovely sister, her husband and my own. Derbyshire, of course, is home to Mr Darcy at Pemberley, and I wanted to see the landscape through Elizabeth Bennet's eyes if that was possible and to see if I could find Pemberley. I've tried to do this before and have never really found anywhere I thought fitted exactly what I imagine to be Elizabeth and Darcy's home, but wandering around places like Chatsworth and Haddon Hall is always a delight and very inspiring for my writing. I did see Mr Darcy - sort of - but I'll tell you about that later. As I travelled through the Peak District it was easy to see why people still flock to this area for the splendid scenery and vast landscapes which are stunningly beautiful. On our first day we arrived at Beeley where we were going to stay in the Devonshire Arms which is still a part of the Chatsworth Estate and within walking distance o

Easter with Mr Darcy!

Happy Easter everyone! I'm spending a few days near Pemberley - if I bump into Mr Darcy, I'll let you know! I walked to Chatsworth yesterday, it was a beautiful day and I just kept thinking how wonderful it would have been if you could all have been there too. I shall post some new pictures soon with a Derbyshire theme. Have a lovely spring holiday - I hope that the sun shines on you! Jane Odiwe

Final Episode of Lydia Bennet's Online Diary - Lydia is Rescued!

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. When I came to, everything was upside down and the air strangely quiet except for the whinnying of the horses, the creaking of tree branches which were poking through the window of the coach, and the low moaning of my companions who appeared hurt and shaken. I managed to climb through the window after smashing the glass with my morocco bag, (though who can say if the tortoiseshell panels will ever be the same) partly covering my head and shoulders with what remained of my mantle. The rest of it lay torn and trapped between two solid oak branches and had to be left behind, but I was grateful simply to be uninjured. I could not think what to do next. I called out to Shaw the co

Bath Elegance and Chandeliers!

I do love a chandelier, and in Bath they can be seen in all the places that Jane Austen wrote about. This first photo shows a chandelier from a small room off the main one in the Pump Rooms. The room looks down onto the Roman Baths below where it's easy to imagine bathers through the centuries socialising in the warm waters. In Jane Austen's day not everyone frequented the baths. Those who did were taken by sedan chair to the King's, Queen's or Cross Bath. The Queen's bath was for ladies only and an attendant helped bathers into gowns specially for the purpose. They were guided into the waters and given 'a little floating dish like a bason, into which the lady puts an handkerchief, a snuff box and a nosegay' before being left to amuse themselves with the gossip of the day. The next photo shows the splendid chandeliers in the tea room at the Assembly Rooms. Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey visits the tea room with Mrs Allen, but this first visit is somet

Miss Bennet and Mr Bingley by Fenella J Miller

Fellow Historical Romance author Fenella J Miller has a new book out which I'm sure will interest all fans of Jane Austen re-tellings and sequels. Fenella also writes historical fiction in other time periods and has written novels based in the Victorian age and World War Two, as well as the Regency period. You can find out more by taking a look at Fenella's official website. I've invited Fenella along to tell us all about her new book, Miss Bennet and Mr Bingley, inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I'm looking forward to reading it very much! Welcome to the blog, Fenella! At last my novel Miss Bennet & Mr Bingley is published. This book gives an insight into both Jane and Bingley's feelings and takes the reader to London and Pemberley to share what they did whilst apart for that difficult year. It's Pride & Prejudice from a different perspective plus many new scenes. I decided to write about Jane and Charles because I've not found a

Lydia's adventure in St Albans! Part One

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. Wednesday, March 24th, 1802 Such a week! What adventures have befallen me in the last few days, and I am filled with such emotion that it is truly difficult to know how to set it all down. Indeed, it is far too much to write or recall - here is the first episode! I set off for Meryton on Monday, having donned a new white muslin with exquisite embroidery, my crimson mantle and velvet bonnet which is trimmed with purple and in the turban style. I looked very well but for my gloves, which are so old that they disgraced the entire effect. No matter, on the whole I was pleased with my appearance and arrived at my friends’ house, very early, the morning being extremely dull, chilly