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Showing posts from February, 2009

Bond Street, Sir Walter and Bow Windows!

We're going for a little stroll now, down to the end of Milsom Street to the row of shops which separate Burton and Bond Street. We will take the right fork down Bond Street - can you see Sir Walter Elliot? This extract from Persuasion is so funny, summing up the vain character of Anne Elliot's father.

Sir Walter thought much of Mrs. Wallis; she was said to be an excessively pretty woman, beautiful. "He longed to see her. He hoped she might make some amends for the many very plain faces he was continually passing in the streets. The worst of Bath was the number of its plain women. He did not mean to say that there were no pretty women, but the number of the plain was out of all proportion. He had frequently observed, as he walked, that one handsome face would be followed by thirty, or five-and-thirty, frights; and once, as he had stood in the shop in Bond Street, he had counted eighty-seven women go by, one after another, without there being a tolerable face among them. It…

Elizabeth Bennet sets off for London and Hunsford

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, March 8th, 1802
Lizzy set off for Hunsford today with Sir William Lucas and his daughter Maria. They are all gone to see how Charlotte does - I do hope married life is suiting her, but I would bet all my ivory fish that she has exchanged her glowing bridal fervour for a haunted countenance and a sombre disposition.
Most vexing is the knowledge that they are to break their journey in London to call on the Gardiners to see Jane and will, no doubt, find time to go shopping and have a pleasant evening’s entertainment at the theatre. How I long to go shopping in London. I can’t even get as far as Ware! When I am a married lady, my daughters will have numerous carriages at the…

Regency Splendour in the Assembly Rooms

I love any excuse for a research trip and a chance to escape a frantic and busy life, so when my husband suggested a trip to Bath at the weekend I was very excited. I thought I'd share some of the photos I took of the Assembly Rooms in Bennett Street, which are stunningly beautiful. It is so easy to imagine social gatherings taking place here in Jane Austen's time; you can hear the chatter and rustle of silk gowns just by looking into one of the rooms. The top photo shows the entrance, which some of you may recognise from the television adaptations of Persuasion.
The second shows one of the fireplaces in the Octagon room which is where card tables might be set up for those not interested in dancing and wishing to try their luck with a little gambling.
Lastly, is the Tea Room which was used primarily for refreshments and concerts. Meals were served throughout the day from public breakfasts to supper during dress balls. Food was laid out on side-tables and included such delights a…

Milsom Street, Bath

I had a lovely weekend in Bath and I took some photos to show you if you are not familiar with the lovely town. The first shows the view down Milsom Street looking down towards the famous pump rooms. The second shows the remnants of a sign above what was the circulating library, which I'm sure Jane Austen must have frequented.
Molland's confectionary shop in Milsom Street is where Anne Elliot (Persuasion) realises that Captain Wentworth has come to Bath. Anne has very recently learned from her sister and Admiral Croft that Louisa Musgrove is to marry Captain Benwick so Captain Frederick Wentworth is still a single, unattached man. Here is a short extract - if you can read this and not want to pick up the book straight away you have a stronger will than me!
They were in Milsom Street. It began to rain, not much, but enough to make shelter desirable for women, and quite enough to make it very desirable for Miss Elliot to have the advantage of being conveyed home in Lady Dalrymple&…

Bath, Lacock and Lydia Bennet's Diary - News of Harriet's arrival!

I've just spent a lovely long weekend in Bath and the surrounding area and have been very busy taking photos which I hope you will all enjoy. I've got to sort out some technicalities, but I'll be posting soon on what I saw in Bath and Lacock in particular. In the meantime, here's that naughty Lydia with another diary entry.

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, March 5th, 1802
I am torn between feeling cross at the news that my sister Elizabeth has been invited on a jaunt to Hunsford and elated at the prospect of meeting Isabella’s sister Harriet, who is engaged to Colonel Forster. She is to arrive a week today, according to a letter received from Isabella this morning, and she is eager to ma…

Lydia Bennet's Story - Review from Indiana Jane's Bookshelf

Monday, February 9, 2009
A review from India Jane's Bookshelf

Book Review: Lydia Bennet's Story
I'm kind of picky about Pride and Prejudice sequels or knock-offs. I loved Pamela Aidan's Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series. Other than that, most of them haven't passed muster.

I'm not a huge Austen fan, but I am an Austen fan. I won't likely notice if small details in the story don't jibe, but there is a certain feeling that needs to be present in a successful Austen sequel. And, as a historically-educated book freak, I hate anachronisms and the endowing of regency-era characters with modern sentiments.

So I always pick these books up with a dubious spirit. In fact, one of the two I brought home this time probably won't even be read after my daughter told me what she, Austen fan extraordinaire, had heard about it. But this book, Lydia Bennet's Story by Jane Odiwe is delightful.

It lets us into the head of Lydia, who is every bit as silly and naughty as …

Efford House, Sense and Sensibility, 1995

Here are some photos from my collection showing the interior of Efford House where they filmed the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility. As you can see I am no photographer! I can never get photos to look like the images I see - well, I wanted to keep a record and I thought you might be interested to see comparisons with shots from the film. The first shows the view through the doorway looking over the estuary - and here we have gorgeous Greg Wise carrying the equally lovely Kate Winslet up the path.

Here's the text from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
Elinor and her mother rose up in amazement at their entrance, and while the eyes of both were fixed on him with an evident wonder and a secret admiration which equally sprung from his appearance, he apologized for his intrusion by relating its cause, in a manner so frank and so graceful, that his person, which was uncommonly handsome, received additional charms from his voice and expression. Had he been even old, ugly, and v…

Lydia nurses her Pride!

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, February 15th, 1802

Two events have occurred today to vex me beyond endurance.
I am a laughing stock, only to be pitied and I am more convinced than ever that I will die an old maid!
The first was a letter from my friend Isabella extolling the virtues and pleasures of love and affairs of the heart, which by all accounts she is surrounded as she has gone to Bath. I have received more descriptions of lovers than I ever want to read again and I expect she will receive an offer any day now. I am happy for her but it is so unfair! Other people have all the luck! If I should have the chance to go to Bath, I am sure I would find myself a husband but papa won’t even take me as fa…

Lydia's Valentine

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.

February 14th, 1802

Rebecca the housemaid came to our door this morning with a breakfast treat of rolls and a cup of chocolate. She set down the tray, put more coal on the fire and then stood before the bed looking for all the world as if she bore it on her shoulders.
“Begging your pardon, Miss Lydia,” she whispered, looking about her as if she expected us to be intruded upon at any moment, “Forgive me if I have done wrong, but I thought it would be best not to hand this over to you in front of your mother and father. I found this letter addressed to you lying on the hall carpet, just poked under the door. I hope that’s right, miss,” she added, and took from her grubby pocket, a…

A Card for Valentine's Day

...he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents would most suit her.

In chapter fifty of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth Bennet is beginning to think that she made a mistake when she turned down Mr Darcy's proposal. Her feelings towards him have changed and she can only contemplate on the fact that if he knew of her heart's transformation he would consider he had won a victory.

What a triumph for him, as she often thought, could he know that the proposals which she had proudly spurned only four months ago, would now have been gladly and gratefully received! He was as generous, she doubted not, as the most generous of his sex; but while he was mortal, there must be a triumph.

She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and livel…

The Excessively Diverting Blog Award for Jane Austen Sequels Blog

I am extremely honoured to have been awarded an Excessively Diverting Blog award from Austenprose in collaboration with Jane Austen Today. Thank you very much, you made my day!

Taken from Laurel Ann's blog - The aim of the Excessively Diverting Blog Award is to acknowledge writing excellence in the spirit of Jane Austen’s genius in amusing and delighting readers with her irony, humor, wit, and talent for keen observation. Recipients will uphold the highest standards in the art of the sparkling banter, witty repartee, and gentle reprove. This award was created by the blogging team of Jane Austen Today to acknowledge superior writing over the Internet and promote Jane Austen’s brilliance.

Now it's my turn to nominate 7 very worthy blogs:

1. Jane Austen's World

Vic Place's blog is unsurpassed in excellence on research in Jane Austen's time and I can't tell you how many times I have referred to it, not only for interest but for info - this was a must!

2. Light, Bright a…

Lydia Receives a letter with Vexing News!

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.
Saturday, February 6th, 1802

This morning I received the following missive:

My Dearest Lydia,

I hope this letter finds you well and in most excellent spirits as I am myself most fortunate to possess. It has been such a long time since we last saw each other and I have so much to tell you. I hope you will forgive me for not writing sooner but I have had so much to do at home that I have not had a spare moment for correspondence, but for what was most pressing. You will be surprised that you have not heard my news from our mutual friend, Isabella, but I swore her to secrecy until I could have the pleasure of relating all to your own dear self.

I am writing to tell you of my engagem…

What was happening in Jane Austen's World in 1795?

We've had some very wintry weather of late, which inspired this painting of Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra. They are walking in the snow near their first home, Steventon Rectory, in Hampshire.

When Jane Austen was nineteen, the winter of 1794/95 was exceptionally severe with very cold conditions setting in on Christmas Eve. The cold was most intense during January, the coldest on record. A rapid but temporary thaw, accompanied by heavy rain began on the 7th February, which resulted in much flooding across large areas of England - much as we seem to be experiencing at present. The severe cold returned after February 12th, and continued well into March with more snow.

For some time Jane Austen had been writing short pieces for the amusement of her family and attempted a novella, Lady Susan. She was possibly just starting work on the book that was to eventually become Sense and Sensibility, and which her sister remembered was first entitled Elinor and Marianne. Perhaps the bad …

Devonshire Romance in Sense and Sensibility

This scene from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility shows Devonshire through Marianne Dashwood's eyes. Marianne sees romance in every twirling leaf and believes that every day is fair. The fact that every one else can see that the day is less than fine shows how easily 'blinded' Marianne can be by her sense of reality. Practical Elinor, her elder sister, has no wish to get wet and sensibly stays inside. Margaret is of a similar disposition to Marianne and they delight in the day. Of course this scene is set for her meeting of Willoughby. For Marianne, could there be a more romantic encounter?

The whole country about them abounded in beautiful walks. The high downs, which invited them from almost every window of the cottage to seek the exquisite enjoyment of air on their summits, were an happy alternative when the dirt of the valleys beneath shut up their superior beauties; and towards on of these hills did Marianne and Margaret one memorable morning direct their steps…

Barton Cottage makeovers

Both versions of the recent adaptations of Sense and Sensibility, (1995 & 2008) are different interpretations of Jane Austen's book, but I enjoy them very much. I am always interested to see how film-makers and designers convey the settings as well as all the lovely costumes. What a great job that must be, to come up with the concepts for places like Barton cottage and Delaford Park and to go looking for the actual locations. I'm sure, like me, you've probably been on holiday and thought how a particular place might make an excellent alternative for a place you've read about in the book.
That said, the film and programme makers do tend to take liberties with Jane Austen's original ideas. Let us look at what she says about Barton Cottage. At the beginning of chapter six we get a description.

The first part of their journey was performed in too melancholy a disposition to be otherwise than tedious and unpleasant. But as they drew towards the end of it, their in…

Kathryn L Nelson, Pemberley Manor

My friend, the author Kathryn L. Nelson dropped by on her travels to see me on her way to Puerto Rico - lucky girl! We had a lovely afternoon discussing all things Jane and much else besides. It really was a flying visit - we were rather hoping the snow might prevent her from getting her plane the next day so that she could stay a little longer. There were delays caused by the weather, but eventually her plane left Heathrow for warmer climes.

Kathy's book, Pemberley Manor, is being reprinted with a beautiful cover by Sourcebooks, and she has a fantastic review over at Reading Romance Books blog.

I love Kathy's writing style and thoroughly enjoyed Pemberley Manor. I know she's writing another book, but sadly it's not (at least for us) another sequel. Maybe she'll get to another one next time, I hope so!

Simple Pleasures and the Delights of Snow!

We were snowed in yesterday! It's a rare occurrence for London to see such heavy snowfall - there must have been at least six inches, which arrived steadily from Russia the night before last and all day yesterday. We were all marooned at home; so snowballing was the order of the day! Sitting by the fire afterwards, cosy with mugs of hot chocolate I did think how lucky I was to have all my family with me to enjoy such a wintry treat.
In the afternoon with my jeans tucked into my boots, I trudged round to see a friend who had been forced to close her nursery for the day. She, like me, loves to see the snow and we spent a wonderful couple of hours in her sitting room watching the flakes fall from a violet sky, a warming sherry in hand!
Simple pleasures are just the best!

Did someone mention writing and why wasn't I getting on with it? Well, they were all snowed in at Pemberley, too, so I've left them all sitting by the fire!

What people are saying about Lydia Bennet's Story - Reviews

Booklist

Odiwe emulates Austen’s famous wit, and manages to give Lydia a happily-ever-after ending worthy of any Regency romance heroine.

Foreword Magazine

Odiwe’s Lydia is as wild and reckless as readers of Austen’s novel could imagine. It is satisfying to see a plausible description of their relationship and lifestyle during their marriage, and the few glimpses readers are offered of Elizabeth, Darcy, and other original characters is faithful to the original.
Her new acquaintances are interesting and well developed, and Wickham is just as scandalous as ever. The ending will be a complete surprise.

Publisher's Weekly

In this pleasant addition to the growing microgenre of Austen knockoffs, Odiwe pays nice homage to Austen’s stylings and endears the reader to the formerly secondary character, spoiled and impulsive Lydia Bennet... devotees will enjoy.



Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine

Jane Odiwe...gives us a heroine who is remarkably likeable...Lydia's diary... a catalogue of fri…