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Showing posts from January, 2010

The Old White Hart Inn, Bath - Jane Austen's Persuasion

I've read Jane Austen's Persuasion many times, but it was only recently that I read this passage and puzzled over it. Anne...hastened forward to the White Hart, to see again the friends and companions of the last autumn, with an eagerness of goodwill which many associations contributed to form. They found Mrs. Musgrove and her daughter within, and by themselves, and Anne had the kindest welcome from each. Henrietta was exactly in that state of recently improved views, of fresh-formed happiness, which made her full of regard and interest for everybody she had ever liked before at all; and Mrs. Musgrove's real affection had been won by her usefulness when they were in distress. It was a heartiness, and a warmth, and a sincerity which Anne delighted in the more, from the sad want of such blessings at home. She was intreated to give them as much of her time as possible, invited for every day and all day long, or rather claimed as a part of the family; and, in return, she natur

Bath, the Pump Room, and Catherine Morland

I'm in Bath today, and whenever I'm here, my thoughts turn to Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. My painting of the Pump Room was inspired by Jane Austen's letters - as a young girl Jane came to Bath and stayed with her aunt and uncle Leigh-Perrot - I feel sure her first reactions to Bath were probably like Catherine Morland's: Catherine was all eager delight — her eyes were here, there, everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking environs... Later on when her father retired, she came to live in Bath and from this time many writers have concluded that she was unhappy here because her letters talk of leaving the city with “what happy feelings of Escape". I am not sure that I entirely agree with this point of view, (it was not in her nature to be so melancholy) although undoubtedly the death of her father and their resulting straitened circumstances would have had their impact. I'm sure she was glad to leave, but that doesn't neces

Flirting and Dancing in Steventon, Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy

When Jane Austen was growing up in Steventon, Hampshire, she enjoyed the kind of social gatherings that we are familiar with in her novels. Local families like the Lloyds, the Lefroys and the Bigg-Withers were friends, and at some time all became romantically connected to the Austen family. These families enjoyed a similar position in local society and met at one another's houses and were also invited into the upper circles where they might attend a ball. The aristocratic families included Lord Portsmouth at Hurstbourne, Lord Bolton of Hackwood and Lord Dorchester of Greywell. Squires included the Portals at Freefolk, Bramstons at Oakley Hall, Jervoises at Herriard, Harwoods at Deane, Terrys at Dummer and the Holders at Ashe Park - all names which can be found amongst Jane Austen's letters. The Rev. George Lefroy and his wife Anne who lived at Ashe had a considerable influence upon the Austen sisters. Jane's relationship with Anne was particularly close even though there wa

A Review for Willoughby's Return from the Jane Austen Centre

Here's a review for Willoughby's Return from the Jane Austen Centre online magazine! Set four years after the close of Sense and Sensibility, Willoughby’s Return starts off apace with a surprise visitor (no, not that one…) plans for a ball and mounting tension in the Brandon household. Marianne Brandon wonders if she has lost that part of herself that used to be so wildly impetuous and romantic. Has marriage and motherhood irrevocably changed the girl that her husband fell in love with… or was he ever in love with her at all? It is possible that he only married her because of her resemblance to his lost love? While their marriage seems outwardly happy, Colonel Brandon’s many extended visits to Eliza Williams and her daughter cause Marianne to wonder if he might find her, so very like her mother, to be his true heart’s home. Meanwhile, at Barton Cottage, Margaret Dashwood prepares for her first grand ball—and an introduction to one on whom all her hopes of future happiness depe

The City of Bath at night

More photos of beautiful Bath at night during the Christmas season. I hope you enjoy them! In no particular order: Chandeliers in Union Street Jane Austen Centre, Gay Street Decorations down a side street Great Pulteney Street Beau Nash's House, Saw Close Thai Balcony Restaurant, Saw Close Theatre Royal, Saw Close Pump Rooms, Stall Street Milsom Street Me standing on the corner of Upper Borough Walls Burton and Bond Street

Bath at Christmas

I thought I'd share a few photos of Bath at Christmas starting off with Laura Place and Pulteney Bridge. As you can see it was a very rainy day, which immediately brings to mind one of my favourite couples, Captain Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot, from Jane Austen's Persuasion - It was beginning to rain again, and altogether there was a delay, and a bustle, and a talking, which must make all the little crowd in the shop understand that Lady Dalrymple was calling to convey Miss Elliot. At last Miss Elliot and her friend, unattended but by the servant, (for there was no cousin returned), were walking off; and Captain Wentworth, watching them, turned again to Anne, and by manner, rather than words, was offering his services to her. "I am much obliged to you," was her answer, "but I am not going with them. The carriage would not accommodate so many. I walk: I prefer walking." "But it rains." "Oh! very little. Nothing that I regard.&qu

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I've had a lovely, relaxing and happy Christmas and New Year with my family - I hope you all have too! It's very chilly here in England and with more snow expected this week, I know my fires will be well stocked with logs. For the first time in years we saw snow just before Christmas, which was very exciting for all small children anxious that Father Christmas would have no trouble getting here on his sleigh. I must admit I love to see a wintry landscape - this morning the frost is sparkling in sunshine in clear, bright light that dazzles the eye. I'm embarking on several new and exciting projects, some of which are a bit secret at present, but I hope to have a new book ready soon and Mr Darcy's Secret has been recently sent to Sourcebooks, which is to be published next spring. I've been out and about in the beautiful city of Bath with my husband and camera - I hope to share some of the lovely photos I've taken there over the Christmas period wit