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Archive for November, 2012

Here are some photos of Bath – I’ve added a few snippets from Jane Austen’s books and letters!

Pump Room, Bath

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 naturally fell into all her wonted ways of attention and assistance, and on Charles’s leaving them together, was listening to Mrs. Musgrove’s history of Louisa, and to Henrietta’s of herself, giving opinions on business, and recommendations to shops; with intervals of every help which Mary required, from altering her ribbon to settling her accounts, from finding her keys, and assorting her trinkets, to trying to convince her that she was not ill-used by anybody; which Mary, well amused as she generally was, in her station at a window overlooking the entrance to the Pump Room, could not but have her moments of imagining.
Jane Austen, Persuasion

Upstairs at the Roman Baths Kitchen
We have not been to any public place lately, nor performed anything out of the common daily routine of No. 13, Queen Square, Bath. But to-day we were to have dashed away at a very extraordinary rate, by dining out, had it not so happened that we did not go.
Jane Austen, Bath, 1799
Minerva Art Supplies in Bath – Trim Street

Her taste for drawing was not superior; though whenever she could obtain the outside of a letter from her mother or seize upon any other odd piece of paper, she did what she could in that way, by drawing houses and trees, hens and chickens, all very much like one another.
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey.
Paxton and Whitfield – lovely Cheese shop in Bath
My mother does not seem at all the worse for her journey, nor are any of us, I hope, though Edward seemed rather fagged last night, and not very brisk this morning; but I trust the bustle of sending for tea, coffee, and sugar, &c., and going out to taste a cheese himself, will do him good.
Jane Austen, writing from Bath, 1799
Hanging Basket with a view towards the Pump Rooms, Bath

Such was the information of the first five minutes; the second unfolded thus much in detail — that they had driven directly to the York Hotel, ate some soup, and bespoke an early dinner, walked down to the pump–room, tasted the water, and laid out some shillings in purses and spars; thence adjoined to eat ice at a pastry–cook’s, and hurrying back to the hotel, swallowed their dinner in haste, to prevent being in the dark; and then had a delightful drive back, only the moon was not up, and it rained a little, and Mr. Morland’s horse was so tired he could hardly get it along.

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey


I’ve had a wonderful review for Searching for Captain Wentworth from Meredith Esparza at Austenesque Reviews 

Was Jane Austen’s Persuasion Inspired by Real-Life Events?

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
What if Jane Austen’s Persuasion was more autobiographical than fiction? What if Miss Austen’s poignant and powerful novel of lost love and second chances was in some part taken from her own life’s experience? Except that in her novel…she wrote the happy ending she knew she would never have…
Finding magical white gloves that transports her to Regency Bath in the year 1802, discovering her ancestors used to live next door to the Austen family in Sydney Place, meeting Jane Austen in the flesh, falling in love with one of her brothers – it seems like modern-day heroine, Sophie Elliot, has just hit the Janeite Jackpot! And after recently discovering that her boyfriend is cheating on her with her friend and finding no success in securing a job for herself, poor Sophie deserves such good fortune! Although she travels to Bath for inspiration and consolation, what Sophie finds is adventure, romance, and some strange time travel phenomenon!
Emotional, expressive, and enthralling – Searching for Captain Wentworth is quite unlike anything I’ve read before! With multiple romances, dual realities, and many hidden parallels and nods to Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this novel had me entranced. It was unpredictable; I found myself torn and undecided about the two men in Sophie’s life. In addition, like Sophie, I became embroiled in the past and the mysteries uncovered there; feeling all her eagerness and excitement at discovering what Jane Austen was doing and experiencing during those “silent Bath years.” Not wanting to give away all the delicious surprises and revelations to be divulged in this novel, I’ll just make a quick mention that I found the resolution to be profoundly satisfying, inspiring me to feel something akin to what Meg Ryan felt at the end of You’ve Got Mail – “I wanted it to be you, I wanted it to be you so badly…”
Ending scene of You’ve Got Mail.  One of my favorites!
One aspect of Jane Odiwe’s writing that brilliantly shines through in this novel is her keen artistic eye. As some as you may know, Ms. Odiwe is not just a talented author, but a gifted artist as well!* In Searching for Captain Wentworth, Ms. Odiwe’s descriptive and vivid narrative filled my head with distinct and tangible sights, sounds, and scenes. Whether she is writing about rain in modern-day Bath, illustrating the blossoming verdure of Sydney Gardens, or describing the physical attributes of the handsome Charles Austen, Ms. Odiwe utilizes such eloquent and sensatory language that readers will feel they are inside the story, experiencing and observing it all firsthand.
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When I’m in Bath I love spotting the locations of my favourite scenes in adaptations like Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

Here is a photo of Abbey Green which, as you might expect, is close to Bath Abbey. It’s a lovely area with tempting shops and teashops.

Abbey Green, Bath

This area was used for a pivotal scene in the BBC 1995 adaptation of Persuasion when Anne Elliot learns from Admiral Croft that Frederick Wentworth is no longer interested in Louisa Musgrove.

Bijoux Beads, Bath

 

This is a lovely example of a Regency shop in Bath – it’s one of my favourites. They sell beads and accessories to make jewellery, but there are lovely examples to buy if you don’t want to make your own. At this time of the year the shop is also full of gifts and decorations for Christmas – it’s wonderful to have a browse around! In the 1995 film, this shop was transformed into a print shop.

In Georgian times, prints of political cartoons were pasted up in the windows of print shops and would have drawn crowds who were eager to see the latest gossip depicted. Landscapes and interior scenes were popular too. In Persuasion, Admiral Croft is amused by the depiction of a boat in a print shop window.

 Anne was too much engaged with Lady Russell to be often walking herself; but it so happened that one morning, about a week or ten days after the Crofts’ arrival, it suited her best to leave her friend, or her friend’s carriage, in the lower part of the town, and return alone to Camden Place; and in walking up Milsom Street she had the good fortune to meet with the Admiral. He was standing by himself, at a printshop window, with his hands behind him, in earnest contemplation of some print, and she not only might have passed him unseen, but was obliged to touch as well as address him before she could catch his notice. When he did perceive and acknowledge her, however, it was done with all his usual frankness and good humour. “Ha! is it you? Thank you, thank you. This is treating me like a friend. Here I am, you see, staring at a picture. I can never get by this shop without stopping. But what a thing here is, by way of a boat. Do look at it. Did you ever see the like? What queer fellows your fine painters must be, to think that any body would venture their lives in such a shapeless old cockleshell as that. And yet here are two gentlemen stuck up in it mightily at their ease, and looking about them at the rocks and mountains, as if they were not to be upset the next moment, which they certainly must be. I wonder where that boat was built!” (laughing heartily); “I would not venture over a horsepond in it. Well,” (turning away), “now, where are you bound? Can I go any where for you, or with you? Can I be of any use?”
   “None, I thank you, unless you will give me the pleasure of your company the little way our road lies together. I am going home.”
   “That I will, with all my heart, and farther too. Yes, yes, we will have a snug walk together, and I have something to tell you as we go along. There, take my arm — that’s right; I do not feel comfortable if I have not a woman there. Lord! what a boat it is!” taking a last look at the picture, as they began to be in motion.

The Bath Sweet Shop

This was always a favourite place to stop with my children when they were small. You can see the name, Abbey Green, chiselled into the stone. Here are Anne and the Admiral continuing their walk in the film below.

I love this scene from Jane Austen’s Persuasion – you can just imagine how difficult it must have been for her to conceal her feelings!



When they were got a little farther, Anne ventured to press again for what he had to communicate. She had hoped when clear of Milsom Street to have her curiosity gratified; but she was still obliged to wait, for the Admiral had made up his mind not to begin till they had gained the greater space and quiet of Belmont; and as she was not really Mrs. Croft, she must let him have his own way. As soon as they were fairly ascending Belmont, he began —
   “Well, now you shall hear something that will surprise you. But first of all, you must tell me the name of the young lady I am going to talk about. That young lady, you know, that we have all been so concerned for. The Miss Musgrove that all this has been happening to. Her Christian name: I always forget her Christian name.”
   Anne had been ashamed to appear to comprehend so soon as she really did; but now she could safely suggest the name of “Louisa.”
   “Ay, ay, Miss Louisa Musgrove, that is the name. I wish young ladies had not such a number of fine Christian names. I should never be out if they were all Sophys, or something of that sort. Well, this Miss Louisa, we all thought, you know, was to marry Frederick. He was courting her week after week. The only wonder was, what they could be waiting for, till the business at Lyme came; then, indeed, it was clear enough that they must wait till her brain was set to right. But even then there was something odd in their way of going on. Instead of staying at Lyme, he went off to Plymouth, and then he went off to see Edward. When we came back from Minehead he was gone down to Edward’s, and there he has been ever since. We have seen nothing of him since November. Even Sophy could not understand it. But now, the matter has taken the strangest turn of all; for this young lady, this same Miss Musgrove, instead of being to marry Frederick, is to marry James Benwick. You know James Benwick?”
   “A little. I am a little acquainted with Captain Benwick.”
   “Well, she is to marry him. Nay, most likely they are married already, for I do not know what they should wait for.”
   “I thought Captain Benwick a very pleasing young man,” said Anne, “and I understand that he bears an excellent character.”
   “Oh! yes, yes, there is not a word to be said against James Benwick. He is only a commander, it is true, made last summer, and these are bad times for getting on, but he has not another fault that I know of. An excellent, good-hearted fellow, I assure you; a very active, zealous officer, too, which is more than you would think for, perhaps, for that soft sort of manner does not do him justice.”
   “Indeed, you are mistaken there, sir; I should never augur want of spirit from Captain Benwick’s manners. I thought them particularly pleasing, and I will answer for it, they would generally please.”
   “Well, well, ladies are the best judges; but James Benwick is rather too piano for me; and though very likely it is all our partiality, Sophy and I cannot help thinking Frederick’s manners better than his. There is something about Frederick more to our taste.”
   Anne was caught. She had only meant to oppose the too-common idea of spirit and gentleness being incompatible with each other, not at all to represent Captain Benwick’s manners as the very best that could possibly be; and, after a little hesitation, she was beginning to say, “I was not entering into any comparison of the two friends”; but the Admiral interrupted her with —
   “And the thing is certainly true. It is not a mere bit of gossip. We have it from Frederick himself. His sister had a letter from him yesterday, in which he tells us of it, and he had just had it in a letter from Harville, written upon the spot, from Uppercross. I fancy they are all at Uppercross.”
   This was an opportunity whichAnne could not resist; she said, therefore, “I hope, Admiral, I hope there is nothing in the style of Captain Wentworth’s letter to make you and Mrs. Croft particularly uneasy. It did certainly seem, last autumn, as if there were an attachment between him and Louisa Musgrove; but I hope it may be understood to have worn out on each side equally, and without violence. I hope his letter does not breathe the spirit of an ill-used man.”
   “Not at all, not at all: there is not an oath or a murmur from beginning to end.”
   Anne looked down to hide her smile.
   “No, no; Frederick is not a man to whine and complain; he has too much spirit for that. If the girl likes another man better, it is very fit she should have him.”
   “Certainly. But what I mean is, that I hope there is nothing in Captain Wentworth’s manner of writing to make you suppose he thinks himself ill-used by his friend, which might appear, you know, without its being absolutely said. I should be very sorry that such a friendship as has subsisted between him and Captain Benwick should be destroyed, or even wounded by a circumstance of this sort.”
   “Yes, yes, I understand you. But there is nothing at all of that nature in the letter. He does not give the least fling at Benwick; does not so much as say, ‘I wonder at it. I have a reason of my own for wondering at it.’ No, you would not guess, from his way of writing, that he had ever thought of this Miss (what’s her name?) for himself. He very handsomely hopes they will be happy together; and there is nothing very unforgiving in that, I think.”
   Anne did not receive the perfect conviction which the Admiral meant to convey, but it would have been useless to press the enquiry farther. She therefore satisfied herself with commonplace remarks or quiet attention, and the Admiral had it all his own way.
   “Poor Frederick!” said he, at last. “Now he must begin all over again with somebody else. I think we must get him to Bath. Sophy must write, and beg him to come to Bath. Here are pretty girls enough, I am sure. It would be of no use to go to Uppercross again, for that other Miss Musgrove, I find, is bespoke by her cousin, the young parson. Do not you think, Miss Elliot, we had better try to get him to Bath?”

Finally, here’s the scene from a 1971 version – enjoy!

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Please join me tomorrow on Austen Authors for the start of the celebrations for the double wedding of Mr Darcy and his bride, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, Mr Bingley and Miss Jane Bennet.

I’ve written a couple of vignettes which I’ve loved writing. For tomorrow – A Conversation Between Jane & Lizzy on the Eve of their Wedding, and one for the following day – Mrs. Bennet’s Wedding Reflections. 

Here’s the full menu which promises to be a sumptuous wedding breakfast!


The BIG day is fast approaching! Everyone is invited!
In order to prepare for the plethora of vignettes written by the Austen Authors to cover the exciting events, we will be spacing them out for your gradual reading enjoyment.
Using a vaguely “real time” order for the wedding day – and remembering that we use EST for our official time stamp – here are the vignettes coming up:
November 15 ~ Day Before the Wedding
Preparing the Wedding Breakfast by Nina Benneton
Darcy and Elizabeth Walk, Race… and more! by Sharon Lathan
Mr. Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Gardiner, and Mr. Blingley Share a Brandy by Vera Nazarian
A Conversation Between Jane & Lizzy on the Eve of their Wedding by Jane Odiwe
Darcy and Bingley have a Last Glass Together by C. Allyn Pierson
November 16 ~ Wedding Day!
at midnight
Longbourn Ladies Dress for the Wedding by Susan Mason-Milks
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet Share a Moment while their Daughters Dress for the Wedding
by Vera Nazarian
-at noon, EST-
I Plight Thee My Troth, or… The Wedding! by Sharon Lathan
Charlotte Collins’ Wedding Reflections by Abigail Reynolds
Caroline Bingley’s Wedding Reflections by Shannon Winslow
Mrs. Bennet’s Wedding Reflections by Jane Odiwe
Caroline Bingley Acknowledges the new Mrs. Darcy by Regina Jeffers
-at 5pm, EST-
The Wedding Night of Charles and Jane Bingley by Susan Mason-Milks
-at 6pm, EST-
Wedding Night on the Road to Pemberley by Sharon Lathan
November 17 ~ First Day of New Life
-at noon, EST-
Lady Catherine, Alone at Rosings
 by Diana Birchall
Caroline Bingley Explains It All… by C. Allyn Pierson
A New Day Dawns by Sharon Lathan
~  *  ~  *  ~
In the weeks following the nuptials, the P&P200 vignettes will continue.
More is to come as our BIG November Event Month rolls on!
Please copy the invitation above and share everywhere. The more the merrier!



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It’s my birthday this week and I love to celebrate so Amazon Kindle are now selling Searching for Captain Wentworth at bargain prices for one week from today!!!

The paperback is also reduced – I hope you all have a lovely weekend!!!

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I’ve had a gorgeous review for Searching for Captain Wentworth by Joceline Bury for Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine.

I love a time travel romance, especially one involving Jane Austen characters, and Jane Odiwe has pulled a great story out of the hat in her latest novel.
The writer Sophie Elliot (whose favourite novel is, unsurprisingly, Persuasion) is invited to use her great-aunt’s Bath town house as a writing retreat and is delighted to find that she is living next door to where the Austen family spent some of their time during their stay in the spa city. She’s initially less than delighted by what appears to be a haunting presence in the house – although that could just be the mice in the wainscot.
But past and present are set to collide when she finds that an antique glove belonging to her present-day neighbour has the power to transport her back in time to the days of the Regency.
Sophie is a beguiling heroine, and her time-slipping adventures involve historical figures alongside fictional creations to great effect.
Odiwe certainly writes a page-turning romantic mystery – her characters are intriguing and her narrative full of surprises and suspense. She blends historical fact and fiction with great style, and the settings are spot on in what the writer describes as her “love letter to Bath.”

Thank you, Joceline Bury – you’ve made my week!

Before I tell you what I got up to last week, here is Chapter Five of Searching for Captain Wentworth!

These costumes reminded me of Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth

Last week I visited the new galleries at the V&A where they have revamped the costume collection. I loved the way they’ve arranged costumes with accessories, furniture and paintings of the period. There is a fabulous ballgown exhibition on in the middle of it all with the most mouth-watering display of dresses from the 50s to the present day.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the Hollywood costume exhibition as it was fully booked but I’m hoping to go very soon.

I hope you enjoyed the photos!

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Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion and the wonderful 1995 BBC adaptation of the same, this scene from Searching for Captain Wentworth sums up my heroine Sophie’s feelings when she finds an ancient white glove.

 And then I saw him. Well, I saw the back of him, which was the next best thing. He was tall and broad shouldered with dark, curly hair waving over the upturned collar on his jacket, his blue jeans showing a lean physique. My neighbour was standing on the broad pavement outside waiting for the traffic to clear and fiddling with the catch on an umbrella, as large raindrops started to fall out of the sky. He seemed to be looking for something, checking his pockets, before putting up the huge, black umbrella that obscured any chance of a glimpse at his face. I could see what Lara meant; he definitely had something about him even from the back. It was then that I noticed that he’d dropped something, white and crumpled, but I couldn’t decide whether it was really something or nothing. I didn’t quite know what to do. I didn’t want to bang on the window because he’d instantly know I’d been watching him and as it was I felt a little like I’d been spying on him. I watched him cross the road. He was heading off in the direction of Sydney Gardens opposite. I don’t know what possessed me at that moment, but before I knew what I was doing, I snatched up my coat and keys, ran downstairs and out through the door.

I picked up the wet object and it unfurled in my hand like a fortune-telling, cellophane fish from a Christmas cracker. It was a man’s glove with long fingers made of fine, white kid. Neatly stitched, clearly hand-made and soft to the touch, I was immediately reminded of a glove I’d seen before. Captain Wentworth’s glove. There’s a scene at the end of my favourite Persuasion film where Captain Wentworth takes Anne Elliot’s hand. It’s the most romantic gesture that unites them finally, at the end. The kiss that takes place afterwards has nothing on the way he covers her small fingers in his large ones, and it was this image that immediately jumped into my mind. 

From Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe

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Ciaran Hinds talking about the making of Persuasion. I could listen to his voice…forever…

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