Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Project Darcy’ Category

Jane and her fatherSome years ago, I painted a little picture of how I imagined Jane and her father would look when she was about five years old. I thought about this painting whilst I was writing a little scene in Project Darcy when Ellie goes back into the past and becomes Jane Austen, and tied it in with what seem to be Jane’s own recollections that she wrote about in Northanger Abbey. Although she is writing about Catherine Morland when she says her heroine was ‘noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house’, I have a feeling she was referring to a memory of doing that herself. If you’ve ever been to Steventon to see the site where the rectory stood, the back of the garden has a pronounced slope! Here’s how I imagine Jane and her beloved brother Henry playing at the back of the rectory. I hope you enjoy this little excerpt from my latest novel, Project Darcy.

 

IMG_4033

The slope at Steventon Rectory


The moment she stepped through the hedges and trees that screened the fields, Ellie knew something was different – her world was changed in more ways than she could ever have imagined. Like the little girl in Alice in Wonderland, she’d grown smaller and everything around her had doubled in size. Trees were so tall she could not see the top of them and the grass that tickled her bare legs nearly came up to her knees. Ellie looked back towards the way she had come but she knew it was fruitless. There was only one way to go, and that was to follow the sound that beckoned her. It was as if she saw everything through mist, layers of white vapour that rose to reveal a reality that became sharper with every passing minute. She was no longer Ellie Bentley; that she knew. She was a child, perhaps no more than five years old, and her thoughts intruded until Ellie had none left of her own. Her world was larger, more defined, sounds and smells were fresher, brighter and vivid. More than that, she felt different. Ellie saw life through the eyes of someone else, and when she heard the boy’s voice calling her name she knew him to be her brother.

Site of Steventon Rectory

Site of Steventon Rectory

Henry pulled me up the slope to the top of the field where the elm trees stood like sentinels and whispered over our heads in their hushing, leaf language. The day was hot like the one I’d left behind, and my legs struggled to keep up with him in the heat. He sensed that my small legs were tiring and he turned to wait, looking at me with a grin. Light flickered in his hazel eyes, those that I knew grown-ups said were so like mine, but his were almost golden on this day, like Baltic amber. The grass up at the top of the terrace was so long; it prickled the back of my legs. Beads of dew, like fairy necklaces strung along green blades, felt cold under my feet. When we reached the top, he showed me how to lie down in line with the trees, my toes pointing one way and my arms stretched over my head.‘Come on, Jane, let us go again!’

‘Jane, wait until I count to three,’ I heard him say.

Lying in the sweetly fragrant meadow, I felt so excited I started to giggle, and my body fidgeted in response. And before he’d managed to shout out the number three, I’d started going, rolling down the hill, and gathering momentum until the world was spinning. There was a blur of blue sky; then green fields, and then over I went again like a flyer on Nanny Littleworth’s spinning wheel. I could see Henry overtake me, going faster than ever. He got to the bottom before me but I came to a standstill at last, my heart beating with pure pleasure as I lay in the grass chuckling and laughing. There were grass stains on my dress and daisies in my hair, which Henry picked out, one by one.

Sitting up, I could see a house that I knew was my home and I had a sudden longing to see my father.

 Site of Jane Austen's home, Steventon Rectory


Site of Jane Austen’s home, Steventon Rectory

‘Are you not coming up again, little Jenny?’ Henry asked, calling me by the pet name my family used when they wanted to appeal to my better nature. He had his hands in the pockets of his breeches. His shirt was crumpled and stained like my gown. Brown curls flopped over his eyes, which looked into mine so tenderly that I almost changed my mind. I ran to hug him, stood on my tiptoes and planted a kiss on his cheek. Henry was my protector, and my beloved playmate. I longed to be just like him but my mother scolded me when I behaved too much like a tomboy. I knew I should not run or jump or shout, as my brothers did, but nothing she said would deter me, so when Henry begged me to play with him I did not usually need to be asked twice. But, as much as I wanted to be with him, home was calling.

I shook my head and muttered, ‘I’m going to see Papa.’

 

I have vivid memories of rolling down the slope in the park at the back of my childhood home with my brother and sister, which was a thing we all loved to do. I remember one time when we were recovering from German Measles, and the grass made our rashes flare up again, all very prickly and itchy – but we were all so glad to be outside again. Most of my childhood seemed to be spent outdoors playing, or indoors drawing and writing if the weather was bad – I’d love to know what pastimes you enjoyed as a child!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

It’s my Official Book Launch of Project Darcy tomorrow, November 5th, over at Laurel Ann Nattress’s blog Austenprose so please check back then to read an exclusive excerpt from Project Darcy, and to see what we have on offer in the way of prizes and treats. I do hope you’ll join me tomorrow for my very special day!
As you all know, Project Darcy is a novel inspired by Jane Austen’s wonderful book, Pride and Prejudice, and as this is a very special year, celebrating 200 years, I thought you might like to have a chance of owning a collector’s copy!
My first introduction to Jane Austen was through the film starring Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier, many years ago, so I think it’s very fitting that this little illustrated movie book should be my first prize.


Pride and Prejudice
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
   However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
   “My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”
   Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.
   “But it is,” returned she; “for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it.”
   Mr. Bennet made no answer.
   “Do not you want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife impatiently.
   “You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”

Also on offer is one of my packs of six greetings cards, three of Steventon Rectory, three of Christmas at Steventon!

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning this vintage book with a pack of Jane Austen Christmas cards, please leave a comment below. Names will be drawn from a hat – closing date for this competition is Sunday, 10th November – winner announced on Monday 11th November!
Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for more goodies here and on Austenprose!

Read Full Post »

Project Darcy

I’m so excited to announce that next week sees the start of my blog tour and Book Launch for Project Darcy! I hope you’ll be able to join me here on my blog and also with all the wonderful bloggers who are generously hosting me.

There will be giveaways and treats on my blog, as well as those blogs listed below, so please keep checking back – after all, it’s 200 years of Pride and Prejudice, and I want to celebrate that, as well as my new book.

Here’s the list of lovely blogs I am visiting!

Wednesday, October 30th   – Wondrous Reads
Sunday, November 3rd – My Jane Austen Book Club
Tuesday, November 5th – AustenproseOFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH
Wednesday, November 6th –  Indie Jane
Thursday, November 7th – More Agreeably Engaged
Tuesday, November 12th Calico Critic
Wednesday, November 13th Meditating Mummy
Monday, November 18th Austen Authors
Monday, November 18th The Book Rat
Wednesday, November 20th Austenesque Reviews

Jane Austen Prints

It is high summer when Ellie Bentley joins an archaeological dig at Jane Austen’s childhood home. She’s always had a talent for ‘seeing’ into the past and is not easily disturbed by her encounters with Mr Darcy’s ghost at the house where she’s staying. When Ellie travels into the past she discovers exactly what happened whilst Jane danced her way through the snowy winter of 1796 with her dashing Irish friend. As Steventon Rectory and all its characters come to life, Ellie discovers the true love story lost in Pride and Prejudice – a tale which has its own consequences for her future destiny, changing her life beyond imagination. 

Read Full Post »

I’m very excited to announce that Project Darcy is now available on Kindle, here in the UK, the US, CanadaFrance, GermanyItaly  Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Japan, and India! The official launch is on November 5th and I’ve a blog tour coming up – so I hope you’ll join me for some fun blogs and prizes!

I’ve been having a lovely time on Pinterest putting together a mood board for Project Darcy. The book is a timeslip adventure for my heroine, Ellie, and she and her friends are lucky enough to stay in a very special house. I’ve had a wonderful time imagining what the house would look like inside, and Pinterest, I’ve discovered, is almost as good as having your own dolls’ house!

The house they’re staying in is Ashe House where Jane Austen’s friend Madame Lefroy lived. It’s a beautiful Georgian house and I had the excitement of imagining it in the past, 200 years ago, as well as the present.

I had a lovely time dreaming up bedrooms for the five girls – Ellie, Jess, Martha, Cara and Liberty. Ellie’s best friend is Jess, and she, of the five friends, is a Jane Austen fan.

So, I just pictured my idea of a bedroom I thought Jess would like – here’s a description – Jess’s bedroom with chalk pink walls boasted a French bed with buttoned silk upholstery and a chaise longue in one corner. On the walls was a collection of silhouettes of people from past times. The profiles of soldiers and debutantes looked across at one another from ebony frames ranged around the marble mantelpiece. It looked as if it had been designed with Jess in mind with its Regency furniture and vast portraits of ladies dressed in white muslin. 

Apart from the Georgian and Regency eras, I love Art Deco and so it was fun to imagine Ellie’s bedroom. Ellie is the main heroine of my novel – she is a painter and illustrator and I thought she’d like lots of paintings and visual stimuli:

Ellie’s room was perfection to her way of thinking; she loved anything vintage. In muted tones of Naples yellow in the patterned wallpaper and silvery grey satin falling to the floor in a cascade at the windows, the room was flooded in light. Sunbeams danced through the ancient embroidered lace like a bridal veil at a summer wedding, parted to give a stunning view over the beautiful garden. Touches of duck egg blue in the embroideries on the walls and in the milk glass vases on the mantelshelf were echoed in a shot of deeper blue silk in the dressing gown dangling from a padded hanger of cream silk. It looked like a film set left over from the 1930s and in contrast to Jess’s room, which was a Regency haven, Ellie couldn’t have wished for

anything more glamorous. A deco dressing table complete with a mirrored surface and a triptych looking glass was topped with a selection of exquisite objects – a porcelain tray and boxes for jewels, a Japanese fan, a silver hairbrush enamelled with blue as vivid as a butterfly’s wing, and a cloisonné vase filled with old-fashioned roses. The bed draped with grey satin and ivory lace was flanked either side with paintings typical of the era, watercolours of primroses or lilac in turquoise bowls, and a still life, of paper lanterns suspended from branches of white blossom, hung above the fireplace. She almost couldn’t wait to go to bed when she’d be able to sink into the pile of satin covered cushions on her bed, pull the quilted eiderdown up to her throat and admire all the treats before her.

If you haven’t tried Pinterest, I highly recommend it – though it is addictive!


Read Full Post »

It suddenly looks very autumnal here in the UK, though the temperature is surprisingly high. I love this season – outside the leaves are turning to shades of red, russet and lemon, mornings are misty, and the nights are drawing in. What better time than to curl up with a new book!

Project Darcy – Jane Odiwe

I’m so excited to reveal the cover of my upcoming book, Project Darcy! In this special year of the 200th anniversary, I wanted to celebrate with a ‘darling child’ of my own.

 It is high summer when Ellie Bentley joins an archaeological dig at Jane Austen’s childhood home. She’s always had a talent for ‘seeing’ into the past and is not easily disturbed by her encounters with ‘Mr Darcy’s ghost’ at the house where she’s staying. When Ellie travels into the past she discovers exactly what happened whilst Jane danced her way through the snowy winter of 1796. As Steventon Rectory and all its characters come to life, Ellie discovers the true love story lost in Pride and Prejudice – a tale which has its own consequences for her future destiny, changing her life beyond imagination.

I’ve had a very exciting week – with Mr Darcy’s Secret being featured on BBC, The One Show, along with fellow author friends, Amanda Grange, and Karen Doornebos.

Mr Darcy’s Secret on The One Show!

And then a fellow Austenite on twitter, @austengeek, sent me a lovely tweet about Willoughby’s Return having a mention in Entertainment Weekly in the US! Great excitement, too, for many of my fellow authors on Austen Authors – Regina Jeffers, Alyssa Goodnight, Mary Lydon Simonsen, and author friends, Margaret C. Sullivan, Amanda Grange, Kara Louise, and Vera Nazarian.

Entertainment Weekly

November 5th 2013 is launch day for Project Darcy and I shall be giving away a number of treats that week in conjunction with the release of my book. Please come back in due course for more details!

Read Full Post »

I’m sorry I’ve been so quiet lately but I’ve been very busy writing a new book. I’ve hesitated to talk about it very much because I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to publish it this year, but things are looking hopeful! 
It’s another time-slip book, Project Darcy, which is inspired by Pride and Prejudice, and is to be published in the autumn.
Part of its inspiration comes from the Steventon archaeological dig that took place  some time ago, only the dig that takes place in my book is completely from my imagination, of course. It is high summer when my heroine Ellie joins the volunteers on the dig with some friends from university. She’s always had a bit of a talent for ‘seeing’ into the past and is not easily phased by the ‘shade’ she encounters at the house where the friends are staying. As Ellie travels into the past and sees life through the eyes of Jane Austen, she discovers exactly what happened when Jane danced at the Harwood’s Ball in the snowy winter of 1796 and finds how love inspired her to write Pride and Prejudice. As  Steventon Rectory and all its characters come to life, Ellie finds she has a heartbreaking decision. Should she stay in the past with Mr Darcy’s ghost or be brave about facing the present where both Pride and Prejudice might just influence her future destiny?

Because it’s the 200 year anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, I’ve been very lucky to be involved in some exciting events! I am particularly delighted to be invited to participate in a reading of Pride and Prejudice in Bath at the Jane Austen Festival, and to give talks on Pride and Prejudice and its influence in my own work at the Royal Automobile Club in Epsom, and the University of the Third Age in High Barnet. Here are more details:
 Sunday 15th September
 Jane Austen Festival 
Reading Pride & Prejudice the novel – Bath Central Library
Sunday 15th to Saturday 21st September 2013

Thursday 24th October

200 Years of Pride and Prejudice – Jane Odiwe talks about her love of Jane Austen’s most celebrated novel and its influence on her own writing and painting.
The Royal Automobile Club
Woodcote Park
Wilmerhatch Lane
Epsom
Surrey KT18 7EW
Telephone 01372 229230 Fascimile 0870 460 6934
http://www.royalautomobileclub.co.uk

5th December
Celebrating 200 Years of Pride and Prejudice with Jane Odiwe 
University of the Third Age, 
United Reformed Church, Wood Street,
High Barnet, Hertfordshire


I’d love to see you at any of the above events!

Read Full Post »