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Posts Tagged ‘Jane Austen Blog’

I thought I’d give Twitter a whirl! I’m enjoying it very much so far, but am spending far too much time reading everyone’s tweets and not getting much work done. I think it’s partly due to feeling the effects of going away at the weekend – whilst lovely, I cannot stop thinking about the beautiful Dorset countryside and wishing I was still there. Decided to tweet away my melancholy by tweeting as Marianne from Sense and Sensibility – but of course, I’m now feeling sadder than ever having thought my way into her feelings. I may have to switch characters – jolly myself up by being Mrs Jennings!
I’ve found far too many interesting pages to follow, and am trying to ration myself, but it’s hard. I don’t think I’ve completely got the hang of it though – something’s not quite right – I don’t know how to make the pretty pics of everyone I’m following appear on my page. If anyone knows what to do, I’d love to hear from you!

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News of a new blog – Austen Endeavours
– I am enjoying this blog from Aimee Fry and thought you might too! Aimee indulges her love of all things Austen and Regency along with her quest to become a writer!

Thanks to Jenny for a mention of Lydia Bennet’s Story from Wondrous Reads which is a really interesting and entertaining teen book blog. There’ll be a review from Jenny coming soon!

Finally from ABC news in Australia:

The National Gallery of Victoria is preparing to open an exhibition charting the fashion changes during Jane Austen’s lifetime (1775-1817).

Persuasion: Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen features over 70 works and will include fashion, prints and drawings, decorative arts and paintings, with a focus on English women’s dress from the early 19th century.

Curator Roger Leong says fashion played an important role in Jane Austen’s novels.

“Austen’s witty and perceptive comments about fashion mirrored the complex relationships within English society during her lifetime, especially between different classes and men and women,” he said in a statement.

“The era witnessed radical changes in the way people dressed.

“The variations of the waistline, upwards from the natural waist and then back again, were a distinctive characteristic of the time, one of the most dynamic periods in fashion.”

The exhibition is open at the NGV International from 22 May to 8 November 2009.

You lucky people! I wish I could come and see it – I love a fashion exhibition. If you are in the UK like me you can always visit the Fashion Museum which always has wonderful displays includng a current one on historical dress, or another favourite of mine is the dress collection at the V&A. The illustration is of a little character – Dizzie Lizzie – that I drew for a book made for my children some years ago.

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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.

Thursday, December 17th, 1801

The village of Longbourn are united in their condemnation of Mr Darcy and Mr Wickham is deservedly feted wherever he goes. He is in great demand for every social event and although he is clearly partial to our company here, it has sometimes proved difficult to secure him for every soiree. Mama has invited him and some of the officers for an evening party tonight and we are all looking forward to seeing them. Isabella and Diana will of course be included and I think Captain Carter is hardly likely to stay away.

Mama has been obliged to extend the invitation to the Lucases as Mr Collins is still here. I do wish he would go home. Despite the fact that he spends a large portion of the day with Charlotte, he is always turning up when you least want him and I have already been scolded for speaking ill of Lady Catherine’s nephew. You would think Mr Darcy shared his own blood from the ranting that ensued. My mother has cautioned me to watch my tongue, adding that she does not care two straws for Lady Catherine, her relations or clergymen but in the interests of a quiet evening, it would perhaps be better if I were to refrain mentioning Mr Darcy and his family in front of Mr Collins.

I am to wear an altered pink silk gown of mama’s, which I have persuaded her to give me. It flatters my figure so nicely that I am sure of it captivating an entire regiment!

Lydia Bennet

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On this day in 1775 Jane Austen was born.

Cassy knew there was something different about the house when she woke up. Apart from the dying wood embers of the glowing nursery fire and the darkness outside telling her that it was still night time, there was a lot of noise and activity inside. She could hear the patter of boys’ feet on the polished stairs and the sort of anxious whispering, which though meant to be quiet cannot but help rouse even the most ardent sleeper. Despite the warmth of the room she shivered under her covers and as her eyes adjusted to the light she looked about and listened. What was it that had woken her up? What was that noise all about? Cassandra did not have long to wait to find out. The door of the nursery slowly creaked open and the head of a brother appeared. Which one was it?

“Are you asleep, Cassy?” called Edward.

Little Cassy held her arms up to her big brother. “Tedard,” she called.

Edward was over at her side in a moment, scooping her up into his arms. “Come with me,” he whispered. “Something very exciting has happened. Come and see.”

Fully awake in seconds, caught by Edward’s enthusiasm yet struggling to get down from his arms straight away, she nevertheless clung onto her brother’s hand allowing him to guide her footsteps. Down the cold corridor they crept past the window looking out onto the garden where the first feathers of snow hurtled down onto the hard, frosty ground. She could see mama’s room coming into view, a blaze of light, the noise of chattering voices and another sound, most unfamiliar, like that of some small mewing kitten. Everyone was crowded into the room. There was papa seated at some distance looking on at all the excitement, his white head nodding and moving in the agreeable way it always did when he was most pleased. James and Henry were sitting on the bed utterly enthralled by something mama was holding in her arms. Edward brought his sister forward and lifted Cassandra up onto the bed.

“Cassy, here is your sister, Jenny,” said Mrs Austen. “Now what do you think? Here is a little playfellow for you.”

Cassy looked down at the bundle in her mother’s arms. This snuffling creature did not look very much as if it would be capable of anything very much, let alone become a plaything. But as Cassy gazed at the pink and white cheeks of her little sister, she decided that the baby was adorable. She put out her hand to touch one of the baby’s fingers that had escaped from its swaddling. The tiny hand gripped her finger so fiercely that Cassy giggled. She looked up at her mother.
“She knows you are her sister and that you will always look after her,” said Mrs Austen. “Miss Jane Austen, an early Christmas present for her big sister. Happy Christmas Cassy!”

And Cassy knew then as she kissed the baby’s cheek that she would always love the special present that she believed came especially for her.

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Wednesday, December 16th, 1801
Kitty and I set forth to Meryton to visit our friends at Emma Nicolson’s. We were eager to tell them and anybody we met along the way about our news of poor Wickham’s treatment at the hands of vile Mr Darcy. Everyone was shocked, although not in the least surprised, for Mr Darcy is generally despised by all who have had the misfortune to become acquainted with him.
Isabella and Diana voiced their concerns about my sister with regards to Mr Bingley’s friendship with Darcy.

“Jane is probably better off without him,” Isabella declared. “Who knows what sort of a gentleman Bingley really is, if he can be friends with the likes of a man who would deny his childhood friend the right to his inheritance?”

We were all agreed on this point but feel very sorry for Jane because a broken heart takes so long to mend and as Kitty pointed out she would have been certain of a rich and comfortable home, dresses, bonnets, gloves and shoes of the latest fashion and a carriage of her own. What more could anyone ask for?

“I am sure I would not have let him get away so soon, if I had thought he was on the verge of making ME an offer,” cried Diana. “There are tricks a girl can employ to keep her beau interested you know and if Jane had anything about her, she would have at least attempted one or two.”

“Diana!” cried Emma, “Whatever can you mean, you bad girl?”

“I do not mean anything so wholly naughty,” she protested, “but a few stolen kisses and soft, whisperings in his ear would go a long way to keep a man like Bingley interested.”

“You speak as though from experience, Diana!” I shrieked and although she hotly denied any such behaviour, her blushes betrayed her yet again. As everyone fell about, insensible with laughter I could not but wonder about her employment of ‘tricks’ and a vision of Diana kissing Captain Carter’s ear floated before my eyes.

Lydia Bennet

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Two reviews for Lydia Bennet’s Story from Book Zombie Blogspot and The Reviewer Blogspot

Book Zombie

Readers of Austen will know that Lydia Bennet is the younger sister of Elizabeth and Jane, while never a major character she always left a major impact with her appearances. Crazy, wilful and out of control, she is much more like a wood nymph than a true lady. But that spark of wildness is exactly what made her character so enthralling. And now author Jane Odiwe has given Lydia a chance to shine in her very own book.

Lydia Bennet’s Story is a sequel to Pride And Prejudice, but in order to fully understand Lydia the book begins by going back to Pride And Prejudice and revisiting the events from Lydia’s point of view. From there it continues on as a sequel focusing on Lydia’s story.

It would be easy to dismiss Lydia as a stereo-typical teenager and little sister, acting out as either a way to gain attention or out of plain simple-mindedness. However, Jane Odiwe uses Lydia’s own journal writing throughout this novel to add a certain depth to Lydia’s character, allowing the reader to connect with her rather than pass her off as an annoyance.

The best part of Lydia Bennet’s Story, for me, was seeing that Lydia does realize that her actions and attitude are not proper. She might act righteous and seem to not care how people view her as a person, but the jottings from her personal diary show that she is thinking of these things. She knows when she could have handled things differently and that shows maturity and growth on her part.

Lydia Bennet’s Story is not only a terrific story but also a wonderful example of Jane Odiwe’s talent at character development. With just a bit of background she has transformed Lydia into a character worthy of her own novel. I believe this is a fantastic Austen sequel, because it changes nothing of the original Austen creations, instead it digs deeper and adds more personality to a secondary character creating a story line that veers in another direction.

The Reviewer

I must admit that I have been getting pretty sick of the Austen books. I have read all the ones that cross my hand and very rarely, VERY RARELY, do I find one that I enjoy. It seems that some of these authors get so caught up in continuing the story of the Jane and Darcy and Lizzy and Bingley that they don’t take the time to create a thoughtful and entertaining story. At least to me.

On that note, I loved this book.

I fully expected to hate this book. I expected to finish it and thank my lucky stars that I only had one Austen related book on my desk. I was sad when this book ended.
Of all the Bennet sisters I always liked Lydia. She seemed like she would be fun to be around. What young girl doesn’t like to party every once in a while? However, we never really learned much about her. She was given to the reader as a silly, thoughtless and self-concerned girl who didn’t warrant much consideration by the original Austen. What Odiwe has given us, in this go round, is a girl like any other. She is young, naïve, trusting and foolish. She doesn’t understand consequence at all. At the end of the book the reader is left with a woman, a woman who knows her own heart and goals.

This book started slow. The first thirty pages were torture but once past the introductory pages it picked up pace. The reader travels all over England with Lydia as she straightens out her life and tries to free herself from Wickham. Wickham is everything he is in Pride and Prejudice and a really delicious character to hate.

It is with great reluctance that I pass this book on to a friend. Lydia Bennet’s Story is a book that I would love to be able to revisit whenever I needed a fun book on a rainy afternoon.

Happy Reading!

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