Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday’s Wonderings # 3 Searching for Jane

Monday's WonderingsThe weekend before last, I went book shopping and found The Perfect Elizabeth: A Tale of Two Sisters by Libby Schmais which claimed to be a modern retelling of Sense & Sensibility. Being a true Jane Addict I knew that I had to purchase this book to feed my addiction. Let me say that I was thoroughly and utterly disappointed. If I would have paid more than $1.99 for this book I would have been highly perturbed as it was one of the worst books that I ever read and the only comparison that it had to S&S was that the novel did indeed have two sisters in it. (Believe you me, I searched this book from the front cover to the back for any shred of a resemblance to S&S and found absolutely nothing. I believe that there was only one mention of Jane throughout the book. Truth be told, the novel should have been marketed to Barbara Pym fans as the book is exploding with mentions of her and her novels.)

I have noticed over the last few months that many authors and publishers have been putting in strategically placed references to Jane Austen or/and her novels in the title or in the blurb on the back of the book when in reality the book has little—or often nothing—to do with Jane Austen or her novels. And I must say I am one of those buyers that will buy a novel if Jane Austen or her novels are mentioned anywhere on the front or back cover. Then after reading the book, I have the urge to mail a copy of Jane Austen’s novels to the person who thought it wise to market it as (fill in the appropriate Jane Austen title) with a note saying ‘seriously, have you even read this before using it as a comparison?’.

Why do they place these references on the book when the book obviously has nothing to do with Jane Austen? It’s simple—and while I have come to believe that they do it solely to irritate me—the truth is Jane Austen’s name sells and the publishing world is determined to cash in on it.

My Question Is….Do you buy books because they mention Jane Austen or her works on the cover? And if so, have you been thoroughly disappointed because of it?

Here is the blurb that made me buy the book:

imagesCA4J9BPJ This modern-day Sense & Sensibility is a witty story about two sisters: Liza, a would-be poet who spends miserable days as a legal secretary; and Bette, a graduate student writing her dissertation on Toast in the English Novel. Bette has taken to eating only what the characters she is writing about would eat: boiled eggs on toast, mincemeat, nice cups of tea…Liza’s bit concerned. She’s also worried about the statues of her relationship with her actor boyfriend, Gregor. They’re not living together, and that’s a problem.

Then there’s the issue of Liza’s career, or the lack thereof. Can dog-walking be considered a vocation? Liza’s beginning to think so. Mercifully, Bette is merely a local phone call away.

Throughout this hilarious novel, the sisters deal with unemployment, infidelity, interfering parent, Hollywood, lemmings, a pregnancy, and a wedding. The Perfect Elizabeth is as indulgent and cathartic as a pint of Haagen-Dazs. (from the back of the book)

Until We Meet Again,


Monday, August 13, 2012

Getting to know Persuasion & Giveaway


200px-NorthangerPersuasionTitlePage[4] Title page of the original 1818 edition


Fun Facts Regarding the Publication:

-Persuasion was originally titled The Elliots and it is uncertain who changed it, although we can surmise that it was her brother, Henry.

-Miss Austen wrote Persuasion in 1815 then revised the last two chapters before it was published in 1817 (in many television adaptations we see Captain Wentworth, acting for Admiral Croft, asking Anne if she is engaged to Mr Elliot, and whether the Crofts should leave Kellynch. Many readers of Persuasion may believe this to be a creative liberty taken by the filmmakers; however, it was indeed the original ending, which Austen changed)

-There are no surviving manuscripts or drafts of any of Jane Austen’s novels save for the original ending of Persuasion.

-The combined edition of Northanger Abbey & Persuasion sold 1, 409 copies within a year.

Changing Times

Although no violent revolution (such as the French & American revolutions, both occurring whilst Jane lived) occurred in England during Jane’s lifetime, there was a rather noticeable shift in social classes, as those with newly acquired wealth began to surpass the landed gentry in both power and influence.

This change had the landed gentry growing nervous as these “new men”, who made their money by either being business men or naval officers with large fortunes made from prize money, began to be recognized and treated as gentlemen.

Jane Austen was conscience of the shift in social classes; it shows in the following description of the Musgrove’s. Although she did not acknowledge if she thought these changes were for the better.

“The Musgroves, like their houses, were in a state of alteration, perhaps of improvement. Their father and mother were in the old English style and the young people in the new. Mr & Mrs. Musgrove were a very good sort of people; friendly and hospitable, not much educated, and not at all elegant. Their children had more modern minds and manners.”

In Persuasion Jane Austen portrays these classes brilliantly with the following characters:

The rising family: The Musgroves

The Naval Officers: Captain Wentworth

Admiral Croft & his wife, Mrs. Sophia Wentworth Croft

The faded gentry: The Elliots—who are forced to give up their inherited property due to debt but the family who takes the property, Kellynch Hall, from them have none of the qualities that Sir Walter Elliot considers essential parts of a gentleman.

Locations of Persuasion

Kellynch Hall: The home of the Elliots, which they are forced to let out to Admiral Croft.

Uppercross: Home of the Musgrove family.

Lyme Regis: Seaside town where Louisa Musgrove is injured.

Bath: The city where the Elliots move to.

A Look Inside of Kellynch Hall

Location: Somerset, 50 Miles from Bath

Size: Unknown, although Mary scoffs at Winthrop being 250 acres so one is lead to believe Kellynch is much larger.

Fun Fact: Kellynch is full of mirrors, which the Admiral confesses to having covered up.



I have 1 copy of Persuasion for one lucky reader!

To enter please leave your name and  a valid email address.

For an extra entry answer the following question:

I simply cannot stand Mary Elliot Musgrove, she is constantly on the moan, and I find myself wanting to slap her. Is there a Jane Austen character that you simply cannot stand? If so, I would love to hear about it.

Contest Ends September 16


Until We Meet Again,