Category Archives: Book Review

BOOK REVIEW: Dinner with Mr Darcy by Pen Vogler

“Recipes inspired by the novels and letters of Jane Austen” – Front Cover

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Visiting Newtown, one of my regular book hunting spots, and having already bought secondhand copies of Victorian Entertaining by John Crosby Freeman, Women and Marriage in Victorian Fiction by Jenni Calder and Jane and the Stillroom Maid by Stephanie Barron (at Gould’s Book Arcade further up King Street), I was thrilled to walk down the road and find Dinner with Mr Darcy at Art on King/Modern Times. It was in plastic, for $39.95. It was marked on the back for £16.99 or (US)$24.95 with Canadian prices higher. Continue reading

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BOOK REVIEW: Me and Mr Darcy by Alexandra Potter

“[Mr Darcy]’s not actually real – you are” – Emily Albright to Spike

I took a trip back to Sydney and, in Elizabeth’s secondhand Bookstore in Newtown, found an $8.80 secondhand paperback copy of the 2007 romance-fiction style Me and Mr Darcy by Alexandra Potter. Of course, I bought it. Unfortunately, having now read it, I think Ms Potter does herself a disservice with this novel. ISBN: 978-0345502544
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Artist profile Q&A: Pride and Prejudice illustrator Elizabeth Monahan

When I was looking for more covers to show you in my latest Top Five Pride and Prejudice covers, I stumbled across a self-published beautifully illustrated eBook version by artist Elizabeth Monahan. The gorgeous cover, below, has a slightly quirky style to it with Lizzy and Darcy obviously at odds. I was completely struck by it, and decided to contact her to ask more about where her ideas come from, and if we are to expect some more of her art sometime soon.

Monahan happily agreed to answer some questions for The Bennet Sisters, and also provided a few other illustrations for readers to see. They’re so lovely, I’m squeeing! This is something I’d love to give to a friend or relative at Christmas, and that has a rich, strong style to it but also manages to be lovely and whimsical. Certainly not an easy thing to do. Continue reading

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BOOK REVIEW: Jane Austen The Complete Novels In One Sitting by Jennifer Kasius

“So pour yourself some tea (in a real teacup and saucer, of course), bring the settee near the fireplace, and settle in to delight in Jane Austen’s world – in just one sitting.” – (Page 12)

Let’s be clear about one point first and foremost – I am not a big fan of “summarised” versions of Pride and Prejudice. And yet, for some reason, I love this teeny tiny handbag-sized volume that was published in 2012. It’s the perfect little gift, published by America’s ‘Running Press’, and is more than just a quick recount of the novels events, including gorgeous little illustrations and details about Jane Austen’s life and times.

Even though the picture here is quite an awful blue, the hardback is actually a slightly more muted pastel baby blue, and design credits go to Amanda Richmond, and to editor Cindy De La Hoz. ISBN: 978-0-7624-4755-8 Continue reading

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BOOK REVIEW: Life in the country with quotations by Jane Austen

Illustrated with “silhouettes by her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh” – cover

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I was walking through Glebe on the phone to my sister when I spotted this book, ISBN 978-0712349857 on an outside table of Glebebooks. It was on sale with an ugly reduced sticker (noting it was now for $14.95) and, despite a slight covering of dirt, perfect. For any Sydneysiders, there’s a few copies left if you head there soon.

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Review and author Q&A: The Romance Diaries, Jenna Austen

“…he immediately decides that Stella is a spoilt rich airhead. And Stella thinks he’s nothing more than a cold indie snob.” – Back cover

This Pride and Prejudice-inspired book came to me in the mail from my friend at Harper Collins. I’ve been sitting on this Q&A and review for a while trying to find a spare hour to post it up, so here it finally is! ISBN: 978-0-7333-3153-4 you can also get it as an eBook, and it’s certainly working the social media hard. It’s also only just recently come out, so luckily you should be able to go and grab it – especially as the author is an Australian writer (unusual for Austen inspired books). Continue reading

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BOOK REVIEW: Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star

“A modern Pride & Prejudice that will rock your world … Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘N’ Roll” – Book cover

I picked up this 2011 modern retelling of our Pride and Prejudice from Glebe’s Sappho Books secondhand for $12 the other week – I spotted it straight away on the shelf (I think my brain is tuned into anything with the words ‘Darcy’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ or ‘Bennet’ on it). I have struggled about where to begin with this review as I really enjoyed some aspects of it, and yet completely disliked other parts. Heather Lynn Rigaud has certainly succeeded in writing a book that will divide opinion, and my feelings are definitely mixed. By the end of it, you’ll feel as though you’ve gotten to know all the characters well, but you’ll also feel like you’ve run a marathon. Let me explain.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Pursuit of Mary Bennet: A Pride and Prejudice Novel

“The day of the ball allowed no tranquility, no peace of mind. What I had hoped would be a time of sweet anticipation turned rapidly into a nightmare,” – Page 102, Chapter 11

I was honestly blown away by how much I liked this book. The first Austen-inspired book to come from Pamela Mingle (who wrote Kissing Shakespeare), and potentially one of my favourite Mary Bennet remakes out, The Pursuit of Mary Bennet is how I like my Austen fiction written. It may even surpass most other Mary Bennet versions just due to how inkeeping it is with what is expected from Mary, and the multiple pursuits happening within the book – emotional/love pursuits, actual chasing pursuits of scandalous characters and a deeper more personal pursuit for a place and meaning in life.

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Book review and author Q&A: Jane Austen Junkie

‘A compilation of over 600 books and 50 movies inspired by Jane Austen’ – Jane Austen Junkie: Get Your Fix!

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When it comes to things I like in life as much as I love Elizabeth Bennet, I’d put very few things on the list. But one item I’d happily add, is a good list itself. The pure act of listing things relaxes me – I write one every morning at work to simplify the rest of my day into something manageable. I also love to read lists. In fact, as a child I was once found “reading the thesaurus” – in actual fact I was reading little jump out boxes that had lists of related words in them on different topics, such as ‘pirates’ and ‘fabrics’. I never was a normal child. So when a book came along that combined my love of Jane Austen with my love of lists, I was ecstatic. Continue reading

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BOOK REVIEW: Cooking with Jane Austen & Friends by Laura Boyle

“Period recipes used in the Austen household, updated for modern kitchens” – Cooking with Jane Austen & Friends by Laura Boyle cover

I received this delightful book for Christmas, ordered for me from the Jane Austen Centre in bath, and as a fan of both cooking and Jane Austen I could not have been more excited – I was even excited over the brochure from the JACentre!  I rightly assumed I would be able to easily create a number of the dishes depicted and would learn quite a bit at the same time. Continue reading

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