“Doesn’t every girl wish she could find her Mr Darcy?” – Cover
This 2012 book jumped at me from the New Release shelf at Kinokuniya book shop in Sydney (also spotted in Dymocks, Castle Towers, Castle Hill) and I just couldn’t say no. At (AU)$26.99, it’s not necessarily the cheapest read in the world, but it stacks up fairly nicely when it comes to originality, with a title that stands out from the Austen fanfiction crowd.
Our main character, Kate, a freelance journalist, suddenly finds work is getting very tight (something that journalists in Australia are feeling, with Fairfax and News Limited cutting their numbers). Her Grandmother passes away, she is about to be evicted, and she realises she needs to get her finances under control. In pursuit of an article about how girls in the 21st century can bag a rich man, akin to our Elizabeth Bennet, and with the encouragement of her own grief and desperation, Kate decides to do it herself. ISBN: 978-1-444-74283-1
Some books are a delight to read. Some make your insides mushy, and have you quoting paragraphs to your friends. This, The Jane Austen Handbook, is one such book. I received an advance copy two days ago for reviewing purposes from Quirk Books, based in the US (and publishers of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), and have stopped only for water and to pay my morning calls (as Sullivan tells us, “A formal morning call lasts from quarter of an hour to half an hour”).
A re-release of the 2007 “The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World”, “The Jane Austen Handbook: Proper Life Skills from Regency England” has a beautiful new cover that, along with the “new book” smell, would make me squeal had I not known to behave in a more elegant manner. The little step-by-step guide, in “how to” form, is an adorable Austen novel companion, available in mid-March 2011 for (US)$16.95.
“A heroine’s guide to Life and Love”
This gorgeous read by Patrice Hannon was given to me by Pauline (my bestie, and member of the frequently-mentioned Jane Austen book club) for Christmas. It’s an absolute delight, and a really nice concept. Written in epistolary style, it is a book of advice from Jane Austen to modern-day “heroines in training” as though Jane herself was writing it (with full knowledge of the 21st Century) in response to their desperate questions. Explaining her advice with references to her novels (there are plenty of Pride and Prejudice quotes and examples) and intersplayed with biographical details about Jane’s life and family, it is a remarkable read.
Potentially categorisable as a ‘self-help’ or Agony Aunt style book- there can be no possible better rules and etiquette guides than Austen herself. Patrice Hannon does an incredible job of speaking in Austen’s voice, and explains Elizabeth Bennet and all her heroine’s decisions in the process.
I cannot believe that I have not seen this stunning piece of work before. In the manner of Frontier House, a series called Regency House Party is born. It’s a sort of 1700s dating game (actually “1811”), where for nine weeks five single men and women are taken back two hundred years in time to court one another. Set in Kentchurch Court in Herefordshire this is a shocking change for all of the participants and is made to be very authentic (with chaperones, suckling pigs… the whole deal). It has lovely little snippets about the Regency era, and shows the transformation of the men and women into their historical counterparts. Plus, it’s all on youtube.
Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades & Horrible Blunders
Written by Josephine Ross, Illustrated by Henrietta Webb
This short but adorable little book set me back just $3.95 from Basement Books (Sydney, Central- my usual haunt) when it RRPs at about eight pounds. I couldn’t resist the little watercolour-esque illustration on the front- and while it was only around 130 pages long it kept me immersed for long enough and don’t be alarmed- the gorgeous images continue throughout, only getting more delightful.