By Constance Moore
This book is the perfect gift for your Janeite best friend. “If you want to make like Elizabeth Bennet and live happily ever after with a man who owns half of Derbyshire, then arm yourself with this Austen-tatious guide to flirting and courtship” proclaims the blurb. However, less a guide and more an ordered set of lovely quotes, Moore delivers a lovely little paperback pocketbook (around 14.5 cm by 10.5 cm with 128 pages) that ensures no day goes past without a word from Jane.
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.