Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Jane Austen!

You don't have to read my blog for very long before you realize that I am a great fan of regency novels and of Jane Austen... Pride and Prejudice in particular. I was going to add another review today, but since it is her birthday, and I think she is like hot cocoa on a cold winter's day ~ you're stuck with a bit of a tribute post. :o)

Jane Austen didn't write steamy kisses and sex scenes, but her stories were filled with "witty" conversation that made you laugh, palpable tension that sometimes had you willing one or another character to just come out with it and say what they were really feeling, and certainly her characters became flesh and blood. They live on in movies and several "sequels" and adaptations that are varying degrees of successful, depending upon your taste and point of view.

I think it's wonderful to think her stories live so many years later, and she is a household name, despite the fact she had trouble getting them published when she was alive and the ones she did publish, were originally published "by an author." I wonder if she's pleased at all the attention and how her stories have been re-worked. Perhaps she isn't paying attention at all. lol

My favorite original Austen work is Pride and Prejudice. I also loved the A&E mini-series done with Colin Firth.
However I also love several of her other books and adaptations. I don't think I could list them all... lol Nobody would finish reading the blog. {wink} Some of the highlights of the newer books (since all of Austen's books are known), were:

  • The Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy by Pamela Aiden ~ It's been a while since I read these, and if I'm remembering correctly, I liked 1 & 3 better than 2 because she took a bunny trail I would have preferred she didn't and I didn't think it was necessary for the story ~ but they are great stories that basically tell the Pride & Prejudice Tale from his point of view. A lot is added and Darcy's character is fleshed out quite a bit, without changing him into another person. I liked them quite a lot.
  • The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James ~ Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could find her diary or letters? This book is written in a fun way, as a story. What I really liked is that unlike a lot of historical novels that have to explain things the reader wouldn't know (or just don't tell us at all) the information is at the bottom of the page. So you can read the story through and not miss the action or pacing of the story and then read the info at the bottom and educate yourself and get more meaning from the section and re-read if needed. Or you can skip the footnotes if you want. It's totally up to you. The book makes sense without them ~ it just gives more info on customs, fashions, etc.
  • Austenland by Shannon Hale ~ This is a short little book that packs an emotional punch. A young woman who can't seem to find a healthy relationship (each chapter highlights one of her failures by number and a brief description), and is obsessed with the Colin Firth version of Darcy. lol I can relate! In any case, her relative dies and gives her a trip to Austenland, where actors play parts and everything is regency England. She could have Darcy ~ but can she cure herself of her obsession? This story was fabulously funny, real and surprising.
  • Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler ~ Can you imagine waking up in someone else's body and it being in another time? Instead of her Los Angeles apartment, Courtney wakes up in Regency England and isn't herself. She has someone else's memories, body and even abilities. If she can't convince anyone of the truth how can she get home? What can she do in the meantime? This book was wonderful! The writing was fabulous, the characters believable and I even was able to forget the whole idea of the switching lives/bodies and just enjoy the story. She pulled the wool all the way over my eyes. The great chemistry and relationships between the characters is just one of the reasons this book also made my top 10 list.
I started with a movie and I'll end with one. This isn't an Oscar winner, but it was fun and had great wit and characters.
After all, part of the purpose of this whole thing is to have fun. This was a "fun" movie and I have to admit, I sure like the idea of Elizabeth coming to visit me, and then I could go meet Mr. Darcy...

Do you have a favorite Austen book? What is your favorite remake or sequel of her work?


  1. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict sounds like such a good book I just went o PBS to see if they had it..they did! :D

    I love the Sense and Sensibility movie with Hugh Grant. I keep saying I'm going to read the book but I haven't yet. Maybe I'll read it next year.

  2. Oh my goodness! I absolutely loved Lost in Austen, it was definitely one of my top 5 movies of the year! It's a total Austen lovers dream come true...who wouldn't want to go back and time and get Darcy?! LOL! As for my fave book it has to be Pride and Prejudice...I have had a crush on Darcy for as long as I can remember and I really love Mr Bennett! He's hilarious! Jane sure did know how to write them didn't she?

    xoxo~ Renee

  3. Angie ~ I know you'll like the book, it was really good. This is how bad I am ~ I've watched that version of Sense & Sensibility & the BBC version. lol (I bought the BBC version on DVD)

    Renee ~ Lost in Austen was great, wasn't it? I thought it was going to be so bad, but I laughed and enjoyed it so much. I totally agree, a dream come true. I am also with you, I already said I love Pride and Prejudice the best. There is something about those characters. Who but Jane would think of anyone like Mrs. Bennett? Or Mr. Collins? lol

  4. I left something for you over at my blog, Lee.