A Tale of Two Movies

20160130_130803_resizedI watched two new movies this past week – first the Hallmark Channel’s Unleashing Mr. Darcy and then, a couple of days later, I rented the recently released version of Far From the Madding Crowd.

I had looked forward to seeing them both. So few films are made for my particular demographic. “Mature women of refined taste and sensibilities” are largely neglected by Hollywood, it seems. But now I had not one but two excellent prospects, each looking like it would be right up my alley! I hoped to like them so well that they would both soon find places of honor, filed alphabetically in my permanent video library. (See related post: My Movie Picks)

As it turns out, though, one of the two will make the cut and the other won’t.

unleashing Mr. DarcyLet’s begin with Unleashing Mr. Darcya modern day take on Pride and Prejudice set in New York against the backdrop of elite dog shows and a posh country estate. Here’s the blurb:

Elizabeth Scott (Cindy Busby), is fishing for direction in her life and gets the opportunity to professionally show her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in a fancy New York dog show. Dog show judge Donovan Darcy (Ryan Paevey) comes across as aristocratic and rude and a chain of misunderstandings unfold during the competition, complicating their mutual attraction. In true Jane Austen fashion, Elizabeth and Donovan begin to see the error of their ways and it turns out Mr. Darcy is far more kind and interesting than Elizabeth ever imagined.

All the pieces were seemingly in place: rich and handsome but rather snobby guy, cute and spunky girl who’s a bit too outspoken for her own good, and counterparts for all the other P&P characters as well (Darcy’s sweet little sis, horrid aunt, and a Miss Bingley styled rival for Elizabeth). Unfortunately, the whole thing fell kind of flat, at least for me.

This was a typical Hallmark Channel production – no better and no worse than the rest.

You would think Hallmark movies were made just for me, since I’m all about romance and happy endings – Hallmark’s stock and trade. So it’s hard to explain why I’m not a big fan. Maybe it’s the same reason I don’t much care for standard “romance” novels. The formulaic, low-budget, mass-produced nature of both tends to result in less original, lower quality fare. Makes it difficult to sink my whole heart into the story and fall in love.

far from the madding crowdFar From the Madding Crowd, based on Thomas Hardy’s classic novel of the same name, resides at the other end of the spectrum in so many respects. It’s clear no expense was spared in any department, from the well-written script, to the top-drawer cast, beautiful sets, costumes, locations, and wonderful cinematography. Here’s the blurb:

The story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Mattias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love – as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.

I know that Thomas Hardy stories don’t always end well, but this one does, fulfilling one of my very basic requirements. And the movie does a good job sticking to the book in essentials. Apparently, the film’s producers didn’t feel the need to pointlessly “improve” on a story that has stood the test of time. Hooray!

20160126_223320_resizedAnyway, I watched Far From the Madding Crowd twice before being forced to return it. Now it’s at the top of my wish list for what my husband or sister can get me for my birthday in a few weeks. I can hardly wait to file it in the F section of my collection between The Family Man and Father Goose!

I guess the way I feel about these two movies also reflects my philosophy about my own writing. I would much rather produce one book per year to suit myself than to be obligated by contract to crank out one every four months to suit somebody else. Other authors may be entirely capable of maintaining quality under those circumstances; I could not.

I have a pretty good model in Jane Austen of striving for quality over quantity. As much as we might wish she had left us more, wouldn’t we all rather have her six wonderfully written novels than a whole slew of books we could not care for?

God willing, I will complete my sixth novel this year and hopefully a few more after that. I’m not likely ever to become rich or famous, though, and I’m okay with that. Like Catherine Morland below, I am content. I am perfectly satisfied with my share of public attention.

She was looked at, however, and with some admiration; for, in her own hearing, two gentlemen pronounced her to be a pretty girl. Such words had their due effect; she immediately thought the evening pleasanter than she had found it before – her humble vanity was contented – she felt more obliged to the two young men for this simple praise than a true-quality heroine would have been for fifteen sonnets in celebration of her charms, and went to her chair in good humour with everybody, and perfectly satisfied with her share of public attention. (chapter 2, Northanger Abbey)

 

Posted in Jane Austen, Jane Austen Quotes, movies, Shannon Winslow's writing, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Play’s the Thing

20151221_154845_resizedI hope you have all enjoyed your Christmas celebrations, in whatever form they take for you. What a busy time of year! But now that things have eased a bit, I thought I’d relate a special highlight for me from earlier this month. As of a couple of weeks ago, I can now add “playwright” to my resume!

It all started in October when I published an amusing little post about the Gardiners at Austen Variations for our Behind the Scenes of Pride and Prejudice series, where we write “missing scenes” to compliment the original novel. In this particular piece, I depicted a private conversation between Lizzy’s aunt and uncle after they returned to Lambton from Pemberley, comparing their impressions of Mr. Darcy.

the GardinersOne reader suggested – jokingly at first and later seriously – that the sketch would make a “delightful reading” at a meeting of her Vancouver, Canada, JASNA group. I gave my permission, and it was performed in full costume at their December 12th get together as part of the celebration of Jane Austen’s birthday (Dec. 16th). So I think that officially makes me as a playwright, don’t you?

How I wish I could have been there! But I received a full report with pictures, which is the next best thing:

“We had our Jane Austen Birthday meeting yesterday and were so lucky with the two members of our group who agreed to be Mr and Mrs Gardiner. They had obviously practiced well, arriving in full costume and really devoting themselves to the conversation you had created. It was very impressive and our attendees really enjoyed it… It was the highlight of the meeting.”

Very cool! Since you probably weren’t there either and may have missed the post at Austen Variations, I’ve included the piece below, with introduction. (BTW, the original scene took place in the bedroom. When performed in Vancouver, it was successfully relocated to the tea table.)


 


Elizabeth and her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner have made their second visit to Pemberley – Mr. Gardiner to accept Mr. Darcy’s invitation to fishing and the ladies to wait on his sister. Elizabeth and her aunt talk over the day’s events on their return drive to Lambton, but neither of them is bold enough to open the topic that “particularly interested them both” – Mr. Darcy (end of chapter 45). Don’t you suppose Mrs. Gardiner would be champing at the bit for the next best thing, a private conference on the subject with her husband? Here is that scene.


“What a day we have had!” exclaimed Mrs. Gardiner to her husband when they climbed into their bed at the inn that night. She had barely been able to contain herself until they were alone, until they could discuss the events of the day in private, but even now she had to be careful to keep her voice down lest her niece should overhear through the thin walls. “What say you about Mr. Darcy, my dear, now you have spent more time in his company?”

“I say he has some of the finest fishing in the country. I wish you had seen today’s catch, my love – some of the best specimens I have ever had the pleasure of pulling in, I can tell you. There was one in particular that put up a heroic fight…”

12375250_10208372701855324_5806438123984147320_oHere Mrs. Gardiner impatiently interrupted, giving her husband’s arm a vigorous shake for emphasis. “Not the fish! It is your opinion of the man I am far more interested in. What say you about your host Mr. Darcy?”

“Oh! Well, my opinion of him is equally high, I should think. He is as fine a fellow as ever I have come across, and a great deal more civil than your average rich man.”

“No false pride, then?”

“None that I could see. He is perhaps a little reserved, but he could not have been more accommodating and more obliging to me. That speaks well of his character, I think, especially when you consider that there could be nothing in it for him. There is no reason Mr. Darcy should have gone out of his way for somebody like me. I am in no position to do anything for him in return. I am certainly not his equal in wealth or position, and I have no influence or acquaintance that could possibly interest him. Yes, I thought it the most positive proof of his generous character. But you had opportunity to observe Mr. Darcy’s behavior today as well, when he joined you and the other ladies. What is your own opinion?”

“Oh, I quite agree with you.”

“Very well, then.”

Mrs. Gardiner lay quietly for a moment, reviewing in her mind all she had seen and heard that afternoon. Her senses had instantly been called to high alert when Pemberley’s handsome proprietor had unexpectedly entered the saloon, and it had been the same for all the others – Miss Georgiana, Elizabeth, Miss Bingley, Mrs. Hurst, and that agreeable, genteel Mrs. Annesley. Every female eye was drawn to Mr. Darcy at once, which was not surprising considering his fine tall person and commanding presence. She herself, Mrs. Gardiner recalled, had noticed an involuntary flutter within her own breast. Then the maneuvering had begun. Miss Bingley had clearly been eager to impress him, and even Miss Darcy. Yet, there was something else…

“I must beg to differ with you on one point, however,” continued Mrs. Gardiner.

“Indeed? In what respect?”

“On your presumption of having no influence or acquaintance of value. I believe your niece may be of very particular interest to Mr. Darcy, in fact.”

“Elizabeth? That hardly seems likely. Their past acquaintance was only trifling, and you know the decided dislike she has expressed for the man.”

“First impressions are not always accurate, you must admit, and they are not always immutable either. I think a change may be at work here. Anybody who watched the two of them together this afternoon – how solicitous he was, how anxious to promote a friendship between his sister and our niece – must suspect there is more to the connection than Elizabeth has admitted.”

“Perhaps you are right, my dear. Now that you mention it, Mr. Darcy could not get away from the river quick enough once I told him that you and Elizabeth were calling on his sister. That was the end of fishing! Clearly, what was going forward at the house was more pressing in his mind, the company there more intriguing.”

“Imagine!” said Mrs. Gardiner, her hands raised to press against her cheeks and her eyes wide with wonder. “Our niece mistress of Pemberley!”

“Do not you think that may be leaping forward too far,” cautioned her husband, “or at least too rapidly?”

“I am impatient to know the truth of it, if only Elizabeth would begin the subject. You noticed how she talked all round the idea of Mr. Darcy after we came away – his sister, his house, his grounds, and even his table – everything in favorable yet guarded terms. Not one word did she venture on the interesting person at the heart of it all, the man himself, though I could have sworn she was near to bursting out with it one time and then another. That must mean something.”

“You seem a bit dazzled by the man yourself, my dear.”

“Nonsense. He is an impressive gentleman, you must admit, and not in an off-putting way either, not now we have seen him for what he really is. I am thinking only of Elizabeth, though. I truly believe her happiness would be safe in Mr. Darcy’s care. Yes, I would be very pleased to see her married to him as soon as may be. What a fine establishment it would make for her!”

“And what a fine thing for us if we should be welcome to visit her at Pemberley as much as we like thereafter. One cannot overlook that advantage to the match either,” Mr. Gardiner, propped up on one elbow, said with a conspiratorial wink.

Mrs. Gardiner muffled a laugh and blew out the candle. “That is quite true,” she whispered, nuzzling in close to her husband. “Remember how we were forced to abbreviate our walking tour the other day, and I am sure I shall never be completely happy until I have been all the way round the park by some means or another.”

“Ten miles, we were told! Perhaps next time a carriage of some sort – a phaeton with a pair of sturdy ponies.”

“Oh, yes, my dear! That would be the very thing!”


 


 

12362819_10208372711375562_631929278348601485_oTake a bow, Phyllis and Lindsay! (See news blurb about their performance here.)

Thank you, Joan Reynolds and JASNA Vancouver, for the honor of including me in your JA birthday celebration, reviving the Austen family tradition of amateur “theatricals”!


The party…comprehended a great many people who had real taste for the performance…; and the performers themselves were, as usual, in their own estimation, and that of their immediate friends, the first private performers in England. (Sense and Sensibility)

 

 

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The Book Talks

Miss Georgiana of Pemberley cover AUDIBLEYea! I’m thrilled to say that my latest novel – Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley – is now available in audio format!

It seems like it’s been a long time coming. First I had to wait for my favorite narrator, Marian Hussey, who is very much in demand, to become available. And then the production process itself took a few weeks.

Marian HusseyShe studies the material ahead of time with some general direction from me as to how I see the characters and what I want. In this case, since Marian had already narrated my previous two P&P sequels (The Darcys of Pemberley and Return to Longbourn), I just requested that she voice the characters the same way to make the transition from book to book as seamless as possible for the reader/listener. After she had recorded the book, I “proof listened” to it, noting the changes I wanted as I went along. Once I was satisfied, the entire audio book had to go through a final quality control review before being released.

I think the result was well worth the wait, though. I especially appreciate Marian’s gift for unique character voices and the way she transitioned from a young, tentative-sounding Georgiana in the beginning to a more mature and confident young lady by the end of the story. (The audio book is now available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.)

Personally, I love the audio format, which allows me to multiply my reading time. In addition to whatever book I’m reading with my eyes at any given period, I always have a second one going – reading it with my ears whenever I’m in the car. It sure makes traffic slow downs easier to take. I’m in no hurry to get where I’m going when I’m wanting to find out what happens next in the story! Sometimes I’ll even sit for a few minutes after I arrive, just to get to the end of a scene or a chapter.

Although reading while driving could be considered a sign of our busy times – another form of multi-tasking – I think audio books also hearken back to a simpler age. Didn’t we all love having bedtime stories read to us when we were children? And in Jane Austen’s day, before television and other modern options, it was a common form of group thCAF6W1WVentertainment. She refers to it in this passage from chapter 14 of Pride and Prejudice, for example. Unfortunately, this is not a very resounding endorsement of the entertainment, thanks to Mr. Collins’s limitations:

Mr. Bennet was glad to take his guest into the drawing-room again, and…glad to invite him to read aloud to the ladies. Mr. Collins readily assented, and a book was produced; but, on beholding it… he started back, and begging pardon, protesting that he never read novels. Kitty stared at him, and Lydia exclaimed. Other books were produced, and after some deliberation he chose Fordyce’s Sermons. Lydia gaped as he opened the volume, and before he had, with very monotonous solemnity, read three pages, she interrupted him.

I also had fun finding references to reading aloud in several of Jane Austen’s preserved letters. Here’s an excerpt from one dated December, 1816, to “My Dear E.”

Uncle Henry writes very superior sermons. You and I must try to get hold of one or two, and put them into our novels: it would be a fine help to a volume; and we could make our heroine read it aloud on a Sunday evening…

Wentworth's letter_SodabugI’m not quite sure of the context, except that I’m assuming this letter is to one of Jane’s many nieces and that the Henry mentioned is Jane’s brother. In any case, Jane apparently found Henry’s sermons much more worth listening to than Fordyce’s!

Below, she is writing to another of her nieces with literary aspirations – Anna, who has sent chapters of her own work to her Aunt Jane for her comments. The letter is from May/June, 1814.

I am very much obliged to you for sending your MS [manuscript]. It has entertained me extremely; all of us indeed. I read it aloud to your Grandmama and Aunt Cass, and we were all very much pleased… A few verbal corrections are all that I felt tempted to make… If you think differently, however, you need not mind me. I am impatient for more, and only wait for a safe conveyance to return this book.

Imagine the privilege of having the great Jane Austen critique and compliment your book!

But her comment about a few verbal corrections reminds me of another aspect of producing an audio book. I mentioned above that as I “proof listened,” I made note of changes to request. What I didn’t mention was that some of those errors were the author’s, not the narrator’s. Oops! There’s nothing like hearing my own words read back to me – exactly as written instead of what I thought I wrote – to bring the flaws to light. Thanks to this process, I’ve been able to correct a half-dozen minor typos and a couple of annoying word repeat issues.

So now that you know, should you feel disappointed that you had already purchased the earlier, slightly flawed version? Not at all! You now can claim to own a special, limited first edition!

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For related posts on the audio book experience, see Books Read Aloud and A Pleasure Shared.

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Fall Roundup

A few images of the season and a catch-up on what’s happening in my world:

20151016_124133They sauntered about together many an half-hour in Mrs. Grant’s shrubbery, the weather being unusually mild for the time of year, and venturing sometimes even to sit down on one of the benches now comparatively unsheltered, remaining there perhaps till, in the midst of some tender ejaculation of Fanny’s on the sweets of so protracted an autumn, they were forced, by the sudden swell of a cold gust shaking down the last few yellow leaves about them, to jump up and walk for warmth.

I thought this quote from Mansfield Park (chapter 22) was appropriate for today’s post in that I, much like Fanny Price, have been enjoying walks outside while the weather is still mild enough to be comfortable and while the turning leaves are showing off. Also, it gives me an excuse to share some of the fall-color pictures I’ve taken.

But I should say 20151001_131536autumn, not fall, I suppose. That was a mistake I made in my first book, The Darcys of Pemberley (three times, actually). Using the word “fall” in place of “autumn” is an Americanism, as it turns out, and very un-Jane-like. My apologies, especially to my readers in the UK.

Elizabeth shuddered at the very idea.

“What is it?” Darcy asked. “Are you cold?”

“A little,” she answered, accepting his interpretation. “Fall is upon us, and the evening air has taken a decided chill.”

In response, Darcy settled a rug over their laps and his arm about her shoulders. “There, is that better?”

“Oh, yes. In fact, had I anticipated such an agreeable solution, I should have discovered myself to be cold a good deal sooner.”

20151016_124033The other reason I thought a Mansfield Park quote appropriate is that my next book (still in the planning stages) will have strong ties to that novel – something a little different with a time-travel element thrown in just for fun! I hope it will serve as a bridge for Jane Austen fans to the publishing of my long-forestalled novel First of Second Chances. In fact, I plan to release them both together as the first two in what could, if well received, turn out to be a loosely connected series.

20151016_123552I can hardly wait to dive into some serious writing again, but I don’t dare until I’ve finished off a heavy-duty family responsibility (sorting out my parents’ house) first. I’ll leave the tempting idea of starting a new novel dangling in front of my nose as motivation and then my reward. In the meantime, the story is spinning itself and taking shape nicely in my head!

I do want to mention, for the sake of anyone in or passing through the Seattle/Tacoma area this weekend, that I will be appearing at a local book event in Puyallup on Saturday (Oct. 24) 1 – 4pm. It’s going to be very informal, so I will be available to chat as well as sign books. I’d love to see some of you there! Here’s a link to the details.

P&P 20th anniversaryFinally, I couldn’t let an important milestone anniversary slip by unacknowledged. Did you know that the A&E mini-series of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle debuted twenty years ago in 1995? I didn’t realize it at the time, but that event would quite literally change my life, introducing me to Jane Austen and ultimately launching me on a second career as a writer (see People You Meet at Costco). In my opinion, it’s still the best film adaptation out there, and my life is far richer for it. Thank you Andrew Davies and Sue Birtwistle!

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P & P Personal Ads

The virtual book tour for Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley is wrapping up, but you may still have a chance to win a free copy if you hurry (see previous post, Launching without Getting Wet, for the full schedule with links). Meanwhile, it’s time for me to think about moving on. 

I came across a clever blog post I thought you might enjoy (please read it here at Bas Bleu). The author of the article has taken on the job of writing dating profiles (or personal ads, if we think a couple decades back) for some of our favorite literary personalities: Miss Havisham, Mr. Rochester, Nancy Drew, Hamlet, Anna Karenina, etc. But the one that naturally caught my eye was Fitzwilliam Darcy’s, transcribed below.

A Three-Hour TourFitzwilliam Darcy –
Single man in possession of a good fortune in search of a wife to help manage my estates and serve as a respectable role model for my younger sister. I have little interest in dancing or the theater, though I do appreciate a pretty singing voice and a pair of fine eyes. In fact, I have no time for frivolities beyond the usual social responsibilities; I much prefer more intimate pursuits such as quiet evenings in my library, long rides across my vast country estate, and intimate tête-à-têtes with women of deep intellect and charm. You should know that I am fiercely protective of my friends and family and will do whatever is necessary to keep them safe.

Fits him, don’t you think? And the long rides across Pemberley and quiet evenings in the library sound pretty good to me. How do you suppose he’ll do with this profile? Some ladies may be disappointed that he doesn’t care to dance and spends most of his time in the country, but I expect that the hint to his exceptional wealth (“good fortune… vast country estate”) will overshadow the negatives and bring him a bushel full of responses. Would Elizabeth Bennet be among them, though? What kind of man does she originally have in mind? Remember, she liked Wickham far better than Darcy on first acquaintance. I think her ad might look something like this:

bonnet - elizabethElizabeth Bennet – A gentleman’s daughter of independent spirit seeks companion with open manner and amiable temper. Must be honorable, generous, and in possession of a quick, lively mind. He who thinks too well of himself and too meanly of others need not apply. As to fortune, I am not completely indifferent. Plain or handsome, one must have something to live on, after all. But my needs are fairly modest. Where there is true affection, I should be just as happy with a curate as with a lord. I love to laugh, to take long walks in the countryside, and to improve my understanding by reading widely. I play the pianoforte only moderately well, but I am often complimented for my light figure, my pleasing singing voice, and my ability to hold my own with the best in a joust of words and wit.

So much for Darcy and Elizabeth. I trust that fate will see they find each other in the end, with or without personal ads. But what about some of the less glorious personalities of P&P. Perhaps they’re the ones who truly need all the help they can get.

Mr. CollinsReverend Mr. William Collins –  On the explicit advice of my noble patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, I now seek a suitable partner for my future life. She must be a gentlewoman, but not brought up too high – someone useful, who is able to make a modest income go a long way. Not that what I have to offer a wife is so small a portion! I flatter myself that any woman must deem herself fortunate indeed to acquire by marriage, in addition to a competent living and a comfortable home, the notice and kindness of one of the greatest ladies in the land! And there is the expectation of a tidy estate in Hertfordshire as well, when my cousin, who is without heir, should die. Duty requires that I presently offer to make the family some amends. But, after that, my conscience will be clear and I shall be free to chuse for myself.

Miss BingleyMiss Caroline Bingley – Statuesque lady, who has graced the finest drawing rooms of London and Derbyshire, desires to do the same in yours. I possess all the usual accomplishments (music, dance, and the modern languages) as well as that certain indefinable something in air that testifies to style and good breeding. The first blush may be off the rose, but is not the flower the lovelier for being a bit more fully in bloom? Money and position are of the highest consideration; affection no doubt will follow. Even failing that, I see no reason why the partnership should be unsuccessful. If all my longstanding hopes in a different quarter come to nothing – something likely to be soon determined – I shall then be willing to entertain other offers.

But is there someone else secretly desiring to find a mate? Someone very unlikely, and yet perhaps lonely?

lady caherineLady Catherine de Bourgh – Widow of excellent fortune and noble birth is willing to consider a second liaison, if the situation is right. I must say at the outset that my standards are extremely high. I am accustomed to having my way and the very best of everything. I see no reason to accept less than that in a husband. I lack nothing as to wealth, position, and autonomy. And let me be rightly understood; I will surrender none of these to marriage. My first husband learned these things by degrees, but I have no intention of being so patient a second time. Still, I can appreciate that an intelligent, entertaining companion could be of service at my time of life. If you have what is required, send application to my solicitor, who will be managing the preliminary screening for me. On no account should you have the effrontery to present yourself without a proper introduction.

What do you think? Is there any hope for these lost, lovelorn souls?

She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that must have been to the advantage of both… (Pride and Prejudice, chapter 50)

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Launching without getting Wet

celebration-balloonsWoohoo! Today’s the day my latest novel officially debuts! Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley is now available in paperback, Kindle, and Nook. Audio will be coming soon too.

Once again, I have the honor of “launching” the book at Austenprose, where my hostess is the lovely and gracious Laurel ship launchingAnn Nattress. There will, I trust, be no water involved (first definition of launch: cause to slide into the water). Water and books don’t go well together. Other definitions fit better for the occasion. Yes, the book will be put forth, start, set going, and set out into the world. That’s cause for celebration, and that’s exactly what’s happening at Austenprose. Read about my inspiration for the book and enter to win one of the exclusive prizes being offered!

Miss Georgiana of Pemberley - blog tour banner (1)Then I hope you will follow along on my virtual book tour in the weeks to come. I have been invited to stop by the blogs listed below to share about Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley – something new and different at each one. If you stay with me, not only will you have a pretty good chance of winning a prize, you should also be quite an expert on the book when we finish. Of course, I hope that somewhere along the way you’ll decide to read it as well!

“I shall be miserable without you – t’will be a most pleasant tour to you… pray, be persuaded.” (chapter 6 of Jack and Alice – a juvenile work of Jane Austen)

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Georgiana Darcy’s Full Cover Revealed!

A few days ago, I revealed the cover for my upcoming book at Austen Variations – front only – and shared some of the thoughts behind the design. But I had to hold a little something back for my own blog. So now, for the first time anywhere, here is the full cover for Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley, scheduled to release in a few weeks.
Miss Georgiana of Pemberley cover wrap comp 14

As I said in that earlier post, I wanted the design to reflect the fact that this book is related to The Darcys of Pemberley but not to be so similar that it’s mistaken for it. So we’ve used the same artwork, the same color palate, and some of the same words in the title, but it’s all assembled in a fresh, new way. I’m delighted with the way it has turned out!

Comments from others have been all positive as well – from the “elegant” background to the “perfect” miniature painting on the front. One reader thinks the oval frame makes the picture look like a brooch someone might wear, which I thought was an inspired idea. I may look into what it would take to get such a thing made. Anybody want to pre-order one of your very own? Notice that the oval motif is repeated on the back as well, where my designer, Micah Hansen, has created another lovely vignette from the original artwork.

We have nothing from Jane Austen on the subject of the perfect book cover, since nothing of this sort was known in her day. But in a word search of the data base for “cover,” I did come across this passage from one of her letters, where Jane advises her niece Anna on that young lady’s attempt at a novel:

Your Aunt C. does not like desultory novels, and is rather afraid yours will be too much so… I allow much more latitude than she does, and think nature and spirit cover many sins of a wandering story…”

Does my story wander? I admit, it does meander a little, following Georgiana’s narration along her indirect path to a happy ending. Perhaps the fact that I have wrapped the whole thing a pretty cover will help to obscure any flaws.

I hope you are as pleased with the cover as I am – both front and back. More importantly, though, I’ll be eager to hear what you think about what’s in between!

Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley will be available on July 21st! If you want a sneak peek before then, I invite you to read the first chapter here on my site. Other preview excerpts are posted at Austen Variations on March 23March 30, April 27, and May 26.

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