Articles, Jane Austen

Sanditon – Review, News, and Update (Inserts Tears)

UPDATE: Sadly, in spite of my encouragement written below, ITV has decided to axe Sanditon for a second season, stating the series struggled in ratings.  It’s a shame, frankly, because ITV made a huge mistake with this fantastic potential of a Jane Austen adaptation.  Sadly, the writers gambled on a second season and therefore left the story open and unresolved, which is now their shame and defeat.  Unless another network picks it up, I’m afraid this will go down in history as the most disappointing period drama ever filmed.  (News released December 10, 2019)

(Republished from my blog Popcorn Entertainment Reviews) January 12, 2020, PBS Masterpiece will be showing Sanditon in the United States. It has already aired in the United Kingdom and a few other places.  Those who have watched the series are biting their fingernails, waiting for the reaction across the pond that may or may not determine an announcement whether there will be a season two.  Hold onto your hats, ladies, and gents, because the ocean breezes can be strong. So what’s all the fuss about this fictional seaside resort? Well, let me explain.

Sanditon is based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel. She died before finishing the tale. Screenwriter Andrew Davies decided to finish it, along with other writers who worked on the script and brought it to ITV in the United Kingdom earlier this year. The result of those eight episodes has stirred a storm like none other Jane Austen adaptation on screen thanks to the number of viewers that fall into two camps.

The Jane Austen purists were aghast at the storyline, as it contained nudity (bare male behinds running into the cold waters), too many sexual innuendos, free-flowing hairstyles, and men and women acting non-Regency style. (How dare he kiss her and not propose!) The ending added to the horror of it all, which I will discuss later.

In the other camp are throngs of women who have lost all senses and become absolute fanatics about the series. If you don’t believe me, you need to check out the Sanditon Facebook fan group.  I make no judgment about their often desperate and humorous posts. They only want one thing in life – a second season. Andrew Davies had the nerve to leave its viewers heartbroken in a very un-Jane Austen like ending with no happiness in sight.  How dare he? Well, the women of Sanditon fandom will hear none of it, and they have been on a mission to hound ITV, Red Planet Pictures, the stars, the producers, and whoever they can find to continue the story.  Will they?  Apparently, no announcement will be made until after it airs in the United States. Today the following was posted from the official Sanditon websites:

“We are so happy you enjoyed your trip to Sanditon! We are setting sail for the US and won’t have news to share with you on a second series until the show has aired there. In the meantime, thank you so much for all your support and love for Sidlotte!” (Official Sanditon Facebook Page)

Therefore, it is imperative that you, the viewers, become incandescently obsessed with this show or otherwise a deep depression will circle the earth because Charlotte and Sidney have no happy ending.

So, who are these characters? What is the story about?  Is it because dreamy Theo James, who plays Sidney Parker has actually given the infamous Mr. Darcy and run for his money?  I will let you be the judge of this man who at first has no redeeming qualities. However, in period clothing and with that face, what woman can resist him in spite of his faults? And he will flash his bottom as well, that is if PBS doesn’t edit that scene out. They better not, or there will be hell to pay!  {fans self}

Now that I have regained my senses…

Charlotte, the heroine of the story, in a chance encounter meets the Parkers who invite her to Sanditon. She’s innocent, outspoken, and absolute joy of a character, the eldest of more children than you can count. Her father allows her to accompany the Parkers to Sanditon but not without warning. “Be careful, Charlotte,” he says.  “Careful of what, papa?”  “Everything.”

Yes, there is much to be careful about, because the rest of the characters will leave a lasting impression. There are the grumpy aristocratic lady and her relations that can’t wait for her to die to get her money. Mr. Tom Parker, with tunnel vision, is the town’s entrepreneur who thinks only of himself, along with two hypochondriac siblings. There’s the mysterious Sidney, his other brother, whose slight twitch of a smile will make you swoon. He’s guardian to a rich heiress worth 100,000 pounds who can be a handful. Of course, what story doesn’t have its antagonist you love to hate? You will want to strangle Mrs. Campion, who by the way is married in real life to Theo James. Then poor Stringer, the victim of unrequited love. Many other characters will come onto the screen as well.

The series is well-acted, to say the least. Theo James and Rose Williams, who plays Charlotte, are fantastic in displaying their emotions. Andrew Davies and the writers have woven symbolism throughout the tale that you won’t pick up on until it’s all over and you lean back in your chair, grab a tissue, and sob. Then you’ll begin to ask yourself, what just happened? Why am I blubbering over this show? What has it done to me? Why can’t I sleep? Why do I need to buy a pineapple? Why do I have to run off and join the Sanditon Facebook Fan Group to find solace and comfort among others around the world?

Yes, Sanditon will do one of two things for viewers in the United States.  First, the purist Jane Austen camp will complain and refuse to accept this story with all the faults they can pick out. Others will lose their senses, get lost, swoon, go gaga over Theo James, and lose sleep until an announcement comes that season two will be filmed and released. After all, the story must go on! We need a ripe pineapple! Tom Parker’s debts have to be paid but not with Eliza Campion’s money. Sidney needs to come to his senses! Charlotte needs a happy ending!

Enjoy, Sanditon. Oh, and be careful.  Be very careful, of everything starting January 12, 2020.

 

Articles, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Vanessa Riley’s New Regency Romance

Vanessa Riley on how ‘The First Wives Club’ inadvertently inspired her new Regency romance.

We reveal the cover for Vanessa Riley’s new romance ‘A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby.’

Read More at Entertainment Weekly. Source: Vanessa Riley on how ‘The First Wives Club’ inadvertently inspired her new Regency romance

Articles, Historical Romance

We Have History: 15 Historical Romance Novels About Estranged Lovers

“Dive deep into these drama-free (hah!) historical romances about estranged lovers. Every romance reader has their favorite tropes, and estranged lovers is definitely one of mine. For one thing, in the vast and interconnected web of romance tropes, estranged lovers touches so many of my other favorites: forced proximity, secret baby, crash the wedding, reveeeeenge. For another, estranged lovers is such an emotionally laden trope.”

Read More At

Source: We Have History: 15 Historical Romance Novels About Estranged Lovers

Articles

Blame Jane: Romance Novels 2019–2020 (Publisher’s Weekly)

What’s so great about Regency romances anyway? Even with a forthcoming romance novel whose characters could promenade the same ballrooms as Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley, Anna Harrington, author of An Inconvenient Duke, doesn’t lower her voice when she says it: “I hate Jane Austen.”

Source: Blame Jane: Romance Novels 2019–2020

Jane Austen

Sanditon: why are Austen fans so enraged by Andrew Davies’ ending? | Books | The Guardian

69879137_1348283545323785_7861026002749620224_oGet your tissues ready. Half of the world is in tears, and when this hits PBS, the remainder of us will be crying in our tea.

Read More:  ITV’s dramatization of the unfinished novel has offended the sensibilities of many Janeites. Alison Flood wonders if this makes sense

Source: Sanditon: why are Austen fans so enraged by Andrew Davies’ ending? | Books | The Guardian

Articles

Jane Austen’s Sanditon ‘Sexed Up’ in Andrew Davies Adaptation | The Guardian

Screenwriter says he used all the material from Austen’s work in first half of first episode.

Source: Jane Austen’s Sanditon ‘sexed up’ in Andrew Davies adaptation | Television & radio | The Guardian

I guess we have plenty of sex in Regency romances in book form.  What do you think about taking a Jane Austen book and sexing it up?

Articles

Julie Andrews To Voice Lady Whistledown In Netflix ‘Bridgerton’ Series – Deadline

Julie Andrews is set to voice Lady Whistledown in Netflix and Shondaland’s Untitled Bridgerton Project, based on Julia Quinn’s bestselling series of novels.

Source: Julie Andrews To Voice Lady Whistledown In Netflix ‘Bridgerton’ Series – Deadline

Articles, Historical Romance

Outlander is Based on Books by Diana Gabaldon – Here’s Everything to Know About the Epic Series from The Oprah Magazine

Interesting article. Netflix has picked up the first two seasons.  Diana is working on another book. This article was published in Oprah Magazine on May 15. Follow link to read.  Though not a true “historical romance,” as even Diana admits, I’m sure readers will enjoy the news.

Gabaldon is currently working on the series’ ninth book titled Go Tell the Bees I’m Gone.

Source: Outlander Based on Books by Diana Gabaldon – Outlander Books in Order

Articles, Historical Romance

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Has Risen to Bestseller After Fire

The tragic fire of Notre Dame has risen Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame to the bestseller list. In France, it’s currently number one in Gothic Romance and number 26 on Amazon USA Historical Romance Best Seller list!  Read more below at one of the many articles being published about its resurgence to fame.

When it was first published in 1831, the novel led to the restoration of Notre Dame.

Source: ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ has risen to the top of France’s best-seller list following Notre Dame fire | Deseret News

Articles, Historical Romance

Can book piracy be stopped? | Books | The Guardian

Book piracy is a huge problem for authors. Yesterday, I got an alert from Google that one of my books was available for download on a piracy site. It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last.  I sent a take-down notice, but 24-hours later, it’s still there for free.  It will probably get ignored like all the rest of the notices I’ve filed.

In a writers group today, I read about an author who had sold 47,000 copies of a book that was pirated 101,000 time – that means 101,000 books downloaded, and she didn’t receive a penny.

Piracy is a word that perhaps conjures up images of Captian Jack Sparrow in the Caribbean, being the somewhat comical pirate pillaging and stealing.  He may be an entertaining character, but he’s still a thief.  For authors, piracy is no ship ride that we enjoy to see our hard work posted by thieves and given away to the general public. Perhaps those who download think they have the permission of authors to do so because occasionally authors will do free giveaways for a limited time or have a permanently free book for readers to download. On pirate sites, that’s not the case, and most of these sites don’t advertise to those who visit them with flashing neon signs, “We stole these books so you could read them for free.”

Below is a good article from the Guardian talking about illegally downloaded books and the damage it does to authors.  Next time you are tempted, please don’t hit the download button.  Authors are like any other people – they are working people who have bills to pay, families to feed, etc.  We write for you, the reader, and only ask for a small amount in return for the joy of reading our books.

To keep in perspective, when you pay 99 cents for a book on Amazon, authors get 35 cents.  When you pay $2.99 for a book, we get $2.06.  For a $3.99 book, we get  $2.76, which will get me a cup of coffee at Starbucks.  I can’t live off of coffee, even though I’ve tried.

The next time you’re tempted for a free book, please pay and give the author a nod of thanks for their hard work.

 

As publishers struggle with ‘whack-a-mole’ websites, experts, authors and Guardian readers who illegally download books, assess the damage

Source: ‘I can get any novel I want in 30 seconds’: can book piracy be stopped? | Books | The Guardian

Articles, Historical Romance

Men Sold their Wives at Market

“Centuries before legal divorce was accessible, selling your partner to someone else allowed working-class couples to be publicly separate.”

Source: A brief history of when men sold their wives at market, and why some women enthusiastically consented to it – inews.co.uk

Here’s an interesting trope for a Historical Romance novel. I wondered if anyone has tried weaving this historical tidbit into a tantalizing book, and apparently, they have (see below).  Read all about it. Men who sold their wives.

‘The options available were to grin and bear it, try and get an annulment (tricky), desertion, bigamy, or to tie a rope around their neck and sell them at market to the highest bidder’  Read more at iNews/UK.

To read more about divorce laws, here’s a refresh on a previous post I wrote some time ago:  AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Articles, Historical Romance

Period Fashions – The End of the Victorian Era (1890-1910)

The ever-changing styles.  We now enter the 1890s to 1900s and find the fashions of the decades. For a wonderful background on Women’s Fashions of the 1890s and what influenced the changes, head over to Bellatory for fashion and history.

Here are some beautiful fashions, closing out the Victorian era.

Queen Victoria died January 22, 1901, which ushered in the Edwardian era. Here a few of the dresses that followed.

I hope you enjoyed the period fashions to help you visual your historical romance novel. Of course, we didn’t cover all of them, but a sampling is enough.

If you wish to see more of the dresses, visit The Metropolitan Museum of Arts website and surf to your heart’s content.

Articles, Fashions

Period Fashions Victorian Era – (1870-1880)

An era of reasonableness in ladies fashions has returned. The skirts are slimmer, the waists are smaller, the collars are high, and the sleeves are tighter. These are the decades that I drool over the fashions, knowing full well even in my twenties, I didn’t have a waist that small.  The dresses are absolutely gorgeous for the next three decades.  The hoops are gone, and the bustles have made an appearance. It’s the hourglass figure with crushed organs and narrower skirts.

There were morning dresses, afternoon dresses, tea gowns, evening gowns, and ball gowns. The rich changed throughout the day into various fashions, showing their wealth and status by the frocks they wore.  Women who could afford beautiful clothing were delicate in appearance, adorned in silk and lace, and tied up very neatly in tight corsets.  I, on the other hand, run around in blue jeans, blouses, and sneakers all day.  The first thing I do when I get home is strip off my bra.  Comfort is the order of the day in the twenty-first century, while ladies of the past didn’t care how tight they were wound to look like a million while they sought husbands.

Imagine a heroine in that gorgeous red 1875 British ball gown waltzing with the hero in a historical romance novel.  Thanks, again, to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts posting these wonderful fashion creations. (Click on the pictures to enlarge and use the arrows on the right to scroll through the collection.)

Articles

Period Fashions – Victorian Era (1850-1860)

It’s the years of the huge skirts!  Get out of the way men, women need room to navigate.  I mean, who came up with this idea?  A man?  A woman?  I’m too lazy to research that point, but nevertheless, whoever decided that skirts needed to have a huge circumference didn’t realize they were putting women’s lives in danger.   The cartoons are enough to make you chuckle and the horror of going up in flames or dying from arsenic poisoning because you wore green were female hazards. Here are a few good articles thanks to Racked to give you historical background on fashionable hazards.

A History of Women Who Burned to Death in Flammable Dresses

The History of Green Dye Is a History of Death


So authors and readers alike, if you read a historical romance set in these eras, you can wonder if they wore any of the fashions below. You can also wonder if they lived to tell about it.