Stephen Fry on the Enduring Appeal of Georgette Heyer (Press This! The Guardian)

As the Folio Society publishes a new edition of Venetia, the actor and broadcaster reflects on what makes an excellent Regency romance. From the absolutely appalling cover art that has defaced her books since she was first published, you would think Georgette Heyer the most gooey, ghastly, cutesy, sentimental and trashy author who ever dared put pen to paper.

Source: Stephen Fry on the enduring appeal of Georgette Heyer

Meet the Hell’s Belles, the Victorian Girl Gang (Press This! Jezebel)

Today romance author Sarah MacLean launches her latest historical romance series: Hell’s Belles, centered on a tight-knit group of early Victorian-era women who creatively bend (or break) the rules in the service of dealing with problems, like bad husbands and bad bosses.

Source: Meet the Hell’s Belles, the Victorian Girl Gang That Will Wreck a Man Who Won’t Take a No

 

Christies -Up for Auction (Press This!)

 

If you have $30,000 to $50,000 laying around, time to run over to the auction website and bid on the first edition of Jane Austen’s Emma.  What a treasure!

First edition of Jane Austen’s first published novel, which grew from a sketch entitled Elinor and Marianne written in 1795 in epistolary form. It was substantially revised in 1797-1798 at Steventon and again in 1809-1810, the first year of Jane Austen’s residence at Chawton.

Source:  Christie’s

You can also pick up Northanger Abbey: and Persuasion, Jane Austen first editions, for an estimated USD 50,000 – USD 70,000

Romance Writers of America Rescinds Award for Christian Novel as Publisher Defends It (Press This! The Washington Post)

It’s a hot topic but one I find difficult to swallow. Once again, we are back to silencing anything to do with the past, especially if it’s something we’d rather not talk about, acknowledge, or learn from actions. As defended by the publisher, I tend to agree with their assessment.

The question now comes to the surface, is Romance Writers of America going to punish authors who write historically correct romance novels, set during controversial events? Do they even dare to set this new course of action?

Complaints from a few readers or not via Twitter or elsewhere, the RWA is bowing to the pressure of a few rather than awarding someone for a well-written novel that tells truth.

Badly done, RWA. RWA gives; RWA takes away. I think I’ll order the book.

If you are unaware of this historical event, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a must-read book and classic account.

The book opens with Hanger leading the U.S. Army’s 7 Cavalry as it confronts the Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in a historical event now known as the Wounded Knee massacre.

Source: Romance Writers of America rescinds award for Christian novel as publisher defends it – The Washington Post

In the opening scene of the novel, Witemeyer’s hero, a military officer, is at war with the Lakota, weary of war, but fully participating in the battle at Wounded Knee. The death toll, including noncombatant Lakota women and children, sickens him, and he identifies it as the massacre it is and begs God for forgiveness for what he’s done. The author makes it clear throughout the book that the protagonist deeply regrets his actions and spends the rest of his life trying to atone for the wrong that he did,” the statement said.

Source: Religion News

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York Releases Her Debut Mills & Boon Novel (Press This! Daily Mail Online)

Executive Publisher for Mills & Boon Lisa Milton commented: ‘Across TV, film and books, history continues to grow in popularity.’This brilliant sweeping story is perfect for our existing readers as well as reaching fans of bestselling novelists such as Philippa Gregory and Anne O’Brien.’Mills & Boon are honoured to publish the Duchess of York’s debut novel as we move into our next century of publishing brilliant books by women for women.’

Source: Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York releases her debut Mills & Boon novel | Daily Mail Online

Sanditon Season 2 Casting News | Masterpiece | Official Site | PBS (Press This!)

At last for those of you who love period dramas/historical romance on television. The additions to the cast of Sanditon Season 2 and 3 have been announced, and it’s filled with new male faces! Filming has started, and the Sanditon Sisterhood is buzzing. The question is who will win Charlotte’s heart?  Will she ever get over brooding Sydney? (Who we all hope is miserable with his rich wife.)

Cameras are now rolling on the second season of the Red Planet Pictures and MASTERPIECE drama Sanditon, for MASTERPIECE PBS, BritBox UK and ITV, as a wave of new inhabitants join heroine Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) for her return to the picturesque coastal resort.

Source: Sanditon Season 2 Casting News | Masterpiece | Official Site | PBS

Jane Austen Died On July 18, 1817. Here are 70 Facts About the Iconic British Author (Press This! CBC Books)

The British novelist died at the age of 41 on July 18, 1817.  Celebrated for her sharp wit, descriptions of domestic life and subtle criticism of England’s economic and class structure, Austen’s works continue to be dissected and analyzed in classrooms and beyond.

Source: 70 facts you might not know about iconic British novelist Jane Austen | CBC Books

‘Bridgerton’ and Coronavirus: Positive Tests Halt Production in UK (Press This! The New York Times)

Well, this will cause a release delay to Julia Quinn’s “The Viscount Who Loved Me” in season two.

Amid a rapidly spiking Delta-driven surge of coronavirus cases in Britain, the second season of the Netflix series “Bridgerton” halted filming for the second time in three days, after someone involved with the production tested positive for the coronavirus.

Source: ‘Bridgerton’ and Coronavirus: Positive Tests Halt Production in UK – The New York Times

Elizabeth Gaskell: The Victorian Author Feeling the Bridgerton Effect (Press This! BBC News)

 

It is 170 years since Elizabeth Gaskell first published her most popular work Cranford but thanks to more recent period dramas, the author’s novels are seeing a surge of interest from new, young fans.” I call it the Bridgerton effect,” says Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd, the manager of the museum at the author’s former Manchester home, which is currently hosting an exhibition on her novel.

Source: Elizabeth Gaskell: The Victorian author feeling the Bridgerton effect – BBC News

Wonderful news about a resurgence of interest in Elizabeth Gaskell. I am a fan of her works, some of which you may have seen in TV adaptations and not realized who authored those stories.  Classics such as:

  • North and South
  • Wives and Daughters
  • Cranford

I had the wonderful opportunity during one of my four trips to Manchester, UK to visit the home where she lived and penned many of her stories.  I pulled the same doorknob and Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens.  If you would like to see pictures of the interior of the home and read about my visit, visit this link.

Eat Like Jane Austen With Recipes From Her Sister-In-Law’s Cookbook (Press This! Gastro Obscura)

Here is your opportunity to cook Jane Austen style. Authors, it’s probably a wealth of information about household life and cooking for the era.

A kind-hearted spinster, passed over in her youth by a potential suitor, spends her life faithfully tending the hearth and home of her dear family and friends. She is content to toil as a housekeeper, unrecognized but for the praise of beloved companions. All the while, she keeps a detailed household book of handwritten recipes, from carraway cake to currant wine, that her family loves.

Source: Eat Like Jane Austen With Recipes From Her Sister-In-Law’s Cookbook – Gastro Obscura

A bit spendy but available on Amazon in hardcover for $44.90.  Peek through the kitchen window to experience day-to-day life at Chawton Cottage, the home where Jane Austen wrote and published her famous novels.

Martha Lloyd first befriended a young Jane Austen in 1789 and later lived with Jane, her sister Cassandra, and their mother at the cottage in Chawton, Hampshire, where Jane wrote and revised her novels. Eventually, Martha married Jane’s brother Francis Austen, making her an authority on day-to-day life in the Austen family.

Martha Lloyd’s Household Book is a remarkable artifact, a manuscript cookbook featuring recipes and remedies handwritten over thirty years. Austen fans will spot the many connections between Martha’s book and Jane Austen’s writing, including dishes such as white soup from Pride and Prejudice. Readers will also learn the author’s favorite foods, such as toasted cheese and mead. The family, culinary, and literary connections detailed in the introductory chapters of this work give a fascinating perspective on the time and manner in which both women lived.

Passed down through the Austen family, the Household Book offers unprecedented access into the family home. In this first facsimile publication, Martha’s notebook is reproduced in color, accompanied by a complete transcription and detailed annotations.

A Room-by-Room Tour of Jane Austen’s Final Home (Press This! Cyprus Mail)

Lovers of ‘Pride and Prejudice’… rejoice! In this video, we step into the author’s world, taking a virtual trip to the Jane Austen House and Museum, located in Chawton, Hampshire. The cultural landmark offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the latter part of Austen’s life, which is when she called…

Source: A room-by-room tour of Jane Austen’s final home | Cyprus Mail

Peacock Announces Regency-Style Dating Competition Show

What a hoot! Would you dump the Bachelor/Bachelorette on ABC to watch a Regency-Style Dating show? Sounds like fun for historical romance readers. It will be interesting to see how the men look in cravats and if they speak Regency love lines.  Let’s hope the costumes make the grade.

If the phrase, “I love you most ardently” doesn’t set your panties ablaze, then find a different show.  Knowing all this, I have decided to throw away my marriage and pursue my newfound dream of being a contestant in Peacock’s new dating series Pride & Prejudice: An Experiment in Romance. The show appears to be a Bachelorette adjacent dating series with the special twist of transporting participants back in time to a romanticized version of Jane Austen’s novels. Well, the Cliffnotes, at least.

Source: Peacock Announces Regency-Style Dating Competition Show

Additional Sources:  Pride & Prejudice Inspired Reality Dating Show Ordered at Peacock

Fifty Shades of Chaste! Dakota Johnson Jane Austen’s Persuasion (Press This! Daily Mail Online)

Fifty shades of chaste! Sorry, after chuckling, I had to share.

It’s a long way from the sex scenes that made her name in Fifty Shades Of Grey. Dakota Johnson has traded bondage gear for a period outfit in Bath for the new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Source: Fifty shades of chaste! Dakota Johnson films an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion | Daily Mail Online

Why Did I Wait So Long to Read Jane Austen? (Press This! Literary Hub)

I came to Jane Austen late. As a lifelong reader, I do not have a simple explanation for this omission, but when my family decided to read Pride and Prejudice as a family reading project soon after the pandemic forced us into isolation, I jumped at the chance to fill in the gap in my literacy.

Source: Why Did I Wait So Long to Read Jane Austen? ‹ Literary Hub

7 People Who Hated Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” (Press This! Salon.com)

The story of how Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s disdain for the wealthy, prideful Fitzwilliam Darcy turned to love has never been out of print, and has sold more than 20 million copies since its first appearance more than 200 years ago. Austen’s family, however, probably didn’t see much of that success: She sold the novel’s copyright to her publisher for £110 (just over $10,000 in today’s dollars) and died just a few years later, in 1817. Though the novel was reviewed positively and was well-received by the upper classes at the time, it was no widespread sensation. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the book and its author were rediscovered and lifted to the rarefied place in the English literature pantheon they hold today.

Source: 7 people who hated Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” | Salon.com

Tea at Cranford: Charlotte Bronte and the Great Victorian Tea Fraud (Press This! Elizabeth Gaskell’s House)

I have had the great pleasure of visiting this fine home in Manchester during one of my many trips hunting for my ancestors. If you need a bit of a reminder, Elizabeth Gaskell wrote North & South, Wives & Daughters, Cranford, and other works, many of which have been made into major television series.

During my visit to her home, I pulled the same doorbell as Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte, standing in the same places. If you would like to see pictures of this fine Georgian residence, please visit my website here for information.

Below is an excerpt from their blog, which always has informative information.  If you like to research the past or love any of the stories Elizabeth penned, you should visit often.  It’s a wonderful place for authors and readers.

Tea plays an integral role in Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel Cranford. Grown in India, a British colony, and imported by the East India Company, tea became a national beverage which could be found in practically every household. But tea was more than just an infusion of dried leaves it was he beverage that was consistently turned to when spirits were in need of reviving. It is a word that prefixes so many others to indicate its numerous uses and association. Just Read more>>

Source: Tea at Cranford: Charlotte Bronte and the Great Victorian Tea Fraud – elizabethgaskellhouse.co.uk elizabethgaskellhouse.co.uk

Julia Quinn On ‘Bridgerton (Press This! Bustle)

I don’t remember how they came about. I figured out recently that I would have started writing The Duke and I in 1998. So this book now, if it were a person, it could drink legally. I honestly don’t remember how the Bridgerton family was born… But while I can’t remember how I came up with the Bridgerton family, I can tell you how I came up with Lady Whistledown. You probably know this since you’re a writer, the term “info dump.”

Source: Julia Quinn On ‘Bridgerton,’ That Controversial Sex Scene, & What’s Next

Protect Your Library the Medieval Way, With Horrifying Book Curses (Press This! GetPocket.com)

Worth the chuckle!  “They did not hesitate to use the worst punishments they knew—excommunication from the church and horrible, painful death. Steal a book, and you might be cleft by a demon sword, forced to sacrifice your hands, have your eyes gouged out, or end in the ‘fires of hell and brimstone.'”

They did not hesitate to use the worst punishments they knew—excommunication from the church and horrible, painful death. Steal a book, and you might be cleft by a demon sword, forced to sacrifice your hands, have your eyes gouged out, or end in the “fires of hell and brimstone.”

Source: Protect Your Library the Medieval Way, With Horrifying Book Curses