Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mr. Darcy at 200

Pride and Prejudice

Mr Darcy is 200. January 28th marked the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice which sold 1,500 copies in England in 1813. To date, millions of copies have been sold. Several movie adaptations have been made of this historic novel. My favorite is the 1995 BBC production with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.

You could probably go anywhere in the world and mention 'Mr. Darcy' and heads would turn. I may even have a slip of the tongue and say it myself if I ever say Colin Firth in person--the quintessential Mr. Darcy (in my humble opinion!). Although my dear friend would say it's Matthew Macfadyen. You be the judge.

I am sure Jane walked down this very lovely lane in Chawton.
This Christmas I was the happy recipient of a collector's set of all of Jane Austen's novels. They were from my husband--not a Jane Austen fan--but he did his homework. God bless him.

If you would like more information about the houses used in the movie adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, check out these incredible images at

The house at Chawton is where Jane spent the last eight years of her life before illness took her to Winchester, where she died. This is where she did most of her mature writing. I was so thrilled to visit it during my last trip to England.

Chawton House Library once belonged to Jane's brother, Edward, and is a short walk from Jane Austen's home. It must have been a lovely place to have tea while pondering the words of her timeless novels.

Have you had a brush with Jane Austen's world like I did at Chawton? Which film version of "Pride and Prejudice" is your favorite? And better yet, which Mr. Darcy?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thankful or Spoiled Generations?

Recently I read that the baby boomer generation is the last connection to a generation of people who lived a more simple life with very little technology.

Somedays I wonder how we could function without all of our technology. Some days I wish we could go back to those simple times, but could we keep the washer and dryer?

Recently my mother gave to me my grandmother's scrub board. She was born in 1908, married in 1925 and probably purchased the scrub board that year. Or maybe it was a shower gift! Can you imagine spending an entire day--beginning at daylight--hand washing all of your laundry?

Then you had to hang them on the clothes line to dry, praying it didn't rain. Thank goodness most women did not work outside the home then--or they would have spent an entire day off killing themselves just doing the laundry.

My mother and her sisters have told me countless stories of the chores they had to do, as well as some of the inventive ways they tried to improve their looks. Coming from a rural farming community, they had very little extra money for unnecessary beauty aids. We now have curling irons that they would have been very envious of at the time.

One humorous story was a bright idea my mother had to curl her younger sister's hair. She took a wire coat hanger apart and heated it in their fireplace. She then took a long section of hair and proceeded to wrap it up to form a curl. When the hot metal met my aunt's hair, it burned right through it. She screamed, "You burnt my hair!" No one thought to try and cut the rest of her hair to even it up. I still have a school picture of my aunt with the lopsided hair when she was nine years old. My mother was the older and wiser teenage sister.

Needless to say, we could all learn a lesson from those times. We now have more conveniences than any other time in history and yet we seem to have less free time than any other time in history. What does that tell us? That we are never satisfied and that we are always trying to fill our lives with things we don't really need. Personally I would like to go back to simpler times. Times that my parents and grandparents had. Working full time outside the home and trying to run a household is not an easy task.

Do any of you feel the same way? Would you like to forfeit some of the conveniences to be able to be a stay at home wife/mother and live a less hectic life?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blog Hop Tour Answers -- about my debut novel

One of my good friends and writing partner, Morgan Tarpley of "Pens on a World Map," asked me to participated in a blog hop tour. The questions are about the novel I wrote last year.
Also a friend and fellow blogger will be continuing this blog hop tour and answering these questions too for next week, so please check out her blog (information at this post's end). Thanks!
1) What is title of your working book?
Permelia Cottage
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I think I was born an Anglophile! And I love English cottages--old English cottages. I would like to live in one for at least a month and tour the countryside. Sorry--I digress--the thought of being in a rural English cottage started thinking of storylines that could take place there. The plot just grew from that.

A lovely cottage I saw in England
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Christian Contemporary Fiction
4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
My lead characters would be played by Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Alexis Biedel and Jensen Ackles.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Can an old English cottage bring renewed faith and healing to several troubled hearts?  
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I met an agent at a writer's conference and my book proposal was requested. I sent it. Currently, I am waiting to hear back. Fingers crossed!
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About eight months to first draft.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'm not exactly sure which books this one would compare too, but I can name other authors who write in this genre and whose themes are similar to mine.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I like to believe that God inspired me to write it. Most of my ancestors came from England and Scotland so the location idea came from my love of the country my family originated. The actual plot coming from life in general--the struggles we face and how we can overcome them if we focus on God.
10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Sometimes we struggle with forgiveness. If someone does something to us--either real or imagined on our part--we have difficulty forgiving them. I believe Permelia Cottage teaches that we can forgive, if we turn it over to God. Isn't that why Jesus came--the ultimate forgiveness?

Next week, January 23, please visit my blogging friend (below) for the next stop on this blog hop book tour!
Cindy Pye: Denim and Roses
Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Dangerous Inheritance Book Review

A Dangerous Inheritance
by Alison Weir
Rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Historical Fiction

This story is so filled with British history it will make a dyed-in-the-wool Anglophile's head spin! Although I did find this novel to be slow in building momentum, it did start to redeem itself about two-thirds of the way through. I love British history but felt it a bit tedious at times. It was nice when I finally became engrossed with the story(ies).

Katherine and Jane Grey are puppets of their parents, Henry Grey and Lady Frances Brandon. They plot and scheme until Jane is placed on the throne, only to be imprisoned for unlawfully accepting the English crown for nine days (hence the term The Nine Days' Queen). Katherine's life story in the sixteenth century is then told and entwined with Kate (Katherine) Plantagenet's life in the fifteenth century. When Katherine Grey finds a portrait of Kate Plantagenet and old letters in a chest, dating back more than seven decades, she becomes intrigued with the writer's quest to find out what happened to the Princes. Her interest follows her for the rest of her life.

Katherine Grey ends up in the Tower because of her closeness to the throne. Queen Elizabeth I sees her as a threat and places her in the Tower along with her husband (which the Queen refuses to acknowledge as legitimate) and children. Although she holds them in different areas of the Tower, they manage to see one another by bribing the guards and because of the kindheartedness of one of their jailers.

Much of the story tells of both women questioning the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower in the fifteenth century. They each seek to find the truth. One, to clear her father's name in the involvement of the Princes and the other as a mystery to be solved and as a diversion for all she has to endure.

During many centuries of British history, people who were even remotely close to the throne lived life on the edge. The King--or Queen--in power had the say over who could marry. These two women dared to live for the love of their lives, even to the point of imprisonment or death.

With Kate Plantagenet being the illegitimate daughter of King Richard III, one would think there would be much more historical evidence to aid Ms. Weir in telling her story--even the portions of the book that delve into the disappearance of the royal Princes held in the Tower. She admits there is not sufficient evidence to do justice in telling Kate's story, yet she does a marvelous job of inventing a believable character for the era.

Her telling of Katherine Grey's life is followed so closely to documented facts--and expertly told--that I felt like I was there in the Tower of London with her. Overall, I would recommend this book if you are into historical fiction. These two young women endured sad, oppressed existences, yet they stood their ground and were brave right up until the end of their short lives. They may have been rich in wealth by the standards of their day, yet they had no freedom.

Recommendation: If you like A Dangerous Inheritance, check out by My Enemy the Queen by Victoria Holt.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

As the New Year Looms Ahead

Christmas is behind us and the New Year looms ahead. It can be a bitter-sweet time of the year. What will I do with it?
A rare Louisiana snow at my house a few years ago
The topic of New Year's resolutions has been done to death, so I won't dwell on that. Resolving to lose weight, eat healthier, or be more organized is usually short-lived. Why do I feel I can only set goals at the beginning of a special date on the calendar?
I want to change myself into a better individual by improving who I am. Maybe I should start by renewing myself through reading scripture more often. The improvements I seek would then follow--according to God's plan.

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." - Romans 12:2 
Happy New Year and God Bless,