Audiobook Blog Tour especially for #Janeites & #Austenites | A mini Review and a Conversation about “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl” (Vol.5: the Quill Collective, series) narrated by Elizabeth Grace

Posted Saturday, 5 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , 18 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm Promotion I expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding my own traction into audiobooks and the way in which storytelling took on a deeper layer of immersion for me as a listerner. Meanwhile, I started to curate my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue as well as a regional library who uses CloudLibrary; I offset borrowing audiobooks through libraries with an active subscription to Scribd (for audiobooks). I batch my membership months with Audible to several months per year and purchase a few audiobooks whilst I have it active as well as enjoying selecting free Audible Original audiobooks.

This is the long history of how I entered into becoming an audiobook reviewer – it was through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions I originally crossed paths with Ms Christina Boyd with The Quill Collective (via the ‘Rational Creatures’ audio blog tour) and thereby have enjoyed keeping in the loop with their after canon stories connected to Jane Austen. This is how I came to know ‘Yuletide’ and now ‘Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl’ of whom is my favourite character from ‘Pride and Prejudice’; my favourite canon novel of Austen’s.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Elizabeth: Headstrong Girl” via Christina Boyd @ The Quill Collective in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Being a Janeite,

I have a fierce appreciation for The Quill Collective:

I’ve been a Janeite for a very long time – during #AustenInAugust [2017], I had the joyful pleasure of submitting a guest essay to commemorate how Austen has been moving in and out of my life over the years which ran on a featured day on Roof Beam Reader’s blog. It is in of itself a quite all-inclusive look at how Jane Austen has left a strong impression on my life. Do read it if you have a chance to peer into how Austen and her stories have given me a lifetime of reflective rumination & joy.

And, ever since my essay was published I have made fervent attempts of re-establishing myself into my Classics Club TBR – to source and seek out works of Classical Lit I’ve earmarked to be read and for the vast majority of those pursuits, it is the canon of Jane Austen I desire most to focus upon. I have the canon in print in several editions but most of those are packed save three and it is those three which I am in pursuit of finishing first whilst continuing to seek out after canon novelists and short story writers who are giving me a well of presence within those worlds that not only honour Austen’s own words but allow us to carry forward into the worlds themselves.

Whilst I was working on this featured post for the blog tour – I had an unexpected discovery – Audible now offers a more friendly budget price for listeners who are not in a hurry to purchase audiobooks (as choosing one per month was enough anxiety for me to last lifetimes) but rather would love to listen to an unlimited amount of them which are provided within the catalogue of the new listen and return service. Similar truly to why I am a lover of Scribd’s services for audiobooks.

Guess what the vast majority of those ‘free to listen in unlimited amounts’ per month include!? *Classics!* Including a fair amount of Jane Austen!!! I even found Rosamunde Pike’s “Pride and Prejudice” and Emma Thompson’s “Emma”!! Imagine?! I was truly taken aback and gobsmacked — another reason I am blessed to have a tablet now for listening to audiobooks & music – as it allowed me to accept a 30 day trial right now and remain within the grip of the Classics!

That news aside, what I LOVE about the Quill Collective is how they honour Jane Austen and how they remain wholly passionate about publishing stories which celebrates the canon but allows the writers they publish to re-envision those characters in such a refreshingly new way as to give each of us a new reason to seek Austen and to seek after canon stories of her collective works. These are the stories by a publisher who understands why we are such discerning readers of Classical Lit and the after canon retellings and sequels which allow us to ruminate further on those worlds… they give us the same passionate response in story as we personally give ourselves over to ponder whenever we pick up a story of Austen. And, for me – the highest praise indeed is their propensity of producing quality over quantity and giving all of us such a wonderful catalogue of stories I truly believe Austen herself would be wicked giddy over seeing published.

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An informative conversation with Elizabeth Grace:

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

the questions were ones I provided and I delighted in her responses!

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As you’re narrating an audiobook with a collection of stories inspired by Jane Austen – I was curious, what first drew your eye to the project and what do you personally love about the voice, style and legacy of Ms Austen?

Grace responds: I was drawn to this project by an author I had started working with called Elizabeth Adams who wrote “Something Like Regret” for the anthology. I was just finishing up with her novel, “Green Card” and was looking for a new project. She recommended me to Christina Boyd who then asked me to audition for OHG. I hadn’t narrated an anthology before but I loved it.

Each story has such personality and a style that is at once individual to the author yet also completely in keeping with Austen’s original characters and wit. I think that is my favourite thing about her writing, how well it translates. It makes me realise how recent her writing was in the grand history of time and that while we think their society and thoughts are vastly different to ours, we haven’t really changed all that much.

I believe that is the best singular truth of insight into Jane Austen’s writings I’ve ever heard – how continuously relatable she is due to how we’ve become such an unchanged society. For all the progresses and all the developments of how live has shifted forward per generation, there are still telling truths about how she wrote about society and the pressures of how life can sometimes become too measured by what society believes it can dictate out of a life. I love the serendipitous nature of how you became attached to OHG; I tend to think those are the better moments of our lives – how we cross paths with people who have an important reason of being in our life at any particular point in time. It speaks to how we’re all connected. Whilst at the same time – how some stories ‘find us’ rather than how we presume to believe ‘we find them’.

Of all the stories of Austen, my first introduction to her stories was through “Pride and Prejudice” and thus, Elizabeth has been my favourite Austen heroine ever since the adaptation featuring Keira Knightley was released (as it coincided with my first readings). As you were reading the stories you’ve brought to life – what did you intuit out of them about Elizabeth and about her nature as one of our leading ladies who has withstood time to affect us on such a personal level of appreciation?

Grace responds: I have been asked similar questions before and I am always brought back to Tessa Dare’s wonderful foreword from the anthology. She talks about why Elizabeth is such a popular character and why we continue to relate to her so well and she says it is because “Elizabeth is just like me – but awesome”. I think that is so true, because she is extremely human and altogether female. She is clever and yet judgemental, witty and at times cutting, self-aware and often a little self-deprecating. You can feel her battling with the same traits that we battle with today and she does so with this beautiful honesty and vulnerability which allows her to accept when she is wrong but also speak out against her better judgement when she needs to defend herself, her family or her opinion.

I have so much Elizabeth Bennett inside me (as well as Jane Eyre and Jo March, and lest I forget Anne Shirley) that it isn’t too remarkable to me to realise why I haven’t found myself attached to another novel by Jane Austen (as of yet – ‘Persuasion’ has a new audiobook narration waiting in the wings for me via NetGalley) inasmuch as my absolute admiration, dedication and passion for ‘Pride and Prejudice’; singularly it is hard to discern, is it strictly due to Lizzie or is it equally split between her and Mr Darcy – of whom I’ve previously disclosed is my first and only (thus far into my fourth decade) book boyfriend! I believe that’s the key draw really – seeing someone who is not shy about speaking her mind, bluntly so at moments and honestly evoking a reaction out of others in order for her voice to be heard when it infers an importance to her to be said. In defence of family and self – there are no truer moments for which we all need to remember to listen to our intuition and feel confidence in our voice.

Isn’t that the mark of true classically perennial stories? Where you can revisit them and still see why you originally loved them but then find these extra layers of genius within how they were writ? I felt that way when I first started watching “Anne with an E” via NetFlix and when I was listening to the audiobooks for the first three “Anne of Green Gables” stories via Post Hypnotic Press – wherein I was seeing Marilla in a whole new ray of light wherein previously (per my younger visitation into this world) I was finding myself only drawn to Anne.

Did you have a favourite story in the collection?
And if so, what was it about it that drew you in as deeply as it had?

Grace responds: I really enjoyed each of the stories for different reasons. I recently did a reading of “Atmospheric Disturbances” by Christina Morland for the book tour and I loved that one because I really enjoy narrating arguments! I am not sure why, but I think its because of the fast pace and the high stakes.

Other memorable stories are “Love in the Limelight” by Beau North because of the amazing backdrop of Hollywood’s golden age. The one that moved me the most during my narration was “A Mate for Life” by Christina Boyd, I am sure you can hear my voice crack towards the end. There is something so nostalgic and tender about Elizabeth as an elderly woman reflecting on a life well lived while watching her grand-daughter begin her own journey into adulthood that is so touching.

OOh! I love when a narrator has to go head to head – character on character and walk us through the paces of a full-on row! It gives such a realistic edge to the story and such a believable measure of time for seeing the characters move through their lives – likewise, between the rows and the emotional anguish sequences – I daresay, I credit a lot to the stamina and the performances by narrators who can take us tenfold into their journey by voicing stories with such beautiful dimension! Those are dearly my favourite moments – where you can really hear and sense the ’emotions’ behind a narrator’s voice and how through their performance you can feel intuitively closer to when they had originally sat to read the audio play. As to me, audiobooks bring back why live radio theatre used to be as popular as it had been – audiobooks are the new variant of those radio plays – where it is all vocalised and it etches into your heart, encompasses your imagination and gives you this immersive depth that you cannot get otherwise by print or screen. It is very interpersonal and I love the effect of it.

I oft wonder how narrators approach their performances – did you do any prep work for narrating this series of stories and/or how did you approach getting into the head and heart of Elizabeth through the different incantations that were presented therein?

Grace responds: I would love to tell you that I prepped for weeks to get into Elizabeth’s mind and understand her inside out but the truth is I learned more about her during the process than beforehand.

Working with such talented authors as those featured in OHG, they set up the circumstances so perfectly you are given all you need to know to get stuck straight in. Like you, I was familiar with Elizabeth from reading “Pride and Prejudice“, watching the films and TV adaptations and (as a girl called Elizabeth) being likened to her for a lot of my life! I had a good grounding on what she stands for and who she is. It helps that she is super relatable so it is easy to put some of  myself into her which is really what we, as actors do. Rather than thinking so much on the lines of “what would my character do?”, I try to think, given everything I know about my character, if I was in this situation what would I do/how would I react?

OOh no standing on airs here – I love getting the ‘behind-the-book’ trivia bits about how stories are writ and performed – whatever inks out of being the truthful accounting of how a story was either first created or thus after performed are the right answers to give to my readers. I oft wonder though – isn’t that similarly true for regular performances as well? To best get into the headspace of a character you first have to take that fuller immersion into performing them – rooting out their essence and getting a niche of a feel for how they ought to be portrayed? At least, that is what I gather from afar?

I also love the personal touches you etch into this performance – as you said, you took it to a personal heart to heart level and inverted it to being a reflection of your own reactions and responses rather than simply leaning on ‘what Elizabeth Bennett might have done herself’. I think that’s champion and the best route into how to have obtained the right balance in your performance; as said, I have noted things from afar (from loving theatre, radio, television and film) but I never knew if any of those observations had merit as I haven’t yet worked in theatre.

Were there any secondary characters in this collection of stories you felt stood out to you the most?

Grace responds: Darcy can’t not stand out in the anthology, he plays such a significant role. Again, harping back to Tessa Dare’s foreword, I love her line about loving Darcy because he is smart enough to love Elizabeth. While all the other men are fawning over Jane, he is drawn to Elizabeth for all the reasons we love her.

In each of these stories we really see his tenderness towards Elizabeth shine. This is really prominent for me in “Resistive Currents” by Karen M Cox where he really displays this kindness and loyalty we don’t always get to see. I think I realised that while he is often played as being super stoic and harsh, it is really important to also portray his nervousness and protectiveness. Again, these are traits we would all have to some degree given his experiences and what he has been through.

I was immediately thinking about Peter Calpaldi as ‘Doctor Who’ – who apparently became one of the most unrelatable Doctors (according to those I’ve spoken with) and yet, he was so endeared to me for reasons you’ve broached about Darcy. It goes back to the layers of a character’s soul and the artfulness approach in how through their story and the stories after those initial ones which reveal more of those hidden layers that might oft go overlooked or become discarded in favour of presumptive prejudgements on their character. For me, Calpaldi brought a richness to the role – the emotional unresolved angst of an immortal person who could no longer live with the guilt and conscience of what he had done, whom he could not save and the weight of how the universe constantly pulled him into circumstances to act in impossible situations to resolve whatever wrong needed righted. In essence, he was portraying another situation that Dr Beckett found himself in perpetually in ‘Quantum Leap’.

I believe Darcy fits into this bracket as well – people have such strong reactions to Darcy – to his manners and to his speech that they sometimes fail to see the ‘real’ Darcy behind the gruffiness of his personality and to peer into what is motivating him to act and speak in the ways in which he is presenting himself to his peers and neighbours. As you said – more layers there, we just have to be open to finding them, understanding them and accepting Darcy on his own terms – very much like Lizzie had herself.

What is more challenging – tackling a character as renown as Elizabeth Bennett (or any Classical character) or having to give life and voice to a character fresh out of an author’s imagination?

Grace responds: There are real advantages and disadvantages to both, as you can imagine. Taking on characters that are well know, you are faced with other peoples’ preconceived notions of how they believe the character should sound or behave. However, it also means so much more when they tell you afterwards how much they feel you encapsulated that character for them. I do love creating them for myself, having the time to really understand someone new and be able to guide an audiences perception but when I do this, I am always also working with author who gave birth to them and also has a view on how they should sound so it’s not so different in that respect.

What are your favourite takeaways from this collection as a whole and what did you feel was the greatest message that would impact listeners and readers alike?

Grace responds: I think for me, the fact that each story is set in either a different time period or a different scenario really brings back the idea of Jane Austen’s initial writing being so incredibly modern. That we can pick these characters up and transport them this way while maintaining their original character traits and even literally their words in some cases just goes to show how revolutionary and natural her writing was. I think the anthology is very pertinent for women at the moment during this feminist wave where we support each other, we have opinions and we speak our minds and ultimately, we strive to be obstinate and headstrong.

What do you feel are harder to narrate? Short stories or novels and why?

Grace responds: I think novels are trickier, simply due to the length of them. Short stories tend to be very dynamic and fast paced as they try to fit in a fair amount of drama into a relatively short amount of time. They are also less complex with regards to dramatic reading in terms of chronology and subtext. Usually we find the characters in short stories have very clear needs and obstacles from the outset which for a narrator requires a little less planning. Novels are longer and so you need to be more conscious of maintaining the momentum of the story throughout and you need to really consider the characters motives at each point – what do they know, what don’t they know, what is the immediate need and what’s the end game for them etc. However, I do love novels for this complexity too, it’s often more challenging and you can get really stuck into the story, whereas with anthologies, I can feel like I am on a roll, then the story concludes and I am on to the next.

How did your impression of Elizabeth change from “Pride and Prejudice” to “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl”? What do you think became reflected through these new stories that perhaps Austen left out of disclosing herself on her behalf? As much as how did it feel to voice such a literary heroine as Elizabeth and share her name?

Grace responds: From a purely feminist perspective, when I look back on Elizabeth in “Pride and Prejudice” with all the knowledge I have now, it feels like she could have done more. Please don’t misunderstand me, I wouldn’t want the story to change but after reading of her in OHG doing all these amazing things, I feel bad that ultimately, by accident in a way, she ends up bending to societies’ expectations.

In “The House Party” by Janetta James, Elizabeth is surrounded by the suffragette movement and while she supports these women and their fight, she doesn’t get stuck in herself. It took me a moment to realise how very “Elizabeth” that is. And I am the same. I wonder what adrenaline and desperation Emily Davison felt before she flung herself in front of the King’s horse, but I will likely never know.

Like Elizabeth Bennet, I am woman of relative means, I have always lived a comfortable enough life to see the other side not so far away and to support and sympathise, say the right words but not necessarily feel that desperation to join the physical fight. Not everyone can feel like that, otherwise everyday would be a revolution I suppose, but did Jane Austen not feel desperate as a female writer in the early 1800s?

I wonder if it crossed her mind to make Elizabeth more revolutionary, but if she feared that it would make her a lot less likable at the time. I imagine she would be proud to see her heroine become one of the only female engineering students at Fordyce University, or sticking up for her sister to a big movie executive in Hollywood. We have the amazing ability to make Elizabeth’s options in life limitless. As a fellow Elizabeth, I thank women like Jane Austen for giving us a heroine that does withstand the passage of time and allows fantastic, modern authors to give new direction to her and inspire the next generation.

When you’re not narrating and performing what renews your spirit?

Grace responds: I love to travel which is why lockdown has been so hard for me. I am real social butterfly and love nothing more than seeing new places and being close to people – 2 meters just isn’t near enough! I have found solace however in my work, meeting some amazing, creative people in these authors and working with them to create something special. I write this from a hotel on an island in the Canaries called Lanzarote. It’s a little 10-day getaway that I will be paying for in isolation for 2 weeks on my return but will hopefully feel refreshed and renewed!

I am a traveller myself and fully respect the angst! Even though we, as a family have grown to love our car picnics and takeaway meals – there is something to be said for real sit down meals out of the house – which thankfully we did do the night prior to when this post runs on Jorie Loves A Story as we were craving an evening out where we could do something pre-pandemic normal and learnt our local pub was at half capacity and had an available table. I cannot express how comforting it was to order our favourite Friday night meal (ie. sloppy joes with fries) and try a new dark lager beer with a toasted after note! Even our server was thankful we were there and it was wonderful to see her after such a long absence! It was only the second time we’ve gone back to eat out – the first was during an epic storm ahead of a 12 hour shift for Mum and that was only a quick grab and go meal in a takeaway restaurant with no one else round. No, last night it felt more like we had captured a dose of normalcy and it felt brilliant!

Like you, I find solace in how I can adapt to what life brings to our path and how we can remain in contact with people in however they enter our lives. My blog is a labour of love and a saving grace which allows me to focus outside my personal adversities and give back to book world as much as it is a journalled collection of my readerly adventures and the curious thoughts which stories inspire me to share with fellow bookish geeks who seek out book blogs to read to find new inspiration in their own bookish lives. As bookish joy shared is tenfold better than never to have shared it at all.

I pray your holiday gives you what you are hoping it shall reveal and I definitely understand how it is worth the inconvenience of self-isolation on return because of what it will give you once you’ve arrived. We are all finding our way in this new situation and finding that if we keep ourselves adaptive and bendable we’ll make it through just fine.

Many blessings to you, Ms Grace and thank you for blessing me with this lovely conversation! Some of your replies I left as they were as I hadn’t had the chance to listen to the fuller contents of the audiobook prior to this being shared on my blog. I enjoyed your revelations and cannot wait to peer into those sections and re-visit your takeaways and comments.

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Audiobook Blog Tour especially for #Janeites & #Austenites | A mini Review and a Conversation about “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl” (Vol.5: the Quill Collective, series) narrated by Elizabeth GraceElizabeth
Subtitle: Obstinate Headstrong Girl
by (Editor) Christina Boyd
Source: Direct from Publisher
Narrator: Elizabeth Grace

With timeless verve, the heroine of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, bares her intimate thoughts while offering biting social commentary through a collection of romantic re-imaginings, sequels, and prequels, set in the Regency to present day by ten popular Austenesque authors.

Foreword by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Tessa Dare. “I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print…” wrote Jane Austen in a letter, January 1813―and we think so too!

Stories by Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, Joana Starnes, Karen M Cox, Elizabeth Adams, Leigh Dreyer, J. Marie Croft, and Christina Boyd.

Genres: After Canons, Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Classical Literature, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing


Also by this author: Rational Creatures

Also in this series: Rational Creatures

Published by The Quill Collective LLC

on 31st August, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 10 hours and 41 minutes (unabridged)

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The stories & authors of
“Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl”:
as well as noting which characters are featured per story

Foreword by Tessa Dare

Amy D’Orazio “Resolution”

Jenetta James “The House Party”

Christina Morland “Atmopheric Distrubances”

Beau North “Love in Limelight”

Joana Starnes “The Uncommonly Busy Lane to Longbourn”

Karen M. Cox “Resistive Currents”

Elizabeth Adams “Something Like Regret”

Leigh Dreyer “The Last Blind Date”

J. Marie Croft “The Age of Nescience”

Christina Boyd “A Mate for Life”

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Published by: The Quill Collective (@xtnaboyd)

Most of the collection installments are available in audio,
the few which are not are noted below for easy reference.
I hope one day they all will include an audio release.

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The Quill Collective series:

(read about the series on their site)

The Darcy Monologues (volume one)

Dangerous to Know:
Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues (volume two)
(*this one is not in audiobook)

Rational Creatures (volume three)

Yuletide: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories (volume four)

Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl (volume five)

Converse via: #OMGItsOHG & #QuillCollective + #AudioReads

OR #loveaudiobooks, #JaneAusten and #Janeite or #Austenites

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7th Annual Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This story received my award for Best Classical Literature “After Canon”
& Best Audiobook Narrator of 2020.

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About (Editor) Christina Boyd

Christina Boyd

CHRISTINA BOYD wears many hats as she is an editor under her own banner, The Quill Ink, a contributor to Austenprose, and a commercial ceramicist. A life member of Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen’s England was made possible by actor Henry Cavill when she won the Omaze experience to meet him in the spring of 2017 on the London Eye. True story. You can Google it.

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my mini review of elizabeth: obstinate headstrong girl:

I originally intended to post a full review of this audiobook – however, due to a few personal crises and new deficits with my father’s continuing health issues as a stroke survivor, I had to shift to Plan B. I’ve decided to share my reactions and observations based on both the foreword which sparked a whole conversation in of itself and share my first takeaway with the very first short story which is featured on the audiobook.

It was fortuitous I rewrote this early enough as in the early morning hours this Saturday (literally a few scant hours before I made the final edits for this to go live) I was in the ER with Mum as she was dizzy and nearly fainted at home. Turnt out it’s a warning and signal she’s tracking my Dad with high blood pressure and the doctor assured us there is time to make lifestyle changes, alleviate stress (or rather manage it differently, which I regularly try to mitigate as much as I can) whilst she didn’t have to go on medication as of yet. Which just proves sometimes you just never know when your next medical emergency will take place – since Nov 2019 I’ve been in / out of the local ER at least six times for both my parents in various levels of emergency situations; this past May I dodge a TBI with Mum and a heart attack with Dad. This morning she was cleared of heart, stroke and any other plausible complications and we celebrated that as a win with an early takeaway breakfast with Dad whose nerves were as raw as mine and our cats.

Sidenote: I’ve been my father’s daytime caregiver since December 2016 when he returnt home from hospital (after an eight-day stay) post-stroke. I read, blog and chat during hours when I am not caring for Dad or maintaining the house whilst Mum works outside the home as an HHA senior home health carer herself.

I fully intend to continue listening to this beautiful audiobook this September and once I’ve had it settling in my mind to where I can articulate a fuller review, I’ll be releasing a complete review of the entire audiobook. For this final day of the blog tour, I hope my thoughts and curiousities about this audiobook will encourage your own curiosity on its behalf and perhaps become your next #mustlisten selection. The beauty of this truly is how it has captured my impressions and my memories of “Pride and Prejudice” and yet given me a wholly new reason to re-enter into those characers’ lives and find them in an altered state of life which pays full homage to Jane Austen. In a word, dear hearts – this is the collection for all Janeites and Austenites who consider ‘Pride’ their favourite of favourites to revisit, re-savour and re-enjoy!

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| Notations about the Foreword by Tessa Dare (@TessaDare) |

Audio Extract graphic created by Jorie in Canva.If you click this badge,
you’ll be able to listen to the ‘foreword’ via SoundCloud!

TO find the full offerings of audio extracts
view the Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl Extract Listings via SoundCloud

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I, must admit – the term “unpack” in reference to ‘we need to unpack that topic’ never bespoke to me as much as it has related to me recently as a reader. It started when I received a beautiful box of #bookmail I’ll be disclosing on my next #TheSundayPost and of which I cheekily hinted about on my social feeds via book Twitter in the early morning hours of Thursday this week. Some thoughts ought not to be withheld in the moment of their arrival. This term now applies to the foreword because Ms Dare not only gives us a hearty appetite for this anthologist collection of stories rooted in the landscape of Pride and Prejudice – no, and that would be aplenty of a reason to carry forward into the audiobook, it was equally matched with an introduction into the artful performance styling of Elizabeth Grace! (the collections narrator)

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And, that dear hearts is why I adored it as much as I do!

or how I reflected on this via #booktwt:

“Elizabeth Grace – of whom is readily my next favourite ‘voice in me ears’ because she has the perennial voice I love – dearly British, kindly articulate and keenly entertainingly brilliant!”

-per this tweet and this re-share tweet

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Now, let’s address the insights which were discussed and readily examined as a precursor of why this particular anthology would appeal to even the most discerningly particular after canon reader of Jane Austen. (*cough, erhm, I’m referring to myself)

Inasmuch as how a ‘foreword’ by a kindred Janeite allowed this Janeite to share ruminations which elicited themselves in mind and conscience as she learnt of Ms Dare’s warm affection for Austen and ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

Interestingly enough, I was fifteen when Colin Firth’s Pride and Prejudice was released but Jane Austen wasn’t quite on my radar at that junction of age. I was much more inclined to be into espionage thrillers, legal dramas, science based technothrillers and of course a montage of Westerns, INSPY Literature novelists and Contemporary Women’s Fiction when I was not disappearing into a Historical Fiction novel or a Historical Romance (in particular, a Regency or Victorian). Dare I mention the cacophony of Fantasy and Science Fiction as well? I had attempted to read Pride but found it hadn’t sunk into my heart (though in further remembrance, the accent and linguistics of the Older English in that novel did trickle into my everyday vernacular!) – whilst I attempted Sense and Sensibility as Mum had gifted me both the novel and the screenplay (remember: Emma Thompson’s adaptation?) – to which end of course, I failed on all counts; reading the original, the adapted screenplay and seeing said adaptation.

It wasn’t until my twenties when my Dad surprised me with a beautiful boxed edition of Colin Firth’s Pride and Prejudice wherein I realised it was high time I resettle myself into Austen’s narrative prose about Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. I knew so much about Pride and yet, as it would be discovered, I knew nothing at all! Because dear hearts, what you presume to know is not always what you find revealled – by the time I finally found footing in the story-line, Keira Knightley’s adaptation was playing in theaters nationwide. Quite literally nearly missed my chance to see it – as it took me the full extent of its wide release to finish! Imagine?? And, yet… it is her adaptation I think fondly about the most – as it charmed me even if parts of it are so dearly modern and unrealistically Pride.

I even snuck in snippets of observations (much to the consternation of audience members round me) in whispered exchanges with Mum – which yes, included such geekery insight such as “oh, they’ve left this scene” or “hmm, a bit of a modern spin that!” or even “Mum! the story, the characters, their all here on the screen just as I envisioned them!” How patient Mum was with me and how impatient the audience had been themselves. They simply did not understand the breakthrough for me nor the importance of the film in the waning hours of its release had become so much more than a celebration of a film.

About Colin, eh? I’ve been a ready appreciator of his films and have gone many a time to see his releases – especially if he’s in the charming lead role (or a few cheeky art house films which bemuse Mum and I) and it’s a romantic film. (yes, I’m referring to Bridget Jones in particular – was there any doubt?) A few moves and relocations lateron my beloved gift of my father’s has been lost in a box and one day, like the rest of my personal library shall be unboxed and loved once more. Or in the eyes of Doctor Who – what is time? It is not just temporal it is also static and bendable – alas, there is no guilt I received it in my twenties and by a pence past forty I have still to reclaim its location.

The need to re-examine a beloved read such as Dare is inferring – to go back to the beginning, where we were all virgins of the text and just gathering our wings to fly into Austen’s Pemberley world – I would say, I do this each time I revisit her world through the eyes and hearts of an after canon novelist. Including the whimsical way in which you can find dragons there as well – per my listenings to a dragon fiction series a la Jane Austen earlier this year before the pandemic gripped everyone’s lives. And, very much in the manner of approaching The Quill Collectives series of anthologist magic for recentreing us into Austen as if Austen herself were penning the tales.

Dare has a way with words which clues me into how we’re soul sisters who thrive on being wordsmiths to tell our tales – she had me at ‘hallo’ as the saying goes when she said “he bewitched me body and soul” – in reference to Darcy a la Colin Firth. In my defence, I’d simply say it was Darcy himself and whomever takes on his role becomes the Darcy for me in that moment of where my affection and my attraction to Darcy increases tenfold. (of course, I’d lay claim to that statement in reference to The Phantom of the Opera as well) She also said “knowing nothing but what she learned and guessing at nothing which she inferred” – a true statement I could also readily relate to as it mirrors my own ruminations and reactions to my first reading of Pride. She must be an intuitive reader like I am myself.

Interestingly, I did not relate to her viewing of Wickham, as I knew he was a right proper cad at first sight – (lest we divert to discuss my disdain over Lydia!) however, despite how I immediately knew the nature of Darcy and could not readily dismiss his arrogance as an indifference to warming to his character because I felt there was something behind his brooding personality. One doesn’t become so locked in a hold of his kind of approach to social engagements by accident and I suppose the curiosity I have for sociological intrigue into a person’s nature (which explains how I enjoyed seeing Road to Perdition) is what sparked the entreaty I took upon myself to better understand Darcy before I simply dismissed him as Dare referred to as an ‘arrogant bum’*.

(yes, of course she used my favourite British word in lieu of ‘bum’ – for the sake of my blog I edited it) (smirks)

Curiously – I was much aligned with Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail – in sorting out – whose the one full of pride and whose the most prejudiced of the two? Only to realise in equal measurements of each other they were both walking on common ground in that regard! They were equally blinded by their prejudice and equally hindered by their pride – it was only after they both came together where those bits of themselves pulled away and allowed you to see them as they were truly living a more authentic life as a couple than they had apart. They were two halves of a whole – they would not have been as strong apart as they were together either.

I boldly had my own strong reactions to Pride on first reading – as there were key moments I remember being fittingly mad at Darcy for something either said or inferred; something he implied but then took away and more maddening than that there were times where I felt hew as either innocently clueless about women or he was simply treading water in uncharted territories because he had fallen so dearly in love with Lizzie before he caught himself!

As Dare relates through Grace one of her favourite passages wherein Darcy is owning to his regretful mistakes and realising in that moment it would take his lifetime to rise to the occasion to ensure Elizabeth had both a suitor and a partner in life meant the world to me as well. He was owning his limitations and he was admitting his faults – but he was being so dearly vulnerable, what women or girl reading Pride hadn’t swooned in admiration at that junction?

In many regards, I believe I am as opinionated as Elizabeth and with every ounce of good measure behind my opines as Lizzie herself – especially if you track through my archives of Jorie Loves A Story – you’ll see how I’ve flexed my ink and my desire to use my words to opine about the stories I’ve read which is a curious glimpse into how I love to digest and dissemble what I read inasmuch as leave behind a discussion into that story, world or character. And, similar to Elizabeth – being vulnerable is not a measure of weakness but of strength – to defend oneself against others who choose to bully you or to defend your family by others who seek to dismantle the cosiness of your familial unit simply because they have no familiarity with your close-knit connections – you find your words in the moments wherein your mind and your heart align to tell the truths of what is keenly important to you. And, that is why I love Elizabeth Bennett. She stands her ground, she owns her words and she doesn’t fall on her sword because in the end, she’s already charmed you beyond repair to be her huckleberry friend for life.

I especially (like Dare) loved how Elizabeth refused to settle – she knew her mind well enough to know why marrying for anything short of love was not going to suit. Her friend made concessions because for her marriage was the only exit plan she could endure. For Elizabeth? She wanted a partner not a lifestyle which would feel constrained. She wanted to find someone to spar with and someone to share her adventures whilst accepting her as she were rather than finding faults and wanting to fix her – which is something very relatable to today’s women. In fact, it is most striking one of the reasons Elizabeth Bennett is an everywoman heroine in her own regard!

I was not gobsmacked to find other authors hadn’t felt connected to Austen – for every story read, there is a farthing of a chance we shall distance ourselves from the text. We all have within us positive, neutral and negative reactions to stories – a hearty topic for any book blogger especially is the discussion of ‘what to do about those DNFs’ as they take such a great amount of willpower to admit to experiencing and carry a weight of guilt in not being able to reconcile whatever turnt us off of those stories.

I am not sure if most blog readers know the guilt most of us carry whenever we find ourselves removed from a story or unable to finish one as well. Perhaps this quasi-public and private world of book blogging makes us especially vulnerable about our readerly lives – we’re choosing to share bits of ourselves through our journalled ruminations – a stark reflection on our own lived experiences as all of ourself is thread into the stories as they’re read; to where you have to consider, isn’t that a portion of what Austen herself experienced too? The weight of it all? How to filter out the bits unneeded and carry the bits necessary to balance out her character’s lives? How to choose amongst what could be said for what needs to be said? You could ponder those connections evermore, really. As book bloggers relate their world through the lens of the stories they read they also reflect their world by how they articulate those readerly experiences. And by extension I have long felt that is what Austen did herself – she was trying to find a way to not just mirror her realities but to put them in the context of fiction and allow those lines to blur just enough in order to best present the stories which spoke far more on their own accord than she could have hoped to have said herself.

It should be noted, I feel more connected to her (Jane Austen) since I’ve read Collins Hemingway’s The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy – wherein through his internalisation on behalf of her character, you can intuit out the foundational references for how she was inspired to write her own stories and have her heroines seek to say something in of themselves about the lives they were choosing to live. Whilst at the same time, in this examination of her life and her very soul as she had once lived it is intuited (if not outright implied) the inspiration behind Elizabeth herself was Jane. For she was her own original heroine who sparked the most beloved character of our literary lives.

loved how Austen choose to highlight her own views and thoughts about life, love and marriage into the backbone of her stories – especially in Pride, as Dare relates to how Austen didn’t want poverty to be overshadowed by wealth nor did she want women to be subjected to a secondary position in both marriage nor society and she had a distinct impression of interest in how a woman elected to see herself and own her own character. Those are Feminist views in an age where being a Feminist would have been quite difficult to pull off as it simply wasn’t done. And, yet we have Elizabeth Bennett. The kind of woman who is living outside the constrictures of her era and is re-writing her own rules about how love and marriage can play a role in her life. Isn’t that a testament of standing proud and tall in your choices and beliefs as much as being a protester at a rally?

I concur – Pride was never about the accumulation of wealth but it owned to the cardinal truth of our lives – even if we are not in direct pursuit of wealth but rather to become self-sustainable in finances; it is a difficult road to walk in life because of the constrains poverty can play on our lives. Money isn’t the pursued goal but is a necessary evil in which the world runs on in order to sustain the economies of all classes and economic divisions. And, therein, Austen was ahead of her time. She broke down those boundaries and barriers long before others followed suit after her – except for a few exceptions, as I am foggy if Pride predates Jane Eyre or if its the other way round. Lest I forget to mention my other beloved perennial read and world: Little Women.

It was why she choose to stand firm which endeared me most – as Dare relates, she had may pathways open to her to give her a path forward and yet, each of them were denounced or dismissed. She was not yet ready to concede and that is what makes her a heroine for any age because of how she firmly believed if you could not live life on your own terms, what then is left? And, why was there such a statement from others to infer that it is better to oblige society than to remain true to oneself?

I hadn’t remembered where obstinate headstrong girl originated – courtesy of my chronic migraines over the years since I’ve first read Pride but when it was revealled which character first spoke those words against Elizabeth, I was not readily surprised but wicked thankful this became the title of the anthology because sometimes it is better to re-define the words and phrases others choose to take us down a peg than to reverse course and try to pretend those words or phrases were never said. In other words – it is better to use definitions you choose to define yourself rather than allowing others to dictate how those definitions should attach themselves to you.

Truth: the more I learn about Mark Twain as an adult, the more I wonder what I ever saw in him in the first place as his entire diabolical statement against Austen ruffled more ire than just my raised brows! Even if he recants this a bit by a backhanded bit of praise for Pride about how Austen first infuriates her readers with the faults of her characters and then woos them into admiration by choosing to show the growth of their characters before the close of the story – I still think his first declaration was far more telling about his own nature and temperament!

One thing I knew after the foreword is simply this: I was going to LOVE the adventure of re-discovering Elizabeth as she time travelled through different incantations of her life within Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl. Wherein this would become a bit Speculative in nature towards how Elizabeth could have lived outside the Regency but also moved within it in a different way than the version we all have become anchoured inside. These are the kinds of stories which seek to re-define how we understand our own attachments to characters, the settings and worlds in which they live and how if you remove all that is familiar about them and their era – would you still recognise them?

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I had heard about the ‘foreword’ long before I heard it myself – it is not just a strong representation of this anthology of Austenesque stories – it is a keen insightful introduction into the narration styling of Ms Elizabeth Grace! You truly warm to her – how she is both approachable and entertaining, how she gives all of herself to her narration and how in the end, you know immediatley you’ve fallen over the moon for her style of performance and the anthology thereafter is going to be one enjoyably wicked listening!

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Amy D’Orazio “Resolution” |

This story begins in Chapter One with 10 hours and 33 minutes remaining.

I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.

Quoted from a passage from ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen – Chapter 56

[ time of entrance : a fortnight before the wedding ]

I had a right proper chuckle! Jane is simply beside herself and Lizzie is trying to staid off her feelings which in that moment she tried to repress as just the sight of him was sending her into a fit of fever. Yet in the height of Jane’s tirade of anxiety against her husband (Bingley) she idly mentioned how Darcy would be soon arriving and that put Lizzie in quite the fix of a mood! Of which (of course!) Jane would misconstrue the reaction of Elizabeth for she had not the fuller truth of what was emotionally percolating behind the news itself!

It was here where Grace recites a very infamous known passage of Shakespeare as it cross-relates to how Elizabeth feels towards Darcy. No truer words were ever stated. However the wedding in question is her own – not to Mr Darcy, mind but to another bloke who entered her life when Darcy seemed to have taken a hastily exit. The timeline of this narrative falls in step with Pride and Prejudice – easily re-aligning ourselves into the sisterly affection and closeness of friendship Jane and Elizabeth have always shared whilst keeping in respect with the timeline of events, such as what became of Lydia – her wayward younger sister! The diversion here is Elizabeth herself – of where she found herself a bit misunderstood and unwanted; choosing instead to focus on the attentions of another whilst carrying on with her life.

Hugh was a bit lower in status than Darcy but he had a propriety about him that others would be envious of in of himself. Still others questioned the choice Elizabeth had made in agreeing to marrying him and you gather that is an unresolved query of her own mind as time shifts forward. Especially pivotal as you observe her with Darcy once they were engaged into one of the parties these people enjoyed attending during their era. By her close placement to Darcy, Elizabeth allowed herself to replay the past, to second guess the disconnections between her and him; leaving her with a frazzled mind rather than a mood more fitting for a social party.

There is an unexpected disclosure for Elizabeth – a person she never expected to take her off-guard rightly upset her evening without even realising they were doing it. I admit, I was curious about the twist this story would take-on as I knew something would have to shake things up a bit – as short stories do have the tendency of feeling larger than themselves and that is why I love them as much as I do but this shake-up felt fittingly realistic as it was just the kind of thing I believed Austen might have approved of herself had she been alive to hear it.

The vexed state Elizabeth is found to be in due to her unresolved angst with Darcy is one of the best monologues I’ve heard because Grace etched it out slowly, giving Elizabeth her due and letting things be stated as they might have naturally shaped the course of a woman who was questioning not just her resolve but where her heart truly were to lie. She had been set on such a course and was following it through when she was jolted by an assault of memories which were not seeking her to find peace but were in effect causing her greater duress. Grace performed this as if the Lizzie of my heart were speaking the anguished words herself.

I felt so dearly emotional listening to this short story – a credit due to Grace whose voicing of Elizabeth permeated into your very soul as you heard her lamenting Elizabeth’s anguished lovelorn woes wherein we peer closer than ever to how the bridge to heal the wounds between Darcy and Elizabeth was closer than we might have first thought but further than which might be able to be reached in time to save two souls from splintering apart. And, that’s the rub you see – Elizabeth and Darcy were meant to be together and yet his pride at what he hadn’t known of being true and her prejudice against Darcy for reprimanding him for things not yet proven had shattered all hope of their unified partnership. Or, had it indeed?

Elements of Austen:

I positively loved this story! It entwined such a hearty glimmering of Austen – how D’Orazio found new entrance into this curiously well-thought out plotting between all the central lead characters of Pride is simply remarkable! She touched on so much of what I felt could have had a bit more fleshing out in the original story – little nuanced takeaways from conversations that could have sparked these same events to unfold had they been pursued (as a for instance) are what rooted me into the rhythm of how she told this story. Yet, by far, it is Elizabeth herself – who struck me the most of having grown a bit more wings since I last visited with her in Pride.

She still remains vulnerable and emotionally transparent in how she moves through the motions of the circumstances being presented to her within this second act per se towards the ‘resolution’ of the original conclusion. I very much felt Austen throughout the narration and most of what made me rally behind this story is how authentically I felt it had been told. It very much felt like a missing sequence of the original canon and that is the best compliment I can give D’Orazio.

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on why i enjoyed this first listening experience
of the elizabeth: obstinate headstrong girl audiobook:

“The beauty of this collection is hand-selecting
sequencing of story & plot point you want
to re-visit from Pride & Prejudice”

For readers in wonderment of what they will find within this collection – first and foremost, a narrator who will charm you by her presentation of the stories and secondly, the writers who have knitted out such a strong representation of Elizabeth Bennett to fool you in thinking these are the lost notes by Jane Austen herself on a beloved character who still had stories left to be told, seen and shared.

As you settle into this anthology, the joy increases tenfold per each new chapter and story Grace is narrating into your ears. It is the whole package – the writers who wrote the stories, the narrator who breathed them to life and the homage to Jane Austen; without whom none of these would have been created at all. It is a collection that makes your heart sing and your ears rejoice – it is a positive respite in an upturnt world and that is reflectively a praise I know even Austen herself would celebrate because she herself loved reading both for the pursuit of literature itself and the escape it enabled her to enjoy away from the stresses of living life.

My first foray into this collection was collected in small moments during a quite chaotic week where I was constantly shifting with the tides of life and the crises as they arose – disappearing into the narrator’s voice and letting her take me away into the Regency and into a new world lit anew by the curiosity of one writer lamenting about her love of Austen (ie. Tessa Dare) and one writer who reinvented a portion of my beloved Classic Pride and Prejudice. I could not give it more than I did this week and yet I feel like I was the one who was gifted far more in return than what I could give back myself. For that, my soul is refreshed and my heart is beyond elated for this beautiful discovery of the latest edition of a Quill Collective anthological respun edition of Jane Austen’s canon.

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In regards to the audiobook, directly:

About Elizabeth Grace

Elizabeth Grace

Originally from the East Midlands in the UK, Elizabeth Grace now lives in South London (via two years in Amsterdam). She is a full-time actor, voice over artist, and narrator.

Elizabeth began her professional performing career a little later in life and has been studying at Identity School of Acting in London since 2019. Prior to that, she had a career agency side in Marketing which explains her penchant for client services.

Since 2019, she has been growing her professional portfolio on top of the amateur theatre work she began in her formative years. She has now been a part of many projects from short films and web series to audio dramas and audiobook narration.

I am appreciative of Ms Jess providing a cursory outline of how best to articulate my listening hours on behalf of this audiobook and the others I shall be blogging about or reviewing in future. I’ve modified the suggestions to what I felt were pertinent to respond too on my own behalf as well as keeping to the questions I felt were relevant to share.

Number of Times I’ve heard the Narrator(s):

This is my second and a half time listening to an anthology about Jane Austen’s novels and it is also my first time listening to a Elizabeth Grace audiobook. As I originally delcared when I reviewed Rational Creatures I would love to start listening to more Classical stories – but as such, a time has not yet presented itself to where I can lay heart, mind and ear to the stories. Until I discovered a free trial via Audible as forementioned on this post.

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

In regards to the Foreword :

[on voicing the words of Tessa Dare] Grace gave such an interpersonal narration of Dare’s words, I felt connected heart and soul to those declarations of one reader’s ardent search to give voice to why Austen and her stories have sustained interest for her throughout her life and how in particular it is Pride and Prejudice which has remained a fervent favourite of the lot. I connected to so much of this side of the audiobook (per my own reactions on this post, but even more left unsaid) and that has a lot to do with Grace herself – who at times I felt could co-relate to Dare as much as I was myself.

It was how she put emotion into the words and the ways in which Dare was articulating her own thoughts on behalf of the topic she wanted to explore ahead our own disappearances into the anthology which I felt both heightened this listening experience and grounded us in the breadth of the collection itself. Of such, I could consistently re-listen to this and draw out new takeaways!

Amy D’Orazio “Resolution” :

[Lizzie] and [Jane] are stepping back into my purview as if they were always set there with their intense conversations and their sisterly affection for one another. Even if they did not always understand the other in the moments of emotional duress they championed their closeness by remaining evermore in confidence of each other. Elizabeth’s voice has a line of uncertainty within it in this story, of how she is at first confident of her choices but then, a bit hesitative about them – wondering in part if she made the right choice after all. Whereas with Jane, she has started to feel the pressures of marriage and the balancing act a wife must endure with society obligations. Their voices were a match for me and how they presented themselves felt as if this were a hidden chapter of the original story.

[Mr Darcy] he sounds quite a bit younger in this story; not that is entirely bad. His voice simply took me a bit off-guard as it was a different voice than I had marked a fixture of familiarity for Darcy. Yet as the story played on, portions of his dialogue and of his manner took over my misgivings about how his voice sounded and I was readily charmed by his presence in a similar fashion as I always am!

[Bingley] has the same spirited spirit about him I expected to find and I loved that about him! Bingley is the unsung hero of Pride and he is once again the champion within this tale no one expects, too!

How the story sounded to me as it was being Read: (theatrical or narrative)

It is a spoken narrative performance but the depths in which Grace can ink out of this kind of performance is a mark of her depth as an narrator and as an actress. She can take the words and re-twist them into a performance that not just articulates its message and the heart of what is meant to be seen and heard by the reader (ie. listener) but she endeavours you to see past those lines and to re-attach what is being said into your own heart and mind. I love whenever I find a performance like this one because it becomes such an interpersonal experience!

Regards to Articulation & Performance of the story:

Her articulation of the words is top notch and her ability to recite monologue is amongst my favourites out of all the ones I’ve heard save Jake Urry and Kim Bretton who are her equals. Whilst it is how she can shift voices and accents – between characters and give you this representation of a wider world beyond the scope of how each story is rooted in step with Elizabeth Bennett. She gives you the impression this is an ensemble cast not a one woman performance and that in of itself is also a benefit of her experience as both an actress and as a narrator; as not everyone can pull this off at this caliber of a deliverance.

The ways in which she punctuates the characters voices gives you full merit of having the whole cast playing in your mind’s eye and of seeing them not just ‘hearing’ them as they go through their entrances and exits in the stories themselves. I cannot speak higher on behalf of her performance!

Except to say, this Elizabeth was bourne to bring Elizabeth Bennett to life!

Notes on the Quality of Sound & the Background Ambiance:

The sound quality is perfection and there isn’t too many extra bits in the background to provide the ambiance – at least, not from the sections and portions of the audiobook I was listening too. I didn’t even think they were warranted – Grace’s voice is all you need to transport yourself into Jane Austen’s world of Pride and Prejudice as it is both respun and rewritten through these after canon stories by the writers in the anthology. Mind you, I haven’t yet stepped outside that world myself as I have only completed listening to the first story but in of itself it is an experience not to miss!

Preference after listening to re-Listen or pick up the book in Print?

My original declaration remains true from what I shared after hearing Rational Creatures: I had such a delightful time inside this audiobook, I desire to continue forward with the rest of the Quill Collective series of anthological stories rooted in Jane Austen’s Regency. As I’m able to gather more of them, I’ll be adding them to my Audible library – whilst the few which are not yet released into audiobooks, I endeavour to hope one day they might become available.

In closing, would I seek out another Elizabeth Grace audiobook?

Most definitely, yes! If my gushing and singing of her praises was not enough confirmation – I hereby re-declare she is my top favourite new discovery to have a narrator in my ears who gives me a sweetened burst of joy to hear and disappear into the world she’s created for me to listen. If she does more Quill Collective anthologies OR if she does more work inside Classical Lit – all the better! I need a bibliography at this point because I am over the moon delighted I’ve found her style and her ability to intuit a story into a living performance of its heart.

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 This blog tour is courtesy of Christina Boyd

and The Quill Collective:

Elizabeth Obstinate Headstrong Girl blog tour banner provided by Christina Boyd and is used with permission.

Be sure to follow the blog tour route to see what else awaits you!

As I am the final stop on the audio blog tour – kindly follow these links:
*hint, hint* – there is a giveaway to be found along the route!

Austenesque Reviews | Excerpts read aloud by Elizabeth Grace

From Pemberley to Milton | Excerpts read aloud by Elizabeth Grace

Interests from a Jane Austen Girl | Extract
from “The Uncommonly Busy Lane to Longbourn”

My Jane Austen Book Club | Interview with Elizabeth Grace

Austen Through the Ages | Excerpt from “Resistive Currents” via SoundCloud

Savvy Verse & Wit | Interview with Elizabeth GraceFun Stuff for Your Blog via

Late breaking news:
(as Jorie forgot to mention this previously!)

#SatBookChat logo badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Join us on 3rd October, 2020 for #SatBookChat!

@ 11a NYC | 4p UK

Our featured guest is Christina Boyd

& we’ll be discussing “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl”!

*there will be a giveaway during this chat

Follow @SatBookChat, use our tag to join the convo!

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Listening to this audiobook counted towards my 2020 reading goals:

2020 HistFic Reading Challenge banner created by Jorie in Canva.2020 Audiobook Challenge badge created by Jorie in Canva.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

{SOURCES: Book Cover for “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl”, the biography and photograph of Elizabeth Grace and Christina Boyd, the link to the SoundCloud Audio Sampler as well as the blog tour banner were provided by Christina Boyd @ The Quill Collective and are used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. All passages from “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen can be quoted and used on a blog due to the fact the work is in the public domain as long as attribution is given to the quotation used. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Review banner, HisFic Reading Challenge 2020 banner, 2020 Audiobook Challenge banner, #SatBookChat badge, Conversations with the Bookish banner, Audio Extract badge;  7th Annual Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards badge (using Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo) and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 5 September, 2020 by jorielov in After the Canon, Anthology Collection of Stories, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Classical Literature, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Jane Austen Sequel, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Short Stories or Essays

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18 responses to “Audiobook Blog Tour especially for #Janeites & #Austenites | A mini Review and a Conversation about “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl” (Vol.5: the Quill Collective, series) narrated by Elizabeth Grace

  1. Christina Boyd

    Mary Campbell was the random winner from the drawing for the Amazon gift card. Thank you all for joining in the conversation and following the tour.

  2. Oh my word, Jorie! This review is beyond what I could have expected. Your words are so incredibly kind and comforting to me as a newish narrator in this industry. I feel completely loved and bolstered and will be thinking of you while I creating my next projects. Honestly, it was such a pleasure to narrate these stories, they are individual beauties and it has been so eye opening to see how these authors can stay so true to Austen’s original masterpiece while inserting their own personalities into them.

    My new goal is to not let you down and continue to produce narrations that you can enjoy and hopefully ease some of the stress you are experiencing at home of late.

    Thank you so much again, I am thrilled, delighted, over the moon and all the other expressions of joy you can think of!

  3. Buturot

    Thanks for hosting. This is my first time on this blog. This is a thorough interview. Eager to listen to this book esp narated by Ms Grace

    • Hallo, Hallo!

      I am so thankful to have received so many lovely notes on behalf of my review & interview for the Elizabeth: OHG blog tour! All of you made my week a bit sweeter by leaving me such wonderful lovely notes!! Welcome to my blog and I am thankful you visited with me – so happy know this was your first time! I wanted to let you know I had forgotten to include information about my @SatBookChat featured guest for 3rd of October! All details are now on the post, however its Christina Boyd! You are cordially invited to join us – the chat is on Twitter via the tag #SatBookChat. I hope you’d might like to attend the chat? There is going to be a giveaway during it too.

      I hope you’ve been enjoying the other stops along the tour. May you have a wonderful week yourself.

  4. KateB

    What a great interview and post, thanks for sharing it. I loved all the stories in this Anthology and the narration was amazing. I agree with Elizabeth Grace on the character of Darcy in Resistive Currents, she performed his personality beautifully. Congratulations.

    • Hallo, Hallo Kate,

      The pleasure was mine to give – I love hosting interviews, from authors, narrators, editors, publishers – even actors! I need to sort out a way to compile them all into an index as I’ve had the pleasure of hosting so many lovely creatives over the past seven years. Each time it is a heart lift for me to be able to bring those conversations to my blog and to wider audience of my readers and visitors alike. The best bit about conversing with narrators is how they each have a different approach to the craft of narrating the stories. I love learning more about their world as a narrator and am so thankful you’ve enjoyed this convo from that perspective yourself.

      I can’t wait to get into “Resistive Currents” and the other stories in the collection Ms Grace was discussing – I didn’t get to add feedback myself on her remarks as I didn’t get into those as of yet myself. I’ll be doing a re-direct to this convo once I post my final review for the collection (towards the end of the month or start of October). I shall be keenly curious to see what you’ve mentioned and what she talked about too.

      I had forgotten to include information about my @SatBookChat featured guest for 3rd of October! All details are now on the post, however its Christina Boyd! You are cordially invited to join us – the chat is on Twitter via the tag #SatBookChat. I hope you’d might like to attend the chat? I hope others who’ve heard the collection will attend as it will help bring more reactions into the discussion as much as it will help others who haven’t heard it decide if its a good fit for them too.

      Be sure to stay attune to my blog and social feeds on Twitter – as I will announce when the next review for Elizabeth: OHG will go live! Thanks for giving me such a wonderful note and for following the tour route! All these comments this week have been a lift of spirits for me.

  5. Mary McCoy

    Wow, the other stops on this blog tour were great but this one blew the others away! Thanks for all of your questions and insights!

      • Blown off your socks, eh?

        I definitely need to get knitty and learn how to knit them now! lol Seriously, though, ever since the pandemic began I have wished a local yarn store would offer sock lessons – even if they were in a kit you could either pick up curbside or have mailed to you. I’ve just had a serious hankering to learn how to do socks but they are so very befuddling to learn how to knit! Hence why I’ve been perfecting friendship and prayer shawls since I started knitting. I was truly thankful seeing all your lovely replies populating on this post – it must have given everyone such wonderful joy to see your replies!! I know it made me smile!! Plus, I loved how you shared your personality in all of the notes, too! Thanks for swinging by and adding to the joy of what this blog tour has given me.

    • Hallo, Hallo Mary,

      I am truly grateful for your visit on the blog tour! Your words and praise along with Ms Grace truly touched my heart with joy! I am so thankful my words resonated with you as I shared my reactions as I was listening to the audiobook. I always hope for this kind of reaction but I do not always receive the comments under my reviews to know how my words are touching the reader who finds my blog. Thank you for giving me such a wonderful boost of joy reading your kind note! It was warmly received on a week I was shifting out of a lot of personal stress. I had a lot of joy writing this post as it helped to re-align and re-talk about a topic that is near and dear to my heart!!! So happy you’ve enjoyed your stay on my blog.

      I had forgotten to include information about my @SatBookChat featured guest for 3rd of October! All details are now on the post, however its Christina Boyd! You are cordially invited to join us – the chat is on Twitter via the tag #SatBookChat. I hope you’d might like to attend the chat and there will be a giveaway during it. Plus it will be fun to geek out over Jane Austen and this audiobook!

      Thank you again for your beautiful note of praise!!

  6. Marsha

    I was so impressed with the narrator of Elizabeth Head Strong Girl (Elizabeth Grace) I read and listen to many books from all types of genres and I put her right up there with Stevie Zimmerman who is my current favorite narrator. This is a must listen book.❤️

    • Hallo, Hallo Marsha!

      Thank you for visiting with me on the #OMGItsOHG blog tour! (smiles) I was truly uplifted by seeing your lovely note when I woke and found so many comments awaiting me!! Whenever I am gushing over a story I’ve felt a personal connection too I am hopeful something I’ve said on its behalf will resonate with readers & visitors of Jorie Loves A Story. It was wicked wonderful finding out that you *loved!* this audiobook as much as I am starting to myself!! I am going to be listening to the rest of the collection throughout September before I conclude my final review of the audiobook towards the end of the month or early October. As I had forgotten to include information about my @SatBookChat featured guest for 3rd of October! All details are now on the post, however its Christina Boyd! You are cordially invited to join us – the chat is on Twitter via the tag #SatBookChat. I think you’d love to attend the chat as you’ve heard the collection yourself and you could add to the discussion we’ll be sharing.

      I haven’t heard of Stevie Zimmerman previously and will have to seek out her audiobooks to get a feel for her narration. I have a shortlist myself of favourite narrators – wherein Ms Grace is the latest name to be added. I have a tendency to prefer narrators with accents (smirks) and more than a few of my favourites are from the UK. Do you have a story to recommend to me narrated by Ms Zimmerman? I read eclectically myself – I don’t enjoy explicit violence/language, but I love Historical Fiction, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Classical Lit, Romance & Women’s Fiction. Let me know if some of her stories she’s narrated you’d think might be a good fit for me. I’ll see if their on Scribd and/or available through one of my libraries via OverDrive and/or CloudLibrary.

      Thanks for conversing with me and following the blog tour!

      PS: I am listening to a new narration for “Persuasion” this month as well as an abridged version of “The Secret Garden” – all courtesy of the new audiobooks via NetGalley. If you like either be sure to watch for news of those reviews via my blog and/or my social feeds on Twitter (@joriestory).

  7. Christina Boyd

    Thank you for the time invested to craft this blog post especially with your personal life so taxing. I hope your parents’ health improves.

    That is an awesome interview. I learned so much about British voice actor and her journey during these strange times.

    My favorite part of your review, how you key in how her (Elizabeth Grace, narrator) makes it seem like an ensemble cast rather than a one woman performance!

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Boyd,

      The joy was mine to give back to you, Ms Dare and to the authors on the collection itself. I can’t wait to write a fuller review exploring my reactions to the rest of the audiobook. Since this went live we’ve been adjusting to all the upheaval of the past week and weekend. I took some much needed time offline to rest and get over my own illness which I think was caused by the stresses of the former week. The time I give my blog is always a labour of love – I always strive to blog honestly and intentionally try to articulate the thoughts a story or in this case a series of stories in an anthology spark out of my reading or listening of them. I found Tessa Dare quite extraordinary for sparking discussion and for allowing all of us to contemplate what she had contemplated herself and then, sort through our own thoughts on the same subjects. Her essay was brilliant as a lead-in to this collection. Whereas with the first story, I felt it was a fitting opener because it takes you back into the world of Pride but gives you a wholly new experience of that world even if a lot of it is quite familiar, it is not too familiar in the regard that the twists included made it a delightful new discovery for me.

      I love interviewing narrators – they give such wonderful insight into how they can draw life to characters simply out of how they approach narrating their stories. It is a wonderful portrait of a narrator, I agree, because of how Ms Grace responded to the questions!

      Thank you, Ms Boyd for your lovely compliment – yes, I thought it was important that potential listeners now this was narrated like an ensemble cast and not simply one woman giving voice and presence to different characters where it might have come off like a one woman play. This felt richer somehow for how she narrated it and the depth she was able to achieve is top notch. Again, I cannot wait to resume my listenings of the book and then, towards the end of September reveal more of my ruminations on its behalf. Thank you for giving me this chance to listen to the book itself and for connecting me with Ms Grace through this interview. I truly loved being on this blog tour!

      PS: I awoke this morning to four new comments on my blog – all of which are on this post!

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