Genre: Romance Fiction

*Book Review*: Love At First Slight by J. Marie Croft

Posted Monday, 16 December, 2013 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Love At First Slight by J. Marie CroftLove at First Slight by J. Marie Croft 

Author’s Pin(terest) Boards:
Love At First Slight +
Textaisles

Genre(s): Fiction | Romance | Historical

| Regency | Jane Austen Sequel

Published by: Meryton Press, 1 November 2013

Available Format: Paperback | Page Count: 270


Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a stop on “Love At First Slight” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by Meryton Press. I received a complimentary copy of “Love At First Slight”  in exchange for an honest review by the publisher Meryton Press. The book released on 1st November 2013. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. This marks my first review for Meryton Press!

My connection to the Author & the Novel:

Originally you might recall, I took part in the Book Cover Reveal for this novel on the 30th of August, 2013. I had received a curious email from the original publisher Rhemalda Press expressing interest of book bloggers who wanted to share the joy of the forthcoming release by J. Marie Croft. Having dipped into the Regency this year through participation of August in August, whereupon I re-read my beloved Pride and Prejudice whilst hinged to September’s Classics Re-Told Reading Challenge! I must confess I was deeply curious about which direction Ms. Croft would spin her tale of Darcy & Elizabeth knowing full well the tides were tipped askew as in this rendition of the story “Darcy” was meant to be a lass named Elizabeth, wherein making the “Bennett” a “William”! A flip on heel after canon seemed rather fitting of a story to follow on the foot heels of having read the original! Or, thus I rather thought would be a rather splendid reading!

With the closure of Rhemalda Press in a rather abrupt motion, I was in the dark as far as the pre-promised stop on the blog book tour which as of mid-September was no longer set to happen! I realised the news whilst opening up the former Press website reading on their behalf the letter they had publicly released. I quickly contacted Ms. Croft, to infer my disheartened heart on her behalf, as although I had wanted to read her story I felt grievously worse for her as her book was now in stasis! At the very same moment, I learnt her book had then been picked up by Meryton Press, which delighted me over the very moon in excitement! I was celebrating whole-heartedly the good fortune of having this novel picked up so quickly!

From that moment forward, I have been in the background waiting to see Love At First Slight grow wings and lift off into reader’s hands! I patiently waited word that the book was being released in print and would be available to receive in exchange for an honest review by those of us who had previously been in contact with Rhemalda were given the option to review for Meryton! Over the course of the months (September through December), the author and I have exchanged a few notes whereupon the seed of friendship had been planted. As she was one of the first who saw the name of my blog and fully understood the cheeky humour which is contained therein! I look forward to watching this book grab hold of readers hearts as much as I look forward to knowing Ms. Croft a bit better in the future! How blessed am I for this experience! And, yes, the book is in my hands at long last!


Synopsis of the story:

“It may not be universally acknowledged,
but the unvarnished truth is that a young widow
in possession of a good fortune is not necessarily in want of another husband.”

In this humorous, topsy-turvy Pride & Prejudice variation, all the gender roles are reversed. It is Mr. Bennet’s greatest wish to see his five sons advantageously married. When the haughty Miss Elizabeth Darcy comes to Netherfield with the Widow Devonport nee Bingley, speculation—and prejudice—runs rampant.

William Bennet, a reluctant and irreverent future reverend, catches Miss Darcy’s eye even though he is beneath her station. However, his opinion of her was fixed when she slighted him at the Meryton Assembly. As her ardour grows, so does his disdain, and when she fully expects to receive an offer of marriage, he gives her something else entirely ….

J. Marie Croft
Photo Credit: Glane Gorveatt
J. Marie Croft lives in Nova Scotia and divides her time among working at a music lesson centre, geocaching (a high-tech treasure hunt) with her husband, and writing. Her stories are lighthearted; and her tag line is Jane Austen’s quote, “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” A member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (Canada), she admits to being excessively attentive to the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Adult twin daughters are the light of her life even though they don’t appreciate Mr. Darcy the way ‘Momzie” does. She can be contacted at her website: J. Marie Croft

A most curiously familiar cast of characters:

For readers who consider themselves Janeites &/or Austenites, the curious familiarity of the cast of characters found in Love At First Slight, will by no means be found as daunting to unravel as someone entering this lovely Regency world for the first time! The players, of whom, you are most apt to want to keep track off from the jump-start will be as follows:  (counterpart characters are next to their names!)

Benjamin & Flora Bennett – parents of five unmarried, unattached singletons (all male heirs!): Martin (Mary) the studious and oppressively observant elder brother who finds himself befit siblings of social reproach!; Charles (Jane) the loveable sibling who chooses to see the world as an optimist; William (Elizabeth) a bit jaded and indifferent to society’s constrictions; and twins! Laurence and Christopher taking up the rear! (clearly of whom reek more of Lydia’s faults than the sense of Kitty) Uniquely in this spin, its Benjamin not Flora who is consumed by ill-fated nerves of seeing his sons married, which puts the weight of their betrothals on a father rather than a mother! She, in turn, takes her cue from the original Mr. Bennett having a preference for solidarity, reading, and staying outside the sphere of the social specter!

The Lucases (Sir William & Lady Lucas) – parents of  Marcus & Clarence are the Bennett’s rivals for marriage!

The Gardiners – are still involved in the story, though this time a sad referee of knowledge for the Bennett brothers, knowing that even if their heart’s lie in opposite fields of choice, they are each meant to acquire their own livings based on the lot they were given to achieve. The Gardiners happily are still the winsome supporters of their nephews!

Elizabeth Darcy – in lieu of FitzWilliam, gives her earnest début as a woman with as much of an affront on country society as her affable counterpart! She lends the impression of being stalwart stubborn in both extolling her position whilst interacting with others as much as her own countenance.

Jane (Bingley) Devonport – in lieu of Charles is a widow in this after canon, who is determined to take up residence at Netherfield Hall. She, like him before her, has a delicate heart and an innocence of life which is what draws each to their respective heart’s desire.

Casper & Leonard Bingley – are decidedly worse than their original counterparts as they are oppressively snobbish and prejudicial of their peers!

Miss Olivia Collins, sister of William Collins  – an obtusely droll sister who does her counterpart well in her appearance! Except that she has a streak of humility not afforded Mr. Collins (of Pride), to where she gives a glimpse of her softened repose of a woman most in want of a husband. Her pursuit is more of a natural yearning to be part of a union of a complimentary couple rather than the sole pursuit of many of her age. She is of course prone to tone out propriety and settle for long examinations of ramblings no one else has quite the ear towards hearing!

William Collins – (first Cousin of Mr. Bennett) being the clergy under the coattails of Sir Lewis de Bourgh of Rosings Park, is a necessary inclusion.

Miss Felicity Wickham – the wickedly devious bane of Miss Darcy’s existence, of whom could only bring a blight of misery on the Bennett’s! If parallel worlds were compliant she would be the other Wickham’s evil twin! Thus far as to say, they both had the perfect presence for inserting themselves into people’s lives for the pure exulting measure of advancing their own interests!

One happy coincidence the reader will notice most surely is how clever the choices in names, Ms. Croft bestowed on her characters! For Jane fell in love with Charles Bingley in the original Pride and Prejudice, and here, she is widowed by a ‘Bingley’, or rather a ‘Jane’ is widowed by one such fellow! Ha! Using William as the character to go up against Elizabeth is rather classic, if you consider outfitting this William as a Deacon meant to be a Cleric as more mirth and folly than one could hope be afforded! Charles Bingley’s name is donned by the love of his life Jane’s retold character in this story! Little curious oddities and irrepressible delights start this story off on the right footing!

Gathering my wits and alighting into Netherfield:

I regret that my plans to become acquainted with after canons this year, failed in the regard that I was not able to construct the time needed in either August or September for proper readings! Therefore, I am going in a bit blind with this reading as to know how others’ have handled their variations and versions of Pride and Prejudice. I can attest that the humour wrought through the storyline is a bit out of the reach of Jane Austen, as I think she might have blushed by some of the satire for the bluntly common joviality! However, I find Croft’s cheekily woven humour to light a bit of a punch and edge into a story that is as well-known as this, to effectively change the story to where it’s nearly its own tale altogether!

Having said that, it still remains true to how most of Pride plays out, as it is William who must walk over field and meadow in the mud to seek the condition of his ailing brother Charles (rather than Elizabeth seeking Jane!), only to find as a gobsmacked surprise in having Elizabeth (Darcy!) sympathise with his endearing nature to be with his brother, verse the discontentment of the Bingley brothers who felt most put out! From this timeless exchange of familial respect between the respective families, we find Croft venturing into new territory. Your not expecting to find one character smitten by the other, nor to have each of the characters observed in ways of which were not seen in the original. I like how Croft manages to breathe new life into a story all of us have come to know as our own. It lends itself a bit of a mystery as to where the characters are meant to entreat as much as striving to give the reader a new line of suspense upon the ending chapters! I must admit, whilst reading of Elizabeth’s wanton remarks on reflection of William, I nearly saw her inner voice rather than her outer countenance of an upper-class snob! Methinks perhaps this is a bit of a ploy on the author’s part to see how far a reader is willing to go as far as to suspend their own judgement (à la prejudice) towards Elizabeth, as she in full effect is replacing everyone’s beloved FitzWilliam! As for my own mind (and heart!) I like to travel a bit further into the heart of a story before formulating an opinion one way or the other, as far as knowing the true merit of a person’s character and the conviction of their actions as they are relayed.

If I can be so bold as to say, this version of Netherfield is like walking through a time portal to jaunt yourself into an alternative version of the place you last left your feet! You might look around, noticing bits and bobbles of what is already known, but at the very same time, everything appears to be a bit different, a bit off or left of center from whence you where here previously. In those little grievances of change, you start to realise that you’re seeing the familiar in a whole new dimension that is both invigorating and confusing! It takes a bit to draw your bearings, but once you do, I’d be plumb aghast if another reader hadn’t found herself (or himself) in step with this Netherfield as readily as a viewer could step through the portal known as “Lost in Austen”.

My Review of Love At First Slight:

As you fingers pull open the pages of a beloved story’s after canon, re-envisioned in a wholly new and plausible set of circumstances which start to alight in your mind’s eye as though your only re-entering a dance you had sat out the last set of; you’ll find yourself readily acquainted with the key players, with a lurking suspicion that even as they are familiar, there is a measure of freshness to their embodiment! They might speak in the same language of the age, they might even ring true their incarnated spirits of their originals, but wherein you find the familiar, there is a level of wanton choice to make these characters stand on their own laurels. As the story first reveals itself to you, a nod of a notice is given to the author whose passion for Austen’s style of romance is clearly evident as is her ability to convey her own spin on the previous writer’s incantation of a woman too prejudice and of a man too proud! I oft felt they both exchanged their own vices, and theirs was a story of how pride and prejudice towards those you barely know can lead you in such extraordinary corridors of choice!

Therein lies the departure, as Love At First Slight, stands on its own feet as a story of unpredictable turns at moments when even the reader was the last one to suspect the avenues ventured! There is a craft to willing a reader to circumvent their own perceptions of a story, as your only able to base your stances on what you read as a story is read. In this, lies a territory for jostling with the reader’s heart! Yet, it is artistry to switch the tables on gender-specific roles both in structure of story as much as in dialogue. Subtle changes in who originates which bit of speech, and yet, in lieu of a lady for a gent, the ability to ascertain the intent behind the structure changes in one fluid motion! And, of course, the reverse is equally as true!

Without the worriment over an entail due to a lack of a male heir, Croft had disentangled the one key ingredient Austen had left inside the story to dig deeper into the woe of marriage for five unwed singletons. Seeing the story play out to befit men rather than ladies, I admit proved to be a unique glimpse into another side of living altogether. It’s not only a reversal of gender, but of status, and the perception of status therein. The stage in which the story is set ebbs along with the changes to where even the secondary characters start to act outside of their spheres!

Longbourn was never more appealing of a visitation as it is in this story. There is a key observation made on Mr. Bennett’s behalf in the opening passages of Chapter 1, Volume II. The ingenuity of the comparison Croft gave in this section was as befitting as Mrs. Bennett in the original! How I applaud clever observations by giving examples such as the one I had for Taking Root in Provence, where I used a latte to guide my expression of the narrative therein! Giving a bit of reality to the mannerisms of a character bent towards the extreme is a cheeky way of representing them, I do believe! All the lovely little quirks that befall the Bennett family are still inside this tale of their residence at Longbourn. By the time this section of the novel is reached you nearly suspend all logic that there were a version of filt with females rather than excitable males! Three cheers for Croft for having a seamless transition! I also loved how she inserted a passion for Shakespeare by borrowing key references which befit scenes, dialogue, and character with such alacrity as to be struck as natural!

Getting caught up in the everyday jovial notions of Regency life is quite easier when a writer abides the time to include them in their narrative! Croft excels at giving out little bobbles of the Regency, as she doesn’t flout over trivialities but rather revels in them! Your taken abreast of everything you would see, smell, hear, taste, and bear in Regency society! To where I find this exploit of Austenesque literature to be on every Janeite’s shelf of pleasure!

A Special Note on Darcy & William:

One of the attractions for me whilst reading the original Pride and Prejudice is the vexation of having two people who feel transfixed by their oppositional personalities, come to terms with their attraction for one another. In this story, we see the underpinnings of attraction alighting through new circumstances and interjections of dialogue not yielded into view in the original. In this, we can celebrate that at the very heart and nature of a Darcy | Bennett connection there are the under-threadings of wickedly decisive and independently strong individuals who are not used to bending as a willow to give someone the proper chance to fall in love with them. Compromise to them is as devastating as becoming an invalid through illness! The sparring between them in this narrative is as delightful as the first square-off I saw them in when their roles were in reverse! I think it’s always a champion idea to pit would-be couples at odds with each other in a story where your attempting to focus on not only the strong of will but the strength of individual character. Not everyone is always prepared to enter into a betrothal if they feel they have to yield past the point of what they are willing give as concession to another in the relationship. When two strong-minded souls first start to butt heads, I do believe, its in that chance happenstance of a moment they are either going to end up parting company OR they are going become married with the knowledge their relationship will be full of fire and smouldering affections thereafter!

What I most appreciated was the sincerity of William’s appreciation for the natural world around him! Like Lizzy before him, he was as determined to remember where he walked and where he lived as much as she had! They each were attune to the natural environs in ways where their peers would readily forsake the realm for Town! Earthly in sport and of a belief where finding a balance between work and play is a necessity rather than an off-handed foray of play, I found William to be boldly different from FitzWilliam! As I find William a Lord of the Manor, of whom would toil more in the grit of the soil and in the caring of the fields moreso than FitzWilliam, of whom I always felt would delegate the everyday work load. William is ruggedly attached to the land and to preserving the history of how the land has been maintained. In direct comparison, FitzWilliam was more apt to be a caretaker-in-arms, standing guard and overseeing the management of the estate from an executive position. Herein lies the appeal of both characters and the point of perspectives they bring to their roles!

Elizabeth on the other hand is decidedly trickier to get a feel for as she is curious kept cleverly from the reader’s view. Little humanistic qualities peek out in-between the sequences of her interactions, but the true heart of her mind and being are as much of a mystery for the reader as they are for William!

An affection for words, this writer gives to all of thee:

Croft chooses to take the reader to higher grounds of literary enlightenment by her carefully selected words and turns of phrase contained within the pages of Love At First Slight. The entitlement of her novel is a clever twist on the original, but it’s how she chooses to infuse her character’s mannerisms, quirky natures, and expressions of personality that sets her a bit apart from other authors. She’s one of the true wordsmiths who is as giddy about lesser known verbs, adjectives, and nouns as I am! I can see she must have amassed quite the library of dictionaries and thesauruses too! The words may not easily tip-off the tongue but they endeavour even the causal reader to sit up and take stock of what the writer is entreating to teach them! Let the language of the novel inspire a bit of wordplay in all of us, celebrating the depth of the English language and the heart of a Regency romance!

This blog book tour stop was courtesy of Meryton Press,

due check out my upcoming bookish events!

Cross-listed to be included in:

Classics Re-Told badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Cas Cornelissen (Public Domain : Unsplash).

Thank you for your patience in awaiting this review. Illness forestalled its presence!

I am thus far intrigued with Croft’s prose in the world of Pride and Prejudice,

that I took it upon myself to ILL “Mr. Darcy Takes the Plunge”!

Love at First Slight
by J. Marie Croft
Source: Direct from Publisher

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Romance Fiction, After Canons, Historical Romance


Published by Meryton Press

Format: Paperback

Pages: 270

{SOURCES: Author photograph of J. Marie Croft & Book Synopsis given originally by Rhemalda Press, used again with permission of author in this review as both are still current for press purposes. Book Cover for Meryton Press edition of Love At First Slight given by author and used by permission. Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee Designs to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Classics Re-Told badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Cas Cornelissen (Public Domain : Unsplash).}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

Related Articles:

Guest Post: A Tale of Two Publishers or What the Dickens? – (indiejane.org)

Interview of J. Marie Croft, Author of Love At First Slight – (liedermadchen.blogspot.com)

Love At First Slight – J. Marie Croft: The Love At First Slight Book Club – (thesecretunderstandingofthehearts.blogspot.com)

Book Review: Love At First Slight by J. Marie Croft – (liedermadchen.blogspot.com)

Guest Post by J. Marie Croft – (leatherboundreviews.blogspot.com)

(Guest Post) Mr. Haughty-Pants Darcy vs. J. Marie Croft – (moreagreeablyengaged.blogspot.com)

Divider

Posted Monday, 16 December, 2013 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Classics Re-Told: 19th Century & Gothic Classics, England, Historical Fiction, Jane Austen Sequel, Meryton Press, Pride & Prejudice Re-telling, Re-Told Tales, Reading Challenges, Regency Era, Romance Fiction, Sequel Authors

Walking in Miss Elizabeth Bennett’s shoes,…my thoughts on “Pride & Prejudice” by Jane Austen

Posted Monday, 16 September, 2013 by jorielov , , 8 Comments

Parajunkee DesignsPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen | originally entitled: First Impressions, written approx. during October 1796 – August 1797, at age one and twenty| Austen herself re-titled the manuscript, having made revisions to the story in 1811 and 1812. |originally enscribed as written: By the Author of “Sense and Sensibility”

Published by: Whitehall , in January 1813 | originally published in America as Elizabeth Bennett or Pride & Prejudice in 1832

Page Count: 490 | originally spilt into three volumes of a whole [based on the edition I am reading: Barnes & Noble Collector’s Library: pocket-sized unabridged edition]

[side note: I wish I could have collected more of these at the time! As I only was able to pick up the pocket edition of Dickens Oliver Twist, before they pulled these from the shelves!]

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: This is quite a good question, as I know I purchased it at Barnes & Noble at some point, but as to when and how or why, I yield that my memory is a bit fragmented! I only remember taking it off my shelf originally to read ahead of the [2005] adaptation that was soon in theaters, and I feared I would not finish it in time!

On why I choose this to be my first reading, for Austen in August an annual reading challenge hosted by Roof Beam Reader: I wanted to begin at the beginning of my experience with Ms. Austen, and that meant going back to my original choice of Pride and Prejudice, as I was thoroughly enchanted by the notion of the story, long before it ever populated in my mind! You will find that this is a ready experience that repeats itself in my reading adventures! Books and motion pictures walk hand-in-hand in my life, despite the fact that I am generally a purist, in wanting to read the book prior to watching the motion picture and/or limiting myself to which sequel authors I want to become engaged in reading, as I always feel they should honour the canon.

I originally planned to read my coveted collection of Austen novels, as I had purchased the full set of her works out of a book club I have long since forgotten which I was a member of [this goes back to when mail-order book clubs were all the rage in the mid-to-late ’90s], as they had such wonderful cover art featured on each volume! It was a gift to myself to celebrate my birthday one year in my twenties, and I wanted it as a counter-balance to the lovely set of Sense and Sensibility books my Mum had gifted to me around the same time frame! She had found an exclusively lovely edition of the novel, as well as the full screenplay and story of how the adaptation of 1995 had been produced. It was my intent to read the book, then the screenplay, and lead into watching the motion picture! Alas! I had to give in to the fact that my mind couldn’t yet settle into Austen’s brilliant prose, and I tabled the idea for awhile. Then, a few years went past, and in 2005 on the foot heels of Keira Knightley’s version of Pride about to hit theaters, I was quite determined to get into Jane Austen! I picked up this lovely pocket edition from Barnes & Noble, [as much as I prefer indies, my area has none!] as I am forever attached to the original cloth-bound pocket editions of centuries past! I love the comfortable ease to hold the tomes, as much as it feels like I am reading as readers read in a different age than the one I am living in myself! Therefore, with this new version in hand [daresay, how many editions do most end up collecting?], I embarked on completing the novel before the motion picture left the theater! A full fortnight passed, and I was anxiously worried that the film might leave our cineplex, only to be relieved that it hadn’t and I promptly found myself elated by what was unfolding in front of me! As it began, I noted the creative liberties, but I also had the re-collective memories of what I had read, as it nearly felt for the first half of the film, that I was both reading a subtext of narration alongside the live action!

I wanted Pride to serve as a proper starting off point to entertain sequel authors for the first time in my reading life! I sought out everything that my local library could give me, and came to appreciate the offerings long before I ever could read them! As soon as I checked them out, one by one, I would love over their covers, inlets, and read the synopsis, awaiting the day where I could dive into the heart of their stories! Except to say, that August played out a bit differently than I forethought it would:

Whilst I launched JLAS, I undertook Austen in August, declared my intent to read Books of Eyre, contributed a piece to The Clockwork Carnival, settled into Bout of Books, 8.0, participated in the first Blog Pen Pal Exchange, encountered an illness, a 4-day migraine, technical difficulties during the Bout & afterwards [more than half the Bout’er blogs wouldn’t load – who knew I needed to switch browsers!? I *love!* SeaMonkey now!], waylaid by fierce lightning and thunderstorms, AND just when I was thrilled to bits about all the lovelies I am reading, the hours ticked off the clock and I arrived at September before I could make a backwards glance and wonder, “Where did dear August go off too!?” I even found time to sort out which weekly memes I want to contribute too: Sunday Showcase (#1, #2) and Library Loot being two I felt best to start on, prior to finding WWW Wednesdays! September started with a surge of excitement, as I participated in my first Book Cover Reveal [Love at First Slight by J. Marie Croft] and my first Blog Book Tour Stop [The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate]!! All the while attempting to make headway on the list of books I had garnished to read throughout the month! In the end, I learnt a hard lesson: there are only so many hours by which you have to find the balance to accomplish everything you set out to do!

I decided that I would take a step back in September, arranging my goals into my day planner journal, and giving myself the freedom to have a bit more flexibility to truly enjoy the blogosphere events as they alight in my life! I feel like I couldn’t give as much of my heart to Austen in August, nor could I complete the Bout properly either! I need to compose my Wrap-Up Posts to where I can put it all in a better light and scope! There is, of course, the addition of wanting to get back to my pen, ferret off dearly owed letters and correspondences to the most patient friends a girl could ever hope to know, and knit my UFOs into finished objects I can be proud of!

One measure of gratitude in knowing that I wasn’t the only one who fell a bit short on their reading goals this past month, was the lovely PM I received from our Host Adam! I am not sure if he realised it or not, but he encouraged me to know that all of us run into issues or difficulties time to time, and if the overall reading experience trumps the stress of the insanity that came up whilst we endeavoured to complete our goals!? Then, we succeeded triumphantly! In this way, I feel more encouraged than ever in my next goal that is attached to Austen in August, is Classics Re-Told! A collective reading challenge, where each of us picked a ‘team’ to be on, and which ‘work’ we wanted to explore via the canon and after canons! Being that I had already chosen mine for “Pride and Prejudice”, I attached myself to 19th Century & Gothic Classics, hosted by Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy! I am going to read “Persuasion”, the few after canons, and Sandition to participate in Author of the Month hosted by The Joyful Bookcase, December’s selective author! In this way, I will be accomplishing the original goals I set forth to attempt!

English: "Reading Jane's letters" - ...
English: “Reading Jane’s letters” – Elizabeth reading Jane’s letters – Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. London: George Allen, 1894, frontispiece. (Photo credit: Hugh Thomson (1860-1920) (Lilly Library, Indiana University) [Public domain, PD-1923],
via Wikimedia Commons)

The ready exchangement of letters and correspondences warms my heart evermore: One of the best instances of the merits of immediate and intimate conversations to be freely conversed by way of letters and correspondences, is the inter-relation of characters in “Pride and Prejudice”. Theirs was a life that would never have superseded their own home front news, if not for the passages of letters by way of footman. In our own century {the 20th and 21st}, some of us still rely on news reaching our loved ones and friends alike by the same vein as Elizabeth and Jane Bennett!

And, what is humbling to denote, is that such a letter that was dispatched between Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennett, is one that I can readily attest as to have happening to a couple I know whose union was nearly thus disrupted had the man not had the fortitude as Darcy, to spilt his heart into the pen of his hand, and give way, to the felicities of the heart by which his companion had not yet expressed or were readily known unto herself! It’s not everyday you strike up a direct connection with a portraiture of literature, that has had such an affection placed inside your own life, by the story of another!

You’ll find that letter writing and correspondences shall become a bit of a mainstay on Jorie Loves A Story, as I am seeking out ways to bring to light this beautiful exchangement of lives, that some might readily dismiss as having ‘long since lived its proper due’. In my left sidebar, there is a particular section that lays to mind my attachment for envelopes, letters, stationeries, stamps, and the various minutiae of what any correspondent could ever possibly hope to find amongst their cherished supplies! Thus, time to time, due take a bit of a ganderment at my cross-referenced ‘topics’, curiously attuned to the category of: Epistolary Novel for forthcoming mentionments in literature, and of Letters & Correspondences for all others!

On why Pride and Prejudice is a story that I could re-read at least once per year: Singularly, my heart is full of rejoicement and giddy enraptures of what is yet to follow the very first page, of the very first chapter! It always begins rather innocently, as Mrs. Bennett merely wants to see her five daughters well-married, to self-sufficient men who can establish their well-being long after Mr. Bennett, her husband is put to the grave! A bit macabre of a denouncement at first glance, until you realise that there is a clause in the family’s inheritances which prevents the girls from benefiting from their father’s estate; as they were bourne the wrong gender! This is what opens the story to the novice reader of Jane Austen, of whom, wants readily to become acquainted with her collective works and might have picked this as a starting point! I have noted of late, that there is a bit of a disconnect amongst Austenites & Janeites (as I identify as the latter), as to where this story fits in with their love of Austen! Some I noted are a bit disinterested in the story forthwit, whereas others might lean more towards one of the other stories, but not as readily into this one. If any of those particular readers read this, I’d be deeply encouraged to hear their point of views as to what has caused a bit of a rife or rather, a bit of a disagreement on the benefits of the story!? Perhaps it’s too strongly viewed as a classical attempt of making a fluffy modern chick-lit!? I am being presumptuous here, although a rare slight of my own character, it’s been known to happen, that it’s difficult not to make presumptions in certain instances! As for my own regards to the story, I do not view it in the same light as the modern counterparts, as there is such a hearty breath more to this story, than the agreeable notion of young girls marrying before they enter their thirties!

I get forever wrapped up in the state of the affairs of the Bennett family, from the doting father, to the impossibly repentant Mrs. Bennett, who is both vain and shallow, yet affable in her attentions to her daughters. Outspoken to a fault, and determined not to be outshined by another family in the same district, I truly always sided that somewhere in her bosom, she had the right attentions; merely went about them in the wrong manner! Jane, Elizabeth, and Mary Bennett are the sisters that I always find myself to be able to have learnt more of, as they stand out in my mind as the sisters who have more to give than Lydia and Kitty. Kitty, however, is less in reproachment than her sister!

Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy: two characters that alight in your heart: As such they should, because they have an enigmatic way about themselves, that endears you to want to see these two make it in the end! She’s blinded to her prejudicial tendencies towards the prideful Darcy, of whom, cannot overlook her class, station, and family! Each are quite the pair in their own rights, as she is fiercely independent and strong! She is fortified by having been raised in a family that believed that each daughter had the bourne right to sort out their own affairs and their own motivations of how they wished to occupy their hours from young ages. Most girls during their time, were confined to structure and lessons, on how best to be in good form to be presented to society, and never, would any other family expect that all the daughters of one, should be ‘out’ for marriage at once! Thus, Elizabeth’s life takes on a new path than most women Darcy has been meeting up until this point! He’s bemused by her, he’s perplexed by her, and he is most especially vexed, too! And, yet, he has found himself repeatedly thinking about her, and drawing himself to be curious to understand her even better than he believes he has from afar! It’s through their tribulations and their small triumphs that you start to see how they become attached to your heart!

You celebrate each small step towards their union, including seeing how everything unraveled to begin with, as it was conjecture and misconstruments that led to such a disgraceful start! She took the word of another bloke for straight-up honesty, and he misconstrued her worth by the wiles of her family! Each of them, have their fair share of faults throughout the story, and Austen does not limit her recollections of each grievance and each misunderstanding! She knits the story together through long and arduous monologues and narratives, that transport you into the living moment of each event! You barely can draw a breath as you turn the page, because your either going to be viewing this from Elizabeth’s point of view or that of Darcy’s!

Jane Bennett vs. Lydia Bennett: If such two could ever be thus compared to one another! Lydia has no common sense, much less decency of character, whereas Jane is tender-hearted, sensitive, and loving! Lydia seeks only to self-satisfy her own personal needs, and desires, whereas Jane is constantly striving towards full acceptance of all she encounters, and endeavours to resolve her mind not to make haste judgements that could lead to gross misunderstandings! I had to smile at this character attribution, because her sister, Elizabeth, is rather quick to judge, and doesn’t mind being in haste of her emotions! I think Elizabeth would rather feel the full-throttleness of life as she’s living through it, rather than to be chaste like Jane, and hold back all inclinations to give over to her human condition! Jane takes life calmly and with affirmation. She trusts in herself and has considered that there are far worse things in life than to be unattached in marriage; even if that were her first inclination to achieve once she was a certain age!

Lydia is a typical follower of the wrong influences, seeking self-gratification and never letting herself get attached to anything deeper of conviction than petty needs and forging friendships with people who can help her advance in life OR be of use to her in some other way. She doesn’t see fit to be a supporter of the family she was bourne into, because to me, she comes off as being a rather self-centered and spoilt child, who never learnt the first or proper way to live without conceited pride! I honestly do not think I can write more on her, actually! She is my least favourite of the Bennett sisters, and I oft was museful on whom Austen structured her of, if there were a real-life counterpart!?

Jane on the other hand, I enjoyed watching in close quarters, whilst she was in conference with Elizabeth! They shared such an enduring sisterhood bond, that I nearly felt as though the Bennett’s had two families in one! With the elder girls separate from the younger three! Except to say, of Mary, the one sister of whom next to Jane and Elizabeth, caught my attention forthwith! It had occurred to me that if Elizabeth hadn’t sought out the truth behind Bingley’s sudden exit at Netherfield, what pray tell would have become of Jane!? It’s quite easy to say you’ll quit the notion of love, but to walk through life without a chance of seeing it bloom!? I feared in time (if Bingley had not returned), she might become harder and less soft.

The secondary characters I questioned their loyalty for their friends &/or family: The Lucases and the Collins families were the ones I took the most angst with, as once Charlotte had married Elizabeth’s cousin (who inherits Longbourn, no less!), I noticed that his letters’ to Mr. Bennett became much more frequently, and always to absolve or rectify some grievance or instance of which he found fault with the Bennett’s! Such high piety for a man of the cloth! And, perhaps that is justly so, as I know some branches of religion are quite strict, but ooh! To have a relation that calls you out on every error, every fault, and every circumstance that might not quite go the way you had hoped!? How tolerable I found the Bennett’s and how agitating I found Mr. Collins! I was not surprised that Charlotte and Elizabeth’s friendship felt estranged and strained prior to her visit at the parsonage. It was nearly as though through marriage Charlotte had morphed into a new body and soul! Her parents, the Lucases were not much better in character, and here I shall leave their revealings for the reader to find them!

My overall review of Pride and Prejudice:

The story of Pride and Prejudice, will always be rather dear to me, because of Elizabeth Bennett. I feel as though from the very first opening chapter until the closing of the last, I am walking in Ms. Elizabeth Bennett’s shoes. Struggling at times to understand the indifference of her family, and the qualms that beseech a singleton whilst attempting to understand the opposite sex. She is bemused and befuddled by the man named Darcy, who from the onset makes no attempt to gain her attention, and has an ill-view of her family overall. She is a second daughter, in a family of five, who is deeply attached to the love and affection of her father, and is at times, more at quells with her mother, who tends to put the family in a bad light when out in public; due to the nature of her outbursts that do not always comply with the social norms of the day in which they live.
It’s a story that is full of intrigue, as far as knowing the full extent of how the unfolding events in regards to her sister Lydia will properly affect the four Bennett sisters who are left outside of matrimony, and yet, it is also a plight of a family’s survival once the provider has died, as there is a clause (or stipulation rather) in the will, that depicts the true heir is a male. In this case, a cousin named Mr. Collins, who is quite a disagreeable match for young Elizabeth! Even I, would have balked at such a choice! And, firmly would have asserted myself as much in the same vein as she did with her own father!What makes this such an endearing classic for me, is that the Bennett family rallies and bands together through thick and thin. They may have their fair share of disagreements but at the heart of the family, is simply that: their a family bond in love and do care about the happiness of each other. And, like most dysfunctional families, they at times, go about showing this affection in quite the wrong manner!It’s Elizabeth’s determination not to settle for someone less than her equal and a man of quality, that makes me endeavoured to love her! She stands firm in her beliefs, at all costs, and she isn’t quick to acknowledge a grievous mistake or misunderstanding, but her heart and spirit, does not allow her not to oblige a concession when the need arises that she has to omit a fault made on her own behalf. She lives strong and loves deeply. And, I appreciate that she is completely true to herself throughout the sequence of her life we are given to seeing her. She is a woman who is sorting out how to live and how to proceed forward in her life, by not limiting her options, nor settling for what she knows will be wrong for her heart. For in marriage, as Ms. Bennett and I both know, one must lead forward with one’s heart, and be entwined in true love for the relationship to last forevermore.

My thoughts on sequel authors: One of the key requirements I have when deciding about which sequel authors to read OR not to read, is whether or not they have written their new contribution to the story by giving proper credit to the original canon. This goes in my mind to include the proper setting of story, pace, and use of language, as there are quite a number of sequel authors who take more liberties with their contributions than I am willing to accept! Unfortunately, some spin too modern of a tale for me to be satisfied that the canon was upheld, and whenever I see colourful language eking into the dialogue and narrative I all but cringe outright! When you’re going to write a sequel to a highly well-known and beloved 19th Century story such as “Pride and Prejudice” (although you could insert ‘any’ story into this example), you must know, that for the most part, most of your potential readership is going to want to stay true to that original style!

In this way, it takes me quite awhile to sink into a sequel author’s work, as I am looking for certain ‘tells’ that this is an author who celebrates the legacy of the original writer (in this case, Ms. Jane Austen!), and yet, takes a new thread of discovery that not only embodies the original, but takes the reader on a new journey, that seamlessly shifts forward and or back, given the methodology of the writer at hand. I appreciate all sequels that bring us closer to the world by which Austen created, yet gently giving us a bit more of it, than what Austen could give us herself. I appreciate the same usage of language and turns of phrase, the older stylings of taking time to tell a story, rather than to resolve it rather quickly and make a person feel whip-lashed! I like hearty text with a hearty story, fully brought to life with characters that stay with you, and endear you to them long since the book is put back down!

I suppose in some ways, I would be considered a purist in most regards and yet adaptive in others, as most purists to the original canons will not entertain a sequel on any grounds. I think each contribution has its place, as there are as many different perspectives to come into “Pride and Prejudice” as there are readers who navigate the offerings. I think if each of us decides what she or he is willing to accept, then each sequel author will surely find the right reader for their works! If I bypass one book for another, odds are someone behind me will select it and pass on the one I that I choose in return! Such is the beauty of being individualistically unique in our reading patterns!

I am, of course, mindful that others’ might have a different approach? And, if any of them drop by my blog, I do hope they might entertain me with how they approach the sequels in the commentary!?

My thoughts on motion picture adaptations: I am not to say unyielding when it comes to motion picture adaptations, as the 2005 screen adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” did take creative liberties, and yes, did segue away from the original leanings, but there was enough included for me to pick up the story and the pace by which I have come to love! It still held the charm and the essence of what makes this story alight in my mind as a joyous memory! And, that makes the difference for me! I know too, that once I see Colin Firth as Darcy, in the 1995 adaptation by the BBC, I am most likely going to claim that as my favourite by far, yet as I haven’t yet seen it, I am at this time without an all-time favourite adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice”.

I can attest that even re-tellings in motion picture have their time and place, such is the example of “Bride and Prejudice”, which gives us a Bollywood touch and feel to the story! I am most encouraged that a story, an author, and a setting so distantly removed from our modern era, can lead to such extraordinary developments! I think this signifies that the story is universally accepted, understood, and known. It’s a story that sinks into your heart, and there are more than one way to have it properly represented. I am encouraged by the number of adaptations that are available to view, as I want to slowly work my way through each of them!

I suspect that even if I were to go back and watch the classic film versions, and shift forward again through modern eras, I am going to denote not only the differences of the film maker’s choices of what to include or exclude, but the changes in the perceptions of the actors and actresses who played the cast of characters that have charmed their way into our hearts! They are characters that leave an impression on you, due to their character development in the book, and the way in which they are presented to having had lived their lives. Some are wholly acceptable and curious to see in live action, whereas there are a few that leave you feeling rather vexed and anguished for their inclusions, yet they are still essential to the underlining of the story! In this, I find it most curious to see how each actor who takes each part will attribute which character traits that their character demands of their attention. I can find myself quite curious indeed as I progress through the adaptations!

On how I appreciated to be a part of *Austen in August*: There is something to be said for getting a group of like-minded and enthused readers together, to celebrate an author that they each love quite so dear! For a very long while, I was wondering if I would ever run into or get to converse with other appreciators of the 19th Century literature classics, that have intrigued me for most of my life! Books and stories that I have always wanted to take the time to delve into and alight long enough to have their impressions wash over me. These are the books that are not always readily accepted in our living generation as books that still hold merit, but I think, there are times in life when you have to seek out the right readers and the right circles, where your interests lie alongside the majority rather than the minority!

Thus, is how I felt when I stumbled across “Austen in August” and had had the high hopes of being able to read at least 10 sequels of Pride and Prejudice, after having completed reading the original text, and then, taking up Persuasion (and two of its sequels), before continuing into Sandition. My reading missteps already having been noted, I wanted to focus instead on what the month provided and how happy I am that I was able to take a glimpse into the world of ‘The Classics Club’, as well as the world of Jane Austen readers, who like me, are always eager for an opportunity to re-visit OR read her works for the first time!

Archive List of all Austen in August Posts on Roof Beam Reader – I sort of ducked in and out of the festivities as they were in progress, as I was participating in Bout, and finding that my hours were slipping faster than I could achieve everything I wanted to do! Therefore, what I appreciated the most was being introduced to the author: Sally Smith O’ Rourke, (contributed a guest post) who penned the books: Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen and The Man Who Loved Jane Austen. As much as I enjoyed the introduction to author Carol Cromlin, (contributed a guest post) who wrote the book Fitzwilliam Darcy, Such I Was. The flexibility of posts that our host gave to us throughout the month of August, is something that I appreciated very much, as he not only highlighted the finer points of Austen, but touched on the appreciation of Janeites & Austenites, as much as the endearing attachment we all have with Jane Austen!

An unexpected treat, was received by the author Ms. Cromlin, who upon the book being given to two fortunate winners, gave the rest of us the option of receiving bookmarks by Post! Her book, alongside Ms. O’ Rourke’s are two sequel authors I look forward to exploring in the future!

On how I was thankful to be included at the last minute for *Classics: Re-Told: 19th Century & Gothic Classics*: A silver lining and a bit of redemption at the same time, is how I came to view the inclusion of this wicked sweet reading challenge, which is a bookish blogosphere event to celebrate the works of the classics, but through the eyes of as many different bookish bloggers as possible! I had originally stumbled (you will notice this to be a trend; nearly everything I participate in, is ‘stumbled upon’ at rather the golden hour!) upon this event having thought it was closed for participants, but much to my absolute delight, Charlene had informed me that I could still join in if I so desired! Desire? I jumped, no! Leapt at the chance! I quickly set to mind which books to keep from ‘Austen in August’, and which books to ferret over to ‘Author of the Month’, and which, might just have to drop off completely if they didn’t cross-relate!! I even kept a few that I thought would work with the theme of what we were attempting to accomplish! In this way, I am most grateful to be a latecomer to ‘Classics Re-Told’ and look forward to seeing the rest of my contributions come to life!

An unexpected surprise discovery, art inspired by Pride and Prejudice:

| Slideshow of “Inspired by Pride & Prejudice”, the story unfolds in storyboard format,
curated by Jorie, featuring DeviantArt(ists) |

| Deviant Artists & the Titles of their Works |By Order of Appearance |

“Pride and Prejudice” by flominowa; “The Bennett Sisters” by PrimeHunter; “Elizabeth” by rynarts; “Pride and Prejudice – II” by MigraineSky; “Assembly” by gppr; “Original Regency Cloak” by Abigal709b; “Pride and Prejudice” by PatiMakowska; “Pride and Prejudice: The Ball” by EveyAmmond; “Pride and Prejudice I” by Isa-Wyrd; “Pride and Prejudice – Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth” by Madmorumotto; “Darcy’s Letter” by Kriegerin; “Pride and Prejudice” by WonderSara; “Jane’s Letter” by RaindropMaster; “Keira Knightley” by BarbaraMariaPoleszuk; “Pride and Prejudice VII” by MigraineSky; “Mr. Darcy’s Letter” by sive; “Keira Knightley” by AuroraWienhold; “Lizzie” by perselus; “Darcy and Elizabeth – detail” by gppr; “Mr. Bennett” by perselus; “Pride and Prejudice” by Pad-Mil; “A most unwilling subject” by gppr; “Mr. Darcy” by baronpluto; “Jane Bennett and Mr. Bingley by gppr; “Mr. Darcy” by manapia; “Lizzy and her Dad” by kakao-bean; “Pride and Prejudice Cover” by jessijordan; “His Pride, Her Prejudice” by hitora; “Bennett Sisters – Pride and Prejudice” by BlueFairy123; “Pride and Prejudice” by mademoisellek; “Pride and Prejudice Storyboard” by wahay; “Pride and Prejudice Bookmark” by Kitty-Grimm; “Pride, Prejudice, Markers” by Pau-Norontaus; “Pride and Prejudice I” by theancientsoul; “Pride and Prejudice” by MaryMaru; “Pride and Prejudice” by Lily-Hbp; “Pride + Prejudice: Hands” by Ladamania; “Pride and Prejudice” by Ines92; “Pride and Prejudice” by FinAngel; “Collide” by KuaKness; “Pride n’ Prej: Jane + Bingley” by flominowa; “Pride n’ Prejudice: Liz + Darcy” by flominowa; and “Pride and Prejudice” by milfei.

Jorie Loves A Story | @DeviantArt

This marks my first [& last!] contribution of participation in reading (Jane) Austen in August! I Austen in August badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Carli Jean (Public Domain : Unsplash)had been hopeful that before the close of the month [August], I could have added at least five more selections from the list I purported to being possible ahead of my blog’s launch! I fear, I have slighted myself a grievous error, in not allowing myself the proper time and attention I was attempting to give this challenge! Which is why dear hearts, I originally was going to extend the challenge, when I came upon a posting about “Classics Re-Told” via Bookish Whimsy!!

Classics Re-Told badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Cas Cornelissen (Public Domain : Unsplash).This post also serves as my first contribution piece for Classics Re-Told: 19th Century & Gothic Classics, which is hosted by Bookish Whimsy! I was fortunate to happen upon her post on 3 September, and confirmed my acceptance on the 5th of September! In this way, I shall be continuing onward and upwards with my goals! I am most appreciative that I was able to continue to give my original intentions such a hearty spotlight and not to discontinue reading the books that I discovered to include, which have become quite dear to me!

Due to a variety of circumstances, mostly of technical difficulties in nature, I have been forthwit delayed in my posting of this entry!

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Source: Purchased | Personal Library

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Classical Literature, Romance Fiction


Published by Whitehall

on October 1796 - August 1797

Format: Portable Hardback Edition

Pages: 281

{SOURCES: “Reading Jane’s letters” illustration were provided by Zemanta, and inserted directly to the post via the related content widget. Thus providing the related content with appropriate attribution and sourcing as they are in the public domain. Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee Designs to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Jorie Loves A Story badge created by Ravven with edits by Jorie in PicMonkey for the Classics Re-told badge. Austen in August badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Carli Jean (Public Domain : Unsplash). Classics Re-Told badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Cas Cornelissen (Public Domain : Unsplash). The Overcoming Pride and Prejudice poster was provided with embed codes to insert into this post! I had originally found it through Zemanta as a related article!}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

Related articles:

Jane Austen
by JeffreyDriver.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Austen in August
Divider

Posted Monday, 16 September, 2013 by jorielov in 19th Century, Austen in August, Classical Literature, Classics Re-Told: 19th Century & Gothic Classics, England, Regency Era

Septemb-Eyre: Chapters I-XI | A tumultuous beginning, of a girl determined to make it on her own!

Posted Wednesday, 11 September, 2013 by jorielov , , 8 Comments

Septemb-Eyre hosted by Entomology of a Bookworm

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Originally Entitled: Jane Eyre: An Autobiography by Currer Bell

[Miss Brontë, like Jane Austen, lived in a time and age, where pen-names were of necessity to disguise their gender!]

Published By: Smith, Elder, & Co., London England |16th of October, 1847

Published in the United States, originally a year following in 1848.

| Currently in the Public Domain |

| Page Count: 643 |

Acquired Book By: Purchased at a big box store within the last several years, by which of whose origin is lost to time itself. It was my intent to read Eyre alongside a friend of mine, yet our goal was never achieved, hence why I was encouraged to join a blogosphere community read-a-long and interact with other Eyre enthusiasts! My version is the Puffin Classics unabridged edition, by which Jane Eyre is seen on the cover with a gothic lit road behind her, her eyes cast aside to the left. Adorned in bonnet and cloak, with her hands clasp in front of her, and a look for anticipation for which we can only yet imagine. She stands in her adult version of herself, with all the tribulations of her childhood thus behind her. Her countenance eludes that there is a story behind her eyes, awaiting to be shared and viewed indiscriminately; as she would readily expect no less of the readers who read of her story.

Ruminatively Expressive about Week I

Although, in the corner of my mind, I drew in a memory of my last viewing of Jane Eyre (as described on the originating posting of this reading challenge; see link attached below!), I was deeply curious about how my heart and mind would shift over and into the text of the canon! Its such a curious proposition to become intimately acquainted with a particular work, ahead of reading such a work, and then, as your whet with anticipation of delving into it, your struck by a curious enquiry of mind,… shall I become thus removed or thus wholly attached afterwards!? How will my perceptions alter as I read Ms. Eyre’s life unfolding upon the printed page, and will I, as I had with Pride and Prejudice, hearing the echoing effect of dialogue whispering in my ears as I read!? Hearing the voice of Eyre through the subtle and calm notings of Charlotte Gainsbourg?!

I was curious too, where the original story begins, and the measure of creative liberty of the motion picture will start to blur, and etch into each other. Which scenes have I latched onto as being the epitome of Jane story, that will in full effect, be additions rather than admissions, to where the overall takeaways will alter, deviate, and shift as I read!?

I would purport, that as these murmurings alighted to mind, I was at first a bit more anxious to pick up the book, than I had first realised possible, as I truly, attempted to put Jane Eyre off until the last possible hour! What ironic turning of events! As it were, I, of whom was rallying around the other Septemb-Eyres (my endearing reference for those blokes and lasses participating in the collective reading challenge), for the very start of this challenge to get underway, found in herself, a air of trepidation!! How unlike me! And, yet, part of that has a bit of founding in our pursuit of reading classical literature, we walk a bit of a dance between what we know, what we expect to discover, and what is shortly revealed as we consume their tomes! There is a measure of uncertainty that perhaps, even the best of readers, are cautious as he/she proceeds!

For you see, I had selected the bookmark for reading Eyre on Monday last, as we were making our meet + greets, as its a thin and narrow metal bookmark, adorned with beadings and ribbons that are attached at the top center piece. Enscribed in its center is a bold and uplifting quote from Ms. Eleanor Roosevelt, which I felt was more than fitting for the nature of story that was about to unfold as I lifted page after page, absorbing into a world that entices me and distracts me at the same time! And, yet, which hour did I first lay heart and mind to rest, to cast aside any fear or anxiety to read Eyre!? A shade past midnight on this very Monday morn, the very day we’re meant to impart our impressions of the first eleven chapters of Jane Eyre’s life! Four hours readily dissolved, as I was purposely elsewhere, drinking in the hearty words of Ms. Brontë’s choosing, by which, she would not alleviate the causal reader’s interest for a less hardy array of turns of phrase, but which a literary wanderer drank in with pure celebration! Such words! Such ways to describe the angst, the anguish, and the inner-most workings of thought in a character such as Jane Eyre! A girl quite ahead of herself, both in a curious perception of her set of circumstances, and the quality of changing said perception by her experiences and encounters at Lowood School for Girls.

Such was my beginning, but alas, its below that I am putting my thoughts down properly, and even, in a vain attempt, to list the murmuring echoes of Ms. Gainsbourg, as I had Ms. Knightley’s elsewhere! As well as to draw to light a few differences I noted between the text and the one adaptation I had previously seen!

It should also be said, as this is a collective reading, we are surely to depart an excessive array of [*SPOILERS*] to the reader who has not yet picked up this text! Due proceed reading past this point on your own liberty, and know, that if what is expressed has spoilt your joy of discovering Jane for yourself, kindly note that this notice was placed to prevent such a bad tiding!

Septemb-Eyre hosted by Entomology of a Bookworm

In walked Jane Eyre, as calm as a willow bending in the wind,…

or should I say, that attribution belongs to another, a Ms. (Helen) Burns, of whom, Ms. Eyre draws a readily acquaintance and confidence as she’s removed from Gateshead and placed into custody of Lowood Institution for Oprhans! No, pray give leave, to express that Ms. Eyre is a firecracker of unrequited internal rage and admonition for her plight as thus handed down to her in life, as her parents are long since dead; her last surviving relation put to rest in the grave prematurely, and she is left to the dealings of her Aunt, [Sarah Reed, of the late Uncle Reed, her direct relation] of whom, is presented rather apt to reflect Angelica Houston’s character in “Ever After”, as she presides such blatant disregard for her niece, Eyre! It’s only in the reflections of Jane, as an older self, that we find a disconnect between the younger Eyre’s presumption of what was occurring and the wiser Eyre’s imparted understanding, that not all was as first known when the story starts to unfold!

The edgings of the story are wantonly haunting, as the world around Ms. Eyre is draped in grey tones, rain sodden exteriors, and the atmosphere of Gothic underpinnings, as there is rumours of a potential haunting of her Uncle, whilst alive was tender and kind towards Jane, but in whose death, wrecked a miserable state of affairs to unfold and befell her! I was quite appalled at her nephew’s extensive violence towards her, [in this regard, young Harry Potter lived comparatively comfortably!] and her Aunt’s diffidence not to correct the improper and unkind behaviour! Such grievances I can only try to attempt to tolerate, as I know the resolution of the story in-full, but that does not make it any easier to read or rather, observe her humble and caustic beginnings! If anything, it sets up in my mind how far Ms. Eyre had to transmorph into the resolute and strong adult she became!

As Brontë, deftly brings to life the under kernels of Eyre’s hardening and the porticoes of her knowledge that if she were to embark down certain pathways, she might not soon return! Much less, would she want to be such a creature!? To walk through this world, fully hardened and affaced to all the goodness that surely must still be present!? I can sympathise with her on this level, as when your day-to-day existence is presented in a continuous imprisonment of harsh punishment [solitary confined to the nursery, never allowed outside or downstairs, always finding reprimand  rather than nurturing, and an absence of time being measured by usual perimeters!], I can understand her reasonings and her deepest of questions regarding not only the state of her personal affairs, but her state and place in the world itself! How angst ridden we should all feel, to have no Hope, no Light, and no perceivable exodus of our allotted circumstance!?

Her knight of sorts, comes in the shape and form of an apothecarist, who on a lark suggestion on her behalf, suggests that she is sent off to school, and given opportunity to make something of her life; rather than to be cast-off and put aside as she has been thus far forward! Her Aunt devilishly sets into motion to put her into proper place and denounce any notion of her ever becoming more than a humbled lowly counterpart of a human, as in her own eyes, she at this point didn’t seem to attach any wantings of Jane to succeed in life, no matter in what caste placed henceforth! Thus, we see the arrival of a most devious and darkly embodied cleric [Brocklehurst] who takes the task a bit too severely to not only punish the lower class of orphans (as he perceives them to being!), but he inflicts his personal religious reasonings for such outrageous declarations of “humble them before God, equip them with rations beneath regular souls, and do not attach favour, kindness, love, or humanity, for they do not deserve it!” (this is a paraphrase in my own words of the outrageous words spewed out of his mouth at Lowood & Gateshead!) A ghastly character, (reminiscent of Snickett’s Count Olaf, the caregiver of the Bauldelaire orphans!) you would not want to engage with, and yet, he is the one who presides over the teachers and caretakers of Lowood!

I took direct offense of his inability to accept that young Jane took pleasure in reading not one or five, but nine books of the Bible! Because her attention was focused solely on the passages held within: Revelations, Daniel, Genesis, Samuel, Exodus, Kings, Chronicles, Job, and Jonah, yet not inclusive of Psalms, he took this omission as a guilt of an girl with a wicked heart, a wicked soul! In his eyes, a wretched creature who will suffer hell and damnation, live a cursed existence and will need every ounce of her self-defiance to be rid from her by direct force! For a man of the cloth, his mind was closed and obtuse in its scope of the differences individuals take to walk a spiritual life amongst the living! How contrite and hypocritical this evoked an ire in my mind, as he would soon be bled out as a torturous tyrant!

Once Eyre is transcripted into Lowood, I started to see a shifting in her character, as she was thus removed from her previous environment, and placed into another; just as stark, cold, desolate, and un-inviting surely, but with the hope of ‘something better’ to alight in her life even still! I saw this in the appearing of Miss Temple , whilst at the same time, Miss Scratherd was rather an odious addition to her life! The affection that was revealed upon her exit of Gateshead, by way of Bessie, her nursemaid surprised me rather shockingly, as foresaid, it did not appear that there were any kind regards bestowed upon her, aside from the rhyming songs and fantastical stories she would give to young Jane; a reflection of an internal kindness that was not always extended elsewhere. By the time I had settled into Lowood, I felt sorry for Jane not to realise the full reality of Bessie’s adoration and love, until it was nearly too late to even admit existed! Therefore, by extension, the propellent of Miss Temple, becoming a solid ally and rock in her young years, I hoped that the encouragement and positive influences she may shower onto Jane, might in effect, re-direct the course of her outcome in life. It aught to be acknowledged, that up until this particular junction, Eyre was truly living by her wits and instincts, rather than the subjection and conjectures of a teaching adult!

Helen, by contrast to Jane, is a young teen whose angelic presence and inclinations of foreknowledge past her young years, gently guides her towards finding peace from her past, acceptance of her present, and a resolute hope for her future! Never had anyone listened to Jane’s conscription’s of woe, whereupon allowing the merit of what was disclosed to be absorbed and turned over in one’s mind, before selecting the appropriate response to give a young girl of ten years! For Helen, instinctively knew that if no one took the time to intercede on Jane’s behalf, she would be a begotten and fallen soul, doomed to be restrictive of the blight of life condemned to her by her Aunt! Helen, therefore, took every opportunity to enfuse the light and love of God, with the insightfulness of a woman at least thrice her age, to educate Jane how the edification of spirit and the education of the mind can lead to a truer freedom than by fierce altercations by which Jane was [at that time] proficient in being subjected.

This led to a continuation of Eyre’s soliloquy of conscience thought, which extrapolated the complex of the whole set of observations that her sensitive eyes took in around her. She was fiercely attached to the installment of liberty and justice for those who were taken askance and punished severely for their [supposed] indiscretions and faults of character. She was a budding sociologist in many ways, as she overturned many a thought as to how mature adults could subject children to the life by which they did at Lowood School for Girls! It was part abomination and part torture, to think that human decency and respect had fallen to such low degrees as the state of affairs the school was subject to before the revolt of the community to condemn its principles and organisation after the bout of typhus had consumed and taken the lives of nearly half the students! [They began with just past 80 girls strong!] How I celebrated this liberation! This show of support for innocent lives who lived without a proper voice! For me, it came nearly too late to right all the wrongs that had transpired, but to think that they received liberation at all was reason enough to celebrate!

Ill tidings and sorrow soon followed closer to home, as Eyre found herself in a position to lose the one confidante that knew her best of all: Burns! Helen’s young body fell to consumption and was taken to Heaven at the young age of 14 or 15. A trusted saint whose grace and conviction of faith inspired her young friend to trust in a being greater than them both, and to rectify by the means given before her, to re-write her own future. My throat was held tight with emotion, as I was nearly consumed by the grief that washed over me during Helen’s last night; where Jane was nestled close to her in an embrace of sisterly friendship. I nearly felt young Burns’ epitaph ought to have read:

Angel of Earth, Forevermore in Elysium!

[abode of the blessed, heaven]

The story shortly shifts forward eight years, no less! To where Eyre is on the brink of a new cross-roads in her young life. She is now nearly eight and ten years, and on the departure of Miss Temple to her martial life elsewhere than the village surrounding Lowood, she is illuminated by a startling discovery! Her life was lived up to this point, on the foothills of others around her, by whom, she drew her intense strength to carry-on. She was fully content to continue on at Lowood School, having graduated [at least this is presumed], and begun her tenure of teaching. Two years, she has not once felt the need to think about the world outside of Lowood, but with departure of Miss Temple firmly in place, she curiously steals away glimpses of the world beckoning to her just outside the walls; a sight she can readily see from her window. In her chamber, she steals away hours in the night, to come across an idea of a transition she could undertake, that would illumine her achievements but not uprise her past her station. An odd and singularly unique voice brings to light the notion of place an advert in the local newspaper, offering her service as a hired Governess [a teacher in the employ of a family to teach their children at home; the precursor to the modern home study movement], by which the [potential] employee could contact her at the local Post Office.

In my mind, I felt as though Helen herself was coming down to remit a seed of inspiration into her dear friends’ subconscious, if to help guide her towards the next bridge she needed to cross to obtain a measure of independence. Her conformity into life at Lowood was part ambition to succeed and transcend her environment(s), but also, as a measure of grace to find within its structures and limitations the sanctity and security it afforded her. In this way, when she purported the ability to advert for a means better than the one she currently had, she was in this way, seeking to step out of the shadows of her ill-begotten family, and the pseudo-control of Lowood. When Mrs. Fairfax’s letter arrived poste haste seeking her position to be substantiated, Jane drew in a breath of hope, that perhaps, her time had finally come! Trepiderious? Yes. Excited? Most definitely! By receipt of the initial letter, Jane made the motions come to life to grant her full release of her Aunt [who not once contacted her since she left!], and of Lowood, itself! On the eve of her journey to Thornfield Hall, dear Bessie [her nursemaid!] re-appeared into her life, keeping in tow a shy toddler, and endeavouring to bestow upon Jane everything that she had so very dearly wanted her to know eight years ago! Bessie was there as she left Gateshead Hall, and again as she left Lowood School for Girls! At the precipice of each turning tide of young Eyre’s life, Bessie was there to rally behind her, and bide her farewell! 

Jane’s voice in the story has matured, and taken on a different scope than her former young self could articulate to the reader. You can tell she has not only deepened her compassion for humanity, but has facilitated a genuine ability to be humble in all manners, seek servitude and provide a need for others at all costs to personal needs or wants, and to rectify her mind towards self-assurance that come what may in life, she was now in the ability to provide for herself, rather than rely on the opinions of others as a vindication of who she was! Her entrance into Thornfield was under the [blind] preconception that Mrs. Fairfax was her charge’s caregiver, when in fact, she is refuted of this upon arrival, and has instead uncovered that Adele is a ward of Thornfield’s master, Lord Rochester! I didn’t bring to mind this entreaty, as much as I would preferred, enso, as though it was being seen for the first time, I appreciated that Ms. Brontë allowed a bit of softening to occur in Jane’s life! Up until this point, every day would lead to a possibility of confrontation, and with her settled here, in Rochester’s absence, I felt as though she could untense her muscles so to speak, ease into a new setting, and feel accomplished in her ability to communicate with Adele in the child’s native tongue of French!

As the grounds are slowly described and revealed, you get the sense that there is a bit of an ominous undercurrent to the estate, as though a small sense of foreboding is leading your senses to stand alert and ferret out what ‘is not quite right, yet not altogether wrong’ at the same time! This is further apparent, when Jane heard a women’s odd sounding laughter whilst Mrs. Fairfax was leading her around the turrets. A plausible answer was provided, but I, nor Jane, took it for any weight other than a passing acceptance that we have not yet been long at Thornfield to be in a position to question things further!

The starkness of Thornfield is warmed by Mrs. Fairfax, and the engagingly bouncy inclusion of Adele, of whom promotes a well-being that I had not yet seen visible in Jane’s life. She doesn’t have to forecheck everything she says or does, at least not at this point, as her cursory impression of Thornfield is limited in Chapter 11. I am on bated breath to sink further into the text over the next week, and eagerly await what fascinations will greet me! I know that the estate itself is as much as a character as Eyre and the inhabitants therein. That is one of the attractions I find with Gothic Literature on a whole — a near Hitchtockian accounting of setting, time, and place, to where your psychological suspended into the subtext!

What staid with me throughout the entirety of the opening chapters, is the elucidation of Ms. Brontë, who thus effused her fictional work with counterparts of reality at each turn! She mastered the ability to absolve and absorb what weighed heavily on her heart, pouring out her grief and emotional keenings into the breath she gave Jane Eyre! She took the tragedies of her own life [her elder siblings died as a result of a school similar to Lowood!] and gave them a proper tomb to cleanse herself of feelings she most likely could not dissipate otherwise. I believe, its through her pen, she tapped into a greater purpose that gave her life meaning and worth, than anything she could readily achieve in her everyday life. She suffered greatly by her own experiences, as I read she and her sisters [Anne and Emily] were afflicted by anxiety disorders, but with her pen, she cast aside all of this, in order to cast into the world a tome of her intellect and wisdom.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Wednesday, 11 September, 2013 by jorielov in 19th Century, Books of Eyre, British Literature, Classical Literature, Gothic Romance, RALs | Thons via Blogs, Septemb-Eyre, That Friday Blog Hop, the Victorian era

And, then she returned!

Posted Thursday, 4 April, 2013 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee DesignsFull Disclosure by Dee Henderson
Published By: Bethany House Publishers,
October 2012.
Page Count: 480

Acquired Book By: Winning a contest adverted through “Shelf Awareness for Readers” bi-weekly newsletter, October 2012. I received the complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher {Bethany House Publishers} without obligation to post a review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com“Full Disclosure” Book Trailer, by Bethany House Publishers

Inspired to Share: When I realised that this is on the level of a wicked sweet indie film or regularly airing series that engulfs your full attention and doesn’t quite let go when the end of the reel concludes! Ever since I saw the cover art, I was especially keen to know a bit more about the ‘characters’ as seen slightly in and out of frame. Unless I am gravely mistaken, I believe the actors who were photographed also appear in this lovely book trailer!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I wasn’t sure what I was going to expect whilst I pulled up this book trailer, as I am a bit new to the phenom around them,… I must say, I wasn’t expecting a full-fledged jolting into a snapshot of name your favourite mystery or police procedural series on air that pulls you into the heart of an agent’s quest to get to the heart of the investigation! Whoa! I was most impressed by the publishers’ ability to turn a ‘book trailer’ into a must-see trailer that feels and looks more like a mini-film or television episode! They whet your thirst for what this book could be if it were taken out of the context of the book and properly situated into a motion picture!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comRead an Excerpt of the Novel:

Full Disclosure by Bethany House Publishers

{Bit of a Spoiler Alert}
And, then the puzzle dissolves and the full picture emerges into focus: I sort of struggled to get into the pace of the novel, not because of how it was laid out to form, but because I was still shaking off the memory of Nana and I reading the “O’Malleys” together! I knew she would have been absolutely thrilled to have the ‘next installment’ in this particular series, as we had long talks about the characters and how the series was stitching together. The very premise was what drew each of us into the storyline,… which why by page 80, my heart, my spirit, and my being “relaxed into Full Disclosure”,… it was the ‘disclosure’ behind “Full Disclosure” that allowed me a moment of paused relief! I am not even certain why I felt I could enjoy the story a bit more at this junction rather than full-on when the opening sequence began,… yet. I think it has to do with new beginnings and closures,.. the human heart and mind is a quirky thing to understand at times, but on page 80, I smiled knowingly that Nana was with me, rather than absent. Which brings me back to when I first learnt I had won this novel,… all I could feel inside was her  presence guiding over me, and sending me a nod and a wink from Heaven. This was our series afterall, the one we read and spoke about together, and the one we felt museful about where future stories could take us! And, all of this fused together in my mind on page 80, when it’s first revealed at the writer behind the O’Malley’s is Ann Silver, a special kind of cop who investigates homicides with connections that would draw a pause and a hitch to anyone who first hears her friends’ names! The direct inclination is that she wrote the O’Malleys and the Uncommon Heroes series as a note of gratitude to her cherished and close friends who make her world livable and special. As those pieces start to unravel, you get to *see!* the characters step out of the veil of the previous novels and see their ‘true’ counterparts step forward through the world of “Full Disclosure”. In this way, I think Ms. Henderson created something quite special for her readers,… its an unexpected twist that warms your heart and wishes you hadn’t packed up most of your personal library during storm season 2004! Oy.

Read More

Divider

Posted Thursday, 4 April, 2013 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Book Trailer, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Light vs Dark, Romantic Suspense, Scribd, Specialised Crime Investigator