Vintage Jane Austen: Series Spotlight, Giveaway, and More!

VJAgraphic

Hello ladies and gents! Today I have the opportunity to introduce you to Vintage Jane Austen, a multi-author series of Jane Austen retellings. I’ve only read two so far (Emmeline and Perception), but I hope to read them all sometime in the future.

Honestly, this whole idea is just super neat. Retelling all the Jane Austen books (except Northanger Abbey *sighs* Too bad … I love that book …) in the 1930s? Sign me up! I think this is a unique and interesting idea.

So, on to the spotlight!


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Reading Rants: Clueless Main Characters

Reading Rants- Clueless Main Characters

One of my biggest pet peeves in fiction is Clueless Main Characters.

You’d think this would be one of the things authors would avoid. But it’s not. Throughout fiction, we see quite a spattering of main characters who are complete idiots.

I’m currently in the middle of Northanger Abbey, a book I absolutely adore. The main character, Catherine Moreland, is completely clueless.

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10 Books That Make Me Cry

TenBooksThatMakeMeCry

I don’t cry a lot. And when I do, I’m usually not crying about one thing so much as a bunch of things.

But yes, some books do make me cry … or at least make my eyes water. And these are my top ten. Not in any particular order because, to be honest, who can choose? Not me. I probably should have done them in order of least to most tears, but eh. Too much work.

Onward and downward!

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Austenland by Shannon Hale

Title: Austenland

Author: Shannon Hale

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age-Range: 14+ (young adult/adult)

Era: contemporary

Setting: New York, USA and England

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Source: library

Rating: 4/5 stars

Content: 3.5/5. It’s been a while, so I don’t remember exactly. Some cussing, but extremely rare … and unnecessary in my opinion. I just remember one or two words. A little sexual content – mostly in form of mentioning stuff that could be taken inappropriately, a little innuendo, and then kissing (not extremely detailed). There were also three mentions of gay people. Never says what that is or goes into more detail about it. Mentions of adultery, and it’s hinted that several of the stayers at the result (they’re all female) have husbands. No violence. Not recommended for readers under 14.

Austenland by Shannon Hale

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Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen; or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

Well … hmm. It was a great book, but there were also a couple things that were not so good. The content, for one. It wasn’t awful (it was better than the very worst Gilmore Girls episode, for my mom’s sake), but it was still there. And unnecessary.

Then I found the writing a bit immature, and the romance was just a wee bit cheesy at times. Also, falling in love with Mr. Darcy does not make you a lesser human being, as Jane seems to think. It makes you a little crazy (KNIGHTLEY GUYS KNIGHTLEY!!! THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH EVERY AUSTEN HERO BUT KNIGHTLEY!!!!!!!!), but not a lesser human being. 😉

Other than that, the book was amazing.

The plot, the characters, the setting … all well-developed and original. I especially liked the concept … a place where you can go to dress up like a Regency bell, enjoy the empire-waist gowns and meet the dashing gentlemen (or are they … actors?) of that time. Is anything real at Pembrooke Park, or it all just Jane’s imagination?

But, of course, I’m obsessed with Mr. Knightley, not Mr. Darcy. And I’ve never actually gotten through the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice. 😛 I love Keira Knightley unconditionally, no matter what. I don’t care what people say. She is the perfect Elizabeth Bennet.

Anyway, overall, it was a great book. I don’t know why, but it reminded me of Gilmore Girls (chick flit) crossed with your less-awesome “historical” romance novel (usually also a chick flit and sometimes pretty slack on the “historical” part!). However, I did enjoy it (didn’t put it down for a long time!) and would recommend it for older young adults/adults.

~Kellyn Roth

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Title: Mansfield Park

Author: Jane Austen

Genre: Classic Romance

Age-Range: 14+ (young adult/adult)

Era: early 1800s (Regency)

Setting: various places in England

Source: own a copy

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 3/5. No language (at least none that isn’t crossed out like this: by G-d), no violence. Romance, a person commits adultery (everyone is shocked, so I feel like anyone could read it because … everyone is so shocked! Great moral lesson there!).

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

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Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation.

As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever.

A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austen’s most profound works.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

I admit I didn’t enjoy Mansfield Park as much as the other Jane Austen novels. It doesn’t have the sparkle and pizazz of Pride and Prejudice or Emma, it doesn’t have the intensity of Sense and Sensibility or Persuasion, and it doesn’t have the light-hearted humor of Northanger Abbey. Yet … there’s something about it that makes it an equal to all of her novels, though definitely not superior.

Yes, it’s a bit boring. It’s a quiet, rainy-day read. It took me a long time to finish both times I read it (twice now). Yet … there’s something about it that’s appealing. It’s taken me a long time to identify it, and I’m still not sure I have, but here goes.

This story is full of people who live as they should – people who live as they shouldn’t – people who act properly socially, but rather improperly morally. All this is viewed from the quiet soul of Miss Fanny Price, who is shocked at any bad behavior, yet ever-forgiving if it’s directed at herself.

Fanny really is pure gold. She can be a bit of an Elsie Dinsmore at times, but, because this is Jane Austen not Martha Finley, we know that she’s, first and foremost, human.

Edmund … hmm. Austen did well not to mention a specific date for his change of heart. Goodness gracious, Edmund! ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? MISS CRAWFORD!?!?! MISS CRAWFORD!???????? In every way she offends! How could you ever consider -!? And with Fanny right there all along -!?! Unbelievable.

Anyway, I still like you, but you’ll never be in the same league with Darcy or Knightley or Wentworth. In fact, you know what? You’re not even up there with Bingley. Bingley is way hotter than you. You know, even Ferrars was honorable and faithful. Hang yourself with your stiff collar, Edmund Bertram.

Would you believe I actually like Henry Crawford? Yeah … Willoughby, too. I’m sorry! I just feel like they could have been good guys if they weren’t … bad guys. I suppose you could say that about anyone, though, so …

Mary … I just can’t forgive her. Especially her reaction to the Maria/Henry debacle. Wow. Just wow. I mean, you weren’t awful, though you felt super fake, especially in your treatment of Fanny, but … I just can’t even think of you as ‘influenced by your evil aunt’ or something stupid like that as Edmund did.

I’m not going to go into the other characters. I loved some, hated others, and had mixed feelings for the rest. I did end up liking Sir Bertram more than I did the first time I read this book, though. He was pretty nice, and I loved his treatment of Fanny towards the end.

Overall, this was a fantastic novel, which I’d recommend for any lovers of classics. Though it’s a bit heavier than the other Austen novels, it’s definitely worth the rest, though I wouldn’t recommend it as your first Austen. 🙂

Favorite Quotes:

“We have all been more or less to blame … every one of us, excepting Fanny.”

“Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” 

“If this man had not twelve thousand a year, he would be a very stupid fellow.”

~Kellyn Roth

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Title: Persuasion

Author: Jane Austen

Genre: Classic Romance

Age-Range: 14+ (young adult/adult)

Era: early 1800s (Regency era)

Setting: England ~ mostly Bath

Source: free on Kindle ~ probably will buy hardbound copy soon!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 1/5. Okay for basically all ages, though the reading level is higher than most tweens can handle in my personal opinion.

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