The Joy of Jane: Thoughts on the First 200 Years of Austen’s Legacy (2017)

In 2017 the literary world will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen in a year packed with exhibitions, talks, walks and performances – as well as her appearance on the British £10 note.

Although there were only six completed novels, Jane Austen left an enormous legacy when she died on July 18, 1817, at the age of only 41. The Joy of Jane brings together some of today’s leading writers and authorities on Jane Austen to offer their thoughts on her endearing appeal.

Heyer Society contributors Susannah Fullarton and Ruth Williamson have essays in this literary, thoughtful and now hard-to-find celebration of the great Jane Austen.

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Literary Walks in Bath (2012) by Andrew Swift & Kirsten Elliott

Few cities have been so celebrated in print as Bath – from Smollett to Jane Austen, from Dickens to Fanny Burney, and from Sheridan to Georgette Heyer. Many other famous writers have passed through as well – Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in a house in the Abbey Church Yard, Coleridge met his wife in the city, and in the twentieth century John Betjeman championed its architectural heritage. Even Shakespeare – or so it is believed – turned up to take a dip in the hot springs. These eleven walks look at Bath through their eyes, creating a vivid social history of the city over the last 300 years and bringing the past alive with unparalleled immediacy. Fully illustrated, and including in-depth accounts of the writers and works featured, they can either be followed on foot or – with the aid of historic maps of the city – read as a series of essays.

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Happily Ever After (2013) by Susannah Fullarton

Pride and Prejudice can claim to be the world’s favourite novel. It was first published in 1813 and since then it has delighted readers around the world.

This book tells how it first came to be written, the struggle to get it published and what the first reactions of readers were like. It looks at the incredible charm of the heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, and at the sexiness of the hero, Mr Darcy. Also discussed are the style of the novel – what was so ground-breaking about Austen’s style? – the vast range of sequels and prequels, and the translations (what happens to Pride and Prejudice when it is re-written in another language?).

Susannah Fullerton looks at the tourism and merchandise connected with this classic book, at the illustrations and covers which have accompanied it, and at the reasons for its lasting popularity. Discover why the world so loves Pride and Prejudice.

READ IT HERE!

“How to Be a Literary Critic” by Georgette Heyer

Just a month after her biting essay on bigraphies of the Brontës appeared in Punch, Georgette Heyer let loose with an even more pointed attack in those pages, this time on literary critics.

Heyer was ever beset by critics across her writing life, and while rare was the poor review of her work, those still stung — as they do us all.

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It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian

Some of Ben Sedgwick’s favorite things:

  • Helping his poor parishioners
  • Baby animals
  • Shamelessly flirting with the handsome Captain Phillip Dacre

After an unconventional upbringing, Ben is perfectly content with the quiet, predictable life of a country vicar, free of strife or turmoil. When he’s asked to look after an absent naval captain’s three wild children, he reluctantly agrees, but instantly falls for the hellions. And when their stern but gloriously handsome father arrives, Ben is tempted in ways that make him doubt everything.

Some of Phillip Dacre’s favorite things:

  • His ship
  • People doing precisely as they’re told
  • Touching the irresistible vicar at every opportunity

Phillip can’t wait to leave England’s shores and be back on his ship, away from the grief that haunts him. But his children have driven off a succession of governesses and tutors and he must set things right. The unexpected presence of the cheerful, adorable vicar sets his world on its head and now he can’t seem to live without Ben’s winning smiles or devastating kisses.

In the midst of runaway children, a plot to blackmail Ben’s family, and torturous nights of pleasure, Ben and Phillip must decide if a safe life is worth losing the one thing that makes them come alive.

The first book in Cat Sebastian’s electrifying M/M Regency series, Seducing the Sedgwicks.

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“Books About the Brontës” by Georgette Heyer

In 1958, UK magazine Punch featured this short piece by Georgette Heyer, with her thoughts about the proliferation of biographies about the Brontë family, including her own vision of what one of her own might look like.

With typical wit, obvious indepth knowledge and more than a little exasperation, Heyer breaks down the facets of a successful Brontë-based scholarly work, while also weighing on her opinion of the Brontës themselves…

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“Shakespearean allusion and the detective fiction of Georgette Heyer” by Lisa Hopkins

In the 2016 journal Palgave Communications Vol. 2, Lisa Hopkins from the Department of English, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, published “Shakespearean allusion and the detective fiction of Georgette Heyer”.

The abstract begins:

This essay argues that Shakespearean allusion is a recurrent and important factor in the detective novels of Georgette Heyer. Though the master text for Heyer is Hamlet, a variety of Shakespeare plays are referred to, and mention of them functions in multiple ways. Quotations from Shakespeare reveal truths about the characters and comment on their situations and personalities. They also afford points of entry for people previously unacquainted to talk to each other, and finally they have effects in terms of genre, since their presence can, with equal facility, tend towards comic relief (in line with a tradition in golden-age crime fiction of using Macbeth in particular to comic effect) or work to add gravitas and resonance. The use of Shakespearean allusion is thus central to Heyer’s technique.

A fascinating and thorough examination of Heyer’s Shakespearean inspiration, it is a convincing and incredibly well-researched article showcasing an obvious love of Heyer’s mystery novels.

READ IT HERE!

When a Duke Pursues a Lady (2018) by Tabetha Waite

An innocent woman. A loyal agent to the Crown. A path of deception that tests the bonds of love.

After three years trapped in an abusive and loveless marriage, Lyra Coventry has been arrested for the murder of her husband, the Earl of Weston. Although she’s innocent of the crime, she has no one to turn to for help, until Alister Ayles, the Duke of Albright, comes forward to offer his aid. The handsome duke takes her into his custody, saving her from a jail cell. But Lyra doesn’t suspect Alister’s ulterior motive—to prove her guilty of treason—as she slowly loses her heart to a man who is far more than he seems…

Alister Ayles leads a secret life. To the ton, he is a dullard, the subject of ridicule. But as a highly respected agent for the Crown, he’s discovered a higher purpose by protecting his country. Now he’s faced with his toughest investigation to date, uncovering a plot against the Crown…and discovering whether or not Lyra, the woman he let slip through his fingers years ago, is a traitor. Nothing is as it seems, and as the plot unravels, the dangers to them increase. He struggles to keep his feelings for her contained, but when it comes down to a test of loyalty, will he stand strong, or fall prey to his desires?

The third book in Tabetha Waite’s Ways of Love series!

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Heyer Reviews: “The Escape Artist” by Alexandra Mullen

Subtitled “Georgette Heyer called her novels ‘nonsense’—but sometimes trifles make perfection”, Alexandra Mullen’s considered Wall Street Journal review of Jennifer Kloester’s definitive work, Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller, also delves into the life and work of Heyer herself, with enormous enthusiasm.

“Of making many books there is no end, said Ecclesiastes, quite some time ago now, so inventing a subspecies of storytelling is very rare.” she writes. “In the 20th century, one woman can certainly lay claim to that honor: Georgette Heyer, mother of the Regency Romance.

“Am I hearing some sniggers out there? Hold your high horses! I’m not talking about the saccharine inanities of Barbara Cartland or the more recent sexed-up dramas. Those are the sorts of books Heyer herself dubbed “breast-sellers.” Her own historical novels are well researched, from street plans and shops, military matters and gentlemen’s neckwear, to popular entertainments and slang. The comedies mix swashbuckle and screwball. Out of the frothy melee, characters emerge satisfactorily fated. If you have a taste for such fare, Heyer (1902-74) serves it forth with rational glee: ‘My style is really a mixture of Johnson & Austen — & what I rely on is a certain gift for the farcical.'”

Going on to exhult not only in Heyer’s life and work, but in our Jennifer Kloester’s, this is a thoughtful and respectful piece sure to please even the most ardent of Heyer fans.

READ IT HERE!

 

Project Film Geek Part 1: 1929 (2017) by Rachel Hyland

A B-Movie fanatic learns to appreciate Quality Cinema, one Oscar® nominee at a time…

“It has been brought to my attention that I have poor taste in film. Bad taste, really. Bad.”

So begins Project Film Geek, a program of self-improvement masquerading as snarky and entertaining film reviews of every film ever nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Picture. Starting here with the first Awards, presented in 1929, B-movie fanatic Rachel Hyland attempts to cleanse her cinematic palate by studying the Good and eschewing the So Bad It’s Good.

All she wants to do is join the cinematic intelligentsia. The cintelligentsia. Is that really so hard? Well, the 1929 nominees are all silent films, so what do you think?

READ IT HERE!