As you probably know (because we pretty much haven’t shut up about it over the last month), the long-awaited sequel to the first book in the Austen Adventures series, The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen, is coming out one month today (7th November 2019… It’s already the 7th somewhere in the world, isn’t it?)
Billed by our publisher, Canelo Escape, as a page-turning story of adventure, friendship and family, the story picks up where the first book in the series, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, ends, taking the familiar characters on another exciting escapade, this time into the past.
You can read the blurb to The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austenhere, and you can find it up for pre-order on the ‘Where to Buy‘ page here.
Read below on how to enter a FREE GIVEAWAY for a paperback of the first book in the series!
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen was released in September, and to celebrate the run-up to the release of the sequel, we’re giving away THREE copies of the paperback edition of the book.
The giveaway is free to enter and is open worldwide! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling us your favourite Jane Austen novel or adaptation. That’s it! No more, no less!
Entries close at midnight UK time on Sunday, 20th October 2019, and the names of all entrants will be entered in the draw, with three winners selected by an impartial third party.
Winners will be announced here on the Blog and the news will be shared on social media. If a prize is not claimed within seven days of the winners being announced, a further name will be chosen to receive the book.
So what’s it about? Here’s the blurb of this uplifting, comedic tale of time travel and friendship:
Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan– just around the corner, all is well with the world…
But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.
Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It’s not worth living in!
So there it is! A chance to win a free paperback of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen! So what are you waiting for? (please don’t say ‘the sequel’)
Zip on down to the Comments and share with us your favourite Jane Austen novel or adaptation (just the title will do if you don’t have time to say more)!
And if you don’t win the paperback and still fancy reading the book, the eBook is also available with this very pretty cover, and available through the Where to Buy page as well!
It’s the final week in our series of guest posts (for now, at least!), and today we’re welcoming Sophie Andrews, also known for her popular Blog, Laughing with Lizzie.
As it’s the final one, we’re making sure we finish with a bang, so the giveaway is a double one (more at the end of the post)!
Sophie was given three questions to consider, much as our other guests were, and here are her responses!
How and when did Jane Austen enter your life?
Jane Austen has been very important in my life, for many different reasons. I was just 9 when I saw the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, but I was a little too young to fully understand the language, so it didn’t really make an impression on me. (I remember very vividly the evening I watched it with my mother, and how she had to keep pausing it to explain what had just been said whenever I looked particularly confused – they often speak very quickly in that film too!)
I watched that film a few more times, and as I grew up I began to fall completely in love with it! But I still wasn’t hooked on Jane Austen, it was just Pride and Prejudice – or actually, to be more accurate, I was just hooked on Mr. Darcy!
However, back in 2011 I was going to be studying Pride and Prejudice for my English exams, and so that summer I had to read it – you have to understand that at the time I really wasn’t a reader. However, given I enjoyed the film, I was looking forward to it. When I was on my summer holidays (in the, rather appropriate even if Lizzy didn’t get there in the end, Lake District!) I read it in a week. I just couldn’t put it down! It seemed strange to my family to see me engrossed in a book, as I guess I used to be like Emma Woodhouse in regards to books and reading!
Pride and Prejudice was amazing from start to finish; I was entranced by the humour and social commentary, and I enjoyed reading the scenes I knew well from the film. I knew Jane Austen was brilliantly funny, but you really don’t get to appreciate her wit first hand unless you read the books. Something seems to get lost in translation when it is adapted into a film; the true Austen humour must be experienced straight from the authoress herself.
From that moment I was caught up in the elegance and eloquence of Miss Austen’s world and words! I re-read Pride and Prejudice straight away, and I really enjoyed studying it at school, becoming the class expert, and earning myself the nickname “Mrs Darcy” – hence the blog persona! I also got Sophie Jane “Austen” Andrews, as Jane actually is my middle name!
As you can see from these photos, my poor homework diary was completely vandalised that year – I had very dedicated friends too, as the “I ❤ Mr Darcy very much” was scrawled on EVERY page. (They even went so far as to go backwards and write it on the old pages from previous weeks as well!)
Following this, I read Sense and Sensibility, then Emma, followed by Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and finally Mansfield Park. There was no stopping me! Having devoured the 6 main stories, I devoted myself to studying all aspects of the Jane Austen phenomenon, from the film and television adaptations, to the fan fiction, commentaries, critiques, information books and biographies, as well as the worldwide online Jane Austen community. There was no going back now – I had become a true and proud Janeite.
Tell us about Laughing with Lizzie
Carrying on from the above, fast forward a year or so, and after a lot of ‘persuasion’ (if you’ll excuse the pun!) from a friend, along with the offer that she would set it all up and design the layout for me (I am such a technophobe!) I eventually started my blog, “Laughing With Lizzie“.
It was my space to rant and rave about my passion for Jane Austen. It was also my escape; I was having a hard time at school and some family health issues at the time, and so I really threw myself whole heartedly into the world of Jane, enjoying my escape into her world through her books and, subsequently, my blog. Slowly, slowly my blog became more well known, and then about 2 years ago I started my Facebook page. From there, I have no idea how, but so many amazing things have happened for me, and I have participated in so many wonderful events. I have to pinch myself every day, as it is all beyond my wildest dreams!
I have now been blogging for just over 4 years, and I still love to rant and rave about Jane – I don’t think I will ever run out of things to say about her! Since my blog becoming more well known, I have enjoyed being asked to participate in blog tours and having various authors visit with excerpts or guest posts, and I have enjoyed the various interviews I have hosted there too.
Also, since beginning to participate more in the annual festivals and events throughout the year, I have loved sharing my Austen adventures in posts on my blog.
Beginning my Facebook page has been a wonderful way to meet many more Janeites and has been a fun way to share smaller and often silly Jane Austen related things which don’t really necessitate a blog post, so I am very pleased to have gone down that route. (I am currently attempting to get to grips with Twitter as well, but I am still learning the ropes at the moment!)
What I love about my blog and Facebook page is seeing the vast numbers of people, and in so many different countries, that the Jane Austen fandom reaches. I find my blog statistics fascinating; about a year ago my country count reached over 100 different countries, and I have just hit 10,000 followers (or ‘likes’) on Facebook, which just astounds me. It really makes me feel happy to know that through sharing my thoughts and adventures with so many wonderful people and Janeites across the globe, in some small way, I am helping to bring us all together as a ‘family’ with a common interest and passion!
Through my various Internet mediums I just love to spread the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen to every corner of the world, and the fact that people seem to enjoy what I share, and like following all my adventures is just a bonus!
How would your life be different if something had prevented Jane Austen from publishing any novels?
Oh don’t even say such a thing! Jane Austen really was a saviour for me, so it just doesn’t bear thinking about! She has been such a huge influence in my life, even in this short time since I really got absorbed by the Jane Austen fandom. She has really helped me to find myself as well.
How would it be different… Well, where to begin! Probably most significantly, would be, well, you know how I mentioned earlier that I never used to be a reader? Well, the truth is that I had never read another ‘proper’ book before Pride and Prejudice! Jane Austen brought me to reading, and so without her, I highly doubt if I would be a reader today!
My love of all things Austen has opened up so many exciting opportunities for me; I have dabbled in the world of audiobook narration, I have been asked to and have had a go at editing or reviewing new Austen-related publications, I play the piano and naturally love to play Regency era piano pieces and music from the screen adaptations which has led me to being asked to perform music recitals for various Jane Austen societies across England, and I attend many annual events, festivals and (which are my favourites!) balls across England throughout the year in full regency costume – I even organised my own regency house party!
I have also been given the opportunity to become an ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation, a charity founded by Caroline Knight, Jane Austen’s 5th great niece, which has been a wonderful chance to give something back and feels like a way to thank Jane Austen, and in a way which is going to do some real good for others who are less fortunate.
I could go on and on and on, but I don’t want to bore your readers! In summary, I really don’t want to think about my life without Jane. I can’t even try to imagine it anyway! As well as being the perfect escape when I first read Pride and Prejudice, she is also a perfect escape for me now, for, as many of you are aware, I suffer with some health conditions and have been battling them for the past few years, so yet again, Jane Austen is there for me to escape to, and to give me a welcome and much needed change from hospital appointments!
Right, I shall end my rambling there. Thank you, Cass and Ada, for inviting me to your blog and congratulations on the new book! I remember sitting with you both at Basildon Park over a year ago and hearing you talk about this book – I look forward to finally reading it! And so, all that remains to be said is…
Now that all the excitement of the release of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen is behind us, we are happy to resume our series of guest posts and giveaways today! Please welcome Hazel Mills to our Blog!
Hazel is a founding member of the Cambridge Group of the Jane Austen Society, and a dedicated book collector (including finding different copies of Pride & Prejudice, her current tally being 246!)
Over to you, Hazel!
I must first say think you for inviting me to be part of this series amongst such august Austen people celebrating this exciting new venture and book. I feel highly honoured!
My Austen journey began many years ago, in the late 1960s, thanks to Thomas Hardy. I was brought up in the beautiful county of Dorset and as such was required to read, in my first years at school, the celebrated local author, Mr Hardy. The books we were forced to read were The Trumpet Major and Jude the Obscure, the latter being an incredibly depressing book for any twelve year old girl to read with children being murdered. However, the next class reader was…Pride and Prejudice! Suddenly death and destruction was replaced with sparkling wit and Mr Darcy. I was hooked. Pride and Prejudice became the first class reader I completed before it was necessary and I soon followed up reading Jane Austen’s other books as quickly as I could.
The books, Pride and Prejudice particularly, continued to give me pleasure throughout my school life and my set of Penguins followed me to college when I left home to learn to be a science teacher. My relationship with Mr Darcy was very strong, (even though Captain Wentworth and Colonel Brandon were making claims on my heart too) and I found that I went back to the book many times when I felt in need of a bit of comfort. At that time I did not realise that, as much as I loved Jane Austen and her works, that she would in fact change my life and what I would do with it!
Living in Cambridge certainly had its benefits; there were often days dedicated to different writers. I was so glad that I chose to attend a literary day dedicated to Jane Austen at Newnham College. I picked up a flyer asking if there were any people interested in starting a Cambridge Jane Austen Society. Did I need asking twice? Of course not! Then I saw the date, my husband’s birthday! To say I have an understanding husband is an understatement!
Duly, on the 11th November 1997 I became a founding member of The Jane Austen Cambridge Group for which I am the social secretary and editor of the newsletter, so a great deal of my time is taken up thinking of all things Austen for the group. Thanks to them I began giving illustrated talks, some of which have become very popular, particularly a talk on travel in Jane Austen’s time which I have been lucky enough to give in many places including Dunfermline, Exeter, London, York, Bath and even, most satisfyingly, Chawton Cottage.
I am also thrilled to have worked for the Jane Austen Society of the United Kingdom as a regional speaker giving Society talks on Jane Austen and her works to groups, societies and schools who contact the society for talks in the eastern region of the UK. One week I could be helping a group of schoolgirls understand what it was like to be a woman in the early nineteenth century and the next telling a Rotary Club group about Jane Austen’s life!
The Cambridge group meets five times a year for a variety of events. We have talks by a range of speakers, discussions, a Strawberry Tea every July when the sun always shines, and a wonderful Birthday Reception and Lunch in December at Queens’ College, Cambridge in rooms which were built in the mid fifteenth century so would have been known to Harry Austen, cousin to Jane’s father and rector of Steventon before her father George; Sackville Austen, son of her Godmother Jane Chadwick Austen and Old Uncle Francis; Samuel Egerton Brydges, brother of Jane’s particular friend Anne Lefroy and John Papillon, rector of Chawton in Jane’s time, as all were Queens’ men.
Anyone interested in more information on the Cambridge Group can find it here.
One of the most momentous moments of my life was a group visit to Kings College Library where I was able to hold the manuscript of Sanditon in my own hands, without gloves! A very precious experience indeed!
I was asked how my life would be different if something had prevented Jane Austen from publishing any novels. The short answer would be, I would be a lot richer financially! I mentioned my set of Penguins that followed me everywhere earlier. The Pride and Prejudice had become so tatty that, in about 1984, my lovely husband replaced it with a beautiful copy from Purnell. It was so lovely that I almost didn’t want to read it. About the same time I found a very old biography of Jane and bought that too.
That was the slippery slope. I then began buying other copies of Pride and Prejudice and biographies. Then came the purchase of the other novels and literacy criticism, swiftly followed by historical books, books Jane may have known, influences on her writing, the Juvenilia etc. At the last count I have about 246 copies of Pride and Prejudice including the much desired Peacock Edition and 14 audio books, and about 2,500 books in my collection altogether. My Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Walter Scott collections and modern novels were all relegated to the attic as my collection grew. However they are now all boxed for our move where I will have a library!
Without doubt, a life without Austen would not be as full as my life is now. I cannot imagine a world without my books but as importantly, it is the wonderful people I have found in the online Austen world that have now become ‘real’ friends whom I meet regularly, maybe in Regency Costume, maybe not. Previously my love of Austen was shared with those people in my Cambridge group. Now I can share my passion with fellow lovers of Austen from all around the world!
Thank you ladies, for allowing me to share my Jane Austen story with you all.
Hazel, thank you so much for visiting Tabby Cow and for such a delightful post! It’s been lovely to learn all about how you discovered Jane Austen and about the impact she has made on your life! Thank you also for supporting us last week by coming along with your husband to the launch party for our book in the beautiful city of Bath!
Once again, we’re offering one lucky commenter the chance to win a copy of our new release, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen(find the blurb here), along with the following:
A ‘Peacock’ tote bag
A Jane Austen silhouette pin
A miniature version of both Persuasion and Sense & Sensibility, from the Jane Austen House Museum
A build your own Chawton Cottage
How to Enter
It’s simple! Just leave a comment below about anything in Hazel’s post above, or simply share how your life would be affected if Jane Austen had never published her novels.
All those who comment will be entered into a draw to select the prize winner, which will be announced the following week.
Although there’s no guest blog post this week on Tabby Cow, we’re out visiting some of our friends on their blogs!
Over at Jane Odiwe’s blog, Jane Odiwe Austen Sequels, there’s a new chance to win a copy of the book, plus NEW giveaway goodies of a Marvel Comics edition of Northanger Abbey, a china thimble with Northanger Abbey quote: ‘Oh, who could ever be tired of Bath?’, a Jane Austen silhouette pin and a pendant and chain with a Northanger Abbey quote re friendship.
PLUS, there’s an excerpt from The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, where our heroine, Rose, finally meets the mysterious lady staying in the holiday apartment above her own home in 4 Sydney Place!
The giveaway ends on Friday this week, so there’s still time to enter by simply leaving a comment! Simples!
Today, we’re also being interviewed over at Janet Taylor’s blog, More Agreeably Engaged, plus there’s another selection of NEW goodies being given away with a copy of the book, including the screenplay of the 1995 Persuasion, a Jane Austen silhouette pin, a miniature copy of Persuasion from the Jane Austen House Museum and, last but not least, another pendant and chain with a quote from that letter from Captain Wentworth!
Remember, all giveaways are open INTERNATIONALLY! We’ve had winners on Tabby Cow so far from Poland, the USA, Wales and Germany! It would be fun to send a giveaway even further afield!
Good luck to anyone who enters, and we’ll be back tomorrow as we celebrate the official release day of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen (even though the paperback has been out there for a few weeks ahead of when it should have been!)
We’re delighted to announce the winners of last week’s giveaway prize bundles and books are:
Kathrin and TeaGuide!
Congratulations to you both (we will contact you via email) and thank you to everyone who left comments on Jackie’s post about Jane Austen’s influence on her life and the amazing Jane Austen Festival in Bath!
There will be more chances to win prizes later in July, but we’re taking a break from guest posts for a couple of weeks as the book is released this coming Thursday, and we have a few things to share about it in the next two weeks!
Thank you to everyone who left a comment over the past five weeks. We loved having our guests visit us here at TabbyCow, and we look forward to more soon!
We are delighted this week to welcome Jackie Herring, Director of the Jane Austen Festival held every September in the beautiful city of Bath!
With Bath and the annual Festival being the main setting for The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, we are doubly excited to have Jackie as our special guest!
As with all our guests, we were keen to know how and when Jackie first discovered Jane Austen, to hear more about the Festival and its organisation and to find out what the impact might be on Jackie if Jane Austen had never published her novels.
When and how did you first discover Jane Austen and her works?
I was introduced to Austen by my best friend when I was about 16. She handed me a copy of Pride & Prejudice and said “you will like this it is better than Jilly Cooper”. We had been working our way through Jilly Cooper’s girl novels. My friend was right!
Which is your favourite novel and why?
It probably is Pride & Prejudice but I love them all for different reasons.
P&P because of the wonderful characters and the language. How I would have loved to say what Lizzy does to Lady Catherine de Bourgh (chapter 56 is my favourite) plus it is the only book that I have ever felt really sad about finishing because I would never again be able to read it for the first time!
How did you become involved with the Jane Austen Festival?
I started doing walking tours for the Jane Austen Centre in 1999, then worked in the Centre as Shop Manager and Guide. In 2001, when David Baldock created the first Festival, I helped behind the scenes and as a steward until 2008 when I took over as Festival Director.
What is your favourite part of your role as Festival Director? And the most challenging?
Very difficult question, because I love it all and particularly anything that is a challenge. I really get a kick out of when all the bits of a plan come together and the Festival starts.
There are some very stressful times, usually in the planning stages. The most challenging event is the Promenade, where I have to deal with so many different agencies, including the Council for permission for us to cross the roads, use the park and disrupt the city on a busy Saturday!
Can you share anything with us about how the Festival is organised, such as how many people are on your team, how many venues are used or anything else you think might be of interest to readers?
My team throughout the year is very small, it consists of me and Rachel, my assistant. Then, at Festival time, we have lots of lovely volunteer stewards who give up their time to help. They are wonderful, and some keep coming back, for which I am really grateful.
Most of the organising of the Festival is done by email, but we do have visits to the venues to check their suitability. I like to try and use different places – this year we are using the Abbey Hotel, the Assembly Rooms, St Matthews Church at Widcombe and Bath Function Rooms. The Mission Theatre is the main venue for most events as it is easier to have a base besides I get a good deal on the hire price for having it for more than one day. All in all this year there are 17 different venues!
Do you have any funny stories about past festivals – either during the preparation or the Festival itself?
There are lots of amusing things but the one I can mention and which I know she will not mind me talking about was when:
A lovely lady called Joyce (who used to come to the Festival every year and who sadly lost her husband recently) at her first Festival came to an event at The Mission Theatre in a gorgeous Regency outfit. Unfortunately the look was spoilt by a modern plastic hair roller in the very front of her fringe which she had forgotten to remove and which her husband, who had dropped her off, had failed to tell her about! She did take it out of her hair very quickly when we pointed it out to her!
When do tickets for this year’s Festival go on general sale and where can they be purchased?
Finally, what would you be doing if Jane Austen had never published her novels?
Since talking to you about your book, I have thought about what I would have lost without Austen in my life. I have so many friends through working at the Jane Austen Centre and Jane Austen Festival and long term friendships that I simply would not have had otherwise.
Before my son was born, I worked for a firm of Solicitors as a Systems Administrator and then afterwards I took up part-time work at the Bath Chronicle, setting the adverts. I left that job to go to the Jane Austen Centre, but I also worked part-time on the open top buses. That was great fun and kept me on my toes, having to remember lots of information and also adjust what and how much I said to the traffic conditions and speed of the bus!
The short answer is, I would probably still be on the top of a bus and doing walking tours but would have needed something more, so perhaps I would have also gone into the Tourist Information Centre or Ticket Office, something like that.
That was fascinating, Jackie; thank you for sharing it with us! We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule, especially as the Programme of Events for this year’s Festival has just been announced!
This week, we’re offering two lucky commenters the chance to win giveaway prizes!
A copy of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen (eBook or paperback, open worldwide)
A laminated bookmark showing the topaz crosses given to Jane and her sister, Cassandra, by their brother, Charles
A map of Bath in the time of Jane Austen (specifically, from 1803, a significant date in the story)
A set of Jane Austen bookplates
A charming necklace with a quote from one of Jane Austen’s Bath novels
NEW addition! A Jane Austen silhouette pin badge!
A copy of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen (eBook or paperback, open worldwide)
A build-your-own Chawton Cottage!
A dress-your-own Regency doll
A miniature book of Pride & Prejudice
A charming necklace with a quote from Jane Austen
A Jane Austen silhouette pin badge
There will be further chances to win bundles of prizes next month when we continue our series of guest posts on 20th July with a visit from Hazel Mills. Hazel is one of the founding members of the Jane Austen SocietyCambridge Group and a regional speaker for the Jane Austen Society UK.
How to Enter
It’s simple! Just leave a comment below about anything in Jackie’s interview above, or simply share how your life would be affected if Jane Austen had never published her novels.
All those who comment will be entered into a draw to select the prize winners, which will be announced the following week.