Jane Austen Regency Week

Logo for Jane Austen Regency Week

Here’s another one for the calendar:

If you have some time free in June, you can head to Alton and Chawton,  Hampshire UK for the NINE days (yes, nine!) Jane Austen Regency Week. Supported by ticket sales, grants, sponsors, and advertising, the events cover everything from Regency balls, panels, and workshops. You can even rent your finery if you so choose.

The festival runs from June 16 – 24 beginning with a Regency day in Alton and ending on the 24th with a Regency Supper. There also balls, walks, teas, and fairs. Most of the events are free.

For more information, visit the festival’s website where you can find out the cost of tickets, lodging, and locations. You can also find them on Facebook.

Jane Austen Community Quilts

Image of one of the Jane Austen community quilts

Last year, the Jane Austen House Museum ran a collaborative quilting project inspired by the Austen family coverlet currently housed at the museum. The project was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund with partnership by the Jane Austen Hampshire Group, Alton Library, Fine Cell Work, Winchester Discovery Centre, Home-Start WeyWater, and the Alresford Lacemakers.

“Each individual quilt block was designed and created by representatives from over forty community groups worldwide, including groups in North America, Australia and Brazil as well as closer to home with blocks designed by Chawton Primary School and Chawton House. Each block explores a different theme which when combined forms a patchwork of stories narrating Jane Austen’s life. ”

“On Saturday 10th March, Jane Austen’s House Museum hosted a celebration event to showcase the new community story quilt in the Museum’s Learning Centre. Around 80 participants, some travelling from as far afield as Scotland, made the trip to Chawton to view the quilt and share stories and experiences about the project over tea and coffee. Liz Betts, Quilt Designer, and Sue Dell, Collections Volunteer and Austen coverlet expert, were on-hand throughout the day to meet with visitors and participants and answer questions about the project. ”

You can follow along with the story of the quilt by visiting the quilt’s blog.

Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters links for May 27, 2018

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Here are your Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters related links for the week:

TV Movie: Marrying Mr. Darcy

Image still for Marrying Mr. Darcy

I love Hallmark Channel films in a “they are so bad they are diverting” way not in a “this is fine entertainment to feast your eyes on” way. Every year, from early November to mid-January, I am glued to my TV watching all the holiday-themed movies they pump out every winter. Last year, not including repeats from previous years, there were nearly 30 different films. They all had the same plot and were happily ever afters, but still, schlocky good fun.

(If you too are a fan of Hallmark Channel holiday films, I have a themed Facebook group you can join. Don’t be surprised if we’re only active from November to January.)

So, one night a couple of years ago as I was flipping through the channels, I came across Unleashing Mr. Darcy and I thought, “No, surely not.” BUT YES! SURELY IS! Based on the book by the same name, the plot is this: A modern spin on Pride and Prejudice where New Yorker Elizabeth Scott, floundering on what to do next with her life, gets the opportunity to show her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in a national dog show. She discovers, living across the street, a Donovan Darcy who is also a breeder as well as a judge in the show. Hijinks ensue. And, well, you know how this ends.

(One word review of Unleashing Mr. Darcy the movie? Interesting and not in a good way.)

Imagine my surprise this morning trawling the internet to discover they are making a sequel, Marrying Mr. Darcy, picking up six months after Unleashing Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth and Donovan Darcy are “blissfully in love and newly engaged.” As they are planning their small autumn wedding, complications and expectations begin to arise. Should Elizabeth marry Mr. Darcy? (Spoiler: Of course, she will.)

Marrying Mr. Darcy is set to air on the Hallmark Channel on June 2 during Hallmark’s wedding season movie pack. Make sure to catch your local listings.  You can catch up by watching Unleashing Mr. Darcy via Amazon video streaming service.

(I will more than likely be watching if I can get the chance and if I do, expect a review to be forthcoming.)




Book Review: Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

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Image for the cover of Text From Jane Eyre

Title: Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
Author: Daniel Mallory Ortberg
Pub date: 2014
ISBN: 978-1627791830


First impressions: Imaginary and imaginative text messages from fictional and non-fictional characters that will have you in stitches.

Originally appearing on The Toast (RIP), Daniel Mallory Ortberg cultivated a following with their insightful, witty, and often painfully funny recreations of texts as if the characters and persons from the literature and history were writing them. Ortberg takes no prisoners covering from Gilgamesh to The Wife of Bath to Gone With The Wind. From Scarlett’s drama with Rhett and Ashely to William Blake’s texting his wife that no, he did not draw anything horrifying for her.


Jane Eyre
Jane: I’m taking a walk / be back before dinner
Jane: do you really want me to describe my walk with you
Jane: it’s fairly cloudy out / looks like rain soon
Jane: all right

Even Jane is included:

Pride and Prejudice
Mrs. Bennet: You must see to it your sister invites Mr. Bingley, Lizzie
Lizzie: He isn’t here, Mother
Mrs. Bennet: isn’t here? / He must be here / The ball is in seven days / and if he is not here then how will we convince our Mr. Darcy to attend?
Lizzie: Mr. Darcy is not here either
Mrs. Bennet: no? / But I thought he was in London / for business / and return in time for the ball
Lizzie: No / he’s not in London / he is on a ship / he is going to war
Mrs. Bennet: but this is terrible news
Lizzie: There is an actual war going on right now / against Napoleon
Mrs. Bennet: How could this have happened
Lizzie: He was commissioned months ago
Mrs. Bennet: And Mr. Bingley?
Lizzie: Probably yes

Texts from Jane Eyre is an anthology of sorts that you can dip in and out of and the chapters are well marked if you’re looking for a particular text to make the dipping in and out of easier. Clocking in at 240 pages, it shouldn’t take you too long if you read them from start to finish (which I did).  90% of the texts are hilarious while some are obviously Ortberg phoning it in but overall, whether if you’re an avid reader, like satire, or need a gift for someone who seems to have it all, you can’t go wrong with Texts from Jane Eyre.

Jane Austen Society of North America 2018 AGM

Banner for the 2018 JASNA AGM

This year the Jane Austen Society of North America proudly presents their 2018 AGM which runs from September 28-30 and will be happening in Kansas City, MO. The theme this year is “Persuasion: 200 Years of Constancy and Hope” and since our Captain Wentworth was in the navy, the theme is also nautical influenced.

Registration opened on May 9 with the $275 early bird prices good until June 30 after which time the prices will increase to $325 until the event.

The weekend includes workshops, plenary speakers, breakout sessions, and an emporium. Events on  Saturday night will include British pub quiz, a banquet,  a ball as well as a game of whist. Visit here for a full schedule.

For more information, travel, hotels, and other events happening, please visit the AGM’s main page.


Austen Family Music Books

Jane Austen Family Music Book

A few years ago, the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit digitized the Austen Family Music books, a collection comprising of 18 music books containing 600 pieces dating back as early as the 1750s with the majority of the collection centered around Jane Austen’s lifetime.

From the about page:

This collection consists of eighteen printed and manuscript music books owned by members of the Austen family, including the writer Jane Austen, in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Many are binder’s volumes, compiled from separate manuscript or printed sheet music items bound together for an individual user. Others are personal manuscript albums made wholly or principally by a single copyist. Although some volumes were compiled as early as the 1750s, the majority date from Jane Austen’s lifetime (1775-1817). Austen made or used several of the books, and she was probably familiar with music collected by other family members.

The collection brings together nearly 600 pieces, mainly songs and works for keyboard or harp, by both international figures and British composers. The books present a vivid picture of domestic musical culture in England in the years around 1800, furnishing valuable insights on music making in the homes of gentry families as well as essential contextualisation for musical episodes in Austen’s fiction.

The digital collection, housed at the Internet Archive, allows you to read and flip through the books in the way they are meant to be seen including the binding. Visit UoS for more information and history of the project.


Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters links for May 20, 2018

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Here are your Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters related links for the week:

Thug Notes: Emma, Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights

Image of Dr Sparky Sweets for Thug Notes

If you’re not hip to Thug Notes, you really need to be. A series produced by Wisecrack. each video gives the summary and analysis of books ranging from 50 Shades of Grey to Fahrenheit 451. Thug Notes covers over 100 books (!) with more coming every month.

Last year I covered Thug Notes’ Pride and Prejudice video and I was thrilled to discover “Dr. Sparky Sweets” has also covered EmmaJane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights. If you have a few minutes and you’re not opposed to some not safe for work language, you really need to check these out.

Pembertea: A Monthly Jane Austen and Tea Subscription Box

Image of the Pembertea logo

On a recent post of pop culterization of Jane, I wasn’t too surprised to discover there exists a subscription box dedicated solely to tea and Jane Austen.

A subscription box is where you pay a flat fee every month for a rotating themed box. A couple of long-standing ones is Birchbox, a subscription box dedicated to health and beauty, Barkbox for your pets, Graze for snacks, and Lootcrate, a subscription box for geeks. The general idea behind subscription boxes is to try new things whether it’s a new snack, mascara, dog food, or collection items like shirts or toys. The boxes are usually monthly and range from $10 a box on up to over $100. There is a box for just about everything.

Pembertea is a subscription box service dedicated to tea and Jane Austen. The subscription is pretty straightforward enough. Every month you get  Jane Austen trinkets whether it’s a charm bracelet, bookmark, Austen inspired games, postcards or something similar and of course, tea. The theme varies every month and you can see the 2018 themes here. Boxes cost $35 a month and you can cancel at any time.

Reviews seem highly favorable for the boxes and if you get one, let me know in the comments!

You can find Pembertea on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.