Jane Austen Day 2018

Image for the flyer for Jane Austen Day 2018

If you live near the eastern Pennsylvania region, you may be interested in the local JASNA group’s Jane Austen Day.

The day long event will be held on April 21 at The Merion Cricket Club in Haverford, PA with speakers Lynn Festa, Susannah Fullerton, Whit Stillman*, and Juliette Wells presiding. The theme this year, “The Power of Persuasion,” celebrates the 200th anniversary of the publication of Persuasion.

In addition to the speakers, light foods and drinks will be served and an emporium will be open for your perusal of Austen and Regency inspired gifts and trinkets. Registration is now open but I’ve been unable to find the cost.

Visit Jane Austen Day 2018 for more information.

(*I must fangirl over Mr. Stillman. I first saw his first movie, Metropolitan** (his modern retelling of Mansfield Park), sometime in the mid-90s and I’ve been in love with him ever since. His work is delightful! He’s also the director who gave us the newly released Love & Friendship.

**I should probably do a review of that flick at some point!)


An Austentatious Murder

Image for the logo of An Austentatious Murder

Highly Suspect, a murder mystery event company based in Cumbria, UK, specializes in performance mysteries for private and public events that are a “deadly, exciting and hilarious evenings.” They have nearly a dozen different mysteries at hand, all written and performed by the company, and of course, they have one based on Jane Austen.

An Austentatious Murder” goes something like this:

“Acknowledging Jane Austen as one of mankind’s most gifted writers on the subject of love and the human condition, tech developers have created the ‘Austen Algorithm’ – the key to finding the perfect partner! The new app Dating Mr Darcy is due to be launched at an Austen themed gala celebration… But moments before the app goes live, its creator is found dead – Someone has quite literally broken her heart!

But which of the Austen aficionados is a potential killer? What clues to the crime can be found within the works of the author, and just who will end up dating Mr Darcy? A murder mystery that will take all of your sense and sensibilities to solve!”

It’s a shame I do not live in the UK because this sounds delightfully fun!

If you DO live in the UK, Highly Suspect will be at the Oldham Annual Bookmark Festival on April 23 and The Word’s WRITE Festival in South Tyneside on May 19.

Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters links for April 15, 2018

Image logo for Austentatious Links

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

Smells like Jane Austen

Image of the perfume stick of Longbourn by Latherati Soap.

I am a big fan of perfumes, scented oils, candles, and anything else that smells good and has some kind of theme or idea attached to it. It should be no surprise, then, to discover there are quite a few perfumes, soaps, and oils that can help you feel like you’re a part of Austen’s world whether drawing from the Regency era or inspired by.

Below are some of the scents you can buy to get you in the Austen mood.

Pemberley: A Jane Austen Inspired Perfume by Immortal Perfumes ($30+)
The notes are rosewood, coriander, cedarwood, honeysuckle, hyacinth, peony, and vetiver. The scent is best described as sweet and floral.

Longbourn by Latherati Soap  ($12)
The scent is best described as sweet honeysuckle & tart lemon mellowed and warmed by amber, tonka bean and musk.

The Jane Austen Solid Perfume Palette by Latherati Soap ($16)
Six samples of the following scents:

  • Barton Cottage – rose, violet & lily of the valley sit on a bed of green ivy with fruity notes of juicy raspberry & sweet yellow pear grounded in patchouli, caramel, white vanilla and sandalwood
  • Hartfield – ripe strawberries mingle with orchid, jasmine, muguet & violet and a touch of plum, musk & vanilla
  • Longbourn – honeysuckle with green leafy grass notes smoothly blended with zesty lemon and herbal undertones immersed in tonka bean and musk
  • Mansfield – a cup of red clover tea marbled with sweet baby roses and earthy sandalwood
  • The Abbey – soothing lavender floating on a base of cedarwood, rosewood, cardamom, warm amber, vetiver and tonka bean.
  • The Cobb – marine, ozone & sea spray with whispers of jasmine, freesia, lily, citrus and wood grounded by the slightest hint of musk

Latherati Soap has an extensive collection of perfumes, lotions, bath salts, and soaps inspired by Austen.

Jane Austen Perfume Collection by Wicked Good Perfume  ($14.95)
Another sampler based on Austen’s six novels. Each perfume is paired with a quote from the book it is named after and is “Impeccably packaged in a commanding book cloth covered print.”
The scents are:

  • Sense & Sensibility – ‘Sense will always have attractions for me’ – Scented with earl grey, vanilla and lavender.
  • Pride & Prejudice – ‘Happiness of marriage is entirely a matter of chance’ – A mysterious blend of exotic, spicy pomegranate, wild bergamot, dewberry, iris, jasmine; followed by spicy notes of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, with base notes of precious woods and cedar.
  • Persuasion – ‘What is right to be done cannot be done too soon’ – Frankincense, myrrh, patchouli and warm, powdery sandalwood
  • Emma – ‘There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart’ – A delicate tea rose with nuances of green and powder.
  • Northanger Abbey – Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothing’ – Tea at the Abbey. Berry sorbet, vanilla and lemon ice infused with Kombucha tea create an addictively refreshing impression with an Asian twist.
  • Mansfield Park – ‘There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort’ – Top notes of pear and a hint of raspberry are blended with mid notes of osmanthus, vanilla, cinnamon, and clove, on a base of redwood, cedarwood, sandalwood, and light musk.

Mrs. Bennet’s Anxiety Balm by Little Bits(LBCC Historical) ($10)
Little Bits has an extensive collection of make-up and perfumes that replicate make-up from the Regency era or is inspired by Austen.

Elizabeth Bennet by The Little Book Eater
The notes are white tea, apricot, nutmeg, ginger, and gardenia. The scent is best described as sweet and floral. The Little Book Eater also has a few other scents available in the vein of Austen.

You can check out more scents at Etsy!


*Prices subject to change

Book Review: Camp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan

Image of the book cover for Camp Austen by Ted Scheinman

Title: Camp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan
Author: Ted Scheinman
Pub date: March 6, 2018
ISBN: 978-0865478213


First impressions (ha!): the book is excessively diverting (double ha!).

I recently decided to get my reading lists in order.  Between books I’ve bought, books I check out from the library, and books I review for No Flying, No Tights and NetGalley, my reading list is a hot mess and I tend to return tons of books I never got around to reading. So one day I sat down and drew up a list of what books I had in chronological order from whom they were from and when the books were due. Not surprisingly this list has been instrumental in finishing titles in quick succession and it was even more helpful when I took MegaBus to Chicago last weekend for C2E2.* As the adventure was 14 hours round trip, I downloaded nearly 20 ebooks for reading. What can I say, I can comprehensively read on average of 75 pages per hour and I was ambitious.

An hour before I arrived in Chicago, I started Camp Austen and found myself surprised we were at the bus stop in what seemed like minutes. While the prose teetered between academic and layman’s terms, Scheinman is at first an academic, this did not deter the book as an engrossing read. While he does make use of popular vernacular such as “Lizzy Bennet dropping the mic on Lady Catherine in Volume II of Pride and Prejudice,”  I did not find distracting or out of place and it seemed appropriate in Scheinman’s balance between pop culture with a bit of high brow thrown in since some academics who write books to appease the general populace tend to get caught up in their $5 words with disregard to their audience. This is not Scheinman as he presents, and sometimes worships, Austen as a lingua franca: that commonality between the academics and fans where scholarship can expand (and yes fun can be had). Scheinman goes on to say he has no desire to protect Jane from the masses nor the masses from her. Take that crusty academics.

The story is thus: Scheinman finds one of his mentors wants to do Jane Austen Summer Camp  (inspired by the Dickens Universe at UC Santa Cruz) where there would be a week of lectures, balls, and other refinements. Additionally, Scheinman’s mother is well thought of through the Austen world and since she was laid up for most of Scheinman’s time with the Janeites with bad knees, Mrs. Scheinman’s popularity granted Scheinman himself easier access to the upper echelons of Janeiteism for this project that may not have been accessible to him without that introduction. Scheinman also splices his easy entryway into the story and is upfront about his easy admittance and it’s clear while he’s doing his mother a favor, he does indeed find himself as an “accidental superfan.” With that in mind, Scheinman as well juxtaposes his work with the camp with his introduction to Austen, via his mother, Austen’s works, and his travels to AGMs which is all research for a series he’s writing on Austen superfans for a magazine (he doesn’t say which).

While Scheinman admits he’s stepped back from the Austen world since his days of dancing and playing Mr. Darcy,  he writes about Janeites with much respect while poking a bit of fun on the superfans who take on Janeitism to a whole new level. He provides the example of an Austen themed tea company whose slogan was a cheeky take Austen was a loose woman (referring to Austen liked her tea loose) and one Janeite proclaimed haughtily how DARE the tea company imply Jane was “loose” (in regards to her morals). Even I rolled my eyes at that one and Scheinman agrees even Jane would have rolled her eyes as well.

Another pleasing theme that runs through the course of the book is Scheinman’s recounting of Austen’s history both personal and professional. He recounts a story of John Wallop, 3rd Earl of Portsmouth, a most unsavory character, who may have been the basis for a few of Austen’s villains in her novels. I did not know this. While granted I am not at a superfan level, I do take pleasure in knowing much about Austen’s personal history so reading Camp Austen was a history lesson that turned out to be much desired and fulfilling.

A day or two into C2E2, I found myself awake before my roommates so I headed down to the lounge with my iPad and to get coffee and I then proceeded to finish the book as the sun rose in Chicago. It wasn’t too long before the book was finished and I then closed the Kindle app with a sigh. This is the one failing of Camp Austen: it’s only 160 pages long so it makes for a quick read but additional detail would simply be filler.

I give this book a 5/5 and I heartily recommend it to anyone who is an Austen fan or has a passing interest in Austen since it’s a good introduction to Austen’s world and history coupled with a light critique and observation of the world of her fans and admirers. It’s got something for everyone.

*C2E2 is a comic-con held in Chicago every year and with the exception of 2017, I’ve gone every year since 2012. I’ve only cosplayed once (as the Ninth Doctor from Doctor Who) but I am thinking if one of my BFFs and I don’t go as Good Janet/Bad Janet from the TV show “A Good Place” next year, I’m going to see if I can get my druthers up to go as Lizzy Bennet from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (and yep, I do adore the movie of the same name).