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Jane Austen News – Issue 95

the Jane Austen News feels Christmas is coming

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

 


Austen HEAVILY Abridged

One of our favourite finds at the Jane Austen News this week has to be the work of the late Australian comedian, John Clarke.

In his posthumously published book, Tinkering: The Complete Book of John Clarke, which was published in Australia on Monday, he has taken a wealth of literary classics and condensed them down to their most-brief forms. This is abridgment for the reader who really does have no time at all. Or, the reader who has read, or is at least familiar with, the novels he has abridged, and can appreciate the farcical nature of his “short” versions.

These are some of his abridged Austens:

Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth Bennet (mother obsessed with marrying daughters off, father amusing but not very helpful) dislikes Mr Darcy because he is too proud. She becomes prejudiced against him and even likes one man (Wickham) because he speaks ill of Darcy.

Her life is occupied with sisters Jane, who is calm and loves Bingham, and Lydia, who loves soldiers (Wickham) and who brings family into disrepute (Wickham). Elizabeth inadvertently discovers that Darcy is unbelievably rich. They marry immediately. Mother knew best.

Persuasion

Featuring Anne Elliot (plain, educated, sensitive, wise, family down on luck). Father and spoilt sister go to Bath for society, Anne to another sister (selfish, stupid, married to cheerful farmer). Children get sick, Anne tower of strength. Visited by Captain Wentworth. (Naval man at time of Trafalgar = national hero.) Wentworth and Anne have met before, have loved, and Anne has rejected Wentworth’s proposal of marriage but heart not still. Farmer’s sister falls off seawall and Wentworth realises he’s an idiot about Anne. Hooray!

Emma

Beautiful daughter of silly old fool has nothing better to do than manipulate and matchmake in snobbish rural society. Behaves very stupidly and messes up life of Harriet Smith, a harmless woman who should obviously marry local farmer. Eventually marries best friend Mr Knightley, the resonance of whose name she had previously failed to notice. (See Clueless.)

They’re obviously not a substitute for reading the novels themselves, but they’re a bit of fun, and perhaps a good way to remind yourself of the books you’ve read. (“I’m sure I’ve read it…I just can’t remember what it was all about…”)

A few more examples of John Clarke’s work, including 1984 and Moby Dick, can be found here.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 95

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Christmas at Pemberley by Regina Jeffers

Christmas at PemberleyA Pemberley Christmas, sounds picturesque doesn’t it? I can just see the festive greenery gracing the halls, the gathering of friends and family, the delightful diversions such as charades and ice skating, the sumptuous feasts… This is the lovely and charming image of yuletide merriment Regina Jeffers presents us with in her Christmas Pride and Prejudice sequel with one slight change… Darcy and Elizabeth aren’t there! Don’t fret, Darcy and Elizabeth are still in the novel (they are the main characters after all), they are just not home at Pemberley (although they are expected).

Because Darcy and Elizabeth have yet to return from their business trip, poor Georgiana must act as a stand-in hostess, receiving both the expected and unexpected guests! After living with Elizabeth for two years, Georgiana has shed some her shyness so playing hostess isn’t as insurmountable a task as it once was. But with guest such as Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mrs. Bennet, and Caroline Bingley all under one roof, even the most seasoned hostess might find it challenging to maintain the peace. It looks like Georgiana’s troubles are greatly lessoned when yet another unexpected visitor turns up, and he just happens to be the man she secretly and ardently admires…

>This novel has it all! A meaningful message, Christmas cheer and celebration, scandals and intrigue, engagements and births, and a profusion of romance! As always, Regina Jeffers beautifully and realistically portrays a tender and devoted marriage between Darcy and Elizabeth, and they’re not the only ones in love in this sequel! Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I loved all these tender touches and fervent declarations. (*While there are kissing scenes and talk of passionate intimacies, this novel does not display any graphic or explicit scenes*)

Another aspect of Christmas at Pemberley that I loved was the quantity and variety of story-lines. The major storylines: Darcy and Elizabeth at the inn and Georgiana managing Pemberley’s guests receive the most page time and weave back and forth with each other; while other little story-lines are peppered throughout the novel. I felt each storyline was well-developed, diverting, and in keeping with Jane Austen’s original characters and time period. Don’t worry about there being too many characters and stories! These story-lines were well-organized and presented in a way that makes it easy to keep track of all the many characters and plots. I really enjoyed following each story, seeing the development of characters, witnessing all the twists and turns, and observing all the satisfying conclusions. And it looks like the one or two stories that aren’t resolved will be continued in Regina Jeffer’s next novel The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy. I can’t wait to read it!

So if you find yourself with a moment to spare in between decking the halls, hanging stockings with care, and making merry, I highly recommend Christmas at Pemberley! A magnificent blend of Jane Austen, Christmas, and romance!

  • RRP: £8.99
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Ulysses Press (8 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156975991X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569759912
Meredith Esparza is the host of Austenesque Reviews (and is currently hosting A Jane Austen Christmas Celebration) She began this blog in September 2009.
“I love to read, and writing reviews has become a hobby of mine these past few years. My favorite type of books are about Jane Austen and/or her novels and Historical Christian Romances. My favorite authors are Jane Austen, The Brontes, Louisa May Alcott, and Georgette Heyer. “
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