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Regency Bucks, Beaus and Dandies

Beaus and Dandies

Bucks, Beaus and Dandies

Though not specifically mentioned by Jane Austen, it does not take much reading up on the Regency to come across descriptive terms for generalizing a young man’s London habits. Bucks, Beaus and Dandies (and Corinthians) make their appearance throughout fiction set in this era. It can be hard to decipher just which character qualities are inherent to which, now obscure, terms such as Beaus and Dandies. The following definitions, excerpted from Jennifer Kloester’s 2005 book, Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, give a more complete picture. Heyer, herself, was known for her meticulous research and knowledge of the era and is considered one of the foremost experts in the field. This book is based on her own catalog of facts and historical insights.

Northanger Abbey's John Thorpe is an ideal Regency Buck.
Northanger Abbey’s John Thorpe is an “ideal” Regency Buck.

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Austenland, the Novel: A Review

9781596912854_custom-0253823464e253deda04e02d8445d304f1b4c7e5-s6-c30Having spent several years working in the children’s departments of various libraries, I considered myself fairly familiar with the authors of young adult fiction. I was surprised, therefore, to find Shannon Hale, famous for her adapted and created fairy tales, venturing into Jane Austen’s fiction. A giant, though not far-fetched, leap in my mind. After all, aren’t Austen’s novels ‘fairy tales’ for adults?

On opening Austenland, I found that Ms Hale had, with the style perfected through years of captivating storytelling in imaginary countries, managed to create her own perfect Austen inspired world—or at least, practically perfect in every way, if one can believe the brochure…

The Austenland novels (so far there are two) feature an old English estate that has been transformed into a Regency paradise (think Regency Houseparty on a grand, uncompromising scale). Run by the inscrutable Mrs. Wattlesbrook, it is far from being a Jane Austen theme park, as the title may imply, and those fortunate enough to be able to purchase a visit are able to fully immerse themselves in Regency life (no 21st century trappings allowed) surrounded by upper class, Georgian-style opulence and a cast of actors charged with meeting your every need and making your dreams come true (Capitalist investors, take note! Why has Austenland not *really* been created?)

The story centers on Jane Hayes, a New York City native, who finds herself not only in need of a vacation, but also the recipient of an all expenses paid trip to Austenland, as stipulated in her Great-Aunt’s will. Jane, who carries a torch for Mr. Darcy in the guise of Colin Firth, is reluctant to go, and despite her passion for Jane Austen, finds it difficult, after all, to leave all traces of modern life behind.

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Sometimes, she watched Pride and Prejudice.
You know the BBC double DVD version, starring Colin First as the delicious Mr. Darcy, and that comely, busty English actress as the Elizabeth Bennet we had imagined all along. Jane watched, and rewatched the part where Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy look at each other over the piano, and there’s a zing, and her face softens, and he smiles, his chest heaving as though he’d breathe in the sight of her, and his eyes are glistening so that you’d almost think he’d cry. . .Ah!
– Austenland

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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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Jane and the Cantebury Tale by Stephanie Barron: A Review

Jane and the Canterbury Tale
by Stephanie Barron

A review by Laurel Ann Nattress

There is a trail that winds through the edge of the grand country estate of Godmersham Park in Kent owned by Edward Austen-Knight, elder brother of the authoress Jane Austen. Pilgrims have traversed this foot-path for centuries on their way to the shrine of the martyr Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Chaucer based his famous narrative, The Canterbury Tales, on pilgrims who travel across this path. Author Stephanie Barron places her eleventh novel in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery series in this rich, historical environment and spins a fascinating murder mystery to rival any story offered by the Knight, the Nun or the Miller in Chaucer’s original.

In the fall of 1813, while visiting her wealthy, widowed brother Edward at his grand estate in Kent, Jane attends a wedding at the neighboring Chilham Castle. Joined that day in connubial bliss are the beautiful young widow, Adelaide Fiske, and the dashing Captain Andrew McCallister. Jane’s young niece Fanny Austen-Knight is also in attendance and being courted by a queue of eager Beaux. While locals John Plumptre, James Wildman and George Finch-Hatton watch her dance the waltz with visiting dandy Julian Thane, a footman delivers a curious gift to the bride, a silken reticule that she accepts with some trepidation. Inside are dried brown beans. Jane is quick to observe that the bride’s reaction must have some hidden meaning.

The following morning a man is found dead upon the pilgrim’s path on the Godmersham estate near the ancient parish church dedicated to St Lawrence the Martyr. At first it is thought that he was felled by a stray hunting shot by one of the young local men out for a mornings sport of pheasant, but Jane sees the signs of an entirely different transgression. Her brother Edward, First Magistrate for Canterbury, is called to the scene and concurs that this was no hunting accident. The corner arrives to offer his assessment and soon discoveres that the deceased is none other than Curzon Fiske, the thought to be dead first husband of the recently married Adelaide, who after abandoning his wife in a flight from his creditors four years prior, departed for India and died there. Inside the depths of his coat pocket was a stained note with St Lawrence Church written upon it and one dried brown bean – an ominous tamarind seed.

As the mystery swiftly unfolds we are privy to an interesting collection of characters who each have their own tale to tell: a grieving widower, a young girl experiencing romance and heartbreak, an odious clergyman, a Bond Street Beau, a loose maid, a callous and calculating mother, and our adventurous detective Jane Austen, ever observant, always witty, relaying all of their stories in her journal and cleverly solving the crime.

Each chapter is epigraphed by pertinent quotes from Chaucer’s tale and every word of this novel is a treasure. Barron is a Nonpareil in channeling my dear Jane. After eleven novels I never doubt her historical detail or unerring voice. This may be the last in the series, and I am sorely grieved at the loss. Jane and the Canterbury Tale is engaging, rich and dramatic. The ending is a shock, but not nearly as devastating as the possibility of the demise of this series.

RRP: £9.27
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Bantam (30 Aug 2011)
Language English
ISBN-10: 0553386719
ISBN-13: 978-0553386714

 


A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the editor of Austenprose.com and the forthcoming short story anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It to be released by Ballantine Books on 11 October, 2011. Classically trained as a landscape designer at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, she has also worked in marketing for a Grand Opera company and at present delights in introducing neophytes to the charms of Miss Austen’s prose as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives near Seattle, Washington where it rains a lot.