Tag Archives: Anne Elliot

By the Book: A Novel Book Review

Among the Janeite community, Persuasion regularly lands on the top spot or near the top spot when it comes to ranking Jane Austen‘s six published novels. The story of love, loss and second chances has resonated with readers for more than 200 years for a reason.

By the Book: A Novel was published last year.  Written by Julie Sonneborn, the novels follows the story of Anne Corey. Anne has a lot on her plate: a book to write to ensure tenure at the university where she is employed, her aging father whose health is fading and a new boyfriend who is her college’s the writer-in-residence. The last thing she wants or needs is her ex-fiance, Adam Martinez. Recently hired as the new President of her college, Adam’s presence is a reminder of what was and what may never be again.

Anne is trying to focus on what she needs to do, but Adam’s constant presence brings up old feelings. Will Anne and Adam have a second chance at love or is their relationship fated to be referred to as past tense?

I really enjoyed this novel. Ms. Sonneborn successfully marries Persuasion with the modern world. Anne Corey is still Anne Elliot and Adam Martinez is still Frederick Wentworth. From my perspective, the best thing about this book was that I knew what was coming in terms of the narrative, but I was still surprised by the end of the story.

I recommend it.

 

 

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Fanfiction, Jane Austen, Persuasion

Thoughts On The 2018 JASNA AGM

*Warning: this post contains slight spoilers about Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. Read at your own risk if you have not read the books or seen any of the adaptations.

For many Janeites, the highlight of their fall the JASNA AGM. It is an opportunity to spend a weekend with hundreds of other Janeites, immerse themselves in everything that pertains to Jane Austen and forget about the rest of the world for three days.

This year’s AGM was held in Kansas City, Missouri. The theme was Persuasion and the title was 200 Years Of Constancy And Hope.

For many Jane Austen fans, reading Persuasion is a bittersweet experience. We love this novel and its main characters, Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth. Unlike her previous novels, there is a mature feel to the work, a what if question when it comes to love, mistakes and second chances. Anne is the oldest of the Austen heroines. She is in her late 20’s while the other heroines are either in their late teens or early 20’s. For his part, Frederick Wentworth is unlike any of Austen’s other heroes. He has had to pull himself up by the figurative bootstraps instead of being born into a wealthy family and automatically inheriting a fortune. He also feels, to me, at least more human than let’s say, Mr. Darcy.

Mr. Darcy is almost like a too good to be true Prince in a fairy tale, a rich man who learns to tame his pride to win the affection/heart of the lower born woman that he loves. Frederick Wentworth is also proud, but he learns to understand Anne’s feelings over the course of the novel. He also realizes that their separation was not simply a one sided separation. His anger kept him from returning to Anne and renewing their relationship at an earlier juncture in their lives.

While every AGM has it moments, there are two of them that made this AGM amazing.

In 1995, a big screen version of Persuasion hit theaters. In the film, Amanda Root played Anne and Ciarian Hinds played Captain Wentworth. Attendees this past weekend were blessed to have Miss Root join us for part of the weekend.

 

She is gracious, warm, down to earth and I think she was a little surprised by the reaction from those in attendance.

There are many who have written about Jane Austen. There are few who can write with warmth, humor and speak to the reader without the academic feel that comes with the subject of Jane Austen. John Mullan is one of those people.

In this crowd, he is a rock star. His book, What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved, is one of my favorite books about Austen and her novels.

And, as usual, the high point of the AGM is the ball on Saturday night. While not everyone dresses up and dance, it’s fun to do so if one wishes.

All in all, it was an amazing AGM and I look forward to next year in Williamsburg, Virginia.

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Filed under Books, Fairy Tales, Jane Austen, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

5 Reasons To Attend The 2018 JASNA AGM

Every year, for one weekend, Janeites across the country gather together at the JASNA AGM to celebrate all things Austen. This year, the AGM will be held in Kansas City at the end of September.  The subject is Persuasion and with a little luck, Amanda Root, who played Anne Elliot in the 1995 Persuasion will be in attendance.

Below, are the five reasons to attend the 2018 JASNA AGM:

  1. The chance to travel to cities that you otherwise might not have visited. Last year’s AGM was held in Huntington Beach, California. I can say now that I’ve been to California, which I couldn’t say before last fall.
  2. You get to meet Janeites from across the country and across the world.
  3. The speakers are amazing. The variety of subjects that relate to Jane Austen and novels are nothing short of dizzying.
  4. The Emporium is heaven. T-shirts, books, tea, etc. Every year, I have to remind myself that there is only so much room in my suitcase.
  5. Last, but not certainly least is the ball. Not everyone dresses up or dances, but it is certainty the highlight of every AGM, for me at least.

 

This is one trip I am looking forward to. Perhaps I will see one of you there.

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Filed under Books, Jane Austen, Persuasion

Thoughts On The 2017 JASNA AGM

Imagine if you will, an academic conference, but with a twist. Add in a dedicated fandom with lots of goodies to bring home (and a good amount of attendees playing dress up) and you have the 2017 JASNA AGM.

Held in Huntington Beach, California, the title of this year’s conference was Intimations of Immortality. We remembered Jane on the 200th anniversary of her passing as we celebrated her life, her books and her legacy.

The AGM is more than my vacation. This year it was a chance to visit California, spend time with my friends and celebrate anything and everything relating to Jane Austen. It is a chance to thoroughly geek out and know that the people you are with understand why you geek out. It was a chance to dress up, dance and spend three days thoroughly immersed in Jane.

While I enjoyed the AGM (as I do everytime), it was the company (and the heavenly beach in Southern California) that always makes an AGM worth it.

Next year, Janeites  (as we are commonly known) will congregate for our next AGM in Kansas City where we will be celebrating Persuasion and hopefully not fangirling over Amanda Root (Anne Elliot in the 1995 Persuasion).

I hope to see you all there.

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Filed under Books, Emma, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility

Difficult Women Book Review

For an untold number of centuries, women have been portrayed as one note 2-D characters. We were either the virgin or the slut. The power/money hungry woman or the innocent. There was little to no in-between.

In Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion, through the character of Anne Elliot, Jane speaks of this one-sided view of women.

“I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman’s inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman’s fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men.”

“Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.”

Thankfully, things have started to change for the better in recent years. Respected writer Roxanne Gay’s new book, Difficult Women, is about difficult women and how complicated we truly are. In this anthology of short stories, she writes about everyday women deal with in their own complex way. Love, sex, relationships, jobs, etc. Not one of her female characters is a 2D cardboard cutout of a character. Each has her own unique sets of traits that makes her difficult, complex and thoroughly human.

I very much appreciated this book. Even in 2017, it is still hard to find female characters that are not confined to either a stereotype or forced into a character trope that has been seen one too many times. I appreciated this book not just because of the vast array of stories and characters, but because I enjoyed reading it.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, Jane Austen, Life, Persuasion, Writing

Poldark Character Review: Verity Blamey

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Poldark, both the books and the television series. Read at your own risk.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using Winston Graham’s series of novels, Poldark and the subsequent television series to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In the previous posts, I wrote about the title character, Ross Poldark , his wife, Demelza, Ross’s cousin, Francis, Francis’s wife, Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s second husband, George Warleggan. Today’s post will focus on Ross’s cousin, Verity Blamey (nee Poldark).

Three of the standard character tropes for women are the love interest, the ex-girlfriend and the girl next door. In the world of Poldark, Demelza is the love interest, Elizabeth is the ex-girlfriend and Verity is the girl next door. Winston Graham’s answer to Anne Elliot from Persuasion, Verity is Francis’s sister. Unmarried and dangerously near the age of spinsterhood, she is the put upon daughter that is seen, but unappreciated by both her father and brother.

Like Anne Elliot, Verity’s choice of a husband is not exactly what the family had in mind for her. Captain Andrew Blamey is a Navy Captain who is whispered to have ill-treated his  wife. A widower with growing children, Captain Blamey and Verity are mutually attracted to one another, but her family’s objections to him will force her to choose between the man she loves and the family she was born into.

In creating a character like Verity, Winston Graham created a universal character. There are so many who feel like Verity. They are the ones that are not spectacularly handsome or beautiful, but they keep hoping to find a partner. They are the ones that stay within the familiar circle of family and friends out of loyalty and respect, even if they are unhappy.  When they do find happiness, they take that bold step, even if it means moving out of the comfortable circle of home and family.

Out of all of the characters within the Poldark universe, Verity is my favorite. She followed her heart, knowing full well that she would be estranged from most of her family. She is brave and bold and even if she is not as physically beautiful as Elizabeth or Demelza, her bravery stands out and makes her beautiful.

To sum it up: While Verity might not be the most obvious choice to be a heroine, Winston Graham clearly created a heroine. When one is bold enough to follow their heart and their gut, despite the objections of well-meaning family and friends, they become a heroine who can be admired and appreciated long after the writer has finished telling their story.

 

 

 

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Filed under Books, Character Review, History, Jane Austen, Persuasion, Poldark, Television, Writing

Persuasion-The Letter

I’m in a Persuasion-ish mood tonight. I give you the letter from Persuasion that Captain Wenworth sends to Anne. I think we all want to hear these words, at least once in our lives.

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Favorite Austen Letter

*-Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. If you are in the middle of reading either book and you have found my post, the story will be spoiled.

Letter writing seems to be a dying form.

Technology allows us to receive information in an instant. But letter writing in it’s older forms, creates a sense of excitement when receiving a letter.

In Jane Austen’s time, letter writing was both an art and a basic form of written communication.

Her novels are full of letters.

But there are two letters that are crucial to the plots of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion.

The plot of Pride and Prejudice revolves around the unlikely courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

The crucial letter in Pride and Prejudice is exactly in the middle of the book and is a turning point in the story. Elizabeth Bennet has just turned down the very unexpected marriage proposal from Fitzwilliam Darcy.  Up until that point she has only spent time with him in limited social situations and finds him to be, well, a snob. The letter changes everything.

I’m going to let Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen take it from there.

The lead couple in Persuasion is Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth. Eight years before the novel starts, they were briefly engaged.  Anne broke off the engagement  at the recommendation of her godmother, Lady Russell. In the beginning of the novel, the relationship between Anne and Frederick is naturally strained.   It appears that the Captain is ready to marry Louisa Musgrove, the sister of Anne’s brother in law. Then Anne gets a letter that totally changes everything.

Enough with my words, I’m going to let Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones finish the story for you.

Being that I cannot choose which letter I prefer, I will let you decide.

 

 

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Filed under Books, Jane Austen, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

Persuasion 1995 Vs. Persuasion 2007

Persuasion is Jane Austen’s final novel, published posthumously with Northanger Abbey.  It is her most mature novel. There is sadness and a sweetness to the novel. The question of what if pervades the novel. What if we had a second chance at true love? What if the love of your life, the one that got away, came back? Do you take the chance at happiness or do you let it slip through your fingers once more?

As I have done with the comparisons of Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice, I will be comparing the 1995 Persuasion and 2007 Persuasion.

1995 Persuasion

Cast: Anne Elliot (Amanda Root), Captain Frederick Wentworth (Ciaran Hinds), Sir Walter Elliot (Corin Redgrave)

  • Pro’s: This adaptation is beautiful and spot on to the text of the novel. Every actor is perfect for his or her part.  Redgrave as Sir Walter is Austen’s metro sexual, is cringe worthy as Anne’s only surviving parent. Root, as Anne is brilliant. Shy and retiring at first, but slowly coming into her own and learning to trust her instincts. Hinds, as Captain Wenworth, is stubborn and angry, but slowly looses his anger and starts to remember why he and Anne fell in love in the first place.
  • Cons: None.

2007 Persuasion 

Cast: Anne Elliot (Sally Hawkins), Captain Frederick Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones), Sir Walter Elliot (Anthony Stewart Head)

  • Pro’s: Hawkins and Penry Jones were well cast in their parts and age appropriate. Stewart Head (Giles to my fellow Buffy The Vampire Slayer Fans) is as cringe worthy as his predecessor.
  • Cons: As with some adaptations, some aspects of the story line or some characters are edited or removed completely.  As much as I love the scene where Anne runs through Bath after receiving the letter, it would have not been appropriate for a well bred young lady to run as she did.

And the winner is…the 1995 Persuasion, but not by much.

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My Favorite Jane Austen Adaptations

Adapting a book into a performable format is complicated. It has to be true to the original novel and please the fans while appealing to the entire audience, not just the hard core fan base.

I am a Janeite. As one might be able to guess my personal library and DVD collection contains a fair amount of Jane Austen related materials.

I would to share my top three favorite Jane Austen adaptations and why these three films should be viewed as templates for any writer or filmmaker looking to adapt a book.

My criteria is the following:

1. The actors have to look the part. The chemistry has to be there. Otherwise it all falls apart. (Yes, I am looking at you, 1996 Jane Eyre. William Hurt was too old for the part of Edward Rochester and had zero chemistry with Charlotte Gainsbourg).

2. The set has to look right. Every reader has their own idea of what the setting looks like, but it has to like right.

3.  It MUST follow the book as much as possible.

That being said, here my favorite Jane Austen Adaptations

3. 1995 Sense and Sensibility

Directed by Ang Lee and written by Emma Thompson  (who also played the lead role of Elinor Dashwood), this adaptation is beautiful.

Joining Emma Thompson is Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood, Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars and Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon.

Putting aside the fact that Emma Thompson was a generation older than her character and played Elinor as if she was in her late 20’s, I have no complaints about this adaptation. I’ve read that some people didn’t think that Hugh Grant was the right actor to play Edward, but Edward Ferrars is a bit of a controversial character within Jane Austen fiction. I personally think that Dan Stevens was a better Edward, but to each their own.

2. 1995 Persuasion 

Persuasion is the last of Austen’s completed novels. It has an Autumnal feeling, sad and sweet. As if she knew deep down that this would be her last completed work.

Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds play the two leads, Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth. The chemistry between them is palpable.  They are both age appropriate and look like they have experienced a bit of life.

It’s lush, it’s beautiful and as with the novel, when you think that second chances don’t happen, they do happen. So does the happiness that you thought was lost forever.

1. 1995 Pride And Prejudice

You knew this was obvious. This is the one where Colin Firth in clingy pants strips down to his knickers and white shirt and dives into the lake.

Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle have some of the best on screen chemistry that I have ever seen. While I am sure they both would like the audience to look at their entire body of work and  not just this particular performance, there is no denying that whatever it is that make actors look good together on screen, they have it.

The supporting cast works. The filmmakers crossed their t’s and dotted their eyes with this production.  I still get shivers when I hear the theme song.

I recommend any of these films for any viewer or Janeite, whether they be a newbie or old fan.

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Filed under Emma, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice