Monthly Archives: July 2017

My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter IV

Hello dear readers,

Today one of the most wonderful weeks that I have ever lived comes to an end. As you know we have celebrated Jane Austen’s live and work throughout this past week due to the 200th anniversary of her death on the 18th of July, and as most events were taking place in England, that’s where I chose to be this last week.

I’ve been in England many times and I had visited several places related to Jane Austen, but this was the first big road trip completely dedicated to Jane Austen that I have done. I’ve met lots of amazing people, reconnected with old acquaintances and participated in some ceremonies that inspired me to write a few posts Austen related (bear with me for a while, I’ll be posting more than reviews in the upcoming weeks).

My trip started in Milton, er…sorry, Manchester.I would have loved to visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s home there, but as it is only open a few days a week, I didn’t have that chance. I was sad about it, but it means I have another reason to return to the area, so I have to look at the bright side of it. From Manchester I took the train to Stockport to meet for the first time author Lory Lilian, Andreea Catana and Ellen Pickels. These lovely ladies were my travel companions for several days and with them I visited Lyme Park, Chatsworth House and traveled south across the country to attend the religious ceremony in Winchester on the 18th of July. I’ll tell you all about our adventures in the North, but for now, I would like to share with you how it was to be in Winchester on such a memorable date.

We got to Winchester on the 17th, but the 18th was the big day! After breakfast we headed straight into the garden in front of Winchester Cathedral, took some pictures and were even interviewed by BBC radio, but the real fun started when our dear friends Joana Starnes and Mira Magdo from Obsessed with Mr. Darcy joined us for the day. With them we attended a recital in the Cathedral, and travelled the streets of Winchester to find the house where Jane Austen spent the last weeks of her life, and where she eventually died on the 18th of July.

The house is on 8 College Street but it is now a private house and can not be visited. It bears an oval plaque over the front door, placed there in 1956 and designed and executed by Esmond Burton.It is nowadays the only sign that tells us this is a very special house. In front of it lies a small garden with an Austen quote, and even if some people may miss it, we surely didn’t.

Jane Austen wrote to her nephew, James Edward Austen, “our Lodgings are very comfortable. We have a neat little Drawing room with a Bow-window overlooking D’ Gabell’s garden”, and even if this is not what people may see from the bow-window nowadays, I like to imagine Jane looking over this window.

After this walk, we headed back to the Winchester Cathedral where I met Cassandra Grafton author of A Fair Prospect trilogy and the recently released A Quest for Mr. Darcy. Together we attended to the unveil of the 10£ bank note with the presence of the 120th Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney.

Mr. Carney demonstrated a true knowledge of Austen’s life and work, making a charming and captivating speech, but he also shared some interesting aspects about the new 10 £ note. For example, on the front of the £10 polymer note there are two clusters of raised dots in the top left hand corner, this tactile feature will help blind and partially sighted people identify the value of the note. I also learned about a few details the new note will have, such as a finely detailed metallic image of Winchester Cathedral positioned over a see-through window, and a book-shaped copper foil patch which contains the letters JA. But the most controversial detail on the note is the quote “ I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”.

I have nothing against it, I know it was pronounced by Miss Bingley and that it was said in an ironic tone, but it remains a true statement nonetheless, and I find it appropriate for a note with the picture of a writer. What do you think? I know many people do not agree with this quote on the note, is that your case?

The bank note will only enter circulation in September, so I couldn’t come home with one, but thanks to Sophie Andrews, I did come home with a 2 £ coin :)) Do you have it already?

The coin was launched in locations that have a close connection to Jane Austen’s life but the design will only be released into wider circulation later this year. The coin is already being sold on Amazon, but the prices are excessive and the coin can be found at reduced prices in any Jane Austen related place, so if you visit places such as the Jane Austen House in Chawton, don’t miss the opportunity to have one of the first coins out there.

With this ceremony over it was time to eat something, get some rest and be prepared for the religious ceremony that took most of us there.

It was a beautiful ceremony fully dedicated to one of the greatest authors in England and I feel particularly honored to have been there to pay my tribute.

The entire day was wonderful with a beautiful weather, but once the ceremony was over, as if crying for Austen, the sky started pouring rain and we had to leave Winchester.

We ended up eating pizza, drinking god knows what and teaching eachother how to speak our native languages. I don’t think the day could have ended in a better way and I want to thank all these lovely ladies for putting up with me and my photos the entire day! Being in Winchester for Jane was absolutely unforgettable but it wouldn’t have been as special if I hadn’t shared all these moments with people who, just like me, were touched by Jane in so many ways 🙂

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I know that not everybody got a chance to go to Winchester to Jane Austen’s life, so I bring some tokens of the 200th anniversary to offer to one of my readers. As Persuasion was released in 1817, I thought it would be fitting to offer it along with a keyring, rubber and pencil commemorative of the date. I’ve also added an I love Jane pin, and  a bag of lavender I made at Jane Austen’s House in Chawton.

The giveaway is international, and all you have to do to be eligible for it is to leave your share your thoughts with us by commenting on this post. It will run until the 4th of August and the winner will be announced shortly after.

Good Luck everyone!

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Why is Jane Austen immortal?

Hello everyone,

Today is a very special day for all of us, as 200 years ago Jane Austen left our world. But I believe she remains pretty much alive in the hearts and lives of millions of people throughout the world. There has been a seemingly endless stream of TV adaptations, films, books, and events devoted to our dear Jane, our community continues to talk daily about her in blogs, social media and even ball rooms, and today the city of Winchester received hundreds of Janeites to celebrate the novelists work and her life.
There are several ceremonies and events happening today, such as the unveil of the 10 £ bank note with Jane Austen’s portrait, and the anniversary service at Winchester Cathedral. I am very happy and honored to be present in some of them. 

I will be glad to talk about them with you at a later stage, but for now I will only share some pictures of todays events and leave further details to a future post because I believe that today the subject of the conversation should be Jane Austen’s work 😉

(At the unveil of the 10£ bank note)



(At the anniversary service)

The bank note is beautiful, isn’t it? And quoting Mr.Darcy at the service was memorable! But what I would like to ask you today is: why do you believe Jane Austen is still so very present in our society 200 years after she passed away?

I thought about it myself and I think that Jane Austen is still recognized and admired as one of the best authors in British literature because of her witty, clear and captivating writing, the authenticity of her characters and the contemporaneous subjects she approached. Of course, that we also need to think about all the external motives for her success, such as the support given to promote the British culture, namely Austen’s works, with productions like the 95 BBC miniseries, but for me the main points are the following:

The Writing

Jane Austen’s writing is not dense or dark, it is funny, ironic, witty, wise and realistic at the same time.

Jane Austen wrote about what she knew, she didn’t dwell in themes she was unfamiliar with and that made her writing consistent and precise.

The themes she approached are still relevant as she explores the traits of personality that one can still find in our friends, neighbors and even ourselves.

Her writing is meant to make readers think about what is surrounding them, but also to give them joy and relief from their rushed daily life, so it is no wonder that in this crazy, busy world readers turn to Jane Austen as an escape from their incessant lives. In her books they find a sense of fulfillment and well being that makes them forget the stress of real life.

The Feminism

People who have never read Austen may think she creates love stories with sweet, beautiful women falling in love with dashing heros, but they could not be more wrong.

Austen’s heroines are all very different from one another, but they are mainly woman with strong personalities and faithful to their values. They do not bound to men’s wishes as it was expected of them, they fight for their own happiness and beliefs.

This is something the current audience continues to appreciate. These smart, strong willed, loyal and witty characters are very easy to relate to, and readers like to see some of their own traits in them. I think I’m a bit of an Elizabeth Bennet in some ways, and maybe a little Marianne Dashwood in others (even if she deeply annoys me… I am clearly team Eleanor).

There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.

Elizabeth Bennet – Pride and Prejudice


The Characters

Jane Austen was an observer of human foibles and because of that she created memorable characters such as Elizabeth Bennet, Catherine Morland, Eleanor Dashwood, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Mr. Knightley, Captain Wentworth and Henry Tilney, but also very interesting and funny co-adjuvants who bring humor to the story and add value when it comes to the analysis of human nature such as Mr.Collins in Pride and Prejudice, Miss Bates in Emma, Mrs. Jenkins in Sense and Sensibility. 

Another interesting fact is that Jane Austen didn’t create perfect characters, they all have their faults and imperfections and that makes them real and believable. They all learn from their mistakes and try to improve and grow as human beings. This is something we all can relate to.

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?

The Longing for Lost Values

The world developed at the speed of light since the 19th century, and our technological advances have been more prominent in the last 50 years than in the 200 years before that. With such development, society itself has evolved and changed. Our values are not the same they were in Jane Austen’s time and I think some people actually would like to go back to the lost values of chivalry, dignity, honor and respect that existed in the 19th century. I know I do!
What about you? Why do you think Jane Austen still lives?

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Pride and Persistence

In Pride & Persistence, after delivering his letter to Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy falls from his horse outside the Hunsford Parsonage and because of his injuries is forced to remain in Mr. Collins living room until he is fully recovered.

Having Mr. Darcy close to Elizabeth so soon after the proposal is very appealing to me as a reader, but the plot thickens and becomes even more appealing when we realise that apart from his physical injuries, Mr. Darcy also loses his memory of Elizabeth’s rejection.

It is particularly interesting to see that, similarly to the movie 50 First Dates, with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, Mr.Darcy has developed a short-term memory loss that makes him forget everything once he goes to sleep. So every day, when Mr. Darcy wakes up, he doesn’t remember anything that happened after he left Rosings to propose to Elizabeth, and as a consequence, he asks her to marry him every single day.

As the days go by we see Mr. Darcy proposing in very different manners, and with so many proposals, one might ask how Mr. Darcy finally proposed to have Elizabeth accept him (no spoiler here, this is P&P after all). But as Elizabeth would say, the way with which the proposal was delivered doesn’t really matter because If she didn’t love him, the manner of his proposal would not matter because she would never accept him, and if she did love him, the manner would also be irrelevant because she would accept. The manner the proposal was delivered would only matter if she respected him but did not love him. If you ask me, I think that in Pride and Prejudice she was so offended by his proposal because she already had some feelings for him, and in Pride and Persistence you will be able to see how her feelings will influence the different reactions she has to his proposal. It is overly romantic and funny to watch this daily dialogue 🙂

In this book I loved the way Elizabeth stood up to Lady Catherine to defend Darcy. It was incredibly romantic to see her admit her love for him in that manner, and it was clearly one of the best scenes in the book. If for nothing else, I’m sure you will not regret reading it just because of this scene 🙂

But I also felt pity for Lady Catherine in tyhis book. It is rare for me to feel bad for her, but in Pride and Persistence I did. She is a conniving, manipulative person, but her long lost love story was so tragic that I could understand a little of her bitterness.

The relationship that Col. Fitzwilliam establishes with Elizabeth is also very interesting, and I enjoyed their interactions very much. But the best thing in the book for me were the interactions between Elizabeth and Darcy, this is an overly romantic book that I recommend to all readers in need of a good romance story 🙂

You can find Pride and Persistence in :

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

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Giveaway Winners Announcement

Hello everyone,

It’s been a while since I last published something at From Pemberley to Milton and I have to confess I missed my time with you immensely!!

My daytime work keeps getting in the way of my JAFF addiction, but my holidays are coming soon, so hopefully I will get back on track and continue posting twice a week as I used to do 🙂

Today I’m not bringing you a review, but the names of the winners of the giveaways hosted by Jennifer Joy last month.

She released the last volume of the Meryton Mysteries saga called The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, and to commemorate it, she was offering 4 ebook copies to my readers. I would like to thank Jennifer for once more being the perfect guest! It is always an enormous joy to receive you here 🙂

Now, without further ado, the randomly selected winners are:

 

*Gail M. Frisby

*Glynis

* Ginna

*BeckyC

 

Jennifer Joy was also offering 4 readers their choice of any one of her books. The winners are:

*Charlotte

*Missy

*John Rieber

*MaureenC

 

If you are unsure which of Jennifer’s books you would like to choose you can find more information on each one of them in the links below:

Earning Darcy’s Trust

Darcy’s Ultimatum

Anne’s Adversity 

Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Challenge 

Accusing Elizabeth

Love Never Fails

Win, Lose or Darcy

The Honorable Mr. Darcy

The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth

Cabs, Cakes, and Corpses: A Jessica James Cozy Mystery (Murder on the Equator Book 1)

Rum Raisin Revenge: A Jessica James Cozy Mystery (Murder on the Equator Book 2)

 

I would like to ask all winners to send me your contacts and book of choice to ritaluzdeodato at gmail dot com so we can send you your books.

Happy reading everyone!

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