Friday, 5 December 2014

Jane Austen's First Love Holiday Blog Tour - Nov 17- Dec 14


Hello and welcome to my stop on the  Jane Austen's First Love Holiday Blog Tour!

This is the first book I have read where Jane Austen is the main character! "I am all astonishment" I hear you cry! Indeed, but in my defence what a wonderful book to begin with. Jane Austen, 1791 & First love is like music to my ears, the perfect combination for a Jane inspired read. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you when I write my review.

Syrie James is kindly sharing an except of her delightful book with us today and I assure you it will not disappoint. Share your thoughts and you will be entered into a wonderful prize draw, with a chance to win one of five amazing Austen-inspired prize packages!

Book Blurb

In the summer of 1791, fifteen-year-old Miss Jane Austen is determined to accomplish three things: to do something useful, write something worthy, and fall madly in love. While visiting at Goodnestone Park in Kent for a month of festivities in honor of her brother's engagement to Miss Elizabeth Bridges, Jane meets the boy-next-door—the wealthy, worldly, and devilishly handsome Edward Taylor, heir to Bifrons Park, and hopefully her heart! Like many of Jane’s future heroes and heroines, she soon realizes that there are obstacles—social, financial, and otherwise—blocking her path to love and marriage, one of them personified by her beautiful and sweet tempered rival, Charlotte Payler.

Unsure of her own budding romance, but confident in her powers of observation, Jane distracts herself by attempting to maneuver the affections of three other young couples. But when her well-intentioned matchmaking efforts turn into blundering misalliance, Jane must choose between following her own happily-ever-after, or repairing those relationships which, based on erroneous first impressions, she has misaligned.

            
                                   Excerpt from Chapter the Thirteenth

Jane Austen’s First Love
By Syrie James

Jane Austen, a vivacious and precocious young lady at fifteen years of age, is in Kent visiting the Bridges family for a month of festivities in honor of her brother Edward Austen’s engagement to Miss Elizabeth Bridges. While there, Jane has met the Bridges’s cousin and neighbor Edward Taylor, a charming, handsome, and accomplished young man with whom she is deeply infatuated. Jane writes the following letter to her dear friend Martha Lloyd who is back home in Hampshire:

Goodnestone Park
Tuesday 7 June, 1791
My Dearest Martha,
Thank you for your letter, which found its way to me here this morning. It is refreshing to hear news of home, particularly to learn that you are faring so well as mistress of the rectory, and more to the point, enjoying said duties. As for my last letter, wherein I gave a description of Goodnestone Park and all its inhabitants, although it might seem to be a shame to destroy anything written by my own hand (and I am flattered that you think the epistle contains several clever turns of phrase), I insist that you burn it (along with all the rest of mine) when you have finished reading it for the seventeenth or eighteenth time. I would not wish its contents ever to be made known to those few whom I so good-naturedly abused, even if they were all accurately depicted!

I have scarcely had a moment to myself since our arrival. The house is so full of people that there is hardly a quiet corner to be found anywhere; and you know how much I love quiet corners. My mother and the Knights are to come tomorrow. The strawberry-picking party proved to be particularly diverting. I was so fortunate as to spend time conversing again with Edward Taylor, the young gentleman who so obligingly retrieved us from the road upon our journey hither. He is truly the most engaging, well-travelled, and accomplished young man I have ever met in my life. I must tell you more when next I see you, for there is not room enough in this missive to do him justice. I wish I could scold you for your implication; but indeed, the Bard’s line, “Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?” does apply, at least to me; I am already in a fair way towards falling in love with him! Should he ever return the sentiment, it will be a great disappointment to his aunt, Mrs. Watkinson Payler, who has designs on him for her daughter Charlotte (a pretty, rich young lady whom Mr. Taylor seems to dote on, but who is far too reserved for my taste.) Yesterday, I hoped to capture his attention by displaying my considerable skills on the archery range, but as I am already proficient at the sport, he spent all his time teaching Charlotte how to shoot a bow and arrow. How irritating it was to see him standing over her for such a lengthy period, and in such an intimate posture! How I wish he had been instructing me! It seems that a young lady, if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.

Now I have something truly unexpected to tell you. This morning I rose early and, before breakfast, I removed to the drawing-room, which was as yet uninhabited, hoping for a rare, quiet moment to practise on the pianoforte. I had just sat down at the instrument when my brother Edward suddenly appeared, hastened within, and shut the door. “Jane,” said he, in great distress and perturbation, “I need your help.” “My help? Why?” said I. He explained that he and Elizabeth had quarrelled last night. He had made a thoughtless remark, his fiancée was furious with him, and he wanted to write her a note of apology. “However,” said he, “I think something more than a standard letter is required—a poem perhaps, or something in the romantic vein—but I am hopeless at that sort of thing. You are a clever writer, Jane. Would you do me a great favour and draft a note to Elizabeth with pretty words of apology, which I can then transcribe in my own hand? It will have to be our secret, of course; it must seem as if I wrote it myself.”

You can only imagine how surprised I was by this request! At the same time, I was delighted by his faith in my abilities. Of course I told him that I would be only too happy to help. (I break no vows of secrecy in this disclosure, for he said I might tell you and Cassandra, but no one else.) He required my services immediately, in the hopes that the breach could be mended by this evening at the latest (for the engagement ball is tomorrow). I spent a good two hours labouring over the endeavour. It was rather a trial to compose, as he did not wish to share the particulars for which he was apologising, requiring the admission of guilt to be constructed in the most general terms. At length I found inspiration in Shakespeare (three copies of his complete works, which appear to have never been read, adorn the library shelves here). My brother proclaimed the finished work to be brilliant. He is recopying it now; we must wait to see its effects, which I hope will prove fruitful!

I expect I shall hardly sleep a wink to-night, for the ball is tomorrow—my first real ball! Although it will not be held at an assembly room filled with handsome strangers, as you and I so often imagined, there will be one tall, handsome young gentleman with whom I hope to dance (his identity I leave you to guess); after that, I will have nothing else to wish for. From the bustle which has been going on all day in preparation for the event, I predict it will be very grand; my only regret is that my mother steadfastly refuses to allow me to powder my hair. I can only hope, when she arrives tomorrow, that I can succeed in changing her mind. I must close now, for Sophia, Marianne, and Cassandra are calling me to join them for a walk into the village. Fare you well.—Please give my greatest love to my father when you speak to him, and a handshake to all the boys.

                                                        With best love, &c., I am affectionately yours,
                                                         
                                                        Jane Austen

How ill I have written. Your hand is so much more delicate than mine. I begin to hate myself.
                                              
What a great excerpt to choose Syrie, I for one liked how 15 year old Jane is depicted, it translated beautifully in her letter and I could visualise how a young Jane might have been. I particularly liked the part where she had to write her brother's letter! "It will have to be our secret, of course; it must seem as if I wrote it myself.” S. J  Can you imagine Jane penning a letter for you! I would be in seventh heaven. However Jane Austen writing a letter so that it sounds like it is written by her brother, must indeed, be no mean feat! How would she tone down such brilliancy of language. "Impossible!" I hear you say and I quite agree, however knowing how masterful she was with a pen, combined with her creation of Mr Collins & I am sure she could. Thank you for sharing Syrie, I am certain this excerpt has left readers intrigued to read more!  

Readers, to enter the giveaway please leave a comment below.
What intrigues you about Jane Austen's First Love, and this letter in particular?
What letters featured in Jane Austen's novels are memorable to you?
Which one is your favorite, and why?

Giveaway Details

Grand Giveaway Contest

Win One of Five Fabulous Jane Austen-inspired Prize Packages

To celebrate the holidays and the release of Jane Austen's First Love, Syrie is giving away five prize packages filled with an amazing selection of Jane Austen-inspired gifts and books!

To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any of the blog stops on the Jane Austen's First Love Holiday Blog Tour.

Increase your chances of winning by visiting multiple stops along the tour! Syrie's unique guest posts will be featured on a variety of subjects, along with fun interviews, spotlights, excerpts, and reviews of the novel. Contest closes at 11:59pm PT, December 21, 2014. Five lucky winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments on the tour, and announced on Syrie’s website on December 22, 2014. The giveaway contest is open to everyone, including international residents. Good luck to all!

Author Bio

Syrie James, hailed as “the queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings” by Los Angeles Magazine, is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels that have been translated into 18 languages. Her books have been awarded the Audio Book Association Audie, designated as Editor’s Picks by Library Journal, named a Discover Great New Writer’s Selection by Barnes and Noble, a Great Group Read by the Women’s National Book Association, and Best Book of the Year by The Romance Reviews and Suspense Magazine. Syrie is a member of the WGA and lives in Los Angeles. Please visit her at syriejames.comFacebook or say hello on Twitter @SyrieJames


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Pertinent Information 

Thank you for stopping by, as always I delight in hearing your thoughts.  Good luck in the giveaway!

54 comments:

  1. I have read Jane Austen's published letters and they are wonderful insights into who she was. Just think what we could have learned if Cassandra had not burned many of them. Hard to pick a favorite from her books they are all so full of feeling.

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    1. Oh yes Sagan if only she had not burnt them, its definately added mystery. Goodluck in the giveaway :)

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  2. Captain Wentworths letter is fantastic! It pierces my soul ;D

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    1. Indeed Jo, mine too. I have Mr Darcy's proposal framed and printed on a page from Pride & Prejudice. Think I will get Wentworth's letter next :) Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. I so agree--Captain Wentworth's letter is one of my favorite moments in all of fiction! Just think how Jane Austen has "pierced our souls" via the power of the written word--it's amazing!

      Thanks for your comment, Jo's Daughter. It's been such fun meeting up like this on the Jane Austen's First Love Blog Tour. :)

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  3. I interested to learn what Elizabeth thinks of the letter.

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    1. If you mean Bennet in regards to Mr Darcy's then I think she felt a fool especially as time went on and by the time they met again after Lady Catherine's visit she was well and truly contrite :) Good luck in the giveaway

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  4. The art of letter writing has sadly declined in my opinion. I never have written as well as Jane Austen, but I remember writing letters to my grandparents and writing home when I stayed with my grandparents. I love getting letters. The innocence expressed by Jane Austen about her crush on Edward Taylor and helping her brother write a letter to his fiancee is refreshing to read. I love reading letters and diary entries in books and imagining the life of the writer.

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    1. Yes Bonnie, I too enjoyed writing letters home when I stayed at my grandparents durying the summers. I loved receiving post cards from them when they went on their travels. Good luck in the giveaway :)

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    2. I, too, regret that the art of letter writing has all but vanished. I used to write letters to a several pen pals when I was growing up. We connect that way today through email, but don't have the physical letters to re-read years later. My grandmother wrote the most wonderful letters and I saved most of them. They mean so much to me now that she is gone--such a lovely way to connect to the past!

      I'm so glad you enjoyed Jane's letter in Jane Austen's First Love and hope you enjoy the novel as well. :)

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  5. In this day and age where innocence is not as prevalent, it is heartwarming to see a simpler way of communicating and it warms the heart, it gives us a glimpse into someone's heart and mind when you read letters.

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    1. Oh I agree Jean, so much more can be expressed when you have to take time to think about what you want to say. Goodluck in the giveaway :0

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  6. I love how Jane's personality shines through in this letter. Who can forget the letter that Darcy wrote to Elizabeth explaining himself in Pride and Prejudice??!! That one was one of the most memorable for me. It was so beautifully written it was almost like a song.
    I loved your book Ms. James. Jane Austen's a First Love was simply delightful.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Laurie, Yes Mr Darcy's is my favourite too. I'm glad you liked the book I am currently reading it and enjoying it so far. Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Thank you so much, Laurie, for commenting on this post--and for your review of my novel. I'm so happy you loved Jane Austen's First Love!

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  7. Syrie's writing is amazing! And I have to pick Captain Wentworth's "You pierce my soul" letter.

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    1. Yes Syrie's writing is great, it seems Wentworth's letter is a favorite :) Good luck in the giveaway

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  8. I enjoyed how Jane shares her heart in this letter. I can also relate to needing a quiet corner in the midst of overwhelming activities! I've not read any of Syrie's books. Jane Austen's First Love sounds like a delightful read. :)

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    1. This is my first read of Syrie's a book that had been on my wishlist. Yes letter's really tell you something more about the writer and Jane's sharing of her heart in this letter is so innocent. Good luck in the giveaway :)

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  9. the details in the letter are interesting
    haven't read many of her letters in books, so no fav

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Oh we need to correct that! What have you read thus far? If you are referring to Jane's letters I have not read them all but her characters letters I have read, time and time again swoon! Good luck in the giveaway :)

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  10. Reading this letter reminds me of how much I loved writing letters as a teenager! I had several pen pals overseas, and I always waited in anticipation for a return letter from them. Nowadays, I don't think kids even have pen pals. Perhaps they have "text pals"!

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    1. Yes Susan the excitement of waiting for a letter! My daughter gets excited when she receives something in the post but there are only ever school related or birthday cards, maybe I'll write her a letter :) good luck in the giveaway!

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    3. Sadly, email and texting has taken over the art of letter writing... and e-cards have replaced physical cards for many people. But it is not quite as satisfying as receiving a real, hand written letter and a personally signed birthday or holiday card, is it? :)

      Thanks for commenting, Susan!

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  11. Love the excerpt. Jane Austen is such a talented writer. I can just imagine her writing the letter for her brother. I love the letter Darcy wrote to Elizabeth after the first proposal. Their was so much depth in it.

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    1. Yes, that letter is the turning point, when I read Mr Darcy's letter all my previous dislike of him vanished, although I never really disliked him as much as Elizabeth, I was more of Jane's way of thinking :) Good luck in the giveaway!

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  12. What intrigues me most about this book is why & how the relationship between Jane & Edward was ended, especially as she seems so taken with Edward. 2 letters come to my mind....Darcy's to Elizabeth after his proposal in Kent and Wentworth's to Anne. My favorite is Wentworth's as it is the love letter of all love letters....one I'd love to have written to me.
    skamper25 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Another vote for team Wentworth! To own such a letter would be something wouldn't it! Good luck in the giveaway :)

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  13. Reading this letter, reminds me, that letter writing is such a lost art.Even as far back as the turn of the century, people had no phones and would send postcards to catch up on each other's news.Those snippets were cherished and read and re- read. Jane's excitement really shows in the letter and I can just imagine the look on the face of the recipient as she reads it.And I wonder if she did follow Jane's instructions and burned them. Somehow I think not.Thank you for the giveaway.

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    1. A few have mentioned about the lost art of letter writing, it is one of the many things that endear me to such eras :) good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. I so agree with you, Denise, about the art of letter writing.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed this excerpt from Jane Austen's First Love, and hope you love the novel! Happy holidays!

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  14. I am an avid reader. I have always used books to transport myself to another place if things were not as they should be. For example caring for a terminally ill family member or being in an abusive situation. I could be anyone or anywhere other than the situation I was in. Saying that, this excerpt did just that. It brought me back to a quieter and more innocent time. It was as if I could touch and feel young Jane's soul. Very well written. I loved it. As for a favorite letter from one of Jane's novels, I cannot choose. Each time I reread one of her letter in a novel, I think that is my all time favorite. But, then I pick up another to reread and oops they I go again.so I just can't choose one.
    Lou Ann louannlajeunesse@gmail.com

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    1. Yes Jane's work seems to have that effect, everytime you read it your convinced its your fav :) I totally agree about the reprieve from reality that reading brings. Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Thanks so much for your comment, Lou Ann. I'm with you--I never cease to be amazed by the power of the written word to transport us to another time and place. Film can be transporting too, but everyone who's watching sees the same images and carries away the same memories. Whereas reading a book is a completely personal experience. We all imagine the people and places we're reading about in our own way.

      I hope that reading Jane Austen's First Love is magical experience that transports you back to 1791, where you can feel what Jane feels as she falls for the unforgettable Edward Taylor!

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  15. Most of Jane's novels have letters in them but my favourite is from Northanger Abbey, Isabella's letter to Catherine to tell her about the break-off of engagement. I love the way she uses letters for advancing the plot!

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    1. Lovely Sushma, its always great to hear about one of the less mentioned letter and the reason why you like it. I must read that letter again so I can reacquaint myself. Good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. That letter is so funny! You can learn so much about a person from the letters they write!

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    1. They seemed to have won hands down I will total the votes :) good luck in the giveaway!

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  17. Oh, the art of letter writing.....if only Cassandra didn't destroy so many of Jane Austen's letters, we would have been privy to her observation of the foilbles of others. Darcy and Wentworth's letters are heart stoppers, and they change the perceptions of Elizabeth and Anne. Thank you for the giveaways.

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    1. Indeed, the perceptions those letters alter are weighty to say the least. How one letter can turn a story is great, much can be expressed, without interruption I might add :) good luck in the giveaway!

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  18. I love that Jane can open her heart and share her thoughts so lovingly.
    I love anything written to Mr. Darcy :)

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    1. Yes it's a shame Elizabeth did not write to Mr Darcy, now that would be a letter :) good luck in the giveaway!

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  19. I feel like most novels that feature Jane Austen as a character focus on either her early years or the last few years of her life and I am intrigued to read a take on her teen years! On my favorite letter... I can't choose! All Austen's letters in her novels have a particular purpose - they relay more information than one might want to read via dialogue and/pr they reveal new facets of a character (i.e. Darcy to Elizabeth, Wentworth to Anne, Willoughby to Marianne). They are always used to advance the plot so I'm interested to see more of how James uses letters in this novel. Thanks for such a fun giveaway!

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    1. Yes Madeleine, her letters are so poignant, so key to the story and so re-readable :) good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Thank you for commenting, Madeleine. I hope you enjoy reading about Jane Austen as a teenager and the the remarkable Edward Taylor who stole her heart. :)

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  20. I'm most intrigued by the idea of 15 year old Jane! She sounds more rough-and-tumble than we're used to seeing her (in other novels and popular movies).

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    1. Yes Beth, isn't it great to see Jane come alive in the pages, always a joy to imagine her then as she was :) good luck in the giveaway!

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  21. Putting pen to paper and being able to write a letter that is full of emotion is a wonderful thing. And for some one at such a young at be able to do that is great. nrslalee00@yahoo.com

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  22. I would love to win this pack and read this book. It looks quite interesting.

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  23. This book looks so interesting and I would love to win.

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  24. I always enjoyed Jane's letters to her older sister. She seemed so herself in them. (rickjess@sbcglobal.net)

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    1. I agree, Jessica. Jane's letters to Cassandra are truly a window to her soul.

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Thank you! Your comments are always welcome