Jane Austen Runs My Life Holiday Gift Guide: Jane Austen Books, PART II

I don’t usually write these, but last year I decided to make up a holiday guide of my favorite Jane Austen products. I enjoyed doing that so much that I wanted to make a list on some Jane Austen books that would also make the perfect gift for the holidays.

That was much harder than products as there are so many great books out there.

Just as difficult as choosing 10

So this list will be a Part II, with books that didn’t make it onto last year’s list; along with some books I read this year (and last December). I do not receive any money from promoting these books, I am just honestly sharing ones I have enjoyed and I think you, or your loved ones will also. I have attached links to all the items if any of you are interested in purchasing any of these products (of which I do not receive any money from as I no longer a part of the Amazon affiliate program.)

So enough business, it’s time for Christmas!

This list of books are the perfect gift for Janeites or people you might be trying to convert to becoming a Janiete. The books are all listed in alphabetical order.

What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

This book is a cute addition to any Janeite’s bookshelf as it is a collection of Jane Austen quotes from her letters, books, and Austen films. It’s fun to look through and use when you want the perfect Jane Austen quote for a card, note, etc.

To purchase, click here

Jane Austen Children’s Stories by Jane Austen and adapted by Gemma Barder

I’ve only read two of the seven books in the series, Northanger Abbey and Emma, and have enjoyed them a lot. All are Jane Austen’s classic stories, but written in a way kids 6-10 can easily understand and comprehend. This is the perfect gift for a child of a Janiete or to give to a child in your life that you want to encourage the love of classics and Jane Austen.

I personally have purchased these books for my nieces, cousins, and children of friends. You can buy them in a box set or individually as I have.

To order, click here

A Visit to Highbury:
Another View of Emma

by Joan Austen-Leigh

This is an older book, but I really, really enjoyed this adaptation of Emma. It tells the story from Mrs. Goddard’s, (the woman who owned the home/school that Harriet Smith stayed in), point of view as she writes to her sister. We not only get “another interpretation” of the classic story but we also get to know one of Austen’s older characters on a deeper level. Besides Emma, this novel is also a tale of sister’s love and care for each other, along with the revitalizing love as Mrs. Goddard sister and her husband, the Pinkeys, are brought back together as they discuss the goings on of Emma, Frank Churchill, the Elton’s, etc. I thought it was adorable and had difficulty putting it down.

To order, click here

Pride and Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged) [Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries #1] by Carrie Bebris

I have mixed feelings about this series as I only really enjoyed book one and three, but even though I feel the series has some issues I thought the first one was extremely well written and do recommend it for Austen fans. In this mystery, newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Darcy experience some strange phenomenons when Caroline Bingley marries and starts acting strange, almost possessed. Could Caroline be acting strange for attention? Is someone be tormenting her? Is it regular maleficence…or is there something supernatural going on? Great for fans of Austen and mystery lovers.

To order, click here

An Affectionate Heart by Heather Moll

Are you or the person on your shopping list someone who enjoys books that make you laugh, cry, and feel a whole range of emotions? Then this is the book for you. Both Darcy and Elizabeth are in the depths of despair, agreeing to marry for their own self interests. But as the two spend more time together, they discover that there might be more to this charade than comfort, they might actually be falling in love. However, Elizabeth believes she’s not long our world, should she pursue love? Or continue pretending she doesn’t really care for Darcy? You’ll have to read to find out.

To order, click here

The Dashwoods Tell All by Beth Patillo

There are very few Sense and Sensibility adaptations that I enjoy, and very few Beth Patillo books I like to read; this is one of those rare exceptions. The book begins with two estranged sisters, being forced to take a Jane Austen walking tour in order to honor their mother’s dying wish. They also find themselves becoming owners of a long lost Austen diary, and have to decide what to do with it. The girls encounter grief, love, familial connection, are introduced to Jane Austen, and above all the learn the importance of family.

To order, click here

Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls by Brenda Sneathen Mattox

A different gift than a usual book, this book of paper dolls is perfect for any fan of Jane Austen. Adults and children can enjoy looking at the clothes and illustrations; along with it bringing back the fun memories of having paper dolls. You can gift it as something to add to a Janiete’s collection; or to someone who might want to use them to relive their childhood memories, or create memories with their children. Either way it is a fun gift to put under the tree for paper doll fans of all ages.

To purchase, click here

A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice
by Jasmine Stirling

I know there are quite a few Jane Austen children’s books on this list and it’s because I’m always trying to brainwash influence my nieces into loving Jane Austen as much as I do. This cute Jane Austen picture book has beautiful illustrations and gives a full biographical view of Jane Austen’s life in a way that kids can easily understand. Perfect for the child (6-10) in your life.

To purchase, click here

Jane Austen (Little People. BIG DREAMS) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Another cute Jane Austen bigography that is geared toward kids 4-7 and available in English or Spanish. The book has a great balance of pictures to text and I really like how it highlights all the heroines of Austen’s novels. Both I and my niece loved it.

To purchase, click here

So of course this is just a small sampling of all the Jane Austen adaptations out there, but I hope that this has helped some of you who might be searching for that perfect Jane Austen gift for your friend or loved one! If none of these strike your fancy, I will post links to my posts that list all the Jane Austen adaptions I have reviewed. 

I wish you all a happy holiday and happy holiday shopping!

Sense and Sensibility Adaption Reviews

Pride and Prejudice Adaption Reviews: Part I

Pride and Prejudice Adaption Reviews: Part II

Pride and Prejudice Adaption Reviews: Part III

Mansfield Park Adaption Reviews

Emma Adaption Reviews

Northanger Abbey Adaption Reviews

Persuasion Adaption Reviews

Which Jane Austen Novel Would Make the Best Telenovela?

Happy Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month!

For those of you who don’t know what that is, Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month is celebrated in the USA and starts on September 15th and ends on October 15th. Unlike most national months, these specific dates were chosen to honor the days that many Latin American countries received their independence; along with incorporating Día de la Raza which falls on October 12th.

I’ve been planning this post for a while and since telenovelas are a big part of Latino culture, I thought what better day to post it than today.

So every July for my Blogiversary I post questions in my Instagram stories and then I post the answers that people gave along with my own thoughts sprinkled in. One of my questions this year was “What is a Jane Austen Themed Tradition, Oddity, or Eccentricity You Have/Have in Your Family?” One of my answers was that I have given all the characters of Mansfield Park a Latin name. It all started as a joke, you see being Latina whenever I read Mansfield Park or talk about it I always pronounce Maria as the Spanish form (mah. – ree. – ah) instead of the English way (mah-rye-ah). Since she is Maria, I stated saying Tomás instead of Thomas, pronouncing Julia as the Spanish form (Hoo. – lyah), and even Fanny as Francesca sometimes. Most of the time I just say Edmund, but occasionally I call him Edmundo as well.

On Instagram rackelbaskcally commented that after reading that she now started looking at Mansfield Park as a telenovela. And that got me thinking, which Jane Austen novel would make the best telenovela?

Hmm…?

Before I begin, I would like to say that I am not an expert on telenovelas, and this post is a reflection of my personal experiences in watching them and familial views. Back to the post!

Telenovelas are often described as Latin soap operas but are really much more. While soap operas are often not seen as “good TV” to a lot of people (most will call them a “guilty pleasure” rather than admit they are a major fan of a melodrama); telenovelas, on the other hand, watching them isn’t something to be ashamed of. Yes they can have outlandish plots, be extremely illogical, and have problematic themes (they aren’t perfect); they also combine comedy, drama, passion, and romance; along with commentary on serious issues such infidelity, betrayal, drug/alcohol abuse, discussions regarding education/the educational system, one’s struggle to find their place, etc. Most telenovelas revolve around a main character who is of lower economic status trying to improve themself and achieve job success; with of course along the way marrying a handsome and rich person.

And every telenovela that I have seen involve our main characters triumphing, and our villain getting their just desserts.

So now that we have had a little backstory on telenovelas (sorry for going overboard) which book would be the best to translate to a telenovela? I think you could make a case for all for all of them as the themes in Jane Austen’s books are easily relatable to the Latino community. A lot of the issues the women face, Latina women are going through today-just slightly different.

Hmmm…

Now I know there is one telenovela based on Jane Austen; Orgulho e Paixão (Pride and Passion) from Brasil. I haven’t watched it (I’m still trying to find where it’s available to stream), but which book is your pick?

Hmm…?

First of all my top pick is Mansfield Park, as we have our heroine Fanny, the one from a lower economic status, being put in this wealthy world and having to navigate through her rude relatives. Not to mention we have issues of money in the Bertram family as Tom/Tomás is gambling away the fortune. To really up the drama in our telenovela adaption you could have that a person is pursposely trying to steal away Mansfield Park and cheating Tom/Tomás out of everything they have. If we wanted to modernize it, Mansfield Park could also be a company instead of just a home.

We also have the appearance of the Crawfords and the destruction/unmasking of the Bertrams they bring (as like Jane Austen’s work most telenovelas have characters that are not all good or all bad). With them we have Henry Crawford making a play for all three female cousins, Maria cheating on her husband, Fanny’s banishment when she wouldn’t marry Henry, and Tom/Tomás’ near death experience. This would make a great telenovela!

And if we further wanted to up the drama in our telenovela we could even have where Henry is trying to cheat them out of Mansfield Park, only to change his mind when he wants to marry Fanny; but alas by then it’s too late she has discovered his sinister plot and that he slept with her married cousin. ¡Ay, Dios mío! Oh the drama!

My second choice would be Sense and Sensibility, as it too has drama, passion, terrible relatives, losing your home and fortune, etc! We have our heroines, Elinor and Marianne, who have lost their fatjer and discovered with the will hardly anything has been left to them. Unbeknownst to them, thier brother John has promised to take care of them, but after their father died he and his villainous wife, Fanny, have decided to give them nothing. In true telenovela fashion there should be a second will that they destroy to keep the Dashwood sisters from inheriting anything.

Not to mention Fanny Dashwood would be the perfect telenovela villain, everything she does is beyond terrible. Keeping an inheritance from her sister-in-laws, saying they are not even family because they are half siblings, keeping Edward and Elinor apart, and even taking Lucy with them instead of John’s sisters. She’s perfect!

Willoughby and Colonel Brandon would be a great telenovela men, although in a telenovela Colonel Brandon’s ward would really be his illegitimate daughter or niece, not just the daughter of a friend of the family and he’s caring for her; only for it to be revealed that the woman Colonel Brandon loves has been dating the man who deserted his ward/illegitimate daughter/illegitimate niece.

And not to mention the plot line where Elinor is in love with Edward, Fanny tries to keep them apart, only for is to discover he’s been secretly engaged this whole time!!! ¡Ay, Dios mío! Oh the drama!

So what do you think? Which one would you pick? Comment below!

For more on Mansfield Park, go to The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more blending of Jane Austen with my Latina culture, go to Feliz Día de Muertos: Celebrando con Mi Ofrenda de Jane Austen

I Won the Ellery Adams’ September 2020 Giveaway + My Review of the First Two Books in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society Series

So two years ago, (I wasn’t kidding when I said I was behind on my posts), I won the Ellery Adams giveaway. You know me and free, I just can’t resist.

Anytime I see a giveaway I have to enter it.

So I ended up winning a copy of Solve it With Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Gripping Casebook of Stories.

I loved the Solve It book as I have always been a huge fan of Encyclopedia Brown and other mini mysteries. As I’m also a giant Sherlock Holmes fan, it was just perfect for me and I was so happy to have won it!

I also enjoyed Sherlock Holmes: A Gripping Casebook of Stories; which has the first Sherlock Holmes book (A Study in Scarlet) and fourteen other cases. Loved it!

Mystery, you say?

Ellery Adams also give me a cute I Love Mr. Darcy Bag, which you might have spotted I some other posts. It has popped up in several photos.

She also included a copy of her book, The Whispered Word (Secret, Book, & Scone Society #2).

We decided to read it for my book club, and of course as we read that one, we ended up reading the first book in the series.

The Secret, Book, & Scone Society (The Secret, Book, & Scone Society #1) by Ellery Adams

Nora Pennington has a terrible secret, and equally terrible burn scars. She moved to Miracle Springs, North Caroline to get away from it all and start her life anew. She runs a little bookshop called Miracle Books where people can come and receive bibliotherapy; books to help with whatever sadness, depression, anxiety, or other issues they are facing.

“She held up her hands. “This won’t be like a traditional counseling session where we sit down and you talk for a long period of time. You won’t need to go into detail with me. I only need a broad brushstroke—a brief glimpse into the heart of your pain. That way, I can select the right books. After that, you can start reading your way to a fresh start this evening.”

-The Secret, Book, & Scone Society (The Secret, Book, & Scone Society #1) by Ellery Adams

A businessman comes to town who is very upset and Nora recommends him getting a comfort scone from the bakery while she gathers a stack of books to help him overcomes his troubles. Before he can make his appointment with her he is found dead on the railroad tracks.

The man made a real impression on Nora and she starts investigating; being joined by three other women-Hester Winthrop, owner of the Gingerbread House bakery; Estella Sadler, owner of Magnolia Salon and Spa; and June Dixon, Miracle Springs Thermal Pools employee. None of these women want any friends, but they find themselves growing closer together and creating their own little book club, sharing their secrets along with their hopes and dreams. As they investigate into a development scheme, things turn to more troubling than they originally thought with one of the book club members getting arrested. Will the ladies be able to discover the truth and save their friend? Or will things turn deadly.

All those in our book club really enjoyed the book and the way that Adams incorporated all these twists and turns in the mystery. We also loved the characters, each of them were very unique but also very real; reminding you of people you know or people you have met.

As this was an indie author, our group had a few questions and reached out to her. She very kindly responded to them.

Me: Hello, my book club is reading your first book and we had a couple questions for you: Where did you get the idea of the comfort scone? Had someone ever made that for you? And the different secrets the ladies have, how did you come up with them? Did you know people who had experienced similar traumas? Was there anyone you knew that had suffered burns?

Adams: I witnessed a terrible burn incident at a county fair about a year before I started writing this book. She was a beautiful young woman and I couldn’t stop thinking about her. After that, I did lots of research on burn victims.

Adams: As for the womens’ pasts, I knew women with similar secrets. I was in a Bible study group with about 30 women for years and the women were of all ages and backgrounds. I heard all kinds of stories during that time but never repeat anything exactly out of respect for them.

Adams: The comfort scone just popped in my head 😊

Me: We loved the comfort scone and all those scenes. What about the bibliotherapy? Is that something you did or someone did for you?

Adams: I feel like all book lovers do it—we offer certain books to certain people, knowing they’re a good match. I’ve done that for years, but like Nora, I’m not trained in the practice and haven’t had a session myself.

Me: Thank you so much for taking time to answer our questions. 😊

The Whispered Word (The Secret, Book, & Scone Society #2) by Ellery Adams

In book two, Nora and the woman have formed a strong bond and are ready to handle anything…that is until an injured, emaciated woman shows up in the bookstore. The woman want to help this “Abilene Tyler”, but it’s hard when they know so little about her and she’s not sharing anything. To further complicate things a woman all disliked turns up dead, presumed suicide; however Nora feels it is murder. And even though the woman was unpleasant in life, Nora still plains to honor her.

The ladies are not sure if they can trust the new sheriff, and end up on the case, although when it turns out that Abilene might have a connection to the murder, will their group grow closer or split apart?

Hmm…

And if that wasn’t enough on the ladies’ plate, a new business rolled into town that seems too good to be true. Many of their friends and neighbors are falling victim to the scheme and these ladies are doing all they can to stop them.

Will the ladies be able to handle this mystery as well? Or will this be their final case?

We also all really liked this book as we saw the characters continue to grow and trust each other from the previous one. I really enjoyed that the characters wanted to help this stranger, as they could see she was in need of it, but at the same time were still cautious. I read another book, Patterns in the Sand (A Seaside Knitters Mystery #2) by Sally Goldenbaum, where something similar happened and I did not care for it at all. In Patterns in the Sand all the women instantly trust this stranger found in the shop and defend her innocence because she is a “talented artist”. This was super annoying as a reader. I think Adams did it better by having the women want to help, they could see she fled a troubling situation, but were also hesitant as they don’t know her or anything about her past.

We also loved the solution to the mystery, one we all did not see coming at all. I read so many mysteries, but this solution was right in front of my face and I was completely blind to it. Very well written.

If you enjoy mysteries and are a book lover, you should definitely give her books a read.

For more giveaway reviews, go to I Won the Tea and Me Blog & Harts of America Giveaway

For more on Sherlock Holmes, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

For more mysteries, go to Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Northanger Abbey

I Attended the Bridgerton Experience in San Francisco

I have yet to review the Bridgerton TV show or the book series (it’s on my very long to-do list I swear!), but that can all wait. Let’s talk about the ball!

I first heard about the Bridgerton Experience after my friend attended the Los Angeles one. I was sad to see I had missed it (as I hadn’t heard of it) and even more so after seeing further photos and videos by MissKittyCatalan and autumnsarahstory.

I looked at reviews and other info on it, and of course as it usually goes, when you search up one thing you end up receiving all kinds of ads promoting that thing, in my case the Bridgerton Experience. For once I was really happy to see the ads as I discovered they would be holding more balls and that they had expanded it to San Francisco.

San Francisco is much closer to me than LA and after some more investigating I found that they gave you a great rate for groups of 6 and more. Now that I was armed with dates, times, and prices; it just came down to finding people to join me.

First things first I posted on my Facebook page to try and get as many friends notified (and possibly willing to join); along with reaching out to friends I knew who would want to go (or be willing to do me the favor of attending). I checked back in a week and had no takers from Facebook, and could only get three friends interested, as the others felt it wasn’t right for them as they had no clue what Bridgerton was about.

A group of four is better than one, and after looking at all the prices and times we settled on Sunday August 14th at 2:30. 2:30 was cheaper than the evening and we all felt the price was the most fitting for what we would be getting in the “experience”. (Although by the way, I just checked the calendar and prices for the 5:30 are now cheaper than 2:30. I’m not sure why it changed as before they were the same price as the 2:30 show). You have the option to purchase VIP tickets, but from the reviews VIP only seemed to get a place to sit, a free glass of champagne, and to go into the experience a few minutes before the rest of the crowd. As you weren’t really getting that much of an advantage over the regular priced guests, we all felt that it wasn’t worth the higher cost of the ticket, (unless we had been able to get that great group rate). Instead we all bought the regular tickets.

According to the research I did the ball included: multiple photo areas, a” paint your portrait” photo area, merchandise available for purchase, costumes from the show being on display, a scavenger hunt, guests being presented to the Queen, a ballet performance with aerials, being taught to dance, and a ball. Plus one lucky person will be chosen as the “diamond” (that is the Belle of the season). I was so excited and hoped that it would be me!

Please pick me.

After tickets were purchased the next thing we was needed to figure out of course was what to wear? Luckily I had that all taken care of. As you might recall, last year I held a Jane Austen birthday party and MadsenCreations designed and made my regency gown. The gown is blue and was inspired by the one Daphne wears in Bridgerton and the dress Lydia wears in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Since this was a ball and men would be present, (unlike my party) I needed gloves! I tried to find some opera full length gloves as I wanted them to go all the way up to my bicep, but I was unable to find any online that would arrive in time (and of course the Halloween store in my town was opening the day of the ball). I ended up wearing elbow length gloves, which turned out to not be the best idea. As I wanted to take a lot of pictures and my phone is a touch screen, I had to keep taking one of my gloves on and off. MadsenCreations wore small gloves which was a much better idea.

As you can see one glove to take photos.

After that the only thing left to plan was my hair. Which you all know can be the most difficult.

I cut my hair in May so I was unable to do the hairstyle I did last year for my party. I wanted to try and do the look Jennifer Ehle has in Pride and Prejudice (1995) but it didn’t come out right. Instead I did a very high bun on the back of my head vis-a-vie Miss Jane Erstwhile in Austenland, but only had a couple tendrils down on the sides of my face, copying the look of Miss Kate Sharma on the book cover of The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgerton #2).

Everything was falling into place. We drove down the night before and stayed with my Tia, spending all Sunday getting ready! As we didn’t want to have to worry about finding parking we hired a lovely carriage to bring us to the ball, a Honda Accord.

The confirmation email told you to arrive 30 minutes before the event and we arrived a few minutes after 2. We were able to take our “yours truly” photo right away (no line) and see all the dresses in the waiting area. My friend and her roommate joined us a little later and we took another pic in the “Yours Truly” area. They also had gloves, tiaras, jewelry, and more available for purchase. My friend forgot her gloves and was able to purchase them at the little shop.

After that we waited around a bit looking at everyone’s outfits before they allowed us in. I noticed two things right away; 1) there were no single men, each guy was with a girl or group of girls. And 2) no man that I could see was dressed in a Regency costume. This was a complete bummer as I really, really wanted to get a pic with a Regency man. All I could do was hope I would be able to snag an actor or perhaps someone would come late?

When the experience begins you have the choice to shop, walk around, order drinks, and take photos. They have a wisteria arch, “paint your portrait”, the queen’s throne, and lots of other decorated areas. It was absolutely beautiful in there.

Xandraleigh had warned me to wait on the wisteria walkway as it gets incredibly crowded with people. Instead we went right to the portrait line as there was hardly anybody there. The portrait was fun and the picture came out well, although I do wish we had been given more instructions as we weren’t quite sure what exactly to do at first, but eventually figured it out.

After taking our portraits we were at a loss of what to do next. We didn’t want to take a picture on the Queen’s chair as the line was super long and instead walked around a bit looking at the Bridgerton shop and trying to see what else the experience had to offer.

There wasn’t much else but photo areas and a few more clothes from the show. I liked looking at the costumes, but there weren’t as many costumes as I thought there would be.

While we were taking photos we heard an announcement and quickly ran back to the Queen’s chair area to see what was happening. The Queen had arrived, and we tried to see her although it was really hard with all the people. She sat at her throne and Lady Whistledown, became our narrator for the events. She told us that we were to be presented to the queen and to try our best to impress her so that we will be in the running for the “diamond”. We were also told that as Whistledown couldn’t be there herself she sent another in her place, and challenged us to try and discover which of the guests she was. This woman, who’s name I forget, gave commentary on every curtesy, being quite sassy. I was excited for this, but the directions weren’t quite clear. They told everyone to move to the front by the Queen but I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to line up, go to the right or left, etc. We all kind of moved in a group together like a giant herd of cattle and the actors picked people to be presented.

I had five people in front of me and then all of a sudden they were saying I was next in line and urging me forward. When I stepped up the Queen wasn’t paying attention but talking to an attendant. I wasn’t sure what to do and stopped there, like a deer in headlights, and then curtseyed. Suffice to say, my curtesy did not get rave reviews and I did not impress the Queen.

The rest of my party did very well and one of us was even given a note saying that they had impressed the Queen and were in the running to be the “diamond”.

After that we decided to try to take a picture in the archway as we didn’t have anything else to do and weren’t sure how long the presenting would take. Here is where I wish had a program to guide us, or had opened up the ballroom so we could dance while waiting for the next “performance”.

As I said we headed to the archway as the line had gone down, although it still took a while for us to get our photo, even though we were only behind three couples. The problem was everyone wanted to take a ton of photos and videos. I’m all for people doing their thing but I do wish they would be a little more considerate of the time and others. There is only 90 minutes and a lot of people in line; you don’t need to take 5 photos together, 5 individual shots (each), and 5 videos.

When it was finally our turn, we heard another announcement, quickly snapped a couple group shots, and went hurrying back to see that they had opened the ballroom.

Here is where you need to be assertive and try to get as close to the floor as possible as they choose guests to open up the dance floor and dance with the actors. I was too nice and unable to get up there, so I was not chosen.

Aw!

But seriously, it was still fun to watch. I do wish they had a bigger ballroom or less people as it was a little hard to see everything. I was in the back on a little stage area, so I was able to kind of look over people. But as I’m short It was hard at times to get a good look into everything. They then began the first part of the ballet that I thought told the story of Daphne and Simon, but others have said they think it is supposed to represent Kate and Anthony. Either way it was beautiful.

After the first dance, they brought out a woman dressed in burlesque type outfit and she was really out of place. She taught us a pseudo-regency dance and it was fun; although hard to follow along as you couldn’t hear what she was saying and there were a lot of people crowded around the dance floor. She does a lot of hand movements and when doing it with all the people attempting to follow, you might hit someone or have someone hit you.

Then our dancers returned and performed beautifully! I loved the dancing with the silks. My favorite part was when they danced with the chandelier. It was so stunning and worth it.

After the second dance the two split to either side of the room and taught us a regency-esque dance. This was a lot of fun and as I came to this ball to dance I was not going fo let an opportunity slip through my fingers. I’m not ashamed fo say I pushed my way forward so that I could be in the dance, I was going after my dream! I was hoping for my own Pride and Prejudice or Northanger Abbey moment, however, as mentioned before there were no men who came alone so I ended up dancing with a very nice woman who was an excellent dancer.

“This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature.“

Julian Barnes

After we were taught the dance and danced away a bit, they moved us off the dance floor and the dancers finished their performance with the violinist even getting into it. It was fantastic! The violinist was amazing!

Afterwards, the Queen came out and the two characters were married. The stand in for Lady Whistledown was also revealed (in a modern dress, I never would have guessed that was her) and they chose the “diamond”. In everything I’d seen online the diamond always had a stunning Regnecy outfit. This woman they picked wore a black Victorian dress which, not to be rude, made me think of a widow (as women in that time period only wore all black if they were a widow.) I hadn’t seen her before but she must have impressed the queen to be picked. I would have liked to see her curtesy and learn a few tips.

The stand in for Lady Whistledown, the diamond in the portrait, and the Queen.

The queen then left and they played 2010s party music and allowed you to dance the last 15 minutes of the program. We enjoyed it, but were all a little disappointed that there wasn’t more dancing.

Emma (1996) AKA the Gwyneth Paltrow Version

As we were exiting the ballroom I did manage to find one man (not an actor) dressed in Regency clothes and convinced him to take a picture with me! Since I didn’t ask his permission to post the photo and he’s not wearing a mask, I won’t share it here, but I am very grateful that he decided to dress up.

The only thing that was promised that I didn’t see was the scavenger hunt. I saw on multiple reviews that they had clues you were to solve to get to the next one, but I couldn’t find any clues or information on it.

Mystery, you say?

Afterwards, we decided to get food as we all had forgotten to eat when we were all getting ready for the ball. We also needed time to share and discuss the ball. We tried to find a resturant nearby, but a lot were closed on Sunday. We eventually settled on Chez Maman (Hayes Valley) on 401 Gough St. We walked down there as trying to find a parking spot in San Francisco is near impossible. As we were walking people commented on our outfits and complimented us.

We are hot!

Chez Maman was packed but they were able to sit us outside and even though things took some time, understandable as almost every table was full, it was the best service I have had even pre-Covid and everything was absolutely delicious. I would definitely recommend stopping there after the ball.

So was it worth it? Well this was what I was hoping to get out of the experience:

  • Have fun with my friends
  • Dance with a handsome stranger
  • Get my picture taken with a man dressed in Regency clothes
  • Dance at the ball
  • See the lovely clothes from the show
  • Take a nice picture
  • Enjoy the ballet!

So would I recommend this experience? I definitely would. We had a lot of fun and everything was absolutely beautiful.

If you do attend my advice is:

  • To be aware of time (you only have 90 minutes).
  • Group photos are definitely the way to go if you want to be able to do everything.
  • Don’t be afraid to assert yourself in order to be a part of the action. If you want the best experience, you are going to need to be front and center.
  • If you are planning on taking lots of photos wear short gloves or no gloves at all
  • Don’t wear anything too long as with all the people you will get stepped on.
  • Don’t wear too many layers. The ballroom gets packed and there is no air conditioning going, so it gets hot in there.

For more Regency events, go to Tossing a Costume Together + Regency Runway

I Wrote A Letter (I Actually Wrote Four)

Have you ever seen the film White Chicks? It is a 2000’s film that stars the Wayan Brothers as FBI agents who are one screw up away from being fired. When they mess up their very simple assignment to watch two heiress and transport them to the Hamptons, they end up having to go undercover as the Wilson Sisters in order to keep themselves from being fired and foil a kidnapping plot. It is hilarious as most of the people can’t tell the agents in their makeup from the “real” sisters, even though you as they viewer can clearly tell they look nothing like the Wilson sisters. One of my favorite parts of the film is when they are trying to keep the other FBI agents from figuring out their undercover situation and stage a big scene about how they “are going to write a letter”.

FBI Agent Kevin Copeland as Brittany Wilson: I wanna speak to your supervisor! Better yet, I’m gonna write a letter!

FBI Agent Marcus Copeland as Tiffany Wilson: [to FBI Agent Harper] You are in *big* trouble!

FBI Agent Kevin Copeland as Brittany Wilson: [Agitated, “Brittany” grabs a pen and a sheet of paper and starts writing] Dear… Mr… Royal… Hampton. I… am… a… *white*… woman… in… America.

Whenever my family and friends has something upset us that we have no control over (for example the terrible Netflix Persuasion film) or when we wish something would happen, we always claim we are going to “write a letter”.

For the past few years on Instagram I have asked questions in my stories and posted the results along with my own thoughts and opinions thrown in. One thing I ask every year is “If You Could Cast Any Actor (Alive or Dead) as Mr. Darcy, Who Would It Be?”

Since I started in 2019, the most requested men to play Mr. Darcy are Aidan Turner, Henry Cavill, Ben Barnes, and Richard Armitage, and Ben Barnes. Every year I say I am “going to write a letter” to them but never actually do.

However, I finally decided to “write a letter”, four actually, and hope for the best that they read it and respond. You might think that sounds silly, but one thing Austen taught me was to never underestimate the power of a well written letter.

I also decided to use the Magazine Cover cards I was given to by Christina Boyd as I have high hopes that their assistants or agents or whoever reads their mail will actually pass them along as they are so striking.

#1) Aiden Turner c/o CAM 55-59 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6LD, United Kingdom

The first person I wrote to was Aidan Turner. In my letter I wrote that I was a fan of his work and that in my opinion he was the only good thing in The Mortal Instruments. After I gusher a bit I went on to let him know about my Blogiversary queries and that he was one of the most requested actors to play Mr. Darcy. I then pleaded with him to consider being in any future Austen adaptions; or alternatively, I also suggested him dressing up in a Regency-esque outfit and reenacting a scene from Pride and Prejudice for his fans. I don’t know if he will or not but I’ll be keeping an eye out.

For more on Aiden Turner, go to You’re Mother is a Shadowhunter…Like You: The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones (2013)

#2) Henry Cavill c/o CAA 2000 Avenue of the Stars Los Angeles, CA 90067

The next letter I wrote was to Henry Cavill. I’m not really a fan of his as I haven’t actually seen that much of his work. I liked him in Stardust but besides that I’ve only seen him in the Snyder Cut of Justice League, and I think he played the son in the Count of Monte Cristo? So skipped over the usual fawning and went right to the point, stressing how the fans would love to see him in an Austen adaption, especially as Mr. Darcy. And if he wasn’t really interested in either, perhaps he would be willing to do an Austen themed tiktok or Instagram reel? Out of all these men I have the highest hopes for him as he is one who understands the love a fan has for a certain work. But, I guess we will just wait and see.

#3) Ben Barnes c/oWilliam Morris Endeavor Entertainment 9601 Wilshire Blvd. 3rd Floor Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The next person on my list was Ben Barnes, and unlike the other actors, I have only seen Ben Barnes in two films and both were absolutely terrible. The films? Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Now I know a lot of people like this Disney series and I will concede there are quite a few things they did very well, but the character of Prince Caspian was 100% not one of them and the whole plot line of Voyage was not only illogical but just plain horrible. What were they thinking?

As I’m not a fan of his I just went right into letting him know about how he is one of the highest requested actors to be in an Austen production, most commonly suggested to play Mr. Darcy. Like the others, I asked if he would consider any upcoming Jane Austen productions; or alternatively considering dress up in a Regency type outfit and reenact a part of Pride and Prejudice.

#4) Richard Armitage c/o United Artists 12-26 Lexington St, London W1F 0LE, United Kingdom

And lastly, we have Richard Armitage. As I am a fan of his I did a bit of fangirling (just a little) before I laid out the same request as the others. Please consider any upcoming Jane Austen productions; or alternatively consider dressing up in a Regency type outfit and reenact a part of Pride and Prejudice.

For more on Richard Armitage, go to I Want to Understand You: North & South (2004)

I’m hoping at least one will respond to my letters. I’m not expected an actual return letter (although I did tell all of them would definitely be appreciated); I know this is real life not a wattpad/webtoon story; but I’m hoping that I’ll receive a response in social media or possibly an upcoming Jane Austen production. (Fingers crossed!)

But I guess we will just have to wait and see.

If I do receive anything I will be sure to share it with you all. And again, thank you everyone for celebrating with me this past month, and thank you all who have been a part of these past 10 years.

For more letter writing, go to I Wrote Mr. Darcy a Letter