Just Jane

So you all know that I love Jane Austen, she’s the best.

So whenever I find anything that has to do with Austen I snag it.

So one day I was perusing the local bookstore on my day off. The day before had been an extremely hard day so I wanted something to help me feel better.

You know nothing makes me happier than reading.

As I was perusing the shelves, I spotted a book about Jane Austen and just had to purchase it and read it.

I then put it on my to-read pile and forgot all about it.

But as I was moving, I went through my to-read pile and had to read it.

Just Jane (Ladies of History #2) by Nancy Moser

So the book begins with Jane Austen as a young lady at a ball and her infatuation with Tom Lefroy, the man she based Mr. Darcy and Captain Fredrick Wentworth, going all the way to her death, following the completion of Persuasion. 

The book is an intense delight and I recommend it for any Austen fan. Moser is able to blend the historical context, the quotes from her letters, and out it all together in a fun and intriguing narrative that I couldn’t stop reading.

We get to see inside Austen’s head, and view her process and take the path of her life and creation of her amazing books.

We get to experience her heartache, sadness, grief, etc. I love how Moser captures her essence as a girl trying to figure out her future, try to find love, find her place in her family, and worry about what she can do to help her household along with her as an author-the creative struggles, the pains and long journey of bringing an idea into a real novel, and the sorrows and joy of printing process.

We also get a great view of her family, the research done well and bringing certain things I had not known to my attention, and blogging of course.

Moser never claims that one fictional character is solely based on Austen or those she knows-instead she leaves it open to the reader as there is a delight in spotting what real life situations or people could be different characters or events that occur in the book.

It beautifully shows the Regency period, the things we see in films that makes us want to go back, along with detailing the realities that we are happy we no longer have to face.

There will be many posts that have come or will be coming in the future that have to do with something that caught my eye in the reading.

So once again, let me say-if you love Jane Austen and you want something that has life over just the facts, this book is for you. It was a great read and kept you wanting to see what happened next and read more about Jane’s real life and her family.

“Four, five people have been so honoured?’ She shook her head. ‘Tis deplorable, Jane. Hundred, yea even thousands, must enjoy your work.” pg 117

For more on Jane Austen’s life, go to Jane, Jane, Jane: A Jane Austen Biography

For something interesting from Just Jane, go to By the Sea

For more Regency Era, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 2, The Ties That Bind

Book Club Picks: A Christmas Carol

I’ve heard of Christmas in July, but Christmas in April?

What?

Oh well!

So I have fallen behind with my posts, but as you know I started a book club last year:

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. So at the time it was my turn it was Christmas.

And you know how much I love Christmas

So what better book to read then, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens? My favorite book to read at Christmastime!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This won’t be a long post as I talked about it two years ago during my 30-day book challenge (which I never finished. Oops!)

I love this book so much. I’m not sure what else I could add. I love the history of it and how it changed the world by opening peoples’ hearts and creating reforms to help the poor; along with the Bank Holiday act in 1871, making Christmas an official day of rest. 19 years later, every state in America had adopted the same practice.

“I have endeavoured[sic], in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour[sic] with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”
Their faithful friend and Servant,
CD. [Charles Dickens]

I love how Dicken’s describes the sins of greed, pride, and selfishness:

“I wear the chain I forged in Life,’ replied the Ghost [Marley]. ‘I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on, of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it…’Or would you know,’ pursued the Ghost, ‘the weight and length of the strong coil you wear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured[sic] on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!”

A good warning to a of us.

And how they describe Scrooge’s old boss Fezziwig. Unlike Scrooge, Fezziwig always liked to treat his clerks right; he may have only gave a little, but he understood the true meaning of Christmas. To give.

“He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome: a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up-what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great, as if it cost a fortune.”

And of course Christmas present:

How he spreads cheer everywhere.

And of course, Christmas-Yet-to-Come:

The redemption of Scrooge and the all-around happiness of the book. Just a fantastic and inspiring story:

“And as Tiny Tim observed,

God Bless Us Every One!”

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Common Life, The Wedding Story

For more on A Christmas Carol, go to You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

For more Charles Dickens, go to You Know Me So Well

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

Book Club Picks: A Light in the Window

So I have fallen waaaay behind with my posts, but as you know I started a book club this year:

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. Back in May, one member choose the first book in The Mitford Years series, so when it was their turn to pick they decided on us reading the second book in the series.

A Light in the Window (The Mitford Years #2) by Jan Karon

This book is set in the fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina. The last book centered around the Vicar, Father Tim as he is contemplating at age 60 if he should continue or retire. In that year he faces all kinds of changes from a dog adopting him, taking in a child, jewel thieves, a fake antiquities ring, health changes, a new neighbor/love interest, all kinds of secrets being revealed, and more. This town and Father Tim will never be the same.

At the end of the first book he and Cynthia (his neighbor) have become boyfriend and girlfriend. This is a huge step for Father Tim as this is his first relationship in forty years.

While he loves Cynthia, he finds himself unsure about the relationship, and draws into himself pulling away from her.

Cynthia, understandingly gets upset:

And now Father Tim has a choice to fight for her or let her go.

Meanwhile, a recently widowed parishioner has set her sights on Father Tim, not caring he’s in a relationship. She starts cooking him up his favorite dishes in the hope of capturing him.

Father Tim had just returned from a trip to Ireland and discovers that one of his cousins has followed him home and wants to stay with him while she works on her book. However, something about her is not right as she spends all her time in her room, her dishes disappear, she eats everything, she never leaves her room, etc and more.

Something is not right.

So I loved the first book

But this one, not as much. I mean it has some real good parts, funny moments, and things that I really enjoyed, but it was missing all the fun characters and their interactions from the first one.

The other thing I didn’t like was how a big part was done in letters between Cynthia and Father Tim as she has to go to New York for months to work on her book. While I like epistolary novels, this made me feel like a voyeur reading such personal mail. I was the only one who didn’t like it, as the other book club members loved it. What can I say:

So on a whole, the book was good-but I just felt it paled in comparison to the first one. It was just missing a little spark.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

For more on The Mitford Years, go to Book Club Picks: At Home in Mitford

Book Club Picks: At Home in Mitford

So as you know I started a book club this year:

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. I went first, the next month was someone choose Sandcastle Kings, and this month another member choose:

At Home in Mitford (The Mitford Years #1) by Jan Karon

This book is set in the fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina. The books center around the Vicar, Father Tim. Father Tim is turning sixty and feels like he should give up on being a minister. He feels as if his life is stagnant, his preaching dry, and that the community would be better off with a new rector. He promises one more year, but if things don’t change, then he will retire.

Hmm…

But soon things start changing in his life. A giant black dog shows up at his home and won’t leave. Barnabas, what he names the dog, is strangely only calmed down if one speaks a bible verse at him.

Then a beautiful woman moves in next door. She is scatterbrained, always in need of assistance, and stirs up feelings in the reverend’s dormant heart.

A painting found in an attic is donated to the church which may be a genuine Vermeer.

His best friends are going to have a baby, even though they are in their fifties; his secretary has started a romance with the mailman, he gets a holds-nothing-back housekeeper, and finds himself suddenly fostering a preteen boy.

Someone breaks into the church repeatedly, stealing nothing but food.

Hmm…

Then Father Tim gets word of a jewelry ring operating in the area with them smuggling them through customs in old antiques. Some of the jewels Father Tim finds hidden in an urn in the church. Could someone in the community be involved?

Miss Sadie is the last remaining member of the oldest and richest family in Mitford. She tells Father Tim the story of the love that got away and reveals a secret that has been hidden for over forty years.

So I really loved this book. I thought the characters were fun and realistic. The town felt like it could be your small town, and the characters, the people you know or interact with.

It was so cute how everyone cared about their town and each other-getting in everyone’s business to help out. It made me want to live there.

The back of the book hints at it being more of a mystery, but while there are elements that are puzzling I wouldn’t classify it as a mystery. Well, whatever it is it was a fun book and easy to love.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: Sandcastle Kings

Rainy Days & Rainy Nights

You know what I love?

What?

What?

I LOVE:

ReadingandRain

Yes. This is one of my favorite things to do, and as it has finally started raining, this has once again become one of my favorite pastimes.

rainyday

After all:

gloomyrainydays

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more bookish posts, go to When I’m Reading

For more on my love of rain, go to England Dreamin’ On Such a Summer’s Day

Cat Lovers All Know This

GarfieldCatGoinandOut

Yep every cat lover knows what this feels like. Cats are their own creatures and do what they want.

T.S. Eliot really knew what he was talking about in his Old Possum’s Book of Practical CatsYep cats do what they want, and you can’t do anything about it.

Cat1

Just try telling them what to do. All you get is a stare, a meow, and the cat doing exactly what you asked them not to.

StarTrekCatCat'sDon'tListen

And what about when you try to read a book or go on your laptop? Instant rubbing, stepping, and messing with.

catrubfaceonbookcatbeingacat

But as much as they ignore you, mess with your stuff, and just do what they want..they are utterly adorable and you love them. After all:

bks+cats

And cats are always there for you when you need them:

catsmusic

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more on cats, go to That Darn Cat

For more Garfield, go to What a Fanatic!

For more on Lillian Jackson Braun, go to It’s Fantastico!

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Tea Time

Over and Over Again

OW

There are some people who find it strange that I love to reread my books. But you know what, I love books!

loveBookselizabethgilbertlovereading

And if there is a book I love then I will read it again and again.

readbook5thtimeAwesome

Even if I have read it so many times that I know it by heart.

relationshipw:bk

Yep:

Powerofagoodbookread

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more on my love of books, go to I’ve Got a Hangover

For more on Oscar Wilde, go to Part IX: A Movie Lines List’s Excellent Adventure

For more on Andrea Cremer, go to Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice

For more of my favorite quotes, go to O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree