Monday, May 28, 2012

Historically and Socially Accurate Austen Sequel at Boswell This Saturday, June 2, 2 pm, Co-Sponsored by JASNA.

If you're reading this Memorial Day, we're open 10 am to 5 pm.

And now for a bit more about this week's featured author event. There are Jane Austen novels and then there are a zillion more novels inspired by Jane Austen. There are mashups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and novels such as The Three Weissmanns of Westport, which is a play on Sense and Sensibility. What isn't? On our recent modern/classic table, I purposely excluded all Austen inspirations as they would have taken over the table.

I was browsing the Austenprose website, where I noted this blogger's top Jane Austen inspired novels of 2011. One confusing thing was that almost everything had five stars, making it rather difficult to rank. And it's heard to separate The Trouble with Mr. Darcy from The Truth about Mr. Darcy.

So when the folks at Chawton House came to us asking if we'd host a signing for Ava Farmer (AKA Sandy Lerner) for her new book Second Impressions, I didn't know what to think. Would the fans come out?  But then I learned that the event would be co-sponsored with JASNA, the Jane Austen Society of America, and I my fears dissipated. Former president Marsha gave the book a thumb's up as did our own Jane.

Our event with Lerner/Farmer is this Saturday, June 2, 2 pm, and it takes place at Boswell. (Note that Chawton House had nothing to do with the other two Austen-inspired jackets on this blog. I couldn't stop myself from collecting them. I wish I had room for twenty more).

Chawton House is billing Second Impressions as the first socially and historically accurate sequel to Pride and Prejudice. I found a quote from Gloria Steinem, whom you don't generally expect to be on the blurb list for a book like this. "Each sentence is a model of humanity and humor," she notes.  More quotes here.

Second Impressions is set ten years after Pride and Prejudice. As is noted, "the novel explores questions of the characters' potential lives beyond the close of the original masterpiece. With the Great French War over and peace come at last, what does England look like in the late Regency? And is there a place for Austen's heroes and heroines in an England greatly changed by industrialization, with a new elite of fortunes made in trade and reformist politics?"

We don't always think of Austen writing about class and change; it's clear that some Austen-inspired works are more interested in peppy banter and romance. Perhaps this more realistic focus is what kept it off of the Austenprose website. But come to think of it, where's Death Comes to Pemberley? Not only was it a high profile release, but James received almost unanimously high praise. I did figure out why Second Impressions didn't make the list; it was reviewed in 2012.

See you Saturday.

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