Clueless is 20? I’m totally buggin’!

“Clueless” is one of my favorite movie adaptations of Jane Austen’s Emma. It’s hard to believe it’s been twenty years since the movie came out (of course, I was verrrrry young at the time).

I still love to watch this movie; its mix of snappy dialog, satire and sweetness still hold up today. There’s a new book that dishes on all the behind-the-scenes details, from creating the fashions (which were practically movie characters themselves), to finding the film locations, to coming up with those signature catch phrases.

Cover As If

As If! by Jen Chaney is available now on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Click here to find out more.

Regency Bonnets and Caps

January 17 is Wear a Hat Day. Hats are not much in vogue in our modern times, but in Regency England, a stylish bonnet was an essential part of any lady’s ensemble when she stepped out of doors. Married women and ladies of a certain age (late twenties and older) wore caps indoors. Shopping for hats and caps and keeping up with the latest style of trims and colors was de rigeur for ladies.

William Henry Margetson

William Henry Margetson

In Northanger Abbey, Isabella Thorpe told Catherine Morland, “I saw the prettiest hat you can imagine in a shop window in Milsom-Street just now—very like yours, only with coquelicot ribbons instead of green; I quite longed for it.”

Perhaps Miss Thorpe passed a shop that looked like the one represented in Alonso Perez’s painting, The Milliner’s Shop:

Ladies at the Milliners by Alonso Perez

Ladies at the Milliners by Alonso Perez

In the first ten years of the 19th Century, the poke-bonnet gained popularity. In an 1801 letter, Jane Austen wrote that she had a new bonnet, trimmed with white ribbon:

“I find my straw bonnet looking very much like other people’s, and quite as smart.”

Alfred Glendening

Alfred Glendening

Leghorn hats were also popular, featuring a large brim in front, and turned up behind in a soft roll in the French style, such as this bonnet:

Annie Henniker

Annie Henniker

Here are examples of different Regency-era bonnets, as depicted by various artists:

Carl Thomsen

Carl Thomsen

A. R. Kemplen

A. R. Kemplen

F. Sydney Muschamp

F. Sydney Muschamp

Carlton Alfred Smith

Carlton Alfred Smith

In Emma, Mrs. Elton hinted at the importance of wearing just the right hat for the occasion when she accepted Mr. Knightley’s invitation to pick strawberries at Donwell:

“It is to be a morning scheme, you know, Knightley; quite a simple thing. I shall wear a large bonnet, and bring one of my little baskets hanging on my arm. Here, —probably this basket with pink ribbon. Nothing can be more simple, you see.”

Edmund Blair Leighton

Edmund Blair Leighton

In her letters, Jane Austen wrote about re-trimming a cap:

I shall venture to retain the narrow silver round it, put twice round without any bow, and instead of the black military feather shall put in the coquelicot one, as being smarter.

By 1810 the plain cottage bonnet became more elaborate. Hats became higher and were decorated with more than fabric and ribbon. Hats sported flowers, puffed gauze, feathers, and gathered or plaited fabric.

This hat bears the fashionable poppy-red color Isabella Thorpe called “coquelicot” in Northanger Abbey:

Edmund Blair Leighton

Edmund Blair Leighton

In Mansfield Park, Miss Crawford explained to Edmund how easy it was to tell whether a woman is out in society based on her bonnet:

“Till now, I could not have supposed it possible to be mistaken as to a girl’s being out or not. A girl not out has always the same sort of dress: a close bonnet, for instance.”

Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer

Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer

George Sheridan Knowles

George Sheridan Knowles

From examples throughout Jane Austen’s books, we can see that a lady’s bonnet was not just a means for keeping the sun out of her eyes. Instead, it was a declaration of her station in life, her level of wealth and, perhaps, even her marital status.

Sense & Sensibility: The Musical

I love going to the theater and seeing productions everyone’s talking about; but every once in a while, I get to see a new play that hasn’t yet hit the critics’ radar screens. Denver is fortunate to be the venue where many productions premier their plays before heading to New York or embarking on a national tour. That was the case with Sense & Sensibility: The Musical.

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It’s a charming version of one of my favorite Jane Austen novels and it didn’t disappoint me. The cast was exceptional, the costumes by Emilio Sosa (one of my all-time favorite Project Runway designers) were a visual treat, and the music and lyrics helped move the story along. I’ll even confess to getting a little misty-eyed during Marianne and Colonel Brandon’s duet; it was so sweet and touching! (You’ll see Marianne and the Colonel at the 1:15 mark on the video below.)

I hope you get a chance to see this wonderful production. In the meantime, follow this link to the Facebook page for Sense & Sensibility: the Musical, where you can read more about the production, see pictures of the performance, and hear the songs.

Click on this link to read an article from Broadway World about the sold-out performances of SSTM’s Denver world premier.

Jane Austen on the £10 Bank Note

The Bank of England announced that Jane Austen’s image will appear on the new £10 bank note.

Bank of England Jane Austen 10 Pound Note

The new bank note featuring the beloved author of Pride and Prejudice will probably start appearing in 2017.

In addition to Jane Austen’s image, the bank note’s planned design includes:

  • A quote from Pride and Prejudice – “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”
  • An illustration of Elizabeth Bennet, one of the characters in Pride and Prejudice
  • An image of Godmersham Park in Kent – the home of Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Austen Knight, and the inspiration for a number of novels
  • A central background design of the author’s writing table which she used at home at Chawton Cottage in Hampshire

Click here to read about the announcement and the public campaign that influenced the Bank of England’s decision.

Free on Amazon: A Scandalous Season

My Regency romance A Scandalous Season is available for free on Amazon Kindle. You’ll have to hurry: this offer is only good for the next 5 days!

Cover Art_A Scandalous Season 3Headstrong Lady Eleanor Chilton is determined to marry a country gentleman of her own choosing. But when her father insists that she have a London Season, she resolves to be so disagreeable, no man will even dance with her. Her icy demeanor and unpleasant words soon repel every dandy who makes her acquaintance – Including Sir Andrew de Ardescote, London’s most sought-after bachelor.

Sir Andrew is not used to being snubbed, and he doesn’t take to it kindly, even though the contrary young lady is quite the loveliest creature he’s ever met. He’ll have his revenge: A simple wager with friends that he will be the first to melt the icy young maiden’s heart with a kiss.
As he sets about charm Lady Eleanor to fall in love with him, it isn’t long before Sir Andrew realizes he’s the one in danger of losing his heart.

“A light-hearted drawing room comedy to brighten your day.” – Romantic Times
“Pretty entertaining, I must say!” – Goodreads

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Follow his link to Amazon to get your copy:

Amazon Kindle

Now Available: One Dance with You

Cover One Dance with You 2015 resizedMy Regency short story “One Dance with You” is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes!

I enjoyed writing this story of a young woman who gives up on love, only to discover it again in a most unexpected place.

You can read an excerpt from the story on your favorite reader:

Amazon Kindle    Nook button    iBookstore

 

A Compliment Indeed!

Once Upon A Christmas Cover 2015-04-26 resizedA wonderful reader posted a review of my book Once Upon A Christmas on the Barnes and Noble website, which says:

“This reads along the same lines of a Georgette Heyer story and almost as good!”

What a tremendous compliment! There’s no higher praise a writer of Regency romance can get than to be compared to the incomparable Ms. Heyer. Thank you!