Want to Walk the Streets of Meryton?

Did you know Castle Asby in Northamptonshire inspired Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park? Or that Lacock in Wiltshire was used as the setting for Meryton in the 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice?

These are just a couple of the reveals in the April edition of Discover Britain magazine. Their article “Mansions & Manners” includes some drool-worthy photos as they explore locations that inspired Jane Austen’s writings and the filmed versions of her books. My favorite is the photo of the dining room at Lyme Park, which was filmed as Pemberley in the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. The detailed craftsmanship in the room’s mouldings and ornamentation is simply stunning.

Lyme Park Dining Room

The dining room at Lyme Park

If you aren’t a subscriber, you can click here to visit the magazine’s website and see a few photos of different Austen-inspired locations that didn’t make the issue.

The drawing room fireplace at Lyme Park

The drawing room fireplace at Lyme Park

If magazine subscriptions aren’t your thing, I recommend you visit www.RegencyHistory.net, which is the website of author Rachel Knowles. Her posts are chock-full of great photos of Regency era locations and interesting historical trivia. I never miss it!

Would you like to see more Jane Austen inspired locations? Visit my Pinterest board Jane Austen Country, where I’m collecting photos of places Jane lived, as well as the locations that inspired her work. Thanks for stopping by!

Austen in August – Part 2

Are you reading “Austen in August?” In a prior post I mentioned Roof Beam Reader’s annual Austen in August reading challenge.

1923 editionSo far I’m on track to meet my “Austen in August” goals—I just finished Jane Austen’s Sanditon and tomorrow I’ll start reading Lady Susan.

It’s been a couple years since I last read Lady Susan, but it’s still one of my favorite Austen novels. Lady Susan showcases Jane Austen’s humor and wit in a way that’s completely contrary to the sometimes loving, sometimes sly, and always charming humor we see in her other novels.

The title character, Lady Susan, is absurdly funny and deliciously evil as she schemes to find a rich husband, no matter the cost.  She bewitches men at the same time she despises them, and she knows her power. Here’s Lady Susan’s reaction after meeting the hero Reginald de Courcy for the first time:

There is something about him which rather interests me, a sort of sauciness and familiarity which I shall teach him to correct. He is lively, and seems clever, and when I have inspired him with greater respect for me than his sister’s kind offices have implanted, he may be an agreeable flirt. There is exquisite pleasure in subduing an insolent spirit, in making a person predetermined to dislike acknowledge one’s superiority.

Carlo Ferranti 1She’s perfectly awful … but she draws me in and I can’t wait to see what kind of havoc will result from Lady Susan’s grand schemes.

When I read the book I marvel over the fact that Jane Austen—who was only 19 or 20 years old with a life experience that was somewhat limited—could create such an accomplished coquette like Lady Susan. It’s yet another example of her immense talent as a writer.

Here’s a video that gives some insight into Jane’s life at the time she wrote the novel.

If you’ve never read Lady Susan, I hope you’ll give it a try. Here’s a link to a free version at Amazon. Let me know what you think of the book.

What Jane Austen novel will you read next?

Austen in August

It’s August and that means two things:

  1. It’s time to start muttering, “No way, is it really August already?” and,
  2. Read Jane Austen.

If you’re like me, you don’t really need a reason to read a bit of Jane. I keep a copy of my favorite Jane Austen novels on the shelf beside by desk so I can read a chapter or two whenever the mood strikes me.

My much-read copy of S&S needs a ribbon to hold the cover in place.

My much-read copy of S&S needs a ribbon to hold the cover in place.

I also keep a complete library of her books on my bedside table; and with a copy of all Jane’s books on my PC, laptop, Kindle and Nook, I manage to have a complete Austen library in every room of my house and everywhere I go.

But in case any of us needs a reason to read Jane Austen’s books once again, Roof Beam Reader is hosting his annual Austen in August reading challenge.

The challenge is simple: read one or more of Jane Austen’s works during the month of August. Biographies, spin-offs, and re-reads count.

For me, this is the motivation I need to reread Sanditon, which I’ve been meaning to do for some time.

What will you read? Click here to check out Austen in August details, and be sure to sign up for Roof Beam Reader emails so you can keep up to date with giveaways, guest posts and “other shenanigans.”