Welcome to The Little White Attic, my stop on the Jane Austen’s First Love blog tour, with a special guest post by Syrie James, along with my review of Jane Austen’s First Love. There will be more information about the blog tour and your chance to enter the giveaway later in this post.
Which Have Special Meaning For Me
By Syrie James
I’m often asked, when I finish writing a novel, if any particular lines or quotes from the book have a special meaning for me. I gave it some thought, and here are six quotes from Jane Austen’s First Love of which I’m particularly fond, because they either inspired an important aspect of the book, or because they represent something I really wanted to say.
1. This enigmatic and emotional quote by Jane Austen, from one of her letters to her sister, inspired Jane Austen’s First Love. Jane is reflecting here with affectionate longing upon her long-ago relationship with Edward Taylor, the heir to Bifrons Park:
“We went by Bifrons and I contemplated with a melancholy pleasure the abode of him, on whom I once fondly doated.”
2. This quote from Chapter One of Jane Austen’s First Love, in which Jane’s mother expresses her opinion of Jane’s writing, perfectly captures my own mother’s attitude toward my desire to become an author:
My mother raised her eyes heavenward. “I know how much you enjoy your writing, Jane. Lord knows, we all love a good laugh now and then, and if any one understands the pleasures of composition, it is I—I flatter myself that my poetry is not entirely unreadable—but it is only a hobby, Jane: an amusement for the family. We are neither of us Mozart nor Shakespeare.”
3. Edward Taylor and Jane sneak away during a ball and talk for hours and hours, as they get to know each other better en route to falling in love. This sentiment Edward shares is one of his deepest convictions, and mine as well:
“One should not, must not, be swayed by popular opinion or the ideas of others, to think or act against his or her own convictions. It is not always easy…but if possible, we must be true to ourselves, for I believe the only route to happiness is to follow our own hearts.”
4. And here’s what Jane thinks, after that very meaningful interlude:
What a difference an hour or two of conversation can make, with an intelligent, deep-thinking person! I had entered the ball-room that night with one set of ideas, and after my dialogue with Edward Taylor, returned to it with quite another.
5. Every heroine needs to go through a few trials and tribulations, and Jane makes her share of mistakes in the novel, leading to this introspection (after she performs in a home theatrical of A Midsummer Night’s Dream):
“How sage is Shakespeare’s line, What fools these mortals be! How ironic that I was obliged to speak those words on this very day, for he may as well have written it specifically about me.”
6. Finally, here is a line from Jane’s rumination at the end of the novel, which sums up a great deal about her journey:
I learned so much that summer, from him as well as all the others: about the human mind and heart—about what motivates people to marry—about what really matters when two people are falling in love.
I would like to thank Syrie for sending the quotes from her book along with the insightful background information. I am so grateful for the chance to participate in this blog tour! So now for my review:
As a hard core Janeite I have read many variations and spin-offs in the Austen genre. Some are very well done, some amuse, and some I have tossed without finishing. It’s a tricky business due to the varying images that different people hold of Jane Austen. Some writers want to show Austen’s characters in situations that Jane Austen never would have dreamed of publishing. Personally I have too high a ‘blush factor’ to read through some of these romance novels.
I am a bit more of a Jane Austen purist. Well- as much as you can be when indulging in the Austenesque. I want the characters to stay true to themselves as found in the original writings. I want adaptations to be accurate to the original, and historical fiction to fit well within the context of Jane Austen’s life.
I guess you could say I want the type of writing that Syrie James delivers. I have been a fan of Syrie James’ work for years, and even met her on a few occasions. Her novel The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen was very enjoyable, and I have to say, I like Jane Austen’s First Love even better.
I have read several Jane Austen biographies, collections of her letters, and her juvenilia, and I found that the story line of Jane Austen’s First Love successfully fills in the gaps of a romance only hinted at in her letters, and does it with imagination and wit. The family characterizations ring true with what I already know about her family. James also managed to capture the youthful spirit of a clever young Jane Austen.
My favorite books are those that manage to weave in a little bit of charm and sparkle, just a little bit of magic that makes you smile for a moment before turning to the next chapter. I highly recommend this book. Add it to your Christmas list. It is the perfect after-holiday read when you can cuddle near the fire with some cocoa.
Of course I understand if you can’t wait that long!
And now the details of the Blog Tour and Giveaway.
Grand Giveaway Contest
Win One of Five Fabulous
Jane Austen-inspired Prize Packages
To celebrate the holidays and the release of Jane Austen's First Love, Syrie is giving away five prize packages filled with an amazing selection of Jane Austen-inspired gifts and books!
To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any of the blog stops on the Jane Austen's First Love Holiday Blog Tour.
Increase your chances of winning by visiting multiple stops along the tour! Syrie's unique guest posts will be featured on a variety of subjects, along with fun interviews, spotlights, excerpts, and reviews of the novel. Contest closes at 11:59pm PT, December 21, 2014. Five lucky winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments on the tour, and announced on Syrie’s website on December 22, 2014. The giveaway contest is open to everyone, including international residents. Good luck to all!
Remember, just by leaving a comment here you will be entered to win! Good luck friends!