Welcome!

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Gentle Reader, a Word:

Hello, dear friends, and welcome to the Weblog of an obstinate, headstrong girl! Here you may wander with me along Janeite byways, and in general explore the Austenuated world. I post when moved to do so, but you don’t have to wait! Kindly examine the further information on this site about my novel, An Obstinate, Headstrong Girl, and if you are moved to press the Order button, you will receive an autograph copy for your pains.

 

What we miss

Many Janeites have had the experience of finding new insights and humor to treasure every time they reread one of her novels. It seems as if there are delightful sentences that hide in the text, revealing themselves only to the return visitor. When you come across them, you wonder, How could I possibly have missed that the last time around?

But lately I’ve been thinking about other things that we, as modern readers, miss that the readers in Jane Austen’s day would have picked up on. Most of us simply let the descriptions of Mr. Knightley’s activities as a landlord and farmer flow over us when reading Emma, so the revelation that he’s the romantic lead comes as a surprise relatively late in the book. But perhaps nineteenth-century readers familiar with the duties of a landlord would have picked up far sooner on the idea that he is the hero.

And then there’s Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Pride and Prejudice, with her Norman-sounding name and her fancy house. How many modern readers observe that her husband is only a baronet, not a lord, so she has herself married beneath her, despite being so outraged at the idea of her nephew doing so? And the fancy house? It was built in her lifetime, so she forked out for all that grandeur, she didn’t inherit it.

All of this brings me to a wonderful book I’d like to recommend to all those Janeites out there: Deirdre Le Faye’s Jane Austen’s Country Life (Frances Lincoln Ltd., 2014). In vivid layman’s language (and with excellent illustrations) she describes the world Jane Austen inhabited, its agriculture and mores, and reveals telling details from the novels that today’s more urban reader would not understand or would overlook. She links the information both to JA’s life and to her novels, illuminating both in fascinating and surprising ways. A must-read!—27 August 2014

Reading Group Questions for An Obstinate, Headstrong Girl

1. Did you find yourself believing that An Obstinate, Headstrong Girl was actually written by Jane Austen?

2. If you have never read Pride and Prejudice or seen one of the film adaptations, did the story work for you on its own terms?

3. Did the story of Pride and Prejudice translate convincingly to rural California at the turn of the twenty-first century? What changed in the characters and storyline, and did those changes make sense?

4. Some characters from Pride and Prejudice were eliminated, and some new characters were added. Did you miss the missing, and/or did you enjoy the newcomers?

5. The narration is written in Jane Austen’s voice but the characters speak in contemporary language. Did you find this juxtaposition awkward, or did it enhance the humor?

6. Some of the themes of this book are overtly political. Were there political undertones in any of Jane Austen’s novels, and do modern readers recognize those undertones or overlook them?

7. Some Jane Austen characters have sex, but her novels never have sex scenes. By contrast, modern-day romances nearly always have a sexual element. An Obstinate, Headstrong Girl follows Jane Austen’s lead in leaving out any explicit sex. Did the way this was handled in the modern context make sense to you?

8. Have you read any other books in the Austenesque/Jane Austen Fan Fiction genre? Discuss the different forms Austenesque literature can take.

Favorite Romance?

Dear stray, random reader:

It seems NPR has a challenge going to get people to vote for their favorite romance novel. I’m sure my pitiful number of readers will be swamped by the fans of well-known authors, but if you feel moved to it, do visit the page below and enter An Obstinate, Headstrong Girl into the lists! A struggling author would be forever grateful.

Humbly yours, the Lady

http://www.npr.org/2015/06/11/412047700/tell-us-about-your-favorite-romances-it-s-the-npr-books-summer-of-love?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&fb_ref=Default

If you are looking for more in the same vein as An Obstinate, Headstrong Girl, may I refer you to a short story written by my modern-day helper, Abigail Bok? It’s called “A Summer in Sanditon” and is published in a book from Meryton Press called Sun Kissed: Effusions of Summer. Miss Bok assures me that she never effuses, and hopes that the passages purloined from my novel fragment Sanditon rescue her efforts from disaster.