The Jane Austen in Vermont blog has been silent for the past month, for which I apologize, but as I have now returned somewhat to a “normal” life, I can begin again to obsess on “all things Jane” – blogging, twittering, facebooking, researching, writing, and best of all Reading!
Moving is a nightmare, no matter how organized one might be, and of all my various strengths and weaknesses, the will to organize has always been the driving force; so take the contents of one old house, pack it all up and put it all in storage, and six months later, move all into a new maintenance-free house, and spend the next 3+ weeks unpacking, overdosing on cardboard and paper, as 25,000 pounds (or so the mover tells me) of “stuff” (including my own book collection) finds a place in the new home … so bad back notwithstanding, the deed is done, my books are on the shelves (though alas! not yet fully alphabetized, she says shame-faced), all the drawers and closets are organized, the kitchen is in fine working order (surviving on take-out has become a very nice habit – whoever said I actually needed a kitchen in this new place?), and all the pictures are hung – so “normal” returns in a fashion, and time to get back to real life…
What have I done these past 3+ weeks for my sanity? – the quick break from unpacking, organizing and hammering? I have existed, not only on take-out, but also on the comfort-food of reading mysteries and romance novels – my mind might now be a tad mushy, as I fear the worst in trying to get my head around “game theory” in reading the grandly enlightening Jane Austen, Game Theorist (I promise an author interview shortly, but see in the meantime Michael Chwe’s website here: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/polisci/faculty/chwe/austen/ ) – but it has been great fun – so here is my list, all highly recommended as just great reads, and even Jane might approve, as they are each and every one, “only a novel”!
Georgette Heyer: I should add here that for the packing-up part last fall, I re-read all my favorite Georgette Heyers – hard to choose, but I read at least ten all in a row, and can now safely say that I can barely tell one from the other, but the joy of the moment of reading is nearly perfection!
[Image courtesy of Jane Austen Today, with thanks]
Charles Todd, the Bess Crawford mysteries: I am a fan of the Jacqueline Winspear Maisie Dobbs series , largely because I love the time between the two World Wars, so was happy to discover that the Charles Todd mother-son duo (of Ian Rutledge fame) had started a similar series a few years ago – have read the first three and have just started the latest. The titles in order:
- A Duty to the Dead
- An Impartial Witness
- A Bitter Truth
- An Unmarked Grave
– all featuring Bess Crawford, a nurse during WWI, who seems to forever be stumbling headlong into murder and mayhem, as well as the very-helpful-in-a-murder-mystery-plot-device of having veritable strangers tell her the most amazing things – great fun – you must read them in order… and the fact that there is a very close family friend who seems to always be there when needed adds a little spice and anticipation – his name is Simon Brandon, so nice to know that Jane Austen, as always, is in the mix somehow… [I think Knightley would have been too obvious…]
See their website at http://charlestodd.com/ for more information.
Julie Klassen’s The Tutor’s Daughter: I have read a few of Klassen’s books and find them to be the perfect read, so was happy to take on her latest The Tutor’s Daughter. It does not disappoint: raging Cornwall weather; two brothers with opposite personalities and each with a history with the lively heroine, the nearly-on-the-shelf daughter of the live-in tutor to the two younger sons of the new wife of Sir Giles; add in an old-rambling castle-like home with a wing one is to stay out of and some ghostly goings-on, and you have a fine historical romance that combines Northanger Abbey and Jane Eyre into one delightful confection……
For more information on this and other books by Klassen, see her website here: http://www.julieklassen.com/index.html
Candice Hern: Thanks to Laurel Ann and her mentions of Ms. Hern, I have read most of the books in the Reading Challenge at Austenprose (though I did not sign up, didn’t think I would have the time! – no matter, it is the reading that counts!): again, each tells a fine regency-era tale with the requisite heroines, rakes, fashions, and settings you will be sure to savor:
- A Proper Companion
- A Change of Heart
- An Affair of Honor
- A Garden Folly
- The Best Intentions
- “Desperate Measures”
- “Lady Ann’s Excellent Adventure”
For more information, visit Hern’s website here: http://candicehern.com/ – and be sure to click on the “Regency World” section of her website for a wealth of information about the times of which she writes. And for those attending the Jane Austen JASNA AGM in Minneapolis this year, you will be fortunate to see Ms. Hern’s collection of Regency artifacts on display – she wrote an article on vinaigrettes for the Mar/Apr issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine.
Ok, so all of this made the joys of moving more than bearable – I am almost disappointed to have to return to real life after all – but I am not quite done yet: I will be moving all my Bygone Books business back into the house in the next 2 weeks, so I can keep reading these delightful escapist tales after all – Hern’s Miss Lacey’s Last Fling and Todd’s Unmarked Grave await! and then I shall return to Austen and celebrating Pride and Prejudice, so stay-tuned…
What do you like to read when going through a stressful, energy-intensive time?
Congratulations on your move!
How did you find the time (and energy) to read so many books?
I’ve missed your posts and was glad to see you back.
Spring is finally making her appearance here in central New Hampshire; I trust that is so where you are in Vermont.
Hello Barbara – are you in the Sunapee area [I know of some of the Kidders there – Twin Lakes Villa…] – yes spring is finally starting here – but so slow this year – May 1st tomorrow and it feels like fall…
Thanks for visiting – I hope to soon get back to more regular posting…
Glad to read you survived the move Deb – but – I LOL over this remark: “(though alas! not yet fully alphabetized, she says shame-faced).” The librarian in you just won’t be unorganized!
I am pleased you liked the Hern Regency romances. I have not powered through them as quickly as you and am containing myself to one a month! They are delightful. Glad to have you back in the Jane world.
Thanks Laurel Ann for the Hern suggestion – they are delightful – and have quite saved my sanity! – and I see that I have misspelled Ms. Hern’s name throughout the post- so have corrected all those – problems with reading books on a kindle I confess! – I had checked too, but still got it wrong! – shows you where my mind is at…
Deb: You have been missed and, having returned, you are a breath of Jane a
ir (pronounced by not spelled “Jane Eyre”) which is always refreshing as well as bracing and welcome.
Thanks Elsa – nice to hear from you! [and interesting that our Jane Austen reading group here in Vermont is reading Jane Eyre this month!]
Welcome back, Deb!
Thanks Maria! – taking a Jane Austen hiatus shoudln’t really be allowed!