On My Bookshelf ~ Jane Austen Scholar Janet Todd Turns to Fiction and Takes on Lady Susan!

Well, not sure if an ebook can be termed “on my bookshelf” but no matter – this new book out today by Austen scholar Janet Todd has already made its way to my kindle, so a virtual bookshelf it is … and I shall drop all my other reading and begin this immediately!


Professor Todd has taken on Jane Austen‘s Lady Susan in her fictional account Lady Susan Plays the Game – this is from the Bloomsbury website:

A must-read for any devotee of Jane Austen, Janet Todd’s bodice-ripping reimagining of Austen’s epistolary novel Lady Susan will capture your literary imagination and get your heart racing.

Austen’s only anti-heroine, Lady Susan, is a beautiful, charming widow who has found herself, after the death of her husband, in a position of financial instability and saddled with an unmarried, clumsy and over-sensitive daughter. Faced with the unpalatable prospect of having to spend her widowed life in the countryside, Lady Susan embarks on a serious of manipulative games to ensure she can stay in town with her first passion — the card tables. Scandal inevitably ensues as she negotiates the politics of her late husband’s family, the identity of a mysterious benefactor and a passionate affair with a married man.

Accurate and true to Jane Austen’s style, as befits Todd’s position as a leading Austen scholar, this second coming of Lady Susan is as shocking, manipulative and hilarious as when Jane Austen first imagined her.

Published: 15-07-2013
Format: EPUB eBook
ISBN: 9781448213450
Imprint: Bloomsbury Reader 
RRP: £6.99  [ in the US, the kindle price is $7.19 :  Amazon.com


You can read a post by Janet Todd here at the Bloomsbury Reader blog –  where she “tells us her thoughts on writing, language, and the pressure of re-imagining Jane Austen:”

Anne Elliot, virtuous heroine of Persuasion, was ‘almost too good’ for Jane Austen. ‘Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked,’ she remarked towards the end of her life. All Austen’s novel heroines are indeed ‘good’: two of them initially hazard improper or injudicious remarks—Elizabeth Bennet and Emma—but later they learn to repress such high spirits.

Now look at Jane Austen’s own letters. Recollect that most of them address her beloved Cassandra who, after Jane’s death, guarded her sister’s image by burning anything she deemed unsuitable—not so much for the public, since Jane was not yet famous enough to have her private correspondence of general interest, but for the younger members of the extended family now living in high Victorian rather than racy Regency times.  Yet even the unburnt letters show a woman very different from the fictional heroines, a woman with a naughty propensity sometimes to laugh at the virtuous, the vulnerable or the just plain unfortunate—a wife with an uncomely husband experiencing a still birth or young girls lacking beauty and unable to compensate for it.  This Jane Austen emerges very fully in a little work she wrote just as she was entering adulthood and long before she’d published any of her masterly novels: ‘Lady Susan’….

Continue reading…



About the Author:

janet_toddJanet Todd is an internationally renowned scholar of early women writers. She has edited the complete works of England’s first professional woman writer, Aphra Behn, and the Enlightenment feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, as well as novels by Charlotte Smith, Mary Shelley and Eliza Fenwick and memoirs of the confidence trickster Mary Carleton. She is also the general editor of the 9-volume Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen and editor of Jane Austen in Context and the Cambridge Companion to Pride and Prejudice. Among her critical works are Women’s Friendship in Literature, The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing and Fiction 1660-1800 and the Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen. She has written four biographies: of Aphra Behn and three linked women, Mary Wollstonecraft, her daughter, and her aristocratic Irish pupils.

In the 1970s Janet Todd taught in the USA, during which time she began the first journal devoted to women’s writing. Back in the UK in the 1990s she co-founded the journal Women’s Writing. Janet has had a peripatetic and busy life, working at universities in Ghana, the US, and Puerto Rico, as well as England and Scotland. She is now an emeritus professor at the University of Aberdeen and lives in Cambridge.


Further reading:

book cover-LadySusanpenguin

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont


Guest post ~ Vera Nazarian on her Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy’s Dreadful Secret

Hello all! Today I have invited Vera Nazarian, now a Vermonter!, and author of a series of supernatural novels that expand upon Jane Austen, to write a little something about her latest book Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy’s Dreadful Secret – whatever would Jane think you might ask? – well for the next two days you can download Vera’s latest book onto your kindle for free [details below] – so give her a try, the least one Vermonter can do for another!  I look forward to having Vera speak to us at one of our future gatherings, so stay tuned!


Greetings, Gentle Vermont Janeites!

I am thrilled to be here, and to be able to say that I am now a proud Vermont resident. I would like to introduce myself as the Harridan—ahem—the author and illustrator of the Supernatural Jane Austen Series of books, which are witty and hilarious (and slightly insane) fantasy parodies of our beloved Austen classics.

The books in the series so far are Mansfield Park and Mummies, Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons, and, my most recent release this June—the third book, Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy’s Dreadful Secret.

I look forward to getting to know you better and sharing all kinds of things (such as the true nature of the Brighton Duck—you do know about this infernal and mystical duck, right? No? Aha! Stay tuned!). But today I will be brief and just let you know that if you’ve never had a chance to read any of my books yet, and have no idea who I am, well, this is your lucky day. . . .

Because you can try one of my books for free!

Yes, absolutely free on Amazon Kindle all this weekend, and until midnight on August 12th, is none other than Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy’s Dreadful Secret!

You can download your free ebook here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008D303J4/

And even if you do not own a Kindle, you can easily grab a free Kindle Reader App for your PC, Mac, smartphone, or other online device here, and then read the novel on pretty much anything short of an Etch-a-sketch!

Free Reading Apps:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sv_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

Enjoy the free book with all my compliments! And be sure you are sufficiently equipped (and properly attired) to survive the effects of unbridled laughter!

You can visit the books’ website here: http://www.norilana.com/pap.htm

Book description:

When the moon is full over Regency England, all the gentlemen are subject to its curse. 

Mr. Darcy, however, harbors a Dreadful Secret…

Shape-shifting demons mingle with Australian wildlife, polite society, and high satire, in this elegant, hilarious, witty, insane, and unexpectedly romantic supernatural parody of Jane Austen’s classic novel.

The powerful, mysterious, handsome, and odious Mr. Darcy announces that Miss Elizabeth Bennet is not good enough to tempt him. The young lady determines to find out his one secret weakness—all the while surviving unwanted proposals, Regency balls, foolish sisters, seductive wolves, matchmaking mothers, malodorous skunks, general lunacy, and the demonic onslaught of the entire wild animal kingdom!

What awaits her is something unexpected. And only moon, matrimony, and true love can overcome pride and prejudice!

Gentle Reader—this Delightful Illustrated Edition includes Scholarly Footnotes and Appendices.


And now, here is a bit more word-of-mouth about the novel, including “authentic testimony” from the splendid mouth of Mr. Darcy himself:


Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy’s Dreadful Secret

“A sufficiently pleasing literary trifle. Only, might one be kind enough to explain why a certain gentleman constantly finds himself in wet shirtsleeves for no apparent reason?”  A Gentleman of Impeccable Attire

“I require an introduction to this Mr. Darcy, in all haste. Does the gentleman possess a male unattached sibling? Preferably, with a proper beastly Affliction, in place of what the gentleman himself suffers?”  A Lady of Elegance

“An outrage indeed! My own person and relations, to be thus referenced in this vile compendium of vulgarity! Why, this is not to be borne! Also, I recommend emu oil for polishing wooden surfaces.”  A Certain Lady of Rosings 

“I would have it known that, in my present condition, I am not altogether concerned with pollution.” A Shade of Pemberley

“There is entirely no excuse for the unseemly public behavior of some people’s gauche relations. I have returned this distasteful tome to the Lending Library, and shall henceforth endeavour to forget all of which I have inadvertently read in one sitting.” A Gentleman of Distinction

“I have been placed in numerous sequels, adored and worshiped by millions, scrutinized, analyzed, satirized, undressed, dressed again and soaked in various water reservoirs, and parodied in every manner possible, but never quite so audaciously as in this tome!”  —Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy

“The gentleman with the satirical eye is being entirely too modest. Furthermore, for inexplicable reasons, he has also been seen in more wet shirtsleeves than all the Royal Navy on the high seas and the House of Lords after a London downpour, and I am yet to understand the mystery behind it.”  —Miss Elizabeth Bennet

“QUACK!” The Brighton Duck


Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy’s Dreadful Secret
by Jane Austen and Vera Nazarian
Trade Paperback (First Edition): Curiosities (an imprint of Norilana Books) June 15, 2012
Retail Price: $16.95 USD – £12.50 GBP
ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-078-5 ISBN-10: 1-60762-078-2
500 pages


About the Authors:

Jane Austen is an author of classic immortal prose.

Vera Nazarian is a shameless Harridan who has taken it upon herself
to mangle Jane Austen’s classic immortal prose.

She is also a two-time Nebula Award Finalist, an award-winning artist,
and the author of Mansfield Park and Mummies and Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons.

Images and text courtesy of Vera Nazarian with thanks!

c2012 Jane Austen in Vermont

Royal Weddings ~ ebook style

Want to get in the spirit of the upcoming nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton?  How about reading about some of the previous such celebrations that captured the world from the 12th to the 19th century!

A press notice from Harlequin, publisher of Romance with a capital ‘R’:  yesterday they announced the release of seven novellas in ebook format, the “Royal Weddings Collection” – each focusing on a different royal wedding, each written by a different author. 

These seven short stories brilliantly capture the drama, pomp and ceremony and high passion of real-life royal weddings,” senior editor Linda Fildew said in a press release. “From Eleanor of Aquitaine to Queen Victoria, these royal romances through the ages bring history vividly to life.”

The titles include:

  •  Terri Brisbin.  WHAT THE DUCHESS WANTS (Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine and Henry of Anjou, the future Henry II, 1152)
  • Michelle Willingham. LIONHEART’S BRIDE (King Richard and Princess Berengaria, 1191)
  • Bronwyn Scott. PRINCE CHARMING IN DISGUISE (Prince George and Caroline of Ansbach, 1704)
  • Elizabeth Rolls. A PRINCELY DILEMMA (George, Prince of Wales—future George IV—and Princess Caroline of Brunswick, 1795)
  • Ann Lethbridge. PRINCESS CHARLOTTE’S CHOICE (Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold, 1816)
  • Mary Nichols. WITH VICTORIA’S BLESSING (Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, 1840)
  • Lucy Ashford. THE PROBLEM WITH JOSEPHINE (Emperor Napoleon and Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, 1810).

You can find the seven ebooks at the eharlequin website.  They are on sale there for $1.79 each. And if you go to the “Watch the Royal Wedding” website, scroll down for a coupon code for an additional 10% off! [if you are a true lover of Royal Weddings, you should be following this site on a daily basis anyway…]

Time to fire up my Kindle – who can resist!

[ebook covers from the eharlequin website]

Copyright @2011, by Deb Barnum, at Jane Austen in Vermont.

An ‘Enhanced’ Pride & Prejudice ebook

OOPS! – I got this news as a ‘google alert’, and now thanks to Raquel see that it came out in 2008!  I had checked the Penguin site and saw nothing of this “news” and now see that it did indeed come out in May 2008! – Sorry for the error – in a rush – thought it was great news! Still might be for those who don’t already know this! [like me! – I don’t use my ebook reader a whole lot as you can tell!]

So here is the very interesting but old news!:

Penguin launches ‘enhanced’ e-book classics:

Penguin Group (USA) is to launch an e-book of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with multiple added features as the first title in its Penguin enhanced e-books classics list. The e-book, coming in May, will feature:

  • Filmography
  • Nineteenth-Century Reviews
  • Chronology
  • Further Reading
  • What Austen Ate
  • How to Prepare Tea
  • Austen Sites to Visit in England
  • Map of Sites from the Novel
  • Behaving Yourself: Etiquette and Dancing in Austen’s Day
  • Illustrations of Fashion, Home Décor, Architecture, and Transportation
  • Enriched eBook Notes

The publisher says it will offer “a wonderful e-book reading experience”. Nine further classics titles, including Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein and Great Expectations, will follow in the autumn, with plans “underway” to launch the list in the UK.

John Makinson, chair and c.e.o. of the Penguin Group, said: “The e-book is gaining acceptance as an alternative to the printed text and we are keen to test the possibilities of the electronic format. Penguin Classics is a great place to start. We shall invite readers beyond the pages of these much-loved books, offering additional background, context and insight into the work.”

[Text from The Bookseller.com and Penguin]

Guess I should fire up my Kindle…

Copyright @2011, by Deb Barnum, at Jane Austen in Vermont