Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fascinating Find Near Stonehenge: The Boy with the Amber Necklace

Amber Boy,
A Neolithic Robert Pattinson
A group of scientists and researchers have gathered near Stonehenge in preparation for the the publication of a collection of research papers on Stonehenge. The following is one of the subjects under discussion:


Chemical tests on teeth from an ancient burial site containing the 3,550-year-old remains of a teenage boy wearing a unique necklace unearthed near Stonehenge indicate that the person buried there grew up around the Mediterranean Sea… A previous skeleton unearthed near Stonehenge was analyzed and was found to also be a migrant to the area.

Amber Beads or
Honeynut Cheerios
  The “Boy with the Amber Necklace,”* as he is known to archaeologists, was discovered in 2005, about three miles southeast of Stonehenge on Boscombe Down. The remains were found next to a Bronze Age burial mound, during construction of a road for military housing. The boy is around 14 to 15 years old and “is buried with this beautiful necklace,” said Professor Jane Evans, head of archaeological science for the British Geological Survey. “The position of his burial, the fact he’s near Stonehenge, and the necklace all suggest he’s of significant status.” Professor Evans compared the Stonehenge in the Bronze Age to Westminster Abbey today: a place where the “great and the good” were buried.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Austen and Gaskell

There is a lot going on out there that I think may be of interest to my readers:

Austen Authors: Author and illustrator Jane Odiwe is the spotlight today. In addition to her excellent post, in which she speaks about Austen and her books, Jane has shared several illustrations with her readers. Also, in celebration of MARILYN BRANT'S second novel, Friday Mornings at Nine, her publisher, Kensington Books, is giving away a free ebook download of her Austenesque debut novel, According to Jane. Check Austen Authors for details.

Jenny Loves to Read - A Review of Anne Elliot

Four-star review of Anne Elliot, A New Beginning by Jenny at Jenny Loves to Read:

People may have their expectations, but I shall do what I think is best for me. I only have this one life, and as limited as it is by society and my own family, it is mine to live as I see fit."--Anne Elliot - p. 51

This is not your momma's beloved Austen story. Instead it is a fresh, somewhat modernized version of Persuasion. Modernized in the sense of the quote above. Anne will do what she wants and live her life as she sees fit. A Regency woman may dream about this but never actually do it like this Anne did. And I enjoyed Simonsen's retelling because of this aspect.

At 25 Anne Elliott is declared a spinster by her family and written off as unmarriageable. Instead of viewing her change in status as a death sentence, Anne sees it as a rebirth. A chance to do and be what she wants, instead of what society dictates. Why dwell on the negative? Anne is now free to pursue her life to the fullest; or at least as full as it can be without her one true love, Captain Wentworth.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Must Reads

Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated EditionVic at Jane Austen World has an interview with, Patricia Meyer Spacks, editor of Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition. Any Austen fan would love to have this book on their shelf. Tony Grant has a post about the education of Jane Austen, also at Jane Austen World, with lots of illustrations.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Elizabeth Bennet's Inbox

I know that many of you probably saw this over at Austen Authors, but I thought it was worth a rerun. This laugh is courtesy of E-mail Marketing Reports.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Star-Spangled Banner

On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key, a 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, finished his poem, Defence of Fort McHenry, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.

On September 3, 1814, Francis Scott Key and John Stuart Skinner set sail from Baltimore aboard the ship HMS Minden, flying a flag of truce on a mission approved by President James Madison to secure the exchange of prisoners. Key and Skinner boarded the British flagship HMS Tonnant on September 7 and spoke with Major General Robert Ross and then-Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane over dinner while the two officers discussed war plans.

Because Key and Skinner had heard details of the plans for the attack on Baltimore, they were held captive until after the battle, first aboard HMS Surprise and later back on HMS Minden. During the bombardment of Fort McHenry, Key noted that the fort’s smaller storm flag continued to fly, but during the night, the storm flag had been lowered and the larger flag had been raised. Key was inspired by the American victory and the sight of the large American flag flying triumphantly above the fort.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Battle of Britain Day

RAF Fighter Pilots
In honor of the Battle of Britain Day, I am posting excerpts from two of Winston Churchill's speeches:

After the fall of France: "What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. 


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pride and Prejudice - The Perfect Cast - POLL

From an earlier poll on this blog, it was determined that Colin Firth was the perfect Mr. Darcy . He bested Matthew Macfadyen by twenty percentage points. However, I would like to put together the perfect Pride and Prejudice cast from the three latest adaptations of P&P. We shall begin with the female lead, Elizabeth Bennet: Elizabeth Garvie (1980), my personal favorite, Jennifer Ehrle (1995), and Keira Knightley (2005).

Once, we determine who will play opposite Colin Firth in my perfect P&P, we shall cast Lizzy's parents, her sisters, the Bingleys, and George Wickham, and so it begins. Please cast your vote in the sidebar.

If you have comments or would like to start a write-in campaign for Greer Garson, please leave your comments here. :)

Dorset Hall - A Refuge for Britain's Suffragettes

In an earlier post, I wrote about the 90th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. Tony Grant, from London Calling, mentioned that the home of Rose Lamartine Yates served as a refuge for these persecuted women. Tony rode into the London Borough of Merton and took some pictures of Dorset Hall. He also provided a link to My Merton, a publication of the Merton Council, which included the following:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Austen Authors - Day 5

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre
Amanda Grange, author of Mr. Darcy's Diary and Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, is featured on Austens Authors today. Also Sia McKye of Thoughts Over Coffee is featuring Austen Authors as well. Hope you will visit her blog and say hello.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Austen Authors Blog - Day 2

Austen Authors had a fabulous launch yesterday. But that was yesterday, and yesterday's gone. (Who wrote that?) Anyway, I hope you will visit again today and read Sharon Lathan's blog post. Sharon is the author of Loving Mr. Darcy (along with four other Austen sequels). Have a great day.

Jane Austen and Napoleon - 1812 - Two People Who Changed the World

Jane Austen spent most of the year 1812 making extensive revisions to First Impressions, but while Jane toiled away on her manuscript, events were taking place in Russia that would change the world. However, not a word about the Napoleonic Wars would appear in her masterpiece, the renamed Pride and Prejudice.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Final Chapters of For All the Wrong Reasons are up

Thanks for visiting my blog on launch day for Austen Authors. Here are the last two chapers of For All the Wrong Reasons. Click on the title in the sidebar and scroll down to continue reading the story.  Enjoy! Mary

Launch of Austen Authors

Writers of Jane Austen Fiction
cordially invite you to the launch of


and to share in our passion for her world
... because there’s never enough Jane Austen.
We look forward to the pleasure of your company on
Monday, September 6, 2010, and daily thereafter.

During our Launch Extravaganza throughout September, there will be posts by many of your favorite Austen-related fiction writers (including me) as well as contests, quizzes, a scavenger hunt, oodles of information, spotlight guest Amanda Grange (Mr. Darcy Vampyre), new release parties, author introductions, entertainment, humour, polls, secrets, recipes, games galore, and giveaways of gifts and books from the authors and their publishers.

My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company. ~ Jane Austen ~

P.S. Scavenger hunt answers should be placed in comment section of Austen Austhors at http://www.austenauthors.com/. :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Labor Day Weekend is here!

Labor Day Parade 1882 Union Square New York
As a coal miner’s great granddaughter, and one who has researched just how bad (and dangerous) it was earning a living “down in the hole,” a mile below the surface, I consider Labor Day to be more than a reason to have picnics or for politicians to glad hand their constituents. However, in appreciation of all those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold,”* I am prepared to enjoy a cold Guinness and to eat Polish sausage, macaroni salad, cole slaw, baked beans, etc.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review of Anne Elliot from A Few More Pages

I received a very good review from Katy at A Few More Pages. Katy won a copy of my novel, Anne Elliot, A New Beginning, in my giveaway, but I did not know that she had quite an impressive blog of her own. Katy was good enough to review my humorous retelling of Persuasion, and I am very pleased with her review:

Anne Elliot, A New Beginning: A Persuasion Re-imaginingThis novel is essentially a humorous re-imagining of Jane Austen's Persuasion. In this version, instead of pining and wasting away after rejecting Wentworth, Anne Elliot finds a way to work through her feelings. Since her father and sister are too self-focused to even notice, she becomes a long distance runner. Her accomplishments (along with the emotional high that comes from exercise) change her into a more confident woman who is much less timid and more likely to stand up for herself and speak her mind.

You really must approach this novel keeping in mind that it isn't a serious re-telling of the story, but one full of humor... Anne's sister Mary, for example, is inspired by Anne's changes and becomes less of a whiny hypochondriac and dedicates herself to nursing and helping other people... And Ms. Simonsen makes sure that where she has stretched the historical record, she explains it in a section called "Correcting the Record."

There were countless moments that made me chuckle in this book. Here is an example, in which Henrietta Musgrove talks to Anne about her love interest, Mr. Hayter.

I have always liked Mr. Hayter very much," Henrietta told Anne after pulling her into a corner away from the crowd. "He's been most kind and attentive to me, and I feel very comfortable in his company. The only thing I don't like is that my married name will be Henrietta Hayter. It sounds self-loathing. But Mr. Hayter told me in confidence that when he inherits Winthrop, he will take the name of the estate. He agrees that Hayter is not the best name, especially for a curate. (p. 106)