Saturday, January 28, 2012

4.5 Stars for Captain Wentworth - Home from the Sea

I'm so pleased with a review I received from Meredith at Austenesque Reviews for my novella, Captain Wentworth - Home from the Sea. Here is a part of her review:

My favorite aspect about this novella (and every novel I've read by Mary Simonsen) is her accurate renderings and illustrative augmentations of Jane Austen's characters. I adored Mrs. Simonsen's depiction of Anne; she was so patient and compassionate, and I enjoyed seeing her tender nature with Frederick.

To read the full review, please click here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Physiognomy and Jane Austen

While reading Patricia Meyer Spacks Annotated Pride and Prejudice, I read a footnote in reference to the following statement from Elizabeth (in speaking to Jane): “I can much more easily believe Mr. Bingley’s being imposed on, than that Mr. Wickham should invent such a history of himself as he gave me last night; names, facts, every thing mentioned without ceremony. If it be not so, let Mr. Darcy contradict it. Besides there was truth in his looks.”

My take on that quote was that Elizabeth believed Wickham’s tale because he was an accomplished liar and gave nothing away by his facial expressions. But according to Spacks, there was more to it than that:

“Interest in physiognomy, a pseudo-science that purports to read character from facial expression, was widespread in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries... Joseph Kaspar Lavater, a Swiss clergyman, wrote an extensive treatise on the subject (1778). Translated into English in 1793, it exercised considerable influence. Austen, however, is skeptical. A propensity to judge people on the basis of their looks turns up again in Emma, where Emma’s initial enthusiasm for Harriet Smith is based mainly on the girl’s “soft blue eyes” and her “look of sweetness.” Both Elizabeth and Jane have consistently cited Wickham’s looks as evidence of his amiability and authenticity.”

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review of Becoming Elizabeth Darcy

May I brag? I received a wonderful review from Kimberly at Reflections of a Book Addict for Becoming Elizabeth Darcy. Here is part of it:

I feel that Simonsen has a great balance between these themes of humor and seriousness, and this makes the novel an exciting and fulfilling addition to the fan fiction world.  Simonsen has once again shown that she can tackle any JAFF genre and is a force to be reckoned with.  I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!

Thank you, Kimberly. I hope you will stop by and read the entire review.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Daylesford House, Gloucestershire, Chimney-piece

Daylesford House, Gloucestershire Chimneypiece*

A night of entertainment at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Phillips:

When this information was given, and they had all taken their seats, Mr. Collins was at leisure to look around him and admire, and he was so much struck with the size and furniture of the apartment, that he declared he might almost have supposed himself in the small summer breakfast parlour at Rosings; a comparison that did not at first convey much gratification; but when Mrs. Phillips understood from him what Rosings was, and who was its proprietor, when she listened to the description of only one of Lady Catherine's drawing-rooms, and found that the chimney-piece alone had cost eight hundred pounds, she felt all the force of the compliment, and would hardly have resented a comparison with the housekeeper's room.

I think even Lady Catherine would have been impressed by this chimney-piece. Jane Austen visited Daylesford in 1806. It was the home of Warren Hastings, the first Governor General of India.