Happy Birthday, Jane!

Austen_vert_soiréeI’d like to welcome all of you coming over for Jane Austen’s Birthday Hop, organized by the lovely Maria Grazia of My Jane Austen Book Club fame.  I have a child with a December birthday and so greatly admire the courage of any woman, with the holidays looming, willing to pull something like this together! Thank you, Maria.

Maria asked that we post our favorite page from our favorite Jane Austen novel. Any of you who know me already know my Austen passion is Persuasion. !Shameless self-promotion alert!: I wrote None But You and For You Alone–available from Amazon–which are Persuasion from hero, Frederick Wentworth’s point-of-view. I am a Frederick Fangirl for life and have come to enjoy Anne Elliot’s company like that of an old friend. (Yeah, I’m kind of batty when it comes to Austen.) I am a sucker for the love-lost-love-regained themes in Austen’s last novel.

For those of you unfamiliar, Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth who were parted by her family eight years previous to the beginning of the book. He wasn’t good enough for her at the time but went on to have great career—the Royal Navy—and monetary success. Her family’s fortunes are dropping like a stone and she is in danger of becoming an old maid. They meet again and to say that awkwardness is also a theme of Persuasion would be an understatement.

Here is a my favorite passage from early in Chapter 4: —Half the sum of attraction, on either side, might have been enough, for he had nothing to do, and she had hardly anybody to love; but the encounter of such lavish recommendations could not fail. They were gradually acquainted, and when acquainted, rapidly and deeply in love. It would be difficult to say which had been happiest; she, in receiving his declarations and proposals, or he in having them accepted.

At first blush this might hint that Frederick took what he could get because he was bored. But the last sentence makes it clear that he was as deeply charmed by her, and her acceptance of his proposal as any man could be.

At the end of Chapter 23, Anne and Frederick are now engaged, but enjoying their secret in the midst of a card party being held at the home of Anne’s father, Sir Walter Elliot. Frederick has told Anne he considered writing to her two years after they parted and asked if she would have responded to his overtures: “Good God!” he said, “you would! It is not that I did not think of it, or desire it, as what could alone crown my other success. But I was proud, too proud to ask again. I did not understand you. I shut my eyes and would not do you justice. This is a recollection which ought to make me forgive every one sooner than myself. Six years of separation and suffering might have been spared. It is a sort of pain, too, which is new to me. I have been used to the gratification of believing myself to earn every blessing that I enjoyed. I have valued myself on honourable toils and just rewards. Like other men under reverses,” he added with a smile, “I must endeavour to subdue my mind to my fortune. I must learn to brook being happier than I deserve.”

I love this passage because it shows Wentworth is willing to admit his pride and apologize for the pain it caused her. And, I particularly enjoy the last, self-deprecating line. Austen is kind enough to give us heroes who acknowledge their faults and then apologize. Now whether or not they change is something she left for later writers to determine.

If you’re new to Austen and haven’t read Persuasion yet, I’d encourage you to do so in the coming year. Not only is the love story wonderful, but Austen’s sharp observation of foolishness is in top form in the character’s of Sir Walter Elliot and in Anne’s younger sister, Mary Musgrove. There is also a wicked cousin, William Walter Elliot how has all the makings of a first-rate sociopath.

Thank you for stopping by. Before you go, have a look around. The ladies of Jane Started It! offer some great free fiction and humorous posts galore. When you have finished, below is the list of Hop participants so you can travel on.

Take care—Susan Kaye

1.My Jane Austen Book Club
2.aobiblioclassique™
3.Jane Odiwe Jane Austen Sequels
4.Miss Jane
5.Random Bits of Fascination
6.Dark Jane Austen Book Club
7.Indie Author Meets Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
8.El Sal?n de T?
9.Susan Kaye at Jane Started It!
10.Austenprose: A Jane Austen Blog
11.Library Mosaic
12.Sharon Lathan, Novelist
13.Kinx’s Book Nook
14.A country dreaming mum
15.Sally Smith O’Rourke
16.inflammation of…
17.The writings and ramblings of Colette Saucier

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26 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Jane!

  1. Sophia Rose

    Ah yes! A fellow Persuasion fan (love your Captain Wentworth books btw- they were nearly the first Austenesque books I read and set a high standard early that many could not match ;D). That second passage choice is one of my favs too.

    Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      Thanks, Sophia Rose for stopping by. We Women of Wentworth must stick together. I too like my men self-made, self-deprecating, and self possessed. To the Captain!

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  2. Maria Grazia

    Thanks for your kind words, Susan, and, especially for accepting my invitation to celebrate dear Jane Austen all together. I love Persuasion too. It’s my best favourite among the major six, but … different choice on my blog today. Happy celebration, everyone!

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    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      Welcome Bess–love your name by-the-bye–and thanks for commenting.

      Some actually do need a little gentle persuasion about Wentworth, Elliot, and Co. Imagine!

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  3. Stephanie Carrico

    I am currently re-reading None but You and For You Alone…so I am madly in love with Capt Wentworth…love seeing the story through his eyes…
    Happy Birthday to Ms Austen..

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  4. veronicamoniqueibarra

    Thank you for your perspective. I love when people talk about what it is exactly they are drawn to in any of Austen’s works, with examples. She is one of my favorite authors of all time because of how well she crafted her words to bring these characters to live in our hearts.

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    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      I agree, veronicamoniqueibarra. For a woman who was not in the upscale mainstream of her society was wonderfully able to observe and express the complexities of her society. And the heroes she created are so nifty!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      Thanks for the kind words Danielle. I’m working on it. About 5000 words and I’ll have myself a novel. Keep a watch and I’ll announce when it’s ready to read.

      Meantime you can read the unedited version here on Jane Started it!

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    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      Thanks Robin. I’ll be out of town over Christmas and New Year so I am hoping to get some work done. *fingers crossed*

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    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      All the adaptations have their ups and downs. The most recent has wonderful scenes of Lyme but the characterizations … many disagree with me so I keep it to myself. I love the ’95 version though the leads are too old. The earliest version is a must-see just because it’s so close to the novel.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Robin. Make sure you read the novel and then watch the adaptations and see how you like them.

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    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      Thanks Laurel. I know it was supposed to be a page but there are just too many pages and some of these little snippets let us see so much of the real Frederick and Anne.

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  5. Laura Hile

    Susan, your excerpt reminds me that it’s time for a rainy afternoon by the fire with Captain Wentworth. Oops, I mean, with Persuasion!

    Every day is a rainy day in the Pacific Northwest …

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    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      Except when you live over a thousand feet and it snows. Like it did here yesterday. *sigh* Frederick and Persuasion are a great way to ignore the weather regardless of your locale.

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      1. Laura Hile

        Ugh to the commute. That sloppy, slippery 32 degree snow is lovely but treacherous. If only we were able to remain by the fire when it snows …

        But no, every member of my family (except me—school has Snow Days!) commutes. *sigh*

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  6. Susan Kaye Post author

    The ground is about an inch covered in white, and more coming tonight. Hold off until after Friday morning so I can get out of town. *fingers crossed*

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Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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