The Austenland DVD Is Amazing, And This Is The Hill I Will Die On

Oh yeah, Austenland! One of those rare cases where I, a book snob, prefer the film to the book. 

Socially awkward Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is obsessed with the works of Jane Austen and fantasizes about the character of Mr. Darcy. She scrapes together as much money as she can and takes off for Austenland, a British theme resort where guests immerse themselves in a romantic fantasy worthy of Austen herself. However, because Jane’s limited funds do not allow as many privileges as other guests, her chance at a fling with her very own Mr. Darcy may be limited as well.

Synopsis courtesy of Google

Sure, it’s not for everyone, but here’s a brief rundown of things I love, and why I think Austenland is a great companion to reading Austen.

Austen In-Jokes

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that, even if you’ve not read the books, you’re aware of certain aspects of Austen’s work as a cultural tour de force. My favourite in-jokes are the actors who’ve appeared in Austen Adaptations – notably JJ Field, fresh from a turn in Northanger Abbey, and super-excitingly, the actor who played Mr Hurst in the Colin Firth adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

via GIPHY

The Casting is Spot On

Jennifer Coolidge is the star of everything she graces with her presence, and she has all the best one-liners here.

"I am Aphrodite, the godess. Often fickle in my large arse" - Quote from Jennifer Coolidge in Austenland

Keri Russell is similarly a joy (I just love her face) and JJ Field is, IMO, the best Austen hero.
The cherry on top, however, is Ricky Whittle. I love Ricky Whittle, purely because he was in Hollyoaks, which I didn’t even watch. I like seeing him do well.

It’s just Fun

From little touches like an abundance of fake animals, to an unexpected and wonderful homage to Nelly’s “Hot in Herre”, Austenland is one of those delightful films which doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s escapism, pure and simple, and that’s what I love about it. 

I did my dissertation on Jane Austen adaptations, (in an early example of my ability to relate anything to Jane) and came away from it pretty jaded and Austen-ed out. 

I watched Austenland for the first time earlier this year. Afterwards, I remember going to sit on my back doorstep with a glass of white wine to think about it. There’s no surprise that I related very strongly to the 30-something Austenite, Jane Hayes, but it was more than that. I was feeling that joy again, that I always used to, when I watched or read an Austen. I’ve always loved romance, and I just felt… happy. So I started watching the adaptations, and re-reading all the books. And that love grew, and I wanted to share it.

So that’s the main reason I started planning Bridal Book Club. I hope that you can discover a similar joy, if you’re new to Austen, or reignite those old loves, if you’ve not revisited her for a while. 

But What About the Book?

If books are more your bag and you’re looking for some easy reading to ease you in to Bridal Book Club, and give you  a peek behind the Regency Romance curtain, then the book is definitely worth a read. The film made some (to me) pretty key changes in the character of Henry Nobley, which I think worked better.

Worth mentioning that Austenland in the book is a GDPR nightmare. They’re spreading personal details left, right and centre. There’s also a glaring gaffe that I, a West Yorkshirewoman, cannot get over, involving someone from Sheffield supporting Man Utd football club. I told DH about this and he was appalled.

But that said, it’s nice, and it’s a relatively quick read if you just fancy something cosy after Christmas dinner. There’s a sequel too, which is somewhat darker a la Northanger Abbey, but still worth a read.

via GIPHY

 

Have you seen the film or read the book? What did you think? Which did you prefer? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Bridal Book Club – January – Persuasion

Meet The Elliots.

Persuasion bu Jane Austen - Giftast Bridal Book Club Month 1

Ah, Persuasion.

With perhaps the second most memorable opening of an Austen book, it’s not immediately clear who our heroine will be, nor our hero.

Are we looking at the redemption of Mr Elliot and his journey to being the husband of Elizabeth?

Shall we witness the sweet love story of the vain Sir Walter who, through a journey of self exploration realises his place in the world and earns the love as well as the esteem of his late wife’s best friend, Lady Russell?

Is it of Anne, and the clergyman she knew many summers earlier, the one who got away?

And here is the blurb, to immediately ruin all the drama I just created… I don’t want to do spoilers in blog post one, so feel free to skip the blurb if you’re new to the book and want to keep guessing. (Although fair warning that spoilers will follow in later posts, and on twitter and instagram. Keep an eye on those for discussion, liberal use of gifs, and artwork progress shots.)

The story concerns Anne Elliot, a young Englishwoman of 27 years, whose family is moving to lower their expenses and get out of debt. They rent their home to an Admiral and his wife. The wife’s brother, Navy Captain Frederick Wentworth, had been engaged to Anne in 1806, and now they meet again, both single and unattached, after no contact in more than seven years. This sets the scene for many humorous encounters as well as a second, well-considered chance at love and marriage for Anne in her second “bloom”.

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persuasion_(novel)

Whether or not you’ve read Persuasion before, I’d love you to join me in reading. One of the great things about Austen’s work is that it’s all out of copyright, meaning it’s really easy to find free versions. I’ve compiled a list of links below which should sort you out, regardless of how you choose to read.

Free downloads:

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=jane+austen

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_15?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=jane+austen+kindle+free&sprefix=jane+austen+kin%2Caps%2C153&crid=1O2BC2UXNRG97

Audio:

https://librivox.org/author/155?primary_key=155&search_category=author&search_page=1&search_form=get_results

This is a lovely reading, which is also available as a LoyalBooks podcast, if that’s your jam.

Paperback:

 

Click to view on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Just a note that the new Wordsworth edition covers really annoy me.

What doesn’t, Katherine?

Fair, but they’re completely unrelated to the books! It’s like someone went “Ah, we need something to stick on these women’s books, but I’m not prepared to read them and neither is the illustrator! They’re historical, right? Something about love? Stick a corset on it! Now, I’m going to clock off early and go to the pub.”

OK, perhaps not, but still. These covers are pretty but… completely irrelevant.

Rant over.

What next?

Here’s a schedule for what to look out for in terms of watch-alongs – all will be held at 7pm GMT.

  • Thursday 17th January 2018 – Persuasion Watch-Along (2007 version)
  • Friday 25th January 2018 – Wine Night Book Club Discussion 
  • Tuesday 29th January 2018 – Persuasion Watch-Along (1995 version)

Don’t forget to keep and eye on twitter and instagram for Bridal Book Club chat and pics.

I’d love to hear from you – have you read Persuasion before? What do you love about it? Is *SPOILER REDACTED* your favourite Austen hero?

Bridal Book Club Jane Austen Bookmarks – Free Printable!

jane austen free printable bookmarks bridal book club

Bridal Book Club:

Jane Austen Bookmarks – Free printable!

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

– Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Personally, I don’t mind folding down the corner of a page. It depends on the book, really. I’ll do it on my £1.99 Wordsworth Classics, but not on anything old and pretty. But with a print and a snip, you can have a book-appropriate bookmark as you read along with Bridal Book Club

I’m going to be giving away pre-printed Jane Austen bookmarks (pictured) at the various wedding fayres I’m attending early 2019. I’m also slipping them in orders, while stocks last. 

Get your free download here, and happy reading!

Introducing Bridal Book Club

Giftast Bridal Book Club

I’m really excited to be launching Giftast’s Bridal Book Club in Jan 2019! I’d love you to join – take a look at the details below and see what you think:)

What’s it all about then?

Giftast Bridal Book Club is a place where lovers of romance from anywhere in the world can get together and talk about the books they love. We can share recommendations, explore new angles to work we thought we knew. There will be watch-alongs of adaptations, and hopefully we can make some new friends! Whether you’re a big romance reader or you just fancy trying something new, everyone is welcome.

Book Club membership is absolutely free, and I have no intention of ever taking this to a paid platform. Being part of the group means you will receive special discount offers on wedding stationery and access to freebies such as printable bookmarks and colouring sheets. If you’re not planning a wedding, that’s fine too!

Why a Book Club?

I’ve started this book club for a couple of reasons  –

Firstly, I want to read more.

I also wanted to meet new people with similar interests – and if there’s one thing I’m interested in, it’s romance books!

Next, I think reading is really important as a stress relief. As wedding stationery is currently the main of what I do, I know how stressful wedding planning can be, and I wanted to offer an outlet for people who are planning their big day. A community where they can hang out with people who understand exactly what they’re going through and also just have a break. Reading is scientifically proven to be beneficial to your health, and we could all probably do with being a bit healthier!

All that said, anybody who wants to read a bit more romance is very welcome to join.

So where do we start?

January 2019 – Persuasion, by Jane Austen

The idea for a book club came in part from watching the movie Austenland for the first time. I’ve been a massive fan of Austen for years. Watching the film made me really wish I had some sort of community who I could talk to (read: gush!) about the books and adaptations. 

Austen is the queen of modern romance, and Pride & Prejudice in particular is the template for many modern romance novels.

I decided to start off with the big 6 Austens, because they’re probably the most accessible in terms of media. They’re also out of copyright so you can easily get hold of them for free. I’ll be including links to these in blog posts ahead of each month. There’s also be a schedule of things like watch-alongs which we’ll be holding.

Whether you’re a big Austen fan who fancies a re-read, or you’ve never read her before but want to see what all the fuss is about, I’m really happy you’re here!

How Do I Get Involved?

I was hoping you’d ask! The main base will be the Giftast Bridal Book Club Facebook Group, and links to blog posts and everything else will be posted there. There’ll also be Twitter Chat – follow @giftast for hashtags and chat during watch-alongs. Please do also invite any friends you think would like to join! I’m so excited about getting started!  Thank you for joining us:)

Jane Austen Quote - "I declare after all ther is no enjoyment like reading."