Bridal Book Club – June – Northanger Abbey

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

Jane Austen – Northanger Abbey

Last but not least, it’s time for Northanger Abbey!

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

My favourite Jane Austen novel varies, depending mostly on which I’m reading, or which adaptation I’ve seen most recently. But in one thing, Northanger Abbey will always be my favourite. Mr Tilney is, and I will take no argument, the best Austen hero. He just is. I might change my mind on this after a re-read, but for now I can say with absolute confidence: Mr Tilney rules. 

Here’s the blurb for you:

This coming-of-age story revolves around Catherine Morland, a young and naïve “heroine”, who entertains the reader on her journey to a better understanding of the world and those around her. In the course of the novel, she discovers that she differs from those other women who crave wealth or social acceptance, as instead she wishes only to have happiness supported by genuine morality.


It’s got love, it’s got loose morals, it’s got jokes. What more could you want from a book?

Unlike the other Austens, this one’s light on the adaptations, heavy on the background reading. It’s a satire of some of the most popular Gothic Novels of the time, and if you’ve got neither the time nor inclination to read said Gothic novels, let me just assure you that they are:

a) full of fainting heroines

b) thrilling

c) very silly fun

So without further ado, here are some free resources for you to read along:)

Free downloads:


Also available as a LoyalBooks podcast, if that’s your jam.


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

Here’s another irritating Wordsworth edition cover. But let’s not get into that again.

What next?

  • Thursday 27th June 2019 – Facebook Group Book Club Discussion 

And don’t forget to keep and eye on twitter and instagram for Bridal Book Club chat and pics. If you’re watching any of the adaptations, please share your thoughts either in the Facebook Group, or on twitter with #bridalbookclub

Adatation wise, there are 2 main ones:

ITV is my absolute favourite because of the incomparable JJ Field. And Felicity Jones is spot on.

If you enjoy the story, there’s a modern version by Val McDermid, set in around the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

And so, there’s the end of Austen!:( 

But fear not, after a few months off, there’ll be some more classics coming up! I’m thinking Dickens for Christmas, some Bronte and Gaskell for an indeterminate time in the future. Any requests, let me know!

Giftast Bridal Book Club reading order

Bridal Book Club – April – Sense & Sensibility

“If a book is well written, I always find it too short.”

Jane Austen – Sense & Sensibility

It’s Sense & Sensibility month!

Sense & Sensibility, by Jane Austen

I’m going to go right out there and say it. Emma Thompson’s Sense & Sensibility is one of the best Austen adaptations ever made. 

It’s fair to say this colours how I read the book! I mean, Alan Rickman is Colonel Brandon to me. Admittedly, yes, the ages are different in Austen’s original, and Hugh Grant is kind of ridiculous as a vicar but… it’s just so good! So if you’re aware of the film but haven’t read the book, hoo boy are you in for a treat! I can’t wait to hear what you think!

However, if you’re unfamiliar with either, here’s the blurb to whet your appetite:

The novel follows the three Dashwood sisters as they must move with their widowed mother from the estate on which they grew up, Norland Park. Because Norland is passed down to John, the product of Mr. Dashwood’s first marriage, and his young son, the four Dashwood women need to look for a new home. They have the opportunity to rent a modest home, Barton Cottage, on the property of a distant relative, Sir John Middleton. There they experience love, romance, and heartbreak. The novel is likely set in southwest EnglandLondon and Sussex between 1792 and 1797.[1]


We’ll be asking all the important questions in this month’s book club, such as:

  • Are you an Elinor or a Marianne?
  • Is Edward good enough for [redacted], never mind [redacted]?
  • and many more!!!

So without further ado, here are some free resources for you to read along:)

Free downloads:


Also available as a LoyalBooks podcast, if that’s your jam.


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

Here’s another irritating Wordsworth edition cover. Let’s not get into that again.

What next?

  • Thursday 25th April 2019 – Facebook Group Book Club Discussion 

And don’t forget to keep and eye on twitter and instagram for Bridal Book Club chat and pics. If you’re watching any of the adaptations, please share your thoughts either in the Facebook Group, or on twitter with #bridalbookclub

There are a couple of adaptations, Sense & Sensibility (Emma Thompson – 1996), an 80s BBC version, a noughties ITV one which is pretty good, and this book by Joanna Trollope which I quite enjoyed. Besides those, there’s also From Prada to Nada, which I stumbled upon on Netflix, and is a fun modern remake.

And here’s a reminder of the book order coming up, if you want to read ahead:)

Giftast Bridal Book Club reading order

Bridal Book Club – March – Emma

““I always deserve the best treatment, because I never put up with any other.”- Emma Woodhouse

Ah yeah, it’s Emma! 

Emma by Jane Austen

Emma has never been one of my favourites, although that’s sort of the point of her, I suppose. She was described by Jane Austen as “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like”, although the more I get to know Emma, the more I like her. 

If you’re not familiar with the story, and haven’t seen any of the adaptations, here’s the blurb:

Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance. The story takes place in the fictional village of Highbury and the surrounding estates of Hartfield, Randalls, and Donwell Abbey and involves the relationships among individuals in those locations consisting of “3 or 4 families in a country village”

– Wikipedia

I first heard or Emma when my sister brought home a lovely little hard bound copy in a pale and pastel pink striped slip cover. And it’s stuck with me as the prefect representation of the novel. Because on the surface, Emma is that perfect, candy striped pink. When we first meet her, she’s described as “Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich.

But there are these wonderful themes arching through the book which make you question just how lucky she really is. When you get to know Emma, as she gets to know herself, she becomes more human – less Paltrow, if you will! But enough waffle – let’s get to the book!

Free downloads:


Also available as a LoyalBooks podcast, if that’s your jam.


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

Another irritating Wordsworth edition cover. Let’s not get into that again.

What next?

  • Wednesday 27th March 2019 – Facebook Group Book Club Discussion 

Don’t forget to keep and eye on twitter and instagram for Bridal Book Club chat and pics. If you’re watching any of the adaptations, please share your thoughts either in the Facebook Group, or on twitter with #bridalbookclub

And if you’re looking for more, and you liked the Lizzie Bennet diaries, try “Emma Approved“.

There are plenty of adaptations, including (and I’m naming these by who played Knightley!) Mark Strong, Jeremy Northam, Jonny Lee Miller, and a 70s one that I wasn’t keen on. And not to forget Clueless with the ageless Paul Rudd (who, frankly, looks younger now than he did then!)

And here’s a reminder of the book order coming up, if you want to read ahead:)

Giftast Bridal Book Club reading order

Pride & Prejudice Inspired Glamorous Wedding Stationery

Pride and prejudice inspired glamorous wedding stationery

Treat yourself to this Pride and Prejudice inspired Glamorous Wedding Stationery Collection.

“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Having rejected his first proposal and teaching him both humility and hope, your affections and feelings have changed! Congratulations on your imminent move to his beautiful grounds. And what does a Darcy wedding need (other than to be a joint affair with your sister and her fluffy beau)? Why, the best and the fanciest invitations, of course!

Silky smooth card is printed with an antique plaster texture and topped with a sheen of gold foil. Super fancy. Only the best for the Darcys! Colours of foil and background image can be changed to fit your theme. Please contact us for options.

This glamorous wedding stationery collection includes:

Sample packs are not currently available in this range.

Persuasion Inspired Watercolour Wedding Stationery

Persuasion Inspired Watercolour Wedding Stationery

Introducing our Persuasion-inspired Watercolour Wedding Stationery Collection.

“There could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison”

– Jane Austen, Persuasion

Your wedding stationery needn’t be a wash-out with this watercolour set. Whether or not you’ve waited eight years for your beloved to propose again!

The umbrella scene inspires this delicate pink and grey wash set. You know the one! In the coffee shop, when it’s raining and Captain Wentworth offers Anne his umbrella. *Swooning sigh* I just love this scene, although I don’t entirely know why. Perhaps it’s the umbrella/giant hat combo. Anyway…

The sample pack includes:

Printed on gorgeous, thick textured paper, each piece looks hand-painted. I’ve also included a monogram on the back, which is particularly befitting the daughter of a foolish spendthrift Baronet!

Order your Sample Pack here!

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.


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.



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 –

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:


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



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 2019 – Persuasion Watch-Along (2007 version)
  • Friday 25th January 2019 – Wine Night Book Club Discussion 
  • Tuesday 29th January 2019 – 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?

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."