Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pemberley Guest: Miss Esther


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Behold, the fashionably late crowd arrive...

Miss Esther bedecked in the latest holiday wear enters the room. In her reticule she holds a special £5 note.

FYI: Minuscule masterpieces artist, Graham Short, has specially engraved four new Bank of England polymer £5 notes. (more details here)


The miniature portrait is hidden next to Big Ben on the four rare £5 notes. A picture of Jane Austen can only be seen in certain light.


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Miss Esther would like to know...

Which of these Jane Austen retellings are you inclined to read from The Austen Project (details)...

Pride and Prejudice:
Eligible
by Curtis Sittenfeld
Amazon | Goodreads

From the “wickedly entertaining” (USA Today) Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife, comes a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. A bold literary experiment, Eligible is a brilliant, playful, and delicious saga for the twenty-first century.

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible both honors and updates Austen’s beloved tale. Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.


Sense and Sensibility:
Sense & Sensibility
by Joanna Trollope
Amazon | Goodreads

From Joanna Trollope, one of the most insightful chroniclers of family life writing fiction today, comes a contemporary retelling of Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen’s classic novel of love, money, and two very different sisters.

John Dashwood promised his dying father that he would take care of his half sisters. But his wife, Fanny, has no desire to share their newly inherited estate. When she descends upon Norland Park, the three Dashwood girls—Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret—are faced with the realities of a cold world and the cruelties of life without their father, their home, or their money.

With her sparkling wit, Joanna Trollope casts a clever, satirical eye on the tales of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.

Reimagining Sense and Sensibility in a fresh, modern new light, she spins the novel’s romance, bonnets, and betrothals into a wonderfully witty coming-of-age story about the stuff that really makes the world go around. For when it comes to money, some things never change....


Emma:
Emma
by Alexander McCall Smith
Amazon | Goodreads

The best-selling author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series deftly escorts Jane Austen’s beloved, meddlesome heroine into the twenty-first century in this delightfully inventive retelling.

The summer after university, Emma Woodhouse returns home to the village of Highbury to prepare for the launch of her interior design business. As she cultivates grand plans for the future, she re-enters the household of her hypochondriac father, who has been living alone on a steady diet of vegetables and vitamin supplements. Soon Emma befriends Harriet Smith, the na├»ve but charming young teacher’s assistant at an English-language school run by the hippie-ish Mrs. Goddard. Harriet is Emma’s inspiration to do the two things she does best: offer guidance to those less wise in the ways of the world and put her matchmaking skills to good use.

Happily, this summer presents abundant opportunities for her to do just that, as many friends, both old and new, are drawn into the sphere of Emma’s occasionally injudicious counsel: Frank Churchill, the attractive stepson of Emma’s former governess; George Knightley, Emma’s brother-in-law and dear friend; the charming yet self-important Philip Elton; and, of course, the perfect (and perfectly vexing) Jane Fairfax.

Alexander McCall Smith’s gentle satire and cozy, old-fashioned sensibility prove to be the perfect match for Jane Austen’s wit and characters. Though carriages have been replaced by Mini Coopers and cups of tea with cappuccinos, Emma’s story is wonderfully timeless.


Northanger Abbey:
Northanger Abbey
by Val McDermid
Amazon | Goodreads

Internationally best-selling crime writer Val McDermid has riveted millions of readers worldwide with her acutely suspenseful, psychologically complex, seamlessly plotted thrillers. In Northanger Abbey, she delivers her own, witty, updated take on Austen’s classic novel about a young woman whose visit to the stately home of a well-to-do acquaintance stirs her most macabre imaginings, with an extra frisson of suspense that only McDermid could provide.

Cat Morland is ready to grow up. A homeschooled minister’s daughter in the quaint, sheltered Piddle Valley in Dorset, she loses herself in novels and is sure there is a glamorous adventure awaiting her beyond the valley’s narrow horizon. So imagine her delight when the Allens, neighbors and friends of her parents, invite her to attend the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh as their guest. With a sunny personality, tickets every night and a few key wardrobe additions courtesy of Susie Allen, Cat quickly begins to take Edinburgh by storm and is taken into the bosom of the Thorpe family, particularly by eldest daughter Bella. And then there’s the handsome Henry Tilney, an up-and-coming lawyer whose family home is the beautiful and forbidding Northanger Abbey. Cat is entranced by Henry and his charming sister Eleanor, but she can’t help wondering if everything about them is as perfect as it seems. Or has she just been reading too many novels? A delectable, note-perfect modern update of the Jane Austen classic, Northanger Abbey tells a timeless story of innocence amid cynicism, the exquisite angst of young love, and the value of friendship.


Persuasion: tba

Mansfield Park: tba


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* image source: Jane Austen note, Holiday Card

* part of Pemberley... a party (schedule)

6 comments:

  1. I've actually read Northanger Abbey from this project, earlier this year. From what I can gather, it's not too bad compared with Sense and Sensibility and Emma. I've heard that those latter two, despite their illustrious authors, are not too good. The vibe about Eligible seems to be somewhat better, though.

    However, I read NA back-to-back with the original, and Val McDermid's version definitely suffered in comparison. If I were to read one of the others, it would probably be Eligible, unless I came across a copy of one of the others very cheaply in a charity shop - which is exactly how I found Val McDermid's NA.

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    1. Oh, I forgot to add that, living in the UK, I've been examining every single new £5 note I come across, ever since I heard about the micro-engraving. Of course, I can't wait to get my hands on a new £10 note when it comes out next year!

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  2. Felicities, Miss Esther!

    Those five pound notes were brought to my attention last week. Fascinating detail work.

    I'd probably read the Northanger Abbey and Pride & Prejudice ones. I have those on my someday list.

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  3. I love Alexander McCall Smith's other books so I would definitely pick up Emma.

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  4. Oooh, Northanger Abbey sounds delightfully thrilling with a hint of gothic flair! Absolutely up my alley (oh, dear heavens!! Leggs has scurried into the scented depths of Miss Esther's reticule ... I fear he is spinning a web amidst the banknotes as we speak!)

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    1. I hope Miss Esther does not have a fright by the creature.

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