My Year with Miss Austen

The winter months can be rough. According to a New York Times article from a few years back, it is likely that four out of five of us won’t keep our New Year’s Resolutions through January. Forbes.com states that nine out of ten of us go about making a resolution in the wrong way, thus spelling trouble for achieving our goals in the new year. And alas, Health.com tells us that less than half of us (a mere 46%) will still be on target with our New Year’s Resolutions after the six month mark has passed.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to read a Regency Era novel each month in 2013. (Think “Kristy’s Regency Book Club” for one.) So with all of this gloom and doom predicted around resolutions in the first month of the year, what’s a gal to do? I’m following the advice from Forbes.com and will be looking for small lifestyle changes to add a little Regency into each day. Care to join?

Here’s how I plan to enjoy the Regency in 2013, one month at a time:

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Keri Russel (Jane Hayes) and JJ Field (Mr. Henry Nobley), in Austenland (2013)

JANUARY: Austenland

Based on the book of the same title by author Shannon Hale, Austenland has been generating a lot of buzz this month at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. While Sony Pictures Worldwide has yet to issue an official release date, publicity for the film has increased in the first month of the year. In fact, Sundance screenings of the film have completely sold out – indicating that Jane’s appeal is just as real today as it was when Pride and Prejudice was first published 200 years ago. [Austenland – Desertnews.com LINK]

FEBRUARY: The Other Kind of Romanticism

February, Valentine’s Day, and romance… they tend to all go together, right? But the romance we associate with this month isn’t the same Romanticism. The Regency Era fell in the middle of the Romanticism movement, which saw its high point from the end of the 18th century to the first part of the 19th century. The movement ushered in a renewed focus on the arts and sciences, particularly those of the natural world, and a moving away of classical (Greco-Roman) themes in art and literature. [Romanticism LINK]

MARCH:  What to Read… That is the Question.

If that’s the question, then we aim to answer it here at Regency Reflections.  We’ve compiled a list of current books available from our authors. And if you come back soon, we’ll have updates on upcoming releases posted throughout the year.  (You’re most welcome!) Ruth Axtell    Linore Rose Burkard    Laurie Alice Eakes   Sarah Ladd    Mary Moore    Naomi Rawlings

APRIL:  What Did She Just Say?

So you don’t know a ha’penny from a farthing? Is a livery a stable or a piece of clothing? And just where is Grosvenor Square? Never fear. We’re here to help. Particularly if you’re new to Regency Era fiction, you might find that some assistance with the language is in order. We cordially invite you to partake of the information in the links below, so that you might brush up on your skills with the language. (After all, who wants to be accused of being a ninny or a fop when it comes to Regency terminology? [Regency Glossary, JaneAusten.org  Glossary]

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

MAY: I’ll Take Season Etiquette for 100

It may sound a bit like Jeopardy, but there’s a lot to know about the Regency social season. From the ball to the proper time to call, one could certainly make a social faux pas if you’re not careful. That’s why it’s essential to know your stuff. The London Season coincided with what? Which month signaled the official start of the “season”? And low neck dresses and short sleeves were reserved for what time of day? If you want to make sure you fare well on the Marriage Mart then do your research, ladies! [The London Season – LINK, Jane Austen Centre – Regency Fashion LINK]

 

JUNE:  Inspiration, Please

Here at Regency Reflections, we live and breathe writing good stories that our readers will love. While similar to fiction you’ve probably read before, there’s one additional component woven into an inspirational book – a story steeped in a journey with Christ. When you’re looking for a good Regency story to read by a roaring fire, we hope you find comfort in knowing that your story will be encouraging to your Christian walk as well as entertaining to your heart. [For your reading pleasure: Amazon – LINK, Barnes and Noble – LINK]

JULY: The Jane Austen Festival, Your Hometown, USA

The Jane Austen Centre at Bath is set to celebrate their annual festival in honor of the authoress this April (and in which they’ll celebrate the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice). But if you don’t think you’ll make it to the UK this year, then The Jane Austen Society of North America may have a celebration you could attend a little closer to home. With over 70 regional groups across the continental US and Canada, chances are there is a chapter a stone’s throw from your back yard. [Find your local chapter here – LINK]

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The Jane Austen Centre, Bath (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

AUGUST: Happy Birthday, Georgette!

Born in this month in 1902 (d. 1974), British author Georgette Heyer is beloved by historical romance readers both for her charming characters and rich settings that are reminiscent of Miss Austen’s Regency world. But Georgette is not alone in her book writing genius! Other beloved authors of the genre: Marion Chesney (M.C. Beaton), Julia Quinn, Patricia Veryan, Dawn Lindsay and Debra Raleigh. So if you’ve not ventured far beyond Jane’s novels but you’re drawn to the genre, you might pick up a Regency romance written by one of these authors. [Georgette’s books – LINK]

SEPTEMBER:  Celebrate the Empire Waist!

Now that I know what to read, how to speak, and where to go to celebrate the Regency, this gal needs a dress! There are lots of resources out there to find the right period dress – whether you’re looking to buy or to make your own. A couple of sites that celebrate Regency fashion are listed below. [Elegance of Fashion blog – LINK; Sense and Sensibility PatternsLINK]

OCTOBER:  Write It Down

Whether you are an avid reader or a would-be author, journaling is a classic way to learn more about yourself (or in this case, the Regency). Find out what other writers have essayed on the subject in the annual Jane Austen Journal. [The Jane Austen JournalLINK]

NOVEMBER: It’s Cold. I Want a Warm Fire and a Good Movie.

Enough said, right? Here’s a list of must-see films. (Caution: This list may cause one to spend insane amounts of money on Regency entertainment. We are not responsible if your spouse questions your spending habits!) [Your fabulous link to classic romance: LINK ]

DECEMBER:  I’d Like to Thank the Academy…

For those of you that are fond of entertainment news, you’ll know that the start of a new year sparks excitement for the Hollywood awards season. But for writers, the new year ushers in a season of another kind, and that’s contest season. December is the perfect time to begin thinking about polishing that new manuscript, or even writing something new and submitting it for a contest. So put on your dinner dress or cravat, walk on stage and prepare to accept your award! [JASNA 2013 Essay Contest, Romance Writers of America (RWA) Contests, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Contests]

And there you have it – a full year of super-simple (but  delightfully amiable) tips to incorporate your love of the Christian Regency into your daily routine. Because as we know, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that if you make New Year’s Resolutions next year, you’ll have a whole new outlook if you were able to conquer them the year before.

In His Love,

Kristy

 

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