Spiritual Themes from A Flight of Fancy

Hi Everyone!

Naomi here, and it’s our last day talking about A Flight of Fancy, by Regency Reflections blog contributor, Laurie Alice Eakes. If you’re stopping by the blog for the first time this week, you’ll want to check out our previous three posts. We’ve had an Introduction to A Flight of Fancy, then Taking to the Sky (a post on Ballooning during the Regency Era), and an Interview with Laurie Alice Eakes. At the end of each post, there’s a Regency quiz question. For every question you answer correctly in the comment section, your name will be entered in a chance to win a Regency gift basket, complete with tea, biscuits, a mug, and an Amazon gift card. The contest ends this Saturday, October 13, at midnight.

Over the past week, we’ve introduced several different aspects about A Flight of Fancy and Laurie Alice Eakes. Today, as we conclude our discussion, I’m going to touch on the spiritual themes in the novel.

Both Cassandra and Whittaker have a rather physical past relationship. As two Christians accountable to God, and as two individuals living in the Regency Era, any physical relations before marriage are clearly wrong. However, Cassandra and Whittaker push limits in this area time and time again.

In the first chapter of the story, Cassandra and Whittaker test their physical relationship yet again (this aspect of the story is presented in a tactful manner). As a result, Cassandra ends up severely injured, so much so that she nearly dies. Once she recovers physically, she’s still left with permanent, visible scars, and she doesn’t feel fit to ever marry.

Cassandra thus calls off their engagement. Though she and Whittaker still have deep feelings for one another, they both suffer a terrible amount of guilt throughout the course of the novel. The guilt haunts them and clings to them, almost like a sticky tar neither can wash from their skin.

Both Cassandra and Whittaker need to turn to God, confess their sin, and accept His forgiveness. But they struggle. After all, it’s very hard to accept forgiveness from God (or even another person) when one refuses to forgive himself or herself.

I personally found this story a refreshing reminder of how strong God’s forgiveness is. Psalm 103:11-12 says, “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

Sometimes in our desire to serve and please God, it’s easy to become stuck on our past mistakes and sins rather than to leave them at the feet of Christ. As we dwell on those sins, we become discouraged and even distracted from serving God.

The solution? Don’t wallow in past sin. Accept God’s forgiveness and focus on making future choices that honor God.

How are you coping with past sin in your personal life? Are you confessing it to God and leaving it with Him, or are you carrying it around like an unseen burden on your back?

Today’s Question (remember one correct answer will enter your name into the gift basket drawing):

Geoffrey Giles, Earl of Whittaker, is the hero in A Flight of Fancy. How should he be addressed?

A: Lord Geoffrey

B: Lord Giles

C: Lord Earl

D: Lord Whittaker

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Regency Quiz over the past week. We’ll be announcing the winner, as well as discussing the answers to the question, on Monday, October 15th.

This contest is now closed. Please see the final post for answers to the trivia questions. 

Mr. Darcy, An Alpha Male in Love

Vanessa here, exposing some of my pert opinions.

A man losing the battle of the heart is a thing of beauty.  When the male in question is an Alpha man, the dominant, powerful man of the group and protector of those dearest, his torment and ultimate victory is sheer poetry.

I love the classics, but I must say Dicken’s Pip (Great Expectations) languished too much without any measure of success with Estelle.  Pip doesn’t scream Alpha to me. An Alpha would have moved on or found away to convince Estelle to marry him.

Side note: To truly be a successful Alpha hero, you not only have to get the girl, but you have to live to tell about it. The whole dying thing, ruined Romeo and Juliet for me. I guess, I am a sucker for a happy ending, that is a happy ending with a breathing Alpha male.

So what is a good portrait of an Alpha male?

Mr. Darcy

.  He’s Jane Austen’s careful balance of natural male pride, protector, and fear. To surrender to love is a struggle that Darcy fights until he knows the battle is lost.

In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth asks Darcy when he did he know he loved her. Darcy replies:

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

A collective sigh should leach from this blog screen.  Oh, if Laurence Olivier (1940) , Collin Firth (1995), or Matthew Macfadyen (2005) could have said those words, I’d have their version of Pride and Prejudice DVD on perpetual rewind.


Back to Darcy’s Struggle

Austen showed us glimpses of Darcy’s Alpha journey much more than the movies give credit.

At Netherfield during Jane’s convalescence:

Elizabeth could not help observing, as she turned over some music-books that lay on the instrument, how frequently Mr. Darcy’s eyes were fixed on her. She hardly knew how to suppose that she could be an object of admiration to so great a man; and yet that he should look at her because he disliked her, was still more strange.

 

After an exchange of teasing between Darcy and Elizabeth at Netherfield:

Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her. He really believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger.

The growth of his feelings are displayed in a private exchange with Miss Bingley at Netherfield:

Miss Bingley says: “As for your Elizabeth’s picture, you must not have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful eyes?”

Darcy replies: “It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression, but their colour and shape, and the eyelashes, so remarkably fine, might be copied.”

A Display of His Protective Nature for Elizabeth:

The path just admitted three. Mr. Darcy felt their (Bingley’s sisters) rudeness, and immediately said “This walk is not wide enough for our party. We had better go into the avenue.”

But Elizabeth, who had not the least inclination to remain with them, laughingly answered: “No, no; stay where you are. You are charmingly grouped, and appear to uncommon advantage. The picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth. Good-bye.”

After a heated exchange with Elizabeth at Netherfield where Darcy’s messaging for sympathy before emotionally retreating:

Elizabeth said, “And your defect is to hate everybody.”

“And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunderstand them.”

“Do let us have a little music,” cried Miss Bingley, tired of a conversation in which she had no share. “Louisa, you will not mind my waking Mr. Hurst?”

Her sister had not the smallest objection, and the pianoforte was opened; and Darcy, after a few moments’ recollection, was not sorry for it. He began to feel the danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention.

Upon learning that Jane and Elizabeth would soon leave Netherfield, Darcy believes ignoring Elizabeth will solve his problem:

To Mr. Darcy it was welcome intelligence—Elizabeth had been at Netherfield long enough. She attracted him more than he liked—and Miss Bingley was uncivil to her, and more teasing than usual to himself. He wisely resolved to be particularly careful that no sign of admiration should now escape him, nothing that could elevate her with the hope of influencing his felicity; sensible that if such an idea had been suggested, his behaviour during the last day must have material weight in confirming or crushing it.

At the end of their famous dance at the ball of Netherfield:

“I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours,” he coldly replied.

She said no more, and they went down the other dance and parted in silence; and on each side dissatisfied, though not to an equal degree, for in Darcy’s breast there was a tolerable powerful feeling towards her, which soon procured her pardon, and directed all his anger against another.

 

Side Note: I love when an author uses the phrasing of a man’s breast. It sounds as if the emotions have penetrated his chest armor and gotten very deep inside.

Back to Darcy

The famous first proposal, his bold admission of losing his heart is classic Alpha trying to be in control when love has sent him spinning:

He sat down for a few moments, and then getting up, walked about the room. Elizabeth was surprised, but said not a word. After a silence of several minutes, he came towards her in an agitated manner, and thus began:

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Elizabeth’s astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement; and the avowal of all that he felt, and had long felt for her, immediately followed. He spoke well; but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed; and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority—of its being a degradation—of the family obstacles which had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.

He concluded with representing to her the strength of that attachment which, in spite of all his endeavours, he had found impossible to conquer; and with expressing his hope that it would now be rewarded by her acceptance of his hand. As he said this, she could easily see that he had no doubt of a favourable answer. He spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his countenance expressed real security. Such a circumstance could only exasperate farther, and, when he ceased, the colour rose into her cheeks, and she said:

“…I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation.”

Mr. Darcy, who was leaning against the mantelpiece with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words with no less resentment than surprise. His complexion became pale with anger, and the disturbance of his mind was visible in every feature. He was struggling for the appearance of composure, and would not open his lips till he believed himself to have attained it.

To attain peace cost Darcy two sheets of paper written in close hand, days of searching London;s underbelly, 10,000 pounds of bribe money, countless hours of recalling Elizabeth’s reproof. Priceless.

What I love the most is the sheer masculinity of Darcy’s regard. In a single breath, he tries to ram through the proposal and collect his acceptance. He’s all man as he tries to keep his feelings close to his waistcoat. Even as he exposes a bit of his heart to Elizabeth, he keeps his pride of his accomplishment and stature between them, a wall too high. Only the most ardent love will climb it.

And as he passes his black moment, he asserts to prove his worthiness with compassion and strength. He overcomes all of his own objections to save Elizabeth’s family and prove himself worthy. All alpha male, all the time.

Do you share my Alpha love? If you do leave a comment. Any one leaving a comment on this post or Fridays will receive on Saturday a link for a:

Free copy of Pride & Prejudice for the Kindle, Nook, or IPad.

I’ve formatted the Guttenberg Project’s version into ePub (Nook and IPad) and Mobi (Kindle) formats. I’m looking forward to sharing with you.

References:

The Guttenberg Project

Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice

Pride & Prejudice, 1940 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Production

Pride &Prejudice the Miniseries, 1995 BBC

Pride & Prejudice, 2005 StudioCanal/Focus Features

 

 

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Shameless Plugs

Vanessa here,

The ladies of Regency Reflections have a lot to celebrate. Below are Awards, Upcoming Books, Current Releases, Contracted, Contest Wins, and Anything Else.

Awards

At The Romantic Time Conference, Reviewers Choice 2011 we celebrate these Inspirational Regency wins:

Category Series: Love Inspired Historical Reviewers Choice:

THE ARISTOCRAT'S LADY

Genre: Series, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, Current Series Imprints

2011 Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical Award Winner

RT Rating

THE ARISTOCRAT’S LADY (4.5) by Mary Moore: Regency England: Nicole Beaumont has a secret she protects with every fiber of her being. She catches the eye of Lord Devlin, who thinks she’s incredible — witty and charming, with a good head on her shoulders. But he also suspects that she’s holding something back. When he discovers Nicole’s secret, he is hurt she did not trust him with it. Can Nicole regain his trust, or did her last chance at love slip through her fingers? This story is so good and the heroine so compelling that even readers who don’t normally like Regency-set stories will find it well worth their time.

Category: Inspirational Romance

THE GIRL IN THE GATEHOUSE

THE GIRL IN THE GATEHOUSE
by Julie Klassen

2011 Inspirational Romance Award Winner

RT Rating

This book has scandal, mystery, secrets and a budding romance. The characters are written in such detail the reader will forget they are fictional! Klassen has outdone herself with this latest novel. Her writing is comparable to Jane Austen’s. She writes with passion and readers will not be able to put this book down.

In 1813, Mariah Aubrey has been banished to a distant relative’s estate after stirring up a scandal her family wanted to quietly bury. She is assigned to live in the gatehouse, which is on the very tip of the grounds, away from everyone and everything. She supports herself and her servant the only way she knows how: she writes novels in secret, under a false name.

Captain Matthew Bryant has leased the estate to show the woman he loves that he is worthy of her, despite the fact that her father believes Matthew is not high society enough for his daughter. When Matthew meets Mariah, he is intrigued by her but at the same time, he realizes he must keep his distance in order for his plans to come to fruition. When a mystery comes to light, Mariah and Matthew work together to discover the truth, and they start to have feelings for each other. Will the mystery be solved before the heir to the estate can put his evil plan into motion?

Reviewed By: Patsy Glans

Cheers Mary & Julie

Upcoming Books

A Flight of Fancy by Laurie Alice Eakes

(October 2012)

Cassandra Bainbridge has twice set aside her scholarly pursuits–once for the London Season and once for her wedding preparations. Love seems a wonderful alternative to study, until disaster strikes. When an accident brings an end to her betrothal, she heads for the country to recover from both her injuries and her broken heart. There she pursues her love for ballooning and envisions a future for herself as a daring aeronaut. But when her former fiancé slips back into her life, what course will she choose?

This book is currently available for pre-order.

Current Releases

Heart’s Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes

(February 2012)

It’s 1813 and all Phoebe Lee wants out of life is to practice midwifery in Loudon County, Virginia. When Belinda, her pregnant sister-in-law, presses Phoebe to accompany her onto a British privateer in order to cross the Atlantic and save her husband from an English prison, Phoebe tries to refuse, then finds herself kidnapped.

Captain Rafe Docherty is a man in search of revenge. His ship is no place for women, but he needs Belinda in order to obtain information about the man who destroyed his family and his life. Between Belinda’s whining and Phoebe’s hostility, Rafe can’t help but wonder if he made the right choice.
When it becomes apparent there is an enemy among them on the ship, the stakes are raised. Will they reach the English shore in time? Can love and forgiveness overcome vengeance?

Hometown Cinderella  by Ruth Axtell

(February 2012)

It’s not Regency but it’s by Ruth Axtell so it’s got to be good.

After years traveling in Europe with her musician husband, all that widow Mara Keller wants is security for her son. A half-share in her father’s Maine farmhouse is the only refuge she has left, even if her resentful stepmother treats Mara as little more than a servant. But there is one bright spot: the unexpected kindness of neighbor Gideon Jakeman.

A widowed farmer with a teenage daughter, Gideon hardly pictures himself as anyone’s Prince Charming. Especially a woman of Mara’s refinement. Yet his quiet, rugged strength makes her feel as though she’s found her rightful place by his side, if they can find faith enough to forge their own happy ending.

Sanctuary for a Lady – by Naomi Rawlings

(April 2012)

It’s almost Regency, and it’s a great Debut Novel. Buy It. 🙂

Running to freedom, she found love . . .

The injured young woman that Michel Belanger finds in the woods is certainly an aristocrat, and in the midst of France’s bloody revolution, sheltering nobility merits a trip to the guillotine. Yet despite the risk, Michel knows he must bring the wounded girl to his cottage to heal.

Attacked by soldiers and left for dead, Isabelle de La Rouchecauld has lost everything. A duke’s daughter cannot hope for mercy in France, so escaping to England is her best chance of survival. The only thing more dangerous than staying would be falling in love with this gruff yet tender man of the land. Even if she sees, for the first time, how truly noble a heart can be . . .

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win Naomi’s book! Name will be drawn on Friday!

Contracted

Sarah Ladd signed a 3 book deal with Thomas Nelson for her debut series, Whispers on the Moors.  The first book, Heiress of Winterwood, will release next spring.  You go girl!!!!!!!!!

Vanessa Riley (moi) contracted Madeline’s Protector with White Rose Publishing/ Pelican Books. It will release this next spring. Here’s the blurb:

If all the young men of the world leapt off a cliff, Madeline St. James wouldn’t care because the nightmares would end, and she’d cozy up to a Psalm in her aunt’s sculpture garden. Yet, a chance meeting and a bullet wound changes everything, and Madeline must trust that the Good Shepherd has led her to the altar to marry a dashing stranger, Lord Devonshire. Can she forge a bond with the stubborn earl before the next disaster strikes?

Justain Delveaux, Lord Devonshire, vows to keep Madeline safe and in her place as a dutiful silent wife, but with her lips parted in prayer, his wife in-name-only and her faith are alluring. Maybe when he thwarts the danger, Justain can tempt the unpredictable miss with the comfort of his arms.

Contest Wins

Nothing to update here, but the year is still young.

Anything Else

Well, we really want to thank the readers of Regency Reflections. Thank you for your comments and suggestions, for sharing part of your day with us. We love it. Please keep coming back and help spread the Inspirational-Regency-Love.

Be Blessed.

 

Sources: Amazon.com, Romantic Times

 

A Review of “Jane Austen Knits”

The only thing more enjoyable than having a good hobby is having two good hobbies – and being able to indulge them both at the same time. That’s why I was so excited when I first got a glimpse of Interweave Knits’ special issue “Jane Austen Knits”. Regency history and needlecraft? The combination was as enticing as chocolate and coffee. (Some things are just made to go together.) But does “Jane Austen Knits” live up to its promise?

The Articles

If you’re more a history buff than a knitter, this is where you’ll find the meat of the publication. The magazine includes 8 articles and essays, ranging from the scholarly (“The Mighty Muslin” and “Regency Fashion in Color”) to the journalistic (like the profile of a woman who sells sewing patterns for Regency-era clothing).

My favorite of the articles is the essay that graces the last page of the publication: “Jane Austen, Multitasker” by Rebecca Dickson. It’s a loving profile of Austen herself, highlighting her work ethic both in her writing and in her needlecraft. Austen’s example is an encouragement to any woman trying to pursue a dream while also handling the mundane details of life.

The Patterns

This magazine contains a generous 36 patterns, and they’re all beautifully photographed. Instead of trying to reproduce period-accurate clothing, the patterns are instead simply inspired by Austen’s work, taking Regency details and translating them into wearable modern clothing.

Despite this modernization, I can certainly see Georgiana Darcy wearing her namesake shawlette, a gorgeous lace affair, or Elizabeth Bennet carrying the Diamond and Cross Reticule to a ball a Netherfield. More modern patterns include the sleek Elinor Tunic, and the exquisitely detailed Lambton Top and Fiori Pullover. Most of the rest of the patterns fall somewhere between the sensibilities of the 1800s and those of today.

On my own to-knit list? The simple Short Stays vest, the Woodhouse Spencer and, someday, when my knitting skills improve, the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Meryton Coat, a beautifully stranded jacket inspired by the military uniforms of the era.

Conclusion

So, did “Jane Austen Knits” fulfill my hopes for a publication that promised to combine two of my favorite hobbies? Emphatically, yes. And, if you share my love of knitting and of Regency history, I’m happy to point out that it’s now on sale over at Interweave. I should also note: I bought my own copy of this magazine and haven’t been compensated for this review in any way. All opinions in this post are my own.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell