on August 6, 2014
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance
Amazon ,B&N ,Goodreads
For every fan who has wished Jane Austen herself might have enjoyed the romance and happy ending she so carefully crafted for all her heroines: "The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen."
What if the tale Jane Austen told in her last, most poignant novel was actually inspired by momentous events in her own life? Did she in fact intend "Persuasion" to stand forever in homage to her one true love?
While creating "Persuasion," Jane Austen also kept a private journal in which she recorded the story behind the story - her real-life romance with a navy captain of her own. The parallel could only go so far, however. As author of her characters' lives, but not her own, Jane Austen made sure to fashion a second chance and happy ending for Anne and Captain Wentworth. Then, with her novel complete and her health failing, Jane prepared her simple will and resigned herself to never seeing the love of her life again. Yet fate, it seems, wasn't quite finished with her. Nor was Captain Devereaux.
The official record says Jane Austen died at 41, having never been married. But what if that's only what she wanted people to believe? It's time she, through her own private journal, revealed the rest of her story.
In my pursuit to shorten my TBR pile, I’ve been picking and choosing as time allows, sometimes paper off the dusty shelf, other times a long-awaited ebook. I’ve had the good fortune of reading some excellent books, and The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen is definitely in that category. I actually scored this book at a Facebook launch party hosted by one of my agency sisters (winner!), and while I adore Jane Austen, I admit I had some trepidation about heading into a story written in Jane’s point of view by an author unknown to me. Still, I felt obligated to give it a shot and I’m so glad I did.
I knew Jane died at age 41 unmarried, but I can’t say I know much more about her, so as I read, I had no idea how much of the story was based on fact (Shannon does reveal which facts were real and which were fiction in her author’s notes). Shannon’s prose is brilliant, and I had no problem believing I was reliving Jane’s past with her. Beautiful writing reminiscent of Jane herself, painfully romantic. The story had me in knots mostly because I read for happily ever afters (are you listening, George R.R. Martin?), and Persuasion made no such guarantees. I KNEW Jane died young, I KNEW she never married, so how could she have a happy ending?
Persuasion was a roller-coaster of emotions, and I felt every pang of loss, every regret, every joy, right along with Jane. *Sniffles* I stayed up way too late to find out whether Captain Devereaux and Jane could somehow navigate through their trials and triumphs, both physical and emotional, to finally find their way to each other.
If only we could all have a Shannon Winslow to rewrite our own happy endings.
I’m Shannon Winslow, and this blog is dedicated to writing and Jane Austen – two subjects I’m passionate about. I’ll use a JA quote as the inspiration or illustration for each post. Thus the title “Jane Austen Says…”
“Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.”
I claim this Jane Austen quote (taken from Mansfield Park, chapter 48) as my motto, in that it illustrates my literary philosophy. I’m interested in books that entertain, that make you feel good, that sweep you away to another world. Although I know that without conflict there is no story, I’m glad when it’s time to do away with the culprits and reunite friends and lovers for a happy ending. Reader satisfaction, in my opinion, stems from the hero or heroine overcoming difficulties, not being destroyed by them. If someone prefers a dose of harsh reality, they can turn to “other pens” or turn on the news instead. But I can be trusted to not dwell on guilt or misery any longer than necessary, and to restore the characters I’ve come to care about to tolerable comfort by the end of the book, as Jane Austen always did.
Her fans wish she had lived long enough to author more than six classic novels, but unfortunately both Jane Austen’s life and her literary output ended prematurely. I’ve tried to pick up where she left off, writing the kind of stories she told, the way she told them: novels about the pitfalls of love and marriage in early nineteenth century English society, related with subtle wit, a touch of humor, and in the elegant language of the era.
My first novel, The Darcys of Pemberley (a sequel to Pride and Prejudice) was published 8/1/2011. Mr. Collins’s Last Supper (a P&P inspired short story) and For Myself Alone (a stand-alone Austenesque story) followed. For my third novel (written 3rd, that is), I traded in Regency England for a modern American setting. First of Second Chances explores the “what if” scenario in the life of a minor league baseball player, who is given a second chance at his dream (publication date yet to be announced). In the meantime, I finished and published my second Pride and Prejudicesequel, entitled Return to Longbourn, which follows after TDOP. When added to the original, they form a completed trilogy. Coming in the summer of 2014 is The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, a Persuasion tie-in with our favorite authoress herself as heroine!
I have ideas for a couple more novels simmering in my head, as well as plans for a short story anthology. I’ve heard that if you truly are a writer, you can’t NOT write. That’s certainly true of me.
With my two sons now grown, I have more time to indulge my creative pursuits in music, art, and literature. I live with my husband, the love of my life, in the log home we built in the countryside south of Seattle. There I write and paint in my studio facing Mt. Rainier.
Wednesday random Shakespearean insult for today is: fawning, sodden-witted scullion. Ouch!