Once upon a time, there was a movie titled The Jane Austen Book Club. As you would expect it was the story of a group of people who got together to read the novels of Miss Austen. After watching the movie, I thought that would be a good idea, not the book club, the reading of the novels, and so I did.
I also studied the life of Miss Austen and found her extremely interesting. She was the daughter of a minister, whose standard of living was determined by the offerings of churchgoers. Due to his position, he was invited to all the social gatherings of the season, held by the gentry (insert upper-crust of English society) throughout the year. I can see Miss Austen, wearing a gown not quite up to the standard of the others. Her hair not quite as finished, her shoes not quite as polished. Her family would have been the poorest of all invited. She would be forced to attend to support her father.
In her story “Persuasion” there are three sisters. Out of the three, Elizabeth is most interesting. She is the oldest and the prettiest. When the mother died young, she was forced to rise to the lady of the house position and conduct the affairs of the family normally expected of the wife and mother. She is vain and proud and cannot find a husband though both other sisters do.
It struck me as odd this woman who is pretty, smart, organized, and used to handling the domestic affairs of a house could not find a mate. She would seem to be the obvious choice for a young man trying to make a name for himself. She most certainly would be a woman who would and could help him put his best foot forward in society.
So, I wrote a book. Kellynch is the name of the family estate and the story picks up basically three years’ after the marriage of Anne and Captain Wentworth from the first novel. I wanted to write an ending where Elizabeth could also find a husband. I felt she deserved one.
Silly? Maybe. My favorite genre? No. But it was fun and enlightening to study the regency time frame, the customs and the manners of that era. I studied estate laws of the time in order to make my story more plausible.
Miss Austen writes, as you would expect, in the English of her time. If you should decide to read her, be prepared for paragraphs half a page long. She is noted to be a gifted social satirist and I agree. If you want to read her best book, though not her most popular, read “Northanger Abby.”
The parallels she draws between the treatment of women as compared to slavery is powerful. Give her work a try and if I can’t persuade you (pardon the pun), listen to her own words on the subject.
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. Jane Austen
Kellynch is available on Amazon.com.