Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Favourite Authors ~ Jane Austen

Hello readers! Time for another author post. Hope you're not disappointed it's not L.M. Montgomery, Naomi :) but I picked Jane Austen today. She's my #1 favourite classic fiction writer (beating Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens by a tiny bit) and I've researched her life quite a lot. I feel like I know her pretty well; that we would have been good friends if we lived in the same era. Anyway, here's a list of her major works (I won't talk about her juvenilia today, that deserves a post of its own). 

Sense and Sensibility
Jane Austen's  first published work when it appeared in 1811 under the pseudonym "A Lady". A work of romantic fiction, better known as a comedy of manners, Sense and Sensibility is set  between 1792 and 1797, and portrays the life and loves of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne. The novel follows the young ladies to their new home, a meagre cottage on a distant relative's property, where they experience love, romance and heartbreak. The philosophical resolution of the novel is ambiguous: the reader must decide whether sense and sensibility have truly merged. (wikipedia)

Pride and Prejudice
  was first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early nineteenth-century England, Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire. (wikipedia)
When Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy arrive in Meryton, Elizabeth's mother id determined to marry her daughters off to them. However, Elizabeth takes an instant dislike to the proud Mr. Darcy and lets her own prejudices cloud her judgment.

Mansfield Park
Fanny Price is brought up by her rich uncle and aunt of Mansfield Park. As she grows up, she is treated as inferior by most of her relatives except her uncle and cousin Edmund, with whom she gradually falls in love. However, when the smart brother and sister Henry and Mary Crawford arrive in the town, Fanny is worried that Edmund is falling in love with the unprincipled Mary. 

Emma is the story of a clever, rich and handsome young woman with a habit of match-making that often gets her into trouble. Her efforts to match her friend Harriet with the two-faced Mr. Elton go disastrously wrong, and Emma herself does not realize that she is falling in love with family friend Mr. Knightley until it is too late.

This is the story of Anne Elliott, a twenty-seven-year-old woman who has remained unmarried since refusing to marry Captain Wentworth, persuaded by her aunt. Anne and Wentworth meet again and though Anne suspects he is in love with Louisa Musgrove until he writes to her reaffirming his attachment to her.

Northanger Abbey

Catherine Morland, young and naive, is about to embark on a trip to Bath with friends. There she meets the fashionable but deceitful Isabella Thorpe and the charming Henry Tilney. Isabella encourages her to read Gothic novels, and Catherine's imagination begins to run wild when she is invited to stay with Henry, his sister and father at their ancestral home, Northanger Abbey.

Jane Austen was born on the 16th December, 1775, at Steventon in Hampshire. She was the seventh child and one of two daughters. She was very close to her sister Cassandra: her brothers married and left home, and the two sisters lived with their widowed mother. She was very clever as a child, allowed the run of her father's library, was well educated, and had a quick wit. As a girl she wrote plays and stories, and her parents encouraged her in her writing. She never married, although she received several proposals. She was a devout Christian and critical of the social customs of her time. She died at the age of 41 in Winchester. While some of her works were published during her lifetime, she experienced little fame as she concealed her name, and several of her works were published  posthumously.
Jane Austen was a brilliant and perceptive writer. What I love about her style is that it's fairly easy to read for a nineteenth-century writer. She has complete control over her characters. She successfully rounds them out as well, making them real and believable, and convincing the reader that her world wasn't so different from ours after all. She also has some really memorable quotes:)

She's also really good for a laugh. Ie: Mr. Collins, Mrs. Allen, Harriet Smith, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Norris....and lots of characters you love to hate:)

"Is it a mermaid? or a shark?"

If you've never read Jane Austen, you don't know what you're missing. All six of her books are sweet, funny, a little bit sad and practically perfect in every way. She has inspired me to write in a way that deals truthfully and impartially with the characters and that upholds good values. And there are certain words and old English spellings I've become addicted to too.. Anyway, enough of that. Just grab a copy of Pride and Prejudice and you'll see what I mean:)

Friday, 26 September 2014

Code Names

My siblings and I are strange creatures. My sister Emily and I especially. We have code names for our favourite movies................

Cranford we call Cranberry Truck.
cran= cranberry
ford=Ford motor vehicle=truck
Lark Rise to Candleford we call Birdwax


Les Miserables we call Chocolate.
My friends, don't ask me why; I think it may have evolved from "My life is not yours to risk, Marius" to "My chocolate is not yours to eat, Marius" to just plain Chocolate.

Emma is Perfection. Pronounced in a cheesy Mr. Elton voice.

That's all I can remember at present.........please comment and submit your suggestions for the next Author post!!

Writing Challenge....

Hey everyone! I was over at J's blog and she did a post with an amazing writing challenge, from Cranberries and Crescents. Here's the challenge!

Don't know about you but I'm going to go away and think about this one! 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

All done!

Hey everyone! As you can see I've tweaked my blog design a bit, I'm really happy with it.
Next Favourite Authors post coming soon!

Monday, 22 September 2014

A quick note

Hello friends, as you can see, ad majorem dei gloriam is undergoing some template/layout changes. Hopefully when I'm done with it it'll be easier to read and all, so bear with me! :)

Authors I love : Belinda Murrell

Hey everyone!! So I decided I need a new blog series for inspiration. I thought I'd do posts about my favourite authors and the books they've written, what I like about their style, what I  don't like about their style, and how they have inspired me. This is going to be fun!!! So today I picked an Australian author by the name of Belinda Murrell.

Belinda Murrell is a bestselling, internationally published children’s author with a legion of loyal fans and a history of writing in her family that spans over 200 years. After studying Literature at Macquarie University, Belinda worked as a travel journalist, editor and technical writer. A few years ago, she began writing stories for her own three children – Nick, Emily and Lachlan. Her 21 books include The Sun Sword fantasy trilogy as well as a newly-released Lulu Bell series for younger readers. She is also known for her collection of other timeslip tales including The Sequin Star, The River Charm, The Locket of Dreams, The Forgotten Pearl, The Ruby Talisman and The Ivory Rose, which have been recognised by various awards, including Honour Book KOALAS 2013, shortlisted KOALAS 2014, 2012, and 2011, CBCA Notable List and highly commended in the PM’s Literary Awards.

I've read three of Belinda's books and I loved them all! Her writing style is engaging and very accurate to the historical time periods she sets her stories in. It was cool to read about girls living in a country close to where I live :) instead of America or England. The three I've read are all set in Aussie and based on true stories.

A river pebble has an astonishing true story to tell of one family's survival in harsh, colonial Australia.... When artistic Millie visits a long-lost aunt, she learns about her family's tragic past. Could the ghost girl Millie has painted be her own ancestor?

In 1839, Charlotte Atkinson lives at Oldbury, a grand estate in the bush, with her Mamma and her sisters and brother. But after her father dies, things go terribly wrong - murderous convicts, maurauding bushrangers and, worst of all, a cruel new stepfather.

Frightened for their lives, the family flees on horseback to a hut in the wilderness. The Atkinson family must fight to save their property, their independence and even their right to stay together. Will they ever return to their beautiful home? Based on the incredible true life battles of bestselling author Belinda Murrell's own ancestors, the Atkinsons of Oldbury. (synopsis from the website I linked above.)

I own this book and I read it very quickly! I loved it because it was actually a true story. Charlotte's mother had to fight for the right to homeschool her children. Charlotte was a sweet and talented heroine, and although none of these books are ''Christian"  they are probably the best secular teen girls' fiction stories I've read. I think out of all I've read this is the best.
Favourite character: Charlotte or her mother, Mrs. Atkinson.

When Chloe visits her grandmother, it unleashes a flood of memories, not discussed for seventy years. Chloe could never have imagined how close the second world war came to destroying her own family so many years ago. Could the experiences of another time help Chloe to face her own problems?

In 1941, Darwin is a remote outpost in the far north of Australia - a peaceful paradise far from the war. Poppy is a mischievous, fun-loving girl, with a menagerie of unusual pets. Her life seems perfect but when Japan attacks Pearl Harbour, then Australia, Poppy’s world is torn apart. Everything she holds dear is threatened - her family, her neighbours and her friends Jack and Maude. Her brother Edward is taken prisoner-of-war. Her home town becomes a war zone, as the Japanese raid over and over again, on their relentless march south. Australia is under the looming threat of invasion. 
Terrified for their lives, Poppy and her mother flee to safety in Sydney, only to find the danger follows them there. Poppy must face her war with courage and determination. 
Will Poppy and her family survive the war? Where is the forgotten pearl? Will her world ever be the same again? 
The forgotten pearl is the key to entering another thrilling adventure from Belinda Murrell, author of The Ivory Rose, The Ruby Talisman and The Locket of Dreams. 

(book blurb from above mentioned website, and so is the next one:))

This is a close second favourite. I love a good war story, especially one closer to home. It's scary how close the war came to NZ! Poppy was funny, optimistic and kind. This book's sad and there's also a sweet little romance:) Poppy is given her pearl charm by a Japanese lady who becomes a prisoner of war when the Japanese attack Australia. 
Favourite character: Jack or Poppy

Jemma has just landed her first job, babysitting Sammy. It's in Rosethorne, one of the famous witches' houses near where she lives. Sammy says the house is haunted by a sad little girl, but Jemma doesn't know what to believe. 

One day when the two girls are playing hide and seek, Jemma discovers a rose charm made of ivory. As she touches the charm she sees a terrifying flashback. Is it the moment the ghost was murdered? Jemma runs for her life, falling down the stairs and tumbling into unconsciousness. 

She wakes up in 1895, unable to get home. Jemma becomes an apprentice maidservant at Rosethorne - but all is not well in the grand house. Young heiress Georgiana is constantly sick. Jemma begins to suspect Georgiana is being poisoned, but who would poison her, and why? Jemma must find the proof in order to rescue her friend - before time runs out.

I think this is one of Belinda Murrell's earlier books, and I didn't like it as much as the other two. the narrative didn't really grab me and the chapter titles were extremely predictable, but overall I enjoyed it. The historical details were all correct, and it was a harsh picture of the life of the Victorian poor. 
Favourite character: Ned, the Irish groom

What I love about Belinda Murrell's style : it's not overcomplicated, very easy to read, and funny. She manages to get all her historical details right without making the novel seem like a history book, but weaves the true and fictional together skilfully.
What I don't love about her style : she uses some descriptions repeatedly, but that's about it :)
How she has inspired me: to use elements from my own life and family history in my writing

Anyway, that's about it! I have scores of favourite authors, but if there's one you'd like to see featured in a post, please comment and suggest one!!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Janeite Tag!!!:)

Hey everyone! I've been tagged by Miss Jane Bennet, one of my dear blogging friends! Thanks so much for tagging me Miss Jane!! 

So here are the rules:

~Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
~Tell how you were introduced to Jane Austen and share one fun fact about your Janeite life (this fun fact can be anywhere from "I stayed up all night reading Emma," to "I visited Chawton and met Anna Chancellor.").
~Answer the tagger's questions.
~Write seven questions of your own.
~Tag as few as one or as many as seven other Janeites and let them know you've tagged them.

Okay, here I go! My introduction to Jane Austen: When I was about twelve I read a few chapters of P&P but didn't get very far. Then my family watched the movie (95, obviously,) and I was hooked! I went back and read all six books as fast as I could get my hands on them!
Fun fact about my Janeite life: I regularly dress up and hold balls, tea parties and garden parties with my siblings.

 Jane's questions:
~Do you have a favorite Austen couple?  If so, what do you think their married life would be like?

Mr, and Mrs. Darcy! I think that as it says in the book, they would improve eachother. I.e., Elizabeth would teach Mr. Darcy how to laugh and he would improve her mind. 
~Who is your favourite minor character, in any of Miss Austen's books?
Oh dear, this is difficult indeed. It is distressing. One does not know what to think.
I really like Margaret Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility. One day I might rewrite S&S from Margaret's point of view:)

~List 3-7 of your favorite Austen quotes.
Hooooo boy. Here we go.

Anyway, that's quite enough, I think.
~How many JA books do you own?
All of them on Kindle: in real book form, P&P, S&S, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and Emma. 
I need a copy of Mansfield Park and my collection shall be complete:)
~What Austen character do you think you're most like?
Hmm. I'm a bit like Elizabeth Bennet, a bit like Catherine Morland...
~Have you read the Juvenilia?
Yes! I love Jane Austen's earlier works. They are so funny!
~Favorite movie/TV adaptation of an Austen novel?
P&P 1995

and Emma 2009

So here are my questions:

~ Who is your least favourite Jane Austen character and why?
~ Where would you rather live: Pemberley or Donwell Abbey?
~ Which is your favourite of Jane Austen's books?
~ If you could choose to invite three of Jane Austen's characters for tea, who would you choose and why?
~ If you were one of Austen's heroines, where would you choose to spend the summer: Bath, London, or Brighton?
~ Who do you think are the most sensible parents in Austen's novels? 
~ Do you 'ship' any of the minor characters from the books or movies?

I tag: Miss Dashwood, Emily Blakeney, Ainsley Pontmercy, Evie Brandon and Naomi Bennet.

Anyone who reads this post may do the tag, of course:)

Friday, 12 September 2014

Symptoms of Mizziness ~ A Guide to Self-diagnosis ( A Guest Post by Joly)

Hi. This is Joly, resident physician of Les Amis de l' ABC Cafe, junoir malade imaginaire, and I'm working on my M.D. Since Elizabethany can't be bothered writing a Sensible and Worthy post today, I'm very happy to do a guest post. Naturally, my topic today happens to be one very dear to my heart. You may wonder, as Elizabethany herself does, if you are a victim of the above-mentioned malady. I questioned Elizabethany closely, and here is what I came up with. Take the test yourself.

You know you're a Les Miserables nut when.............

You like walking in the rain just so you can sing On My Own.

You examine your tongue in the mirror each day, a la me....(this is a book reference)

You suddenly have a mania for all things French.

The barricade boys are your favourite boy band. :-D

Every time you see an elephant, you think of Gavroche.

When someone says a phrase like "at the end of the day", "on my own", or "look down"
you start grinning stupidly like:

You coach your siblings in the fine art of ensemble singing and hold impromptu concerts when the parents are out ( or even when they're not.)

(aaaand you sing it from beginning to end, from memory.)

You have been known to blurt out "Long live Poland!" at random. Another brick reference which is largely due to this guy:

Your favourite colour is red.

You build barricades in your backyard. *Elizabethany(For my bff's birthday, we actually put the soundtrack on and built a barricade in the rumpus room, and we slept in it that night. With a fire in the fireplace and secret nooks and crannies for stashing candy and even, would you believe it, a broken piano!!!!)*
Joly: Hey, who's doing this post?!
Elizabethany: Sorry.

All your birthday cards look something like this:

Bread is your favourite food.

You become fluent in French. Vive Enjolras!

Every time you pass the wine aisle in the supermarket, you hum "Don't let the wine go to your braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains"

When you see an empty chair, you tend to burst into tears....


When someone criticizes Les Mis;

When you get a haircut:

After summer camp:

I think she has all these symptoms..............................................

Yours sincerely,