Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits

Title: Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits
Author: Mary Jane Hathaway
Publisher: Howard Books
ISBN: 978-1-4767-7750-4

Lord, why can’t you just put me on mute when I’m running my mouth? But God didn’t work that way. He let his children make their own messes – and clean them up,” Shelby realizes in Mary Jane Hathaway’s novel, Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits.

At three hundred and fifty-two pages, this first in the Jane Austen Takes the South series paperback targets fans of Jane Austen that enjoy Christian romantic fiction set in a college town in Mississippi. With some slang and no overtly sexual or violent scenes, it would be apropos for teenage to adult readers. After the story, there are two food recipes, the author’s note, acknowledgments, a reading group guide with topics, questions, book club directions, and the author’s conversation, along with the first chapter of the second book. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

In this current day tome, twenty-nine year old Shelby Roswell enjoys her job teaching Introduction to the Civil War at Midlands College in the South. Unmarried and living with her friend, an English teacher who is a fan of Jane Austen, the woman has almost reached a tenured position.

Having recently written a book about the history of nearby Flea Bite Creek, she is devastated when the well-known historian, Ransom Fielding, writes a scalding review of it. To her further dismay, the man has accepted a job teaching at the same college.

Starting off on the wrong foot in their strictly pedagogical relationship, the two professors butt heads constantly by assuming and questioning the other’s actions and meanings. When Shelby ends up being the scapegoat for the misunderstandings, her upcoming tenure becomes jeopardized.

As widower Fielding tries to deal with his past, Shelby’s roommate correlates Jane Austen’s Darcy to the angry man, questioning if he is capable of romancing a contemporary Elizabeth. In turn, Shelby wonders if there is any hope of a future with someone who appears so aloof.

While the female history teacher deals with one emotional blow after another involving her future, she tries to look toward God for mercy and grace. In the meantime, Fielding, a man who has shunned the Almighty for years, may have to listen to a colleague’s advice.

A charming read that exhibits the gentleness of the South, this yarn offers a fun yet romantic read, making one anticipate the next book in the series.

Thanks to Howard Books for furnishing this book at no charge in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction

Second Impressions

Second Impressions

Author: Ava Farmer
Publisher: Chawton House Press
ISBN: 0-97816136475-0-9

For over twenty six years, Ava Farmer has cherished, loved and engrossed herself in the writings of Jane Austen. As a tribute to her obviously favorite author and her abundance of meticulous research over decades, Farmer has written an extensive sequel to the famous Pride and Prejudice in her novel based ten years later, Second Impressions: A Novel.

This hard cover book has a drawing of a proper mid-nineteenth century dressed English woman writing a letter with a quill on the front cover and paragraphs about the book and a review on the back. It is divided into two volumes, at one hundred and ninety four pages and at two hundred and six pages respectively. Although there are punctuation, capitalization, grammar and spelling errors, they appear to be intentional, reverting back to the time period and similar to Austen’s prose. In addition and supposedly in keeping with Austen’s “stile,” the bottom of each page has the first word listed from the next page perhaps to engage the reader.  There is an interesting five page epilogue that explains the writer’s courageous intentions.

For Austen fans of Pride and Prejudice, Farmer continues the story’s love of the Bennett family now in post-Napoleon England, mainly concentrating on the Darcy kinfolk a decade later. With Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy living in Pemberley with his sister Georgiana, the other four Bennett sisters and their families are mentioned and updated intermittently. True to the prior novel, marrying off female family members to wealthy suitors verses espousing by love is the main theme. With a plethora of travels throughout England, Paris, Switzerland and the dirty Italy, the three main characters compare their lots in life, materialistic advantages (and sometimes lack thereof), upper end status in society, new scientific inventions or choice of clothing against friends, new acquaintances and family relations, sometimes with dry, sarcastic wit.

In this sequel, there appears less dialogue, conversation and bantering among the characters and more detailed, descriptive and comprehensive places they travel, societal expectations and criticisms and historical background. At times the reader feels bogged down in the technical as if it is a travelogue, wanting to jump to the emotional, personal joys and disappointments of each self-inflected individual.

The heart of the book is the unrequited love that finally blossoms between Georgiana and her cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam who has nurtured, known and bares his soul to her without realizing it throughout the years.

Although there have been a few rewrites or postscripts to the renowned novel, Farmer’s deep commitment and love of divulging herself into Austen’s writing world has paid off in her dutiful work of fiction. Not only would this novel be enjoyed by Austen enthusiasts, but would make a wonderful supplement to any college class on women and their attitudes during the mid-eighteen hundreds.

Posted July 2012:



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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Fiction