Archive for October, 2012

Regency Friday: Love and Jane Austen

Friday, October 19th, 2012 | Regency Fridays | No Comments

In my perusals and perambulations this week, I had the pleasure of finding yet another lovely blog devoted to Jane Austen. Jane Austen: Her Life and Works touches on one of my favorite themes, one that pervades most of Jane’s novels. Namely, romantic love.

Jane Austen is a stable, certain voice in an uncertain world. As I read her novels, I hear her hesitation to insist on love’s power, though it runs through each of her books. It seems to me that Jane is a sensible woman, a woman as concerned with the realities of family, social class and money as she is with love itself. But her devotion to love still shines through, and is the enduring reason I have adored her books all my life.

In his fabulous blog, Jane Austen: Her Life and Works, Ivan explores the development of romantic love in Jane Austen’s fiction, beginning with her juvenile work and moving into her world-renowned novels. Hit the link below, and enjoy. I learned a lot from this post…



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Writing and Faith: Keep the Fire Burning

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 | Quote of the Week, The Writing Life | No Comments


“Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak..surrender to them. ”

Hermann Hesse
When we give in to the voices of our souls, pick up our pens, and write, we step into the world of faith and shadows, seeking illumination. Sometimes we find it. Other times we tear the paper, and begin again. But the journey of pen along the blank white sheet leads us further into ourselves. A journey worth making.

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Illuminations: The Story of Hildegard Von Bingen

Monday, October 15th, 2012 | Uncategorized | No Comments

This Monday, I find myself in a medieval mood. And what better woman to encapsulate the medieval period, save Eleanor of Aquitaine herself, but the Christian mystic, Hildegard von Bingen. Author, musician, and theologian, Hildegard is a woman to be reckoned with in any age.

I became fascinated by Hildegard when I first discovered her in college, and Mary Sharratt has explored the wonders of her life and faith in her latest novel, ILLUMINATIONS.

Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard Von Bingen


Description of the Novel from Mary Sharratt’s website:

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), Benedictine abbess and polymath, composed an entire corpus of sacred music and wrote nine books on subjects as diverse as theology, natural science, medicine, and human sexuality—a prodigious intellectual outpouring that put many of her male contemporaries to shame. Her prophecies earned her the title Sibyl of the Rhine. An outspoken critic of political and ecclesiastical corruption, she courted controversy and nearly died an excommunicant. Her courage and originality of thought continue to inspire people today.

Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen reveals the unforgettable story of how Hildegard, offered as a tithe to the Church at the age of eight, triumphed against impossible odds to become the greatest woman of her age. Combining fiction, history, and Hildegardian philosophy, Illuminations presents an arresting portrait of a woman of faith and power—a visionary in every sense of the word.


For more about this latest historical tour de force from Mary Sharratt, please visit her website through the link below:

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Quote of the Week: Wordsworth and Journaling

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 | Quote of the Week, The Writing Life | No Comments

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Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. 

William Wordsworth

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time, about writing or anything else. A writer has to do this, I think, but there is a lot that can stand in the way of hearing our hearts. We can get so involved in research, edits, revisions, plots, and character development, that we lose the sense of why we began the book in the first place. That’s why I think a journal is so useful to a writer, even when we write pages every day in our novels and blogs. A journal is a place where we write for no one but ourselves, where we reflect, take stock, both of our lives and our work.  On some days it seems like a luxury I can’t afford to pick up my inefficient pen and write on a real sheet of paper instead of typing quickly into my laptop. But there is something in the motion of the pen putting my thoughts into ink that is soothing in itself, that leads me out of the wilderness of all that must be done, to why I am doing it all in the first place.

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Historical Fiction: Peering Behind the Mask

Monday, October 1st, 2012 | Uncategorized | No Comments


Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow (Marie Antoinette, #2)

I am reading DAYS OF SPLENDOR, DAYS OF SORROW, the second novel in Juliet Grey’s trilogy about Marie Antoinette, and I am reminded why I love historical fiction.  In this novel, as in all good novels about those who once lived, the author lifts the mask of the departed, and helps us to see the person as they might have been.

I fell in love with Eleanor of Aquitaine, and spent years delving into her psyche, searching for the best way to convey who I believed her to be. As I read Juliet’s latest novel, I find myself drawn into the glittering world of Versailles, but more importantly, into the mind of Marie Antoinette herself. I am able to peer behind her mask, and I find there is more to this woman who I thought I knew.

I’ve been sent this novel by the publisher for review, as I am part of Juliet’s launch tour. I agreed because I enjoyed the first novel in the series, BECOMING MARIE ANTOINETTE, but I find myself reading not out of a sense of obligation, but out of a sense of discovery. I am learning something as I read this book, not just about the sad state of France just before the Revolution, but of the state of Marie Antoinette’s soul, her foibles and her sweetness both. I’ll finish the novel and post my review on Oct 8th, but I have to thank Juliet already for reminding me why I love historical fiction, for lifting Marie Antoinette’s mask.

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