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Imagine Classic Literary Characters living in the Modern World. Read Jane Eyre Gets Real, a Novel by Annabelle Troy, available on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Eyre-Gets-Real-Annabelle-ebook/dp/B00FAS3I7O

Some Enchanted Eclipse

An eclipse of the sun deserves a good fairy tale. Read Hansel & Gretel Inside the House of Candy for free Aug. 17-21. You don’t even have to follow a breadcrumb trail through the forest. Simply click on the box below that says Buy On Amazon and the book will appear free on your electronic reading device; it’s as easy as magic! Remember to act before the sun disappears.

Did You Know Bambi Had Kids?

Recently Heidi, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real who originally starred in the children’s classic by Johanna Spyri, found a great book in the New York Public Library. It’s called Bambi’s Children, by the author of the original Bambi novel (which existed before the Disney cartoon), Felix Salten. It tells the story of a grown-up Bambi who hooks up with his cousin Faline–ok, deer have different rules about such things–and they have twins, Geno and Gurri. Geno and Gurri do sound more like Jersey Shore characters than fawns, but, as a family saga about deer–maybe the only one in existence–Bambi’s Children works like a charm.

Facts About Felix Salten:

He was a Jew who escaped Nazi-occupied Austria and sought refuge in Switzerland. His real name was Siegmund Salzmann and he was born on September 6, 1869 (died October 8, 1945). Incidentally, September 6 is also the birthday of author Annabelle Troy.

Bambi’s Children, though originally written in German, was first published in the USA in 1939. The mating scenes, and realistic scenes of animals being hurt or killed, were cut. Salten, who did not wish to be regarded as a children’s author, objected to this. (Bambi, the original, unabridged novel, was intended to be an allegory of a child growing up to become a man.)

Geni and Gurri were modeled after Felix’s own children, Paul and Anna Katharina, minus the antlers and the spotted coats, of course!

Though Bambi’s Children never made it into a cartoon, Walt Disney Productions did publish a comic book version of it in 1943.

For fun: Feeling wiped-out and uncreative after a hot, sticky day? Imagine your favorite classic character as an animal–dog, bird, alligator, lobster, whatever–and reimagine their story that way. Pride and Prejudice with foxes, anyone?

 

 

 

 

Lady Macbeth: Murder Most Clean

Spoiler Alert: the ending is revealed

Emma Bovary was sure she would identify with the heroine of the recently released film, Lady Macbeth, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and which is based on the Russian novel Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov; if you’ve never heard of him, that’s ok–neither had Emma. Set on the moors in 1865, the heroine Katherine, portrayed by Florence Pugh, marries an older man. Unlike Charles Bovary, Katherine’s husband does not dote on his bride; in fact, he torments her, as does her new father-in-law. They seem to hate women in general, as well as any softness or beauty. Katherine begins an affair with Sebastian, the hunky groomsman, who is seductive if you like the primitive type. When Katherine’s father-in-law begins to suspect the affair, Katherine poisons him–cooly, cleanly and apparently without conscience. She also brings about the demise of her husband, and an innocent little boy as well. Katherine is all for Sebastian being her consort–she appears to love him in a passionate, willful way–until the groomsman cracks and confesses. Katherine adroitly turns the confession to her own advantage, pinning the murders on Sebastian and a shy, oft-abused black maidservant. Her class and luminous face protect Katherine; she is seen at the end of the film, deserted by her household but rich and free. Lonely as she is, we feel her brilliant career–both as a lover and a murderess–have just begun.

Emma did enjoy the film, especially the performance of Florence Pugh, who plays her part with deft perfection. You always want to watch her; she is a panther in a sky-blue crinoline and you can’t wait for her to pounce. The only issue for Emma was that she expected to be enraptured and instead she was perplexed. None of the characters, except the maid, are remotely likable—-and even the maid is much more pitiable than sympathetic. The father-in-law is coarse, the husband probably a psychopath, Sebastian is gross and maybe just plain stupid. As for Katherine, you either hate her for her willful crimes or admire her aplomb. But you don’t exactly root for her. Then again, why should a movie heroine be likable? Katherine–and perhaps Emma as well–might ultimately prefer to be survivors.

 

Global Warming Uncovers A Secret

 

Heidi, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real, is thinking about a news story she just read. It’s like a sad fairy tale complete with “Frozen” elements: 75 years ago a humble Swiss couple–the husband a shoemaker, the wife a teacher–went out to milk their cows and never came back. Their seven children were separated, sent to live with different families; growing up apart from each other they remained united in one goal: to find their parents. Last week the bodies of  Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin, missing since 1942, were discovered perfectly preserved in an Alpine glacier; DNA testing has confirmed their identities. They were found near the Tsanfleuron ski lift; apparently, the couple had tumbled into a crevasse and were only uncovered as the glacier began to melt. Five years ago another melting glacier revealed the remains of the Ebener brothers, lost since 1926.

Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, the youngest child of Francine and Marceline, says she will wear white to her parents’ funeral. “It represents hope, which I never lost.”  A toddler at the time of their disappearance, she is now 79 years old.

By the Light of the Silvery Moonstone

Sherlock Holmes, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real, can’t deduce how Wilkie Collins beat out Arthur Conan Doyle to write the first full-length detective novel. Published in 1868, and written in the form of letters (the 19th century equivalent of email, lol), The Moonstone centers around the inheritance of a huge jewel which sets off an Indian curse, theft, and murder. This fictional “moonstone” has an association with the Hindu god Chandra and was supposed to gain brilliance when the moon waxed. Technically, Collins’s moonstone was a diamond, much more expensive but less poetic.

There is an actual moonstone, a kind of feldspar, which is the birthstone for July and the sign of Cancer. Cancer is named for the crab, not the disease, and is linked to all things lunar, as crabs themselves have behaviors dictated by moon cycles, just like werewolves and humans…The semi-precious moonstone gem was beloved by the Victorians who, with their usual literal-minded precision, often carved it into the likeness of the man in the moon and wore it as a ring on their finger. This translucent stone is supposed to be a reflection of the person who owns it, and was favored by 19th-century men who wanted to get in touch with their feminine side. Women wore it during the full moon for luck and to gain understanding, long before therapy and tranquilizers, into their own complicated psyches. So next time, before you reach for that Xanax, you might want to simply don a necklace made of moonstones.

 

Alice in Wonderland Takes A Leap

a leap into reading that is…Recently Alice in Wonderland read a book by Annabelle Troy called The Grace of the Hunchback. This is her review:

“This book was inspired by the real life of the 19th-century dancer, Marie Taglioni. Along with her father, Philippe, an influential choreographer, Marie developed the Romantic style of ballet: toe-dancing, ethereal costumes, and athletic pirouettes executed with disarming ease.

Marie was born with what we would now call scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that today–if detected early enough–can be cured by wearing a brace. Marie’s scoliosis was not treated and she spent her childhood with a curved back, which earned her the nickname “hunchback”–a taunt hurled at her by the other little girls in dance class. Interestingly, Marie’s rigorous practice of dance did help her spine to straighten (though she would often be in pain after a performance).  On stage, Marie was the epitome of cool, unattainable beauty. Offstage she would suffer all of her life from the psychological image she had of herself: an ugly duckling who would never be a swan.

Though born into a prominent theater family, Marie had to fight against tremendous odds to secure her place in the pantheon of famous ballerinas. Her story remains an inspiring one, full of grit and determination. It’s hard to leap that high; she just made it look easy!

In a way, the book reminded me of Deenie by Judy Blume.  Deenie is a thirteen-year-old aspiring model who learns she must wear a body brace for at least three years, to correct her crooked spine. But Deenie is not just about a medical condition, it’s about how to overcome an obstacle that you think will ruin your life but instead changes it for the better. The Grace of the Hunchback is intended for older audiences but both books convey many of the same messages. They are both uplifting–no pirouette pun intended!”

 

Proper Regency Picnic

 

Nothing can seem more tempting on a hot summer’s day than to put on a white muslin dress, spray on some Yardley’s lily-of-the-valley scent and take a picnic hamper to the river, the nearest ruined temple, or just your own backyard. Jane Eyre, one of the characters in the Annabelle Troy novel Jane Eyre Gets Real, is all in favor of a Regency picnic. Her tips:

Pack a big wicker hamper or basket. You can put a cooler inside, discreetly hidden. Use real cutlery and spread out a pretty tablecloth, preferably with embroidery.

Modern menu/Regency approved:

Tomatoes & Potatoes were being eaten in the 18th century (in earlier times these foods were considered poisonous). Sugar, now affordable due to a booming if evil plantation industry, was very popular and was even used to preserve potted meats. There was a liberal use of spices, especially nutmeg, cloves and pepper. Moulding foods into fun shapes was all the rage–it was even more fun if that food quivered to begin with. You could also never go wrong with French or Italian confections. The average Londoner consumed 2 pints of gin daily (this amount has probably only increased with time…)

A Jane Eyre Picnic, Inspired by Jane Austen:

Pimm’s Cup (basically ginger ale & gin with cucumbers and fruit added, as well as some mint)

Candied Cherry Tomatoes Served on Sticks (think tomato lollipops; Mr. Darcy especially loves these)

Jellied Chicken and Aspic Terrine (this will quiver aplenty)

German Potato Salad (so much better without that nasty mayo)

Cold Roasted Asparagus with Lemon

Roast beef sandwiches on fresh rolls with a dab of horseradish; lightly butter the bread with good country butter and you will have a sandwich such as God–and the Duke of Sandwich–intended

Deviled Ham with Pickle Sandwiches

Jello Cubes Shaped Like Stars

A Punnet of Strawberries

An assortment of Cookies from the best French bakery, including macarons & tiny meringues

Cold Tea/Iced Coffee/Lemonade

Remember: arrange everything symmetrically on your tablecloth; as readers of Austen know, appearance counts for a great deal. And do say “please” and “thank you” when passing the refreshments.

 

 

 

 

 

Ruffles Without Ridges

Madame Bovary, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, is delighted by 2017’s latest fashion trend: ruffles. For a 19th century material gal, it’s like deja vu all over again. Emma’s favorite gowns were always smothered in ruffles. Though a potent symbol of femininity, ruffles were originally designed for men (think Jerry Seinfeld’s “puffy shirt”). In 1500s Spain no gentleman’s attire would have been complete without a collar, a separate piece of cloth not attached to the garment below, that could be as large and ostentatious as any grande’ could want. This collar, or “ruff”, reached its apotheosis around 1570, when it achieved a 36″ inch diameter–then burst. It would reappear again in the 17th century as a lace collar, then as a jabot (a kind of tied frill worn over a waistcoat).

 

Not surprisingly Marie Antoinette loved ruffles, especially on her sleeves, and popularized them for women. The ruffles dear to Emma’s heart would have been worn with a crinoline. By the turn of the century, the iron hoop skirt had gone completely out of fashion and was replaced with a more frothy, natural silhouette. Isn’t she charming?

Today’s ruffles, straight off the runway, are no less exuberant. In fact, they may be the most “ruffly” ruffles yet!

 

If you simply hate this fashion trend you can always take your ruffles the all-American way: by mouth.

Jane Eyre Wishes to Thank You

BANNER website

Jane cherishes each and every one of the followers of this blog. She wants to let you know that her author Annabelle Troy has a new blog:

annabelletroybooks.wordpress.com

dedicated to all of her literary works. If you could find it in your hearts to follow Annabelle there,  Jane would greatly appreciate it. So would Annabelle.

Both AnnabelleTroybooks and Cicily17 will feature new material weekly. Cicily17 will continue to be dedicated to whimsical observations of the world from the POV of Jane Eyre Gets Real. AnnabelleTroybooks will showcase all of Annabelle’s novels, available for purchase on Amazon.

We extend much gratitude for your indulgence!

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