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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

Very Jane Eyre Problems

 

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You’re Just Not Into Polygamy

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You Can’t Stand Any More Burned Grilled Cheese Toast At Breakfast

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Aunt Reed Will Never, Ever Forgive You–Never, Ever, Ever

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Your Pupil is Marie Antoinette In An Eight Year Old’s Body

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You’ve Had It With Brooding Men–Get Over Yourself, Rochester 

Tired of traditional Jane Eyre? Then read Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy on Amazon:

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

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Turkey Three Ways

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Though Thanksgiving is strictly American, Jane Eyre, David Copperfield and Mr. Darcy all have fond memories of turkey dinners. They ate their turkey at Christmas but they won’t tell if you make these victuals in November instead.

Jane Eyre’s Boiled Turkey (from a receipt she found in Magazine of Domestic Economy, 1838). Remember, the clean napkin is essential!

Ingredients:
1 Turkey
1 Clean napkin
Crumbs
Parsley
Pepper
Salt
Nutmeg
Lemon
1 Anchovy
Oysters (a few)
Mushrooms (a few)
Butter (a bit)
Suet (a bit)
1 Egg

Recipe:
“Boiling a turkey is a very common mode of dressing it, and if nicely done makes a very agreeable dish. To boil it properly, it should be trussed with the liver and gizzard in the wings, be well dredged with flour, and sewn into a clean napkin. But previously to doing that, fill the crop with a forcemeat, or stuffing made of crumbs and bread, parsley, pepper, salt, nutmeg, lemon-peel, an anchovy, a few oysters chopped, a few shred mushrooms, a bit of butter, and a little suet, the whole bound together with an egg. In the water in which the turkey is to be boiled, put the juice of three lemons, two ounces of butter, and handful of salt. Let it boil very slowly.”

David Copperfield’s Turkey Pie. This is especially recommended if you happen to have a hare and a brace of partridge hanging around. Don’t forget the four pounds of butter.

Having made a large standing crust, bone a turkey, a goose, a hen, a partridge, and a pigeon. Season them with half an ounce of mace, the same quantity of nutmeg, a quarter of an ounce of cloves, half an ounce of black pepper, all beat fine, and two large spoonfuls of salt, mixed all well together. Roll up the fowls, the one within the other, with the turkey outermost, so as to look like a whole turkey, and place it in the middle of the crust. Have a hare ready cased, and wiped clean; disjoint and cut it in pieces ; season, and lay it close to one side of the crust; put woodcocks, moor-game, and any other wild fowl you can get, on the opposite side, well seasoned, and packed close together. Put four pounds of butter into the pie; then lay on the lid. The crust must be very thick, and it will take four hours at least, in a hot oven, to bake it properly.

Mr. Darcy’s Turkey in Aspic. People in the Regency era loved aspic. It’s a fancy word for jello. If you’re counting calories this recipe is under 250, unlike that turkey/hare/pigeon pie. This leaves you more leeway for dessert such as mincemeat tarts.

12 ounces cooked turkey white meat, cut in 6 slices
4 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
3/4 pound fresh asparagus spears or 1 8-ounce package frozen asparagus spears, cooked and drained
6 pimiento strips
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 13 3/4 ounce cans chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 thin slice onion
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 sprig parsley

Trim turkey slices to uniform shapes; arrange in 13x9x2-inch pan. Top each with 4 slices, about 3 asparagus spears, and a pimiento strip. In saucepan soften gelatin in chicken broth and water. Stir in onion, lemon juice, horseradish, and parsley. Bring to boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth. Chill just till syrupy. Spoon a little broth mixture over each salad in pan. Chill till almost set; keep remaining broth mixture at room temperature and stir occasionally. Repeat spooning room-temperature broth mixture over turkey slices and chilling till a thin glaze of gelatin forms. Pour remaining broth mixture around salads in pan. Chill till set. To serve, trim around each turkey slice and transfer to serving plates. Break up remaining gelatin in pan with a fork and arrange around salads on serving plates. Makes 6 servings.

Which one appeals to you most?

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Colors of the Past

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Emma Bovary, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, loves beautiful dresses. The era in which she lived, the mid-19th century, saw the turning away from natural dyes such as indigo, and the explosion of rich new colors through the use of aniline dyes. Think acid green, royal purple, chrome yellow, pillar box red. Victorian women were shrinking violets no more; instead they were bold violets bedecked in coral and sapphire with hints of that trendy new color, mauve. In 1856 the 18 year old English chemist William Henry Perkins “invented” mauve, and a range of other fantastic hues, by accident; he had been trying to find a cure for malaria but revolutionized fashion instead. In an attempt to synthesize aniline with quinine, he came up with a mixture that dyed cloth an amazing purple. He filed a patent for it. From then on, labor-intensive dyes made from natural substances became a thing of the past. Forget plants and crushed beetles; make way for coal tar (from which aniline is extracted). Unfortunately, Perkins was born before “Shark Tank.” Though he achieved much renown for his colorful work, by the 1890s Germany had a monopoly on chemical dyes, and Perkins had to sell off most of his holdings. Still, he had a good run, including owning a factory which literally painted the town red on many occasions, and he is known to this day as the Father of Mauveine.

Another “brilliant” fact: fossils indicate that ancient dinosaurs were covered in bright feathers. They may have even been peacock feathers, whose iridescence serve as camouflage. So next time you see “Land of the Lost” imagine the Tyrannosaurus Rex Grumpy coming at you in blazing techno-color, feathered tail and all. He’s a little less intimidating now, huh? What’s next? Dragons who breathe fireworks? Unicorns with horns made of stained glass? In the magical-yet-real world of ornamentation anything is possible.

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Very Dickensian Problems

When we fantasize about going back to Victorian times we usually picture ourselves as being rich: dressed in silken clothes, living in gorgeous houses, waited on head and foot. Of course for many Victorians life was one of heart-wrenching poverty. This fact was well-documented by Charles Dickens, the creator of David Copperfield and many other rags-to-riches characters. Dickens himself was taken out of school when his father went bankrupt. Little Charles, then twelve years old, had to live alone in a boarding house and work at Warren’s Blacking Factory, making polish for boots, until an unexpected inheritance allowed his father to regain social standing. Charles was then enrolled in Wellington House Academy; but his past was so bitter to him that he could never pass the Blacking Factory without crying, even after he became a famous author.

To those of his contemporaries who were not so fortunate, David Copperfield presents Very Dickensian Problems:

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Your Mother Was Right–You Should Have Married That Blacksmith

 

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17 Kids In The Family/0 Bathrooms

 

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“Grool” Is Not Just A Quote From “Mean Girls”

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There’s Nothing To Play With Except String

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Smoking Is Bad For The Lungs But You’ve Inhaled Too Much Soot To Care

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You ARE The Maid

That Old Black Cat Magic

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Alice in Wonderland, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, is missing her cat Dinah. When Alice was plucked from her book and made to live in contemporary NYC, beloved Dinah was left behind. So Alice went to an animal shelter to adopt a cat. She fell in love with a vivacious green-eyed kitten, but because it had black fur the agency suggested she adopt in November. Many animal shelters don’t let black cats get adopted right before Halloween; too many people use them as living decorations, abandoning them after the holiday; or they can be cruelly used for pranks. For the latter reason, it is suggested that if you already own a black cat, keep him/her inside around Oct. 31st.

Contrary to popular belief, the “unlucky” black cat is not discriminated against when it comes to adoption. It’s simply that more black cats exist than white, gray, or brown ones.  According to the ASPCA black cats represent 31% of all feline adoptions annually, followed by gray then brown cats. However, black-coated animals show age more quickly; silver hairs show up easily on that color of fur, the same way dark-haired women have to dye their roots more often! When it comes to taking a selfie with black cats, they can be hard to photograph. Non-professionals may find the black cat comes out like a dark blot, while the fur of a lighter-colored cat catches the light. (Fair is always easier to photograph which is why early Hollywood preferred blondes with pink skin tones over “exotic” types.)

While medieval black cats were historically accused of being “familiars”, messengers who traveled at night between the witch and the devil, some cultures have revered them. In ancient Egypt black cats were thought to bring their owners good luck, which is still considered to be the case in modern Japan and parts of Britain. In fact there is an Old English rhyme that goes:

Black cat, cross my path
Good fortune bring to home and hearth
When I am away from home
Bring me luck wherever I roam

 

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Very Victorian Halloween Problems

The witching season is upon us. Mr. Darcy, Sherlock Holmes, Dorian Gray and the other characters in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy present this to you with their compliments:

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Ghosts were really aggressive back then

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You Only Have Enough Crumpets For Three But Uninvited Guests Keep Dropping By

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All You Want Is A Nice Family Photo But Mum Keeps Being Difficult

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Stop Trying to Make “How Hallow’eeny” Happen, It’s Not Going to Happen

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Stiff Competition for Miss Witch USA

 

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Your Wife Is Dead Yet She Still Insists On Playing The Piano

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Email Hasn’t Been Invented So You Receive All Messages Via Ghoul

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Even Less Reliable Than Online Dating

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Please Write Your Own Caption & Let Us Know What You Come Up With!

Happy Halloween

 

Season of the Clown

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Warning: This Post is Not for Those Who Suffer from Coulrophobia–You Know Who You Are!

Dozens of creepy clown sightings have been reported in the United States this summer. The disturbing phenomena started over a month ago when children in South Carolina began to see clowns lurking around; these costumed men tried to lure kids deep into the woods with promises of candy. Since then clown sightings, reported in several states, have led to over 12 arrests. On September 25th, in Reading, Pennsylvania, a man wearing a clown mask stabbed and killed a 16 year old. The clown got away. Also this week, in Upstate New York, clowns have been seen standing on suburban streets and peering into windows. As Halloween approaches, will this epidemic worsen?

David Copperfield, who appears in the recent novel Jane Eyre Gets Real, available on Amazon, used to love clowns as a boy. At that time they were more of a novelty than a nuisance. Though clowns are historical figures who played parts in Egypt, Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages and Renaissance Italy, they are best known to us as “circus folk.” The circus as we know it began, like so many things, in the Victorian era. The antecedent for the Victorian model was Phillip Astley’s Riding Show, which debuted in 1768, and featured expert horsemen performing equestrian acts in a tight circle ringed by a comfortably seated audience. Later jugglers, tumblers and, yes, clowns were added to the act.

Astley’s first well-known clown was Mr. Merryman. Wearing white-based makeup with an expression painted on, attired in striped hose and a doublet with a frilled collar, Merryman delivered a comic performance by allowing himself to be “knocked about” by the experienced riders. Other types of clowns soon flourished, including “The Boss Clown”who typically wore sequins, a conical hat, and thrived at doing magic tricks and playing a variety of musical instruments. The “Auguste Clown”–a red-nosed figure in baggy pants and huge shoes, would pass into American TV land as “Bozo.” It is now these “Bozos” or red-nosed clowns who are popping up all over, terrorizing the kids they are meant to entertain.

On a lighter note, David Copperfield highly recommends the FX show “Baskets.” On this insightful comedy, Zach Galifianakis poignantly portrays Chip Baskets, a man from California who travels to Paris, intent on learning the fine art of professional clowning. However, he must leave the elite clown school when it is discovered he cannot speak French. Back home in Bakersfield, Chip gets a job as a clown at a run-down rodeo and tries the best he can to maintain his artistic standards in a mundane world. “Baskets” which premiered January 2016, will resume with new episodes early in 2017. It’s as quirky, engaging and heartfelt as any novel by Mr. Charles Dickens.

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That Ambitious Girl

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Polls show that Hillary Clinton has a problem with likeability. Part of this can be attributed to her formal persona in a world that craves intimacy, personal revelations, and “sharing.” Another factor is her gender: it is certainly true that social media depicts ambitious women in a bad light. This goes double for girls.

Alice in Wonderland, despite her airy persona, was a rebel. She goes down the rabbit hole in the first place, leading to her famous adventures, because she is energetic, curious and tired of making daisy chains. In Jane Eyre Gets Real, a novel by Annabelle Troy, Alice finds herself in contemporary NYC. She is at first confused, then dismayed, to find that girls aren’t really viewed that differently now. OK, they are allowed to be overtly sexual, promiscuous, badly behaved–but focused and organized??? That is still taboo.

The character of Rachel Berry, portrayed by Lea Michelle in the highly popular TV show Glee, is a case in point. Rachel knows from early days that she wants to be a Broadway star. She perfects her craft and lets nothing stand in her way (she never does anything evil to get what she wants, she simply pursues her goal with great determination). Through a series of twists and turns, Rachel does finally become a Broadway star–in a hit musical entitled Jane Austen Sings! Ironically–or not–the actress who plays Rachel has been accused of being stand-offish, egotistical, and all-business. It is said Lea Michelle doesn’t mingle enough with her fans and that she concentrates more on her career than on her co-stars or social life.

Inspiration for the Rachel Berry character was rumored to stem from the 1999 movie Election, starring Matthew Broderick and a very young Reese Witherspoon. A fresh and biting comedy, Election shows the politics behind a small town high school election. Reese plays Tracy Flick, Hillary before there was a Hillary, who has set her mind on being class president. Matthew Broderick is the mild-mannered teacher in opposition to her; mediocre himself, Tracy’s larger than life ambition frightens him. He fixes the election so that his own favorite student, a friendly, athletic but rather stupid boy, wins instead. Tracy, however, has the last triumph. Yes, there is something funny in Tracy’s passion: her mom writes to famous women, including Connie Chung, to get career advice for her daughter; Tracy gets up at 4 am to bake cupcakes iced with the words Pick Flick; and at one point in the film, enraged at having serious competition, she unfairly tears down her opponent’s campaign postures. Though talented and attractive, she has no real friends and is even called the c-word by one of the other (female) characters. A girl with no father, from a poor background, she earns everything she has and is bitterly disappointed when, at her dream school Georgetown, she finds not driven students, but spoiled rich kid stoners and slackers. Tracy is not perfect and she can be ridiculous at times–but aren’t we all? Why is Tracy singled out for hate-laced mocking by peers and faculty alike? Why are they so threatened by her?

Let’s recap: we have a privileged, wealthy, thoughtless male running for president and a goal-driven committed female. He shows up with a lot of rhetoric–and baseball caps–and garners a huge amount of support; she doesn’t curry favor, has proven experience but undisguised intelligence and a blunt manner. We are, of course, talking about the movie Election. Any semblance to any real election is purely coincidental!

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Very Victorian Problems

Brought to you by Jane Eyre. She’s a character in Annabelle Troy’s novel available on Amazon, Jane Eyre Gets Real. Oh, and Charlotte Bronte wrote about her too.

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You spill milk but have used all the rags curling your hair.

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Your doll’s wardrobe costs more than yours.

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You need three people to help you get dressed in the morning–and you don’t like two of them.

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You can only wear all black when someone dies.

 

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Your crinoline doubles as a birdcage.

 

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Your skirt WILL catch on fire. But you can use your cloak to put it out.

 

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Your friends are as beautiful as you are.

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