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


Annabelle Troy

Saints & Souls

We all know what Halloween is–or think we do;  traditionally Oct. 31st, called All Hallows’ Eve, was an especially powerful day to ask for God’s blessing against the forces of Satan. People dressed in costume, not to get candy, but to emulate good and evil spirits and to act out the eternal battle between them.

Everyone’s favorite Puritan Hester Prynne, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, will now explain the difference between All Souls and All Saints Days.

All Saints Day falls on November 1st.  It’s the day when Catholics offer prayers for souls in Purgatory. Also, people should strive extra-hard to act and think perfectly on this day, to emulate the saints. If you’ve forgotten to that, there’s always next year!

All Souls Day, November 2nd, is a day to remember the departed, perhaps to visit their graves and leave them candles, flowers, and food. You may also want to pour holy water or milk over their tombstones.

Of course, being Puritan, Hester doesn’t celebrate any of these days. She will spend the autumn carding wool, baking beans and reading Hansel and Gretel Inside the House of Candy, free on Amazon until November 5th. (Puritan women were exceptionally well-educated so that they could enjoy the Bible even when not in church; though fiction was forbidden, Hester will make an exception for Annabelle Troy.)


Bats in Your Belfry?

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Being told you had bats in your belfry originally signified that you were a crazy or eccentric person. The belfry was a church tower i.e. the head; bats were erratic or wildly swooping ideas.  Leaving metaphor aside, it is entirely possible to have bats, even hundreds of them, living in your attic or elsewhere in your house and have no notion that they’re there.  Here are the top 10 signs you might be sharing your home with winged mice, courtesy of Humane Wildlife Removal:

“(1) Seeing bats flying around your home at sunrise or sunset (2) Smell the scent of ammonia in or around your home (3) Smell a general pungent odour in or around your home (4) Seeing dead bats around your home (5) Seeing black oil stains/resin around cracks or openings into your home (6) Having a bat fly into your home (7) Strange scratching and fluttering sounds in your attic (8) Hearing high pitched squeaks or fluttering sounds at night (9) Seeing bat droppings (guano) around your property (10) Seeing these signs in out-houses, sheds, and garages.”

To remove bats from your property, you may choose to call Humane Wildlife Removal services or other pest control outfits. That is assuming you WANT to get rid of them. As Halloween approaches, you may just prefer to see if they morph into vampires.  “Some men, like bats or owls, have better eyes for the darkness than for the light,” wrote Charles Dickens in The Pickwick Papers. Dickens went on to create David Copperfield, who also appears in Annabelle Troy’s novel Jane Eyre Gets Real. Dickens himself was CHIROPTOPHOBIC–inflicted with the fear of bats.

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“A” My Name is Alice

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is expecting her third child. Again she is suffering from Hyperemesis gravidarum, a very severe form of morning sickness which also affected–and killed–Charlotte Bronte, due to ensuing dehydration.

The third royal child is rumored to be a girl and one name supposedly chosen for her is “Alice”. (Alice in Wonderland, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real, was delighted to hear that Kate Middleton did her university thesis on Lewis Carroll’s classic work.) Since Alice is only a possibility for the little princess’s name, other characters in Jane Eyre Gets Real share their choices below, reflecting what was popular in their eras:

Mr. Darcy: Araminta 

Hester: Amity

Sherlock Holmes: Arabella

Madame Bovary: Amandine

David Copperfield: Agnes

Heidi: Adelheid (fittingly, as it means “noble”–and is Heidi’s own given name)

Dorian Gray: Athena

Jane Eyre: Agatha (from the Greek word meaning “good”)

What is your own favorite “royal” baby name starting with the letter A? You may choose Annabelle, if you like!







When Hope Despairs, Turn to Fiction

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If you are feeling in despair, as the Bronte sisters–and brother Branwell–almost always were, reading is a good way out. Emily Bronte can attest to the power of the imagination, and so she did, in the poem at the end of this post (reprinted by kind permission of her spirit). If writing poetry on the moors isn’t your thing, read Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, free on Amazon from Sept 16-Sept 20th. Happy Imagination!

To Imagination by Emily Bronte

When weary with the long day’s care,
And earthly change from pain to pain,
And lost, and ready to despair,
Thy kind voice calls me back again:
Oh, my true friend! I am not lone,
While then canst speak with such a tone!

So hopeless is the world without;
The world within I doubly prize;
Thy world, where guile, and hate, and doubt,
And cold suspicion never rise;
Where thou, and I, and Liberty,
Have undisputed sovereignty.

What matters it, that all around
Danger, and guilt, and darkness lie,
If but within our bosom’s bound
We hold a bright, untroubled sky,
Warm with ten thousand mingled rays
Of suns that know no winter days?

Reason, indeed, may oft complain
For Nature’s sad reality,
And tell the suffering heart how vain
Its cherished dreams must always be;
And Truth may rudely trample down
The flowers of Fancy, newly-blown:

But thou art ever there, to bring
The hovering vision back, and breathe
New glories o’er the blighted spring,
And call a lovelier Life from Death.
And whisper, with a voice divine,
Of real worlds, as bright as thine.

I trust not to thy phantom bliss,
Yet, still, in evening’s quiet hour,
With never-failing thankfulness,
I welcome thee, Benignant Power;
Sure solacer of human cares,
And sweeter hope, when hope despairs!

Queen Victoria’s Tramp Stamp


OK, Queen Victoria getting a tattoo may be a rumor started by Annabelle Troy…BUT, Alice in Wonderland, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real, knows that tattooing was all the rage amongst grand ladies in the 1880s. The practice was first popularized in high society when that playboy trend setter the Prince of Wales got a cross tattoo in Jerusalem (Alice is not sure where on the body); his sons copied the cross design on their own flesh. Thus the rage for tattoos was born. After Czar Nicholas II. and Kaiser Wilhelm succumbed, aristocratic women started to get designs from the tattoo machine as well. Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Jennie, had a serpent tattoo encircling her wrist–which she covered in public with bracelets. To have ornate designs inscribed on the skin, which only husbands or lovers would see, was definitely a Victorian lady’s well-guarded secret.

Late in the 19th century “tattooed ladies”,  sometimes inked from head to slipper, became a circus staple. These ladies were definitely NOT aristocrats. Eventually, when the rage for tattooing spread to the lower classes,  along with methods for procuring them on the cheap, “real” ladies began to forego them. If Kate Middleton has one, she’s not telling…though she does have “permanent makeup”–liner etched onto her eyes so that she will always look presentable. Still, it’s no serpent.





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?





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!”


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