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


Annabelle Troy

Battenburg & Ballerinas

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This distinctive type of lace, named Battenburg after Queen Victoria’s son-in-law, was developed in the late 1800s. It was distinctly modern in that it combined machine-made techniques with hand stitching. It quickly became very popular and was used for everything from parasols to kitchen curtains.

For the next five days read The Grace of the Hunchback by Annabelle Troy, the story of an outwardly ethereal but inwardly fractured #ballerina–as unique as Battenburg lace--for free on Amazon.


Very Victorian #RoyalWedding Problems


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#MeghanMarkle and #PrinceHarry may be encountering logistical problems shortly before the Windsor Castle extravaganza scheduled for tomorrow. However, Jane Eyre, a character in Annabelle Troy’s novel Jane Eyre Gets Real, can remember all the way back to 1840 and the day Queen Victoria wed Prince Albert. Here are some of the wedding hoops Victoria had to jump through:

White Wedding Gowns Were Not Yet in Fashion but Victoria Insisted on Wearing White Silk, Trimmed with Lace & Orange Blossoms. Interestingly, White At That Time Symbolized Not Purity But Wealth.

The Groom Was Prettier than the Bride. Victoria Mourned the Fact that Albert Must Think Her Plain and That A Scottish Newspaper Depicted Her As Having “Open, Anxious Nostrils”.

Her Wedding Cake Lingered On: It Was 300 Pounds and a Piece Has Not Only Survived Until Modern Times, It Was Actually Sold Last Week for the Equivalent of $2000 American Dollars.

Like Meghan, Queen Victoria Did Not Have a Father Present to Walk Her Down the Aisle. Because Victoria’s Father was Deceased, She was Escorted by Her Favorite Uncle.

Victoria and Albert’s Honeymoon Only Lasted Two Days and Was Spent, Not Somewhere Exotic, But at Windsor Castle Where the Couple Rode Horses, Took Walks & Hosted Dinner Parties. They Then Returned to Buckingham Palace.

Of course, it Might be Construed that the Honeymoon Lasted All of Victoria’s Life, as she Never Stopped Loving Albert and Reenacted the Wedding Ceremony Numerous Times Throughout their Years Together. During Victoria’s Official Diamond Jubilee She Wore Her Wedding Veil. Long May Love Reign.



What the Bee Sees


As Alice in Wonderland and several other characters in Annabelle Troy’s novel Jane Eyre Gets Real can attest, the Victorians knew their flowers. They had a whole secret language which devolved around them: the pink carnation stood for gratitude, the yellow rose for friendship, violets for youth. If you wanted to express the first flushes of love you might send a bouquet of purple lilacs, while nothing signified consolation better than a red poppy. As you might expect daisies symbolized innocence and sunflowers happiness. But did you know that the iris was code for a message, the jasmine for amiability and the lily for flirtation?

If Victorians saw double meanings behind every blossom, so do bees. A bee looks at a flower in a completely different way than a human. Though people can see a wider variety of color, bees are much more sensitive when it comes to depth of color vision. Purple, violet and blue are the colors most dynamic to bees; they can’t see pure red at all but perceive the reddish wavelengths that create yellow and orange. Bees, due to the construction of their eyes, hone in on iridescence and the individuality of each flower.  For example, in the photo below we see the top image and the bee sees the bottom. The patterns insects can view within the petals, invisible to us, serve as “landing strips” to uncover pollen. Remember: to the bee your garden is a wonderland!


Autistic Or Aristocratic?


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Phyllis Ferguson Bottomer’s So Odd a Mixture: Along the Autistic Spectrum in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was an essay published about 10 years ago; it seeks to show that Mr. Darcy, far from being arrogant or aloof, suffered from a type of high-functioning autism known as Asperger’s Syndrome. After all, he is “continually giving offense”, seems cold and unfeeling, and doesn’t seem to care about, nor even to realize, the emotions of other characters.

Mr. Darcy is also a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy. Darcy, when asked by Miss Troy what he thought of Ms. Bottomer’s analysis, politely replied that it is Sherlock Holmes who has Asperger’s–he, Mr. Darcy, is simply behaving like a gentleman. Though technically not an aristocrat, as he lacks a title, Mr. Darcy’s wealth, education and standing in his community put him on a par with the cream of his society. With his very proper and rigorous behavior, as well as his ability to leave both his own and others’ feelings unacknowledged, he was only being comme il faut.

Darcy is not the only character in the world to be viewed differently when taken out of social context. In a world of single mothers, Hester Prynne’s refusal to name her baby’s father might be seen as independent rather than rebellious. Judged by the standards of today Emma Bovary might be consumer-oriented rather than extravagant and Jane Eyre might seem foolish to have fled from the very married but nonetheless very eligible Mr. Rochester. In short, society’s diagnosis is forever changing where manners, character, and psychology are concerned.

However, common sense remains constant. The advice below, taken from a Regency book of etiquette, published in 1804 and written by John Trusler, is surely still prudent:

“If a man of rank, a superior, make you a visit, and you know of his coming, ’tis a mark of respect to meet him at his coach-door, and having brought him into the best room of the house, reach him a chair, and when he begs you to sit, seat yourself by him, but in a chair without arms.”

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Jane Eyre Runs Rings Around Jane Austen

In Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, #JaneEyre finds herself on a Big Brother-type reality TV show along with #MrDarcy and other literary favorites. Read Jane Eyre Gets Real for free April 6-8. Available on Amazon.


If reading isn’t your thing you might want to shop online at #VictorianTradingCo. Among the many luscious period-reproduction items they carry: a replica of a turquoise ring belonging to #JaneAusten.  (Though not free it’s under $70). It’s Item No. 29846, at

Taking a Peep at Pepys

Hester Prynne, who appears in both The Scarlet Letter and Jane Eyre Gets Real, may have committed adultery–but she never celebrated Easter. Dyeing eggs and hoping to spot a life-size rabbit would have been considered much too pagan for a Puritan gal.  However, as a fortunately literate woman of the 17th century (Puritan men and women were taught to read so they might peruse the Bible), she might have kept a diary–just like her contemporary Samuel Pepys.

Samuel Pepys was Chief Secretary of the Admiralty under King James II. Though we can’t be sure he invented bell bottoms or sailor suits, he did have a lot to do with developing the Royal Navy. His diary, written between the years 1666-1669, was first published in the 19th century. Not only did he witness “great” events such as the Great Fire of London and the return of the Plague, he had a lot of risque flirtations along the way–which is perhaps why his book, intended only to be private, has gone through many reprintings. Pepys, by the way, is pronounced PEEPS with two long ees.

However, he bears no relation to Peeps chicks and/or bunnies!

Annabelle Troy and all of the characters in her novel Jane Eyre Gets Real wish you a happy holiday; may it be filled with joy, flowers, and all the Peeps you can eat–or read!

Wild Irish Roses With Mr. Darcy

Fitzwilliam Darcy, a character created by Jane Austen, also appears in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy.  Though known for his English rectitude, Mr. Darcy has a surprising soft spot for the wild hedge roses of Ireland, also known as briars, dog roses and hip fruit. A hardy bloom that thrives in heavy clay soil, the “dog rose” may be considered common by some. But Mr. Darcy is discerning enough to see the worth behind this vigorous five-petaled blossom, whose foliage gives off a pretty scent when crushed and which attracts many bees and butterflies–and perhaps boys–to the yard.

Mr. Darcy also loves the music of Dolores O Riordan, lead singer of renowned Irish band The Cranberries. O Riordan’s recent, sudden death at the age of 46, shocked the world. Her mezzo-soprano voice was roughened round the edges by a pronounced Limerick accent, and in 2014 she was arrested for air rage on an Aer Lingus flight (an incident that might have been triggered by her bipolar disorder as well as stresses brought on by a failing marriage). Usually, she was noted for her kind personality as well as her lovely voice. Born on September 6, 1971 O Riordan passed away on January 15, 2018 in a London hotel room.

Could Mr. Darcy’s penchant for uncultivated roses as well as Dolores O Riordan’s distinctive vocals be the key to why he married Elizabeth Bennet, and not a more docile, conventional beauty?



Woof! It’s #The Year of the Dog

9 Chinese New Year Instagram captions to help you welcome the Year of the Dog

February 16 ushers in the beginning of a new Chinese year; 2018 is the Year of the Dog. Not to be confused with a 2007 indie film of the same name, Year of the Dog signifies the eleventh position in the Zodiac, right between the Rooster and the Pig. Lucky colors for this year are red, purple and green; the lucky flower is the rose and you can bet on lucky number 3. People born during “dog years” include Winston Churchill (1874), Bill Clinton and Donald Trump (both 1946) as well as Mother Theresa (1910) and Madonna (1958); “human dogs” are known for being hard-working, communicative, loyal, stubborn and brave.

David Copperfield, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, was originally created by Charles Dickens. Dickens, though a born Monkey, was very fond of dogs. Not only did he champion the Battersea Dogs Home, a safe haven for London strays, he owned several canines during his lifetime, including bloodhounds and St. Bernards. Perhaps his favorite pet was a sprightly white spaniel called Timber, given to him in 1843. In his diaries, Dickens mentions Timber far more than he does his own wife, Catherine, or his infant children (of whom he would eventually father 10–Charles that is; Timber apparently died without progeny, having once returned “in disgrace and mortification” from an encounter Dickens had arranged for him with breeding in mind). Timber did, however, excel at jumping over sticks and if coaxed would stand on two legs in a corner of the drawing room.

How to Build a Japanese Snowman

Alice in Wonderland, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, is a teen model, physics student and lover of all things wacky and different. When it snows in New York City she makes a snowman Japanese-style: using two big snowballs only. You got it–two snowballs, not three. The Japanese word for snowman is yuki.  Last year during the famous Sapporo Snow Festival, over 10,000 yuki were built and exhibited–setting a new world’s record for the number of snowmen assembled in one place. Frosty, eat your heart out!

Yuki can also be used as language teaching tools. Alice recently found this fun video on Youtube–at least she hopes it’s fun and not at all like the video in The Ring, originally a spooky Japanese movie remade for Western audiences starring Naomi Watts and a strange girl who keeps creeping out of the TV.


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