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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

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Annabelle Troy

When Hope Despairs, Turn to Fiction

Image result for pictures of moors in england

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!

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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!”

 

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.

Who Needs A Flying Car?

Last week Google co-founder Larry Page debuted his flying car. The vehicle, which can be driven vertically over open water, is rather unimaginatively called The Flyer, and is expected to be on the market by the end of 2017. Operators will NOT need a pilot’s license though they may want to keep a lifejacket handy.

As far as David Copperfield (the Dickens character featured in Annabelle Troy’s Jane Eyre Gets Real) is concerned, Larry Page can keep the d–d contraption! Copperfield fondly recalls the carriages of his youth. There’s the popular phaeton, the sports car of its day, a light open vehicle with a folding top, four snazzy wheels, and a seat, reached by a ladder, on top of jaunty springs. Those wishing a more elegant ride might try a victoria, introduced to England from France in 1869 by that rebel the Prince of Wales. He named it in honor of his mother. Low and light, it boasts a forward-facing, open seat for two–good way to show off your outfits–as well as a graceful shape. And there’s always the brougham, not unlike a victoria, but with an enclosed passenger seat, for those days when you’re not feeling good about yourself, or if you only have one horse available.

Of course, if you want the opinion of Mr. Darcy, the only way to get about town is on the back of a thoroughbred. Never fly when you can ride.

 

 

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