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


Jane Eyre Gets Real

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.


Very Victorian Valentine’s Problems

You Get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome From Cutting Paper Into Lace

You Receive A Box Of Caramels But You’ve Just Had Your Teeth Pulled

Your Cat Has A Cuter Beau Than You Do

The Sight Of Your Crinoline Drives Him Wild–Sadly, He’s Just Not Your Type

Your Maidenly Blush Turns Out To Be Scarlet Fever

He Gives YOU A Moustache Cup!

Dear Reader, the characters of Jane Eyre Gets Real wish you a delightful Valentine’s Day


Snow White & Blood Red

Hester Prynne, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real, and who was first introduced to the world in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, loves omens and portents. What could be more dramatic than tonight’s Blood Moon? For the first time in over 30 years, a blue moon (the second full moon in a month) has “hooked up” with a supermoon–kind of like the moon’s version of a supermodel–and a total lunar eclipse.

To summon all of the good energy this moon might portend, Hester is sleeping tonight with a bloodstone. Called “heliotrope” (meaning sun-attracting) by the ancient Greeks, the bloodstone is green with red markings, sometimes thought to symbolize the blood of Christ. Not only does it protect against the evil eye, but the bloodstone helps circulation and the flow of energy throughout the body. It’s also been rumored to stop nosebleeds. Also known as plain old jasper, if mixed with honey the bloodstone is said to cure tumors and stop hemorrhaging. Just looking at it, old wives used to say, might prevent eye disease.

On a deeper note, the bloodstone signifies justice and sacrifice. Hester likes to use it to bring mental clarity and courage against bullying–which she really needed with all those finger-pointing Puritans around. Of course, in the old days, she had to be careful to keep her bloodstone well hidden, sewn into a pouch on her dress, lest she be accused of witchcraft on top of adultery.

Enjoy the moon–it won’t happen again until 2037.

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.


Sherlock Holmes & the Mysterious Snowmen of 1511

Sherlock Holmes, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real, may not often play in the snow–but he loves to explain weird events (just another way to unravel a mystery). He is eager to tell a winter-bound modern audience about how in Brussels, in 1511, over one hundred strange, elaborate and downright rude effigies, all made of ice and snow, filled the streets. One looked like a defecating demon, another like a woman being sodomized, yet another portrayed a snow boy urinating into the mouth of a snowman; other frosty figures included mermaids, unicorns, prostitutes, randy nuns and humiliated kings.

What would cause an entire town to revert to such a form of expression–which came to be known as “the miracle of 1511?” Apparently, it was a kind of Belgian Woodstock, a way for the underclass–freezing, starving, and otherwise wretched–to express their inner dissatisfaction with the status quo, letting it all hang out in the form of snow sculpture. We don’t know if drugs, musicians or rampant nudity were also present. Holmes thinks that, given the weather in Brussels at the time, the latter possibility must be ruled out.

Visit us again next week as “Jane Eyre Gets Real Snowman Month” continues!


Fictional Characters Need Presents Too!

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In Jane Eyre Gets Real, by Annabelle Troy, nine characters from classic literature find themselves whisked from their books and placed on a reality TV show set in contemporary NYC. As Christmas is fast approaching, they divulge what they each want most from their Secret Santa (each gift must be $25 or under)

Alice in Wonderland: Game of Phones, a scavenger hunt-type board game designed with tween girls in mind. Now all she needs is an i-phone.

Heidi: Goats Adult Coloring Book by Jennifer E. Garza–a coloring book filled with “stress relieving goat designs.” Though made with grown-ups in mind, there is no doubt Heidi would love this book which features “all types of goat expressions”, each one of suitable for framing. Takes the bahhh right out of bah-humbug!

Speaking of which, David Copperfield would like a ticket to see the new movie “The Man Who Invented Christmas”. Starring Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame) and Christopher Plummer, it’s the tale of how a struggling author, Charles Dickens, must convince his publishers to accept a story revolving around Christmas–then a relatively obscure holiday. With the publication of A Christmas Carol, Dicken’s career took a joyful leap forward–and many concepts he wrote about, like a snowy day filled with celebration, generosity and pudding, became integrally linked with the day.

The list of perfect gifts continues below:

Mr. Darcy: the Paddywax Library Collection Jane Austen-inspired soy candle; burns 60 hours; comes with the scent of gardenias and the Austen quote “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”

Hester Prynne: Brit + Co Embroider a Wallhanging Kit, as Puritans are definitely into DYI.

Dorian Gray: Keep Calm and Focus on Hedonism baseball cap

Sherlock Holmes: Carson Page Magnifier–like a really big magnifying glass but flat

Emma Bovary: Chanel black and white signature gift box; apparently, these can be purchased for $18 on e-bay. If you want to put something from Chanel in the box it will cost considerably more.

Jane Eyre: PINCH Pom-Pom Mini Emergency Kit available at Bloomingdale’s; contains 17 essentials any lady would welcome, such as stain removal pad, lip balm, a safety pin, dental floss and more!

With Christmas only a few days away, all Santas, secret or otherwise, had best get busy.

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War of the Squirrels: Red versus Grey

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As you work in your backyard today or take a walk in the park, you’ll be sure to see squirrels scurrying through the fallen leaves, frantically looking for more acorns to put by for winter. When you see these playful animals, give a thought to the British red squirrel. With a striking auburn coat that is almost vulpine, it is one of the most threatened species in the UK. Their remaining population is down to a mere 120,000; they are outnumbered by grey squirrels at the rate of 66 to 1.

Sherlock Holmes, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real, can easily solve this mystery:

The grey squirrel, imported from the US in 1876, is simply far more aggressive than its red counterpart.  The grey is larger and more adaptable, store body fat more efficiently and enjoy higher natural immunity to disease. Not only do greys push reds out of their nests but they carry a squirrel pox, harmless to them, which is fatal to reds.

Another threat to the beleaguered red: climate change has destroyed the broadleaf and conifer trees they favor. The new trees which are planted tend not to be ideal species for the reds, though we hear the greys love them! When househunting, reds look for Scots Pine & Norway Spruce.

NOTE: it is only the UK red squirrel which is endangered. The type of red squirrel one may see in the US is of a different genus–and quite hardy!

Though historically the UK was the imperial power and the US a rebellious colony, let’s all spare a prayer for the gentle red squirrel. Remember, today’s victor can easily become tomorrow’s underdog!

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Mr. Darcy’s Very Regency Problems

Gentlefolk living during the Regency era (1811-1820) had problems, too. Mr. Darcy, a character in both Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre Gets Real, shares some of his:

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You Dislike How Your Valet Ties Your Cravat


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Bath Has Gotten Much Too Tourist-y

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Too Many Peasants Are Poaching Your Pheasants

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Lord Byron Gets All The Chicks


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Even Sensible Ladies Persist In Wearing Stupid Shoes–Plus They All Seem To Know Your Yearly Income

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Food Is Inevitably Served In Aspic

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You Keep Forgetting To Return This Book To The Library–And It’s 500 Years Overdue

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!

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