Tuesday, July 29, 2014

**Giveaway** Guest Post Syrie James - Jane Austen's First Love- Blog Tour

To get the full tour schedule simply click on the banner
or go to the end of the blog post for a full listing

Welcome to my stop on the Jane Austen's First Love Blog Tour sit back and enjoy a guest post from author Syrie James then stick around to enter her giveaway for one copy of her new novel Jane Austen's First Love, US ONLY.

  • ISBN-13: 9780425271353
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/5/2014
  • Pages: 400


INSPIRED BY ACTUAL EVENTS   Fifteen-year-old Jane Austen dreams of three things: doing something useful, writing something worthy, and falling madly in love. When she visits her brother in Kent to celebrate his engagement, she meets wealthy, devilishly handsome Edward Taylor—a fascinating young man who is truly worthy of her affections.

The Giveaway is for one copy of
Jane Austen's First Love By Syrie James
Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter
Good Luck!

Syrie it's all yours!!!

Jane and the Magic of Midsummer

Did you know that in many countries, Midsummer’s Eve is thought to be the most magical day of the year? I learned about this and a great many fascinating Midsummer traditions while researching my novel Jane Austen’s First Love. 
(Read on for an exclusive excerpt from the novel, about a very special moment on Jane’s 
midsummer’s eve in 1791!)

Although Midsummer is originally an ancient pagan holiday to celebrate the astronomical summer solstice (the longest day of the year), in Christianity it’s associated with the birth date of John the Baptist and is observed on his feast day, June 24, with festivities beginning the evening before, known as St. John’s Eve or Midsummer’s Eve.

The holiday is still actively celebrated in dozens of countries across Europe, as well as Russia, Ireland, and parts of the United Kingdom and North and South America. In some countries, Sweden in particular, Midsummer’s Eve is considered the most important holiday of the year apart from Christmas. There, it is celebrated by raising a maypole covered in greens and flowers, and dancing around it to traditional music while singing, and feasting on herring, potatoes, and strawberries.

Such feasting and merrymaking are a widespread tradition on Midsummer’s Eve, accompanied in nearly every country by the lighting of bonfires. In olden days, the bonfire was thought to protect against powerful, evil spirits and witches, who were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southward again. The bigger the fire, it was said, the further the mischievous spirits would stay away.

The 13th-century monk of Winchcomb in Gloucestershire, England, who compiled a book of sermons for the feast days, recorded that on St. John's Eve, fires were lit to drive away dragons, which were thought to be abroad poisoning springs and wells.

In some countries, people dance barefoot on the bonfire’s smouldering embers, or jump over the flames. Leaping successfully over a Midsummer’s Eve bonfire is considered by many as a way to guarantee prosperity and avoid bad luck. In Spain, a person leaps three times while crying ‘meigas fora,’ which means ‘witches off!’ In Austria, midsummer is celebrated with a spectacular procession of ships down the Danube River just north of Vienna, as fireworks erupt from the banks, the hill tops, and castles, while bonfires blaze.

Midsummer has long been thought to be one of the times of the year when magic is strongest, and there are many traditions and rituals that involve the night’s power to heal or to look into the future. In Bulgaria, it is said that anyone staying up and seeing the sunrise will be healthy throughout the year. A Swedish tradition holds that if an unmarried woman collects bouquets of seven or nine different flowers and places them under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband. It was once believed that herbs picked at Midsummer were extremely potent, and water from springs had curative powers. Some believe that golden-flowered midsummer plants, such as St. John’s-wort and calendula, have miraculous healing powers if picked on Midsummer’s Eve. 

Another ancient tradition claims that that any rose picked on Midsummer’s Eve or Midsummer’s Day will keep fresh until Christmas, and that that at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve, if young girls scatter rose petals (called “rose leaves” at the time) and repeat an ancient saying, the next day their true love will visit them. 


 The saying goes as follows:

Rose leaves, rose leaves, rose leaves I strew;

He that will love me, come after me now.

I found these rituals and traditions so fascinating that I included some of them in my novel Jane Austen’s First Love. And now for a little excerpt from the book...

It is June 23, 1791. Young Jane is staying at Goodnestone Park in Kent, home of the Bridges family, where she’s fallen madly in love with the remarkable Edward Taylor. Several weeks of parties and events have culminated with a merry Midsummer’s Eve bonfire attended by a sizeable crowd. Jane finds herself alone on the lawn for a moment just after midnight, when Edward Taylor finds her. They share a lovely, intimate conversation which concludes as follows:

Our eyes met and held in the moonlight. “I wish we could stay up until sunrise, like the Bulgarians,” said Edward. “I feel that I could talk to you all night.”

“I feel the same.”

What happened next took me by surprise. He leaned in close—very close—and said softly: “We proved the ancient Midsummer’s Eve legend to-night, did we not, Miss Jane?”

His nearness took my breath away; I could barely speak. “What do you mean?”

“Did not you toss the rose petals and recite the saying?”

I nodded.

“Was it me you hoped would come after you?”

A blush warmed my cheeks, silently admitting to the truth of his observations. He smiled.

“Well: it is Midsummer’s Day, and here I am, answering your call.” So saying, he gently kissed my cheek. Drawing back slightly, he paused for a long moment, looking at me. Then he turned and strode away across the grass.

I hardly know how I returned to the fire; I was in too dazed and blissful a state to notice the pain in my ankle, or to be aware of anything except the memory of Edward Taylor’s lips brushing against my skin…

The Jane Austen's First Love Book Tour Schedule

Monday July 28: Austenprose

Tuesday July 29: "Jane Austen and the Magic of Midsummer"
+ giveaway at The Reading Frenzy

Wednesday July 30: My Jane Austen Book Club

Friday August 1: Joyous Reads

Monday August 4: Laura’s Reviews

Tuesday August 5: Kinx’s Book Nook

Wednesday Aug. 6: Savvy Verse & Wit

Thursday Aug. 7: The Calico Critic

Friday Aug. 8: Diary of an Eccentric

Monday Aug. 11: The Paige Turner

Tuesday Aug. 12: More Agreeably Engaged

Wednesday Aug. 13: Peace Love Books

Thursday Aug. 14: Fly High

Friday Aug. 15: So Little Time

Monday Aug. 18: Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light

Tuesday Aug. 19: Impressions in Ink

Wednesday Aug. 20: Book Babe

Thursday Aug. 21: Royal Reviews

CONNECT WITH SYRIE - Website - Facebook - YouTube - Goodreads

Syrie James is the author of six critically acclaimed novels, including the international bestseller The Lost Memoirs of Jane AustenThe Missing Manuscript of Jane AustenThe Secret Diaries of Charlotte BrontëNocturneDracula, My Love; and Forbidden. Her books have been translated into eighteen foreign languages. She lives with her family in Los Angeles, California. 

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  1. Jane Austen has captured and captivated with her novels. The lifestyle that is fascinating and continues to interest me for its uniqueness and the era which is wonderful to explore and learn about. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. This sounds so good. I am a huge Austen fan but sadly don't know a ton about her other than what most people do. I would love to read this I think.
    Fabulous guest post, there was a lot in there I didn't know about the traditions for MidSummer's Eve.

  3. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Debbie! Edward Taylor was a real (and truly amazing) young man who Jane Austen adored in her youth. It was such fun to bring their relationship to life. You can learn more about the inspiration for the novel at http://tinyurl.com/lbkqyqy and www.syriejames.com. Happy summer!

    1. Syrie thanks for the link it always makes the fiction we love more real when we learn intimate background of the authors.

  4. I am looking so forward to this book. I love all your work.

  5. I love the traditions around midsummer's eve. Thanks for sharing and anything Austin is a favorite!

    1. Me too Kim, it's fascinating all the Christian traditions that were brought over from the Pagan beliefs

  6. Congratulations Syrie!
    Miss Austen was an amazing writer. Her characters really come to life and I think that’s what has made them so timeless.

    1. Hi NovElla, thanks for the comment and yes she was amazing!

  7. Can't wait to get my hands on this book. Thanks for being part of the blog hop.

    1. My copy is warming the top of my tbr pile Christy :)
      thanks for stopping by

  8. I so enjoyed all your comments--thank you all for posting, tweeting, facebooking, etc.

    It was great fun learning and writing about Midsummer's Eve in this novel. If you liked the brief excerpt, you can read a longer one (the exciting scene in which Jane Austen meets Edward Taylor) at: http://austenprose.com/2014/06/30/jane-austens-first-love-by-syrie-james-preview-and-exclusive-excerpt/

  9. This isn't the kind of book I gravitate toward honestly, but it actually does sound pretty interesting!

    1. Wow thanks Twistedy but it's exactly how I feel too!

  10. I love reading about these kids of traditions...even if they are a bit pagan.

  11. I fell in love with Jane Austen's writing when I began reading Emma. All her stories and characters are timeless.

    1. Hi Kelli, I loved Emma. thanks for your comment

    2. Emma is one of my favorite novels, too. I thought it'd be fun, in Jane Austen's First Love, to show the teenaged Jane trying a little matchmaking of her own... with disastrous results. It's all happens very differently from Emma, but I like to think that Jane might have had just such an experience.

  12. How interesting! I love hearing about different traditions and how each country does them a little different.

    1. it was a really fun guest post, Thanks Anna!

    2. It so happens that Edward Taylor's birthday was June 24--Midsummer's Day! When I learned that, I felt as though I'd been given a little gift--an opportunity to have multiple celebrations in my novel which centered on the traditions of Midsummer. Jane also suggests that the young people gathered at Goodnestone Park put on a theatrical performance, with a title and theme most appropriate for the occasion. Can you guess which play she chooses? (Hint: Shakespeare.) :)

    3. I find the premise of this story intriguing. I am eagerly anticipating reading this.

    4. Hi Deborah Ann I hope you LOVE it!

  13. Syrie I love your books! I have been anticipating this release since it was announced

    1. Good to see one of Syrie's tried and true fans here! Thanks for posting Patricia!

  14. Very informative post about the rituals of Midsummer eve. The bonfire is a ritual shared by many every weekend and all summer long.