Monday, August 18, 2014

Guest Post Marilyn Brant-+ my review of Pride Prejudice and the Perfect Bet

Please welcome a personal friend and favorite author Marilyn Brant. She's a true blue Jane Austen fan, has written Austen inspired novels and I've invited her here today to guest post about Jane Austen.
So please enjoy her guest post and then my review of her latest madcap Austen inspired romance, Pride Prejudice and the Perfect Bet, a sequel to Pride Prejudice and the Perfect Match.
Marilyn, it's all yours!!!

The Jane Austen in My Mind
I have a history of “hearing” Jane Austen’s voice in my head. Not literally, of course—although my heroine in ACCORDING TO JANE experienced exactly that! For me, it’s more like the way you hear the wise words of a beloved aunt. Someone who just has a knack for seeing people clearly and getting to the heart of an issue.

I’ll admit, the Austen-esque commentary that comes to mind has been the source of not only literary inspiration but, also, warnings in real life. For example, I found myself remembering Elizabeth Bennet’s realization in Pride and Prejudice that the cunning Mr. Wickham had revealed too much information too early in their relationship with his unfounded complaints about Mr. Darcy. At the time that these slanderous indiscretions occurred in the novel, Elizabeth had been eager to join in venting about the seemingly cold and mean hero of the story. But, later, when faced with facts she hadn’t known early on, she couldn’t help but recognized the impropriety of Wickham’s declarations. How he’d spoken them only when there was no chance Darcy could overhear or when anyone in a position to defend the stately hero would be able to do so.

In the real world, I met a flesh-n-blood Mr. Wickham once. He was a school district administrator back when I was a third grade teacher. At first, everyone was buzzing about how charming and handsome he was but, thanks to Jane Austen, I was put on my guard as soon as we met. Why? Because he started badmouthing a female administrator behind her back during a private meeting on the very first day I talked to this guy! As he was one of my supervisors, I’d been asked to speak with him alone, and there was paperwork that we both needed to complete at the start of the new term. We didn’t know each other at all and, yet, ten minutes into our conversation he was “confiding” in me his contempt for a smart, hardworking lady administrator that I’d worked with for four years. He’d apparently already had a run-in with her and disagreed with one of her policies, but to rant about it to me was jaw-droppingly unprofessional behavior, and it immediately set off all sorts of warning bells in my brain. “A real Mr. Wickham!” I could almost hear Austen’s voice in my head exclaim. “Tread carefully…” And, oh, I did. Soon, negative story after negative story emerged about this new administer dude and, I’m happy to say, he was fired after only one year.

In my own novels, I don’t use the original characters from Austen’s masterpieces. All of my characters are modern and most are Americans. They may have a smattering of qualities drawn from their British literary inspirations and, often, I’ll use some of those names as an honorary nod to our brilliant Jane. But, to me, being inspired by Jane Austen takes the form of theme and the spirit of characterization—not a direct retelling of her books. It is the relevance of her overarching exploration of concepts like “pride,” “prejudice,” “sense,” “sensibility,” and “persuasion” that compel me most as an author. And, in my opinion, both the drama and the comedy of her work stem from her acute observations of human behavior. To me, they’re as timely now as they were during the Regency and Georgian eras.

In my newest novel, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet, the heroine of the story, Jane Henderson, is named after Elizabeth Bennet’s sweet, very nice, elder sister (Jane Bennet) in the original Pride and Prejudice. My novel’s hero, Bingley McNamara, got his name from Charles Bingley, the social, amiable best friend of the famed Mr. Darcy. Like her literary namesake, my contemporary Jane suffers from being labeled “too nice” by most everyone, and she needs to learn not to hide behind that façade. Bingley, somewhat like the Austen original, is seen as too fickle in his attentions to women. He needs to step out from behind his mask of casual socialness and dating, so he can get real with the lady he really wants in his life.

I’m not sure what Jane Austen herself would say about my stories and my characters, but the voice that comes to mind tells me that she’d be glad so many readers and writers around the world recognize her genius and that—200+ years later—we can appreciate the universality and timelessness of her literary creations. Maybe even by choosing to interlace them with our own.

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit you and your readers here today, Deb!! It’s always a treat to be a guest on The Reading Frenzy :) . 

Marilyn has a brand new beautiful website so be sure and check it out!
CONNECT WITH MARILYN - Website - Facebook - Twitter

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My review of Pride Prejudice and the Perfect Bet
After a quick and heated make out session it becomes painfully obvious that Bingley McNamara and Jane Henderson are more apt to face each other in a boxing ring than being lip-locked again. But for the sake of Janes best friend and Bingleys cousin whore madly in love and just married they know theyll have to make nice and make amends. Begrudgingly thrown together to help care for the honeymooning couples young son has given them ample opportunities to banter and spar but has also shown them a kinder gentler side to each other and just like that the possibilities and the passion arise.

Brants delightful frienemies romance is funny, touching and intense. Her dialogue is an enjoyable mix of modern casual and Austenesque formal, and her visual narrative brings the people places and scenes to life. Her sarcastic/meanish banter between her stars had me wondering how shed pull this romance off only to be pleasantly surprised when she did. Her characters run the gamut from quirky, funny to irritating and her little tyke co-star steals every scene.

And from my archives here's my review of Marilyn's novel Pride Prejudice and the Perfect Match

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Dr. Will Darcy and Beth Bennett’s initial meeting through Lady Catherine’s Love Match website is based on lies and subterfuge. To get funding for his clinic he needs to fulfill a bet and have a minimum of five dates with a woman. She needs a specific research subject type to complete her degree in social work. While he’s lying to get his money and she’s lying about who she really is there’s just something that attracts them to each other.
The bottom line they’re all wrong for each other. But their hearts may have other ideas.

What could be better on the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice than to have an Austen-esque tribute where a Darcy and a Bennett are the stars of the tale. Who better to bring it than a master storyteller and Austen lover Marilyn Brant who’s Darcy and Bennett fill the pages with their own lies, betrayals and social differences, who’s comedy of errors is a how-not-to find the perfect match that will entertain readers with their personalities and their antics.
Thanks Marilyn for yet another great story and wonderful characters.

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  1. Deb,
    It's such a pleasure to be a guest of yours!
    Thank you, as always, for your tremendous kindness and support, for your lovely reviews of both novels in this series, and for being such a gracious host ;).

    1. Marilyn I'm so happy to turn over the blog to you today and I love your personal Jane Austen story :)

  2. I real life Mr. Wickham? Blah, glad good old Aunt Jane could steer her clear of him!

    I loved this post. Being a huge Austen fan, I need to check these books out!

    1. Kindlemom,
      Yeah, it's really true. The guy even looked a bit like the Wickham in the '95 version of P&P :).
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Hope you'll enjoy the stories!!

    2. Hi Kindlemom. I know you'll love them and click on the Amazon links they're only $3.99 right now !

  3. I'm reading this post after I've begun watching Death comes to Pemberley, it seems Jane Austen inspires many authors, which is a proof of her true talent :)

    1. Hi Red and yes she does seem to inspire many authors

    2. Red Iza, yes! Jane Austen is just that kind of writer, I think. She's been a source of inspiration and admiration to so many of us, regardless of nationality or literary genre ;).

  4. Oh my yes. I have met people like that that made my jaw drop as well. lol The whispers in your mind can so be helpful for things like that. lol

    Enjoyed the post ladies :)

    1. Anna, thank you!!
      I'm glad I'm not alone in hearing the whispers of the wise in my head, LOL.
      So glad you stopped by ;).

  5. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books, but I've never read any stories inspired on her books, sounds like I should give them a shot.
    Great post :)

    1. Loupe,
      Pride and Prejudice is my favorite novel...ever. I read a lot, so that's saying something!! Glad to meet someone else who's a big Austen fan!! I hope, if you pick up one of my books, that you'll enjoy reading a modern take on the characters and themes ;).

    2. thanks Loupe I'm excited to know how you like them

  6. Oh this was a fun post and yes we have all met people like that. I tend to bite my tongue and hold conversations in my head about them. I love Austen and will check out Brant's books. Thanks so much Mary and Debbie!

    1. Thank you Kim, I think you'll love A Summer In Europe by Marilyn too!

    2. Kim - thank you!! So glad you liked the post...and I'm also glad I'm not the only who has conversations in my head, LOL! Thanks for taking the time to comment and to check out my novels ;).

      And, Deb, *Hug!!* The book club discussion we had together for that story remains one of my all-time favorite book chats... XOXO

    3. Oh Marilyn it was definitely my Favorite of all time. What fun we had traveling Europe with the S&M group ;)
      yeah take that reading fanatics, you'll have to get the book to find out what I'm talking about