It All Comes Back To Jane Austen

Welcome to our new home! We expect our new home to be ever more comfortable. I watch a lot of HGTV – House Hunters, Property Virgins, Property Brothers, Love It or List It – so I see lots of new homes. Let me assure you, the Riskies have moved in to space that is more “open concept” and all of our appliances are stainless steel and our counters, granite….Or the Regency equivalent.

And who better to invite to our new home but Jane Austen, who will stay with us until her birthday December 16. In honor of Jane, we thought we would each take turns discussing What Jane Austen Has Meant to Me.

There will be prizes – including a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card! My prize today is the British Library Writers Lives edition of Jane Austen by Deirdre Le Faye. Eventually we will be using Rafflecopter for giveaways, but I don’t quite know how yet, so I’ll randomly choose a winner from the comments on this blog.

I’ve mentioned before that I came late to loving the Regency, not until I started writing in 1995. I’d read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility in some English class along the way, but it wasn’t until my writing pals Helen and Julie introduced me to Georgette Heyer and Regency Romance (the Signets and Zebras) that I began to really fall in love with the Regency.

One event clinched it.

Helen, Julie, and I went to see the 1995 Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds movie Persuasion, which had been a BBC TV production in the UK but released in theaters in the US. It was this movie adaptation of a Jane Austen book I’d never read that made the Regency come alive for me.

From the country house of the Elliots to the chic rooms in Bath to the simple seaside abode of the Harviles, the Regency world the move depicted seemed so real to me. Maybe it was because the whole movie was filmed on location, but, even so, the details were not prettied up for film. The livery of the Elliot footmen looked a bit shabby, as it would have for a baronet whose fortunes were dwindling. Skirts and boots got muddy during country walks, as they would have in a time without paved walkways. The dancing was boisterous but not polished and practices, as professional dancers would have performed. The hero and heroine were attractive but not “beautiful people.”

The Regency people in the story also acted in ways I believed were true to the period. The emphasis on status, on honor and obligation seemed genuine to me. There were bored privileged young women, proud impoverished ones, scheming social climbers. There were also “normal” people, like the Musgroves and the Crofts. And Ann and Wentworth, of course.

Jane Austen may have been exploring the role of persuasion throughout the story, but she also crafted a lovely, satisfying romance, with familiar Romance themes. Persuasion is both a reunion story (Ann and Captain Wentworth were once betrothed) and a Cinderella story (Ann, the put-upon sister finds great love in the end). The conflict was poignant – Ann regretted breaking her betrothal to Wentworth; Wentworth remained bitter that she threw him off in order to seek better prospects.

There’s a lovely villain in Ann’s cousin, William Elliot, who becomes intent on courting her, and more complications ensue when Wentworth considers himself obligated to marry the injured Louisa Musgrove. The steps Ann and Wentworth each make to find their way back to each other are subtle, but very satisfying and very typical of romance novels of today.

After seeing the movie, I had a picture in my mind that was my Regency. I read Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice and all of Jane Austen’s books, even Lady Susan. The social attitudes from Jane Austen’s books seeped into my brain, as did the language, the rhythm of the conversation.

So you might say Jane Austen helped create my Regency world!

Have you seen this version of Persuasion? What do you think of it? Comment for a chance to win today’s contest.

Holiday Giveaway! And also remember to enter the Harlequin Historical Authors Holiday Giveaway. Today’s day is Sarah Mallory’s. For more details, go here.

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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26 Responses to It All Comes Back To Jane Austen

  1. Linda B says:

    I love this version of Persuasion. Wentworth is wonderfully cast.

  2. Elena Greene says:

    I love that version of Persuasion and we are very fortunate that it inspired you to write Regency romance!

  3. I haven’t seen any version of Persuasion yet, but you’ve inspired me to move it to the top of the list. Off to Netflix!

  4. Susan D says:

    This is my favorite version. The newer one with Rupert Penry-Jones was OK, but as far as I’m concerned, you can’t beat the awkward glances and gestures Capt. Wentworth makes when he first sees Anne!

    I am a late bloomer to Jane Austen. First became interested after watching the A&E version of P&P. After that, there was no looking back :)

  5. HJ says:

    I have seen this version, and I like it. I also like the one withRupert P-J. Persuasion is my favourite Austen, and I love visiting both Bath and Lyme Regis and tracing the routes described in the book.

    Welcome to your new home!

  6. I posted a messager to FB. I have trouble figuring out how all these convenient systems fit together. Anybody else agree? What I said was that I love best the actual novels — better than any adaptaion. Though I will add here that I do picture Darcy as Colin Firth now, even when I read an old version with yellowing pages of P&P. Great idea for a week’s worth of posts!!

  7. This is the BEST EVER Austen film adaptation (according to me). I also love the music in it–technically not period appropriate although it’s played on a fortepiano. And the kiss scene after it briefly turns into a Fellini movie just makes me swoon.

  8. Jane George says:

    Ain’t it the truth. Ain’t it the truth.

    Le sigh.

  9. The film version of Persuasion with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds is still one of my favorite Jane Austen adaptations. I think it captured the spirit of the book much more so than the Sally Hawkins/Rupert Penry-Jones version. Congratulations on your new abode! It looks lovely. Who did the new design?

  10. Kathleen Henderson says:

    Like the new digs! Ciaran Hinds is the face of Captain Wentworth for me;I just loved this version.

  11. Jo's Daughter says:

    I too have seen this version and I rather love this mature Wentworth.

  12. Tammy Lever says:

    This is the only adaptation of Persuasion (compared to 4 versions of Pride and Prejudice) that I own and I adore it. I watch it at least once a week. I love Cirian Hinds in this movie! He is a perfect Wentworth and I just love his chemistry with Amanda Root. I love that their romance was one that was meant to be despite time, influence, circumstances and anything else that was thrown in their path.

  13. SusannahC says:

    This version of Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen movie. Persuasion is also my favorite Jane Austen novel most days. Occasionally, Sense and Sensibility eclipses it, but never for long.

  14. librarypat says:

    I have a tape of this movie, but have yet to view it. I have heard good things about it and really should. I am having surgery in January, nothing serious, but it will be the perfect time to sit around and watch Persuasion, Emma, my three versions of Pride and Prejudice (I have only seen the Colin Ferth version), and I might have Sense And Sensibility hidden on the shelf.. I did read early Regencies, but appreciated the period more after seeing several period films. If done well, they give a good feel for the Regency life and times.

  15. ✿Terri C. says:

    Sadly, I’ve not seen any version of it.

  16. Lesley A. says:

    Maybe I’ll be chased off the site, but I must confess, my favorite version is the recent one… Although I enjoyed both versions of Persuasion — for staying true to the novel and excellent acting and translation to film, the Ciarian Hinds version wins…– but for pure, unabashed period romance enjoyment and eye candy…Rupert Penry-Jones for me, ladies!!!

    • diane says:

      Lesley, you won’t be chased off this site! One of my good friends HATES the Ciarian Hinds version and she’s still my friend.

      Rupert Penry-Jones is quite an asset to that version, I agree.

  17. Stella says:

    Thanks for the lovely post. I’ll be watching this version after the holidays!

  18. Maureen says:

    Congratulations on the new home. It is lovely and it’s great that it debuted with your Jane Austen celebration. I watched the version you were talking about and I did like it very much.

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