Friday, April 16, 2010

First Impressions and Love and Friendship Giveaway

"The haste with which he came to our relief so soon after the receipt of our Note, spoke so greatly in his favour that I hesitated not to pronounce him at first sight, a tender and sympathetic Friend. Alas! He little deserved the name - for though he told us that he was much concerned at our Misfortunes, yet by his own account it appeared that the perusal of them, had neither drawn from him a single sigh, nor induced him to bestow one curse on our vindictive stars -."   
                                                              - Love & Friendship, Letter the 12th               

How fickle the fancies of a silly young lady! One of my favorite things about Austen is how she manipulates appearances, first impressions, and prejudices to expose the hubris of humans. Yet no matter how much she presents Mrs. Norris as loathsome and Mrs. Elton as despicable, I can't help but still love them, and therefore sympathize with them; it is one of many mind-boggling facets of Austen's geniuis. This is why I love sequels of redemption, like Lydia Bennet's Story and Mercy's Embrace. The "What If?" genre also provide plenty of room for redemption, and I engaged in a rather excessive amount of it in First Impressions. Even those who suffer my sorry fates are arguably better off than Austen left them.

As I toyed with Austen's plot - kind of like walking up to an in flux chess board, temporarily abandoned by the players, and moving all the pieces when no one is looking - one character who I was very kindly to was Mr. Collins. Yes, he's a buffoon, but he can't help that! If only he did not so importune Elizabeth with his obnoxious attentions and saddle poor Charlotte to him for life, he wouldn't be so bad, would he? So I redirected him towards another quarter. For a chance to win this week's giveaways, where does Mr. Collins' attention turn? For a second chance to win, who helps him turn it? Two books are on offer: the first, a brand new copy of First Impressions, and the second, my own gently used copy of Austen's Love and Friendship and Other Early Works, with an introduction by Sarah S. G. Frantz. This volume includes Lesley Castle, The History of England, and A Collection of Letters, all essential juvenalia. Please leave your comments, with email addresses, before 12:00 AM EST Wednesday, the 21st of April. This giveaway is open internationally. Good luck!


  1. I think Mr. Collins' attention turns on Mary Bennet, who seems the only one that might be happy of such attention. And Lady Catherine de Bourgh is the only one (in my own opinion) who can influence him on such a decision.

    Thank you!

    fabgiada @

  2. I like Mr. Collins, so I am very happy to hear that he finds a happier ending in your novel. I'm going to guess that Mr. Collin's turned his attention towards Mary Bennet. Perhaps he finds her a sympathetic and attentive listener. And this may be way off, but I'll guess that it is Mrs. Bennet who points him in that direction.

    I have never read Love and Friendship before. What a lovely cover!

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  3. Giada & Meredith - Now why did I not expect a chorus of Mary Bennet's on this one? Might it have anything to do with the book description on Amamzon? But you have proposed two different agents of influence on the man: Lady Catherine certainly has influence over him, but Mrs. Bennet should not be underestimated. She has been known to go to extraordinary lengths, like sending Jane to Netherfield in the rain, if she thinks her efforts will result in a marriage. There are other options, but these two formidble ladies are very good guesses.

    Good luck to you both!

  4. I started reading your First Impressions last night! What can I say? I couldn't stop! And I've re-started this morning while having breakfast... No comments yet. You'll have a proper review.I'm neglecting the Dumas I had started to read you! Not blaming, not complaining, just ...DELIGHTED!!!
    Now, Love & Friendship and Juvenalia is not in my library yet. What if ...I ask to be entered in your giveaway?
    Thanks for this opportunity, Alexa.
    Maria Grazia

  5. No problem, Maria. You are in. I'm glad you are enjoying the book! Dumas neglected for me?! I am honored. I can't wait to learn what you think when you finish!

  6. Oh, First Impressions is going to be sooo interesting to read - I am curious to see what your spin is going to be. :)

  7. Thanks, ivoryspring. I hope you enjoy it! Did you want to be entered into the contest? If so, I need your email address. Thanks!

  8. would love a chance to read these.
    vvb32 at
    btw: you've just been awarded

  9. Mr. Collins towards Mary Bennett of course. (And this without reading anything on Amazon.) I think that they would balance one another perfectly. First of all, they both have a love of ecclesiastical writings, and Mr. Collins' boisterousness might actually bring out the best of Mary.
    Now, the real question is who would be responsible for this action. That is a tough call. I don't know if Mr. Collins would listen to Elizabeth, who would have been my first guess. However, I think that Mr. Bennett would have a man-to-man conversation with Mr. Collins, along the lines that I am flattered you like my Lizzy, but Mary is the one for you! This way, Mr. Bennett would also be assured that his women-fold would have a place were he to precede his wife into the after-life.
    I hope to win a copy of your First Impressions! Thanks again for having these giveaways!

  10. Thanks, vvb32!

    Your welcome, OreAnnie. Thanks for particpating! I like the notion of Mr. Bennet taking it upon himself to secure Longbourn ofr hise heirs. Good luck!

  11. I'm sure it is Mary Bennet. First Impressions sounds like an interesting read.

    nancysoffice at gmail dot com