Follies Past – A Review

April 9, 2014 at 4:34 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

Follies_Past_book_cover_BrownTitle: Follies Past

Author: Melanie Kerr

Publisher: Petticoat Press

Genre: Historical fiction/ Classic spin-off

Length: 272 pages

“Follies Past” should be the name of the file folder for every other Jane Austen spin off, because this book blows them all out of the water.

This is by far the best Austen spin off I’ve had the pleasure of reading.  Most Pride & Prejudice sequels or prequels read like fan fiction, but Kerr has managed to construct a novel that reads like one of Austen’s own making.  It could very well have been a long lost manuscript of Jane’s, documenting the characters of Pride & Prejudice before they encounter the Bennets.

I was so happy reading this, I’ve always longed to get a bit more of Georgiana’s story.  Kerr does an excellent job of taking the small tidbits of information we know about characters and giving them a full and lush back story without straying from our vision of them.

I think Caroline Bingley was truly brought to life as well.  I both hate her more and less – how is that possible?  Through Darcy’s eyes:  “He ought to have known that a lady who is too sparkling and clever is also cunning and insolent and not to be trusted.”

Much is learned from Darcy’s perspective without the act of spelling everything out, something other books have done in diary form turning Darcy into an effeminate sap.  Instead, from Kerr, Darcy expresses himself naturally and in his own fashion: “Gibbon’s History is worth an entire library of your sentimental drivel.  The depth and breadth of his scholarship paints a picture of the Empire that may never be surpassed.  How can you compare such an achievement to your works of vapid sentiment.”

Kerr has stayed true to the characters, true to the time, and yet wielded a rich and elaborate story.  It’s beautiful and brilliant, and I cannot imagine an Austen fan who would not love it.

My one criticism is this: I ADORE the front cover of this book – but my first and continuous reaction is that it is not a cover that belongs on *this* book.  It’s a fun and awesome piece of art, I’d even hang it on my wall I like it so much, but it doesn’t truly portray what is within the pages.

Below, Miss Golightly is caught on film inspecting Kerr’s book.  She had the same reaction I did to the cover, “Oh I love that cover! Wait, her writing sounds like it could be Jane Austen! That’s incredible.  I’m a little confused by the cover now.”

P1010470

Five stars for the story.  Five stars for the cover art.  But only three stars for matching the cover art to the story.

Permalink 6 Comments

Log Off and Smell the Lattes

April 2, 2014 at 9:48 pm (The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

DSC03062The phrase used to be ‘stop and smell the roses,’ I don’t know that it’s an entirely accurate turn of phrase anymore.

I am a busy lady with lots of activities, but mostly I’m busy on the internet.  I have my personal accounts, and most things started out as hobbies, but somewhere along the way all my hobbies turned into jobs – and most these jobs include manning facebook, twitter, pinterest, and a whole host of other social media.  Not just for me and my writing career, but for my art company, bookstores, and, well, everyone.

Because I do all this from an actual computer, because I don’t have what I call a ‘fancy’ phone or any kind of ‘spectacular device’ (smartphone, ipads, and whatever other twenty-first century gadgets the world has at their fingertips these days), when I go on vacation, or even a business trip, I get a true break from everything.

I had a book signing in Dallas this past weekend.  Which means from the time I got into my car to drive the four hour trek to the time I pulled back into my driveway 72 hours later, I was on internet silence.  No facebook to log into. I didn’t have a chance to or even a reminder to tweet anything.  My blog became an afterthought; and everything of the cyberspace variety went 100% on the back burner so that I could spend all my time with the real world – or ink and paper when I didn’t want to look beyond my nose.

And guess what?

It was marvelous.

P1010459

Click the photo to see all the pictures from the HPB Preston Village book signing.

My afternoon at my signing was completely focused on my customers, my business partner, and the beautiful friends that came to visit and support me.  I’ve seen many authors sit behind author tables and have no clue how to interact.  Instead they spend precious moments when they could be chatting with fans, typing on smartphones or figuring out how to take credit cards.  Being able to accept credit cards sure does make things simple for people – but my tech-free weekend kept all transactions cash only, and I have to say, it was nice.

Afterward, a group of us went off to a new restaurant in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas called Smoke.  I highly recommend eating there for anyone who hasn’t tried it.  The food was excellent, the service was great, and the place had a pretty stellar vibe.  (By the way, the creme brule is to die for – and the best part is the candied ginger. )  Part of that vibe, I must say, was enhanced by the fact that we spent little to no time on our phones!

P1010467 Instead, we discussed future events for Aoristos and myself, as well as books (both published and not yet published).  To the right, my lovely friend Miss Golightly is taking a brief gander at the Follies Past by Melanie Ker while we wait for our dinner.  (I’m still reading, but there will be a review posted soon!  Austen fans, stay tuned!)

Time and time again I have gone to dinner with the far less considerate only to sit at a table and watch people facebook and text all their friends who aren’t present.  It’s something I’ve never appreciated.  So, although having  a smart phone would make many of my events have a more solid online presence, I am not inclined to purchase one until I absolutely have to.  I’m less interested in an online presence and more interested in being present.  The online part can happen before and after, in my opinion.

After being stuffed to the gills with the most amazing barbecue I’ve had in a long time, I finished the day at my aunt and uncle’s house.  It’s practically a bed and breakfast it is so cozy and relaxing.  Homemade lattes were made, there was some time in the garden, and then afterward the kiddo and I slept here…

P1010503

Clearly, this is after I mussed up the pillows.  P1010517

FYI, there’s a manlier room down the hall…

It was the best sleep I’ve had in a good long while.  Probably helpful that my eyes hadn’t spent any evening time looking at a computer screen.  (Not to mention, I was physically exhausted.)

Bright and early, and well rested, the next morning… I stepped out of my room to something that is nothing short of heaven to my soul:

P1010502Yes, that’s a coffee bar right outside the guest bedroom.  Complete with bottled water for the Keurig, International Delight creamers (in hazelnut and french vanilla), sugar packets, and real mugs!

After helping myself to coffee, I took my journal and Melanie Kerr’s book and headed to the room one door down…

P1010500

It was a beautiful morning.  I did what I do every morning, sans computer screen blinking at me.  That lack of a computer screen makes all the difference.  And although computers are useful, and I adore my jobs and the freedom I have to raise my daughter while working mostly from home; once in awhile I need to remember that just because I’m sitting, doesn’t mean I need to be sitting with technology.

Log off… smell the lattes… breathe, relax, enjoy.

Permalink 2 Comments