Mar 112013
 

A Mature Coming of Age Story for Charlotte Collins

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Purchased

Of all the women in Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Collins must be one of the most challenging and intricate characters to reshape into an admirable and lovable heroine. Practical, pragmatic, and plain – she isn’t a character that easily inspires the reader’s love. And with Jane Austen marrying her off to Mr. Collins, it seems her unhappily-ever-after fate is already sealed. How will Charlotte ever find the love and happiness she deserves?

Well…we all know that if adventures (or in this case happiness and romance) will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.” And that is just what author Skylar Hamilton Burris does, she sends Charlotte…and Mr. Collinsabroad. After several years Lady Catherine becomes weary of Mr. Collin’s incessant and obnoxious presence in her life and desires a momentary respite from his obsequious attentions (can you blame her?). Using her wealth and power she arranges for Mr. Collins to serve as a missionary in India for an undetermined length of time to “expand his clerical education.” Which opens the door for an abundance of new and exciting possibilities for Charlotte. Continue reading »

Aug 132011
 

 

In my novel Conviction, I strive to stay true to Jane Austen’s historical time period and characters. But for this blog post, I’m making a frivolous departure from decorum and plopping poor Georgiana Darcy into the midst of the Dating Game. Here she has the chance to ask questions of three contestants, all original characters in my novel. I hope you enjoy this lighthearted scene.

Host: Please welcome our three contestants. Bachelor # 1, please tell me your name and where you’re from.

#1: I am the parliamentarian Mr. Niles Davidson. I am an MP. I spend most of my time in London, because it is the seat of Parliament.

Host: You’re not by any chance a member of Parliament, are you? Okay, Bachelor #2?

#2: Major Arthur Talbot. London originally.

#3: Jacob. I mean, Jacob Markwood. I mean Mr. Jacob Markwood. Well, many call me the Reverend Jacob Markwood, but I’m really not all that comfortable with titles like that. I grew up in the West Indies.

Host: Now that we’ve met our contestants, let’s bring out our lovely bachelorette. Miss Georgiana Darcy hails from Derbyshire and spends three-quarters of the year at her brother’s estate of Pemberley. The rest of the year she refines her accomplishments in London. Georgiana, if you’re ready to play the Dating Game, go ahead and ask your first question.

Georgiana: Bachelor # 1, what do you do for a living?

#1: I am a member of Parliament who serves with dignity and honor in our nation’s most prized institution, striving ever and always to govern wisely and justly those benighted masses who know not their own good.

Georgiana: 

Uh…ok. Bachelor # 2?

#2: I serve in the military. At the moment, I’m training the new recruits and trying to turn these boys into men. But I’m really more interested in hearing about your pursuits than talking about mine. I wish the game allowed me to ask questions of you instead.

Georgiana: Thank you. Bachelor #3? Same question.

#3: I’m a vicar. My father wanted me to be a politician and an abolitionist, but…it just wasn’t for me, personally. I was blessed, truly, to have been given a parsonage by a gentleman who had no reason to be so generous with me.

Georgiana: Bachelor #1, you come to call on me, and you find my brother Fitzwilliam cleaning one of his guns. How do you react?

#1: I will not be cowed by an overprotective elder sibling. I react nonchalantly and with the dignity that befits a man of Parliament.

Georgiana: Bachelor #2?

#2: I remark on the make and model of the gun and compliment his taste in firearms.

Georgiana: Bachelor #3? How do you react?

#3: Cautiously.

Georgiana: Bachelor #1, describe your dream date.

#1: I would take you to the theatre in London, where you would be assured of a choice seat because of my honorable position as a Member of Parliament.

Georgiana: Bachelor #2?

#2: We would mount our horses and ride out into the country, perhaps engaging in a playful race, at which I suspect you would best me because of your much time in the country side. We would stop somewhere in a delightful grove, where I would arrange a picnic for us of all of your favorite foods, and we would enjoy a time of harmless flirtation and light conversation.

Georgiana: How romantic. Bachelor #3?

#3: Well, I…it isn’t something I had really thought about…I…anywhere you would like to go, I suppose. If I were to take you on a date, I would of course want to please you, and so going anywhere you like, and doing whatever you like, would be ideal.

Georgiana: Bachelor # 1, who is your favorite poet?

#1: Poetry is far too frivolous a pursuit for a man such as myself. I prefer to read the writings of great political philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.

Georgiana: How…uh…interesting. #2?

#2: Though I admire many poets, I would not hesitate to name William Shakespeare as my favorite. His love sonnets are quite moving.

Georgiana: He’s one of my favorites too. #3?

#3: I would have to say John Donne. Admittedly, his love poems are unorthodox and many are not fitting to read a lady, but I admire his complexity and subtlety and passion as well as his wit. I appreciate that he can write passionate love poetry not only to women, but to God, and that he is honest in his struggles with faith and temptation.

Host: Okay, Georgiana. That’s enough questions. It’s time to choose. Who will it be? Bachelor #1, #2, or #3?

And here the Dating Game ends. To find out whom she chooses, and how she reaches that decision, you’ll have to read Conviction!

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Jan 112011
 

Three Little Gems Rescued From the Editing Room Floor!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Gift from Mom 🙂

The Strange Marriage of Anne de Bourgh is an anthology encompassing three Pride and Prejudice related scenes that were once apart of Skylar Burris’s novel An Unlikely Missionary. In the Introduction, Ms. Burris explains that while revising An Unlikely Missionary, it became necessary for these scenes to be cut. But because they were some of her favorite scenes, she opted to tweak them a little and publish them in this compilation. These three scenes are scrumptious little morsels that will be sure to stave off your hunger for some Jane Austen!

THE STRANGE MARRIAGE OF ANNE DE BOURGH:

In this forty page novelette, the Darcys meet Mr. Jonson, Mr. Collin’s successor and Lady Catherine’s new parson. Even though the attractive and charming Mr. Jonson makes every effort to be agreeable to the Darcys, they cannot help but feel uneasy and apprehensive about his presence at Rosings Park. Especially when they catch Lady Catherine frequently gazing upon Mr. Jonson with considerable pleasure! But who is the duplicitous and grasping Mr. Jonson really trying to seduce, Lady Catherine or her daughter, Anne de Bourgh?

As always, Ms. Burris’s representation of Austen characters is flawless and her new additions are well-drawn and intriguing. I greatly enjoyed the twist at the end of this story, it caught me completely off-guard! (5 stars) Continue reading »