Jane Austen

Jane Austen Birthday Week

Jane Austen was born Dec 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England, a day for us all to celebrate; however, we Riskies are celebrating Jane Austen ALL week.

We want you to celebrate with us. There will be prizes. We’ve managed to scrape up Jane Austen-related prizes to send to one lucky commenter chosen at random next Sunday after Amanda’s Saturday blog finishes our week.

What was your first introduction to Jane Austen?

I first read Pride and Prejudice in college, but I cannot say my love of Austen hit me then. At the time, I loved everything about English Literature, enough to focus on English Lit as an English major. The real impact of Jane Austen came later for me and not through her books but through a movie.

Shortly after I’d first started writing, my critique group went to see Persuasion in the movie theatre, the Amanda Root-Ciaran Hinds version. There on the big screen the world of the Regency came alive in front of my very eyes. I’d just started reading traditional Regencies at the time and the beautiful houses, the clothing, the lush countryside, the sea coast, Bath, were all before me to experience as if I were really there. I loved the performances in the movie. I loved how Amanda Root as Anne began the movie looking like a dowdy spinster and ended up beautiful when the love she’d lost came back to her. I loved how Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth was not movie-star handsome, but seemed like a real man from that era. All the characters in the movie seemed perfectly cast and the scenery was unsurpassed. Look here for the movie trailer and you will see what I mean.

I still didn’t return to reading Austen at that time. That came later when I decided to try writing a Regency Historical. To help me develop a “Regency Voice” I listened to Jane Austen’s novels in audio book form over and over. Persuasion was still my favorite. I loved the “second chance” aspect of it.

You can hear a sample of that audio recording here.

Through the audio versions of Jane Austen’s novels, I truly began to appreciate her storytelling mastery. It is no wonder that librarians chose Pride and Prejudice as their number one favorite novel of all time…and Persuasion as number 82.

For more about Persuasion look here

For Cara’s Jane Austen Movie Club discussion of the 1995 movie Persuasion look here.

Tell us, did you love Jane Austen at your first exposure or did it happen later? Did you start with a movie or a book?

Don’t forget, we’re giving away Jane Austen-related prizes in honor of her birthday, so make a comment today and all week.

Come visit my website and enter my contest by Dec 20 for a chance to win Mistletoe Kisses.


Oh, by the way, here’s a photo of my son’s graduation. He really did it!!
The little arrow is pointing to him. If you can see a bearded face, my son is right behind him.

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13 years ago

I freely admit that I’m new to Jane Austen. (Thanks to the dear Riskies!) I was first introduced to P&P (Thanks Diane!). Thoroughly enjoyed it. About the same time, I found a collection of her work in a lovely bound book.

And congrats to the graduate!! Bravo!!

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

Pride of place for first comment goes on a congratulatory note to Master Gaston. You did it!! And your mom proud!!

Congratulations of course to dear Jane Austen on her birthday!

P & P was one of that first set of “classics” I read, when my mother set me loose on an English professor the summer I turned nine. She wanted to encourage my reading. My first romance was a Mills & Boon the following summer (a contemp for those times).

The “classics” are for the most part romances, and my imagination was mightily fired by the heroes of The Three Musketeers and Count of Monte Cristo and the heroines of P&P, S&S, Persuasion, Emma, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Jo’s Boys, and that intrepid heroine who lived with her family in a remote small town and taught school someplace far away, and had a beau (first time I read that word) who came to pick her up.

I saw my first Austen movie in my twenties: Emma, followed quickly by Clueless. The 2005 movie was my first introduction to P&P as a movie. I saw it four times the month it came out. (Matthew!!!!)

13 years ago

I was first exposed to Jane Austen when my mom insisted on watching Sense and Sensibility (Hugh Grant/Emma Thompson) and my dad spent the entire time a) snoring, b) asking whether there had been any carriage chases yet, and c) exclaiming that they had talked about going to London for almost an hour now, could they just GO already?

I still giggle whenever I see that movie. But I was first truly entranced when we were assigned Pride and Prejudice in high school sophomore year. I expected it to be dull. I was soooo wrong!

Susan Wilbanks
13 years ago

I first attempted P&P when I was 12 or 13, and it was too early, for me at least. IIRC my hometown librarian noticed I’d been reading Jane Eyre over and over again and wanted to introduce me to another classic. Since my favorite part of JE back then was all the angst and suffering of her childhood, P&P didn’t remotely push any of the same buttons, so I gave up after a chapter or so.

I didn’t try Austen again until just after college, around 1994, when I was going back and reading a lot of the classics I’d missed growing up. By then I knew enough history to understand what was going on, having long been hooked on trad Regencies and Heyer, and ever since I’ve read or re-read at least one Austen novel per year.

My husband’s first Christmas gift to me when we were dating back in 1997 was a Complete Works of Jane Austen. I’ve since read it to tatters, so he’s replacing it with a fancier version this year.

13 years ago

I was in college when the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary came out. I fell in love with Colin Firth watching that movie, so I looked him up on the internet. I discovered not only was he most famous for playing Mr. Darcy in a 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice, but that Bridget Jones was based on the P&P book too. So of course I had to watch the P&P with Colin in it. I loved it so much, I ran out and bought the book. Now seven years later, I have lost count on the number of times I have read it and Jane Austen’s other works.

My love for romance novels can be traced back to my love for Pride and Prejudice. I started out reading fan fiction based on P&P on the internet, and many of those nice ladies who wrote and read it too would recommend books to me. Now I have a huge romance novel collection.

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Ladyhawk, you may not believe this but I’ve never read Lord of the Rings (don’t hit me!!!)

Keira, age NINE? You must have been a bright little girl. I confess, I never read Ann of Green Gables, nor any of the House on the Prairie books. I still have my childhood copy of Little Women, though.

Lana, your father sounds like a hoot!! Austen would have loved to make him a character in a book.

Susan, I am so with you on the angst of Jane Eyre (and of not being ready for P&P at age 11 or 12). On the other hand, I never liked Wuthering Heights because the hero and heroine wind up miserable and then DEAD. What a good hubby you have to understand the preciousness of BOOKS.

Raven, isn’t it funny that you came to Austen through Bridget Jones Diary. Although I can hardly blame you for looking up Colin Firth movies! And from P&P to romance novels. It is amazing how circuitous our journeys can be.

By the way, I just caught Jane Austen Book Club on TV. Oh, I loved it.

13 years ago

I believe the first time I was exposed to Jane Austen was through “Emma” with Gwyneth Paltrow but I have come to read several of her novels and enjoyed them tremendously.

13 years ago

Blogger hates me, but the upshot of my eaten post was most importantly, congrats to your son, Diane. Woot!

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Thanks, Janegeorge. I have now added an arrow to the photograph so you can see where he sat. His face is not really showing though.

Elena Greene
13 years ago

Congratulations to you and your son, Diane!

As to my intro to Jane, I’m going to save that for Wednesday. 🙂

13 years ago

I started with Pride and Prejudice and it was love at first read.

13 years ago

Bridget Jones’ Diary was how I became introduced to Colin Firth and thus to P&P. I have never read the books yet but have heard lots about them through the Riskies.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

Lana, are you sure your father is not one of the curmudgeonly-but-loving fathers from an Austen novel?? 🙂

I also love the “Persuasion” movie, Diane–it’s still my favorite of all the Austen adaptations!

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

Keira, I loved all those books when I was a kid, too! (Even though “Little Women” sometimes got a little too preachy for me–what the heck was so bad abotu Meg wanting a pretty dress for once, GOSH??? I liked the sisterly friendships and the fact that Jo was a writer). And I loved “Anne of Green Gables” (my fave of the whole series was the last book “Rilla of Ingleside”–the ending, when Rilla’s beau comes back from the war–sigh)

13 years ago

My first exposure to Jane Austen was A&E’s adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice.” I was hooked immediately. I then saw “Persuasion” and borrowed the book from the library.

13 years ago

Yeah, congrats on the graduation!!! 🙂

Me. . . I started reading romances a few years ago give or take, Jane Austen didn’t come till much later. In fact, looking at my reading journal, I read my first one March 2005, with Pride and Prejudice (of course LOL).

Once I started reading more historical romances, and discovered that the period I was reading was part of this one particular time period called the Regency period and all that, then I discovered this person named Jane Austen. I didn’t know a thing about her before then (of which I say now that I’m quite thankful we never touched her in school, because I hate most of the stuff that came out of high school English class — all was too rushed, too pointless and just to have a test. Did still love Shakespeare and Conan Doyle, though. But I digress). . . so, I somehow decided time to try her and see what she was like. Well, that sure was the end of me! LOL 🙂

Oh, and I purposely started with the book, then I watched the movie, and subsequently did the exact same thing with the other 5 books. My first Darcy ever. . . came out of a lake. Sigh. 🙂


Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

Huge Congratulations to the Divine One and her son on his college graduation!! What a milestone and quite an achievement in this day and age.

My first exposure to Jane Austen came after I had devoured all of the Georgette Heyer the two little old English ladies next door to us in the village gave me. They gave me a copy of Pride and Prejudice and I was hooked. As I recall I was ten or eleven. I still have some of the Heyers they gave me, but the P&P was lost in one of our many moves. I do remember going out and buying a new one and I have never been without one since.

I actually think my first exposure to JA in film was Sense and Sensibility (Emma Thompson version) in the theatre with some girlfriends of mine. Once I became aware of the BBC versions I glommed onto them immediately and have nearly worn some of them out!

Mallory Pickerloy
13 years ago

Diane, Congratulations on your son’s college graduation!!!

I cannot remember when I didn’t know about Jane Austen. From childhood to now. Along with so many other classic authors from various countries. I have so many that are my favourites.


Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Thank you all for your good wishes regarding my College Graduate Son (I love saying that!)

There’s more Austen all week so come back to comment on Cara’s, Elena’s, Janet’s, Megan’s, and Amanda’s blogs!

Remember, there will be prizes…We’re going to rummage through our stuff and find some Austen prizes!

13 years ago

Amanda – If my dad is a curmudgeonly-but-loving Austen father, does that mean I get to be an Austen heroine?

*Peers around in search of Captain Wentworth* Or, heck, I’ll take a Wickham to flirt with!

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Absolutely you get to be an Austen heroine! But I’d hold out for Willoughby…or, heck, Mr. Darcy!!

Linda Banche
13 years ago

I first saw anything Austen when I watched the Laurence Olivier-Greer Garson version of Pride and Prejudice on TV. I was less than whelmed. It probably didn’t help that the TV tape was very highly edited, as I discovered when I saw the whole thing on Turner Classic Movies. When I took the book out of the library, I had a hard time understanding the language. Now I love the language, and I don’t like Regencies that don’t have the correct language.

13 years ago

Happy Birthday Jane!!! I have not read any of Jane’s books but have heard so much about them. I have watched a few movies and loved them. Although I am a read that really enjoys the classic.

Cara King
13 years ago

Congrats on the graduated son, Diane!

My first Austen experience was reading P&P at thirteen — and I loved it. So romantic…

Cara, late to the party

12 years ago

For some reason, I read Persuasion first, and then read Pride & Prejudice later, even though I had P&P on my bookshelf first. But Mansfield Park — now that’s a story that makes you think. Character over personality? Genius and socially edifying as well.

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