Batch Review #13

The Jane Austen HandbookThe Jane Austen Handbook: Proper Life Skills from Regency England
by Margaret C. Sullivan

This book is awesome, people! If you like reading classics but have always felt that you were somehow missing out some insider information, you need to read this! The Jane Austen Handbook gives you background information of the social and economic circumstances of the Regency era, and the next time you read an Austen novel (or any other Regency novel), little details will suddenly make sense!

The book has a small format (it’s as big as my hand) and about 200 pages. It’s divided into four sections – Jane Austen’s World, A Quick Succession of Busy Nothings, Making Love, The Best Company – and each subjects has many subjects that are covered by two pages or a bit more.
For example – how to ensure a good yearly income; how to provide for your daughters & younger sons; how to spend each season; how to write a letter; how to get around (aka transportation)
how to keep house; how to treat the sick; how to dress; how a lady might spend her leisure time
how to indicate interest in a gentleman without seeming forward; how to marry off your daughter; how to be a bride; how to elope to Scotland
how to pay a morning call; how to behave at a dinner party; how to attend a ball; how to converse with your dancing partner

And yes, since the book is titled as The Jane Austen Handbook, you guess correctly when you assume that this book will reference a lot to Jane Austen’s works. It is preferable to have read at least some of them first, but not a must. For instance, there is a two-page article titled ‘Who Died & Made Mr. Collins the Heir of Longbourn?’ or ‘Worst (And Funniest) Proposals in Jane Austen’s Novels’.

The language is easy, there are visual aids enrich the text, the layout is elegantly old-fashioned. Recommended for Jane Austen fans & people interested in the Regency era.

Night BrokenNight Broken (Mercy Thompson #8)
by Patricia Briggs

This time, a disaster storms into the Columbia Basin Pack (or whatever the name of the local werewolf pack in Tri-Cities is) in the form of Christy aka Adam’s ex-wife and her stalker. Even though we know how pathetic, selfish and deceptive Christy is, apparently the rest of the pack (that is everyone except for Mercy, Adam, Jesse even though she is strictly speaking not in the pack, and a couple more werewolves) lacks the insight.
So the focus is back on the pack, which is awesome, and Mercy struggles to be at ease with Christy’s presence without giving up her place as Adam’s mate. Keeping her place in the pack is harder than ever, especially because most of the pack members want Christy back. Gah. I am occasionally frustrated that the pack never wants to fully accept Mercy as part of the pack (and what’s more, second-in-command).

I enjoyed Night Broken more than Frost Burned, mostly because CANTRP makes me grumpy – all the politics. We also meet the Coyote again! And find out more about his sort of magic. Tad and Kyle are also more or less steady companions and we have new characters, some of whom are going to be a permanent fixture in the series. (Although Fire Touched seems to be the last book in the series. Oh man, I’m sad.)

All in all, even though the highlight of the series for me remains Bone Crossed, Mercy Thompson is, like, the only long urban fantasy series that doesn’t decline in quality in the later books. And I feel some of the threads getting ready to be knotted in the final installment (unless the author makes another contract for more Mercy books!).

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2 thoughts on “Batch Review #13”

  1. I have that Jane Austen handbook checked out from my library currently but I’ve had it checked out for a couple months and STILL haven’t read it. I need to get around to it. :(

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