|The 1894 "Peacock Edition"|
of Pride and Prejudice
Maybe it's not this way for everyone (I'm well aware my personal circle of friends is inhabited by insatiable readers and dedicated writers), but I'm pretty sure just about everyone I know has one of these...and I'd be willing to bet most of you do, too: The Novel That Changed Your Life.
Oh, no, be assured, I'm not saying there can be only one such novel -- not for us bibliophiles -- but I think you'll know right away the very specific and remarkable kind of book I mean. The one from your childhood or young adulthood that's responsible for you knowing (perhaps even as you were reading it) that you'd stumbled upon a story that would spin your worldview forevermore in a different direction. The first time when you were actually aware that the prose of another writer -- living or dead -- had changed you. The author's words had pushed your mind outward and, like an idea whose time had come, kept your brain stretched so far that it could never return to its original dimensions.
Do you know your book? I think you do...
Mine is Pride and Prejudice. I knew really early on while reading the story that I was in the hands of a literary genius. By the time I'd reached the midpoint of the novel, that crafty Jane Austen had gotten me to look at every single person in my life with fresh eyes. She made me ponder just how similar each of them were to the memorable and masterfully drawn characters in P&P. Made me study their behavior with clearer vision. Made me think about the point of view and motivations of others long before I ever became a novelist.
|Debut Novel: According to Jane,|
No matter how many times I've reread that brilliant novel in the decades since, I'll never forget -- nor will I ever stop being grateful for -- the way Austen's insights into the foibles of human behavior left its mark on my adolescent worldview and made me just a little more aware of the people surrounding me.
There was something so powerful about P&P that it almost haunted me as I left my teen years behind and became a working adult... I could very nearly hear Jane Austen's voice telling me to pay greater attention to her lessons on fairness, common sense, compassion and civility toward all. So much was I influenced by her work that I finally wrote a manuscript called According to Jane, which turned out to be my debut women's fiction book (Kensington). It's a story about a woman who has the ghost of Austen in her head, giving her dating advice.
|New Release: Pride, Prejudice and the|
Perfect Match, January 2013
Why release this particular story right now? Ahhh...because The Novel That Changed My Life turns 200 years old this month (on January 28th, who else is breaking open something sparkly in Austen's honor, hmm?) and I wanted to mark the bicentennial of P&P with a special story. It's my way of celebrating the joy and wisdom my favorite author brought to me. I hope some of you will join me in raising a glass of your favorite beverage (it doesn't have to be a Regency-era drink, LOL) to the legacy Jane Austen left behind two centuries ago. Here's to Jane!!
Who else out there is an Austen fan? And, if you'd like to share, I'd love to know one of the novels that changed your life, too...