Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Most Singular Venture...Donna F. Crow

Available on Amazon
Today, I welcome back to More Agreeably Engaged, Donna Fletcher Crow, author of the newly released,  A Most Singular Venture.  It is a modern day mystery that follows in the footsteps of Jane Austen's London. Having read this novel, I can tell you that it is an awesome read. It is intriguing and educational at the same time. The author is writing from her own experiences and that shines through in her writing. Another book in this series is A Jane Austen Encounter. (click on the link to see that post) I highly recommend this book as well.

Ms. Crow is sharing some of her photos with us from her travels. I'm certain you will enjoy seeing them as much as I did, plus you get the added bonus of learning more of Jane's visits to London. Thank you, Donna F. Crow. Don't miss the giveaway info either! It's a good one!

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Jane Austen’s London—Now and Then

Because one of my primary goals as a writer is to give my readers a “you are there” experience, visiting all the scenes in my book before I write it is essential. This is always one of my favorite parts of being a writer, but visiting Jane Austen’s London was a special treat because I had my own Mr. Knightly with me.

Yes, I know—Mr. Darcy is usually the hero of choice, but since Mr. Knightly does not enjoy accommodations that make him uncomfortable (a quality heartily shared by my husband) it makes him a traveling companion of choice. That translates into staying in a convenient hotel, never missing a meal and even taking a taxi on occasion—comforts I seldom indulge in when on my own. Jane Austen, however, would approve, since she wrote to Cassandra how “very pleasant” she found “parading about London in a Barouche.” 
Queens of Crime

My newest Elizabeth and Richard literary suspense A Most Singular Venture, Murder in Jane Austen’s London, finds Richard teaching Jane Austen as a Queen of Crime at the University of London—as I was privileged to do in the summer of 2014. My seminar, like Richard’s, was held in the wonderful art nouveau Senate House. I don’t have any pictures of Richard speaking, but here I am in the Senate Room where he lectured.
Senate House







I was most anxious to see Henry Austen’s homes where Jane stayed with her favorite brother on her frequent visits to London. When Henry, then a successful banker, married his fashionable cousin Eliza, widow of the guillotined Comte de Feuillide, they lived in elegant accommodations in Sloane Street. Jane stayed with them in April of 1811. She was correcting the proofs of Sense and Sensibility and said she was ‘never too busy to think’ of it, but her letters tell of a rather constant round of visits, dinners and museums.

Octagon Room

Henry and Eliza gave a very grand party while Jane was with them and she recounted it all to Cassandra in great detail. “‘At half past seven arrived the musicians in two Hackney coaches and by eight the lordly company began to appear. . .I spent the greatest part of the evening very pleasantly. . . The drawing room being soon hotter than we liked, we placed ourselves in the connecting passage, which was comparatively cool and gave us all the advantage of the music at a pleasant distance, as well as that of the first view of every new comer. . .We were all delight and cordiality of course.” 

Sadly, Henry and Eliza lived here for only 3 years because she died in April 1811. Henry then moved across London to the less fashionable, but bustling Covent Garden to live in rooms above his bank at number 10 Henrietta Street. Shortly after the move Jane reported to Cassandra that “it was all dust and confusion, but in a very promising way.” “No. 10 is made very comfortable with cleaning and painting and the Sloane Street furniture. The front room upstairs is an excellent dining and common sitting parlour.” 
027 10 Henrietta St.
26 10 Henrietta St.




The black-painted ground floor exterior with its bright yellow door one encounters today would hardly have done for Henry’s bank, but the classical design of the upper floors are little changed.

                                                



Jane made three visits to Henrietta Street in the year and a half Henry lived there, all a constant round of shopping and theatre-going. The location couldn’t have been better, Covent Garden being in the center of the theatre district. Jane did not give a good review of “The Clandestine Marriage” which she saw at the Lyceum, but we were delighted with “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” which we saw there. As were Elizabeth and Richard when they took the young boy they suddenly became responsible for.

The Albany
Henry's Bank Cleveland Court
Jane was much more taken with Edmund Keane in “The Merchant of Venice” she said she “could not imagine better acting.” Nor could we have imagined a more delightful evening than the one we had seeing “Lion King”—which turns out to be a wonderful evening for Elizabeth and Richard also—until they view a most disturbing scene.

Henry had two other bank locations in London as well, at Cleveland Court and at the exclusive Albany in Piccadilly.

Courtland
Somerset House










Five days of almost non-stop walking also enabled us to visit some of Jane’s favorite art galleries and shops and worship in churches she attended. The modern Courtland Exhibit has replaced Royal Academy exhibit Jane planned to see at Somerset House, but Twining’s Teas, where Jane bought the tea supply for her family, is little changed. Jane probably worshipped at St. Paul’s Covent Garden, and at St. James’s Piccadilly, but Belgrave Chapel where she most often attended, has been replaced with a more modest building.

Twinings
Covent Garden
Belgrave Chapel Site



     
Belgrave Chapel


St. James














Of course, after 200 years many of the sites Jane wrote about in her wonderful reports to Cassandra are no long there, but the miracle, I felt, was that so many are still standing to help the imaginative visitor step back in time and experience Jane Austen’s day alongside our own.
And I had the delight of reliving it all again back home at my computer as I put my characters in those very scenes reminiscing about Jane and looking for clues to understanding the events that threatened them today. Because Elizabeth and Richard are exploring Jane Austen’s London, but their murderous opponent is all-too contemporary.

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Donna Fletcher Crow is a former English teacher, a lifelong Anglophile and Janeite, and a Life Member of the Jane Austen Society of North America.  She is the author of 50 books, mostly novels of British history.  The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of Christian England, is her best-known work.  Where There is Love is a series of historical romances set in the Church of England of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Besides her Elizabeth and Richard literary suspense series she also authors The Monastery Murders, a clerical mystery series, and The Lord Danvers Victorian true-crime novels. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho.  They have 4 adult children and 14 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.

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For more information:

Visit Donna’s  website to see all her books and pictures from her garden and research trips,
Follow her on Facebook, Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History
Subscribe to her newsletter
Buy A Most Singular Venture

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Thank you for taking us on a tour through Jane Austen's London, Donna. It was fun. It also adds much to the story knowing that it is based on history and true facts. (except for the modern day murders) I love your story-telling and hope you have much success with this book. I enjoyed it immensely!

Now for the giveaway! Donna Fletcher Crow is giving away, one eBook and one paperback and it is international! Great news! Thank you, Ms. Crow. I know that makes my readers happy! As always, leave a comment to be entered. Be sure to include your contact info. The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 26th of September, 2016. Good luck to all. 

25 comments:

  1. This series sounds good. Thanks for the ability to win a copy.
    Pattyedmisson at gmail dot com

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post, Patty. Good luck!

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  2. This series sounds good. Thanks for the ability to win a copy.
    Pattyedmisson at gmail dot com

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  3. I LOVE Donna's mysteries so am thrilled to see another Jane Austen's footsteps book. I had no clue I was an anglophile until I started reading Pride and Prejudice. Now I'm an addict. Best of wishes to you, Donna. Another great post, Janet.

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    1. What fun to see you here, J Dawn--yes, Jane Austen is at the root of much of my Anglomania. Net month I'll be attending the AGM of the Jane Austen Society of North America--this year in Washington D.C. Good luck in the giveaway.

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  4. Now that was fun being along for Donna's visit to Jane Austen's London. I enjoyed the tidbits and smiled b/c I had just read Syrie James' Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and it was partially set during the time Jane was visiting Henry and Eliza while editing S&S. Neat to see the actual places.

    The Richard & Elizabeth series does sound great. Thanks for the opportunity.
    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you so much, Sophia. Yes, I loved Syrie's book, too. She was kind enough to give me a blurb for a cover of this book--a lovely lady.

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  5. Wow! Amazing post and you have me really intrigued about this mystery.

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    1. Thank you, Claudine! Good luck with the giveaway.

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  6. used to work in Covent Garden, and spend my dinner hours wandering around the area - interested in reading this book, so thank you for the giveaway

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    1. What a fun place to work, Vesper! My grandson's favorite place in London was the transport Museum, he had his 5th birthday there. Covent Garden was such a wonderful place to take children. We loved the toy museum and the sweets trolly and the musicians. . .

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  7. To learn of all these places that Hane visited is wonderful,but to have theme twined in a mystery is so exciting! Sounds like a really great idea and I look forward to reading this book.
    Being a crime buff,I'm also interested in her true crime Victorian based novels! They sound gruesome!
    Thanks to all concerned fur this opportunity to win a copy.

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    1. What a wonderful comment, Mary. Oh, yes, no one could be gruesome like the Victorians. I love the contrast to all their very proper exterior. I'll soon be writing a new Lord Danvers--God willing.

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  8. Fascinating post! I would love to visit all of those locations. Thanks for the giveaway.

    diaryofaneccentric(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Anna! I do hope you get to visit them--at least virtually, but maybe in person someday, too!

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  9. Being a long-time Sherlockian, I do adore mysteries set in London. So I have no doubt I will also adore an Austenesque mystery! Lovely cover, lovely photos, and I am certain that Twinings will always be there. But who is Richard?
    Many thanks for offering this giveaway. opisica4 (at) gmail (.) com.

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    1. I've enjoyed all the permutations of Sherlock as well--even love the old Basil Rathbone films. Richard is the hero of my Elizabeth and Richard literary suspense series--a former publisher and English professor, now semi-retired, serving as housemaster at a boys' school near Oxford.

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  10. Donna does the best research. Her books come alive because of it. I look forward to reading this new addition.
    Laura dot jazzygirl at Gmail dot com

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  11. Donna Fletcher Crow, a favorite in my neck of the woods, writes incredible stories! And, Yes, her research is hard to match. She does not dissappoint. Please enter me in this give-away.

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    1. How lovely to see you here, Mary Anne! You are always so kind! Good luck in the giveaway!

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  12. This is why Donna's books are so amazing! Hi Donna! Congratulations on all your well-earned achievements. Thanks Janet! Great post, ladies

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    1. You are welcome, Debra. Thank you for stopping by.

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  13. Thank you so much for hosting me, Janet. I know how long it takes to load all the photos I sent, so I really appreciate your doing such a great job! It's lovely to meet your readers.

    Thank you everyone for your lovely comments!

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    1. It was my pleasure to have you visit, Donna! You always have such great posts. It was not trouble at all to load your lovely photos. I enjoyed them and reading about all the places. Come back anytime.

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