P. L. Travers’ 120th Birthday

australian p. l. travers in the role of titania in a production of a midsummer night's dream, c. 1924 state library of new south wales. mary poppins

P. L. Travers in the role of Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, circa 1924.

State Library of New South Wales

Today would have been the 120th birthday of the Australian creator of Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers.

Born Helen Lyndon Goff in Maryborough, Queensland on the 9th of August 1899, she moved to Bowral, New South Wales in 1907.

As an adult she travelled Australia and New Zealand, and later England as an actress, changing her name to Pamela Lyndon Travers.

Travers created Mary Poppins while renting a cottage in Sussex, England in 1933, and the first book was published in 1934.

The eighth and final book in the series was published in 1988.

Travers died, aged ninety-six, in April of 1996.

The Week: 6th – 12th May

Busy week this week. I have edits to do on my book (which has a new title, but I won’t share it until everything is confirmed), and I was editing a book for someone else. Plus something weird happened to my email and I lost some important things, while other important emails (i.e. from my publisher, HarperCollins!) started going to my junk folder and I missed them!

Storm Cursed Out Now

9780425281291_StormCursed_FCO_mech.indd

Recently Reread: Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen’s most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, was published on the 28th of January 1813. Here is the front page from a first edition copy of the book.

This Cover

Unleashed by Caitlin Crews

Recently Reread: Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen’s most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, was published on the 28th of January 1813. Here is the front page from a first edition copy of the book.

I reread Pride and Prejudice (and Persuasion) every so often, because why not?!

Unlike many people, who seem to have studied Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters at school or university, I never did. Even though I majored in English in college (the finally two years of high school) and in literature at university, I’ve had to discover some of these classics on my own.

I think I develop a greater appreciation for Austen every time I read her work. However, one thing I noticed in this reread is that Elizabeth Bennet considers herself an “I’m not like other women!” lady. She actually makes several statements to that effect, including directly to Mr Darcy near the end. Funny, that in 2019 we still can’t get authors to stop writing characters who think like that!

Anyway, other than that little discovery, I still liked it. 🙂

The Week: 15th – 21st April

Red Autumn Leaves Autumn Colours Canberra ACT Australia Sonya Heaney 17th April 2019 Garden Blue Sky Nature

Mid-autumn in Canberra, and it’s still summer dress weather. And I saw on the news that it is snowing on the other side of the country! What is going on?

Ibis Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery New South Wales NSW near Canberra ACT Australia Autumn Heatwave Bird Sonya Heaney 17th April 2019

A random ibis at the cemetery in Queanbeyan on Wednesday afternoon. Actually, there were quite a lot of them around – but no kangaroos for once!

The tragedy of the loss of Notre Dame in Paris

Poor Notre Dame…

Happy Easter! I also have Ukrainian Easter next week.

Happy 203rd Birthday to Charlotte Brontë

NPG 1452; Charlotte BrontÎ by George Richmond

The Mister by E.L. James. Just… no.

The Mister by E.L. James. Just... no.

Recently Reread

devil-in-spring-ravenels-book-3-by-lisa-kleypas-uk-cover

“Dutch Artists Paint Giant Bookcase On An Apartment Building Featuring Residents’ Favourite Books”

Dutch Artists Paint Giant Bookcase On An Apartment Building Featuring Residents’ Favourite Books

Love & Desire at the National Gallery

John William Waterhouse The Lady of Shalott 1888

107 Years Ago: Titanic survivors rescued by the Carpathia

153177-004-E74B054C Survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic being helped abord the RMS Carpathia 15th April 1912

National Pet Day

Henry the Chatsworth dog. 16th february 2019.

Henry at Chatsworth

So, apparently today is National Pet Day – I’m going to guess it’s a US day, because I can’t find anything linking it to other countries. Where are all the other pet days?!

Anyway, in honour of the event, I’d like to recommend a Twitter account to follow: Henry, the official dog of Chatsworth House. (Images from my visit to the estate last year.)

As historical romance fans will know, the Chatsworth estate is at the heart of many a period drama, and it is mentioned in Pride and Prejudice, when Elizabeth Bennet visits with her aunt and uncle (but no, it’s not Pemberley, as commonly misreported).

It is also arguably England’s most famous stately home.

Anyway, here’s Henry in the snow this past January, and you can follow his adventures HERE.

henry the chatsworth dog in the snow

And a bonus picture, just because he’s cute:

Henry, the official dog of the Chatsworth estate.

TIME Magazine: The Famous Women Writers Whose Friendships We’ve Forgotten

Pride and Prejudice 1980 Chalrotte Elizabeth Episode Three

Interesting article over at TIME Magazine:

The Famous Women Writers Whose Friendships We’ve Forgotten

“…After all, writers have always turned to each other for creative and moral support. The alliance between Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth is enshrined in literary lore. A mention of Lord Byron immediately brings to mind Percy Bysshe Shelley. And biographies of F. Scott Fitzgerald are incomplete without reference to Ernest Hemingway.

But where are the women in this roster of legendary friendships? Jane Austen is mythologised as a shy and sheltered spinster; the Brontё sisters, lonely wanderers of windswept moors; George Eliot, an aloof intellectual; and Virginia Woolf, a melancholic genius.

Skeptical of such images of isolation, we set out to investigate. We soon discovered that behind each of these celebrated authors was a close alliance with another female writer. But, to this day, these literary bonds have been systematically forgotten, distorted or downright suppressed…”

Out Now: The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross uS Cover

Released elsewhere in 2018, The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross – a retelling of Beauty and the Beast – is out in the United States now.

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

A luxuriously magical retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in seventeenth-century France–and told from the point of view of the Beast himself.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.

Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .