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My Jane Austen pilgrimage was legen–wait for it–dary!

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??????????????????????????????? Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, we’re not–but we had a great time visiting the Jane Austen Museum in Bath.

Even though it’s been two hundred years after the death of Jane Austen, women still adore her. I don’t mean to snub men in this article, but I have to say there weren’t too many men making the trek to Jane’s homes or burial place except to be supportive of their wives or girlfriends. Joan Trollope has published a modern version of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and I know I can’t wait to read it. While in England, my friend June and I watched the 2008 mini-series, “Lost in Austen” where a modern-day woman exchanges places with Elizabeth Bennett, making a clever story of a contemporary woman, Fanny, trying to fit into the world of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I know I’m not alone in loving all those Jane Austen books that were made into fabulous period movies.

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The museum in Bath was entertaining, but it wasn’t really a place where Jane Austen lived–it’s a house that was like the home she stayed in when she lived at Bath. It was a little distance from the main part of Bath where the Pump House and the Roman Baths are located. An interesting fact in England is that no matter what you’re looking for there–according to the person giving directions–it’s always just ten minutes from where you’re at. My friend June and I enjoyed looking at the different costumes from the Jane Austen movies in the museum.

1047a This was Jane Austen’s last home where she lived with her mother, and her sister Cassandra from 1809 until 1817. It’s here she revised her earlier manuscript novels SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and NORTHANGER ABBEY. She also wrote MANSFIELD PARK, EMMA, and PERSUASION in this house, so it’s easy to surmise that this village of Chawton is where she did her major work. Of all the spots we visited, this peaceful village of Chawton  was the easiest place to feel the soul of Jane Austen.

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Above are pictures of the parlor and bedroom of Jane Austen in her Chawton home.

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June and I couldn’t resist reading in Jane Austen’s garden. I’m standing on a village street in Chawton and Mike, June, and Steve are having tea at Cassandra’s Tea Shop.

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Above is a memorial to Jane Austen located in Winchester Cathedral and her gravestone is on the right . She’s buried in the north aisle nave in the Winchester Cathedral.  Below is the outside of the Winchester Cathedral.

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The picture above is the house where Jane Austen died at the age of forty-one. The cause of death is still debated. She was taken to Winchester for medical treatment and two months later she died. The house is located behind Winchester Cathedral and we were warned not to peer into the windows because people still live there. In today’s market, the house would sell for over one million pounds. Yikes!

Our pilgrimage to walk in the footsteps of Jane Austen was definitely the highlight of our trip to England–beating out even Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral.  I would have to say thanks to our good friends in England, June and Mike Horbury, for making the journey possible. Thanks so much guys!

As a writer, I can’t express how much Jane Austen means to me and probably all writers and readers of romance. It’s amazing to read her books and to think, I know that character, or, I’ve gone out with that bad boy! Jane’s humor shines through her books and to say she brings her characters to life is a wild understatement. Her universal themes of money, class, and romance are powerful and they can absorb us still. I believe Harper Collins is planning to update the six Jane Austen novels, and Jane Trollope’s SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is the first in the series. I hope these authors do justice to these wonderful books and only enhance the genius of Jane Austen.

Thanks for stopping by to share my Jane Austen pilgrimage. It was a pleasure having you.

Bren

 

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