Celebrating My Jane Austen Novels with The Enchanted Book Club
I was honored to be the guest author this weekend at The Enchanted Book Club’s first-ever in-person event and book signing, and it was like something out of a fairy tale! I couldn’t resist posing with Colin Firth, my favorite Mr. Darcy. If you’re a fan of classic literature and historical fiction novels and are looking for a community of kindred spirits, you’ll love The Enchanted Book Club.
The Enchanted Book Club Literary Party was held at the charming and historic McCharles House & Gardens in Tustin, California.
A landscaped path meanders through the gardens to the back patio, where the event was held.
The host of The Enchanted Book Club, the beautiful, creative, and hard-working Hayley Solano, set up the event to look just like a wedding in front of the original gazebo from the Disneyland Hotel. There were gift bags for everyone with a box of treats and a beloved classic novel, plus a raffle with great giveaways.
There were more than 60 club members in attendance, some of whom traveled a long distance to get there. One flew in from Texas, another from the California Bay Area, and several drove 6 or 8 hours or more and made a weekend out of it. I was thrilled to meet them all!
The event included a signed copy of one of my novels, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen (one of their reading selections last year, when I joined them for a virtual discussion), The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen (next month’s book club reading selection), or Jane Austen’s First Love.
The literary party began with a Q&A where Hayley and I discussed my introduction to Jane Austen and how, when, and why I fell in love with her and her novels. I talked about how I embarked upon my career as a writer, from the time I discovered the magic of books as a girl, to the thrilling day when I sold my first Austen novel in a bidding war between three major publishing houses.
I revealed the inspiration behind The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, which I wrote because I wished there were more than just 6 Austen novels! In my book, a modern day librarian finds a clue to the existence of a missing Jane Austen manuscript. We get to read Jane’s newly discovered 7th novel (which is inspired by Jane Austen’s very own Plan of a Novel, an outline she wrote) and worry about its fate, intermingled with the story of the woman who finds it, and who has a romance of her own. I’m honored to say the book earned a rave review from Publisher’s Weekly and a starred review from Kirkus!
I also discussed the inspiration behind Jane Austen’s First Love, which brings to life Jane’s little-known real-life crush on an extraordinary young man, Edward Taylor, who she mentioned several times in her letters but biographers knew next to nothing about. Copious research enabled me to learn a great deal about Edward Taylor, and to write about the imagined madcap summer when he and Jane met and fell madly in love. The book was a Library Journal Editor’s Pick and the Historical Novel Society called it “a masterpiece”!
Finally, Hayley asked what it was like writing from Jane Austen’s perspective and I explained my methods—all the tricks I employ to keep her voice in my head. Writing these novels was both a challenge and a heartfelt joy. I am always gratified when readers tell me how much they enjoyed them!
I was delighted to sign books and chat with everyone at a lovely table decorated by Hayley.
A surprise gift for every attendee was a custom-arranged bouquet of flowers from a visiting flower truck.
A club member, Sherri, gave me this adorable spoon as a gift. She couldn’t have known that I collect spoons! She attached the charms herself. I’ll treasure it forever.
If you’d like to learn more about The Enchanted Book Club, click here. It’s an enriching virtual literary group that hosts lively discussions, author events, exclusive giveaways, and literary travel experiences, focusing on classics and historical fiction. You can read Hayley’s wonderful blog about the Literary party at this link.
The event was an absolute delight. I’m so grateful to Hayley Solano for inviting me. I hope everyone who came had as wonderful a time as I did!
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