Emma FanFic Remix: 20+ years later, Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill still know how to blunder through a secret engagement

A looooong time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote a fanfic from Jane Fairfax’s and Frank Churchill’s perspectives, filling in the plot gaps in Emma by Jane Austen. Obviously, that negates the “mystery story” element of the novel, but I don’t care. It was a fun exercise to try to get into their heads and figure out what they were thinking, and what kinds of people they really were.

Frank fixes Mrs. Bates' spectacles
Frank fixes Mrs. Bates’ spectacles.

I came to the conclusion that Jane Fairfax really was a superior creature. One who was desperate to find love…and also desperate to not work for a living. Not judging – I totally understand where she was coming from. Here’s a beautiful woman with loads of talent and tons of accomplishments, and she’s on the cusp of spending the rest of her life (? – I mean, Mr. Weston sprung Miss Taylor out of Governess Jail at Hartfield…) as a glorified servant. For a woman who is the granddaughter and daughter of gentlemen (her grandfather was clergy and her father an army officer, two of the gentlemanly professions), it isn’t so unreasonable to expect she’ll be able to live a life that befits a gentlewoman. Obviously, genteel poverty was a thing (cases in point: Mrs. and Miss Bates), but as a young woman, Jane should have had a fighting chance at a decent marriage and living. Maybe not big-inheritance level like Frank ended up giving her, but something better than working for friends of Mrs. Elton for a pittance. 

In Jane’s shoes, I probably would’ve let Frank talk me into falling in love with him, too. Maybe. As for Frank Churchill, I decided he’s a self-centered ass, but not the villain some people make him out to be. He really, really does love her. I mean, here’s a guy with the looks, charm, and money to basically marry just about any well-bred girl he wants, and he picks the poor one. And not just for messing around. He proposes marriage to lock her down. Add all that to his fits of pique at Box Hill and you know he’s got it bad for her. Really bad.

Yeah, he makes fun of Jane’s hair to Emma, which isn’t just an affront to her looks – it’s also a dig at her poverty, as she and her aunt and grandmother can’t afford a lady’s maid to do it for her, but so many of the improper things that come up in Frank’s conversations with Emma aren’t actually suggested by Frank – they’re suggested by Emma. He certainly encourages the topic, but it’s Emma who goes full-Dixon, not Frank. Mmhmmmmm.

Anyway, I rewrote the fic to make it a little less Austen-y and restrained and a little more psychological. When I finished the original version, I wanted to continue the post-canon story of Jane and Frank with some plot ideas that struck me along the way. Unfortunately, life got stupid for a couple of decades and suddenly it’s not just the 21st century, it’s the third decade of the 21st century, and that scares the crap out of me. I’ve only begun to revisit the possibility of continuing with these ficbunnies again. Suffice it to say that some of my ideas will probably piss off the Austen purists, but whatever. Forget it, Jake (Jane?) – this is Fanfiction Town.

So here’s the new version, titled B-L-U-N-D-E-R, currently hosted at Archiveofourown.org. Please check it out and let me know what you think. 

Nineteen tips for vintage-inspired weddings

I was recently asked to participate in a blog post all about vintage-inspired weddings, presented by Lady Vintage (AKA “Lady V London”). Since I admire Lady V’s beautiful made-in-England vintage repro dresses, I was excited to collaborate!

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Retro from Head to Toe: 19 tips for vintage-inspired weddings via Lady V London.

My tips dealt specifically with incorporating real vintage jewelry into your wedding, but there’s lots more advice from a variety of great vintage bloggers worth checking out in the piece!

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Retro from Head to Toe: 19 tips for vintage-inspired weddings via Lady V London.
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Retro from Head to Toe: 19 tips for vintage-inspired weddings via Lady V London.

Check it all out!

Jane Austen’s Emma is almost 200!

Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma
Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma (1996 Miramax adaptation).

It’s hard to believe that December will mark the 200th anniversary of Emma‘s publication. The recent lead up’s been pretty interesting, including a modern retelling of the novel by Alexander McCall Smith and Pemberley Digital’s multimedia Emma Approved adaptation, which wrapped last year. Various organizations, including the Bay Area English Regency Society in the San Francisco Bay Area, are organizing celebrations commemorating the event. Even though it’s not popular on the same level as, say, Pride & Prejudice, people love Emma because it has a little something for everyone.

Before writing Emma, Jane Austen once expressed, “I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like” (James Edward Austen-Leigh’s Memoir of Jane Austen, p. 158). Most believe that the author was at least half-joking when she said this, as Emma Woodhouse is often a great favorite among readers. The character aside, however, the story itself is simply brilliant. Part romance, part comedy, part drama, and part “detective novel,” adapters for stage and screen have lots of choice when it comes to direction and focus. If the depth and texture of the novel has a limitation, it’s in the fact that most adaptations can’t do justice to everything it offers (not even the long miniseries versions).

Jane Austen wrote Emma over the period encompassing January 21, 1814 – March 29, 1815. At his request, she dedicated Emma to her most high-profile fan, the Prince Regent. This is a bit strange, considering that she didn’t care much for him, his conduct towards his wife, or his personality in general. He received a special first edition of the novel (one of twelve “presentation” copies issued by the publisher), in three volumes, which is kept at the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. For more on the presentation edition, see this description of Anne Sharp’s copy (Bonhams auction site). Novelist Maria Edgeworth – a favorite of Austen’s – also apparently received a presentation copy of the novel.

First published in December, 1815 (though the frontispiece is dated 1816) by John Murray, Emma was the last work Austen lived to see released. The first edition consisted of 2000 copies. Oddly, the book did not sell well, so the second printing/edition didn’t happen until 1833. For more information on the initial publication of the novel, look here. You will also find opinions on the novel from Austen’s friends and family right here.

For more on Jane Austen’s Emma and its various media adaptations, visit the Emma Adaptations Pages.

Guest Post: Trashy Diva Apple Pie Dress for Betty Le BonBon!

Trashy Diva Apple Pie Dress
Trashy Diva Apple Pie Dress

This week I’m a guest writer at Jasmine’s wonderful Betty Le BonBon blog, reviewing the Apple Pie dress from one of my favorite vintage reproduction brands, Trashy Diva!

Check out the review, and Jasmine’s great fashion and lifestyle blog, here!

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Unisphere by Kali
Unisphere by Kali.

Strangegirl.com, AKA StrangeBlog, now has its own Facebook page! Please come Like us, and come hang out on the page anytime!

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Pet Society: Last Call

Hedwig at L'Opera Petulaire
Hedwig at L’Opera Petulaire. She’s good at playing the pipe organ backwards.

Social gamers already know that Electronic Arts will be shuttering several of its popular Facebook titles on June 14. The decision is controversial for a number of reasons, but my primary issue with the decision is very personal. Quite simply, I love my Pet, Hedwig, and her little kitten and unicorn petlings.
Continue reading “Pet Society: Last Call”

Link: Dolldivine.com’s Pinup Maker Deluxe

Kali as a doll!
Kali as a doll! My version of the Pinup Couture Heidi dress.

If you love dressing up digital paper dolls and adore pinup style, Kei’s Pinup Maker Deluxe is the game for you!

Based on the larger selection of build-’em-yourself dolls at Dolldivine.com, this specifically pinup version is hosted at Deviantart. Customize outfits, hair, makeup, shoes, accessories, and backgrounds!

Link: Pinup Girl Style

There’s a new online community for fans of Pinup Couture, Deadly Dames, and Pinup Girl Clothing‘s other wonderful house brands! At Pinup Girl Style, members can share photos of themselves in PUG clothing, participate in discussions, read blogs by members of Team PUG and their guests, and swap or sell their PUG goods. Check it out!