Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!
Today I’m delighted to be taking part in Austen’s Birthday Soiree, a multi-blog extravaganza organized by Maria Grazia of My Jane Austen Book Club and Katherine Cox of November’s Autumn. The best part is that you can get presents, even though it isn’t your birthday, because each blog is also hosting a giveaway. I’ll be giving away a copy of Mr. Darcy’s Undoing to a lucky commenter.
Meantime, each blogger gets to give a virtual birthday present to Jane Austen herself. My choice was obvious because I’d just done far more research than was necessary (as is usually the case for me) to be able to describe a very specific gift Darcy was to give Elizabeth in Mr. Darcy’s Letter. I can see some readers scratching their heads trying to remember a present from Darcy in Mr. Darcy’s Letter – you might as well give up, since it ended up being cut from the final draft, despite the three days of research I’d put into it. It was a lap desk, a wooden box that opens to reveal a fabric or leather sloping surface for writing on, with compartments for bottles of ink and a shallow groove to store pens. Underneath the writing slope was a storage area for papers – just right for love letters. Many also had secret compartments for valuables. In Mr. Darcy’s Letter, the gift was of significance because Darcy had received two letters from Elizabeth (the second was cut from the final version) and wanted her to write more, but knew she had difficulty finding privacy at Longbourn to write a secret missive. The gift of a lap desk was a tongue-in-cheek reference to their past secret correspondence, but also practical and decorative – and it could be locked to keep private letters away from snooping sisters.
What better birthday gift could I give Jane Austen than tools to make her writing easier? This one is made of birdseye maple with mother-of-pearl insets. The interior, like that of many lap desks of the period, is a lovely rosewood, and it comes complete with a key. Jane can take it anywhere to write – under a tree as well as in her sitting room. Maybe she’ll write even more now!
If you’re interested, you can see more views of this lap desk here. It’s even for sale, and if I ever win the lottery, it’s on the top of my to-buy list.
I’m also celebrating my newest release, Mr. Darcy’s Letter, with a giveaway of a signed copy at Austen Authors, and I’ve posted my short story “Intermezzo” as a free bonus for my readers. Don’t forget to comment here (including email address) by December 23 if you’d like to win the signed copy of Mr. Darcy’s Undoing!
Katherine Cox ~ November’s Autumn
$10 Barnes & Noble gift card
Maria Grazia ~ My Jane Austen Book Club
a selection of Austenesque novels
Georgette Heyer’s Regency World
Sharon Lathan ~ Sharon’s blog
Miss Darcy Falls in Love
C. Allyn Pierson ~ Semi True Stories
Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister
Cindy Jones ~ First Draft
My Jane Austen Summer & package of Lily Berry’s Pink Rose Tea by Bingley Teas
Marilyn Brant ~ Brant Flakes
According to Jane canvas tote bag & A Summer in Europe luggage tags
Karen Doorbebos ~ Fiction vs. Reality Smackdown
Definitely Not Mr. Darcy (2 copies), 2 Jane Austen candles, & drink coasters and tea
Regina Jeffers ~ Regina’s Blog
Christmas at Pemberley
Alyssa Goodnight ~ Alyssa’s Blog
Jane Austen Action Figure
Vera Nazarian ~ Urban Girl Takes Vermont
Vera’s Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration in hardcover
Jane Odiwe ~ Jane Austen Sequels
Mr. Darcy’s Secret & a mug with a Jane Odiwe illustration
Susan Kaye, Laura Hile, Pamela Aidan, & Barbara Cornthwaite ~ Jane Started It!
Young Master Darcy: A Lesson in Honor by Pamela Aidan
set of Frederick Wentworth, Captain by Susan Kaye
Mercy’s Embrace: So Rough a Course (2 copies) by Laura Hile
set of George Knightley, Gentleman by Barbara Cornthwaite
Juliet Archer ~ Choc Lit Authors’ Corner
Persuade Me & The Importance of Being Emma
Jane Greensmith ~ Reading, Writing, Working, Playing
Intimations of Austen and Sense & Sensibility Marvel graphic novel
Emily Snyder ~ O! Beauty Unattempted
Letters of Love & Deception
Farida Mestek ~ Regency Sketches
I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend by Cora Harrison
Jane Austen’s Little Instruction Book (Charming Petites)
Jane Austen in Vermont
JASNA 2012 calendar from Wisconsin JASNA Region
Becky Rhodehouse ~ One Literature Nut
selection of Austenesque reads
Jennifer Becton ~ Historical Fiction & Thrillers
Personages of Pride and Prejudice Collection eBook
Courtney Webb ~ Stiletto Storytime
Noble Satyr by Lucinda Brant
Adriana Zardini ~ Jane Austen Brazil
Sense & Sensibility 1995 DVD – English with Portuguese subtitles
Patrice Sarath ~ Patrice Sarath blog
The Unexpected Miss Bennet
Kaitlin Saunders ~ Kaitlin Saunders blog
A Modern Day Persuasion
Laurel Ann Nattress ~ Austenprose
Jane Austen Made Me Do It
Prue Batten ~ Mesmered’s Blog
Georgiana Darcy by Anne Elliot
Jenny Allworthy ~ The Jane Austen Film Club
Northanger Abbey 2007 DVD
Sitio Jane Austen ~ El Salon de Te de Jane
Spanish and English DVD package of Jane Austen adaptations
Erin Blakemore ~ The Heroine’s Bookshelf
Pride & Prejudice notecards
Happy Birthday to Jane Austen. Hebrew: Yom Huledet Samaech!! Great gift idea by the way!
If we both win the lottery at the same time, we’ll have to fight over it! It’s so pretty.
What a clever little writing desk! I just love things like that. I’ve found a couple of them in my travels to antique shops and 2nd handstores throughout New England. One that I have is made of paper, very old and small. It’s so precious to me.
I would love winning your book! I’ve purchased Mr. Darcy’s Letters and can’t wait to get started on it this week. I sometimes wonder what Jane would make of all the much ‘n stuff we’ve made of her life! :]
I so enjoy being a part of the Austen admirer’s group! LOL
Oh that is a beautiful present for Jane and I can see why it would make a lovely lottery win for Abigail.
Thank you for the giveaway opportunity. I love your books and stories.
What an exquisite present and practical at the same time! Elizabeth and Jane Austen would definitely love it 🙂 And I wish you all luck with winning the lottery so that the writing process could become more delightful and you could write even more!
What a beautiful gift. I’m sure Jane would have loved it. also, thanks for the giveaway.
I will be happy with the book!
Happy 236th Jane! What a wonderful writing desk! For a blog site’s writing contest, I’m writing(term used loosely) a short story that includes Nauset and Nobska! Cheers!
Happy Birthday, Jane. You left us with a legacy of delightful novels that we now consider “historical” but for you were “contemporary” reflections on life in your time. Thank you for giving us rich characters and an a view to the world in which you live. Your writing has enchanted and inspired so many of us!
Amazing contest! Wow!
Happy Birthday to Jane!! did you ever realize that you’ve inspired so many people with your writing?????
i’m grateful!!!!! LOL!!!
thank you for this giveaway, Abigail!!
cyn209 at juno dot com
Happy birthday to my favorite author in the world! I love pride and prejudice. Definitely the top romance book ever!
Thank you for the giveaway. I would love to win your book!
What a delightful present for our Jane! Today, I pause to think of her birth and the subsequent enjoyment she brought to my reading life. Salute!
Happy birthday to Jane! Next semester, I’m taking an Austen class. I can hardly wait to spend the whole semester focused on that great lady!
I love your adaptations! I’d really love to own them all!
Happy Birthday to Jane! I’m so excited about your latest book. I’m heading over to Amazon now 🙂
Happy Birthday to Jane. Love your books. Congratulations.
I would love to wina copy of this book!
Happy Birthday Jane!
Happy Birthday Jane Austen! I’m so glad to have known you and to have such company all these years. Thank you Bloggers for feeding my obsession with gifts. Abigail, you are one of my favorites. Thanks for all you do.
Happy Birthday, Jane!
Oh, that writing desk is perfect – so practical and yet such an indulgence!
Happy Jane’s Birthday! I would love to be chosen to win your drawing.
You were the first JAFF author I read which made me go on a shopping spree for other stories. I will eventually buy all your books but I would love to win this one…LOL. Thanks for the giveaway.
Happy Birthday to Jane Austen!
Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!!
One day i will tell you “Happy birthday” in an elegant way. When I woul be an honest pupil of you, but until then Happy Birthday!
Ooh! Great gift, Abigail! I did some research into these lap desks as well, although I never ran across the image you have here. Really stunning! I am sure Miss Austen will discover it to be very useful.
Abigail, I love the writing desk! What a great gift it would have been for Elizabeth, and Jane!
Happy b-day Jane and thanks so much for the Giveaway of Mr. Darcy’s Undoing! 🙂
What a wonderful gift, Abigail. Creative and very appropriate!
Happy birthday, Jane!
Thank you for the giveaway.
I love the Jane soiree and it would be exciting to win an autographed copy of your latest. I am sure you have much more to write, congrats.
for my bday one year my husband made and painted a writing desk for me. it is an excellent gift choice,
The writing desk in the second picture you posted is very similar to the one which Jane’s father actually gave her when she was a young girl, as he, too, wanted to encourage her writing. A perfect parallel to give one to Lizzie Bennett.
May I also say, as a first-time visitor, how elegant I find the design of your blog. A pleasure to be here!
Happy Birthday Jane ! It’s my birthday on the 19th and if my Mr Darcy happened to give myself a gift such as this I would be a very happy girl indeed….Love u Abi xxxx
Congratulations again Abigail! And Happy birthday Jane. My gift is a pen and a wish that she could keep on writing. =D
Happy 236th Birthday, dear Jane!
Thank you for writing my favourite book (P&P – of course). I’m sure you will like Abigail’s present very much. But just in case you already own a lap desk, I’d be delighted if you would send it to me. If you don’t want to part with it, I will try to understand and could be consoled by one of Abigail’s signed books. Please put in a good word for me. Maybe you could even persuade her to share the cut scenes from “Mr. Darcy’s Letter”. I would be much obliged.
Happy Birthday to Jane Austen!
What a wonderful present for Jane! I know she would love it!
What a lovely present for Jane–and a great giveaway for us!
araminta18 at gmail dot com
What a beautiful and useful gift! I am sure Jane will put them to good use. 🙂
Thank you for the giveaway!
Happy birthday, Jane! 🙂
What a nice gift!!
What a meaningful gift for JA to go with her writing desk from her father. I’m sure she will appreciate it.
What a lovely gift for our dear Jane! Thanks for the giveaway!
Thanks for joining our party, Abigail, and for your lovely tribute to Jane on her birthday!
Lovely lap desk! Happy Birthday Jane!
felicialso @gmail .com
What a lovely gift to give Jane! I’m sure she would love it! And thank you for the opportunity to win Mr. Darcy’s Undoing!
We are all so very practical in our gifts to Jane. I think it is wonderful to see how we each perceive Jane’s personality.
It is very beautiful. I would love to read MR DARCY’S UNDOING!
That lapdesk is beautiful, I love it. I’m sure Miss Jane would love it, too. I like to imagine her in a peaceful place, writing more wonderful stories. I can see Lizzy using it, too, to write letters to a special Derbyshire gentleman. I can’t wait to read Mr Darcy’s Letter. I’ve gotten so behind in my reading because of the holidays.
Thanks for the giveaway of Mr Darcy’s undoing, and Happy Birthday Jane!
incredible! I so want it…
I think that is a very good gift idea!
i discovered you with your “MR DARCY’S OBSSESSION” which i enjoyed so much *__* , your variation are just wonderful amazing, i love the plot and new characters that you created(mary), i heard that you are writting a sequel ,and i look forward to see the sequel .
happy birthday to jane austen my favourite author and thank you to her for making our life brighter <333
i hope i can get your book 🙂
Your gift is perfect for Jane. A lap desk is also on my wishlist! Thanks for your lovely post.
I have really enjoyed Fitzwilliam Darcy: Last Man in the World and how you handled that story. Was a great read with great twists and use of the original and their personalities established by the birthday girl. I need something new to read! HINT HINT!
This is such fun. I’m having a great time discovering so many wonderful Austen sites. Thanks.
They’re beautiful gifts! Happy Birthday Miss Austen and congratulations to all who celebrate it like a dear friend’s birthday.
My e-mail address is email@example.com
I too am coveting that lap desk! Lovely gift and giveaway! Happy Happy Birthday Dear Jane!
stilettostorytime at gmail dot com
What a perfect gift you gave her.I join you in wishing her Happy Birthday.I would love to win your giveaway.Please enter firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you very much. Denise
Wow! I’ve never seen anything like it- what a great gift for Mss. Austen. I hope you win the lottery soon and get to buy yours:)
Thank for this giveaway!
Happy birthday, Jane. Thanks for the great giveaway.
The lap desk does look lovely! Thanks for sharing about it during this celebration of dear Jane’s birthday.
It would be an honor to win your book.
Still getting caught up on all of the posts for the Soiree. Thank you for joining Maria Grazia and I, Abigail! I hope you have a lovely Holiday. And the lap desk look beautiful! I wouldn’t mind one either. 🙂 No need to enter me in the giveaway.
I finished reading Intermezzo and loved it! Makes me want to win even more! Thanks again!