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Henry Tilney’s Diary by Amanda Grange

Henry Tilney’s Diary by Amanda Grange provides readers with the inner thoughts and past of Northanger Abbey‘s hero.  Like his sister Eleanor, Henry has a passion for the written word, which mirrors Austen’s homage to readers in the original novel.  Grange steeps her prose in Gothic tales of secret passages and story telling between brother and sister and between Henry Tilney and Catherine Morland.  Drawing inspiration from Mrs. Radcliff and her novels, A Sicilian Romance and The Mysteries of Udolpho.

Unlike Austen’s version, Tilney reads Gothic novels for pleasure, a pleasure he shares with his sister, and while he remains very logical in his thinking about finding a wife, he is soon swept up by the charms of Catherine.  His requirements in a wife are listed on more than one occasion with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.

“‘When I marry – if I marry – my wife must love to read.  I shall make it the one condition.  Her dowry is unimportant, her family is irrelevant, but she must be a lover of novels, or else no wedding can take place!'” (page 63)

Although he does say that she must love novels, he also realizes that a love of novels can go too far, and in that way Grange has paralleled the character development of Catherine in the original Northanger Abbey.  Through diary entries, readers come to know Tilney more intimately as he worries for his brother and his sister and grows increasingly concerned about his father’s seeming change of heart where money and titles are concerned.  Tilney grows from a younger son into a man of his own means and career, but he is still loyal to his family despite his budding feelings for Catherine.

Another winner from Grange that builds upon the character arcs and complex story lines left behind by Austen.  Her Tilney is a kind, gentle man with a clear vision of how his life should be, and while he remains loyal to his family, his heart guides his move.  His frank nature and his compassion bloom in Grange’s hands.  Austinites and those looking for a well-paced romance with Gothic highlights will enjoy Henry Tilney’s Diary.

I’d like to see Grange tackle a few more villains in her diary series of books!

About the Author:

Amanda Grange was born in Yorkshire and spent her teenage years reading Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer whilst also finding time to study music at Nottingham University. She has had sixteen novels published including six Jane Austen retellings, which look at events from the heroes’ points of view.

If you haven’t entered the giveaway to win you’re own copy, please check out the guest post.

Guest Post: The Home of Visual Imagination by Amanda Grange

Amanda Grange is one of the most well-known writers of Austenesque retellings from Mr. Darcy’s Diary to her latest Henry Tilney’s Diary.  Henry Tilney is one of the main characters in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, which is the novelist’s sarcastic take on the Gothic novel and its frivolity.

Grange’s diary series of books focus on the heroes of Austen’s novels, though there is one about a villain Wickham.  In all of these diary books, Grange gives readers an inside look into the thoughts and pasts of Austen’s male characters, and she does it all while keeping with Austen’s vision and wit.

Today, I’ve got an inside peek into Grange’s writing space and habits.  Please give her a warm welcome and stay tuned for a giveaway.

I do a lot of my writing in my head before I commit anything to paper. When I’m writing my Jane Austen retellings, I start by rereading the original novel. If it’s a nice day, I do this outside, often going to a nearby stately home or formal garden so that I can soak up the elegant, leisurely atmosphere of days gone by. As I read, I let my mind wander over all the questions that occur to me. What was Henry like as a child and young man? What kind of relationship did he have with his parents and siblings? What was life like for him when his mother died? When did he discover a love for Gothic novels? Where did he read them?

I have a very visual imagination, and as I ask the questions, I build pictures in my mind. This is easier if I’m somewhere spacious and elegant, as I can look around and imagine the characters walking round a corner or sitting in an arbour.

Sometimes I will start writing longhand, on a large notepad, and I often do this out of doors if the weather is good. I’ve written quite a few scenes sitting on the bench in the photo, which is at a nearby stately home. Then, once I’m in full flow I move onto the computer. My study is very plain, because once I get down to the actual business of writing, I don’t like distractions. The walls are a neutral colour without any pictures and there is no furniture apart from essential office furniture. My desk is large because I’m an untidy worker and I need space for all my notes, as well as my research books. I start off in an organised fashion, making neat notes in a word document, but I soon resort to scribbling things down on any piece of paper that comes to hand – an envelope, a copy of the Radio Times, anything. If I’m out, I make notes in a notebook I keep in my handbag, except when I forget it, which is often. Then I will scribble ideas down on an old receipt, train ticket or in fact anything that can be written on. I end up with a jumble of papers on my desk and I daren’t throw anything away in case it turns out to be vital.

Once the book is finished, I throw everything away with a great sense of freedom and tidy my study, which remains pristine until I start the next book. I always say I will take a break before starting the next book, but in fact I get itchy fingers and it’s usually only a week or so before I’m raring to go again.

Thanks for sharing your writing space with us. To enter for 1 copy of Henry Tilney’s Diary by Amanda Grange:

1. Leave a comment on this post about what Austen villain you’d like to see write a diary.

2. Blog, Tweet (@SavvyVerseWit), or Facebook the giveaway for up to 3 more entries.

3. Follow this blog and let me know for another entry.

Deadline Dec. 20, 2011, at 11:59PM EST. US/Canada only

Mailbox Monday #151

First, I would like to congratulate (Ryan) on winning My Soul to Take by Tananarive Due (my review) from the last Mailbox Monday giveaway.

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is the Mailbox Monday tour blog.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  You Are My Only by Beth Kephart; finally my 5 pre-ordered books arrived (so the two of you readers who have won a copy should receive them soon from me) and 1 autographed copy from Beth after I won her Treasure Hunt, which I will treasure forever.

2.  Dreaming of Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly for review in January from Sourcebooks.

3.  Christmas at Pemberley by Regina Jeffers for review in December from Ulysses Press.

4.  Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange for review in December from Berkley/Penguin.

5.  The Unexpected Miss Bennet by Patrice Sarath for review in December from Berkley/Penguin.

6. Ivan and Misha by Michael Alenyikov, which I won from Unabridged Chick!

7. All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson from Library Thing Early Reviewers.

What did you get in your mailbox?