Archive for the ‘History – Regency Era’ Category

I have finally taken my first step into historical fiction 😀 I am thrilled, and so proud of this book, and so I guess if you’ve loved all my factual posts on this blog then this is probably the book for you… Try it… It’s definitely Pride and Prejudice style and looks at how she developed that story and absolutely – no zombies! 😉


Praise for my non romance works

‘Once again Jane Lark spellbound me’ – BestChickLit.com

‘Jane Lark writes so beautifully’ – Sorcha O’Dowd Amazon reviewer

‘Jane’s portrayal of the Battle of Waterloo and the feelings both Ellen and Paul had to go through are described excellently. As mentioned above, this book is a lot more heart-wrenching’ – Heidi (The Lost Love of a Soldier)

‘Goodness, this lady can write emotion!’ – avidreader Amazon reviewer

A story of Jane Austen’s life you will not know…

The Authoress

Jane’s father dies and a dark cloud smothers her desire to write. She becomes dependent on her brothers, and is reduced to living among vagabonds and prostitutes. Her life has become the gothic horror she had imagined for Susan. But everything begins anew when a distant cousin dies and the unimaginable forces of fate takeover.

Fate leads Jane to step through the door of Stoneleigh Abbey, into the life of riches lived by her ancestors. It sets her imagination alight once more when she is drawn into the setting of her cousin’s fight to inherit the beautiful property which Jane falls in love with. During her stay moments of reality inspire fiction, creating a collage of ideas and written images which become the foundations for her stories…

And you, my blog readers, were involved in this story from the beginning, if you look back through my blog posts you’ll see my first posts on Stoneleigh Abbey years ago. I had the idea for the story then, but it’s taken a little while to work out how to put it together just right 😀

I hope you enjoy the story!

It’s only available on Amazon as an ebook right now, as I’m looking for a home for it that will put it in print, but I didn’t want to keep waiting to get it out to my readers until then, so here it is. The Authoress by Jane Lark

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Stoneleigh Abbey

Well I’ve had a wonderful day discovering loads more real life facts which Jane Austen mingled into her fiction. So many things I think this may well be another four blog saga. I certainly can’t fit it all in a day. Follow my blog on janelark.wordpress.com, if you don’t want to miss any.

Let me begin by explaining Jane Austen’s connection and why she visited Stoneleigh Abbey in August 1806. It must have been a bit dreamlike for her, as I am sure it would be for us. She’d previously endured the worst period of her life, living in Bath for two years watching her father’s health decline. He died on 21st January 1805, and afterwards Jane, Cassandra and their mother moved to a cheaper tenancy in Gay Street in Bath for six months, then moved again into Trim Street, a cheap area of Bath. Jane must have been concerned through this period, wondering how they would cope without her father. She did not write any fiction in this period because she lost all inspiration, her imagination simply died.

But then her mother decided to remove from Bath and do what unmarried dependent female relatives did in that day. Visit their relatives for extended stays.

I have spoken of Stoneleigh in earlier blogs but this time I took a pen and paper so I can ensure I share all the juicy facts.

Jane and Mrs Austen’s first visit was to be to a cousin of Jane’s mother they had never actually met, who resided at Hamstall Ridware. They called in at Addlethorpe near Morton-on-the-Marsh on the way – this is where Mrs Austen had grown up – and called on a cousin they were very close to, the Rector Thomas Leigh.  At the time of their visit the Rector Thomas Leigh received some brilliant and wonderfully shocking news. He had inherited Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire, along with the fortune of that side of the Leigh family who’d passed away with no issue. He was advised by Mr Hill, the steward and executor of the will, to come quickly to ensure he claimed his inheritance as the will was likely to be disputed. There were many distant relatives. He immediately asked if he might bring his Cousin Mrs Austen and her daughter, Jane. So Jane and her mother began an exciting hurried journey up the fosse way from Cirencester (very near where I live and the way we travelled today to go to Stoneleigh Abbey too). In the chaise with them was also Thomas Leigh’s sister, Elizabeth Leigh. The men rode beside the carriage.

They approached Stoneleigh Abbey from the village of Stoneliegh and saw initially the Elizabethan red stone face, an old wing which was by then mainly used for service. They then came past the Jacobean wing, with a crescent shaped red stone staircase (which was replaced by the porch front in the picture below after Jane’s visit) leading to a first floor entrance facing a bowling green but they did no alight there.

Jacobean Entrance to Stoneleigh Abbey

They came about the corner and faced the west wing built in a silver coloured stone in baroque style. We do not have to simply imagine how impressed Jane was, we can read it in her letters and her books.

Stoneleigh Abbey West Wing

She would have carried the manuscript of Pride and Prejudice with her at the time and when the Gardiners reach Lambton you begin hearing things she might have adapted in the Manuscript. She mentions Warwick and Kenilworth, which are places she visited while staying at Stoneleigh Abbey.

Certainly visiting Stoneleigh Abbey reawakened Jane’s imagination and when she wrote Mansfield Park in 1811-1814 you hear constant reflections on Stoneleigh Abbey, for instance Fanny Price joins an outing to visit Sotherton Court and Jane’s descriptions begin as they near the house. ‘Those are the almshouses built by some of the family’.

Almshouses Stoneleigh Village

My guess is that Jane described her own feelings ‘Her eye was eagerly taking in everything within her reach; and after being at some pains to a get a view of the house.’

Next week, I’ll tell you more of what Jane Austen found there.

Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional love stories.

See the side bar for details of Jane’s books, and Jane’s website www.janelark.co.uk to learn more about Jane. Or click  ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook  page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark

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