Time to escape…

As we approach the end of Lockdown here in the UK, so many of us are feeling the need to get away. For the last eighteen months, books and Netflix have been our only escape. But with books, sometimes, it’s not the just the characters who remain in a reader’s mind at the end of a book; sometimes it’s the location. The sheep station of Drogheda, in the Australian Outback, is currently on my mind, after finishing The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough. And who hasn’t been swept away and dashed on the rugged coastline of Daphne du Maurier’s Cornwall, or gone in search of Gerald Durell’s Corfu?

Corfu is an island, and there’s something about islands which makes them special. Maybe it’s their relative isolation which offers an air of exclusivity or maybe it’s the fact you don’t need to travel far to see the sea. Having grown up in the middle of Great Britain, where the nearest beach was 97 miles away, seeing the sea was only possible during the annual family vacation. So when I moved to the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of England, seeing the sea every day is now a real treat.

Priory Bay

I first visited the island as a member of a Girls’ Brigade troop. We ‘camped’ in an old church in the resort of Shanklin. (I realize hardened campers might consider this cheating, since we weren’t beneath canvas. All the same, be assured I did suffer some privations, in so far as the inflatable mattress on which I was sleeping persisted in deflating during the night… every night.)

We were blessed with great weather – that’s another thing about islands, they tend to have their own micro-climate. The I.o.W. has an average of over 37 hours of sunshine a week compared with the British national average of 29.7 hours. I like those stats.

Bembridge Marina

My love for the island inspired the setting for Gigi’s Island Dream. I ‘built’ Bluebell Farm and Rookery Cottage in a field on the edge of St Helens village, on the eastern point of the island, almost all the other locations mentioned in the book are real.

Another thing I love about the island is, it seems to attract people who love life and want to ‘do stuff’. It is a microcosm of the mainland and, as such, offers tons of activities from paragliding to horse-riding to amateur dramatics to sailing.

Rosie at sea in the Round the Island yacht race

Sailing is HUGE over here and in the summer, yachties come from all over the world to compete in the Round The island Yacht Race, and again in smaller races in Cowes Week. I’m working on my sixth rom-com, also set partially on the Isle of Wight, and my hero – Ben – is a sailing instructor, yachting adventurer and RNLI lifeboat volunteer. They are proper heroes!

So, if you’re ever close to the south coast of England, hop on a ferry and take a look for yourself.

Bembridge Lfeboat Station

Here is a link to my Pinterest board for the Isle of Wight. https://www.pinterest.co.uk/RosieDeanAuthor/isle-of-wight/


A Convenient Marriage…

With the launch of Jeevani Charika’s latest romance: A Convenient Marriage, I got to thinking, how would I cope with an arranged marriage? What if it went wrong? What if it all seemed hunky-dory and then I changed – or he changed?


But then, maybe that’s the risk of marrying anyway – whether arranged or voluntary. I confess I came pretty close to getting married myself once, and backed away. Yep, engaged for five years, I was. He was a nice guy; fit, smart and funny… I just woke up to the realization I was making a big mistake – for me. So after deep soul-searching, I backed out and we went our separate ways; he to lick his wounds and build his new future, while I optimistically launched into my brave new world. (To my dismay, what followed was an extremely fallow period of four years in my love life. Four! I never saw that coming!)


So, if I could time-travel back to that period of indecision over my pending nuptials, what would be my advice to myself?  I think it would be: If you have to really work at a relationship, make concessions and suppress the true you – it probably isn’t the right relationship. One day you’ll realize something better is on its way.


So, enough wise words from me! Read more here about Jeevani’s fab new e-book, which is out today! 

A Convenient Marriage Cover

It was the perfect marriage… until they fell in love.


Chaya is a young woman torn between her duty to family and her life in the UK. While her traditional Sri Lankan parents want her to settle down into marriage, what they don’t know is that Chaya has turned away the one true love of her life, Noah, terrified of their disapproval.
Gimhana is hiding his sexuality from his family. It’s easy enough to pretend he’s straight when he lives half a world away in the UK. But it’s getting harder and harder to turn down the potential brides his parents keep finding for him.

When Chaya and Gimhana meet, a marriage of convenience seems like the perfect solution to their problems. Together they have everything – friendship, stability and their parents’ approval. But when both Chaya and Gimhana find themselves falling in love outside of their marriage, they’re left with an impossible decision – risk everything they’ve built together, or finally follow their hearts?


You can click here to buy your copy of A Convenient Marriage.


Effrosyni Moschoudi on paranormal romance

My writing chum, Effrosyni Moschoudi (Frossie to her friends), is offering her paranormal romantic novel, The Ebb, for a limited time at 99p/99c. Effrosyni is an Amazon bestselling author telling stories drenched in Greek sunshine and set in beautiful locations.  And I LOVE the spooky twist! Read more here about her work and why she writes supernatural stories.

the Ebb cover ABNA 533x800(1)

Would you trust a ghost to help you find true love? Sofia, the heroine of The Lady of the Pier trilogy did just that. Start reading The Ebb to find out more. (It can also be enjoyed as a standalone read!)


frosso pic1 300DPIWelcome to my blog, Frossie! Tell us, what inspired you to write The Ebb?

Thank you, Rosie, great to be here!

The book combines my love for both Corfu and Brighton. Although this is a work of fiction, the story of Sofia who adores her grandparents and their village in Corfu, brims over with autobiographical elements as I used to spend my summers in the same way as a young girl. Up to a point, the description of the locales are very close to reality as well. As for Brighton, I’ve always had a fascination towards the West Pier. I was inspired to write this story because I feel it’s a shame that this magnificent landscape no longer exists and I wanted to bring it back to life through my story. In the remaining two volumes of The Lady of the Pier trilogy, The Flow and The Storm, the story highlights many events in real life history that involve Brighton and this pier at the heart of WWII.

Why do you write paranormal romance?

Anything that goes under the category of the paranormal fascinates me. Every day life can be mundane for us all, so I sprinkle some paranormal magic onto my stories hoping it will excite others the way it excites me. In real life, I am very much into the metaphysical, reincarnation, angels, and am highly spiritual in general so it comes easy to me to write about these things.

Me too!! So, can you share any personal experience of other-worldly happenings with us?

Oh yes. All my life I have felt protected in some eerie way and believe I have angels who look out for me at all times. In the recent years, my life got pretty scary healthwise plus it brought a lot of upset within my family. During these times, I received angelic messages that gave me a lot of comfort and courage. I blogged about these experiences at the time.
Click here to see two of these messages.

Amazing stories! What else can readers find on your website?

Readers can watch book trailers and download free excerpts of all my novels, and they can also discover a plethora of wonderful indie authors of many different genres via the interviews and book reviews/spotlights on my blog. Lastly, visitors are welcome to download my two permafree books that contain delightful short stories. Click here for the free stuff!


ebb a3 small
Watch The Ebb trailer here

Your books are lovely and intriguing reads. Thank you so much for talking to us!


The Ebb — When Sofia falls in love, a mourning spirit begins to haunt her…

the Ebb cover ABNA 533x800(1)CORFU, 1987

On a long holiday with her grandparents, Sofia Aspioti meets Danny Markson, a charming flirt who makes her laugh. Although she tries to keep him at arm’s length, worried that village gossip will get back to her strict family, she falls desperately in love. That’s when strange dreams about Brighton’s West Pier and a woman dressed in black begin to haunt her. Who is this grieving woman? And how is her lament related to Sofia’s feelings for Danny?


Dreaming of wealth and happiness, Laura Mayfield arrives in Brighton to pursue a new life. She falls for Christian Searle, a happy-go-lucky stagehand at the West Pier theatre, but when she’s offered a chance to perform there, her love for him is put to the test. Charles Willard, a wealthy aristocrat, is fascinated by her and pursues her relentlessly. Will Laura choose love…or money?


“Ms. Moschoudi is proving to be a skilled storyteller who takes her readers on a wonderful ride.”
~David M. Wind, author of Queen of Knights

“Reading Ms Moschoudi’s work is like visiting a friend. You are so wrapped up in the story that you don’t want it to end!”
~Julie Blaskie, Amazon reviewer

“I could feel the warm sun and sandy beaches even on a cold dreary day.”
~Helen Johnson Brumbaugh, Amazon reviewer

For a limited period…

Click here to buy The Ebb on Amazon.com for 99c

Click here to buy The Ebb on Amazon.co.uk for 99p



What’s your favourite rom-com movie?

Rom-coms are my favourite genre of movie. This may account for why the novels I write are in the same field.


I have watched countless rom-coms, some excellent, some pretty good and a few have been dire.  The all-time classic, never to be matched (IMHO) is:  When Harry Met Sally (1989). It’s written by the late and oh-so-great Nora Ephron. The screenplay was also enhanced by contributions from male lead, Billy Crystal, and the director Rob Reiner. Meg Ryan was at her peak in that era, and can only be matched in rom-coms by Sandra Bullock – who stars in another fave:  While You Were Sleeping (1995). Running neck and neck with these is:  Something’s Gotta Give (2003), a more recent and perhaps more sophisticated offering, written and directed by Nancy Meyers, and starring one of my all-time favourite actresses, Diane Keaton, who has two love interests in Jack Nicholson and Keanu Reeves.


I confess to knowing chunks of these scripts by heart. Not only have I watched them many times, I have the soundtracks downloaded on to my iPod, so I can listen to them in the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep. Like a child listening to a much loved bedtime story, within moments, I’ve usually nodded off again. If I don’t nod off, I lie there anticipating the next line.


HarrySallyI think When Harry met Sally is smartly written and high on observational comedy. It’s almost a blueprint for subsequent rom-coms; pairing a pessimistic yet quirkily amusing male lead with an optimistic yet slightly neurotic female lead. Out of youthful conceit, they begin by butting heads but, over time, develop a more mellow, accepting and well-rounded friendship – although not without its moment of despair. It has stood the test of time and still makes me laugh.


sleepingWhile You Were Sleeping, on the other hand, is oddly sweet – even though Sandra Bullock’s character, Lucy, takes a sociopathic approach to romance. You see, I’m not sure being recently orphaned and alone in the world (okay, she has a cat) allows her to pretend she is the fiancée of a man in a coma – a man on whom she happens to have a massive crush, and whose life she has just saved. But there you go. The eccentric Callaghan family sweeps her into its bosom at Christmas and she just can’t resist lying to them to maintain this feeling of belonging. And still I love them. Lucy is adorable and her real love interest – the coma victim’s brother, Jack (Bill Pullman) – is a guy I could fall for too.


Interesting note: on the old Harlequin Mills & Boon website, many authors cited While You Were Sleeping as their top romantic movie.


gottagiveSomething’s Gotta Give is the grown-ups’ rom-com. I think it’s no surprise that it was written and directed by a woman. What male writer would give a middle-aged female lead TWO love interests – and one of those a gorgeous, thirty-something doctor (Keanu Reeves)?



So, those are my most watched rom-coms and here are others I’ve seen more than thrice!

(If you have any other great recommendations… PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!)


Playing for Keeps (2012) Jessica Biel and Gerard Butler

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011) Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt

How Do You Know? (2010) Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson

The Accidental Husband (2008) Uma Thurman and Jeffrey Dean Morgan

The Wedding Date (2005) Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney

Just Like Heaven (2005) Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo

Hitch (2005) Eva Mendes and Will Smith

Raising Helen (2004) Kate Hudson and John Corbett

How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days (2003) Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey

Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001) Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant

The Wedding Planner (2001) Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey

Return to Me (2000) Minnie Driver and David Duchovny

You’ve Got Mail (1998) Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks

The Matchmaker (1997) Janeane Garafolo and David O’Hara

French Kiss (1995) Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline

Overboard (1987) Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell

Treat yourself to a Writing Retreat!

I confess, I hadn’t knuckled down to working on my latest manuscript for a few months. My bad. So, when I had the opportunity to take a few days out of my busy (ahem, busy-not-writing) schedule, I headed off to Retreats for You in North Devon.


Once I left the motorway at Exeter, and set off towards Okehampton, along leafy lanes between cushiony, green fields, I could feel a change within. Ahead of me I had a few days all to myself; no cooking, gardening, supermarket runs or housework. Yes, my shoulders were relaxing, my spirits lifting and, quite possibly, a smile was tweaking on my chops.

Sheepwash 2
The Court, home of Retreats for You

Sheepwash is a village radiating from a central square with a shop, a pub and a church. On the same square is The Court, my home-from-home for a few days; a thatched house dating back to the 1600s. I don’t know how many of you sense moods within a building but, for me, this place resonates warmth and contentment that welcomes you from the moment you step over the threshold.


As a writer on retreat, I’m looking for my own space, a tranquil setting, regular nourishment and freedom to get on with it. All of that is here.


Our first meal was what I like to call ‘proper comfort food’ – a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings, followed by Eton Mess. Just what I needed after a three hour drive. Our hosts, Debbie and Wendy, do all the cooking and baking; fresh products are locally sourced and many ingredients are organic, and all dietary needs are catered for. You’ve no need to go hungry!

My room
My room

The rooms have a table to work at, a comfy bed and tea/coffee making facilities. I must add, down in the dining room, there’s a large selection of teas, coffees, organic snacks and home-made cake to graze on – at any time – if the muse eludes you or you’re just feeling peckish. It was so lovely to wander down, grab a snack and sit out in the garden for a break or head back up to my desk.


For diversion, there are walks around the village, and the resident chocolate labs – Daisy and Gracie – take very little persuasion to accompany you. But they’re good girls and trained to keep out of the way when you’re busy or having dinner.

Gracie and Daisy taking the plunge on a local walk
Gracie and Daisy taking the plunge on a local walk

The cosy sitting room doesn’t have a telly – Hurrah! It does have three comfy sofas and a massage chair – which is an experience in itself. If you really must watch The News (personally, I was delighted to escape it for a while) or the latest episode of your favourite soap, there is a TV in the annexe or you could watch it on your laptop/tablet as the wi-fi connection is good.

The sitting room
The sitting room

Sleep for me was blissful – a cosy bed and hardly a vehicle passing by during the hours of darkness to wake me.


I spent two solid days on my latest project and produced five thousand words. Not record-breaking but since I was working from a standing start – not having written a jot for months – I was glad to be into it again.

sheepwash 1
Busy writing on retreat


So what have I been doing for the last few months, you might ask. Simple. I had been booked to visit Sheepwash, in February, but fell victim to a vile, debilitating cold virus, and had to cancel. Instead of indulging in five days of writing, I was festering in bed, watching back-to-back episodes of Portrait Artist of the Year on the Sky Arts channel. Inspired to put paint on canvas again, I’ve been flexing my creative muscles with a self-portrait and giving my writing brain a break. The painting’s not finished either, but it will be…


Inspired by Christian Hook - Sky Portrait Artist of the year 2014
Inspired by Christian Hook – Sky Portrait Artist of the year 2014

Truly, if you’re contemplating withdrawing from the hectic or the humdrum, check out Retreats for You and spoil yourself with a few days there. At the time of writing, it costs just £90 per day, all in.

Click here for their website
Click here for their website

Writing with Animals

I’d find it hard to write a story without animals. They enrich my life so I reckon they can enrich my characters’ lives, too.


I’m in good company, as animals have been used in literature for centuries, probably starting with Homer’s faithful companion, Argos — although I can’t claim to have given any of my creature characters great allegorical significance. So whether as an anthropomorphic lead  in books like 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith or a companion like Nana in Peter Pan by JM Barrie, animals really do add to a story.


According to ITV’s documentary, The Secret Life of Dogs, it was Sir Walter Scott’s novel Guy Mannering that influenced increased interest in dog-ownership, thanks to two Dandie Dinmont terriers called Mustard and Pepper. If ITV says so, it must be true.


Animals can be fabulous instruments for introducing humour into a scene. Their insolence or their sangfroid can be at glorious counterpoint to the drama unfolding. Equally, their quiet, comforting presence may be just what’s needed in an emotional crisis.


In Vicki’s Work of Heart, my heroine is a vegetarian. Now why is that? Well, I have a huge respect for vegetarians. I’m almost one myself but sadly, like an alcoholic, I need help. It’s not easy living, as I do, with a red-blooded, dipped-in-the-gravy, omnivore, whose face drops in disbelief when I present any kind of meal that doesn’t have animal protein in it. I tense myself in anticipation of the question, ‘Where’s the meat?’ each time I dare to inflict veggieness upon him. I know cooking two different meals is an option, and sometimes I do, but I can be a bit lazy.


And then there’s bacon…  Like I said – I need help.


I once heard the lovely and slightly eccentric Radio DJ, Tony Blackburn, on the topic of his vegetarianism. He explained it very simply: ‘Animals are your friends, and you don’t eat your friends.’ That struck a chord with me, so I borrowed his sentiment and used it for Vicki’s motivation not to eat meat.


When Vicki moves to France, her best friend sets her up with accommodation in the home of Christophe Dubois – a veterinarian. I have a bit of a thing about vets. I find them very romantic. They’re heroes. They care for animals and save lives. What’s not to love about a vet?  Christophe has two dogs – Hercules and Boz. Both are based on dogs I met in France, who quickly found places in my heart. Sadly they are no longer with us but will live on in my memory and this book. Their real names are Gus and Bibi.

Gus aka Hercules

I love cats, too. I once rescued a tabby after a road accident. My neighbour thought it would be fun to call it after him but since I didn’t think ‘Ian’ was a very good name for a cat, I chose his nationality instead. Scottie was as soft and meek a cat as I’ve ever known. Over time he became known as Scottie-poohs Posh-paws No-balls Moult-a-lot GT. (GT because he used to sit under cars and come home with an oily back.) Like all cats, he was nowhere near when I wanted a cuddle, but the moment I put a book on my lap, or tried to write – he was trying to get in on the act.


So I will continue to feature animals in my work, although I’ve yet to spotlight my first dog – a headstrong little beagle called Molly – because she’d steal the show.


Click here for my Pinterest board of Furry and Feathered Friends

I love Austen Week (tag)

With Valentine’s Day coming up, Hamlette at Hamlette’s Soliloquy is running an ‘I love Austen’ week. She’s posed a few question about Jane Austen’s work. Here are my answers…



  1. Which did you experience first, a Jane Austen book or a movie based on one? I read Pride and Prejudice, as recommended by my English teacher, Miss Harbot.


  1. What is your favourite Austen book? Northanger Abbey. I love it because it’s a little more quirky than the others, and it’s set in Bath, one of my favourite English cities.


  1. Favourite heroine?  Why do you like her best? I always feel most sympathetic towards Anne in Persuasion. She has great integrity.


  1. Favourite hero?  Why do you like him best? I think it has to be George Knightley in Emma because he’s honest, compassionate, tolerant and has a sense of humour.


  1. Do you have a favourite film adaptation of Austen’s work? That’s a toughie! British TV adaptations are always so good. I’ve watched the 2007 version of Persuasion with Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones, several times.


  1. Have your Austen tastes changed over the years? Probably but I couldn’t define how.


  1. Do you have any cool Austen-themed things (mugs, t-shirts, etc)?  No, but I live in the same county as Chawton, where Jane Austen lived. Does that count? 

    Jane Austen's house, Chawton.
    Jane Austen’s house, Chawton.


  1. If you could ask Jane Austen one question, what would you ask her? What other books and characters did you have in your brain, fighting to be given life?


  1. Imagine someone is making a new film of any Jane Austen story you choose, and you get to cast the leads.  What story do you want filmed, and who would you choose to act in it? I’d love to see a really good film version of Northanger Abbey, as the rest have been done. I’d like to see George Blagden (currently playing Louis XIV in BBC version of Versailles) as Henry Tilney. But, at the time of writing, I don’t know who I would cast as Catherine Morland…I’ll give it some thought.

    George Blagden
    George Blagden


  1. Share up to five favourite Jane Austen quotations!


If a book is well written, I always find it too short.


It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.


Mr Bennet to his daughter:

“An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”


Henry and Catherine in Northanger Abbey:

“I do not understand you.”
“Then we are on very unequal terms, for I understand you perfectly well.”
“Me? Yes; I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.”
“Bravo! – an excellent satire on modern language.” 

Hamlette's Soliloquy
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I’m Lost in Austen

I’m a fan of the film and book review blog known as Hamlette’s Soliloquy. So when I discovered a week celebrating all things Austen was planned, I just had to stick my two penn’orth in!  Welcome to my contribution.

ILAW2I have chosen to share my love of the four-part British TV series Lost in Austen with you. It was written by Guy Andrews and directed by Dan Zeff in 2008, and is now available on DVD. And I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched it.


Jane Austen purists should look away now… maybe a bracing walk along the Cobb at Lyme Regis would be preferable, or a few minutes stitching a needlepoint sampler. You choose!  However if, like me, you have a great admiration for Austen’s work but can flex a little towards the ridiculous, then Lost in Austen is for you.


It’s a delicious fantasy in which the modern day heroine, Amanda Price, (played by Jemima Rooper) like many Austen devotees, escapes from the drudgery and crassness of twenty-first century life by wallowing in the world of her favourite novel, Pride and Prejudice. The difference is, in this story, she goes a step further.

Jemima Rooper
Jemima Rooper as Amanda Price


After the shocking and brief discovery of Elizabeth Bennet (played by Gemma Arterton) in her bathroom – yes, really, she’s examining the laundry, which she refers to as ‘underthings’ draped over the bath to dry – our heroine, Amanda, passes it off as an hallucination… That is, until the next time a visit occurs, when Elizabeth points out the panel in the wall through which she has entered. (If you enjoyed The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis, you will totally buy this concept.) Encouraged by Elizabeth, Amanda steps through the open panel and onto the upper landing at Longbourn, where the door behind her closes, and she’s stranded in Regency England – right at the start of the Pride and Prejudice story.

Gemma Arterton as Elizabeth Bennet
Gemma Arterton as Elizabeth Bennet


The weary, cynical but nonetheless courteous Mr Bennet (Hugh Bonneville) is the first family member she meets. Luckily for her, he totally accepts she is Elizabeth’s friend, as does the rest of her family. Well, all but Mrs Bennet (Alex Kingston) who regards her like a cuckoo in the nest; someone who might just queer the pitch in her own machinations to snag eligible suitors for her daughters.


And so the story progresses, from the first visit of Mr Charles Bingham (Tom Mison)  to Longbourn, and on to the Netherfield Ball, where we have the joy of setting our eyes on Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy (Elliot Cowan) for the first time. He’s every bit as handsome and brooding as you might expect, not to mention – seriously uptight!

Fitzwilliam Darcy
Elliot Cowan as Fitzwilliam Darcy

Thoughout the story, you’ll rediscover all the main characters, although not necessarily depicted exactly as in the version you’re used to. The author, Guy Andrews, has nuanced members of the cast with other quite feasible traits, whilst not really straying from the people we ‘know’ from the book. I found this added to the whole project.


For example, I’m glad he made Mrs Bennet less vulgar and risible; she is, after all, the only person truly taking the future plight of her family seriously. She’s on a mission to ensure her daughters are comfortably settled – no easy task when you have five to shift. In other dramatizations of Pride and Prejudice, Mrs Bennet comes across as a shrill and irritating caricature, but in this version, I had much more sympathy for her predicament.


I also found myself falling for Wickham (Tom Riley). He’s still a charming rogue but one with heart. In fact, for a while, I believed he would become Amanda’s love interest due to the distinct and simmering chemistry between the two characters.

Tom Riley as George Wickham
Tom Riley as George Wickham

So, whilst Lost in Austen treads the line of the original story, the key difference is that Amanda is there, and Elizabeth is not. Consequently, Amanda feels a massive weight of responsibility to keep the narrative on track. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy must marry. It’s cast in stone. Two hundred years of fluttering hearts attest to that. And much of the humour in this series arises from Amanda’s attempts to steer the characters in the right direction, even though events are conspiring against her.


There’s also amusing absurdity in Amanda’s inability to get into character. Despite her passion for the book, she can’t quite transform herself into a woman of the era. Proving you can take the girl out of modern culture but you can’t take modern culture out of the girl. But, in an interesting twist, Elizabeth Bennet is just as fascinated by our contemporary society as Amanda is by Regency England. We rediscover Elizabeth when, at a moment of crisis, Amanda rushes through a door and finds herself back in twenty-first century Hammersmith. Elizabeth is now a pixie-haired nanny, following a macrobiotic diet and is surprisingly au fait with modern technology. She is, she tells Amanda, born out of time.  (Fans of her sharp intellect and spirited attack on life probably knew that, didn’t we?)


I have so many favourite moments from Lost in Austen. Every time I watch Jane offering Bingley a dog rose, I get a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. To be honest, I find the love story between Jane and Bingley, in this version, more moving and satisfying than in the original.

Morven Christie and Tom Mison as Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley
Morven Christie and Tom Mison as Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley

Then there’s Elliot Cowan’s Darcy; in my humble opinion much hotter in a wet shirt than Colin Firth ever was. Sorry, Firth fans.

Elliot Cowan
Wet Darcy

And even Mrs Bennet has her moment of glory. She finally stands up to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and not only wins our hearts but recaptures her husband’s. It’s a truly fist-pumping moment in the proceedings.


That’s not to say I find Lost in Austen faultless – I do have a couple of niggles. Firstly, Amanda’s appearance. During the Regency period, I suspect if a woman had turned up in leggings and a leather jacket, jaws would have dropped, fans flapped and blankets would have been thrown rapidly about her nether regions, in the name of respectability; and then there’s her hair… at no point does she defer to the fashion of the day and pin it up. It remains resolutely long and limp. (Though surprising glossy in the absence of Wella or l’Oreal.) Mind you, I can see how this does help to set her apart from the rest. Secondly, there Darcy’s sudden and impassioned declaration of love, which seemed to come out of nowhere, and totally took me by surprise, never mind Amanda.


All the same, it remains a jolly, entertaining and rewarding romp through familiar territory, and there are many witty lines in the series. Here’s my favourite. At a point where the story is teetering horribly off course, Amanda Price says to George Wickham’s retreating figure: “Hear that sound, George? Duh-uh-uh-uh! That’s Jane Austen spinning in her grave like a cat in a tumble-dryer.”


Wherever you sit on the subject of tinkering with the classics, who hasn’t read a novel and daydreamed about life in a fictitious world? Isn’t that the beauty of fiction – to be transported from the mundane to the fantastic? It doesn’t upset me that they tampered with Austen’s masterpiece. For me, Lost in Austen is a delicious homage to one of our favourite romantic novels. The vehicle is a curious time-slip fantasy that tests our disbelief and yet delivers fun and romance in a classy and affectionate little package. This is romantic comedy at its finest.


If you haven’t seen it yet – I urge you to give it a go.


Buy:  Lost in Austen – Amazon.com

Buy: Lost in Austen – Amazon.co.uk

Hamlette's Soliloquy
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In the Mood

Sports teams psyche themselves up before a match with a hearty bout of group chanting. Think: the All Blacks rugby team performing the Haka. (Try not to think of chunky thighs and firm muscles…)


So when Writers’ Block arrives and I need to motivate myself, I play music – LOUDLY – through headphones to activate my brain and raise my vibration; and waddya know – there is a science to this.


Apparently the right kind of music engages our sympathetic nervous system – it flushes the brain with dopamine, which makes us feel good, and also helps release norepinephrine, which brings about euphoria.


Any of the following will work for me:


♪  Can’t Rely on You — Paloma Faith
♪  Home — Dan Croll
♪  Rock DJ — Robbie Williams

♪  Lovin’ Each Day — Ronan Keating
♪  I just want to dance the night away — the Mavericks
♪  Big Yellow Tax — Counting Crows
♪  Hidden Agenda — Craig David
♪  Pencil full of Lead — Paulo Nutini
♪  Upside Down — Jack Johnson
♪  Wish I — Jem
♪  Riviera Life — Caro Emerald
♪  Hounds of Love — Kate Bush


What music does it for you?

Go to my JOY for writing playlist on YouTube