Wednesday, 28 October 2015

A Jane Austen Christmas by Carlo DeVito - Excerpt and Giveaway

Last weekend, the clocks went back here in the UK, so it's getting dark earlier now, and once that happens, I can start to believe that we're in the run up to Christmas. Obviously Christmas these days is very different to what it was in Austen's time (says a person who does most of their present shopping online!). Many of the things we view as 'traditional' are actually Victorian in origin, though some traditions from earlier have made it through to the present day.

Today I have an excerpt from 'A Jane Austen Christmas' by Carlo DeVito, a book focusing on what Christmas could well have been like for the Austen family, with the spotlight on six Christmases in particular. Read on for an excerpt and a giveaway of a hardcover copy to a reader in the United States/Canada. Let's set the scene with a short excerpt showing a little of the preparation that would have been done for Christmas...






'Being a family contented to stay within their own unit, one can only imagine the Austens honoring the traditions of the season. Jane and Cassandra had by now brought in the usual greenery. A seemingly conservative family, the Austens might have followed the tradition of the Yule log, which was still very much in the fashion those days.

“A great blazing fire was the centerpiece of a family Christmas. The Yule log was chosen on Christmas Eve. It was wrapped in hazel twigs and dragged home, to burn in the fireplace as long as possible through the Christmas season. The tradition was to keep back a piece of the Yule log to light the following year’s Yule log,” wrote historian Ben Johnson.'

Book Blurb
Filled with the remarkable wit and insight of one of the world's most cherished authors, A Jane Austen Christmas gives readers insight into Austen's life through little-known stories about how she and her family celebrated the treasured holiday season. Carlo DeVito provides an intimate portrait of Austen's most cherished Christmas memories with her family: from the gift of her first writing desk, to her first love and heartbreak, to her brewing mead and beer in time for the holidays. Along the way readers will spend a holiday in the Austen house, celebrate Jane's birthday, meet the inspiration for more than a dozen characters, attend the Christmastide series of balls, and learn how to make family's favorite recipes and dedicate a novel to the Prince Regent. Remarkably fresh and supremely entertaining, A Jane Austen Christmas brings Austen's world to life as never before.

About the Author
Carlo DeVito is a longtime publishing executive, who has worked with many of the nation’s major historians. He is also the author of A Mark Twain Christmas and Inventing Scrooge. His work has been reviewed in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Hartford Courant. Carlo lives with his family in Ghent, NY at the Hudson-Chatham Winery

A Jane Austen Christmas by Carlo Devito is available to buy now! 
Amazon USAmazon UK

Giveaway time!

If you live in the US or Canada and you'd like to get your hands on a hardcover copy of this book to help you celebrate a Jane Austen Christmas then you might be in luck, as the publishers, Cider Mill Press are offering a copy to a commenter here. To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment here telling me about your favourite Christmas tradition, whether it's one your family has always done or one you've invented yourself :) Please leave a way for me to contact you in case you are the lucky winner. The contest is open to people with a US / Canada postal address who comment before the end of the day on Wednesday 4 November

Many thanks to Cider Mill Press for sponsoring this giveaway.

26 comments:

  1. Watching the yule log on tv as we open the presentd

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    1. That sounds lovely, Mary! We usually open the presents in chaos because my children are still quite young :)

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful read, especially experiencing the Christmas season during that time with Jane and her family!

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    1. Hi there Dung. I'm looking forward to learning more about Christmas in Jane's time too.

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  3. Seeing how Christmas was done two hundred years ago would be cool to read.

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  4. I love reading about different ways to celebrate Christmas. It ls always so interesting.

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    1. I agree, no two families celebrate Christmas the same even now, so it's always interesting to learn about other Christmas traditions.

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  5. Sounds like a very interested and informative book. Love Christmas stories, but spending the day with Jane Austen's family sounds wonderful.

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    1. I agree, it sounds like it will be an interesting read. Thanks for commenting, Carol!

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  6. Sounds like a very interested and informative book. Love Christmas stories, but spending the day with Jane Austen's family sounds wonderful.

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  7. Our family tradition was to open one present
    on Christmas Eve and the the others the
    next morning early and then have eggs and
    pancakes and hot chocolate. I have always loved Christmas and would justly adore this book! Thank you for the giveaway.

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    1. That is a nice tradition. We open all ours on Christmas day. I tried doing a special breakfast but usually Father Christmas leaves some chocolate in the stocking so they are too full for much breakfast!

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  8. As my children have grown and had children of their own they want to spend Christmas in their own homes and I did the same when they were little. So we get together for dinner on Christmas Eve. But this year, sadly, my oldest and her husband will not be flying in from Washington State. We will miss them. So family togetherness was, and is for the most part, my favorite Christmas tradition.

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    1. That's the only shame with a growing family, isn't it, when people begin to go their own way. My husband's family don't celebrate Christmas, so we always spend each Christmas with my mum still :)

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  9. We started buying special ornaments every year when my oldest was born. It's the only time I love shopping with the kids. Now with three little ones, our tree is always decorated with memories. Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. That is lovely. I wish I'd done that, but it's a bit late now :(

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  10. We always saw off a slice of our Christmas tree trunk to make into a keepsake ornament! We mark it with the year, where we spent that Christmas, and everyone's names. They look lovely on the tree each year!

    allison_p_krzastek at yahoo dot com

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    1. I've never heard of that tradition, it's a good one. We've never had a real tree only plastic, so we can't try that one :)

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  11. I love all the lights, on the trees and the bushes. They light up the longest nights of the year. We always put candles in the windows, too.

    NovEllaandBanannabelle (at) GMail (dot) com

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    1. I only put lights on the tree, because I'm lazy, but I love seeing all the trouble some people go to to brighten up their neighbourhoods :)

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  12. I have to add to what I said about how we celebrate Christmas now vs when my children were young. We used to always go and cut down a fresh tree about 2 weeks before Christmas as we didn't want it to dry up and have a lot of needles fall before that day. I always gave my children special Christmas ornaments each year and continue to do so but now also give to my grandchildren. So each would have a side of the tree on which to hang their ornaments (we got a tall one in our last house as the ceiling was high). And when the children got holder I joined our church choir and we always sang at the midnight mass. So I do have those memories. I now make and give away Polish Star ornaments and raised money for Turning Point 1 year...a shelter for abused women. So while it is not an ongoing tradition I remember it in my heart every year.

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    1. Oh Sheila, that sounds lovely! I love the idea of new decorations each year, and it's wonderful that you give to charity too. I will have to google Polish Star decorations to see what they look like.

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    2. Just enter Polish Star and you will find images plus YouTube tutorials.

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  13. I've posted the winner of the giveaway here: http://babblingsofabookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/winner-jane-austen-christmas-by-carlo.html

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