The authors who've contributed to the anthology are by Rebecca M. Fleming, Jennifer Becton, Jessica Grey, Nancy Kelley, Melissa Buell and Cecilia Gray. Jessica Grey has authored a story in each of the six 'Holidays with Jane' books and is here today to talk about 'Sense & Sensibility' and Valentine's Day. Not only that, but there is an ebook giveaway, open internationally! Read on for more details.
Accidentally in Love with Sense and Sensibility
“I despise Valentine’s Day,” Marianne Wood proclaimed before taking a sip of her wine. It was her third (or was it fourth?) glass.
“With the passionate hatred of a thousand burning suns,” her best friend, Ella Dash agreed as she held out her glass for a refill.
Valentine’s Day is my least favorite holiday. There are many reasons for this. I never loved it when I was single, it wasn’t great shakes when I wasn’t single, and now that I have kids the holiday is all about elaborate Valentine’s Day Box homework projects (include four word problems on your box!) and providing adorable, allergen-free Valentine’s for approximately forty-three kids.
*Those chocolate hearts have peanut butter in them. Real talk: I may get a note home.*
Not only do I not love Valentine’s Day but I am not the hugest fan of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. I know so many people love the novel, but I just can’t get behind it. Maybe it’s the sister dynamic—I only have brothers so I can’t relate. Or it could be the lack of a real hero (really, Edward Ferrars is what we’re left with as a romantic hero in this book?). Maybe it’s that I’ve always wanted to be an Elinor and have spent most of my life outwardly ridiculing Marianne while secretly knowing that in reality I AM A MARIANNE. Whatever the reason, it’s just not my favorite.
When we were dividing up the stories for the Holidays with Jane collections, the only story I insisted on matching to a specific holiday was Emma for our Summer vacation collection because I just knew Emma had to be a summer camp counselor. I let the rest of the stories fall where they may...and where they fell was with me writing a Sense and Sensibility adaptation for Valentine’s Day. This is when intensive therapy and alcohol both started looking really, really good.
However, I made it through the stress breakdown and the result was:
Accidentally in Love
Chawton High theater teacher Marianne Wood is no stranger to drama. Her breakup with a fellow teacher is the gossip of the school. Marianne’s sworn off dating co-workers—and maybe even men in general, but every time she turns around, football coach Drew Brandon is tempting her to change her mind. As the dreaded Valentine’s Day dance approaches, will Marianne learn that drama-free doesn’t have to mean boring?
How, you ask, did I overcome? Here is my three step process for embracing a Valentine’s Sense and Sensibility.
- Admit that you are Marianne. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a Marianne. In fact, it’s way more socially acceptable now to indulge in one’s sensibilities. Marianne may have had really low lows, but she also got to experience some high highs...and who hasn’t made a bad romantic decision when they were young (*raises both hands*)
- Focus on the off-page/screen romance of Marianne and Colonel Brandon (let’s all admit that Brandon is the saving grace of Sense and Sensibility). The flip side to being a Marianne is that Willoughby is all wrong for you - even if he hadn’t been a prick and they’d ended up married, it would have turned into a disaster. I’m a big believer in opposites attract, especially in this case. A Marianne needs a strong and steady love to heal and to steady her.
- ADD A SINGING OGRE! In all of my Holidays with Jane stories I’ve incorporated ideas from other books or movies, (It’s a Wonderful Life and Die Hard in my Christmas story for example), and adding Shrek the Musical to Sense and Sensibility just seemed to fit. My Marianne is a high school drama teacher who has bitten off more than she can chew with a large production and I borrow my title from a song featured in Shrek 2. The thing that I love about Shrek...and now about Sense and Sensibility as I’ve interpreted it...is that love can be found in unexpected places and when you are least looking for it.
However, ending up appreciating Sense and Sensibility a bit more after writing Accidentally in Love still doesn’t translate into liking Valentine’s Day. Whether you are single, married, or anything in between, you can still use Valentine’s Day to focus on things other than Hallmark cards and overpriced chocolate.
So here are some fun things to do by yourself (or with friends, and a few are kid-friendly) on Valentine’s Day.
- Treat yourself to a fancy dinner at home.
- Watch some awesome old movies on Netflix (I just watched Gentleman Prefer Blondes for the first time, and I’m not quite sure how I’ve missed this my whole life).
- Get a mani/pedi...or do it at home yourself (unless you’re me and doing it yourself will just raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels).
- Take flowers to a nursing home. (This is a great kid friendly project and I PROMISE you it will make you feel fantastic).
- Take a bubble bath (Protip: this is NOT a kid friendly option. If you have children come back to this option in eighteen years).
- Buy discounted Valentine’s candy on the 15th and laugh at all the poor saps who paid full price.
- Read our book!
See what I did there? It’s called super-subtle promotion! But really, if you’d like to read our book it is currently available for Kindle on Amazon. You can also enter to win one of two ebook copies that I am giving away! Just comment below with something you can do for yourself this Valentine’s Day!
Thank you so much to Ceri for letting me guest post and for being so supportive of our Holidays with Jane collections!
Jessica Grey is an author, fairytale believer, baseball lover, and recovering Star Wars fangirl. A life-long Californian, she now lives with her two children in the Rocky Mountains where she spends her time writing, complaining about snow in April, and drinking way too much caffeine.
You can find Jessica online at www.authorjessicagrey.com
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Thank you so much for stopping by with this guest post, Jessica! Holidays with Jane: Will You Be Mine is available to buy now - on Amazon US, Amazon UK and other Amazon sites. But wait! As Jessica has said above it's....
Jessica is kindly offering to give away an ebook of 'Holidays with Jane: Will You Be Mine' to two commenters here, open internationally. Just comment on this blog post with something you can do for yourself this Valentine's Day. Make your comment by the end of the day on Tuesday 21 February and please make sure you leave a way for me to contact you in case you're a lucky winner.