Over the decades of my life I have enjoyed, and even loved, many TV shows. Yet I can’t think of another I have ever been as obsessed by as Once Upon a Time. I am sure much of this has to do with my lifelong love of fantasy tales. However, trust me when I tell you it is far more then that. Once Upon a Time is fantastically written, includes a host of amazing actors, and is filmed with movie-quality effects. In a word, it is BRILLIANT.
The basic premise is that an evil curse crafted by Rumplestiltskin and cast by the Evil Queen sent all the fairy tale characters into our world, specifically a town called Storybrooke in Maine, where time stands still with none finding their “happy ending.” Season One was all about revealing the motives of Queen Regina and Rumplestiltskin, and the fairy tale past of Snow White, Prince Charming, and several other characters. Mingled with uncovering those interwoven stories, in Storybrooke a “savior” arrives and time begins to move forward as the people gradually begin remembering and questioning. The dramatic conclusion was the final breaking of the spell – thanks to Emma slaying the dragon! – and full memory being restored. However, instead of transporting back to their real, magical world, we were left with a fast approaching purple cloud. The rumor has been that a clever manipulation by Rumplestiltskin unleashed magic into our world. What will happen then?
Above is a cool character collage I found of how they look in Storybrooke. There are a few others not on this image, and many more to be shown in Season Two. Starting in the top left, Storybrooke name/Fairy Tale name–
Sheriff Graham/The Huntsman
Mary Margaret Blanchard/Snow White
David Nolan/Prince “Charming” James
Regina Mills/Evil Queen
Dr. Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket
Dr. Whale/unknown who he is
Ruby/Red Riding Hood
Sidney Glass/Genie & Magic Mirror
Leroy/Grumpy (who was first named Dreamy)
Kathryn Nolan/Princess Abigail, daughter of King Midas
Gretel and Hansel
Season Two premieres tonight and I cannot wait!!!! I’ll write a report once I am able to assimilate it all. As for you – If not already a fan it isn’t too late to get caught up. Rent or buy the DVD of first season, or just get onto your computer and jump right in to season two’s episode one. I promise you will not be sorry!
Now I am off to fire up the DVR. Yippee!!
“Elizabeth, ….. forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change,…. The happiness which this reply produced, was such as he had probably never felt before; and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do.” Pride and Prejudice
I wish we could peek inside Jane’s brain and discover how Mr. Darcy expressed being “violently in love.” Most likely he waxed eloquently and poetically, perhaps grasped her hand ardently, but I am fairly certain he didn’t sweep Lizzy into his arms and plant a long, wet kiss. OK, he did in my novel, but I am a 20th century romance writer. LOL!
Jane cleverly leaves it open for interpretation, and it is notable that despite the strictures of the period – and her own limited romantic experience – she promoted the concept of love. Each of her couples found their “soulmate” and did so within the societal mores of the Regency.
Courtship – that interlude of finding one’s mate – was a serious affair with rules rigidly enforced by all parties. During the search for a potential marriage partner, single persons were severely limited in when they could touch or conduct an intimate tête-à-tête. The merest hint of impropriety was damaging, reputation and the prize of virginity valued as highly as the dowry. Thus a man and woman were never alone or allowed to sit too close together, they could not address each other by their Christian names, and were unable to correspond privately or exchange gifts. Numerous booklets on the “rules of conduct” were written and memorized to ensure acted correctly.
Do these rules mean courtship was a cold, calculating undertaking?
For some in the upper classes and aristocracy this remained the norm. However, the early 1800s welcomed a radical shift toward marriages being based on love or at least affection. Arranged marriages were frowned upon, and pressure from parents was judged contemptible. It was deemed wise to consider equality in social standing, wealth, and security, but emotion played a much larger part in the pairing. Young men and women were expected to choose based on their heart, but also utilize reason and responsibility to family. A marriage proposal was directly asked of the lady in question with parental consent obtained after she agreed, rather than the old-fashioned method of asking the father first.
How did the mingling sexes manage to fall in love when constantly chaperoned and following the proscribed strictures?
For one, they were incredibly adept at interpreting vague glances and innuendoes! The relaxed atmosphere of balls, group events, and spectator sports allowed for improved socialization. In such milieus they could release their guard and express one’s true personality. Dancing was a prime choice of entertainment because it was one of the few times a couple could touch, come into very close proximity, and exchange a whispered conversation. Flirting was an art form extremely important to perfect with witty repartee essential as a way to convey emotion and sentiments in a guarded, acceptable fashion.
“Most marriages contained elements of both the traditional alliance, based on the maintenance of a family’s social position, and the romantic alliance, based on private considerations. Parents were rarely immune to the emotional needs of their children, and children were just as unlikely to ignore their own material welfare.” In the Family Way, Childbearing in the British Aristocracy, 1760-1860 by Judith Schneid Lewis
Once they were betrothed, their relationship became more intimate. They were diligently chaperoned, but could speak freely, talk about intimate subjects, touch, exchange sweet kisses, and spend brief periods of time alone together. Pre-marital sex was a huge taboo, but people are human and there are plenty of references proving the reality of desire between the sexes not being a 20th century development.
Following up on the theme I began on THIS BLOG two days ago – that one a result of the startling revelations I talked about in THIS SERIOUS BLOG – here are a few more comments from readers of my novels, and kudos for romance novels in general that I found on the web.
I see the wisdom of the Church’s teaching on the beauty of a relationship between a husband and wife who are committed exclusively to each other. They are a “gift” to the other. The physical expression of that love is blessed by God. That’s why I was so happy to read that not only Elizabeth, but Darcy also, were virgins on their wedding night. What a novel idea, in this current culture: to have saved yourself for “the one”; to give the gift of your body and soul for the first time to your eternal soul mate. That is something you can’t take back once it’s lost. How beautiful it is to read how Lizzy and Darcy learn to enjoy each other entirely, and continue to grow in the awareness of the other.
I must thank you for writing such a splendid book filled with so much love and affection in a pure and beautiful way.
You have me hooked and wanting more from the Darcy Saga! It has renewed a passion in me that I unfortunately had forgotten about due to life situations sometimes making you take too serious a focus.
I am 17 and I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease 4 years again and since have just been trying to get through life. I used to love to read, but no longer had any interest and hardly felt good enough anyway. Your book pulled it back into my life. I happened upon your book in Target and actually bought it with the intention of using it for a school assignment I had. I could not put it down once I picked it up. Thanks for the book and bringing some joy back to me!!!
“Rather than ignoring the existence of love in our lives, these romances celebrate how the best love helps us to grow. Modern romance novels (for the most part) insist that the love between two people be to both of their benefit.” from Anne Browning Walker, Why Smart Women Read Romance Novels
My granddaughter is reading the books after I finish them. Maybe a little “X” rated on all the love making verbiage, but also demonstrates how a good marriage between two people should be, so I will let her read it. She is 13!
You have shown with your writing that books can be romantic, passionate and tasteful.
I love the innocence of Darcy and Elizabeth and the fact that their love is so strong – we don’t seem to hear or see that anymore. Your writing is a God send to me.
Turned my mind to The Passions of Dr. Darcy, and thought I would share tidbits of Indian history, or whatever takes my fancy, now and again. George Darcy spends a large portion of his years in India dwelling with the Maratha people across the Deccan Plain. To understand who these people were (and still are), I delved into their unique history and rapidly discovered that one cannot vaguely study the Marathas without starting with Shivaji.
Shivaji was a Maratha aristocrat of the Bhosle clan who founded the Maratha empire. Shivaji led a resistance to free the Maratha people from the Sultanate of Bijapur, and re-establish Hindavi Swarajya (“self-rule of Hindu people”). He created an independent Maratha kingdom with Vedant Raigad as its capital, and successfully fought against the Mughals to defend his kingdom. He was crowned as Chhatrapati (“sovereign”) of the Maratha empire in 1674.
The Marathas had lived in the Desh region around Pune for a long time, in the western portion of the Deccan, where the plateau meets the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats. They had resisted incursions into the region by the Mughal rulers of northern India. Under their leader Shivaji, the Marathas freed themselves from the Muslim Turkic sultans of Bijapur to the southeast. With Shivaji they became much more aggressive, frequently raiding Mughal territory and ransacking the Mughal port of Surat in 1664 and again in 1670. By the time of Shivaji’s death in 1680, the Marathas had expanded their territory to include many parts of central and south India.
Shivaji established a competent and progressive civil rule with the help of a well-regulated and disciplined military and well-structured administrative organizations. He also innovated rules of military engagement, pioneered the guerrilla tactics, which leveraged strategic factors like geography, speed, surprise and focused pinpoint attacks to defeat his larger and more powerful enemies. From a small contingent of 2,000 soldiers inherited from his father, Shivaji created a force of 100,000 soldiers; he built and restored strategically located forts both inland and coastal to safeguard his territory. Shivaji revived ancient Hindu political tradition and court conventions, and promoted Marathi and Sanskrit in court and administration usage.
As a leader of his people, every reference agrees that Shivaji was phenomenal and progressive. From the glossary that will be at the end of The Passions of Dr. Darcy, I summarized Shivaji thusly–
Shivaji Maharaj – also Shivaji Bhosle, or Chhatrapati (sovereign) Shivaji; Februrary 19, 1630 – April 1, 1680; founded the Maratha Empire, an independent nation in India free of Mughal rule; a brilliant military leader, exemplary warrior, morally upright, believer in civil and women’s rights, devout Hindu but advocate of religious freedom, capable administrator, and abolisher of the Indian feudal system, Shivaji is considered one of the greatest Indian leaders of all time.
Today, Shivaji is considered as a national hero in India, especially in the modern state of Maharashtra, where he remains the greatest figure in the state’s history. Stories of his life form an integral part of the upbringing and identity of the Marathi people, and he was recognized as a great national hero during the Indian Independence movement.
Bottom line is that the time spent creating the gorgeous newsletters I have attempted to send once a month is considerable. Hence the reason I don’t manage to accomplish sending a newsletter once a month! I have taken several classes lately to keep up on the ever-shifting trends in social media and how to reach readers most efficiently. I have learned a ton of secrets, not that I can do all of them at once or that the “best way” won’t be different in six months! I am going to try my hardest, however.
One of many suggestions was to utilize one’s blog as the MAIN way to keep readers informed and reach new people out in cyberworld. Yes, better than Facebook or Twitter, if done correctly. So, I am vowing to place more of my energy and precious time into my blog. More posts – some silly fun, some relevant to history or Jane Austen, some news of my writing, some excerpts, and whatever else I think interesting – is my #1 goal. Of course, great posts do no good if no one reads them! But I am applying some of those aforementioned “secrets” to help improve traffic. Wish me luck on that.
Getting back to the concept of a newsletter, the opinion of the experts is that automatic updates to readers not only frees my time, but informs mailing list subscribers of blog posts as they occur. No more wondering if Sharon Lathan has anything new on her blog, and then wasting your precious time to pop over, only to find out I do not! The email updates will only be sent once a day – and only if there is something new on the blog – and the graphics, while not as pretty as my artistic newsletter, will load easier. Best of all, the blog post can be read within your email! No need to click over to my blog unless you wish to comment – Which I do love, by the way
Making use of embedded RSS feedburners, I need do nothing to make sure YOU know what is happening here on Sharon Lathan’s blog. Pretty cool!
What YOU need to do to help me out is subscribe to the list. It is a simple matter of entering your email in the box on the upper left sidebar, or the one on the Mailing List page, or the one below. You will receive a verification email, just to make sure you are you, and with a single click you are in. Sweet! Unfortunately the one negative is that the RSS feedburner does not provide a way for me to import the over 1000 subscribers I have on my newsletter mailing list. I have to enter each one individually, and I think you can imagine how much time that would take!
Thanks for bearing with me as I make this transition. I hope it is the last, but in this wild techno world we live in I rather doubt it.
The blog I posted on Sept. 25 has generated LOTS of comments, feedback, etc. This is great, since I wanted to enlighten people. That blog can be read by scrolling down a bit, or clicking Warning: A very serious blog
Many of the comments here and on Facebook expressed well-meaning, sincere concern of how I was feeling through all of this. First, thanks SO much for that! It is lovely to know people care about me, and my writing, enough to immediately turn their hearts my direction. My friends and fans ROCK! However, I want to assure that nothing about this has shaken my belief in who I am and what I write. The biggest distress for me was that I was really excited about the teaching opportunity. I vividly envisioned a cluster of young ladies chatting writing, Regency fashion and history, Jane Austen, romance, and the rest, in a cross between a book club and interactive teaching session. I looked ahead at the Mondays up through the end of the year as my “fun” time. Having that fall apart was a blow, I’ll admit. The worst, however, was the sadness of what I learned about these precious, innocent girls (and the many others out there caught in the same situation). They were the purpose of the blog I wrote.
Three, or even two years ago, this might have hurt me more or caused me to question my stories. Now I not only have a thicker skin – after all, bad reviews sting FAR more than this – but I also have hundreds of emails collected over the years conveying honest feedback on how my novels have been received by those who read them. All writers have fan letters, and we cling to them in our dark hours, reading over and over if necessary. You who feel led to reach out and connect with your favorite authors have no idea how profoundly you inspire us! I could go off on a tangent, becoming either nauseatingly sentimental or boringly philosophical. I won’t do that, I promise! Instead I am going to share, from time to time, snippets of the emails I have received and general information on the positive aspects of romance novels.
I love how you make Darcy & Elizabeth very loving, but in all senses of the word. They respect each other, take delight in each other’s intelligence and wit, and continuously strive to learn more about each other. Wonderful!! It’s also so charming to watch them build their family around them, not just the baby, but in getting to know uncles, aunts, sisters, friends, etc. and building a loving and trusting support group.
I am so excited for you and am glad to know that Christian women do know true romance in the right perspective! MARRIAGE!
“Much of the coverage of romance novels focuses on the idea that they’re all about sex. They’re not. They’re about courtship! If you ask a couple, “How did you meet?” no two stories are the same. It’s the same with romance novels… Romance readers do not expect real men to be carbon copies of romance heroes — we don’t expect anyone to ride in on a horse wielding a sword and solving all our problems. Romance heroes are found in real moments of caring… Romances communicate that women should be the heroines of their own lives and that happy endings take work — there is no easy way to happiness. It doesn’t just show up. Romances teach that you are lovable and worthy of a happiness exactly the way you are and shouldn’t have to change drastically to please someone else.” Sarah Wendell, Everything I know About Love, I Learned From a Romance Novel
I am a pretty strong Christian believer and I just love that you made Darcy pure before marriage!! I so value waiting until marriage.
Four years ago I lost my beloved husband of 36 wonderful happy years. I was 19 when we married and I was never happier than when we were in the same room, space, bed, car, tub… you get the idea. Each page of your novels made me stop and remember my husband. It made me both happy and sad. But I also smiled as I said to myself, “This is how it was for me and I got to feel all those emotions again. THANK YOU! You see some people just don’t understand true deep love. You do, in your own life and in your writing and you are sharing and giving.
The Halloween Full Moon Scavenger Hunt over at Night Owl Reviews is nearly a month into its 2-month duration. I am participating, adding my awesome prizes to the hundreds of others. You don’t want to miss this! Come over and join the hunt. You could be the winner of my prizes, which are:
FIVE signed copies of Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy and a $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble
You enter the hunt by reading book blurbs and doing some fill in the blanks. This is a great way for you to find new books and authors. Along the way you also get entered for great prizes. Prizes range from Kindle’s and $100 gift cards to eBooks and signed copies. The hunt ends on October 31, 2012.
You can join the hunt at: Night Owl Reviews Hunt Details
Nothing to do with my books or Jane Austen. Call it a public service announcement! My husband suffers from migraines and has for years. Luckily he responds well to Imitrex, if taken immediately, but the effects still linger and not always is he able to catch the onset in time. I have had a few bad headaches in my day – Who hasn’t? – but know that a migraine is an entity apart. So, for him and all who are stricken, I thought this was interesting and SO true. Guess I am feeling very “public awareness” lately! (scroll to next blog post)