Friday, June 17, 2016

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Love & Friendship

Did you hear about the new movie Love & Friendship written and directed by Whit Stillman?  Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny are in it and it has received some rave reviews. It's an adaptation of Jane Austen's novella Lady Susan. I can't wait to see the movie!

Whit Stillman wrote a companion novel to the movie and I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for his book Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen's Lady Susan Vernon is Entirely Vindicated. As a Jane Austen fan, I can't wait to check it out. Be sure to learn more about the book by checking out the description below and don't forget to enter the Grand Giveaway for a chance to win three hardcover copies of Love & Friendship

Today I am happy to share an excerpt from Love & Friendship

A Scarlet Gash in the Gold Room
"Even at great houses with many rooms one usually becomes the favoured spot for gathering. At Churchill that was the spa- cious Gold Room, decorated in opulent banker style, its colour a dark shade of yellow. While Catherine Vernon occupied herself with the tea service she also lent an ear as Lady Susan chatted with and praised young Frederic two doors away.
“Yes, Frederic,” Susan was saying, “I see you have quite an appetite: You will grow tall and handsome like your uncle — and father.”
Catherine approached just as little Frederic toyed precariously with the jam pot.
“Frederic, be careful!” she called.
The pot fell with a clatter, immediately followed by Susan’s pleasant  laugh. She reappeared, holding up part of her dress skirt bearing a gash of red jam.
“I’m so sorry!” Catherine said.
“Not at all . . . Such a family resemblance — it rather moves me.” “You’ll want to change —”
“Oh, no, we’ll have our tea while it’s warm,” Susan said as
she led the way to the tea table. “Mrs. Cross is a genius with fabrics.”
“Are you sure?” “Oh, yes!”
Lady Susan had the delightful quality of being nearly always in good humour, no matter the circumstances. Once seated she  smoothly  draped a tea napkin over the jam stain while politely changing the subject.
“How much Frederic reminds me of his dear uncle!” “You think there’s a resemblance?”
“Yes, remarkable — the eyes . . .”
“Weren’t Frederic Vernon’s eyes brown?”
“I refer to the shape and slope of the brow . . .” “Oh.”
“I must thank you for this visit; I am afraid the short notice must have come as a surprise.”
“Only because I understood you to be so happily settled at
“It’s true — Lady Manwaring* and her husband made me feel welcome. But their frank dispositions led them often into society. I might have tolerated such a life at one time. But the loss of a husband such as Mr. Vernon is not borne easily. To stay  with you here, at your charming retirement” — with a lovely turn of the head she glanced out the window — “became my fondest wish . . .”
“I was glad to have the chance to meet.”
“Might I confide something?” asked Susan. “Langford was not ideal for my daughter. Her education has been neglected,
for which I fault myself: Mr. Vernon’s illness prevented my paying her the attention both duty and affection required. I have therefore  placed her at the excellent school  Miss Sum- mers keeps.”
“I trust Frederica will visit soon.”
“A visit,  as delightful   as that might be, would represent so many days and hours  deducted from  the Grand Affair of Education — and I’m afraid Frederica can’t afford such deduc- tions.”
“But she’ll come for Christmas —”
“Alas, no,” Susan continued. “Miss Summers can only give her the concentrated attention she needs then.” Lifting the napkin, Susan glanced at the jam stain.
“I’m so sorry,” Catherine repeated.
“Not at all! If you’ll excuse me, I’ll give my dress to Mrs. Cross, who, once rested, craves activity.”
Susan  rose, holding  the  fabric  delicately. “When  Mrs. Cross has applied her genius to it I’m afraid all trace of little Frederic’s interesting design will disappear.”

The next morning Catherine Vernon wrote to her mother in a changed tenor:

I must confess, dear Mother, against my every Inclina- tion, that I have seldom seen so lovely a Woman as Lady Susan. She is delicately  fair, with fine grey eyes & dark eyelashes; & from her appearance one would not suppose her more than five & twenty, tho’ she must in fact be ten years older. I was certainly not disposed to admire her,
tho’ always hearing she was beautiful;  but I cannot help feeling that she possesses an uncommon union of Sym- metry, Brilliancy, & Grace. Her address to me was so gentle, frank, & even affectionate, that, if I had not known how much she has always disliked me for marrying Mr. Vernon, I should have imagined her an attached friend.

That Catherine Vernon might write of Lady Susan so fairly and honestly must raise an alarm as to her true intention, her ultimate purpose.

One is apt, I believe, to connect assurance of manner with coquetry, & to expect that an impudent address will naturally attend an impudent mind; at least I was myself prepared for an improper degree of confidence in Lady Susan; but her Countenance is absolutely sweet,
& her voice & manner winningly mild.
I am sorry it is so, for what is this but Deceit? Unfortunately, one knows her too well. She is clever & agreeable, has all that knowledge of the world which makes conversation easy, & talks very well with a happy command of Language, which is too often used, I believe, to make Black appear White.

Here one finds a prime example of “the DeCourcy Rever- sal” — a conclusion bearing no relation to the argument which comes before, marked above all by malice.

Meanwhile, in Lady Susan’s rooms, her friend Mrs. Cross found the jam stain harder to remove than anticipated. Lady
Susan loyally supported Mrs. Cross’ efforts with her presence. Perusing some correspondence she had neglected, Lady Susan caught her breath.
“Something troubling?” Mrs. Cross asked.
“Yes,  very much so — the bill for Miss Summers’  school. The fees are far too high to even think of paying — so, in a sense, it’s an economy . . .”

* Pronounced “Mannering,” the “w” silent.

Whit Stillman has taken Austen’s never-finished epistolary novella, Lady Susan, reimagined it as a straight narrative, and added the hilarious new character of Rufus, Susan’s apologist nephew, who aims to clear Susan’s good name come hell or high water (even if he is doing it from "the ignoble abode" of debtors’ prison ). Despite many indications to the contrary, Rufus insists that Susan is, “the kindest, most delightful woman anyone could know, a shining ornament to our Society and Nation.” Rufus then appends his earnest tale with a collection of his aunt’s letters, which he claims have been altered by Austen to cast the estimable Lady Susan in a bad light.
Impossibly beautiful, disarmingly witty, and completely self-absorbed, Lady Susan Vernon, is both the heart and the thorn of Love & Friendship. Recently widowed, with a daughter who’s coming of age as quickly as their funds are dwindling, Lady Susan makes it her mission to find them wealthy husbands——and fast.
But when her attempts to secure their futures result only in the wrath of a prominent conquest’s wife and the title of “most accomplished coquette in England,” Lady Susan must rethink her strategy.
Unannounced, she arrives at her brother-in-law’s country estate. Here she intends to take refuge——in no less than luxury, of course——from the colorful rumors trailing her, while finding another avenue to “I do.” Before the scandalizing gossip can run its course, though, romantic triangles ensue.
With a devoted Austenian sensibility and absurd theological commentary, filmmaker and writer Whit Stillman ingeniously reimagines and completes one of our greatest writers’ unfinished works. As much homage to its muse’s perennial influence as testament to its author’s brilliance, Love & Friendship is a sharp comedy of manners, and a fiendishly funny treat for Austen and Stillman fans alike.
Love & Friendship brings a healthy helping of scandal, along with lots of laughs, to Georgian and Victorian London. Whit Stillman has also created a film version of Love & Friendship, starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, opens in select theaters on May 13th.



""Lady Susan is finally getting some long overdue respect…an eccentrically cheeky tribute."― Alexandra Schwartz, New Yorker

"A merry comedy of pride, prejudice, and duplicity.... Silly, sly, eccentric characters and brisk chatter make for a diverting romp."― Kirkus Reviews

"Witty and delightful."― BookPage

"Both quirky and hilarious."― Publishers Weekly

"Lady Susan remains deliciously wicked." ― Julia Felsenthal, Vogue

"Stillman worships Austen and [the book and film] show a deep familiarity with her life, work, and times."― Laura Miller, Slate

"Stillman has a fine eye for social niceties."― Library Journal, Editor's Pick

Haven't even finished reading this book -- but find it truly remarkable. A new Jane Austen, worthy of the original! Imagine that Mr. Collins undertook to rewrite Pride and Prejudice, attempting to rehabilitate his own reputation and that of Lady Catherine de Bough. That gives you an idea of the approach -- but the language is so lovely and the ironies so delicious! I have been laughing out loud, reading passages to my husband. My plan is to finish the book, re-read Jane Austen's unfinished Lady Susan -- and then return and re-read this one. Then I will press my copy on my most discerning friends ...” – Sharon Kay Stout

Whit Stillman was born in Washington, D.C., and attended Harvard, where he was an editor of the Harvard Crimson before working in book and magazine publishing. He has written and directed five films, including the award-winning Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco, and Damsels in Distress, as well as the TV show The Cosmopolitans. His first novel, The Last Days of Disco, won the 2014 Prix Fitzgerald. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, Harper's, The Guardian, Vogue, and other publications. Visit his unofficial website for updates on this latest Amazon series The Cosmopolitans, and follow him on Twitter as @WhitStillman and on Facebook. 


  • June 13                  AustenBlog (Interview)
  • June 14                  The Calico Critic (Review)         
  • June 15                  Diary of Eccentric (Excerpt)      
  • June 16                  Laura’s Reviews (Review)
  • June 17                  My Jane Austen Book Club (Review)
  • June 17                  Confessions of a Book Addict (Excerpt)                            
  • June 20                  Austenesque Reviews (Review)
  • June 20                  Austenprose (Interview)                      
  • June 21                  So Little Time…So Much to Read (Excerpt)
  • June 21                  Luxury Reading (Review)                    
  • June 22                  Just Jane 1813 (Review)                                         
  • June 23                  Savvy Verse & Wit (Excerpt)                         
  • June 24                  Austenprose (Review)           

  • Grand Giveaway Contest:

    In celebration of the release of Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen's Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated, Mr. Stillman’s publisher, Little, Brown & Co has kindly offered a chance to win one of three hardcover copies of the book!  

    To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on the The Love & Friendship Janeite Blog Tour starting June 13, 2016 through 11:59 pm PT, June 30, 2016. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments and announced on Austenprose on July 1, 2016. Winners have until July 07, 2016 to claim their prize. Shipment is to US addresses. Good luck to all!


    1. I have never read Lady Susan but I can't wait to see this movie when it is on DVD! I didn't realize there was a new book to go along with it. I'll have to order a copy for the library.

      1. Me too! Very excited to see it. I hope you can get a copy for your library. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

    2. I've seen trailers of this around. I'm curious. Can't wait to see it. :)

      1. Me too. I think I will read this book first and then see the movie. Thanks for visiting!

    3. I haven't even heard of this and I'm a big Jane Austen fan! I'll have to see this movie soon!

      1. Yes, definitely! I am excited to read the book and see the movie. Thanks for visiting!

    4. I've read Lady Susan. I'm still trying to see the movie--it's hard to get to the theaters because they're not close.


      1. I hear you. I hope you can see the movie soon, especially since you've read Lady Susan. Thanks for visiting!

    5. Christina, thank you for the excerpt.

    6. A very intriguing excerpt. A book I will have to read just now!


    I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

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