Rational Creaturesby Published 15 Oct 2018
|Publisher||The Quill Ink|
Rational Creatures Ebook Description
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STAND ALONE STORIES.
"But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days." --PERSUASION
Jane Austen: True romantic or rational creature? Her novels transport us back to the Regency, a time when well-mannered gentlemen and finely-bred ladies fell in love as they danced at balls and rode in carriages. Yet her heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and Elinor Dashwood, were no swooning, fainthearted damsels in distress. Austen's novels have become timeless classics because of their biting wit, honest social commentary, and because she wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day. True to their principles and beliefs, they fought through hypocrisy and broke social boundaries to find their happily-ever-after.
In the third romance anthology of The Quill Collective series, sixteen celebrated Austenesque authors write the untold histories of Austen's heroines, brave adventuresses, shy maidens, talkative spinsters, and her naughty matrons. Peek around the curtain and discover what made Lady Susan so wicked, Mary Crawford so capricious, and Hettie Bates so in need of Emma Woodhouse's compassion.
RATIONAL CREATURES is a collection of humorous, poignant love stories set in Georgian England that complement and pay homage to Austen's great works and great ladies who were, perhaps, the first feminists in an era that was not quite ready for feminism. "Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will become good wives; --that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers." --Mary Wollstonecraft
Stories by: Elizabeth Adams * Nicole Clarkston * Karen M Cox * J. Marie Croft * Amy D'Orazio * Jenetta James * Jessie Lewis * KaraLynne Mackrory * Lona Manning * Christina Morland * Beau North * Sophia Rose * Anngela Schroeder * Joana Starnes * Caitlin Williams * Edited by Christina Boyd * Foreword by Devoney Looser
MATURE CONTENT RATING as per EDITOR
ALL STORIES CONTAINED HEREIN HAVE A HEAT INDEX RATING OF 1-3.
(1) Chaste: affection and possible kissing
(2) Mild: kissing
(3) Moderate: some sexual references but not explicit
Rational Creatures Reviews
An “excessively diverting” bespoke short story anthology inspired by Jane Austen’s socially and romantically challenged female characters, who after 200 years, continue to reveal to us why being in love is not exclusive of being a rational creature.
Another Anthology Coming from The Quill Ink
I am not a little proud to announce my third anthology in The Quill Collective series. Never heard of it? Aha! Likely because we have only coined the name when I decided to do another Austen-inspired anthology, and well, “series” would best indicate a number of books coming one after the other. You might better recognize the previous in the series as “The Darcy Monologues” and “Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues.”
When asked about doing another anthology, readers frequently suggest another Darcy book or Elizabeth’s stories... But for me, it seemed to make sense, during this time of forwarding feminist sensibilities and given the verve of the present equality movements that the female perspective might be embraced amongst the Austen fandom—possibly beyond our polite borders. After all, Austen wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day.
Jane Austen’s novels evoke romantic imaginings of fastidious gentlemen and gently-bred ladies ... Yet through her veiled wit, honest social commentary, and cleverly constructed prose in a style ahead of her day, Austen’s heroines manage to thwart strict mores—and even the debauchery of Regency England—to reach their fairytale endings. But have you never wondered about her other colorful characters like Mary Crawford, Hetty Bates, Elinor Tilney, Louisa Musgrove, et al.—and how they came to be? In Persuasion, Mrs. Croft says, “But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” Those words have always struck me as terribly modern and I have wondered what Mrs. Croft might have been thinking of when she said those very words to her brother Captain Frederick Wentworth. I believe several of Jane Austen’s characters might have had feminist sensibilities, even if they yielded to the expectations of their sphere. It is our intent that in this collection of backstories or parallel tales off-stage of canon to remain true to the ladies we recognize in Austen’s great works—whilst stirring feminism in the hearts of some of these beloved characters. Thus, our title was born. “Rational Creatures.” Coming to you in October 2018. Stay tuned.
Once again, an extraordinary dream team of authors—I will refer to this group from here forward as #TheSweetSixteen—have entrusted their words to me. Previous anthology authors Karen M Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’ Orazio, Jenetta James, KaraLynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Sophia Rose, Joana Starnes, Brooke West, and Caitlin Williams are joined by Elizabeth Adams, Nicole Clarkston, Jessie Lewis, and Anngela Schroeder. And if that isn’t enough for your “wow factor,” acclaimed author, Jane Austen scholar, and Guggenheim Fellow Devoney Looser is to write the foreword! I know, right? Wow! Just wow. #RationalCreatures indeed.
But wait! There’s more. Because this anthology is an homage to Jane Austen and her female characters, written by female authors, cover designed by Shari Ryan of MadHat Covers, and edited by me, Christina Boyd of The Quill Ink…it only made sense that our giveaways throughout this venture also highlight women-owned small businesses. And it is our sincere hope that whether you win any of our giveaways or not, you will support these business savvy, creative “rational creatures”:
1) Northanger Soapworks has specially created a “Rational Creatures” soap: fresh scent with notes of bergamot, apricot, and currant.
2) Paper & Slate has customized a “Rational Creatures” candle scent of white tea and plumeria.
3) PNW Vibes has bespoke tanks and tees, perfect for making the point that you too are a “rational creature.”
Those are just a couple of reasons why I think you will enjoy this collection as much as I do!
Sixteen of Jane Austen's creations are brought to vivid life once more to tell their own stories of uncertainty, awkwardness, hope, triumph, love, but also of rational thinking in the face of the need and conflict in their various lives. Some are young and on the cusp of womanhood while others are in their maturity and prime, and still a few in their golden years look back on a life well lived. Whether witty and sparkling or sensible and staid, these ladies engaged the emotions, provoked thought, and drew this reader's admiration.
As before when reading an anthology boasting so many separate tales, I took my time and savored a few at a time. It was an easy format with the stories grouped by the Austen novel they originated from and the novels sorted in order of their original publication date. The ladies were both the original protagonists and secondary characters. Some were heroines and others possessed a smidgen of larceny Their voices were third person or first person perspective and one was epistolary in nature.
I am long familiar and love the writing of the lady authoresses who share this anthology so it was not a surprise that I would delight in every short story arrayed here. I found the gently-paced, historically detailed, genteel elegance of Austen's world was portrayed well as well as a devotion to recreating characterizations who bore closer resemblance to their originals. The authors carefully told prequels, sequels, and some parallel time period stories that would easily fit around the original story like a custom ladies' evening glove. Some stories assume the reader has a little familiarity with the original story and lady that is portrayed while others can be read without a prerequisite reading or viewing of an adaption of the original novel (or novella in the case of Lady Susan).
In the end, I can say that I was satisfied and left with a craving for more of this nature. I teared up a few times, smiled with amusement, clutched my heart at touching moments, and altogether adored encountering each of these Rational Creatures.
One thing more, I had the privilege of writing the story of one of these Rational Creatures so it is with a certainty that I just might not be unbiased toward this collection. I have no trouble encouraging lovers of Austen and her stories to choose our Rational Creatures to cozy up in your favorite reading space with a cup of your favorite while wiling away an afternoon or two.
Women of Sense, Strength, and Substance
With two brilliant and beautifully-crafted short-story anthologies – one devoted to Mr. Darcy and one all about Jane Austen's bad boys – already under her belt, editor Christina Boyd has decided to create a collection that solely spotlights some of Jane Austen's female characters. And instead of focusing on just one character, like Elizabeth Bennet, or the main heroine of each tale, this collection spotlights sixteen different female characters from various Jane Austen works. Some of the characters featured are well-known and beloved heroines like Anne Elliot and Marianne Dashwood, some are less favored heroines like Fanny Price and Emma Woodhouse, some are popular secondary characters such as Charlotte Lucas and Elinor Tilney, and some are more unexpected choices like Louisa Musgrove, Penelope Clay, and Lady Susan (love that Lady Susan is included!). But what unites all these characters (and their stories in this collection) is that they are women of sense (sometimes lately developed or hidden), strength (although they may doubt it at times) and undeniable substance.
“In Austen's fictional world, a single woman in possession of good intellect, must be in want of a man who recognizes its value.” - Devoney Looser (Foreword to Rational Creatures)
MY READING EXPERIENCE:
All stories in this anthology take place during the Regency period – either serving as prequels, sequels, or in some instances additional scenes or sequences that occur during the timeline of Jane Austen's original novels. The stories range from 19 – 42 pages in length and are arranged in accordance with the order of novels published by Jane Austen (starting with Sense and Sensibility and ending with Lady Susan). I read all the stories in order (although readers can read them in any order of their choosing) and if I were to give a star rating for each individual story, it would be mostly 5 stars across the board with just one or two 4.5 star ratings.
The praise I have for this collection is immense. I have read and adored all the previous anthologies from The Quill Ink Collective and this one is BY FAR my favorite! The authors, Christina Boyd, and everyone involved has truly outdone themselves with this exceptionally perceptive and astute anthology. I absolutely adored the “rational creatures” motif, the focus on feminism and seizing your own happiness, and all the wonderfully diverse ways these characters are portrayed. The talented and skilled authors of this collection contributed stories that gave new insights to these characters, new understandings to their natures, and sometimes new chapters to their pasts or futures.
I couldn't possibly decide which story I loved the most, because I loved each story for a variety of unique and special reasons. I loved the stories that shared a character's innermost private feelings and thoughts and plausibly displayed their evolution and growth (examples: Anne Elliot, Elinor Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, Charlotte Lucas, Emma Woodhouse, Harriet Smith). In addition, it was thrilling to see some splendidly beautiful courtships (that Miss Austen was a little too brief with!) take place leisurely and ever-so-satisfyingly (examples: Marianne Dashwood, Fanny Price). As well as those courtships we knew took place, but never saw much of on page (examples: Louisa Musgrove, Elinor Tilney). There were some stories that were reflective and fleshed out a character's past in a surprising new way (examples: Hetty Bates, Sophia Croft) and some that featured these characters bravely taking action, being resourceful, and clever (examples: Mary Crawford, Penelope Clay, Catherine Morland, Lady Susan). Each story is insightful, compelling, and aptly demonstrates – whether practical or romantic, reserved or spirited – all characters featured within are thinking and feeling women worthy of the label “rational.”
Rational Creatures is an outstanding and flawless anthology that pays tribute to the complex and progressive female characters Jane Austen created and creatively exemplifies how through them she was not afraid to challenge the social norm of her time. This stellar collection is sure to entertain, enthrall, and inspire!!! I cannot recommend it enough!
I had the pleasure of reading this book pre-publication, in order to write the Foreword. Editor Christina Boyd has, once again, put together an impressive set of stories from the best JAFF authors writing today. The stories, which reimagine and expand on Austen's strong women characters, are moving and provocative, from start to finish.