Some of my earliest memories of Christmas involve the endless waiting for the big day and the delight we took in counting down the hours with an Advent calendar. Sometimes the tiny door would reveal a portion of the Nativity story, other years we would be greeted with a festive sentiment, and by far our favorite days were the ones greeted by a chocolate or treat. My children share my enthusiasm as well as a tradition of countdown calendars with their grandmother and I have three ready to go come December 1. Last year, however, I was given the most amazing Christmas countdown calendar of all. A treasured gift from a treasured friend. Proceeds from Mr. Darcy's Christmas Calendar will go to benefit the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. When I first saw the cover of Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar, I thought it was a traditional advent calendar, with a gorgeous image of Jane Austen’s Chawton Cottage home dusted with snow and trimmed for Christmas. Each tiny window and door looked numbered and perforated and I thought, “What a wonderful idea!! Someone should have thought of this long ago!” I could only surmise whether the recipient would be treated to quotes or chocolate upon opening. I still think this would be a wonderful idea, but the real surprise was something far more fantastical. The image was painted by the talented artist Jane Odiwe, and it proved to be the tantalizing cover of her latest (at the time) novel, Mr. Darcy’ Christmas Calandar. Jane, as her readers will know, is not only well versed in the details and minutiae of Jane Austen’s life, but one might even say, submersed. With several books, in several genres (though all Austen related) already published, along with an astonishing print and gift line featuring her lovely paintings, she was quite prepared to write this story, “in a style entirely new”. You see, Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar is indeed an advent calendar (though it’s more like a love gift to Austen fans everywhere.) Each chapter is labeled for a day until Christmas (“Door Number One” through “Christmas Day”) and it can be read in that order—a chapter a day until Christmas (though I’m sure I won’t be the only one to impatiently read ahead “just one more chapter”.) The story centers on Lizzy Benson, a modern young lady who visits Chawton Cottage in the days before Christmas and obtains a wonderful Christmas calandar (as pictured on the front cover.) With each door opened, her life and Jane’s, along with characters from Austen’s novels, become twined, intertwined and explored as Lizzy is swept back in time to a Christmas at the cottage where Jane is in the process of writing Pride and Prejudice, though undecided about who should be the hero and how the pairings should proceed. It is up to our heroine to help bring things around to their famous “natural” conclusion. Each door that is opened in the days leading to Christmas brings a new plot twist to both our present day story and the Pride and Prejudice timeline, and the reader can only wonder what will happen next— each chapter leaves the you begging for just a little more and we can be happy that it takes only 25 days to untangle the story and find our happy endings. Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Calendar is the perfect gift this holiday season, for either a friend or as a treat to yourself (or both, so that you can read along together—if you have the patience to wait!) It works as a one sitting story if, like me, you simply can’t put it down, but is also as a most delightful and unique “Christmas Calendar” when read as intended. Forget the chocolates, this sweet novel is the best surprise of all. All proceeds from the sale of this book are going to help fund projects of The Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. For further information about the charity please visit the website https://janeaustenlf.
- List Price: Kindle Edition aperback
- Paperback: 190 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (28 Oct. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1502961067
- ISBN-13: 978-1502961068
Laura Boyle is the author of Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends. Through her shop Austentation: Regency Accessories, she offers a large range of custom made hats, bonnets, reticules and Jane Austen related items.