April 11, 2018

Jane Austen at Home: A Biography


I really enjoyed listening to this book on audio, which was beautifully read by Ruth Redman. I loved the way the author, Lucy Worsley, entwined Jane's real life with the characters in her novels. It really displayed how art imitates life. The book also used quotes from an array of Jane Austen's contemporaries, which added a nice touch to the reading (listening) experience.

Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors. I love the historical accept of her books, knowing she lived it. Austen's novels are so much more than stories about women looking for husbands, but rather about life in the Georgian era, the state of the church, the classes that divided so many, and the relationships between loved ones and foes alike. It's also wonderful that her writing style is so beautiful, once you get used to it!

Jane Austen drawn by her sister Cassandra

I enjoyed reading about Jane's family in this book, as well as her interactions with them. Some happy, as her relationship with her sister Cassandra was, and some discouraging, as men in those days looked down on women, and women had no rights. Even through writing, many women had to use male names in order to publish. Jane's books may never have been published without her brother stepping in and helping her. Makes you think and appreciate how far women have come and the freedoms we have now. I'm thankful for that.

Steventon Rectory: Where Jane Austen was raised.

One thing you can't ignore in biographies is the death of the subject. Jane's death is quite a mystery and there have been many theories of what she died from. It was interesting to read about these and how some of these illnesses could have been avoided if she had lived 200 years later. One thing I found extremely interesting is that Jane was born at the end of her mother's 10th month of pregnancy, which they believe may have caused some complications for Jane in her later life.

This book lightly addressed Jane's faith which I wish we knew more about. A few years ago I read Jane's 'book of prayers' and I'm led to believe she was a Christian who loved and trusted the Lord. You can read about that book here... The Prayers of Jane Austen

Jane's last words were: "God grant me patience. Pray for me, oh pray for me."

I discovered some new things about Jane through this biography and look forward to reading other books about her, particularly a book mentioned in this one, called Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin.

The only thing that didn't sit well with me, were a few speculations the author made about feelings or events that I didn't think needed to be added. It felt like it took away from the authenticity of the book as a whole. The facts of the book were interesting enough without these added speculative thoughts of the author.

Other than that small pet peeve, this book was very good and I recommend it to anyone who loves Jane Austen!



Buy it HERE on Amazon


April 2, 2018

Instructions From the Book of Romans


I believe all of Scripture is equal in authority and inerrancy, but because God spoke to me first through the book of Romans it has a special place in my heart. I'm reading through it again and thought I'd share the beauty of chapter twelve, verses nine through twenty-one.

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.

  
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."    
                                                                                                          Romans 12:9-21
 
It's not natural for us to think this way.

Our fallen human nature wants to put self first and defend self all the time. Our nature wants to point to others who we think may need these verses for instruction, but what I've learnt through the years is that God gave His Word for the reader. Whoever is reading it, He wrote it for. God's Word is meant to be taken to heart by the reader.

I love these verses because they are filled with hope. Hope that we can follow after the ways of Christ.

Ponder them. Absorb them. Meditate on them. For they are the words of the living God.


"For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." Romans 15:4

 
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