Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.
Read More Articles:
Disney World Reflections Jane Austen Seashore Tour Japan Journey Kishanda Fulford Newsletter Posts by Fay Sampson Regency World Short Stories The Celtic Cross Series The Power of Story The Writing Life Trans-Canada Adventure Uncategorized Writers in France Then and Now
Follow This Blog Subscribe to Newsletter
Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History
A traveling researcher engages people and places from Britain's past and present, drawing comparisons and contrasts between past and present for today's reader.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 20, 2021
Well, okay, I’ll be appearing in the persona of my favorite author. But surely, this will be a nostalgic return for Jane. Austen lived in nearby Southampton between 1806 and 1809. Austen set a major scene in her novel Mansfield Park in what is now Old Portsmouth. Her brothers Francis and Charles attended the royal Naval Academy in Portsmouth, and Francis, who rose to be Admiral of the Fleet, made his home in Portsmouth.
For my March 1 presentation at the Portsmouth Bookfest Jane will conduct us on walking tours of both Portsmouth and Southampton, showing the sites she remembers and pictures of scenes that have long since disappeared.
Fact and fiction will mingle as, among others, we’ll see: The Royal Naval Academy as it was in Regency times,
and as the building is today;
Portsdown Lodge, the home of Sir Francis Austin and his second wife Martha Lloyd. Jane's dear friend;
the Ramparts where Fanny Price walked with Henry Crawford in Mansfield Park;
and the Royal Garrison Church where Francis Austen and the Price family attended services.
“Jane’s” appearance will, of course, be a virtual one, since the entire festival will be via Zoom. The annual festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Portsmouth has a strong literary heritage. Besides Jane Austen, the town has links to Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H G Wells. Bookfest continues that heritage by annually presenting top authors from Britain and abroad at their 3-week long event.
Jane’s presentation will be FREE, but you do need to book ahead.
For the past several years, one day of Bookfest is titled Mysteryfest and given especially to the popular genre of mystery writing. In 2019 I attended Mysteryfest and participated on the panel ‘In The Reviewers’ Hot Seat’, moderated by two reviewers and academics—Dr. Jennifer Palmer and Dot Marshall-Gent. Other panel members included Leigh Russell, Sally Spedding, Diana Bretherick and Carol Westron.
This year Mysteryfest will be on March 6 and will feature the popular Leigh Russell.
My attendance at Bookfest and Mysteryfest has a chequered record, at best. In 2018 I had hoped to attend the first ever Mysteryfest. Although I was, indeed, in England at the time, the event was cancelled due to “the Beast from the East” which swept arctic weather across Britain.
Last year I was scheduled to present “An Idaho Cowgirl in Austenland” where I would talk about becoming an Anglophile through literature. Of course, the Coronavirus—which was just ramping up at that time—forced us to scrub all of our travel plans.
Thankfully, this year, in spite of on-going lockdowns, Jane Austen and I will both be able to attend by the miracle of virtual technology—and our friends around the world will be able to join us.
Readers interested in visiting more Jane Austen sites may enjoy my books A Jane Austen Encounter where literature professors Elizabeth and Richard visit Jane Austen's homes and A Most Singular Venture set in Jane' Austen's London.
My blog tour Jane Austen's Seashore Tour takes readers to seaside resorts associated with Jane and the Austen family.
Read More: Regency World