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Jane Austen Argentina~ Tea for Two

Jane Austen’s work encompasses a worldwide audience. Her writing has touched us, inspired us and has undoubtedly changed us. A simple search on social media will illustrate the scope and magnitude of her reach. Can you imagine taking tea with Jane? Who wouldn’t want to spend an hour with this remarkable—influential—woman, chatting about anything and everything? Alas, I don’t possess a magic wand to whisk us back in time. Instead, this is what I propose…

The tea things are set out. Tea for two, to be exact. I’m the hostess, so I’ll pour. I hope I’m equal to the task.

I may not be able to invite Miss Austen, but I do have the pleasure of welcoming the president of Jane Austen Argentina, Miss Yerimen Iglesias. And since this is my dream world, I’m going to pretend that we’re enjoying afternoon tea in the famous confiteria Las Violetas in Buenos Aires.

  • If you’d like to read Yerimen’s original text in Spanish, please scroll down the page.

Yerimen, I am delighted that you could meet with us today. I’m sure we all want to know more about Jane Austen Argentina! Tell us a little about your group. How was it formed? Do you all reside in Buenos Aires?

Thank you for inviting me, Mirta!  The group was originally formed in 2013 on Facebook;  and soon after, we created a webpage. Later, several social networks were added so that we could connect with our many followers. That same year—thanks to the Austenitas group from Spain— I was able to meet other young women who also read Jane Austen.

By the end of 2013, we had our first in -person meeting. But we are not only from Buenos Aires. There are participants from other provinces. For example, in Tucumán, there is a member of JA Argentina who is starting a group that will hold events in the Argentine Northwest.

I am very impressed! And not a little jealous! The enthusiasm and devotion is quite evident. Just recently, your group held a ball—The Netherfield Ball, to be exact. By all accounts, it was a great achievement! Congratulations to all the ladies and gentlemen who organized and participated in the event. It must have been quite an undertaking.  How did the idea of holding such a grand event come about?

We have always been fascinated by the great balls and historical re-enactments of the Regency era that are usually performed in Europe or in the United States. As we were not able to travel, we decided to organize our own dance in our city, La Plata. We had previously held another dance in 2015, but with fewer attendees.

Yerimen, I have seen countless pictures of your many and varied events about town. Book club meetings, dance tutorials, picnics, strolls throughout the park…How do people react when they see you out in public? I imagine the group draws a lot of attention.

Yes! People are struck by it. There are even people who can’t understand why we gather in historical clothing to honor a writer who passed away so long ago. The important thing is to do what we like, and in case of receiving unpleasant comments, we always ignore it. These comments lose importance compared to the happiness that our activities bring us.

Brava!  I applaud that manner of thinking—that desire to fulfill your dreams. No doubt, Jane Austen would have approved. As an author myself, I was fascinated to learn about Mariquita Sánchez de Thompson, another lady with these same qualities.  Her story, and that of José de San Martin’s friendship with James Duff, the Earl of Fife, inspired me to write a novel that couples the viceroyalty era with Persuasion.

My own family’s history of immigration, along with my love for Jane Austen, explains why I wrote Celestial Persuasion; but tell us, how did you come to be interested in the regency era of England and the novels of our beloved Jane?

I have always been interested in stories from 19th century England, but in the case of Jane Austen, I am also moved by the simple fact of reading how the characters live on a daily basis, and also connecting with the characters who, despite living in a totally different era, I can feel some identification.

On the other hand, historical fashion is one of the reasons why our literary group is so influenced by historical re-enactment. I love researching the online archives of museums around the world that show us much more than what we see in the costumes of movies set in the Regency era and the rest of the 19th century. Learning about everyday life and costumes helps to understand many details that appear in Jane Austen’s novels.

The colonial era of Argentina—with the tertulias, gentlemen in uniform, and elegant ladies, dressed in the style of Empress Joséphine—was a period of romance and passion. But, it was also a period of great courage and rebellion. While England fought against Napoleon, the people of the viceroyalty fought for their independence. Oh! The stories Jane could have written about those times! 

Imagine for a moment that you are having tea in Mariquita Sanchez de Thompson’s drawing room. Seated to your right is Miss Remedios de Escalada, the future First Lady. Here is my final question: What are the three of you talking about?

As you know, Mirta, the beginnings of Argentina’s independence was very hard. The young government did not have enough money to support the armies fighting the Spanish. In these tertulias, or gatherings, I imagine that we ladies are probably talking about the political situation in the country, the war, or the anguish we would feel if our fiancés and husbands do not return. But we also discuss how we could help the armies.

In 1812, fourteen Patrician ladies (Mariquita and Remedios were among them) decided to buy thirteen rifles which were donated to the armies of the young nation, together with two ounces of gold. The name of one of the ladies was engraved on each rifle along with the inscription, “I armed this brave man who assured his glory and our freedom.” In other cities of the viceroyalty, other groups of women also collaborated by sending money, provisions, or making flags and uniforms.

It never ceases to amaze me what a group of determined ladies can accomplish! Jane Austen was a woman of information and strong opinions. Today, I believe she would be known as an “influencer”—much as Mariquita Sanchez was in her time…and much like you! Jane would have been delighted to have taken tea with these ladies of the viceroyalty, as I have enjoyed this time with you.

Thank you, Yerimen, for shedding light on these interesting subjects. Let me, again, offer my congratulations on your Netherfield Ball. You and your friends look like you’ve come straight out of an Austen novel.

Please send my regards to the members of Jane Austen Argentina. One more thing before I take my leave: How do people get in touch with you for more information?

Thank you, Mirta. It was my pleasure to attend this lovely tea party!  I will leave you with a few of our social media links:

Yerimen, encantada de recibirte esta tarde, junto con la audiencia de Austen Authors. ¡Queremos saber más sobre Jane Austen Argentina! Contanos un poco sobre tu grupo. ¿Cómo se formó? ¿Todos residen en Buenos Aires?

Gracias Mirta por tu invitacion. Se formó en el año 2013 como grupo en facebook y poco después hubo página, Luego se fueron agregando varias redes sociales para conectar mucho mas con nuestros seguidores. Gracias a Austenitas de España pude conocer ese mismo año a chicas que también leían a Jane por lo que a finales del 2013 tuvimos la primera reunión en persona. No somos únicamente de Buenos Aires, también hay de otras provincias, por ejemplo en Tucumán hay una integrante de JA Argentina que está iniciando un grupo para realizar también eventos en la zona del Noroeste Argentino.

¡Estoy maravillada! ¡Y un poquito celosa! El entusiasmo y la devoción es evidente. Recientemente, tu grupo promovio una danza de la epoca—para aclarar: The Netherfield Ball. Según todos los informes, ¡fue un gran logro! Felicitaciones a todas las damas y los caballeros que organizaron y participaron en el evento. Debe haber sido toda un projecto. ¿Cómo surgió la idea de celebrar un evento de esta magnitud?

Siempre nos fascinaron los grandes bailes y recreaciones históricas de la época de regencia que se suelen realizar en Europa o Estados Unidos. Pero no teníamos posibilidad de viajar, así que decidimos realizar nuestro propio baile, en nuestra ciudad, La Plata. Previamente habíamos realizado otro baile en 2015, pero con menos asistentes.

Yerimen, he visto innumerables fotos de los variados eventos por toda la ciudad. Reuniones de lectura, tutoriales de baile, picnics, paseos por el parque… ¿Cómo reacciona la gente cuando los ven en público? Me imagino que llaman mucho la atención.

Si! A la gente le llama la atención e incluso hay gente que no logra entender porqué nos reunimos con ropa histórica a homenajear a una escritora que falleció hace tanto tiempo. Lo importante es hacer lo que nos gusta y en caso de recibir comentarios desagradables siempre lo ignoramos ya que pierde importancia frente a la felicidad que nos da realizar nuestras actividades.

¡Brava! Aplaudo esa forma de pensar, ese deseo de cumplir tus sueños. Sin duda, Jane Austen lo hubiese aprobado. Como autora, me fascinó conocer a Mariquita Sánchez de Thompson, otra mujer con estas mismas cualidades. Su historia, y la de la amistad de José de San Martín con James Duff, el conde de Fife, me inspiró a escribir una novela que combina la época del virreinato con Persuasion. La historia de inmigración de mi propia familia, junto con mi amor por Jane Austen, explica por qué escribí Celestial Persuasion; pero contame, ¿cómo llegaste a interesarte por la época de la regencia de Inglaterra y las novelas de nuestra querida Jane?

Siempre me he sentido interesada por las historias de la época del siglo XIX en Inglaterra, pero en el caso de Jane Austen también me conmueve el simple hecho de leer cómo viven cotidianamente los personajes, y también conectar con los personajes que, a pesar de tantos años de diferencia y vivir en una era totalmente diferentes, podemos sentir algo de identificación. 

Por otro lado, la moda histórica es una de las razones por la cual nuestro grupo literario tiene tanta influencia de la recreación histórica. Amo investigar en los archivos online de museos del mundo que nos muestran mucho más de lo que vemos en los vestuarios de las películas ambientadas en la época de regencia y en el resto del siglo XIX. Aprender sobre la cotidianeidad y el vestuario ayuda a entender muchísimos detalles que aparecen en las novelas de Jane Austen.

La época colonial de Argentina—con las tertulias, caballeros en uniforme, y damas elegantes, vestidas en el estilo de la emperatriz Joséphine—fue un periodo de romance y pasión. Pero, también fue un periodo de mucho valor y rebeldía. Mientras que Inglaterra batallo en contra de Napoleón, el pueblo del virreinato lucho por su independencia.  ¡Que historias pudo haber escrito Jane del pueblo criollo! Imagínate, por un momento, que estás tomando el té en el salón de los Thompsons. Sentada a su derecha está la señorita Remedios de Escalada, la futura Primera Dama. Aquí está mi pregunta final: ¿De qué hablan?

Mirta, como sabes, los comienzos de la independencia argentina fueron muy duros. El joven gobierno no tenía suficiente dinero para mantener a los ejércitos que combatían contra los españoles. Me imagino, como en todas las tertulias, que probablemente estamos hablando de la situación política del país, de la guerra, o de la angustia que sentiríamos si nuestros prometidos y esposos no regresan. Pero también discutimos cómo podríamos ayudar a los ejércitos. 

Por eso, en 1812, 14 Damas Patricias (incluyendo Mariquita y Remedios de Escalada) decidieron comprar 13 fusiles que donaron a los ejércitos de la joven nación, junto a dos onzas de oro. En cada fusil se grabó el nombre de una de las damas junto a la inscripción “yo armé el brazo de este valiente que aseguró su gloria y nuestra libertad”. En otras ciudades del virreinato, otros grupos de mujeres también colaboraron enviando dinero, provisiones o confeccionando banderas y uniformes.

¡Nunca deja de sorprenderme lo que un grupo de mujeres decididas puede lograr! Jane Austen era una mujer de información y opiniones fuertes. Hoy, creo que sería conocida como una “influencer” al igual que Mariquita Sánchez lo fue en su tiempo… y muy parecida a ti! Jane hubiese estado encantada de haber tomado el té con las damas del virreinato, al igual que yo disfrute esta oportunidad de conocerte. Gracias, Yerimen, por compartir estos detalles y informacion tan interesantes. Permítime, una vez más, felicitarlos por su Netherfield Ball. ¡Parecen haber salido directamente de una novela de Austen!

Por favor, envía mis saludos a los miembros de Jane Austen Argentina. Antes de despedirme, una pregunta mas: ¿Cómo podemos contactarnos con el grupo para obtener más información?

Gracias, Mirta ¡Fue un placer asistir a esta encantadora fiesta del té! Aqui les dejo algunos de nuestros enlaces a redes sociales

As I said, I think Jane would be a social media influencer today. Mariquita Sanchez certainly was in Argentina. Can you name another lady (Jane’s contemporary, but from your country, culture, or heritage) that could be nominated for this title? Please do share your thoughts.

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Today’s the day!

It seemed like the day would never arrive, but here we are! I am excited and nervous and hopeful and, well…excited! I can’t wait for you to read my latest book and tell me your thoughts.

A Jewish Regency Romance Set Against the Backdrop of Argentina’s Struggle for Independence.

Celestial Persuasion is now available on Amazon in both digital and paperback format. This has been a labor of love and inspiration, but now the real work begins. I’m an independent author, which means I need your help to spread the word. Please tell your friends! Share my posts on your social media. Are you on Goodreads? You can help me by adding the book to your “Want to Read” shelf. Actually, you could take it a step further and create a new shelf and call it “Jewish Regency Romance” or “Jewish Historical Fiction.” Vote for the book in the Listopia section. There are many great categories from which to choose, like this one, or this one or this one ! If you don’t know how to add or vote for the book, ASK ME! I’m only too happy to help. 🙂 Last, but not least, read the book! Leave a rating or a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or on your blog. The momentum created by your input is priceless. It helps me engage with other readers and brings my work out into the forefront—protecting me from those nasty algorithms!

Caroline Herschel was the perfect role model for my protagonist, Abigail Isaacs. Her extraordinary contributions to Astronomy were certainly an inspiration, but Caroline had two other interesting attributes. One was her Jewish heritage, the other was her relationship with her brother, William. The similarity with Abigail and her brother, Jonathan was bashert: It was meant to be.

I am grateful for your support and your interest. Please continue to watch this blog for future posts and interesting tidbits.

With love,

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Blog Tour~ Day Two: Heidi Slowinski, author & editor

Here we go. Day Two!

You don’t want to miss this next stop!

Follow the link below & let me know what you think.

Heidi Slowinski

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Blog Tour~ First Stop: My Jane Austen Book Club

Today’s the day!

Join the Blog Tour! First stop:

My Jane Austen Book Club

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You’re cordially invited …

According to ancient Judaic tradition, a great miracle occurred in the month of Tamuz. This Hebrew month corresponds to June and July in the Gregorian calendar and begins with Rosh Chodesh on June 9th. I found it fitting to share this bit of information with you, as it relates to my new book: Celestial Persuasion.

Without going deep into the weeds, let me just say that during this season the ancient Israelites were at battle with the five kings of the Emorite Nation (Book of Yehoshua 10:11-14). As the verse unfolds, we read that “great stones” fell from the heavens, and the sun and the moon did not advance in the sky until the Israelites could claim victory. Today, we can assume that an intense meteor or asteroid shower fell upon the particular place; but according to tradition, it was a celestial miracle. I couldn’t resist sharing this with you because it touches upon a recurring theme in my story. Here is a snippet that speaks to fresh starts and new beginnings:

Dinner was completed with no further discussion of wars, revolution, or immigration to far and distant lands. Abigail noted Mrs. Frankel’s silent approval of the elegant meal, which mainly consisted of fish and poultry and various dishes of accompaniment. While they supped, polite conversation regarding the weather in Devonshire was the rule, much to Abigail’s chagrin, but then at last his lordship introduced a new topic, the extraordinary shape of the crescent moon.

“As tonight is Rosh Chodesh, a celebratory occasion of our faith, I beg you apply to Miss Isaacs for commentary,” Mrs. Frankel offered.

“Indeed? I would be glad to hear of it,” the earl replied. “Pray tell.”

“I would not wish to bore you, my lord, with talk of instruments and calculations,” said she, in an attempt to curtail her natural instincts; “however, if you care to learn about the holiday Mrs. Frankel references, I would share Rabbi Nachman’s compelling words on the subject.”

With his lordship’s approval, Abigail continued. “The moon has been a point of great significance since the time of the ancient Israelites. We use its cycles to calculate the months of the year, which differs from the Gregorian calendar based on the sun. Rabbi Nachman suggests that when even the slightest portion of this heavenly body is spotted, that least sighting—that modicum of hope—is sufficient to proclaim a fresh beginning for every one of us. And this evening, as witnessed by the shape of the moon, we celebrate the head of the new month and wish each other peace.”

“That is truly providential,” the earl stated and raised his glass. “Join me in a toast, won’t you? To Jonathan, the best of men, and to new beginnings!”

“To Jonathan,” Abigail repeated and swallowed hard. “And to new beginnings.”

“L’ chaim,” murmured Mrs. Frankel. “To life.”

Dear readers, you are cordially invited to my upcoming Blog Tour. During the week of June 13-18, several bloggers will be reviewing the book or hosting an author’s interview with yours truly.

I hope you join me on this virtual excursion!

Here are the dates:

Sunday, June 13, 2021~My Jane Austen Book Club

Monday, June 14, 2021~Heidi Slowinski

Wednesday, June 16, 2021~ Diary of an Eccentric

Thursday, June 17, 2021~Faith, Science, Joy, and Jane Austen

Friday, June 18, 2021~Bonnie Reads and Writes

Friday, June 18, 2021~Every Woman Dreams

One last thing before I sign off: The preorder link for the eBook can be found here

Happy Reading!

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Celestial Persuasion~ Coming Soon!

Readers of this blog know that I was inspired to write a Jewish historical fiction based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I understand some of you have not had the pleasure of reading Austen’s original work or seeing the film adaptations. Never fear! Celestial Persuasion is a stand-alone novel with more than enough to tempt you. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here are a few early comments from people in the know…

“I’m still shaking my head at how good this was! Even though I knew nothing about the history of this area, I found the story fascinating. The appearance of an Austen character in the story always made me smile.” ~ Jeanne Garrett

“A wonderful and inventive novel that paints a compelling historical tale upon a large canvas background of a culture different from what most are used to seeing in #Austenesque variations. Celestial Persuasion left me contemplating about how destiny is written in the stars.”   ~ Don Jacobson, author of The Bennet Wardrobe series

“Devotees of Austen’s work, who never wanted her stories to end, will enjoy Trupp’s writing, and those who have adored Persuasion, will not be disappointed in what could possibly come after.” ~Sherry V Ostroff, author of Caledonia, Mannahatta and The Lucky One

“From a literary perspective, I love the way Jane Austen’s characters are sewn into the book. While Abigail’s Jewishness is certainly a central focus, I must commend the respect offered to several other faiths throughout the story, emphasizing that which we have in common rather than that which separates us. I loved this book!” ~ Debbie Brown

I hope to entice you with this shortest of snippets. Please enjoy!

With her morning correspondence completed, she was at leisure; however, this was not a pleasant interlude and Abigail dreaded such moments. For it was during these quiet times that the gripping claws of sorrow tore at her heart. She required an occupation, as the stillness of her life had become too much to bear. She quitted the morning room and quietly climbed the stairs to find Jonathan’s bedchamber.

Opening the door, Abigail was met with the familiar scent of old books and leather. Mrs. Frankel had seen to the room being kept tidy. The clean linen upon his bed added to the crispness in the air. Jonathan’s wardrobe contained most of his clothes, as he took only the essentials when he went off to sea. His shelves were lined with an eclectic combination of writings. Books of Kabbalah and astrology were placed side by side with authoritative treatises on astronomy, physics, and physiology. There were novels of the sea that spoke of great battles of yore, and there were books of poetry and psalms. Abigail ran her fingers across their delicate bindings and cried over the senseless loss of such a kind and gentle man. She would have to pack his belongings, as she had done with her father’s things. Some things would be given to charity, clothes and the like, but the books would not be forsaken.

Abigail reached for an ancient tome; it had once belonged to her maternal great-grandfather and had been passed down throughout the generations. Jonathan had shown her this very book when she was yet a child of five years of age and their mother had left their world. The Sefer Yetzirah, Jonathan had explained, was devoted to speculations concerning God’s creation of the world. He had shown her drawings of the constellations that formed the galgal hamazalot, the wheel of the Zodiac, which exerted influence on Man’s traits and tendencies and on the natural course of things. Abigail recalled his gentle voice as he proposed that they study the celestial spheres together and learn of their characteristics. In her innocence, she had asked if their mama had become one of the heavenly formations watching them from above.

“Dearest, you may still speak to Mama,” Jonathan had said. “Ask her to guard you and guide you from her heavenly home. You may look upon the shining stars and imagine one of them is our own mama sending her love to us here on earth. But Avi, the stars and the moon, and all the wondrous celestial creations, are only a manifestation of God’s will. We must always remember to place our faith and trust in our Creator.”

Abigail closed the book and returned it to its rightful place on the shelf. There would be time enough to reminisce in the days to come. She was not compelled to act with much alacrity; her brother’s belongings would remain as he left them, and Abigail did not look back as she closed the door.

Dear readers: the preorder link for the eBook can be found here