by Submitted by FAREF
As we celebrate the 200th year since the publication of Jane Austen’s book Sense & Sensibility, we decided to share with KRL readers some events, groups and books with a Jane Austen connection.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that those who adore historical eras of elegance and manners long to don period costumes and gather together for tea or to discuss classic literature. Central Valley residents Carrie Flores and Sharon Lathan have discovered this to be true. A mutual passion for Jane Austen and the Regency Era of England brought these two ladies together to forge a sincere friendship that has lead them to establish the Fresno Area Regency England Fellowship (FAREF). Their hope is to create a friendly collective of ladies and gentlemen who share their yearning for bygone days of polite society, graciousness, witty conversation, and romantic ideals. So far the response has been favorable and the fledgling group is busily planning numerous activities in the months ahead.
More on the events in a moment. First, a bit of information on Carrie and Sharon.
Carrie Flores has been in love with Jane Austen and Regency romances for decades, her passion including the study of Regency life. Carrie’s knowledge is comprehensive and if she can’t readily recall a fact she can quickly find it within the pages of her impressive library! Three years ago she was appointed by the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) to serve as Regional Coordinator for the Central Valley. Under her leadership a Regional group was formed and grew from nothing into a thriving membership that hosted the first ever Jane Austen Festival for the area in the spring of 2010. Now Carrie is turning her expertise and leadership skills to embrace all aspects of the Regency Era, including the broader Georgian Period and Jane Austen.
Sharon Lathan fell in love with Austen’s world and writings six years ago but her obsession grew rapidly. Her desire was to carry on the life of Pride & Prejudice with a saga rich in history recounting the married life of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. This she did, the story eventually becoming several books published by Sourcebooks Landmark to high acclaim. Sharon currently has four novels in print and a Christmas novella as part of an anthology with Amanda Grange. On April 1, her fifth novel in the Darcy Saga series – The Trouble With Mr. Darcy – will be released, and in November the romance of Georgiana Darcy will hit the shelves.
For Carrie and Sharon the delight in sharing their love of Austen and the Regency Era with like-minded individuals is a blessing. Sharon says, “I have been a student of history since I studied the subject in high school and happen to find many eras intriguing. Yet the romanticism, fascinating inventions, gorgeous fashions, and respectability of the English Regency beats them all. Being a part of this world within my writing is endlessly stimulating. Being able to bring it to life with FAREF is amazing!”
Carrie and Sharon are additionally amazed and excited to discover how many wonderful historical groups there are in California. Part of their goal with FAREF is to link to other societies. “The focus of our fellowship is on that short period of time from 1811-1820 in England known as the Regency Era,” Carrie explained. “However, the Regency is a small part of the larger Georgian Period. Many who love this period of time also appreciate the Victorian and of course events happening here in America coincide with British history. All are of interest to those who love history.”
FAREF events scheduled in the near future include a Jane Eyre movie night on March 26 and a discussion of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility on March 30. On April 9 they are very excited to host “A Day in Regency England” at the St. Paul Newman Center in Fresno. This all-day event includes a piano recital by Jeff Rosbrugh, a Regency fashion lecture/demonstration by master seamstress and historic costumer Jennifer Rosbrugh of HistoricalSewing.com, and a lecture on the justice system in England by Sharon Lathan. There will also be an English luncheon and tea by Classic Catering, photography, parlor games, and more.
Carrie will be continuing with the Costume Club, those ladies determined to sew a Regency gown! Lauren Willig’s The Secret History of the Pink Carnation is their next chosen book to read with that discussion on May 28. In September they are honored to welcome famed Historic Conjurer Professor DR Schreiber for what promises to be a spectacular evening of magical entertainment and dining, Regency style. Other activities are being considered for the summer and fall. What KRL’s event pages for updates and more information.
As the year marches on FAREF plans to encourage involvement in intriguing activities organized by other groups. For instance, The Pacific Coast Professional Theatre Company in Santa Maria is staging Pride & Prejudice. Carpooling to see the play with dinner along the way is going to be placed onto the agenda. Several people, including Sharon and Carrie, are attending the Spring Gala by JASNA Southwest that is being held on May 14 and 15 in Pasadena. They would love to have a group accompany them for the fun! The list of these types of activities, in the immediate area and further abroad, are numerous.
For additional information on the Fresno Area Regency England Fellowship visit their website. It is a work-in-progress but the pages with the scheduling are constantly being updated. They also have a mailing list to register for if email newsletters and updates appeal to you. Soon the Yahoo Group will be activated for interaction as well. If on Facebook be sure to search for their page!
If interested in learning more about Sharon Lathan and her happily-ever-after vision of life for Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, visit her website. Links are provided there to her Facebook page. On the website are full synopsis of her novels, numerous excerpts, reviews, and purchasing information. Be sure to peruse her comprehensive Regency Glossary and Portrait Gallery! All of her novels can be obtained in book stores, Target, Sam’s Club, and online marketplaces.
In this issue you can also read a review of a mystery novel featuring Jane Austen!