This is very late in being posted. First thing we did is start packing and get ready to check out. My panel was at 10:00.

10:00 AM – Digital Marginalia: A Conversation with Your Future Self
Panel: Michael J. DeLuca, Gayle Surrette, Neil Clarke, Ruth Sternglantz, and David G. Shaw (moderator).

Discription: Electronic reading devices allow us to carry huge libraries wherever we go. They also provide us with the ability to highlight, annotate, and share what we read. In a 2012 blog post, Clive Thompson described this enhanced reading experience as “a conversation with the author, with yourself, and in a weird way, if you take it along as a lifelong project… a conversation with your future self.” According to Craig Mod, “The book of the past reveals its individual experience uniquely. The book of the future reveals our collective experience uniquely.” What tools will we embed within digital texts to signal this shifting relationship with literature, and how will readers use them?

This panel was quite interesting for me. The discussion ranged over whether or how we write or mark up our books. Did we treat electronic books differently? Are there some books you don’t mark/highlight/write in? And what would be our wish list of features we’d like to see in an ebook reader?

For my part I mark up Advanced Reader Copies of books. I often will mark up Reference works that I keep for myself. However, other finished books, I don’t mark up — or rather I very seldom mark them up (using post-it notes instead or taking notes in a file).

Other panelists had their on ways of dealing with books. Mention was made of century old books marked up by the monks that give a glimpse into their thoughts and beliefs.

I really enjoyed this panel and have been thinking about my ‘use’ of books ever since. Do I really use print books differently than I do ebooks? I do enjoy having many books on vacation or trips with me without adding pounds of paper to the luggage. I’ve also noticed that I prefer heavy books (those door-stopper type books) to be electronic so the weight isn’t an issue when I’m trying to read them (wrists just aren’t what they used to be).

We decided with a 12 hour or so drive ahead of us to leave after the panel. We planned to stop in Providence, RI to visit my son on the way back to southern Maryland and hopefully get back before Monday. (We came close in that we pulled into our driveway at about 2:00 a.m. Monday morning.) Dragged stuff in from the car. I got to get to bed and Hubby slept on the couch with the cat since he cried and meowed his disapproval of being left home from the minute we came into the house until hubby sat on the couch with him — then Emnot was all purrs and cuddles.

The cat became velcro-cat for a couple of days after we got back — just as he was when we got back from Discworld. My guess is he has abandonment issues. Since he’s a rescue cat, that’s probably a fair guess.

But inevitably, I managed to get tired out and worn down enough from the convention and drive to catch a terrific summer cold. I’ve been coughing and hacking for the past week and am just now finally feeling human again. I’m always amazed at how a simple cold can befuddle and confuse a person’s thought processes.

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Checked the crack in the windshield and it hadn’t gotten any bigger overnight — big yeah. Just hope it doesn’t do anything
awful until after we get home.

Got a late start this morning, so didn’t make a panel until noon, missing two earlier ones that I really, really, wanted to get to. Just one of those days. I’m now down to one coffee a day — and hating it, a lot.

Just lost everything below here twice as my spam software suddenly decided that my site wasn’t safe or didn’t exist — it couldn’t make up it’s mine so there was an immediate change of software and the misbehaving software is now in time out.

Noon – Constellations of Genres
Panel: John Crowley, Veronica Schanoes, James Patrick Kelly (leader), Ted Chiang, Gary K. Wolfe, and Kit Reed.
Description: On Readercon 23′s panel “Genre Transference,” James Patrick Kelly cited four genres a book can have: “The genre of the writer’s intent, the genre of reader expectation, the genre of the critical review, and the commercial genre.” Let’s dig deeper into this idea. Are there more genres than these four? How does the constellation of a book’s various genres change the reader’s experience, or the writer’s career?

As genres seem to be evaporating because the walls between genres seem to have become porous. The tropes of one genre are now showing up in others. However, often those who are not familiar with the originating genre of the tropes don’t have the same depth of understanding of why/how/where the trope is used. Then there was a lot about the conversation between the author and the text and the text and the reader and whether other genres want to talk to each other in any type of conversation.

1:00 PM – Authorial Metanarrative
Panel: Glenn Grant, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Theodora Goss (leader), Lila Garrott, Sonya Taaffe
Description: A number of authors build in subtle links between otherwise unconnected works. A link may not be something as literal as a common character or name; perhaps, instead, there’s a repeated trope or event. Leah Bobet, discussing Patricia A. McKillip’s works in a 2011 blog post, described this as writing “epic poetry, and the whole of [McKillip's] output is the poem.” How do such links affect a reader’s interpretation of or approach to a body of work, and what motivates authors to link their works together?

Some author’s have put in links that connect their stories — these links can be a secondary character that shows up in a work where they don’t necessarily have a part, or events from one story are mentioned in another, or symbols reoccur in multiple stories. These can be either intended by the author or happy happenstance. Discussion of what does an author do when such reoccurring items are pointed out to them. Are they gifts to the readers or a frustration because to understand you have had to read all the author’s works not just a selection? Does it work between author’s or only for the one author? Can these items tell their own story across the author’s body of work?

2:00 PM – The Relationship of Reality and Fantasy
Panel: Andrea Hairston (leader), Julia Starkey, James Morrow, Scott H. Andrews, and Anil Menon.
Description: In a 2012 essay titled “PSA: Your Default Narrative Settings Are Not Apolitical,” Foz Meadows addressed the notion that “deliberately including POC, female and/or LGBTQ characters can only ever be a political action.” She demonstrated that history, the historical record, and commonly accepted historical narratives are in fact three distinct things, and pointed out the irony of fans who accept magic and dragons in their fantasy but balk at the idea of female pirates or a black Lancelot because they’re “unrealistic.” Whose reality does fantasy need to reflect in order to be believable? How can we use fantasy to shape and change our realities?

This more or less, in my opinion only (remember I’m caffeine deprived), focused on the nature of reality with a work and how it is best achieved. Also led into a discussion of Truth, truth, real, reality, and reality within context.

Visited the Book Shop (Dealers’ Room) — lots of really interesting books and I hope to get back tomorrow to buy a couple of the ones I spied today. Readercon’s Book Shop is just that all booksellers — new, used, and collectable, and sometimes all with the same bookseller. It’s a bookaholics dream come true.

7:00 PM – Woldbuilding by Worldseeing
Panel: Romie Stott, Sarah Smith, John Crowley (leader), and Harold Vedeler
Description: Kipling’s Kim, Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor, Dickens’s “sketches”… who is writing about the present day this way, and what can worldbuilders learn from these Victorian-era worldseers? All these observers were at some remove; how does observation differ when one is part of the culture one is observing?

The discussion focused on the need for writers to write what they know and if you don’t know to find out. You should get your facts straight. If writing modern urban fantasy, you should know the city of your story and get the details and environment of that city right. If a character works in a garage, pizza parlor, or coffee shop, for example, talk to someone about what it’s like to work there — learn the details of the job. Getting the background right helps to ground the story when the fantasy elements come into play.

8:00 PM – The Gender of Reading Shame
Panel: Natalie Luhrs (leader), Jordan Hamessley, Ann Tonsor Zeddies, Julia Rios, and Trent Zelazny.
Description: In a 2012 post on Book Riot, Amanda Nelson wrote about bookstore shoppers who display signs of shame or embarrassment about their reading choices. She concluded that this behavior is highly gendered: “If men read ‘unliterary’ but stereotypically masculine genres it’s fine. If women read ‘unliterary’ but stereotypically feminine genres it’s deserving of a brown paper bag in the form of increased e-reader sales so you can read in public in peace.” Our panelists discuss their own experiences with reading shame or lack thereof, whether the gender hypothesis holds true within the speculative fiction–reading community, and why we read books we’re ashamed of or feel shame about what we read.

First ‘unliterary’ was defined to be non-genre. As you can imagine this was a panel with lots of personal accounts as well as recent research and anecdotal impressions. There was also the problem of the title and description as it implied binary gender ignoring the spectrum of gender as it is today. Everyone agreed that having an ereader so that you didn’t have to deal with a book cover giving you away has taken a lot of the stigma of reading those items that you personal feel uncomfortable about.

As always your thoughts and impressions about the topics are welcome. Leave a comment.

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Morning is not as fun as you’d think it would be when you’re sleep deprived. Just took a while to settle down once we were in last night. The hallways were quiet but some banging started outside our window pretty early in the morning — nothing out there on the roof except the usual hotel roof equipment. Could not figure what it was but it was from that area. Eventually gave up and got up.

Got to registration and got our name tags, program book, and other stuff. Also this year the con is using an electronic program guide that you down load onto smart phone, a notepad (iPad or equivalent) and it stays even when you loose connectivity. It lists program items, participants, and the program descriptions. If you click on a panelist you get that person’s bio. If you click on the box next to a program item it puts that item on MyCon so you have a list that’s just the things you want to go to so you don’t get confused looking things up.

We had to get books out of the car for one of the booksellers and noted that the crack in the windshield hadn’t grown any while sitting in the parking lot. In the evening, we went to get into the car to go out to dinner and found that the crack had grown about 2 inch since we’d last looked at it. So, we added more crazy glue. The local dealership called back and said they don’t do window replacements and didn’t have any local glass people to recommend. So, we’re trying to hold out until we get home and to our own dealership and local businesses. I’m hoping it won’t be any worse when we check it today.

Now here’s the program items we went to today:

Faux Estrangement in Fantasy Panel

Faux Estrangement in Fantasy Panel


11:00 AM – Comforting Fiction: Faux Estrangement in Fantasy
Panel: John Clute, James Morrow, Graham Sleight, Ruth Sternglantz, and John Stevens (leader)
Description: In 2011 China Miéville, discussing literature of estrangement and literature of recognition, referred to “the clichés of some fantasy” as “faux estrangement.” Yet these clichéd, faux-estranging works are often tremendously popular. What’s so appealing to writers and to readers about recognition disguised as estrangement?

This was an interesting panel with far ranging discussions about estrangement, faux estrangement, and recognition. It’s really hard to capsulize the conversation so I won’t try. I suggest you read the articles by China Mieville and then come back and leave a comment:

What the Future Is and What the Future Is Not Panel

What the Future Is and What the Future Is Not Panel


1:00 PM – What the Future Is and What the Future Is Not
Panel: John Crowley, Glenn Grant, John Shirley, Bud Sparhawk, and Vincent McCaffrey (leader).
Description: While looking backward, we can examine a past moment in time. Much of what we find there is with us today: part of our lives at present. Were we prescient enough, we could predict things and ways that would survive from our present into the future. Successful predictions would make our children rich, could make us famous (or infamous), and might change the world to come. This open discussion, led by Vincent McCaffrey, will attempt to predict which ideas, things, and methods will be useful or meaningful parts of the lives of those yet to come.

Talk ranged over nuclear weapons, global warming/climate change, surveillance technology and it’s uses and, of course robots. They also stressed that the future isn’t here yet and when it is here it’s today so everything they talk about is simply speculation and guessing.

Knit One, Print Two Panel

Knit One, Print Two Panel


3:00 PM – Knit One, Print Two: Handicrafts, Replicators, and the Future of Making
Panel: Natalie Luhrs, Adrienne Martini (leader), Eric Schaller, David G. Shaw, and E.C. Ambrose.
Description: Take your average 21st-century American knitter on board the Enterprise and the first thing they’d do is replicate a heap of yarn and some needles, or roving and a wheel to spin it with. The replicator might obviate the need for real plants and animals as sources for raw materials, but not the desire of people to create beauty out of those raw materials, or just to do something with their hands on long trips. Given this, why do we almost never see handicrafts in SF futures with replicators? What can futurists learn from the recent simultaneous booms of 3D printers (which are arguably proto-replicators) and handicrafts, both under the header of “making” and often employed and enjoyed by the same people?

There was a lot of discussion about the need to create and whether a replicator that can make what you want would essentially snuff out the desire to make items with our own hands (no likely). There was some talk about how artisans and craftsworkers are important to society and in some potential post-apocalyptic events could become essential for us to survive. Also how wealth allows people to do crafts, gardening, wine making, etc. because you need money to get started.

Questioning the Ostensibly Reliable Narrator Panel

Questioning the Ostensibly Reliable Narrator Panel


4:00 PM – Questioning the Ostensibly Reliable Narrator
Ian Randal Strock, Sheila Williams, James Patrick Kelly (leader), John Kessel, and Rick Wilber.
Description: In a recent Locus roundtable discussion, several authors and critics agreed that, in Andy Duncan’s words, “all fictional narrators are, to some extent, unreliable.” Some may be deliberate liars; some may be prevaricators omitting crucial information (as in Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd); some may believe themselves to be reliable (such as Doyle’s Dr. Watson); and some may distrust their own perceptions (such as Imp in Caitlín R. Kiernan’s The Drowning Girl). How does fiction featuring supposedly reliable narrators change when it’s approached by a reader who questions everything they’re told?

This was one of the most interesting, informative, and thought provoking panels of the day (genetics was a close second). Just how important is a reliable narrator and how does it impact the reader when the narrator is unreliable. Can a 3rd person narrator be unrealiable? (This took up a bit of the time.) What about when the 3rd person narrator becomes so close that it collapses close 3rd person into a character?

One factor I found interesting was whether an unreliable narrator who detailed exactly what happened really unreliable if his/her interpretation of events does not mesh with ours (in our present time and societal beliefs).

8:00 PM – Genetics
Lecturer: Michael Blumlein
Description: If the genetic code is the musical score, then epigenetics is the music. Our genetic sequence is only part of the story. The other part is how and when and why any particular gene is turned on or off and how these genes interact. This is the science of epigenetics. Unlike the fixed genetic “code,” epigenetics is fluid. It changes in response to any number of factors, and it can evolve and adapt rapidly. Can such rapid changes be inherited? Can inheritance be driven by purpose, as Lamarck believed, or is it always the product of random chance? Dr. Michael Blumlein will explore these and other questions of genetics, epigenetics, and what lies beyond.

Epigenetics is about the bits that turn things on and off and how it fits together with traditional genetics which we all learned about it school. If I tried to put the lecture in any short form I’d just mess it up so the first sentence is my best attempt. But it was very interesting and I’ll certainly be looking into this subject more later.

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We drove up from Brandywine, Maryland. It’s a 10 hour trip, or at least it was this time, we had some really good luck with traffic. However, it was a bit tense since we got a crack in our windshield. Crazy Glue on the inside and outside of the crack seems to have it stabilized and we’ll get the windshield replaced Monday when we get back home.

Got to the hotel and found a wall as soon as we came in the doors. Surprise. The hotel is being renovated. First response was a feeling of displacement because things weren’t where they should be. We’ve been coming to this convention for years. There’s a sense that things should be the same as we left them. But there’s essentially no noise and the convention people have everything under control — as they always seem to do.

The only real problem is that all the nice seating areas for relaxing with friends between panels is gone and what few seating areas that remain are just not enough.

Thursday night, I was on a panel at 8 PM. after that, exhaustion won, and I turned in for the evening.

8:00 PM – The News and the Abstract Truth
Panelists: Adrienne Martini, Robert Killheffer, James Morrow, Gayle Surrette, and David G. Shaw (Leader)
Description: The controversies surrounding Mike Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs and John D’Agata and Jim Fingal’s The Lifespan of a Fact arose when art and truth collided. While fiction can play fast and loose with facts in order to tell a compelling story, monologues and essays are held to a higher standard. The authors of these books were surprised by audience reactions to the discovery that their “factual” accounts were fabrications; they claimed that their work was more “beautiful” or “lyrical” than the truth. But which are more important: true words, or beautiful words? Why do some writers think it necessary to take liberties with the truth in order to create great “nonfiction”?

My personal feeling is that nonfiction sets up a contract with the reader that what they are reading is fact and you should not then make up things and present them as fact. If you are going to use non-verifiable information then you need to present it as supposition or in some other way signal to the reader that this isn’t ‘fact’.

I’m not sure but I think most, if not all, of the panelists felt the same way. Talk did touch on how much fact checking fiction required and where it was okay to let imagination take over.

My feeling is that those facts that are stated should be checked and if they can be checked they should be accurate. However, those that are not ‘checkable’ (the number of planets in habitable range because so far science hasn’t checked it out or can’t yet check it out) are given a pass for the sake of the story.

I’d be interested in hearing the thoughts of my readers — leave a comment.

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Partially done Cobblestone Sweater for Paul
For a while, I was knitting a row or two of a sock and then putting it aside. Lots of starts and very few finished — well none of them finished actually — got the finishing of about 12 socks on my ToDo list now and trying not to get overwhelmed by the length of that list .

Then I got in the mood last year and did a seat-of-the-pants sort of proof of concept sweater just to wear around the house. Paul — who hates sweaters by the way — put it on one cold morning and loved it. Seems he really hates sweaters that are tight in the neck. He wore it to work and around the house and actually had it on 4-5 days a week. It was hard to get it back to wash. The problem was it wasn’t even a really good sweater — just navy blue left over yarn knit top down with no pattern and not really following the rules for increases and the sleeves were short.

So, I decided to make him a nice sweater. He picked out some really nice grey yarn (Red Heart’s Grey Heather). By nice I mean it will go into the washer and dryer and be tough since I’m expecting it to be worn as much as the navy blue one from last year.

Got the yarn home and tried to find the Cobblestone Sweater pattern by Jared Flood. I’d made this sweater a couple of years ago for my son. Couldn’t find the pattern which was in a past issue of Interweave Knits but couldn’t find the magazine. So, went to Flood’s website and bought a copy, downloaded the pattern, and started knitting.

In a week, I’d knit the entire lower body and then needed to start the sleeves. Several month’s later I was still on the first sleeve with 6 more pattern repeats to get to the part where you join for the top of the sweater. So, I started knitting when I watched streaming video of class lectures, news shows, etc. and finished the first sleeve in 1 1/2 weeks. I took this picture of the body, pattern, and sleeves two days ago — sorry for the blurriness. The second sleeve is now just 11 patter repeats from being done. Once this sleeve is finished I expect to be able to zoom through the top and finish it. I’ll report next week on how far I get from this point.

I should also note that I’ve made a change from the pattern. I continued a strip of garter stitch up the outside of the sleeves (10 stitches wide).
Next Thursday, I’ll post another photo of the Cobblestone Sweater status. It feels good to be back into knitting again.

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Cover of The Bad Miss Bennet
The Bad Miss Bennet: A Pride and Prejudice Novel by Jean Burnett. Pegasus (October 19, 2012). ISBN: 978-1605983721. Pages 272. Hardcover. List price $25.95. (Amazon: $20.10 / Kindle: $12.99).

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Bad Miss Bennet. I’ve read books where Lydia is redeemed to one degree or another but none where the author just doubled down on her behavior and attitudes.

In The Bad Miss Bennet by Jean Burnett, Lydia is a recent widow. Wickham was killed at Waterloo. She doesn’t really miss him as her love for him burned out years ago — but she hates wearing mourning colors, especially black. She resentful of having to live with Elizabeth and Darcy in the boring countryside. So, she makes arrangements to live in London with friends.

In London, her friends are deep in debt and help arrange card games in order to cheat and gain money to support their lifestyle. Lydia is very good at cheating at cards, having learned the fine art from Wickham. Eventually, there are repercussions and they need to find a new venue. Lydia eventually gets drawn in by a confidence trickster, finds a dead body in her quarters, and has many other other adventures — some quite upsetting (to the reader not necessarily to Lydia). Her life is one misfortune after another all blamed on others and nothing to do with her actions.

I had a difficult time reading this because I disliked the character of this instance of Lydia Bennet. She had no redeeming qualities. Even when she did something nice for someone it was in order to further her own plans. She’s given opportunities and chances to change her life but whether she couldn’t recognize the possibilities or chose to misinterpret them, she ignored them and continually reached for the new best thing. Mostly it all boiled down to being able to thumb her nose at her relatives (especially Darcy and his sister, boring Elizabth) and prove she’s better than they are — so there .

I would have liked a Lydia with more depth — one who learns from her mistakes or at least has an inkling that she made mistakes. Time after time she makes the same ones hoping for a different outcome. While time has past for her, she’s basically the same as the Lydia we met in Pride and Prejudice. Her character fixed as Austen wrote her.

Burnett has managed to set Lydia into an interesting time period and because of her character flaws examined some of the politics and social changes at that time in history. She also left the ending open for a sequel. The Bad Miss Bennet is true to the original character of Lydia, extrapolating to a what she would be like after years of Wickham’s influence. The writing will draw the reader in but you may not enjoy the characters or care that much about what happens to them. Lydia is the viewpoint character and all impressions of other people are colored by Lydia’s thoughts and beliefs.

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From Notting Hill with Love Actually
From Notting Hill with Love…Actually by Ali McNamara. Sourcebooks Landmark (October 1, 2012) ISBN: 978-1402269486. Trade Paperback ($14.99 / Amazon $10.19) Kindle eBook ($10.94).

With a title that mentioned two of my favorite movies, I could hardly resist the chance to read this book.

Scarlett O’Brien loves movies which happens to work well with her job. She and her father own a company that makes and repairs popcorn machines mostly used by movie theaters. Her fiance, David, and his family own a string of movie theaters. You’d think it was a match made in heaven except that neither her father or David like movies all that much. They were constantly at Scarlett to grow up and pay attention to her life because movies were pure fantasy. After a particularly stressful dinner with some of David’s clients, Scarlett wasn’t sure what she wanted to do about her upcoming wedding and even about David and her fathers attitude toward her movie addiction, as they called it.

Scarlett daydreamed about movies when life got boring and living with David it often got boring. She’d pretend she was in a movie: acting out scenes that now starred her, getting an award for best actress, writing a great screenplay, or meeting one of her favorite actors. Even her best friend, Maddie, thought she spent far too much time at the movies or dreaming about them. Maddie did feel that Scarlett needed a break from David so she called a friend who needed a house-sitter and set it up for Scarlett to live at their house on Notting Hill for a month. Scarlett thought she’d use the month to see just how many movie moments she could have and prove to David, Maddie, and her father that life could be like a movie.

That’s the set up and it’s actually fun as Scarlett meets some interesting and quirky characters as she moves into the house at Notting Hill beginning with Oscar who came around a corner and spilled orange juice on her when neither one was paying attention to where they were going. Through Oscar she met a number of other shop owners and residents of the area. Her next door neighbor, Sean, first met in the travel bookstore from the movie and didn’t make a very good first impression.

The book is filled with movie references — old and new. Life becomes anything but boring while house sitting as her new friends band together to help her gather movie moments. When they find out that her mother left her and her father when she was very, very young and she wants to find her everyone kicks into high gear to help her out — including Sean.

From Notting Hill with Love Actually is pure fun. Scarlett is a professional woman with a romantic bent trying to do the right thing for everyone around her often to her own detriment. She’s no more a dreamer than many people but her life has so much more opportunity for boredom that personally, I can’t blame her to escaping to her daydreams — who hasn’t in the midst of a boring staff meeting. She does have a tendency, as most romantic comedy heroines do, to jump to conclusions before getting the facts and this drives a lot of the plot.

There’s no lesson here; however, it is interesting to note that just as in life trying to force an event to happen the way you want often blows up in your face while the spontaneous events that are inline with your desires and hopes often go unnoticed or unappreciated. If every reader thought about their daily life and the spontaneous events and acts that give them joy — maybe just maybe they’d find that life is often like a movie — hopefully a romance not a drama.

As always, I look forward to comments and impression from those who have also read the book.

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Pride and Pyramids: Mr. Darcy in Eqypt
Pride and Pyramids: Mr. Darcy in Eqypt by Amanda Grange and Jacqueline Webb. Sourcebooks Landmark (July 1, 2012). ISBN: 978-1402265341. Trade Paperback ($14.99 /Amazon $10.99) Kindle eBook $10.09.

Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy have been married for fifteen years and have six children (Beth 13, William 12, John 11, Laurence 9, Jane 8, and Margaret 6). Laurence was the only boy who had not yet gone away to school and Elizabeth was already dreading the day when she’d have to send him to boarding school too.

The Darcys had planned to have a portrait of the family done and Mr. Paul Inkworthy has been hired to do the preliminary sketches, as the artist doing the finished work does not travel. Mr. Inkworthy was good at his job and also kind enough to offer Beth some helpful feedback on her drawings. He was also unobtrusive and undemanding but his preliminary sketches were excellent.

This was the era when the people of Britain and America were captivated by anything Egyptian. Edward Fitzwilliam, Col. Fitzwilliam’s youngest brother, had been enthralled by Egypt when, as a child, he’d heard the tales of his father’s adventures in Egypt with Darcy’s father and another man. They’d been treasure hunting and nearly died. It was believed that they’d found a tomb filled with treasure but had lost the map and no longer could find it. Edward was determined to go on the next expedition led by Sir Matthew Rosen, who currently had an exhibit at the British Museum. He’d come to visit the Darcy’s hoping they’d support him in his efforts with his family.

Darcy realized that Edward would go no matter what they said. He also realized that Elizabeth was captivated by the idea of going to Egypt and their children were at the right age for travel. They decided to join Edward. The family visit to the museum and the enthusiasm of the children would have persuaded them if they weren’t already leaning in that direction anyway.

Meanwhile, Margaret had taken to a small wooden doll of an Egyptian woman that Edward had brought to the house when he’d come for Darcy’s assistance. Margaret said the doll’s name was Aahotep, she was sad, and that made her mean to other people. This is when I believed that this was going to be one of those paranormal-leaning books. Margaret’s doll and the way she kept it with her and spoke for it and to it reminded me of several books I’d read where a character got possessed by a doll and did things they shouldn’t. Since Margaret was so young, this bothered me, but while this particular thread of the story gave me the willies it was not as dark as you might think and the author’s took it in a genuinely different direction than you’d expect.

Needless to say, traveling with children, servants, tutors, governesses, and all their luggage and household items required a lot of consultations with others of their class who had traveled to Egypt. They also asked Mr. Inkworthy to join them to sketch the family as they traveled so as to have a series of pictures to remind them what the trip was like when they returned home.

Organizing such a trip was of like planning a small war, including renting a ship for their own use, and making sure that all the connections could be made all along the way. They also needed to hire a local guide to aid them when they arrived in Egypt. And there was the necessity to notify family that they were leaving. Mrs. Bennet being their biggest worry. She insisted on seeing them off at the port, an event that caused a huge change in their plans.

Naturally, since Mrs. Bennet knew about the trip, Lydia also knew. Thus Wickham hatches a plan that he believes will allow him to get even with Darcy. Lydia, of course, is as obtuse as usual, but a bit wiser to the plotting of her husband. But as you’d guess she’s up for an adventure.

All of these subplots come together in Egypt for an exciting adventure that carries real danger for all the Darcys. The dig and the camp reminded me a lot of Elizabeth Peters’ books featuring Amelia Peabody on archeological digs in Egypt.

I enjoyed reading Pride and Pyramids. It takes Elizabeth and Darcy out of the familiar and yet keeps them in their time period and consistent with having had years to get to know and understand each other. They are parents and concerned for their family and their future. But still playful with each other and in love.

Fans of Austen’s characters will enjoy this follow-on and the growth of Elizabeth and Darcy. Their core character remains and the story grows out of who they are and where they stand in society.

Get it and enjoy. I’d love to hear from those who have already read the book.

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