What would it be like to see Elizabeth Bennet in 1930’s clothes? What if Emma Woodhouse was the daughter of a car dealership owner? What if Marianne Dashwood was seeking to become a movie star in the golden age of film? The Vintage Jane Austen series explores the world of Jane Austen, set in 1930’s America. Five authors took on Jane Austen’s five most popular novels and retold them set in the depression era, remaining faithful to the original plots. As an extra bonus to the series, there is a collection of short stories that were inspired by Jane Austen.Check out the tour schedule to learn more about the other books.
In my blog post today, I’ll be sharing an interview with author Kelsey Bryant as well as a review of her book.
About the Book
Suit and Suitability by Kelsey Bryant (Sense and Sensibility): Canton, Ohio, 1935. Ellen and Marion Dashiell’s world crumbles when their father is sent to prison. Forced to relocate to a small town, what is left of their family faces a new reality where survival overshadows dreams. Sensible Ellen, struggling to hold the family together, is parted from the man she’s just learning to love, while headstrong Marion fears she will never be the actress she aspires to be. When a dashing hero enters the scene, things only grow more complicated. But could a third man hold the key to the restoration and happiness of the Dashiell family?
- What is your writing process? Do you outline before you start?
Lengthy brainstorming happens before I write anything down. Then I make a rough outline, but I don’t stick to it rigidly; unplanned excursions on the itinerary are welcome as I write along. I’m definitely closer to a planner than a panster because even when I do add a new element after the story has started, I think long and hard before I let it in, and then I insert it to my outline so I can figure out how it fits into the rest of the unwritten story. I usually write my scenes in order; I can’t find the same inspiration if I jump around.
- How do you develop your characters? Do you use images found online, a Pinterest board, character sketches, or develop them as you write?
I mostly use character sketches and write down important life and personality details before I start writing. I add to the sketches as I go because inevitably I’ll discover more about the characters as they begin to live on the page. Sometimes I’ll find an image online to inspire their look; other times I’ll imagine them entirely or, on rare occasions, use someone I know for inspiration.
- What is your best advice for getting rid of writer’s block?
What works for me is to nurse my creativity. I read something that inspires my stalled work-in-progress; I look at pictures of the setting or do helpful research. If it’s really problematic, I’ll pour out my frustrations on a fresh computer document, seeking the answer to the question “What happens next?” The answer, or at least a glimmer of it, almost always appears and gives me an idea to develop further until I can finally write again.
- If you could share one piece of advice that you wish someone else had told you to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
“Discouragement comes with the calling. It’s an emotion that you’ll often feel, but learn to work through it instead of letting it drag you down. It’s no reflection on how well you write or how successful you are.” And then I would offer a hug or a smile and say, “You’re doing a wonderful thing by writing. Keep it up! It’s worth it!”
- What is your favorite genre?
Classics in particular, but more broadly, historical fiction. So many adventures happened in the past; I find it edifying to experience how our forebears overcame the challenges in their lives. Plus, I just am inexplicably enamored with history!
Pizza or Pasta?
I’ll have to go with pizza—crispy gluten-free crust topped with lots of veggies and cheese.
That’s a tough one! I think I’ll have to say Lord of the Rings, extended edition.
Favorite Bible verse?
Another toughie . . . one of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any virtue and if there is anything worthy of praise—dwell on these things.”
Coffee, tea, or water?
Water, but tea can be really enjoyable, too.
Favorite movie adaptation?
Can I pick three? The Princess Bride (which is better than the book), Wives and Daughters (which is as good as the book), and North and South (which is also as good as the book). The latter two are books by Elizabeth Gaskell, my favorite Victorian novelist. Oh, and I just remembered The Lord of the Rings is an adaptation, too, of one of my favorite novels, so . . . I’m sorry, but I just gave you four instead of one!
Thanks for having me, Faith!
Note: I procrastinated with starting this book and was unable to finish it in time. I did get 57% through the book, so I am writing my review based on that and the fact that I assume the last 43% will be as well written as the first 57%.
Title: Suit and Suitability
Written By: Kelsey Bryant
Genre: Historical Fiction
Recommended Ages: Any
Sense and Sensibility was one of the Jane Austen books I had the hardest time reading. I tried many times, but never could get into it. I finally watched the movie and that helped, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite. So when I had the chance to read Kelsey’s retelling of the story, I was slightly hesitant, but I also really wanted to read one of her books, so I took a chance. And I’m glad I did.
I love how all the characters have their good points as well as their bad. In the original, I think Elinor was a little bit too perfect, but in Kelsey’s, Ellen has just the right number of flaws.
The dialogue is witty, interesting, and keeps the book moving along well.
The plot deviates a little from the book Kelsey is retelling, but I like the deviations and am glad she did them. It makes the book a little more original than keeping the same exact plot set in a different time period.
Overall writing quality: 1/1
There are some great descriptions, historical facts, and no typos that I have noticed so far. Overall, the quality is great!
Once I finally started reading the book, I didn’t want to put it down. Of course, life necessitates a few breaks here and there.
Whether you are a Jane Austen fan or not, I highly recommend this book. It has a Jane Austen flavor, but with a Christian twist and set in the 1930s. If you are a Jane Austen fan, I think there is a really good chance you will like this book.
Visit these blogs during this week to find interviews, book reviews, and much more!
Review of Emmeline – Once Upon the Ordinary
Review of Bellevere House – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes
Series Spotlight – A Real Writer’s Life
Interview with Kelsey Bryant – Resting Life
Series Spotlight – Kelsey’s Notebook
Interview with Sarah Holman – J. Grace Pennington
Review of Emmeline – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes
Mini-Reviews and interview with Sarah Scheele – Deborah O’Carroll
Interview with Rebekah Jones – Livy Lynn Blog
Review Suit and Suitability – Resting Life
Interview with Kelsey Bryant – J. Grace Pennington
Review of Perception – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes
Review and Interview of Perception – Purely by Faith Reviews
Review of Second Impressions – The Page Dreamer
Series Spotlight – Finding the True Fairytale
Series Spotlight – God’s Peculiar Treasure
Review of Second Impressions and Suit and Suitability – Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Father
Interview with Rebekah Jones – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes
Series Spotlight – Christian Bookshelf Reviews
Review of Suit and Suitability – With a Joyful Noise
Series Spotlight – Liv K. Fisher
Review of Second Impressions- Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes
Review of Perception – She Hearts Fiction
Interview with Sarah Holman – Rebekah Ashleigh
Series Spotlight – Reveries Reviews
Review of Suit and Suitability – Faith Blum
Interview with Sarah Holman – Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes
Interview with Hannah Scheele – Peculiar on Purpose
Review of Bellevere House – Seasons of Humility