Archive for the ‘Giveaway’ Category

As usual, I used random.org to select one winner from the 35 comments that were left on the post.

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-09-16 11:24:51 UTC

Shonda is the lucky winner of the paperback of Matrimony, personally inscribed by the author, book-group-friendly Joshua Henkin.  Joshua, thanks for your generosity!  Shonda, please send me your mailing address so I can pass it along.

Not a winner?  Go out and buy the book; you’ll enjoy it!

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  • House & Home by Kathleen McCleary
  • Publisher: Voice (July 1, 2008 )
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401340735
  • In creating Ellen Flanagan, the protagonist in House & Home, author Kathleen McCleary introduces readers to a woman that you’ll want to sit down and read more about.  Ellen is a creative hard-working woman who puts a bit (sometimes more than a bit!) of herself into everything she does – she loves her children fiercely, is a loyal friend, adorns her successful coffee-shop-turned-home-accessories-shop, Coffee@home, with personal touches, shows her sense of style in the casual yet chic clothes she wears, and until their mounting financial problems came to a head, loved her fun-loving happy-go-lucky husband, Sam, with all her heart.  Above all else, Ellen immerses her personality, and her very soul, into her house.

    The first paragraph of this gripping emotional novel sets the scene:

    The house was yellow, a clapboard Cape Cod with a white picket fence and a big bay window on one side, and Ellen loved it with all her heart.  She loved the way the wind from the Gorge stirred the trees to constant motion outside the windows, the cozy arc of the dormers in the girls’ bedrooms, the cherry mantel with the cleanly carved dentil molding over the fireplace in the living room.  She had conceived children in that house, suffered a miscarriage in that house, brought her babies home there, argued with her husband there, made love, rejoiced, despaired, sipped tea, and gossiped and sobbed and counseled and blessed her friends there, walked the halls with sick children there, and scrubbed the worn brick of the kitchen floor there at least a thousand times on her hands and knees.  And it was because of all this history with the house, all the parts of her life unfolding there day after day for so many years, that Ellen decided to burn it down.

    Having reached the end of her patience with her husband Sam and his hare-brained unsuccessful inventions, and their subsequent spiral into financial straits, Ellen decides that she and Sam would be better off living separately.  Unable to afford the mortgage on their home of ten years, Ellen and Sam put the house on the market and it soon sold to a young couple who have big plans for renovating and updating the little yellow Cape.

    What follows is an emotional journey for Ellen as she sorts out what is really important to her.  She learns the importance of friends, the strength of family, and the important distinction between “house” and “home.”

    McCleary’s writing style is inviting – she draws the reader in with details that give authenticity to the characters and settings.  Describing Ellen’s days at the coffee shop, McCleary notes “the grateful way peopled cradled their cups against their palms.”  The Flanagan’s basement is decorated with drawings of turtles created by daughters Sara and a friend for their “turtle club.”  Mentions of the local stores, parks and sports teams will connect with those familiar with Portland and its suburbs; she talks of the home buyers’ desire to “trade up” from Beaverton to Portland.  The characters are three-dimensional; although Ellen is the one we know the deepest, we also learn what motivates her husband Sam, the buyers Jordan and Jeffrey, and more peripheral characters such as neighbor Joanna and co-worker Cloud.

    I enjoyed House & Home, and felt the depth and breadth of Ellen’s emotions as she struggled to let go of her connection to the physical house while sorting out the personal history attached to it.  I highly recommend this engaging and well-executed debut novel.

    Kathleen McCleary is a reporter and writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and Health.  Visit her official website for more information about the author and her writing.  The site has a spot where readers are invited to submit their story about a home they’ve loved (I think this is a great exercise; I’m still recovering from an out-of-state move over a year ago!) This video features the opening paragraph (above), as well as a short conversation with Kathleen, in which she says “… it is the emotional truth in the book that people respond to … the sense of wanting to make a home that feels like home … a universal feeling.”  I agree; that is what makes House & Home universally appealing, as well.

    Many thanks to TLC Book Tours for asking my to review this book, and to Voice publishers for providing the review copy.

    In conjunction with this review and Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I’m offering a House & Home prize package to one lucky reader.  The gift pack includes:

    • A hardcover of House & Home
    • Yankee Candle “Home Sweet Home” votive candle
    • Lead crystal candle holder
    • “What makes a house a home” gift plaque
    • Magnetic memo pad to list your “things to do around the house”
    • “Home Sweet Home” embellishment set for scrapbookers and card-makers
    • Home card (includes envelope for mailing, or suitable for framing)

    To enter, simply leave a comment below, completing this sentence:

    Home is …

    Entries will be accepted through midnight on September 19, the last day of BBAW.  Winning name (random drawing) will be announced on Saturday.

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    The final countdown is on!  In just two days, Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) will start!  That’s right – Monday thru Friday will find all kinds of extra fun stuff all over the book blogging world … you thought it was great before, just wait until you see what My Friend Amy, the brain behind this big event, has in store for you, here’s the official BBAW Giveaway List:

    Daily Raffles:
    Monday–Books and Chocolate sponsored by My Friend Amy and Hey Lady! Whatcha’ Readin?
    Tuesday–Books and Going Green sponsored by My Friend Amy
    Wednesday–Books and Coffee sponsored by My Friend Amy
    Thursday–Books and Charity sponsored by My Friend Amy and Fashionista Piranha
    Friday–Books and Movies sponsored by My Friend Amy

    Win a Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit!
    Do you find it’s your turn to host book club and not only do you not know what to serve but you don’t know what books to offer up for the next month’s selection?! Let Book Club Girl come to your rescue with the Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit.

    One lucky winner of the kit will receive:

    * A basket of cheese, crackers, cookies and wine for up to 12 people
    * 5 great book group books to vote on for your group’s next pick. And Book Club Girl will then donate 12 copies whichever book is chosen for your entire group to read.
    * 12 Book Club Girl mousepads to give out as party favors that night
    * 12 Book Club Girl bookmarks to mark everyone’s favorite passages
    * 12 Book Club Girl coasters to protect your coffee table from all those wine glasses!

    TWO SORMAG Goody Bags containing books and more!

    A Special Pamper Me Basket from Cafe of Dreams!
    From Avon Foot Works
    ~ Inflatable watermelon shaped foot tub
    ~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Cooling Foot Lotion
    ~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Exfoliating Foot Scrub
    ~ 12 count Watermelon Effervescent Foot Tablets
    ~ An ARC of So Long At The Fair by Christina Schwarz
    ~ A variety of Hot Chocolate and Tea mixes

    A pre-made blog template from SNSDesign!

    A Subscription to Poetry Magazine from Savvy Verse and Wit!

    Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors
    The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen
    The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax
    John’s Quest by Cecelia Dowdy
    Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy
    Acedia & Me by Kathleen Norris
    The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
    The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
    The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer
    Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley
    A Tale Out of Luck by Willie Nelson with Mike Blakely
    The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
    When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
    An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
    Exit Music by Ian Rankin
    The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik
    Gunmetal Black by Daniel Serrano
    Isolation by Travis Thrasher
    The Miracle Girls by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
    Every Freaking! Day With Rachell Ray by Elizabeth Hilts
    Dewey by Vicki Myron
    The Shiniest Jewel by Marian Henley
    Keep the Faith by Faith Evans
    The Book of Calamities by Peter Trachtenberg
    A is for Atticus by Lorilee Craker
    After the Fire by Robin Gaby Fisher
    Mike’s Election Guide by Michael Moore
    War as They Knew It by Michael Rosenberg
    Fixing Hell By Col. (ret.) Larry C. James
    Wild Boy: My Life with Duran Duran by Andy Taylor
    The Last Under-Cover: The True Story of an FBI Agent’s Dangerous Dance with Evil By Bob Hamer
    Border Lass by Amanda Scott
    Insatiable Desire by Rita Heron
    Hungry for More by Diana Holquist
    Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
    Trespassers Will Be Baptized by Elizabeth Emerson Hancock
    He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Trish Ryan
    Never Surrender by General Jerry Boykin
    Dream in Color by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, Congresswoman Loretta Sánchez
    Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton
    Cobain Unseen by Charles R. Cross
    Doing Business in 21st Century India by Gunjan Bagla
    Branding Only Works on Cattle by Jonathan Salem Baskin
    Launching a Leadership Revolution by Chris Brady, Orrin Woodward
    How to Hear from God by Joyce Meyer
    Knowing Right from Wrong by Thomas D. Williams
    Pope John Paul II: An Intimate Life by Caroline Pigozzi
    Pure by Rebecca St. James
    He Loves Me! by Wayne Jacobson
    So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobson and Dave Coleman
    Move On, Move Up by Paula White
    The Rosary by Gary Jansen
    Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts
    The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
    Right Livelihoods by Rick Moody
    by George by Wesley Stace
    The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
    Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
    Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh
    Dead Boys by Richard Lange
    The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters by Lorraine Lopez
    Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn
    Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky
    With Endless Sight by Allison Pittman
    Harlequin Titles: To Be Announced

    Many other blogs are giving away books and prizes for BBAW as well! You can see the links to all of these giveaways here.

    So, set your alarms for Monday morning, brew a big pot of coffee, fire up that laptop, and let the games begin!

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    I’m so pleased that Joshua Henkin has offered to co-host a giveaway of his novel MatrimonyI reviewed this mid-August, just before the release of the paperback.  One of the things I  really like about Matrimony is that Henkin shows the significance of the “everyday” parts of a marriage, as well as the “extraordinary.”

    Has your book group read Matrimony and is ready to discuss it?  Read what Henkin has to say about books group in this guest post over at Books on the Brain – he loves talking to discussion groups and may be able to schedule a virtual visit – all you need is a speakerphone!  This is a great novel for book groups to talk about; there’s a reading group guide available, to get you started.

    Some of us like the nice display a hardcover makes on a bookcase; some of us realize that we can get more “bang for the buck” if we wait for the paperback … now’s your chance!  You can buy this New York Times Notable Book in paperback, or leave a Comment on this post for a chance to win; winner will be drawn randomly, and announced on September 16 (and if you don’t win, you can head to the bookstore then!).  Joshua Henkin will personally inscribe the book in your name and pop it in the mail; as my six-year-old would say: how cool is that?!

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    Warning – the following is a run-on stream-of-consciousness about my day and the goodness of book bloggers!

    Let’s start, as they say, at the beginning.  The beginning in this case, is about a year ago, when I decided to train for a sprint triathlon to be held this year on Mother’s Day.  A friend said in an off-the-cuff manner, “you can’t do that”, which I took as a challenge … ordered a couple books on training for a triathlon, enrolled in adult swim lessons, and started hiking around town on my bike with LM3 in tow in the trailer.  In fact, the first book review on my blog is for a wonderful book called Slow Fat Triathlete, which was a huge influence and encouragement to me (note:  I am not slow or fat, but I am a 43-year-old mother of four who had never before done anything remotely athletic, I like to say that before training I had never voluntarily perspired in public 🙂   I could use all the inspiration and motivation that I could get!)

    Fast forward to May 11, 2008, Mother’s Day.  Four friends from back in Connecticut joined me, as well as a new local friend.  It was a great experience!  The word “triathlon” can sound impressive; let me emphasize that this was a sprint distance – 250 yard swim, 12 mile bike and 3 mile run.  Not the Ironman, but still a good deal to put together.





    High on the success of the Mother’s Day race (Triathlon by the Sea in Marblehead, Mass.), I registered for another sprint to be held at Hopkinton State Park on September 7.  This is where the STORM CLOUD comes in … mid-June I fell and sprained my knee (and big toe, isn’t that pathetic!).  I still haven’t completely recovered; can’t yet kick to swim, I’m walking not running, and the bike – no way!  I’ve known for over a month that this race wasn’t going to happen for me, but apparently I still hadn’t accepted it.  I was in a dark mood this morning, moping around feeling sorry for myself.  I was like Eloise‘s turtle, Skipperdee, when his ears aren’t braided!  Those who race understand this feeling; for those who don’t … I didn’t “get it” either, until my first running race back in February.

    Now on to the SUNSHINE … I got an email this afternoon from Tina at Bookshipper.  She let me know that I won a box of books in the Back to School Hachette Giveaway she was co-hosting!  Ten beautiful brand-new books are heading my way.  Who wouldn’t smile at this news?!?  I actually shouted, “Ooh Hoo!  I won” (image Homer Simpson) when I read the e-mail, which had the effect of five extra pair of feet making their way to the kitchen to see what I had won!  One of the books is Vicky Myron’s Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World; this has been on my wish list!

    RAINBOW time:  Spurred on by this great news, I hopped in the car and drove to Hopkinton to pick up my race packet.  Yes, 30 miles each way.  Don’t talk to me about the price of gas … I’ve already paid $130 to register for USAT and the race, what’s another $10 for gas?!  Even though I won’t be racing tomorrow, I was able to see the site and scout it out for next year (thinking positively that I’ll be back in 2009!), I cleared my mind during the long drive, I’ve got the pity party behind me, and I’ll be able to cheer on my friend Ori.  And since I picked up the packet, I can wear my race t-shirt and clang the cowbell!  The race is a benefit for Rosie’s Place a volunteer only sanctuary for poor and homeless women in the Boston area.

    And at the end of the rainbow … probably some books for readers of She Is Too Fond of Books.  That box of ten books from the Hachette giveaway may contain a book or two that I won’t get to right away, if it’s not in my immediate area of interest; I’ll be able to share the bounty with you!  Thank you, Tina and Hachette!

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    The following guest post is written by Laurie Viera Rigler, author of the wonderful novel Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.  Laurie will be sending books to the two randomly-chosen winning entries (see the quesion and all the creative and thoughtful answers here).  Be sure to visit Laurie’s website and blog, the aptly named “Jane Austen Addict.”
    Thanks, Dawn, for putting together such a fun giveaway! I’ve had so much fun reading everyone’s comments. Living in Jane Austen’s world–would it be a dream come true, a case of be careful what you wish for, or maybe a little of both? This is something I pondered quite a lot while writing Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. And it’s still very much on my mind as I write the sequel/parallel story, which focuses on Jane, the 19th-century woman who is taking over Courtney’s 21st-century Los Angeles life. Talk about culture shock!
    For me, there are many things about the world of my favorite author that sound appealing. Like wearing a beautiful, Regency-era gown while dancing in the Assembly Rooms in Bath. Picnicking on Box Hill. Watching Sarah Siddons perform in Covent Garden. Driving my little phaeton. The peacefulness of the country. The quiet of life without the mental noise of our overly wired world.  I would, however, find it challenging to accept the social and economic restrictions placed upon women. I would mind that more than doing without all the little conveniences of modern life, like hot showers, cellphones, and really good moisturizer. Still, if I could be mistress of Pemberley or Donwell Abbey or some other great estate equipped with an Austenian hero, I would, as Elizabeth Bennet said to Lady Catherine, “have such extraordinary sources of happiness necessarily attached to [my] situation, that [I] could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine.”  
    Congratulations to the winners–may you have a pleasant journey to 1813 England!
    All my best,

    And thanks to you, Laurie, for generously hosting this giveaway!  I’ve also enjoyed reading all the ideas (and felt more than a little superficial that I had stated my biggest challenge would be not knowing how to conduct myself at a Regency Ball!)  Now, the winners of the books are …

    Random Integer Generator

    Here are your random numbers:

    33 35

    Timestamp: 2008-09-06 12:44:42 UTC

    Marissa and Wendi B.,  Congratulations!  Please contact me with your mailing address; I’ll forward them to Laurie who will personally inscribed the books to you and pop them in the mail.






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    Who’s ready to show three sides to her personality – the pretty one, the smart one, and the wild one?!?  This little gift package is based on the characters in Ellen Meister’s The Smart One (reviewed here).  It was interesting to read what you all had to say about birth order personalities and the childhood sterotypes we (sometimes) bring with us into adulthood. 

    According to random.com, the prize goes to …

    Random Integer Generator

    Here are your random numbers:


    Timestamp: 2008-09-05 10:44:16 UTC

     … NICOLE!  Congratulations, Nicole; your gift will be mailed in the next few days.

    Not a winner?  There’s one day left to enter my giveaway for the novel Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict; good luck!

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    Many thanks to Karen Harrington at Scobberlotch (and author of Janeology!).  Karen recently posted a review and giveaway of the book Whale Song, here’s an excerpt:

    Whale Song by Cheryl Kaye Tardif begins as a coming of age story told through the eyes of Sarah Richardson, a kind spirited young girl whose father is a biology professor who also studies killer whales.

    After the family uproots from Montana and moves to Vancouver Island, Sarah learns a great deal more about the voices of whales from her father; and also from the myths and beliefs of the Native Americans who embrace her like family. I won’t give away the two-hanky plot (which asks ethical questions about euthanasia and love) but I will say that these connections and beliefs help Sarah as she is forced to make that universal shift from idealistic adolescent to knowing young woman.

    A “two-hanky plot”?  That got my attention; there’s nothing like a good end-of-summer cry inspired by a great book!  Click over here to read our winning entry to the giveaway, and to browse Karen’s blog. 

    An added bonus for me, Cheryl Kaye Tardif is a LibraryThing Author; so, after I’ve read and reviewed her book I’ll be one more along in my LT Author Challenge!  Thanks, Karen!  My older kids and I are looking forward to reading Whale Song!

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  • The Smart One by Ellen Meister
  • Publisher: Avon A (August 5, 2008 )
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0061129623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061129629
  • Have you ever read a contemporary novel and so connected with one of the characters that you could imagine him/her as a friend?  That’s the way I feel about Bev, the main character in Ellen Meister’s The Smart One.  Bev is the middle of three sisters – the Smart One, eldest is Clare – the Pretty One, youngest is Joey – the Wild One.

    Meister writes in Bev’s voice; we read all the self-deprecating and self-doubting asides that are in Bev’s head, as well as share her outward joys and struggles.  She is smart, cynical and ironic – just the kind of girlfriend I’d like to have over for a cup of coffee, to wit:

    I never really understood the whole sitting-on-the-lap thing.  To me, it was about as sexy as getting weighed, and made me nearly as self-conscious … the more I tried to get comfortable perched on [his] thighs, the more I realized how undignified I felt.  It made me wonder if other women felt as I did.  Would Clare and Joey feel infantilized on a man’s lap?  Or would they throw their arms around his shoulders and snuggle into his neck?  I cursed the roll of the DNA dice that bestowed my sisters the flirting gene and not me.  Granted, I had gifts they lacked.  But what good was a talent for getting the fifty-point bonus in Scrabble when you were trying to score in a different way entirely?

    The novel opens as Bev returns to her parents’ Long Island home at a pivotal point in her life – she has divorced her cheating husband, decided to change careers to elementary eduction (after spending more than a decade in a series of entry-level jobs related vaguely to her graphic arts eduction), and is interested in relocating to Las Vegas in order to put as much distance as possible between herself and the shambles her life has become.  Clearly, her self-esteem is low.

    Bev’s parents have been visiting their next-door-neighbors, the Waxmans, at the Waxman’s “snowbird” residence, and have extended their trip to Florida due to her father’s broken ankle.  Bev is asked to assist with some maintenance issues at the Waxman’s home, as their son Kenny is unavailable, busy with his job as a comedy writer in Los Angeles.  In Kenny, Ellen Meister has created a character who is the perfect vehicle for the delivery of her best puns and wordplay.

    The novel centers around Bev and her sisters, but the extended cast of characters interact with the three women in a way that adds compassion, excitement and romance to the mix.  The discovery of a body stuffed inside an old industrial barrel is the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” in the long list of mysteries and conflicts to be sorted out.

    I have to confess that when I saw the bright “girly” cover and read the synopsis I thought, “oh, good, this will be a quick light read … I’ll dash off the review in no time!”.  Well, The Smart One turns out to be a deeper read with real/true personalities dealing with real/true situations.  Yes, there are light moments of over-the-top humor and some situations that seem less than realistic, but these lighter moments temper the tough decisions that Bev has to make as she finds her path to the next steps in her life – career, romance and family relationships.  Despite the cupcakes on the cover, this novel packs more “meat” than “sweet”, confronting such issues as infidelity, love versus lust, aging/ailing parents, the power of addiction, and the strength of the stereotypical roles we play in our own families.

    I was pleased to be invited to review this novel as part of the author tour on Blog Stop Book Tours; many thanks to Mary Lewis for introducing me to the work of Ellen Meister, a talented and clever writer!  I’m going to add her debut novel, Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, to my wish list.  If you’d like to learn more, visit the author’s website or check out other stops on the blog tour:   Mom Is Just A NicknameVirtual Wordsmith, Musings From The MittenThe Book Faery ReviewsMaw BooksFighting With WritingBook Room ReviewsPresenting Lenore and Anything That Pays… A Freelance Writer’s Blog.

    I promised a small surprise for one lucky reader – here it is!  I think that we have a bit of the pretty one, the smart one and the wild one in each of us.  I have a little gift package with a cosmetic bag (with mirror, perfect for corralling lipstick, a comb and hair ties in your handbag), a brain-teaser puzzle (should be a cinch for the smart one in you!), and some rub-on tattoos (that rebel phase isn’t permanent, is it?).  Just leave a comment about The Smart One (your take on sibling “labelling”, perhaps?); enter by midnight on Thursday September 4, I’ll announce the winner next Friday!

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    Earlier in the week I posted about time travel in books, and introduced it with a reference to the WABAC machine in Mr. Peabody’s Improbable History.  Several people commented that they enjoyed the reminder of innocent Saturday mornings spent watching cartoons; several others said that they weren’t familiar with Mr. Peabody and his friends.

    Whether you’d like a blast from the past, or you’re seeing the WABAC machine for the first time, you might enjoy this YouTube clip from the show itself.

    One of the time travel books I mentioned is Laurie Viera Rigler’s Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (my review).  This book really appealed to me, someone who doesn’t consider herself a fan of science fiction.  Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict focuses on the situation the protagonist is in (going to sleep in her studio apartment in present-day L.A. and waking up as part of the upper class in 1813 England), instead of the nuts and bolts of how she got there.  The result is a thoughtful novel about the main character, Courtney Stone, how she manages in her new surroundings, and what she learns about herself and the relationships she left back in Los Angeles.

    Author Laurie Viera Rigler has generously offered personally inscribed paperback copies of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict to two of my readers!

    How can you get in on the fun?!?  Simply leave a comment mentioning what you would find most appealing and most challenging about living in Jane Austen’s world.  Here’s my answer:  most appealing (assuming I landed, like Courtney, in a well-to-do family) would be not having to do the mundane household chores – cooking, cleaning and laundry – that take up a good part of my day now.  Most challenging would be carrying myself at a formal party or ball; with my two left feet I’d be an embarrassment to myself and my partner!

    Now it’s your turn!  Enter by midnight on Friday September 5; a random drawing will be held, and the winner announced on September 6.  I’ll look forward to reading your ideas!

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