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#TuesdayBookBlog SPEAK CHUCKABOO, SLANG OF THE VICTORIAN AND STEAM ERAS (Author Tool Chest) by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene (@teagangeneviene) Rum ti tum with the chill off! Excellent! #authors

Hi all:

I bring you a non-fiction book by an author whose fiction has often been featured on my blog. You’ll love this one!

Speak Chuckaboo, Slang of the Victorian and Steam Eras (Author Tool Chest) by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Speak Chuckaboo, Slang of the Victorian and Steam Eras (Author Tool Chest) by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Back in the days of steam engines and mannerly people, a chuckaboo was one’s dear friend. This volume contains slang from the Victorian Era, as well as the Steam Era, which began before the reign of Queen Victoria, and continued into the early 1900s. It combines language from the Victorian, Edwardian, and Steam Eras because there was a great deal of overlap.
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This slang dictionary also contains a sprinkling of vocabulary words of those eras, which have fallen out of use, along with some history and trivia.
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While every effort was made to be as historically accurate as possible, this compilation is not meant to be a scholarly work. It is intended for fictional use and entertainment purposes.
Have fun speaking chuckaboo. You’re positively rum ti tum with the chill off! Simply hunky dory.

International link:

relinks.me/B0B9W38LDJ

Author Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

About the author:

Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene lives in a “high desert” town in the Southwest of the USA.

Teagan had always devoured fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. And she hasn’t stopped writing since.

Her work is colored by her experiences from living in the southern states and the desert southwest. Teagan most often writes in the fantasy genre, but she also writes cozy mysteries. Whether it’s a 1920s mystery, a steampunk adventure, or urban fantasy, her stories have a strong element of whimsy.

Founder of the Three Things method of storytelling, her blog “Teagan’s Books” contains serial stories written according to “things” from viewers. http://www.teagansbooks.com


Major influences include Agatha Christie, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, and Charlaine Harris.

See book trailer videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoM-z7_iH5t2_7aNpy3vG-Q?

https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM/

My review:

I discovered author Teagan Riordáin Geneviene through her blog quite a few years ago. I followed her three things stories (where she would write a serial, a chapter per week, following the suggestions left by readers), her three ingredients stories, and I discovered her longer works of fiction, which I recommend as well. She has a wonderful imagination, she can create characters and worlds that enchant, intrigue, and move readers, and she has a way of keeping the brain of the readers ticking and guiding their thoughts in unexpected directions.

Quite apart from her gift for fiction, the author has an evident love for research. When she sets her stories in a historical period (the Victorian era, the 1920s, the 1950s…), she peppers her narrative with details that bring it to life: songs of the period, inventions and discoveries of the era, styles of dress and fashion, makeup, colours, foods and drinks, recipes… You are immersed totally in the story and experience it through all your senses (yes, smells as well). I have learned about objects, historical characters, social mores and habits, transportation, and a wealth of information even about eras I thought I knew about, having read plenty of books and watched movies about the period. But you can trust Riordáin Geneviene to find some golden nugget of information you’d never heard about or the explanation for a particular saying that has always intrigued you.

One of the aspects of research I most appreciate in her stories is her use of words, expressions, turns of phrases, and jargon belonging to the location and historical age. Anybody who loves language is fascinated by how certain sayings and words came into being, and how and when became fashionable or dropped out of use. Any author who wants to write credible stories set in the past has to consider how the characters would have behaved and addressed each other. And that is why a dictionary of Slang, such as this one, is an invaluable asset and should be in any author’s tool chest.

The book is organised as a dictionary, with relevant entries for each letter, cross-references to other uses of similar words or expressions, and a short article containing relevant information about the period accompanying each new letter (related to a word beginning with that letter, of course). There are plenty of amusing expressions, notes on the dates when some of the expressions or words were first introduced, also some explanations as to why some of the most unusual terms came into being (I loved the entry about trousers. Oh, the Victorians and the legs!), and there is a sense of fancy and fun permeating the whole book.

I was surprised to discover that many expressions originating from the Victorian period were still in use (or at least I’d heard people using them, but that might be because I moved around a lot and met many people in different places and of all ages), at least in the UK. I was not surprised to discover that there were tonnes of words to refer to men and women’s genitals and to having sex (these are the Victorians we’re talking about, after all. Tell me what you don’t want to talk about openly, and I’ll tell you what you’re really thinking of). There were also many words for criminals and crimes of all sorts, prostitution, drinking, and drunkards, and a fair amount to refer, pretty humorously, to people of different social classes. There are also some true gems: words no longer in use that clearly and succinctly described feelings or thoughts that we don’t have a word for nowadays. (I love Excruciators: tight shoes, as I have suffered those more than once, and Gwenders: the numbness or tingling felt in the fingers when they’re cold.)This is a fun read, but also one that made me stop and think because language reflects so well the way people lived in that era.

The series Author Tool Chest also includes Speak Like a Flapper – Slang of the 1920s, and I hope the author will keep adding to it.

I recommend this book to all Writatives (‘one who loves or is inclined to write’) and all readers, especially those enamoured with language. It is Rum ti tum with the chill off (excellent)!

For those of you who enjoy a sample, the author shared the entries for the letter A of this book on her blog. You can check them out here.

Thanks to the author for another fun and witty book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to share with anybody who might be interested, to leave a comment, like, click, and especially, to keep safe and keep smiling. ♥

Categories
Book review Book reviews

#Bookreview The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen by Lindsay Ashford (@LindsayAshfordA). Faction and death in the Austen Family

Hi all:

I shared this review on Lit World Interviews a while back but not here and considering how entertaining the book is and what it is about, I was sure many of you would be interested if you hadn’t come across it yet.

The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen by Lindsay Ashford
The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen by Lindsay Ashford

The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen by Lindsay Ashford

Description:

When Jane Austen dies at the age of just 41, Anne, governess to her brother, Edward Austen, is devastated and begins to suspect that someone might have wanted her out of the way. Now, 20 years on, she hopes that medical science might have progressed sufficiently to assess the one piece of evidence she has – a tainted lock of Jane’s hair. Natural causes or murder? Even 20 years down the line, Anne is determined to get to the bottom of the mysterious death of the acclaimed Miss Austen. A compelling speculative fictional account of the circumstances surrounding Jane Austen’s mysterious death from established crime writer Lindsay Ashford, based on her own and relatives correspondence.

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Mysterious-Death-Miss-Jane-Austen/dp/1402282125/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mysterious-Death-Miss-Austen-ebook/dp/B007BTHCIQ/

Author Lindsay Jayne Ashford
Author Lindsay Jayne Ashford

About the author:

Raised in Wolverhampton, UK, Lindsay Jayne Ashford became the first woman to graduate from Queens’ College, Cambridge in its 550 year history. She gained a degree in Criminology and was employed as a reporter for the BBC before becoming a freelance journalist, writing for a number of national magazines and newspapers.
Lindsay began her career as a novelist with a contemporary crime series featuring forensic psychologist Megan Rhys. She moved into the historical genre with ‘The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen’, and her two most recent books, ‘The Color of Secrets’ and ‘The Woman on the Orient Express’ blend real events with fiction and are set in the first half of the twentieth century.
She has four children and divides her time between a house overlooking the sea on the west coast of Wales and a small farmhouse in Spain’s Sierra de Los Filabres. When she is not writing she is a volunteer with the charity Save the Children. She also enjoys kayaking and walking her dog – a Border Terrier called Milly.

Review:

Thanks to Honno Welsh Women’s Press for sending me a paperback copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I do like Jane Austen’s novels. Some more than others (Pride and Prejudice is my favourite at the moment, although there are some that I can’t even remember if and when I read them, so this could change), but I am not an expert on the subject or her number one fan. Still, when I was offered a copy of this book, I was intrigued. I had written a post about Jane Austen for my series of guest classical authors and it proved one of the most popular in my blog, and I remembered from checking her biography that she’d died quite young after a somewhat unclear illness. So a book exploring her death, and backed up with research into the archives at Chawton House, in other libraries, and also by a careful perusal of some of her best-known biographies was intriguing. (I’m also a doctor, but not in internal Medicine, and no Dr House either).

The book is narrated in the first person by Miss Anne Sharp, a governess who goes to work for one of Jane’s brothers, Edward, and his wife, Elizabeth, at Godmersham. Her personal circumstances are difficult, and not that different from those of Jane herself, a single woman, educated but of no independent means. In Miss Sharp’s case, she does not have a family to rely on and she considers herself lucky obtaining a position with a wealthy family, even if her standing is unclear (she is neither a servant to share the world of downstairs, nor a member of the family who can participate in all their social gatherings). She meets Jane when she visits and they are kindred spirits, well-read and less interested in fashion and finding a husband than in cultivating their minds and observing the world and the society around them. They soon become friends, and correspond and see each other often over the years, despite changes in circumstances, until Jane’s death.

The novel mixes well-researched data with some flights of fancy (the intricacies and complexities of the Austen’s family relationships are rendered much more interesting by suggestions of illicit affairs involving several family members, which then become one of the backbones of the hypothesis that Jane was poisoned with arsenic, providing a possible motivation). I’ve read reviews stating that if this novel had been published within 50 years of Jane’s death it could have been considered slander. This is probably true (I won’t go into detail, as I don’t want to give the plot away) but hardly the point. Yes, there are suppositions that would be virtually impossible to prove, but they help move the story along and serve to highlight the nature of the society of the time.

I liked the portrayal of Jane, indirect as it is and from the point of view of a fairly unreliable narrator. She is presented as a bright, humorous and fiercely intelligent woman, devout of her family but fully aware of their shortcomings. She is a keen observer of human nature and a good amateur psychologist, producing wonderful portraits of the people and the types they come across. There isn’t much detail about the process of getting her novels into publication, other than what the narrator conjectures, as she is no longer in the Austen’s circle at that point.

In the novel, Anne Sharp has feelings for Jane that go beyond friendship, but she never reveals them to Jane, and three is no suggestion that Jane reciprocates her feelings. One of the keys to the novel is the narrator. Although I thought the observational part of the novel was well achieved (I’m not an expert on the literature of the period, though, but I felt there was enough detail without getting to the point of overburdening the story), I was not so sure about how rounded Miss Sharp’s character was. She can be self-restrained one minute (in her relationship with Jane) and then throw all caution to the wind and risk her position with no solid basis for her accusations. And some of the theories she works with and then rejects felt a bit forced (yes, I had worked out who the guilty party was going to be well before she gets there). I didn’t dislike her but wasn’t fully convinced either.

I enjoyed the book. The story moves along at good pace and it made me want to read more about Jane Austen’s life, and, especially, revisit some of her novels. As a murder mystery of the period, it is perhaps closer to a cosy mystery than to a police procedural (for evident reasons), with the added beauty that the background and the period are well researched and fascinating in their own right. I would recommend it to readers in general, particularly to people who enjoy or are curious about Austen’s work, although I suspect that to real scholars of the subject it might appear too little and too fanciful. But if you want a good read, go for it.

Thanks to Honno Welsh Women’s Press and to the author, thanks to all of you for reading and remember to like, share, commend and CLICK! And to leave a review if you read any books!

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