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Ten Weeks Of Guilty Pleasures

All you need is (Jane) Austen!

Sarah Hoyt


July 20, 2013 - 7:00 am

Week One: Relaxing with the Regency

These last two weeks I’ve been trying to get over something weird that I picked up at a con, complicated by an asthma attack caused by stress.

You know those things you do when you’re feeling out of it and you want to boost your mood?

My very favorite thing is going for a walk, which is actually good for me, but which is impossible when I’m not taking in enough oxygen, or when it’s way too cold out, or when there’s too much smoke in the air.

For those days there are “guilty pleasures.”  Particularly guilty pleasures that reduce my stress.  So over the next ten weeks, I’m going to take some time off every weekend to enjoy one of my favorite “guilty pleasures.”

My number one guilty pleasure is the 1995 A & E mini-series of Pride and Prejudice.


I can neither confirm nor deny an enjoyment of the pond scene!


First of all, Jane Austen has long been a favorite of mine, far before I found any of the dramatic representations of her work.  In fact my (not so) secret shame is that I used to write Jane Austen Fanfic at Derbyshire Writers’ Guild before I was published. In fact one of the stories started there, with my friend Sofie Skapski, has been edited and published as A Touch Of Night – pride, prejudice, dragons and werewolves… oh my.  (And that cover is slated to be replaced, because really, what we didn’t know about cover design back then could fill several specialty books.)


I promise to redo the cover as soon as I have an hour to call my own.

So why is Pride and Prejudice a guilty pleasure?

Because since 1995 I’ve watched it so many times that even my sons know the lines by heart (a facility that will stand them in good stead when they get married.)  Because, the story is almost too girly for words and, in a way, the classical Cinderella story: Elizabethan Bennet the second of five daughter of an impoverished country squire, endowed with little more than her wit finds herself pursued by Mr. Darcy, who has ten thousand pounds a year and is as good as a lord!

Before this particular version of Pride And Prejudice was released, I enjoyed the BBC 1980 version which I watched with my mother the year I got married.

The BBC Pride and Prejudice is quite acceptable – but it fails in comparison to the sparkling dialogue and movement of the A&E version.  And the actor playing Mr. Darcy has been blessed in our house with the cognomen R2DDarcy.


This is not the Darcy you’re looking for!

And, of course, no woman in possession of her full faculties approves of the movie version of Pride and Prejudice which bestowed on us an Elizabeth Bennet who would never need to tuck lace, (the manner of hiding a rather too ample bossom, which Jane Austen explicitly says Elizabeth used) and who walked barefoot in the mire, not to mention ending with the very Un-Austen line about everyone being fools in love. In fact, a group of us at Derbyshire Writers’ Guild declared an Austenite fatwah on anyone preferring the movie to one of the mini-series. A group of us will show up on your front lawn, carrying rock-hard muffins and bad tea! You’ve been warned.

The threat of being served extremely bad tea and hard muffins tens to subdue heretic Austenites.

The threat of being served extremely bad tea and hard muffins tens to subdue heretic Austenites.

For the full Pride and Prejudice guilty pleasure, I recommend the A & E mini-series, some fancy work to keep your hands occupied, and either your Austen-addicted best female friend or, if you should be so lucky (I am) your husband. Sit down. Turn on the TV and let your cares fly away as you immerse yourself in a timeless tale of love and misunderstanding which, like all good fairytales, ends happily ever after.

Sarah Hoyt lives in Colorado with her husband, two sons and too many cats. She has published Darkship Thieves and 16 other novels, and over 100 short stories. Writing non-fiction is a new, daunting endeavor. For more on Sarah and samples of her writing, look around at Sarah A. or check out her writing and life blog at According to

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I too am one of those Austen-loving husbands, and have been for years...and so I'm taking my wife to the UK this fall where I've rented a cottage next door to Jane's cottage in Chawton. Plan to spend our 45th anniversary visiting all those wonderful Austen spots.

My innocent pleasure consists of reading all the Austen novels every few years. When I get lazy I watch the BBC or A&E DVDs of Pride and Prejudice, but would never stoop to view the Keira Knightley version. Once was more than enough.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Look for the 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Laurence Olivier as Darcy!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Guilty pleasures indeed! I'm lucky enough to have an Austen-loving spouse and you've inspired me to schedule a view-in sometime soon.

You're doing a lot of work here on PJ lately, Ms. Hoyt ... I hope it boosts your indie business as well. I enjoyed your fantasy Shakespeare on audio book and your Darkship series. Best of luck to you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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