Happy Birthday Jane!

Today, I am celebrating the 236th birthday of literary darling–the incomparable, Jane Austen!  In an effort to really party as befits a lady of her age and legendary reputation, I am participating in a Birthday Soiree, hosted by the lovely Maria Grazia of My Jane Austen Book Club and (also lovely) Katherine Cox at November’s Autumn.  I am joined by an awesome collection of Austen devotees (listed below).  And the really good part is that each of us will be giving away two gifts.  One…imaginatively…to Jane herself, and one to a lucky winner.  Be sure to visit all the participating blogs and read all the details regarding their giveaways for a chance to win.  So read on…and best of luck!  Enjoy a slice of cake today in honor of Jane.

My letter and gift to Jane Austen…

Dear Ms. Austen,

I feel as if I might call you Jane, and yet I can’t quite bring myself to do it.  It is your birthday once again, and so it is time, once again, to celebrate.  Two hundred and thirty-six is a pretty significant birthday and absolutely worthy of a truly stellar gift, representative of your literary contributions and your truly impressive cult following.  My personal experience has been that it gets a little bit more difficult to buy for people as they get older.  (Although, I do admit, I’ve never shopped for someone quite as long-in-the-tooth as you).  They’re involved in fewer activities; they don’t get around quite as much as they used to; and often they’re content to simply sit and watch the world around them.   Given your history as a young lady, I suspect you do quite a bit of the latter.  Too bad you aren’t writing too…

Did you ever imagine that the novels to which you dedicated so very much of your time (not to mention paper and ink and candle wax) would have so inspired the writing world two centuries after their completion?  The retellings, the spin-offs, the homages…hundreds of them…maybe thousands…all of them inspired by the novels you penned in your (let’s admit it, relatively short) life.  Amazing.  Astounding. Unbelievably impressive.  And it’s not simply novels you’ve inspired, but movies, theatrical productions, graphic novels…and like the superhero you are, you’ve inspired your own action figure!

I wish that you could see the way that you, and your characters, and their stories have inspired the world.  And maybe you can.  Maybe you are looking down upon all of us, smiling a secret smile, thrilled to death (poor choice of words…) at your success.  I hope so.  And while neither a Kindle, loaded with a collection of Austen Authors’ works, nor a DVD player, paired with a collection of Austen-inspired DVDs would make sense, I can give you the next best thing, and your imagination will do the rest.

I’ve always imagined that Elizabeth Bennet was, at least somewhat, an autobiographical creation.  Consequently, Darcy was either a figment of your (very gifted) imagination or inspired by someone of your acquaintance for whom you had perhaps developed a bit of a tendre.  So…I give you the widely accepted ‘Best Version of Fitzwilliam Darcy’ that our imaginations have conjured: Colin Firth.  Enjoy!















Happy Birthday, Jane!  I am thrilled to be celebrating the release of my Austen homage in the same year that Pride & Prejudice was sold to a publisher!

With my undying admiration,

To my lucky readers:  you were already able to share in Jane’s gift, but I’m offering something else in addition.  Up for grabs is a Jane Austen action figure, which promises hours of fun in arranging amusing vignettes, while also providing you a touch of literary class when not in use.  Doesn’t she look confident, intelligent, and just a touch playful?  I think so.  Definitely.

My giveaway is open internationally, and to enter, please leave a comment telling me what birthday dessert you would serve Ms. Austen, given the opportunity to invite her to tea.  The deadline for entries is December 23rd.

After you’ve entered, don’t forget to continue on to the rest of the Soiree participants for lots more Austen-love!  Thanks for stopping by…I hope I’ll see you again!


Posted in Jane Austen on 12/16/2011 12:10 am


  1. I have a Jane Austen Action figure and she is my office mascot. She’s awesome!!!!

    Happy Birthday Jane!

  2. Happy Birthday Jane! Enjoyed your letter!


  3. Since Jane’s birthday comes in December, I would follow Norwegian tradition and serve a large variety of cookies with her birthday tea. There would be krumkaka, sandbakkels, Berliner Kranser, ginger cookies, and fattimand. Since seven cookies are traditional, I would add a chocolate cookie and some sugar cookies made in Christmas shapes.

    I would be very happy to own a Jane action figure. She would live in my library.

  4. Oh my God, that is the most fantastic doll/action figure I have ever seen! What better inspiration for a writer?? I love it!

    I think I would serve something decadent since it’s so close to Christmas. I would serve a dense chocolate cake with a rich frosting. And of course, hot tea with milk.


  5. What a wonderful letter to Miss Austen and wish for her birthday you gave her! That dashing Colin Firth is the perfect Darcy, I’m with you on that one. It would be so fantastic if we could have a fantasy visit with her… In which case, for our birthday tea (that is your and my tea with Jane) I would serve Earl Grey tea steeped in a Spode bone china teapot with what any self-respecting English lady would: tea sandwiches and assorted sweets~
    Fresh cucumber sandwiches on thickly buttered bread, warm mini-scones with clotted cream and mixed-berry jam, and petit fours frosted in pastel colors (pink, blue, mint green) with ribbons of pink over white lace tops.
    Ladies love to nibble on sugared almonds, as well… :]

  6. Sophia Rose

    Happy Birthday Jane! Hope you are not lying in a puddle after viewing Alyssa’s Darcy pictures for you.
    Come to tea and I’ll make layered Chocolate Eclair cake.

    Alyssa, thank you for the cool giveaway opportunity. I love such a creative prize.


  7. Love the action figure!!!

    I would serve a dessert that has nothing to do with Christmas. Having a birthday so close to a major holiday can cause it to get absorbed into the frenzy and lose some it the individual importance. I’d serve Jane a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and maybe for something extra sweet, a bubbly glass of a good moscato to go with tea and dessert.

  8. I love peanutbutter cookies with kisses on top. I hope dear Jane would kiss me with knowledge of many bits of info to fill in her bio.

  9. Lol, “love to make…”

  10. Alyssa, you chose a great gift for Miss Austen!
    I love lemon meringue pie, but I would like her to try an Italian dessert for her birthday: tiramisù.

  11. What a nice tribute to Austen, and the action figure is too adorable. No need to enter me; just enjoyed reading!

  12. I LOVE the action figure! so amazing, I can already see all the fun places I could take pictures with her! Since its her birthday and every woman loves chocolate I would serve her chocolate covered strawberries with tea. It is the perfect dessert. What is more perfect than enjoying them with friends, having a good time or while diving into an amazing novel (preferably one written by Ms.Austen herself)?

  13. I showed my action figure to a group earlier in the week. They couldn’t believe the number of Austen items available.

  14. Happy Birthday, Dearest Jane!

    And Alyssa, thanks for the swoon worthy pictures. Fitzwilliam Darcy/Colin Firth . . . *happy sigh*. . . .

  15. I think I would serve her some warm peach cobbler. Something sweet but not overly sweet and a good contrast in textures. Plus it’s my favorite!

  16. I had NO idea that they had Jane Austen Action figures, now I need one! Hmm…what birthday dessert would I serve Jane, Banana Cake. I have a fabulous recipe that features a cream cheese icing! Yumm-O

  17. Lisa Wagner

    Happy Jane’s Birthday!

    I would serve Jane gelato. My book club had gelato one night and we were all literally moaning with pleasure. I’d bring several kinds so she could have a variety and choose her favorite. Plus I wouldn’t have to actually cook it! LOL

    I would LOVE to be chosen to win the action figure.

  18. Andrea Staten

    Look at all the Colin Firth! *sigh* Oh…anyways!
    Happy Birthday, Jane!

    I would give Jane whatever desert she liked the best. Hopefully that would be chocolate!

  19. Patricia Finnegan

    This was an enjoyable blog! :)

    Happy Birthday dearest Jane!

  20. Sharing a Jane “Doll” is wonderful! Please include me in your drawing. Our fourteen year old is becoming a Jane Austen fan, and this is something we could share. Thank you!

  21. I think I would give her a lemon cake xD

  22. Happy Birthday Jane! Alyssa gave you a great present in the form of those Colin Firth pics! I would probably make Jane some sort of cheesecake, probably cherry or pumpkin, because that is my favorite.

    That action figure is so cool! :)

  23. Lovely letter, Alyssa. I know Jane will be touched.

    Nice photos too! I shan’t dispute the appeal of Mr. Firth, however I lean in another direction for the “best” Mr. Darcy (as you undoubtedly know) – Still, that bubble bath looks inviting 😉

  24. I love this action figure!! Happy Birthday, dear Jane!
    Lia Freitas

  25. I think I would like to make her French Silk pie, with lots of whipped cream and chocolate chips on top.

  26. Happy Birthday Jane!!!!!!!

  27. Wow, a Jane Austen action figure. Barbie had better watch out. Thanks so much for your letter. This is such fun.

  28. Happy Birthday Jane! I would give her ice-cream cake which has been the tradition in my family on birthdays and celebrations since I was a child. We even had ice-cream cake at my wedding!

  29. Oh my a Jane Austen action figure, that is awesome. As far as dessert I would either take her to the most sinful dessert bar there was and let her run wild. Or if I had to keep it to one I would offer Jane a cupcake cause I think she would like its sensibilities.

    Who knew math + Jane Austen would bring such happiness.

  30. Love! how brilliant to even equip her with a writing desk

  31. That Jane Austen action figure is waaaay cool. It is the one action figure I would be proud to have in my cubby at the office!

    Though personally, I cannot stand them, I would serve Jane Austen a mince pie at her birthday tea. It is appropriate to the season, and from my research, it seems mince pies were quite popular with most people in the Regency. And, Jane herself mentions them in a number of her novels.



  32. Oooh, what dessert would I serve Jane. After thinking long and hard, I’ve decided a dark chocolate cheesecake with raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries on top. Yum! I’m loving the action figure! Thank you for participating in the celebration and… happy birthday Jane!

  33. My dessert for Jane would be something light. With Christmas coming, she will have her fill of rich foods. Perhaps a cherry cobbler.

  34. Alyssa Goodnight

    Such variety…from mince pies to ice cream cake! All excellent choices. Good luck to all my entrants!

  35. I would give her a scoop of perfect peach ice cream from one particular place on Long Island…

  36. Not sure what kind of dessert Jane would like. But I think made from scratch tiramisu would do nicely. And I would love to win this Jane action figure. So cute!

  37. What a great gift! As for dessert, I can’t help thinking that ice cream would be a fantastic, simple choice,–although perhaps not so great with tea!
    Great giveaway and post. :)

  38. LOVE those photos of Mr. Darcy, Alyssa (!!) and your letter was delightful!
    As for dessert, I am really quite in love with seven-layer bars this week, so I hoped she’d enjoy it, too ;).

  39. Happy Birthday Miss Austen and congratulations to all who celebrate it like a dear friend’s birthday. I’m not a very skilled chef but I would like to offer Miss Austen the first dessert I remember I learned to do. Banana and lemon Ice Cream served with a crepe and drizzled with condensed milk.

  40. Happy Birthday Miss Austen and congratulations to all who celebrate it like a dear friend’s birthday. I’m not a very skilled chef but I would like to offer Miss Austen the first dessert I remember I learned to do. Banana and lemon Ice Cream served with a crepe and drizzled with condensed milk.
    My e-mail address is tiernarebeldia@gmail.com

  41. Thanks for this treasure… I do hope I win because I could not find it for sale!!!!

  42. I would like to give her a laptop, so she could make her work easier or she could chat with us…:)…of course, batteries totally loaded!


  43. My dessert for Jane would be her own Mr. Darcy, of course.

    Lovely letter, Alyssa!

    I, too, have that action figure in my writing office as my mascot.

  44. I would give her a cheesecake decorated with fruits such as berries , some pectin glazed on top like a french pastries .
    Also served with biscuits , cookies , and Earl Grey tea .

    tumblemumbo at gmail.com

  45. Thanks for joining, Alyssa. It’s been a great celebration, hasn’t it?
    My gifts for Jane are on my blog, her own wonderful words spoken by her best men.
    By the way, I’d love to add that lovely action figure to my Austen shelf.
    May I be entered in your giveaway? **blushes**

  46. Ooh, I think I’d have to make her my famous key lime cheesecake with the Oreo crust – it’s sweet, airy, and spirited yet still substantial, much like her books. And it goes beautifully with Earl Grey.

  47. Lovely post! I would serve Ms Austen my grandmother’s gooey cake. It is absolutely delicious and I believe it would go perfectly with tea! Happy Birthday dear Jane!! Thanks for the giveaway!

  48. Enjoyable read!


    felicialso @gmail .com

  49. I would take Jane with me on my trip to London next semester. Wouldnt she look great in photos of landmarks

  50. Cinta García (@Austenite78)

    Happy Birthday, Jane!!!

    I would bake for her my double chocolate muffins, and I would serve them to her with whipped cream and some sprinkles of freshly grounded ginger. MMM delicious if you accompany them with a lovely cup of green tea.

    Thanks for this giveaway. I have been longing for a long time to get the action figure, but it is difficult to find it here in Spain (impossible, I dare say), and I checked online but it was out of stock :(

    I loved your letter, Jane would have been delighted. And, oh my, those pics….. mouth-watering indeed!!! 😀

  51. Happy birthday, Jane! I would gift her with a computer so she could write us hundreds of more lovely stories :-)

  52. Mary Preston

    I would serve her PORT WINE TRIFLE: robust & yet delicate in it’s flavors.


  53. Thank you so much for participating in the Soiree, Alyssa! :)

    I would probably bring these delicious and fresh vegan carrot cupcakes that they sell at my local grocery store– they have the most delicious frosting!

    No need to enter me in the drawing. 😉

  54. stephanie carrico

    I celebrated on Friday with red velvet cupcakes, made for my sons Christmas party at school….but I was celebrating the great ladies day…sure she would have loved them..

  55. Melora Brock

    I wish I knew her better, but I guess I would want to give her a house of her own, so she wouldn’t have to be dependent on others.

    melorabrock {at} gmail {dot} com

  56. To my dear jane, invite her to take – and more in this Christmas-a good nougat, marzipan or a few polvorones typical of the area where I live, the imperial city and world heritage Toledo in Spain.
    ¡Merry Christmas!

  57. Denise Adorian

    Oh My!First of all I have to say ,what a yummy gift you gave her.None of our desserts could ever be as yummy as your gift.I would have to give her My auntie Jean’s most beloved ricotta two layer vanilla/chocolate cheese cake.The very best in the world.Thank you so much,the figurine is perfect for me I must say :)Denise’s Delights in her Coffeeberry Cottage

  58. Happy Happy Birthday Dear Jane! It’s so nice of us to all get together to celebrate! While I am not a baker…I think I would offer Jane one of the latest crazes…perhaps a cake pop? What would she make of that? Thanks for the lovely giveaway!

  59. I would try to give her a taste of the Southern US and serve her peach cobbler and pecan pie.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  60. Simone Karina

    I’d serve Ms. Austen with my aunt’s pineapple trifle. It’s delicious, goes amazing with tea and it’s a must have at all Christmas meetings we spent in family.


  61. IdentitySeeker

    There are so many different pastries and desserts I’d love for Ms. Austen to taste. The first would be macaroons, then I’d serve up some hot lemon curd-filled croissants, pancakes with maple syrup, custard danish, apple pie and strawberry tartss. *sigh* I’m hungry now!

    Happy birthday, Ms. Austen!


  62. Here I thought I was going to be different but alas, someone beat me to it…my dessert to serve Ms. Austen is Peach Cobbler! I too think she might enjoy a little taste of Southern Hospitality!

    Loved the post and especially your sharing the photos of the dashing Mr. Darcy/Colin Firth! I must agree, there is none better than his portrayal. He became Mr. Darcy.

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