Rational Creatures edited by: Christina Boyd

Rational Creatures edited by: Christina Boyd

Rational Creatures edited by: Christina BoydRational Creatures Buy the BookGoodreads

“But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” —Persuasion

Jane Austen: True romantic or rational creature? Her novels transport us back to the Regency, a time when well-mannered gentlemen and finely-bred ladies fell in love as they danced at balls and rode in carriages. Yet her heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and Elinor Dashwood, were no swooning, fainthearted damsels in distress. Austen’s novels have become timeless classics because of their biting wit, honest social commentary, and because she wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day. True to their principles and beliefs, they fought through hypocrisy and broke social boundaries to find their happily-ever-after.
 
In the third romance anthology of The Quill Collective series, sixteen celebrated Austenesque authors write the untold histories of Austen’s brave adventuresses, her shy maidens, her talkative spinsters, and her naughty matrons. Peek around the curtain and discover what made Lady Susan so wicked, Mary Crawford so capricious, and Hettie Bates so in need of Emma Woodhouse’s pity.
 
Rational Creatures is a collection of humorous, poignant, and engaging short stories set in Georgian England that complement and pay homage to Austen’s great works and great ladies who were, perhaps, the first feminists in an era that was not quite ready for feminism.
 
“Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will become good wives; —that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.” —Mary Wollstonecraft

 

Stories by: Elizabeth Adams * Nicole Clarkston * Karen M Cox * J. Marie Croft * Amy D’Orazio * Jenetta James * Jessie Lewis * KaraLynne Mackrory * Lona Manning * Christina Morland * Beau North * Sophia Rose * Anngela Schroeder * Joana Starnes * Caitlin Williams * Edited by Christina Boyd * Foreword by Devoney Looser

Thank you, Margie, for inviting me to your blog. It’s a pleasure to connect with your readers to share the launch of Rational Creatures! Today I am here to ponder a question I’ve wondered about for a long time myself;  whether or not Mrs Croft was a feminist.

I struggle with what many people associate with feminism.  I think so many times people erroneously describe feminism as wanting to make females the same as males – rather than distinguishing, celebrating and advocating the inherent unique traits females possess.  A feminist – either male or female – instead wishes to see the world give value to females as much as they do males; through equal rights, equal protection and equal consideration.

In this I would say that Mrs. Croft was a feminist.  She eschewed the established societal norms of her day to travel with her husband, make decisions on equal footing with her husband and to demand others give her equal consideration as a “rational creature.” But in all this she was supported by her feminist husband.  

Admiral Croft valued his wife as a partner, not a possession. From this I conclude further that as one of Jane Austen’s only examples of a happily married couple, she illustrated her belief that their unique relationship ought to be an ideal since it was certainly not the norm.

WHERE THE SKY TOUCHES THE SEA

KARALYNNE MACKRORY

Now my lips twitch with a smile despite my near miss, as we are not about an easy jaunt but on our way to dine with our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove. Again, the gig tilts evermore slightly as the wheel wedges itself quite securely deeper into the mud each time that George or I unsuccessfully try our luck with the reins. I give way to laughter when my husband coos words of encouragement to the matched pair. His eyes twinkle at me and, before long, we both give up and lean into each other with amusement.

            With a good-natured sigh, I look at my husband of fifteen years, rear-admiral of the white, and survey our predicament.

            “Well now we have gone and done it, haven’t we, Soph?”

            “Indeed we have, dear,” I report, leaning starboard to better survey the extent of our trouble. “What might our hosts at the Great House think of us now? We were meant to dine there in twenty minutes. The carriage, George, we should have taken the carriage. And we might have persuaded Fred to come with us.”

            “Your brother expressed the desire to ride from Kellynch to Uppercross and I thought, with such a clear evening, a bit of breeze in the gig would be more to our pleasure. Ah, Soph, you know how I like the feel of the wind in my face.”

            I pull my husband to me as I rest my head against the broad strength of his shoulder to let him know I assign him no blame. My cheek presses against the superfine of his jacket, the warmth of him seeping through to me. He is no man of his youth, all wiry muscles and ensnared energy. And yet, he is still my sturdy anchor.

            I ponder about Fred’s wish to ride, remembering my brother’s agitation before we all set off for dinner at Uppercross. Freddy, usually so even-tempered, seemed to bear an unusual amount of restlessness this evening.

            I turn my attention to my husband, gray about the temples and cheeks ruddy from the wind and a lifetime at sea. He is still quite a handsome man, in my opinion. When he looks at me with his blue eyes surrounded by smile lines, I know right away the next words from his mouth: “Well, Sophie, I am sorry to have to say it, but I fear we will probably be more than late to dine at Uppercross.” With a look down at the ground, he heaves a dramatic sigh. “We may even expire here.”

            I fall into laughter but manage to acquit myself reasonably with a solemn expression. “Admiral Croft, it has been a pleasure to be married to you. And were we to indeed find our mortal end along this rural stretch of lane, it shall be a comfort to know that it was at your hands.”

            “Ha! You wound me, woman!” (First we laugh, then we teasingly predict the worst, then we get to work. That is always our way.) My husband hands me the reins and climbs out of the gig, reminding me of the many times I have seen him climb the rigging on his ship. As he nears the muddied band of the wheel, he steps backwards, lands on the soft turf beyond the mud, and winces. My heart lurches. I suspect he may have a bit of the gout.

            “Soph, guide the horses to your right as I try to push this wheel out.”

            His words snap me out of my worried musings and I work the horses to help my husband free our wheel. Together we make a good pair. He never places me in a glass case to be admired as his wife. He values my opinion, is willing to see my ideas through, and comes to me when he wishes for sound counsel. I likely even surprised Sir Walter’s lawyer, Mr. Shepherd, by asking the majority of the questions about Kellynch Hall, and the terms and the taxes, as the admiral is less conversant with business.

            With no little effort, the gig attains more solid ground and my husband climbs back in. The seat bounces when his weight settles next to mine. He turns to me with the look of triumph I have seen many times after overcoming some difficulty. My heart swells with a tide of contentment only a long-tested love can produce. It is love, and well do I know my luck to have it. I love this man with greater feeling than the youthful passionate offerings my heart once made some fifteen years ago when we first wed.

 

 

I have so much fun with Christina’s Anthologies. Her latest collection of our favorite obstinate head strong girls is FABULOUS! I couldn’t get enough! Rational Creatures is bold, brave, brazen, and brilliant! I love a strong, feisty heroines and I simple adored this book. 

Rational Creature SUPER Giveaway: The Random Name Picker winner review all blog comments and select one winner from these blog stop comments during the tour for all 21 prizes: Winner’s choice of one title from each authors’ backlist (that’s 16 books, ebooks, or audiobooks), our bespoke t-shirt/soap/candle; #20, a brick in winner’s name to benefit #BuyABrick for Chawton House; and #21, the Quill Collective anthologies in ebook or audiobook.

The giveaway ends November 15, 2018 and is open to international winners.

September 18 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Guest Post

September 22 / Just Jane 1813/ Guest Post

September 25 / Books & Wine are Lovely Playlist

September 27 / Fangs, Wands and Fairydust / Guest Post

October 2 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Guest Post

October 4 / From Pemberley to Milton / Guest Post

October 9 / Austenesque Reviews / Guest Post

October 11 / Silver Petticoat / Guest Post

October 15 / Just Jane 1813 / Book Review

October 16 / My Love for Jane Austen / Guest Post

October 18 / Rosie’s Review Team / Book Review

October 23 / More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post

October 25 / The Book Rat / Guest Post

October 30 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review

November 1 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Guest Post

November 6 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review

November 8  / Of Pens and Pages / Book Review

November 13 / Let Us Talk of Many Things / Guest Post

Comments

  1. DarcyBennett says:

    I love the Crofts and think they show how married life could and should be.

  2. Joana Starnes says:

    Love Mrs Croft and KaraLynne’s portrayal of her in Rational Creatures! Thanks for hosting the anthology today, Margie!

  3. Mrs Croft a feminist, It never crossed my mind while now it seems ever so likely 🙂 Enjoyed this post !

  4. The ease and playfulness between this couple is wonderful!! I really enjoyed the excerpt and want to read more 😀

  5. Christina Boyd says:

    Thank you, Margie, for hosting this stop on our blog tour. I love KaraLynne Mackrory’s feature on Mrs Croft, and her story in “Rational Creatures” brings it all home about relationships and how love matured and strengthens a person. Thank you XO

  6. Christina Boyd says:

    Thank you, Margie Darcy, for supporting our RationalCreatures blog tour by featuring KaraLynne Mackrory and her lovely Mrs Croft story. I am so glad you enjoyed our collection of strong women! “…bold, brave, brazen, and brilliant! I love a strong, feisty heroines and I simple adored this book.” So happy!

  7. Christina Boyd says:

    Thank you, Margie Darcy, for supporting our RationalCreatures blog tour by featuring KaraLynne Mackrory and her lovely Mrs Croft story. I am so glad you enjoyed our collection of strong women! “…bold, brave, brazen, and brilliant! I love a strong, feisty heroines and I simple adored this book.”

    • Danielle C says:

      I have started reading this and I have already found a new author to love. How have I missed Nicole Clarkston? Anyway, I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the book and seeing old favorite authors and finding new favorites along the way.

  8. I’m not much of a fan of Mansfield Park but I may have to re-think it! Certainly Jane’s depictions of “her” ladies bring them to life as real people. Adding this anthology to my Must-Read list and looking forward to enjoying it. (Adding it to my Xmas wish list too — DH has stopped asking me if I really need all these books!) Many thanks for your wonderful review, the delightful excerpt, and the generous giveaway.

  9. Sophia Rose says:

    Oooh, I do like that bold and brilliant bit. Thanks, Margie!

    Karalynne’s Sophy Croft was just that. 🙂

  10. Danielle C says:

    I just started this book and it is AWESOME!!! I hope everyone here reads it. I already found a new author that I had not read before but I am looking forward to reading more books by Nicole Clarkston. Finding new authors is the best part of these anthology books.

  11. Danielle C says:

    I have started reading this and I have already found a new author to love. How have I missed Nicole Clarkston? Anyway, I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the book and seeing old favorite authors and finding new favorites along the way.

  12. I really enjoyed the relationship you developed between Sophie Croft and her husband. Young love can be thrilling, but love that has been tested by time and trial–such a love is truly beautiful.

  13. I love Mrs Croft and her admiral! I always thought that he thinks at her like a partner and not like a possession thanks to his naval training! And I think Anne and captain Wentworth will like like their brother and sister!

  14. Admiral and Mrs Croft have, along with the Gardiners, long been one of my favourite couples as written by our beloved Jane, so I’m always disposed to look favourably on any story that features them. I don’t know how common it was for wives to accompany thier husbands in board ship two hundred years ago, but I get the impression that Sophia Croft might have been unusual in doing it for so long. Good for her!

    KaraLynne’s story is funny, touching and poignant – you will need tissues at one point, be warned! Another high-calibre story from this fantastic anthology.

  15. Please excuse me if this is a second comment as my first seems to done a disappearing act!

    The Crofts, along with the Gardiners, are my favourite married couples from our beloved Jane’s works. I don’t know how common it was for a wife to accompany her captain husband on board ship but I get the feeling that Soohia Croft was unusual in that she did it for so long.

    KaraLynne’s story is funny, touching and poignant – be warned, tissues will be needed at one point in particular. Another high-calibre story in a fantastic anthology.

  16. KaraLynne Mackrory says:

    Thank you Margie for hosting us! I feel it was an honor to participate in such a venture. It celebrates women and our divine and unique talents and strengths. I felt this book is empowering and made me feel so happy to be a woman.

    • Christina Boyd says:

      KaraLynne, I am so glad you took on this project and wrote such a poignant back story for Mrs Croft. I cried reading this story the first time! Thank so much.

  17. Thanks for letting the Rational Creatures take a breather here at Margie’s Must Reads 🙂 I’ve always loved Sophy and Admiral Croft, and Karalynne does them justice!

  18. One of my favourite married couples are the Crofts. I simply love their story and the way you portray the pair is exquisite. Thank you for sharing an entertaining excerpt, KaraLynne.

  19. Talia Sommer says:

    Yes! The Crofts are so lovely. Thank you for featuring this new book!

  20. Christina Boyd says:

    We have a winner for our #RationalCreatures blog tour giveaway!
    Congratulations, Schilds.
    Thank you to all who participated. (Please claim before November 20 or we will have to draw for another winner…and that would be disappointing for all…except the new winner.) https://www.thequillink.com/blog/rationalcreatures-epic-blog-tour-ends-announces-grandprize-winner

Speak Your Mind

*