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.



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