Every year I put aside the crime novels I have on my TBR pile and get out my Jane Austen novels. I know them all by heart, or, to be, honest nearly all of them as I never could get into Northanger Abbey. I have just started Sense and Sensibility. It's like visiting friends you haven't seen for a year. I know what to expect and it is all going to turn out fine. We all need that feeling in our lives and there is no better time for calling it up than the dark winter months before Christmas.
Speaking or should I say writing of friends, made me stop and think for a minute. In my latest Christmas novel CHRISTMAS AT THE WISHING WELL writing under my Romance pseudonym Peggy O'Mahony, one of the characters says: "There are people for short journeys and people for the long haul. Knowing the difference means understanding friendship."
Short haul people are very often the people you have a good time with when you go out. You can chat to them at parties, wave at them across the tables at restaurants and know they will wave back equally enthusiastically. But they are not the people you confide in when life kicks you in the solar plexus. Someone once said that real friends are the people who, when you have made an atrocious horse's rear end of yourself, don't think it's a permanent job. Real friends, few and far between as we all know, are the ones who know you and still like you. Now that is a comforting thought.
Back to Sense and Sensibility. I sometimes ask myself why the novels appeal to me so much apart from the feel-good aspect. As a writer, I have a fairly critical eye. Jane Austen stays true to her characters. They don't change into something else. In Sense and Sensibility, Sir John, a warm-hearted type with not much brain, ends up promising a puppy to the villain of the story when he sees how upset he is over Marianne, although he is very fond of the Dashwoods. That makes him very human and very believable.
One thing I know, I never can write like Jane Austen and I don't intend to try. I expect every author writes what is in them to write and we all hope that our readers will like it.