Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Book signing at Lyme Park - Pemberley!


I had a wonderful weekend signing books at Lyme Park, the beautiful National Trust property used as Pemberley in the BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. I'm still buzzing from the event. I arrived early on Saturday morning and was warmly welcomed by Anne, who took me in to a meeting so that I could say hello to everyone else working there that day. It takes a lot of people to keep a house as large as Lyme Park ticking over, even in the winter when the house is closed. Renovation work takes place, there are special exhibitions and events, and the restaurant and shop are also open, as well as the park.

After the meeting, I had time to look at the Pride and Prejudice exhibition. There are framed photos of cast members on the walls, with biographies. Lines from the novel are stencilled onto the walls, so that everywhere you look you're reminded of Pride and Prejudice. There's even a grid of character names, all linked by their relationships - wife, sister, betrothed etc - which was very attractive as well as a good reminder for anyone who can't remember exactly who is who.
But I didn't spend too long looking at the walls because I was eager to move through to the costume exhibition. It's very well laid out, with plenty of space between the costumes for people to mill about and take photos. Lizzy and Darcy's wedding outfits are on display, as well as their walking outfits. There are the Bingley sisters' ball gowns, one of Kitty's outfits (or possible Lydia's, I'll have to watch the DVD again to be sure :) ) and Mr Darcy's white shirt. Yes, THE shirt.

When I'd gazed longingly at the costumes - and, of course had some photos taken - I went through to the small wardrobe room where there are costumes for visitors to try on. There are children's outfits as well as outfits for men and women. I noticed a red coat for the men, but my eye was drawn to the gorgeous high-waisted dresses. I couldn't resist, I slipped one on and I loved it so much I wore it for the rest of the day! It had short sleeves and I thought I would freeze, but once I'd topped it with a cloak it was surprisingly warm. The cloak was velvet and it was lined, and it felt as warm as my usual outdoor coat.

Then I went through to the shop, where Paul and I chatted before customers started to arrive. I introduced myself and chatted about my books, and copies of Mr Darcy's Diary and Pride and Pyramids flew off the tables. People were buying Christmas presents or gifts for good friends and family members, or buying for themselves. I loved signing the books and I couldn't believe how busy I was. It was a fantastic day, and once I went home I had a chance to relive it all on facebook.

Best of all, I was going back again on Sunday to do it all again. This time, Paul had dressed up and looked fantastic in a high-collared shirt, waistcoat and cravat. He posed in a top hat, too. He has the most incredible eye for detail and real flair when it comes to display, as you can see from the photos. The suitcase, books, quill and top hat really set the scene on the display table and I love to see my books there.

But the real highlight is meeting people. I met one of my facebook friends, Jayne, and it was lovely to meet face to face after knowing each other online. She was there with her friend Carolyn and the three of us couldn't stop talking. And, last but not least, the giant Mr Darcy is walking out of the lake!

So, all in all, an incredible weekend. The exhibition is on until February, weekends only, and I highly recommend it. I will be signing books there again on December 14th and 15th and I'm already looking forward to it. There are details of forthcoming Pride and Prejudice events on the Lyme Park website, or download a flyer here

Amanda GrangePS One of my Regency romances, One Snowy Night (UK)  or One Snowy Night (US)   (originally published under the title Rebecca's Refusal) is in a Kindle countdown offer for 99p at the moment (Tuesday -but please check the price before buying as the offer ends soon)


Elizabeth Hawksley said...

I'm delighted to hear that your book-signing went so well and that you had a good time dressing up in the appropriate costume.

I visited Lyme Park in June and was pleased to see that your books had pride of place in their bookshop. Long may it continue.

Christina Courtenay said...

It looks like a lovely place and a great exhitibion - a perfect setting for your books!