Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: A Change of Fortune

Have you ever felt this way? You’ve gone through all of Austen’s books and want something more to read? There are variations on her stories, but sometimes you don’t want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but what to read or watch?

Hmm…

That’s why I started this series Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers. In it I will review books that have things we love about the Austen novels but something fresh than a retelling.

A Change of Fortune (Ladies of Distinction #1) by Jen Turano

So this story doesn’t take place in Regency England but Gilded Age America. However, it does have a few elements we love of the Austen fare.

The main character of the story is Lady Eliza Sumner, an English aristocrat who’s family fortune has been stolen and left her with nothing. To try and recapture her wealth and take revenge on her embezzler, she disguised herself and took a job as a governess as she searches for her quarry.

Being a governess can be a hard living. We all remember how it was an awful fate in Emma.

“With the fortitude of a devoted novitiate, she had resolved at one-and-twenty to complete the sacrifice and retire from all the pleasures of life, of rational intercourse, equal society, peace, and hope, to penance and mortification forever” (p. 156)

Anyways, Lady Eliza is asked to join a dinner party when one of her charges is sick and can no longer attend. There she meets two eligible bachelors who all the women wish to marry, brothers Thomas and Zayne Beckett. The Beckett brothers are after a Eugene Daniels who turns out to be working with the man Lady Eliza is searching for.

Hmm…

Lady Eliza, Agatha Watson (daughter of the family she is governess for) and the Becketts all have a hilarious interaction as they try to break into a house and attempt to escape the police. The women are arrested as they are thought to be “ladies of the night”, and the Becketts go rescue them.

Lady Eliza is fired from her position and stays with Thomas Beckett, his two kids, and his mother-casting off her disguise and revealing who she is. She develops friendships with Agatha and the Becketts, and all team up to try and outsmart the villains.

At first Eliza is intent on not trusting anyone, but when all try to help her and show their care for her; she starts wondering if maybe her plans aren’t the ones she needs to follow after all, maybe God has something better in mind.

So the Austen flavors, what do we have?

Hmm…

So Austen had Mrs. Bennet, always worrying and trying to scheme a way to get her daughters married off. In this we have twice the scheming with Mrs. Watson (Agatha’s mother) trying to throw every eligible man she can at her oldest daughter Agatha in the hope of seeing her settled. She quickly befriends Mrs. Beckett who is trying to set up her sons and daughter (even though her daughter is in another state at the moment.) While Mrs. Bennet was shrill in her cries to get her girls settled, these ladies are hilarious at the ways they scheme to settle their own.

We all know of Mr. Darcy’s famous awful proposal, what was he thinking?

We have an equally bad one on this novel when Thomas Beckett proposes to Lady Eliza stating that he wants to marry Eliza as he is “fond of her” and she will be a “good mother” to her children. Actually he does worse than Mr. Darcy, he doesn’t even really ask her to marry him, but states those things

This book is full of mystery, intrigue, although it is far goofier and sillier than Austen’s work. If you are looking for a fast read that is comedic and easily read through, with a handful of Austen elements, this is for you.

For more on lost fortunes, go to A Family Affair

For more Pride and Prejudice, go toDarcy’s ’80’s Power Song

For more book reviews, go to Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

Advertisements

By the Sea

So I was reading Just Jane by Nancy Moser and at one point in Jane Austen’s life she traveled to sea. Later she, her mother, sister, and friend actually moved by the sea and lived there for a while.

They talk about sea-bathing and the sea-bathing machines they would use.

Sea-bathing machines? What?

So sea-bathing started in the later 18th century, prescribed by two eminent doctors, Dr. Russell and Dr. Crane. By Regency times it was super popular.

So like in today’s world, when people go swimming, or sea-bathing, we just jump right in, or tread a little in the water. But not back in Regency times.

wow

Instead they would go into a bathing machine, a large carriage like structure. There the bathers would change into their bathing suits and a horse would pull the carriage into the water.

When the reached the desired depth, the horse would be unhitched and go back to land, or take a carriageful of bathers that had finished back to land.

As the women and men would change in the machines, they were not shared by the sexes but divided between the two. Most often men and women bathed on completely different beaches as women wore muslin shifts, and men wore drawers or were naked.

By 1815 there were 40 bathing carriages and were busy nonstop between 6am-12pm every day.

Doctors prescribed being dipped into the water for one’s health. Often sturdy women were the dippers, traveling with the bathers in the carriage and dipping them so many times under the water. Kind of like being baptized, but more than three times.

For more information, go here

For more on Jane Austen’s life, go to The Curious Case and Crime of Jane Leigh-Perrot

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Blueberry Earl Grey Tea Smoothie

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 1, The Journey Ahead

So do you all remember the film Big? Tom Hanks is a preteen that wishes to be “big” and becomes a 30-year old man?

He tries to find a Zoltar machine to change him back, but meanwhile works for a toy company to make money. Because of his childlike understanding, he moves straight to the top of the company.

Now his idea for a new toy is a computer game/book that you read but get to make choices as to what will happen next. Well Choices is that.

What?

So a while back they had a preview for an Austenlike game Desire & Decorum

You know me and anything Austenlike or Austen related:

So as soon as it was avliable I decided to play:

You have the choice of being male or female and name. You can also customize your avatar and purchase extras if you want.

So the story is set in 1816 in the country village of Grovershire, England. You have enjoyed your life there but your mother is very ill, and on her deathbed reveals a secret. You have never known your father, but your mother reveals that he is the Earl of Edgewater, a very wealthy and powerful man. The two were in love, but his family drove them apart-and she went to Grovershire. How do you feel? You make the choice.

With the death of your mother you head to Edgewater and to meet your father and his family. Now this is an interesting concept to go with, being born out of wedlock in 1816-not the best way to be treated.

It was very hard when you were considered an “illegetimate” child. You had no legal right to any inheritance unless “an explicit, specific, uncontested written bequest, and inheriting a title from a parent was rare indeed, though not, as we’ve seen, quite impossible.

Ouch

So you are taken to Edgewater and meet your paternal grandmother the Dowager Countess who is quite spunky. Is she an ally? Or will she try and remove you like your mother was removed?

Hmm…

You also meet Mr. Ernest Sinclaire, master of the nearby Ledford Park. He’s handsome, rich, and also the rude man that almost ran you down on his horse a couple days ago. Yes, you have met him before.

I wonder which Austen hero he will be like? Romantic and wise like Colonel Brandon? Idealistic and does the right thing like Edward Ferrars? Broody and serious Darcy? Playful and stern like Mr. Knightley? Serious like Edmund Bertram? Playful like Mr. Tilney? Passionate like Captain Wentworth?

Hmm…

Or will he be a rogue? Sacrifices love for money like Mr. Willoughby? Selfish and narcissistic like Mr. Wickham? An annoying brown-noser like Mr. Collins? A  cruel social climber like Mr. Elton? Only thinks of himself like Frank Churchill? Manipulative like John Thorpe or Captain Tilney? Plotting and cunning like Mr. Elliot?

Hmm…

But more importantly, what about your father. Will he accept you or reject you?

For more Jane Austen games, go to Jane Austen Manors

For more based on Jane Austen, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

For more Jane Austen stuff, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

Tea and Biscuits

I love tea.

Tea time is the best!

And what is best with it? A biscuit!

I’m not talking about our American biscuits, but the European ones-the shortbread cookies.

Yes, my brother and sister-in-law went to Hawaii and brought me the perfect cookies for my tea time. It’s my new ritual.

For more tea time posts, go to Teatime is So Much Better With a Teapot

Non-Austen Books for Austen Readers

So if you are like me, you love Jane Austen:

You like to read her books:

And watch her movies:

But with only six completed and published books, sometimes you want more Austen stuff. There are variations on her stories, but sometimes you don’t want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but what to read?

Hmm…

So I decided that I would do a series of reviews on books that are Non-Austen books, but ones I think Austen fans will love.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

A Love for Keeps (Brides of Arkansas #1) by Janet Lee Barton

The Widow of Larkspur Inn (Gresham Chronicles #1) by Lawana Blackwell

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Anna and the Duke (An Avon True Romance #3) by Kathryn Smith

A Change of Fortune (Ladies of Distinction #1) by Jen Turano

Blueberry Earl Grey Tea Smoothie

So you know me. I love tea.

There is nothing better than starting your morning, afternoon, evening-or every hour with a wonderful cup of tea.

You may or may not know that I also love smoothies. I get up early every day so it is nice to be able to run out the door and drink my breakfast on the run.

So as I was looking through Pinterest, I found a recipe Berry Colombo Smoothie, from RefuTeaI don’t have Colombo tea, so I had to use a different brand and I didn’t have strawberries, so I had to leave them out. Oh well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Frozen Strawberries
  • 1/2 Cup of Frozen Blueberries
  • 1/2 Cup of Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup of Earl Grey Tea

Directions:

  1. Brew the tea, using 1 tbsp as you need to have the tea be strong.
  2. Blend all together until smooth.

I thought it was pretty good. I couldn’t really taste the tea really, but it was still good.

For more recipes, go to Basic Chicken Salad

For more tea posts, go to Teatime is So Much Better With a Teapot

For more blueberry recipes, go to Irish Blueberry Scones

For more Earl Grey Tea, go to London Fog Smoothie

The Curious Case and Crime of Jane Leigh-Perrot

In 1799, Jane Leigh-Perrot went on trial for theft, a serious crime that could result in death. Stealing lace, believe it or not, was a capital crime that at worst-ended in hanging, and at best sent to Australia.

She managed to escape this fate, but really laid the defense on thick. Was she always innocent and won justice? Or a guilty woman using wealth as her golden ticket to freedom?

Hmm…

Why do we care about this woman?

I don’t know…

She is Jane Austen’s aunt.

Yes, so I’ve been reading the book Just Jane by Nancy Moser, and when it got to this part I was blown away and had to do more research.

So Jane’s first visit to Bath, an experience she later used in Northanger Abbey, was all because of her aunt of uncle. Like the characters in her novels, Jane had a wealthy family member that brought her along on a trip.

Jane visited in 1797 and while it was a fruitful trip, for us readers, she wasn’t too into it. Two years later the Austens received the news that the very aunt who took Jane on the trip, Aunt Jane Leigh-Perrot, was arrested, living in jail, and on trial for thievery.

So what caused a wealthy woman to ever be in a situation like this?

Huh?

Well, she had stopped at a shop to pick up a length of black lace. When she was leaving, she was asked by the shopkeeper to see her bag and inside was the black lace and a seam of white lace worth 20 shillings (£1)

What?

Jane Leigh-Perrot said it was a mistake by the shopkeeper, while the shopkeeper said it was shoplifting. Jane Leigh-Perrot was arrested the next day and had to be in jail for 8 months!

Wait a sec, let’s be real. Jane Leigh-Perrot was a wealthy woman, because of her husband and family influence she didn’t have to stay in the jail but stayed with the jailer’s family.

While that was better than the jail, it still wasn’t the standards she was used to. Not only did Jane Leigh-Perrot stay, but her husband stayed with her.

“Vulgarity, Dirt, Noise from morning till night…Cleanliness has ever been his greatest delight, and yet he sees the greasy toast laid by the dirty children on his knees, and feels the small Beer trickle down his Sleeves on its way across the table unmoved.”

When Mrs. Austen found out about her sister-in-law she wanted to send both her girls to comfort her.

Luckily, Mrs. Austen’s brother declined the offer and Jane didn’t have to spends months in “jail”. We might have had a much different novel if she did.

Catherine Morland in prison

The trial came and went, justice was served swiftly and Jane Leigh-Perrot was declared “not guilty” and the whole thing hushed up.

So did she do it?

Hmm…

Well let’s take a look. What goes against her ever being a thief? What is for the idea of her being a thief?

AGAINST: She’s a wealthy woman? Why would she bother stealing when she could afford as much ribbon as she wanted.

FOR: Being wealthy is no excuse. How many times have we read stories about wealthy people and stars doing things like this. Sometimes their ego gets in the way of their good choices.

AGAINST: Mr. Filby, the man who accused Jane Leigh-Perrot, later tried to blackmail the Leigh-Perrots. What honest man would resort to blackmail?

FOR: Mr. Filby and Miss Gregory (the shop owner) went several days in a row to the magistrates to try and have them arrest Jane Leigh-Perrot, with what seemed like no avail. Could it be they were tired of never getting justice and went after their own kind of justice?

AGAINST:The detail drawing of the shop that was used in the trial show that the places the lace was hanging there was no way the clerk could ever have “mistakenly” grabbed the wrong color. Did he purposely put it in?

FOR: The detail drawing of the shop that was used in the trial show that the places the lace was hanging there was no way the clerk could ever have “mistakenly” grabbed the wrong color. It was purposely taken. By Jane Leigh-Perrot?

AGAINST: The Leigh-Perrots were respectable citizens with philanthropic tendencies, while Mr. Filby and Miss Gregory were having an extra-marital affair.

FOR: The Leigh-Perrots hired four lawyers to defend them and paid £2000 for character witnesses. Why would they spend so much?

AGAINST; Others came forward and said that the same clerk, Mr. Filby, put things in their bags.

FOR: Another shopclerk said he saw Jane Leigh-Perrot take the lace.

So did she or didn’t she? We may never know.

Oh, well

To read more, click here.

For more on Jane Austen, go to Jane Austen Eyes

For more Jane Austen on trial, go to Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

For more posts, go to No One Would Have Ever Guessed

 

 

No One Would Have Ever Guessed

Jane Austen is the Queen.

Of what, you may ask? The Queen of opening lines.

Now I have talked about this before, but it definitely needs to be going over again. We all talk about Pride and Prejudice:

But you know what, that isn’t the best one.

I know! You are probably freaking out-but it is true. This is the opening line to Northanger Abbey:

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her.”

Wow

Listen to that. AMAZING!!!!

That’s awesome

People look at Catherine and thought she had no chance if being anything but just a regular average person. She had no outstanding family, nothing that at first glance set her apart, she wasn’t drop dead gorgeous-she was a wonderful person but to most just seen as average.

 No one would have ever thought her do have any adventure, have a great romance, mystery, suspense, anything. But guess what, she does.

Wow. I love that. People may see you and judge their expectations of what you will be or achieve based on family, where you grew up, your appearance, whatever- but you don’t have to fall into that line. You can do whatever you set yourself to-no matter what others think.

Don’t hold yourself to others expectations, but achieve your own.

Yep powerful words. Don’t let others views of you or judgement stop you, do your thing. Be what you want. And work to achieve what you are going after.

And Catherine will not let any of those things stop her. 🙂

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Why is Northanger Abbey Always Ignored?

For more on Catherine Morland, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more Ayn Rand quotes, go to Why Everyone Should Read Gone With the Wind 

 

Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

So as you all know I started a book club last year. Because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time was my turn and I picked:

Until the Day Breaks (California Rising #1) by Paula Scott

I was first introduced to this book when the author came into the museum I was working at as she needed to discuss something with the curator. We started talking about the book and California and Western history as I absolutely love it.

I read it and the sequel, and enjoyed both of them. So of course, when a few months passed and it was my turn again-I picked it.

So the book takes place in 1846. California “belongs” to Mexico, but not really being more independent. The United States looms closer and closer, Manifest Destiny gobbling up more states. Rachel Tyler grew up in Massachusetts, is Protestant, and raised by her grandparents. She is a sweet woman and engaged to minister hopeful, Stephen. (As soon as his mother dies and releases her control over him)

Well that all changes when her father, Joshua Tyler, awakens their long silence. After Rachel’s mother died, he took off to California to make his fortune and has, in some nefarious ways. He married a wealthy Californio’s niece, Sarita, a girl only a year or so older than his daughter and has brokered a deal matching his daughter with Sarita’s cousin, Roman Vasquez.

This match will work for for Joshua Tyler-as if California remains in Mexico’s control he will have protection in the match. If the United States take over, Tyler can secure the Vasquez land and money through his daughter.

Rachel is hurt over the broken engagement with Stephen and in even more dismay over her upcoming marriage to Roman. Roman is a lusty, passionate, and angry man. Rachel is afraid of that passion, especially as she starts to find herself falling in love with him.

Roman has returned from fighting in the American Intervention with Mexico, known as the Mexican American War by the United States; injured, angry, and finding California completely different then what he left. His family thought he was killed, his fiancé married Joshua Tyler, his family fortune and land is dwindling through his uncle’s gambling, and now he has to marry this Yankee?

But as Roman gets to know Rachel she touches him in a way no one has in a long time. Her kindness, sweetness, and relationship with Christ starts to affect him. But can he really overcome his lust, passion, and anger?

To complicate things further-Sarita is a witch who is angry that Tohic, the god she worships, lied to her about Roman’s death. Even though she is married and Roman is engaged-she will sacrifice anything and do everything to get what she wants.

And as California looks more and more like war is coming-all are uncertain what that means and what exactly to do?

Then to everyone’s surprise Rachel’s ex-fiance shows up! And he brings his friend and ship Captain Dominic Mason.

This is a power firecracker of a novel. It is enjoyable and a real page turner. Every one of us ladies finished long before book club was scheduled to meet.

So while we discussed our book, I thought that in the flavor of Daring Chloe, we should meet in my California town’s historical Saloon that existed in the same time this book is set in. It really was a lot of fun. Here’s a couple of snaps I took. I meant to get a pic of the book in the restaurant,but forgot-maybe I’ll stop by and do it again.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Illustrated Man

For more Christian fiction, go to Book Club Picks: The Masterpiece

For more bible verses, go to Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

 

Basic Chicken Salad

So let’s talk about tea time. We’ve had scones and cookies, we need some sandwiches!

I love chicken salad, and here is a basic recipe. I’ll do a Waldorf Chicken Salad in the future. I got this recipe from my sister blog MysteriousEats.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Cups of Cooked Chicken (I like using the rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/2 Cup of Chopped Celery
  • 1/3 Cup of Chopped Onion
  • 1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Bread

Directions:

  1. Toast bread.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Spread the chicken salad on the toasted bread.

Delicious

A great addition to any one’s tea time.

Ready for high tea!

For more recipes, go to London Fog Smoothie

For more salad recipes, go to Triple Berry Salad

For more from MysteriousEats, go to London Fog Fauxccino