Desire & Decorum: Chapter 6, An Intimate Affair

 

So in the last episode your father made you his heir and gave you a London season! You and Miss Parsons traveled to London, you on your own horse,

Only to have Mr. Marcastle plot against you and try and keep you from arriving. You make it out okay and meet a Prince. 

You confront Mr. Marcastle angry that he treated you that way, Miss Parsons agreeing with you in her anger. The two of you manage to scare the daylights out of him.

Miss Parsons leaves to go to her sister’s house, as they are expecting her, while you return to your father’s townhouse and spot your friend and ladies’ maid Briar canoodling with Mr. Marcastle.

Forget you!

Now Mr. Marcastle is your evil engaged (as in very not single) stepbrother trying to sully your reputation and Briar was your best friend from back home. But is she really your friend as she is trying to have a relationship with Mr. Marcastle, your enemy!

This is soooooooooooooooooooooo bad for you. Can you imagine the kind of reputation you will get when this comes out.

And Briar what are you thinking? He’s evil! He’s plotting against me!!!! You are suppose to distrust him not jump him!!!! You are a bad friend.

See Hook agrees with me.

Plus he is engaged!

C’mon Briar, you are smarter than that!

So I am going to Mr. Sinclaire’s tonight for a dinner party, so Miss Sutton and I go shopping. I decided to buy the dress as I want to impress Mr. Sinclaire.

And I have to say out of any clothing purchase I have made this one does affect the game. Mr. Sinclaire sees me in my red dress and can’t look away.

He compliments me in front of Miss Holloway.

What?

Ugh, Miss Holloway is just as bad as Caroline Bingley. She keeps trying to make fun of me and drag me down, but is struck down by Mr. Sinclaire’s compliments. Very reminiscent of a certain scene:

Boom, shut up Miss Holloway/Miss Bingley.

Miss Holloway tries to make you seem an illiterate buffoon, but Mr. Sinclaire comes to your aid. He also takes you to his extensive library…

Hold up- Stop right there.

He’s perfect I’ve decided-he’s the man for me. You know me:

He then pulls a book off the shelf and reads a page to me, it is William Shakespeare’s book of sonnets, Sonnet 18:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

After he reads to you, he offers you the book. It costs 15 diamonds, but I don’t care, you know me:

It looks like I just have one thing left to get-Painting, maybe?

Miss Holloway makes a snide comment about your birth and then the Duke storms in-uninvited.

Ugh, I hate this dude. I hate people who do that-just show up uninvited and expect others to accommodate them. Such jerks.

Then not only does he do that but muscles his way next to me-no I don’t want him to like me-ugh!

This upsets the table with Mr. Chambers having to sit next to a man instead of a woman. Table settings are super important- remember A Change if Fortune

“Custom, however, has lately introduced a new mode of seating. A gentleman and a lady fitting alternately round the table, and this, for the better convenience of a lady’s being attended to, and served by the gentleman next to her. But notwithstanding this promiscuous seating, the ladies, whether above or below, are to be served in order, according to their rank or age, and after them the gentlemen, in the same manner. – John Trusler, p 6 from Regency Manners: Seating at Table at janeaustensworld.wordpress.com

Mr. Chambers doesn’t really care as he’s gay and is next to a very interested member of the party.

After dinner, you all go off to the drawing room. Mr. Sinclaire and you meet up aside from the others and he warns you off Duke Richards. Why does he dislike him so? And why is he so interested in who you might marry?

Mr. Sinclaire becomes so furious with the Duke he takes off on an errand…you have the option to follow. What do you do?

I followed him outside even though that wasn’t really acceptable in Regency time. It turns out that Mr. Sinclaire had an unfaithful wife, one that became involved with Duke Richards. It is very Rebecca:

Oh my gosh! Duke Richards totally makes me think of Jack Favell

The two of you have a heart to heart, Mr. Sinclaire baring his soul to you. He worries that maybe I would have been better off in the village then the shark infested society. But we still enjoy our time together.

Afterwards we go inside and join the party. They ask me to play and I blow them all away, thanks to the lessons by Miss Parsons.

 

The party ends later, you saying a fond farewell to Mr. Sinclaire.

The next morning you are awoken by Miss Parsons and Briar. You’ve been invited to the Opera St. James. The Opera St James!!! That’s where your mother used to perform!!! Will the night be fun…or a flop?

For more Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 5, The Road to London

For more on Choices, go to Kissing the Blarney Stone: 7 More Irish Heroes

For more on William Shakespeare, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

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I Tried Tea & Me’s Tea Infused Facial Cubes

So last month Tea & Me did a post on freezing tea, and then placing these cubes on your face. (You can read about her experiences here.) When I read that I was like:

But hey, I’m down for trying it out, at least once.

My skin and I do not get along. As I have said before it is dry and oily-making it so hard to try to figure out what skin care/products to use.

Besides that I have very sensitive skin. It is so sensitive I don’t even know half the things I am allergic to. Sometimes I am just going about my life and my skin gets irritated, hives break out, and next thing you know I’m scratching and breaking the skin.

It burns

Like my post on a Tea Hair Rinse, I waited so long to do this review, because I wanted to try out at least three different teas.

  1. Boil water.
  2. Make a cup of tea.
  3. Steep until tea has cooled
  4. Once tea has cooled pour in clean ice trays.
  5. Freeze for two hours or until completely frozen.
  6. Try and open pores by putting a warm clean washcloth on or using steam from shower.
  7. Wash face.
  8. Using a washcloth, grab an ice cube and rub all over face.
  9. Rinse face with warm water.

So first I tried the Kukicha Green Tea.

“Green Tea [contains] antioxidant and disinfects.”

The second time I did the lavender tea.

“Lavender Tea soothes irritated skin and disinfects.”

The last one I did was Earl Grey, my favorite to drink.

“Black Tea disinfects.”

So I’m not sure I did it right, but I just used the cube around my face until I couldn’t stand the cold, after rinsing my face with warm water. I loved doing it in the morning as I have to get up 5-5:30 and that really woke me up as it was freezing cold!

The first one I did, Green Tea, I felt was the best. Like I said in a previous post, Green Tea is great for soothing irritated or dry skin, which I had been struggling with-more than usual. You know this weather.

Ugh!

The lavender and black tea I didn’t see an immediate response like the green tea, however, the other day my period came and was awful.

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

And I got this giant zit on my chin, that ended up popping. It hurt so bad and when I bleed, I bleed a lot. I put the Earl Grey iced cube on it, which not only numbed, but disinfected and helped stop the bleeding.

For more on Tea & Me, go to I Tried Tea & Me’s Tea Hair Rinse

For more tea posts, go to Use Tea to Soothe Dry or Irritated Skin

Kissing the Blarney Stone: 7 More Irish Heroes

So every year, in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I do a post on 17 awesome Irish heroes and heroines.

So this year, I tried to get 17 more Irish heroes and heroines from books, film, and TV (like I did for years 2013-17), but I wasn’t able to get that many. So instead if 17, I only have 7.

Aw, man.

Maybe next year I’ll be able to reach 17 again! But as for today:

7) Jimmy O’Brien from Fashion Model (1945)

Jimmy O’Brien is just your normal stock boy in a huge department store. He is dating one of the models and they are talking about getting married. Another model flirts with him, and a fight breaks out. Later, he finds her dead, along with another model, and the store owner. Being around so many dead bodies-the police are after him as they think he is a deranged killer. It up to him and his fiancé, Peggy, to prove his innocence and solve the crime.

Why Jimmy is Awesome: 

Jimmy is just a sweet, bumbling, goof-but an all around nice guy that is just adorable. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, flirt with another girl, or do anything wrong. He’s incredibly sweet, unfortunately-just has rotten timing. Above all-he is hilarious.

For more on Jimmy and Fashion Model, go to Wrong Place at the Wrong Time: Fashion Model (1945)

6) Marvin “Mouth” MacFadden from One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill is a small town in North Carolina where basketball is everything. The town is divided into the wealthy and poorer sections, in one lives Nathan Scott-captain of the basketball team, wealthy, dating the hot/punkish cheerleader; and Lucas Scott-plays the river court, raised by a single mom, spends his time reading classics, and being nonexistent in school. These two are half brothers, their father’s choice of one over the other impacting their lives and choices.

Why Mouth is Awesome: 

Mouth is a nerdy guy, from the river court and one of Lucas’ best friends. Mouth stays friends with him through thick and thin, big egos and shattered dreams. He always there to lend a hand, give advice, and hangout.

For more on One Tree Hill, go to We Will Fandom You

5) Bridget from An American Tail

A family of mice, the Mousekewitzes, are immigrating to America. On the ship ride over, a storm occurs and Fieval is washed ashore, believed dead. The family continues, grief stricken over their loss, while unbeknownst to them, Fieval floats to New York City. Fieval tries to find his family and gets caught up in all kinds of adventures along the way.

Why Bridget is Awesome: 

Bridget is an amazingly kind and caring mouse. She is a suffragette, political activist (speaking out against the attacks of cats against mice), and takes Fieval in until he can find his family. When Fieval comes up with a plan to fight the cats, she not only supports him, but rallies all her friends to join in.

4) Flynn O’Malley from Veil of Secrets, Choices Video Game

Veil of Secrets is a choose your own adventure type of video game. You play the main character and decide what to do next in the story. In Veil of Secrets you are visiting your best friend and roommate from college, Kate O’Malley, as she is marrying the wealthy son and heir to the Sterling empire. However, she doesn’t show up to the wedding, and you team up with her brother Flynn, deputy Naomi, and criminal defense lawyer, Grant; to discover what happened. Will you find out the truth? Or be the next victim?

Why Flynn is Awesome: 

Once a con, (although he really should have gotten off with a lighter sentence-the judge being a friend of the Sterlings gave him a much harsher one than he deserved) now all he cares about is helping to find his missing sister. He will go through anything and do anything for his baby sis, even a car accident doesn’t slow him down as he will gladly roll through the pain to find her. If you decide he will be your partner in solving the case, he will protect you through everything and everyone to the best of his ability (although you are the main character so you will be doing the actual taking down). Also if you choose he can be your boyfriend and you can inspire him to continue down the straight and narrow path

3) Caitlin O’Koren from Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

It is Caitlin O’Koren’s 16th birthday, but instead of waking up to cake and presents, she instead wakes up to police and panicked parents as her older sister has run away. This was supposed to be Caitlin’s year of being out of her perfect sister’s shadow, instead she finds herself stuck in it even more. She and her best friend join cheerleading, but through a series of events she ends up dating drug dealer bad boy, Rogerson Biscoe. This takes her in an incredibly different direction than her sister, as she has always wanted, but into another world and an incredibly different romantic relationship.

Why Caitlin is Awesome: 

Caitlin is a 16 year old girl trying to navigate her way, especially in the midst of all these transitions and changes. She is a good friend, there for anyone who needs her, and a powerful character, as she encounters serious abuse and is able to do the steps to heal and come through it. An amazing story and character-that I STRONGLY recommend.

For more on Caitlin and Dreamland, go to Plot Twist

2) Katie Callahan DeMaio from The Cradle Will Fall by Mary Higgins Clark

Katie Callahan DeMaio is a widowed county prosecutor. Katie has a rare condition which causes her to lose too much blood on her period, causing lightheadedness, blackouts, etc. One day she is driving home from work and this causes her to crash-she becoming a patient of the Dr. Edgar Highly. She is given medication, but doesn’t take all of it and awakes in the middle of the night-seeing a man move a dead body?

Meanwhile, celebrated physician and miracle birth, Edgar Highly, is facing a very large problem. One of his patients is unhappy with his care and going to go to her former physician. He has to take care of her quick, or else all will be uncovered. He prepares to take her dead body to her house, did someone spot him in the window?

Katie hears of the suicide and starts investigating, will she uncover the truth or be the next victim?

Why Katie is Awesome: 

Katie is a wonderful person who cares about her family, friends, and coworkers. She has encountered a lot of tragedy, but remains a powerful person who looks ahead at the future. She is smart, fun, and cares about bringing justice to all. She will not let an innocent person go to jail, but continues to bulldog it and search out the truth.

For more on Mary Higgins Clark, go to That Face-I’ve Seen Her Before…: Let Me Call You Sweetheart (1997)

1) Michael “Crocodile” Dundee from Crocodile Dundee (1986), Crocodile Dundee II (1988), and Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001)

Michael “Crocodile” Dundee is living his life in Australia, his reputation being built up by a friend, and making his living by taking tourists out on tours. He is strong, tough, battles any beast, and is friends with an aborigine clan-who actually raised him. When a beautiful New York reporter, Sue Charlton, writes a series of articles on him, he becomes so popular, that he joins her in New York. He’s a regular fish out of water, but his sweet nature wows Sue. The two return to Australia in the sequel, taking down drug dealers/smugglers and saving a friend of Sue. In the third film, the two and their son head off to Hollywood-also getting into crazy shenanigans and solving crime.

Why Crocodile Dundee is Awesome: 

He is such an amazing man. He is kind, caring, protective, supportive, and always there for Sue. When she wants to stay in New York, he stays too even though there isn’t much for him to do. When she has the amazing opportunity to go to L.A., even though he’ll be separated from Australia and the land he loves, he wants her to take every opportunity that comes her way-along with wanting their son to see both cultures so that he can decide what he ultimately wants to do with his life (when he is older). He a great guy, and I can watch all three films a thousand times and never get tired of them.

So that ends my list for this year. You all know what I’ll be doing with the rest of my day. Eating some soda bread made by my sister blog, MysteriousEats.wordpress.com. And my yearly tradition, watching the Disney Channel Original Movie: The Luck of the Irish.

The_Luck_of_the_Irish

4_leaf_clover_banner

For the 2013 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes 

For the 2014 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heroes

For the 2015 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to Lookin’ Over a Four-Leaf Clover: 17 More Irish Heroes

For the 2016 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to The Wearing of the Green: 17 More Irish Heroes

For the 2017 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

For the 2018 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to Top O’ the Morning: 7 More Irish Heroes

Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements

Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements by Mary Pagones

I was given this book free in exchange for an honest review. I had planned to post the review earlier, but I had to go out of town for my grandmother’s funeral, and then the rest of the week was packed.

But then I began to put it off as I have been having such a hard time reviewing this book.

But I’m actually glad I did. I don’t know if you have been following the college bribe scandal involving Lori Loughlin and Felicity Hoffman-but this book is right up that alley. Crazy parents who will do practically anything to have their kids go to a “good” college. Expensive college application tutors doing all they can to get the kids placed and increase their application. If interested, go to this link. For the review-keep reading.

First let me start that I want to give props to Mary Pagones. Writing is hard…

Writing a whole book is even harder, and then putting your work out there for people to praise or pull apart-

That’s hard. So for finishing your book, Mary Pagones-

So I have been having such a hard time reviewing this book. I thought it was interesting but I’m sorry, I know that this will probably make the author angry-but I didn’t see Pride and Prejudice at all, but Emma.

What?

Yep-

Yes, I…well let’d back up. I’ll go over that later, let’s do a quick plot synopsis first:

So this is the story of Lissa- Jane Austen megafan who is getting ready to apply to college. She faces all the difficulties of branding herself, having a personal statement, using the scholarship from one school to leverage getting more money out of the other, etc. Besides that, she has her senior year with her friends, and a new boyfriend, and trying to do what she can to ace her SATs, pad her application, and hopefully-get into the school of her dreams!

So the first thing that made this book hard for me was that this concept was so foreign to me. I was shocked and confused, is this really how it is like? My experience was soooo different. I graduated in 2010 and am the first in my family to ever go to a four year university, and one immediately out of high school. I had no clue how to do anything and had knew no one to ask about it. There were no “college applications tutors”. We didn’t even have a guidance counselor-just the former principal who had retired and volunteered. I had never even heard of a college application tutor until reading this book.

Uhhhhhhh

I am biracial and the running joke in my family is that the only college fund we have is that my mom is Mexican-and I could hopefully get scholarships. I’m from a low-income area, mostly agriculture, but I did go to college prep/art school. I applied in mass (thank you fee waivers) to four UCs and four CSUs. I was lucky to get into al but one, UCLA. There were no interviews-just my resume of extracurriculars (which I had a ton of), transcripts, letters of references, and a personal statement (that I cant even remember what I wrote but I did have a teacher review it for me). I received my letters and then judged them based on the amount I received in scholarship money-I didn’t even know that you could use one’s amount as leverage as stated in this book. Basically I ended up split between two schools that were giving me the most. The school I chose, my first year was paid for, I had to take loans out the next three years, and work two jobs to put myself through school.

I had a hard time reading this book and hearing Lissa whine about being poor when she and her sister have iPhones and each have a laptop. I had a CD player because I and my family couldn’t afford anything. We had one computer growing up-that was my dad ad I only got my laptop my first year of college through my scholarship funds, and because I had a family friend who worked with Apple. Unfortunately, the one I purchased was outmoded the next year. Only by the grace of God is it still running. My first cellphone was a flip phone I got for free from the company because they were outmoding them, and it cost $40 a month, the cheapest I could get.

Lissa and her family eat all kinds of hamburger, pizza, turkey meatballs, name brand cereal, etc-and she can afford to buy lunch everyday from the cafeteria. Poor is surviving on 1/4 cup of oatmeal, hot chocolate instead of milk, and having to choose between fruit and dairy (which I did in college until I got my two jobs). She says that she is poor, but snubs her nose at a school that has maid service-if she was really poor she’d be down on that. If I didn’t have to clean my four years-woohoo. Do you know how much cleaning supplies can add up to? Luckily, today the Dollar Tree carries a lot.

As poor as these ladies

The other part I had trouble connecting to is when Lissa describes being at the college and meeting all these goth/all black wearing, alternative, pieced people-in a Jane Austen literature class. Really? In a Jane Austen class? I’m not surprised there would be some-but what about all the other people who would be in such a class.

My junior year I took an upperclass history class: The History of the Novel. Half the kids were in there for history, half were English majors. There is a picture of us and I will describe how we look. First there is Kevin: Kevin was a super outdoorsy, park ranger, hiker type guy. Hiking boots, loved the outdoors, all-american blonde football-type, in a baseball cap, tee shirt, and jeans. Then there was Thomas, noir-loving, Sundance, type guy-like Jughead Jones in TV’s Riverdale stole his look with the long hair, jacket, etc. Angelica-long curly hair/afro, always wore big rings, and smart jackets-very professional. Gwynn wore her hair long, with side bangs over one eye-dark eyeshadow and liner, jeans, and thin hoodies. Belinda was in a sorority and always had perfectly straightened hair and wore a shirt/sweater with the sorority letters on it. Kate was full athlete-always workout gear and hair in braid or ponytail. And then me-I’m wearing a little jacket my mom made, lacy “Jane Austen” inspired shirt and cowboy boots. A large variety of personalities, clothes, and interests.

Wow!

So I have to say that this book wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t connect with the characters or the plot. I guess a lot has changed in nine years. Or it might have been the area I grew up in versus where this is set.

I guess I’m too old.

So lets move on to why do I think this is Emma?

So the story is of a widowed father who loved his wife dearly, and lost her suddenly. He has two daughters which he cherishes, has a close relationship too, and worries constantly about.

Then we have the main character, Lissa. Lissa is headstrong and stubborn-but at the same time she is also a tad manipulative, thinks she knows everything, and can be harsh and judgmental. True-Elizabeth does share some of these qualities but I feel Lissa is way more Emma.  Like Emma she thinks she knows everything and in the end discovers that she was much more naive than she thought.

She can be very controlling of her friends-pushing Calvin to “officially” out himself, instead of letting him do things how he wants. She is also constantly trying to match her friend Jacqui up-first with a guy they go to school with, Noel, but when she determines that he is not worthy-tries to get her to match up with a guy Jacqui met on a school tour.

She meets a guy, Hugh Fitzgerald, and because of how he dresses basically she believes that he is perfect-not really getting to know him and enjoying his sarcastic jabs at everyone and everything…

That is until his jabs are aimed at her and she realizes that he is not that great of  person after all-very much like how Emma realizes Franck Churchill is a major jerk. Hugh is so Frank Churchill, he uses Lissa to get him through English and write a screenplay for his movie which he takes full credit for-while at the same time boinking her sister; just as Frank used Emma to deflect he was involved with Jane.

Jacqui is so a Harriet in my opinion. Jacqui is Lissa’s best friend and is kind, sweet, and completely convinced into doing whatever Lissa thinks she should do. Lissa thinks she should get closer to Noel, Jacqui does. Lissa thinks that Jacqui should go with her to the Regency Fair, even though Jacqui isn’t into it-Jacqui not only does, but has a dress made, gloves, etc. Then Lissa pushes Jacqui to another guy, and she does go after him.

Lissa hates on a classmate Charlotte so much, but I don’t see any real reason to dislike her. Charlotte is wealthy, goes on lots of trips, talks about her grades and Princeton constantly-but she cares about people and never flaunts what she has in other people’s faces. She may gossip a lot but she’s not mean about it or cruel. Lissa just hates on her because she is jealous-and all her reactions reminds me of Emma and Jane Fairfax. Jane Fairfax is Emma’s number-one hated person but there is no real reason to dislike her. Emma just does because she is jealous off all she has and her talents.

I think Calvin was supposed to be Charlotte from Pride and Prejudice, but I see a Mrs. Weston vibe. Calvin tries to help Lissa and give her some advice, but then is also easily led by Lissa.

And then there is Mr. Clarke-he is so Mr. Knightley. He tries to help Lissa, instructing her in books, schools, and life.

They even dance together and quote from Emma (although that’s not something I think Mr. Clarke should have with all the teacher/student romantic relationships that have been in the news.)

This has nothing to with Emma, but Lissa’s little sister-ouch. Lissa should have told her father that her sister makes awful decisions about boys and will be ending up pregnant or with an STD if dad doesn’t get into checking on her. But really Lissa, giving your skeezy boyfriend’s number to your young, naive, impressionable sister and setting them up to all kinds of things together alone-reminds me of my friend Shannon, who had her friend Samantha tutor her boyfriend Vincent, and next thing you know-Vin and Sam were together.

Forget you!

So I know I have been harsh, as I said I don’t think this book was for me. I will say that I really enjoyed her writing style, it was a very engrossing read.

And I LOVE how she wove points and quotes from Jane Austen throughout her work. It is littered with it, and a fangirl’s delight.

She was able to tell a story based on a Jane Austen work, but it is something that an non-Austen fan can easily follow along with.

I also think that she made some very strong points and observations of Austen and her novels in her work. You might not agree with everything, but she has sound reasoning and presents a good case and an interesting view.

Hmmm….

I liked her depictions of teenagers and how Lissa thinks she knows everything, but is not as on it as she thought she was-falling for a narcissistic pig like so many young teens and women fall victim too.

As I said it was a hard review to write. I think it is definitely worth checking out, especially in light if the recent scandal and how far parents will go to get their kids into school. I mean bribing admissions so your kids can get in? I could see Mrs. Bennet doing it.

If you do read it, comment below what you think. I’d love to hear it.

For more Emma, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

For more Emma variations, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MATURE

For more Pride and Prejudice variations, go to Why Do People Love Bridget Jones’ Diary?

For more Young Adult novels, go to Victoria and the Rogue

Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?

Hmm…I don’t know!

That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.

So there are a lot of period dramas I plan on reviewing, but to start it off-I’m doing something a bit unexpected.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Laura Jean is is a romantic. She reads romances, watches romantic films and Rom-Coms-her favorite is Sixteen Candles-and she dreams about the beauty of love in her head.

She wishes she could be in a romance book or film.

When Laura Jean falls in love she writes love letters, but she never sends them. Whenever she falls for a guy she writes them a letter, addresses it, seals it, and stashes it in her closet. She has fallen in love with five guys, so far:

  • Kenny from camp
  • John Ambrose McClaren from Model U. N.
  • Peter Kavinsky in 7th Grade
  • Lucas after Homecoming
  • Josh Sanderson, best friend turned sister’s boyfriend

Ouch, that last one-yes, Laura was best friends with Josh, but then her sister and him started dating. Very awkward!

It is the start of junior year and Laura’s sister is heading off to college to Scotland. Laura is feeling a little lost as she is losing her other best friend and the one she has…well it is even more awkward now that he isn’t dating her sister than when he was.

School is okay, as Laura Jean isn’t the most popular girl in school but it never really mattered before, but now she feels lonely without her sister.

Everything is normal until one day Peter Kavinsky approaches her out of the blue stating that nothing will ever happen between them.

Huh?

Laura Jean is confused, until she realizes he has her letter!! Josh does too, so in order to dissuade him-and to keep more awkward conversations from happening between her and Josh and her sister-she kisses Peter and takes off.

At home she discovers that all the letters are gone! Kenny’s from camp is returned to her, as address is wrong (*phew*) but all the others were sent out and received.

Lucas approaches her and reveals to her that he is gay, and the two actually become friends, this continuing throughout the movie. Peter’s girlfriend, Genevieve, dumped him for a college guy, and in order to get her back-he approaches Laura Jean about pretending to be his new girlfriend, as him dating Laura Jean will piss her off. Genevieve and Laura Jean used to be friends, but back in seventh grade it ended. At a party, they were playing spin-the-bottle and it landed on Peter, Genevieve’s crush. (That kiss lead to the writing of Laura Jean’s letter).

Laura Jean isn’t interested, but then Peter points out that if they are “dating”, then Josh won’t believe the letter is how Laura Jean feels now-and no awkward conversations will have to be done with Josh or Margo. Laura Jean agrees after they come up with a series of rules.

The two start “dating” and really enjoying each other’s company. Laura Jean’s mother died when she was little and she grew up with only one parent and her sisters. Peter’s dad left him and started a new family, it being just his mom and brother. They bond over what that feels like and have conversations they would never have with anyone else.

Most of all they just have fun with each other.

And their plan is working. Genevieve hates the situation and her college guy is quickly dropped as she tries to beak the two up. Everything is going great until Laura Jean falls in love with her fake boyfriend. Will everything turn out okay?

So not fun…

Let me say that I love, love loved this movie. I put it on as background noise while I was doing something else and I stopped working as I was sucked in and just could not stop watching. It made me laugh, aw, and I just all around enjoyed it.

I can’t stop watching!

Now I know you think this film has been done a thousand times, and yes the fake relationship has-but what makes this stand out is the character Laura Jean. She is relatable, realistic, and so much fun. She was smart, but at the same time didn’t know all the answers to everything. She loved romance in books and movies, but was afraid at real commitment-understandable as she had lost her mother and now her sister has “left her.”

I liked the fact that they came up with rules as I have always thought that if you were to do this in real life the first thing you would need is a set if rules and a strong backstory.

I also liked that they broke up for actual serious reasons. Often they have the couple break up over silly misunderstandings that would be easily solved if the two would just talk to each other. But the fact that this guy says that he is into you but constantly talking to his ex-girlfriend and spent the night in her room? Good for you Laura Jean-that’s a no.

So I know you are all wondering-why would a Jane Austen fan like it? Well there are a few reasons. Well, first of all Laura Jean is sooo Catherine Morland-a girl who loves romance novels and finds herself in one?! Out of all the Austen heroines that’s the one that most kept popping in my mind. How Laura Jean imagines herself in romance novels-and being sweet and naive. 

The relationship between Laura and Peter is reminiscent of Catherine and Mr. Tilney, both couples having two great banter with their love interests-laughing and joking around with each other.

Like I said above, Peter isn’t exactly Mr. Tilney, but they do share commonalities. Both care about their younger siblings a lot and have a strained relationship with their fathers. They also don’t always follow social norms but do what they want, and enjoy joking around.

Another thing that Austen fans will enjoy is the family relationships. In Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, the main Austen heroines didn’t have a lot of friends besides their own sisters. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth does have Charlotte Lucas, but just like how Laura Jean’s friend is practically non-existent in this film, the two don’t spend a lot of the book spending time together. Mostly, their best friends are their sisters (like Jane Austen). In Pride and Prejudice, Jane goes away for a period of time to stay with relatives, and Elizabeth is very lonely with her gone-just how Laura Jean feels when Margo goes away for school. Speaking of P&P, Laura Jean’s little sister Kitty-she’s like a combo of Lydia and Kitty. Meddling, outspoken, more mature than her years in some aspects (but still a child in others).

Like Sense and Sensibility, we have an older, more sensible sister-Margo/Elinor; a romantic, reader, middle sister-Laura Jean/Marianne; and a spunky, does thing her own thing, younger sister-Kitty/Margaret. Like in S&S, The older siblings have a very close relationship, but both keep secrets from each other. But through all the ups and downs-secrets holding and ultimately revealing the truth-the sisters are there for each other.

The other thing that Austen fans will love- is that letters play a crucial role in the film and in the plot. In Austen’s time, letters were extremely important-being the only way of communicating when apart, but often read out loud and like the TV of the day. In Austen’s books-letters play a very important role. The two most known of course are Darcy’s letter in Pride and Prejudice and Captain Wentworth’s letter in Persuasion. Like those novels-the letters Laura Jean writes to her love interests, starting all the events in the film, but just like those two Austen men’s letters bring a romantic conclusion-the love notes Peter wrote her are what convinces her of his love.

I recommend it for any Austen fan.

For more Young Adult/Teen works, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Suitors and Sabotage

For more love letters, go to You Were Right, Let’s Get Married: Psycho (1960)

For more Austen film/TV show reviews, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

Book Club Picks: The Mother Keeper

So as you all know I started a book club, 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 the book club member chose:

The Mother Keeper by Paula Scott

So in my last book club book review I had chosen The Far Side of the Sea by Paula Scott and our book club actually got to meet her!

Afterwards, we all started following her on instagram, facebook, etc. One book club member spotted this on facebook and afterwards wanted to read it.

Paula Scott told us that she started writing this years ago and tucked it away, bringing it out later when her daughters wanted a romance as she wouldn’t let them read Twilight (thank goodness).

She tweaked it here and there and rewrote it-this being the finishing product.

Jenny McBride and her husband Kevin, live in Colorado, are celebrating New Year’s Eve and ecstatic for their pregnancy. They can’t wait or the baby, dreaming of all the things they would like to do.

Both are Christians and strong leaders in their church. That night Kevin had a drink, something Jenny does not approve of, and she insists on driving them home in the snow. A car comes careening their way, and crashes into them. Jenny loses her uterus, Kevin his leg, and both their baby.

Nooooooooooooooo

Jenny can’t believe this happened to her, her whole life she has been a good Christian and this is what happens to her? She is hurt, depressed, and angry.

Noooo!

Meanwhile, in the country areas of Tennessee, teenagers Ellie Ryan and her boyfriend are making plans for the future. Jamie is a big football star and will get a scholarship, while Ellie can get one with her amazing grades. However, there is one wrinkle-Ellie is pregnant.

That is not good,

She doesn’t tell her boyfriend, she just breaks up with him. She then heads to the pregnancy crisis center where her sister had gotten an abortion before she took off to California. Ellie hasn’t heard from her since.

At the center, Ellie meets Patsy Klein, a pastor’s wife, who invites her to come stay with her and take part in their church’s Mother Keeper program. The Mother Keeper program, is when a family takes in a pregnant teen and helps take care of her until she has the baby. Sometimes they adopt the baby, help arrange adoptions, or just help them until they can figure out their next step. They pay the food and medical bills through church funding/fundraising.

Ellie stays with Pastor Klein, Patsy, and their three boys-Shawn, Seth, and Stephen. For Ellie, this a dream come true as she is finally part a perfect family.

Shawn is upset when he hears that a pregnant girl from Sutterville-Sucksville-is going to be living with  them. He has enough on his plate with football, a scholarship to Vanderbilt, his beautiful girlfriend Jill who desires him. But meeting Ellie and spending time with her-Shawn realizes that the life he has been living isn’t what he wants at all, but what does he want? Now, he doesn’t know.

Hmmm….I need to rethink my life’s choices

As Shawn and Ellie grow closer, Shawn wants to marry her and raise the baby together. But the assistant pastor contacts his sister Jenny, she having gone through a spiritual battle and grief, is ready to adopt-Ellie’s baby. What will Ellie decide?

Many more decisions will be made as secrets are brought out in the open: a secret affair, true parentage revealed, murder, rape, and a fight over who will adopt Ellie’s baby.

Wow!

This was a a fantastic story and a real page turner. Paula Scott doesn’t pull way from anything, but hits the truth hard.

What?

It’s funny because it certain characters reminded me of ones from Desperate Pastor Wives and The MasterpieceThat was completely unplanned by us. In DPW, Jennifer Shores too has lost a baby, and becomes angry with God; having to go through her journey, getting close to God, and figuring what is next in the future. In The Masterpiece, Grace Moore is kept by a family until she has her child, and goes through a similar battle over who will adopt her child, along with having family issues she has to work through.

It was a fantastic book, and I strongly recommend it.

For more Book Club Picks, go to Book Club Picks: Far Side of the Sea

For more by Paula Scott, go to Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

For more Christian novels, go to Book Club Picks: Desperate Pastors’ Wives

I’m a Barbie Girl

So today marks the 60th anniversary of Barbie! I am so excited as I love Barbie!

I know a lot of people complain about Barbie but I loved her. I used to save up my money and go buy new ones-I had a giant collection of them.

I never felt Barbie projected a bad image, I thought she was awesome as she was everything-and that I could be too.

Each one of my Barbies had their own name and personality, and did everything you could imagine. You see, I wanted to do and be everything-as a child I switched from day to day what kind of thing I wanted to do as a “grown up”. I don’t have all mine with me, they are in storage-for if I have kids one day-so here are all I can remember off the top of my head:

  • Corduroy Cool Barbie-I really wanted the Daphne doll as I was such a big Scooby-Doo fan, but my mother couldn’t buy it as it was too expensive. Instead I got this doll, who I named Linda, and she was a private eye. Often I would put the scarf around her head or neck as part of her disguise.
  • Teen Skipper: All Grown Up-She was my first doll and first Skipper doll, so she was the only one who kept the “Skipper” name. She was a teenager so she didn’t have a profession, but I do remember putting all those stickers on the headboard of my bed.
  • Western Stampin’ Barbie-I really wanted to be a cowgirl when I was little and loved Dolly Patron. This one was Dolly, named after the sing-a country singer, rancher, and a ribbon winning rodeo queen.
  • CEO Barbie-Her name was Wendy and she was CEO of a stationary company. This doll was cool as it came with a CD-Rom that let you make your own calendars, stationary, and design other paper products.
  • Fashion Designer Barbie– Her name was Ashley, after my best friend, and she created cool, comfortable, and stunning clothes.
  • Pilot BarbieSpring was the pilot of Barbie Air and went all over the world. Once her plane even crashed and we needed to solve a mystery of who sabotaged the plane and killed a passenger.
  • Totally Yoyo Skipper-I can’t remember what I called her, but she was the Yoyo champion of the world. That is until she was in a car accident and lost her hand (we got a new dog who ate it). Even though she faced tragedy, she never gave up but figured out a way to continue her dream.
  • Cool Blue Barbie and Extreme Green Skipper– I think it was because they wore overalls, but I had the Barbie, who’s name was Julie, and her daughter, Janey, own their own contracting company. They would paint houses, fix any hardware issues, and were basically mechanics (even though that doesn’t fall under contracting. Hey I was a little girl-I didn’t know.)
  • Birthday Party Barbie– Brittany was a party planner, birthdays being her specialty. As her lips were permanently fixed in that expression, she was also a part time lip model.
  • Kitty Fun– Kathryn, (named after another best friend) was a teenage cat trainer.
  • Glam ‘n Groom Barbie Teresa– I received these two for my birthday one year. This was my first Teresa doll so she stayed with that name, while Barbie was Katrina. The two had an animal grooming business and had gone to school in Paris (because of the ruffles and tutu clothes.) I was heartbroken when my friend’s sister broke my Teresa doll. After her death, Katrina kept up the business, hiring Kathryn to help out.
  • Jewel Teresa My friend’s mom bought me a new Teresa to replace the one broken. I LOVED this Teresa as to me this Teresa looked like me. Teresa was Latino, like me, and had dark hair with lighter skin-like me. It was wonderful having something like that after being bullied by others for not “looking Mexican enough”. This became my favorite doll of all.
  • Generation Girl Barbie– Her name was Gina and she wanted to be a director. She wrote and filmed her own movies; sometimes acting as well.
  • Generation Girl: Dance Party Barbie– Sister of Gina, named Gia, she wanted to be a photographer for National Geographic, Vogue, or Life Magazine. Until then, she would photograph still lifes, her family, friends, and worked on the school yearbook.
  • Generation Girl Tori– Tori was the national skateboard champion, and roller skated for fun. She was also a track star and excelled at all sports.
  • Secret Messages Barbie: Leah was a teen who loved mysteries and spy stories. She wanted to be a writer or FBI agent.
  • Sleeping Beauty Barbie– I fangirled so hard after watching the commercial for this doll. I loved Sleeping Beauty but there was nothing, no merch at all. Every year my Grandma used to give us $25 dollars for Christmas, which was a lot for pastor’s kids who never received allowance. I knew it was coming and begged and begged my mom to let me open it early and buy this doll. No dice. As soon as I opened the envelope on Christmas I constantly nagged my mom to take me to the store and buy it, but the answer was no again. The next day I woke up at the crack of dawn and continued to beg her to take me to the store. She agreed and we went to Walmart. I still remember running through the store, my mom tailing after me as I’m searching for the doll-of which there were only three on the shelf, grabbing it and trying to run to a cashier. After that I could not stop playing with it, and even had it sleep by my pillow.
  • Beyond Pink-This was the only Barbie I called Barbie as that was also her stage name. International Rock Star, singer, songwriter, lead guitarist, and grammy winning star. I remember being so jazzed about this as it came with the cassette Think Pink. I think I annoyed everyone in my family playing this over and over again.
  • Twirlin’ Makeup BarbieBrenda, the beautician and owned her own salon.
  • The Front Window Barbie– Collector’s Barbie and one my mom gave me when she knew I was old enough to understand this wasn’t for playing with. I named her Susan after Susan B. Antony, my hero.

I had a lot more, but if I keep going-I’ll be writing all night and the next day. My Barbies solved crimes, went camping, took trips around the world, got stranded on an island, reenacted all kinds of movies, were spies, superheroes, stumbled onto smugglers, were pirates, and more.

For someone growing up and the world saying you are limited in your choices, it was great having someone telling-you can be anything you want to be.

Happy 60th Barbie, Here’s to 60 More!

For more Barbie, go to I Made You A Bummed Out Box: Gone Glitter Part I, Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse (2012)

For more anniversaries, go to Maybe Christmas, He Thought, Doesn’t Come from a Store. Maybe Christmas…Perhaps…Means a Little Bit More: How the Grinch Stole Christmas