Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

Thoughts Before Cooking:

This recipe comes from my sister blog, MysteriousEats.wordpress.com. I like to include ay recipes that go well with tea and books.

Even though Christmas is eight months away, I don’t care. I’m making them anyway.

Truth be told I don’t

Background on the Cookie:

“These delicious tea cakes were made by an Aunt Cornelia (“Neal) on special occasions and holidays, using hand-churned butter and eggs she gathered from the hen-house. This southern Georgia version dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. “

**Dough has to be chilled**

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup of Granulated (White) Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • White Sparkling Sugar

Directions:

  1. Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Add one cup of sugar, beating well.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla; beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl: combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture and the milk to butter mixture, alternating between the two. Begin with adding half the flour mixture, then add the milk, and finish with adding the flour mixture.
  6. Mix at a low speed after each addition, until just blended.
  7. Shape dough into two discs.
  8. Wrap the discs in wax paper and chill for at least one hour.
  9. After having chilled, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  10. Roll each disc to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface.
  11. Cut with a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter; and place one inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets.
  12. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
  13. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  14. Cool for one minute and then remove to wore racks to cool.
  15. Makes about two dozen.

Thoughts After Baking:

When I took it out of the fridge it was super hard and I was unsure if it would come out okay.

Not good

But after being in my hands it quickly became super sticky, so make sure you flour the rolling pin and the cutting board.

But after all that this cookies were super good. Not too sweet and perfect for tea time.

For more recipes, go to Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

For more on cookies, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

So it has been a while since I reviewed the first episode for Horrorfest V. I had meant to do it in December, but then wasn’t able to as I was so focused on the 30 Day Challenge: Literature Loves.

I was planning to do it in January, but then I was trying to finish the 30 day challenge as I was behind.

Then February came with Romance is in the Air: Part V and the evacuation; and the next thing you know it is almost April, but here we go.

So I actually enjoyed the first episode, which surprised me as I did not care for the book. In the TV show it looks like they are playing up the supernatural aspect more and trying to make it more mysterious.

I didn’t care for their portrayal of Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam, but I enjoyed the way Darcy was played.

We last left off with Elizabeth discovering a letter burned by Colonel Fitzwilliam. Will we discover what it held?

Will Wickham be put on trial for the murder of Captain Dennys?

Will the Darcy-Bennet-Bingley family stay strong or be ripped apart?

Now will my views stay the same or change?

So we start off this episode with Darcy having a tender moment with his son ad I like that they included this in the TV show instead of just shutting the children off. I know that most parents in his position and wealth didn’t spend a lot of time with their children, having them occupied with governesses and the like; but I feel like both Darcy and Elizabeth would play a bigger role in their children’s lives. I mean look at the way he treats Georgiana.

Lydia is staying with them for the ordeal and Darcy meets with the doctor who had been looking in on her, and sends him on his way. Elizabeth tries to gather the servants to deal with the situation and calm everyone down. Sadly, Mrs. Bennet is going to cause issues with her dramatics-as always- but luckily the Doctor hadn’t left yet and can deal with her exclamations.

The servants are agog and shocked at when they find out the ball is canceled, but of course they can have no such thing with what Wickham is facing.

So Wickham is being such a

All he does is go on and on about what he wants.

 I mean he is in jail for murder and all he wants is for Darcy to go to his every whim and get him a better room.

But interestingly, Wickham seems to have something on the Colonel as whatever he asks for, Colonel Fitzwilliam supplies.

Hmm…

Colonel Fitzwilliam and Wickham, a secret deal?

One things this TV show does really well, is play around with the setting. They show the grand estate, the opulence, but also how empty it is- creating a beautiful contrast. We have the beauty and decorations, showing how they should be happy for Christmas and the ball but instead faced with such horror-and each filled with loneliness.

Darcy and Elizabeth are having miscommunication issues. Elizabeth keeps trying to talk to him, but Darcy has retreated into himself and is so cold toward her.

You need to communicate with your wife, man.

Seriously

Elizabeth is completely broken hearted about everything that has been going on and thinks back to one of her early days as Mrs. Darcy and how everyone talked about her and her family. Poor Elizabeth. She now wonders if Darcy regrets marrying her, as she has tied him to the very man he cannot stand and wanted to never see again.

Henry Alveston lends them his skills as a solicitor and prepares the family for what will happen and what they should do.

Georgiana also wants to help but Col Fitzwilliam and Mr. Darcy wants to send Georgina far away to distance herself from everything, but Georgiana doesn’t want to go. Poor girl, poor Georgiana. She has gone through so much and has faced such trauma but still remains strong.

Darcy is brooding, Colonel Fitzwilliam is brooding, Henry is brooding, etc. I know I have said I love brooding men, but we have too many.

Sir Selwyn Hardcastle, the one who is investigating as Darcy is related to Wickham, returns to interview everyone about what happened that night.  Nothing seems quite right, and Sir Selwyn is on the case to solve it. He questions Lydia but she isn’t helpful at all.

Ugh!

She is an empty flowerpot-her and her mother.

Elizabeth tries to speak to Darcy about the letter she found, but he won’t even discuss it and refuses to believe that his cousin could have done anything wrong. He is closer to him than any other, of course he would believe the best.

Unfortuantely, Elizabeth did not know that her dad was sitting in the library and he has overheard the whole fight.

So embarressed

He tells her that he called for Jane, and she and Bingley will be arriving soon to aid the family.

The two then go one to laugh at Lydia and her outrageous behavior. I loved this addition as I thought it was a cute image of her and her father’s relationship and shows how much she is his favorite.

Elizabeth questions the maids who saw the “ghost” the other day as she is trying to find out more about the woman. Could it be the same one that hissed at her? Elizabeth tells Sir Selwyn about the woman, hoping it might help bring Selwyn’s view on someone else, but no dice. Sir Selwyn is focused on only one man.

Colonel Fitzwilliam sees Georgiana with Henry and doesn’t like it at all. He wants to marry her and he doesn’t trust Henry at all, even though Henry is trying to help him.

I know, right?

Jane arrives and setss out to comfort all. She tries to support Lydia, but all Lydia does is go on and on about her needs and wants. Ugh, what a jerk. She and Wickham deserve each other. Jerks flock together.

Colonel Fitzwilliam finally tells everyone  where he was when he took off that night. He says that he had a meeting with a lady who needed help with her brother and he was trying to protect her reputation. Is he telling the truth?

Hmm…

I can’t help feeling for Darcy. Poor guy- this is tearing him apart.

When they attend church all  the people can talk about is Wickham’s arrest. Lydia totally loves the drama and plays up her role of the injured wife for all to see and feel sorry for.

Ugh.

Oh come on. I really want to punch her in the face-Sidney from Scream style.

I love the minister of their church. He is hilarious! He knows that the big turnout is because they all want to gossip about the murder and isn’t above getting the little digs and letting people know that he knows what they are up to.

Elizabeth tries to hold Darcy’s hand, and get support but he breaks the hold and instead goes off with their son.

Jane and Mr. Bennet team up to take care of Mrs. Bennet and Lydia to try and shield the Darcys.

Let me just say that I love this version of their father as he is so hilarious and animated.  This Mr. Bennet is much more active and how I believe Jane Austen wrote him.

Henry tries to propose to Georgiana and I have to say I really like him and want them together. In the book he was so bland, boring, and seemed to be a good choice for the villian. He’s much better in the TV show as James Norton was just fantastic.

Elizabeth and Jane decide to visit the butler’s cabin and check on his sick son William. Darcy drives them over but remains in the carriage. As the ladies are walking over to deliver the books for William, Elizabeth spies Louisa with her baby nephew George that she brought back from her sisters. But to Elizabeth’s shock she sees Louisa os nursing the baby!

You know what that means. The baby George is actually her child. But why the pretense? Why won’t the father help her take care of him? Who is the father?

The two cut their visit short as something not right-besides Louisa being the real mother-the air is thick with tension. As they leave, Will creepily stares at them through the window.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

When they get back to the carriage, it turns out that Darcy has now disappeared. Jane goes into the cariage while Elizabeth searches the woods. Where could he be? Maybe the grave of the crazy grandfather?

Hmm…

Yep, he’s there. Of course, he doesn’t tell Elizabeth anything and she has to find out the story from Georgiana. It turns out that their great-grandfather was a gambler and almost lost Pemberely. Darcy is afraid, has been afraid since a boy that he will be the Darcy to lose everything. His proposal makes a lot more sense now doesn’t it?

Elizabeth understands her husband more than ever and why duty is so important to him. And knowing this causes her heart to break even more. She reveals to Jane that she is afraid that Darcy regrets her, regrets everything, that they embarrass him. The cold way he acts, how he is shutting her out-it is killing her.

Stress, shame, scandal- it is all too overpowering.

Darcy goes to visit Wickham in his cell, and this is not fun or pleasant. Darcy thinks back to when he forced Wickham to marry Lydia, that was ot pleasant either. Wickham is so evil! He doesn’t care about anyone or anything other than himself. He didn’t care a twig about Lydia, he already has the price prepared to which he can be bought off. Sock him in the face please, someone.

We need a modern adaption where someone knocks him in the face pleaseProm and Prejudice has a good whack in it but I want more.

I have to say that when I first saw Matthew Goode, I didn’t think he could be Wickham. Prior to this I had only seen him in Chasing Liberty, as undercover British FBI agent that is protecting the President’s daughter. But he completely blew me away in his performance. He is probably the best Wickham I have ever seen as he is just so deplorable! I mean words cannot describe how horrible and hideous this character is.

I mean he is sitting in jail about to be determined whether or not he will be tried for murder and all he can think of is being famous!

Yes, he is trying to use his “experience” to make him money. And then he has the gall to try and get money from Darcy. Slap him please.

Seriously

Darcy agrees to help if Wickham is released. Wickham assures him he will be as he did not kill his friend. But if not him, then who?

Hmm…

Lydia and Mrs. Bennet are just awful to Darcy, so Jane takes them away, hoping that she will be able to isolate the damage they will make. Let me tell you, she and Wickham are a matched set as she created her own memoirs to “cash in” on his arrest.

Ugh.

Back at the Darcy’s Colonel Fitzwilliam asks for Georgiana’s hand. Darcy is a great big brother and wants her to decide, but is very pro-Colonel. Elizabeth is extremely against it, vehemently discouraging about the Colonel’s traits. It is really odd as six years earlier, Elizabeth was thinking about marrying the Colonel herself.

As I said before, I don’t like this version of Colonel Fitzwillam. They make him act like such a jerk and nothing at all like the jovial version in Pride and Prejudice.

Sir Selwyn calls Darcy to look at some carvings he found close to the murder site. Darcy knows nothing about it but Selwyn thinks he is the one who carved the tree, a big FD for Fitwawilliam Darcy.

Louisa comes to Elizabeth and tells her the truth about the baby. She feel in love with a handsome soldier, Freddie Delancy. When she discovered she was pregnant she hid it from her parents and brother, staying with her sister until her son was born. Freddie promised her that he would take care of her, marry her, and take her and their son away from her. However, Elizabeth knows that this probably will not happen. Most likely Mr. Delancy is a fake name and has taken off.

Henry has returned and asks for Georgiana’s hand, but she turns him down. When Elizabeth goes to talk to her, Georgiana admits that she loves Henry, but must do her duty to protect Pemberley and the Darcy name. She choses Colonel Fitzwilliam.

Noooo!

Darcy heads off to the inquest, what will be the outcome?

This TV show is so much more dramatic than that dry dust of a book. I feel like I don’t know what will happen next even though I have read the book! The emotions of the scenery and the actors just sends my pulse running and has completely captured me. Good job all.

Henry goes to Darcy and offers his help again, and all I can say is good thing they know a lawyer. Such a sweet guy even though his love and dreams have been crushed- a real man.

 The inquest such a lively affair, I have never seen anything like that in present times.

Elizabeth decides to head to the inquest to speak to Darcy and take thim lunch, having Louisa accompany her.

The witnesses go on the stand and tell their stories, and it does not look good for Wickham, not at all. When Wickham takes the stand, he claims  he is innocent, but the other quickly twist and destroy his testimony. It doesn’t help that Wickham is a cocky little jerk.

What a jerk

The question comes about why he is banned from Pemberley and Darcy has to take the stand. Darcy goes up there and is a total rock, telling them all that Wickham is an affable man and not violent.

Jury sent out to consider verdict-will he go on trial or be acquitted?

Elizabeth reveals to Elizabeth that she sent off letters trying to discover the regiment that Freddie Delancy is with, but they have no record of him. Freddie does not exist, he is a liar, is missing, and most likely will not come back into Louisa’s life. Louisa is heartbroken and sets out to deliver Darcy’s food when she sees Wickham and recognizes him. He is Freddie!

The episode ends with Wickham to go on trial; shouting by all; Louisa hystrerical; and a fade to black!

THAT WAS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!

It made me want to watch the next episode immediately!

So I’m still not happy with a couple of things (the way the actors portray Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam), but everything else in this TV series is just downright AMAZING! You definitely need to check it out.

For more on Death Comes to Pemberley, go to A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Too Pretty

For more films based on Jane Austen, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

To Fandom With Love

Yes my friends we have finally reached the end of these fandom posts. For some you may be sad, while others may rejoice that we are done.

But how do you close a posts like these? Ones that talk about fandoms you love? How do you truly show how wonderful they have been? Well in the words of Eric Matthews (Boy Meets World) “I could tell you what I think about you, but it would just come out a bunch of words. And I know, nobody could say it better than a little girl named Lulu” (with my help of changing the words slightly).

Those school girl days of telling tales
And biting nails are gone
But in my mind I know
They will still live on and on
But how do you thank someone
Who has taken you from crayons to blogging?
It isn’t easy, but I’ll try
If you wanted the sky
I would write across the sky in letters
That would soar a thousand feet high
To Fandom, with love
A Fandom who taught me right from wrong
And weak from strong
That’s a lot to learn, what
can I give you in return?
If you wanted the moon
I would try to make a star
But I, would rather you let me give my heart
To Fandom, with love

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 Wishbone

Wishbone was such an awesome show. It made a huge impact on my life and made me interested in classic literature.

The show was about a dog named Wishbone, his master Joe and his mom (Joe’s dad passed away) and his friends Sam and David. In every episode it covered something happening with the characters and related it to a classic. When Wishbone would tell the story, he would always be the main character.

They did Robin Hood, Pride & Prejudice (which I will be reviewing), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Rip Van Winkle, Ivanhoe, Frankenstein, just to name a few. It was an excellent show.

I can’t stop watching!

They also had a fantastic book series that tied in to the show which was just as good. All of them made reading seem like so much fun, and encouraged us all to do it.

I wish they had more shows like that on TV now for kids. Or put it up on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

 

Whitechapel

I came upon Whitechapel when I was browsing Amazon Prime  and thought it sounded interesting, plus starred Rupert Penry Jones who plays Captain Fredrick Wentworth in Persuasion (2007).

I started watching and was immediately HOOKED!

This DI (Detective Inspector) Joe Chandler is sent to Whitechapel, London. At first he encounters issues as he cleans up the department (literally as he is a germophobe). Others are upset that they choose to bring someone new in, rather than promote one of them.

Someone is killing in the manner of Jack the Ripper and DI Chandler mobilizes his whole team to try and catch him.

It was amazingly well written, and the following seasons were just as good. But sadly, like Copper, it didn’t last more than three. I don’t know why as it was fantastic!

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X-Files

x-files

I loved the X-Files. I started watching because my sister was into it, but it quickly became something I adored as well. It is about FBI Agent Fox Mulder who is the one who investigates anything unusual or strange in the country. He has made quite a lot of enemies and is paired with the always logical doctor, FBI Agent Dana Scully.

To see who you are, go here.

To see who you are, go here.

She quickly fell for him, just as the viewers did, and becomes sucked into the craziness of the X-Files.

I love David Duchovny…

So romantic!

And had to stop watching when he left/was abducted by aliens. I know they came out with a new version of the show, but I haven’t seen it. I’m scared it won’t be as good.

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X-Men

x-men

I am  a HUGE X-Men fan. I started getting into them through the Saturday morning cartoon show and from there I got into the comic books, X-Men Evolution, etc. I’ve read the X-Men Encyclopedia a gazillion times, and don’t get me started on how awesome they are or you will never be able to shut me up. My favorites have to be Gambit and Rogue, they are the absolute best.

X-men

For more on X-Men, go to The Wearing of the Green: 17 More Irish Heroes

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Young Justice

Young Justice

This show wasn’t around a real long time (sadly only two seasons) but was AMAZING!!!! It told the story of the younger group of DC characters and was totally awesome.

We have Conner, a clone of Superman who not only wants to know more about being like him, but how to be anyone. It’s hard when so much of you is based off another person, and because of the mix of human DNA you aren’t even exactly like him.

M’gann, Jon the Manhunter’s niece, who wants so desperately to fit in on Earth and has a secret she’s keeping from everyone else.

Artemis, half-Vietnamese girl who is trying to go down a different path than her father.

Robin, trying to live up the caped crusader who gives him a home, while at the same time finding his own place in the world.

Kid Flash, nephew to the Flash, and an extremely smart and overactive kid. Not only has he recreated the accident that gave Barry his powers, but is eager to be just as good a crime fighter.

Aqualad, super cool as he has had an incredible upgrade in his powers.

I hate that they canceled it after the second season as the characters are awesome, the story-telling incredible and much more adult as the characters grow, and intensely suspenseful. Loved it!

Another TV show canceled too early.

For more on Young Justice, go to I Always Knew and I Didn’t Care: Usual Suspects, Young Justice (2012)

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Nerd Girls John Green

But of course this really isn’t the end.

As I continue to live I am sure that will be new things I become obsessed over and the fandom posts will rise once again. For now thank you all who have come on this journey, I hope that you have enjoyed my review of the things you loved and that maybe you were inspired to check out a few things you had never heard of before.

For the previous posts, go to:

Back to the Fandoms

Fandom Love

Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

Fanning All Over the Place

The Fans and the Furious

A Fantabulous Post

Fantastic Fantasies

A FANtastic Voyage

The Fan, The Girl

The FANtom Menance

Fantom of the Opera

Fun & Full of FANcy

I’m So FANcy!

It’s Fantastico!

It’s A Fan World After All

Old Fandoms and New Fancies

Please Excuse My Dear Fan Lady

Portrait of a Fangirl

Return of the Fandom

Simply Fantastic

The Strange Case of a Fangirl and Her Fandoms

A Study in Fandoms

To Kill a Fangirl

We Will Fandom You

What a Fanatic!

A Whole Lot of Fanfare

You Can’t Keep a Fangirl Down

For Darkness Shows the Stars

darknessshowsthestars

For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars #1) by Diana Peterfreund

So I picked this book up as you know I will review anything Austen. I thought it was going to be about Pride and Prejudice as most are, but it surprised me and was about Persuasion instead.

persuasion

Persuasion was published in 1818 after Austen’s death, alongside Northanger Abbey. Out of all the Austen works, these two seem to have the least amount of fans and notice.

It is sad they don’t have more.

I have always found that strange as I love both of these novels.

Even though it isn’t as loved by people, Persuasion has had two films made of it and a lot of it is based on Austen’s feelings of her first love and a wish fulfillment of being reunited.

Anyways, just in case you’ve never heard of it (and as I have yet to work through it as I am still stuck on Emma) I think we need a quick review.

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Anne Elliot and Fredrick Wentworth fall in love. He asks her for her hand in marriage, but Anne’s father refuses. Anne is unsure and goes to a family friend for advice; as her mother is dead, her father lives in his own world, and her sisters don’t care. This family friend persuades her to say no as Anne is above him in station, Fredrick has no options for promotion (as his family can’t procure it), the likelihood of him dying and living Anne a penniless widow (as her father will leave her nothing) is very high, and the two are so young.

Hmm…

Anne goes to Fredrick and refuses, him becoming angry as he thinks it is just because of his lack of money and station. (In Anne’s defense the real thing that made her unsure was the stressing of him most likely being killed and her being left alone.)

Years pass, Anne has never seen Fredrick again or stopped loving him. She had other men interested, but refused them as she didn’t love them.

What has changed is the Elliot family fortune, her father and older sister have blown through their money so fast that they are being forced to let out their home to a sea Admiral. A Captain Admiral Croft and his wife, Mrs. Croft. Mrs. Croft who turns out to be Fredrick Wentworth’s sister!

Anne goes to stay with her sister, Mary Musgrove, for a while, while her other sister and father are staying in Bath, with Anne to join them later.

When she is staying with Mary, Fredrick Wentworth returns to visit his sister and husband. Now a Captain, he has also become extremely wealthy; having taken so many risks in the war that he excelled monetarily and was promoted. Captain Wentworth is searching for a wife, and is funny and kind to all; but Anne.

It appears that old hangups remain so. Will Wentworth and Anne be reunited? Will Wentworth marry another?

You have to read the book!

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So this science-fiction/Fantasy book takes place in the not too distant future…

Sorry, anyways…there were advancements in technology, so much that they were able to do DNA procedures to make your body excel in ways previously unimaginable, almost cyborg like.

These DNA procedures cause a war between people who believe this is not what God wants, and those who believe that the pursuit of science is the only answer. Unfortunately, they discover they did not know everything, as many of these experiments go wrong as people lose a majority of their faculties.

After wars, bombing, and a complete restructuring of the world they know, the people are divided into two groups: Luddites and the Reduced.

Like the class system in Metropolis.

Luddites are the royalty and own all the land, they care for the Reduced in a feudal system/slave system as the Reduced are tied to the land, but more extensively like slaves, yet not traded and sold as slaves are. Reduced are mutes, who aren’t in complete control of their faculties, need to be supervised, etc.

Recently, things have been shifting as there are “Reduced” who are born very intelligent, able to speak, often called “Children of the Reduced” or “CORs”, and “Post-Reduced” or “Posts” by themselves.

Our main character is Elliot North (Anne Elliot) a wealthy Luddite, one of the oldest Luddite families. She, her father, and sister have a farm; but it is going downhill as her father and sister don’t care about the people, the farm, long term care, but only themselves and what they want. For instance her father has cut down all their apple trees for a “better view” or destroyed Elliot’s planted field for a racetrack.

Elliot tries hard to keep things running, to take her mother’s place, but finds herself drowning in the debt her father and sister, Tatiana North, create. In fact, they have had to rent out her grandfather’s, Chancellor Boatwright, home and ship yard to a set of wealthy free Posts- Admiral Innovation, his wife Dr. Felicia Innovation and their crew: Captain Malakai Wentforth, Andromeda Phoenix, and Donovan Phoenix.

Not good

Elliot’s only solace is the barn, where she would work on her plans, and relive her memories with her old friend, the boy she loved, and Post; Kai. Since she has lost her field and all her months of hard work, nothing seems right. But there is plenty to do on a farm.

When the Innovations and their crew arrive, Elliot finds herself admiring and enjoying the company of the Innovations and the crewman Donovan. Andromeda doesn’t seem to like her one bit, although Elliot has no clue what she could have done to upset her. However, everything changes when she meets Captain Malakai Wentforth. It appears it is her old friend and love has returned-Kai (Captain Fredrick Wentworth).

Years ago the two forged a friendship, (despite her father’s constant striving to keep them apart), a friendship that turned into love. The two made plans to run away together, but in the end Elliot couldn’t do it. She knew she had to fulfill her promise to her mother and take care of the farm and the Posts. She wrote Kai a letter:

Dear Kai,

Please do not hate me. I couldn’t bear it if you hated me.

                      But I cannot go with you.

                      I thought I could. Last night, I thought everything was possible. I thought you were right, that there was nothing for me here, either. Mother’s dead, Grandfather’s locked in his own head, and you’re leaving. Why in the world should I stay? It was a beautiful dream. But outside your room, outside the barn, in the cold light of morning, I realized that was all it was. A dream. There is nothing for me here, but that doesn’t mean I am nothing to the North estate.

                     Today, when I was supposed to be packing, I wandered the estate. I watched the Posts in their little cottages, I watched the Reduced in the fields, and I thought about our lots in life.

                    We can’t escape who we are born to be, Kai. The Reduced are Reduced. They will always be Reduced. And I will always be a Luddite. I was born this way. I will die this way. I can’t turn my back on that. Luddites were handed a sacred trust-we are the caretakers of humanity. Without us, the world would have burned, and all mankind would have been destroyed. I cannot ignore that. I cannot forget who I am.

                    But you are not a Luddite.

                    That’s why I cannot go with you. And also why I can’t ask you to stay.

                     God be with you.

Yours,

Elliot

 Elliot’s feelings for Kai resurface but he wants nothing to do with her.

He is rude, cruel, cynical, and nasty around her. He spends a lot of time with their neighbors, the Groves-Horatio and his younger sister Olivia. Olivia has fallen for Kai, and to Elliot’s utter disappointment it looks like he feels the same way.

Noooo!

But Elliot cannot focus on that only as her long lost cousin, Benedict and air to the North estate, returns eager to regain control of the promised land, her grandfather grows more ill, and her father tries to engage her in even more power plays.

During one of her free moments, she joins Andromeda, Kai, Donovan, Olivia, and Horatio on an outing to the sea cliffs. Kai and Donovan jump from incredible distances, and Andromeda explains that they recognize the wind shifts because of their piloting expertise. As they continue, Elliot realizes something is not right.

When Olivia tries to do the jump, she falls and is horribly injured. While they try and help her, Elliot realizes that Kai is hiding a big secret, one that could destroy everything.

Not good

Once again Eliot finds herself at a fork in the road. Should she follow the man she loves? Or cling to her Luddite responsibilities.

***Spoiler Warning***

I thought it was pretty good story and interpretation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Having Wentworth as a slave/serf rather than lower standing put a completely new spin on the relationship.

I liked how in between the time of the novel, there were letters and notes their younger selves passed, giving us a view of how their relationship started.

Aw!

It doesn’t follow the book exactly, but the author did a good job in staying true to the core of the story, while at the same time doing her own thing.

Good job!

Now there are two things I didn’t like.

First, I didn’t like how the author inserted God to create conflict between those who wanted change and mutation and those who wanted things to remain the same. The insertion wasn’t really what bothered me as much as the author not really giving us a stand on how our main character felt. One of the laws is to not try to play with genetics as you are raising yourself for a a fall, messing with things you shouldn’t control, etc. As much as the main character struggles with her ideas and wondering if they are against God, we never see what her relationship to God is. Is she extremely devout? Who or What is her God? What exactly do they believe in their religion? She brings it up constantly, but we never really know why this is such an issue to her because the author chooses to ignore it. We never see her pray, attend church, do any type of worship, etc. In my opinion you either need to go all the way or just leave it out; no in-between.

The second thing that bothered me was how mean Kai was in this. I mean he was horribly cruel. Now in Persuasion she doesn’t really explain herself as to way she refuses him, so he draws his own conclusions. I this Kai knows! He knows that she needs to help care for the people! He knows how her father and sister are, and without Elliot they would be cruel, starve everyone, and run the whole farm down into the groumd! Yet even though he knows this, he is so horrible to her. I understand why the author made him that way, and it completely makes sense as to character to behave in such a way. But it makes it hard to read as he acts like a jerk, before he finally comes to his senses.

But otherwise I thought it was an excellent read and one of the better Austen reinterpretations on the market. I suggest you check it out for yourself.

For more on Persuasion, go to What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

For more Persuasion variations, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

He is Not Here; He Has Risen

Happy Easter!

So I don’t usually talk about an image on Easter, but this year I felt like adding one in. The image I choose for today is Risen Christ by Michelangelo. This is one of Michelangelo least favorite works as things went wrong from beginning to end. Michelangelo had a large ego, and when commissioned to create this piece proudly stated that he would complete it on four years. But the first thing to go wrong, was the marble he was carving turned out to be defective. A large dark streak ran through the middle of it, and all over what was to be the face of Christ. Another had to be ordered and shipped.

It was eventually completed in 1521 (three years after the promised date) and Michelangelo’s assistant Pietro Urbano installed at Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. Urbano also did a finish to parts of the sculpture that were unwanted by Michelangelo.

Later on, during the Baroque period, the Christ sculpture was covered with a bronze loincloth and the hands were pierced to represent his death on the cross, even though Michelangelo specifically wanted to leave that out. But, even with all that happening; this sculpture is still incredibly beautiful.

Michelangelo always liked to show the spirit of the figure, rather than how they would look in real life. When he did David, he made him a strong, muscular man to represent the warrior spirit and strength of faith he had. With Pietá, he made Mary look not the age of a mother of a 33 year old, but instead having her look as young as when and heard that she would be the mother of Christ.

With this sculpture, Michelangelo has decided to make Christ not as he was on the cross-injured, beaten, scarred, etc. Instead he wants to show him in a perfect glory, strong, body complete, perfect, etc. With this he is showing how all will be in heaven-strong, complete-no matter what our appearance was in the physical world, our spiritual body will never be destroyed or have any thing wrong with them.

It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Michelangelo also has a great use of contrapposto and as always, pays a close attention to detail in hair and muscles.

Michelangelo also gives Christ the symbols to hold, the cross and a staff. The cross representing the sacrifice that he performed to save us all, and the staff to show that he the great shepherd to guide us as we follow him.

For more paintings of Christ, go to At Noon, Darkness Came Over the Whole Land…

For more on Michelangelo, go to Viva Las Vegas

At Noon, Darkness Came Over the Whole Land…

“The Crucifixion” from  The Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald

Today is Good Friday, the day that Jesus was crucified, only to be resurrected three days later. The piece I choose today is one of the most unforgettable images.

The Isenheim Altarpiece is a series of panels created for the hospital, Brothers of St. Anthony. It was painted in 1512-1516 (just over 500 years old) and is an enormous piece. This crucifixion scene is the outside panels, the one that would be shown all the time, except for special occasions that would merit it being open.

But before we get into the art, let’s look at the text:

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” John 19:1-7

Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth,the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” John 19:19-27

 “At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.” Mark 15:33-37

So  Grünewald follows the text, showing Christ on the cross, with Mary Magdalene, his mother, and John the Beloved. Mary faints at seeing her son’s death, and we see John catching her before she falls, showing that he is accepting his role as her son and going to take care of her for the rest of her days.

There are a few things that are not in the text but used to create a stronger presence. We have John the Baptist, (who was actually at this point in Christ’s life already dead), reminding us that he must decrease and Jesus must increase in our life as John was just preparing the foundation.

We also see the lamb near John the Baptist, a symbol of Christ being the innocent lamb and the last sacrifice. By the lamb is a chalice which is going to catch the blood of Christ, the Holy Grail.

 Grünewald creates an almost pure black background to signify the depths the Earth was plunged into when Christ took all past, present, and future sins upon him.

Now for what makes this a truly memorable piece, Grünewald’s depictions of Christ. St. Anthony is known for striving to help those afflicted with skin diseases, something that was incredibly powerful as most people who were suffering from such diseases were sent away from society. Because this was put in a hospital of people suffering a similar fate, Christ’s body is to mimic those in the hospital and show that he has encountered all that we have encountered, and that such pain is only temporary.

His body is truly a sight; full of pox, gaunt, ragged, limbs twisted (mimicking rigor mortis), skin green, and utterly in pain. It may be exaggerated in trying to sympathize with those who would be in the hospital, but it definitely makes you think about all the pain and torture he went through from being arrested to nailed on a cross.

For more Good Friday posts, go to The Death of Christ

For more crucifixion paintings, go to Elevation of the Cross 

For more paintings of Jesus, go to But This is Your Hour—When Darkness Reigns

But This is Your Hour—When Darkness Reigns

“The Arrest in the Garden” from The Passion Altarpiece by Hans Holbein the younger

I had never really studied Hans Holbein the Younger’s artwork, other than the pieces he made when in the court of the Tudors, brought over by Henry VIII. I never knew that he made religious artwork, let alone being influenced by Albrecht Dürer (an artist I like and have reviewed in the past) and Matthias Grünewald (another artist I like and am reviewing tomorrow).

But as I was searching for am image to use to show the arrest of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemene, I found this one and  discovered Holbein’s Passion Altarpiece. 

When creating this piece, Holbein was influenced greatly by the Italian masters, such as Raphael and da Vinci, along with his father, Hans Holbein the Elder.

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” Luke 22:47-53

So we see that Holbein carefully studied the text to present the image of Christ. Like Giotto, and Caravaggio who would come later, Holbein creates a small window onto the world of Christ and scene of the arrest.

We see that there is  great perspective in this, with all the figures in the scene overlapping in confusion and the attack as they surround Jesus and Judas.

The dark tones and chiaroscuro create dramatic flair and a supreme intensity, the flames of the mob and the central figures being highlighted and immediately capturing your eye.

There are two things that really struck me in this image. First, if you look at Jesus as Judas is giving him the kiss to signify his betrayal, a soldier has grasped him. This is one of the few that actually show an arrest in progress, instead of just confusion.

Also if you look at Peter, this is one the fiercest paintings of him. In this image he is not only cutting off a soldier’s ear, but he has knocked said soldier to the ground, slicing off his ear, and continues to pin him down threatening to do more if waved ahead by Christ. I think this perfectly captures Peter as a man of emotion and one who was always quick acting and intense in everything he does.

A powerful and intense painting.

For more on the arrest of Christ, go to The Arrest

For more images of Jesus, go to But That the Scripture May Be Fulfilled

In other news, this marks my 900th post!

It only took us six months to get here, that’s one less than last time.

For the 800th post, go to Every Three Thousand Years, the Stars Align. Unleashing an Army of Monsters: TMNT (2007)

For the 700th post, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try