Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed.
There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. I went first, the next month was someone choose Sandcastle Kings, and this month another member choose:
At Home in Mitford (The Mitford Years #1) by Jan Karon
This book is set in the fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina. The books center around the Vicar, Father Tim. Father Tim is turning sixty and feels like he should give up on being a minister. He feels as if his life is stagnant, his preaching dry, and that the community would be better off with a new rector. He promises one more year, but if things don’t change, then he will retire.
But soon things start changing in his life. A giant black dog shows up at his home and won’t leave. Barnabas, what he names the dog, is strangely only calmed down if one speaks a bible verse at him.
Then a beautiful woman moves in next door. She is scatterbrained, always in need of assistance, and stirs up feelings in the reverend’s dormant heart.
A painting found in an attic is donated to the church which may be a genuine Vermeer.
His best friends are going to have a baby, even though they are in their fifties; his secretary has started a romance with the mailman, he gets a holds-nothing-back housekeeper, and finds himself suddenly fostering a preteen boy.
Someone breaks into the church repeatedly, stealing nothing but food.
Then Father Tim gets word of a jewelry ring operating in the area with them smuggling them through customs in old antiques. Some of the jewels Father Tim finds hidden in an urn in the church. Could someone in the community be involved?
Miss Sadie is the last remaining member of the oldest and richest family in Mitford. She tells Father Tim the story of the love that got away and reveals a secret that has been hidden for over forty years.
So I really loved this book. I thought the characters were fun and realistic. The town felt like it could be your small town, and the characters, the people you know or interact with.
It was so cute how everyone cared about their town and each other-getting in everyone’s business to help out. It made me want to live there.
The back of the book hints at it being more of a mystery, but while there are elements that are puzzling I wouldn’t classify it as a mystery. Well, whatever it is it was a fun book and easy to love.
So today is the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope. As you all know how I feel about the film:
I couldn’t let the day pass by without doing something special:
Besides that, (which you know I am going to try to do.) So how to honor something that has had a huge impact on film, the science-fiction/fantasy genre, and my own personal life as Princess Leia was my hero and who I wanted to be.
I mean one of my mottos are WWPLD: What Would Princess Leia Do? So as I was trying to decide what to do, it hit me:
Jane Austen Star Wars Mashup!
So unlike my Disney film Jane Austen Mash Up I am not going to follow gender, relationships, etc. I am just going to choose whatever characters from Star Wars I-VI that I best think fits the personalities of the Austen characters. I am not doing the newer movies as I was disappointed in The Force Awakens.
But thats another story and you can read more why here, and argue, debate, or agree with me there.
I also started with the Austen heroines and then filled in those I thought were important with the Austen male characters. Yes, some people I didn’t include but maybe I’ll focus on them next year, or later on.
So yes, just stating again- I am matching personalities not storylines. There are lots of people who won’t be paired up exactly right, but oh well. You can’t be perfect.
So here we go!
And fair warning
So I am going to start with Sense and Sensibility and work my way to Persuasion
Anakin Skywalker-Marianne Dashwood
Anakin has a pretty sad background- never knew his father, was a slave, etc. His life is changed when he meets the Jedi Knights who later free him from slavery, taking him to train at the Jedi academy. He had to adapt to a new culture, be in a place where he knows zero people, and had to adjust to this sudden change of life. While Marianne didn’t go through such a painful upbringing – she does experience a loss of a father and moves from the only home she has ever known to a new place where she knows no one, and has to adjust to a whole new way of life.
Both have problems in adapting to their new environments as Anakin is headstrong and stubborn-something Marianne can relate to. Anakin keeps breaking the rules as he can’t settle his strong will as he doesn’t understand the purpose of these restrictions. Marianne is the same as she feels her behavior toward Willoughby, seen as not proper courting, is no issue as it “feels right”.
Both have no control over their emotions and see no reason to have said control-although Obi Wan Kenobi (Anakin’s mentor and instructor) and Elinor (Marianne’s sister) keep urging them to. For Anakin, this causes him to fall victim to the dark side as he can’t reign in his anger, bitterness, and fear. For Marianne, this causes her to give too much of her heart, and when it is broken she is too.
Both are extremely talented- for Anakin it is mechanical while Marianne musical. They also choose significant others that are much older than them, cooler headed, and logical.
While Anakin is wild, emotional, and reacts instantly based on what he feels, rather than thinking it through-Darth Vader is the opposite of his younger self. Darth Vader is more mature, in control of his feelings, and has mastered his talents. Elinor is also the opposite of her sister, and never reacts on her emotions, but thinks things through logically. While Elinor is not that much older than Marianne, she is much more mature in spirit, taking control of their new situation and heading up the household.
Both are commanding people and step into taking control when the time calls for it. Their experience, intelligence, and analytical minds enable them to help those they care about and step around disaster (maybe not for others but for themselves).
While they seem to be people who at first glance are “what you see is what you get” both are very secretive with much more under the surface. For Darth Vader his whole background and twin children-one of the best scenes is when he reveals he is Luke’s father. For Elinor, she holds a whole mess of them from secret engagements, lost loves, runaway wards, etc.
While they seem to be stoic, sometimes called stone hearted, they still do feel as seen at the end of both their stories. For Darth Vader we have his redemption in saving his son and destroying the empire, for Elinor her cries of happiness when she discovers that Edward is not married but loves her.
His Royal Highness, General Bail Organa – Colonel Brandon
So I have to admit I don’t know everything about Bail Organa, but the little I do made me decide that he and Colonel Brandon are very much alike.
Bail Organa comes from an old respectable family, (after all he is a prince), as does Colonel Brandon. Both are extremely intelligent, great at planning battles, excellent leaders, and of course have lead successful military maneuvers.
However, what really made them the most alike would be their kindness, compassion, and choice to raise a child that is not their own. After Padme died and left her twins, Bail Organa and his wife adopt Leia-loving her like she is their own and being encouraging and supportive. Colonel Brandon is the same way, adopting his childhood sweetheart’s baby, and raising it as if it was his own flesh and blood; giving her every advantage he could.
While both men weren’t able to spend as much time with their daughters as they would have liked, they were always there if they were needed. When both girls are whisked away (Leia kidnapped [prior to episode IV] and Colonel Brandon’s daughter with Willoughby) theses dads do everything they can to try and save them.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Episodes I, II, & III) – Elizabeth Bennet
I know a lot of people are going to get mad that I didn’t say that Elizabeth was Princess Leia. I know everyone puts them as being the same, but while I can see that I thought that she was a better fit with the young Obi Wan Kenobi.
Obi Wan Kenobi was trained to be a Jedi soldier, and while he is good at what he does and a great instructor; he is also headstrong, stubborn, and doesn’t always listen to the wisdom of others. When Yoda or other Jedi knights try to counsel him about Anakin, he refuses their advice-something that he regrets later on. For Elizabeth, she has her own way of doing things and too falls victim to believing her way is best. Charlotte gives her and her sister advice regarding men, and Caroline warns her against Wickhim, in fact even Bingley gives Jane information against Wickham- but Elizabeth will not see anything but the choices she has already decided.
Both are also kind and caring- Elizabeth with her sister and Obi Wan becoming a brother/uncle figure to Anakin. They are also talented, intelligent, eloquent, and know when to speak kindly and when to put someone in their place.
Both are very honest, but also loyal to a fault; Obi Wan keeping the secret of Anakin’s marriage and child after he discovers it and Elizabeth keeping the secret of Georgina; to protect them.
Again, I know a lot of people want Mr. Darcy to be Han Solo, but to be honest-I just don’t see it. He isn’t as relaxed as Han is.
So Padme Amidala was choosen as a young woman to be Queen and rule her people. Since she was given such responsibilities at such a young age it can at times make her more reserved and formal as she always has to put others first and must serve her planet’s needs. Mr. Darcy is the same way. Taught at a young age the responsibilities that would fall his way, they changed him as he had to take on a lot very early-from the household, to the renters, and even raising a younger sister (more a daughter to him). Darcy too always thinks above all what is best for the family and his land, and tries to make sure his name remains respectful, as he is not the only one riding on it-just like Amidala.
But while that is part of their personality, there is more hidden underneath their “political” or “formal facade”. For Padme, if you get her out of her makeup and fancy hairstyles she can be more relaxed and open. For Darcy, it is removing him from a certain setting; and that facade drops.
Both ended up with people they never dreamed they would fall for. For Padme, she never thought about Anakin being the man she married when she first met him; but later on she grew to love him. Even though everything about that relationship was not what she should do as a Queen- he’s younger and a Jedi, she still gave into her heart. For Darcy, he never thought that Elizabeth would strike a chord in him as she does, and even though she isn’t the same station, her family isn’t all a delight, and her brother-in-law is his dreaded enemy-he too succumbs to the heart.
Both are also very powerful people who refuse to give in to other’s demands if they aren’t what they believe in. Queen Padme faces all kinds of power struggles as people try to silence her, assassinate her, or force her to come along with what they want-her always refusing. While Darcy doesn’t face the same level of attack, he is constantly having to fight against Mr. Wickham, who is always trying to force money out of him or destroy him. But Darcy too will not give in to bullying.
I just look at their faces and already feel annoyed. Yes, these two are so close in personality. All they do is talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk; never shutting up. You just roll your eyes when they enter the screen and want them to exit.
At least with Mr. Collins, I understand why he is in the book, his character does bring some important plot points. But Jar Jar? Who dreamed up that CGI nightmare and WHY?
Fanny was the hardest character for me to try and find a Star Wars character to connect with. Who is someone who appears weak, but has a lot of strength, a strong moral code, and is not one to bend to the wills of others? I finally settled on Obi-Wan, the later years.
Obi Wan was an incredible Jedi Knight, who had a strong moral code and followed what was right. Since things fell apart and the Empire gained control, he has been living as a hermit, not too far from Luke, to aid him if he should ever need it.
Fanny was born into a lower class family and sent to live with wealthy relatives, but like Obi Won, she has always tried to live her life right. She is always there to help her cousins or aunts, whatever the need be.
Both know when to fight and when to bide their time; with Obi-Wan he deals with all the crazy things people say about him to protect himself and Luke from the Emperor’s grasp. With Fanny she too has a servant’s heart although hers is to her family.
While both seem to be what some call “weak”, they actually have wills of iron. When the time comes for them to stand up and fight they recognize it and will not be pushed from their objective. No one can tell them what to do or break them once their minds are made up.
Owen Lars has been raised a certain way and believes his way is the best. He took over taking care of his nephew Luke and does all he can to try and change his way of thinking and keep him on the farm-away from Jedis, piloting, and Siths. He means well, but he doesn’t really understand his nephew-never clearly hearing the desires of his heart.
For Edmund he has decided to become a minister, following a strong moral code. He meets Mary Crawford and falls in love with her, but the problems arise in their relationship when he doesn’t listen to what she wants in a man-rich, political, etc- or understand her inner character and how it could never fit with his.
I know everyone always says Leia and Elizabeth are a lot alike, but I see more in common with Emma.
Leia was raised as a Princess on Alderaan being given an excellent education, the best of everything, and had a loving family. Emma too was born wealthy and was given the best by her father-who dotes on her. As they were both in higher classes they were also given skills that average people wouldn’t have time to learn-for Leia defense and Emma archery.
While both could easily have just lived a life of luxury, they use their talents to help others. Princess Leia helps mobilize attacks against the Empire and try to bring freedom and justice. Emma uses her talents to help the less fortunate- caring for those in her community who are in need of food, clothing, and companionship. While Emma’s plans do not always go well, her heart is in the right place.
Both are young women but confident in themselves and able to have conversations and friendships with people who are older. For Leia she also commands them, but for Emma it was very rare to have a best friend be an older man.
What I really see them having in common is that even though they were born in a certain lifestyle, they break labels and live their life the way they want. Princess Leia with her war efforts and Emma in deciding to go her own path-be mistress of her father’s home and remain single. I like that they choose to be their own person and don’t care what others say and unlike Darcy, they don’t feel confined by their background, but powerful.
Both women also fall for men they never would have dreamed they’d be interested in. For Leia, she falls for an older man and smuggler turned freedom fighter. For Emma, she too falls for an older man; her father’s family friend and brother-in-law.
Yoda is very intelligent, wise, and in tune with everything happening around him. He can sense which way things are going and knows when to help and when to stand back. He has great advice, but unfortunately people don’t always listen to him. He tries to help Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Luke-sometimes it works and other times people choose to ignore his words.
Mr. Knightley is just as wise and in tune to what is going on in the world. He can pick up on what people are feeling better than anyone else-knowing Mr. Elliot is after Emma and suspecting that Jane and Frank Churchill are more than just acquaintances. He constantly tries to help Emma, pointing her the right direction, but she continuously chooses to ignore him.
As Yoda has to really push his training into Luke, someone who thinks he knows the answers and doesn’t always want instruction-Mr. Knightley also faces some walls when trying to help Emma. However, both Luke and Emma (while not always listening at first) appreciate the wise counsel, remember it forever, and usually in the end follow it.
When I first thought of comparing the two-Austen and Star Wars; the first thing that popped out to me was Luke and Catherine.
Luke grew up on a sandy planet, the Star Wars version of the middle of nowhere, but had a dream of more. He had a regular and good childhood with his aunt and uncle, but the romance of fighting against the Empire, Jedis, etc all pull on him. Catherine feels the same way as she had the average life of a Vicar’s daughter. She was raised with interest in sports and nature, but as she grew older began to devour books-especially romances. This causes her to have an active imagination as she too dreams for a life like in her stories.
Both have their lives change into becoming one of the stories they have dreamed/read about. For Luke it is when an old family friend takes him on a quest and for Catherine it is when an old family friend decides to take her along on a trip. As their lives go off on these paths they get involved in all kinds of adventures.
So Han Solo is a complex character. At first he seems to be a sarcastic smuggler who only cares for himself and to get rich. He shoots first, doesn’t mind piking up his prices, etc. Yet, he grows to show that he does have a kind and compassionate heart, he’s willing to put the needs of others before himself, and that he is intelligent as he is cunning. Because if his complexity, I argued who he should be compared to and finally settled on Mr. Tilney.
Mr. Tilney has that sarcastic side of Han Solo, and a much more toned down devil-may-care attitude as he is his own person and not afraid to break some rules of society. He, like Han, also has a more familiar relationship with his female lead. Han treats Leia not as a princess, above him, but talks to her in the way he would any girl. Tilney treats Catherine the same-relaxed, familiar, and talks to her as if he knew her, even before they are introduce. Both Han and Tilney think they know what their future holds, but everything changes when the right woman crosses their path.
Both men are also fiercely loyal-Han to Luke, always protecting him like a little brother; and Tilney to his sister Eleanor.
Anne is an interesting character. She is young, unsure, and easily persuaded to turn down the man she loves-to protect herself, if something should happen to him, from poverty and an uncertain future.
Lando is the same. He is persuaded into making a deal with Darth Vader to protect his people, but after betraying Han, Leia, and Chewbacca; seeing what they did to Han; and after they renege on their deal- he decides to change his life. He stands up for his people and warns them, leaving it behind and joining the rebels.
The Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd and written by Various
So first of all, I’m so sorry to have taken so long to post this. I first planned to have it up by the 20th, but then I got busy and I pushed it back to the 21st. Then other things occurred which took me away from home all day so I had to push it back to the 22nd. And then I am sure you can guess that once again my attention was diverted.
After all you know my motto:
But never fear, my other motto has this covered.
The Darcy Monologues was brought to my attention when Christina Boyd gave me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I readily agreed and began reading:
What the novel consists of is several monologues, or short stories, retelling Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view.
Some stories take place during the novel, some change things, some ask questions of “what if this happened…?”, etc.
The first half of the novel’s collection all take place in the Regency Era; and I loved it!
To read more about those stories, click on this link. The second half involves different decades.
Now let me clear one thing up. It was said anywhere, but for some reason I assumed that every story would take place in a different decade and involve Darcy and Elizabeth throughout time.
However, that assumption was false. When they say “Other Eras”, they mean “not Regency”. Yes, there is no great time traveling like I thought.
And let me be clear that this assumption wasn’t anyone’s fault but mine. The writers and marketing team did not lead me astray. I made the mistake.
So I’m going to do things a little different then in the previous review. Last time I went through the stories by the way they are set out in the novel. This time I am going to review the stories by their times-starting with the ones in the past and ending with those that are set in modern times.
Pemberley By Stage by Natalie Richards
Thoughts Before Reading:
When I heard that there was going to be a Western version of Pride and Prejudice I couldn’t wait to read it.
If you have been following me, then you know how much I was obsessed with the Old West, cowboys, and Clint Eastwood as a child.
So will this story be all I dreamed it to be?
After having his name sullied by his associate, George Wickham, lawyer Darcy has been convinced by his friend, Charles Bingley, to move to San Francisco and start over. He is journeying with Bingley and Bingley’s sister Louisa; no Caroline as she “would not leave civilization.” Darcy brought his sister Georgiana with him, but is worried that maybe it would have been best to leave her in the East. Also in their stagecoach is a Mr. Hurst, a man Louisa has become interested in.
As they are journeying, the stage is overtaken by bandits. Darcy is knocked out and when he comes to he discovers that the thieves not only stole everything of value, but kidnapped Georgiana as well, and will only release her for $10,000.
Darcy wants to travel after her, but many are wounded and need assistance. Luckily, two siblings-Jane Bennet and her brother Elias, arrive on the scene. They have been after the gang and the leader, George “Smiling George” Wickham” (the same ex-partner of Darcy), ever since he convinced their sister Lydia to run off with him. The two know of a healer, so Darcy and Elias head off to fetch her while Jane and Louisa tend to the wounded.
As the two travel they talk about their families and instantly form a friendship. After bringing back the healer, who is also a prostitute favored by Wickham, Darcy pays not only for her to aid his friends but for the information of Wickham’s hideout. Elias wants to join him, as Darcy needs an extra hand, and Elias is an excellent shot.
However, it turns out that Jane does not want Elias to help, as she can’t stand to lose another sister.
Yes, Elizabeth had been traveling as “Elias” to protect herself and her sister. Darcy is at first upset at Elizabeth, as he shared personal information but Elizabeth withheld hers. As they ride, the two patch up, as each understands the other hurt.
When they arrive at the camp they find Georgiana tied up, Lydia pregnant, and a camp of thieves bickering between themselves as what to do next. As this gang begins to turn on each other, Darcy and Elizabeth must think fast and bold in order to save their siblings.
Things I Pondered: How awesome this was.
Things I Liked: How amazing this was!
The action was fantastic, the pacing was great, and once I got started I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next.
Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!
I think it was absolutely one of the best in this section. Just amazing from beginning to end and with every character. I know this will be one I will read over and over.
I love history and had just finished reading The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, so I was primed for a World War II-themed Pride and Prejudice.
Darcy and Bingley are soldiers in the British army. They knew each other back in school and have struck up their friendship again. Bingley’s sister Caroline is after Darcy, but he has been free from her clutches as she has evacuated London and went to a country estate, Netherfield
One night when Darcy has time off, he comes across a light shining during a mandatory blackout. When he drives up to yell at the person with the torch (flashlight), he finds his words being thrown back as Elizabeth Bennet will not take any of his gruff, especially as he is on her land.
In this tale there are only three Bennet sister- Jane, Elizabeth, and Mary. However, the household is harboring two girls from the city, Lydia and Kitty Potter.
Darcy tries to talk to Elizabeth at a USO dance but she is angry for the things Caroline said about her family previously, the Potter girls, mother, etc.; and that Darcy listened to it all in agreement.
When Lydia and Kitty return to London to visit their parents, a bombing is done by the Nazis. Darcy goes with Elizabeth to track down the missing girls and try to make amends for his earlier behavior. But will he succeed or fail in both ventures?
Things I Pondered: I didn’t really see where this level of anger was coming from in Elizabeth as there is a difference between voicing an opinion and listening/agreeing to one. I felt that she released her anger at Caroline at Darcy, instead of being given a reason to dislike him.
It also felt weird without Mr. Wickham. As much as we hate him, he does play a very important role in the story.
What I Like: I liked the introspection Darcy goes through as he realizes not saying anything can be just as bad as being the one saying it; when you give the impression that you agree with the speaker instead of being polite. I think it was paired very well with the fact that this was a war in which some citizens didn’t agree with what the Naziparty believed, but also didn’t say anything about what they were doing.
I liked the second part of the story when they search for the girls as it just grabs you and makes you read faster to see if they discover them alive…or dead.
The secondary characters were also fun as I like what the author did with Kitty, Lydia, Denny, and the like.
You Don’t Know Me by Beau North
Thoughts Before Reading:
This whole time I have been reading this title as You Don’t Own Me, thinking it was named after the Lesley Gore song.
Having it in the sixties intrigued me as I wondered if the author was going to go in the direction of Mad Men or Do Not Disturbwith marketing or fashion (as that is how I saw Darcy) or the overused “hippie” route.
I was pleasantly surprised to find this to be about music and a radio station.
Darcy inherited half his father’s company when he passed, the rest being controlled by his aunt Catherine. He doesn’t really care for it, as the company always held all of his father’s attention, but does like the money he gets from it. After he is caught with a client’s wife, as he did not know she was married, his aunt banishes him from Manhattan to Buffalo for a year.
If he does well with the newly acquired station, WPNP, then he can come back after the year. Otherwise he stuck there.
The interim station manager and sales manager is Charles Bingley, who later becomes a good friend, and his secretary is Jane [Bennet]. One of the radio shows is run by an Eliza Bennet, who has the top stats with her music. The only problem, she is playing African-American music which is not what Aunt Catherine or Regina Caroline Bliss, leader of the Mother’s Morality League, want. Finding himself pressured from all sides he tries to strike a compromise which doesn’t work well with Eliza, them often going head to head.
After a heated argument, Darcy goes to speak to Eliza at home and meets her father, Tomas Benowitz. It turns out that Elizabeth Bennet is actually Benowitz and that she is Jewish. There are more discoveries to be made as Tomas was the star violinist of the Royal Orchestra of Prague, before the war changed everything and he came to America. Darcy also meets Eliza’s aunt and uncle; and enjoys everyone’s company.
In fact, he starts falling for Eliza but she refuses him as she doesn’t want to be seen as securing her job by sleeping with the boss; plus Darcy is only staying for a year. Darcy doesn’t like, but agrees to just be her friend.
Not what I want, but what can I do?
Darcy leaves, with Bingley in charge (he is also now dating Jane). He returns to Manhattan and repairs the relationship with his aunt. When Eliza’s father dies, he returns, but she still refuses him. There is nothing he can do but return home.
His Aunt Catherine discovers that he is in love and encourages Darcy to go back and try again. Will he fight for the woman he loves? Or will he give in and marry some high society girl from Vassar?
Things I Pondered: I didn’t care for this story as much as I didn’t like the depiction of Elizabeth. She always seems to be just rude and yelling at Darcy. I understand her wanting to be sassy and standing up for the rights of others, but still Darcy is her boss. I don’t care how good you are, I think most bosses would fire you for screaming at them and saying the things she says about their character.
I don’t know the background of North but I thought the Jewish ancestry wasn’t dealt with as well at it should have been. Yes Eliza talks about the fact that she had to change her name to not offend people, but they characters act as if it isn’t a big deal when many Jewish people still faced racism and scrutiny. It also seems to not impact their lives or anything as it is introduced and never featured in the story again. True, it is not about her but Darcy, but I felt like it could have been fleshed out (maybe in a future novel?). I also thought they were too cavalier with Darcy converting. I mean changing religions is a big deal, it isn’t like changing a shirt. There are lots of steps he has to go through and it is taking everything he has known and celebrated and throwing it out, having to adjust to new life.
Things I Liked: I really like that North decides to make this a bicultural relationship. This is something not really seen, other than the film Bride & Prejudice. I liked the idea of having Pride and Prejudice with people of different cultures or races as you aren’t as separated as one was in Regency England. I would definitely read an interpretation of Pride and Prejudice that went along those lines.
I also like how the author tied in Eliza’s background to her musical choices. Being a person who is discriminated against as to her gender and religion, it made sense that she would campaign so hard for others who face prejudices.
Plus *SPOILER ALERT* I love how he tells her on air, not caring who hears him, that he loves her and wants to marry her.
Hot for Teacher by Sara Angelini
Thoughts Before Reading:
So at first I thought this was set in the 1980s as the title comes from the Van Halen song, Hot for Teacher (1984) and they name a section after AC/DC‘s Back in Black. But then they reference Creepby Radiohead (1992), Dazed and Confused (1993), She’s So High by Tai Bachman (1999), and then Paradise which I am not sure is referring to the ’80s film or the Coldplay song that came out in 2011.
There are no cellphones really in use, but then Darcy does mention Google. I think the author set it in modern times, but it still has an older vibe to it. I may be wrong, but I’m going with early 21st century.
Darcy’s parents were the CEOs of the FitzCo company, his father having passed on, but instead of being a part of the corporation Darcy has chosen a career in education.
Yes, Darcy is the principal of the prestigious Pemberley Academy. A new year is about to start, but Darcy is less then pleased with Vice-Principal Charles Bingley’s choices in two new teachers. For art we have Ms. Elizabeth Bennet, who dresses in eccentric clothes and does not carry the look Darcy expects his staff to project.
That sweater and hairstyle?
But Ms. Brunhilda (his nickname for Elizabeth) is nowhere near as disastrous as the new English teacher, a Mr. George Wickham.
George Wickham is the half-brother of Darcy, having been born from a liaison between Darcy’s father and his secretary, George’s mother. The two have never gotten along and Darcy dislikes him with every fiber of his being. George has never done anything to warrant this dislike but Darcy just has a “feeling”.
One night when Darcy is attending the FitzCo art benefit, he makes a disparaging comment about one of the artists, Frances Gardiner, to his cousin Anne (mix of Anne and sister Georgiana). Elizabeth overhears it and is extremely displeased as that is her mother.
Darcy soon grows to like Elizabeth but finds himself challenged in that arena with his half brother. However, after a few conversations and flirting, he believes Elizabeth is in to him, and goes for it at a the Homecoming dance.
Elizabeth turns him down and yells at him. She finds his behavior with George and the other teachers to just be atrocious. She dresses him down for all kinds of things he was unaware that were occurring in the school, and with a few lies that George has told her.
After that embarrassing moment,
Darcy decides that he will try and improve himself and the relationships at school. Will it work? Or will George and Elizabeth have the happily ever after?
Things I Pondered: I didn’t care for this depiction as much as I felt there were quite a lot missing. First Darcy’s relationships are horrible, I mean he had friends in the original book. And he wasn’t as mean or temperamental as depicted here as all his servants loved him and could only speak kindly of him. I mean that is something that validates the Darcy in the letter, when Elizabeth visits his home and hears what the people who work for him say.
Having George Wickham not be evil, also didn’t work. In fact, you rooted more for him as he missed out on all kinds of things Darcy had, while Darcy hates him for being born. I mean it isn’t his fault your dad cheated on your mom. They should have made him far more nefarious than stealing money at the end of the book.
Elizabeth is really mean to Darcy and he is her boss. I don’t mind her being sassy, but the way she talks to him, I’m surprised she didn’t get fired. If I yelled at any boss I’ve ever had this way, I don’t think I would have stayed on. They would have let me go.
Darcy was a bit of a dork in this. I thought he had more in common with the original Mr. Collins. The way he acts around others, his flirting, his assumptions, etc.
Elizabeth yells at Darcy for being cruel and insensitive, but while in the original novel she had a valid concern, the others being misinformation supplied by Wickham; in this she has no justification. Mrs. Crane has been late multiple times and isn’t keeping up with her work so the rules say she has to receive a warning. Elizabeth yells at him that the only reason she has ben doing that is because her husband was in a car accident and is going through physical therapy, meaning she has become the sole caregiver for her husband and boys. Darcy didn’t know as Mrs. Crane never told him. It isn’t his fault, she should have talked to him, after all she could have received emergency family leave. The same goes for the other teachers, they never give a reason why they can’t do something, so what is Darcy supposed to think?
What I Liked: I actually liked that Darcy wasn’t carrying on the family business but doing his own thing. In today’s world you don’t have families being forced to carry on the professions their ancestors did but have the freedom to do what they want. I thought that was a very new twist in the story, and something no other Austen retelling that I have read has ever tried doing.
Also Angelini finally does the one thing Austen fans have been BEGGING someone to do.
Yes we finally have Darcy do that. Thank you very much Angelini.
And something even more surprising, Angelini does something I never thought possible-she makes Mr. Collins likable.
Yes I know, I never, ever imagined finding myself liking Mr. Collins. Angelini you must be a magician or something.
I, Darcy by Karen M. Cox
William Darcy has hated his name for as long as he could remember. His mother choose it after the hero in one of her favorite novels, but he just can’t wrap his head around why woman like him so. Ten years ago he read the book and hated it-
So the worst place for him to be would be a convention center full of Austenites.
Yes, he is bemoaning this to his friend and business colleague, Charles Bingley, when he is interrupted by two lovely ladies who defend Austen. Jane and Lynley Bennet walk in and out of his life, but remain memorable as the two gentlemen head on to discuss opening a chain of locally sourced restaurants with their board of directors. It passes and Charles it out to start up the trial place-with Darcy joining him later.
When Darcy comes driving up to the house Bingley rented in the country, he has car trouble but manages to get help-from Lynley. Not only is that a coincidence, but Charles is dating her sister Jane.
Darcy waits for Charles as he is out on a date and starts reading a copy of Pride and Prejudice he finds on the table (probably given to Bingley from Jane), surprising himself with falling in love with the book.
Later the two men discuss the farms they want to use for the restaurant, seeing the Bennet farm as the perfect place to get their supplies from. Darcy makes them a generous offer, one they need as if they don’t get a good contract they may lose it; but Lynley refuses, angry at Darcy. What could he have done to upset her? I smell a nefarious plot, but who would want to ruin Darcy’s name?
Things I Pondered: I liked it. I thought it was funny how she went with this theme of “real” Mr. Darcy as I was just talking about that earlier this year.
Things I Liked: I thought the characters were very well written and easy to connect to. I liked how the story flowed and enjoyed it from start to finish.
The Ride Home by Ruth Phillips Oakland
This story takes place after Darcy proposed to Elizabeth and was rejected. Darcy is owner of the company, Pemberley Media, and is in the States to launch PM’s channel here, then planning on returning to England. His best friend got his happy ending when Jane said yes to his proposal.
Soon to be!
The happy couple have been celebrating with champagne when they receive a call from Elizabeth asking for a ride. Neither can take her, so they wake Darcy and ask him to do it.
Darcy picks Elizabeth up from her disastrous date (with Mr. Collins) and she really lets herself go- drunkenly praising Darcy’s personality to body- ranging in too much information to nonsensical. She does apologize for being upset over Lydia, saying Darcy was right to be angry at Lydia spilling secrets to rival George Wickham. The two patch things up and everything looks great for Darcy, that is if Elizabeth remembers the conversation tomorrow. Will this drunken release be the beginning of something new, or the last shred of the old?
Things I Pondered: I didn’t care for this as much as I missed Elizabeth’s witty repartee with Darcy-something drunken speech can’t really do.
I also found myself distracted with trying to figure out if she would be well enough to talk. I mean she was average height, thin and consumed a gin and tonic along with four or five martinis (she lost count) but hardly ate anything as her date said no butter, salt, carbohydrates, meat, etc. I’m not a drinker but gin, dry vermouth, and more gin with no butter or carbs to counteract it seems to be like she would be passed out. I mean I calculated it and she has an estimated BAL of 0.235-that’s nausea, vomiting, blackouts, etc. How was she able to make him breakfast the next day? She should have a massive hangover.
Things I Liked: I liked having Darcy be introspective as he drives into town. Something about him just thinking over everything and himself as he drives resonated with me.
Darcy Strikes Out by Sophia Rose
Circa: Present Time
Thoughts Before Reading:
I love puns, jokes, and when authors are smart enough to use language that implies two meanings that fit perfect with the situation. In this case Darcy strikes out in the game of love and:
I’m also a big baseball fan so I was very interested in reading this.
Darcy is a top baseball player, known as “Dandy Darcy” after he and his father posed in top hats and tails with the bats as canes for a photo shoot. After his father passed away, and his sister was in her horrible accident that left her in a wheelchair; he pulled away from life and others. The only one who he remained close to (besides his teammates) was his good friend and old roommate, Charles Bingley, who he saved from a gold digger.
He meets Elizabeth Bennet, sports reporter, and starts to fall for her.
But when he asks her out, he strikes out. Yep, it turns out that he really dropped the ball as that “gold digger” was Elizabeth’s sister; she thinks he is a snob for being camera shy and refusing interviews (especially with that horrible nosy Collins), and sees him as a giant jerk for blackballing fellow baseball player George Wickham.
Darcy is still thinking over the refusal as he visits his sister. Yes, Elizabeth was right about Jane; but after checking her out Darcy did discover he was wrong about her and encouraged Bingley to try again. However, being camera shy and Wickham all have to do with Georgiana as he tries to protect her.
When he gets to his sister’s apartment, he discovers her hanging out with a friend who participates in the Paralympics, and their new friend; Elizabeth Bennet.
Elizabeth meet the girls when she was writing a story on upcoming athletes, and she has realized that she was prejudiced against Darcy. They later meet for breakfast, and Darcy reveals what happened to Georgiana. Wickham was trying to use Darcy to get ahead, but was lacking in discipline and focus; being cut from the team. Later at a high school party, Wickham being over eighteen, roofied Georgiana’s beer with the intent to rape her. However, she left early and ended up crashing the car not from drinking (which she did) but from being drugged. They knew it was him, but couldn’t prove enough to put him away. The famous Darcy name, underage drinking, a beautiful girl with a tragic story all made for excellent newspaper fodder, especially for a TMZ like reporter (Collins).
Things are going well, until Elizabeth hears from Jane that their sister Lydia is missing! It appears this underage girl was last seen with baseball player George Wickham.
Darcy calls in his private detective, Jack Austen, who has been keeping an eye on Wickham. Will they be able to find Lydia and Wickham in time? Or will this be another strike out for Darcy?
Things I Pondered: Wow this was awesome!
Things I Liked: First of all if there was a “Dandy” baseball player I would totally be out there cheering for him whether or not he was on my team (the As, Cali all the way). I also would purchase a “Dandy Darcy” clothing line for my friends and relatives if such a thing existed.
I thought this book was amazingly well done in taking the story and setting it in modern times. I loved what Rose did with all the characters, and I really enjoyed how she set us in the middle of the story with flashbacks as to what came before.
I also applaud you for doing something I haven’t really seen anyone else do- show how Wickham was not only a jerk but a child predator. Yes, contrary to popular belief, most people weren’t married until they were 21-24 during the Regency period. Most modern updates keep Wickham close in age the other characters and make him seem like just a fiend. In this we realize just how evil Wickham is, in the orginal and this version, as Rose unveils him as the pedophile he is.
Jack Austen, P.I.- I like the sound of that. I don’t know if there are any film-noir, 1940s, Humphrey Bogart-ish Austen retellings, but now you make me wish for one. Can’t you just see Darcy?
Or what if Elizabeth was the detective and Darcy the client?
So Rose names a few of Darcy’s teammates and their wives, I’m not sure but I believe they stand for other characters from Austen novels. There is a Cathy and Hank Denny, maybe Catherine and Henry “Hank” Tilney from Northanger Abbey?
And then there is an Esme and Jose Carreaga. Could it be Emma and Mr. Knightley?
I think it would be wonderful if Rose would develop this into a full novel with all the Austen characters.
But seriously, I thought this was just as fantastic as To Pemberley By Stage and just as hard to put down.
So what did I think of it as a whole?
I really loved it, even the stories I didn’t like as much. It was just so refreshing to see a point of view that is often overlooked or not done well. I enjoyed every version of Darcy as each had the things we loved most about him but at the same time were all so different.
I thought that was fantastic as it made a Darcy for everyone. I mean some might be into a baseball playing Darcy or Western Darcy, while others want something different-such as a teacher or man born with a silver spoon who needs to see how others live.
Just like the movies you have your pick of Darcy, being sure to find one, two, or more to love/
In conclusion I think The Darcy Monologues, Part I and II, are just fantastic.
If you are an Austen, Pride and Prejudice, or Mr. Darcy fan you need to check this book out TODAY!
In fact, not only is this something I know I will read over and over again:
Or 10th, 50th, 100th….
But I can already think of several people who will be receiving it as a birthday or Christmas present.
I decided to look over the review that I posted and I was shocked:
I had failed to share how much I enjoyed this first part of the novel.
I mean when I first heard of this collection, I thought it sounded interesting:
It is a good idea.
Then I started reading it, only planning on looking at a few stories, but finding it hard to stop!
So I don’t know why I was so reserved in my review. I want to apologize to all you authors and editors for being so stingy in my praise .
I thought over why I reacted in such a way and have come up with four explanations:
1) I’ve been rereading Emma lately. Maybe subconsciously I took a card from Mr. Knightley’s deck.
2) This weekend was not only Mother’s Day, but a family member’s birthday; along with being a weekend that my niece stayed over. In my rush to get it posted in time, I could have just put up my notes leaving the “heart” out of it.
3) I’m highly allergic to scents and at work someone had sprayed something that gave me a bad allergic reaction, causing me to feel bad the rest of the day. I could have just been out of it.
4) Whatever air freshener they were spraying caused a chemical reaction that changed me from Moreland to Miss Snide.
Beware of the Snide!
Out of all of them I think the fault lies anywhere from 2-4, especially four. Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking caused it.
But joking aside, you know that I always am honest on this blog. Maybe I fudge names of friends and family or where I live, to protect my anonymity, but when I post a review I post how I really feel. And I feel that this first part, as I haven’t posted on the second just yet, is amazing.
I’m serious! Yes they might make alterations to the story, and maybe they chose paths I wouldn’t have gone down. But none of that takes away from the amazing work that these authors did. I enjoyed every one of them as each presented the Darcy we all love in a different view. You guys did a wonderful job.
This first part is something EVERY Jane Austen fan, Pride and Prejudice fan, or Darcy fan should read. You NEED to check this out.
In fact, I am going back to update my post to make sure it reflects the enjoyment I felt in reading it.
But will I love the second half, Elizabeth and Darcy traveling throughout time?
It is hard enough to take a story and bring something new to it in the time period, let alone trying to keep the story while transporting it to other times. You have to know your history, try to navigate the issues of the day, keep old constraints relevant in a different world, decide how much to keep of the original tale, etc.
You’ll just have to keep reading to find out!
And don’t forget to check this book out for yourself!
The Darcy Monolgues edited by Christina Boyd and written by Various
So I was contacted by Christina Boyd to do a honest review in return for a free copy of the ebook. I agreed as you know I will review anything Jane Austen.
This is so me
I promised to have the review posted by the 21st, which I saw as no problem as you know how fast I read.
But the day came closer and closer and I realized I hadn’t posted my review!
Let me say that when I first heard of the story, I thought it sounded interesting but had no idea what to expect.
Was it going to be a view of Darcy at different times in the story? Will they follow the original text or do their own thing? Hmm…
I began reading the book
But then I was sucked in:
Or story in this case.
So the book is a collection of monologues or short stories; told from the point of view of Mr. Darcy.
Some take place in the Regency time period, some take his point of view of the novel, some after the novel, and some asking the question of what would happen if..?
The book is divided into two collections: those that take place in the Regency time period and those that span all time periods. I have decided to review the first collection on the Regency time today, and the second one later on this week.
Death of a Bachelor by Caitlin Williams
This monologue tells of Mr. Darcy’s feelings as his wedding day grows closer and there will be an end to his bachelor ways. As his wedding occurs and they head out to London for their honeymoon, they get stranded at a less than fabulous inn in a blizzard. Will Darcy enjoy being married? Or will it be his biggest regret? And how can he fix his honeymoon to be memorable for all the right reasons?
Things I Pondered: The only thing I can see Janeites/Austenites getting upset over is when Darcy says that he has been with many women before Elizabeth. This is historically accurate, as gentlemen had more social freedom; however some might not care to have Darcy be anything than their version of a romantic hero.
What I Like: I thought it was very well written and that Williams truly captured the spirits of the characters. I really enjoyed her story, especially as she was not graphic but allowed the reader to use their own imagination.
From the Ashes by J. Marie Croft
This story takes place right after Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth, only to have her reject him in every way. We have Darcy as he goes through every emotion from anger to sadness at having his love refused.
Things I Pondered: Who is Richard? Is that supposed to be Colonel Fitzwilliam’s middle name or something?
What I Like: I thought that Croft truly captured the emotions of anyone who has been heartbroken and I found her portrayal of Mr. Darcy not only to be likable but 100% relatable, as who hasn’t gone through a painful rejection?
I thought that he might be a little more composed than her portrayal:
But I think the beauty of this piece is that Croft shows that temper Darcy spoke of in the original novel, giving it a strong connection to Austen’s work.
I also loved her character of Anne de Bourgh and if Croft wrote a novel that featured or continued this expanded character of Anne, I would read that in a heartbeat.
Mr. Darcy has been rejected by Elizabeth and is so upset after giving her the letter that he wants to leave Rosings Park and never see her again. However, things do not go according to plan as his Aunt Catherine de Bourgh’s ploy at faking a heart attack turns to a real malady when she trips on the stairs and breaks her ankle.
Now Darcy must remain there, as it is his nephewly duties; and as the Collins are such great neighbors that they (along with Elizabeth and her sister Maria) come over all the time. Will this constant proximity change things? Or drive a deeper wedge between Darcy and Elizabeth.
Things I Pondered: I didn’t like this story as much as having them fall in love so early cuts out a lot of growth in the characters, along with all the events that changed Elizabeth’s view on him and showed her own pride and prejudices.
What I Like: While I didn’t like losing so much of the story Starnes wrote the answer to this “What if” very well and provided an interesting twist: Lady Catherine’s plot to get her nephew to marry her daughter results in him marrying Elizabeth. Oh Lady Catherine, I think your conspiring days are over:
I also liked this Anne de Bourgh character as she was interesting and witty. If Starnes decided to expand her version into a novel, I would definitely read it as well.
Clandestiny by KaraLynne Mackrory
This story takes place during the ball at Netherfield. Georgiana had only been attacked four months earlier by Mr. Wickham and Darcy is still upset over it. However, his mind is split between that and Elizabeth as he thinks she has feelings for him. Things take an interesting turn when a trap door brings the two together. Will this help the situation or only cause more issues?
Things I Pondered: By moving up them having that time when Darcy is less reserved and more himself, we miss out on all the meat of the story. It is cute, but too short and missing the whackam-sockum appeal of Jane Austen’s revelations as how all the characters connect.
What I Like: Even though I didn’t like how much was to be cut out of the story with this earlier connection,I still thought this was interesting to see what would have happened if Elizabeth saw the “real” Darcy earlier in the novel. This was a good part to do it in as her real only problem was that he hurt her feelings. After all she doesn’t know Wickham all that well and seeing Darcy behaving in a different way, more natural, and apologizing for his earlier rudeness would help sway her from the fake charm to the real deal.
But in this story, Stanford rewrites the story so that it is Beauty and the Beast, with all its magic and characters, but set in Regency England.
In this tale, Darcy has saved Pemberley and the village by standing in when Wickham (a powerful wizard) tried to destroy it. For his efforts he has been cursed with hideous scars, while each of his staff (Cogsworth, Lumiere, etc.) suffer from one scar. All he does is look in his magic mirror hoping that he might see something to lift him out of his depression and pain. He sees Elizabeth Bennet, and when her father plans to marry her off to Mr. Collins to pay his debts, Darcy steps in.
Things don’t go well as she refuses to have Darcy wear a mask, wanting to see his face:
But when wolves almost attack Elizabeth, Darcy manages to save her and after that things start improving.
Especially when he gives her the Pemberley library.
But will they be able to end the curse? Will Elizabeth ever see more in Darcy? Or just a Beast?
What I Like: I thought it was a cute fan service story. And when I say “fan service”, I mean this is something people have been talking about and wanted. It was a very fun and adorable read that I really enjoyed.
Mr. Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth, been rejected, and has left Rosings. He is celebrating Georgiana’s 16th birthday with the Bingleys and other family friends. They are heading back to Pemberley when Darcy decides to return ahead of schedule. When he gets there, who should he run into? Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. They spend the time together walking the grounds and talking. Will they be able to reconcile? Or will this just make things more awkward?
What I Like: I thought it was cute and adorable.
In Terms of Perfect Composure by Susan Adriani
So the story starts off with a brief recap about all that happened. Lydia had run off with Wickham and he’s been paid off so that the reputation of the Bennet family would be saved. Darcy is having dinner with Mr. Gardiner, and the latter man is trying to find out why Darcy would help them out – is there an understanding he hasn’t been told? Darcy tells him about his proposal and how it went:
And how he still cares but has given up. Mr. Gardiner encourages him to try again, as he believes Elizabeth still has feelings for him. Darcy goes to stay at Netherfield and when he and Bingley visit the Bennets, as Bingley and Jane are now engaged, Darcy overhears Lady Catherine’s tirade at Elizabeth.
Will this bring them together or force them farther apart?
Things I Pondered: I don’t get why she has Elizabeth avoid Darcy as in the original novel, at this point in time she wants to see Darcy and be with him.
What I Like: I really enjoyed how she has Darcy build upon his relationship with the Gardiners when he is in town as he greatly enjoyed their company and this showed that to a further extent. I also like how the author made her Darcy expect nothing in return for his deeds in helping the Bennets as is closely followed how Austen’s Darcy was.
Without Affection by Jan Hahn
It has been fifty years since Darcy proposed to Elizabeth the second time and she accepted. The two are in their golden years and Darcy reflects back on his life, to a time he almost lost Elizabeth…
Elizabeth gives birth to their son and almost dies in the process. After the birth she has to rest, but while her body is weak her spirit is strong. Darcy is heartbroken and decides that he cannot, will not lose her. He is determined to have her never experience childbirth again and risk her life. But will Elizabeth comply to his plan or have her own ideas?
Things I Pondered: Darcy talks about how he knows little of women’s bodies and never thinks to consult with a doctor to see if she shouldn’t give birth. I thought it was strange as I imagine that a man with all his wealth and power would seek several people’s opinions.
What I Like: It was sweet to see them still so in love and talk about their great years together. Just adorable and a great way to end the first collection.
So what did I think?
I enjoyed every one.
Yes there may have been changes I wouldn’t have done or things altered that weren’t my favorite, but those were really minute things. I found each of these tales to be extremely enjoyable and I loved looking at all the interpretations these authors gave to a story they and we love.
And no matter what changes, additions, etc that the authors did, there is one very important thing that they all made sure to do. And that was to get inside the character’s head and actually give a voice to Darcy.
Yes, you have heard me complain again and again about different writers never really ever go that far to bring Darcy to life, always stopping short in their interpretations.
But these authors don’t do that. Whatever changes they have made or ways they interpreted the characters; they tried to make sure they gave Darcy a personality and looked deep into him and how he would react to the situations, not through another’s eyes but through the depths of his spirits.
That is a hard feat to do I commend all of them:
I think all did a fantastic job in presenting “their” Darcy and I highly recommendyou read this book.
But what do I feel about part two, Darcy and Elizabeth through time?