Victoria and the Rogue

Victoria and the Rogue (An Avon True Romance #12) by Meg Cabot

I first was introduced to Meg Cabot through her book All-American Girl, later reading The Princess Diaries series. Another book series she helped write was Avon True Romance for Teens.  

The Avon True Romance for Teens was written by different authors and is a collection of clean, historical romances-written specifically for the teen/YA market.

I was going to include this in the Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, but as I continued to read the story I realized that this was basically Emma, with some Pride and Prejudice thrown in.

Hmm…

I mean it isn’t an exact retelling, but there are just so many similarities. Let’s begin the review.

Lady Victoria Arbuthnot, Duchess of Harrow, is a young, beautiful, wealthy woman. Her parents traveled to India when she was little and died there leaving her an orphan and raised by her uncles. She was not interested at all in being married but just living her life with her fortune. Sound like someone we know?

“Never mind, Harriet, I shall not be a poor old maid; and it is poverty only which makes celibacy contemptible to a generous public! A single woman, with a very narrow income, must be a ridiculous, disagreeable, old maid! the proper sport of boys and girls; but a single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else.” –Emma

She, however, did fully intend to match up her uncles.

This, however, they do not like at all. To stop her from meddling they decide to send her back to England wagering on how long it will take for her to get a proposal. She decides to prove them wrong and ends up engaged on the boat over.

Yes, engaged to Lord Hugo Rothschild, Earl of Malfrey. He’s a bit of a fop caring for his clothes and money and just not really seeming to be a stand up gentleman. After all, who enters secret engagements if they have honorable intentions?

Frank Churchill

But also on the trip is the very annoying Captain Jacob Carstairs who likes to tell her what she is doing wrong and tries to stop her from managing (her word), or meddling (his word), on the way the ship is run.

Victoria meets her relatives that reside in England for the first time, the Gardiners. They are poorer than her and have a very large family full of kids, much different than how it was for her in India.

This is…pleasant? 

Something that differs from Emma, is that as Victoria was raised in India and she doesn’t behave quite like most gentle ladies of society. She can shoot a gun expertly, doesn’t accept help from getting down from the boat, and breaks “societal” rules she has no knowledge of. Emma on the other hand was finely tutored.

Victoria meets her older cousin Rebecca “Becky” Gardiner who she discovers has a crush on Captain Carstairs. Oh no, this must not be as Victoria thinks of Captain Carstairs as a rogue and sets her mind on finding a more suitable man. Just like Emma…

Rebecca envies Victoria’s gowns, money, fans, and the time she spent with the very wealthy Captain Carstairs. It turns out that he is not only a Captain, but he owns the ship that they used and not just that one-a fleet of them. He worked hard to take his father’s business and turn it into something truly powerful.

Vicky lets it slip that she is engaged but manages to coerce her cousin into keeping the secret by giving her a beautiful gown and fan.

Rebecca tries to warn Victoria about Lord Malfrey, as he has no fortune. But Victoria doesn’t care, she wants a man that won’t boss her around but one she can hep and aid, one that needs her-even of that means she will be footing the bill.

-Speaking from experience and the wastrel of a man I married. This is not a good idea. Slight PSA. DO NOT DO THIS. BAD, VERY, VERY BAD IDEA

Unfortunately for Victoria, Captain Carstairs is a very good family friend. She will have to endure his company constantly.

Ugh

The family goes to Almack’s, for a ball and to be “out” in society. Captain Castairs reveled to all that Victoria is engaged, so that secret’s out. Captain Carstairs spends time at the dance to try and convince Victoria not to marry Lord Malferey-but Victoria won’t listen she wants to “organize his life.”

Captain Carstairs tries to convince Mr. Gardiner to stop the betrothal but Mr. Gardiner doesn’t really care. Vicky and him squabble some more before she sets her plan “Have Rebecca be with a man I Believe to Be Perfect for Her” into motion.

Victoria “loses” her fan and Rebecca meets the handsome Charles Abbot, who Victoria believed perfect for her cousin-arranging everything ever so nicely.

Captain Carstairs accuses her of being too controlling, but she counters that things are much better with her at the helm.

They have a picnic thrown by Lord Malfrey, in which she has him invite Mr. Abbott for Rebecca. Lord Malfrey’s mother is overly madeup and odd and his friends-not acceptable ones for society in dress (some of the women wear slips and wet their legs) and manners. And none of them talk about anything other than clothes and hunting.

And unfortunately for Victoria, Captain Carstairs arrives and disapproves of everything and all the people.

But then Rebecca’s bag is stolen by a street urchin. Just like Harriet in Emma. And just like in Emma Lord Malfey/Frank Churchill goes to save the day-except in this, one Victoria controls the situation by taking down the boy-to everyone’s surprise and shock.

They set to take him to the police, but Victoria feels bad for the boy and pretends to faint, causing a distraction that allows him to slip away.

They are invited to Captain Carstairs’ house to have dinner with him and his mother, but Victoria tries to stay behind. She can’t imagine having to go through a whole dinner with him.

They spend time together before dinner with Captain Carstairs and his mother. To Victoria’s shock she has a lovely and interesting conversation on India, boats, sailing, the navy, etc. Much more interesting than the talks she has with her fiancé and his mother.

Hmmm…

Anybody getting what I’m thinking…?

Hmm…

Jacob takes Victoria aside after dinner as he wants to speak of something serious with her. She thinks he is going to declare his love for her, but instead he tells her that Lord Malfrey is only marrying her for her money. Victoria doesn’t care…

…but then Captain Carstairs reveals a secret about Lord Malfrey that concerns his sister. Only a few trusted people know about it. The two were engaged, but when some ships were lost along with the Carstair’s fortune, Lord Malfrey dumped his sister and up and left-his sister utterly heartbroken.

Poor Georgina Margaret. But now she is married and living happy.

Victoria realizes the severity of the claim, and decides to trust Captain Carstairs and test Lord Malfey.

Captain Carstairs tries to speak to her, but she refuses him-embarrassed that she is attracted to him.

Ugh…I don’t want to like him.

Sh tests Lord Malfey, telling him that it turns out that she won’t get control of her fortune-married or single-until she is 21. That means they would have to wait five years. Lord Malfrey is having none of that and after throwing a big fit, Victoria decides she is done. Forget this dude.

Victoria is saddened, but soldiers on. After all there is Rebecca’s romance, the molding of the younger Gardiners, etc.

Unfortunately, Captain Carstairs won’t leave her alone. After a constant barrage and a plea by Mrs. Gardiner-Victoria agrees. Captain Carstairs is happy about end of the engagement, and tells her what you need is “someone who doesn’t need you”.

I have to agree with him. After being with someone who “needed” me which really meant “using”-It would be nice to have someone who isn’t going to just be taking but giving.

Well Captain Carstairs proposes…sort of. Here it is:

“Wouldn’t it be restful to come home to someone who needed nothing whatsoever from you?”

Really dude?

That’s Darcy level messed up.

I men you could say you love her or something.

I mean, seriously dude. Get yourself together.

He kisses her, and then Victoria becomes so upset she pushes him away. Victoria is justly angry an Captain Carstairs acts like a total tool.

Jerk

Seriously, “he won’t extol her virtues” or be romantic and refuses to ever ask her again.

Well fine. Seriously dude-would it kill you to say anything endearing. I mean Mr. Knightley:

Or Mr. Tilney

So he storms of and life goes on. Lord Malfrey asks Victoria to met him so that they might exchange letters. Victoria agrees but when she goes, she gets caught in the rain. He takes her inside and her clothes so she can dry and warm herself, but then the Malfreys won’t let her go. They want her money and they want it bad. Their plan is to trap her there all night and to “save her” from scandal force her to marry Lord Malfrey-just like Wickham’s plan.

She gets locked in a room, but Victoria is no quitter. She doesn’t quite know what to do, and is in her underwear, but decides she cannot stay there and makes a break for it out the window.

She tries to go to the police to get help, but they think she is a prostitute, and ignore her. She does gets saved by some street urchins, the ones in the group that belonged to the boy she saved earlier. He keeps her safe there with the others while going off to deliver her note to Captain Carstairs.

He comes right away in answer to her note, and brings clothes, like Victoria asked. When he gets there Victoria tells him the whole story. They concoct a story to give to the Gardiners, and Captain Carstairs takes her home.

Captain Carstirs is so angry about what happened, Victoria is convinced that he would try to duel with Lord Malfrey. She wonders why she is so upset when she realizes she is in love with Captain Carstairs.

She hears nothing from him and agonizes over what is happening. (Just like in Emma when Mr. Knightey is gone visiting his brother and Emma is freaking out as she realizes she loves him.) Victoria writes him a note but hears nothing. She is so anxious and angry at herself for turning him down, especially as she knows he won’t ask her again.

A man who has once been refused! How could I ever be foolish enough to expect a renewal of his love? –Pride and Prejudice

Victoria has a little bit of a breakdown believing Captain Carstairs is dead. The Gardiner’s see her distressed state and think she is sick, wanting her to stay home but she has to go out to Almack’s, as she needs to know if Captain Carstairs is alive.

He acts cold, polite and aloof.

Victoria pleads with Captain Carstairs and he tells her that there was no duel. He just told the Malfreys that they needed to go to France and never return to England or else he would let out the news about Malfrey’s first wife, Mary Gilbreath, and their divorce.

All ends well with Victoria and Captin Carstairs ironing out their issues and ending up together.

Meh.

I thought it was a fun story with great characters except for Captain Carstairs. As you can see from the above gif, I didn’t care for him and Victoria to end up together.  I found Captain Carstairs to be annoying, mean, immature, and a major jerk, only a shadow of Mr. Knightly and Mr. Darcy. Personally I believe Victoria could do better.

 

For more on Emma, go to Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

For more Emma variations, go to A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

For more Meg Cabot, go to Would You Like a Pizza My Heart?: The Princess Diaries (2001)

 

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 4, Best Foot Forward Part I

 

So in the last episode, we had the sewing circle which I rocked. I love embroidery.

Miss Eliza Parsons also taught me the pianoforte, making it my newest accomplishment.

In this episode we are going to have a garden party in my honor, how will it turn out?!!

I’m nervous

So it is exciting, a party for me and the Duke is coming, that is just one step below Prince Regent!

Grandmother offers me a very fancy dress to wear, but it costs 25 diamonds.

That’s a lot of money…

In the other games I have played on Choices I have never purchased clothes as I don’t see the point, but I decided to in this-I want the full experience for the blog.

There will be dancing at the Garden Party and I am very worried as I don’t know how to dance! I was never taught that in the village I grew up in.

I decided to take up Miss Parson’s offer to teach me a Boulanger.

But to get the lessons I had to buy some more diamonds as I had used mine up. In doing so I acquired the dancing shoes!

At the garden party things are going well. I befriend Mr. Woods the butler, (who my maid Briar is interested in) as I know he will be a good ally.

Oh yes. my stepmother is awful.

Luckily my father loves me and defends me from her. He introduces me to Mr. Sinclaire-you remember him.

You have a conversation with him, and it is up to you if you want to go the Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy route, be mean and reject him, or flirt. I choose the Elizabeth and Darcy route as I like Mr. Sinclaire. He’s not as noble as the others and I can relate with my birth.

And in case you were wondering, Mr. Sinclaire is Mr. Darcy.

I also discover that Mr. Sinclaire really appreciates my father, as he helped them when Mr. Sinclaire took over Ledford Park, his estate. After we talk for a while, he invites me to a game of nine pins. As I was out of money and did not want to purchase more diamonds, I decided to wait until I had earned enough diamonds to play with Mr. Sinclaire.

For more Desire and Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 3, Threading the Needle

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

For more on Choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 2, The Ties That Bind

For more Jane Austen video games, go to Jane Austen Manors

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: The Widow of Larkspur Inn

So this is something I started a while back. Sometimes you want more Austen books after you had read the others. There are variations on her stories, but sometimes you don’t want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but what to read or watch?

Hmmm….

That’s why I started this series. I will review that have things we love about the Austen novels but in something fresh than a retelling.

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

The book is set in England of 1869. Julia Hollis is a wealthy mother of three-Phillip, Aleda, and Grace-and a recent widow. Three weeks have passed where they have all been in mourning and Julia receives the greatest surprise of her life.

Oh no!

They have lost everything due to her wealthy surgeon husband’s double life as a gambler.

The house has been repossessed by the bank and sold, the servants all staying to take on with the new owner. All her jewelry, including her ring, are taken as well. A large chunk of her clothes sold to a shop for extra money. They are forced to move to the small town of Gresham, as the only thing they left is an old coaching inn, The Larkspur Inn.

Their butler, Jensen, lends them money and helps them start putting ads in papers; the idea of the inn being turned into a lodging house.

Besides the Hollis family, they are going to be joined by Fiona O’Shea, one of the maids. Years ago when Fiona knocked on their door, a starving immigrant from Ireland, Julia forced her husband to hire her-and since then they have been very close friends.

They head out to Gresham where the house is a mess, but thanks to help from the local community and the Vicar and his daughter; things start looking up. Soon there are letters and lodgers who come into their home.

Yay!!!

Their lodgers are: Mrs. Octavia Kingston, a crotchety old woman with a heart of gold; Mr. Durwin, business entrepreneur and herbalist; Mrs. Dearing, former pioneer of the California goldfields with her late husband; kindly knitting Mrs. Hyatt; and the famous Ambrose Clay, amazing actor, who is taking a break from the stage as he is trying to find a way to combat his bouts of depression.

We have quite a group of characters

The other story that is told is that of Reverend Andrew Phelps. He is a widower with two daughters, Elizabeth and Laurel, and teaches at Cambridge. His oldest daughter is infatuated with a young man, Jonathan Raleigh.

Andrew had thought Jonathan was a great guy, but received an anonymous note that if he were to go to a certain address he would find Jonathan with a married women, notorious for her loose lifestyle. Andrew doesn’t want to believe such a thing is true, but as his daughter is head over heels, he has to investigate it. He goes and finds that it is true.

Time passes. Jonathan apologizes, but Elizabeth is heartbroken and listless. Andrew worries over her and decides it is time to leave Cambridge. When he hears that the Vicar of Gresham has to move because of his rheumatism, he snaps the post up and moves his family to the tranquil village.

Romance, cheer, etc. This book has it all and is a fantastic read.

So why would an Austen fan love this book?

Hmmm…

It has a lot of the flavor of Sense and Sensibility, with a family losing everything and having to move forward, in a way they never thought they would ever be, and having to use that resilience in the troubles they face.

We also have a touch of Marianne Dashwood in the character of Julia. When Julia was young she was a lot like Marianne, emotional and falling head over heels in love-putting her all in a man who had major flaws. Like Marianne, Julia was incapable of seeing those flaws as she had on the blinders of love.

Now with all the aftermath and having to move, Julia’s views on what is important character in a mate changed, just like Marianne after Willoughby breaks her heart and she recovers from her illness.

“Marianne was born to an extraordinary fate, she was born to discover the falsehood of her own opinions, to counteract, by her conduct, her favorite maxims . . . . Instead of falling a sacrifice to an irresistible passion . . . [she found herself] submitting to new attachments, entering on new duties.”

Jonathan Raleigh is a Willougby-like guy. He has money, class, high rank everything-but also the spirit of a rogue.

It is a great book and definitely worth a read with it being fun, loving, and having great characters. I read it, minimum, once a year.

For more on Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: A Change of Fortune

For more on The Widow of Larkspur Inn, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

For more bible verses, go to Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 3, Threading the Needle

So it has been a while since we last went over Desire & Decorum, so I will do a quick brief.

I’m all ears

Choices is a video game that combines film and book storytelling with you making choices as to what will happen next. One of their newest releases was an Austenlike game Desire & Decorum.

In the last chapter your father accepted you as his child and heir, Lady Catherine of Edgewater! You are legally now part of the family. You also meet your evil stepmother, stepbrother, and stepbrother’s dotty fiancé. We have two men on the rise Mr. Sinclaire and Mr. Harper, horsekeeper.

But which man?

In this episode they have put together a sewing circle to out you in lady’s society. Will you hold your own? Or fall to ribbons.

I got my tea cup, I’m ready.

So at the sewing circle is your evil stepmother-who clearly makes her disdain for you. Also is your stepbrother’s fiance, the simple Miss Sutton who “unwittingly” (is she really as simple as she seems?) always insults you.

Hmmm…

There is also a Miss Parsons

She was your older brother’s fiancé, the one that passed away.

We all stitch together, my character is as pro as me.

There is also Donna Bowman, Miss Sutton’s friend who is reading a rather amazing book.

Some games have a secondary mission, things you need to acquire to unlock special scenes or something special at the end of the complete story, mine is to be a truly accomplished lady. In this Miss Parsons offered to teach me piano, my first in the challenge. I had enough diamonds to purchase it and gained the pianoforte.

Woojoo, now I rock!

Just kidding. I’m probably more on par with Emma.

So let’s take a look at that challenge list again:

There looks to be dancing shoes, a painter’s palette, and something round? Not sure what the last object is. Either way, I plan on getting each one.

After the sewing circle you take a walk reading and have the option to go on a horse ride with Mr. Harper. I refused as I did not have the diamonds for it.

My wallet to me…

At the end of the chapter you are approached by your father who has planned a garden party in your honor! And your grandmother, the Dowager Countess, informs you that Duke Tristan Richards of Karlington will be attending the party. What an honor. Really.

Will you be a beautiful flower? Or a weed?

For more Desire and Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 2, The Ties That Bind

For more Austenland, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more on Choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 1, The Journey Ahead

For more Jane Austen video games, go to Jane Austen Manors

Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

So today is Jane Austen’s birthday!

And what better gift than a review of:

 

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues edited by Christina Boyd

So it’s that time again, bring out the bad boys:

For those of you who missed post oneDangerous to Know, is compilation novel of the bad boys of Jane Austen-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more.

Each story takes place before the Austen book, during the book, or after the book-giving us a look into these guys’ minds and from their point of view. One of the most interesting things about this subject is that we don’t know a lot about these bad boys in Austen’s work. Most of these men, besides Wickham, play a small role-but have a big impact. This allows the authors a ton of wiggle room and almost anything can happen.

The other thing about this book is that…well…this is about rakes and rogues, so you know…they aren’t the best of men or respectful…you know…so some of them are going to be more sexy.

Hmm…

And I just want to say thank you to Christina Boyd for including this little chart to help you:

Mature Content Guidelines:

  1. None: Possible kissing and affection.
  2. Mild: Kissing.
  3. Moderate: Some sexual references but not explicit.
  4. Mature: Some nudity and some provocative sex.
  5. Erotic: Explicit, abundance of sex.

Because not everyone is interested in books like this:

It’s nice giving us a head’s up so those that aren’t interested know to skip or skim, or those that are, can enjoy.

Something for everyone

So last time I reviewed the none posts, in which we had a stories on Captain Fredrick Tilney, General Tilney and John Thorpe from Northanger Abbey; along with Sir Walter Elliot from Persuasion. I loved these stories as some of these men I love to hate and it made me hate them ever more:

And some men I have hated and actually began to like them:

I know, but true.

Let me say, that if you can get me-one of the most stubborn people in the world-to change their thinking…that is some fantastic writing.

So now onto the mild posts-just to refresh you memory, that means kissing.

The Address of a Frenchwoman by Lona Manning

So when I saw that this story was about Tom Bertram I was surprised and confused.

Huh?

I never really saw him as a rogue or rake-to be honest I have never really focused on him when reading the story- and with how awful Henry Crawford is in that story, his rogueness overshadowed all.

But after reading this I really started thinking about his character and Manning is right. Tom Bertram is the oldest son-a gambler, drinker, and partier. Because of him, they have to sell his brother, Edmund Bertram’s, living-parsonage-to strangers.

He’s a man born into a life of privilege, gambles, sleeps around, and never considers how his actions affect others, nor does he care-like F. Scott Fitzgerald says-

“They were careless people…they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

But unlike the other bad boys, he does change after a long illness. When he gets through it, he begins to think of his life differently.

In this story, Tom is telling his friends a story about how he met his dream girl, a French woman, Rose. It all started when he visited a racetrack to place a bet. He is interrupted when a beautiful French woman is being assaulted by two ruffians. Tom steps in to help her, and finds himself smitten.

They have so much in common, they spend all their time together-except when Rose has to work, singing, to pay for all the aid she received in her escape from the Reign of Terror. Tom wishes to marry her, but she turns him down.

Disheartened, despondent, he returns home to put on a risqué play, but is thwarted by his father. From there he goes off again to the racetrack and runs into  horrifying truth that brings his undoing. Rose is not at all who she seems…

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was really good. I figured out the end of the tale in the beginning, but that didn’t take away from the story. I also liked how the author wrote the Rose character. I found it to be very enjoyable.

Fitzwilliam’s Folly by Beau North

Like the previous story when I saw that Darcy’s cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam was included as a rogue or rake I was confused.

I mean he seemed like a nice guy to me.

Hmm…

So I began to think about it.

Hmmm….

I have to say that I realize his behavior with Elizabeth was not okay. I mean if someone were to flirt with my friend the way he does with Elizabeth and then just flatly drops her with “we can never be together, you aren’t rich enough”-is a total jerkwad. And I would take that sucker down!

So Colonel Fitzwilliam is a second son, and we all know how that works. Second sons need a profession and to marry money…

So the story starts off with Colonel Fitzwilliam on his horse riding off in a hurry after someone…

We then cut to…

Six Months Earlier

Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy leave their aunt, Lady Catherine, to return to their homes. Darcy is heartbroken over Elizabeth’s refusal, while Fitzwilliam is also puzzled as to why she said no.

Fitzwilliam resumes life as normal, heading to Lady Snowley’s ball to oogle the women, but their attempts at him are in vain-as cupid’s arrows will never strike him…

This ball is different from all the others as Fitzwilliam receives a proposal.

Huh?

Calliope Campbell is the eldest of three girls. Her father is an American who has made a lot of money, nouveau riche, and the family is on the prowl for title gentlemen to wed their girls off to. Like in The Buccaneers or the marriage of Cora to the Earl of Grantham, Robert Crawley, in Downton Abbey. Needless to say, her parents are eager to get their girls settled.

However, Calliope is tired of being treated like a cow up for auction and has hatched a plan. She wishes to hire Colonel Fitzwilliam to “court” her-not compromise her, but turn away her other suitors (especially General Harrington yuck!)-so that she remains an old maid. In turn when she receives her majority and inheritance, she will give him £8000.

Fitzwilliam is horrified at this vulgar proposal and turns her down flat. However…Fitzwilliam goes to visit a very upset and sloshed Darcy. He joins him and later wakes up with a massive hangover in his family home. There he gets more news of his older brother’s profligate ways and that proposal is sounding better and better.

Hmmm….

Fitzwilliam agrees to Calliope’s terms and begins spending time with her…and starts falling for her. He finds her irresistible, her family loves him as he is from an important family…but there is one fly in the soup: the General. The General will not give up as he wants that fortune. He and Fitzwilliam compete-but then Calliope is kidnapped! Will Fitzwilliam save her in time?

Thoughts After Reading:

I LOVED this!!!!! Fitzwilliam is a character that could go in any direction, and I liked how North wrote him. I also loved the ending as…I can’t give it away, it was too good. You must read it yourself.

Some may say this story has been done before, but I don’t care what they say. I loved the characters and I had to keep flipping pages to find out what happened next. As I said before, you must read it!!!!!!

For more by Beau North, go to You Don’t Own Me in The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

So now that we have reviewed the stories let’s talk about the other question on people’s minds: How sexy was the sexy parts?

My conclusion is that it wasn’t that sexy. Mostly the narrator’s talk about the women’s curves, oogling their decolletage, kissing ( I think they might have mentioned tongue.) But nothing too crazy.

So I really enjoyed these two as well. I felt that the authors did a fantastic job of keeping Austen foundation, along with fleshing them out.  I LOOOOVED it! So hard to put down!

But will I continue to enjoy it?

Hmmm…

I guess we will find out in the next installment MODERATE.

For more reviews of Dangerous to Know, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

For more Mansfield Park, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

Slow-Cooker Bread

Yum!

I love bread. I could eat it, non-stop.

So you probably saw this pic on facebook/instagram, about me making bread. Usually bread takes quite a bit of time, but my friend shared this post on pinterest with me about making bread in your crock-pot!

Huh?

It was delicious and easy, so I felt I should share. It originally comes from delish.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 Envelope of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp of Sugar
  • 1.5 Cups of Lukewarm Water
  • 3.5 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Tbsp of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp of Salt

Directions:

  1. Line a crock-pot with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine yeast and sugar.
  3. Add water and stir until combined.
  4. Add flour, olive oil, and salt; stir until combined and a shaggy dough begins to form.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until it becomes smooth and soft, about 5 mins.
  6. Roll dough into a ball, then place in a slow cooker.
  7. Cook on high until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 hrs.
  8. Carefully remove bread from slow cooker.
  9. To crisp up the crust, transfer bread to a baking sheet and broil until golden, 2-3 mins.
  10. Let cool for 20 mins and serve warm or at room temp.

So delicious!!!!

For more recipes, go to Basic Shortbread

For more pinterest recipes, go to Blueberry Earl Grey Tea Smoothie

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues edited by Christina Boyd

So last year I was contacted by the remarkable Christina Boyd to read and review The Darcy Monologues. It contained stories from Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams.

The stories were all told from Darcy’s point of view with half the book set in the Regency Era and the other half set in different time periods (from 1880s Western to modern times). I really loved it! It was just so refreshing to see a point of view that is often overlooked or not done well. Just like the movies, there are many different forms of Darcy, so you have your pick of Darcy-being sure to find one, two, or more to love.

After that project, Christina Boyd teamed up with Karen M. Cox: J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Katie Oliver, Sophia Ros, Joana Starnes, and Brooke West for a new book. Instead of Darcy, this one will be on the rogues and rakes of the Austen books-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more.

I promised to read and review it but unfortunately life got in the way and I was unable to do it.

I hate breaking a promise, that is my number-one most hated thing of all time.

So now things are back on track. And this will be the first of a few posts as I am going to break them up. Why?

Hmm…

Well…this is about rakes and rogues, so you know…they aren’t the best of men or respectful…you know…so some of them are going to be more sexy.

Hmm…

And I just want to say thank you to Christina Boyd for including this little chart to help you:

Mature Content Guidelines:

  1. None: Possible kissing and affection.
  2. Mild: Kissing.
  3. Moderate: Some sexual references but not explicit.
  4. Mature: Some nudity and some provocative sex.
  5. Erotic: Explicit, abundance of sex.

Because not everyone is interested in books like this:

It’s nice giving us a head’s up so those that aren’t interested know to skip or skim, or those that do can enjoy.

Something for everyone

I will review them all, starting with the none in this post, the next will cover mild, then moderate, etc.

I am very excited as I loved The Darcy Monologues and I can’t wait to see what these authors are going to do with the bad boys of Jane Austen.

This idea really interested me as we don’t know much about these bad boys, except for Wickham. Some of them aren’t even main characters, only in the story for a bit, but all play crucial roles in the path the story takes. So there is a lot of wiggle room for these authors and all kinds of scenarios and directions they could take. And almost-the original story can’t be changed-anything could happen…

The Art of Sinking by J. Marie Croft

So this one is on John Thorpe from Northanger Abbey. Let’s get his stats:

  • Liar
  • Unscrupulous
  • Rude
  • Braggart
  • Only interested in horses, carriages, money and drinking
  • Manipulative
  • Narcissist
  • He lies to everyone about how wealthy Catherine is-as that is what he has made up in his head
  • He lies about the Tilneys to try and get Catherine away from them.

There is not enough hate in the world to give him what he deserves.

Ugh

Okay first let me say, I love that Croft uses the first quote from Northanger Abbey and tweaks it about Thorpe, showcasing his buffoonery. This is a ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) so I can put in the actual quote. But yeah-

In this we see where John gets his  lying streak from. He learns from his mother how to “stretch” the truth. He doesn’t get anywhere or do anything on his own, but manages to skirt through his life through his big mouth. He was never disciplined and basically believes he can do no wrong.

And I have to say that Croft is amazing at crafting all kinds of little jabs, puns, etc. This was such a pleasure to read.

I like it.

But John really crafts his skill when he goes to university. He doesn’t study, but tries to make “connections”, gambles, spends all his money on drink, women, gambling, etc. He and Isabella scheme to get rich wives and husbands, his plan to get his sister to hook his friend James Morland and he to get his sister.

But, before that scheme he has another. He bets that before the term ends he will bed a married woman. He stupidly believes Mrs. Waters, an elegant married woman, has the hots for him.

Uh no.

She learns of his scheme and both her husband and her unwittingly plan schemes of their own. Mr. Waters bets him to see of his wife will succumb, and Mrs. Waters plans a Shakespearean worthy scam. Mrs. Waters tricks him into the super smelly,stinky laundry and dump him in the river.

He tries again with Mrs. Fields, but that ends up with a dog attacking him, getting beat by the husband, and thrown again the river.

Isn’t nice to see people get what they so deserve.

He tries again with Mrs. North, but when he gets there he finds not just that woman but the previous two. They try to force him in the laundry, send the pug after him, and all three women dump him in the river in front of everyone.

What Did I Think: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha I LOVE it!!!

For more by J. Marie Croft, go to From the Ashes in The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For Mischief’s Sake by Amy D’Orazio

Fredrick Tilney…ugh…onw of the most awful men ever. Hate him! He makes me think of James Spader in Pretty in Pink

  • Handsome
  • Rich
  • Narcissist
  • Class A totally complete 100% jerkwad
  • Cares about nothing and nobody
  • Uses girls, takes what he wants and then dumps them-without caring a fig for their reputation, life, what will become of them.

I’d like to punch him in the face!

So this starts off with Captain Fredrick Tilney, brother to Henry Tilney, going to be in a duel after seducing his friends fiance. He stops the duel by telling his friend he did it “for his own good”. That he did it to prove his fiance was “unfaithful” and that he is “better off” without her.

HATE HIM!!! HATE HIM!!!! NO real friend would do that. Now I want to punch him in the face and the balls. Excuse my anger.

He learned this from his father, General Tilney, when he fell for a girl and his dad believed she was untrue. General Tilney seduced her, and Fredrick has “made it his mission” to do so for all his friends.

You know who else has creepy evil missions, serial killers! Yes, serial killers. He as evil as a serial killer.

A year later, General Tilney is furious that Henry has proposed to Catherine who has nothing in his estimation. Fredrick tries to reason with his brother:

No dice. The General sends Fredrick down to take her down.

He does and this is one of the best scenes ever! He sees that she is naive and thinks she’s just right for the kill. He throws down his classic seduction moves and Catherine…she cries. She weeps, she sobs, she is utterly heartbroken that Captain Tilney has been so hurt, so heartbroken, so betrayed that he has become this man in his grief. She laments over what happened to him, she is honored that he has shared this secret self as it is a mark of bonding as they are going to be siblings.

What?

When seduction doesn’t work, he tries logic. He spells out clearly that his father will never approve of the match, but Catherine ignores him believing love will find a way. Fredrick was proved wrong twice, as his father rescinds and they do marry. That conversation sticks with him…

At a ball one night he sees a vision of loveliness, wowed by her but then realizes it is Miss Rose Gibson, the woman he seduced in the beginning of the story.  She hates him with a passion, but Fredrick has been struck by cupid’s arrow (but doesn’t realize it yet). Miss Gibson is an amazing woman who has no fear-she throws herself in front of the wolves by going to balls, parties, etc even tough she is a fallen woman. Fredrick befriends her and realizes that there was a lot more too her. He never saw her as more than a body before.

Love, love love the conversations. Fredrick is all (I’m paraphasing and using my own words nothing is a direct quote, just fyi) a woman just wants the richest man they can get, women be gold diggers. And then Rose is all, so what a man just wants the richest woman they can get, but she also has to be drop-dead gorgeous, accomplished, baby-bearing, etc.-how’s that fair? Fredrick is all women are just after security-while Rose is like when a woman gets married they go from being controlled by father to husband. Boom Rose-you are one awesome lady. Suck on that Fredrick! You suck!

The best is this-“If the vows were what I awaited to gain his loyalty,’ she said, ‘then I suppose he should have expected likewise from me.” BOOM BOOM BOOM. Yeah! Why does the guy get to be going in all kinds of brothels and being with all kinds of ladies and no one bats an eye, but then she is seduced and life is over. Not fair, not cool. Although I will say, that Rose does take responsibility for her actions and the mistake that she made with Fredrick. She doesn’t solely blame him-I think she is awesome.

Fredrick realizes he loves her, but he tries and tries proposing and each time is rejected.

What can he do? He decides to turn to the biggest romantic and the only one who can help, his sister-in-law: Catherine Morland-Tilney.

I’ve got my popcorn ready, it’s going to be good.

What Did I Think:

I LOOOOOOVEEEEED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn’t think it was possible to like Fredrick Tilney, like I literally thought it was impossible. But I did. D’Orazio is a revolutionary, can perform a miracle-seriously.

Squee! I loved it!

One Fair Claim by Christina Morland

So this story is about Sir Walter Elliot:

I hate him. He’s a major jerk.

  • All he cares about is physical apperance
  • He is critical
  • Rude
  • Spendthrift
  • Doesn’t care about anyone but himself

Will I continue to hate him or see him in a new light?

The story starts in March of 1784, and Sir Walter…

Is being Sir Walter…

Ugh

Commenting on people’s looks, the fact that he is lucky that the arm band (meaning a relative has died) doesn’t ruin his outfit…

He has “fallen in love”- ultimately chosen-Miss Elizabeth Stevenson because she is sweet and naive-flattering and playing to his ego.  Also she has “perfect skin”-no freckles, lines, blemishes, moles, sags, etc…so of course she will be perfect to procreate.

But there is another man interested. There is a new vicar of Monkford Parish, who is “ugly”-he sweats, has a large nose, double chin, cares more about others than his personal appearance.

Sir Walter gets second thoughts when it appears that Elizabeth reads! The horror! An intellectual…and reading! We all know how he hates that.

We then move to July 1784 when they are to be married. Elizabeth has the blinders on and believes him to be better than he really is-seeing him as caring for others when he only cares about himself. Unfortunately, Elizabeth chains herself to that jerk. She gets a sad wake up call when his wedding gift is a copy of the Barontency-yes a book about him and his whole family. What a narcissistic jerkwad.

1790-They have been married and Elizabeth has been hit with the truth of her situation, trying to make the best of it. She spends most of her free time helping take care of the orphans and poor until she dies.

After her death, a letter for Anne from her mother was left, but Sir Walter burns it as he doesn’t want Anne’s eyes opened. Anne is the only one that received the personality of her mother, as Elizabeth and Mary are all Sir Walter.

What Did I Think?: I didn’t know it was possible to hate a character more than you already do. But Christina Morland changed that.

I will say that when Sir Walter doesn’t believe in “passion so strong” that you “get it on” in the grime, dirt, and dust-I actually agreed with him. I don’t get that either. I agreed with Sir Walter. I think my life just ended.

I loved it, I think Morland did a fantastic job, I loved it. I love hating people more that I already hate. 🙂

As Much as He Can by Sophia Rose

So I have to admit, when I saw Sophia Rose’s name I got SUPER excited!!! I loved her story in The Darcy Monologues-if you haven’t read it, you need to.

Anyways, this is about General Tilney:

  • Conniving
  • Mean
  • Controlling
  • Jerk
  • Uses children as pawns
  • Wants to make more money through children

He and Eleanor Young in Crazy Rich Asians would be perfect for each other.

The story begins in 1799, with a party at Northanger Abbey. General Tilney is trying to maneuver a more suitable match for his daughter Eleanor and trying to get Henry Tilney to move his interest from  Catherine, but no dice so far.

He starts thinking back to when he met their mother-Genevieve. General Tilney is thought to be unfeeling or a villian-but is that how he really felt about her?

March 1768-General Tilney-Major then, is coming for his best friend’s, Longtown, wedding (wow another Crazy Rich Asians flashback). His other friend Courtenay is engaged and his fiance is hoping that Tilney can help them out. Her friend, Miss Genevieve Drummond needs attention and a partner for some of the dances. But Tilney isn’t interested as Miss Freethy is the woman he wants, having meet and spent time with her in Jamaica- he stationed her visiting.

Tilney and marriage is something that he and his father fought over-his dad parading “suitable” women of his choice in front of Tilney. He never wants to be like that and ran away to the army. Since then his father has given him no money-and Tilney has had to go it on his own.

Tilney spends the night with Miss Drummond and really enjoys it, but still has his eyes on Miss Freethy trying to sneak away to talk to her as soon as he can.

But Miss Freethy is not interested in Tilney anymore. He was just a flavor of the month for her. She set her eyes on Lord Stanbridge, an Earl with great land and money. Tilney is not heartbroken, but angry, embarrassed, and betrayed.

While Tilney is in sorrow, Miss Drummond proposes to him.

What?

Yes, Miss Drummond had a fortune-hunter after her and was greatly humiliated and talked about. That’s why her friends had to hunt up someone to give her “attention.” She does not want to return to her father’s or aunt’s household-where the humiliation and lecturing will continue. She knows that Tilney will face the same humiliation and wants to propose marriage to Mr. Tilney. The humiliation will stop as the ton will reverse and talk about the nuptials, how Tilney spurned Miss Freethy for Miss Drummond, and how Miss Drummond scooped up a winner.

Tilney turns him down as Miss Drummond is lower than him, and does not have the connections and wealth Miss Freethy had. He is a total jerk when he does too-awful.

So the friend’s wedding comes and goes, but the tongues are wagging about Tilney being Miss Freethy’s little toy soldier. Tilney thinks over the proposal more and more and meets up with her later. He sees her again and can’t believe that he didn’t see how beautiful she was before. He accepts her proposal and they are married-forget his father.

The two were married and became “partners” in their venture. Tilney did all he could to hold up his end of the deal, getting her the things she wanted.

This remembrance made him realize he does not want to be his father and he lets Eleanor and Henry marry the people of their dreams.

What Did I Think?: So adorable. I never thought I would ever like General Tilney, ever-even a little bit. He’s so rude and just-urgh, yuck. But in this I felt for him, I liked him! I thought it was absolutely adorable and just loved it. 

For more by Sophia Rose, go to Darcy Strikes Out in The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

So far what do I think? I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED It!!! This stories were great! Some people I absolutely hated, I found myself loving! And others I hated I found myself hating more! It was amazing and I found myself having a hard time putting it down as I wanted to read more and more.

But will I love the others? I don’t know, we will have to wait and see!

For more Christina Boyd, go to Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Crazy Rich Asians

For more on Persuasion, go to Right Away I Know I Won’t Like You

For more Austen book reviews, go to Just Jane

Dancing Queen

I love ABBA. And when I saw this pic I loved it and had to include it in my post.

I love all their songs, but the first one that got me into the band was Dancing Queen.

The song was released in 1976 and took the world by storm, number one in many places-Europop and Disco at its finest. In fact Anni-Frid Lyngstad said the first time it made her cry-she felt its connection and knew that others would have the same draw to it.

It was performed for Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and his bride-to-be, Silvia Sommerlath on the night before their wedding. Then on Queen Silva’s 50th birthday, Anni-Frid Lyngstad performed Dancing Queen for her again.

This song has been covered by lots of bands and singers, and been in many movies and TV shows. Of course the most famous being Mama Mia!

I think we love this song because it does connect to all of us, no matter the age.

So enjoy!

Ooh
You can dance
You can jive
Having the time of your life
Ooh, see that girl
Watch that scene
Dig in the dancing queen
Friday night and the lights are low
Looking out for a place to go
Where they play the right music
Getting in the swing
You come to look for a king
Anybody could be that guy
Night is young and the music’s high
With a bit of rock music
Everything is fine
You’re in the mood for a dance
And when you get the chance
You are the dancing queen
Young and sweet
Only seventeen
Dancing queen
Feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yeah
You can dance
You can jive
Having the time of your life
Ooh, see that girl
Watch that scene
Dig in the dancing queen
You’re a teaser, you turn ’em on
Leave ’em burning and then you’re gone
Looking out for another
Anyone will do
You’re in the mood for a dance
And when you get the chance
You are the dancing queen
Young and sweet
Only seventeen
Dancing queen
Feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yeah
You can dance
You can jive
Having the time of your life
Ooh, see that girl
Watch that scene
Dig in the dancing queen
Dig in the dancing queen

For more of my favorite songs, go to Darcy’s ’80’s Power Song

For more ABBA, go to A Study in Fandoms

For more disco, go to I Will Survive

For more Sarah Dessen, go to Plot Twist

A Water-Logged White Christmas

So every year my family goes and cuts down a Christmas tree. And this year, things did not go as expected.

So it rained.

Which was good. California really needed it. But because of fire and storm the place we usually go to was closed.

So we had to drive over an hour away, wait an hour to process for permits (never had to do that before), and then drive another hour away.

When we got there, the snow was super deep. The banks went up to your knees and thighs, depending on the area. It was such hard work. We couldn’t drive up to the tree cutting allowed area, as the snow was so deep, we had to hike in.

NoooooooooooooooS

While it was raining, which turned into sleet-and snow.

So it was hard to look for a tree with the snow, as my family we all wear glasses-so quickly fogged up and covered in rain.

Then the chainsaw broke so we are all sitting out there standing in the snow and getting even more soaked then we already were.

We finally got the tree, but the rest of the group couldn’t help, so my sister and I are trying to drag this huge 14 foot tree through the crazy deep snow.

Ugh

And finally we were ready to go. It was so wet that my gloves were full of water and falling off of me, my jacket so soaked it was drippingly full-the rain had gotten through my coat and on my shirt, pants and leggings, etc. I felt like Marianne Dashwood.

[after Marianne has first met Willoughby]

Elinor: Marianne, you must change. You will catch a cold.

Marianne: What care I for colds when there is such a man.

Elinor: You will care very much when your nose swells up.

Marianne: You are right. Help me, Elinor.

But even though it was a lot of work-and we all were soaked it was still fun. Even though after we got home, changed, and ate-all I wanted to do was sleep.

For more stories on cutting down our Christmas tree, go to Winter Wonderland

For more Marianne Dashwood, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance