Beside Two Rivers

Beside Two Rivers (Daughter of the Potomac #2) by Rita Gerlach

Back in 2015 I added this book to my kindle with tons of others and promptly forgot all about it. Fast forward to 2022 and I have decided it is finally time to really go through and try and clean out my kindle collection and get rid of books I will not read again. I decided to start at the beginning (with all the books alphabetized by title) and read them and decide whether to keep or delete.

I started reading this book and just could not connect to it, which surprised me as I tend to enjoy historical fiction. The story is set in 1797 Maryland and follows Darcy Morgan, (daughter of the previous books’ protagonists), who has grown up with relatives as her mother died when she was young and her father went out West, and hasn’t been heard from again.

Darcy feels very much alone as she loves her family but doesn’t quite feel as if she fits in. She loves to walk and read; her cousins love to focus on how they look and trying to find a beau. Her aunt Mari is very silly and consumed with matchmaking while her uncle William, is intelligent but droll and likes to poke fun at others.

Darcy especially hates focusing on her looks, as she feels more comfortable being natural in no stockings and bare feet. Her aunt however will not allow it and when an invitation comes to visit the Twin Oaks plantation, she is beyond delighted and goes into planning mode.

Aunt Mari gets even more excited as not only will the son, Mr. Daniel Rhendon, of Twin Oaks be attending (an eligible bachelor) but he plans to bring with him a party from England. “…it says he brings two ladies and a gentleman.”

Hmm, who does that sound like?

At the party Darcy is embarrassed by her aunt who is trying to dig for information and doing other things that draw too much attention to their family. Darcy decides to go on a walk and ends up running into an English gentleman who is intrigued by Darcy’s opinionated self. Darcy refuses to give her name to the stranger as she wants to be “mysterious” and returns to the party. There she is further embarrassed by her aunt, who continues to make a bit of a fool of herself.

Back at the party Darcy spots the handsome English man from before and he also spots her. He is Ethan Brennan, one of Daniel’s friends, and he also spots her. When Darcy hides from the public with her cousin to remove a small stone from her shoe; she accidentally overhears Ethan talking about her-and becomes extremely offended at what he said.

Ethan

I think you can tell where this is going. Darcy is basically Elizabeth, Ethan is Mr. Darcy, Miss Roth is totally Miss Bingley, Daniel is Mr. Bingley, Aunt Mari is Mrs. Bennet and so on.

So eventually the two, Darcy and Ethan, fall in love but Ethan has to go back to England and it seems that is it for over for our two lovers. Except Darcy receives a letter from English relatives she hasn’t know of and also heads off to England. At that point I gave up in the story as it just couldn’t capture my attention. I know a lot of people said that it was slow until the England part and that is where it picks up, but I wasn’t going to even try. I have a giant list of to-read books that I own and have checked out form the library.

If I want to make a dent in that I don’t have time to be wasting it on a book I don’t like.

End thought: would not recommend. Instead here are a few I would recommend.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to The Clergyman’s Wife + The Question is Mr. Collins Really THAT Bad?

For more Pride and Prejudice adaptations, go to An Affectionate Heart

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Persuasion (2022) or MadsenCreations and I Watched the New Persuasion So You Don’t Have To

For more historical fiction, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Miss Abbott and the Doctor WEBTOON

Spill the Tea: eleven tlc

Last April my sister needed some help with my nieces as it was spring break, her husband was out of town due to family illness, and she was working. I had promised my niece I would visit them in Albany, Georgia before they moved and found this to be the perfect opportunity as my work had finally lifted their stops on all vacation. I still had to quarantine when I returned, but that was okay. I had a lot of things I planned to take care for my Jane Austen birthday as I quarantined (such as baking, piñata making, etc).

The plan was for me to fly into Atlanta and then we would spend some time in a couple of different shops with my sister and my older niece as the younger niece was going to be watched by a babysitter. I had looked at a couple of places and suggested going to a tea house as I of course try to visit a tea place every time I go somewhere. I was excited as CA was under so many COVID19 restriction and in April of 2021 there weren’t any teahouses open.

While on the plane and using Delta’s free Wi-Fi, I checked my messages and something had happened so we not going to be able visit the tea house after all, instead my sister planned to take us to Ponce City Market only, and afterwards we would be heading to Albany.

I was disappointed, but in a lifestyle center that big I knew there had to be at least one place that served tea. After some searching I came upon eleven tlc. Ponce City Market described it as “Delicious organic, functional teas & lattes that make you feel good from the inside out.”

I sent my sister the link, and we prepared to go there.

I’m not sure how long eleven tlc has been a company or a part of PCM, as there was very little about them on their site, but they strive to have items that promote wellness for your body and for the earth.

I was tempted to get a matcha latte as I usually do, but was intrigued by their lavender latte. It sounded absolutely delicious and as I hate almond milk I had mine made with oat milk instead. The lavender latte I had there was the best lavender latte I have ever had. And as I was in need of tea I felt much better after drinking it.

My sister got a latte with bee pollen in it that is supposed to help wiht allergies. She really enjoyed hers as well.

I definitely recommend this place if you are ever in Atlanta or Ponce City Market. It was an all around win!

For more tea cafe reviews, go to Spill the Tea: There & Back Again Cafe

For more tea posts, go to Teapot Card with Teabag

I Attended the Bridgerton Experience in San Francisco

I have yet to review the Bridgerton TV show or the book series (it’s on my very long to-do list I swear!), but that can all wait. Let’s talk about the ball!

I first heard about the Bridgerton Experience after my friend attended the Los Angeles one. I was sad to see I had missed it (as I hadn’t heard of it) and even more so after seeing further photos and videos by MissKittyCatalan and autumnsarahstory.

I looked at reviews and other info on it, and of course as it usually goes, when you search up one thing you end up receiving all kinds of ads promoting that thing, in my case the Bridgerton Experience. For once I was really happy to see the ads as I discovered they would be holding more balls and that they had expanded it to San Francisco.

San Francisco is much closer to me than LA and after some more investigating I found that they gave you a great rate for groups of 6 and more. Now that I was armed with dates, times, and prices; it just came down to finding people to join me.

First things first I posted on my Facebook page to try and get as many friends notified (and possibly willing to join); along with reaching out to friends I knew who would want to go (or be willing to do me the favor of attending). I checked back in a week and had no takers from Facebook, and could only get three friends interested, as the others felt it wasn’t right for them as they had no clue what Bridgerton was about.

A group of four is better than one, and after looking at all the prices and times we settled on Sunday August 14th at 2:30. 2:30 was cheaper than the evening and we all felt the price was the most fitting for what we would be getting in the “experience”. (Although by the way, I just checked the calendar and prices for the 5:30 are now cheaper than 2:30. I’m not sure why it changed as before they were the same price as the 2:30 show). You have the option to purchase VIP tickets, but from the reviews VIP only seemed to get a place to sit, a free glass of champagne, and to go into the experience a few minutes before the rest of the crowd. As you weren’t really getting that much of an advantage over the regular priced guests, we all felt that it wasn’t worth the higher cost of the ticket, (unless we had been able to get that great group rate). Instead we all bought the regular tickets.

According to the research I did the ball included: multiple photo areas, a” paint your portrait” photo area, merchandise available for purchase, costumes from the show being on display, a scavenger hunt, guests being presented to the Queen, a ballet performance with aerials, being taught to dance, and a ball. Plus one lucky person will be chosen as the “diamond” (that is the Belle of the season). I was so excited and hoped that it would be me!

Please pick me.

After tickets were purchased the next thing we was needed to figure out of course was what to wear? Luckily I had that all taken care of. As you might recall, last year I held a Jane Austen birthday party and MadsenCreations designed and made my regency gown. The gown is blue and was inspired by the one Daphne wears in Bridgerton and the dress Lydia wears in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Since this was a ball and men would be present, (unlike my party) I needed gloves! I tried to find some opera full length gloves as I wanted them to go all the way up to my bicep, but I was unable to find any online that would arrive in time (and of course the Halloween store in my town was opening the day of the ball). I ended up wearing elbow length gloves, which turned out to not be the best idea. As I wanted to take a lot of pictures and my phone is a touch screen, I had to keep taking one of my gloves on and off. MadsenCreations wore small gloves which was a much better idea.

As you can see one glove to take photos.

After that the only thing left to plan was my hair. Which you all know can be the most difficult.

I cut my hair in May so I was unable to do the hairstyle I did last year for my party. I wanted to try and do the look Jennifer Ehle has in Pride and Prejudice (1995) but it didn’t come out right. Instead I did a very high bun on the back of my head vis-a-vie Miss Jane Erstwhile in Austenland, but only had a couple tendrils down on the sides of my face, copying the look of Miss Kate Sharma on the book cover of The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgerton #2).

Everything was falling into place. We drove down the night before and stayed with my Tia, spending all Sunday getting ready! As we didn’t want to have to worry about finding parking we hired a lovely carriage to bring us to the ball, a Honda Accord.

The confirmation email told you to arrive 30 minutes before the event and we arrived a few minutes after 2. We were able to take our “yours truly” photo right away (no line) and see all the dresses in the waiting area. My friend and her roommate joined us a little later and we took another pic in the “Yours Truly” area. They also had gloves, tiaras, jewelry, and more available for purchase. My friend forgot her gloves and was able to purchase them at the little shop.

After that we waited around a bit looking at everyone’s outfits before they allowed us in. I noticed two things right away; 1) there were no single men, each guy was with a girl or group of girls. And 2) no man that I could see was dressed in a Regency costume. This was a complete bummer as I really, really wanted to get a pic with a Regency man. All I could do was hope I would be able to snag an actor or perhaps someone would come late?

When the experience begins you have the choice to shop, walk around, order drinks, and take photos. They have a wisteria arch, “paint your portrait”, the queen’s throne, and lots of other decorated areas. It was absolutely beautiful in there.

Xandraleigh had warned me to wait on the wisteria walkway as it gets incredibly crowded with people. Instead we went right to the portrait line as there was hardly anybody there. The portrait was fun and the picture came out well, although I do wish we had been given more instructions as we weren’t quite sure what exactly to do at first, but eventually figured it out.

After taking our portraits we were at a loss of what to do next. We didn’t want to take a picture on the Queen’s chair as the line was super long and instead walked around a bit looking at the Bridgerton shop and trying to see what else the experience had to offer.

There wasn’t much else but photo areas and a few more clothes from the show. I liked looking at the costumes, but there weren’t as many costumes as I thought there would be.

While we were taking photos we heard an announcement and quickly ran back to the Queen’s chair area to see what was happening. The Queen had arrived, and we tried to see her although it was really hard with all the people. She sat at her throne and Lady Whistledown, became our narrator for the events. She told us that we were to be presented to the queen and to try our best to impress her so that we will be in the running for the “diamond”. We were also told that as Whistledown couldn’t be there herself she sent another in her place, and challenged us to try and discover which of the guests she was. This woman, who’s name I forget, gave commentary on every curtesy, being quite sassy. I was excited for this, but the directions weren’t quite clear. They told everyone to move to the front by the Queen but I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to line up, go to the right or left, etc. We all kind of moved in a group together like a giant herd of cattle and the actors picked people to be presented.

I had five people in front of me and then all of a sudden they were saying I was next in line and urging me forward. When I stepped up the Queen wasn’t paying attention but talking to an attendant. I wasn’t sure what to do and stopped there, like a deer in headlights, and then curtseyed. Suffice to say, my curtesy did not get rave reviews and I did not impress the Queen.

The rest of my party did very well and one of us was even given a note saying that they had impressed the Queen and were in the running to be the “diamond”.

After that we decided to try to take a picture in the archway as we didn’t have anything else to do and weren’t sure how long the presenting would take. Here is where I wish had a program to guide us, or had opened up the ballroom so we could dance while waiting for the next “performance”.

As I said we headed to the archway as the line had gone down, although it still took a while for us to get our photo, even though we were only behind three couples. The problem was everyone wanted to take a ton of photos and videos. I’m all for people doing their thing but I do wish they would be a little more considerate of the time and others. There is only 90 minutes and a lot of people in line; you don’t need to take 5 photos together, 5 individual shots (each), and 5 videos.

When it was finally our turn, we heard another announcement, quickly snapped a couple group shots, and went hurrying back to see that they had opened the ballroom.

Here is where you need to be assertive and try to get as close to the floor as possible as they choose guests to open up the dance floor and dance with the actors. I was too nice and unable to get up there, so I was not chosen.

Aw!

But seriously, it was still fun to watch. I do wish they had a bigger ballroom or less people as it was a little hard to see everything. I was in the back on a little stage area, so I was able to kind of look over people. But as I’m short It was hard at times to get a good look into everything. They then began the first part of the ballet that I thought told the story of Daphne and Simon, but others have said they think it is supposed to represent Kate and Anthony. Either way it was beautiful.

After the first dance, they brought out a woman dressed in burlesque type outfit and she was really out of place. She taught us a pseudo-regency dance and it was fun; although hard to follow along as you couldn’t hear what she was saying and there were a lot of people crowded around the dance floor. She does a lot of hand movements and when doing it with all the people attempting to follow, you might hit someone or have someone hit you.

Then our dancers returned and performed beautifully! I loved the dancing with the silks. My favorite part was when they danced with the chandelier. It was so stunning and worth it.

After the second dance the two split to either side of the room and taught us a regency-esque dance. This was a lot of fun and as I came to this ball to dance I was not going fo let an opportunity slip through my fingers. I’m not ashamed fo say I pushed my way forward so that I could be in the dance, I was going after my dream! I was hoping for my own Pride and Prejudice or Northanger Abbey moment, however, as mentioned before there were no men who came alone so I ended up dancing with a very nice woman who was an excellent dancer.

“This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature.“

Julian Barnes

After we were taught the dance and danced away a bit, they moved us off the dance floor and the dancers finished their performance with the violinist even getting into it. It was fantastic! The violinist was amazing!

Afterwards, the Queen came out and the two characters were married. The stand in for Lady Whistledown was also revealed (in a modern dress, I never would have guessed that was her) and they chose the “diamond”. In everything I’d seen online the diamond always had a stunning Regnecy outfit. This woman they picked wore a black Victorian dress which, not to be rude, made me think of a widow (as women in that time period only wore all black if they were a widow.) I hadn’t seen her before but she must have impressed the queen to be picked. I would have liked to see her curtesy and learn a few tips.

The stand in for Lady Whistledown, the diamond in the portrait, and the Queen.

The queen then left and they played 2010s party music and allowed you to dance the last 15 minutes of the program. We enjoyed it, but were all a little disappointed that there wasn’t more dancing.

Emma (1996) AKA the Gwyneth Paltrow Version

As we were exiting the ballroom I did manage to find one man (not an actor) dressed in Regency clothes and convinced him to take a picture with me! Since I didn’t ask his permission to post the photo and he’s not wearing a mask, I won’t share it here, but I am very grateful that he decided to dress up.

The only thing that was promised that I didn’t see was the scavenger hunt. I saw on multiple reviews that they had clues you were to solve to get to the next one, but I couldn’t find any clues or information on it.

Mystery, you say?

Afterwards, we decided to get food as we all had forgotten to eat when we were all getting ready for the ball. We also needed time to share and discuss the ball. We tried to find a resturant nearby, but a lot were closed on Sunday. We eventually settled on Chez Maman (Hayes Valley) on 401 Gough St. We walked down there as trying to find a parking spot in San Francisco is near impossible. As we were walking people commented on our outfits and complimented us.

We are hot!

Chez Maman was packed but they were able to sit us outside and even though things took some time, understandable as almost every table was full, it was the best service I have had even pre-Covid and everything was absolutely delicious. I would definitely recommend stopping there after the ball.

So was it worth it? Well this was what I was hoping to get out of the experience:

  • Have fun with my friends
  • Dance with a handsome stranger
  • Get my picture taken with a man dressed in Regency clothes
  • Dance at the ball
  • See the lovely clothes from the show
  • Take a nice picture
  • Enjoy the ballet!

So would I recommend this experience? I definitely would. We had a lot of fun and everything was absolutely beautiful.

If you do attend my advice is:

  • To be aware of time (you only have 90 minutes).
  • Group photos are definitely the way to go if you want to be able to do everything.
  • Don’t be afraid to assert yourself in order to be a part of the action. If you want the best experience, you are going to need to be front and center.
  • If you are planning on taking lots of photos wear short gloves or no gloves at all
  • Don’t wear anything too long as with all the people you will get stepped on.
  • Don’t wear too many layers. The ballroom gets packed and there is no air conditioning going, so it gets hot in there.

For more Regency events, go to Tossing a Costume Together + Regency Runway

I Wrote A Letter (I Actually Wrote Four)

Have you ever seen the film White Chicks? It is a 2000’s film that stars the Wayan Brothers as FBI agents who are one screw up away from being fired. When they mess up their very simple assignment to watch two heiress and transport them to the Hamptons, they end up having to go undercover as the Wilson Sisters in order to keep themselves from being fired and foil a kidnapping plot. It is hilarious as most of the people can’t tell the agents in their makeup from the “real” sisters, even though you as they viewer can clearly tell they look nothing like the Wilson sisters. One of my favorite parts of the film is when they are trying to keep the other FBI agents from figuring out their undercover situation and stage a big scene about how they “are going to write a letter”.

FBI Agent Kevin Copeland as Brittany Wilson: I wanna speak to your supervisor! Better yet, I’m gonna write a letter!

FBI Agent Marcus Copeland as Tiffany Wilson: [to FBI Agent Harper] You are in *big* trouble!

FBI Agent Kevin Copeland as Brittany Wilson: [Agitated, “Brittany” grabs a pen and a sheet of paper and starts writing] Dear… Mr… Royal… Hampton. I… am… a… *white*… woman… in… America.

Whenever my family and friends has something upset us that we have no control over (for example the terrible Netflix Persuasion film) or when we wish something would happen, we always claim we are going to “write a letter”.

For the past few years on Instagram I have asked questions in my stories and posted the results along with my own thoughts and opinions thrown in. One thing I ask every year is “If You Could Cast Any Actor (Alive or Dead) as Mr. Darcy, Who Would It Be?”

Since I started in 2019, the most requested men to play Mr. Darcy are Aidan Turner, Henry Cavill, Ben Barnes, and Richard Armitage, and Ben Barnes. Every year I say I am “going to write a letter” to them but never actually do.

However, I finally decided to “write a letter”, four actually, and hope for the best that they read it and respond. You might think that sounds silly, but one thing Austen taught me was to never underestimate the power of a well written letter.

I also decided to use the Magazine Cover cards I was given to by Christina Boyd as I have high hopes that their assistants or agents or whoever reads their mail will actually pass them along as they are so striking.

#1) Aiden Turner c/o CAM 55-59 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6LD, United Kingdom

The first person I wrote to was Aidan Turner. In my letter I wrote that I was a fan of his work and that in my opinion he was the only good thing in The Mortal Instruments. After I gusher a bit I went on to let him know about my Blogiversary queries and that he was one of the most requested actors to play Mr. Darcy. I then pleaded with him to consider being in any future Austen adaptions; or alternatively, I also suggested him dressing up in a Regency-esque outfit and reenacting a scene from Pride and Prejudice for his fans. I don’t know if he will or not but I’ll be keeping an eye out.

For more on Aiden Turner, go to You’re Mother is a Shadowhunter…Like You: The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones (2013)

#2) Henry Cavill c/o CAA 2000 Avenue of the Stars Los Angeles, CA 90067

The next letter I wrote was to Henry Cavill. I’m not really a fan of his as I haven’t actually seen that much of his work. I liked him in Stardust but besides that I’ve only seen him in the Snyder Cut of Justice League, and I think he played the son in the Count of Monte Cristo? So skipped over the usual fawning and went right to the point, stressing how the fans would love to see him in an Austen adaption, especially as Mr. Darcy. And if he wasn’t really interested in either, perhaps he would be willing to do an Austen themed tiktok or Instagram reel? Out of all these men I have the highest hopes for him as he is one who understands the love a fan has for a certain work. But, I guess we will just wait and see.

#3) Ben Barnes c/oWilliam Morris Endeavor Entertainment 9601 Wilshire Blvd. 3rd Floor Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The next person on my list was Ben Barnes, and unlike the other actors, I have only seen Ben Barnes in two films and both were absolutely terrible. The films? Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Now I know a lot of people like this Disney series and I will concede there are quite a few things they did very well, but the character of Prince Caspian was 100% not one of them and the whole plot line of Voyage was not only illogical but just plain horrible. What were they thinking?

As I’m not a fan of his I just went right into letting him know about how he is one of the highest requested actors to be in an Austen production, most commonly suggested to play Mr. Darcy. Like the others, I asked if he would consider any upcoming Jane Austen productions; or alternatively considering dress up in a Regency type outfit and reenact a part of Pride and Prejudice.

#4) Richard Armitage c/o United Artists 12-26 Lexington St, London W1F 0LE, United Kingdom

And lastly, we have Richard Armitage. As I am a fan of his I did a bit of fangirling (just a little) before I laid out the same request as the others. Please consider any upcoming Jane Austen productions; or alternatively consider dressing up in a Regency type outfit and reenact a part of Pride and Prejudice.

For more on Richard Armitage, go to I Want to Understand You: North & South (2004)

I’m hoping at least one will respond to my letters. I’m not expected an actual return letter (although I did tell all of them would definitely be appreciated); I know this is real life not a wattpad/webtoon story; but I’m hoping that I’ll receive a response in social media or possibly an upcoming Jane Austen production. (Fingers crossed!)

But I guess we will just have to wait and see.

If I do receive anything I will be sure to share it with you all. And again, thank you everyone for celebrating with me this past month, and thank you all who have been a part of these past 10 years.

For more letter writing, go to I Wrote Mr. Darcy a Letter

Persuasion (2022) or MadsenCreations and I Watched the New Persuasion So You Don’t Have To

I have to be honest, when I heard Netflix was making a new Persuasion I immediately had a bad feeling about it. I decided to reserve judgement and hope that it wouldn’t be terrible, but I didn’t really believe we would get a miracle.

Then I saw the trailer and I knew it was going to be bad. I could see in those few clips they has completely misunderstood the character of Anne and that this was going to be another Mansfield Park (1999).

It was worse.

MadsenCreations and I watched it together, she did Instagram live while I live tweeted. You can read my tweets but more terrible and horrible moments happened that I actually couldn’t tweet as fast as the film went. It was a hot mess.

But before I go into what I didn’t like, let’s start off with what I did like

Set & Costume Design

The set was beautiful and the director knew how to utilize the home, forest, seaside, country and city. Unlike some other Austen novels these characters do spend a fair amount of time indoors and outdoors, the weather and scenery tying into the story and the emotions of the characters. This was probably the best thing about the film was how well the director understood to use the set.

The costumes are also well done, as MadsenCreations pointed out there are no large glaring zippers (Netflix has learned since Bridgerton). Although, I am sad that there weren’t any ones from previous Austen adaptions, or if there were any I didn’t catch it. I really love seeing the same gown pop up in adaption after adaption.

Visually the film was good, it was the other choices that were terrible.

Diversity

As with Bridgerton they chose to do a rainbow cast (for those who have never heard the term before rainbow cast means that you cast people for characters regardless of the color of their skin, hence having a “rainbow” cast). While other productions that have done this have either made the character’s skin tone their only character trait (I hate when they do that), this production didn’t go that route. In fact it reminded me a lot of Cinderella (1997), the one that stars Brandy, where they had a family unit that contains a white father, African-American mother, and Filipino son; but nothing is made to explain it and being those races are not the characters only personality; instead they are just people. I really enjoyed it, and feel that of other films and TV shows want to that they should definitely go this route. Although I have noticed that like in Bridgerton, Persuasion has no one of Latin descent. As someone who is Latina. I do find that offensive that they promote how inclusive they are yet there is no one of Latino descent. And if someone wants to say that perhaps they couldn’t find a British-Latino person, while I find that to false. First of all Dakota Johnson isn’t even British and they gave her the main character, and secondly I googled it and found 24 right away. Netflix I’m expecting the next adaption to have someone!

Dialogue

The dialogue in this was horrendous. I’m not sure who was paid for this because it was beyond terrible. If I was Netflix, I’d demand that money back. First we have all these modern sayings, phrases, and slang that just do not fit right with the atmosphere. I think if that’s the route they wanted to take they should have just made a modern Persuasion. Or if they wanted to make this a cross between modern + Regency they should have done it Romeo + Juliet (1996) style with her in the Regency clothes and all modern language; or modern clothes and regency language. But this mishmash, some Regency and some Modern did not work out well at all.

There is a lot of truly terrible dialogue but the biggest offenders to be was when Henrietta tells Anne that to win a guy she should pretend she didn’t know how to use cutlery. Not only is that the dumbest thing I have ever heard, but now a whole generation are going to think that Jane Austen wrote that.

I asked a friend if that would be attractive to him and this was his response was “no” and that he would wonder about her mental capacities. The reason I find this particular scene so offensive is first of all Jane Austen wrote very strong and intelligent characters, there are silly ones but these women were not. And not only are we perpetuating this idea that women need to be dumb and have a man help them in order to be attractive, they are making it sound as if Jane Austen herself agrees with that and promoted it as well!

But that was just the beginning. So much of it is terrible that even the good dialogue is lost in the cesspool of words. And let’s not even begin on the octopus line.

The other truly terrible parts of this dialogue is that there is no subtlety or secrets. Everything is out in the open. In the book no one besides Lady Russell knew that Anne and Captain Wentworth had been engaged; in this everyone knows. In the book, no one is certain of Mr. Eliot’s intentions-he saying that he just wants to fix the rift; but Anne suspecting more. However, in this Mr. Eliot tells Anne right away he wants to keep her father from having a male heir. It’s like did anyone read this book?!!

Where are the Austen things and characters I love??!!

They completely destroyed my two favorite parts: 1) when they discuss the loyalty of women and Anne points out that all the “proof” of men loving more are written by men; 2) the letter scene. It really felt like someone took the bare, bare, almost nonexistent bones of the story to write this production.

Mary Musgrove (Mia McKenna-Bruce), Sir Walter Elliot (Richard E. Grant), Charles Musgrove (Ben Bailey Smith), Elizabeth Elliot (Yolanda Kettle), & the Musgrove Children (Jake Siame and Hardy Yusuf)

So some of the characters and the decisions made about the characters were not good, but I’ll save my complaints for a little later. The ones I did enjoy were the above few. Sir Walter and Elizabeth were so horrible and rude, just as they should be, although I think it would have been better to include a bit more of them as they are hardly in there, but they did good.

Charles Musgrove although he too wasn’t in the film that much. The little Musgrove boys were adorable and they stole the scene every time they were on screen.

The one they blew me away though was Mia McKenna-Bruce as Mary Musgrove. You liked her and hated her, she was extremely awful but at the same time she also said a lot of things I agreed with when it came to Anne. Anne was such a mess that Mary (yes Mary), seemed to be the only adjusted character. She was a narcissist, that didn’t change, but she was more together than Anne (which is not how it should be). Out of everyone, I think she did the best.

Henry Golding as Mr. Elliot

Henry Golding was charming but too charming. He’s supposed to be somewhat suspect from Anne’s pov as he hasn’t done anything outwardly wrong, but she is questioning his interest and sudden appearance with her family. When Anne’s friend warns her against him and tells her she spotted Mrs. Clay and Mr. Elliot together, Anne immediately believes her and thinks something is up (which of course we later discover later that he ran off with Mrs. Clay to keep Sir Walter from siring a male heir [although he should be more afraid that Sir Walter will lose all his inheritance]).

However, someone in their great wisdom (read that sarcastically please) decides to reveal Mr. Elliot’s intentions in the first meeting. That’s supposed to be a big plot point! That’d be like if in Great Expectations when Pip goes to school if Magwitch sent him a letter saying that hey I’m your benefactor! By the way I also have a little girl that was adopted named Estella, do you know anyone by that name?

In this adaption Mr. Elliot also asks Anne to marry him (something not in the book), is messing around with Mrs Clay (which Anne catches instead of everyone finding out later), and they also change his character when he marries Mrs. Clay instead of just putting her up as his mistress. They completely changed the character and while it fit for Henry Golding; I this role was not the right one for him. He would have been better as a Frank Churchill, Mr. Tilney, or as Captain Wentworth as as Golding and a lot more chemistry with Dakota Johnson/Anne than Cosmo Jarvis.

Captain Harville (Edward Bluemel) and Captain Benwick (Afolabi Alli)

These actors did well in their parts but the problem was that there wasn’t a lot of them in the film. Benwick and Anne are supposed to spend quite a bit of time together, that’s why when he is engaged to Louisa all are surprised. In this he and Anne have one conversation and didn’t even use the amazing dialogue that Jane Austen wrote. Harville was also just used as a piece of the scenery.

Louisa (Nia Towle) and Henrietta Musgrove (Izuka Hoyle)

Most adaptions hardly use Henrietta but this one does it the least, blink, and you’ll miss her.

Louisa was not very well done in this either. She is made to be so silly, such as that line about how to get a guy. She also doesn’t make sense as a character. In the original book, she and Anne are close but she doesn’t know about their previous engagement, so when she meets Captain Wentworth it makes sense that she goes after this nice, rich, single man. However, in this production they show Louisa and Anne as best friends; Louisa knowing about the engagement and encouraging Anne to go after him. However, after dinner she then reverses that and tells Anne she is making a play for him. Seriously, what a jerk move to do.

The other thing that didn’t make any sense was that there was hardly any flirting and time spent between her and Captain Wentworth for us to even believe they were interested in each othe. In the book the two flirt a lot as Louisa is interested and Captain Wentworth appreciates having her attention in front of the woman who rejected him. The two do several jump and catch me little scenes, that later caused the accident as Louisa does it in an unsafe area. In this they cut out the previous scenes so when she does the jump it doesn’t make any sense and looks like she just decided to yeet herself.

Cosmo Jarvis as Captain Wentworth

I really didn’t care for Cosmo Jarvis as Captain Wentworth. I felt this version of the character was pretty boring and seemed to have no substance or relation to what was going on in the scenes. He never seemed upset or at all like the book character. And of course a big chunk is off because there are no secrets in this adaption like in the book.

I also didn’t feel as if Jarvis really fit in the regnecy times. He seemed out of place to me, as if he was not really apart of his surroundings.

Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot

I haven’t really seen Dakota Johnson in that many things so I can’t really attest to her acting but in this it was deplorable. A major portion of it has to do with her being the main character and pushing the film forward, but the script was terrible. Like Jarvis, I feel the bigger problem was that she never seemed to really inhabit the scenery as well.

Also her character is terrible. She’s trying so hard to be the “quirky” girl but it feels so out of place. They also made a majority of her character like little wine memes; basically this was her in a nutshell “It’s always wine o’clock”, “don’t give a carafe”, “wine not”, etc. She drank way too much, that is basically all she does-drink and fall down. She looks and acts like she needs to get help as she can barely function and cannot without alcohol.

In conclusion, I don’t care how much Netflix is trying to convince me this movie was “good”, I feel this is one of the worst Austen adaptations I have ever seen.

For more Austen adaptations, go to I Watched Austenland (2013) With My 14 Year Old Niece

For more on Persuasion, go to Recipe for Persuasion Audiobook Narrated by Soneela Nankani

For more Jane Austen retellings, go to Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)