Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

So often we feel as if we will never find love.

But never fear, Austen’s books can guide us into finding our perfect match.

That’s not what I am talking about. I mean real life dating.

Yep, with the fantastic book:

Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating by Lauren Henderson

I can’t remember if this book was recommended to me by Goodreads or by one of you followers-but somehow it was and I decided to check it out. At the time I got it I was interested in dating anybody:

But then eight months later I was and thought what better time to start.

Each chapter covers a topic to do with dating and analyzes couples from Jane Austen’s novels. One couple has examples you should follow:

And a couple with examples you shouldn’t:

Henderson then has a modern-day couple who she uses as an example.

And she concludes each chapter with a list of Dos

And Don’ts

For example:


CHAPTER SIX:

LOOK FOR SOMEONE WHO CAN BRING OUT YOUR BEST QUALITIES


The chapter starts off examining the relationship of  Charles and Mary Musgrove.

The two are complete opposites with Charles being very outdoorsy and Mary a hypochondriac. Charles is good-natured and easy-going, while Mary unkind, snobby, and self-absorbed. Mary is whiney and shrill, while Charles still acts like a child versus a man.

Charles is also still in love with Mary’s sister Anne, who he originally proposed to.

Mary is a bully, manipulator, and only cares about herself. In fact when her child gets injured she argues with her husband about who can attend a party-gets upset when Charles says she should stay home with their child and then convinces Anne to babysit her boy.

What jerks

Basically, both have bad qualities and they feed off each other. Mary mangifies Charles rebellious spirit, his bad additude, self-indulgence and the sam for Mary.


LESSON TO BE LEARNED:

DON’T BE INFECTED BY THE BAD QUALITIES OF THE PERSON YOU’RE DATING!


 

Henderson then goes on to give a real life example of couple Brad and Louise. Brad was an okay cleaner, while Louise was a total slob. When they got together, her bad habits caused Brad to pick up on it and he became a slob as well. They had a messy apartment, bills were always final notice or overdue, laundry piled up, and they began to resent each other.


WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:

SET A POSITIVE EXAMPLE, USING HUMOR TO HELP IT ALONG


THERE IS NO PERFECT PERSON FOR YOU

THERE IS ONLY THE MAN WHO IS GOOD ENOUGH

Anyone you meet will have qualities you hate. You have to look at whether the good outweighs the things that annoy you. Can you tolerate those things in exchange for all the stuff you love that he brings to the relationship?

Henderson then goes on to describe a couple-Gary and Lucy. Lucy is easy-going and pleasant while Gary is a worrywort. Whenever Gary would get upset and rant, Lucy always made sure to validate his feelings, tease him, and give him the reassurance he needed.

It will all be okay

We then look at Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth.

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (1940)

Darcy falls for Elizabeth because she is who she is. She sees him and how she acts and lets him know what she is not interested in.

He learns his lesson and ligtens up-letting her see him and the things about each other they may not really like-they tolerate for all the other things they do.


LESSON TO BE LEARNED:

YOU SHOULD LIKE WHO YOU ARE WHEN YOU’RE WITH THE PERSON YOU LOVE



WHAT NOT TO DO:

DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES TO A BAD PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR


 

Henderson uses the real life example of Lacey and Mark. Lacey was really into Mark, but he didn’t prioritize their time-was always having a ton of parties and events to go to, always switching up plans and changing what he was doing, he would stay out all night and not tell her where he was, she would dress for one thing and Mark would change it-leaving Lacey uncomfortable and out of place.

This would make Lacey mad and she would nag him. She felt she had no control or say and more and more tried to control him.

Mark actually enjoyed the nagging as it made him feel rebellious and naughty-like he was disobeying his mother. In fact his behavior turned Lucy into a bitter, angry, mother like character.

Ouch


WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:

LISTEN TO YOUR BOYFRIEND WHEN HE GENUINELY TRIES TO HELP YOU


Henderson gives us the example of Kate and Lee. Kate was a beautiful, thin, blonde and also an anorexic. Henderson shows how Lee was able to help Kate by showing that he cared for her and was there for her, also trusting her and not pushing her too much.

We then see Emma and Frank Churchill

Frank is a coxcomb, he only cares about himself and his interests. He flatters people, and when their back is turned cuts them down to the quick. He is secretly engaged to Jane Fairfax and treats her horribly.

When he gets with Emma he brings out the worst in her and she in him. They both bring out a the careless, judgmental, and sarcastic sides of each other. They would have been an awful couple always bickering, nasty, mocking, judgmental, rude, etc.

Ugh


LESSON TO BE LEARNED:

DON’T DATE SOMEONE WHO ENCOURAGES YOUR SELF-DESTRUCTIVE IMPULSES


WHAT NOT TO DO:

DON’T MISTAKE DANGER FOR EXCITEMENT


Kate an AT&T supervisor fell for Rob a rock ‘n roll guitarist. Everything he did was exciting and new to Kate, but soon it cut into her real life and she wasn’t performing so well at work or missing too much. She tried to talk toRob about it but he didn’t care and eventually Kate had to cut back on their partying or lose her job. Rob dumped her and quickly hooked up with some other girls, leaving Kate crying her heart out and trying to pick up the pieces of the life she had completely dropped for him.


WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:

PICK A BOYFRIEND WHO IS A GOOD INFLUENCE ON YOU


Beverly was a real party girl and would always go over the top when she had a few drinks. She could be very cruel but never listened to warnings until Ed. Ed was quiet and calm. The two complemented each other and brought out the best traits in each other, smoothing down the rough ones.


SUMMARY:

DO

  • Keep Your Own Values:If someone doesn’t have the same fundamental value system as you-and, worse, if they try and sway you from what you know to be right-you are not in a good relationship.
  • Choose Someone Who Brings Out the Best in You: Your boyfriend should help you to strengthen your positive qualities and suppress the negative ones.
  • Support Him as Much as He Supports You: Its a two-way street. If you’re both helping each other to reach your goals in life and be nicer, happier people, you have a much greater chance of maintaining a successful, strong relationship.

DON’T

  • Try to Change Your Boyfriend in Major Ways: Either decide you can put up with his annoying quirks, or leave him. If you start trying to change him you will turn into a nag, and you WILL end up hating yourself.
  • Be Influenced By His Bad Behavior: Don’t get sucked into things you feel aren’t good for you. Don’t stay around someone who wants to drag you down.
  • Put All the Blame on Him: YOU chose him, after all. If he’s not good for you, why did you pick him in the first place? Instead of blaming him, spend your time more and more usefully by figuring out why you made that mistake so you won’t repeat it in the future.

TIPS FOR TELLING IF YOU’RE WITH SOMEONE WHO BRINGS OUT YOUR WORST QUALITIES

  1. You’re stuck in a rut of criticizing each other, without the situation ever improving.
  2. You feel irritable most of the time you spend with him and you can’t put your finger on why.
  3. You change your outfit or hair five times before going out on a date with him, never sure whether you’ve picked the image of yourself that will please him.
  4. You disagree with a lot of his core values, but you yell yourself it doesn’t matter, because they have nothing to do with your relationship.
  5. You find yourself doing things with him that you would never normally do-things you don’t mention to your friends because you know they would disapprove.

Then at the end of the book they have a quiz so you can see which Jane Austen character you and your significant other are. I took it before I read the book and got:

Elizabeth Bennet

I took it after I read the book and got:

Elizabeth Bennet

If your score is 41-51, you are Elizabeth-outgoing, funny, and direct. You want a serious relationship, but it’s essential for you to find someone you can have fun with or teach to have fun. Your best matches are:

  • Mr. Darcy
  • Henry Tilney
  • Captain Wentworth

Then I took the quiz for my then boyfriend (now my fiancé), and I got for him a mix of Captain Wentworth, Henry Tilney, and Mr. Bingley

But my boyfriend (now fiancé), said he wanted to take it and he got a mix of Captain Wentworth, Henry Tilney, and Mr. Bingley.

If his score is 41-51 he is Captain WentworthHenry Tilney, or Mr. Bingley-straight forward, happy, and looking for love. PROBLEM: If you’re used to playing games, you may put him off. SUITABLE FOR: Everyone-his happy nature and friendly disposition make him the easiest man to get along with on the whole list.

I don’t think he’s very much like Mr. Bingley, but I could see Mr Tilney:

Or as Captain Wentworth:

If I were you and dating I would definitely check this book out.

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Prude & Prejudice

For more Emma, go to You Cannot Think That I Will Leave Off Match-Making

For more Northanger Abbey, go to In Celebration of Northanger Abbey

For more Persuasion, go to I’m On a Boat

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Pride & Prejudice: A Latter Day Comedy

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

 

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A Long Fatal Love Chase

LongFatalLoveChase

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

This book by Louisa May Alcott is the anti-Northanger Abbey. That is everything that could go wrong. But I’m getting ahead of myself, first some background.

This book was written in 1866. Alcott had just returned from her job as a companion to a wealthy women during her trip abroad and all throughout Europe. When Alcott came home she discovered that her father had run through almost all their money. Eager to do her part in helping out, she started writing stories and attempted to get them published.

Newspapers were the big story publishers, printing them week by week and often paying per word. Now this was before radio and TV, so these weekly publications of stories was their version of soap operas, every week ending on a cliffhanger.

Since the purpose was to get the reader hooked and constantly buying to find what happened next, they really wanted dramatic stories. Alcott did her best to oblige, only problem? She did a little too well.

Her book was not published as it was far too racy for the day. Think of it as the Fifty Shades of Grey of the 19th century. Yep this novel deals with sex, violence, obsession, abuse, hypocrisy in religion, greed, the question of insanity, mistreatment of women, women’s rights, divorce, bigamy, suicide, murder, etc.

What?

While today’s audiences would go for all that, those back in 1866 dropped it like a hot potato. Alcott shelved the book, it not being published until 1995.

Wow

How Does It Relate to Northanger Abbey?

Hmm…

Well, first you have to understand how Northanger Abbey came about.

In 1605, Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes, was published. This book told the story of Don Quixote, a Spanish nobleman, who reads so many chivalric and romantic  stories (not romance stories as we have today, but the “classical romances”) that he sort of loses his sanity trying to live those values and live in that world, in the modern 17th century. He gets into all kind of crazy antics, battling other “knights”, “monsters”, etc.

In 1752, Charlotte Lennox parodied Don Quixote with her novel, The Adventures of Arabella also known as The Female Quixote. Her story is about a young girl, Arabella, who has been sequestered away in the middle of nowhere with just her father for companionship. Not encountering many people and her mother dying + father ignoring her; she learned all about people and how to interact with them from “classical romances”. This book goes over the problems of having read so many “romance novels”, you expect life to follow, only to be sorely disappointed.

Now Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, published in 1818, was meant to be a parody of The Female Quixote, gothic fiction, societal rules of the day, etc. One of the reasons why a lot of people don’t “get” this novel is that they don’t understand what she is poking fun at or trying to say about these subjects.

Hmm…

In Austen’s story, we have a young girl, Catherine, who has been raised not as sequestered as Arabella, but definitely in the country resulting in some naivety. She loves romance novels and gothic fiction, giving her an overactive imagination.

She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath for a season and while there finds herself encountering some of the problems of the other before mentioned characters. Her education in romance novels didn’t prepare her for how people act. Her overactive imagination does get the best of her as well. The other thing about this book is that Catherine does go through some events that are right out of a romance novel or gothic tale.

She meets two handsome strangers, both trying to win her; encounters some dangerous and immoral men; gets caught up in a plot to get money; and has the man of her dreams come after her to tell her he loves her.

So awesome!

And then we have A Long Fatal Love Chase, written in 1866, and follows the same veins as these other books, except taking a much darker twist.

Now I don’t know if Alcott has read any of these authors and set out to copy part of their ideas or what; but the stories are so similar I can’t help but believe that at least one of these authors inspired her.

The Plot:

A Long Fatal Love Chase, begins with our heroine Rosamund or Rose. She has lived on a small island with her grandfather ever since her parents died when she was very young. She has encountered no other people, from the time of her parent’s death, and therefore has a lot of naivete and a lack of propriety as she doesn’t know better.

Just living in my own world

Life with her grandfather is dreary, as he provides for the physical things (shelter, clothes, food, etc) but ignores Rose and doesn’t care for her emotional being.

This makes her wish that she could have someone take her away from it all, just like in the romance novels. In fact she states

“I would give my soul to the devil, for a year of freedom.”

Enter Philip Tempest.

Tall, brooding, handsome, rich, has a swashbuckling scar, sails around the world on his yacht, etc.

He comes to visit Rosamund’s grandfather and is quite taken with Rose’s sweet disposition, naivete, and young, innocent character. Rose falls in love with him, and dreams of the possibility that he might take her away from everything.

Tempest wants Rose and is not a man used to hearing NO. He plays cards with the grandfather, winning Rose.

I’m taking her.

He carries her away in his boat telling her that he is the master and she must serve him. He wants her only as his mistress, but Rose refuses anything until they are married. Tempest reluctantly agrees.

Women

A year later the couple are living in France to attend the gaieties. Besides Rose and Tempest, their party includes Baptiste, Tempest’s right hand man who does everything he says, and Impolito “Lito”, a Greek cabin boy who looks very familiar (aka Tempest’s child, very obvious). All has been great for the couple until Tempest runs into an old friend Willoughby. Willoughby???!!!

He knows something that Tempest is determined to keep hidden, so Tempest kills him.

Gasp!

Unbeknownst to him, a girl from a flower shop delivers a note to Lito, who then runs off to a secret meeting. Rose sees this and comments on it to Tempest. Tempest becomes so furious that Lito would “correspond” with her, that he sends him away.

Hmm…

Later Rose overhears Baptiste telling Tempest that “no one will find him in the grove.” When she goes to investigate she discovers a  mound of dirt as in a new grave, and the pin she gave Lito.

She starts to think that Tempest might have killed Lito. She still has her doubts, of which all are dashed when she overhears another conversation. This time she overhears a conversation between Tempest and a woman, a woman who is HIS WIFE.

Yes Lito is their son, of which Tempest took when he left his wife. He has wanted a divorce but she won’t grant him one unless he gives her custody of their son, something Tempest would never do. He has been sailing around the world with many mistresses, content if not fully happy. He met Rose and faked the marriage in order to make her happy, knowing that it was void. Rose becomes distraught at his lies and betrayal of trust and runs away.

Noooo!

So here’s where it gets even more dramatic. We see a man from a romance character ready to make your dreams come true, right? Wrong! Tempest is an abuser and a controller. He tells Rose that her loves her, but in truth having her being subservient gives him power. Where ever she runs, he chases her, intent on making her his. We have the anti-Northanger Abbey as instead of a dreamy, true life romance hero; we have a sociopath.

Now some may wonder why is Tempest evil, but Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre who does a similar thing romantic? Well for two reasons. The first is that Mr. Rochester was tricked into marrying his wife by his family, who wanted a merger with their business and her family, who no longer wanted to take care of her. They hid the illness well, and when Mr. Rochester discovered how crazy she was it was too late, and those who are insane can’t get divorced. He’s stuck with her.

He has to live with a woman who is more animalistic than human and constantly trying to murder him.

Tempest married a beautiful, wealthy, Greek-English girl; become bored and left. He hates being tied down and loves being in power. He stole their child from his wife and covered it up by having her told Lito was dead. She was heartbroken as she believed him, only discovering the lie when Willoughby writes to her.

Mr. Rochester does try to marry Jane as he falls in love with her, but is stopped from committing bigamy by his wife’s brother. Jane leaves, and as much as he doesn’t want her to go, he respects her wishes and leaves her alone.

Aw!

Tempest marries Rose, having a friend pretend to be a preacher and perform the wedding service. Rose finds out and leaves, Tempest refuses to acknowledge her feelings and actions and stalks her.

What a psycho!

Rose starts work with a seamstress in a French village, but Tempest finds her barricaded in her room. He tells her that he will be getting the divorce soon, and then they can be together forever. That night Rose escapes, with help from a friend, and finds refuge with an actress. She spends some happy time there, and even reunites with Lito, who was not killed but sent somewhere. All is not perfect as Tempest finds them again, and the two flee.

I’m out!

Rose to a convent and Lito to his mother. Later Rose discovers a dead body, and she plants evidence so that people would think it was her.

Hmm…

Rose enjoys being in the convent and serving, paying penance for her sins. She befriends the two priests; Father Dominic the elder, and Father Ignatius, young and deeply in love with Rose. Rose seeks help from Father Dominic to overcome her love and temptation to return to Tempest, only to discover that both the Mother Superior and Father Dominic sold her out to Tempest.

She escapes Tempest again, and reunites with the Comté who’s daughter she saved from dying of fever. He takes care of her and falls in love, asking her to marry him. She agrees and gets ready to, when Tempest finds her once again. He convinces the Comté that Rose is his wife and insane.

You’re crazy!
Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.

As the Comté deserts her, and Tempest is preparing to carry her off, Rose commits suicide, shooting herself.

Unfortunately the shot to her side wasn’t deadly, but does have her thrown into a mental institution (from yours truly Tempest). There she lives some horrible and demoralizing days. She manages to convince Baptiste to turn to her side and help her escape the asylum, only to discover it is another ploy by Tempest to capture her.

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tempest carries her away to a remote island, intent on being kind and sweet, wooing her. He is divorced now and wants Rose for his wife and forever. She ends up being saved by Father Ignatious, fleeing to the safety of Tempest’s ex-wife, but finds out that getting out of the Tempest is not easy.

Will it ever be over?

Was the Book Good?

I thought this book was very interesting. And had some pros and cons.

Pros:

First I recommend this book for all Alcott fans as it is so strikingly different from her other works. All the other novels: Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, The Inheritance, etc.; were dramatic and fun stories; but nowhere near as sensational and traumatic as this book. If it hadn’t said Louisa May Alcott on the cover, I never would have guessed it was something she has written. You won’t understand until you read it and get a shock.

I’m in shock

What also is fascinating is how Alcott brings to light how much power men have over women at this time, and the inequality in relationships. You have to remember this was not done at the time. Women were men’s property and they could not only do as they wished, but held all the power. I don’t know how many of you saw The Duchess, starring Keira Knightly, but look how unfair women are treated. Georgina is a Duke’s wife but is forced to share her home with the Duke’s mistress and the mistress’ children. When she steps out on him, she loses everything; position in society, her children, etc. He gets to do whatever he wants, hit her, embarrass her, rape her; but she has to follow society’s rules.

So not fair!!

This is what happens in this book. Tempest is abusive, a stalker, and a psychopath; but gets to continue in his behavior because he is male. When Father Ignatious helped Rose escape the convent and reach the Comté, he writes the Comté a letter with all that happened and warning him against Tempest. Yet when Tempest comes, the Comté easily believes the woman is crazy, rather than this charismatic man is what Rose and the Priest say he is.

Alcott also brings to light abusive relationships, stalking, what it feels like, etc. This book is sort of the 19th century’s version of Sleeping With the EnemyHere Alcott is clearly showing that this behavior is wrong and should not be accepted.

Cons:

It was too dramatic for my taste. I’m not really a soap opera/telanovela type person. The end in which she is in love with the priest and the priest loves her but both resolve to do nothing about it was not only too flowery, but boring.

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Prude & Prejudice

In Celebration of Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey? I’m sure there are many of you out there who have no clue what I am talking about.

Huh?

Its one of Jane Austen’s last novels, published by her brother after her death. It is also an amazing book that hardly anyone knows.

It really is sad

So we are here to spread some Northanger Abbey around as this year marks its 200th anniversary!

Like what I did with Pride and PrejudiceSense and Sensibilityand EmmaI will be going through Northanger Abbey and sharing with you everything about it.

The book is a parody of romantic fiction and gothic novels.

It has a great main character, Catherine Morland (which my pseudonym comes from) who we can easily connect to. We all feel like Catherine at times in our lives, hoping that we will have an adventure and meet a dashing hero.

And it has a great leading man in Mr. Tilney. I mean it! Once you read about him, he is a real contender for the number one Austen hero.

Yep a great book that I can’t wait to start celebrating and spreading!

Besides going through the book I will be also reviewing things that are referenced in it, inspirational to the book, and those inspired by it.

Books:

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos

The Necromancer or The Tale of the Black Forest by Karl Friedrich Kahler

Jet Set by Carrie Doyle Karasyov and Jill Kargman

Henry Tilney’s Diary (Jane Austen Heroes #6) by Amanda Grange

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Northanger Alibi (The Jane Austen Diaries #2) by Jenni James

Midnight Bell by Francis Lathom

The Female Quixote; or, The Adventures of Arabella by Charlotte Lennox

The Monk by Matthew Lewis

Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons (Supernatural Jane Austen Series #2) by Vera Nazarian & Jane Austen

The Castle of Wolfenbach by Eliza Parsons

 The Mysterious Warnings by Eliza Parsons

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

Clermont by Regina Maria Roche

Orphan of the Rhine by Eleanor Sleath

Northpointe Chalet (Austen Series #4) by Debra White Smith

Film:

American Dreamer (1984)

Romancing the Stone (1984)

Northanger Abbey (1986)

Northanger Abbey (2007)

Other:

Pup Fiction, Wishbone (1995)

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Catherine Morland, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more Mr. Tilney, go to Midnight in Austenland

Life Seems But a Quick Succession of Busy Nothings

I know some of you will read that and think what a downer to start the year.

I’m going to hide under the covers with my ice cream

And yeah you can say that life is full of nothings, lots of the mundane and boring.

But you know what, life is also full of fun nothings. Things that aren’t important in the grand scheme of it, but lots of fun.

Like this blog. I know the things on here aren’t that important or ground-shattering. If I stopped writing it wouldn’t really affect anyone that much…but I have a lot of fun doing it.

And I’m not sure what I how I will be posting- every two days, every three days, every four, once a week, etc. But I know I’m going to keep on.

Why start with a Jane Austen quote? Well this will be the year of Jane as not one, but TWO JANE AUSTEN NOVELS CELEBRATE THEIR 200TH ANNIVERSARY!!!!! Northanger Abbey Persuasion!!!!!!!

So let’s get on with our year in review! This post will only cover a few things, you really should check out the year for yourself. To start at the beginning go here.

The Views

 

This year I had over 58,121 views!

 

The most viewed day of the year was November 29 with 486 views! Although, I didn’t post anything on that day

The Top Five Posts

Here are the top five most viewed posts of the year, although strangely non were posted this year.

I mean you like what you like. I’m just happy people are reading my blog.

5) Tea Time, a quotable post on tea love (2015)

4) A True Princess from 30 Day Challenge:Disney Edition (2014)

3)I Saw Goody Osburn With the Devil: The Crucible (1996), part of Horrorfest II’s 31 Days of Horror films (2013)

2) Carry On Wayward Son, a post dedicated to the song (2014)

1) Fulfilling the List: A Walk to Remember (2002), from Romance is in the Air‘s 14 days of my favorite romantic moments (2013)

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The Followers!

So this community has really grown in numbers and I can not describe how pleased I am about that. We have gone from 14 followers in 2012 to 42 followers in 2013, 169 followers in 2014, to 439 in 2015, to 616 in 2016, and now 1021!

Happy 40th Anniversary Star Wars

So last year marked the 40th anniversary of Star Wars. I couldn’t resist posting about it and did the following: A New Hope and Why the Princess Leia Crown Hairdo is Awesome

And a special post comparing Star Wars and Jane Austen characters in  You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

Jane Austen Film Reviews

I reviewed Pride & Prejudice (1995), Emma (1996), Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001), and Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

Holiday Posts

I celebrated Chinese New Year with 4 of my favorite chickens/chicken moments in Nobody calls me Chicken: Chinese New YearSaint Patrick’s day post on 17 Irish heroes in With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish HeroesFather’s Day in Dad’s DayFourth of July with Let Freedom RingThanksgiving in Are Dean Winchester and Jane Austen Kindred Spirits? and Christmas in All I Want for Christmas.

Book Club Posts

This year I started a book club. We read one book a month, each member having a month where they choose the book (any type), and then we meet and discuss it with good food. So far we have read the books The Darcy Monologues by various and edited by Christina Boyd, The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie, At Home in Mitford (The Mitford Years #1) by Jan Karon, A Light in the Window (The Mitford Years #2) by Jan Karon, The Undoing of Saint Silvanus: A Novel by Beth Moore, A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers, and Sandcastle Kings: Meeting Jesus in a Spiritually Bankrupt World by Rich Wilkerson Jr.

How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You: Romance is in the Air, Part V

Once again I reviewed 14 romantic moments from film and TV shows:  Under Capricorn (1949)Sleeping Beauty (1959), Move Over Darling (1963), Back to the Future (1985), Working Girl (1988), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Pride and Prejudice (1995), Picture Perfect (1997), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1999), Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001), Young Justice (2012)How I Met Your Mullet, Raising Hope (2014),Age of Adaline (2015), and Doctor Thorne (2016).

Give Me Some Good Cooking!

So I added recipes last year and continued this year. Check out Apple PieAunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea CakesBaked Potato SoupCherry-Pistachio Tea CakesHow to Make a London Fog, and Triple Berry Salad.

Jane Austen Book Reviews

I reviewed What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen by Jane Austen; Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) by Carrie Bebris; Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues (Darcy & Elizabeth #1) by Linda Berdoll; The Darcy Monolgues: Part I, The Regency edited by Christina Boyd and written by Various; The Darcy Monolgues: Part II, Other Eras edited by Christina Boyd and written by Various; Prude & Prejudice by Francine Carroll; Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg;  Too Pretty by Andrea Grigg; A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh; Pride and Prejudice Paper Dollby Brenda Sneathen Mattox; For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars #1) by Diana Peterfreund, and Reason and  Romance (The Austen Series #2) by Debra White Smith

The End of the Fangirl Posts…For Now

We finally reached the end of the fangirl posts with You Can’t Keep a Fangirl Down and To Fandom With Love; which cover Jules Verne, LongmireRaising Hope, V, Veronica Mars, Wishbone, Whitechapel, X-Files, X-Men, and Young Justice.

Scenes of My Everyday Life

There was the time I was stopped and checked to see if I was a possible terrorist in An Explosive Trip; a funny time justice was served in Road Rage; and when I was scared someone was trying to break in in Something’s Scratching at the Window.

Phangirl

I brought back my love of The Phantom of the Opera in President of the “I Don’t Like Raoul Fanclub” and Is Christine the Ultimate Femme Fatale?

Tea Lover for Life

If you love tea like me check out I Made My Own TeabagsPerfectea, A Perfect Cup of Tea or Tea for Two, and You Know You Really Love Tea When…and You Know Me So Well

Painted Portrayals of Christ

This year we looked at The Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno; Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem from the Florence Baptistery by Lorenzo Ghiberti; “The Crucifixion” from  The Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald; “The Arrest in the Garden” from The Passion Altarpiece by Hans Holbein the younger; and Risen Christ by Michelangelo.

Continuing with Emma

We continued posting on the book Emma with Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?TO the Person Who Hated My Review of Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version, and A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh

The Darcy Monologues

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. 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 second half takes the story and shows it in different time periods. I did several posts on it: The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency, I Have Been Remiss, My Deepest Apologies to The Darcy MonologuesThe Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras, and Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues.

A Horrible Horrfest Hangup

So my charger broke during Horrofest VI, and I tried to catch up but failed to have 31 posts. I know, so sad!!! These are what I did manage to review- film:The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), The Beast Must Die (1974)Silver Streak (1976)Alien (1979)Friday the 13th, Part II (1981)Psycho II (1983), Big Trouble in Little China (1986)Pet Sematary (1989), The Witches (1990)The Addams Family (1991)So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)My Boyfriend’s Back (1993)Hangman’s Curse (2003)Candlestick (2014)Doctor Strange (2016) & The Mummy (2017) and the TV episodes: Scarlet Night: Archie’s Weird Mysteries (2000), Graveyard Shift, Spongebob Squarepants (2002), & The Cruel Giggling Ghoul: Teen Titans Go (2016)

So what will the new year hold?

We shall see!

For 2016 in review, go to A New Hope

For 2015 in review, go to To Boldy Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

For 2014 in review, go to Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

For 2013 in review, go to Looking at the Past, Focusing on the Future

For 2012 in review, go to Looking Back, Moving Forward

Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

So we all know I love to read:

Especially Jane Austen:

And we all know how much I love Jane Austen stuff:

So the other day I was on Facebook, just scrolling through updates when I came across this site Litographs. It is amazing!!

They take classic literature and print it onto shirts, scarves, temporary tattoos, posters, and tote bags. Some books they print just the words, while others they do a design in your choice of color. The prices range from $29-34.

Amazing!

So looked through all my favorite books: Sherlock Holmes, The Phantom of the Opera, Peter Pan, The Great Gatsby, etc. And of course: Jane Austen.

This is so me

They actually have designs from every one of her books, so whether your favorite is Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion you are sure to find something.

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility comes in two different designs or text. I preferred this one over the other.

Pride & Prejudice

So this actually comes in several designs or your choice of just the text. My favorite look was this one:

Mansfield Park

As of right now, you can only get Mansfield Park in the text form, but I’m looking forward to what designs they come up with later.

Emma

Emma has two designs and I think they are both absolutely gorgeous.

Northanger Abbey

Like Mansfield ParkNorthanger Abbey only has one design, the text. Just like the other one, I’ll be waiting to see what they come up with for illustrations. Maybe her arriving near the Abbey? That would be cool.

Persuasion

Out of all the illustrations, my favorite has to be the ones for Persuasion. I’m actually split between these two on which I would like to purchase.

They also have a special deal which for $17 they will send you a random T-shirt. For a deal like that I am sorely tempted. I’ll be working extra hours this next month of July, so I’m planning on rewarding myself with something from here. When I purchase it, I will post myself in it.

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls

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

For more on Emma, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more on Persuasion, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

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!

Yay!

So unlike my Disney film Jane Austen Mash Upam 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.

Hmm…

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

***Contains Spoilers***

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 has to adapt to a new culture, be in a place where he knows zero people, and have 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.

For more on Anakin Skywalker, go to Anger Management

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to Candy Girls

Darth Vader- Elinor Dashwood

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 mind 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.

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.

For more on Darth Vader, go to Black is Best

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

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 his 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 the 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.

For more on Colonel Brandon, go to A World of Teas

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 to listen-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.

For more on Obi-Wan Kenobi, go to A Hidden Wonder

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Prom & Prejudice

Queen Padme Amidala – Mr. Darcy

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 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.

For more on Queen Padme Amidala go to How Can This Be?

For more on Mr. Darcy, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

Jar Jar Binks – Mr. Collins

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?

For more on Mr. Collins, go to Worst Proposal Ever

Obi Wan Kenobi (Episode IV) – Fanny Price

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 always. Since things fell apart and the Empire gained control, he has been living as a hermit, not to far from Luke but there to aid him.

Fanny had the opposite, as she was born into a lower class family and sent to live with wealthy relatives. For her, she has always tries to live her life right, never doing what is unseemly or will reflect badly on her family. 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 force them against their wills once their minds are made up.

For more on Fanny Price, go to It’s Always Tea Time

Owen Lars – Edmund Bertram

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, flying, 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.

For more on Edmund Bertram, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

Princess Leia Organa – Emma Woodhouse

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 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.

For more on Princess Leia, go to Why the Princess Leia Crown Hairdo is Awesome

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to The Austen Series: Amanda

Yoda – Mr. Knightley

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 novel 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.

For more on Mr. Knightley, go to Credit Where Credit is Due

Luke Skywalker – Catherine Morland

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 especially romance. 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.

For more on Luke Skywalker, go to The FANtom Menance

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

Han Solo – Mr. Henry Tilney

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.

For more on Han Solo, go to You Don’t Have to Say the Words, I Already Know: Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

For more on Mr. Tilney, go to The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen

Lando Calrissian – Anne Elliot

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.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to Fall For You

Hope you enjoyed that. Do you agree? Disagree? Comment and let me know. And remember:

For more on Star Wars, go to Dinner at Dad’s

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

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

For more in Emma, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more on Persuasion, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

For more Jane Austen Mashups, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

 

What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

I received this book for my birthday and thought it was just the cutest thing ever. It has a bunch of quotes from her novels and letters (although a few aren’t labeled correctly and one is from the Pride and Prejudice (2005) film). It is perfect for whenever you are looking for a quick quote or quip.

So the book is split up into ten sections. I’m going to pull a quote from each section.

I.) How to Be Happier Than You Deserve

II.) Good Impressions for Great Ladies

III.) Mistress of Myself

IV.) Check  Yourself, Dear

V.) Get to Know Your Gentleman

VI.) If You Really Like Him

VII.) Intimate Acquaintances

VIII.) Sensible Quips for Every Occasion

IX.) I’d Rather Be With a Book

X.) Looking Back on Important Nothings

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to I Made My Own Teabags

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to Lambie-Pie

For more Emma, go to Candy Girls

For more Northanger Abbey, go to A World of Teas

For more Persuasion, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

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

For more Mansfield Park, go to It’s Always Tea Time

Midnight in Austenland

Day 10) J is for Jane Austen: Choose a book based on, a sequel to, or a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s works

So I know I said I wasn’t going to review one of Austen’s works as that isn’t really fair as I talk about her books all the time.

reading Jane Austen

But I never said anything about a retelling!

Go on...

Go on…

So I’m going to review my absolute favorite out of all the books I have read so far.

Austenland

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale

So I one day I was going through Goodreads and looking at if any authors I liked had published anything new. I really enjoyed reading Shannon Hale, and thought Austenland was pretty good except for a few things, so when I saw that she did a sequel I decided to check it out.

library

I got the book and started reading it…but then I couldn’t stop.

100pgs

I became so invested, I actually snuck it into my History of American Music class and read it instead of listening to the jazz music.

RealLifeVSBook

This book was AMAZING!!!!!

Iloveit love

It had Austen and mystery, both things I love!

Put my crime-solving cap on.

Putting on my crime-solving cap on.

I just adored every page of it and didn’t want it to end.

SadBookEndedfinishedover

So the book is a sequel, but you don’t have to read them together or in sequence. While the place they visit, Pembrook Park, is the same; the characters and story lines are new and different.

While the other book focused on Pride and Prejudice this one went more Northanger Abbey; something I appreciate as it just doesn’t get enough love.

Bruce-Almighty-Love-Me

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

Charlotte Constance Kinder is a nice woman. So nice no one thought she would live an interesting or adventurous life. But you know what Austen says about that.

adventures

Charlotte went to school, met a nice man named James, married him and had two kids; and then did the unexpected. She created a website, sold it for an outrageous profit, and started another one.

Wow

Wow

She bought nice things for her, her husband, their kids. Everything seemed fine, but then it turned out her husband was cheating on her and wanted to leave her for another woman.

heartbroken

Fast-forward, he is remarried and living with his new wife receiving alimony from Charlotte. And Charlotte is alone, left to pick up the pieces of her life.wantYoutoStay

She starts dating A LOT!. Anyone and everyone her friends and friends’ husbands toss her way; but nothing feels good or right.

hitonyourefuseyouareanonowayNo

Besides being worried about her own self and issues, she starts to worry about her daughter. Will she make all kinds of horrible mistakes, have “Daddy issues,” or go looking for love in all the wrong places?

Not good

Not good

She makes a really bad decision to have a private investigator follow her daughter’s boyfriend around, and even tries it herself; convinced that he is going to hurt her. After her daughter says she she doesn’t remember what it was like being her age, Charlotte decides that her daughter is right.

I'm crazy

I’m crazy

That Easter she goes home and digs through her old items that her mom saved and tries to look into her teenage mind. She finds a diary and on the first page is a list she made.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE I’M 30

  • Get married [✓]
  • Have a baby [✓✓]
  • Walk in high heels without wobbling [✓]
  • Climb Kilimanjaro…
  • Understand Physics [✓ish]
  • Help save the whales or other animals in danger [✓]
  • Read Jane Austen…?

Charlotte couldn’t remember why she wanted to read Jane Austen, but the next weekend the kids are with their father, and Charlotte devotes the weekend to reading

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And she reads and reads and reads. And before you know it, she is a hardcore fan.

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And caught in the Austen cycle like us all.

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Charlotte’s sister-in-law Shelby convinces her to take a vacation when the kids are with their dad for the summer. The only place Charlotte wants to go is into Austen’s books

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And luckily we have just the thing…Austenland.

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Yes, for a few weeks Charlotte will leave, breathe, and be Regency woman. And at the end of her time there is a big ball.

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And possibly a proposal…

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Charlotte is sold on it, packs up her stuff, and flies out ready to dive into her fantasy.

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As Charlotte is a “quality guest”, i.e. rich, she gets the best treatment and the gold standard in clothes, transportation, etc. Charlotte takes on the character “Mrs. Charlotte Cordial”, a widow with two kids. In this story, Charlotte doesn’t have to go it alone but has a “brother”, Edmund Grey.

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Besides him there are two other ladies, Miss Elizabeth Charming (from the previous book) and Miss Lydia Gardenside. And then there are two other men who will come to call on them: Colonel Andrews and Mr. Thomas Mallery who is…

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Charlotte meets the ladies and enjoys Miss Charming, but is shocked to see that Miss Gardenside is none other than the famous pop sensation, Alisha. What is she doing here?

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So their days at Austenland begin and one of the reasons I like Charlotte better than Jane Hayes, the heroine of the last book, is that Charlotte embraces her love of Austen and goes full force into it.

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That day the Colonel has a surprise, they are going on a trip to an old crumbling abbey! What mysteries await them?

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As they journey in twos, the phaeton holds only that umber, with Charlotte with Mr. Mallery. Mr. Mallery is very intense and lives and breathes being the Regency gentleman. When two backpackers come upon them he isn’t threatening but so forceful that he causes the pair to run off like frightened rabbits.

And run fast

And run fast

When they reach the Abbey it turns out there us a dark tale that goes with the old ruins:

Three hundred years ago (~1520) the abbey was home to twenty-one nuns, an abbess, and one novice. They worked in the kitchen garden, growing healing herbs, kept goats and chickens; everything was peaceful until one January night.

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The sisters made dinner as usual and sat down to eat. The abbess was getting older and not feeling well, so after she made the tea she blessed the meal and went to lie down. She rose an hour later to do chapel prayers, but found all the nuns dead!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The abbess went through trying to find one that was alive. There were no wounds on the body, but all’s pulses had ceased. All except Mary Francis, the novice.

The next morning, the abbess awoke to find that Mary Francis had cleaned up from dinner, and laid all the nuns out, covering them with blankets.

No one was ever hanged for the deaths…the bodies were buried, the abbey abandoned, and the abbess went to live with a niece and succumbed to dementia. But she was known to cry out: “Either she saw who did it or she did it herself.”

Mary Francis was an orphan and after the deaths wandered from house to house as a trying to work as a servant, but the suspicion around her past always pushed her on. Some believe ghosts still haunt the area….

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The last place she went she worked for a few years, and they say uncanny things happened. The place she worked? Pembroke Park.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At first they don’t believe the house is old enough for the story to be true, but Mr. Mallery corrects them. He is second cousin to the Wattlesbrooks and says that parts of the houses go back that far. Sadly he would have inherited the grand old house, but his grandfather lost it in a card game.

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

Colonel Andrews says that that isn’t the end of the story, he has an old text that they may read and reveal all.

I love it!

I love it!

Charlotte is enjoying Pembrooke Park because she doesn’t have the strain of having to do the work. As her “brother” Edmund pointed out, she is here to have fun and relax, Mr. Mallery and the others have to work to impress her. It is a nice feeling after all those blind dates and trying to put on a show that you are okay; all you have to be is yourself or your character and the others have to do the real work.

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The group has a picnic in which Colonel Andrews reads from the diary of Mrs. Kerchief, the housekeeper three hundred years ago, and supervisor of the newly arrived servant, Mary Francis.

(I’m just going to paraphrase as it would take to long to write word for word)

“Hired the new scullery maid, Mary. No one else will hire her because what happened. I don’t care what happened in her past as long as she is ready to work.

Coal is running low and they seem to be burning more and more these past weeks. Simon says that it is Mary, she bring the cold with her. Nonsense. Still…she sleeps in the room next to mine and at night I hear noises I have never heard before. It wakes me up”

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Mr. Mallery “Regency” flirts with her and Charlotte finds herself surprisingly enjoying every minute of it.

When they return to the house, Miss Gardenside retires as she is suffering from “consumption” (is it really or something else? Maybe withdrawal?). Miss Charming and Charlotte are still psyched from the mystery and decide to search the house.

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However, the only thing they stumble upon is a maid dressing. No clues, no bodies, no nothing.

Before Divorce: When Charlotte first started her website it was just to be a hobby. She liked growing plants, she often helped others, and decides that it would be nice to have a place people could go for inexpensive custom residential landscaping. They weren’t as grand as those who would visit the place and see it, but her designs based off a questionnaire they answered were cheaper and still beautiful. People loved it. She had to hire employees, and revenue increased crazily, and she made her first million.

That night they are having dinner toasting to each other when who should walk in, Sir John.

That guy!

That guy!

This is the only thing that enhances if you read the previous book, but like I said it is not necessary. You quickly learn why we hate this guy. Sir John is Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s husband and he doesn’t care about the park or their home. All he does is drink, gamble, and take any of Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s money away. He also tries to hit on the women, and doesn’t take no for an answer. In the last book, they had to cart him off as he was causing problems.

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This time he goes by Mr. Wattlesbrook instead of Sir John, and is dressed in modern day clothing instead of Regency wear. It unsettles everyone, but Colonel Andrews tries to bring them back to 1820.

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That night they are interrupted of their sleep. As they go outside they see firetrucks and that Pembrooke Cottage, (the one Miss Amelia Heartwright stayed in, in the last book) has been burned. Mr. Wattlesbrook has no remorse even though he started the fire.

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Mr. Mallery has a bucket by his feet, as he was trying to put out the fires. He is furious that the cottage went as it was his inheritance. Now that is the character’s motivation, but he seems as if he is really upset, the man behind the character.

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The next day Charlotte continues her search of the house. She really has become invested in the mystery and wants to find clues.  After a finding nothing and a game of croquet, she goes to Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s office to call her children.

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This does not go well at all. Her daughter finds out she had hired a private detective to follow her boyfriend.

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Her son doesn’t want to talk to her.

Not good

Not good

She finds out from Justice, the new wife, that her son called her mom.

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Not a good call at all.

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Charlotte decides to snoop through the office and discovers that Windy Nook and Bertram Hall properties were sold off, foreclosed, and contained a series list of debts. She sees the former casts and notices that Mr. Mallery used to be in all of them. Mrs. Wattlesbrook is a very smart businesswoman, so it is clear that the one who caused the trouble is Mr. Wattlesbrook.

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The next day rained all night and morning. The group play charades and a card game that involves running about.

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But after the men leave to do whatever they do, maybe a break room, the women are embroidering.

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They are interrupted by the return of Mr. Wattlesbrook, who once again is dressed in modern clothes and tries to get in with Charlotte.

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The men come and try to carry him off. Miss Charming thinks it is a part of the “experience”, but Charlotte doesn’t think that Mrs. Wattlesbrook would do such a “messy” plot.

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Hmm…

That night is stormy, spooky, gray…

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Just perfect for reading more about the mystery of the nuns, the diary of Mrs. Kerchief!

I hear sounds in Mary’s room at night. It sounds like a pacing or scraping. It is unnerving and I want to talk to her, but in the morning Mary Francis is so tired I can’t say a word. The girl Betsy who used to room with her took off and never came back to get her money. The cook says she feels a cold wind around her…

The lights go out and all they have are firelight. They decide to play a game called Bloody Murder, with Mrs. Wattlesbrook going off to bed.

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They decide to play the game: the murderer has to hide in the house somewhere, after a count of fifty the rest hunt him out. The first to discover the murderer shouts, “bloody murder”, and all run after him. After that they all run off, and the murderer chases them. If he catches them, they fall down and the last one to “die” is the next murderer.

They draw straws and the short one leads Mr. Mallery to be the murderer.

One of the characters I love is Charlotte’s “brother”, Edmund. He is just so fun and fantastic, a real Mr. Tilney.

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Charlotte finds Mr. Mallery and ends up being the only one who has been touched. Now she is the next murderer.

She doesn’t want to walk and go around the house on her own. She is extremely scared and as she roams the dark halls she accidentally goes into a secret room. As she is searching the room for a way out, she finds a person laying on a chaise. She goes to touch them, feels the hand…they are dead!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She goes running out and finds the group telling them everything. They don’t believe her and can’t find the room. Charlotte is so incredibly freaked out, that Miss Charming can see that she needs a little care and asks if she wants to sleep in her bed for comfort.

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The next day, she starts questioning people trying to find out who the dead person was. Eddie goes to help her and they find the room but nothing but a fencing foil.

They leave for breakfast and run into Mary, Charlotte’s maid. Mary is really strange, always jumpy, and acting weird.

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She tries to tell Mrs. Wattlesbrook about the dead body, but she doesn’t believe her. She thinks it is just part of a game.

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Charlotte deduces that the dead body must be Miss Gardenside’s nurse or Mr. Wattlesbrook as they are the only two missing; and that it must be a part of the Colonel Andrews mystery as no one seems to care.

Eddie, Edmund, doesn’t believe that the murder is real, but helps Charlotte investigate. He is hilarious and I just love him. Forget Mr. Mallery with his brooding, smirking is so much better.

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After Divorce: Justice, James’ mistress, sends Charlotte an invite, can you believe that? An invite!!!

Charlotte worries about how the divorce affects the kids but James doesn’t care. He says that 50% of marriage end in divorce. Here are statistics that matter to Charlotte.

-James saw the children 75% less than before

-He missed 85% of their afterschool woes

-He was absent for 99% of their family dinners

-100% of Charlotte’s marriage ended

That night they read the diary:

Mary and I were shelling peas. Mary has been here for three months and doesn’t seem as if she can settle down. All the other hands treat her horribly but all Mary does is pray. Why does she pray so much? For other or her own soul?

The next day Charlotte picks up her search with Eddie. They go back to the room, but find nothing but a glove, a washing dishes type of glove. Is that part of it?

suspicious Hmm

Charlotte drops it as she thinks it is nothing. Eddie picks up fencing foils and the two duel before lunch.

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Even though everyone has forgotten the game, Charlotte still thinks that someone might be after her, but who?

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The next day Charlotte goes riding with Mr. Mallery. They stop a while so Charlotte can call her kids, but no answer. She tries her husband, no answer. Charlotte spends the rest of the night worried about them and that something happened. The next day she finds out their phones were dead.

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The next day Charlotte decides to write her kids a letter. Eddie joins her and consoles her over her missing her kids. He shares about his daughter and that he misses her as he hardly gets to see her. They start writing and Charlotte wonders if Julia exists, but Eddie is writing a long letter to someone.

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After the letter writing, Eddie goes over the dances, as “their mother” was a dance instructor. They have such fun, with Mallery interrupts them. They go for a walk, but are found by Colonel Andrews who tells them he has a great passage for tonight.

Everyone is mean to Mary. They start chanting “What do you know of our Mary? Twenty-one nuns did she bury.” We were working outside when there was a howl and they saw something white and filmy, floating. It had a horrible screeching voice that shouted “Leave innocent Mary alone. The nuns cannot rest when folk stain Mary’s name with lies.” Mary was the only one who wasn’t afraid, but continued her work.

Right after they read that, they see a ghost outside!

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They all run after it and try to find it, but the ghosts disappear.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Charlotte is the only one who notices tire tracks on the ground, as if someone drove their car.

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The next morning, Charlotte takes Miss Charming and Miss Gardenside aside and tries to have them help her find the missing clue. They come across a painting of Saint Francis. Miss Charming spots it as a fake and they rip it open, finding a note written in lemon juice:

Among the dusty tomes stands

The work of the saint

And one girl’s confessions

Penned without constraints

They run to the library and find a book on St. Francis, in it is Mary’s tale. The nuns died accidentally. The abbess eyesight and memory was failing and she accidentally boiled yew, poisoning them.

OMG gasp

That answers one question, but what about everything else? What about the secomd mystery with the dead body? Then Charlotte gets a few more realizations:

  1. The Murderer approached the victim and had to lure them into that room, with an intent to kill.
  2. The victim was killed in a secret room and the body abandoned on the sofa, as whoever had to leave, and then return to move the body at a more convenient time.
  3. Charlotte finds the body in the room. The body was not smelly; so they were killed recently.
  4. Charlotte announces the find, but all claim to know zero about the room.
  5. Charlotte hears a thud in the middle of the night, below the secret room. Maybe someone tossed the body out the window?
  6. The next morning the body was gone.

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Before Divorce: Late nights “working”, phone calls from unlisted numbers, caller hangups, James never touching her, James staying out of town but spotted by a friend, lingerie in the closet not her size…etc. It is easier to solve someone else’s mystery than your own. Sometimes we see only what we want to see.

They only have three more days, only three more days to solve the case. Charlotte sees that Mrs. Hatchet, Miss Gardenside’s nurse, has returns and deduces that Mr. Wattlesbrook must be the murdered one. She questions the men about the night they removed him and they say that they put him in a room out of the way as he was incredibly wasted, Edmund punched him after he spoke nastily about the women, and the next day he was gone.

suspicious Hmm

Later Charlotte looks after Miss Charming as she seems out of sorts. Miss Charming was unhappy thinking of her former husband. She had married and helped her husband build up the business into millions, as she was the brains of the operation. She found him with a salesclerk, divorced him, and took off with the staggering alimony. She’s been running as she can’t go home and and face that she was dumped.

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Afterwards, Charlotte decides that with the limited time left, she can’t be messing around. She has searched everywhere for the body and there is only one place left, She and Eddie, the Watson to her Sherlock, head to the pond. She goes swimming to see what it may hold and finds a car submerged.

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They convince Mrs. Wattlesbrook to call the police and it turns out that Mr. Wattlesbrook is dead. Now the question is, which one of the guests is a killer!

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Could Mrs. Wattlesbrook have done it? Eddie? Colonel Andrews? Thomas Mallery? Miss Charming? Miss Gardenside? One of the staff?

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Charlotte realizes she doesn’t really know any of these people and any one of them could be a killer. And they may be after her next!

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So I won’t reveal the ending, as it was amazing. Shannon Hale just did a fantastic job.

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And that through the rest of her trip Charlotte learns her own worthiness.

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And is able to pick up to the strong person she used to be.

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I also just loved Eddie and thought he was just an amazing character. A real Mr. Tilney!

find mr.tilney

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

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For more by Shannon Hale, go to Austenland

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Candy Girls

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

For more mysteries, go to Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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As this is a book that goes to the past but is also modern, I thought the best carol would be What Child is This?

In 1865, William Chatterton Dix was an insurance company manager and became seriously ill. During this time he gave his life to Christ, writing this carol. He set it to the song Greensleeves which has been registered in 1580 by Richard Jones.

I have never been a fan of this song, I’m not sure why, until I heard the Josh Groban version, so that’s the one I went with.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to At Midnight, Your Coach Will Become a Pumpkin Again, and the Animals Will Regain Their Original Shape Until Your Next Ball: Ella Enchanted

Candy Girls

I don’t know about you all, but I have been eating a lot of Halloween candy, in fact too much.

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But as I continued to eat, it made me think…what if the Jane Austen heroines lived in today’s world? What kind of candy would they eat?

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So I thought on it, and this is what I came up with.

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Elinor is the eldest of the Dashwood sisters and when her father dies, causing them to lose everything to entailment and have to live on less money, she rakes control in searching for a new home. After the move when it is clear that her mother is still sick with grief and her two younger sisters lack the age and temperament for such matters, Elinor takes over running the house and trying to work out a way for them to live on their budget. As Elinor is the champion of saving and surviving, I think that if she were to purchase a sweet she would try to make it something that is cheap and easy to share. Therefore a Kit Kat seemed the most likely choice for her. Kit Kats are easy on the wallet and designed to be evenly split between four, the exact number of Elinor’s family.

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to To Edward or Not to Edward?

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To me I see Marianne as a Chocolate Truffle. We know how romantic she is, so of course she is going to not only want chocolate, but something more than the average fare. Being raised rich, a truffle is something she would be used to eating, and then when their finances change, she would still be able to eat a few cheaper ones, every now and then.

I can just see her and Colonel Brandon and her reading poetry and eating truffles after they are married.

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

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NOw contrary to the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice, the Bennets are not poor. They are lower than Darcy as his Aunt is in line for the throne (a LOT of people have to die first but still), Emma Woodhouse, and Anne Elliot (prior to her father losing so much money). They are slightly under the Dashwoods, so they are pretty well off. Not super rich, but doing well. Therefore I think that Elizabeth would pick something in between. Not super rich, but a little more high class than something you can buy at the corner drugstore.

Therefore I think that she would pick the See’s Lollipops. See’s candy isn’t super expensive, but not something you can find just anywhere, sometimes you have to travel a bit to get it. Plus as she is a walker, I see her with a lollipop as she can eat it and go.

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to The Ugly Truth

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Now Fanny we all know was born into a large, less fortunate family. She is sent to live with her Aunt and Uncle, the Bertrams; and abused by her other Aunt Norris. Mr. Bertram isn’t really in her life as he is always having to go away on business or not interested in child rearing; Mrs. Bertram is also not really checked in. So the person who raises her is Aunt Norris who never wants her to forget she is poor; giving her extra work, never allowing her to do things with the other kids, playing the two eldest sisters off of her and encouraging their bullying. So if I had to pick a candy, the only one I think Aunt Norris would allow her to have would be mints or gum. Both are extremely cheap and what she would think as suitable for her poorer relation.

I think out of anything she would only buy Orbit as it doesn’t last long and falls apart the more you chew it. But just like Fanny’s personality and actions have her end with a better life than her cousins, chewing gum rather than eating other candy would give her a better smile and oral hygiene.

For more on Fanny Price, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

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Emma is the richest out of all the Austen heroines. She doesn’t worry about money, she has one of the highest places in their local society; so what would be the perfect candy for her? Only one thing came to mind, GodivaGodiva is one of the most expensive chocolatiers and just perfect for someone like Emma who is used to having the best. The only issue she would face would be whether or not her hypochondriac father would allow her to eat it, or his fear of illness taking her away  would make him not want it in the house. Otherwise, Godiva would be Emma’s go to.

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to The Austen Series: Amanda

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As a child Catherine was very active in sports, climbing trees, running, etc; a tomboy. In that stage I see her as a bubblegum chewer (like Bazooka), however as she grows older her taste change to reading, especially Gothic, Romantic fiction. With that new take, I don’t see her as a gum chewer, but having moved on to something that pairs better with her reading, chocolate covered strawberries. Not only are these romantic, but something that will fit within Catherine’s budget as they are not too expensive, as her family isn’t super wealthy, especially if you make them yourself. Yes the perfect pair to Catherine and all the harrowing tales she loves to read.

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Storybook Ending: Northanger Abbey (2007)

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Like Elinor, when Anne realizes how her father and sister are just blowing through their money, she begins to economize. And that is why when I think of what candy she would buy and eat, I think of Ghiradelli. While Ghiradelli isn’t the most expensive chocolate out there, it is classier than Hershey’s or Snickers; yet at the same time is cheap enough that it is something Anne would be willing to spend her money to snack on. It is that perfect blend that fits this once rich girl. Anne also strikes me as a dark chocolate and sea salt type of girl, of which Ghiradelli can provide.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to A Letter of Love: Persuasion (2007)

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For more Austen mashups, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to A World of Teas

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Meet Cute: Darcy & Elizabeth Style

For more Mansfield Park, go to It’s Always Tea Time

For more Emma, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen

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

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

For more Candy posts, go to Candy, Candy, Candy!

A World of Teas

Recently I was given a collection of five teas; A World of Teas by Tea forté. 

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As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes together better than a good book and a delicious tea.

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You guys ready?

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Tea #1: Bombay Chai from Bombay, India

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This tea was spicy with layers of taste. The first thing that popped in my head was the scene from Sense & Sensibility (1995) when Colonel Brandon says the air is full of spices. This made me think that this book was the perfect pairing.

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Its range of spices and many layers make it just like Colonel Brandon.

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At first glance an average soldier, but as you read you see there are many parts to him. Plus it seemed as if it would be something he would drink after his time abroad.

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

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Tea #2 Moroccan Mint from Morocco

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This tea was refreshing and cool, but also predictable. This was a familiar taste with no real surprises, however that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. For that reason, I choose Death on Demand by Carolyn G. Hart.

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Death on Demand is the beginning of the series and follows amateur private detective and mystery bookstore owner, Annie Laurence, as she tries to figure out which of the many possible suspects killed an annoying, blackmailing, author. She is racing against the clock as if she cannot find the real killer, she will end up being thrown in jail!

While at times it may be predictable the character and stories always leave me coming back for more.

For more on Death on Demand, go to It’s Fantastico!
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Tea #3 African Solstice from South Africa

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So this one started off good, lots of flavor and taste; but then I had the rooibos. I don’t like rooibos, as for me it has a weird aftertaste that I just don’t agree with. Once those came in, this tea was lost on me. The book I thought would be the best pairing is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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Things Fall Apart is the story of Nigerian Okonkwo, an Ibo leader. The book chronicles his life, family culture, and ambitions. An accident causes things to derail for Okonkwo, and he is sent away. While he regroups and plans how to re-achieve his prior success, the British arrive with their influence and missionaries changing the structure of the villages. Will Okonkwo be able to adapt? Or will he fall under the British wheel of “progress”?

Like this African tea, I really enjoyed about two-thirds of the novel. The rooiboss of the the novel, for me, was the ending. I thought it built up perfectly, but ended way to soon, with enough falling action. It is like when you bake a cake and open the oven too soon, causing the cake to fall. That’s how the ending of this book and tea were to me, too soon.

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Tea #4: Sencha from Japan

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This tea at first seems simple and plain, but as you drink it you realize there is a whole lot more going on, and it has an incredible flavor. I finished this tea off first of all the others in the collection.

This actually made me think of two books. The first being Mansfield Park:

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At first glance Mansfield Park seems simple and a lot say it is boring. Fanny is a placid girl, often being the tool of others instead of going after what she wants. However, as you continue reading you see that Fanny has a lot more to her character than meets the eye. She is often passive as she is grateful for being pulled out of a bad situation; but when one tries to force her to do something she really does not want to (marriage to Mr. Crawford, a first class rake) she becomes a will of iron and will not be bent. She completely encompasses the old Japanese proverb of being bamboo, willing to bend with the wind but not break.

The second being Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

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Now I don’t want to spend too much time on this book as I am planning on reviewing it in the winter as part of my 30 Day challenge.

However, Hale is a master crafter as she takes the simple fairy tale of Maid Maleen and turns it into this incredible adventure full of bravery, romance, and supernatural elements.

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

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Tea #5 Estate Darjeeling from Darjeeling, India.

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I’ve had other Darjeeling but didn’t like them, I thought they were too sweet and didn’t care for them. However, this one was fantastic! It was an amazing surprise.

Originally I thought I would pair this with Emma, but instead I think two other books would be better:

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When I first had read the Jane Austen novels, I had heard of all of them (and seen film adaptions) except these two. Not only had I never heard of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, it appears most fans of Jane Austen also don’t really know much about them. Why is that?

Anyways, when I first read them I was so surprised with how amazingly great they are that they knocked my list of favorites all about. Perfect match with a surprisingly fantastic tea.

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen
For more on Persuasion, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

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After all:

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For more on tea, go to My Trip to Teavana

For more book-filled posts, go to Post Approved