Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: The Buccaneers, Episodes 3-5

So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?

Hmm…I don’t know!

That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.

I can’t stop watching!

So last week I reviewed The Buccaneers, episodes 1-2. These episodes 3-5 aren’t as similar in the Austen themes, but I’m going to finish the review of the miniseries.

So quick recap-four women, Virginia St. George, Annabel “Nan” St. George, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Elmsworth, Conchita Closson-daughters of new money industry, are finding it hard to be accepted into society. In order to circumvent that, the English governess, Ms. Laura Testvalley, hired by Mrs. St. George, comes up with the idea of them having a London Season. There they could hobnob with the titled English and when they come back be welcomed in open arms.

Conchita marries Lord Richard, who only got with her to get her money. He dumped her off at his family estate, took off gambling and carousing, and using up her allowance allotted by her father. Yep, she married a Wickham/Willoughby.

She has a little girl with him and then finds herself a lover to fill her lonely nights.

 

Lonely and sad from Anna Karenina 

Virginia married Richard’s older brother, Lord Seadown, but finds out on her wedding night he only choose her for her money as he already in love/relationship with another woman.

Replace beauty with money

Lizzy is being courted by Hector, a nobody interested in politics. He has no title, but does have a good sized fortune. Her rivals, Virginia and Conchita feel smug about having the superior men.

But Nan tops them all by landing Duke Julius of Trevennick. She was really in love with Guy Thwaite, but he had lost his fortune due to his father’s mismanagement. Guy left for two years to South America to make his fortune, and Nan wanted an engagement, but he didn’t want to be a man to use a woman’s fortune and doesn’t want to hold her back when he may make no money.

Nan feeling vulnerable, sad, alone, and having been sheltered falls victim to the Duke’s proposal-one of the best proposals. The Duke knows his stuff.

So Virginia is pregnant and gives birth to a son. Good but doesn’t keep her man from straying still. In fact, now that the family line is “secure” he spends even less time with her and more with his mistress. Poor Virginia, she had such dreams, such  hopes!

The Duke and Nan return from their honeymoon and Nan finds herself way over her head. Expected to run the household, send the first of their plants to the queen, meet the queen, her husband being too busy for her and so cold. Before they were married, he talked of love and now that they are there is this barrier between them.

This space between them

She is shocked that he doesn’t have passion with her like Conchita and Virginia’s husband’s do and that they have separate bathrooms and separate lives-so unlike her parents.

All alone

Nan loves the outside, the forest, the beautiful romantic ruins but is now trapped in a gilded cage-jewels, meeting the queen, expected to act like clockwork.

She makes some serious mistakes in the household duties and rankings of the many servants. Every time I watch this I think how much more this is suited for her sister Virginia. That is the type of thing she would love to do and life to live.

Julius loves it as he finds her perfect to train. Seriously? Like she is an animal or doll-just tp be moved and trained-ugh.

I take back what I said about him. Take back your castle. Take back your dog.

You are a MAJOR jerk.

The three married ladies get together and talking and complaining about their husbands-these men suck. Poor girls.

Conchita has taken a lover as her husband is always gone. He comes home unexpectedly with the news that he has syphilis.

Ouch

I had to do my 9th grade health report on it and oh my goodness that is one of the worst diseases. First it is hard to catch as most people don’t show the symptoms and if untreated it makes you go insane.

Nan gets attacked one night by a drunk Julian-yelling at her not to complain about wanting passion and then not enjoying when he is trying to romance her. The pig. The horrid man. Just a glimpse of the horrible marriage Nan suffers.

In other news, the St. George’s have lost everything in Wall Street. Without Virginia’s income the Lord’s are in serious trouble. The West Wing renovations have stopped, and everyone must cut back on spending. Something these Lords are extremely angry over.

Your father can’t give us any more money and we actually have to work or spend less?

Lizzy marries Hector Robinson who makes scads of money and ends up buying an old family mansion for his bride. Lizzy is the only on with a happy marriage. She chose wisely.

After that, Nan tries to remove all the romantic, passionate artwork. She can’t look at it anymore. Poor Nan, I know what that’s like. And she got pregnant from their “encounter”. That’s just agonizingly awful.

Noooo!

Nan wants to help her people, as the tennets are getting sick from typhoid. She tries to get Julius to come and help, but he doesn’t care. He only cares about himself. He isn’t the man you thought he was.

Broken dreams, illusions, hopes, etc.

Ugh, Julius treats her like a child, like a doll, a plaything. As if she knows nothing at all. I hate him. I want to punch him in the face.

Nan does the 1800s lady equivalent-she tells him she would rather be dead than have their child grow up to be like him.” Ouch-zing! And she then runs off in the rain at night.

Ouch

They can’t find her and start up a search party, eventually discovering her by the river, having fallen and lost the baby. Now knowing what she said, do you think she tried to kill herself on purpose? Or accidentally fell?

Hmmm

Nan’s governess, Ms. Testavalley, comes to visit and Nan shares her feelings. She describes how as soon as they were married he became a stranger. Ouch, I know how that feels.

Nan still idealizes Val’s life-when the truth is she is not that free or happy. Sir Guy’s father comes to visit, he has a thing for Ms. Testvalley and reveals that Sir Guy will be returning home, a very rich man, and entering politics. Hmm…interesting!

Conchita is pregnant by her lover, and with Richard having syphilis she can’t sleep with him and pretend it is his child. What will she do?

That is not good,

Julius decides he has given Nan enough time and comes to see test the waters and it is very awkward. And Nan begins rebelling against him. “How would you know what would bore me.”

This continuously makes me think of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. If only he had taken time to know her instead of looking at her face than maybe he would have married someone else and they would have had a good marriage. The same for Mr. and Mrs. Bertram.

Guy has returned home and thinks of Annabelle. Too bad you didn’t get engaged to her or had some understanding or else she would have been waiting for you there.

If only

It’s Christmastime and Connie is visiting Nan. She breaks down about how awful things are going, you don’t know how I feel.

No, Nan has it waaaaaay worse. Connie whines about how all this was all supposed to end happily ever after with marriage. Nan shares how she wants to just run away and pretend she never married. Connie begs Nan for money, but Nan has none. Connie begs and Nan promises to try and get some, but from Julius? Not likely.

Bad, very bad idea

Nan gets everything ready for their Christmas ball and as Julius is in a good move she tries to ask him for the money but he won’t do it. She gets £10 a month and can draw up to £5 a week. She tries to get a little independence, but no dice. She is angry at him treating her like a child but he threatens her saying if she wants him to stop them he must treat her like a wife. Nan’s not for, that discussion closed.

Ugh, you don;t rape your wife. I HATE Julius. he’s horrid, horrid, awful, terrible man.

At the party they dance around in the dark and who should end up in a room together, Nan and Guy.

That is not good,

Ms. Testavalley is interested in Guy’s father, but her friend warns her that he just paid off one woman and has two others.

He’s a no

Everyone returns from the dark except Nan who is still with Guy. Both still have feelings for each other…uh oh. Guy tries to encourage her and she listens, discussing how her feelings go up and down. Ms. Testavalley finds them and saves them both from scandal.

Julius gives Nan the money for Conchita but wants her to sleep with him. She can’t as she is so traumatized from before. He insists that he needs compensation for the money, treating her like a prostitute.

You jerk!

He abuses her, yells, curses, breaks her things, hits her. This gives me flashbacks. Ms. Testavalley has to leave and after she goes, Nan’s mother-in-law lectures her trying to help, but not really. At first I was a little miffed at her, but then she said that she isn’t blind to how her son is and how the late Duke was much worse. Poor mother-in-law-she must have a serious backstory. Full cycle of abuse.

Nan leaves Julius to stay with her sister and then will goes to stay with Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Hector are very happy, healthy, and wealthy. Hector is wary to have her come, as she is the duchess, but wants to court Mr. St. George as he is getting wealthy again on Wall Street. So he allows her to come.

Virginia buys back her jewelry she pawned off to pay for the household expenses and goes to see Idena, her husband’s mistress to confront her. Idena hasn’t seen him, he left her for a younger woman, and she lets off how she feels slapping her, Ouch. That’s the lady 19th century version of:

Nan visits Guy at the House of Commons and is seen by all-uh oh. I sense an Anna Karenenia

Rumors circulate and Lizzy tells Nan she can’t stay with them any longer. Nan goes to church and the Duke meets her there. He explains the rules in society, that she is the Duchess, his wife. She needs to stay 1/3 of the year at home and he will turn a blind eye to her discretions as long as they are private. If she makes a scandal, divorce and he will ruin the lover.

Nan returns home as she wants to protect Guy, but doesn’t tell him the truth. They cry over their love as she leaves and Guy looks on.

Or him

Nan returns home and Julian’s mother gives him some good advice. Leave her alone for six months and woo her, be a lover.

Lord Seadown returns home when Idena commits suicide. He tries to get back with Virginia but she isn’t interested. He pleads and looks at her with his sad eyes and she falls like a house of cards. Fool. He’s a loser & a user.

For the thousandth time

Guy and Julius get in an argument over his politics and the way Guy is leaning. But truth is they are really fighting about Nan. Julius lets Guy know he’s be nowhere without him and he can take it all away just like that. *snap* And then they get in a fistfight.

Wow!

GUY, GUY GUY GUY! Give him the chair.

Nan interrupts and ends it. She has the children’s choir perform Yankee Doodle. Woohoo! Let the stars and stripes fly Nan!!

Guy watches sad and despondent, but I don’t really feel bad as she coutld have been your woman. It’s your own dang fault. You should have made some understanding. He then writes her a sort of love letter-most of it is him half angry she’s not with him.

That night Nan hears strange noises and look for Julius and finds him in bed with a man!!!! A Man! Oh.

So of course I have to ask, does Julian being gay (or bi they never quite make that clear) add or take away from his character and villainous treatment. I mean don’t get me wrong, it is done well. The constant worry of his mother, comments about how he likes to be with men-women do not interest him, him getting worried/defensive/angry when Nan has questions about their love life, the girls talking about her not being pregnant. I didn’t catch it the first time, but did this time. But do you think adds or takes away from him being the villian? He already is abusive, narcissistic, a control freak, a rapist, etc. Do you think he would have been a stronger villain if he was straight, or do you think him being gay adds more to the dashed hopes/expectations of Nan. I mean everything else had already killed every romantic notion she has ever had, being gay the final nail in the coffin of the film. I don’t know if there is a right or wrong answer and I am just wondering your thoughts are.

Hmmm…

Nan runs away after hearing how Julius turned down his sister’s love because he feels she is too old and needs to be a home (like how the Poldark family treats Verity). She realizes he is a horrible brute and will never change, fleeing to her sisters, where Guy just happened to be. The two run off together in full view of EVERYONE! Oh, the scandal.

Meanwhile, Julius does not want to divorce and his mother pleads with him. She suffered too much to have a son and continue the line and Nan needs to do the same. Wow, she has a really dark backstory.

Nan and Guy discuss what will happen and hope that Julius won’t do anything. Julius sues Nan over adultery.

The elder Lord Seadown dies and Nan comes to the funeral. Lizzy is excited to see her friend but not allowed to spend time with her. Must ignore her because of her scandal. It reminds me of Anna Karenina, Nan is ostracized and alone while Guy goes about his duties, getting heckled and talked about but still is okay. Nan on the hand-must be dead to all. This also makes me think of The Duchess. Such a sad film.

Connie on the other hand stops to hug and see her, not caring at all what people think-Nan is her friend.

Guy goes to speak to his father and say good-bye that he is leaving to South America. His father tells him to give up Nan or else he will disinherit, and Guy does not care. He never wanted politics it was all his dad and Julius. His father yells, storms, and finally cries.

Poor Ms. Testavalley was badly burned in all this. Who will ever want to hire her? She’s not sure what she will do next, but is moving forward.

They end with Nan and Guy riding off together happy, but are they? Even though they have uplifting music, it reminds me of The Graduate, the future might not be as bright as they think.

So a great miniseries, but very sad. And it really helps you see how things would have ended if Elizabeth married Wickham, Marianne married Willoughby, Emma married Frank Churchill, Fanny married Henry Crawford, Anne married Mr. Elliot, Catherine married Thorpe, etc.

It also follows the same theme Austen has regarding getting to know a person’s character over title and appearance. Most important who they are and their character, over what they have.

For more on The Buccaneers, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: The Buccaneers, Episodes 1-2

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: Stardust (2007)

For more Gilded Age, go to Book Club Picks: Julie

On a sad note, given the context of these episodes I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: The Glassblower

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

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

The Glassblower (Glassblower Saga #1) by Petra Durst-Benning

The story is set in Lauscha, Germany-glassmaking capital of the world.

Joost Steinmann’s family has been the glassmaking business for years. When his wife passed he took it on himself to raise his three daughters: Johanna, Ruth, and Marie.

One day is a day like any other, but when the girls go to try and wake him for work-he’s dead.

After they bury their father and have a wake, they find themselves unsure what to do next. How will they survive in the turn of the century as three women? Especially, in a glassmaking village in a culture where women do not make glass.

So a family of three sisters who’s father dies and they find themselves at a crossroads and not quite sure what to do-especially as they have no money. So when I read that it instantly made me think of:

The eldest daughter, Johanna, is logical, sensible, business-orientated, and good at figures. As the eldest she budgets, shops, goes to the town nearby and bargains with wholesalers and shopkeepers. Her response to their dad’s death, other than heartbreak, is to immediately look for work-reading that made me think of:

Elinor Dashwood

Unlike Elinor, Johanna is stubborn, determined, and a bit hot-headed. She starts in the Heimer foundry-but after criticizing the way the glassblowing shop is run, she loses her job. She leaves to the city working for Strobel, the wholesaler and shopkeeper. She learns a lot from him, and grows from country girl to shop assistant. She does well, but her employer is an odd man with dark passions and plans for his protege.

The second daughter Ruth, has aways longed to be in choir, or out on the town, or be with boys-but her father kept them away. She is a romantic, dreaming of a Prince to sweep her off her feet.This made me think of:

Marianne Dashwood

Ruth decides to go husband hunting, looking for a rich man to take care of her. While working at the Heimer glassblowing business, she sets her sights on the unwedded son, Thomas Heimer. Thomas is not interested in getting married, but Ruth won’t settle for anything less-she tries to play the game to get what she wants, will she win? Or lose?

The youngest girl, Marie, is a dreamer who loves to read, draw, and paint. She also is interested in a “male” oriented profession, glassblowing. This made me think of:

Margaret Dashwood

Marie loves working in the Heimer factory as she loves to paint and design the glass. With both her sisters essentially moved out, Marie begins to fool around in her father’s workshop. After some instruction from their next-door neighbor, and very close family friend, she begins creating beautiful Christmas ornaments. But will her secret stay secret and she’ll be able to continue creating, or will it be discovered that a woman is glassblowing and she’ll be shunned from her community?

Hmm…I don’t know!

So you can already see why it is a Non-Austen Read for Austen Readers as the setup has similarities to Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. however, this is not a copy of that book.

I found this incredibly well-written as it captures your attention. The characters felt very real and it was a great story, one I didn’t want to put down.

It dealt with the reality of women living in a time where they were vulnerable without men and without many options.

I liked how the story was about the three sisters trying to work together, but that they also didn’t always gets along-very real. I hate when they have these absolutely perfect families. Johanna worries about everyone, but at the same time can boss them about and not listen to what they are saying. Ruth can become self-absorbed, but she is there if they need them. Marie likes solitary and quiet, but at the same time will put herself through anything for her sisters.

The book deals with serious issues, like rape, spousal abuse, child abuse, etc.

Wow!

It also shows the culture and history of the beautiful glassblowing region.

This is actually the Christmas Tree Topper my family has.

I would strongly recommend checking it out!

For more non-Austen reads for Austen readers, Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Suitors and Sabotage

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

For more on Sense & Sensibility, go to Austen Avengers Assemble!

Book Club Pick: Far Side of the Sea

So as you all know I started a book club, because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

As you know, I am behind in my Book Club Pick reviews-but I am trying to catch up.

Eventually I will get them all done.

Haha…sure

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time it was my turn and I chose:

Far Side of the Sea (California Rising #2) by Paula Scott

So I had first been introduced to this book when I worked at our local museum. I actaully got to meet the author and speak to her, and after hearing about how she researched and just listening to how she spoke about her work I  decided to borrow the book from the library and read: Until the Day Breaks.

This book came out and my coworker said she enjoyed, so I purchased a copy for a friend. A couple weeks later I was at work and realized, I had forgot to bring a book to pass the time when we had no one visiting the museum.

That is not good,

Yes, I always brought a book or two to read in the downtime, as sometimes we had a lot of people visiting, and other times we only had a few. This week there was a special event happening in the area so I knew we weren’t going to have a lot of people, it would be the perfect time to read.

But this time I had forgotten my book! I was looking at four very quiet and boring hours.

As I started tidying up the gift shop, wondering what I was going to do with my time, I spotted the Far Side of the Sea and bought it.

I quickly devoured it, and then a year later in book club I decided it would be great to read this series. So we read the first book, then Wuthering Heights, and Desperate Pastor’s Wives; and before you know it, it was my turn again to pick.

Months had gone by since we had read the first book, and while I had really wanted to read the second book, I also really wanted to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I thought afterwards we could all watch the movie together.

Yes!

But at the time I was going to this divorce class/support group and the day I had to choose our book, my reading for the class was Psalm 139, where this title comes from.

So I knew, we had to read it.

I gotcha!

Until the Day Breaks, we had protestant Rachel Tyler coming to California, where her father has brokered a marriage between her and a member of a very old and important Californio family, Roman Vasquez. The two do not know each, and neither is sure of the marriage, but before anything can immediately be done-California independence and the Bear Flag Revolt breaks out. There is romance, war, and fantastic characters. To read more, click here.

At the end of the first book, Rachel and Roman left to Monterey, where they are married. We begin book two with Rachel’s awful father, Joshua Tyler, returning from the revolt and finding his new wife Sarita and child dead and buried, Rachel gone, and becomes very angry. With the war-he had decided to marry Rachel off to someone else, but as now he does not have that, or his wife, he uses the heavy debts of the Vasquez family to blackmail the patriarch into giving him Roman’s sister, Maria Vasquez, to marry.

Roman’s sister Maria, is a beautiful and fiery redhead. She has been riding horses since a child, has gone on grizzly bear hunts, loves to dance, and is stubborn, passionate, and extremely strong-willed. She does not want to marry Joshua Tyler, but as her uncle controls her fate she has to.

Maria is haughty and angry, which just fuels Joshua Tyler on more. When they reach Monterey, they search for the priest to marry them, but he cannot be found (he had married Rachel and Roman and left to celebrate with them.) Joshua doesn’t care and decides to take Maria as his own, raping her.

Maria tries to get free, but Joshua is too strong, she does manage to grab a knife from him while he is distracted by her and stabs him-murdering a man, a hanging offense.

That is not good,

For Maria, this is something that should never have happened to her. Being raised as one of the gente de razon, she was always treated respectfully, kindly, etc. She feels dirty, scared, alone-and then she remembers something from long ago. When Maria’s mother was ill, she came into the room with a special feather, and at that same exact moment her mother died. One of her mother’s Indian slaves said that she was cursed with the mark of death and will bring death wherever she goes.

Death walks into the room…

Maria goes from the priest’s room into the church, feeling dirty, ashamed, and alone. No loner a virgin, no longer worth anything, and what will she do now? She can’t stay her and she can’t go back home.

One of Joshua’s mercenaries, Gavilan, decides to help her and the two disguise her as a boy and sign up to be deckhands on a ship headed to Boston. On the way they will pass through Chile, an Gavilan’s home, and they can stay there.

They are on the ship with they realize that the Captain is none other than Dominic Mason. In the last book, Dominic was bringing Rachel’s fiancé Steven from Boston to come after her. Steven lead him to the Lord and they became fast friends. When they reached California, the two quickly bonded with Roman as well. Maria fell in love with Dominic from that first moment she saw him, and he was incredibly attracted to her. Maria decided he was going to be her first kiss, and after she got it from him, he told her he was engaged already back home.

Maria tries to hide from Dominic, and while at first he doesn’t recognize her, eventually her secret comes out. Gavilan and Dominic become friends, although both have a deep interest in Maria. Maria wants Dominic, but as much as he wants her-he is engaged and must do his duty to Sally, his fiancé.

When they reach Argentina, they discover that Gavilan belongs to a wealthy family-but they do not want to stay there. The people are all about pleasure, Gavilan’s sister-in-law hitting on every man. Also there is a dreaded ghost from Dominic’s past, the evil, cruel, dreaded Captain Wade.

Ugh!!

Captain Wade was Dominic’s first Captain, and after seeing all the atrocities that he did, Dominic tried to leave as soon as he could and get his own boat. Now does he tell Maria-the most beautiful woman in the world and Captain Wade’s new interest all about this? No, he just tells her to stay away. And of course the fiery, stubborn, Maria does not like being told what to do.

From there they go East to Boston. Maria stays with Dominic’s family and faces not only an incredible culture shock being in Protestant East, but snubs and prejudice from being Latina and Catholic. Dominic’s father and sister try to treat her like family-but Dominic’s mother remembers the Catholic’s treatment of Protestants back in Ireland.

Dominic and Sally plan their wedding, and its decided to be sooner rather than later. Dominic still has feelings for Maria, head over heels in love-but Sally-loyal, dependable, sweet, and caring; has waited all these years for him.

Also reading this again, I felt that there was a strong undercurrent here of interesting class distinction. Sally’s father owns the ships Dominic captains, while Dominic’s father is a dockworker. Makes you wonder if marrying Sally had a little extra pressure…

Hmm…

Anyways, the wedding comes, and Maria is heartbroken. Dominic returns to his ships, Sally to their beautiful new house, and Maria is stuck in the frozen Boston and dreary Mason house.

Sally gets pregnant, and the pregnancy really treats her body rough. She calls in Maria to help her. No one else likes Maria-for being what she is, and Dominic’s mom senses the attraction, and all treat her bad-Maria not helping with the situation.

But not Sally. Sally loves Maria and encourages, supports, leads, and is there for her. She reads the bible with her, teaches her about God, and just gives her friendship. She gives her the titler psalm and becomes such a calming and sweet presence for her. Maria helps her with the pregnancy, along with taking care of baby Dominic “Nicky”.

When Dominic arrives, Nicky is 2 and Maria is the nanny. Sally has never recovered from her pregnancy and is not strong enough to care for Nicky on her own.

Dominic has made enough money that he has left his old business, struck out on his own, and is moving the family to San Francisco. He wants to take Maria back to her brother-but Sally won’t let her go. Sally is Maria’s best friend, and after she gets pregnant, does not want Maria to go. Dominic sets sail, taking his younger sister Chloe, hoping that she will take over Maria’s duties instead.

Unfortunately, delicate Sally does not survive the second child, and passes away. Maria tries to save the newborn, named after her, but she dies as well. Maria once again feels that she is carrying death to those she cares for.

Nooooooooooooooo

Maria finally makes it back to her brother. Roman lost the ranch as the Californios could not keep their property when California became a state, but Rachel inherited her father’s estate. They stay there for a while, Dominic realizing that he still is hopelessly in love with Maria and asks to marry her.

Maria agrees until Dominic is almost killed. She starts hearing voices telling her of death, and that she needs to leave him alone-go far away in order to protect him.

She returns to San Francisco and to Captain Wade. He turns out to be more than she bargained for-an abusive, cruel, demonic filled man. Will Maria die in this hell on Earth, or will she finally hear God’s voice and freedom?

I LOOOOOOOOOVED it!!! I really enjoyed the first book, but I found this one compelling. When I read the book the first time I couldn’t stop-page after page after page just whizzed past as I needed to find out what happened next.

Each time I have read it, that desire has not waned.

Of course reading the book after being in an abusive relationship, made the book just soooo relatable. It was powerful how she described how Maria was feeling, the hopelessness, wanting life to be over, the fear, feeling trapped, unsure of what to do…she just captured it.

There is a powerful scene when Captain Wade is attacking Maria and she starts praying and pulls out the gold crucifix, which stops the Captain Wade from doing anything further. This stuck such a cord with me as the last time I was with my ex-husband we were in the car together and he starts speeding down the freeway, in and out of lanes telling me that he is going to kill us both as he would rather have me dead then be apart from him. All I could do was pray and pray that God would save me-and my ex-husband stopped and I was able to get away. Thank God for that. The day I was legally divorced I heard on the radio the same thing happened to another woman, but she wasn’t as lucky-he crashed the car and killed her.

A powerful book that I strongly recommend.

For more book club books, go to Book Club Picks: Desperate Pastors’ Wives

For more by Paula Scott, go to Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

For more bible verses, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: The Widow of Larkspur Inn

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

On a sad note, given the context of this book I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

Book Club Picks: Wuthering Heights

It has been a while since I have done this post. I’m sorry, I’ve just been so busy with other postings.

However I will be catching up, I quite a bit behind. Ooops, sorry!

So as you all know I started a book club, because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time the book club member choose:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I love Wuthering Heights, it has always been one of my favorite books. I used to be in love with Heathcliff.

So when one of the book members picked it I was so ecstatic.

So the book has one of the best beginnings ever. A man, Mr. Lockwood, has been renting a house in the country as he wants to get away from everyone and everything.

However, he realizes that the hermit life is not cut out for him. He visits with his landlord, finding him hospitable-if a little brusque. He decides to surprise him one day and finds his host angry-and the house Wuthering Heights to be very unhappy. Mr. Heathcliff is angry, there is a Mrs. Catherine Heathcliff who is also angry and says she is a witch, Haerton Earnshaw who is an illiterate Neanderthal, and Joseph a grumpy hand. The snow keeps him from leaving and he has to stay the night.

Mr. Lockwood goes to a room no one uses-it has been untouched for years. He finds himself unable to fall asleep and stays up reading a diary by Catherine Earnshaw, who used to live in that room. Then we have one of the spookiest, chillingest, best writings:

I heard distinctly the gusty wind, and the driving of the snow; I heard, also, the fir bough repeat its teasing sound, and ascribed it to the right cause: but it annoyed me so much, that I resolved to silence it, if possible; and, I thought, I rose and endeavoured to unhasp the casement. The hook was soldered into the staple: a circumstance observed by me when awake, but forgotten. ‘I must stop it, nevertheless!’ I muttered, knocking my knuckles through the glass, and stretching an arm out to seize the importunate branch; instead of which, my fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand! The intense horror of nightmare came over me: I tried to draw back my arm, but the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed, ‘Let me in—let me in!’ ‘Who are you?’ I asked, struggling, meanwhile, to disengage myself. ‘Catherine Linton,’ it replied, shiveringly (why did I think of Linton? I had read Earnshaw twenty times for Linton) ‘I’m come home: I’d lost my way on the moor!’ As it spoke, I discerned, obscurely, a child’s face looking through the window. Terror made me cruel; and, finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes: still it wailed, ‘Let me in!’ and maintained its tenacious gripe, almost maddening me with fear. ‘How can I!’ I said at length. ‘Let me go, if you want me to let you in!’ The fingers relaxed, I snatched mine through the hole, hurriedly piled the books up in a pyramid against it, and stopped my ears to exclude the lamentable prayer. I seemed to keep them closed above a quarter of an hour; yet, the instant I listened again, there was the doleful cry moaning on! ‘Begone!’ I shouted. ‘I’ll never let you in, not if you beg for twenty years.’ ‘It is twenty years,’ mourned the voice: ‘twenty years. I’ve been a waif for twenty years!’ Thereat began a feeble scratching outside, and the pile of books moved as if thrust forward. I tried to jump up; but could not stir a limb; and so yelled aloud, in a frenzy of fright. To my confusion, I discovered the yell was not ideal: hasty footsteps approached my chamber door; somebody pushed it open, with a vigorous hand, and a light glimmered through the squares at the top of the bed. I sat shuddering yet, and wiping the perspiration from my forehead: the intruder appeared to hesitate, and muttered to himself. At last, he said, in a half-whisper, plainly not expecting an answer, ‘Is any one here?’ I considered it best to confess my presence; for I knew Heathcliff’s accents, and feared he might search further, if I kept quiet. With this intention, I turned and opened the panels. I shall not soon forget the effect my action produced.

Heathcliff stood near the entrance, in his shirt and trousers; with a candle dripping over his fingers, and his face as white as the wall behind him. The first creak of the oak startled him like an electric shock: the light leaped from his hold to a distance of some feet, and his agitation was so extreme, that he could hardly pick it up.

‘It is only your guest, sir,’ I called out, desirous to spare him the humiliation of exposing his cowardice further. ‘I had the misfortune to scream in my sleep, owing to a frightful nightmare. I’m sorry I disturbed you.’

A ghost of Catherine Earnshaw Linton.

Mr. Lockwood heads home and falls ill. He questions the housekeeper Nelly about Heathcliff and she tells them the story…

So Mrs. Earnshaw died years ago and left the gentry Mr. Earnshaw with a son, Hindley, and daughter, Catherine. Mr. Earnshaw was very abusive and so are his children-wild-like the weather on the moors.

Nelly lived in the house as well, taken in by Mr. Earnshaw. One day everyone’s life changed when Mr. Earnshaw returned home with a boy! A curly-hair, dark-skinned boy (most likely Spanish, Italian, or Russian) and raises him with the family. Mr. Earnshaw hates his own son and lifts up Heathcliff. 

That is not good,

Nelly, Hindley, and Catherine all hate Heathcliff on sight. They pinch, hurt, annoy, accuse, etc.; him-although Catherine ends up growing to like him. Soon the twoare thick as thieves and never want to spend any time apart from each other.

Mr. Earnshaw dies, and Hindley becomes the head of the household. He abuses both his sister and Heathcliff, taking no interest at all in how they are raised. Catherine is a gentry daughter, a lady, but she is a wild animal-no instruction in becoming a lady.

Hindley marries a very simple. childlike woman who dies in childbirth. He then hates his son, becomes an alcoholic, and is even more abusive.

Catherine and Heathcliff’s relationship is changed when one day she gets injured and taken in by the Linton family. There she learns how to pretend to be ladylike-still wild and crazy and abusive when things aren’t her way. 

Even though she loves Heathcliff she will not marry him. She will not chain herself to a man who has no family, no last name, he can’t do or become anything. She marries Edgar Linton and Heathcliff runs away. 

When he returns years later he comes to get his revenge on all-He will take Wuthering Heights and its son from the high and mighty Hindley, get revenge and hurt Edgar, and lastly-break Catherine’s heart like she broke his…

Watch out…

So Wuthering Heights is a book about passion, and not just passion but unbridled passion. All these characters do whatever feels right to them, without thinking of what may come with their actions or the price they or others may have pay for their passion.

Often the Bronte’s books are compared with Jane Austen’s. That makes this not only a book club pick, buuuut…

Austen’s books take place more inside-sitting rooms, manors, etc, while the Bronte’s more on the moors and in nature. The Bronte’s are much darker than Austen work’s playing with similar themes but much deeper. Such as with Jane Austen’s books they may be secrets and hidden connections-the Bronte’s take a darker twist.

The term wuthering means decaying, blustery, turbulent, etc-the personalities being wuthering as much as the house, and as wild as the moors they reside.

I have always loved this book, but it was hard to read as what I had gone through with my husband. I understand how Heathcliff feels-with no last name and known family-he is essentially without a social security card and has no way of really doing anything. However, because he is hurt, he then hurts others-and no matter what happened to him that behavior is never okay.

Cathy is just as abusive and very conniving. With her brother as her guardian she knows she will meet no one and grabs at Edgar to get away-bringing pain and destruction and heartbreak to him.

“Edgar Linton, as multitudes have been before, and will be after him. was infatuated:and believed himself to be the happiest man alive on the day he led her to Gimmerton Chapel…”

I know how that feels, and how it feels to discover you are 100% wrong and the person you married is crazy. After the abuse I suffered from my husband I defintely do not sympathize with Heathcliff as much as I do Mr. Rochester, from Jane Eyre. I too married a crazy person who tried to kill me.

But it still is a good story and one I recommend reading in your lifetime.

I did notice two things this time reading the book. In a novel based on the Bronte sisters, The Madwoman Upstairs, by Catherine Lowell, she says that the only reason that the abusive horrible Mr. Earnshaw would adopt Heathcliff and treat him good was because he was his illegitimate son-but that’s not true. He “adopts” Nelly and brings her into his home. If he did that and treated her well and she is of no relation, why not Heathcliff? Plus he probably likes the savageness of Heathcliff, made him think of himself more than his “pansey” son.

The second thing I noticed, is that the story is told through Nelly and she really paints an absolutely awful and horrible portrayal of Heathcliff. But when Heathcliff came Nelly was awful-horrible and abusive to him as she didn’t like him on sight (probably jealous she no longer was “special” as the only one taken into the house). If she hated him that much-and I mean hate as she throws him outside in the dead of winter as she would like him to go away or die-only letting him come back in as Mr. Earnshaw demands it. And this is the actions of a child-wanting another person to die rather than being in the house with them-how can we trust a word she says? How do we know she is giving the undoctored truth?

Still a worthwhile read with so many great quotes-still a favorite no matter what, just not while I’m healing.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

For more Wuthering Heights, go to One of Many

For more Heathcliff, go to Smells S’Wonderful

For more Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: The Widow of Larkspur Inn

Plot Twist

I am getting a divorce.

Yes my husband turned out to be abusive. He abused me physically only a few times-mostly financial, verbal, and so on. We were only together a little over a month when I left.

I never realized how many facets there were to abuse of what it really meant until my counselor showed me this wheel. I had always say it just as someone hitting you, or like what they show in the media.

People always ask why do women stay with people like that and going through it there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Most of the time I was in shock like I couldn’t believe it was really happening to me, that it was my life.

Help me! I’m confused!

The way that keeps you off guard is how they change so quickly. They can be one way and then a couple hours later, completely different. Making you question yourself as to what is going on. And of course they never doing that in front of other people. also kind of makes it almost unbelievable that it is real.

I think Sarah Dessen described it best in her book Dreamland. Like I can’t believe I stayed with him as long as I did. I can’t believe I even married someone who treated me so wrongly. I see things now that should have been flags, but I never ever imagined that he would abuse me. And being apart from him I feel as if I woke from a dream. And just like Caitlin, I had to put the pieces of my life back together again.

And a lot of women can’t leave, they don’t have the money or support. I was blessed that I had support and he tried to use up all my money, in fact have a bunch of his debt as he took my credit card and just charged it up. But I am free (or will be when the divorce finalizes).

And it is so much better being away from him. I still have times of grief over how he treated me and what he did to me but now there is hope.

Just moving on and moving forward.

And I want to share this wheel to help others:

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

That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes on There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

Jamaica-InnPOSTER1CROP6

That place – Jamaica Inn. It’s got a bad name. It’s not healthy, that’s why. There’s queer things goes on there.

Alfred Hitchcock, practically everyone knows the King of Suspense.

AlfredHitchcock

But while most know the films The Birds; Psycho, Vertigo, etc: a lot of his earlier films are ignored. So while these may not be everyone’s favorite, these are films I love and enjoy.

Jamaica Inn was the last film Alfred Hitchcock made in the U.K., with him moving to the United States after this picture was completed. While it is not considered one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films, most people hate it even going as far to state it as his worst, I like it so I’m going to review it.

So the film is based on the historical fiction novel of the same name, written by Daphne du Marier (the same woman who wrote The Birds and Rebecca). Both she and Alfred Hitchcock were very displeased with the end result. Now why did this movie have so many problems? Charles Laughton.

jamaicainneatfooddinner

Now don’t get me wrong. He is a great actor, I mean look at his filmography. However, as he produced this he was able to call a lot of the shots, therefore not allowing Hitchcock to work his usual magic. Laughton changed the character chosen for him, forced Hitchcock to hire Maureen O’Hara, made Hitchcock reveal a twist earlier than planned, etc. It’s hard when someone usurps the director’s power.

But not everyone knows how to wield it.

But not everyone knows how to wield it.

Anyways, I’m going to review, because I like it.

So there! tongue sticking out pug

Now before we get into the review, let’s have a brief history lesson.

historyteach

This film takes place in the 1820 and involves a ship wrecking gang. Wrecking was a major economy booster and began as early as the 14th century, ending in the 20th century. Certain areas, such as Cromwell where this film takes place, gangs would cause ships to crash into the rocky shoreline, by either creating false lights or putting out the usual ones.

When the ships crashed, the gangs would then salvage the cargo, sell it, and kill the sailors to hide their crimes. It wasn’t until 1870, that rescuing the sailors brought in a reward.

In order to hide these activities, the wreckers would spread stories about ghost, phantoms, or other supernatural beings existing in the area.

Jamaica Inn is also based on a real inn and pub. It was known for its smugglers, pirates, and ghost stories.

Jamaica-InnPOSTER1CROP6

 So this film starts out with something a bit unusual, a prayer.

“O Lord we pray the–

not that wrecks should happen,

but that if they do happen

Thou wilt guide them–

to the coast of Cornwall,

for the benefit of the

poor inhabitants.

This real prayer for the 19th century shows how prevalent, wrecking/salvaging was.

DreadPirateRoberts Princess Bride

So the film starts out with the pirates (as they technically are as they are robbing/plundering ships) putting out the lights at Cromwell’s shore during a huge storm, causing them to crash. The crew go out and salvage everything, leaving no sailor alive.

wolfman dead bodies lots cart

The leader of this group is Joss Merlyn, also owner of Jamaica Inn. He picks the ships, sells the goods, divvies up the profits, and makes sure every man follows his orders. He’s not looking to head for the gallows.

Meanwhile, Mary Yellen is traveling from Ireland to Jamaica Inn.

what strange huh Jamaica Inn Mary Maureen O'Hara

Mary is played by Maureen O’Hara, in her first big role. She’s heading to Jamaica Inn to be with her Aunt Patience as her parents died and she has no where else to go. She’s heading in a cab, when suddenly it starts moving extremely fast and passes Jamaica Inn.

What's going on?

What’s going on?

She tries to get him to stop, but he refuses to listen. He’s afraid of Jamaica Inn, as he’s heard stories of ghosts, pirates, thieves, and worse. Instead he overshoots it by miles, dropping her off in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere.

jerk_alert32

Geez, how rude. I mean just living a women stranded in the middle of nowhere in the dark?

Jerk

Luckily, she isn’t too far from the Squire’s house, Sir Humphrey. She decides to head down there for help.

Meanwhile, Sir Humphrey is having a big dinner and fancy party for him and his friends.

jamaicainneatfooddinner

Now the Squire loves beautiful things. He’ll spend tons of money on a figurine, a horse, etc. Some of the ladies at the tale are interested in landing him, but they aren’t young or pretty enough for him.

uh-no-gif

Mary comes in from the cold and demands to see the Squire for help. Sir Humphrey is annoyed/intrigued at the intrusion sand makes a bet the girl will be ugly. However, when he sees her, he is stunned at her beauty.

swoon dreamy

He then tells her to remove her coat:

Gilmore girls creep

I’d be like “heck no!” I’m leaving my clothes on.

jerk

But, she agrees, and he says she looks stunning. That over and done with, she asks him for help to the Inn. Sir Humphrey doesn’t want her to go, as the inn is full of ruffians, no place for a pretty, young girl. He would rather she stay with him.

No thank youhowaboutno

Mary thanks him, but insists on going to the inn to be with her aunt Patience. Sir Humphrey agrees to help, and takes her to the inn.

When they arrive, Joss is creepily staring through the window at Mary.

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

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

She knocks at the door and when he opens it, he sticks a gun in her face.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Mary quickly tells him who she is, and then Joss tries to flirt with her, asking for a kiss.

I don't think so

Mary starts yelling at him and telling him to watch out, her uncle won’t stand for such rude treatment.

The jerk just laughs, and reveals he is her uncle.

ew! Gross Yuck

Luckily, Patience comes out and stops his attentions for the moment. Mary is shocked when she sees Patience, she used to be so beautiful, but now is a tired, pale, weary, slip of a thing.

What happened to you?

What happened to you?

You can tell by her pinched face that she is emotionally and physically abused by her husband.

Patience is happy to see her, but surprised. Apparently, they never received Mary’s letter telling of her parents death. They bring her in, with Joss making poor Patience carry the whole trunk. Mary goes to help, but Joss says no as he would hate to ruin a lady’s beautiful hands.

ew! Gross Yuck

How could he flirt like that in front of his wife? To her own niece?

Jerk

Mary has a fiery temper and yells at him. In return he picks up her trunk and throws it up the stairs, proving his strength. A true test of wills.

Don't mess with me!

Don’t mess with me!

Downstairs the crew are laughing and being rowdy, Joss having Patience take Mary into the kitchen so that she won’t find out what’s going on.

When Harry, Joss’ right hand man, hears of a pretty lady, he tries to go see her and put the moves on her.

howyoudoingfriendsjoey

But Joss tells everyone that Mary is hands off, only for him. I mean to his wife’s niece? What a jerk and mega creep.

Certified Creepo Ribbon

Back in the kitchen Mary and Patience are talking. Mary wants Patience to leave Joss, but she won’t. She ran away from him because she loved him, and even though he beats her, she still “loves” him. In reality, she has come to believe she deserves the beating, stuck in that cycle of abuse.

StarTrekBonesMcCoyPoorGirl PM

So back with the pirates.  A recent addition to the team, Jem Trehearne, has been starting a ruckus with the men.

JamaicaInnJemTrehearne

He believes there is a lot more going on then Joss is saying. He’s been keeping on eye on the merchandise ands how much they’ve received back and it is not adding up right. There is some that is being funneled elsewhere. Jem is also smart enough to realize there is no way Joss could fence these items on his own, there must be someone helping him. But who?

Sounds suspicious

Sounds suspicious

Joss sees how unsettled everyone is, and turns the suspicions back onto the crew; telling the group how easy it could be for one of them to take the product and waylay it, selling it later and keeping the profits. Now we have a witchunt, wtith everyone questioning each other.

miller-s-crucible-movie-ryder

He starts questioning how long each has been with him, coming up to Jem who has only been a part of the group for two months. Jem tries to turn it back to Joss and his mystery partner, but all have turned against him.

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

They seize Jem and search his pockets, finding gold. That settles it, he must hang.

CrucibleHanging

Before they can get started, Patience interrupts. She never would do such a thing, except Mary has just told her the Squire, Sir Humphrey, gave her a lift to the inn. She’s worried that him being there, he might have seen something.

Spoke too soon

He tells Patience to take Mary up to her room to finish dinner, let’s Harry take care of Jem, and then heads upstairs to a locked room.

Sounds suspicious

Sounds suspicious

And in there is the squire.

Say What

It turns out that Jem was right all along, there is someone else in charge, the squire.

This was an area of the film Hitchcock strongly disagreed with. He wanted to wait until the very end to do one of his famous reveals, us finding out that the Squire, supposed good guy was the real villain. But Laughton was a big star and he wanted more screen time, and as he was also producing the film, what he said went. It is interesting to see Hitchcock as he is starting out and then later on, when his word was the law. Even when it drove his actress crazy, like Tippi Hedren in The Birds.

Anyways, yes the real criminal mastermind is indeed the Squire, Sir Humphrey.

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Don’t let that pompous act fool you. He wines and dines the captains, finding out when ships carrying valuables are coming, sending word to Joss, who then gets the group out there to take care of it. Joss turns the goods over to the Squire, who sells the product taking a hefty cut, and giving the rest to be doled out the crewman. In some ways, this is very similar to Michael Crichton’s book Pirate Latitudes.

So Sir Humphrey is not happy with what he has, he thinks he deserves more.

minemineminepocahontas

Joss disagrees, warning him about the unruly crewman who think they are being created. They were lucky that Jem was a perfect scapegoat, but what if next time they men turn on him?

Them in this case

Them in this case

Squire tells him it doesn’t matter, and he better deal with the problem. They need to refocus as a new ship is coming in tomorrow night with lots of valuables.

Eyes on the prize

Eyes on the prize.

Joss tells Sir Humphrey about Mary, and that he will remove her from the equation. Sir Humphrey disagrees, as he wants Mary to stay, that is until he’s had her.

Mmhm great gatsby

Meanwhile, Jem has been knocked out and tied up. The crew are looking for the right beam to hang him, unknowingly choosing the exact one that lies under Mary’s room.

She overhears them talking about killing Jem, and watches them through a knothole, as they tie him up to the beam. One of the men, Dandy, really likes Jem’s buckles. Instead of waiting to play dice for them, Dandy grabs them and runs off, causing the others to chase him.

Run Away

With them out of the way, Mary takes her knife and starts sawing through the rope, trying to free Jem. After he drops to the ground, she sneaks out of her room and completes untying him. She wakes him up, and he tries to get her to come with him, but she has to stay for her aunt.

However, they quickly discover Jem is gone. Patience figures out that it is Mary.

JamaicaInnItwasYou

and tells her to run. She takes off but soon finds herself about to be caught, when Jem pulls her onto the roof.

How romantic

How romantic

How sweet, he couldn’t leave her behind to face everything on her own.

The two take off for the shore, Jem saying he knows a place they’ll be able to hide for a while.

Joss figures out who let Jem out, and sends everyone in teams to find them and kill them. He then goes to see the Squire to warn him.

Back at the squire’s home, we discover that he isn’t as rich as he’s been pretending to be.

rebeccaitwasallalie

I also suspect that he suffers from being bipolar or some other disease. They way he switches so quickly from anger to joyful, there’s something disconnected up there.

im-back

It turns out that his Butler is also starting to question what’s going on with the squire, as madness runs in his family.

Joss goes to him worried about what might happen with Jem and Mary, who they will tell. Sir Humphrey tells him to calm down as he is the only justice of the peace in the area. He kicks Joss out and tells him to focus on the ship wrecking.

Eyes on the prize

Eyes on the prize

He continues to yell at Joss, and also tells him to leave Mary alone. That girl is his.

All-Mine

The next day, Mary wakes up in the arms of Jem.

JamaicaInnArmsfacetogether

She is suddenly freaked out as the realization of her choices hits her. She betrayed her family to save a man she doesn’t even know, a thief and pirate. She can never return to her Aunt’s home, all family is lost to her, and all she has is a pirate who could be cruel to her or hurt her.

I don't know what to do

She tries to sneak away, and steal the boat, but wakes Jem up, who is hurt at her not trusting him. I mean after all that you think they would have a bond.

Jem Trehearne: That’s women for you – save your life one minute, frightened of you the next. I guess I’m not a very pretty sight at the moment, but I don’t bite, you know.

While the two are arguing, the boat slips away and they are now stuck in a cave, and high tide will be upon them soon enough.

Reality Sucks

So now they are stuck. And in this scene we have some of the best banter. Jem is totally trying to make light of the situation. Mary, on the other hand, is angry at herself and the fact that everything is going wrong.

Jem Trehearne: Trust me to land myself with a woman. ‘Course, you did save my life.

Mary Yellen: I hope you make better use of it in the future.

Jem Trehearne: That’s a tall order for a desperate character like me.

Mary Yellen: No doubt.

Jem Trehearne: Smuggler and a cutthroat; that gives it.

Mary Yellen: Very likely.

Jem Trehearne: Do you think there’s any hope for me? Tell me, what all am I to do?

Mary Yellen: Anything you please.

Jem Trehearne: Well, I used to be a sailor. I can go back to sea.

Mary Yellen: I’m not in the least interested.

Jem Trehearne: You must be. Don’t forget you’re responsible for me.

Mary Yellen: I am not.

Jem Trehearne: Oh, yes. If weren’t for you I shouldn’t be here at all. You can’t deny that. When we’re safe in Trulo I’ll place myself entirely in your hands.

Mary Yellen: Oh, please be quiet.

I like Jem. I think he is sweet, funny, and pretty adorable while at the same time being a man of action, and having some honor. I wonder how he got mixed up with thieves?

The plot thickens

So while they are talking, they fail to realize that their lost boat has just given away their position. Harry and two other crew members, realize they are in the cave and throw down a rope, inviting them up. They’re trapped. Either they wait in the cave and drown when the high tide comes in. Or they are saved and killed by the pirates.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

But Jem won’t give up. He decides to instead have him and Mary swim to shore. They have a better chance of surviving the stormy sea, then staying in the cave where the men will let them drown or hang them.

They make it to shore, and Jem wants to go to town. Mary changes his mind, by pointing out the Squire’s mansion is so much closer.

Spoke too soon

When they get to the house, they interrupt a dinner with a captain.

jamaicainneatfooddinner

The two come in soaked and telling the squire about what’s going on. Mary is sent upstairs to change into dry things, stopping to ask the squire for clemency for Jem, while Jem is regulated in front of the fire as he is not important. Go ahead and freeze to death or catch the flu and die, you’re not important.

Mr.DarcyMoveAsidepeasants Pride and prejuice

But Jem will not be regulated to the side. He insists on speaking to the squire NOW. In fact he has something very important to show Sir Humphrey.

officeroflawletter

His badge.

Say What

Yep Jem is not really a thief, he’s actual a cop and was just undercover trying to bust a ship wrecking ring. Before Sir Humphrey was just going to get rid of him or lock him up, but know that he is a cop with real officers knowing who he is and where he went. It’s time to change the game.

New plan

New plan

Mary overhears and runs over to the Inn to warn Patience, and try and get her to leave, but she won’t go. Soon Jem and Sir Humphrey arrive, Sir Humphrey playing along with Jem; as Jem deduces the how, where, and why of the whole situation. He just needs to figure out who the head man is.

WhoDoneItMystery?

He tries to persuade Joss to tell. This man is a tyrant that must be brought to justice!

Jem Trehearne: He [the head of the operation] remains aloof content to hire the scum of the coast to do his murderous work for him, thinking there’s no blood on his hands, but there is.

Jem leaves Joss with Sir Humphrey, as he goes to move the women upstairs. While he is gone Sir Humphrey warns Joss that tonight will have to be the last one, it would be best for both to take a little vacation. Then he hands over his gun.

Now think how much more awesome this scene would have been if this was the first time we realized that the Squire was the man they were working for. Hitchcock relly got gypped there. Oh, well.

So the men have heard Jem, and without Sir Humphrey as back up, the two are quickly captured and tied up.

JamaicainnTiedUp

Joss puts Patience on guard with a gun, while asking Mary along, just in case she had the urge to free Jem again.

Jem puts on a brave face and tries to convince Patience that if she gives up the location of her husband, then it will help him serve less time. Patiene refuses.

No thank youhowaboutno

Sir Humphrey doesn’t even bother talking, getting out of the unknotted knots Joss tied on him and walking right out. After all, he has a ship to catch.

Jem is embarrassed and angry he could be tricked so easily, but continues to try to get Patience to set him free. But Patience says no, she loves Jem.

Laura what I want No good

Eventually something must have worked on her, as the next scene we see Jem free and out to get help.

Meanwhile Mary is out with the crewman. They put the beacon out and wait, but while all are preoccupied, Mary runs out to fix the beacon. She gets in a fight with one of the men, accidentally breaking the beacon and setting her cape on fire. She hangs that up and saves the ship.

The salvagers are very angry!

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

They grab her and start tearing at her clothes, making threats about what they will do. Joss comes into save her, but gets shot by Harry.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Mary manages to get his body to the inn. There Patience is heartbroken and tries to warn Mary that Joss wasn’t the real leader, there is someone worse, when she is shot!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Sir Humphrey shot her as he didn’t want her warning Mary about him. He then goes and ties her up, giving her a hooded cape to hide it, and takes her with him in his carriage.

tumblr_dr.jekyllhydemirrorsneakupbehindscareaah!

So Sir Humprey has completely succumbed to the insanity that runs in his family.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Jem is not too far behind the two, being able to get the regimental captain that was dining with Sir Humphrey earlier to use his troops to stop the men. They round up the ship wreckers and find the bodies of Joss and Patience. They set out to follow Humphrey’s trail.

At the ship, Sir Humphrey throws Mary inside a cabin. Telling her that she may have wanted to marry some normal, man and have a litter of kids, but that’s not what she should have. She should have the finer things with him.

Sir Humphrey: Good thing you have a man of sensibility, who’d rather see you dead first.

Certified Creepo Ribbon

Before Sir Humphrey can make good on his threats, the regiment arrives. He tries to take Mary as a hostage, but they are prepared to shoot any part of his body they can. In order to escape he climbs up the sails of the ship, choosing to jump off and commit suicide then be taken alive.

Mary is shaken over everything, with Jem taking her and comforting her.

TheEnd_Title_2

So was it as amazing as his later work? No. Was it still a good movie? Yes. I thought it was interesting, fun, a tad campy, but still entertaining.

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1939JamaicaInn

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to The Story. We’re Living It. It’s Alive: The Brothers Grimm (2005)

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For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

For more films based on a book, go to What Have We Done to Each Other?: Gone Girl (2014)

For more on Maureen O’Hara, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heroes