Emma(Jane Austen Children’s Stories #4) by Jane Austen, adapted by Gemma Barder
I did not originally plan to purchase both the Northanger Abbey and Emma adaptations in this series so close together. If I had I would have done a dual post like I did for the Babylit series. I was just going to purchase the Northanger Abbey one, but a couple weeks after my cousin’s birthday party I discovered that my friend moved her daughter’s birthday party up to the first weekend in June. I needed a present stat and I always buy her a book and toy for her birthday.
So when I was trying to find a book for a 7 year old, the first thing that popped in my head was to get another one book from the Jane Austen Children’s Stories.
As I mentioned in my previous review, any time I spot a children’s book that has to do with Jane Austen, I try and purchase it to gift to them and hopefully influence spark a love of Jane Austen in them.
The Jane Austen Children’s Stories series takes the text of Jane Austen and adapts it for children who are reading on their own and want something longer than a beginning reader, but not quite ready for thick chapter books. Each novel has easy to read text, illustrations, but at the same time still retains the plot of the original novels.
The recommended age for this series is 7-10 years old. The series has adapted Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Love and Friendship. You can buy them individually at ~$7 a paperback (hardcover is ~$12 per book) or in a set of all seven in paperback form (plus a journal) for ~$27.
Emma is the story of a girl who has been mistress of her house and doted on by her father. After her governess marries (a match she believes she put together) she becomes bored and intends on trying her hand at matchmaking. She pygmalions her new acquaintance, Harriet Smith, and plans to set her up with the new minister. Things do not go according to plan as her matches do not take hold and her “creation” takes a life of her own.
While I enjoyed the Northanger Abbey review, I loved this adaption of Emma. It was done a little different with it starting off with a breakdown of the characters, a who’s who of everyone.
The book easily captures the attention of the reader as it leans in to the already comedic tones of Emma. The illustrations were also well done, no complaints of the men’s outfits here.
I really enjoyed it, and I think the 7 year old who I purchased it for will love it as well. If you are looking for Jane Austen books for elementary schooled children in your life, then I definitely recommend giving this series a read.
Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen Children’s Stories #5) by Jane Austen, adapted by Gemma Barder
If you’ve been following me, you know that I love to brainwash share my love of Jane Austen with my nieces and my friends’ children.
So any time I spot a children’s book that has to do with Jane Austen, I try and purchase it to gift to them and hopefully influence spark a love of Jane Austen in them.
One day I was on Amazon when this Jane Austen Children’s Stories series cameacross my book recommendations. This series takes the text of Jane Austen and adapts it for children who are reading on their own and want something longer than a beginning reader, but not quite ready for a thick chapter books. Each novel has easy to read text, illustrations, but at the same time still retain the plot of the original novels.
The recommended age for this series is 7-10 years old. The series has adapted Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Love and Friendship. You can buy them individually at ~$7 a paperback (hardcover is ~$12 per book) or in a set of all seven in paperback form (plus a journal) for ~$27.
Northanger Abbey was the first of Jane Austen’s books to be written and is a parody of gothic novels and a satire on society. In the story Catherine Morland is a minister’s daughter who loves to read and has an overactive imagination. She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath and while there her life becomes a bit like a novel as she meets the mysterious Tilney family, and the. delightful and handsome Mr. Tilney. She also has another less moral man vying for her affections, Mr. Thorpe. She is later given an opportunity to stay with the Tilneys in their home, Northanger Abbey, and while there wonders if there is a dark secret on the premises. Catherine begins investigating but is there really a mystery or has her overactive imagination just struck again?
I thought the adaption was very well done as it reminded me a lot of the Great Illustrated Classics series I used to read when I was a child, but geared for a slightly younger age. They kept the plot of the book, but removed some of the language or plot points that would sail over a elementary aged child’s head.
I also enjoyed the illustrations, well…except for the men’s outfits, they were not accurate.
I love the way they drew General Tilney. Look how sour he is, there is no doubt that General Tilney is an unpleasant man. Just look at his face.
I really enjoyed it, and I’m hoping my 10 year old cousin, who I purchased it for, will love it as well (fingers crossed). If you are looking for Jane Austen for an elementary schooled child in your life, then I definitely recommend giving this series a read.
I was given this book free in exchange for an honest review.
Are any of you Community fans? Community is about a former lawyer, Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), who faked his degree, and has to go back to community college in order to get a real one. He creates a fake Spanish Study Group to try and get with a girl, but ends up having all these others join them and eventually they all become friends and have a lot of crazy adventures together.
In one episode, two of the friends are having a housewarming party and when the pizza arrives Jeff, not wanting to fetch the pizza, has them throw a dice in the air to see who must go downstairs and retrieve it. This introduces multiple timelines with one of them being the darkest timeline.
So what does that have to do with this book? It starts off in the darkest timeline of Pride and Prejudice.
Our story begins sadly. Jane never met or married Mr. Bingley. Instead she married the gentleman who wrote her a few lines of poetry when she was 15.
“When she [Jane Bennet] was only fifteen, there was a gentleman at my brother Gardiner’s in town so much in love with her, that my sister-in-law was sure he would make her an offer before we came away. But, however, he did not. Perhaps he thought her too young. However, he wrote some verses on her, and very pretty they were.”
Pride and Prejudice
While this man, Mr. Cuthbert, isn’t horrible, he also doesn’t value his wife as much as Bingley did. The two live in London with four sons and an awful mother-in-law.
Mr. Bennet died of a heart attack two years prior, which caused Mr. Collins to never take orders (become a minister) and he inherited all of Longbourn. At the time he visited Elizabeth was supporting Jane during one of her pregnancies so Mr. Collins married Mary, leaving Charlotte unmarried and no prospect in sight.
Now that Mary is mistress of Longbourn she has become very self important, tyrannical, and uses her position to control her remaining family members: Mrs. Bennet, Elizabeth, and Lydia (Kitty is married and lives in Portsmouth).
Elizabeth is not as strong or as fierce as she used to be as grief and circumstances have caused her to fold in on herself. She also is having problems with her heart, and is secretly afraid that she has inherited her father’s heart condition. She also feels unsettled as she is forced to move from Longbourn to London, not really having her own home; along with having to kowtow to the Collinses.
Mr. Bingley has not rented Netherfield but its gatehouse is where Mr. Darcy and Georgiana reside. It turns out that when Georgiana was seduced by Mr. Wickham, she became pregnant. Mr. Darcy decided to lie to family and friends saying they are vacationing in the warmer climate of Spain, while planning to hide out in Meryton until after the baby was born. Unfortunately, Georgiana suffered from a miscarriage and is currently extremely ill with tuberculosis.
To make this even harder on the Darcy’s, with Georgiana hardly going out due to her poor health and Mr. Darcy keeping his true net worth hidden and also not partaking in society; horrible rumors about the two abound in the community.
But while the beginning is a tad grim, let me assure you it does contain a happy ending. I have to admit when I first started this novel I was unsure where it would go as this opening was most unexpected. However, at the same time I was also extremely intrigued as to see what all these threads would produce.
Elizabeth has just returned from visiting Jane when she hears about the latest news of Mr. Darcy moving to town and is warned by Mr. Collins and Mary to steer clear of them. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have a horrible interaction at the apothecary, when Mr. Darcy, eager for medicine to aid his sister, rudely interrupts Elizabeth’s conversation. While Elizabeth doesn’t believe all the stories circling Darcy, she has decided he is an extremely rude man she would like nothing to do with.
Later at a party thrown by Sir William Lucas, Elizabeth spots Mr. Darcy and it appears that he is listening to her stories of London, strangely seeming interested in topics that wouldn’t typically suit a man. She manages to question him later about his interest in her tales of London and he reveals he is picking up tidbits to share with his sister, who’s health keeps her from anything.
Mr. Darcy also witnesses Elizabeth in heart pain, but after her pleas he agrees to not to reveal her illness to anyone.
That evening Mr. Darcy sees his sickly sister pleased at the crumbs of conversation he managed to solicit and decides to join up with Colonel Fitzwilliam (the only one who knows of their ruse), to try and hunt Mr. Wickham down. Meanwhile, Elizabeth has been thinking about Georgiana and how lonely she must be, just like Elizabeth. While Darcy comes to his decision to go after Wickham, Elizabeth is determined to befriend Georgiana.
The two immediately develop a friendship, with Georgiana revealing the true story of why they are in Longbourn. When Mr. Darcy returns (having not located Mr. Wickham), he at first clashes with Elizabeth; him not wanting charity, suspicious she might be hunting for information to ruin his sister’s reputation, and worried that these visits are doing more harm than good. Elizabeth returns somewhat to her old self as she sees him as controlling, rude, and is not afraid to speak her mind on it. Eventually, for the sake of Georgiana, the two make a truce and often enjoy debating or discussing issues.
While Elizabeth enjoys her time with the Darcys, she continues to be unhappy in her life and her heart pains appear to be increasing. She finally comes to the decision to consult the apothecary Mr. Jones, but he is unfortunately called away to care for his sick son before he can give her a prognosis. He promises to write and when a letter does come to the apothecary shop Elizabeth, embarrassed to speak to the assistant, purloins the letter and discovers that she only has a few months to live.
At first distraught over the fact that her life is ending, she then decides she will do whatever she can to ensure her remaining days are how she wants to spend them. She approaches Mr. Darcy and asks for his hand in marriage, not out of love but so that she can care for Georgiana, have her own life, and be buried with dignity rather than pity.
Mr. Darcy is shocked at how brazen Elizabeth is but after she reveals her reasons, and he spends time with her family-he can’t help but feel sorry for her and agrees. For him; his sister will be happy for her remaining time, Elizabeth will have a much happier place to live, he only has to care for her a few months (and she is beautiful and enjoyable to be around), and can use his widower status to keep his Aunt Catherine or any other ladies at bay (“I cannot remarry as my heart is “broken”). The two enter one of my favorite tropes, a marriage of convenience, and of course they eventually fall for each other.
But this path is full of obstacles. As the two grow closer and fall for each other, will Elizabeth continue to feel the same way when she discovers Mr. Darcy is not a poor gentleman but has kept his lineage and estate hidden from her? Will the two be able to swallow their pride and compromise to create a true marriage? And will their love even matter when Elizabeth’s days are numbered?!
My thoughts on this book? I LOVED it.
I knew how it would end and figured out the reveal of a plot twist immediately when it was introduced, but honestly that doesn’t matter. From page one I was sucked in and stayed up all night finishing it.
This book made me laugh, I cried, I went through every emotion and enjoyed every page.
I also think Moll touched really well on complicated grief and the guilt and blame that can come when a sadness of a death is mixed up in a hatred toward life’s circumstances. I used to work with grieving families and children and the scene when Mr. Darcy is trying to cope and work through his inner torment at the death of his sister and nephew is extremely well written.
I really enjoy the slow burn of a romance, and I savored watching the romance progress from civility to passion.
I also liked the way Moll wrote the supporting characters, especially the relationship between Lydia, Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth. In this Lydia is still constantly thinking of getting married, clothes, and still a bit of a narcissist; but as being the only other unmarried sister and stuck under the care of Mr. Collins she and her sister have bonded closer together. We also see that while Lydia is concerned for her welfare first and foremost she loves her sister and wants to help her in the way she best can.
I highly recommend this for fans of Austen variations as I throughly enjoyed it and will definitely be reading it again.
Charlotte’s Story: A Novel from the World of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
by Carolyn Korsmeyer
I was on Instagram when I came across a post by Heather Moll, in which she was looking for Jane Austen fans to read an ARC of her newest book. I of course am always looking for new things to read (even though my to-read list is crazy long) and reached out to her.
We discussed when she would like the review posted, but after we messaged each other something kept niggling in the back of my mind, I had forgotten something? But what?
After I received Moll’s ARC it suddenly hit me! Back in December, Wiley Saichek had reached out to me to review Carolyn Korsmeyer new book Charlotte’s Story. With him emailing me at the beginning of the holiday season it had completely slipped my mind.
Feeling all kinds of horrible for promising to review the novel and having not done it, I decided before I could check out Moll’s work I needed to read and review this immediately.
When I first read the premise of the the novel, I was intrigued as I have always liked the character Charlotte Lucas and I do not feel she gets enough appreciation. She is often seen as the “what not to do” character, but for a woman with limited options she was cunning and wily. She may not have married for love, but she also didn’t have a disastrous marriage like in The Buccaneers. While she married a man that isn’t passionate, she was for it ate to marry one who wouldn’t hurt her, abuse her, or cheat on her. And while he is silly and bumbling, Charlotte could have had it much worse.
For those of you who have never read or watched Pride and Prejudice, or may not know the character of Charlotte Lucas I will give a brief summary. The story of Pride and Prejudice revolves around the Bennet family, a large family consisting of five daughters living on an estate that is entailed (can only be inherited by a male relative). Mr. and Mrs. Bennet always believed they would have a boy and didn’t plan for an outcome of only girls nor have they been very prudent with their money. Mrs. Bennet is eager to marry all her children off ASAP, as when Mr. Bennet dies they will have a very different lifestyle and it will be harder to find them suitors. Two men come into the neighborhood, along with English officers and a distant cousin who will inherit when Mr. Bennet passes. Mrs. Bennet tried to ensnare marriage proposals but things do not go as planned. There is comedy, drama, and more!
Charlotte Lucas is the best friend of Elizabeth Bennet (second eldest Bennet daughter), and when Elizabeth rejects their distant cousin, Mr. Collins’, marriage proposal Charlotte swoops in. She invites Mr. Collins to move into Lucas Lodge and ends up engaged to him! After their marriage Charlotte moves to Hunsford, to Mr. Collins’ parish. When Elizabeth, Maria Lucas (Charlotte’s sister) and Sir William (Charlotte’s father) visit the Collinses, they are invited to dine with Lady Cathrine de Bourgh who not only is Mr. Collins’ patroness but also Mr. Darcy’s aunt; Mr. Darcy being one of the gentlemen who Mrs. Bennet was originally trying to snare and one that Elizabeth can’t stand.
After this vacation, Elizabeth returns home and we do not hear of Charlotte until the end of Pride and Prejudice. So there is a lot of wiggle room to create a “new” story.
This novel starts off with Elizabeth’s rejection and Charlotte deciding to net Mr. Collins. The two are quickly wed and then go to his home. Charlotte begins busying herself with taking everything into hand (as a bachelor does not always keep the best house). She tries to start a friendship with Lady Catherine’s daughter, Anne, but finds it difficult as Anne has a low constitution and a bulldog of a companion.
Charlotte finds it lonely in her new life, missing her friends and family and is also sad not to be pregnant as soon as she wishes. She also finds herself regretting aspects of her marriage, such as the fact that she was not wooed, won, or worked for. It reminds me of Milly in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and how her husband did not understand the value of his wife as she was won “without effort”. Charlotte also realizes that in her quest for marriage, home, stability, etc.-she never really thought about what type of man she should be looking for.
When Elizabeth and Maria arrive, Charlotte becomes the viewer watching the scenes unfold, being told later by Elizabeth what has happened-from Darcy rejected proposal to Darcy’s secret.
In this adaptation Darcy and Anne are close cousins, although he has no desire to marry her. It was nice to see it as in Austen’s original piece all is told from Elizabeth’s point of reference (colored by her dislike of Mr. Darcy and Lady Catherine). From Charlotte’s point of view Anne is very nice, although naive, and the two eventually become friends.
The relationship between the Collinses become fractured when Charlotte falls extremely ill and while appreciative of the care Mr. Collins gave Charlotte is furious that Mr. Collins never contacted her family about it. Mr. Collins apologizes and shares about his childhood and that his parents never planned for children, his mother died in childbirth, and he has no familial bonds with anyone. It never occurred to him to notify her family. Charlotte forgives him, but everything splinters over the Lydia/Wickham and Elizabeth/Darcy situation. Mr. Collins wants to distance himself from his family (and rebuke them for their actions); while Charlotte wants to support her friends. After the dust has settled, and a quick visit to Hertfordshire, with no children on the horizon Mr. Collins sends Charlotte to Bath to partake in the waters. She journies with Mrs. Bennet, Mrs. Norris (Mrs. Bennet’s sister), Maria, Kitty, and Mary. Anne and her nurse/companion Mrs. Jenkins also plan to meet them there.
In Bath, Charlotte partakes of the water and again becomes a spectator into the lives of her party. Kitty, Maria, and Mary enjoy concerts, balls, parties, and young suitors. Anne is thrilled with being free from her mother and finds her own suitor, also being followed closely by Colonel Fitzwilliam. *Wink, wink*.
Eventually their time in Bath ends and they all must return home, Mary joining the Collinses-and with one more twist in life’s plans will Charlotte eventually finds happiness or just sorrow?
So what did I think of the book? I thought Korsmeyer did a great job at trying to mimic Jane Austen’s style and stay true to the novel while putting her own spin on it. The only part of the book I really disliked was that several times Charlotte was moved to observer instead of an active member of the story. For a book that is supposed to be about her, at times I felt she felt became part of the scenery instead of staying the main player.
Korsmeyer does take liberties with creating her own story and some changes to the characters will not appeal to everyone. While I don’t agree with her depiction of some of the characters I did not feel that she did anything that was too contrary to the character’s “possibilities”. One example is the character change of Mary Bennet, who people seem to disagree with the most. In this version, Mary is taken to Bath and after she receives positive attention from her mother (and young men) with a new style of dress and a different way of acting; she embraces a new personality. For someone who is often only tolerated, left out, and the source of jokes in her family, I could see that with this change to actually being wanted, Mary would try to do whatever she could to keep it. Such as, completely changing her personality and making decisions she previously would not do. After all, I have known people in my life who have behaved like that. It might not be the route I would have taken, but I do not feel it is out of the realm of possibilities for the Austen character.
Reading this book there were two points Korsmeyer made that I found extremely fascinating. The first is that Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy are the same amount of socially awkward, but in different areas on the spectrum. While Mr. Collins covers his insecurities with a constant stream of words, Mr. Darcy covers his with silence and scowls.
“At one point, I had the oddest impression that in their own ways each man [Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy] was evincing his discomfort with company. How very strange to speculate that my garrulous husband and this stern statue might both be simply ill at ease in society.
Charlotte’s Story: A Novel from the World of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Carolyn Korsmeyer
It is a fair comparison to make as we see Mr. Darcy react different when in company he knows/likes-however in the original novel we never see how Mr. Collins reacts when he is at home just with Charlotte.
The other point I found really thought provoking was when Mr. Collins discusses his childhood. In this adaptation, Mr. Collins’ mother died in childbirth, his father hated/blamed him + ignored him, and Me. Collins spent his whole life trying to get people to like him. Then one day he meets Lady Catherine who actually listens to what he says and enjoys his company. If this backstory were the case then in a way Lady Catherine has filled that vacant “parental” slot in Mr. Collins’ life. He now has someone who will “rear” him, give him advice, financially care for him (she’s his patron), etc. And not only does he have a “parent” in his life, but has gained “family” with Lady Catherine’s family. Just to be clear I’m not saying that Mr. Collins actually believes the de Bourgh family and relations to be his family, I’m saying that subconsciously he’s adopted them and believes they feel the same about him. Also if he never really had family growing up it would explain why he has no idea how to act with the Bennets, talking to them like he read a book on how to converse with one’s relations. But again, this is all supposition.
I found Korsmeyer to be a talented writer who is able to write a story that can hold your interest. This book will not be for everyone but I do believe that if you enjoy Pride and Prejudice adaptations it is well worth a read to see a different view into the Collinses and a deepening of characters that are often at the back of the action. Besides having more Charlotte, I really enjoyed the fleshing out of Anne de Bourgh, Maria Lucas, Kitty Bennet, Mary Bennet, and Colonel Fitzwilliam. Whether or not you agree with everything in the story, I still think most will enjoy the stroll down a “what if” path in the Jane Austen universe.
So for those who haven’t been reading my posts or may have forgotten, this is the worst Jane Austen adaption I have ever seen.
On paper this show sounds great, four of the Austen heroines (Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, and Emma Woodhouse) have been set in modern times and all are friends with each other. Mr. Knightley, Mr. Collins, Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, and Edward Ferrars are in this as well. Should be fun right?
The problem is that the show’s plots have little to do with the plots of Jane Austen’s books. The episodes are all pretty boring, and it does the unthinkable-it actually makes you hate Mr. Darcy.
Yes, this is truly, truly, truly terrible and I really regret ever watching it. But I’ve started it and now I have to finish it. So here we go…
Quick recap – Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. Elinor is an accountant, Marianne a Smoothie Barista, Emma a divorce lawyer, Elizabeth a real estate agent, and Knightley/Grant I don’t know.
As I have said before the plots resemble little from the novels but this is where each character is at:
Elinor received a promotion and met IRS agent Edward Ferrars. The two have a lot in common and she had a crush on him, but it turned out he is already in a relationship. He apologized in the last episode if he ever made her feel uncomfortable or if he crossed a line, and Elinor became heartbroken that he isn’t single. She also held a mouse killing party and went on a date with Collin (Mr. Collins) who was only trying to pump her for info on Lizzie. Also she knows Grant’s (Mr Knightley) secret that he is in love with Emma.
Marianne moved in with Elinor and the two always fight/argue. She was looking for a job and worked with Darcy and Emma for a bit until she found a job at the smoothie shop. She met Brandon (Colonel Brandon) when her skin was turning blue/purple and he likes her. She doesn’t seem super interested, but has reached out to Grant (Mr. Knightley) about how to keep a guy as she never seems to get a second date.
Emma is British (the only one) and a divorce attorney. She works with Darcy and the two fight a lot. She goes on a series of terrible dates set up by her friends (revenge for her terrible setups) and then went on a date with a former client only to realize that wasn’t the best idea.
Elizabeth was hired by Collin (Mr. Collins) to help him find a house but it turned out he was just trying to spend time with her to ask her out. Then she was helping Darcy find a house for “a special lady” but he was annoying and horrible and those episodes made me hate him. She also had to plan family photos, had acrylic nails and found life too difficult with them, and bought an exercise bike that she made the boys put together. Also she knows Grant’s (Mr Knightley) secret that he is in love with Emma.
Grant (Mr. Knightley) is supposed to be a main character but is really a supporting one to council the girls. I don’t know what he does for a living or anything about him other than he’s friends with the ladies and is in love with Emma. His best friend is Brandon who he called and brought into the plot when Marianne was turning blue. Elizabeth and Elinor know he is in love with Emma but he hasn’t told her yet.
Brandon was introduced late in the series, the episode where Marianne was turning blue. He was instantly attracted to Marianne, but hasn’t wanted to ask her out until they get to know each other better, as revealed in the “putting the exercise bike together” episode. He’s the only character I really enjoy as he is the only one that feels like he’s based off the source material. He also is the only character who when they are a part furthers the original plot.
But here we go, last episode everybody!
Lizzie and Marianne are hanging out shopping online as Lizzie wants to treat herself after having to deal with Darcy (can’t say I blame her as in this adaptation he is a total jerk). Elinor warns her she should wait until the sale has completely gone through, but Lizzie is very confident as Darcy wanted the perfect house for his “special lady” and finally found it.
Elinor and Marianne are intrigued with who this lady could be, and it turns out so is Lizzie. I know it is Georgiana Darcy (his sister), but the ladies try to guess is it sister, cousin, or wife? Lizzie is like family members don’t just buy houses for each other, (but some do), and thinks there is a romantic connection although she doesn’t seem that happy about it. But I don’t know why she would like him as they have hardly had any nice scenes together.
Elinor is moving Marianne’s heavy box out of the hallway and trips and drops the box on her foot. Marianne then calls Brandon to come and check if it is broken or not. Yay! I love Brandon, he’s the only good character in this.
We then switch to Darcy and Emma who are working when Elizabeth interrupts them to see Emma. Darcy seems to be in a better mood, but Emma keeps coughing. Emma and Lizzie discover the girl Darcy bought the house for is named Georgiana, and Elizabeth seems a little too curious about Georgiana’s relationship to Darcy.
Grant then comes to see Emma and offers to take her out after she ended things with “her amazing guy” (he was not amazing). Grant and Brandon talk about this, Brandon revealing he plans to ask Marianne out, but I’m not sure she will say yes. This Marianne is all over the place, in the one episode she seemed into him, but the last she didn’t seem to think of him at all. But Brandon seems pretty confident, and if he is confident in the TV world that means she will say no.
This makes me sad, but at the same time I’m happy we are back on track to the original Austen plot. Thank goodness for Brandon or else I’m sure we would have another mouse killing party episode.
Elizabeth goes to Darcy’s new house after everything has been completed and meets Georgiana. The actress they chose for Georgiana is adorable and does the part perfectly. She’s like a delicate little flower you want to protect.
Brandon tries to ask Marianne out but each time is interrupted or something happens. He’s so cute though. Even though it hasn’t happened how he wanted, he’s still going to try.
Grant shows up at Emma’s work to take her on their “date”, but she is most definitely sick. Grant takes her home instead, makes her tea, orders food in, and they talk about her family and their childhood. They imitate her father and it’s super adorable and all I can think is why wasn’t this in the earlier episodes? Like this is good writing, this is great plot, this show could have been so much better if they hadn’t wasted all the “Austen” until the end.
Elizabeth brought food for Elinor, who’s still resting as her foot bothers her. Elizabeth tells her about how she talked to Darcy and is seeing him different, agreeing to go out with him for Thai food. I don’t agree with this as the awful way they made Darcy doesn’t track with Austen’s depictions. If I was her friend I would have told her to pass on him and his bad attitude, which is the exact opposite of how you want your Darcy to be.
After Elizabeth leaves, Brandon comes over to ask Marianne out, but she isn’t home. He decides to wait but when Marianne comes home she has a giant bomb to drop. Marianne met John Willoughby, a photographer, who invited her to come to Paris with him. Brandon hearing how excited she is, decides to bow out and head home.
We end the episode with Elinor trying to convince Marianne not to run off with a stranger, but Marianne convincing her she needs to follow her dream (she never expressed modeling before, like why is this her “thing” now?)
Marianne also orders another heavy box, a present for Elinor and drops it on her foot. And that’s the end.
I think the crew behind this thought they would be able to make more episodes/seasons, but it doesn’t surprise me that it ended early/after one season. So little happened to make it interesting, and to be honest, all the episodes and scenes without Brandon are not worth watching.
The biggest problem with the show is that there was too little Austen in it. The writers saved most of the plot lines that were based on the source material for the later episodes instead of having them be earlier and interweaving them all.
If I were to do this I think I would start with characters from Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice to begin with (later introducing characters from her other works), but to have each season be focused mainly on one particular book. For example I would start with Sense and Sensibility. The first season’s arc’s primary focus would be on how Mr. Dashwood died and left everything to their older half-brother. Marianne would quit college and move in with her older sister to work a bit before she could finish her degree. I also would make the Dashwood sisters biracial, so that could further villianize Fanny Dashwood and it would add an extra tone to her comments “they aren’t really your sisters”. I think Elinor’s story arc would be to meet Edward she likes him, later discovering he’s engaged, and becoming upset at being disappointed by every man in her life. In the end she would seek counseling and that would end her first season story arc, with Edward of course coming back in a later season. With Marianne I would have her not be interested in Brandon because he is too stable and right now the two “stable men” in her life disappointed her (her father and brother). She’s interested in a spontaneous man, getting involved with John Willoughby, who I would make one of those guys who are like I’ll take care of my woman, she’ll never have to do anything, women shouldn’t work, etc.-so Marianne decides to forgo her original college plans; and of course is brokenhearted by the end of it. I like the idea of John being a photographer, director, etc-someone in power who chooses to marry a wealthy woman so that her family money can fund his lifestyle. Marianne’s ending season would be when she decides to focus on herself and agree to one date by Brandon. I would also have the season end with Emma, having encouraged both women, believing that she is the one that brought them to where they are (Elinor in counseling and Marianne dating Brandon), therefore deciding to further her “good works” by directing her attention to two new interns/hires at her company Fanny Price and Harriet Smith. Fanny I would I make her a foster child of the Bertrams, or she is the child of a family friend that they become legal guardians of (so that we don’t have to deal with the incest issue.)
Season 2 would be all about Emma, I see her as being expected as the one to take over her father’s company. I would have had in season 1 that an article come out about her that doesn’t paint her in the best light, or she overhears someone taking about how she is a horrible person and she decides to do some charity work to improve her image. In my head I imagine a character like Taraji P. Henson’s character from Think Like A Man, or Fallon in the new Dynasty. She also believes she’s the one responsible for the resolutions in the Dashwood sister’s lives and decides to try and help others. We could go the sweet Harriet Smith route, or we could do a new depiction of and make Harriet Smith slightly like Eve in All About Eve. I would have Fanny not follow Emma’s “help” but does end up becoming her “real” friend. Also we could introduce the other characters in Emma, such as the Elton’s, be clients of the company. This season could end with her finally finding herself, with her friend Knightley and end with introducing Darcy, maybe a a company party where Darcy and Elizabeth have their interaction and bringing in Emma’s old friend Anne Elliot.
Season 3 would be Pride and Prejudice, this one would probably be the easiest to adapt to modern times as there are a lot of different avenues you can take. End the season with them staring to be together, and introducing Catherine Morland, maybe as a friend of Marianne’s? Season 4 could be one of these ladies, I unfortunately haven’t plotted those out as much as the first three. But they are all easily adaptable to modern times. And there are quite a few different ways to interweave all their stories together.
I kind of hope someone takes another shot at this as it has a lot of potential. You also could make it a rainbow cast and have a lot of different ethnicities in this as well.
So while the potential was there, the series just wasn’t up to it. I don’t not recommend watching unless you wish to be bored.