I don’t usually write these, but last year I decided to make up a holiday guide of my favorite Jane Austen products. I enjoyed doing that so much that I wanted to make a list on some Jane Austen books that would also make the perfect gift for the holidays.
That was much harder than products as there are so many great books out there.
So this list will be a Part II, with books that didn’t make it onto last year’s list; along with some books I read this year (and last December). I do not receive any money from promoting these books, I am just honestly sharing ones I have enjoyed and I think you, or your loved ones will also. I have attached links to all the items if any of you are interested in purchasing any of these products (of which I do not receive any money from as I no longer a part of the Amazon affiliate program.)
So enough business, it’s time for Christmas!
This list of books are the perfect gift for Janeites or people you might be trying to convert to becoming a Janiete. The books are all listed in alphabetical order.
What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen
This book is a cute addition to any Janeite’s bookshelf as it is a collection of Jane Austen quotes from her letters, books, and Austen films. It’s fun to look through and use when you want the perfect Jane Austen quote for a card, note, etc.
Jane Austen Children’s Stories by Jane Austen and adapted by Gemma Barder
I’ve only read two of the seven books in the series, Northanger Abbeyand Emma, and have enjoyed them a lot. All are Jane Austen’s classic stories, but written in a way kids 6-10 can easily understand and comprehend. This is the perfect gift for a child of a Janiete or to give to a child in your life that you want to encourage the love of classics and Jane Austen.
I personally have purchased these books for my nieces, cousins, and children of friends. You can buy them in a box set or individually as I have.
A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh
This is an older book, but I really, really enjoyed this adaptation of Emma. It tells the story from Mrs. Goddard’s, (the woman who owned the home/school that Harriet Smith stayed in), point of view as she writes to her sister. We not only get “another interpretation” of the classic story but we also get to know one of Austen’s older characters on a deeper level. Besides Emma, this novel is also a tale of sister’s love and care for each other, along with the revitalizing love as Mrs. Goddard sister and her husband, the Pinkeys, are brought back together as they discuss the goings on of Emma, Frank Churchill, the Elton’s, etc. I thought it was adorable and had difficulty putting it down.
Pride and Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged) [Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries #1] by Carrie Bebris
I have mixed feelings about this series as I only really enjoyed book one and three, but even though I feel the series has some issues I thought the first one was extremely well written and do recommend it for Austen fans. In this mystery, newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Darcy experience some strange phenomenons when Caroline Bingley marries and starts acting strange, almost possessed. Could Caroline be acting strange for attention? Is someone be tormenting her? Is it regular maleficence…or is there something supernatural going on? Great for fans of Austen and mystery lovers.
Are you or the person on your shopping list someone who enjoys books that make you laugh, cry, and feel a whole range of emotions? Then this is the book for you. Both Darcy and Elizabeth are in the depths of despair, agreeing to marry for their own self interests. But as the two spend more time together, they discover that there might be more to this charade than comfort, they might actually be falling in love. However, Elizabeth believes she’s not long our world, should she pursue love? Or continue pretending she doesn’t really care for Darcy? You’ll have to read to find out.
There are very few Sense and Sensibility adaptations that I enjoy, and very few Beth Patillo books I like to read; this is one of those rare exceptions. The book begins with two estranged sisters, being forced to take a Jane Austen walking tour in order to honor their mother’s dying wish. They also find themselves becoming owners of a long lost Austen diary, and have to decide what to do with it. The girls encounter grief, love, familial connection, are introduced to Jane Austen, and above all the learn the importance of family.
Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls by Brenda Sneathen Mattox
A different gift than a usual book, this book of paper dolls is perfect for any fan of Jane Austen. Adults and children can enjoy looking at the clothes and illustrations; along with it bringing back the fun memories of having paper dolls. You can gift it as something to add to a Janiete’s collection; or to someone who might want to use them to relive their childhood memories, or create memories with their children. Either way it is a fun gift to put under the tree for paper doll fans of all ages.
A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice by Jasmine Stirling
I know there are quite a few Jane Austen children’s books on this list and it’s because I’m always trying to brainwash influence my nieces into loving Jane Austen as much as I do. This cute Jane Austen picture book has beautiful illustrations and gives a full biographical view of Jane Austen’s life in a way that kids can easily understand. Perfect for the child (6-10) in your life.
Jane Austen (Little People. BIG DREAMS) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Another cute Jane Austen bigography that is geared toward kids 4-7 and available in English or Spanish. The book has a great balance of pictures to text and I really like how it highlights all the heroines of Austen’s novels. Both I and my niece loved it.
So of course this is just a small sampling of all the Jane Austen adaptations out there, but I hope that this has helped some of you who might be searching for that perfect Jane Austen gift for your friend or loved one! If none of these strike your fancy, I will post links to my posts that list all the Jane Austen adaptions I have reviewed.
I wish you all a happy holiday and happy holiday shopping!
So I promised to post this in February, but I didn’t end up doing it.
I really meant to post it on February 17th, after Valentine’s Day as
“this isn’t a love story but the end of one. The story of two ships forever passing in the night…
…this isn’t a love story.
But then I didn’t like my review, so I shuffled the posts around so I could rewrite it.
But then I didn’t like that review either-so this is my third time writing it.
I have been having such trouble with it as this story is a saga. It is an intense story spanning from the 1940s to the 2000s. It has drama, comedy, heartbreak, love, births, deaths, weddings, funerals, etc. The themes involve parenthood, family, trauma, biracial/bicultural romance, etc. This is a meaty book.
So this book is long, and I’m sorry if this review gets too long, as I want to reach a good point to pause at-discussing some but not revealing everything (you want some surprises when reading after all).
The story is flips from present (2002) to flashbacks of the past and is told with multiple narrators. That’s not a bad thing, it just makes it harder for m to summarize as I don’t want to confuse anyone reading my review.
None of the other reviews I wrote seemed right. So here we go again-try three.
Now I wasn’t sure if I should do this review as I haven’t read the first book, Longbourn’s Songbird, but then decided to as this book isn’t exactly a sequel as events in the novel do take place before the other book, as well as after it. The Colonel, follows Richard Fitzwilliam’s exploits (Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride and Prejudice) and his family’s.
So the story is set in America during, and post WWII. I loved the idea of setting them in a different timeline and setting as it made the book more…hmm, I guess…unknown. North also focused on more of the supporting characters of Pride and Prejudice-Colonel Fitzwilliam, Charlotte Lucas, Anne de Bourgh, and Georgiana Darcy-with the main characters: Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, etc-getting a back seat. With this focus on these characters and being set in a new timeline, it really allows the author to have the freedom to create their own story, while at the same time keeping the parts and the people we love in it.
So to make this easier for those reading, and myself (don’t want literary whiplash) I’m going to start with Bennet “Ben” Fitzwilliam’s story line [Richard’s son] in the present (2002), and then Richard Fitzwilliam [Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride and Prejudice] in the past and his family.
Bennet “Ben” Fitzwilliam
So the book starts off in 2002 NYC. Ben Fitzwilliam is the only son of Richard Fitzwilliam and life is not going well. He is suffering from trauma faced in 9/11, his girlfriend left him-and so he decides to quit his job and return to his father’s home, the Fitzwilliam House in Annapolis, MD.
As he goes through the house, he starts to wonder more about his father. His father was a complicated man, with a very complicated life. There is so much he doesn’t know about him and things he wish he could ask him. After much thought he decides to write a book about him:
Who better to write about a twice-decorated war hero who took two bullets in World War II and lost an eye in Korea? A man who spent his life making every damaged solider his brother, a man who never married but fathered a child out of kindness?
Who? Who is Ben’s mother?
Ben also meets and begins a relationship with African-American Police Officer Keisha Barnes. When Ben discovered a locked drawer in his fathers study, he invites Keisha along, and the two get caught up in trying to discover “who” Richard Fitzwilliam is. They find some correspondence, one being to a woman he loved who he referred to as “Slim.”
Slim? Ben knew he his father had a tattoo of “Slim” on him, but thought that was his war nickname. Who is this woman? What happened to her?
He later finds out from his cousin Maggie Darcy that his dad Richard dated her mom, yes Slim was his aunt, Elizabeth Bennet.
But his mother is Charlotte Lucas:
Okay, at this point of the book my interest was super piqued.
We have a mystery on our hands and I am utterly baffled what is going to happen next. Usually I have an idea of the direction the author will go in, but I have no clue with this story.
Will Ben be able to handle the truth about his father? Or will he be biting off more than he can chew? Will he learn from the mistakes and loves his father had-or will he fall victim to repeating the same choices as his father?
He also discovers a life changing secret that his father never knew. Will he be able to right this wrong and take on his father’s legacy, in the best way?
Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam
So let’s move to the Colonel’s story:
So we start off in 1941, the war has just begun for the US and Richard and his brother are shipping out. Richard is quite the ladies’ man and has been saying fond farewells with one and all, whilst older brother James, has been waiting with family. Darcy is visiting, he is not leaving for war as he owns factories that are producing War necessities.
James is loved by his father while Richard is not. Their mother was injured and had to be hospitalized after an accident involving Richard and both he and his father blame him for her state, even though it is no one’s fault.
James is sent to Australia, Richard to Florida and Darcy to an unknown location (which I’m guessing is Oak Ridge, Tennessee). War life is hard and the trauma made harder when Richard loses his brother. He feels the loss strongly and now there is no one to smooth out the rough edges in his father. After he is wounded in a battle his father has him discharged and sent home.
But Richard has a lot of trauma over the war, and he takes off, disappearing from Darcy and Georgiana’s lives. No matter how many detectives Darcy employs, they cannot find them.
A mystery, within a mystery…
Mystery, you say?
Richard decides he can’t stand it any longer-the memories, the loss, the pain-he decides to end his life. He’s about to jump and drown himself, but before he can he hears the pier snapping and rushes in to save a woman, Elizabeth Bennet. The two fall head over heels in love and spend all their free time together, as they only have a summer and then she will return home.
However, the summer ends when Richard purchases Elizabeth an expensive gift and the bill goes to Pemberley, bringing Darcy to his door.
Richard wants to stay and marry Elizabeth, but Darcy opens his eyes to the mess he is. He desperately needs some help, he’s living in rathole, he’s lost a lot of weight, he’d be making Elizabeth give up college, and his father had a stroke. Darcy is right on the fact that he needs help but I didn’t get the other arguments as Richard has money. He and Elizabeth could marry and she could still go to school, I mean Richard’s G.I. bill could pay for that if he doesn’t want to use his money. But Richard doesn’t stay, he recognizes that he is not in a good place and doesn’t want to tie Elizabeth to all his pain and sorrow. He then leaves (which is good because Elizabeth needs to end up with Darcy.)
Richard writes letters to Slim (Elizabeth) but doesn’t send them. This saga then takes on a new twist with the introduction of a completely new character, Miss Evelyn Ross, James’ former fiancé.
Evelyn writes to Richard and the two continue correspondence throughout the whole book. She marries another man and has girls, the two continuing to write through all the ups and downs of life. They ask each other advice, share their hopes and sorrows, love each other unconditionally and platonically. I loved their characters together, their friendship, and the whole character of Evelyn Ross. I have to admit I think it was letter 3 or 4 and I wanted Richard and Evelyn to marry (unfortunately she already is married [Darn])
OMGosh, these letters. They are just so cute and sweet together.
So Richard returns to Pemberley, and helps with the Georgiana and the Wickham issue. A year goes by and Darcy has been out to Bingley’s home he rented and is excited and relaxed, so Richard concludes there is only one thing to make him fell that way-it must be a girl. And when Richard goes to celebrate Charles’ Bingley’s birthday, he discovers that it isn’t any girl his cousin is going ape over, but Slim-Elizabeth Bennet.
Richard is struck…
So there are some fights, drama, and Richard ends up leaving to New York to live with Anne de Bourgh and Charlotte Lucas-where he causes more fights and drama. He then decides to date a girl who looks about 60% like Elizabeth-yes you can see he’s making stellar decisions.
As you can imagine, it crashes and burns when Darcy and Elizabeth come to visit for New Year’s Eve.
There is a big blow up between him and Darcy, although they tenuously mend it. Things take a turn when Richard reenlists for the Korean war and stops at the Pemberley house to say goodbye.
He leaves for Korea and gets damaged a bit more, physically and emotionally. He gets severely wounded and Darcy comes to stay with him and help him. The cousins repair their relationship, although their mutual love for Elizabeth will always stand between them and cause them to be insecure and lash out at each other.
Time passes, and Richard goes with Charlotte (who has escaped her horrible husband-see her section below) to help with her husband’s funeral and they grow even closer. So close, that Charlotte asks him to be the father of her child when she is in a relationship with Anne de Bourgh.
This is like the worst idea ever. This is going to cause so many issues with the little family the three have made…but Richard says yes and the two are just sooo adorable together! When he tells her he respects her and it is an honor to be with her, and wants to treat her right-oh my heart!!! Having been in an abusive relationship, words cannot express how sweet that was to read. Now I want them together!
After little Ben is born. They are just so cute…but it doesn’t last-Richard hasn’t finished his ramblin’. He has more paths to take, old acquaintances to run back into, and maybe even a chance at falling in love again?
Georgiana is a young girl who stays and studies at home. She’s never seen anything of the world, nor ever really wanted to. She’s grown up not lonely, but has wished for more family. Especially now: with their father and cousin James dead, Richard lost in the wind, Anne sequestered on her mother’s mansion, and Darcy upset and running through the rings of grief. Georgiana wishes there was more for her to do to help, but there isn’t. She thinks about leaving for boarding school, but if she leaves her brother-who will he have? Who will she have?
A George Wickham returns to the estate and lifts Georgiana’s young heart-she begins dream, hope, and even starts digging through her mother’s belongings to take her luggage and clothes with her as she plans to run off with Wickham. Luckily she is stopped and saved, with Wickham getting sent into the military as punishment, (but not the kind of punishment I would give him.)
Is this too far?
Years go by and one day Georgiana runs into one of her brother’s furniture factory workers, Ari Penska, a Jewish Polish refugee. The two begin a friendship-she teaching him English along with falling head over heels in love with him. But is this love? Georgiana has been fooled before…should she open her heart or will this be a big mistake?
Anne de Bourgh
In this version Anne is a lesbian who falls in love with Charlotte Lucas-Collins. She grew up imprisoned in her mother’s home, controlled by her, and when she left to New York she began a new life as a painter with Charlotte.
Richard goes to stay with her and Charlotte but does cause a few problems with his drinking, roughhousing, etc. His disorderly contact gets him arrested more often than not, bringing Police Sergeant Kelly into their lives. Ann likes the man and decides she wants to paint him, the two becoming friends-with Kelly pining over her. Now, I know North wrote it a certain way but I loved how much Sergeant Kelly cared for Ann and then I wanted them together.
Things go well until Charlotte wants to have a child. Anne wants to support her but will she be able to handle Charlotte and Richard having a bond she can never be a part of?
Charlotte Lucas grew up with the Bennets and married their cousin. It appears the match was urged on by her parents, and it quickly became an unhappy one as he was an abusive monster.
She ends up falling for Anne de Bourgh, and after a truly horrible fight with Mr. Collins, the Bennets, Bingleys, and Darcys help her leave him. She then journeys to New York with Anne. There she starts to undue the damage from her abusive relationship-the parts with Charlotte finding herself I really enjoyed as North really nailed the emotions and feelings of coming out of an abusive relationship. Charlotte later starts working as a seamstress.
Charlotte and Richard become very close, he wanting to protect her and Charlotte enjoying the friendship of a good man who won’t hurt her.
Charlotte receives news that Leland Collins, her husband, is dead and she, Anne, and Richard head off to Florida to see for themselves. Mr. Collins was a traveling minster who would pull snakes out for his act. Usually they were milked of venom, but one was missed and he died.
Charlotte goes to see his “wife”, a girl really, that he used and abused. I really like the interactions between Charlotte and this woman, and I think North did a great job capturing it.
Charlotte wants to be a mother, she has always wanted to be a mother, and she asks Richard to be the father of her baby. But is that a wise decision? How will that affect the family they have created in New York?
This story was compelling, my attention was captured from page one and I wanted to finish reading it and discover what the conclusion of the book would be.
I liked that North focused on other characters that aren’t usually written about and ones that we don’t know that much about-I mean in the original Pride and Prejudice we have Colonel Fitzwilliam, Charlotte Lucas-Collins, Georgiana Darcy, and Anne de Bourgh for only a few scenes and that gives a lot of room for an author to create.
I for one, never saw Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth as lovers-I always thought of them as mutually attracted to each other but never serious. But this is North’s story and I don’t mind that she took the story in this direction as it was done well, added to the characters, and that in the end she didn’t decide to ignore Jane Austen’s work and change Darcy and Elizabeth getting together (I’m looking at you Beth Patillo).
But even if you don’t agree with all the decisions that the author made, (clearly you can see I wanted the romance to go in different directions [I couldn’t help myself]) or have a different viewpoint there is much to enjoy in North’s take on a loved story.
There were some sex scenes, but they were tasteful and progressed the story line, rather than feeling like it was just sex to be sex. Like with Dangerous to Know, they don’t overwhelm the story so if you like reading them you get what you want-and if it isn’t for you you can just skip over it.
And let me say-I LOVE how the story is peppered with characters from other Jane Austen novels. While Richard is in boot camp he meets a Teo Bertram (Tom Bertram from Mansfield Park); Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility) is leading the troops in Korea, and Captain Wentworth (Persuasion) is the military doctor who operates on him. We finally have a Marvel Cinematic Universe-I think we need a Jane Austen Universe where all the characters show up in a book together (and something better than Austentatious)
One thing I also just love about North is that in her work she tends to do include multiracial romances. As being biracial and growing up with only I Love Lucy, it is great to have something to read that has that-like I can not express enough with words how it felt growing up and feeling so different and alone, with no one like you. This feeling of inbetween as you don’t belong to one or the other. North, I wish you were writing stuff like this like 15 years ago.
North is a talented writer, really knows how to craft a story, and has an incredibly command with words and phrases. I look forward to reading the first book.
The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik
So I read this book years ago when my friend gave it to me. I kind of forgot about it, but then it came back to the front of my mind when I read The Dashwood Sisters Tell All.
I meant to do a review of of it then, but then was distracted by other things-you know life.
But lately I have been watching Austentatious, and the character of Marianne made me think of this book again, so I figured why not review it?
The Nickerson sisters have always been known as the “smart” one and the “pretty” one. Ava Nickerson is the older sister, the smart one. She does everything right, is an attorney, pays bills on time, cares little about what she wears or her hairdos.
Lauren is the pretty one-drop dead gorgeous and a fashionista. She always has a boyfriend, going with her emotions, etc.
She isn’t very financially secure-she in a lot of debt as her credit cards are all maxed out.
Lauren screws up at work as she was trying to seduce a rich guy, only to find out he’s married. She loses her job and is a loss at what to do, or how to achieve her dream of owning her own shop. The creditors are at the door, when she gets news that her mother has been diagnosed with cancer. She packs up all her stuff and heads home.
Back in Los Angeles, at her parent’s home, Lauren was looking through a “junk” drawer, and she finds a contract her mother and her mother’s best friend made a long time ago. The contract was signed by the mothers, and their seven year old children, that if by 30 the two were single, than a marriage will be done between Russell Markowitz and Ava.
As Lauren grows tired of her big sister’s financial lectures, budgeting, taxes, etc-she hunts Russell down to set them up. Russell is charming, handsome, twice-divorced, and runs a clothing company.
Not exactly marriage material…but that doesn’t stop Lauren. She’s sure that this is the best plan to loosen up her sister and get her perfect match.
So I didn’t like this book…
Ava is the responsible one who learns that she doesn’t just have to be “smart”, but can care about her appearance as well. She has been afraid to make a commitment to any guy, and finally starts opening her heart.
That wouldn’t be so bad, except the guy she picks is Russell, a jerk who cares about himself and the woman he can turn Ava into.
Yeah, he gives her a bunch of clothes and starts dictating her life and choices and how things will be worn.
And while Ava falls hard for him, there is no indication he really cares for her at all.
And for a book that is supposed to be about sisters, it seems more concentrated on the older sister’s storyline than equally showing them. Spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants Lauren pretty much stays the same: focused on her clothes and appearance. She does try to help her mother out with chemo, but still is irresponsible, bad at managing her time, etc. She never really learns about not spending too much, or the value of saving; just has one remorseful purchase. It was as if nothing changed her.
Ugh, I just can’t stand how all these modern adaptions portray Sense and Sensibility. People always make the Marianne character so dumb! In Austen’s portrayal she isn’t an airhead but young!!!! A young, impressionable, romantic girl. Not a dunce!
She’s like most teenage girls-young, naive, romantic, think they know it all. So please, please, stop making her so dumb.
The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen by Beth Pattillo
So when I saw that this was by Beth Pattillo, I was like…
For those of you who don’t know, my review of Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart did not go well…
I did not like that book at all. I thought it was absolutely horrible, a complete waste of my time. (If you want to read it, follow this link). So needless to say, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be reading another one of her books.
But did I hate this book? Keep reading to find out!
Ellen (Elinor) and Mimi (Marianne) Douglas (Dashwood) have never been close or gotten along with each other. Ellen is the no-nonsense, sensible, wears comfortable clothes sister:
Mimi on the other hand is the dreamer, outgoing, friendly, doesn’t always think things through, and a fashionista.
The book is split between the two as narrators and I have to say that I really enjoyed seeing into both sisters heads.
So the sisters are going on a walking tour of Hampshire, England to follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen.
I know awesome sounding right? Well not for these two as not only do they not get along, they also don’t really like Jane Austen.
Their mother recently died from cancer and her will stated that they had to go on the tour together and release her ashes in “the most appropriate place” or else they get nothing.
The girls agree for sentiment and inheritance.
So of course Ellen the “sensible one” brought the right clothing and shoes for their hike, making sure she packed simply and lightly. Mimi on the other hand is a regular clotheshorse and not only has too much to carry but didn’t bring the right things for the hike, looking good but not dressing appropriately.
They arrive at the hotel they will be staying at and meet the tall, good-looking, fifty-something, retired air force pilot, Tom Braddock (Colonel Brandon).
After he retired from the air force, he moved to England and does Austen tours as a sideline business.
Mimi really came on the tour for money more than sentiment. She knows that Ellen and her have a very slim chance of bonding and she really needs the money to achieve her dream; having a boutique in New York. Tom seems very nice, returning her left behind bag, but too old and serious. Besides Mimi can’t be focusing on guys, she needs to keep her eyes on the prize.
So as Ellen unpacks, she pulls out a package that was sent to her by her mother. The lawyer told her that she had to bring it on the trip and she and Mimi have the task of “deciding what to do with it” after arriving in England.
Ellen decides to get some fresh air when she runs into the person she least expects, her old crush from college, Daniel. Nothing ever happened as he had a fiancé and Ellen wasn’t the type of girl to try and break something like that up. Now however, Daniel is a antique dealer, and a single one at that.
Ellen tells Daniel why she is in “Jane Austen land”, even though she is not a fan of the books. Daniel reveals that her mom actually arranged for him to come too. Ellen decides to open the package and discovers a book. And not just any book:
Private Property of Miss Cassandra Austen.
Do Not Read.
This Means You, Jane.
So Mimi arrives early to the meet and greet the other walkers, and finds out who she will be spending the next days with. There is a couple from Nashville, a couple from Nebraska, a television producer from New York, Karen; a retired lawyer from L.A., Charlotte; a few others but most importantly the gorgeous and richly dressed, British, Ethan Blackmore (Willoughby).
Mimi is excited and hoping to bag the guy, her own Austen-esque hero.
Daniel wants to take a closer look at the diary, but Ellen stops him. She wants to wait and of course talk to Mimi about it.
She hurriedly gets ready and runs down, looking for Mimi who tells her about Ethan. Before Ellen can meet him, they are interrupted by Mrs. Parrot, the lecturer on the tour. She asks them a lot of questions, and the already paranoid Ellen starts wondering of she knows about the diary they own.
Mimi tries to throw Daniel and Ellen together, but Ellen doesn’t want to think on that, thwarting her plans.
After dinner, Ellen tells Mimi about the book and her fears that Mrs. Parrot knows about it all.
The two start reading the diary:
The first part of the diary is Cassandra warning Jane about showing her feelings. Cassandra is very much like Elinor/Ellen and Jane sounds like Marianne/Mimi. Cassandra hopes to marry Tom Fowle and worries over Jane’s crush on Jack (who he is I don’t know.)
The next day is the beginning of the hike, and after Ellen hides the book she joins the others. Ellen is thrilled yet uneasy seeing Daniel after all these years. It turns out that her old feelings are resurfacing.
They spend the hike talking about their lives, death of relationships, and Daniel’s two kids.
Mimi in the other hand is trying as hard as she can to keep up with Ethan. It doesn’t help that she is wearing the wrong shoes and her feet are killing her.
They talk with Mimi sharing, but Ethan revealing very little about him. *Warning Sign!*
Back away Mimi, far away!
Getting out of here
As the reach the church on their hike, Mimi stops to rest and demeans herself. Why didn’t she take the time to break in her boots. Why didn’t she take the time to see her mom? Because she was afraid.
Tom comes to see her and check on her and the two have a lovely conversation.
Stay Mimi, stay!
She also discovers from Tom that their is a huge market for Jane Austen memorabilia (no duh) and LOTS of money can be made.
Mimi thinks this is great as selling the diary will help her achieve her dreams.
As Mimi continues walking with Ethan he points out his house. House to him, but “mansion” to us in the states. Mimi is floored by it. Ethan invites her over for a “private tour” and Mimi accepts.
No Mimi, no!
That night when they stop at a pub to eat, Tom comes over to Ellen to talk to her about Mimi. He is worried about her feet, as she is going to have some serious problems with them. Tom also warns Ellen that Ethan is no good, she better watch her sister.
They spend the time talking with Ellen telling Tom about why they are on the tour and her mother’s attempt at matchmaking from the grave. Tom encourages her to not be afraid and try with Daniel if she still has feelings for him.
Afterwards the sisters have a real heart to heart. Ellen shares her frustrations at having to care for mom on her own, while Mimi shares her fears to come and see her. Then they talk about Daniel and Ethan.
“Maybe we are more alike than we think,” Mimi said.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re afraid to show your feelings to the man you love, and I’m afraid of what will happen if I can’t hide mine.”
Ellen talks to Mrs. Parrot at their next stop and asks questions about the Austen sisters. She also finds out that there are rumors of Cassandra’s and Jane’s diaries, but no truth in whether they actually exist. It is something that many people have been after to discover.
Later, Ellen goes to get a drink sand overhears Mrs. Parrot talking to someone about her. Creepy!
Before she can hear any more, Mimi comes up and announces her presence.
After a dinner of flirting by Ethan (gag) Mimi joins him to visit his house. He mentions his Austen heirlooms, and Mimi shares that she has Cassandra’s diary.
No Mimi Why! Why! Why would you do that? You don’t know anything about this guy! How can you trust him with such a secret?
Ethan isn’t that “interested” in the diary, yeah right, and they continue looking at the house. They spend the rest of the night “kissing”…
Ellen meanwhile spends a restless night worried about Mimi, Daniel, and Mrs. Parrot. She decides to read more:
Cassandra talks more about how she wishes Jane would listen and know that Jack Smith is no good. She has tried to get her father to send Jane away, but he won’t. She decides that she will have to do something. Also the words along, the, narrow, way, it, goes are all underlined.
The next morning, Mimi does not come down for breakfast. Ethan does and talks to Ellen sharing that Mimi has told him everything, including her dreams for a store. Ellen has no idea that Mimi shared the information with Ethan, and lets him know that their mother in no heiress and Mimi will receive only a small pittance.
Later when Mimi is hiking with Ethan he acts cool toward her, confusing her. Later Ellen gives her a talking to and the two fight over whether it is all Mimi or a consensual interest.
Afterwards, Ellen spends some more time with Daniel.
Mimi is fed up with Ellen’s moods and the way Ethan switches frim hot to cold. So she ends up spending her time with Tom.
They have a fun chat with Tom telling her all kinds of stories about his military life. And Tom kisses her!
But Mimi tells him she just wants to be friends.
That night Ellen has plans to picnic with Daniel. In truely awesome sister mode, Mimi gives Ellen a slight makeover, enhancing her beauty.
They spend the whole time talking, sharing feelings, and kissing.
That night Mimi and Ellen meet up. Mimi wants to talk about Ellen’s date, but Ellen reads more of the diary.
Cassandra goes on how Jack and Tom Lefroy are both a bad idea but Jane won’t listen to her. Then she talks about the new fashion of fruit on the bonnets, and the death of her fiancé. The words underlined in this passage are couples, crowded, to dance, in time, a flower, thus, may, last, for, years, a, wine, must, age, to be, sublime, but, first, the, grapes, must, run, quite, and clear.
They stop and look at the underlined words, thinking that they might be a code. When they write them all out it comes the following:
Along the narrow way it goes
From house to house and back again
A carpet for a traveler’s woes
That always brings one home again.
What happened to grapes? And wine?
Ellen hides the journal, and when Mimi sees this she stars to feel bad about telling Ethan. She was about to say something, but chickens out and goes to her room instead.
The next morning after breakfast, they read more of the journal to see if there is more secret code.
Hogg, I mean Higg- I mean Harries Bigg-Wither wants to marry Jane but she is not interested. Jane is also rewriting Sense & Sensiblity, as her recent times with Mr. Bigg-Wither has given her ideas (? not sure what). They find more underlining and this is what it makes.
A gentlemen learns from an early age
To play his part upon the stage
His lines are crisp, his speech is clear
He studies most from year to year.
Couples crowd to dance in time
A flower thus may last for years
A wine must age to be sublime
But first the grapes must run quite clear
Tailor, draper, seamstress all
Needles, thread and trimmings
Fashion, fir or rough or small
With trunks and boxes brimming
The girls decide to take a break from their detective work as they have the hike to go on. They hide the diary and head out.
Ethan approaches Mimi about seeing the diary. Mimi doesn’t want to, but figures that if she doesn’t Ethan is saying see ya.
No Mimi, no! You need someone to value you not what you have.
Tom also approaches Mimi and tells her that she can trust him. When he leaves she is approached by Ethan who manipulates her into thinking the can have a relationship if only he gets to see the book.
The next day Ethan leaves, and Mimi is devastated, She feels guilty about telling him about the journal and her feet are in excruciating pain. Tom tries to help her but Mimi has decided she wants to do it all on her own, show everyone.
That day when Ellen goes into her room the diary is gone!
She confronts Mrs. Parrot but doesn’t get a straight answer if she is involved.
Mimi on the other hand has spent even more time with Tom and is starting to fall for him.
Mimi and Ellen try to figure out the code but start sharing other things. Mimi says she is sorry that she made a fool of herself over Ethan. Ellen admits to the diary being stolen. When Mim is about to fully confess about Ethan they are interrupted by Mrs. Parrot.
Tom tells Mimi that Ethan is a womanizer and looking for a rich wife to take care of him and his house. Mimi is mad that Tom didn’t say anything earlier but acquiesce that she probably wouldn’t have believed him.
They meet with Mrs. Parrot and find out that she and their mother were part of a secret Austen group, the Formidables. Their mother took the diary when she left the country. They also learn that the diary is part if a set.
Ellen thinks Daniel stole the diary and confronts him, but Mimi isn’t so sure.
I don’t think so.
At the last dinner it turns out that Mimi and Ellen’s mother planned the entire trip. Tom also tells Mimi how much he cares for her and Mimi thinks of moving to England.
Mimi finally ponys up about Ethan and Ellen is furious. But she forgives her and the two agree to a new start.
They approach Mrs. Parrot and tell her about the clues. They figure out that the diary is in a cabinet, one that Mimi saw in Ethan’s house.
They trick him with Daniel distracting, while the girls find the Jane diary, blackmailing the Cassandra one out of him as well.
Don’t mess with me!
They release their mother’s ashes and Mrs Parrot reveals that she is actually their aunt.
They give the diaries to Mrs. Parrot and then Ellen returns home to start anew with Daniel, while Mimi decides to stay in England.
See you soon!
So what do I think of this book?
Well, I actually really enjoyed it.
I know, I was surprised too. I thought that Patillo presented the story of the Dashwoods well, along with the sister relationship; staying out of the cliché pitfalls that most novelist fall into.
And this was a great one.
The only problem I had with this was that I thought it was a bit odd that Mimi and Tom fall in love in a week but other than that I loved every part of it.
Have you ever had a book and had a bad feeling about it?
Either you check it out from the library, unwrap it, or pick it up in the bookstore and you just know that this book is not going to be something you enjoy.
Well that’s how I felt about this book. In fact I borrowed it from the library months ago, but just couldn’t bring myself to read it. Eventually I couldn’t renew it any longer and had to read it.
So I started the book out and I actually was enjoying it.
WHAT! MUST KEEP READING
But then I got to the end where it all fell apart and I hated it.
So what went wrong?
So the book starts out Claire Prescott. Claire is in her thirties and from Kansas City. She is in a lackluster relationship with Neil,a sports fanatic, and has recently lost her job when her sister calls in with a favor. After Claire’s parents died, she became the soul caregiver for her sister, forgoing college and other young adult dreams. Even now she is always caring for her sister, no matter that she is married and pregnant with her second child. Anyway, when her sister is put on bed-rest and can’t attend a special Pride & Prejudice seminar to give her paper, Claire steps up to the plate.
Only one problem. Claire has never read anything Jane Austen, and the only thing she knows about it is that everyone who has read or watched it is obsessed with Mr. Darcy.
So Claire journeys to Oxford University where she will be presenting the paper, and starts to feel overwhelmed as she is nowhere near the caliber of these people.
She tries to relax and settle down, when the most gorgeous man comes her way and asks to sit with her.
He introduces himself as James, in publishing, and from Manhattan. He too will be in the Pride & Prejudice seminar, although he is not a fan. Unfortunately he is as arrogant as he is cute. Luckily, the tongue-tied Claire is saved from making a fool of herself, as her room is ready.
That night and the welcome dinner, Claire finds herself seated with James and Martin, a kindly old man who instantly likes her. Claire tells them she is a doctor in pediatrics instead of the truth, making the same stupid cliché mistake that is done a thousand times in film and books.
So now you know she is going to fall for James, and he for her, and then the truth will all come out making James never want to see her again. Same old, same old.
Same old thing.
The next day is a free one, to help those who are suffering from jet-lag, and Claire decides to take a walk in the country. As she is roaming, she runs into an older woman, in a trench coat, sitting on a stump.
Her name is Harriet Dalrymple and it turns out that she is a fan of Jane Austen as well. In fact she is distantly related to the author.
Harriet invites Claire over for tea, and Claire goes as she hopes to get Harriet out of the heat. They get to Harriet’s home, when Harriet drops a bomb on Claire. It turns out she has an earlier draft of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, the one that has been believed to be destroyed.
Claire is sure Harriet is joking, but Harriet pulls out a sheet of very old paper, written in old ink, and it looks extremely legitimate.
So Claire starts reading, and even to her limited knowledge it doesn’t seem right. While the style looks right,
Mr. Bennet is dead!!!
And Mr. Bingley chooses to forgo renting Netherfield!
Rev. Collins decides to leave the church and instead become a gentleman of leisure.
This version sounds more like the beginning of Sense & Sensibility, with Elizabeth planning their removal to a cheaper area, Mr. Collins coming and kicking them out a’la Fanny Dashwood, and the whole group moving to the seaside. The only difference? Elizabeth decides to seek employment.
Now there are quite a few problems with this writing, the first being why didn’t Jane marry Mr. Collins? When you read Pride & Prejudice, we know Jane is a people pleaser and that she would do anything her parents told her too. And we know that Mr. Collins likes Jane, in fact the only thing that keeps him from marrying her is because Mrs. Bennet assumed that Mr. Bingley would ask for Jane’s hand. But if we have no Mr. Bingley, then most likely Mr. Collins would have asked for Jane’s hand and Mrs. Bennet would have agreed, like in Lost in Austen.
Why would Elizabeth be seeking employment? I mean we know that Elizabeth cares for her family and wants to help them, but she is of the gentry class [minor], so it is a bit odd that that would be her first idea. Someone like her who has never had to worry about such things automatically jumping to that? This isn’t modern times, it would make more sense if the idea grew gradually instead of all at once.
So Claire becomes a little weirded out as Harriet says “the others won’t be happy” that she shared the manuscript. In fact she starts to worry that maybe she is in the opening scenes of a horror film.
She quickly runs away and heads to downtown.
In downtown she runs into Martin and learns more about Jane Austen, such as the fact that she wrote a manuscript 10 years prior to Pride & Prejudice, but choose not to keep it, later publishing the one we have today. That starts her thinking, could the one I’ve been reading at Harriet’s be the “real” one?
Martin also tells Claire about Tom Lefoy, the wealthy man Jane Austen fell for, but was unable to marry as his relatives quickly spirited him away from such a poor conquest. Tom Lefoy is believed to be the foundation for Mr. Darcy’s character, Austen’s version having a man of high means willing to brave the negative consequences of marrying down, along with the hateful reception from his relations. Tom Lefoy was also the basis for the plot of Persuasion, of course that novel being a wish fulfillment as the man goes away, but comes back, reuniting the couple.
The next day starts the seminar, and Claire meets their facilitator Eleanor Gibbs. Besides Claire, James, and Martin, there are three other group members: Rosie and Louise from New Zealand, and Olga from Russia. Rosie & Louise go first, their video presentation on the many portrayals of Mr. Darcy in film and TV.
Now nobody likes their presentation, but this would actually be pretty fascinating IF done right.
I mean first we have Laurence Olivier (my opinion one of the best Darcys) who is able to play restrained and rude; balanced with the charming and endearing Darcy. You also see subtle changes in how he talks to Elizabeth, but with the proposal still coming as a shock. Then we have David Rintoul in the ’80s who is more rude than restrained. Colin Firth‘s Darcy is the first time we are seen multiple sides of Darcy as in this depiction as we are shown his viewpoint on events instead of just Elizabeths. In Furst Impressions, Mr. Darcy is played by Wishbone the dog, being RADICALLY different. Then we have Colin Firth again, this time in Bridget Jones’ Diary, playing a betrayed man, restrained as his heart was broken, but eventually showing his true emotions. Martin Henderson in Bride & Prejudice, is not only extremely cocky but integrating into a vastly different culture. Matthew Macfayden is more cold than rude, changing more rapidly to the charming Mr. Darcy. Lost in Austen’s Darcy is played by Elliot Cowan who can be downright cruel at times. Josh Hopkins‘ Darcy in The 12 Men of Christmasisn’t a gentleman or rich, but a rugged outdoorsman, small business owner, and volunteer on the rescue squad. J.J. Feild in Austenland is more reserved, but then easily transforms to the Darcy we all love. And then of course Daniel Vincent Gordh, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, isn’t even shown until the very end, forcing the viewers to rely on how Lizzie and friends see him, contrasting that to the amazing Darcy we are later introduced to. Sorry small tangent, I’ll get back to the book review.
So, no one likes their presentation and Claire feels better about presenting next time.
The next day, Claire sees James and Eleanor talking, and it doesn’t seem to be going all that well. She waits until they are done to get a seat, when Eleanor comes over to talk to her.
It turns out that Harriet is Eleanor’s mother and suffering from dementia. Eleanor thinks Claire will only make things worse and wants her to stay far away. Claire doesn’t want to stop seeing Harriet, but at the same time she doesn’t want to hurt her.
Later that afternoon as she is walking away, James comes out of nowhere and asks her to dinner.
Claire is surprised, but accepts.
James takes her to a super fancy place for dinner and the two discuss Darcy. James thinks it’s the money and extreme good looks that stirs the women’s hearts, but Claire doesn’t agree. He kind of squashes anything Claire has to say in retort and moves on to other topics.
Now here is where James is dead wrong. Money isn’t what makes Darcy so sought after, [you can read more about in my post First Impressions], it’s the fact that he is willing to humble himself and admit he was wrong, help out the Bennet family with no promise that he would gain Elizabeth’s heart, and the fact that he is brave enough to withstand all objections by his family for the woman he marries. That is why he is so romantic!
Anyways, James tells Claire that Martin is a professor who’s field is Jane Austen, in fact he will be teaching in Oxford in the fall. Claire is surprised and the conversation moves on.
That night as James is walking Claire to her dorm, the two have a moment, nothing happens, but Claire is starting to feel guilty about it as she is in a relationship with Neil. A stagnant, boring one, but a relationship none the less.
The next day Claire finds herself going to see Harriet’s, and another portion of the “manuscript”.
Elizabeth is at Rosings Park, a companion to Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s daughter Ann.
Okay why is she working here? How did she even meet Lady Catherine? Reverand Collins introduced them in the original novel, but judging from how people treated the ex-Reverand Hale in North & South, I don’t think Lady Catherine would want someone related to the ex-Reverand Collins. Whether he left the church for beliefs or money.
So Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam are on their way to visit. Elizabeth goes out walking the gardens and getting messy, dirty, and tan. She runs into Mr. Darcy on a horse. He believes her to be a lower class servant and is rather mean to her. Elizabeth shoots the barbs right back.
Okay in Pride & Prejudice, Mr. Darcy was seen as rude or cold, but never downright mean. In fact the whole reason everyone really starts hating him is that he gives the impression of looking down on people and says Elizabeth isn’t pretty enough to him. BUT, we know from his servants that he really nice and caring, so why would you make him like this?
Get it right
As she continues on her way, angry with herself as being rude might get her fired, she encounters Colonel Fitzwilliam, who has injured himself riding. The two flirt a bit, and Elizabeth scurries on her way to get help.
So we have Colonel Fitzwilliam as a rival for Elizabeth’s affections instead of Wickham. Claire is surprised by this, but can’t read more as she has to leave. Harriet warns her about Mrs. Potter, the leader of the Formidables, a secret society that wants to make sure anything Jane Austen’s sister did not intend for public viewships to remain hidden. Eleanor also wants the manuscript as she wants to publish it and become rich. Harriet sends all the pieces she has found with Claire, feeling they are safer with her until she makes her decision as what to do with them.
So now it is as if Claire has entered a spy movie, as she has “the package” everyone is after.
As Claire is contemplating what to do, she runs into James, who invites her to tour the Botanical Gardens with him. They walk around with Claire wanting to slowly stroll and take it all in, while James is just wanting to keep moving forward. Claire questions him as to what happened if a famous author’s previous manuscript was discovered and James tells her that it will mean A LOT OF MONEY for the person and the publishing house.
They eventually have to stop as it gets too hot. Now I have never been to England and I know this author has, but I looked up the temperatures and it does not get hot. 70 degrees? That’s nothing, try being in the ’90s or 100s. THAT’S HOT!
Anyways, as they are resting, James falls asleep, leaning on Claire. So with Claire having one guy interested it is fitting in scriptworld for Neil to decide to call her up.
Yes Neil who hardly ever seems to pay attention and is just calling her after she has been there like three days already! THREE DAYS!! He should have called the first day to see that she got in okay. Bad boyfriend, bad.
See Hook agrees with me.
It turns out that Claire’s sister Missy said something to him, that made Neil want to call. Hurumph.
James wakes up and asks Claire to dine with him again, but she decides that the dining hall is better as the nice restaurants make her a bit uneasy and they really should be mingling with the other students. They have dinner, with Martin joining them. At the end of it, one of the porters comes for Claire as she has a package waiting for her.
Inside the package are more pages of the novel. Claire runs to her room to read more when she finds a warning note from Mrs. Parrot who wants the pages back.
They’re watching her!
Claire decides to continue reading as she just has to know what happens next.
So Lady Catherine is throwing a ball, of which Elizabeth is not invited. To her surprise at the last minute Lady Catherine requests her presence, and she dresses quickly in a black gown.
So as this manuscript is missing a lot of pages, we are unsure how long after Elizabeth’s father died that this ball is taking place. Black was only worn during the full morning period, half of the complete mourning period. As a daughter, Elizabeth would mourn for six months, having to wear all black in the first three and could wear half black for the last three. SHE WOULD NEVER, EVER wear a black gown if she wasn’t mourning. Now as Elizabeth is mourning, as she is wearing black, she could not go to the ball. Customs allowed the deceased’s family to only go to Church and a few functions, balls were out of the question. And a woman like Lady Catherine who cares so much about propriety and society would never make a faux-pas like that. NEVER!
So a mistake like that? Book’s a fake. Move on Claire, move on.
So Rev. Humphrey, the one who took Mr. Collins’ position, invites Elizabeth to an outing to show off his house. Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam are also going to take a look. Elizabeth agrees, if Ann’s health allows her to come. Lady Catherine agrees if Darcy leads Ann. Elizabeth notices that Darcy doesn’t seem eager to be thrown together with his cousin. Colonel Fitzwilliam will lead Elizabeth, disappointing Rev. Humphrey as he wanted her all to himself.
Claire decides to go out for some exercise, taking the manuscript in her purse, and runs into Martin. She asks for his help and shows him the manuscript. Martin wishes he could see more and find out where it all came from, but Claire can’t tell him as she promised Harriet. Martin guesses that the Formidables are involved somehow in all this, much to Claire’s surprise. In the end Martin tells her that he believes it could be real, and when Claire asks for advice of what to do, he tells her to follow her heart.
As she is heading to her room, Claire runs into James who makes her feel…words can’t describe. He walks her home when, he suddenly kisses her.
Just as suddenly he breaks away, all sorry that he gave her the wrong impression but nothing can happen here story. If nothing can happen why would you kiss her? Come, on!
Claire is justifiably incensed and takes off to her room. When she reaches her room she finds it ransacked!
The next day Eleanor is angry with Claire for bothering her mother, and tries to get the manuscript from her. But Claire steadfastly refuses.
It’s time for Claire to share her sister’s essay, which is on the relationship between Elizabeth and Jane. Her sister, Missy, feels that Elizabeth’s constant helping actually hinders her chances of securing an attachment with Bingley, rather than the younger sister’s actions. However, I disagree as anything anyone says about Jane doesn’t deter Bingley except for when Mr. Darcy tells him that not only is Jane from bad stock, but he doesn’t think she really likes Bingley that much. So in reality it comes from Elizabeth not telling Jane what Charlotte told her too, make it clear she was very interested. Sorry Missy but you have some huge holes in your thesis.
This whole essay upsets Claire as it makes her rethink her relationship with Missy, maybe Missy actually resents everything she’s done to help her.
After the paper is shared, they spend the rest of the time talking about the guy we all hate, Wickham.
When class end Claire finds herself back at Harriet’s cottage, and is given the next part to read.
So the group has gone out to visit Rev. Humphrey’s home. The good Rev. is very interested in Elizabeth, which upsets Lady Catherine. ( I don’t know why? Wouldn’t she prefer him giving her all the attention instead of her nephews?) Elizabeth finds herself continuously paired with the colonel and starts enjoying her time with him. Elizabeth asks about an engagement between Darcy and Ann, but Colonel Fitzwilliam assures her that there is nothing definite. Elizabeth is hopeful as she cares for Darcy.
Now why would she do that? In this manuscript we have only seen two thing with Darcy 1) rude to servants and people he thinks are below him 2) Very quiet. Now does that seem like something Elizabeth would fall for? NO! In Pride & Prejudice there is the hope that maybe he might be her true guy, which is dashed when he says that he doesn’t think she is that attractive. Her contempt for him is only changed after she sees his sweet behavior in Pemberly with his servants, sister, and her and her relations. This is all further fortified when he helps with Lydia and brings Jane and Bingley together. Get it right!
Get it right Beth Patillo!!!
Elizabeth asks the Colonel more about himself and learns that he has recently left the regiment as he has been granted a parcel of land by his father. He doesn’t seem supremely happy with the choice as he misses being out on the sea. Elizabeth also shares a bit of her feelings on how she dislikes the changes her family was forced to go through. Elizabeth then starts thinking on how he would make a great husband, and protect his wife. If only Darcy was like that. Darcy, who makes her feel alive when he kissed her, but now only ignores her.
There are two, HUGE problems with that! Huge!!
First of all, look at Elizabeth!! That’s not Elizabeth. That character is the type you would find in a 10¢ “historical”, bodice-ripping, romance novel. Oooh what a strong protector. Oh Mr. Darcy’s eyes, his lips. NO NO NO NO NO NO! Elizabeth does not moon over such things NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! This is horrible! This is like bad fan fiction. This is Fifty Shades of Gray bad! NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!! Elizabeth would never act like that, Never!!!
I’m sooooooooo upset right now!!!!!!
Just argh!! Words cannot express how much I hate how they took a character I love and destroyed it so!!! And I get that the author is trying to present a radically different Austen novel and one that a younger Jane might write but I don’t care!!! I don’t like it!
And number two NO KISSING IN JANE AUSTEN NOVELS!!!! There is no way Jane Austen would write them kissing. That wasn’t done in Regency periods. You don’t go kissing until after marriage, unless you are a no good cad like Mr. Tilney’s older brother. So NO NO NO NO! Mr. Darcy would not be trifling with girls affections, no. And Jane would not put that in there.
No way! It is a FAKE!!!!!!
Elizabeth enjoys Colonel Fitzwilliam’s company, but she is in love with Darcy.
Although I don’t know why as apparently he is a cad.
As Claire leaves Harriet’s she sees someone following her.
It’s Mrs. Parrot who wants the manuscripts back.
The next morning, Claire heads out to Starbucks and on the way to class runs into James. James wants to apologize for how he was acting as he cares for her. He is about to confess something to Claire, and Claire is about to tell the truth on her not being a doctor, when who should appear? Neil.
What a cliché!
Neil introduces himself as Claire’s boyfriend, which upsets James. James asks if it is true, of which Claire says yes, causing James to become angry and stalk off. Neil realizes what has been happening and also becomes angry and takes off. Claire is just appalled at how quickly life was turned upside down.
James presents his paper on how Elizabeth wasn’t really in love with Darcy but just a gold-digger once she saw how awesome Pemberly was. Claire runs out, just wanting to be alone to deal with all the stuff that went down that morning. She runs to the nearby river to think, when Neil comes floating down on a boat. They talk about their relationship, with Neil admitting that he didn’t pay as much attention to her as he should have, but that Claire wasn’t giving him as much attention as she is too focused on her sister. Now I thought this was a very late development, as previously Claire had mentioned that she did a lot for her sister, but when Neil mentions it as almost an obsession. Who is right? We don’t know as the author is almost trying to rescind her earlier reasons for why Claire was unhappy in her relsationship and the whole character based on Neil. I don’t buy it.
Claire leaves Neil to think, and heads to Harriet’s who has found more pieces of the manuscript.
Elizabeth is walking in the park when she runs into Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth that he will not be victim to her game of trying to catch him. He tells her he loves her but that he could never marry a poor peon like her. If he was free from family control, maybe, but no. Elizabeth becomes angry, and says she never tried any such thing of “catching him”. And Darcy is free to do what he wishes.
Okay this is what I don’t like! They made Darcy the villian! They made him a pompus, jerk, pansy, mamma’s boy! No, NO, NO, NO. That is not how Darcy should be. And wouldn’t this Darcy make more sense after her fling with Tom LeFoy as she would have been angry with his lack of standing up for their love and releasing her anger in written form? Why would she change and make Darcy better after such a disappointing circumstance when her previous creations evoked a closer emotion. It doesn’t make sense to me. And Darcy cannot be the villain. NO!!!!
Elizabeth then travels to see Jane and pour out her miseries
Whatever! This book is going to have to do some major begging to get me to like it as it has sunk very, very low in my opinion.
So Claire and Neil meet at a pub to talk. It turns out that Neil is doubly upset as he was going to ask Claire to marry him.
They break up, and Neil heads to the airport.
Claire runs into James, who once he hears about the breakup, wants the two to start over fresh and build a life together. Claire appreciates his thoughts but tells him the truth about her not being a doctor. She also tells him that a part of her has been believing that he’s her Mr. Darcy.
Which he isn’t as he is totally jerky. Remember their dinner together, where he wouldn’t let her express her opinions?
Claire goes to sleep missing Neil and wondering why she thew him away.
Uh, Claire let me just remind you that the boy was taking you for granted and waited three days before calling or texting you! Three days! Find someone who really cares about you.
Missy calls Claire the next day and the two have a huge heart-to-heart. Missy tells her how she loves her sister, but truth is Claire has been sacrificing too much of her dreams and goals. Missy is grown now, Claire should be focusing on her own life, needs, desires, etc.
She later runs into Neil, who couldn’t catch a flight, which makes her regret everything even more. She believes that the man next to her is better than Mr. Darcy/James. Of which let me remind you James is nowhere near Mr. Darcy, and if Claire had actually read Pride & Prejudice she would know that.
Martin finally presents his topic and it is on courage, the courage that Elizabeth has to reexamine herself and understand her heart.
As she is leaving, James approaches Claire. He tells her that he originally pursued her not because he liked her but because Eleanor told him that she had a copy of the manuscript. He was the one who ransacked her room.
He fell in love with her along the way and hope that they can start completely new and fresh. Claire says thanks, but no thanks. Which good for you, you don’t need a Wickham in your life.
Claire then goes to the Bodleian Library and researches into Austen’s life, finding what she thinks is the key to the change in the Mr. Darcys.
Claire believes that Austen changed from the previous manuscrupt because she actually expereienced what it was like to be poor. She also believes that the Mr. Darcy we love today, was created as to give redemption to the man that broke her heart and fell short of her ideals. Harriet agrees and gives her the last page.
Elizabeth is visiting her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner in London, and enjoying their time together. She is trying to find a new job when a man arrives to see her, Colonel Fitzwilliam. He comes and tells her that he loves her and wishes to marry her, and that he is willing to stand up to the disagreements of his family. Elizabeth agrees to marry him. They take off to visit Darcy’s friend Bingley, taking along Jane. The End.
So all the author really did in this book was turn Darcy into a cad and reverse which Fitzwilliam had the guts. In the actual book, Colonel Fitzwilliam tells Elizabeth that he likes her but needs a woman with fortune, making sure that she has no hopes pinned on him. In this she has Darcy do it. Yawn.
Nothing about this book was revolutionary to me or that delightful, as Pattillo seemed to be trying to just make money off Jane Austen fans, by twisting one of her classics and taking the characters we adore turning them into strange creatures only seen in stupid low-quality romances.
By the way, Claire gives the papers to Harriet, and she returns home set on going to school, getting her degree, and gets back with Neil on the plane.
So I really, really did not enjoy this book. And I do not recommend it for any other Jane Austen fans