From all I heard about it, I really expected it to be the novel with recipes for food mentioned in the book; along with historical info or facts about Jane Austen and the recipes. It was really promoted as the first of its kind, a book to table classic, with the actual Pride and Prejudice novel and recipes for the perfect teatime.
The first thing that surprised me with this book is that there is no foreword about Martha Stewart’s love of Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, or why she even wanted to make this book.
The book goes right into the novel with recipes put here and there. The recipes are:
Cream Scones with Currants
Rosemary Pound Cakes
Chocolate Shortbread Fingers
Old-Fashioned Berry Layer Cake
French Almond Macaroons
Gingerbread Icebox Cake
The other thing that surprised me is that there is nothing in here why she picked these recipes or why they would be perfect for a Pride and Prejudice cookbook. These recipes aren’t ones mentioned in the novel and some are interesting choices, like the icebox cake, which was made popular in the 1920s. Why is that perfect for a Pride and Prejudice tea party?
For someone, who according to her author bio, “is America’s most trusted expert and teacher and the author of more than ninety books on cooking, entertaining, crafts, homekeeping, gardens, weddings, and decorating”; I excepted more. Unfortunately I don’t think as much effort went into this as could have been implemented. It makes me wonder if they moved up the publication date to cash in on holiday sales and then weren’t able to add all the extras.
Even though I’m a little disappointed in Martha Stewart as this wasn’t what I was expecting or how they marketed it I still like that this was a wonderful gift from my friend, is another book to add to my Jane Austen collection (and Pride and Prejudice collection), and am looking forward to trying out some of these recipes.
So even though this year is the 210th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice.
I went with a Northanger Abbey quote because I am going abroad to Ireland in the fall!!! I’m so excited!
But even though I am deciding to make this my “Catherine Morland” year (I’m coming for you Mr. Tilney)-I do plan to try and review/post something Pride and Prejudice related every month. Now I know I failed in reviewing Emma (1972)-but I’m really going to try and do my best!
Now on to the year in review!
This year I had over 56,000 views! That might not seem like a lot to some but I’m thankful for each and every one.
The Top Five Posts
Here are the top five most viewed posts of the year, although again none were posted this year. I guess whatever I post in the actual year is never popular enough? Who knows.
Have you watched every version of Jane Austen’s works in film and TV and now wonder what to watch next? That’s why I started making a list of films that have components similar to Jane Austen’s works but not an exact retelling or a variation.
What do you read after you’ve read all of Jane Austen’s works? That’s why I started making a list of books that have components similar to Jane Austen’s works but are not an exact retelling or a variation.
On Instagram (@janeaustenrunsmylife) I try to achieve a Bookish Bingo every month. I usually read whatever I like and then see which slot it fills. I write how it fits the categories in my stories and save them for the month and the one after, replacing it with the new month’s selections. It is a lot of fun, and I recommend trying it out.
I also did a countdown to Halloween by reading a chapter of Northanger Abbey everyday, created 31 Days of Hallotean countdown to Halloween, and a countdown to Christmas with my Advent calendar the 25 Teas of Christmas.
I celebrated my 10th Blogiversary this year, my niece and I reviewing Austenland. Thank you to all who have been a part these past 10 years. Also on my Instagram I asked a series of questions and posted the results. I asked the following questions this year:
If Austen characters could have any food we have today, which one do you think they would go the most crazy over?
If the Jane Austen characters were alive today, what jobs would they have?
If you could cast any actor/actress in a Jane Austen production, who would it b
If you could cast any actor (alive or dead) as Mr. Darcy, who would
If you couldn’t marry one of Jane Austen’s Main Characters/love interests, which character would you marry?
If you were to make a modern adaption of Jane Austen, which book would you pick and what changes would you make to have it be ‘modern’
Jane Austen opinion you will never be talked out of?
What are your top 5 Jane Austen adaptions/retellings?
What is a Jane Austen themed tradition, oddity, or eccentricity you have/have in your family?
What is the best Austen themed product you have purchased or been gifted?
What is your favorite Jane Austen book cover?
What Pop Culture thing would the Austen characters be into?
What’s your favorite costume/outfit from a Jane Austen film.
Which Austen parent is the worst?
Which character in Austen’s works do you dislike/hate
Which Jane Austen character deserves a novel showcasing them?
Which is the worst film or TV adaption of Jane Austen’s work
25 Films of Christmas
I like to watch a Christmas film every day in December. Theses are the ones I watched this year.
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen Children’s Stories #1) by Jane Austen adapted by Gemma Barder
It was time to shop for a Christmas gift for my friend’s daughter, and I always give her a book.
I didn’t even have to think about it as I knew the perfect one: another 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 kids in my life and hopefully brainwash 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 retain the plot of the original novels.
The story of Pride and Prejudice is about a mother, Mrs. Bennet, wanting to marry off her daughters as quickly as possible, as when their father passes away they will have very little to live on (her husband is not I’ll but Mrs. Bennet doesn’t want to take any chances.) Two men move to their community that Mrs. Bennet is intent on harpooning, no matter what. One, Mr. Bingley, falls for the elder daughter, Jane, while the other man, Mr. Darcy, is overheard insulting the second daughter, Elizabeth, by Elizabeth herself. (Ouch!) Elizabeth is wounded and when she hears a tale about how horrible Mr. Darcy is from a handsome charming man, she readily believes it. She later discovers there is more to all these men than meets the eye and that she may have judged them too quickly.
Like Emma, this book starts off with a breakdown of the characters, a who’s who of everyone.
We then get into the story which is done very well. I was curious how they would deal with the Georgiana/Mr. Wickham but they still have it, focusing on him wanting her money over anything else which to me was a very good choice to make.
I thought it was a very good abridged adaption for children. And I’m eager to see what the remaining Austen books are like.
I do think the illustrator was influenced by the 2005 film adaptions as Mr. Darcy looks like Matthew Macfayden and Mr. Bingley looks like Simon Wood.
For more Jane Austen Children’s Stories, go to Emma
There are numerous variations of Jane Austen’s works, but while those adaptations are fun, sometimes you don’t always want to read the same story. Sometimes you want Austen-like works, but not exactly the same as Austen’s works. But what can you read instead?
That’s why I started this series. I will be reviewing books that have components of what we love about the Austen novels, but are not just another retelling, but their own unique story.
A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen
The book begins with our main character Laura Callaway once again feeling left out of her family and community. She was born and raised in London, but ended up moving to Cornwall when her parents died, having been sent to live with her aunt and uncle in Truro. When her aunt passed, her uncle Matthew moved them to the rural Cornwall seaside and remarried, Laura gaining a step-aunt and step-cousin.
Not having been raised in Cornwall, Laura often feels left out and alone; this further exacerbated by her aunt who treats her as a stranger and tries her best to exclude her. Laura has tried to form a bond with her step-cousin but her aunt tries to keep them separated.
Even in 1813, Cornwall practices the tradition of “wrecking”, taking goods from wrecked ships. This is seen as a way for many people to survive and a part of Cornwall life. For Laura, her conscience won’t let her partake in the same way, before she keeps or sells anything she tries to locate the owner; along with saving it for a year and a day. After that she does whatever she wants with the items.
Her days seem very much the same until one night she hears of a wreck and goes out to help with taking care of the dead (back in the early 19th century there was no coastguard and many did not know how to swim). While combing the beach she happens upon a man, alive but soaked through and doing poorly. She manages to save him and with help from her uncle and neighbors, nurse him back to health. But while this man, Alexander Lucas, introduces himself as a man from the island of Jersey trying to get home admits the war, something about him doesn’t quite ring true. What secrets could he be holding?
Alexander wants to trust this beautiful woman who saved his life, and she and her family seem to be ones he can rely on, but he’s still not sure. Alexander is plagued with a mission to save his brother, one he has risked his life, his reputation, and his freedom to accomplish. Every day he stays on English soil is another day that his brother may be lost to him forever. Alexander tries to recuperate, find the evidence needed to save his sibling and get home as quickly as he can.
When Laura discovers Alexander’s secret that he is a French soldier who escaped from imprisonment (for a good cause) will she be willing to help him? Or will her interference only harm him? Can romance bloom in the midst of a war?
Why do I recommend for fans of Jane Austen? First of all, this books brings another view of life in the Regency era. While the war with France is mentioned in several of Austen’s novels, and there are multiple soldiers in her works, we don’t see it’s effect on people like we do in this book. In this novel the characters live on the shores of England (much closer to France), have their fishing and trade affected by war, etc.; the war is very present in the daily lives of the people.
The other reasons I recommend this to Jane Austen fans is that Laura reminds me a bit of Anne Elliot from Persuasion and Fanny Price from Mansfield Park. Like Fanny, Laura is sent to be raised with family but often feels like she’s not really a part of them and lonely. Like Anne, Laura feels as if she doesn’t really belong with her family (although she does have a bond with her uncle) and often acquiesces what she wants to keep the peace. However Laura, like both of Austen’s women, stands up for what she believes in and will not be forced into doing something she does not agree with. While all three women are not the typical headstrong outspoken ladies, all have an iron backbone.
The character of Alexander and his relationship with former best friend Francois mimic Darcy’s relationship with Wickham. Darcy and Wickham were friends from childhood and grew up together. Darcy of course was the heir of Pemberley and Wickham was the steward’s son, but the elder Mr. Darcy treated him well and even prepared to pay for his schooling. Of course we know that Wickham housed some resentment against Darcy and over not being lord of the manor; later one trying to hurt Darcy and ruin his family and reputation. Francois is the same as his friendship turns to hate as it becomes twisted with jealousy of Alexander’s wealth and status; Francois doing everything he can to destroy the Alexander’s family name and spirit.
The end was a happy one but I do appreciate how it took a little while to get there instead of most historical fiction romances. At first I wasn’t sure if Laura would get TBE happy ending she wanted.
I really enjoyed this book as I after I started reading it, after a only few chapters I could not put it down.
It is time for our Halloween Austen pick, the hardest one to choose and find every year. This year we are bringing something from my childhood as I loved Wishbone as a kid! I used to watch every episode and of course it encouraged me to read all the books the episodes were based on.
I definitely believe it contributed to my love of classic literature.
Today we are looking at the Northanger Abbey episode and of course I couldn’t miss an opportunity to try and brainwash my six year old niece into liking the show and Jane Austen. I refer to my niece as “E” in this post.
For those who have never seen Wishbone, it follows the titular Jack Russell Terrier as he reads books and imagines himself as a character in the book, and when he’s the character all see him as that character and not as a dog. Wishbone belongs to Joe, but he also hangs out with a lot of other kids in the neighborhood.
We start off the episode with Wishbone looking at plastic flammings and planning to chew them, but is distracted by the mailman.
Wishbone is hanging out with neighbor Wanda and neighbor kids Sam when Wanda receives a strange letter. “You are the one”. This isn’t the first one as she has received others and they said, “Soon you’ll know what we’ll think of you”. Is it complimentary or a threat?
Wanda decides to just go about her business and Wishbone follows her, being distracted by some other neighborhood kids reading a scary story. One of them, Melina, loves mysteries and spooky fiction just like another character!
Wishbone then introduces us to Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey. In this version of Northanger Abbey, Wishbone is Henry Tilney who is also there with his sister Eleanor. In this version Henry Tilney/Wishbone recognizes John Thorpe, “but only as one who brags constantly” and Isabella Thorpe “who flirts with everyone they meet”. Eleanor points out Catherine who is reading and absolutely fascinated by the Udolpho.
John Thorpe steals the book as he doesn’t like reading. He starts making fun of her, but Henry Tilney/Wishbone comes over and shares how he loved the book. Catherine looks at him longingly and reads a page aloud.
Me: He [John Thorpe] doesn’t like to read, so do we like him E?
E: No way!
Me That’s right, we don’t like guys who don’t like to read.
E: I love to read.
Back in the real world, Wanda has receieved another letter! “Words cannot explain all that you have done”. All the kids are interested in solving the letter mystery and so is Wishbone. And so am I!
Back in Northanger Abbey, Mr. Thorpe talks to General Tilney and brags about his connections. He also starts talking about Catherine Morland and how she has so much money coming to her. I really like this depiction of Thorpe as I love how he blatantly lies about Catherine not being able to go on a walk with the Tilneys and then just runs off with a “Ta-ta”.
Eleanor is thinking how odd it is to send another to reject them, but Henry Tilney/Wishbone isn’t so sure they really know her as a person.
Catherine is heading to see the Tilneys and runs into the Thorpes who tell her they ended the engagement. Catherine is super upset and runs to the Tilneys apologizing.
The Tilneys are planning to leave for Northanger Abbey and they invite Catherine to join them. As those two words are spoken spooky music plays. Catherine is eager and has so much imagination about how creepy and mysterious it will be.
Henry Tilney/Wishbone teases Catherine and jokes about sliding panels, gloomy portraits, mysterious chests, and cryptic letters. He is much better that the ‘80s Mr. Tilney.
Back in the real world Wanda runs into Ellen who has another note for her. “Wait and See”The kids are on the case and convinced the mailman is behind it all and follow him on his route, while Wanda ponders the note.
The kids try to spy on the mailman but Wishbone sneaks in. He also goes through the package door and heads into the backroom of the post office. He starts thinking about Northanger Abbey while in the post office.
Me: Is it [Northanger Abbey] too spooky?
E: I think it is pretty.
Catherine also loves it! The Tilneys show her the oldest part of the house and the forbidden wing. The forbidden wing contains their mother’s room, the one in which she died. Eleanor wasn’t at home or Henry, which makes Catherine think that maybe she was murdered.
Me: What do you think happened?
E: I think the mom turned into a skeleton that is still alive.”
Even though she was told that Mrs. Tilney’s room was forbidden she decides to sneak in any way.
Me: Do you think there will be a skeleton in there [Mrs. Tilney’s room]?
Henry comes strolling by and sees the open door, spotting Catherine looking around the room. Lightning and rain flash against the sky outside as Catherine searches the room and finds a truck which she opens…
E: Tell me what happens, I’m scared. [Covers eyes and music continues] Please tell me what happens!
Henry is hiding behind a tapestry while Catherine searched a drawer and find papers. Catherine is a little less sympathetic in this one adaption as it was only her first night that she searched the room, instead of being several days later. All Catherine found was a laundry list, embarrassment, and an unhappy Henry Tilney/Wishbone. He reveals the truth about his mother’s death, that she died from fever and that his father doesn’t like to be in the room as it breaks his heart.
Catherine apologizes and Henry tells her that his home isn’t like a a gothic novel but it’s real life.
Back in real world Wanda comes upon the kids and scares them i their detecting that they all run off.
Back in Northanger Abbey Eleanor tells Catherine, that Catherine has to leave as the Tilneys are going away. Catherine is to be sent home ASAP and General Tilney is in a horrible mood. Catherine thinks it is because of what happened with Henry and in this children’s version she is sent home during the day. Henry Tilney/Wishbone stops Catherine before she leaves Northanger Abbey and tells her that John Thorpe has been spreading rumors about her pretending to be a future heiress and that is why his father is mad, he thinks Catherine is a fortune hunter.
Henry Tilney/Wishbone apologizes for the way the Thorpes have treated her and that tells her he was also wrong.
Catherine: Perhaps I need to learn more about the real world and judge them as they truly are and not what I think they are.
Henry: Maybe we can learn together.
Back in reality, Wanda goes to Ellen’s house were she was invited to, but finds it dark. It turns out to be a an early surprise party for Wanda, that’s why they sent her all those mysterious notes in order to distract her and keep her from figuring out about the party.
While everyone else is distracted Wishbone is in the cake.
Me: What do you think?
E: I liked it. I like Wishbone.
Me: What did you think about Northanger Abbey?
E: I don’t know about it. I don’t have a question for it.
Me: What did you think about Catherine or Henry Tilney? Or the spooky story?
E: Hmmmm…I’m loading….hmm….I liked it. I liked Catherine.
I would say that it was a winner, not only as a cute Northanger Abbey adaption but also as an introductory piece to get my niece into Jane Austen.