The Making of Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Happy 210th birthday to Pride and Prejudice

To celebrate this anniversary, I have decided to review a Pride and Prejudice themed book, film, or item at least once a month throughout the year.

One thing I decided to do was finally review Pride and Prejudice (1995) I was originally going to wait for its 30th anniversary but decided, why wait?

But before I can review the episodes, I decided to first read and review The Making of Pride and Prejudice (1995), a book that was included with my special DVD box set.

The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Britwistle & Susie Conklin

What I found extremely interesting was that the spark to creating one of the best adaptions of Jane Austen all came about due to Northanger Abbey. Isn’t that cute? Sue Bristwhistle (producer) and Andrew Davies (writer) were watching a screening of one of the worst Jane Austen adaptions, Northanger Abbey (1986), when Andrew Davies broached the topic of creating a filmed version was the catalyst to one of the mose beloved Jane Austen adaptions.

Although it wasn’t easy. The book begins with Sue Bristwhistle sharing how it took quite a bit of time to garner the interest and how they had to face off against people who didn’t think it would come out well.

I really enjoyed this book as it is extremely detailed from every step of creating it: scriptwriting, casting, costumes, locations, editing, makeup, filming, food, editing, sound mixing, PR, etc. It’s really worth it for any Austen fan and Pride and Prejudice (1995) fan.

There were a few things I absolutely enjoyed reading in this book. First Andrew Davies thoughts on writing the script. He has said that he loved the book, it was one of his favorites and you can see how much he adores it and is a fan in this. I love how he points out the cleverness of Austen’s writing and how great she is at plotting her works.

“Because the book [Pride and Prejudice] is so tight – her [Jane Austen’s] plot works just like a Swiss clock and doesn’t have any flabby bits in it – everything counts.”

-Andrew Davies in “The Script” from The Making of Pride and Prejudice

I feel like most studios struggle with this when it comes to adapting Jane Austen works and this seems to be the biggest complaint Austen fans make about the adaptions. Studios slice too much and important plot points are lost, characters are nonexistent, and crucial scenes of the novels are now flat in the film.

I do feel that this is something that makes this adaptions superior to many others, Andrew Davies really loved the original work and did his most to try and keep Austen’s spirit; while at the same time trying to make sure he had something that would appeal to all viewers.

One thing I really appreciate is that Davies wanted to give us a view into the men of the novel and as to what they think and do. With a novel you have more leeway to have a mysterious character, fully based on what our main characters view then as; but in a TV show most people want to know more about these people and who they are if they are planning to come back every week to watch.

Also the Pemberley diving in scene is such a crucial scene to understanding and. Darcy we we finally see him wiping away the structures of society and instead being able to really “be” himself.” And of course has been a fan favorite.

The casting chapter I also found very interesting as it is so important to find the right people for period pieces.

“So we were looking for wit, charm and charisma, but also for the ability to “play” that period. Some people simply can’t do it; everything
about them is too modern. It’s a difficult thing to analyse; there are a
lot of good young actors and actresses around, but they are just very
twentieth-century and don’t have the right sort of grace. I don’t think
that can be instilled any more than you can train someone to be funny.”

-Janie Forthegill in “Pre-Production” from The Making of Pride and Prejudice

I 100 percent agree. I feel like this a problem today where studios hire people who the think will draw views, even though they just don’t work for the drama. They look or act too modern and make everything feel out of place.

Colin Firth had to dye his hair because he is a blonde, I’m surprised as he looks so good with dark hair.

One of my favorite parts was on the costuming. It was so interesting to read how they had to make all the costumes and get the prints designed and printed on the fabric. A lot of clothes from the previous adaptations were in terrible condition or didn’t work. It was absolutely fascinating and makes sense why the clothes are constantly reused by the studio.

Elizabeth Bennet

There is a section with Colin Firth where he describes his journey to the role and experiences filing and I loved it! In fact it reminded me of my own journey to Jane Austen. I also find it interesting that Firth felt he wasn’t sexy enough when comparing himself to Laurence Olivier. He was extremely afraid everyone would just compare the two and find him lacking. It’s amazing to think of when Olivier isn’t as remembered as Colin Firth. It’s like he threw down a reverse UNO.

I highly recommend this for any Austen fans as I think you will really enjoy it, especially if you love the 1995 adaption.

For more on the making of an Austen film, go to The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Book-to-Table Classic by Martha Stewart

For more nonfiction, go to Jane Austen (Little People, BIG DREAMS)

For more Colin Firth, go to Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Book-to-Table Classic by Martha Stewart

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Book-to-Table Classic by Jane Austen and Martha Stewart

This book came out about five years ago and it has been on my to-buy list for a while.

But it no longer has a place on my list as I was blessed with it by my friend for Christmas. After all, books make the best gifts!

When this book first came out Martha Stewart and articles touted it as the “…newly released Fall cookbook Jane Austen diehards could only dream of.” They also claimed that these “…recipes by Martha Stewart will make you want to host a tea even if you aren’t looking to woo a wealthy suitor for one of your many daughters.”

Party time!

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.

This book was not what I was expecting. It wasn’t a bad book but from all that Martha Stewart talked it up I was expecting more recipes. Something more along the lines of the The Mitford Cookbook or The Betty Crocker Celebrate Cookbook.

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.

Hmm…?

The book goes right into the novel with recipes put here and there. The recipes are:

  • Sugar-and-Spice Cake
  • Linzer Hearts
  • Cream Scones with Currants
  • Rosemary Pound Cakes
  • Petits Fours
  • Chocolate Shortbread Fingers
  • Old-Fashioned Berry Layer Cake
  • French Almond Macaroons
  • Fruit Turnovers
  • Gingerbread Icebox Cake
  • Lemon Madeleines
  • Hazelnut Cookies

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.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Pride and Prejudice

For more Pride and Prejudice adaptions, go to Christmas at Pemberley Manor (2018)

For more Jane Austen adaptations, go to An Appearance of Goodness

For more recipes, go to Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato Tea Sandwiches

Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Frankenstein

Happy Friday the 13th! I don’t know if you have any plans, but as for me I’m going to spend my evening with pizza and horror films.

Since this is Friday the 13th, I decided to share a spooky gothic post.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

You all know how much I love spooky and gothic fiction, almost as much as my girl Catherine does.

That’s why I started Catherine Morland’s Reading List, a list of gothic fiction I recommend for my fellow spooky lovers. 

So what can I say about Frankenstein that hasn’t been said? I of course watched the movie first, and loved it:

Shelley started writing Frankenstein when she was 18, with it being published when she was 20, in 1818- the same year as Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. And it is a mix between gothic fiction and science fiction.

The book starts off with a Captain Walton who is on an Arctic trip and writing to his sister. Every time I read the book I find myself connecting more and more to him than any other character.

“But I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy, and the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe evil, I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection. I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true; but that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling. I desire the company of a man who could sympathise with me, whose eyes would reply to mine. You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend. I have no one near me, gentle yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious mind, whose tastes are like my own, to approve or amend my plans.”

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Who doesn’t feel that lonely at times, especially as the older you get it’s harder to connect with old friends and make new ones..

Captain Walton finds Dr. Victor Frankenstein and learns of Dr. Frankenstein’s quest to hunt down his creature. We learn about how Victor was born into a wealthy family and had a desire to understand the world and create, like what the great alchemists have before him. But instead of trying to turn lead into gold, he wanted to capture life!

This is when things go downhill for Frankenstein. First he decides to create life without thinking about how he will train the creature or what type of morality he should instill in it. Or what it means to have a life breathing person. It’s as if he wanted to make a baby only for the science of it and then when the baby is born abandons it.

Victor also makes the Creature gigantic, about 8 feet in height. You have to remember not only is that really tall, but in 1818 it’s humongous as the average height of men were about 5.5. Compare 8 feet to 5.5

Victor goes to the trouble of trying to make the creature beautiful, but it’s several body parts from different people and is frightening with watery white eyes and yellow skin.

Once everything is completed Frankenstein realizes his mistake, but is unable to destroy it. Instead he just abandons it, adopting that mentality it is “future self’s problem). Frankenstein’s creature escapes from Frankenstein and tries to find acceptance, only to be rejected. He then acts on his emotions and wants; killing or hurting everyone that Frankenstein holds dear to get back at him after Frankenstein refuses to make the creature a female.

There are a lot of different analysis of the book, but to me I always felt that one of the points Shelley was making was the necessity of guidance and a code of morals to live by. You may argue between whether that is a higher power, the law, etc.; but there must be some kind of code of ethics or else chaos reigns. If everyone only went after what made them feel good and what they want terrible things can happen.

I also think it is reminiscent of her father not really guiding his daughter in her life where she was younger, but then trying to be a parent after she was almost an adult and already set in her ways/at an age when she didn’t feel she needed to listen to him. Frankenstein does the same when he abandons the creature, only to later try and have him adhere to Frankenstein’s moral code.

Either way I recommend it for all gothic fiction fans.

For more from Catherine Morland’s Reading List, go to Mexican Gothic

For more Gothic Fiction, go to What’s a Girl To Do When Your Parents Won’t Allow You to Live Your Gothic Dreams?

For more Frankenstein, go to Mysterious Things Have Happened. A Murder in the Village…They Probably Think You, Like Your Father, Have Created Another Monster…: Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Pride and Prejudice

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 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, and 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 ~$17.

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

For more Jane Austen children’s books, go to Northanger Abbey

For more on Pride and Prejudice book adaptations, go to An Appearance of Goodness

For more on Pride and Prejudice , go to The Clergyman’s Wife + The Question is Mr. Collins Really THAT Bad?

Jane Austen Runs My Life Holiday Gift Guide: Jane Austen Books, PART II

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.

Just as difficult as choosing 10

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.

To purchase, click here

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 Abbey and 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.

To order, click here

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.

To order, click here

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.

To order, click here

An Affectionate Heart by Heather Moll

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.

To order, click here

The Dashwoods Tell All by Beth Patillo

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.

To order, click here

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.

To purchase, click here

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.

To purchase, click here

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.

To purchase, click here

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!

Sense and Sensibility Adaption Reviews

Pride and Prejudice Adaption Reviews: Part I

Pride and Prejudice Adaption Reviews: Part II

Pride and Prejudice Adaption Reviews: Part III

Mansfield Park Adaption Reviews

Emma Adaption Reviews

Northanger Abbey Adaption Reviews

Persuasion Adaption Reviews