You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?

So welcome back every one! I enjoyed my week off. As we had a lot of free time last month (April) with the quarantine and shelter in place I watched a lot of TV. Some new things, some old comforts or guilty pleasures.

Of course I am always on the lookout for Jane Austen bingos and Jane Austen comparisons. One that recently came to mind was this: you ever notice that Gossip Girl the TV show (not the book series as I have never read it) is a lot like Persuasion?

What are you talking about??

I know what you are thinking, what does a show about the rich and famous Upper East Siders who drink, do drugs, scheme, and intermix their relationships (I think this show had almost every character date another of the main characters) have anything to do with Jane Austen?

Hmm…

The relationship of Lily Van der Woodsen and Rufus Humphrey

Hmm…

So quick summary on both:

Persuasion is a story that spans over several years. When Anne Elliot and Fredrick Wentworth are young they become engaged, and Anne is persuaded to turn him down as he could die, she could be left with nothing, they are young, he is leaving for the Navy, her family won’t approve, etc. He thinks it is solely because she from a rich distinguished family, and he’s a nobody. He becomes angry, takes a lot of chances in the war and increases his wealth and stature. He returns to find Anne unmarried and her family has lost their money, letting their mansion out to Fredrick’s sister and brother-in-law. Anne has never gotten over Fredrick and is shocked to see him enter her life again. Intrigue happens as some women are striving for Frederick’s heart, a woman has a ploy to snag Anne’s father Sir Walter Elliot, and a estranged relative reappears planning to go after his inheritance and cousin. Will the two get their happy ending together? Or has too much time passed?

Anne in the background, Captain Frederick Wentworth in the foreground with Louisa Musgrove.

In Gossip Girl we have the story of Dan and Jenny Humphrey who live in Brooklyn and attend the private school for the rich and famous on scholarship. Dan is a loner who is there to do well and go to college, hopefully achieving his dream of attending Dartmouth or Yale. Jenny strives to be just like the wealthy and rich, being the Queen B: Blair Waldorf’s lackey. Serena Van der Woodsen returns from boarding school and upsets everyone’s life: Blair is displeased at sharing the spotlight, Blair’s boyfriend Nate is in love with Serena, Chuck Bass is just a jerk with problems & lashing out, and for Dan she is his dream girl. Dan and Serena have a relationship but will he be able to handle the lifestyles of the rich and famous? The story spans several years, breakups and makeups, schemes, intrigue, fashion, money, etc.

The parents and adults on this show are just as bad as the children-drugs, drinking, affairs, etc. Lily is Serena’s mother and former roadie and girlfriend to Rufus Humphrey, former aspiring rock star, and Dan’s father. They traveled around but Lily left him for her life on the West Side. They are thrown back together when their kids date, but the flames between them have not quite died out. And almost every move and act is commented and written about on the Gossip Girl blog.

***Spoiler Warning***

So I know this still might not be making total sense to you, but bear with me until the end and comment if you see it or if you think there is no comparison.

I have never read the books and am basing this on the storyline in the TV show. In the TV show Lily was raised on the Upper West Side, is rich, famous, and beautiful, but also not as stuffy or following in the path of her mother-there is a serious disconnect between her and her mother (and her and her father as shown in one episode). She does not follow the plans her mother wanted for her, but instead gets involved with the average, aspiring rock and roll star, Rufus, and they are so adorable together.

How sweet!

Unfortunately, Lily’s mother, Celia Catherine “CeCe” Rhodes, persuades her against staying with Rufus as she threatens to cut Lily off and will her trust fund and inheritance away. That wouldn’t have stopped Lily except that her mother also convinced her that Lily would be unable to handle a regular life, that eventually Rufus would move on (an aspiring rock star can’t be faithful), her parents and family would never see her again or have anything to do with her, and she would end up poor and alone.

This reminded me a lot of what happened with Anne. While Anne was close to her mother, after she died she was left with her father who she shares a similar disconnect and he also has zero involvement in her life (like Lily’s dad). Anne may not be wild like Lily, but she definitely ranks high in his disapproval. Like Lily, she fell in love with someone society deemed “beneath” her, but also fell victim to the persuasion of a family friend, someone she trusted and loved as a second mother, Lady Russell. The social rank doesn’t matter to Anne, like it does to Lady Russell, but like Lily-Anne falls victim to the what ifs-if she had married Frederick she could end up with no family support (or ever seeing them again), no money, a wounded turned alcoholic husband, the life of drudgery, a widow with nothing, etc. (In fact she could end up with the same life of Fanny Price’s mother)

Fanny (left) and Mrs. Price, her mother, and little sister (right).

In Gossip Girl, it has been over 16 years and Rufus and Lily find themselves back together again. Rufus’ initial reaction is very similar to Captain Wentworth, as he is hurt and angry at how he was treated by his love. The two verbally spar with each other, but as they spend time together, they end up falling for each other again. Rufus realizes his feelings for her when his wife he’s been separated from for months (who is cheating on him), returns. Seeing her back with his family, coupled with him meeting her lover, makes him realize that it’s over for them and he really wants to be with Lily. This part reminded me of when Louisa, the girl Captain Frederick has been constantly flirting with, falls and injures herself making it impossible for him to get with Anne as everyone thinks he is engaged to Louisa-this situation cluing him into the fact that he is still in love with Anne and doesn’t want to be with anyone else. Luckily, Louisa is tended to by Captain Benwick and is engage to him, freeing Captain Wentworth and allowing him to chase after his true love.

So in Persuasion, Captain Wentworth needs to let Anne know his feelings and he writes her one of the most romantic letters so that she has concrete proof he cares for her. Rufus is also very romantic and while he doesn’t write Lily a letter he “walks” (as I don’t believe that he really walked the whole way) from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side in the snow with no coat to tell Lily that he loves her, leaving her with a romantic voicemail.

Both Lady Russell (Anne’s godmother) and CeCe Rhodes (Lily’s mother) realize their mistakes as both stories progress. Lady Russell sees that Frederick is a good man and will take care of Anne, along with valuing her. CeCe also realizes her mistake in having separated the two and even encourages them to get together.

But of course the TV series ran for six seasons and LOVED the drama, so every time Rufus and Lily drew close, they broke up or something came to keep them apart. Eventually, they do marry and I really liked them together, but then Lily’s ex-husband was poisoning her to think she had cancer and rely on him and she couldn’t tell Rufus (so that caused issues) and even later her previous husband Bart Bass-who died but somehow miraculously lived, comes back from the grave so her marriage to Rufus is invalid. And then she ends up with her ex-husband who poisoned her, which is one of the dumbest decisions that TV show made, really? Why would she be with him when he was POISONING her?

So it has parallel’s to Persuasion, but unfortunately they don’t get the happy ending Wentworth and Anne do.

So what do you think? Do you see the similarities? Or are these two stories completely different from each other? Comment below!

For more on Persuasion, go to The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

For more on Gossip Girl, go to Prom Book Dream Come True: Valley Girl, Gossip Girl (2009)

For more Jane Austen meets modern culture, go to Austen Avengers Assemble!

A Letter of Love: Persuasion (2007)

Romantic Moment #14

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Persuasion (2007)

So first of all:

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So last year I ended the Romance is in the Air posts with Northanger Abbey. I thought this could become a tradition, always ending on a Jane Austen film. Hmmm…I wonder what next year will bring? Who knows?

Anyways, so two of my favorite Jane Austen books/films are Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. I mean I love the others, but I feel like these two are really forgotten by the fans and never gets any love.  Which is just not fair because they are fantastic books and movies. They deserve fans!!! Love them!

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Okay, let’s step back from the crazy. Sorry.

So Persuasion is a wish fullfillment piece by Jane Austen. Jane fell in love with a rich man from a good family, very Pride & Prejudice, but his family strongly disapproved and took him away from her in order to make sure their attraction didn’t turn into something scandalous like marriage. While Jane had offers from other men, she never stopped loving him and waited for him to come back into her life. (So now that you know this you will understand this movie/book even better.) Another fun,  fun is not the right word let’s go with interesting  an interesting fact, Jane died before this and Northanger Abbey were published so she didn’t name them. Her brother, who had them published, decided what they should be called based on what he thought would be interesting.

So, anyways, the film begins with nineteen-year old Anne Elliot getting engaged (secretly) to young naval officer Frederick Wentworth. However, her mother figure (as her mom is dead) and family friend, Lady Russell, convinces her to end the engagement. She tells her she is too young, that it is risky marrying an officer going off to war, he could die, she could end up a widow, she could be penniless, etc. (Lady Russell brings up some good points, but she also wanted to end the marriage as Anne was a higher station and had more money. She thought Fredrick Wentworth wasn’t good enough for her Anne.) Anne really values Lady Russell’s opinion and breaks off the engagement, even though it breaks her heart and she regrets it everyday.

Fast forward eight years and things have drastically changed. Anne’s father, Sir Walter, and older sister, Elizabeth, have squandered A LOT of the family fortune on their vanity. Anne tried to reign in the spending, but no one would listen as her sister has the position of running the home (that is until she is married). They now have to lease out their home and reside somewhere else. And just who should be living in their home, Admiral Croft and Mrs. Croft. Mrs. Croft just happens to be Frederick Wentworth’s sister. And to even add to it, her brother has had an increase in his fortunes. He made so much money in maritime victories during the Napoleonic wars. (He had no one to live for so he took A LOT of risks and they paid, boy did they pay.) He also was promoted to Captain.

Her father and sister leave for Bath, where they will be spending the season. Anne goes to see her bratty, hypochondriac, annoying, selfish, younger, sister, Mary. (As you can tell I don’t like her.) Mary is married to Charles Musgrove, a guy who wanted to marry Anne but she turned down as she still loved Frederick. He then married his sister to spite her, and spent the rest of his life (and family’s life) regretting that choice. Mary lives nearby the old Elliot homestead, so wouldn’t you know it, she runs into Frederick several times.

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To make matters worse, Frederick is so hurt and still heartbroken that he just ignores her and won’t say anything. This pains Anne as she still loves him and is just bursting to tell him how she feels but scared. And then to further rub salt in the wound, Charles’ younger, pretty, single, sisters are both making a play for him.

ouch

And not only does he like it (of course, duh); but he totally plays it up in front of her. Just like a guy.

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Although I totally get what he’s doing. I mean she turned him down and didn’t do it in the best way. He started thinking she was only interested in the fact that he had no money, otherwise a “Good Charlotte Witch“.

Anyways, so the rest of the family has no clue what happened between Anne and Capt. Wentworth. So they purposely keep trying to bring Wentworth over. The one sister, Henrietta, stops her flirtations with Wentworth as her cousin is deeply into her. Everyone believes that Wentworth will ask for Louisa’s hand, but he still hasn’t gotten over Anne, but is just trying to get at her.

The whole family decides to travel down to Lyme Regis, with Wentworth to visit his friend,  Captain Harville and Captain James Benwick. Benwick recently lost his fiancé, the sister of Harville, and is stilll grieving her. He loves poetry and he and Anne become close. People start speculating about more happening between them, which does not make Wentworth happy.  Anne also attracts the attention of the Elliots’ long-estranged cousin, and her father’s heir, William Elliot. Also disturbing Wentworth.

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Things change when Louisa suffers from a fall and gets a serious concussion, because of her stubborn behavior (she’s the girl that does whatever she wants). Anne is the only able to keep her head and assist her. The Musgroves care for her and Anne goes to Bath. Captain Wentworth faces the fact that when Louisa recovers he may be tied to her forever, which is something he is not so sure he wants to do.

In Bath, Anne finds out that her father and Mr. Elliot, her cousin, have fixed their relationship. Elizabeth assumes that he wishes to court her while Lady Russell more correctly suspects that he admires Anne.  Anne doesn’t really like Mr. Elliot, she feels like something is not right about him and tries to avoid him as much as possible.

Admiral Croft, having heard a rumour of Mr. Elliot’s proposal to Anne, sends Wentworth to ask Anne if she and her new husband require them to quit Kellynch Hall. Anne informs Wentworth that Admiral Croft has been  misinformed.

24629465There’s hope!

Soon the Crofts, Musgroves, Benwick, Harville, Wentworth, etc; the whole crew comes to Bath. Louisa is engaged, but not to Wentworth, but Benwick. Wentworth is not happy about Mr. Elliot’s attentions to Anne, not at all. Anne also goes to visit her friend, Mrs. Smith, who is a struggling widow. She tells Anne that Mr. Elliot is not a nice guy at all. He has been so determined to inherit everything that he has been going after Sir Walter’s love interest in order to ensure he doesn’t remarry and have a son. Anne is shocked, but it reaffrims her feelings of mistrust toward him.

Wentworth is moved by what he overhears Anne says about women never giving up their feelings of love even when all hope is lost. This makes him brave enough to share his feelings and he writes her a letter telling her how he feels.  Anne recieves the letter and runs after Wentworth, there he proposes and she accepts. We fast forward, and Wentworth is surprising Anne with a gift. It’s her old house!

Most Romantic Moment: 

He writes one of the most beautiful letters ever! Now the thing I really love about Persuasion is you can just feel for the characters, everyone has experienced rejection and heartbreak; and the hardest thing can be trying to put yourself out there. So we have Wentworth who loved Anne, had his heart thrown through a shedder. He realizes that he loves Anne, but should he say something? Does she still love him? Is she angry over the way he treated her? Has she moved on? Will she reject him again? This has to be one of the bravest and romantic things ever.

I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in

F. W.

I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never. 

So romantic!

So romantic!

That is so romantic, just laying everything out like that. He totally threw caution aside and just told her everything.

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So romatic! And that is just one of the best ways to try and win a girl back. Conclusion:

BoysinBksSo now because it is my blog, and I want to, I am going to review my favorite parts of the letter.

You pierce my soul

not too late

offermyheart

lovedyou

For you alone

A word look

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So that ends this Valentine countdown. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday whether you are single or in a relationship. Eat lots of candy, wear red, watch sappy movies; that’s what I’ll be doing. 😀

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For more Persuasion go to A Frederick Wentworth Sighting, Let’s Hear it for the Boysand On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas

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In other news:

Yay!

 

For the 100th post, go to Wanna Grow Old With You: The Wedding Singer (1998)

For the 300th post, go to That’s What You Get

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Let’s Hear it For the Boys

So since today is Veteran’s Day I was going to do a post about 11 of my favorite war movies. However since it has been a while since my last Austenite post (not counting the Halloween one), I thought it would be better to do a list of my favorite Austen military men. As Deniece Willams’ put it so well. “Let’s hear it for the boys!“.

So here we go.

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9) Colonel Fitzwilliam

Colonel Fitzwilliam is from Pride and Prejudice and is the cousin of Mr. Darcy. He doesn’t feature too much in the story as he is supposed to be at first seen as a “character foil” for Mr. Darcy (but turns out to not be as we later realize we have misjudged Darcy) along with furthering the plot (such as revealing there is more to Darcy’s character, that Darcy broke up Bingley and Jane, etc.).

He is a very nice and funny man. He is in the military as he is the second son, and therefore forced to work as he will not inherit. But even though he makes it clear to Elizabeth that nothing will happen (as she isn’t rich enough) he still treats her like a person and is great fun for Elizabeth to hang out with.

Col. Fitzwilliam now seated himself by Elizabeth, and talked so agreeably of Kent and Hertfordshire, of traveling and staying at home, of new books and music, that Elizabeth had never been half so well entertained in that room before; and they conversed with so much spirit and flow…”

And to be honest, that’s all most people really want.

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8) Captain Harville

Captain Harville is from Persuasion and is a friend and fellow soldier of Captain Wentworth. He is a kind man who was wounded and retired from the military. He has a home in Lyme where everyone comes to visit and where Louisa gets injured at.

He is such a sweet and unassuming man. He opens him home up for everyone, and when Louisa gets hurt, allows her to stay there as long as she wants to until she is recovered. He is a great friend to Fredrick Wentworth and helps him realize how much he is in love with Anne.

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7) Sir John Middleton 

Sir John is from Sense and Sensibility and while some find him annoying I think he is a really nice guy. He can be a bit intrusive and a gossip, involving himself in other’s affairs (primarily Colonel Brandon’s love life), but he has a kind and gentle heart.

When the Dashwood’s are kicked out of their home, he lets them his cottage for a price far under what it is worth. Not only does he do that, but he invites them over to his house daily, supplying them with food and comfort far beyond their current ability.

He is fiercely loyal and caring for his friends; standing by Colonel Brandon even when others say things about his rash behavior of breaking up their planned outing. He even forgives Willoughby after the whole Marianne issue.

For more on Sir John Middleton, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

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6) Admiral Croft

Admiral Croft is also from Persuasion and is married to Captain Fredrick Wentworth’s sister. He is the perfect naval gentleman; kindly, genial, and good-looking (according to the Anne’s shallow and appearance obsessed father). He and his wife are so adorable, as they are also so clearly in love and can’t bear to be separated from each other for long periods of time. Anne considers them the happiest married couple she has ever met, and a role model for what she hopes to have one day.

I love how he gets rid of all of Sir Walter’s mirrors. I agree with him that Sir Walter was extremely excessive in that.

“I have done very little [changes] besides sending away some of the large looking-glasses from my dressing-room, which was your father’s…Such a number of looking-glasses! oh Lord! there was no getting away from one’s self. So I got Sophy to lend me a hand, and we soon shifted their quarters; and now I am quite snug, with my little shaving glass in one corner, and another great thing that I never go near.”

He is also very sweet. He and his wife care for Anne, giving her rides and taking her in to be part of their family. When Sir Walter snubs them in Bath, they take it with good humor and continue on their way.

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5) Colonel Campbell

We never get to see Colonel Campbell, but we get to hear all about him. He is from Emma, and the man who took care of Jane after her parents died. He was an old family friend and when Jane was reduced to the Bates’ poor circumstances he took Jane into his family and cared for her.

It was so nice of Colonel Campbell to do that for Jane. He could have just ignored her, but instead brought her into his family! Although he couldn’t provide her the same kind of future as his own child, what he gave her was much better than what she would have had without him. Through this she met the awful Frank Churchill, (more later on why I don’t like him), and had a “happy” future (Austen makes it seemingly happy but I don’t think one could be happy being married to Frank).

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4) Captain Benwick

Captain Benwick is also from Persuasion, (most of these military men are as Persuasion is a miltary filled novel).

Captain Benwick is such an adorable man. He is so kind but has such a sad story. He was in love with Captain Harville’s sister, but when she died, he stopped living his life, depressed and heartbroken over her loss. He’s so cute and romantic.

In the novel he makes a real connection with Anne, both understanding each other through their similar pain of losing the one they love. Benwick loves poetry, mostly melancholy ones, and Anne’s helps him out of his funk by discussing lighter and better ones. Without her he would never have had the courage to love another, Louisa Musgrove, or ask her hand.

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3) Lieutenant William Price

William Price is from the book Mansfield Park, and is Fanny’s older brother. He is the only one who remains in contact with her when she moves away, and is the epitome of the kind, caring, older brother.

“His last thought on leaving home was for her. He stepped back again to the door to say, ‘Take care of Fanny, mother. She is tender, and not used to rough it like the rest of us. I charge you, take care of Fanny.”

He shares a lot of sinilar traits as Edmund, although he doesn’t act as dumb as him. (More on this later). To Fanny, those two men are the most important people in her life.

William is honest and hard-working, which unfortunately not too helpful in moving up the ranks in the military, in times of peace. At this time in history, to get a good position in peace times, was only by having purchased a commission or position. He doesn’t get a big break until Henry Crawford pulls some strings, trying to get on Fanny’s good side.

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 2) Captain Fredrick Wentworth

Captain Fredrick Wentworth is the romantic hero of Persuasion. He is adorable and wonderful, I just adore him. After Anne breaks his heart, he goes off bravely combating anything in war. While he puts on a tough exterior, he is still in agony over losing Anne. At first he is a tad mean to her, mostly being cold or ignoring her presence; but this is perfectly understandable as he has spent years in pain over her; never realizing that she has been feeling the exact same way. He thought she didn’t want to be with him because he was poor and of a lower class.

He flirts with other girls to make her jealous, but realizes that he was crazy to do so as he could never imagine himself with any one but Anne. He thinks that he has lost her, but her conversation with Harville about women loving longer than men convinces him otherwise  and encourages him to write one of the best Austen letters. More on him later, as he deserves his own post like Knightly.

For more on Captain Frederick Wentworth, go to A Fredrick Wentworth Sighting 

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1) Colonel Brandon

 Colonel Brandon is one of the best Austen heroes. He’s from Sense and Sensibility and has such a sad story, but still remains kindly and good-hearted.

When he was younger he fell in love with a girl, but his father broke them up. He went on to India, but she went down an awful life as she feel in love with a man and was left alone pregnant. She died young, and Brandon took care of her child, raising it as his own.

He fell in love with Marianne, not caring that she had no fortune, but instead loving her mind and spirit. He is rich and of high social standing, but doesn’t allow those customs dictate the ways of his heart. He continues loving her and caring for her; even though all she thinks of him is an “old man”. He never gives up and does all he can to help her. When she is injured and caught in the rain the second time, he carries her to safety and travels a great distance to bring her mother to her.

He is kind, generous, and one of the most amazing Austen men; my top military man. He will be getting his own post too, eventually.

For more on Colonel Brandon, go to It’s All Jane Austen’s Fault

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I just want to end this post with my most heartfelt thanks to to all who have served our country and for those currently serving. Thank you so much for everything you have done and for all the sacrifices you have made. I am so happy to live in a country that gives honor to those who deserve it for all that they do. Happy Veteran’s Day! 

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For the previous holiday post go to Horrorfest

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men

For another Persuasion post, go to A Letter of Love

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas

For another Emma related post, go to I’m No Warrior, I’m an Assistant Pig-Keeper

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines