The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair) [Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery #4) by Carrie Bebris

So this is the fourth book in this Jane Austen mystery series. I have an…interesting relationship with this series. You know I love mysteries, so when I first came across this I was so excited! Jane Austen mysteries?!!!!!

Mystery, you say?

So I read the first book Pride and Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged) and loved it!

It was a fantastic mystery that left you wondering, was something supernatural going on? Or was Caroline Bingley’s new husband gaslighting her?

The next book, however, left me extremely disappointed.

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) right away told you it was going to be the supernatural taking all the suspense out of it. Also the Dashwood sisters were hardly in the book, which strongly disappointed me.

I then decided to take a break, and went on reading and reviewing other things.

After a break I decided to read the third book North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley) as I plan to review a mystery every month (to stay in theme for the year) and because it has Northanger Abbey in it. It was good, but it really didn’t have as much Northanger Abbey stuff in it as there should have been.

I want MORE Northanger Abbey!

I liked the book, but was disappointed that there was hardly any Mr. Tilney in it and zero Catherine Morland. Extremely disappointing, but the rest of the book was good.

Hmm…

So now on to this one. My excitement for this was also high as I was excited to see Mansfield Park in something as it literally gets no love.

So one thing that happened in this book that is very different from the others is that there is no supernatural elements in it at all. The first book had a woman possibly going crazy/being mind controlled, the second a mirror with the evil spirit of the Dashwood’s great-great grandfather who possesses his great-great-grandson. The third we had the benevolent spirit of Mr. Darcy’s mother aiding Elizabeth through her pregnancy. In this, there is nothing.

So we start the book off with a Elizabeth and Darcy staying with Roger Fitzwilliam, Colonel Fitzwilliam’s older brother and the earl (you know the one that inherited everything making it impossible to marry someone without money). Lady Catherine is there with Anne as well. So remember in the last book…maybe not…quick review. So Darcy and Elizabeth were in Bath to meet with this super special doctor, who was a total jerk.

This dude, ugh!

There they received a note to visit with Captain Tilney, Mr. Henry Tilney’s older brother to visit and got caught up in a robbery of a dead man. No, it really tuned out that the man they thought was Captain Tilney was actually pretending to b him as the real Captain Tilney died a day earlier. The only one who could help them was Lady Catherine, so she traveled with them to Pemberley leaving Anne in Bath, with her companion.

She’s free!

Back in present time, Elizabeth was feeding her daughter early one morning when she runs into Anne. Elizabeth’s surprised to see her up so early, but Anne tells her she wants time to herself and Elizabeth understands-its hard to go from the freedom of Bath to then be back with your controlling mother, Lady Catherine.

The next day at the ball Elizabeth manages to get Darcy to distract Lady Catherine so that Anne can dance. She dances with her cousin Col. Fitzwiliam, who has always liked her. OMG, what if they were to get together! That would be great! Look at me, matching up people like Emma.

They also meet a Mr. Crawford, one of the people who dances with Anne. We know Mr. Crawford.

Just in case you haven’t read or seen the film, in Mansfield Park Mr. Crawford is an immoral man raised by his uncle. His biggest hobby is to seduce women, he likes them falling in love with him.

He and his sister Mary go to visit their half-sister and intersect with the Bertram family at Mansfield Park. He starts to seduce Maria Bertram who is engaged, with no plan of follow through, but it hooks her. Later he starts to fall for Maria’s cousin Fanny, trying to woo her, but when he returns to London he runs off with her.

He’s a bad boy

Time has passed, so he is free from scandal-Just like the Count in Anna Karenina. It’s really not fair that he didn’t get something worse.

Mr. Crawford asks Anne to dance with him, but she refuses. Elizabeth tries to get her to take him up on his offer but she goes upstairs and to bed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Darcy has found out that Lady Catherine wants to have an engagement between Anne and Lord Sennex’s son, Neville (a horrible man with am extremely awful and abusive temper.)

That night they retire and Elizabeth finds a note from Anne, but decides to wait until morning to read it.

Oh no, that’s important-you should read it now!

The next day Lady Catherine starts an uproar when Anne is found missing. She doesn’t want Lord Sennex to know as she hopes that she can get her in time for Anne to marry his son. They search everywhere for her but cannot find her. Lady Catherine latches onto Anne’s letter to Elizabeth and in there it is revealed that she decided to follow Elizabeth’s advice and run off with Mr. Crawford.

Oops! She misconstrued Elizabeth encouraging her to dance with her encouraging her to run off and elope.

Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy run off to follow them hoping that they can reach them before they are wed at Gretna Greene. Oh, poor Darcy this is the third elopement he has tried to stop. Lady Catherine is furious beyond furious and blames Elizabeth 100%.

The two men follow and Colonel Fitzwilliam seems extra invested? OhMyGOONESS! Maybe he was in love with Anne but never did anything about it because he thought she was going to marry Darcy, and let’s face it Lady Catherin would never pick him even if he is a Fitzwilliam. Thinking back he did seem awfully eager to dance with her?! Hmmm…

Hmm…

They reach Gretna Greene and are too late, Anne is already Mrs. Crawford.

Darcy kind of starts to lecture her but she rips him a new one when she shares how she feels! Her whole life her mother has been telling everyone they would wed and chasing all suitors always and then he up and married some other girl and she is just growing older. Ouch, I feel bad. I had never thought about Anne’s predicament.

Darcy and the Colonel try to warn her that Mr. Crawford could be a gold digger but she tells him she has seen plenty of those and knows Crawford isn’t one. She is extremely upset that she has to marry the cruel Neville Sennex and saw this as the only way out. The men are resigned and start to take her home, but unfortunately the wheel of the carriage breaks Anne injures her leg, and their are stuck by Mansfield Park.

So will we see Fanny and Edmund and the whole gang?

No.

A few Mansfield Park characters have brief moments but they aren’t really even in the story. This was the problem I had with the other books. Why bother to bring in the other titles and stories if you aren’t going to use them?

I mean, you could set this anywhere else and just add new characters, like the Sennexs. But instead Bbris gets my hopes up making it sound like we will see all the gang and we don’t, and that really upsets me. Why do this? Just to get my hopes up?

So Lady Catherine is angry and wants to make sure that Anne’s inheritance will stay controlled by her and she sends for her lawyer and he, Lady Catherine, and Elizabeth all travel to Mansfield Park.

When all arrive they discover that Henry Crawford has a very bad reputation. They hear the whole story of how he ran off with Maria Bertram Rushworth and how he had proposed to Fanny Price Bertram.

Anne starts to regret her decision, especially after his other wife comes to town.

It turns out years ago he pretended he was just a sailor and got involved with this girl Meg and then left. He sent her money, but after a fire burned the farm and the death of her only family member she goes to find her husband, the only clue being a jewelry box that leads her right to Mansfield Park.

So now who is really married to Mr. Crawford? They call the magistrate who is of course Edmund Bertram speaking on behalf of his father and it is a real sticky wicket. Mr. Crawford married Meg first, but under a false name, but one he was well known so a good lawyer could say that it was legal. And then there is Anne who married him under his legal name. This sound like a Poldark or Mary Balogh novel.

To make things even worse Mr. Rushworth and his mother, along with Maria Bertram Rushworth and her Aunt Norris, all converge on Mansfield Park to speak to Henry and give him a piece of their minds-ALONG with Lord and Neville Sennex (who happens to be friends with Tom Bertram and stays over at Mansfield Park).

Elizabeth and Darcy remark that things would be a lot easier if he was dead…

So I’m sure you all saw what was coming next. He escaped on his horse and there is a search party out for him. They finally discover his dead body.

At first the Bertrams want to declare it a suicide but after Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam look it over they discover he was murdered.

So who did it? Was Anne angry that she may not be legally wed, but also that she has lost all standing in society? Was it Lady Catherine upset that first this man upset her plans and then that he embarrassed the de Bourg line? Could it be Mr. Bertram, Tom, or Edmund…wait not Edmund as he is a minister, Sir Bertram or Tom avenging the humiliation of their sister? Mr. Rushworth out to get revenge for Mr. Crawford sleeping with his wife!? His mother for embarrassing the Rushworths? Maria, angry that he remarried and is in society while she is doomed to be an outcast forever? Aunt Norris, furious that someone hurt her favorite girl? Meg, the first Crawford wife, furious that he lied and abandoned her? Colonel Fitzwilliam maybe trying to get rid of the competition? Lord Sennex or Neville for the embarrassment? Mr. Darcy…haha yeah right it isn’t him or Elizabeth.

We’ll never know.

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are on the case to figure out who and why and get themselves and their family out of this entanglement in order to return home.

But then it is discovered that Henry Crawford isn’t really dead. Well then, who was murdered? And if Mr. Crawford didn’t die was he the intended victim or the murderer?

Hmm…

To further complicate things it turns out that Mr. Crawford has some sort of amnesia and thinks he is a sailer named John married to Meg (the first wife and first wife connection).

It turns out that the person is after Henry Crawford as he is murdered, then Neville is killed, and Colonel Fitzwilliam declare his love for Anne- the Darcys need to find the truth before whoever it is is planning on striking again.

So the mystery was really good, and the double identity and then Crawford turning out not to be dead really threw me for a loop. I had to read to the end.

Tell ME!!!!!

The mystery and the characters were really enjoyable, my only compliant was that I wish it involved more of the Mansfield Park characters. I want to see Fanny, Tom, and William Price.

From Mansfield Park Opera

For more by Carrie Bebris, go to North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Hart of Dixie’s Jane Austen Scene

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

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Unmarriageable: Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan

For more Mansfield Park variations, go to Modesto Jane Con: Opera Modesto Presents Mansfield Park

For more mysteries, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

Miss Marple and Jane Austen: You Can See Human Nature From Anywhere in a Small Village

So today marks the birthday of a very important writer:

I first was introduced to Agatha Christie when my nana noticed me reading Sherlock Holmes. As she was a lover of mysteries herself, she gave me a few Agatha Christie novels and then that was it, I was an utter fangirl.

Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters. Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing, although, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot tend to always be smarter.

This year I have been honoring her and her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, turning 100-by reviewing a mystery every month. But as I was rereading The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems and it got me thinking about some similarities to Jane Austen.

What??

I know you are probably confused, but hear me out.

Mystery, you say?

So one of Agatha Christie’s detectives is Miss Marple. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster aunt, always watching and observing. People overlook her because of her age, her inexperience (she has lived in a small village), but she is extremely intelligent and has amazing powers of deductions.

When asked how she knows and can figure these things out, she always remarks it is because of her village life. She shares that being in the village she has learned a lot about human nature, and as people are alike all over there is always someone from “back home” that reminds her of others and the clue that reveals the ending-the solution.

In a lot of her books, not just Miss Marple, we see how the characters, their motives, their reasons for why they do what they do are relatable-often many characters you find yourself sympathetic. Agatha Christie knew how to write people so that you connect to them.

Reading that made me think of Jane Austen immediately. Here is a woman who spent a majority of her life in a small village, but yet with what most people would say are limited experiences and a lack of human knowledge-she was still able to write characters that are relatable to people all over the world, 200 years later.

I mean that is one thing I love about her books, how the stories and characters transcend Regency England so that the motifs, personalities, and points raised in her books are still relevant today. Who hasn’t meet a social climber like Caroline Bingley? A schemer like Lucy Steele?  Manipulators like Isabella and John Thorpe? Had a regret like Anne Elliot? Met a flirt like Henry Crawford? Known a person who wanted so badly to have a friend they did whatever someone asked of them like Harriet Smith? Haven’t we all been accused of being an ice queen like Elinor Dashwood? Let our heart rule our actions like Marianne Dashwood? Misjudged someone and actively disliked a person when they insulted you like Elizabeth Bennet? Had to make a choice whether to stick to what we believe in, even if it meant losing something you hold dear like Fanny Price? Disliked someone because they were better than you at some things like Emma Woodhouse? Let our imagination run away with us like Catherine Morland? Lost someone we love like Anne Elliot?

I mean it is just so easy to connect to her work.

If you haven’t read Agatha Christie, I definitely recommend checking her works out, and of course:

For more Agatha Christie, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

For more Jane Austen, go to The History of England By a Partial Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian or is Jane Austen a Precursor to Drunk History?

For more comparison posts, go to You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?

For more mysteries, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

Hart of Dixie’s Jane Austen Scene

Have you ever seen Hart of Dixie? I started watching it a few years ago on Netflix after a friend recommended it. It’s funny but ever since I read Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, I can’t get it out of my head that Hart of Dixie has a similar vein of that book in it. In fact it has made me want to rewatch the TV Show, so I did.

In Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors Trisha Raje (Mr. Darcy) is a doctor and has a horrible bedside manner. She cares, but is too clipped in speech and the way she treats people-not good.

She meets D.J. a caterer, and treats him horribly-calls him the help, even when she proposes that they start dating she insults him multiple times.

D.J. (Elizabeth) has had a hard life and is tired of snobs and let’s her have it. But both grow from this and you’ll have to read the book or my review to get the whole scoop!

In Hart of Dixie, Dr. Zoe Hart is a similar character to Trisha. She wants to be a cardiovascular surgeon, but isn’t granted the fellowship she wants because she has a horrible bedside manner. She gets told to take a year off and be a GP and then come back after she’s practiced more than just doctoring. She is lost at what to do, but at her graduation she had been approached by a Harvey Wilkes in Bluebell Alabama to come work in his practice and she decides to take him up on his offer.

When Zoe reaches Alabama she is a regular fish out of water and to add to that it turns out that Harvey is not only dead, but he was not a random doctor-but her father.

Zoe decides to stay in town for the year and falls for engaged lawyer, George Tucker, while country boy Wade Kinsella makes a play for her. The way Zoe treats Wade is a lot like how Trisha treated DJ, but much worse. She sees Wade as lower than her, uneducated, a real country bumpkin as she is from New York City and he’s from a hamlet in the middle of nowhere. (Not completely unlike some of the interactions of the Bingley party from London reacts to being on Hertfordshire.)

The show has a whole range of crazy and kooky characters. All are so adorable and it is a great load of fun. Eventually Zoe learns to care and relax her demeanor (like Mr. Darcy) and Wade grows up and learns better how to relate and discuss how he feels.

How sweet!

So the show isn’t enough similar (like Gossip Girl), so this won’t be a comparison review. Instead I want to talk about the Jane Austen scene in season 4 episode 4 “The Very Good Bagel”.

So as the scene I want to talk about comes in season four, I’ll do a quick recap for any who haven’t watched this. The first season is a lot of will-they, won’t they (Zoe and George & Zoe and Wade)? And then Wade and Zoe do get together in the second season, but unlike Trisha Zoe treats Wade like crap. Re-watching it, she actually is one hundred percent is horrible to him until the last season (and even in there). Wade ends up cheating on her as he gets insecure how the bar-tending child of town drunk Crazy Earl can keep such a prize when everyone in town wants her to get with George Tucker. I’m not excusing cheating-but you can’t help but feel a little for him. After they break up Zoe leaves for New York City, but then returns with a new boyfriend-even though Wade apologized and told her he would wait for her.

They end up breaking up when Joel heads to Hollywood and after all the time Wade spent dating Zoe’s cousin she realizes she has feelings for him. She tries to win him back but he is not ready to get his heartbroken again, so Zoe seduces him and gets pregnant. Fast forward eight weeks and Zoe realizes she is pregnant [the actress was in real life] (not telling Wade) and Wade decides he is happy to risk it all and to show Zoe he is serious he came up with a plan, they would take things slow.

Meanwhile, George Tucker and Mayor Lavon Hayes are both in love with Lemon Breeland. When she returned from her singles’ cruise with a handsome, connected, and perfect doctor-they were crushed and angry. They started researching the guy and discovered he has another girlfriend, them leaking it to the local paper/blog The Blawker, so she would find out and dump him. It turns out Lemon knew about it and the two have been pretending to be together so each could inherit their grandmother’s money. Now Lemon is on the warpath to discover who leaked her secret and the guys will do anything to have her not find out the truth.

Including being in the local bed and bath’s owner Dash DeWitt’s special Pride and Prejudice weekend. Lavon Hayes is Mr. Darcy and George is to be Mr. Bingley, and they are to be the weekend escorts for the tourists, all senior citizens.

The guys are not into it at all, which is weird as I’ve seen them dress up lots of times as pirates, Renaissance Knights, Civil War reenactors, etc.

I mean for real!

I think Lavon can pull of the Mr. Darcy look, he just needs less modern hair.

George doesn’t pull the Regency clothes off as well-but it might be the outfit and his hair as well. Not everyone can look good in Regency clothes.

It is pretty funny how awful they are at this. It appears they know zero about Jane Austen or the Regency Era as they try to make conversation while dancing.

“Jane Austen Enthusiast: And, Mr. Darcy, how do you like Lady Elizabeth’s fine eyes?

Lavon Hayes: [As Mr. Darcy] Oh, uh, they-they are fine. They, uh…they shine like dimes. Or whatever change they have in England.”

“Jane Austen Enthisiast: The country is vast more pleasant than the city, is it not Mr. Bingley?

George Tucker: [As Mr. Bingley] Why, yes, it is lovely here in the…in the country.”

It is a short scene as they guys leave because Lemon is in trouble and they won’t let one go without the other. But if you like Jane Austen-it is cute and a silly scene. I really wish it was longer.

Oh, well.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Unmarriageable: Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan

For more Jane Austen film adaptions, go to Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Unmarriageable: Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

So at the library we added this book in June of last year, but as “new books” only have a 14 day checkout limit, I decided to wait. The reading isn’t the hard part as I can read fast, but I sometimes have trouble with the review part-you know life happens.

My life motto right there…

So I ended up checked the book out in October. But then I didn’t get around to reading it until April 2020 (returning and checking it out again) as life (and other books) got in the way.

This book takes place in 2000-2001 Pakistan and starts off with the Binat family. Bark Binat (Mr. Bennet) used to be a wealthy man from a wealthy family, but when his father became ill he relied heaily on Binat’s brother Goga and wife Tinkle. Goga was more traditional, while Bark loved American culture. Bark also fell hard for Khushboo “Pinkie” Gardenaar. Tinkle hated the beautiful girl instantly, and that she would forevermore be compared to her sister-in-law (who is far prettier than her.) She continued to spread slander about her and them, even more after Pinkie gave birth to two gorgeous girls, Jena (Jane) and Alys (Elizabeth). The family was later completed with Lady (Lydia), Qitty (Kitty), and Mari (Mary).

Goga decided to diversify the accounts and start some shops up in Saudi Arabia. Bark didn’t really like it, but as a dutiful brother he wet out there. Life was good but dangerous at times. If anything were to happen, they would always side with Saudis, even if they were in the wrong. After being rear-ended by a Saudi Prince and managing to just get a fine and broken arm he returned to Lahore, Pakistan but discovered his father dead, that his brother stole all the money, and lies and rumors abounding that Bark lost it all in bad investments.

Alys encouraged him to get a lawyer, but he said nothing could be done (having been bribed by Goga)-so the once mighty Binat family has fallen, is continuously gossiped about, and having to figure out what to do next.

The two eldest girls-Jena and Ayls started working at the British School of Dilipabad. It has been 10 years since their return and fall from grace.

Ayls is seen as a rebel to the other girls, teachers, and friends. She constantly encourages her students and sisters to go against the status quo of tradition and be who they want to be. Jena is more traditional, Mary is extremely religious, Lady wants to be famous and rich-and Qitty is still trying to find her place often fighting with Lady.

Life probably would have stayed the same except they received an invitation that changes everything-yes the Binats have been cordially invited to the NadirFiede wedding and Pinkie was pleased as punch that her girls would have an opportunity to trap a husband.

With them attending the mehndi, nikah, and walima ceremonies (two in Dilipad and one in Lahore) they should have ample time to hook a man.

My girls better be the hunters.

At the wedding the family has fun, some people-Lady-having more than others and meet the Binglia clan (Bingley)-“Hammy” Binglia (Caroline), Sumeria “Sammy” Binglia Riyasat (Mrs. Hurst), Sultan “Jaans” Riyaset (Mr. Hurst), and Fahad “Bungles” Binglia (Mr. Bingley). The women hate being in D-Pad, their name for Dilliapad, but Bungles enjoys especially after he meets Jena, only having eyes for her.

They also meet Valntine Darsee (Mr. Darcy)-the guy who happens to own the school that Alyss and Jena work at. He cold, standoffish, grumpy, and jetlagged.

Things get worse as they all sit to eat and Pinkie, Lady Qitty, Mari make fools of themselves and the Binat family. Hammie, Sammie, and Darsee are not pleased. Later that evening Ayls hears Bungles and Darsee talking about Jena. Bungles is crazy about her, and mentions Ayls but Darsee thinks she is just a country bumpkin.

However, the next day/event he hears her talking to a former student about her thesis and starts to view her in a new light.

Bungles invites Jena to a polo match and they all go to Lahore. The driver drops Jena at the match, while Ayls takes a walk in the park, getting sweaty. She goes to the car to return home but it is missing-and it is 2000 so no cellphone! She returns to the polo clubhouse to use a phone and discovers that Jena hurt her ankle when stomping the divots.

They take Jena to the doctors but Hammy and Sammy talk bad about her saying she is faking it to trick Bungles.

Jena is injured by a slight sprain. And Bungles pays for the whole thing, even an overnight stay. He wants to remain there but Ayls kicks him out as they need to protect Jena’s reputation. The rest of the Binat family drop by and thoroughly embarrasses Jena and Ayls. Just…OUCH!

Later as they are waiting for the final party, Ayls goes to the lawyers regarding a land dispute. It is over ten years that it has been going on, and as her father doesn’t trust any lawyers after what happened with Goga-Ayls takes care of all the money matters for him. At the lawyers’ Ayls meets Jeorgeullah Wickaam.

Ayls is charmed by him, although I don’t know why. He is flib and has nothing in common with her. I mean he hates reading-and she loves books.

Guys who don’t are not.

Wickham takes her to see the land in dispute and then out to see the changing of the guard at Wagah-Attari. There they run into Darsee and Wickaam reveals he and Darsee are cousins but don’t get along.

Wickaam shares that his parents died when he was young, alongside Darcy’s father. He moved in with him and his aunt and it was good except that Darsee was a jerk to him and Darsee’s little sister. After Darsee’s mother remarried they moved to Thailand and Wickaam went to stay with other relatives. After Darsee’s mother died, Wickaam was written out of the will by Darsee and lost everything. Of course with her past-something Wickaam knows ALL ABOUT being their lawyer after all-Ayls believes him and hates Darsee.

Alys hates Darsee

Alys of course shares with Jena, but Jena is very against it. Because of their past she knows that relatives can say whatever they want, but it isn’t necessarily the truth. Plus Jena doesn’t think Darsee is that type of person or that Bungles wouldn’t be friends with him.

Hmmm…

Christmas comes and the Binat family visit Nasir and Nona Gardenaar. At the party their cousin, Farhet Kaleen, comes visiting, a physiatrist-a healer of the pain management. He moved to Pakistan as his wife died and he is looking for a replacement.

Kaleen wants Jena, but Pinkie insists she will be engaged soon and instead directs him toward Ayls.

Pinkie claims Alys is traditional, meek, religious, etc-even though like what was she thinking. Why didn’t she try to get him with Mari?

They go to the final wedding party and run into Darsee who gives Ayls the book they talked about when Jena was in the hospital.

He’s so romantic!

After the wedding  no proposal comes for Jena, Kaleen proposes to Ayls who rejects him and ends up marrying Ayls’ best friend Sherry Looclus (Charlotte Lucas). Jena gets depressed and goes to stay with their family in Lahore. Wickaam hitches his rising star to another lady, with a larger bank account. Will the Binat fortune ever chage? It looks like things will stay the same-but will a visit to Sherry present Ayls with an opportunity to see Darsee in another way?

I actually read this book back in April but had a hard time writing this review. Everyone I follow on instagram, facebook, twitter, etc-loves this book. However, reading it right after Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, I didn’t have such a strong love for it. I didn’t hate it, I really enjoyed it except for one thing-one crucial thing.

Hmmm…

So I’ll start with what I didn’t like and then end with everything I did like. I just couldn’t stand the character of Alys.

I know, she is supposed to be Elizabeth, but I just found her to be annoying at times. I felt she was just constantly insisting that her way is the only right way. I like that she encourages people, espechially her students, but what I didn’t like was when she encourages those that she knows she shouldn’t. Her little sister, Lady (Lydia) wants to be a model and her father says no and even though  Alys knows that it is a bad idea, she even says it later in the book, she argues for her sister pursuing her dream because “all women have a right to be whatever they want to be”. The sentiment and Alys’ heart is in the right place but Alys knows (better than her father) that her sister lacks the maturity and guidance to navigate the modeling world. Lady’s lack of temperance, youth, inexperience, and “do whatever is fun” mentality would get her in a lot of trouble. Proof of that is shown when they go to the fashion party and she’s there for only a few seconds before everything goes downhill.

Alys also spent a majority of the book against marriage, to which everyone is allowed to their own opinion, I see nothing wrong with that. But for someone who constantly shares and encourages women to be whatever they want to be and accomplish their dreams, but then is very unaccepting of the dream of being a housewife and mother-that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I mean for some people that’s all they really want to be and there is nothing wrong with them choosing that.

The other thing that I didn’t care for was that Ayls throughout the book constantly states everything women can do and achieve without getting married and without a man-but then Alyss and Jena do none of those things until they are married (let alone married to wealthy men). It felt like mixed messages to me.

I liked all the other characters in the book, along with really enojying the storyline. I think this and Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors really show how universal the themes of Jane Austen are. And how a lot of Regency standards continue to plague some cultures. I mean as a Latina woman I felt “the ‘need’ to be married” and on my Italian side saw how unmarried, childless women were viewed. I have friends of Indian and Japanese descent and they have shared they feel the same.

I think Kamal also made it clear the class systems in Pride and Prejudice better than a lot of people do. I mean living in 21st century USA (me) you don’t quite understand how unusual it was that someone from an old established family, Mr. Darcy, would be best friends with Charles Bingleys (new money).  And reading this book, it really brings the understanding why Caroline was trying so so hard to harpoon Mr. Darcy. Handsome, rich, and the social class they need? He would be a major coup. It also makes it clear why she and her sister were so anti-Jane Bennet and wanted Mr. Bingley with Georgiana. After all the work they have done in social climbing, they didn’t want the Bennet family messing up their plans.

My favorite though had to be Sherry Looclus (Charlotte Lucas,). I thought she was extremely well done. I think Kamal not only understood the character of Charlotte perfectly but understand how to present her in modern culture for readers to really understand her plight. I also thought it was fascinating all she goes through to get married, all the little ceremonies she has to conduct to “interview” as a potential new member of their family.

Please pick me.

I always felt for Charlotte, but never really focused on her as the other characters kind of overshadowed her. In this I was rooting for Charlotte/Sherry and I wanted her to have joy and happiness, in any way possible. The first guy she is engaged to goes to Germany and marries a German woman, the next one dies (he had a liver condition he didn’t disclose), she’s infertile, and now any guy her parents pick she has to go through a series of steps to try and have someone deem her worthy. And she still continues on, poor Sherry.

After she married, I turned the pages and read quickly to see if things went well as I just felt for Sherry and I wanted her to happy.

Tell ME!!!!!

I also love how the principal who has treated Sherry like dirt this whole time, totally changes her tune when she finds out that she is engaged to Kaleen, the school’s owner being his benefactor (Begum Beena da Bagh). Now the principal has to treat Sherry like a princess.

In fact Sherry was the crown jewel in this book. I loved her character!

The Bingleys/Binglas were perfection. I love how Kamal created them. Humeria “Hammy” Binglia (Caroline) and Sumeria “Sammy” Binglia Riyasat (Mrs. Hurst) were just perfect as women of new money trying to raise themselves in society and not always doing the right social cues. They want to speak to people of worth and confuse Sherry Looclus with Sherry Pupels, the politicians wife. Oops!

That’s embarressing.

And Sultan “Jaans” Riyaset (Mr. Hurst) was just perfectly awful. He is fleshed out more here than the just the food-loving man in P&P, and it really showcases how the Bingleys/Binglas are on the search for titles, old classy names, etc-not personality.

Ugh, this guy.

I also liked the depiction of Anne. If I was going to rewrite it, I personally like the version of Anne pretending to be sick so she doesn’t have to be this perfect woman her mother is always bragging about. But in this she was a famous model who fell to a mysterious illness and even though that stopped some of her plans and ambitions she was going to persevere and not be silenced. I really liked that and thought it was a great addition.

You can also clearly see that Soniah Kamal loves literature and I really enjoyed the scenes when Ayls and Darsee discuss the different books they love.

So I didn’t hate the book, in fact this is the best depiction of Charlotte Lucas I have ever seen-but as Ayls wasn’t my favorite depiction of Elizabeth I didn’t absolutely love it. I definitely think Austen fans should check it out-I’m not kidding when I think this is a fantastic depiction of Charlotte Lucas.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to At Legend’s End

For more depictions of Charlotte Lucas, go to The Colonel

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Sense and Sensibility (1995)

For more Jane Austen book adaptions, go to Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

So I was on instagram, like always these days, and someone shared in their stories that Streaming Musicals was going to do a free live streaming film premiere of the new production of Pride and Prejudice: A New Musical. 

Or watch it!

I had seen it shared on facebook, I even shared it myself, but hadn’t really decided if I was going to watch it or not. However, after seeing everyone sharing about how much they enjoyed the virtual tea conference that occurred the day before, and that I couldn’t go to as I’m still going into work, I was like I’m not missing out again-I’m watching it.

I love musicals, in fact I studied drama in high school and attended a college prep/art school.

My senior project for my drama class was we had to find a musical, budget it, design costumes, set, etc-and create a look book with our findings. I of course being a Jane Austen fan actually chose a Pride and Prejudice musical, although that one was called, First ImpressionsSo not only did I want to see this because I love Jane Austen, but I was excited to see how this compared to the 1959 musical.

Hmmm…

So at 7 o’clock PST I got my pot of tea, computer, notebook, and sat down to watch.

The actual production was performed and filmed at Palo Alto’s TheatreWorks in Silicon Valley, where it ran December 4-January 4. Book, music, and lyrics were written by Paul Gordon, and of course Jane Austen.

It was really interesting watching it this way. I know I appreciated it as I may live in California but that does’t mean I have the time or money to see it live, so even though COVID-19 is a serious downer, I’m thankful it gave someone like me this chance to be a part and view this musical.

Hosts:

Before the production started we were hosted by three ladies, who unfortunately I only have two names, Beth Leavel and Julie James. They gave a little preshow talk, but I didn’t think it was as well done as Hillari DeSchane’s talk before the Mansfield Park Opera. I guess they thought that most people would already know the story, but I still think it would have been wise to have a quick summary of the book, the time period, and place for anyone who didn’t.

Hmm…

One lady described the summary of Pride and Prejudice as being a boy is rude to a girl, tries to ask her out and she refuses, but then she finds out he is rich and wants to be with him.

What are you talking about?

That really bothered me as it is 100% inaccurate. They knew from the beginning he was rich, richer than Mr. Bingley in fact, and it wasn’t seeing the house that changed her mind so much as seeing how he acted at Pemberley and how the servants praised him.

But they did have very high energy though, and when they returned at intermission they hosted the question and answer session better.

Quick Summary:

The story is really about a mother who wants to marry her five daughters as she constantly worries that her husband will die and leave her and her daughters with little to live on (her husband’s estate is entailed and neither person was very good at saving). She tries to match them up with any eligible men whether or not they want it.

 Netherfield Park is let and with it comes single and wealthy Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. Mr. Bingley falls for the eldest daughter, Jane Bennet, and she falls for him. No ones tries to win Mr. Darcy as though he is rich, he is very proud looking. Elizabeth overhears him make a unflattering remark about her and she is extremely angry.

Her sister goes to visit Mr. Bingley’s sister, Miss Caroline Bingley, and grows ill after being caught out in the rain. Elizabeth goes to stay and take care of her sister, also spending time with the Bingleys and Mr. Darcy.

Later, Elizabeth meets a man, Mr. Wickham, who says he grew up with Mr. Darcy and shares how Darcy kept his inheritance, forcing Wickham to join the military instead of the church. Elizabeth is pleased to have another reason to dislike Darcy, besides her wounded pride, and Wickham spreads the story throughout the community.

Mr. Bennet’s cousin Mr. Collins, who will inherit their home, comes to visit and plans to ask one of the Bennet girls to marry him. Mr. Bingley holds a ball, and Elizabeth hopes to dance with Mr. Wickham, but he doesn’t come and she ends up dancing with Mr. Darcy. Her siblings also are very embarrassing and her mother.

So embarrassed

Mr. Collins asks Elizabeth to marry him, and she refuses him. He becomes hurt and angry and instead marries her best friend Charlotte Lucas. Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley leave with no engagement to Jane. Later Elizabeth visits Charlotte and meets Mr. Darcy’s aunt and Mr. Collins patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. There she discovers from Mr. Darcy’s cousin that Darcy was the one who convinced Bingley not to ask Jane to marry him. Mr. Darcy asks Elizabeth to marry him, which surprises her and she refuses him.

Later Mr. Darcy gives Elizabeth a letter in which he shares why he encouraged his friend to refuse Jane and the true story of what happened with Mr. Wickham, that he spent his inheritance and when Darcy refused to give him more, Wickham goes after his fifteen year old sister. She knows this is true as what he shares is something no one would want to ever come to light. But after reading the letter, Elizabeth is even more confused. How could she be such a bad judge of character? She and her aunt and uncle Gardiner take a walking tour and stop at Pemberley, where they are surprised by Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth sees another side of him.

But then her younger sister, Lydia, makes a disastrous mistake by running off with Mr. Wickham. Will this destroy her family? Will this end her chance with Mr. Darcy?

Costumes:

The one costume I didn’t like was Elizabeth’s outfit.

From left to right: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Mr. Collins, Kitty, and Lydia.

So I really like the 1800s, especially the West, and one thing I read years ago that has never left my mind is that one way to tell if a Western film is accurate or not is whether or not the cowboys wear suspenders or belts. Belt loops were not created until the 1920s (for men and women), cowboys/cowpokes copyed the Chilean huaso of wearing sashes or suspenders. Some people wore belts, like soldiers, but they were often more ornamental and overlaid outfits not sitting in belt loops. So all I could do was look at this skirt and see those belt loops which were completely inaccurate to the time period. It probably was just an oversight by the costume designer, and I don’t know if anyone else noticed it, but I didn’t like it.

Although I do like the way they did her quick changes. Elizabeth is in every scene and wears the same outfit throughout the whole first act, but with other scenes adds a ribbon at her waist, a vest, and a jacket. I liked this as I had the same idea when I did my project although I did not care for the vest the put her in as it did not match.

Elizabeth Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy, Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins, Mr. Bingley, and Charlotte Lucas.

But I love what she wears in the second act. That dress was so cute!

I lovd Mr. Darcy’s costumes, but you know me:

This should say breeches instead of pants, but I didn’t write this so it gets a pass. It was an instagram answer from a question I asked my followers.

But enough about that, let’s move on to the musical.

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Act I

The style of music reminded me a lot of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s choice with Jesus Christ Super Star. In that production we have an ancient text juxtaposed with rock songs, while in this we have a regency story paired with pop. I really enjoyed it and the music as I think they captured the heart of the novel and were extremely enjoyable. Many of them I could see purchasing and downloading and listening to over and over again.

So I wish I had a book to go off, but I don’t so I don’t know what every song is called. But we start off the musical with Elizabeth Bennet (Mary Mattison) quoting the first line of Pride and Prejudice:

Then she and Charlotte Lucas then sing about “happiness in marriage.” In this Elizabeth isn’t looking for a man, in fact she has a strong leave me alone vibe, while Charlotte (played by Dani Marcus) was spot on in counseling her. I felt Marcus completely captured the character of Charlotte Lucas.

I really enjoyed Mattison’s singing and I think she did a wonderful job with the character of Elizabeth, although Gordon did make a few changes to Elizabeth. As said above, Elizabeth doesn’t want to get married and she doesn’t want a man (which isn’t what happens in the book as in the novel she isn’t against marriage, but just isn’t throwing herself at men nor is she interested in Mr. Collins.) In fact this sentiment is more similar to Emma Woodhouse..

At first I was a little upset at the change, but as I continued watching the musical I think it served well to enforce Elizabeth’s headstrong and stubborn side. Elizabeth believes what she wants and won’t listen to others, like Charlotte. Having her be so staunch in her beliefs mimics the way she acts about Darcy, believing Mr. Wickham and never considering there could be another side to the story, or thinking about the fact she believes this man with no proof. My interpretation of this was that one should be film in their beliefs, but at the same time not let their headstrong or stubborn ways blind them. In the end Elizabeth acknowledges that it is not a truth universally acknowledged that a man with fortune is in want of a wife or that every woman wants to marry, but to keep your heart open.

Elizabeth is also the narrator of the musical, and introduces her family-her father Mr. Bennet, mother Mrs. Bennet, and four sisters-Jane, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia. I also enjoyed the tizzy Mrs. Bennet is constantly in as she worries over their future and felt that Heather Orth truly captured the character-and Gordon was perfect in the lines he gave her.

“Mrs. Bennet: None of my five daughters will be old maids if I can help it…even you Mary.

I also enjoyed Tara Kostmayer’s portrayal of Lydia as silly, flirty, and needing to be the center of attention. And Gordon summed up her character very nicely in this:

“Elizabeth Bennet: Lydia is just 15.

Jane Bennet: Going on 25.

Mr. Bennet: In all but wisdom.”

I also loved Melissa Wolfklain as Mary Bennet. She was just so droll and perfect.

Elizabeth sings a song about being headstrong that I enjoyed, but the whole time I kept thinking of Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong GirlIf you need something new to read you should definitely check it out.

So after being introduced to the Bennet family we have the ball where we meet Mr. Bingley (Travis Leland), Miss Caroline Bingley (Monique Hafen Adams), and Mr. Darcy (Justin Mortelliti). I really liked the way Gordon and the actors interpreted these characters. Mr. Bingley is extremely tongue-tied and often has trouble relaying how he feels relying heavily on Darcy. This worked well to show why Darcy feels the need to protect his sweet, friend (treating him very similar to how he treats Georgiana) and why Bingley so heavily values on Darcy’s judgement over his own.

Bingley and Jane sing a song about their love and it is so cute. They both sing about how they like each other and want to tell each other, but when they try to talk they are too tongue tied and say hardly anything. It was absolutely adorable and both Leland as Bingley and Sharon Rietkerk as Jane Bennet were just perfect. I think this song really captured what Austen wrote:

“…in spite of his [Mr. Bingley] being a lover, Elizabeth really believed all his expectations of felicity to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the excellent understanding, and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste between her [Jane] and himself [Mr. Bingly].”

-Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 55

Adams as Caroline was also perfect as she was just the right amount of mean and snobby-she made the friendliest words sound like a slap in the face. Leland and Adams worked well off each other as Mr. and Miss Bingley. They were like two sides of the same coin-he geniality, kindness, optimism, glee; she rude, snobby, sarcastic, and cold.

“Mr. Bingley: I’m enjoying myself immensely.

Caroline Bingley: Yes brother, but that’s why you have me.”

But out of all the characters, my favorite was Mortelliti as Mr. Darcy.

Mr. Bingley, Mr. Darcy, and Miss Bingley.

One thing I really, really enjoyed about this musical was while it is narrated and told from Elizabeth, every song that Mr. Darcy has gives us a view into who he is. I think this worked for this medium as a musical and stage production you aren’t given the time and subtly a movie has as you can’t concentrate on something small, but have to make sure that no matter the seats they can witness what is happening. With having the songs show Darcy’s point of view and feelings alongside Elizabeth’s it works in with the themes of first impressions/pride and prejudice, and gives it a kind of his story/her story dynamic.

I really enjoyed this interpretation because even though we see how Darcy feels about Elizabeth throughout, it doesn’t take away from what Austen wrote and the realizations they have after the proposal and his letter (Darcy seeing how he presents himself and that he’s not right about everything [Jane + Bingley], and his decision to change; nor does it take away from Elizabeth realizing that she is not right about everything [Wickham + Darcy] and that she was judgmental because she was wounded, she changing as well.) Having Darcy’s songs just allows us see the two character’s journeys from the beginning. The title of the musical is a “new” musical so it seems fitting for Gordon to try a different interpretation.

Mr. Darcy’s first song is about being separated from the others, about keeping away from these people and to not fall for anyone. It is really interesting as the words are juxtapositioned with a soft melody, one that could easily be a love song. I personally believe that when Mr. Darcy made that comment about Elizabeth being not tolerable enough for him it was more trying to get Bingley to leave him alone as he didn’t want to dance or be there. Then later when she visits her sister, he pays attention to her and likes her-not realizing she heard his earlier comment. But this particular song and the music almost sounds to me as if Gordon is saying he did see her and is trying to convince himself to stay away, the melody being a seed of romance, the not tolerable being him trying to convince himself to not like. It is an interesting point and feel free to comment below what you think.

After Jane visits and grows ill, Elizabeth comes to stay and help. One of the best scenes was the accomplished woman and the turn about the room scene. In this Mortelliti did some brooding, but when he mentions their reasons for walking about he says it more flirtatious. We then have Caroline trying to bully Elizabeth and have Darcy find her boring. After Darcy shares his idea of an accomplished lady he says this while looking right at Elizabeth:

“All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

It is hilarious how Elizabeth drops the book like it is on fire and immediately takes it as a negative.

And of course spending this time with Elizabeth Darcy has fallen for her. He sings a song about it and I loved when he belted out how much he was in love with her. I also really loved this line:

“Oh dear God…must I like her eyes. Oh, I’m in so much trouble.

I like your eyes and d***it,  it’s alarming.”

I thought this perfectly captured how much he didn’t want to like her, it was the foundation of his future proposal, and I just all around enjoyed this song, best song so far.

Mr. Collins is introduced and Brian Herndon was fantastically pompous. He just was just so ugh-there aren’t any other words to describe him. And in my book if you don’t feel ugh when you see a portrayal of Mr. Collins than they are not doing it right. His song is just so awfully perfect as he sings about the sisters being this abundance of riches, Mary and Kitty’s face express exactly how I felt listening to it.

From left to right: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Mr. Collins, Kitty, and Lydia.

This song and the acting was great, but the person who stole the stage in it again was Melissa Wolfklain as Mary Bennet. There is a part where they sing Mary should be the one and her face is like Lord please, no anything but that-I’ll join a convent, I’ll go help lepers, just please no Mr. Collins. And later she uses a book to try and shield herself from his view.

Later the girls are out and run into Lydia and Kitty’s friends, Captain Denny (Sean Fenton) and a new face Mr. Wickham (Taylor Crousore). Everyone is pleased to run into the handsome and genial men…except Mary. In her droll and moralizing tone she states:

“Mary Bennet: I find war to be very upsetting.”

Melissa Wolfklain seriously just killed it as Mary Bennet. She was hilarious and perfect.

Mr. Darcy comes upon them and I love the staging of him and Wickham. Both on opposite sides and staring each other down like two gunslingers. With Bingley in the middle.

Mr. Bingley tries to flirt with Jane and instead it comes out horribley

“Mr. Bingley: Good afternoon Miss Bennet. You look…thirsty.

Jane Bennet: [Confused but really likes Mr. Bingley]…I am thirsty.”

They end up leaving Mr. Wickham and Elizabeth together and Mr. Wckham shares about Mr. Darcy being cruel to him. I liked Crousore’s and Gordon’s interpretation and how Wickham tests the waters with Elizabeth, feeling out what Elizabeth thinks of Darcy, and after hearing she can’t stand him then promptly upends his sob story. He sings a ballad about how he’d been wronged, (with the perfect level of pretend humbleness and smaryness) and his heartbreak to know being forced to live the life of a soldier instead of a clergyman. I really liked this line:

“I speak my truth to you”

Key word there my, my truth as in I’m lying.

The ball at Netherfield comes and Elizabeth is disappointed to be dancing with Darcy rather than Wickham. I really enjoyed the interaction between the two as Darcy is trying so, so, so, so, hard to flirt with her but everything he says Elizabeth takes as an insult. It was hilarious as he not overt in his attentions, but you can tell he is trying to compliment her but each time Elizabeth assumes he is making fun of her.

Again I really enjoy how much time we spend with Darcy and him sharing how he feels. It works really well in this format and makes a stronger show. Plus I like that they are trying to distinguish it from other adaptions, along with keeping pieces that people love from the previous ones.

After the ball Mr. Collins tries to propose to Elizabeth and when she hears he wants to have a private word with her I love how she immediately picks up a cup of tea. She’s all-I need tea if I’m gonna get through this.

The two sing a song with Mr.Collins going on about his proposal completely ignoring Elizabeth’s refusals. She rebuttals with the perfect blend of anger and good manners, and I like her final shove at the end that helps her words get through his head.

After that Mr. Collins marries Charlotte and the  Bingleys & Darcy leave Netherfield.  Elizabeth tries to comfort Jane, but Jane insists that that Mr. Bingley was just an acquaintance and she is fine.  Jane’s song is the perfect mix of beatiful and sad as she tries to convince herself she doesn’t love him but isn’t fooling anyone as in every note we can feel the heartbreak. It was a fantastic performance.

We then find ourselves with the Collins, Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Bingley at Lady Catherine’s home. Now I know why they were there as I’ve read the book, but it was a bit weird they didn’t have an introduction as to who she was or why Elizabeth was visting. However, my thoughts didn’t rest on that long as Lucinda Hitchcock Cone was perfect as Lady Catherine as she was just relentless in grilling Elizabeth. I really enjoyed how Mortelilti as Darcy has a smirk the whole time, as if he was just enjoying watching Elizabeth hold her own against Lady Catherine. Mr. Bingley just looks uncomfortable and as if he wants to leave, but is afraid to as Lady Catherine might turn on him, just trying to blend into the furniture.

In this Colonel Fitzwilliam is not Darcy’s cousin but is introduced as his friend, why the change I don’t know.

Oh, well.

Lady Catherine sings her song and it is one of the most egotistical songs I have heard, like levels of Ratigan’s song in The Great Mouse Detective or Gaston’s in Beauty and the Beast.

Elizabeth Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy, Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins, Mr. Bingley, and Charlotte Lucas.

I love how Elizabeth and Lady Catherine share that same stare of Death that Darcy and Wickham did earlier when they do a song battle:

And right in the middle of their “song battle” Mr. Darcy laughs and all pause and stare daggers at him.

I should not have laughed.

Later Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam are talking and he relays that Mr. Darcy is the reason Bingley left and didn’t propose to Jane. She is furious and sings a song about what kind of man could do this-but every trait and action she uses to describe Darcy perfectly applies to how she has been toward Darcy. This was very interesting as I’ve never thought of them as being the same, but in this production they are quite similar in their personality and the way they are perceived by others; except Elizabeth is a extrovert while Darcy an introvert.

Hmmm…

Darcy of course doesn’t hear her song and thinks it is the perfect time to propose, and again the comedic timing in this is just perfect. And while we are not surprised at Darcy’s feelings I love how both he and Elizabeth are

“Mr. Darcy: “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Elizabeth: [Completely shocked] You do?

Mr. Darcy: [Utterly baffled] I do?!

I could not stop laughing, that is comedic gold. Neither one can figure it out and he is so flabbergasted when proposing.Elizabeth of course objects and I love how he continues to be baffled and confused at her statements

Then Morteletti as Darcy sings and I loved this song. Morteletti gave it the perfect blend of anger, pain, and heartbreak. He runs the gamut of emotions. He has a great voice and every time he sings Miss Bennet you can just feel his heartache as he holds the note. Elizabeth is on the other side of the stage and sings as well, and you can feel their anguish. I know some people might find it as a cliche but I am a sucker for things like that.

End Act I

Intermission:

With intermission I put my kettle on the stove,

Got the snacks…and settled down to listen to the talk with the cast and Paul Gordon.

So they had a few questions for the cast and crew and it was really interesting to see them this way as you saw a view into their home.

Paul Gordon shared that he read Pride and Prejudice and watched many film adaptions before he wrote the musical. He said that instead of doing how he did with other Austen musicals, he decides to write the songs the way he felt, and that’s why they came out more pop-like.

One question to Taylor Crousore struck me as strange, as they asked him how it felt to play “Mr. Wickham, a very misunderstood character.”

Huh?

I don’t think Wickham is misunderstood, I think he is extremely clear in what he does and wants. Crousore, however, brought up an excellent point about the character. He shared how crucial Wickham is to the story, I mean he is the reason why Elizabeth’s dislike of Darcy is so high, but also the reason she realizes she was wrong about him, and in the end he brings them back together. Without him Elizabeth probably would have forgiven Darcy sooner and might not have refused him when he proposed-but then on the flip side without Wickhim, she and Darcy might not have gotten together. We will never know!

I didn’t take as much notes on intermission as I was getting the tea + snacks ready, and before I knew it, it was time for the second act.

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Act II

We start off with Darcy giving Elizabeth his letter, having had to write his feelings down as he wasn’t able to say it. Aw, poor Darcy.

I really enjoyed this scene as Elizabeth reads it angry and talking back to Darcy’s words, only to stop when she gets to why Darcy doesn’t like Wickham. It was done extremely well as Elizabeth is hurt and angry over what happened with her beloved sister Jane and Wickham, but then she softens when Darcy talks of his beloved sister.

Darcy’s song made me think of an ’80s power ballad, about his sister and the part when he belts out “she was fifteen”, you can really hear his heartbreak. Mortelliti was perfect in this as you could feel the love he had for his sister, the guilt he has for not protecting her better, and the anguish he shares over someone hurting his sister that he raised as a daughter (they are many years apart and his dad died when she was so young).

I’m crying!

I loved the duality of the song as Darcy sings softly, still in love with Elizabeth while Elizabeth is loud and harsh as she is angry-but then she softens when she reads of Darcy’s sister.

Elizabeth returns home and learns of Lydia’s plans of going off to Brighton. Jane has a song that she sings as they share each other’s news and their relationship is so adorable. I like how Elizabeth protects her sister, mimicking how Darcy protects his.

Before Lydia and the soldiers leave, Wickham and Denny stop by and say goodbye. I loved the exchange between Elizabth and Wickham as she lets him know she knows the truth and won’t take any of his charm. Wickham is so baffled as what to say or do, he ultimately just leaves. Hilarious!

Elizabeth is invited to go on a walking tour with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner and they end up at Pemberley, which gets its own song. I’m glad it does as it needed to and if it hadn’t I would be solely disappointed.

“Cast: Pemberley we love you tenderly.”

I’m so happy they said that this would be on the site forever. Then all of you who missed it can have another chance to watch, or rewatch it.

Elizabeth listens to the  servants talk about Darcy, and that combined with the letter leaves her puzzled as to who is Darcy. I really enjoyed this song, as I did with all of them and I encourage you to purchase them and sing while quarantined.

As Elizabeth sings Darcy coms up behind her, surprising her. It is such a cute scene I wish I had been fast enough to screenshot it.

Elizabeth is embarrassed to be there as they didn’t realize that he was coming home.

“Mr. Darcy: I find the intrusion rather agreeable.”

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhh!!!!!! He is so cute!

So while this Darcy isn’t as broody as other depictions, you still see a change in him as he realized how he was being seen by others and becomes much more open. It is amazing what a difference in body language, and looking back there were sublte difference throughout the musical in every scene with him. They are so cute together, *Swoon*. 

How sweet!

He introduces Elizabeth to his sister Georgiana, and it is so adorable.

“Georgiana Darcy: It is a pleasure to meet you. My brother speaks of you so often!

Elizabeth Darcy: [Surprised] Does he?

Mr. Darcy [Definitely] He does!”

AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!! So cute!

How sweet!

Miss Bingley is back and snobby and sarcastic as ever. Monique Hafen Adams, you are perfect at it. Mr. Bingley is there as well and it is so obvious he is trying to grill her about any news of Jane.

Darcy was just so perfect- I gushed so much while I was watching this scene that I accidentally wrote over what I wrote and I now cannot decipher it, except that Justin Mortelliti and Paul Gordon did this perfectly and I think Jane Austen would be proud.

Elizabeth receives Jane’s letter about Lydia and then Darcy finds out he is angry. I liked the way Mortelliti portrayed it and how you can see how upset he is and the guilt he feels-taking on the blame that another 15 year old and another family has to go through this. He quickly leaves, running off to find them.

But Elizabeth misunderstands it, thinking that it is directed at her, that he is ashamed and it is so sad as she has lost him. She has finally admitted it and realizes she does care for him and wants to be with him. It is a powerful song!

Back at home it is a mess. Mary tries to be helpful, but her moralizing is horrid and anything but soothing. Mrs. Bennet is going to pieces and if they had a play with just the two of them I would love it. They would be a screwball comedy team for sure.

Mr. Bennet returns:

“Mrs. Bennet: You look miserable.

Kitty: Papa always looks miserable.”

So usually in this scene Mr. Bennet threatens Kitty with no trips, no going out, being grounded until 50 years of age, etc. But instead of Chanel Tilghman playing Kitty as whining and throwing a tantrum at how unfair it is-Tilghman just looks at her father and laughs it off. I really loved that as Mr. Bennet is so curmudgeonly throughout the play that I could see her not taking him serious, much better than her wailing.

Lydia returns with Wickham and he tells everyone about how wonderful and happy he is to be married. Wow, Crousore is a talented actor, I almost believed him. He is so smarmy and slimy I just want to punch him in the face, perfect! In my book you are not a good Wickham unless you make me want to sock you.

Lydia let’s it slip that Darcy was at the wedding, and Elizabeth is further puzzled. Who is Darcy? She was so sure who she knew his character, but now she does not know. She muses over what Lydia said…

“Elizabeth Bennet: [Singing] And he didn’t want it known…”

You know, that speaks really well of a person’s character when they do something extremely kind and don’t want it known. Darcy didn’t want to do this for Lydia he wanted to do it for Elizabeth and he never wanted her to know, he never wanted her to think he was trying to bribe her affections, or buy them back.

“Elizabeth Bennet: Is it too late to tell you…”

Aw, so heartbreakingly sad. So perfect!

Bingley returns and all pretend they don’t care but the do. I can see pieces of the other films in this, such as the hustle and bustle they have when Bingley is coming is like Pride and Prejudice (2005).

Mr. Bingley is so shy and tongue twisted, you once again see why Mr. Darcy wants to help him and protect him. He sings about how much he loves Jane and it is just so gosh darn adorable. Now if only you could just tell her that.

He and Darcy leave, but then Bingley gets his strength back and returns.

“Jane Bennet: Wonderful to see you again and so soon…after your last visit.”

Aw, they are so cute!!!

Come on Bingley!!! Just say it already!

And then he does! He finally sings all his feelings!! Yay! Aw, so cute!!!

After that happiness we have the horror. The carriage is coming…DUN, DUN, DUN! Lady Catherine!

She and Elizabeth have another song battle and every word that comes out of Lady Catherine is dripping with disdain. Elizabeth’s song is a verbal beatdown of Lady C. and it was perfect.

The interaction after this of Darcy and Elizabeth is one of my favorites, Darcy is practicing what to say to Elizabeth, and it is soooooo cute. It is the scene I have always wanted and ever realized it.

When he and Elizabeth have a chance to talk and he hears that her feelings have changed, oh the hope in his voice. I love it!!! My favorite part is they are seprated by a stream and Darcy moves to her…

But then he waits, letting Elizabeth make the final step-everything is in her court, he doesn’t want to push her, he doesn’t want to influence her, he wants her to decide based on her heart and feelings. And when she moves in they kiss! So cute and their song! So adorable! So romantic. He waits for her to take the “leap” to him ad then after they cross over together.

Soooo cute!!!!

And they take the leap over the stream together! Awwwwwwww! It was so adorable and gosh darn romantic and aw! Aw! I LOVE IT!

At the end we have a review of the couples as as it ends I’m sad it is over.

So I just LOVED it! I thought it was amazing and cute and adorable! The music was fantastic and I think you all should watch it if you haven’t, and if you have-it is definitely worth another rewatch. Go here to watch it.

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part II, Other Eras

For more Jane Austen stage productions, go to Modesto Jane Con: Opera Modesto Presents Mansfield Park

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part I, The Regency

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 10, On Your Marks

So I originally wanted to post my review of Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical, but I am still transcribing my notes and editing them. Instead I am posting on:

So it has been almost a year since I last reviewed one of these chapters from the Choices videogame. The problem was I was playing faster than I was reviewing and getting everything mixed up as what happened in each chapter.

So I resolved to not play another chapter until I finished reviewing what I already had played. Of course things came up and I got distracted by other things on my list to write/review/etc-so now I am getting to Chapter 1 of Book 1, while I think Pixelberry has already created book three or four of this videogame.

What am I going to do with all these?

Yes. Anyway, quick backstory since it has been so long. This game is storybook based where you have a story that progresses, but at times you make a choice what to do, say, who to fall in love with, etc. Some choices require you to spend diamonds to play, which you can earn every time you play a chapter or purchase from their store. Some “books” have different side quests, like i this one you want to become an accomplished woman and certain choices allow you to gain items.

 It’s really fun as you have the power as to what path the story takes.

This game is set in the Regency time period, and of course is catered toward Jane Austen fans. In this game you are the illegitimate daughter if the Earl of Edgewater, something you had discovered on your mother’s deathbed. You met your father and he accepts you and wants to make you his legal heir, as your half-brother passed away.

You have an evil stepmother and conniving stepbrother Mr. Marcastle, with a dim fiancé, Miss Sutton. They are all plotting against you.

And a lot has happened since the beginning of the book: you have held a garden party (which you rocked), you are currently having a London season, you go to Mr. Sinclaire’s house (a suitor I am all about)-who has a sad Rebeccaesque backstory and he gifts you a book, you visited the Opera St. James where your mother used to preform, went to see an Opera and were stuck with the Duke who is a handsy jerk, took a walk in the rain with Mr. Sinclaire, learned to paint, helped your friend refuse a gross geezer, and have just learned that your father has fallen ill.

Wow!

Whew! That’s a lot. Now onto the next chapter!

So we start off where the last chapter left off-you just received a letter that your father is ill.

That’s not good.

I want to go back home and be with him, but my grandmother won’t let me.

Please, oh please!

I have a really bad feeling about this, that this illness will end in…death.

In his letter he has chills, but thinks he will be over it soon. I however am not convinced, as I want to go home and care for him.

But my grandmother, the Dowager Countess, says I have to be here. Finding a wealthy man is my main duty if I want to protect my claim of heiress of Edgewater. She decides the next course of action would be to go to the races.

And they’re OFF!

My grandmother encourages me to purchase a dress in the house colors, as it will boost morale, and I wasn’t going to, but changed my mind as the dress is beautiful.

I get a ride in the carriage with Prince Hamid who thinks I look gorgeous. That’s one really nice thing about this game, almost every other character compliments you and thinks you are awesome.

How sweet!

He wants to take a walk through Hyde Park as the carriages are moving oh so slowly, but I have no extra diamonds, I just bought my dress, so I refuse and we wait in the carriage until traffic continues and we can go to the track.

Oh, well.

We get to the track and Briar (my former friend and now lady’s maid) runs over with Mr. Marcastle, my evil stepbrother who is plotting against me. Why Briar, why? He’s engaged and trying to get with Miss Holloway (a Miss Bingley-esque lady), and messing around with Briar. Come on Briar, you are smarter than that.

I thought you were my friend?

Mr. Westonly also arrives, the geezer that is trying to get with my best friend Miss Parsons. She is also attending the race, along with Mr. Chambers, and ugh Miss Holloway.

Briar and Mr. Marcastle are looking cozy, too cozy. I decide to break it up and bring up his fiancé’s name Miss Sutton.  They then step away from each other. Good, you two need to keep apart. I know that sounds mean, but Mr. arcastle is awful and plotting against me, and I need to do anything I can to protect my friend and her reputation. Plus, she’s my friend.

Later, the time has come for gambling. Miss Holloway bets on her horses, Bellington Hall-but I am not in fear. I know that Edgewater Estates has some of the finest horses. I’m betting on mine today!

The race is on-it starts off with Holloway’s horse in the lead and I’m biting my fingernails as they go down the track. I hope mine does well!

Please, oh please!

They keep going, and running and just at the end-the Edgewater horse pulls forward and wiiiiiiiiins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m excited, but before I can finish watching the races, the Duke comes and pulls me down next to him.

Ugh, not again…

Ugh. I hate him.

It was so awful!

If only he could just keep his hands to himself. And it is my fault as I’m “so alluring”. Ugh!

I HATE this character!

He won’t stop talking and I’m just so over it.

Like just leave me alone!!!!!

Mr. Sinclaire comes to my aid trying to block the Duke from accosting me, but the Duke won’t listen. He wants to do a race to see who will win me, really?, seriously?

Thankfully Mr. Sinclaire agrees with me, aw that’s why I like him. I hope I end up with him but as there have been three or four books, you know that means there will be lots of drama.

Wow!

Mr. Marcastle pipes up and the Duke goads him into racing him. I try to encourage him not to, but he won’t listen. Ugh, male pride.

Mr. Sinclaire doesn’t want him to race Duke Richards, as he knows nothing good will cone out of it . They race and Duke really gets in there good-making the turns fast and cutting him off. The Duke wins but Mr. Marcastle takes a tumble!

I may not like Mr. Marcastle, but I don’t want him dead! Briar and Miss Sutton rush out there to check on him. Mr. Sinclaire leaves, angry again at the Duke and how he plays with people and how Sinclaire has nothing he can do to stop him.

Mr. Marcastle is angry-and rude saying we are making a big deal out of nothing when he could have died. Oh Mr. Marcastle.

Th horse is wounded, but luckily it will heal with care. Mr. Harper, our horsemaster, invites me to the stable, but I can’t go check on the horses-I still have zero diamonds.

Oh, well.

That evening Miss Sutton tries to help Mr. Marcastle but he’s acting like a spoiled brat. Poor Miss Sutton. She deserves better.

Miss Sutton is worried the wedding might not happen as she hasn’t been as blind as I thought. I decide to try and gain her as an ally-turning her against Mr. Marcastle’s evil mother. Besides, I do feel for her. Poor girl, her fiancé is a jerk trying to get around with other women.

But while that is good news, there is bad news too. Grandmother has received a letter from father. It appears he has grown worse, he has fallen ill with yellow fever.

So I love history, and my time period is the 19th century, particularly America 1850-1900. For one of my college classes I wrote a whole paper on yellow fever during the Civil War. Yellow fever was horrible, in fact it did better against the Union troops than the Confederate soldiers. It is a thoroughly awful disease:

“Yellow Fever is an extremely lethal disease as it sweeps through the body, destroying it from the inside out in a short amount of time. Yellow Fever is named as such, because it interferes with the metabolic activities, especially the conversion of the yellow pigment in bile. Instead of the yellow pigment following its normal path, it circulates throughout the blood, turning the patient’s skin, eyes, and body fluids yellow[1]. The symptoms include chills, headaches, fever, backaches, leg pains, exhaustion, flushed face, light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. The fever disrupts the clotting of hepatic cells, which leads to internal bleeding, hemorrhaging, and deteriorating heart muscle.[2] At this point the system would purge itself of the deconstructed internal mass in the form of black vomit. When black vomit occurred, the doctors knew that the patient was not long for this earth. As Nurse Mary Phinney described it in her correspondence; “Till you are with it you can have no idea of this dreadful fever; nothing else approaches it…No one expects to live, and when the black vomit comes that look of despair…”[3] If one made it over seven days they were sure to recover, but most did not reach that point.”

-The Deadly Enemy: Yellow Fever in New Bern, NC, personal paper by author of this blog.

[1] Ethne Barnes, “Transoceanic Hitchhikers: Yellow Fever and its Dengue Cousin,” in Diseases and Human Evolution (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2005), 304.

[2] ibid.

[3] Mary Phinney, “, September 30, 1864,” September 30, 1864, in Adventures of an Army Nurse in Two Wars: Edited from the Diary and Correspondence of Mary Phinney, Baroness Von Olnhausen, by Mary Phinney, ed. James Phinney Monroe (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company, 1904), 149-152.

I am most certain he is going to die. Now the question is, will I make it back in time?

Please, oh please!

I guess we will just have to wait and see…

But thinking about it, I don’t think England had a yellow fever outbreak in the Regency era. It occurs in warm climates, so it does’t make sense in England. I suppose he could have traveled abroad to Haiti, Jamaica, or Gibralter and was bit by a mosquito and then came back. Hmm…

Hmmm…

For more Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 9, An Indelicate Proposal

For more Choices, go to Did the Bride Run Off Or Was She Kidnapped?: Veil of Secrets (2018)

For more stories at racetracks, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de La Cruz

So my friend gave this to me last year for Christmas, along with Praying with Jane…she knows me so well.

And I have been saving it until this December as it just didn’t feel right posting after Christmas.

I was a bit wary when I saw that the book was to be turned into a Hallmark movie. It could be fantastic…or it could be a horrible cliché.

I figured I’ll start off the month with this book, review the film on 13th, and then review Holiday Mix Tape on December 25th. At least that’s the plan…we will see what happens.

My life motto right there…

So…having read this-sorry ya’ll we are starting this holiday season off with a Scrooge review. I hated this book and thought it was horrible.

**Spoiler Warning**

I will be giving away the end so if you don’t want the end ruined, better leave now.

So I know who Melissa de La Cruz is although I have never read her books before. I do know that she is Filipino-American and I wish she had used that in writing her story. I would have much rather read Pride and Prejudice with the influence of Filipino culture than this.

If this was just a holiday cozy Christmas tale-I probably wouldn’t care-but when they added Jane Austen into the mix-I judge much harsher…

They failed!

So the first thing about this book is that it is gender swapped. Darcy is a 29-year old female and Elizabeth is Luke Bennet. Jane is a younger brother named Jim, and there is a Kit and Lyle instead of Kitty and Lydia. Charlotte Collins instead of William Collins and a Carl (Caroline Bingley?) Darcy also has four brothers (more on that later) and a best friend named Charles Bingley.

I thought you said they were all gender-swapped?

Yes, Charles. Charles is the only one that isn’t gender swapped which makes no sense at all. If you are going to swap everyone else, why exclude him? It is so odd when everyone else is gender-swapped.

So Darcy Fitzwilliam is a beautiful big lipped beauty (not kidding about the lips, the description goes on and on) is 29 and single. She’s afraid of commitment and never wants to be married but tired of hearing everyone saying she is alone and thinking she should be married. She is a:

At least until midway through the book.

Her mother had a heart attack so she heads back to Pemberley, Ohio-her hometown she left and swore never to return to after a horrible break from her family. When she refused to marry Carl (Caroline Bingley ?) her father disowned her.

So first of all problem one-Darcy never had a bad relationship with his father-he greatly admired him. And problem two-having his parents die and him having to be the father to his sister created his character. You ever notice how people who lost a parent/parents and had to take on that roll for younger siblings are always a little more bossy or parental? They tend to tell others what they should do, just as they would for their sibling. Now there is a way to do it without the parents being dead-but it should be a bigger deal with his/her roll in the family. Having Darcy separated doesn’t work at all. Like how is Darcy supposed to take care of Georgiana-or George in this-if they have been separated from their family for EIGHT years-no phone calls, emails, social media, etc. (Except she talks to the mom every now and then.

Speaking of which there is extremely little social media in this book at all which I find completely strange as this was published in 2017.

No social media? She’s 29!

So Darcy has to get a dress and her mom tells her to go to Bloomingdales-now this wouldn’t have registered with me but someone who reviewed the book mentioned that there are no Bloomingdales in Ohio, and I checked online and yes, there are none. So wow-wonder where Darcy got her dress at?

Hmm…

Darcy is an annoying character as she has no personality. Example: she named her lion “Little Lion” and she sees nothing wrong with that as an adult. She can’t even think of a name for her baby at first as she likes to name everything factual. REALLY!!!!! She can’t even think of a name AND WANTS TO CALL HER LITTLE BABY until Luke makes her stop and choose a name.

So back to the story-every year her parents throw a big holiday party and Darcy goes to it and she is upset at everyone being married and talking about families because oh no, Darcy is not about any of that. Really? This was turned into a Hallmark movie-it says on the cover, so all that is a LIE.

I get they are trying to set her up for she fell in love and changed how she felt and everything…but she says that all the time, it is really annoying. And she is rude to all the people who are married and have kids and still live in Pemberley.

At the party she runs into Charles Bingley who she hasn’t seen or spoken to in eight years. Yep, they become best friends again and Charles listen to the advice given to someone who he hasn’t seen in eight years. What kind of logic is that? And they don’t even act like normal people! If I ran into my best friend after EIGHT years we would be gabbing and talking about all we’d been doing and life and here they do none of that. They reminisce for a few minutes and are best pals. But that’s it. No how’s life, no sharing about work or jobs, or anything. Wow-great “best friend” here, she’s too busy talking about how “hot” he is rather than about finding out about who he is.

You are a bad friend.

Bingley runs into Jim (Jane Bennet)-literally and the two are off together. Wow, Bingley has been to every Fitzwilliam Christmas party every year, but oh on this time he’s hit by cupid’s arrow. Why? What? Like why now? There is no explanation and feels contrived.

What?

Darcy gets drunk and runs into Luke Bennet-her hated attractive archenemies. Yes, she goes on about how she hates him but goes on and on describing how hot he is. He is happy to see her and wants to catch up but she just yells about how everyone is jealous of her beauty and being self made and a woman. She goes on a long rant about how much better she is than anyone at the party. She keeps going yelling at Luke about how he is a loser for being a carpenter and staying at his hometown.

WWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!

I know…I have no clue what the writer’s were thinking.

Did you EVEN read the book????!!! If not reading the book, DID YOU you even watch the movie???? This is so not Pride and Prejudice. This a train wreck!

Ugh! Really!

This is a horrible book!!! Horrible!!!!

I shouldn’t have read this.

They turn out to be under the mistletoe and even though she’s been a horrible person, Luke decides to kiss her anyway-why I don’t know??! They should stay away from mistletoe though.

I know I spelled it wrong, I cannot spell mistletoe correctly to save my life. (I only caught it in my comment as my computer let me know).

They kiss again, but are interrupted by Carl who comes into the scene. She dumped him, was disowned by her father, and fled to New York-but hooks up with him every now and then.

Why?

Seriously, Mr. Darcy would never do that. He would never drag someone’s hopes on when he isn’t interested. Such a jerky thing to do!

I can’t help but compare this book to the Christmas film 12 Men of Christmas. Like that film isn’t an official Pride and Prejudice film, but did this soooo much better. It had interesting characters, it had a new angle, it was a cute Christmas film-and it did keep to the finer points of the STORY!! Sorry for that rant, but I totally recommend it.

So Darcy meets with Carl for coffee the next day but then even though she 100% does not want to get married, have children, etc-and 100% does not want to marry Carl-she tells him when offered an ultimatum-give me time to think about it. What!!!!!! Seriously!! UGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH What is this character. Soooooo annoying. I have had to read page after page about how she doesn’t want marriage or family, or Carl-but instead of cutting him loose “I’ll think about it?” NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Darcy talks about how great she us at her job and makes so much money and is so smart, but we never hear or see what she does. Guess she’s not so important.

So Darcy gets invited to Christmas Caroling with Bingley who is in love with Jim. They are going with the Bennets and Darcy meets Kit and Lyle who are demon spawn. Seriously- they are horrible human beings. Like geez-did you read the book?

Did you even read the book!!!

They all go out caroling and we get a rant about how sexist, and against human rights, and against animal rights the 12 Days of Christmas…WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW

WHAT IS THIS BOOK???!!!!!!!

WHAT!!!??

They end up at the Fitzwilliam house where they all get drunk-Darcy gets really drunk, and she and Luke kiss again under the mistletoe.

She wakes up with Luke in her room. They had started to get together last night, but Darcy passed out. WOW such great writing and storytelling. Jane Austen would be so proud-(in case you don’t know I’m being sarcastic!) This is horrid!!!!

Ugh!

Darcy and Luke argue and fight and she’s all I’m better with my money blah, blah-but she gets a call and her deal fell through. But no big deal, it’s like a blimp. Seriously what does she do? Oh that’s not important-she’s just rich and important, that is all we need to know. Bleh, bleh, bleh-this is awful, this is horrible, I hate it.

This book!!!!

Bingley goes on about how he is in love with Jim and prepared to move back to Pemberley and be with him forever…after 2 days. Yes, they have never spoken or spent time with each other before, but after 2 days he’s sure he is the one. Darcy tells him to slow down and YEAH she’s got a point. Dude you have spent 2 days with him, just TWO!!! Like in the original book they have spent more time together and Darcy’s fears came from Jane not showing overt affection, not seeming to be as invested, and of course Jane’s family. Here there is no wiggle room, Darcy is 100% in the right-it has been two days, but they make it seem as if she is being a jerk and selfish when she isn’t. She’s actually being a good friend…for once.

She actually can be a good friend.

She convinces Bingley to break a date with Jim and hang out with her and Bingley agrees, not a bad idea as they have been spending 24/7 together and need to have some space. But instead of Bingley telling him the truth he lies and says he is sick and goes off with Darcy on the town and get caught. So then Jim is mad, understandable, and they’re over. But then Darcy convinces Bigley to pull a Lloyd Dobler and they get back together. Wow, that happened all in a day-such an emotional roller coaster.

At least for this post!

Meanwhile, Luke is engaged!!! He was kissing Darcy and would have slept with her if she hadn’t been drunk and he’s engaged!!!! Everyone in this book is awful!!!!!!!!!! He claims he was on a break-but unlike Ross-he wasn’t!!!!! I’m sorry I really, just really…I CAN’T EVEN!!!

Like this is based on an amazing novel, and this whole things feels like a separate story that was just inputed with names from Jane Austen to capitalize on all us fans. Like this has nothing to do with the book!!!! NOTHING!!!! THIS is HORRIBLE!!! I HATE IT!!!!!!

This book

Darcy is in love with Luke why I don’t know as they have had, what three conversations in three days (most of the conversations being about how great and wonderful Darcy is and Luke sucks)-and shared two kisses. That’s the sum of their relationship. But she’s in love. And looks through her yearbook. Now this gets me. She’s already been mooning over him, why not look up his facebook or instagram. They never spend any time on social media at all-I don’t know any 29 year old who is so free from the siren call of social media.

Read in this case.

So Darcy looks over her yearbook and sees the picture of Luke and admits she’s always been in love with him. WOOOOOOWWWW!!! Really? This is dumb. Because guess what guys even though she is sooooooooo in love with Luke ever since high school she gets engaged and reserves the plaza to a wedding to Carl. What the freak is this?!!! Yes, pages of how she doesn’t love Carl or want to ever be with him an she gets engaged!!!!

Oh and her mother who was on death’s door, is better in like  four days.

No social media? She’s 29!

Then Darcy has three brothers who they all hate her and treat her like crap. Which was not like in the bookokk!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m so angry!

I have to take a break…

I’m done

Okay…so her little brother Will got into Harvard and she’s like whatever no big deal. Now I am not from a wealthy family, if interested I wrote a little about it in Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements, so I don’t assume I know what it is like. But I do know from watching Gossip Girl you can’t have someone be a Blair and a Nate. This whole book Darcy has been Blair-I’m great, money, wealth, I have a plan for my life, cares about what people think, cares about where to go and what to do, etc. But then when her brother gets into Harvard-she suddenly becomes like Nate Archibald when he wants to join Carter in giving up everything and backpacking the neighborhood saying screw the inheritance, trust funds, big name schools, etc. You can’t have a character be both.

And Darcy is a horrible older sibling and her younger brothers are all horrible too and the they nothing like Georgiana and Darcy!!! Where is this???!!!

Darcy is engaged to Carl (a mess of her own doing), doesn’t break off the engagement, and goes to the engaged Luke to tell him that she loves him. Really?????????

He calls her names and Darcy heads to NYC. WOOOOOOOOOOOWW!!!!!!!!! So romantic. AWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFUL

It is so awful!

So Darcy goes back to work where we see is is a horrid boss and her employees dislike her which wasN’T IN THE BOOOOKKKK!!! Did they even read the book? Or see an adaption?? The employees and renters loved Mr. Darcy!  That’s one of the things that fully convinces Elizabeth she was in the wrong-how could anyone be a horrible awful human being but be good to their employees? It’s like people yelling at the waitstaff. You can have someone who seems great-but inside are horrible and treat the waitstaff like crap-but you never have someone who is a horrible human being but treat their waitstaff great.

Darcy dumps Carl in a note and flies home to Pemberley to help out Kit and Lyle Bennet who are demon spawn. Like they should be sent to Juvie. Here is what they have done:

  • Set a trash can on fire
  • Set a classmate’s shoe on fire
  • Set frogs free from the science lab (pass for that)
  • Had drugs
  • Spray painted obscenities
  • Stealing test answers
  • Giving a student a stick-and-poke tattoo
  • Physical fights with students and faculty

If they were in school with my kid, just because some rich girl paid off the principal I’d be furious. They are horrible.

And one their names are Kit and Lyle

Darcy does the good deed of helping them and keeping them in school instead of juvie, which is a horrible idea, and then she collapses.

She ends up in the hospital as she was dehydrated. And in like two pages (15 mins) all the issues between Dacry and her father solved. Oh he cut her off because he was afraid she would be hurt in New York and never come back. He’s been mean to her because he doesn’t know how to tell her he loves her. Oh wow. …..yeah this is dumb.

Read in this case.

Darcy gets healed and she’s invited to Charlotte and Luke’s wedding rehearsal (why as they aren’t friends) and she decides to go, no ones there and the two are together.

So back it up, it has been like five days-they have had four conversations

  1. Darcy dunk at the party-talking about herself and insulting Luke
  2. Christmas Carols where they hardly speak at all
  3. The morning after Christmas caroling-Darcy insulting Luke and talking about herself
  4. Darcy admitting she loves Luke and Luke insulting her

As you can see most of these are Darcy talking about how Luke sucks, and most of Luke’s conversations are calling Darcy a snob and other names…but oh no they are in love.

Seriously!!!!!!!!!!! I’m sorry, I am not a writer-I know it’s not my talent, and I really can’t say I could do better but this sucks.

In the end Luke and Darcy get married and have a daughter, move to New York. It never says what Luke does but I assume Darcy keeps working at her job even though she lost the biggest deal, the biggest deal that turned out to not be a  big deal. Whatever.

I know…I have no clue what the writer was thinking.

This is awful and I’m glad its over. I’m sooo done…

So will the movie be as bad? I watched the trailer and it looks like they actually spend some time together so there is hope…but we shall see…

Pass on it!

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Drive Me Crazy: Austentatious (2015)

For more Pride and Prejudice book adaptations, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 6, An Intimate Affair

 

So in the last episode your father made you his heir and gave you a London season! You and Miss Parsons traveled to London, you on your own horse,

Only to have Mr. Marcastle plot against you and try and keep you from arriving. You make it out okay and meet a Prince. 

You confront Mr. Marcastle angry that he treated you that way, Miss Parsons agreeing with you in her anger. The two of you manage to scare the daylights out of him.

Miss Parsons leaves to go to her sister’s house, as they are expecting her, while you return to your father’s townhouse and spot your friend and ladies’ maid Briar canoodling with Mr. Marcastle.

Forget you!

Now Mr. Marcastle is your evil engaged (as in very not single) stepbrother trying to sully your reputation and Briar was your best friend from back home. But is she really your friend as she is trying to have a relationship with Mr. Marcastle, your enemy!

This is soooooooooooooooooooooo bad for you. Can you imagine the kind of reputation you will get when this comes out.

And Briar what are you thinking? He’s evil! He’s plotting against me!!!! You are suppose to distrust him not jump him!!!! You are a bad friend.

See Hook agrees with me.

Plus he is engaged!

C’mon Briar, you are smarter than that!

So I am going to Mr. Sinclaire’s tonight for a dinner party, so Miss Sutton and I go shopping. I decided to buy the dress as I want to impress Mr. Sinclaire.

And I have to say out of any clothing purchase I have made this one does affect the game. Mr. Sinclaire sees me in my red dress and can’t look away.

He compliments me in front of Miss Holloway.

What?

Ugh, Miss Holloway is just as bad as Caroline Bingley. She keeps trying to make fun of me and drag me down, but is struck down by Mr. Sinclaire’s compliments. Very reminiscent of a certain scene:

Boom, shut up Miss Holloway/Miss Bingley.

Miss Holloway tries to make you seem an illiterate buffoon, but Mr. Sinclaire comes to your aid. He also takes you to his extensive library…

Hold up- Stop right there.

He’s perfect I’ve decided-he’s the man for me. You know me:

He then pulls a book off the shelf and reads a page to me, it is William Shakespeare’s book of sonnets, Sonnet 18:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

After he reads to you, he offers you the book. It costs 15 diamonds, but I don’t care, you know me:

It looks like I just have one thing left to get-Painting, maybe?

Miss Holloway makes a snide comment about your birth and then the Duke storms in-uninvited.

Ugh, I hate this dude. I hate people who do that-just show up uninvited and expect others to accommodate them. Such jerks.

Then not only does he do that but muscles his way next to me-no I don’t want him to like me-ugh!

This upsets the table with Mr. Chambers having to sit next to a man instead of a woman. Table settings are super important- remember A Change if Fortune

“Custom, however, has lately introduced a new mode of seating. A gentleman and a lady fitting alternately round the table, and this, for the better convenience of a lady’s being attended to, and served by the gentleman next to her. But notwithstanding this promiscuous seating, the ladies, whether above or below, are to be served in order, according to their rank or age, and after them the gentlemen, in the same manner. – John Trusler, p 6 from Regency Manners: Seating at Table at janeaustensworld.wordpress.com

Mr. Chambers doesn’t really care as he’s gay and is next to a very interested member of the party.

After dinner, you all go off to the drawing room. Mr. Sinclaire and you meet up aside from the others and he warns you off Duke Richards. Why does he dislike him so? And why is he so interested in who you might marry?

Mr. Sinclaire becomes so furious with the Duke he takes off on an errand…you have the option to follow. What do you do?

I followed him outside even though that wasn’t really acceptable in Regency time. It turns out that Mr. Sinclaire had an unfaithful wife, one that became involved with Duke Richards. It is very Rebecca:

Oh my gosh! Duke Richards totally makes me think of Jack Favell

The two of you have a heart to heart, Mr. Sinclaire baring his soul to you. He worries that maybe I would have been better off in the village then the shark infested society. But we still enjoy our time together.

Afterwards we go inside and join the party. They ask me to play and I blow them all away, thanks to the lessons by Miss Parsons.

 

The party ends later, you saying a fond farewell to Mr. Sinclaire.

The next morning you are awoken by Miss Parsons and Briar. You’ve been invited to the Opera St. James. The Opera St James!!! That’s where your mother used to perform!!! Will the night be fun…or a flop?

For more Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 5, The Road to London

For more on Choices, go to Kissing the Blarney Stone: 7 More Irish Heroes

For more on William Shakespeare, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: A Love for Keeps

What to do after you have read all the Austen novels.

Hmm…

There are variations on her stories, but sometimes you don’t want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but what to read or watch?

Just sit around and do nothing?

That’s why I started this series. I will review other books that have things we love about the Austen novels, but are something fresh, rather than a retelling.

A Love for Keeps (Brides of Arkansas #1) by Janet Lee Barton

This book takes place in Eureka Springs, Arkansas- year 1886 (70 years past Regency England). Megan Snow is the eldest of the three Snow daughters and with the death of their father, has tried to find a way to take care of her family. She has been approaching different banks in the hope of getting a loan in order to start her own dressmaking and designing building. Unfortunately, she has struck zero.

Please let someone say yes!

They approach the last bank, Connors Bank, in which the handsome and charming bank manager, Mr. Nathan Brooks, takes a chance on them. Mr. Nathan finds the Snow family to be very charming, and talented as Megan creates an amazing series of outfits for his daughter.

The two strike up a lot of conversations and Nathan finds himself drawn to Megan.

What?

But Nathan has a sad past…his wife was killed in a fire and his daughter managed to just barely escape-being saved by his sister-in-law. He feels heavy guilt, as he was not there to save his wife. He has remained single due to this, but now is starting to open his heart.

There is more complications to this story as Abigail Conners, Nathan’s sister-in-law, is deeply in love with him. She has been when she first met him, far before he married her younger sister Rose.

Ever since the fire she has always felt it is her time, her chance-but unfortunately Nathan has continued to grieve. Now, to her delight, he is willing to consider marrying again, but at her chagrin-he is interested in Megan Snow! A dressmaker? A Merchant? Someone below their station? NOT ABIGAIL!!!

While Nathan tries to woo Megan, Abigail tries her best to dissuade Megan-pulling every plan in her arsenal to convince Megan she is not capable of becoming the next Mrs. Brooks.

As you can see this has quite a few elements of the Austen stories and characters for those who are fans. We have a great romantic character-with a sad heartbreaking backstory (making him even more romantic) like Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility or Captain James Benwick from Persuasion.

We have a lot of Pride and Prejudice as Nathan and Megan have a romance that crosses the social line-although the class system was much different in England than America.

Unacceptable

And of course the number one thing, Abigail could be Caroline Bingley’s twin. The two are so similar in their scheming to get the man they love-from clothes to catch his eye, lying about things and engagements to dissuade the women, and any other scheme they can to get the guy to look and choose them over their rival.

Nathan, you cannot be serious

A fun, clean, quick read that gives Austenian elements we love in a new story.

For more Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Book Club Picks: Wuthering Heights

Pride & Prejudice: A Latter Day Comedy

Pride & Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy

So you know how I want to review everything Pride & Prejudice or has a connection to Jane Austen.

I watched this the other day with my boyfriend and I felt it was:

So the story is a modern day version of Pride and Prejudice set in 2000’s Utah. And yes the characters are Morman. Get it, a Latter-Day comedy, as in Latter-Day saints?

There isn’t too much Mormon stuff in it though, just that they go to church and the way they dress-little things like that. There had been more, but they cut it to make it open to more people.

The ladies of Pride & Prejudice are not all related in this version, but they all are roommates in a home owned by Lydia’s father. Jane Vasquez is from Argentina and a beautiful, wild free-spirit–who I don’t know what she does, they never say. Elizabeth Bennet is studious, smart, and a feminist. She is in graduate school (studying Jane Austen), writing novels and submitting them, and working at the local bookstore. Mary is nerdy, socially awkward, and trying to snag William Collins-but failing. Lydia and Kitty Meryton are sisters who only care about their appearance and trying to catch a wealthy man.

Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, and Kitty. Mary is not pictured.

I didn’t really care for any of the girls depictions as they just seemed so fake and unreal. The only one who seemed to be anything like the original character was Lydia.

So Elizabeth meets Darcy at her job, and is is a total jerk. He makes fun of her and complains about her to her boss.

What a jerk

Charles Bingley is a complete moron. Like how has he even managed to live this far in his life?

I mean he has a line of classical music for dogs to help train them.

Wow

His sister Caroline is a total drama queen, who is trying to do all she can to catch Will Darcy. She does not like Elizabeth or Jane.

Everything is pretty similar to the novel, William Collins tries to get with Elizabeth, but she turns him down.

In this though he gives a super embarrassing sermon about how awful Elizabeth is for rejecting him on the pulpit.

One major change is that happens in this film is that Jack Wickham and Elizabeth used to date.

He keeps trying to get with her but she is on-the-fence about whether or not she wants to go down that road. He can be sweet and romantic, but it is clear that his real interest is sex, something Elizabeth is not interested in until marriage.

He does offer to take her to Vegas so they can marry, but Elizabeth is not interested.

So conflict arises when Charles takes off on Jane breaking her heart.

Elizabeth has a company interested in one of her novels but it turns out to be Will Darcy!

Yep, obvious. He likes her novel but thinks she needs to change a lot of stuff. This of course upsets Elizabeth.

She accuses Darcy of lots of things and takes off. She of course gets a letter which reveals that Collins was seen proposing to Jane by Charles, so he thought they were together. Darcy apoligizes for his behavior and then explains what Jack did to his sister-running off with her and getting married in Vegas when he still married to someone else.

Elizabeth and Jane both feel bad and they just munch their feelings away.

I’m going to hide under the covers with my ice cream

This upsets Lydia and Kitty who decide it is time to take matters into his own hands and get the girls up and at the market. But things don’t go as planned.

Lydia Merylon: Oh, this is just great girls. Here we’ve just spent 20 minutes picking out the perfect array of romantic items, and what do we come back to find? Two kegs of ice cream, pills for cramping, pills for bloating, and six super size boxes of Tampax? Why don’t we just put up a big neon sign that says, “Men, run for your lives! Menstruating monsters approaching!”

Jane and Elizabeth decide they are going to head out to the woods to clear their heads.

On the way they run into Charles, and Jane takes off. Elizabeth continues, gets lost and ends up in Darcy’s cabin. They talk and Elizabeth meets Georgina and Caroline tricks Elizabeth into thinking that Darcy and her are engaged to be married.

Then things get worse with Lydia running off to marry Wickham and everyone hurries to fine her with Darcy doing the one thing we all want.

So yeah, not that good. It had all these weird dream sequences/imagination thing that made no sense and was super confusing.

Help me! I’m confused!

 I didn’t like the actors chosen or the direction the film went in.

It was boring and I do not recommend it.

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Prude & Prejudice

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues

For more films based on Jane Austen, go to TO the Person Who Hated My Review of Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

For more Jane Austen variations, go to A Long Fatal Love Chase

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to You Can’t Hurry Love