Book Club Picks: Julie

So Happy Mother’s Day All!

I have never done a mother’s day post before, why? I don’t know. I must have been too busy celebrating my mom.

I had wanted to review The Mother Keeper on Mother’s Day, I thought it would be cute-but I didn’t want to put off my book club pick reviews that long. I thought I would have them all finished and be caught up by now.

I knooooooooooooow!!! I am so behind. I don’t know what happened. I have no excuse.

What’s happening?

So I decided that I would kill two birds with one stone. For Mother’s Day I will honor my mother with a review of one of her favorite books, which is also the next Book Club Pick up for review-her choice of course. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, book club reviews? Never fear-I can give a brief recap.

So as you all know I started a book club, because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time, as I mentioned above, the book club member-my mother chose:

Julie by Catherine Marshall

I would also recommend this as a Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers

So this book was written by Catherine Marshall, of the Christy fame. She based the book on her own life, including the poetry she wrote when she was a young girl, and the Johnstown Flood.

Julie comes from a family of five, the Wallaces-mother, father, Julie, a sister Anne-Marie, and a younger brother, Tim. Her father was a Minster in the South, but for some reason unknown to her and her siblings, has quit the ministry and a stable good-paying job to in Depression ridden American to use his wife’s small inheritance to purchase a newspaper,The Sentinel, in Alderton, Pennsylvania.

What’s going on?

Have any of you seen North and South? I love that miniseries (and plan on reviewing it sometime). But the reason I bring it up is that in that series the Dad quits the church and moves them from the South to the factory-filled North. And we are all on the edge of our seat trying to figure out what happened, and it takes quite some time until they reveal it.

It’s the same here. The left the beautiful South to go to North, the town of Alderton, controlled by Yoder Iron and Steel (based on Carnegie Steel). They are shocked when they see the cut up land and the haze and soot.  And boy when they reveal what happened to make the dad leave, it’s a doozy. Worth reading defintely.

Wow

Julie was hurt and upset that they left her senior year to start all over again somewhere new, and completely confused as to why. The trip doesn’t start off with the best of origins as their car overheats and they get covered in mud.

They are rescued by Randolph Munro Wilkerson, English Aristocrat, here in America to run the Hunting and Fishing Club. I know that might sound a little strange, but this is he 1930s when limited income royals were marrying the “gilded” heiresses.

Julie is completely mortified that she has this handsome stranger meeting a muddy mess.

When they get to their home and office, the family is shocked to discover that they are all to be the newspaper staff. Writing, editing, cleaning, collecting subscriptions, collecting ad space, etc. The hardest thing will be having to convince people who are already “trimming the fat” that a newspaper is something they need to spend money on.

This will not be easy

One day, a man, Dean Fleming, comes in to ask them to print some handbills for him and offers his services, free, everyday. Julie doesn’t like him as he knew that her father left the ministry and spoke to him about God and faith. She thinks he is going to use his volunteer time to try and force his philosophy on her father and them.

For the thousandth time

Julie starts school and makes some friends. She even likes the minister, Reverend Spencer Meloy, who I don’t like. He cares about social change and is avid about helping the steelworkers, unionizing, aiding the new immigrants by getting them better housing-etc. But to me it rings false. I think he is concerned about these issues, but I feel like he does it for the glory of himself, a complete contrast to Dean who cares about a lot of the same things but has a humble spirit. Dean continuously is there for the family, winning over everyone and becoming a part of the Wallaces.

So the Hunting and Fishing Club has this giant earthen dam, and from the very first moment Julie saw it she has felt weird about it. There is something dark and ominous about it. Now some of you might remember when there was that big scare with the Oroville Dam two years ago and everybody had to evacuate? My family had to be evacuated as we were in the potential danger zone and we went to Las Vegas to wait it out. Before that, I never knew that the Oroville Dam was an earthen dam either. When reading this book, it made me view things differently and brought back all the emotion and things we went through then.

So the Wallace family tries to adapt to their new surroundings and life. Julie helps out with the newspaper, along with navigating normal teenage issues-dating, school, etc. She still has a crush on Randolph, but doesn’t really see anything happening there.

Times get tougher and tougher, as Yoder steel lays people off and it looks like the newspaper is going to go bankrupt, and then what will the Wallaces do?

But thankfully, Dean comes through and the Wallace’s hang on. But times are tough and more and more people lose their jobs, which means less subscriptions. Mr. Wallace has been hit with bouts of depression, Mrs. Wallace saying that it was a malaria attack rising up again from when he spent a few months in the South. On these days, Dean always comes. He doesn’t call or get called, he just knows and comes to help him.

Dean is a powerful character who’s has an amazing relationship with Christ. He comes to help the Wallaces, praying for them nonstop and aiding them both spiritually and physically. Too bad the Hales didn’t have a Dean to aid them.

Flooding happens and the Wallace’s get scared, but the rest if the town is unfazed as it happens every season. The water is a little higher than normal, but flooding is just a part of Alderton. It is so horrible the National Guard is called in and keeps people from going into Alderton. Mr. Wallace is hit hard and becomes bed bound again as he worries about damage to the newspaper office.

When the water recedes and they can get to the town, they discover that the newspaper office is safe, the printing press ad paper managed to be just barely out of harms way. With her dad too ill, Julie picks up the slack and loves it.  Her stories get published, and even her poems later on.

Wow!

While writing the flood story Julie wonders about the Dam. She calls to interview them, but no dice.

I got this!

Spencer creates an aid helping organization to try and help the workers in the Lowlands (immigrants, minorities, etc.) This book presents the hard issues as they discuss who should take the blame for he damage? Who’s responsibility is it to help the people? The church? The town? Yoder Steel? The Federal Government?

Hmmm

Julie joins the crusade and learns about how Yoder treats their employees. They have a baseball team, fire department, library, night classes for the workers, etc. But they also have high rents, a company store that is bought on credit, and essentially “own” their employees. If you have ever read The Jungle (one of my favorite books) it is pretty much the same thing.

Things continue and graduation is looming along with Julie’s senior economic project. She’s unsure what to do it on until she hears her dad is visiting Tom McKeever Jr, (the Senior being the one who owns it) and she tags along hoping to get some answers on the Dam.

Julie finds out that the Dam was bought by private businessmen, which means that since it is not government owned there is no one fact-checking up on it-but it is up to the owners to decide what to do with it and make sure repairs are done, etc. The lake covers 450 acres and has 500 million tons of water. The spillways were fenced off (not good!!!) as the lake above stocked with fish.

Julie writes her paper and her father writes an editorial, that while isn’t outright saying there is a problem, it isn’t going to be something Yoder Steel will love.

A little while after the story is published, Mr. Wallace gets invited out to Tom McKeever, Senior’s private railroad car, a high honor. He brings Julie along to the meeting full of rich food and belongings, extremely posh-a complete contrast to how everyone done below is living. McKeever didn’t like the story and wants the Wallace’s to back off.

julie writes a story on the labor issue but her father won’t print it as it is too one sided. She angrily sends it to The New York Times and forgets all about it as she becomes intangled in love trapizoid with Rev. Spencer Meloy, Randolph, and high schooler Graham Gilliam. But the NY Times calls her a they are publishing the article.

Now this is where the book gets really good. Once I started reading and hit this part, I could not stop.

They start writing articles in The Sentinel, and Yoder Steel does not like it. It’s the Wallace’a against everybody as Yoder Steel tries to destroy them by killing their dog, harassing them, attacking the presses, attacking Julie, threatening others so they drop their subscriptions, etc. Everyone has to make a moral choice on who they will side with. As for the Wallaces, will they stay firm in their beliefs, or fall under Yoder Steel?

Besides that storm, an actual rainstorm is coming their way. And then the real bomb of the book is released.

“Life and death for everyone in Alderton that day hung on such small decisions as to where they would be in the early afternoon.” pg. 324

BOOOM!!! When I got to that line I was crazed to find out how it all ended.

Then the Dam breaks and all hell breaks loose.

Reading this part is amazing, the total destruction only takes a few minutes and she counts them one by one as to what happens. It was so frightening to read that and think that could have been us two years ago if the water went over the lip of the dam. With all the heavy rain and full rivers, we are still jittery. I leave a week’s worth of clothes in my trunk just in case we have to evacuate again.

So what makes this an Non-Austen Read for Austen Readers?

First, the story is about a young romantic, reminiscent of Catherine from Northanger Abbey or Marianne Dashwood from Sense & Sensibility. She loves to read-along with writing poetry and stories. She dates some of her schoolmates, but they just don’t bring up that feeling of romance she’s encountered in books and wants in real life (partly has to do with the fact she fell hard for the English Lord). By the end of the book her life experiences have matured her-keeping some of the same romantic soul, but like Catherine and Marianne, has learned to temper it. 

Julie gets a proposal from the Reverend Spencer Meloy, who I don’t like, and it is an awful proposal. Basically “we think alike and like the same things, lets get married.” Not quite as bad as Mr. Collins or Mr. Darcy but still bad.

Like Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility the Wallace family goes through numerous changes that they have no real control over. While the Wallace family is much poorer than the Elliots and the Dashwoods, these girls can relate as they have to trim the fat, adjust their life, and have others see them as not marriageable material from their lack of finances. 

Rev. Spencer Meloy reminds me of Mr. Elton and Mr. Collins as to me I felt he wasn’t really being a minister for Godbut instead was looking to lift himself and his interests. Like these two men, he focuses on what he wants and believes, only. He also proposes badly as he reads women wrongly-thinking Julie is just as interested in him as he is in her because of a “look she gave”, ugh gag.

Ugh, this guy!

But like I said, this was a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it!

For more Book Club Picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Mother Keeper

For more Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: The Glassblower

For more Christian novels, go to Book Club Pick: Far Side of the Sea

For more on The Great Depression, go to I Don’t Want the Money: It Happened One Night (1934)

For more bible verses, go to Book Club Picks: Desperate Pastors’ Wives

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Austen Avengers Assemble!

So back when Avengers: Age of Ultron came out someone did a post on what Austen characters they would have as the Avengers. I read it and did not agree with several of their choices.

So I decided I would do my own post, and meant to put the original link here, but forgot!

So sorry to whoever it was!

So I jotted down my thoughts, saved the draft and meant to come back and finish, but I forgot all about it. May 2015 was a hard month for me, I had an ear infection and an over 100 degree temperature-plus you know life-

But this year I have been going through my drafts trying to clean them out and finish my thoughts-and I spotted this. As The Avengers series is ending, not really as you know Disney is all about them dollars:

But as this is the “end”, The Avengers: Endgame, I decided what better time than now to post it?!

Another thing that is ending this year

So I did not like Avengers: Age of Ultron and after watching that movie I stopped watching The Avengers films all together. There are a lot of reasons why, and if you are interested go to this post. Basically-if I don’t like something, I stop watching the series. So just to clarify-I will only be using the superheroes from The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron films. I also will only be doing the female Austen characters and their Avenger counterparts, maybe I’ll do one on the men in the future, who knows? But as for now, let’s get this mashup started!

Another thing ending this year!

Jane Austen Avengers Mashup!

***Contains Spoilers***

We will start with Sense and Sensibility and work our way through the Austen novels.

Nick Fury-Elinor Dashwood

Elinor was a bit hard to find someone to match up with, but I decided on Nick Fury.

Nick Fury is the leader of The Avengers. He is the oldest of three, and has had to learn responsibility at a young age. After a long, illustrious career, he goes on to be the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. Not only does he work for a secret organization, but he knows more about what is going on than anyone else in the movie-from secret families, wishes, covert agents, etc.

Elinor is the oldest of three and after her father passes away, has to take on responsibilities of the home. Elinor may not be the leader of a secret organization, but she is the secret keeper of this book. From illegitimate children, secret engagements, wards of the family, lost loves-etc she knows it all.

Both are intelligent and good judges of character, but can be fooled by a charismatic person (Willoughby and Robert Redford’s character in The Winter Soldier)

Now some may not see how level-headed and controlled Elinor could ever compare to the loud and aggressive Nick. While Elinor may not be as loud and curse, she does have moments when she too loses her temper.

It might not be a perfect comparison, but the one I felt was the closest.

For more on Elinor Dashwood go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

Hulk (Dr. Bruce Banner)-Marianne Dashwood

Both are controlled by their feelings so this was an obvious mashup.

Dr. Bruce Banner has had many incarnations-but what stands out to me is how he can range in emotions from sarcastic, witty, self-assured, to depressed, sensitive, and worried-ultimately running the full gauntlet…just like Marianne. Marianne, like Bruce, is confident, self-assured, and firm in her beliefs. When things happen in life, Marianne betrayed in love and Bruce’s Gamma Ray incident, both become depressed, sarcastic, and lose sight of who they are-both trying to give up on living. Ultimately, they work through these feelings and regain some of their confidence and sense of self-Marianne being more reserved and thoughtful while in Avengers Bruce accepts his green self and is able to use his ability to help and be a team player.

Both have deep emotions and can go to extremes when they feel. And when they feel, you see it-no hiding that from anyone.

Dr. Banner is well educated, read, etc-while Marianne has’t achived the samr level-she too is well read and educated (as she comes from a wealthy family).

Both need encouragement from friends/family and both also discover that someone they wouldn’t have thought at first is the person for them (although the Colonel Brandon and Marianne storyline makes a lot more sense than the Black Widow and Hulk one).

For more on the Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner, go to Avengers Assemble

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to We Are Family: Austentatious (2015)

Thor-Elizabeth Bennet

So I was split between who to be the equivalent to Thor and finally after a long deliberation, settled on Elizabeth.

Thor is Odin’s heir and favorite son, although he is stubborn, impetous, and opinionated. Elizabeth is her father’s favorite daughter and is stubborn, obstinate, and headstrong. Both are fun, well-educated, and have great wit.

Both fall for people who they don’t begin on the right foot with. For Thor, Jane at first is not interested and gets upset with the way he talks and treats her, same for Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, but eventually they move past the misunderstanding and have a great relationship.

The thing that clinched it for me was the family drama. Thor’s little brother Loki causes a lot of problems, trying to take over the world, almost destroying everything and him. Elizabeth’s little sister might not have been as bad, but she too does what she wants-not caring how it affects everything and almost detstroying Elizabeth and the family’s reputation.

For more on the Thor, go to Anger Management

For more on Elizabeth, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

Hawkeye (Clint Barton)-Fanny Price

So everyone hates on Hawkeye, he’s the “who cares” member of the group (at least we did back in 2015). Fanny Price, unfortunately, gets the same treatment. Both may not be flashy, have cool powers, the best romantic lead, money, etc-however, they are important characters and there is a lot more to them than meets the eye.

So Hawkeye had a rough start with his parents dying, being sent to an orphanage, running away to the circus, being betrayed by his mentor, and losing his brother and feeling alone. Fanny did not have the same type up upbringing, but understands what it is like to be alone. Sent from her family to stay with relatives she never met before, bullied by her cousins, being treated as a little higher than a servant, betrayed by her uncle when she won’t marry the man he picked out, etc.

In The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hawkeye turns out to be the linchpin of the group (Bones reference) -why? I don’t know, but he is. When everything is falling apart he knows what to do and takes them to his farm-keeping calm and helping lead the group out of this storm they are in. Fanny is the linchpin of her family, the moral compass, who helps right things after Maria runs off with Henry, Julia elopes in Ireland, and Tom gets deathly ill. They couldn’t have continued if it wasn’t for her calm demeanor.

The other thing I find similar is that both are observers of the group-Hawkeye sees from the “Hawk’s Nest”-watching out and watching the team, and Fanny “I was quiet, but I was not blind.”

For more on Fanny Price, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

Iron Man (Tony Stark)-Emma Woodhouse

Both characters were described by their authors as characters “only they would love”, so of course these two are the equivalent.

Tony Stark is wealthy, spoiled, and raised by parents who gave him a lot of power and free reign. He is a genius who inherits his family company at a young age and has to take responsibility.

Emma is also wealthy, spoiled, and raised by a father who gives her a lot of power and free reign. She might not inherit a company, but she does become mistress of the house and there is little doubt as to who her father will leave her estate to.

Both are powerful manipulators, using their power, prestige, wealth, and beauty. They can be reckless to the point of destroying lives (Emma almost ruins any chance of Harriet marrying and Tony you know almost destroys the world). They also tend to go too far and luckily have people who can bring them down to Earth and point them back on the right path, Pepper Potts/Rhodes and Mr. Knightley.

Both are betrayed by people they thought they were close to, for Tony it is Obadiah Stone, his father’s longtime partner, and Emma its Frank Churchill, the man all had been planning her to marry.

Both end up finding love with someone they’ve known for years, both more mature (in spirit and Knightley’s case age as well) who can see past their faults and help them be the best person they can be.

And of course, Gwenyth Paltrow is in both films.

For more on Iron Man/Tony Stark, go to We’re Mad Scientists. We’re Monsters: Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015)

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to Dull Times Breed Disaster

Captain America (Steve Rogers)-Catherine Morland

Both are young, sweet, idealistic, and at times naive. “No one who had ever seen [them in their] infancy would have supposed [them] born to be [heroes]. [Their] situation[s] in life, the character of [their parents, their] own person and disposition, were all equally against [them].”

Steve was raised in Brooklyn, NY-and wants to go off and save the world. That wish is granted with the trip of a lifetime-to a secret lab, getting superhero powers, traveling to get war bonds and help improve morale, going off on his own “trip” to help his friend. Catherine is given the trip of a lifetime too, as family friends whisk her along to Bath (not as epic but still fun). There Catherine may not have gone through physical changes like Steve, but emotional ones as she grows up a bit and controls her imagination.  She also goes go off on her own separate trip (to Northanger Abbey).

Both have hiccups in their dating, with Steve being kissed enthusiastically by a WAC, even though he only has eyes for one girl. He tries to straighten it out, but it doesn’t quite work as well as he hoped. With Catherine, she only has eyes for Mr. Tilney, but gets manipulated out her walk with him by the enthusiastic Mr. Thorpe.

Many want to use Steve because of his abilities or his looks, the same with Catherine. They believe she is richer than she is and she falls victims to two men trying to play her as a game piece.

Both don’t always catch on to the jokes said by others. With Steve, he has almost 70 years worth of history and pop culture he’s missed out on, and Catherine doesn’t always pick up on sarcasm.

For more on Captain America, go to Every Heart Beats True for the Red, White & Blue

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List

Black Widow/Natasha Romanova-Anne Elliot

So I had a hard time with Black Widow and trying to figure out who she worked best with. After a lot of deliberation, I finally settled on Anne.

Black Widow is woman who people look at and think they know her life story-but there is faaar more to her than you would think. Yes, she is a super spy, enhanced, and has a dark past-but it is way more convoluted with ups and downs. Anne is the same way…all look at her and see a kind woman who was proposed to once (by Charles Musgrove), but turned him down. What no one knows, and no one could fathom, she had a handsome sea captain after her, or that her cousin William Elliot is after her!

Both have been persuaded into making certain choices (in Black Widow’s case actual torture and brain washing, while Anne has an old family friend maneuver her choices.)

Both have a lot of secrets, and can blend easily into the background just as they can stand out and take control of stressful situations. They can be more intense than others think and are given great one-liners.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to You’ve Persuaded My Heart

So what do you all think? Do you agree? Disagree? Comment below!

For more Mash Ups, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce
For more on Avengers, go to Simply Fantastic
For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE
For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements
For more on Mansfield Park, go to The Heartbreak Kid
For more on Emma, go to Victoria and the Rogue
For more Northanger Abbey, go to Did Jane Hate a Richard?
For more Persuasion, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

Did Jane Hate a Richard?

So I’m rereading Northanger Abbey when this quote hits me:

“Her[Catherine’s] father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard-“

Ouch!

Oooooooh! That is a major burn. Obviously there was a Richard in her life who really upset her so much that she included this in her novel.

I have to say that I have wanted to write a novel for a while, whether or not I will is yet to be determined, but if I do and I have an annoying character that I want everyone to hate and I am going to name it after my annoying and rude coworker from my previous job, Wanda. You can read more about that relationship in my post, Five to Nine.

So what Richard ticked her off so bad that he had his name thrown in the mud? Some people think she is talking about Richard III. But I don’t know-for her to have such a dislike I’m thinking it refers to someone who is more personally connected.

Well whoever he is-Jane got the last word. As they say:

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List

For more posts, go to The Conscripted Seamstress

Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Inn at Half Moon Bay

So the idea of Catherine Morland’s Reading List all came from this book.

The Inn at Half Moon Bay: A Gothic Novel by Diane Tyrrel

I was shelving books in the library when this caught my eye, as I have been to Half Moon Bay. I then looked at the cover and back and was extremely intrigued by it. I thought to myself, this is something that Catherine Morland would love to read if she existed today (and was real-of course).

And such a shame I couldn’t review it on my blog,

But then I was hit with this idea of listing out books that Catherine Morland would be interested in!

So here we go-

Kelly Redvers is a redheaded beauty and engineer that has accomplished all she has wanted in her field and is looking to do something new.

The idea of becoming an innkeeper, has captured her fancy and she has begun looking for a place. When she first looks at the Magic Mermaid Inn, she’s not interested, but the longer she looks at the place, it gets into her heart and she has to have it.

“Sprawled across a bluff overlooking the sea, the Magic Mermaid Inn embodied the simplicity and ambiance of times past. Cozy and inviting, the Queen Anne farmhouse and its surrounding cottages enchanted Kelly Redvers into purchasing the property, in spite of her better judgement…”

Spooky…

Kelly moves down and begins taking over the Inn with help from Addie and Bill O’Malley, the former owners, who treat her like their long-lost daughter.

Hmm..

Kelly begins the usual innkeeper things, but then hears that a beautiful red-haired guest stayed at the inn in the past and disappeared…

She tries to fid out more, but it seems like each path is just a dead end.

No!

Kelly also gets to know the hotel staff and regulars. For staff we have Anita and Arturo, housekeeping and chef, who are Mexican and tend to speak more Spanish than English. Anita draws Kelly’s interest as she seems to be hiding something. Kelly comes upon her and Nick McClure having a secret conversation and a lot of money changing hands. Anita also knows something about the missing girl, as she started out a guest but became a part of the housekeeping staff.

Hmmm…something’s not right

The other person on staff is Nick McClure the handyman. He is extremely annoying as he works slow, doesn’t listen to Kelly but does what he chooses, and disappears for days-not telling here where he is going or what he is doing.

Ugh, this guy!

Kelly hates him at first, but then becomes attracted to him as well. It turns out there is more to him than meets the eye as he is half Native American-his grandmother a medicine woman-the other half being English aristocracy. He also is a lead in the volunteer search-and-rescue team. Kelly wonders about having a relationship with him…but then discovers that he used to have a relationship with the girl who disappeared, Alicia St. Clair.

The guests involve all kinds of people from singles to families, young and old. One is Paula Watson, a divorced mother of two that comes A LOT! She says it is because she doesn’t have enough space at her apartment, but is she lying? She is also very interested in the missing girl, helping Kelly search for clues about her. Is it just curiosity or does she have some other “deeper” interests?

Hmmm…

Paula sets out to win Nick, but on their big night she gets too drunk to be together, insisting that someone drugged her.

That’s not the only strange thing, the wineglass that Kelly gave to Paula was originally poured for her…

Another guest is Eli Larson-smart, handsome, a gazillionaire-but engaged. He insists its over and wants to be with Kelly, trying to engage in a relationship before he’s broken the one he currently is in.

Eli is over the top in huge romantic gifts, just showering money on Kelly and ruthless in getting what he wants. They do start a relationship, but Kelly starts to feel unsure about him. He was coming when the missing girl, Alicia, was there and she realizes she really doesn’t know that much about him, who he really is.

Do I know you? Do I really know you?

Grendel is a permanent guest, as he rents out one of the cottages. He is a doctor and works at a local clinic, using the laboratory for some experiments. He likes Kelly, but she just isn’t into him. Grendel becomes a good friend, giving her romantic advice, warning her about things she doesn’t know about Nick and Eli, and always assists her as he lives there. Can she trust him or is he lying about everything? He also was there when Alicia was, could he have been involved.

Hmm…

Then there are the couple that sold the Inn, Addie and Bill O’Malley. They used to have a red-haired daughter, but she passed away. When Alicia came, she reminded them so much of her daughter that they took her under their wing. Could Alicia have wanted nothing to do with them and one of them killed her? Is that why they are so interested in parenting Kelly? Are they really as harmless and sweet as they seem?

Then strange things start happening to Kelly. Someone breaks into her cottage multiple times, the wine is drugged, creepy notes are left, someone lives a note about a cryogenics lab, her clothes are gone through, weird/creepy gifts are sent to her, the power is cut, etc.-could it be one of those people? And what about Eli’s ex-fiancé? Could she be behind it?

I don’t know who to trust!

Kelly is running out of time and better quickly figure out who to trust before she becomes the next victim.

So I was really excited about this mystery as it was gothic, spooky, and sounded great.

Spooky…

However, I very quickly became annoyed with the main character Kelly. She gets involved with Eli as he “plans to break up” with his girlfriend. Come on Kelly, get with it! He’s lying to you! And you know nothing about him other than he is rich and charming. You are smarter than that.

The other thing I had a problem with was her choices in men. I didn’t like Eli, Nick, or Grendel.

  • Eli was obviously a lying cheater who wanted what he wanted sand could not be trusted-and it is “her fault” he wants to be with her while in a relationship because she is so “beautiful”. Eeyuck! Plus when she dumps him, he becomes a baby. Ugh!
  • Nick was lazy, annoying, and a bit controlling. Plus he bets Kelly about whoever scores first gets dinner paid by the loser. Oh wow, what a prize this guy is. Yuck!
  • Grendel was too involved and a bit of a busybody always watching and sticking his nose into Kelly’s buisness. He keeps telling her what to do about her romantic choices and its none of your business Grendel. Besides what kind of name is that? Who thought the monster Beowulf had to kill would be a great thing to name a child?

With men like these, I tell you who I would choose:

So I was really disappointed, and the only reason I kept reading was I needed to know the conclusion of the mystery.

I’m on the case! (I told you every time there is a mystery I will post this pic).

Once we got past the triangle, and the jerky guys and were nearing the end I got really into it. It was really creepy and there was a great twist.

Wow!

So most of the book was a dud, and there was no admirable romantic lead-the end was good but it wasn’t enough to save it. I’d give this book a hard pass.

For more books Catherine Morland would read, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List

For more Gothic Novels, go to Book Club Picks: Wuthering Heights

For more mysteries, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Suitors and Sabotage

Catherine Morland’s Reading List

So I was at the library and shelving some books when I came across The Inn at Half Moon Bay by Diane Tyrell. It was described as a Gothic novel and I thought Catherine Morland would totally read this.

So if it is something she would read, I need to read it.

So then I started thinking about all the other book Catherine Morland would read. Like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Frankestein, etc. All the books mentioned in Northanger Abbey and ones that were published at the time and after.

Wow!

I then thought, oh it would be nice of I could review this on my blog and the other books.

Why not start a new series, Catherine Moreland’s Reading List? Here I would review books that Catherine Morland would read: Gothic novels.

I know, I know-haven’t I already started two other series recently?

Not to mention all the Austen remakes I have listed out to review?

Yes, but you know me. I like to challenge myself.

Yeah, plus you know I love to read.

So books on this list are going to be Gothic novels. For those wondering what classifies a book as a Gothic Novel, here is the definition.

Gothic fiction, which is largely known by the subgenre of Gothic horror, is a genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance.

So some of these books I have already reviewed, and the rest are what I plan on doing in the future.

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Jamacia Inn by Daphne du Marier

Rebecca by Daphne du Marier

Dracula in Love by Karen Essex

The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Necromancer, or The Tale of the Black Forest by Karl Friedrich Kahlert

The Midnight Bell by Francis Lathom

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The Monk by Matthew Lewis

The Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story by Eliza Parsons

The Mysterious Warning by Eliza Parsons

The Italian by Ann Radcliffe

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve 

Clermont by Regina Maria Roche

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Orphan of the Rhine by Eleanor Sleath

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Inn at Half Moon Bay by Diane Tyrell

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

For more Gothic Novels, go to Book Club Picks: Wuthering Heights

For more book lists, go to The Retellings Strike Back: Pride & Prejudice, cont.

Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?

Hmm…I don’t know!

That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.

So there are a lot of period dramas I plan on reviewing, but to start it off-I’m doing something a bit unexpected.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Laura Jean is is a romantic. She reads romances, watches romantic films and Rom-Coms-her favorite is Sixteen Candles-and she dreams about the beauty of love in her head.

She wishes she could be in a romance book or film.

When Laura Jean falls in love she writes love letters, but she never sends them. Whenever she falls for a guy she writes them a letter, addresses it, seals it, and stashes it in her closet. She has fallen in love with five guys, so far:

  • Kenny from camp
  • John Ambrose McClaren from Model U. N.
  • Peter Kavinsky in 7th Grade
  • Lucas after Homecoming
  • Josh Sanderson, best friend turned sister’s boyfriend

Ouch, that last one-yes, Laura was best friends with Josh, but then her sister and him started dating. Very awkward!

It is the start of junior year and Laura’s sister is heading off to college to Scotland. Laura is feeling a little lost as she is losing her other best friend and the one she has…well it is even more awkward now that he isn’t dating her sister than when he was.

School is okay, as Laura Jean isn’t the most popular girl in school but it never really mattered before, but now she feels lonely without her sister.

Everything is normal until one day Peter Kavinsky approaches her out of the blue stating that nothing will ever happen between them.

Huh?

Laura Jean is confused, until she realizes he has her letter!! Josh does too, so in order to dissuade him-and to keep more awkward conversations from happening between her and Josh and her sister-she kisses Peter and takes off.

At home she discovers that all the letters are gone! Kenny’s from camp is returned to her, as address is wrong (*phew*) but all the others were sent out and received.

Lucas approaches her and reveals to her that he is gay, and the two actually become friends, this continuing throughout the movie. Peter’s girlfriend, Genevieve, dumped him for a college guy, and in order to get her back-he approaches Laura Jean about pretending to be his new girlfriend, as him dating Laura Jean will piss her off. Genevieve and Laura Jean used to be friends, but back in seventh grade it ended. At a party, they were playing spin-the-bottle and it landed on Peter, Genevieve’s crush. (That kiss lead to the writing of Laura Jean’s letter).

Laura Jean isn’t interested, but then Peter points out that if they are “dating”, then Josh won’t believe the letter is how Laura Jean feels now-and no awkward conversations will have to be done with Josh or Margo. Laura Jean agrees after they come up with a series of rules.

The two start “dating” and really enjoying each other’s company. Laura Jean’s mother died when she was little and she grew up with only one parent and her sisters. Peter’s dad left him and started a new family, it being just his mom and brother. They bond over what that feels like and have conversations they would never have with anyone else.

Most of all they just have fun with each other.

And their plan is working. Genevieve hates the situation and her college guy is quickly dropped as she tries to break the two up. Everything is going great until Laura Jean falls in love with her fake boyfriend. Will everything turn out okay?

So not fun…

Let me say that I love, love loved this movie. I put it on as background noise while I was doing something else and I stopped working as I was sucked in and just could not stop watching. It made me laugh, aw, and I just all around enjoyed it.

I can’t stop watching!

Now I know you think this film has been done a thousand times, and yes the fake relationship has-but what makes this stand out is the character Laura Jean. She is relatable, realistic, and so much fun. She was smart, but at the same time didn’t know all the answers to everything. She loved romance in books and movies, but was afraid at real commitment-understandable as she had lost her mother and now her sister has “left her.”

I liked the fact that they came up with rules as I have always thought that if you were to do this in real life the first thing you would need is a set of rules and a strong backstory.

I also liked that they broke up for actual serious reasons. Often they have the couple break up over silly misunderstandings that would be easily solved if the two would just talk to each other. But the fact that this guy says that he is into you but constantly talking to his ex-girlfriend and spent the night in her room? Good for you Laura Jean-that’s a no.

So I know you are all wondering-why would a Jane Austen fan like it? Well there are a few reasons. First of all Laura Jean is sooo Catherine Morland-a girl who loves romance novels and finds herself in one?! Out of all the Austen heroines that’s the one that most kept popping in my mind. How Laura Jean imagines herself in romance novels-and being sweet and naive. 

The relationship between Laura and Peter is reminiscent of Catherine and Mr. Tilney, both couples having great banter with their love interests-laughing and joking around with each other.

Like I said above, Peter isn’t exactly Mr. Tilney, but they do share commonalities. Both care about their younger siblings a lot and have a strained relationship with their fathers. They also don’t always follow social norms but do what they want, and enjoy joking around.

Another thing that Austen fans will enjoy is the family relationships. In Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, the main Austen heroines didn’t have a lot of friends besides their own sisters. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth does have Charlotte Lucas, but just like how Laura Jean’s friend is practically non-existent in this film, the two don’t spend a lot of the book spending time together. Mostly, their best friends are their sisters (like Jane Austen’s sister was). In Pride and Prejudice, Jane goes away for a period of time to stay with relatives, and Elizabeth is very lonely with her gone-just how Laura Jean feels when Margo goes away for school. Speaking of P&P, Laura Jean’s little sister Kitty-she’s like a combo of Lydia and Kitty. Meddling, outspoken, more mature than her years in some aspects (but still a child in others).

Like Sense and Sensibility, we have an older, more sensible sister-Margo/Elinor; a romantic, reader, middle sister-Laura Jean/Marianne; and a spunky, does thing her own thing, younger sister-Kitty/Margaret. Like in S&S, The older siblings have a very close relationship, but both keep secrets from each other. But through all the ups and downs-secret holding and ultimately revealing the truth-the sisters are there for each other.

The other thing that Austen fans will love- is that letters play a crucial role in the film and in the plot. In Austen’s time, letters were extremely important-being the only way of communicating when apart, but often read out loud and like the TV of the day. In Austen’s books-letters play a very important role. The two most known of course are Darcy’s letter in Pride and Prejudice and Captain Wentworth’s letter in Persuasion. Like those novels-the letters Laura Jean writes to her love interests, start all the events in the film, but just like those two Austen men’s letters bring a romantic conclusion-the love notes Peter wrote her are what convince her of his love.

I recommend it for any Austen fan.

For more Young Adult/Teen works, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Suitors and Sabotage

For more love letters, go to You Were Right, Let’s Get Married: Psycho (1960)

For more Austen film/TV show reviews, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

So today marks the last day of the Chinese New Year! Every year I do a Chinese New Year post, and this year as I was starting to write it I was wondering what if the Jane Austen characters celebrated the Chinese New Year? What would they be?

Hmm…

Of course when that idea came I had to write a post! Now how I did it may not be one hundred percent accurate as I don’t know the exact year they would have been born. Basically I took the age they were and misused it back from the the year the book was published-so even though some books may have been written earlier than their publishing date, I figured it would be easier to just go with that. Without further ado, here we go!

Colonel Brandon, Born 1776- Year of the Monkey

I’m a Monkey too!! Cool!

Monkeys are intelligent and can be lighthearted pranksters or slightly mischievous. They are logical thinkers and do well in any field where they can apply that type of thinking. They tend to be competitive and their fault can be arrogance. They are also very forgiving and tolerant of others.

Because of his year, Colonel Brandon is a fire monkey which means that they have big dreams, are family orientated, and set goals-achieving them. They also can have a hot temper.

Monkeys do best with a Rat, Snake, or Dragon. They should romantically avoid Pigs & Tigers.

For more Colonel Brandon, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

Mr. Knightley, Born 1777-Year of the Rooster

Roosters are serious, straightforward, logical, organized, and good at managing things. They criticize things they see are unfit and can be perfectionists. They are also planners and problem solvers. They enjoy family as they are their refuge.

Because of his year, Mr. Knightley is a Fire Rooster. They are great at time management and very trustworthy.

Romantically they are best with Dragons, Snakes, and Oxen. They don’t do well with Rabbits, Dogs, or other Roosters.

For more on Mr. Knightley, go to Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

Mr. Darcy, Born 1785-Year of the Snake

People born in the year of the snake are sophisticated, hold their own ground, calm in the midst of chaos, alert, and observant. They are humorous and great in social situations. They are romantic and empathetic. They are not good with small talk but crave to be the center of attention.

Because of the year, Mr. Darcy is a Wood Snake-easygoing, good at making friends and tend to be more on the perfectionist side.

Snakes should be romantically involved with a Monkey, Rooster, or Ox. They should avoid Tigers and Pigs.

For more on Mr. Darcy, go to Darcy’s ’80’s Power Song

Captain Fredrick Wentworth, Born 1787- Year of the Goat/Sheep

Goats are strong, resilient, and able to persevere through anything. They are quiet observers and analyze everything before making a decision. They love animals, children, and nature. They are friendly, empathetic, forgiving, generous with time and money, and very good at organization. They are genuine, helpful, but at times can be very pessimistic.

With the year he was born in, Wentworth is a Fire Goat. They are straightforward, loyal, and tend to worry over small details.

They are best romantically with Horses, Pigs, or Rabbits. They should avoid Oxen, Rats, and Dogs.

For more on Captain Wentworthgo to I’m On a Boat

Edward Ferrars, Born 1788-Year of the Monkey

As stated above: Monkeys are intelligent and can be lighthearted pranksters or slightly mischievous. They are logical thinkers and do well in any field where they can apply that type of thinking. They tend to be competitive and their fault can be arrogance. They also are very forgiving and tolerant of others.

Unlike Colonel Brandon, Edward is an Earth Monkey. Earth Monkeys are cheerful and very optimistic. They tend to not have a lot of support but are able to overcome those difficulties and through hard work to achieve a happy life.

Monkeys do best with a Rat, Snake, or Dragon. They should romantically avoid Pigs & Tigers.

For more on Edward Ferrars, go to Lambie-Pie

Edmund Bertram, Born 1789-Year of the Rooster

As stated above- roosters are serious, straightforward, logical, organized, and good at managing things. They criticize things they see are unfit and can be perfectionists. They are also planners and problem solvers. They enjoy family as they are their refuge.

Because of his year, Edmund is an Earth Rooster. They love going on outings with friends and are patient and reliable. They work hard and this rewards them in their career.

Romantically they are best with Dragons, Snakes, and Oxen. They don’t do well with Rabbits, Dogs, or other Roosters.

For more on Edmund Bertram, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce 

Anne Elliot, Born 1791-Pig

Hey girl, this is your year!

Pigs are realistic, treat themselves well (they are a bit materialistic), hard workers, energetic, and enthusiastic. They are friendly and easily gain trust from others. They are very organized and blessed with good fortune and wealth.

Anne is a Metal Pig, which mind their own business, are lazy, and do bad with budgeting/saving. (So not her!)

Pigs are most compatible with Tigers, Rabbits, and Goats. They should avoid Snakes and Monkeys.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

Elinor Dashwood, Born 1792-Rat

Rats are sensitive to others’ emotions, kind, and likable to all. They like to save and are considered stingy by others. They are responsible, organized, and place importance on family.

Elinor is a Water Rat. Water Rats encounter hardships in their early years, but their middle ages things can settle down to a happy family. However, their relatives and friends can bring them down.

Rats are most compatible with Oxen, Dragons, and Monkeys. They should avoid Horses, Goats, and Rabbits.

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

Elizabeth Bennet, Born 1793-Ox

Oxen are honest and earnest, low-key, and don’t like to be the center of attention. They tend to hide their talent as they pride themselves in hard work. They are kind, logical, and never lose their temper. They are calm, gentle, stubborn as heck, and will walk their path and do what they will no matter what.

Because of her year, Elizabeth is a Water Ox. Water Oxen are comfortable, respected, have a loving family, but it is recommend they marry late.

Oxen should be with a Rat, Snake, or Rooster. They should avoid Goats, Horses, and Dogs.

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Pride & Prejudice: A Latter Day Comedy

Emma Woodhouse, Born 1794-Tiger

Tigers are kind, benevolent, and have rich emotions (which can be hard to control). They have a lot of imagination and persevere through disappointments. Tigers are mesmerizing, love their freedom, and express themselves through fashion and their work. They love children, are friendly, intelligent, and patient. But don’t let that fool you, they have claws and will unsheathe them when needed.

Because of her year, Emma is a Wood Tiger, honest and doesn’t have much to worry about.

Tigers do well with Pigs, Horses, and Dogs. They do not do well with Monkeys and Snakes.

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to You Cannot Think That I Will Leave Off Match-Making

Henry Tilney, born 1794-Tiger

As stated above, Tigers are kind, benevolent, and have rich emotions (which can be hard to control). They have a lot of imagination and persevere through disappointments. Men who are tigers are confident, adventurous, and are willing to risk everything.

Because of his year, Henry is a Wood Tiger, honest and doesn’t have much to worry about.

Tigers do well with Pigs, Horses, and Dogs. They do not do well with Monkeys (NO!) and Snakes.

For more on Mr. Tilney, go to Why is Northanger Abbey Always Ignored?

Marianne Dashwood, Born 1795-Rabbit

Rabbits may seem weak and soft, but they are strong and confident. They will move toward their goal, no matter what negativity they face. They have great attention to detail and are great at socializing. In love they are very extreme! They love someone or they don’t care for them, there is a very clear line. When they love someone they put themselves and everything into that-but the deeper they go, the more they will get hurt if things go wrong.

Because of her year, Marianne is a Wood Rabbit. Wood Rabbits are not sly but do have tricks up their sleeves. They tend to be successful and do well career-wise.

Rabbits do best with Dogs, Pigs, and Goats. They should not be with Roosters, Dragons, or Rats.

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to Candy Girls

Fanny Price, Born 1796-Dragon

Dragons are mesmerizing and strong. If you underestimate them, they will destroy you. They are serious in what they do and have high self-esteem. Even though dragons are strong and independent they still desire love and support.

Because of her year, Fanny is a Fire Dragon. Fire Dragons are intelligent and social.

Dragons should be with Roosters, Monkeys, or Rats. They should not be with Dogs, Rabbits, or other Dragons.

For more on Fanny Price, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

Catherine Morland, Born 1801-Year of the Rooster

Roosters are serious, straightforward, logical, organized, and good at managing things. They criticize things they see are unfit and can be perfectionists. For women they are down to earth, responsible, and love to help others in any way they can.

Because of her year, Catherine is a Metal Rooster. They are decisive, set on plans, logical, and popular.

Romantically they are best with Dragons, Snakes, and Oxen. They don’t do well with Rabbits, Dogs, or other Roosters.

For more on Catherine Morland, go to No One Would Have Ever Guessed

According to the zodiac:

  • Colonel Brandon & Marianne 80% match
  • Edward & Elinor 100% match
  • Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth 100% match
  • Mr. Knightley and Emma 80% match
  • Edmund and Fanny 100% match
  • Henry and Catherine 80% match
  • Captain Fredrick Wentworth and Anne 100% match

So what do you all think? I thought it was interesting how the characters matched up pretty well according to the zodiac. I thought some people matched up with their description well, while others did not.

Hmm…

Jane Austen, Born 1775-Goat/Sheep

As said before, goats are strong, resilient, and able to presevere through anything. They are quiet observers and analyze everything before making a decision. They love animals, children, and nature. They are friendly, empathetic, forgiving, generous with time and money, and very good at organization.

For women-they are reliable and attentive, constantly observing so nothing escapes their attention. They are kind, motivated, and perform their tasks well.

With the year she was born, Jane Austen is a Wood Goat/Sheep. They are friendly and polite. They are also very sympathetic and always there to aid others. They love to be alone, even if they are married.

They are best romantically with Horses, Pigs, or Rabbits. They should avoid Oxen, Rats, and Dogs.

For more on Jane Austen, go to Jane Austen’s Royal Fanboy

For more Chinese New Year posts, go to Here Piggy, Piggy: Chinese New Year

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Why Do People Love Bridget Jones’ Diary?

For more Emma, go to Victoria and the Rogue

For more Mansfield Park, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MATURE

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more Persuasion, go to Right Away I Know I Won’t Like You