Rational Creatures: Anne Elliot, Mrs. Croft, Mrs. Clay, & Louisa Musgrove

Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd

For those of you who might have missed the last post, Rational Creatures is an anthology of short stories on the different women of Jane Austen:

But not just the main heroines-there are a few other side characters like Miss Bates-and of course a couple of bad girls like Mary Crawford and Mrs. Clay. Each story gives us a look at these rational creatures.

So far we have reviewed Elinor and Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility with Self-Composed by Christina Morland and Every Past Affliction by Nicole Clarkston; Elizabeth Bennet and Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice in Happiness in Marriage by Amy D’Orazio and Charlotte’s Comfort by Joana Starnes;  Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, and Harriet Smith from Emma in Knightley Discourses by Anngela Schroeder,The Simple Things by J. Marie Croft and In Good Hands by Caitlin Williams, & Fanny Price and Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park in The Meaning of Wife by Brooke West and What Strange Creatures by Jenetta James And what have I thought of it so far?

This one is on Persuasion:

In Persuasion, Anne is the middle daughter of a Baron and is often ignored by her father who really only cares about himself. She becomes engaged to a naval soldier, but after speaking to her mother’s best friend, was persuaded it wasn’t the right decision.

Hmm…

Years pass, and another proposal, and Anne has grown older, wiser, and regretted turning her love down. With her father spending more than they have, they have to let the house, and the Admiral and Mrs. Croft rent it. Mrs. Croft’s brother, Captain Wentworth, comes to visit who happens to be the same soldier that she was engaged to! I don’t have to tell you that an interesting plot ensues!

I’ve only read a few adaptations of Persuasion and I’m excited to read this one. I like that there is a Mrs. Croft story.

An Unnatural Beginning by Elizabeth Adams

The story takes place before the events in Persuasion, starting when Charles Musgrove is trying to court Anne, but she is not interested, she still pines after Wentworth.

It’s not that Charles Musgrove is a bad man its just he isn’t the right man.

“He was a perfectly decent man. Kind, respectable, well-mannered. But alas, he possessed one fatal flaw that not even the best of manners could redeem.

He was not Frederick Wentworth.”

And being with Charles only makes her think even more when she met Commander Wentworth. He was visiting his brother in Monkford and Anne encounters him at a get-together and the two spend time together. She is completely struck by him.

With him

Back to the present, Charles continues to talk and court her, but she isn’t really present. The flame of her youth feels like it is dying.

Frederick proposes and Anne accepts, but then when she seeks advice-Lady Russell resoundly says no. I really enjoyed this part as all of Lady Russell’s arguments are extremely valid. I mean things could go wrong and she could become  poor widow-a poor widow who’s father isn’t going to help out (you’ve seen him). Or she could have ended up like Mrs. Price, Fanny’s mom.

“A large and still increasing family, an[sic] husband disabled for active service, but not the less equal to company and good liquor, and a very small income to supply their wants…”

I really enjoyed how Adams makes Lady Russell not evil, cruel, or even a snob (just a touch snoby). And I liked how fear drove Anne’s decision to break it off with Wentworth, but it is an extremely relatable fear

I really liked that we got a view into both proposals, as I have always wanted to see how both went down. And raise your hand if you think Charles continued to pine after Anne even though he married her sister (that line about Sir Elliot moving Charles to take Mary off his hands was gold.)

Both hands are up!

But that ending though. It pierces the heart.

 

This story was so sad, absolutely heartbreaking, but in a god way. A real way. This was so relatable and I really loved the language used. One of my favorite parts is when she describes how she feels about her beauty and youth fading. I think we all feel that when we are disappointed, injured, or broken in love, that we used to be more fun, gregarious. etc. The whole thing was so good, so sad, so heartbreaking, and I think Jane would be proud. As for me:

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

Just kidding. It was a wonderful read, just get those tissues ready.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to Austen Avengers Assemble!

Where the Sky Touches the Sea by KaraLynne Mackrory

So this story picks up in the middle of Persuasion about chapter 8 before and after the dinner party. The Crofts are heading to out and their gig gets stuck in the mud, but they get through it together. This leads Mrs. Croft to think on their relationship and thier marriage.

This story was so cute and sad. But the good kind of sad. I don’t know how to review it without giving anything away. Just be prepared, if you are a crier-have tissues ready. It is just a sweet little story.

I’m so sad and happy!

I’ve always loved the Admiral and Mrs. Croft and it makes me love them more. One thing I love about Jane Austen is how she has these horrible marriages (like Charles and Mary Musgrove, Sir Walter, etc.) but then these amazing ones like he Crofts. I think Mackrory really got the heart of the characters and I loved her story.

So romantic! So cute!

For more by KaraLynne Mackrory “Clandestiny” from The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For more on Mrs. Croft, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

The Art of Pleasing by Lona Manning

So Mrs. Clay has an interesting backstory in this. She was “married” to a corrupt merchant who juggled the book and raked in every extra but he could. When things got too heated he took off, leaving Mrs. Clay with her two boys and nothing.

She heads home hiding her disgrace under the guise of widowhood and then implements herself into the Elliot household. It wasn’t her idea, but her father’s, the Elliot’s solicitor, as he wants her to gather intel on the Elliot’s expenditures and hopefully influence them to spend less.

Mrs. Clay does so and better than ever. She becomes Elizabeth’s best friend, so much that Sir Walter and Elizabeth choose to take her with them to Bath and leave Anne behind.

Ouch

Mrs. Clay can’t really stand either of them, but is thrilled that about her new position. So thrilled at how Sir Walter trusts and leans on her. With this new possibility opening up, now Mrs. Clay starts using all her wit to try and snare him. She doesn’t like him, but does like becoming a lady, having a father for her sons, prestige, etc. And to rub Elizabeth, Anne, and Lady Russell’s faces in it would be great as well.

Sucks to be you

Everything was going well until Mr. Elliot came to town.

Smarming and plotting away.

Yes, Mr. Elliot plans on seducing both sisters and Mrs. Clay away from Sir Walter. Will she resist or succumb?

Hmmm

I really enjoyed this as I always thought Mrs. Clay (like Charlotte Lucas) was cunning, although much shrewder, and a bit more a mistress of her fate than they show in adaptations. I like how the author made her witty and shrewd even though she wasn’t “educated”. (That line about Paris was hilarious). This was great and spot on-that ending was perfect.

“A lady would have said, ‘Sir! What do you take me for?’

I whispered, ‘Yes.”

She and Mr. Elliot deserve each other.

Good job!

And this was perfect right after the two sadder stories.

For more by Lona Manning, go to “The Address of a Frenchwoman” from Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

Louisa by the Sea by Beau North

So we start this story after Louisa has had her fall. Louisa was very headstrong, stubborn, and always insisted on having her own way-

There was too much wind to make the high part of the new Cobb pleasant for the ladies, and they agreed to get down the steps to the lower, and all were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight, excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth. In all their walks, he had had to jump her from the stiles; the sensation was delightful to her. The hardness of the pavement for her feet, made him less willing upon the present occasion; he did it, however. She was safely down, and instantly, to show her enjoyment, ran up the steps to be jumped down again. He advised her against it, thought the jar too great; but no, he reasoned and talked in vain, she smiled and said, “I am determined I will:” he put out his hands; she was too precipitate by half a second, she fell on the pavement on the Lower Cobb, and was taken up lifeless! There was no wound, no blood, no visible bruise; but her eyes were closed, she breathed not, her face was like death. The horror of the moment to all who stood around!”

We start off with her recovering and North does a great job showing what it is like. My friend’s brother injured his head in a car accident and North was spot on with what they go through .

Louisa slowly recuperates, and who is by her side? Wentworth? No. Captain Benwick. Captain Benwick has a sad backstory, he fell in love with a woman who became sick and passed away. He hasn’t been able to do much since, but here he aids Louisa, by her side every moment, eating with her, reading to her, just all around supporting her.

So romantic! So cute!

The rest of her family feels awkward or unsettled or unsure what to do, but Benwick takes charge and helps.

Louisa has to relearn what to do, has violent headaches, a lot of trauma to noise, and seizures. Everyone thinks she is in love with Captain Wentworth, but Louisa has fallen head over heels (literally?) for Captain Benwick. Now how to convince him?

Hmmm….

Oh my gosh this story was so cute. I never really liked Louisa in Persuasion she just kind of annoyed me and of course we want Anne and Wentworth TOGETHER. But this gave a whole new spin and view on her. And I have always loved Captain Benwick, and I think this story just continued to show how wonderful a character and man he is. And they are so gosh darn cute together!!

“Are you certain?’…’Am I certain? No, my dear captain, it is far worse. I am determined.”

Aw! Squee!!

For more by Beau North, go to “Fitzwilliam’s Folly” from Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

These stories were just as great at the others, but be prepared-have tissues at the ready for those first two .

So far all have been amazing and we only have a few stories left?! Where did the time go? How are we almost at the end?

I guess all I can say is stay tuned for the final post.

For more reviews of Rational Creatures, go to Rational Creatures: Fanny Price & Mary Crawford

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

For more Persuasion, go to It Sucks to Be Lady Elliot

For more Austen book reviews, go to Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

A Letter of Love: Persuasion (2007)

Romantic Moment #14

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Persuasion (2007)

So first of all:

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

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

Bruce-Almighty-Love-Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

ouch

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

jerk

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

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

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

Jealous

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

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

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

24629465There’s hope!

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

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

Most Romantic Moment: 

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

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

F. W.

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

So romantic!

So romantic!

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

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

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

You pierce my soul

not too late

offermyheart

lovedyou

For you alone

A word look

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

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

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In other news:

Yay!

 

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

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

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