I Applied for Peacock’s New Dating Show, Pride and Prejudice: An Experiment in Romance

So I was just going about my usual business when my google alert for Jane Austen shared with me that Peacock is starting a new dating show.

Now I’m not one to watch dating reality shows as they are all pretty boring to me and seem to be the same premise. I have a friend who is obsessed with The Bachelorette and The Bachelor, but those shows were never for me.

I will admit to liking Farmer Takes a Wife, though. I liked that the ladies had to do challenges as it was hilarious to see the ones who were clearly only doing it to be on TV try and attempt these actual farm challenges only to fail, and fail in spectacular fashion.

That’s good TV!

But this one was supposed to be Jane Austen/Bridgerton Regency themed and I become super excited about it as it sounded just like out of the book Definitely Not Mr. Darcy.

You can read my full review by clicking on this link, but in short, Chloe thinks she is entering a contest/documentary about Jane Austen fans but ends up finding herself on a dating show. It is all about proper Regency courtship; no touching, no drinking, no alone time (everything is chaperoned), and to win special outings/events with the bachelor, the contestants had to participate in Regency-esque activities, racking up points. The bachelor is Mr. Wrightman, a wealthy individual who is tired of women being after his money and is looking for love the old-fashioned way. Of course the path to true life never runs smooth (especially on TV) and hilarity ensues.

For years I have been saying a network should jump on this idea and have tweeted it multiple times to different ones. So when I saw this I knew I had to enter. Whether or not I get on it doesn’t matter, at least I tried.

So this show is going to take a heroine to England, to compete for several weeks in a castle. “If selected, we will transport our heroine and suitors to an international location where they will get to experience what dreams are made of and be fully immersed in a time-traveling quest for love…Those selected will engage in period-era pastimes like carriages rides, archery and sending hand-written letters.

Like I literally love all those things! I used to do archery and was pretty good at it (I don’t know if I still am as it has been years). I also send out handwritten letters every week. Everything about the “challenges” sounds fun.

So it asked a lot of questions, a looooot of questions. It was actually pretty uncomfortable how much information you had to give out. Name, birthday, occupation, height, weight, gender identity, who you like to see, etc. I answered them all truthfully but was a little flippant about the height. I told them I was 5’3, close to Regency women’s average height.

They also ask for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and tiktok links. I gave both my personal and the ones for my blog. I’m hoping that since the title is Jane Austen Runs My Life, it might make me a stronger contender.

Please pick me.

There are questions on marital status, whether or not you have children, dating history, where do you look for dates.

I was like I haven’t been looking as I honestly haven’t since I’ve been divorced. (Plus you hear such horrible things about dating sites, although I do have an idea for a future post…I’ll have to keep ruminating on it.)

I like that they ask your top three things when looking for someone and what your deal breakers are. I know the show is mostly for entertainment, as all dating shows are, but I did like that they put that out there. It does feel as if someone is trying to care.

My top three things were honesty, trust, and fidelity. My top three dealbreakers were lying, any type of manipulation/abuse, and distrust.

They also asked why you were single which I feel like most people aren’t going to have a reason for it. I know I haven’t looked since ny divorce was finalized. That’s what I wrote but I really wanted to say this line from Austenland, and I am kicking myself that I didn’t as it is a great line.

Another question on the form is why you are a good catch and I was thinking, guys I’m Darcy’s Dream Date. (But that’s not what I said, instead I gave a real answer).

They also asked how you are like in a committed relationship and i wrote that I’m kind and caring but still independent and not clingy.

One of the questions was on whether modern dating frustrates you and your thoughts on chivalry. I think for me, my views on Modern dating are very similar to Mr. Nobley in Austenland.

Chivalry is very important to me after being through an abusive relationship. I really would like someone who is kind and caring and the idea of a code of honor in how one treats a women does greatly appeal to me.

They also ask if you like big romantic gestures and I was like I love the idea of a man coming after me on a white horse and willing to risk his inheritance for me:

Or a man who writes me love letters:

Or saves my family from ruin by protecting my sister’s reputation…just kidding about that last one.

For hobbies I shared I liked reading, writing/blogging, and creating my own cards and sealing them with wax!

They also asked about something that would surprise them and I shared that I am biracial. I figured this will be a good “surprise” as I know I don’t look like what people imagine someone who is Mexican looks like. To be honest, I really didn’t know what to put her.

And then it asked what your greatest accomplishment is. My greatest one was probably my thesis project which was on a subject that there wasn’t a lot of info on and I had to spend hours working on it. It even won an award. It’s boring, but I’m very proud of it.

You also have to include pictures. One has to be of your face while the other a full length picture. I knew I had the perfect ones!

This one I used for face. I totally forgot I had this but found it the other day when I was cleaning through my phone.

And of course for full-length:

I then had to do a 20 second video introducing myself which was the hardest one to do. 20 seconds isn’t that long, and what do you even say?

If you are interested in trying out for it, click on this link. And if they do pick you, keep us updated on to what it is like!

For more on Jane Austen and Regency fun, go to My Regency Gown from MadsenCreations

For more Jane Austen screen adaptations, go to Dear William: Letters from Georgiana Darcy

For my review of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, click here

Emma Manga

Emma: Manga Classics adapted by Stacy King and illustrated by Tse

So my niece’s birthday was the second of February and this is the year she turns 16, I decided to do my annual gift of Pride and Prejudice. I first read it when I turned 16, so now I gift as a 16th birthday gift.

So I decided to get a copy for my niece…but only one problem-my niece isn’t a big fan of reading. She doesn’t hate it, but is more into Netflix, K-Dramas, Anime, tiktok, etc. You know how I feel about that…

So I am planning something else to celebrate her birthday, but I figured I would get her the book too. But then I was looking online at Barnes and Nobles to decide what I wanted to spend my christmas gift card on, and I spotted Emma and Pride and Prejudice manga.

Wow!

My niece loves Webtoons so I figured that a Manga would be the route to go! I looked at the two and was going to buy Pride and Prejudice when I looked at the Emma manga. Emma would be perfect as a manga as it has great comedic moments and the style would fit perfect for some of these characters. I mean think how fun some of the more extreme characters would be in this-Mrs. Elton for example.

My niece also LOVES Clueless so I figured it would be the perfect in to Jane Austen, and espechially Emma. 

While it differs from tradition, I think she will love it, so I ordered the book.

We then went to the bookstore last weekend and my niece was looking at the manga wanting to buy one, but couldn’t settle on one. I was so pleased as I have one ready.

But then, of course like last year’s P.S. I Like You, I needed to read it first so I could review it.

So I read this book and I just absolutely LOVED it! I started reading and couldn’t put it down at all. They did such a good job with selecting which parts of the novel and text to use and pairing them with the illustrations. It was incredibly enjoyable, and I highly recommend it for any Austen fan.

These illustrations were also 100% perfect.

I loved Mr. Knightley’s reaction to Emma:

I laughed so hard at this one of Mrs. Elton and everyone who dislikes her:

Look how gorgeous they drew Emma’s dress for the ball:

Ugh, Frank’s temper tantrum. They did him perfectly. Like, wah little baby!

It was fantastic and I loved in the back how they detailed their process in adapating the novel to manga. I absolutely loved it and again, I recommend it to any Jane Austen or Manga fans.

I can’t wait to check out their Pride and Prejudice version. Maybe for Christmas?

For more Emma, go to Why Don’t More People Talk about Mrs. Goddard?

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

For more Emma Woodhouse, go to Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey

Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

Interference by Kay Honeyman

So during COVID19, we have been reorganizing the library. No better time to rearrange shelves than when people are not in the building.

So as I was making the changes and this caught my eye:

Friday Night Lights meets Jane Austen’s Emma in this delightful novel about big dreams, big games, and a little romance.”

Hmm…

So of course Emma, caught my eye as I plan on reviewing every Jane Austen adaption, (I know that’ll take years, but I’m okay with that), and had to check it out. Besides Jane Austen, I’m a big fan of Friday Night Lights. 

So let’s get started.

Kate Hamilton (Emma Woodhouse) and her mother and Congressman father have been sent back to her father’s hometown of Red Dirt, Texas after her public scandal.

It started off as something good…Kate discovered that there was serious graft regarding which kids received letters of recommendation, scholarships, etc, for colleges. She exposed this and changed the practices, but it was a hollow win.

Her boyfriend, now EX, was cheating on her with a senator’s daughter who lost her recommendation, and he secretly took photos of Kate- styling them to look extremely compromising and blasting them on the internet.

So Kate has a plan-she wants to go to art school to be a photographer, but to do that she needs an awesome portfolio and a fantastic letter of recommendation. She decides to find a way to lay low, up her volunteer hours, send them to her old school, get the letter and get out with what she wants.

She espechially wants to get way from her dad as she feels so guilty about what happened, and hates having to always be in “political mode”-all the time. She needs volunteer hours and starts to help her Aunt Celia at her animal shelter.

There she is in the middle of trying to birth a calf, unsuccessfully, when she meets Hunter (Mr. Knightley). He is cute and nice and whenever Kate gets a little too cocky and sure of himself, he is there to help push her on the right track, espechially as he understands the dynamics and politics of the town better than her.

The two end up being paired as science partners and they spend a lot of time together. In fact, they become best friends as Hunter helps her transition to Texas life, and appreciate things without constructing a narrative of doing some political machinations.

Kate quickly becomes friends with Ana-a shy, studious, photographer who helps Kate out with her photography and gets her in on yearbook staff (which gives her access to the darkroom she needs). Kate hates to owe anyone anything and has decided that she is going to help Ana. Ana is adorable, but her ex-boyfriend has given her a bad reputation with the lies he has spread about her.

Kate decides the best way to fix Ana’s reputation is to pair her up with a guy better than her ex-basketball playing boyfriend Hank. Someone higher up the social hierarchy and settles on quarterback, Kyle.

Hunter warns her that Kyle is a serious jerk and that matchmaking Ana and him up is not a good idea, but Kate doesn’t listen.

Kyle is not just the quarterback, but he is also the son of her father’s political rival. Her father wants her to avoid Kyle, as he doesn’t trust him or his father, but she ignores him and sets her plan into serious levels of action.

She hangs out with him a bit, takes photos of him.

This popped in my head when reading it.

Kate has lunch with him and Ana and people begin changing in the way they are acting around her-and after Kyle defends her, things seem to be going great. Kate and Ana even get coveted invites to several after game bonfires.

Kate is super pleased at how things are going and starts to divert her attention to her other plans. Spending time working with her Aunt and seeing how much her Aunt pours into her shelter, she decides to help out by creating a website where people can donate to care for an animal, getting D.C. friends and friends’s parents to give. She also tries to match her D.C. friend Tasha up, over the phone by giving her advice.

Emma 1996 AKA the Gwyneth Paltrow version.

She also works hard on her project with Hunter. But it turns into more than science. He helps her see the beauty of the area, she helps him mend some of his broken relationship with his mom, as said before they become best of friends…thoughts turn to more-but their can’t be as Kate is not interested in anything more after her jerkwad ex.

Except Hunter

But then Kate goes to a party with Kyle and he tries to force himself on her.

She breaks his wrist and takes off in his car crashing in a ditch (she’s only had one lesson). Hunter, worried about her going to a party alone with Kyle, rescues her-but things are looking grim.

It seems like everything Kate does screws up:

  1. Kate’s breaking Kyle’s wrist and crashing his car reflects bad on her father
  2. Everyone in the town hates Kate for costing them the championship game (as they have no quarterback)
  3. Her aunt found out about the website and hates it-yelling at Kate
  4. Kyle treats Kate and Ana like crap (espechially Ana-publicly dissing her [such an Elton], but Hunter helps her out)
  5. Kate gets revenge against Kyle by making mock yearbook pages embarrassing him and she and Ana spread them around the school
  6. Their little revenge plan gets Ana is kicked off yearbook
  7. And Hunter who never wanted to play football ever again (as it is too much pressure) does so to save the team and Kate.

Kate has to figure out a way to fix things and she decides to do the one thing she never thought-she is willingly going to put herself in the front of the camera-and partner in her father’s campaign.

Will Kate be the thing that helps tip the scales in her father’s favor? Will Ana get back on yearbook and achieve her photography dreams? Will Hunter win the big game or choke? And will Kate admit she cares for Hunter or let her fear and insecurity keep her from taking a leap?

So when I was first reading this book I had a hard time. The beginning moves slow and her parents seem checked out. They just leave her alone and don’t seem to care about the trauma she went through with her pictures being posted everywhere. Nothing about that relationship seemed to micmic the one shared by Emma and Mr. Woodhouse.

Hmmm…

But once I reached the middle with Kate and Hunter being best friends, adorable Ana, Kate’s matchmaking…I got invested. 

And then when they got to the hardcore part of Kate taking Kyle down and then her pairing up with her father to take down Kyle’s dad- it became a real page turner.

Tell ME!!!!!

I really liked Kate and Hunter’s relationship, although I think he if he had been a little less vague about Kyle not being a good guy it would have been better. I mean he did try, telling her he heard the way Kyle would talk in the locker room-but with Kate/Emma you can’t be subtle.

From Emma (1996)

I really enjoyed it and how it had the aspects of Jane Austen but still was its own story. Like Clueless, this is a great gateway to get teens interested in Jane Austen and Austen fans will adore it.

For more Emma, go to Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

For more Emma Woodhouse, go to Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to At Legend’s End

For more Friday Night Lights, go to What a Fanatic!

Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements

Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements by Mary Pagones

I was given this book free in exchange for an honest review. I had planned to post the review earlier, but I had to go out of town for my grandmother’s funeral, and then the rest of the week was packed.

But then I began to put it off as I have been having such a hard time reviewing this book.

But I’m actually glad I did. I don’t know if you have been following the college bribe scandal involving Lori Loughlin and Felicity Hoffman-but this book is right up that alley. Crazy parents who will do practically anything to have their kids go to a “good” college. Expensive college application tutors doing all they can to get the kids placed and increase their application. If interested, go to this link. For the review-keep reading.

First let me start that I want to give props to Mary Pagones. Writing is hard…

Writing a whole book is even harder, and then putting your work out there for people to praise or pull apart-

That’s hard. So for finishing your book, Mary Pagones-

So I have been having such a hard time reviewing this book. I thought it was interesting but I’m sorry, I know that this will probably make the author angry-but I didn’t see Pride and Prejudice at all, but Emma.

What?

Yep-

Yes, I…well let’d back up. I’ll go over that later, let’s do a quick plot synopsis first:

So this is the story of Lissa- Jane Austen megafan who is getting ready to apply to college. She faces all the difficulties of branding herself, having a personal statement, using the scholarship from one school to leverage getting more money out of the other, etc. Besides that, she has her senior year with her friends, and a new boyfriend, and trying to do what she can to ace her SATs, pad her application, and hopefully-get into the school of her dreams!

So the first thing that made this book hard for me was that this concept was so foreign to me. I was shocked and confused, is this really how it is like? My experience was soooo different. I graduated in 2010 and am the first in my family to ever go to a four year university, and one immediately out of high school. I had no clue how to do anything and had knew no one to ask about it. There were no “college applications tutors”. We didn’t even have a guidance counselor-just the former principal who had retired and volunteered. I had never even heard of a college application tutor until reading this book.

Uhhhhhhh

I am biracial and the running joke in my family is that the only college fund we have is that my mom is Mexican-and I could hopefully get scholarships. I’m from a low-income area, mostly agriculture, but I did go to college prep/art school. I applied in mass (thank you fee waivers) to four UCs and four CSUs. I was lucky to get into al but one, UCLA. There were no interviews-just my resume of extracurriculars (which I had a ton of), transcripts, letters of references, and a personal statement (that I cant even remember what I wrote but I did have a teacher review it for me). I received my letters and then judged them based on the amount I received in scholarship money-I didn’t even know that you could use one’s amount as leverage as stated in this book. Basically I ended up split between two schools that were giving me the most. The school I chose, my first year was paid for, I had to take loans out the next three years, and work two jobs to put myself through school.

I had a hard time reading this book and hearing Lissa whine about being poor when she and her sister have iPhones and each have a laptop. I had a CD player because I and my family couldn’t afford anything. We had one computer growing up-that was my dad ad I only got my laptop my first year of college through my scholarship funds, and because I had a family friend who worked with Apple. Unfortunately, the one I purchased was outmoded the next year. Only by the grace of God is it still running. My first cellphone was a flip phone I got for free from the company because they were outmoding them, and it cost $40 a month, the cheapest I could get.

Lissa and her family eat all kinds of hamburger, pizza, turkey meatballs, name brand cereal, etc-and she can afford to buy lunch everyday from the cafeteria. Poor is surviving on 1/4 cup of oatmeal, hot chocolate instead of milk, and having to choose between fruit and dairy (which I did in college until I got my two jobs). She says that she is poor, but snubs her nose at a school that has maid service-if she was really poor she’d be down on that. If I didn’t have to clean my four years-woohoo. Do you know how much cleaning supplies can add up to? Luckily, today the Dollar Tree carries a lot.

As poor as these ladies

The other part I had trouble connecting to is when Lissa describes being at the college and meeting all these goth/all black wearing, alternative, pieced people-in a Jane Austen literature class. Really? In a Jane Austen class? I’m not surprised there would be some-but what about all the other people who would be in such a class.

My junior year I took an upperclass history class: The History of the Novel. Half the kids were in there for history, half were English majors. There is a picture of us and I will describe how we look. First there is Kevin: Kevin was a super outdoorsy, park ranger, hiker type guy. Hiking boots, loved the outdoors, all-american blonde football-type, in a baseball cap, tee shirt, and jeans. Then there was Thomas, noir-loving, Sundance, type guy-like Jughead Jones in TV’s Riverdale stole his look with the long hair, jacket, etc. Angelica-long curly hair/afro, always wore big rings, and smart jackets-very professional. Gwynn wore her hair long, with side bangs over one eye-dark eyeshadow and liner, jeans, and thin hoodies. Belinda was in a sorority and always had perfectly straightened hair and wore a shirt/sweater with the sorority letters on it. Kate was full athlete-always workout gear and hair in braid or ponytail. And then me-I’m wearing a little jacket my mom made, lacy “Jane Austen” inspired shirt and cowboy boots. A large variety of personalities, clothes, and interests.

Wow!

So I have to say that this book wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t connect with the characters or the plot. I guess a lot has changed in nine years. Or it might have been the area I grew up in versus where this is set.

I guess I’m too old.

So lets move on to why do I think this is Emma?

So the story is of a widowed father who loved his wife dearly, and lost her suddenly. He has two daughters which he cherishes, has a close relationship too, and worries constantly about.

Then we have the main character, Lissa. Lissa is headstrong and stubborn-but at the same time she is also a tad manipulative, thinks she knows everything, and can be harsh and judgmental. True-Elizabeth does share some of these qualities but I feel Lissa is way more Emma.  Like Emma she thinks she knows everything and in the end discovers that she was much more naive than she thought.

She can be very controlling of her friends-pushing Calvin to “officially” out himself, instead of letting him do things how he wants. She is also constantly trying to match her friend Jacqui up-first with a guy they go to school with, Noel, but when she determines that he is not worthy-tries to get her to match up with a guy Jacqui met on a school tour.

She meets a guy, Hugh Fitzgerald, and because of how he dresses basically she believes that he is perfect-not really getting to know him and enjoying his sarcastic jabs at everyone and everything…

That is until his jabs are aimed at her and she realizes that he is not that great of  person after all-very much like how Emma realizes Franck Churchill is a major jerk. Hugh is so Frank Churchill, he uses Lissa to get him through English and write a screenplay for his movie which he takes full credit for-while at the same time boinking her sister; just as Frank used Emma to deflect he was involved with Jane.

Jacqui is so a Harriet in my opinion. Jacqui is Lissa’s best friend and is kind, sweet, and completely convinced into doing whatever Lissa thinks she should do. Lissa thinks she should get closer to Noel, Jacqui does. Lissa thinks that Jacqui should go with her to the Regency Fair, even though Jacqui isn’t into it-Jacqui not only does, but has a dress made, gloves, etc. Then Lissa pushes Jacqui to another guy, and she does go after him.

Lissa hates on a classmate Charlotte so much, but I don’t see any real reason to dislike her. Charlotte is wealthy, goes on lots of trips, talks about her grades and Princeton constantly-but she cares about people and never flaunts what she has in other people’s faces. She may gossip a lot but she’s not mean about it or cruel. Lissa just hates on her because she is jealous-and all her reactions reminds me of Emma and Jane Fairfax. Jane Fairfax is Emma’s number-one hated person but there is no real reason to dislike her. Emma just does because she is jealous off all her talents.

I think Calvin was supposed to be Charlotte from Pride and Prejudice, but I see a Mrs. Weston vibe. Calvin tries to help Lissa and give her some advice, but then is also easily led by Lissa.

And then there is Mr. Clarke-he is so Mr. Knightley. He tries to help Lissa, instructing her in books, schools, and life.

They even dance together and quote from Emma (although that’s not something I think Mr. Clarke should have with all the teacher/student romantic relationships that have been in the news.)

This has nothing to with Emma, but Lissa’s little sister-ouch. Lissa should have told her father that her sister makes awful decisions about boys and will be ending up pregnant or with an STD if dad doesn’t get into checking on her. But really Lissa, giving your skeezy boyfriend’s number to your young, naive, impressionable sister and setting them up to all kinds of things together alone-reminds me of my friend Shannon, who had her friend Samantha tutor her boyfriend Vincent, and next thing you know-Vin and Sam were together.

Forget you!

So I know I have been harsh, as I said I don’t think this book was for me. I will say that I really enjoyed her writing style, it was a very engrossing read.

And I LOVE how she wove points and quotes from Jane Austen throughout her work. It is littered with it, and a fangirl’s delight.

She was able to tell a story based on a Jane Austen work, but it is something that an non-Austen fan can easily follow along with.

I also think that she made some very strong points and observations of Austen and her novels in her work. You might not agree with everything, but she has sound reasoning and presents a good case and an interesting view.

Hmmm….

I liked her depictions of teenagers and how Lissa thinks she knows everything, but is not as on it as she thought she was-falling for a narcissistic pig like so many young teens and women fall victim too.

As I said it was a hard review to write. I think it is definitely worth checking out, especially in light of the recent scandal and how far parents will go to get their kids into school. I mean bribing admissions so your kids can get in? I could see Mrs. Bennet doing it.

If you do read it, comment below what you think. I’d love to hear it.

For more Emma, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

For more Emma variations, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MATURE

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

For more Young Adult novels, go to Victoria and the Rogue

Victoria and the Rogue

Victoria and the Rogue (An Avon True Romance #12) by Meg Cabot

I first was introduced to Meg Cabot through her book All-American Girl, later reading The Princess Diaries series. Another book series she helped write was Avon True Romance for Teens.  

The Avon True Romance for Teens was written by different authors and is a collection of clean, historical romances-written specifically for the teen/YA market.

I was going to include this in the Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, but as I continued to read the story I realized that this was basically Emma, with some Pride and Prejudice thrown in.

Hmm…

I mean it isn’t an exact retelling, but there are just so many similarities. Let’s begin the review.

Lady Victoria Arbuthnot, Duchess of Harrow, is a young, beautiful, wealthy woman. Her parents traveled to India when she was little and died there leaving her an orphan and raised by her uncles. She was not interested at all in being married but just living her life with her fortune. Sound like someone we know?

“Never mind, Harriet, I shall not be a poor old maid; and it is poverty only which makes celibacy contemptible to a generous public! A single woman, with a very narrow income, must be a ridiculous, disagreeable, old maid! the proper sport of boys and girls; but a single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else.” –Emma

She, however, did fully intend to match up her uncles.

This, however, they do not like at all. To stop her from meddling they decide to send her back to England wagering on how long it will take for her to get a proposal. She decides to prove them wrong and ends up engaged on the boat over.

Yes, engaged to Lord Hugo Rothschild, Earl of Malfrey. He’s a bit of a fop caring for his clothes and money and just not really seeming to be a stand up gentleman. After all, who enters secret engagements if they have honorable intentions?

Frank Churchill

But also on the trip is the very annoying Captain Jacob Carstairs who likes to tell her what she is doing wrong and tries to stop her from managing (her word), or meddling (his word), on the way the ship is run.

Victoria meets her relatives that reside in England for the first time, the Gardiners. They are poorer than her and have a very large family full of kids, much different than how it was for her in India.

This is…pleasant? 

Something that differs from Emma, is that as Victoria was raised in India and she doesn’t behave quite like most gentle ladies of society. She can shoot a gun expertly, doesn’t accept help from getting down from the boat, and breaks “societal” rules she has no knowledge of. Emma on the other hand was finely tutored.

Victoria meets her older cousin Rebecca “Becky” Gardiner who she discovers has a crush on Captain Carstairs. Oh no, this must not be as Victoria thinks of Captain Carstairs as a rogue and sets her mind on finding a more suitable man. Just like Emma…

Rebecca envies Victoria’s gowns, money, fans, and the time she spent with the very wealthy Captain Carstairs. It turns out that he is not only a Captain, but he owns the ship that they used and not just that one-a fleet of them. He worked hard to take his father’s business and turn it into something truly powerful.

Vicky lets it slip that she is engaged but manages to coerce her cousin into keeping the secret by giving her a beautiful gown and fan.

Rebecca tries to warn Victoria about Lord Malfrey, as he has no fortune. But Victoria doesn’t care, she wants a man that won’t boss her around but one she can hep and aid, one that needs her-even of that means she will be footing the bill.

-Speaking from experience and the wastrel of a man I married. This is not a good idea. Slight PSA. DO NOT DO THIS. BAD, VERY, VERY BAD IDEA

Unfortunately for Victoria, Captain Carstairs is a very good family friend. She will have to endure his company constantly.

Ugh

The family goes to Almack’s, for a ball and to be “out” in society. Captain Castairs reveled to all that Victoria is engaged, so that secret’s out. Captain Carstairs spends time at the dance to try and convince Victoria not to marry Lord Malferey-but Victoria won’t listen she wants to “organize his life.”

Captain Carstairs tries to convince Mr. Gardiner to stop the betrothal but Mr. Gardiner doesn’t really care. Vicky and him squabble some more before she sets her plan “Have Rebecca be with a man I Believe to Be Perfect for Her” into motion.

Victoria “loses” her fan and Rebecca meets the handsome Charles Abbot, who Victoria believed perfect for her cousin-arranging everything ever so nicely.

Captain Carstairs accuses her of being too controlling, but she counters that things are much better with her at the helm.

They have a picnic thrown by Lord Malfrey, in which she has him invite Mr. Abbott for Rebecca. Lord Malfrey’s mother is overly madeup and odd and his friends-not acceptable ones for society in dress (some of the women wear slips and wet their legs) and manners. And none of them talk about anything other than clothes and hunting.

And unfortunately for Victoria, Captain Carstairs arrives and disapproves of everything and all the people.

But then Rebecca’s bag is stolen by a street urchin. Just like Harriet in Emma. And just like in Emma Lord Malfey/Frank Churchill goes to save the day-except in this, one Victoria controls the situation by taking down the boy-to everyone’s surprise and shock.

They set to take him to the police, but Victoria feels bad for the boy and pretends to faint, causing a distraction that allows him to slip away.

They are invited to Captain Carstairs’ house to have dinner with him and his mother, but Victoria tries to stay behind. She can’t imagine having to go through a whole dinner with him.

They spend time together before dinner with Captain Carstairs and his mother. To Victoria’s shock she has a lovely and interesting conversation on India, boats, sailing, the navy, etc. Much more interesting than the talks she has with her fiancé and his mother.

Hmmm…

Anybody getting what I’m thinking…?

Hmm…

Jacob takes Victoria aside after dinner as he wants to speak of something serious with her. She thinks he is going to declare his love for her, but instead he tells her that Lord Malfrey is only marrying her for her money. Victoria doesn’t care…

…but then Captain Carstairs reveals a secret about Lord Malfrey that concerns his sister. Only a few trusted people know about it. The two were engaged, but when some ships were lost along with the Carstair’s fortune, Lord Malfrey dumped his sister and up and left-his sister utterly heartbroken.

Poor Georgina Margaret. But now she is married and living happy.

Victoria realizes the severity of the claim, and decides to trust Captain Carstairs and test Lord Malfey.

Captain Carstairs tries to speak to her, but she refuses him-embarrassed that she is attracted to him.

Ugh…I don’t want to like him.

Sh tests Lord Malfey, telling him that it turns out that she won’t get control of her fortune-married or single-until she is 21. That means they would have to wait five years. Lord Malfrey is having none of that and after throwing a big fit, Victoria decides she is done. Forget this dude.

Victoria is saddened, but soldiers on. After all there is Rebecca’s romance, the molding of the younger Gardiners, etc.

Unfortunately, Captain Carstairs won’t leave her alone. After a constant barrage and a plea by Mrs. Gardiner-Victoria agrees. Captain Carstairs is happy about end of the engagement, and tells her what you need is “someone who doesn’t need you”.

I have to agree with him. After being with someone who “needed” me which really meant “using”-It would be nice to have someone who isn’t going to just be taking but giving.

Well Captain Carstairs proposes…sort of. Here it is:

“Wouldn’t it be restful to come home to someone who needed nothing whatsoever from you?”

Really dude?

That’s Darcy level messed up.

I men you could say you love her or something.

I mean, seriously dude. Get yourself together.

He kisses her, and then Victoria becomes so upset she pushes him away. Victoria is justly angry an Captain Carstairs acts like a total tool.

Jerk

Seriously, “he won’t extol her virtues” or be romantic and refuses to ever ask her again.

Well fine. Seriously dude-would it kill you to say anything endearing. I mean Mr. Knightley:

Or Mr. Tilney

So he storms of and life goes on. Lord Malfrey asks Victoria to met him so that they might exchange letters. Victoria agrees but when she goes, she gets caught in the rain. He takes her inside and her clothes so she can dry and warm herself, but then the Malfreys won’t let her go. They want her money and they want it bad. Their plan is to trap her there all night and to “save her” from scandal force her to marry Lord Malfrey-just like Wickham’s plan.

She gets locked in a room, but Victoria is no quitter. She doesn’t quite know what to do, and is in her underwear, but decides she cannot stay there and makes a break for it out the window.

She tries to go to the police to get help, but they think she is a prostitute, and ignore her. She does gets saved by some street urchins, the ones in the group that belonged to the boy she saved earlier. He keeps her safe there with the others while going off to deliver her note to Captain Carstairs.

He comes right away in answer to her note, and brings clothes, like Victoria asked. When he gets there Victoria tells him the whole story. They concoct a story to give to the Gardiners, and Captain Carstairs takes her home.

Captain Carstirs is so angry about what happened, Victoria is convinced that he would try to duel with Lord Malfrey. She wonders why she is so upset when she realizes she is in love with Captain Carstairs.

She hears nothing from him and agonizes over what is happening. (Just like in Emma when Mr. Knightey is gone visiting his brother and Emma is freaking out as she realizes she loves him.) Victoria writes him a note but hears nothing. She is so anxious and angry at herself for turning him down, especially as she knows he won’t ask her again.

A man who has once been refused! How could I ever be foolish enough to expect a renewal of his love? –Pride and Prejudice

Victoria has a little bit of a breakdown believing Captain Carstairs is dead. The Gardiner’s see her distressed state and think she is sick, wanting her to stay home but she has to go out to Almack’s, as she needs to know if Captain Carstairs is alive.

He acts cold, polite and aloof.

Victoria pleads with Captain Carstairs and he tells her that there was no duel. He just told the Malfreys that they needed to go to France and never return to England or else he would let out the news about Malfrey’s first wife, Mary Gilbreath, and their divorce.

All ends well with Victoria and Captin Carstairs ironing out their issues and ending up together.

Meh.

I thought it was a fun story with great characters except for Captain Carstairs. As you can see from the above gif, I didn’t care for him and Victoria to end up together.  I found Captain Carstairs to be annoying, mean, immature, and a major jerk, only a shadow of Mr. Knightly and Mr. Darcy. Personally I believe Victoria could do better.

 

For more on Emma, go to Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

For more Emma variations, go to A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

For more Meg Cabot, go to Would You Like a Pizza My Heart?: The Princess Diaries (2001)