For those of you who don’t know what that is, Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month is celebrated in the USA and starts on September 15th and ends on October 15th. Unlike most national months, these specific dates were chosen to honor the days that many Latin American countries received their independence; along with incorporating Día de la Raza which falls on October 12th.
I’ve been planning this post for a while and since telenovelas are a big part of Latino culture, I thought what better day to post it than today.
So every July for my Blogiversary I post questions in my Instagram stories and then I post the answers that people gave along with my own thoughts sprinkled in. One of my questions this year was “What is a Jane Austen Themed Tradition, Oddity, or Eccentricity You Have/Have in Your Family?” One of my answers was that I have given all the characters of Mansfield Park a Latin name. It all started as a joke, you see being Latina whenever I read Mansfield Park or talk about it I always pronounce Maria as the Spanish form (mah. – ree. – ah) instead of the English way (mah-rye-ah). Since she is Maria, I stated saying Tomás instead of Thomas, pronouncing Julia as the Spanish form (Hoo. – lyah), and even Fanny as Francesca sometimes. Most of the time I just say Edmund, but occasionally I call him Edmundo as well.
On Instagram rackelbaskcally commented that after reading that she now started looking at Mansfield Park as a telenovela. And that got me thinking, which Jane Austen novel would make the best telenovela?
Before I begin, I would like to say that I am not an expert on telenovelas, and this post is a reflection of my personal experiences in watching them and familial views. Back to the post!
Telenovelas are often described as Latin soap operas but are really much more. While soap operas are often not seen as “good TV” to a lot of people (most will call them a “guilty pleasure” rather than admit they are a major fan of a melodrama); telenovelas, on the other hand, watching them isn’t something to be ashamed of. Yes they can have outlandish plots, be extremely illogical, and have problematic themes (they aren’t perfect); they also combine comedy, drama, passion, and romance; along with commentary on serious issues such infidelity, betrayal, drug/alcohol abuse, discussions regarding education/the educational system, one’s struggle to find their place, etc. Most telenovelas revolve around a main character who is of lower economic status trying to improve themself and achieve job success; with of course along the way marrying a handsome and rich person.
And every telenovela that I have seen involve our main characters triumphing, and our villain getting their just desserts.
So now that we have had a little backstory on telenovelas (sorry for going overboard) which book would be the best to translate to a telenovela? I think you could make a case for all for all of them as the themes in Jane Austen’s books are easily relatable to the Latino community. A lot of the issues the women face, Latina women are going through today-just slightly different.
Now I know there is one telenovela based on Jane Austen; Orgulhoe Paixão (Pride and Passion) from Brasil. I haven’t watched it (I’m still trying to find where it’s available to stream), but which book is your pick?
First of all my top pick is Mansfield Park, as we have our heroine Fanny, the one from a lower economic status, being put in this wealthy world and having to navigate through her rude relatives. Not to mention we have issues of money in the Bertram family as Tom/Tomás is gambling away the fortune. To really up the drama in our telenovela adaption you could have that a person is pursposely trying to steal away Mansfield Park and cheating Tom/Tomás out of everything they have. If we wanted to modernize it, Mansfield Park could also be a company instead of just a home.
We also have the appearance of the Crawfords and the destruction/unmasking of the Bertrams they bring (as like Jane Austen’s work most telenovelas have characters that are not all good or all bad). With them we have Henry Crawford making a play for all three female cousins, Maria cheating on her husband, Fanny’s banishment when she wouldn’t marry Henry, and Tom/Tomás’ near death experience. This would make a great telenovela!
And if we further wanted to up the drama in our telenovela we could even have where Henry is trying to cheat them out of Mansfield Park, only to change his mind when he wants to marry Fanny; but alas by then it’s too late she has discovered his sinister plot and that he slept with her married cousin. ¡Ay, Dios mío! Oh the drama!
My second choice would be Sense and Sensibility, as it too has drama, passion, terrible relatives, losing your home and fortune, etc! We have our heroines, Elinor and Marianne, who have lost their fatjer and discovered with the will hardly anything has been left to them. Unbeknownst to them, thier brother John has promised to take care of them, but after their father died he and his villainous wife, Fanny, have decided to give them nothing. In true telenovela fashion there should be a second will that they destroy to keep the Dashwood sisters from inheriting anything.
Not to mention Fanny Dashwood would be the perfect telenovela villain, everything she does is beyond terrible. Keeping an inheritance from her sister-in-laws, saying they are not even family because they are half siblings, keeping Edward and Elinor apart, and even taking Lucy with them instead of John’s sisters. She’s perfect!
Willoughby and Colonel Brandon would be a great telenovela men, although in a telenovela Colonel Brandon’s ward would really be his illegitimate daughter or niece, not just the daughter of a friend of the family and he’s caring for her; only for it to be revealed that the woman Colonel Brandon loves has been dating the man who deserted his ward/illegitimate daughter/illegitimate niece.
And not to mention the plot line where Elinor is in love with Edward, Fanny tries to keep them apart, only for is to discover he’s been secretly engaged this whole time!!! ¡Ay, Dios mío! Oh the drama!
So what do you think? Which one would you pick? Comment below!
So for those who haven’t been reading my posts or may have forgotten, this is the worst Jane Austen adaption I have ever seen.
On paper this show sounds great, four of the Austen heroines (Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, and Emma Woodhouse) have been set in modern times and all are friends with each other. Mr. Knightley, Mr. Collins, Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, and Edward Ferrars are in this as well. Should be fun right?
The problem is that the show’s plots have little to do with the plots of Jane Austen’s books. The episodes are all pretty boring, and it does the unthinkable-it actually makes you hate Mr. Darcy.
Yes, this is truly, truly, truly terrible and I really regret ever watching it. But I’ve started it and now I have to finish it. So here we go…
Quick recap – Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. Elinor is an accountant, Marianne a Smoothie Barista, Emma a divorce lawyer, Elizabeth a real estate agent, and Knightley/Grant I don’t know.
As I have said before the plots resemble little from the novels but this is where each character is at:
Elinor received a promotion and met IRS agent Edward Ferrars. The two have a lot in common and she had a crush on him, but it turned out he is already in a relationship. He apologized in the last episode if he ever made her feel uncomfortable or if he crossed a line, and Elinor became heartbroken that he isn’t single. She also held a mouse killing party and went on a date with Collin (Mr. Collins) who was only trying to pump her for info on Lizzie. Also she knows Grant’s (Mr Knightley) secret that he is in love with Emma.
Marianne moved in with Elinor and the two always fight/argue. She was looking for a job and worked with Darcy and Emma for a bit until she found a job at the smoothie shop. She met Brandon (Colonel Brandon) when her skin was turning blue/purple and he likes her. She doesn’t seem super interested, but has reached out to Grant (Mr. Knightley) about how to keep a guy as she never seems to get a second date.
Emma is British (the only one) and a divorce attorney. She works with Darcy and the two fight a lot. She goes on a series of terrible dates set up by her friends (revenge for her terrible setups) and then went on a date with a former client only to realize that wasn’t the best idea.
Elizabeth was hired by Collin (Mr. Collins) to help him find a house but it turned out he was just trying to spend time with her to ask her out. Then she was helping Darcy find a house for “a special lady” but he was annoying and horrible and those episodes made me hate him. She also had to plan family photos, had acrylic nails and found life too difficult with them, and bought an exercise bike that she made the boys put together. Also she knows Grant’s (Mr Knightley) secret that he is in love with Emma.
Grant (Mr. Knightley) is supposed to be a main character but is really a supporting one to council the girls. I don’t know what he does for a living or anything about him other than he’s friends with the ladies and is in love with Emma. His best friend is Brandon who he called and brought into the plot when Marianne was turning blue. Elizabeth and Elinor know he is in love with Emma but he hasn’t told her yet.
Brandon was introduced late in the series, the episode where Marianne was turning blue. He was instantly attracted to Marianne, but hasn’t wanted to ask her out until they get to know each other better, as revealed in the “putting the exercise bike together” episode. He’s the only character I really enjoy as he is the only one that feels like he’s based off the source material. He also is the only character who when they are a part furthers the original plot.
But here we go, last episode everybody!
Lizzie and Marianne are hanging out shopping online as Lizzie wants to treat herself after having to deal with Darcy (can’t say I blame her as in this adaptation he is a total jerk). Elinor warns her she should wait until the sale has completely gone through, but Lizzie is very confident as Darcy wanted the perfect house for his “special lady” and finally found it.
Elinor and Marianne are intrigued with who this lady could be, and it turns out so is Lizzie. I know it is Georgiana Darcy (his sister), but the ladies try to guess is it sister, cousin, or wife? Lizzie is like family members don’t just buy houses for each other, (but some do), and thinks there is a romantic connection although she doesn’t seem that happy about it. But I don’t know why she would like him as they have hardly had any nice scenes together.
Elinor is moving Marianne’s heavy box out of the hallway and trips and drops the box on her foot. Marianne then calls Brandon to come and check if it is broken or not. Yay! I love Brandon, he’s the only good character in this.
We then switch to Darcy and Emma who are working when Elizabeth interrupts them to see Emma. Darcy seems to be in a better mood, but Emma keeps coughing. Emma and Lizzie discover the girl Darcy bought the house for is named Georgiana, and Elizabeth seems a little too curious about Georgiana’s relationship to Darcy.
Grant then comes to see Emma and offers to take her out after she ended things with “her amazing guy” (he was not amazing). Grant and Brandon talk about this, Brandon revealing he plans to ask Marianne out, but I’m not sure she will say yes. This Marianne is all over the place, in the one episode she seemed into him, but the last she didn’t seem to think of him at all. But Brandon seems pretty confident, and if he is confident in the TV world that means she will say no.
This makes me sad, but at the same time I’m happy we are back on track to the original Austen plot. Thank goodness for Brandon or else I’m sure we would have another mouse killing party episode.
Elizabeth goes to Darcy’s new house after everything has been completed and meets Georgiana. The actress they chose for Georgiana is adorable and does the part perfectly. She’s like a delicate little flower you want to protect.
Brandon tries to ask Marianne out but each time is interrupted or something happens. He’s so cute though. Even though it hasn’t happened how he wanted, he’s still going to try.
Grant shows up at Emma’s work to take her on their “date”, but she is most definitely sick. Grant takes her home instead, makes her tea, orders food in, and they talk about her family and their childhood. They imitate her father and it’s super adorable and all I can think is why wasn’t this in the earlier episodes? Like this is good writing, this is great plot, this show could have been so much better if they hadn’t wasted all the “Austen” until the end.
Elizabeth brought food for Elinor, who’s still resting as her foot bothers her. Elizabeth tells her about how she talked to Darcy and is seeing him different, agreeing to go out with him for Thai food. I don’t agree with this as the awful way they made Darcy doesn’t track with Austen’s depictions. If I was her friend I would have told her to pass on him and his bad attitude, which is the exact opposite of how you want your Darcy to be.
After Elizabeth leaves, Brandon comes over to ask Marianne out, but she isn’t home. He decides to wait but when Marianne comes home she has a giant bomb to drop. Marianne met John Willoughby, a photographer, who invited her to come to Paris with him. Brandon hearing how excited she is, decides to bow out and head home.
We end the episode with Elinor trying to convince Marianne not to run off with a stranger, but Marianne convincing her she needs to follow her dream (she never expressed modeling before, like why is this her “thing” now?)
Marianne also orders another heavy box, a present for Elinor and drops it on her foot. And that’s the end.
I think the crew behind this thought they would be able to make more episodes/seasons, but it doesn’t surprise me that it ended early/after one season. So little happened to make it interesting, and to be honest, all the episodes and scenes without Brandon are not worth watching.
The biggest problem with the show is that there was too little Austen in it. The writers saved most of the plot lines that were based on the source material for the later episodes instead of having them be earlier and interweaving them all.
If I were to do this I think I would start with characters from Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice to begin with (later introducing characters from her other works), but to have each season be focused mainly on one particular book. For example I would start with Sense and Sensibility. The first season’s arc’s primary focus would be on how Mr. Dashwood died and left everything to their older half-brother. Marianne would quit college and move in with her older sister to work a bit before she could finish her degree. I also would make the Dashwood sisters biracial, so that could further villianize Fanny Dashwood and it would add an extra tone to her comments “they aren’t really your sisters”. I think Elinor’s story arc would be to meet Edward she likes him, later discovering he’s engaged, and becoming upset at being disappointed by every man in her life. In the end she would seek counseling and that would end her first season story arc, with Edward of course coming back in a later season. With Marianne I would have her not be interested in Brandon because he is too stable and right now the two “stable men” in her life disappointed her (her father and brother). She’s interested in a spontaneous man, getting involved with John Willoughby, who I would make one of those guys who are like I’ll take care of my woman, she’ll never have to do anything, women shouldn’t work, etc.-so Marianne decides to forgo her original college plans; and of course is brokenhearted by the end of it. I like the idea of John being a photographer, director, etc-someone in power who chooses to marry a wealthy woman so that her family money can fund his lifestyle. Marianne’s ending season would be when she decides to focus on herself and agree to one date by Brandon. I would also have the season end with Emma, having encouraged both women, believing that she is the one that brought them to where they are (Elinor in counseling and Marianne dating Brandon), therefore deciding to further her “good works” by directing her attention to two new interns/hires at her company Fanny Price and Harriet Smith. Fanny I would I make her a foster child of the Bertrams, or she is the child of a family friend that they become legal guardians of (so that we don’t have to deal with the incest issue.)
Season 2 would be all about Emma, I see her as being expected as the one to take over her father’s company. I would have had in season 1 that an article come out about her that doesn’t paint her in the best light, or she overhears someone taking about how she is a horrible person and she decides to do some charity work to improve her image. In my head I imagine a character like Taraji P. Henson’s character from Think Like A Man, or Fallon in the new Dynasty. She also believes she’s the one responsible for the resolutions in the Dashwood sister’s lives and decides to try and help others. We could go the sweet Harriet Smith route, or we could do a new depiction of and make Harriet Smith slightly like Eve in All About Eve. I would have Fanny not follow Emma’s “help” but does end up becoming her “real” friend. Also we could introduce the other characters in Emma, such as the Elton’s, be clients of the company. This season could end with her finally finding herself, with her friend Knightley and end with introducing Darcy, maybe a a company party where Darcy and Elizabeth have their interaction and bringing in Emma’s old friend Anne Elliot.
Season 3 would be Pride and Prejudice, this one would probably be the easiest to adapt to modern times as there are a lot of different avenues you can take. End the season with them staring to be together, and introducing Catherine Morland, maybe as a friend of Marianne’s? Season 4 could be one of these ladies, I unfortunately haven’t plotted those out as much as the first three. But they are all easily adaptable to modern times. And there are quite a few different ways to interweave all their stories together.
I kind of hope someone takes another shot at this as it has a lot of potential. You also could make it a rainbow cast and have a lot of different ethnicities in this as well.
So while the potential was there, the series just wasn’t up to it. I don’t not recommend watching unless you wish to be bored.
No Twilight Saturday? Yep, no more Twilight! We finished that on Thursday as I had to post this on October 30th. Why? Well today is the 210th anniversary of Sense and Sensibility!
At first I was really bummed because Sense and Sensibility doesn’t have a gothic/Halloween adaption for me to review to honor its anniversary. I also already have reviewed Dead Again which was the catalyst for the 1995 Sense and Sensibility adaption. I was at a loss of what to do when I watched this film:
So every October, I see people posting on Instagram about The Turn of the Screw. Every year I tell myself I should read it or watch an adaption, and last year I finally did (both). I really wanted to see the Colin Firth adaption, but it was no longer available on Amazon, so instead I watched the 2009 version with Dan Stevens. That of course ties in perfectly with today as today is the 210th anniversary of Sense and Sensibility. Of which in the 2008 adaption Dan Stevens plays Edward Ferrars.
This film was okay, in a lot of ways it reminded me of the book AliasGrace. But after reading the story, I think the production did the best they could with an uneven source material. The original story doesn’t even have a real end, it starts with someone reading the governess’ recollections and then just ends, about them passing on the story or anything like that.
We start off the film with former governess, Ann (Michelle Dockery) in a sanitarium. She speaks to Doctor Fisher (Dan Stevens); and yes they both were in Downton Abbey. How funny, right?
Anyways, Doctor Fisher is trying to find out what happened with Ann and try to get to the cause of it all.
Ann tells our story in a flashback. She was hired as a governess by a wealthy man who inherited his brother’s children along with Bly Manor. He wants nothing to do with them or any problems that arise. He also seduces Ann and she travels out the country with hopes that their fling will grow into something more.
Ann goes to the house and everything feels sad and dark. There is only female staff, as all the men left to fight in WWI. They are all cold and standoffish to her as well.
Ann meets Flora, her pupil, who is kind and sweet and easy to teach. But those quiet days are interrupted when the other charge, Miles, is sent home from boarding school for saying something so dreadful to another student, a male student.
Ann starts wondering about it and when she finds a note from Miles’ boarding headmaster, she is so horrified she destroys it. She can’t believe that what was written could be true as Miles is such a sweet and tender boy. They all have a wonderful time together, and Ann dreams of the Master coming and then becoming a family together.
Ann finds out that her predecessor, Emily Jessel is buried in the church’s graveyard near the house. It turns out that Jessel had committed suicide.
Then things start turning weird…Ann begins to see the figures of a man and a woman. But no one else sees them. She sees them around the kids, but they keep denying it.
Ann starts questioning the staff about who the man could be, but no one will talk to her except Carla. Carla tells her about Peter Quint, now deceased and former steward of the house. The master was best friend with Quint and liked to “raise hell” with him. Peter harassed and sexually abused all the girls, Emily being the one who actually formed a relationship with him. He spent a lot of time with Miles, Emily, and Flora.
Ann keeps seeing the figures of the man and woman and after hearing the descriptions of the Emily and Quint, she realizes they are who she is seeing. But are they ghosts or is Ann just going mad?
Ann sees Quint push Carla off the roof, but everyone says she must have imagined him as he is dead.
But it doesn’t stop, Ann keeps seeing Emily and Quint together everywhere in violent, passionate, sexual acts. Then she sees Flora and Miles acting like them. She thinks the two, who were so very close to them, were groomed by them. It turns out that Miles repeated something that Quint had said to Emily to a male student. They never tell you what, but as Quint was a rough, crude, and abusive man-I’m sure you can imagine that it was bad.
Ann decides she must do something, at first she was going to leave but she cares too much for the children. She returns and finds the two having rough play by the lake, Miles trying to drown his sister. Ann saves Flora and hits Miles repeatedly, stopped by the housekeeper.
After that Ann decides to confront Miles and sends everyone away but him. There they wait and have a showdown with Quint. This is interesting as Quint possesses Miles, he demands Quint leaves, and Ann hugs him-the next scene him being dead. Did Quint kill Miles as that was always his intent? Or did Ann kill him when she hugged him? He’s a small thin child, it would have been hard for her to strangle or crush him? Was it ghosts or madness on her part?
The next day they return to find her with Miles’ dead body. She is arrested and we return to the present. The Doctor believes her story, but she is still sentenced to die.
The film wasn’t bad, I just wish they hadn’t so obviously pointed toward ghosts/possession. I wish they had made it a bit more suspenseful and had the audience question her sanity. This easily could have been added in if they had a mention she had seen ghosts before or something. Like I said it was okay, not terrible but not the best film I have ever seen.
Incense and Sensibility (The Rajes #3) by Sonali Dev
I thought what better way to commemorate or commiserate (depending on your point of view) the California Governor Recall Election than with a book that is about a California Gubernatorial Election.
Incense and Sensibility is the third book in the Raje series. The first, Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice and I really enjoyed that book. It had biracial characters, it kept to the story while at the same time allowing the author to tell “her” story, and it had wonderful descriptions of food (depicting the tradition, love, and culture weaved into the making of it.
The second book, Recipe for Persuasion, is based on Persuasion. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the previous one. I liked the diversity of the characters, but I didn’t feel as connected to the people.
I had seen on Instagram that the third was going to be published soon and as soon as it was added to the library I immediately checked it out.
This book is based on Sense and Sensibility, and focuses on Trisha Raje’s brother (mentioned in both previous books) and a new character, India Dashwood. In the previous books we were given some information about Yash; he is the eldest brother of the Raje family and was in a horrible accident that caused him to lose his ability to walk. Originally told that he would spend the rest of his days in a wheelchair, he proved all wrong and was able to walk again.
However, even though this is a miracle he still felt very insecure and has never let anyone look upon his naked body and see his scars. His dream was to always go into politics, but again he faced another hurdle. At the bequest of his sister Trisha, he offered a job to her best friend Julia Wickham. Julia Wickham turned out to be a truly horrible person, (of which there are no words to describe how horrible); who used his generosity to grow close to him, drug him, rape him, and then blackmail him (as she was underage), and the Raje family. Yash never properly dealt with that trauma, but become not only more suspicious and closed off from others, but all thoughts of a relationship with a woman was pretty much gone forever as the experience left him with severe trauma.
At his sister, Nisha’s, wedding he met his cousin’s friend India Dashwood. He and India had a wonderful evening together, Yash allowing a new person into his life, and made plans to get together when he returned from an already scheduled trip. But when he arrived in Singapore for a wedding, he was convinced to pretend to be engaged to his best friend, Naina Knightley. Naina convinced him it would help them both as her parents do not see Indian women as having any other role than married and she will be able to continue her dream of running her own nonprofit. For Yash he can have someone to be by his side for important events and not have to worry about people focusing on his sexuality over his political agenda. (This makes me think of Kevin Kikey, someone running for governor of California who is single. Everyone is trying to figure out if he is gay, asexual, is involved with a married person, or just hasn’t found his dream mate.)
Even though this trade off helped his friend (and him), while Yash was okay with it in the beginning-it has been grating on him. But Yash is a professional and sets all that aside as he prepares for a new speech given at a rally. As he goes on stage to begin his speech, a shot rings out. Yash’s bodyguard Abdul takes the brunt of it and is put in ICU while Yash is grazed and has a concussion.
When he has recuperated enough to be released he find himself, for the first time in a very very long time, at a loss of what to do. He doesn’t feel anything, every time he tries to give a speech he has a panic attack, he is angry and guilty that his bodyguard is lying in a coma, he wants nothing to do with the farce of a fiancée, and he doesn’t even want to be governor. His family is worried about him, and as Ashna has suffered from panic attacks in the past (previous book), she encourages him to see India Dashwood, her friend and yogi-the last woman he ever thought he would see again.
India Dashwood’s family came to America, and the Bay Area, to start a barbershop. India’s great-grandparents hired an Indian immigrant, Ram, to be an assistant who also taught them Yoga. What none planned was for their daughter, India’s grandmother, to fall in love and become pregnant. Ram was fifteen years older and left town due to fear of what would happen to him, and India’s grandmother raised her daughter, Tara, changing their business from barber shop to yoga studio. When Tara was old enough she went abroad to search for her father, but was unable to find him. Instead she returned home with a baby she adopted, continuing that two more times. Her son Siddhartha is from India, her daughter India from Thailand, and her other daughter China from Kenya. All the children had cleft palates, but she didn’t care and adopted them anyway.
Out of the children, only India was the one to carry on the family’s traditions of the Yoga studio as her sister China is a TV producer and their brother a photojournalist. The family is in a bit of a financial strain as India used what money they had saved to do some much needed renovations, and now her mother has grown seriously ill. So when Yash comes back into her life after dropping her all those years ago, she would like to reject him and hurt him (a bit like how he hurt her), but instead agrees to help him, not just for the money, but to help him through his trauma. Will these two find a way to maneuver through the trauma, overcome hurt feelings, get through youthful decisions made for the wrong reasons, stalking paparazzi, and become something more?
Meanwhile, China Dashwood has everything coming up roses. Her cooking show is going great and she is dating KDrama star, Song Ji Woo. True, she doesn’t like having to keep it hidden, but understands that Song can’t reveal her homosexuality as it would end her career. The two spend all their time in hotel rooms, at China’s apartment, or China’s mother’s house. China encounters Yash’s new body guard, former marine Brandy and tbe two do not get off on the right foot when Brandy fails to let China inside the building. The two have a bit of a better relationship after China meets Brandy’s daughter. Brandy and her best friend were heading toward one direction, but her friend ended up marrying an abusive man. When her husband murdered her, Brandy was given legal custody of their daughter and adopted her and raised her as her own. When Song has to return to Korea, China decides to give up her life in America and follow her to Korea. Tara, India, and Brandy try to caution her and convince her to wait and see-but China won’t be dissuaded. Will she get her heart broken ? Or have her happily ever after?
So as always I like to start with what I didn’t like and then move onto what I did like about the book.
First of all I don’t enjoy the political part of this book, as I read to escape. I understand that the author has a particular story she wants to tell and there are opinions she wants to express and share with her readers-I have no issue with it. Just for me, I like to read to escape the world we are in and this book had too much real world for me personally. Especially as I happened to read this book when a real election was going on.
I also find the absence of Latino people from this book to be really odd. Yash started going over with Rico the different political groups on his side and it seems strange to me that Yash discuses the African American vote and working with thE BLM, but there is no mention of a Latino vote, even when they discuss immigration. Not only am I Mexican, but I was born in California, grew up here, lived in the area the books take place and the more and more I think about it, the absence of Latino people in this book is extremely weird. I mean if she decided not to make a Latino a main character, fine it’s your choice and your story, but Yash is running for governor of California and there is no mention at all of the Latino vote or a Hispanic alliance group? It seems strange that both Nisha and Rico who are supposed to be extreme experts have decided to ignore the largest non-white racial demographic in California, especially as his only rival is white and anti-immigration. It seems to me that the smart thing would be to use that to show why the Latinos should vote for Yash.
I also think it is odd that the issue the book and Yash focus on are health care, it is partly what pushes him back into running for governor after his near death experience. I know that is an important issue, but is that the number one Californians are facing? I’m surprised that Yash doesn’t focus on any of the huge CA issues that those running for Governor usually go over (I mean I know because not only have we been going through the recall election but also I remember when governor Newsome was running a few years ago.) One of our biggest issues are water rights and farming rights, something that has carried over every with drought concerns get worse and worse, yet Yash doesn’t even focus on this or talk about it. Nor does he focus on the wildfire crisis even though the deadliest fire was in 2018 in Butte County (Camp Fire) and the biggest CA wildfire was the August fire in 2020. But even if the book was going through revisions there was the Mendencino fire in 2018. And then what about homelessness? We have one of the highest homelessness levels in the nation. I know health care is important, but again it seems strange to me that it was the only issue he seems focused on besides immigration.
I also felt that Song wasn’t really a a very good Willoughby. Willoughby used a woman, got her pregnant, and left her! Then he romanced Marianne only to leave her with no explanation when his aunt threatened to cut off his inheritance, and he decided he needed a woman with money. Song on the other hand is in a harsh reality of the fact that she has no choice in her life. KPop and KDrama stars are owned by their companies and have to be single as their boyfriends and girlfriends are their fans. If they start dating someone they are dropped as the fans don’t want them, and they lose everything. I mean it is CRAZY how obsessive their fans are and how they treat them. If they found out she was in a relationship, her life and career would be over. One woman got married without approval of her agency and she was dropped, blacklisted, and the only way she could make music was her husband had to buy a company. When fans found out that this one KDrama star had a girlfriend and she was pregnant, he was dropped by the fans and his agency. He and his girlfriend got married and I believe it has been five years and he is just barely being allowed to act again. Not to mention that Korea is super conservative and if people found out she was a lesbian that would be even worse for her. So while she doesn’t treat China as nice as she should, Korea is very different from America. And unlike Willoughby, Song is providing for her family. She’s providing money for them and they probably still have debts to the company they belong to that she still needs to pay. Willoughby was a jerk that thought only of himself, while Song is in a completely different situation. For me I would have made Song an American or British actor, or have had her made the crossover into American film and TV (beyond a cooking show), as I feel that the way she treats China and her wanting to keep them hidden would have been more a clue to Song’s behavior rather than her complete lack of control over her relationships.
So what did I like? First of all, I thought the story line and the characters were more engaging than the previous one in the fact that the plot propelled forward and made me want to read more. I also felt that there was conflict and more on the line for every character’s decision.
I like the multicultural/multiethnic families A LOT! As someone growing up biracial, there was hardly anything out there for me, so I love that we have that in here.
I also like that the Marianne character in this isn’t just a flighty, silly, unintelligent girl. So often authors get the spirit of Marianne wrong and make her just all froth and no substance.
I liked that in this China (Marianne) was passionate and gave everything all of her, no holding back, but that she was also intelligent and a hard worker (not a bubble head like they usually write her). I thought that Dev making her a workaholic really did well for the character as I could see someone who is so passionate about their job to be just as passionate in everything else they care for, such as a new relationship. But while I enjoyed those parts of her character I didn’t care for the romance with Brandy. China barely interacts with Brandy, actually spending more time with Brandy’s daughter (who ends up working at the Yoga studio). She is pretty much just rude to Brandy when she is around her, moves to another country to be with Song, it doesn’t work out, she returns home, and then she and Brandy watch a few movies and are now a couple in love? It felt extremely fast as they hardly sharedany scenes or time together in the book. At least in Sense and Sensibility, Marianne and Colonel Brandon spent time together. I think she should have fleshed that out more as the book only takes place in like two months. It really felt like Brandy was just a rebound instead of a “love” as she just returned home like a week ago “being fully committed” to Song and now she’s with someone else?
I also really, really liked how she wrote Yash. The trauma he encountered was horrendous, and the way he closed himself off to people-choosing the easy way out of love and relationships by agreeing to this fake relationship, made perfect sense for his character. I’m not a big fan of Edward Ferrars, but I did enjoy this Yash version of him. Dev dealt with this subject extremely well, although I still think he should have continued his therapeutic help, and it should be with someone he’s not having a relationship with. I understand the security issue of it as they didn’t want the media getting wind but him having India help him fix everything in a couple months and then he ending up with his “therapist”, rubs me wrong. I just think it isn’t a good foundation for a romance, and it feels unethical as well. I also am not a fan of the one night together and then years later, just a couple months and they are “in love”. I prefer my romances to happen over a period time, so that wasn’t for me.
I also enjoyed the character of Tara as I thought she was extremely interesting and I wish we had a little more of her. Growing up biracial, trekking across Asia to find her father, adopting children from across the globe, her strange illness/healing stories, etc. She was the right amount of unusual and relatable. She also was a more active mother than the original Mrs. Dashwood, yet recognized that her children needed to make their own decisions and mistakes.
I enjoyed this book more than the second one, but I still liked the first one best of all.
The one thing that really confused me about this book was that Yash’s fake ex-fiancé is Naina Knightley, so I’m assuming that the book Emma is next on the adaptions schedule, but Naina’s actions don’t seem anything like Mr. Knightley at all. I mean she is manipulative, takes advantage of Yash, and exhibits truly horrible abusive behavior as she tries to force him to stay with her. I’m not excited at all for the next one if it features her.
So as I have been saying in every post, I have been planning my Jane Austen 29th birthday party for a few years (it was originally supposed to be my 27th birthday celebration but things happened); and I was finally able to have it.
So originally I had planned for three games, but I ended up doing four. The first game I had wanted to play a type of guess who game where I gave an Austen character to each party guest. I planned for each to have a short bio of their character along with a list of characters everyone else was going to be. I planned for each to act out their character, the first person to get someone to guess them right would receive a prize. I thought it would be a lot of fun, but then my sister and mother pointed out that the people attending were not really Austen fans.
Yes it turned out that all my friends who had actually read or watched Austen’s works were unable to come and the friends that were attending had very limited exposure to Jane Austen. So it was back to the drawing board .
My next thought was that I would do a game that was more of “Who Am I?” I would give everyone a list of characters and then I would read out a short bio of each character and they would have to match up who goes with which storyline. I thought this would be easier and I could do it either before or after the trivia game, that way it would help people get a boost in answering one of the games.
But when I presented it to my mom and sister, they both still thought it would be too hard. So it was back again to try and come up with a new idea.
I decided to shelve it altogether and instead work on the Jane Austen Trivia game I had planned. I sat down and wrote it up, but then when I looked it back over, I realized it was too hard. I ended up throwing it out and starting all over again.
So I rewrote it, and then this time it was far too easy. I thought if I used it then everyone would be a winner. That one joined the other in the trash.
I did a few more drafts and then finally settled on one that I thought wasn’t too hard, but also not too easy.
However, it still appears that I made it too hard as everyone said it was really difficult.
My friend who won got 9/15 questions correct and chose prize three. I will attach the Trivia file below and let me know what you think. Was it too hard? Too easy? Or do you think just right?