It is time for our Halloween Austen pick, the hardest one to choose and find every year. This year we are bringing something from my childhood as I loved Wishbone as a kid! I used to watch every episode and of course it encouraged me to read all the books the episodes were based on.
I definitely believe it contributed to my love of classic literature.
Today we are looking at the Northanger Abbey episode and of course I couldn’t miss an opportunity to try and brainwash my six year old niece into liking the show and Jane Austen. I refer to my niece as “E” in this post.
For those who have never seen Wishbone, it follows the titular Jack Russell Terrier as he reads books and imagines himself as a character in the book, and when he’s the character all see him as that character and not as a dog. Wishbone belongs to Joe, but he also hangs out with a lot of other kids in the neighborhood.
We start off the episode with Wishbone looking at plastic flammings and planning to chew them, but is distracted by the mailman.
Wishbone is hanging out with neighbor Wanda and neighbor kids Sam when Wanda receives a strange letter. “You are the one”. This isn’t the first one as she has received others and they said, “Soon you’ll know what we’ll think of you”. Is it complimentary or a threat?
Wanda decides to just go about her business and Wishbone follows her, being distracted by some other neighborhood kids reading a scary story. One of them, Melina, loves mysteries and spooky fiction just like another character!
Wishbone then introduces us to Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey. In this version of Northanger Abbey, Wishbone is Henry Tilney who is also there with his sister Eleanor. In this version Henry Tilney/Wishbone recognizes John Thorpe, “but only as one who brags constantly” and Isabella Thorpe “who flirts with everyone they meet”. Eleanor points out Catherine who is reading and absolutely fascinated by the Udolpho.
John Thorpe steals the book as he doesn’t like reading. He starts making fun of her, but Henry Tilney/Wishbone comes over and shares how he loved the book. Catherine looks at him longingly and reads a page aloud.
Me: He [John Thorpe] doesn’t like to read, so do we like him E?
E: No way!
Me That’s right, we don’t like guys who don’t like to read.
E: I love to read.
Back in the real world, Wanda has receieved another letter! “Words cannot explain all that you have done”. All the kids are interested in solving the letter mystery and so is Wishbone. And so am I!
Back in Northanger Abbey, Mr. Thorpe talks to General Tilney and brags about his connections. He also starts talking about Catherine Morland and how she has so much money coming to her. I really like this depiction of Thorpe as I love how he blatantly lies about Catherine not being able to go on a walk with the Tilneys and then just runs off with a “Ta-ta”.
Eleanor is thinking how odd it is to send another to reject them, but Henry Tilney/Wishbone isn’t so sure they really know her as a person.
Catherine is heading to see the Tilneys and runs into the Thorpes who tell her they ended the engagement. Catherine is super upset and runs to the Tilneys apologizing.
The Tilneys are planning to leave for Northanger Abbey and they invite Catherine to join them. As those two words are spoken spooky music plays. Catherine is eager and has so much imagination about how creepy and mysterious it will be.
Henry Tilney/Wishbone teases Catherine and jokes about sliding panels, gloomy portraits, mysterious chests, and cryptic letters. He is much better that the ‘80s Mr. Tilney.
Back in the real world Wanda runs into Ellen who has another note for her. “Wait and See”The kids are on the case and convinced the mailman is behind it all and follow him on his route, while Wanda ponders the note.
The kids try to spy on the mailman but Wishbone sneaks in. He also goes through the package door and heads into the backroom of the post office. He starts thinking about Northanger Abbey while in the post office.
Me: Is it [Northanger Abbey] too spooky?
E: I think it is pretty.
Catherine also loves it! The Tilneys show her the oldest part of the house and the forbidden wing. The forbidden wing contains their mother’s room, the one in which she died. Eleanor wasn’t at home or Henry, which makes Catherine think that maybe she was murdered.
Me: What do you think happened?
E: I think the mom turned into a skeleton that is still alive.”
Even though she was told that Mrs. Tilney’s room was forbidden she decides to sneak in any way.
Me: Do you think there will be a skeleton in there [Mrs. Tilney’s room]?
Henry comes strolling by and sees the open door, spotting Catherine looking around the room. Lightning and rain flash against the sky outside as Catherine searches the room and finds a truck which she opens…
E: Tell me what happens, I’m scared. [Covers eyes and music continues] Please tell me what happens!
Henry is hiding behind a tapestry while Catherine searched a drawer and find papers. Catherine is a little less sympathetic in this one adaption as it was only her first night that she searched the room, instead of being several days later. All Catherine found was a laundry list, embarrassment, and an unhappy Henry Tilney/Wishbone. He reveals the truth about his mother’s death, that she died from fever and that his father doesn’t like to be in the room as it breaks his heart.
Catherine apologizes and Henry tells her that his home isn’t like a a gothic novel but it’s real life.
Back in real world Wanda comes upon the kids and scares them i their detecting that they all run off.
Back in Northanger Abbey Eleanor tells Catherine, that Catherine has to leave as the Tilneys are going away. Catherine is to be sent home ASAP and General Tilney is in a horrible mood. Catherine thinks it is because of what happened with Henry and in this children’s version she is sent home during the day. Henry Tilney/Wishbone stops Catherine before she leaves Northanger Abbey and tells her that John Thorpe has been spreading rumors about her pretending to be a future heiress and that is why his father is mad, he thinks Catherine is a fortune hunter.
Henry Tilney/Wishbone apologizes for the way the Thorpes have treated her and that tells her he was also wrong.
Catherine: Perhaps I need to learn more about the real world and judge them as they truly are and not what I think they are.
Henry: Maybe we can learn together.
Back in reality, Wanda goes to Ellen’s house were she was invited to, but finds it dark. It turns out to be a an early surprise party for Wanda, that’s why they sent her all those mysterious notes in order to distract her and keep her from figuring out about the party.
While everyone else is distracted Wishbone is in the cake.
Me: What do you think?
E: I liked it. I like Wishbone.
Me: What did you think about Northanger Abbey?
E: I don’t know about it. I don’t have a question for it.
Me: What did you think about Catherine or Henry Tilney? Or the spooky story?
E: Hmmmm…I’m loading….hmm….I liked it. I liked Catherine.
I would say that it was a winner, not only as a cute Northanger Abbey adaption but also as an introductory piece to get my niece into Jane Austen.
So a few years ago I read an article about how this one expert believed Jane Austen wrote a mystery, (I unfortunately can’t find it but there are other articles out there if you are interested) and she believed that mystery was Emma.
At first I was what? Emma?
If anything it has to be Northanger Abbey-the mystery of the Tilneys, did the General kill his wife, what was in the forbidden rooms?
The reasoning was that a large majority of the novel is spent trying to uncover who Jane Fairfax’s secret admirer is. I never really thought of it as a mystery as Emma didn’t seem to me that interested in Jane, at least not until Frank stokes her interest with the thought that the man, Mr. Dixon, who married might really be in love with Jane and sending the expensive gifts. In fact, it seemed more like gossip than solving a mystery.
Let’s spill the tea.
It also seemed to me that she wasn’t really interested in getting to know the truth, but seemed more like she wanted to know a dirty secret about someone she doesn’t like-you know to lord it over here. You know, when you don’t like someone and then you find out a reason to really not like them.
So I was like nah, I don’t think it is a mystery.
But then I read A Visit to Highbury by Joan Austen-Leigh and that changed my perspective. The story is about Mrs. Goddard and her relationship with her sister who made a hasty marriage. The whole novel is told in letters as Mrs. Goddard sends news of Highbury to her sister. Soon the three of them are embroiled in several mysteries: Why is Mr. Elton so angry at Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith? Why does Harriet refuse Mr. Robert Martin when it was clear she was crazy about him? Who gives Jane Fairfax the piano? Why do Harriet and Emma suddenly stop being friends? Who does Mr. Knightley wish to marry?
Okay, so I had to admit, it seems that Emma is a mystery.
So I was wrong, but while i will concede that Emma is a mystery, is it the only one?
Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well? I mean we all know it is a gothic novel, but is it a mystery too?
Time to get on the case!
So the definition of mystery is:
Mystery (pronounced mis-tuh-ree, ) is a genre of literature whose stories focus on a puzzling crime, situation, or circumstance that needs to be solved.
In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland is a reverend’s daughter who loves to read gothic novels and has an overactive imagination, is asked to join family friends on a trip to Bath. There she gets involved with a gothic novellike plot and journeys to Northanger Abbey.
The first mystery are the Tilneys. Catherine meets Mr. Tilney and falls for him, let’s be honest who wouldn’t? After that she tries to glean more information about them, but can find very little from the people she knows. Are the Tilneys the amazing people she believes them to be?
Or could they not be good acquaintances? They are the first friends Catherine makes that aren’t known to her friends and family so she doesn’t know if anything they tell her is true or not. This makes me think of Agatha Christie as a big theme used in a lot of her mystery novels is that we meet people and assume all they tell us the truth when they tell us about them, but we honestly don’t really know if anything they say is real or a lie.
Mr. Tilney jokes about the Abbey being haunted or holding secrets, but Catherine (and my mind) go there as well. Is there a dark cloud hanging over the home? Is there a dark secret?
Then there is the mysterious chest in her room and the manuscript she finds. What secrets do they hold?
And of course the big one: the mystery of Mrs. Tilney’s death. She dies so quickly, did she die naturally or was she murdered?
And of course what is in Mrs. Tilney’s old rooms? Why are the shut up and forbidden? What secrets do they hold?
I think for me I always felt like this was a mystery because Catherine is actively investigating and searching out the truth, searching for a mystery-while Emma doesn’t seem as invested or investigative as she has other plans on her mind-matchmaking and party planning.
What do you think? Is Emma Jane Austen’s only mystery? Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well?
For those of you who might have missed the last few posts, Rational Creaturesis 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.
This section is a little different as it is on the Northanger Abbey and Lady Susan parts as it just didn’t feel right leaving Lady Susan by herself. So to start:
I found this ’60s copy in a thrift store and just love it!
So I was so jazzed to see something from Northanger Abbey as I’m not ashamed to say it is probably my favorite. I know it is not popular opinion, but it is just so me. When I was a child/tween I was a mix between Anne from Anne of Green Gables and Jo from Little Women and Catherine Morland. As I grew into teenage years, I became less Jo and more Catherine and Mr. Darcy.
She and Mr. Darcy are probably my favorites and the ones I feel the most like (even though the beauty of all Austen heroines and heroes is that they are extremely relatable).
So I love anything that is Northanger Abbey related and as it is often ignored by people. I was also interested in the Eleanor Tilney story as I’ve always enjoyed her character and would love to see her point of view of all that went down in Northanger Abbey.
So for those who haven’t read it it- Catherine Morland seemed so average that no one would think she could ever be a heroine-but those people will be proven wrong. She loves to read, especially gothic stories and has an overactive imagination. She is gifted with a trip to Bath and ends up in her own romance suspense novel! A love triangle, an overbearing father, a mysterious death, a foreboding Abbey, and more! I love it and you all should read it if you haven’t!
There aren’t that many adaptations, the only true adaptation I have ever read is Dangerous to Know.
The Strength of Their Attachment by Sophia Rose
So this story begins after Northanger Abbey. If you haven’t read the book:
Anyways, Catherine embarrassed herself, Mr. Tilney sent her home after he found out that she wasn’t as rich as Mr. John Thorpe said, and Mr. Tilney followed her to apologize and propose. HIs father still does not approve, and Mr. Tilney has left to try and convince him to allow the marriage.
Catherine waits at home, but doesn’t have too much time to think on that-he brother, James Morland, has disappeared!
After his fiancé Isabella threw James over, trying to snare a bigger fish, he became despondent. They have tried to contact him numerous times, but there are no answers to them. Even their aunt who resides in Oxford has had one of her grooms deliver a letter but nothing.
That is not good,
Oh no! What if he’s been kidnapped?
Uh-oh, you know what this whole thing sounds like to me? A Mystery!
Mystery, you say?
Ready for any case
Wait, wait, wait-hold the phone. An overactive imagination is what got Catherine into trouble the first time. It is time to stop, think, and reflect. Catherine takes a moment to work away from kidnapping, gothic plots, and etc. Focus, think, plot out a reasonable plan.
She convinces her parents to let her go to Oxford and try a personal visit. Catherine prepares for the trip and gets an interesting bit of news when she stops at the store to pick up her father’s paper order and she is told that a stranger is asking questions about her brother. Catherine has a bad, bad feeling about this and wishes she was in Oxford, her brother would answer, or that Henry was near.
Catherine gets there and it appears her fears were not unfounded. The porter has not seen James, but his mail has disappeared. The porter went to James’ new room (as after all that happened he did not want to live with John Thorpe anymore) and some of things are gone with no one knowing where he has gone.
Then there are rumors that he has been gambling and running up large debts everywhere. Catherine worries about it and writes it all to Henry, but unfortunately does not hear anything back.
Time to get on the case!
Catherine grows more and more worried-nothing heard from James-nothing from Henry. Maybe Henry is regretting his engagement? Maybe he won’t want to be connected to her anymore? Maybe her brother is tortured or kidnapped? Or maybe, maybe, maybe…
Catherine tries to keep her imagination reined in, but continues to worry. Catherine goes out for long walks every day, searching every man, every robe, everywhere for her brother. On one such walk she overhears the person responsible for the whole terrible plot?! What can she do?
Catherine once again finds herself in a plot she’s only ever read about-dastardly plans, missing brother, missing fiancé, a viscount, goons after her-straight out of an adventure story. Will she be able to stop this plotter? Will she find her brother? What’s wrong with her fiancé?
I LOVED it. From the beginning I was hooked into this adventure tale and could not put it down. I had to find out what happened! Where was Henry. It was amazing!!
And Mr. Tilney and Catherine are so cute together!
“Miss Catherine Morland, you are an amazing lady. You are my lady and I am proud to own it.”
Eleanor is the only daughter of of General Tilney. General Tilney is a plotter and planner when it comes to his children’s love lives-like a mean, scary, rude, horrible guy version of Mrs. Bennet.
He has been trying to have his children marry wealthy and snag a title. He can’t maneuver his sons in the same way, but does all he can with his daughter to thrust her at titled men.
This time he is trying to win Edward Grantham, Viscount Lynton. He thrusts Eleanor at him, but she is not interested in a rake with such a bad reputation.
He’s a no
She and her friend escape the questioning that is soon-to-be from her father, where she shares with her friend how she couldn’t stand him. Her friend doesn’t care as he is handsome-but Eleanor wants more than that.
“In our society, the choice of husband is one of the few over which we can exert some control. It is the choice on which rides an entire life’s worth of felicity.”
Her friend goes in to try her luck, while Eleanor waits a bit longer outside. Unfortunately, it appears that the Viscount’s brother, Mr. Grantham, was outside, hiding, and overheard everything.
She apologizes to him, but inside is seething:
“Although a gentleman would have made his presence known rather than snooping like a servant girl.”
Hey, that reminds me of something…
Scarlett: [Rhett has heard Scarlett’s and Ashley’s fight] and Sir you should have made your presence known
Rhett Butler: In the middle of that beautiful love scene. Now that wouldn’t have been very tactful would it?
Scarlett: Oh! You sir are no gentlemen.
Rhett Butler: And you Ms. are no lady.
Book lovers too.
After that little meeting, Eleanor flees into the ball, and gets asked to dance by Mr. Grantham. The two dance, and he teases her about what she had been talking about, along with just making conversation. Eleanor surprises herself by actually enjoying his company.
Later, her father, General Tilney grills her about her night and whether she hooked the Viscount or not. She tries to dissuade him from that plan, and mentions that she danced with Mr. Grantham. Her father is not happy with him, as he has no title, and is involved with trade.
But never tell a daughter to forget about a guy, they tend to not listen.
Like The Little Mermaid
A year passes, and Eleanor and Mr. Grantham have been spending as much time together as they can. Her father still doesn’t like him, but Mr. Grantham doesn’t want to give up.
Unfortunately, he will be leaving-his business is taking him to Barbados. He wants Eleanor to run away with him…but Eleanor doesn’t want to. I really enjoy their exchange as this reminds me of the whole Anna Karenina situation. If a man runs off with a women-there will be talk, but eventually he’ll be back into society good as new. If a woman did that-oh no, we are held to higher standards and face harsher consequences. I liked the exchange, and how relatable it was, while still be perfect to the time period. Plus I like how strong and powerful Eleanor is.
“When I leave my father’s house, it will be as a grown woman, going toward the rest of my life, not running away from the past.”
Mr. Grantham leaves, and then the Viscount starts paying attention to her, but not in the way you might think…but that is all moot. If her father isn’t on board, will she be able to marry the man she loves?
I LOVED it! I thought this was a great story and I loved seeing Eleanor’s side of things. I also liked how she was a strong powerful woman. I do wish we could have seen her view of how the events in Bath went, as I would have loved to get her opinion of the Thorpes, but I guess that means Cox will to write another story.
Lady Susan is a novella that Austen wrote in the late 18th century and never published. After her death her family published the work.
Lady Susan has recently become a widow, and goes to stay with her brother-in-law, Charles Vernon. She has sold the family estate and enjoys being free from marriage. Unfortunately, she can’t stay free. She has to marry herself and her daughter off in order to keep the lifestyle she loves.
Lady Susan is a very callous and manipulative woman. She enjoys being with many men-along with manipulating/controlling others.
The book is in epistolary format, told in letters between all the main characters. I know it was adapted in a film not too long ago, which I haven’t yet watched, but besides that I haven’t heard of too many adaptation of this work.
The Edification of Lady Susan by Jessie Lewis
So you all know that I’m not really into diary novels, well that doesn’t apply to epistolary novels. I don’t mind reading books made up of letters (as long as they aren’t solely love letters-that makes me feel like a voyeur).
So this was a bit confusing for me. Because it took place before the novella some of the names are different and there are extra characters. This isn’t a bad thing, it just took me a little while to get my bearings. But that happens with most epistolary tales.
So in this, Lady Susan finds herself caught in a triangle of machinations and her own manipulations. Her mother wants Susan to marry Lord Doyle, as his mother is blackmailing her. If Susan and Lord Doyle marry, then it will save their family’s reputation.
Susan’s brother, however, wants her to marry Mr. Cohen as Lord Doyle is a rake and will never be faithful. However, her brother doesn’t have the best intentions either. He wants her to marry Mr. Cohen as he owes him quite a bit in gambling debts.
But Lady Susan will not be pushed around, she has her own plan.
I think Lewis was spot on. I think she really got the character of Lady Susan, and even though I knew which man she would end up with, it still was a major plot twist and awesome reveal when we see how deep her manipulations were. My bonnets off to you ma’am. She’s like Professor Moriarity level of planning.
An excellent story.
So that concludes Rational Creatures. What do I think about this book:
I think that this was an amazing collection of stories. You can clearly tell that each and every writer loves Jane Austen and really, really tried to get into the characters and present them in a way that was true to Austen and the novels, while at the same time giving it their own twist and view.
Not only do I think every Austen fan should read this, they NEED to read this. This is probably one of the best adaptations I have read. And I think even those who have never read Austen could easily follow and love the stories.
I cannot stress how much I loved that the way the authors portrayed the characters, but I also love that they chose people from evert book, and even ones that we don’t see a lot of.
Reading this will be a pleasure-you will laugh, cry, and enjoy every minute.
Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues edited by Christina Boyd
So last year I was contacted by the remarkable Christina Boyd to read and review The Darcy Monologues. It contained stories from Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams.
The stories were all told from Darcy’s point of view with half the book set in the Regency Era and the other half set in different time periods (from 1880s Western to modern times). I really loved it! It was just so refreshing to see a point of view that is often overlooked or not done well. Just like the movies, there are many different forms of Darcy, so you have your pick of Darcy-being sure to find one, two, or more to love.
After that project, Christina Boyd teamed up with Karen M. Cox: J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Katie Oliver, Sophia Ros, Joana Starnes, and Brooke West for a new book. Instead of Darcy, this one will be on the rogues and rakes of the Austen books-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more.
I promised to read and review it but unfortunately life got in the way and I was unable to do it.
I hate breaking a promise, that is my number-one most hated thing of all time.
So now things are back on track. And this will be the first of a few posts as I am going to break them up. Why?
Well…this is about rakes and rogues, so you know…they aren’t the best of men or respectful…you know…so some of them are going to be more sexy.
And I just want to say thank you to Christina Boyd for including this little chart to help you:
Mature Content Guidelines:
None: Possible kissing and affection.
Moderate: Some sexual references but not explicit.
Mature: Some nudity and some provocative sex.
Erotic: Explicit, abundance of sex.
Because not everyone is interested in books like this:
It’s nice giving us a head’s up so those that aren’t interested know to skip or skim, or those that do can enjoy.
Something for everyone
I will review them all, starting with the none in this post, the next will cover mild, then moderate, etc.
I am very excited as I loved The Darcy Monologues and I can’t wait to see what these authors are going to do with the bad boys of Jane Austen.
This idea really interested me as we don’t know much about these bad boys, except for Wickham. Some of them aren’t even main characters, only in the story for a bit, but all play crucial roles in the path the story takes. So there is a lot of wiggle room for these authors and all kinds of scenarios and directions they could take. And almost-the original story can’t be changed-anything could happen…
The Art of Sinking by J. Marie Croft
So this one is on John Thorpe from Northanger Abbey. Let’s get his stats:
Only interested in horses, carriages, money and drinking
He lies to everyone about how wealthy Catherine is-as that is what he has made up in his head
He lies about the Tilneys to try and get Catherine away from them.
There is not enough hate in the world to give him what he deserves.
Okay first let me say, I love that Croft uses the first quote from Northanger Abbey and tweaks it about Thorpe, showcasing his buffoonery. This is a ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) so I can put in the actual quote. But yeah-
In this we see where John gets his lying streak from. He learns from his mother how to “stretch” the truth. He doesn’t get anywhere or do anything on his own, but manages to skirt through his life through his big mouth. He was never disciplined and basically believes he can do no wrong.
And I have to say that Croft is amazing at crafting all kinds of little jabs, puns, etc. This was such a pleasure to read.
I like it.
But John really crafts his skill when he goes to university. He doesn’t study, but tries to make “connections”, gambles, spends all his money on drink, women, gambling, etc. He and Isabella scheme to get rich wives and husbands, his plan to get his sister to hook his friend James Morland and he to get his sister.
But, before that scheme he has another. He bets that before the term ends he will bed a married woman. He stupidly believes Mrs. Waters, an elegant married woman, has the hots for him.
She learns of his scheme and both her husband and her unwittingly plan schemes of their own. Mr. Waters bets him to see of his wife will succumb, and Mrs. Waters plans a Shakespearean worthy scam. Mrs. Waters tricks him into the super smelly,stinky laundry and dump him in the river.
He tries again with Mrs. Fields, but that ends up with a dog attacking him, getting beat by the husband, and thrown again the river.
Isn’t nice to see people get what they so deserve.
He tries again with Mrs. North, but when he gets there he finds not just that woman but the previous two. They try to force him in the laundry, send the pug after him, and all three women dump him in the river in front of everyone.
What Did I Think: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha I LOVE it!!!
Fredrick Tilney…ugh…onw of the most awful men ever. Hate him! He makes me think of James Spader in Pretty in Pink
Class A totally complete 100% jerkwad
Cares about nothing and nobody
Uses girls, takes what he wants and then dumps them-without caring a fig for their reputation, life, what will become of them.
I’d like to punch him in the face!
So this starts off with Captain Fredrick Tilney, brother to Henry Tilney, going to be in a duel after seducing his friends fiance. He stops the duel by telling his friend he did it “for his own good”. That he did it to prove his fiance was “unfaithful” and that he is “better off” without her.
HATE HIM!!! HATE HIM!!!! NO real friend would do that. Now I want to punch him in the face and the balls. Excuse my anger.
He learned this from his father, General Tilney, when he fell for a girl and his dad believed she was untrue. General Tilney seduced her, and Fredrick has “made it his mission” to do so for all his friends.
You know who else has creepy evil missions, serial killers! Yes, serial killers. He as evil as a serial killer.
A year later, General Tilney is furious that Henry has proposed to Catherine who has nothing in his estimation. Fredrick tries to reason with his brother:
No dice. The General sends Fredrick down to take her down.
He does and this is one of the best scenes ever! He sees that she is naive and thinks she’s just right for the kill. He throws down his classic seduction moves and Catherine…she cries. She weeps, she sobs, she is utterly heartbroken that Captain Tilney has been so hurt, so heartbroken, so betrayed that he has become this man in his grief. She laments over what happened to him, she is honored that he has shared this secret self as it is a mark of bonding as they are going to be siblings.
When seduction doesn’t work, he tries logic. He spells out clearly that his father will never approve of the match, but Catherine ignores him believing love will find a way. Fredrick was proved wrong twice, as his father rescinds and they do marry. That conversation sticks with him…
At a ball one night he sees a vision of loveliness, wowed by her but then realizes it is Miss Rose Gibson, the woman he seduced in the beginning of the story. She hates him with a passion, but Fredrick has been struck by cupid’s arrow (but doesn’t realize it yet). Miss Gibson is an amazing woman who has no fear-she throws herself in front of the wolves by going to balls, parties, etc even tough she is a fallen woman. Fredrick befriends her and realizes that there was a lot more too her. He never saw her as more than a body before.
Love, love love the conversations. Fredrick is all (I’m paraphasing and using my own words nothing is a direct quote, just fyi) a woman just wants the richest man they can get, women be gold diggers. And then Rose is all, so what a man just wants the richest woman they can get, but she also has to be drop-dead gorgeous, accomplished, baby-bearing, etc.-how’s that fair? Fredrick is all women are just after security-while Rose is like when a woman gets married they go from being controlled by father to husband. Boom Rose-you are one awesome lady. Suck on that Fredrick! You suck!
The best is this-“If the vows were what I awaited to gain his loyalty,’ she said, ‘then I suppose he should have expected likewise from me.” BOOM BOOM BOOM. Yeah! Why does the guy get to be going in all kinds of brothels and being with all kinds of ladies and no one bats an eye, but then she is seduced and life is over. Not fair, not cool. Although I will say, that Rose does take responsibility for her actions and the mistake that she made with Fredrick. She doesn’t solely blame him-I think she is awesome.
Fredrick realizes he loves her, but he tries and tries proposing and each time is rejected.
What can he do? He decides to turn to the biggest romantic and the only one who can help, his sister-in-law: Catherine Morland-Tilney.
I’ve got my popcorn ready, it’s going to be good.
What Did I Think:
I LOOOOOOVEEEEED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn’t think it was possible to like Fredrick Tilney, like I literally thought it was impossible. But I did. D’Orazio is a revolutionary, can perform a miracle-seriously.
Squee! I loved it!
One Fair Claim by Christina Morland
So this story is about Sir Walter Elliot:
I hate him. He’s a major jerk.
All he cares about is physical apperance
He is critical
Doesn’t care about anyone but himself
Will I continue to hate him or see him in a new light?
The story starts in March of 1784, and Sir Walter…
Is being Sir Walter…
Commenting on people’s looks, the fact that he is lucky that the arm band (meaning a relative has died) doesn’t ruin his outfit…
He has “fallen in love”- ultimately chosen-Miss Elizabeth Stevenson because she is sweet and naive-flattering and playing to his ego. Also she has “perfect skin”-no freckles, lines, blemishes, moles, sags, etc…so of course she will be perfect to procreate.
But there is another man interested. There is a new vicar of Monkford Parish, who is “ugly”-he sweats, has a large nose, double chin, cares more about others than his personal appearance.
We then move to July 1784 when they are to be married. Elizabeth has the blinders on and believes him to be better than he really is-seeing him as caring for others when he only cares about himself. Unfortunately, Elizabeth chains herself to that jerk. She gets a sad wake up call when his wedding gift is a copy of the Barontency-yes a book about him and his whole family. What a narcissistic jerkwad.
1790-They have been married and Elizabeth has been hit with the truth of her situation, trying to make the best of it. She spends most of her free time helping take care of the orphans and poor until she dies.
After her death, a letter for Anne from her mother was left, but Sir Walter burns it as he doesn’t want Anne’s eyes opened. Anne is the only one that received the personality of her mother, as Elizabeth and Mary are all Sir Walter.
What Did I Think?: I didn’t know it was possible to hate a character more than you already do. But Christina Morland changed that.
I will say that when Sir Walter doesn’t believe in “passion so strong” that you “get it on” in the grime, dirt, and dust-I actually agreed with him. I don’t get that either. I agreed with Sir Walter. I think my life just ended.
I loved it, I think Morland did a fantastic job, I loved it. I love hating people more that I already hate. 🙂
As Much as He Can by Sophia Rose
So I have to admit, when I saw Sophia Rose’s name I got SUPER excited!!! I loved her story in The Darcy Monologues-if you haven’t read it, you need to.
Anyways, this is about General Tilney:
Uses children as pawns
Wants to make more money through children
He and Eleanor Young in Crazy Rich Asians would be perfect for each other.
The story begins in 1799, with a party at Northanger Abbey. General Tilney is trying to maneuver a more suitable match for his daughter Eleanor and trying to get Henry Tilney to move his interest from Catherine, but no dice so far.
He starts thinking back to when he met their mother-Genevieve. General Tilney is thought to be unfeeling or a villian-but is that how he really felt about her?
March 1768-General Tilney-Major then, is coming for his best friend’s, Longtown, wedding (wow another Crazy Rich Asians flashback). His other friend Courtenay is engaged and his fiance is hoping that Tilney can help them out. Her friend, Miss Genevieve Drummond needs attention and a partner for some of the dances. But Tilney isn’t interested as Miss Freethy is the woman he wants, having meet and spent time with her in Jamaica- he stationed her visiting.
Tilney and marriage is something that he and his father fought over-his dad parading “suitable” women of his choice in front of Tilney. He never wants to be like that and ran away to the army. Since then his father has given him no money-and Tilney has had to go it on his own.
Tilney spends the night with Miss Drummond and really enjoys it, but still has his eyes on Miss Freethy trying to sneak away to talk to her as soon as he can.
But Miss Freethy is not interested in Tilney anymore. He was just a flavor of the month for her. She set her eyes on Lord Stanbridge, an Earl with great land and money. Tilney is not heartbroken, but angry, embarrassed, and betrayed.
While Tilney is in sorrow, Miss Drummond proposes to him.
Yes, Miss Drummond had a fortune-hunter after her and was greatly humiliated and talked about. That’s why her friends had to hunt up someone to give her “attention.” She does not want to return to her father’s or aunt’s household-where the humiliation and lecturing will continue. She knows that Tilney will face the same humiliation and wants to propose marriage to Mr. Tilney. The humiliation will stop as the ton will reverse and talk about the nuptials, how Tilney spurned Miss Freethy for Miss Drummond, and how Miss Drummond scooped up a winner.
Tilney turns him down as Miss Drummond is lower than him, and does not have the connections and wealth Miss Freethy had. He is a total jerk when he does too-awful.
So the friend’s wedding comes and goes, but the tongues are wagging about Tilney being Miss Freethy’s little toy soldier. Tilney thinks over the proposal more and more and meets up with her later. He sees her again and can’t believe that he didn’t see how beautiful she was before. He accepts her proposal and they are married-forget his father.
The two were married and became “partners” in their venture. Tilney did all he could to hold up his end of the deal, getting her the things she wanted.
This remembrance made him realize he does not want to be his father and he lets Eleanor and Henry marry the people of their dreams.
What Did I Think?: So adorable. I never thought I would ever like General Tilney, ever-even a little bit. He’s so rude and just-urgh, yuck. But in this I felt for him, I liked him! I thought it was absolutely adorable and just loved it.
So far what do I think? I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED It!!! This stories were great! Some people I absolutely hated, I found myself loving! And others I hated I found myself hating more! It was amazing and I found myself having a hard time putting it down as I wanted to read more and more.
But will I love the others? I don’t know, we will have to wait and see!
The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen compiled by editors Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster. 2003 (originally printed in 1997).
I read this book a while back, but am only now able to write a review of it. This volume contains a brief biography of Austen’s life: her as a writer; essays on Northanger Abbey, Sense & Sensibility, and Pride & Prejudice; Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion; Austen’s short stories; the Austen letters; class-consciousness in her works; economy of the culture; religion and politics; her style in the novels; the significance of her juvenile works; and Austen cults/cultures.
The Lovely Jane
I thought this book was…okay. Some of the essays had really interesting points about Jane Austen or her work.
While others seemed to rehashed old concepts that you already knew. Although, in this book’s defense I think that was mostly due to age as it was published almost twenty years ago. At the time of publication I’m sure all the ideas in were new concepts at the time and just have now just seeped into the general knowledge. I do think it is worth a read if you are looking for more information on Jane Austen or a deeper look into her works.
However, the essay that I did not care for was the one on Northanger Abbey, by Rachel M. Brownstein.
In Brownstein‘s essay she writes about how Northanger Abbey is a parody of the romantic genre that was popular at Austen’s time, that I agreed with.
Northanger Abbey in a way is a rewrite of The Female Quixote or The Adventures of Arabella by Charlotte Lennox. In fact, I agreed with a lot of what Browenstein wrote in her essay, such as how Austen made fun of the romantic tropes, and was quite snarky in her writing. Today she would have fit in on Youtube, right next to Nostalgia Critic or someone of a similar tone.
The part I disagreed with was what she wrote about Mr. Tilney.
In her essay she details that how Mr. Tilney is the most “feminine” of the Austen heroes because he is interested in muslin (something only for a woman), novels, and is dominated and intimidated by his manly father. I however, feel he is no less masculine than any other Austen man.
1)Interest in Muslin
Catherine has just met Mr. Henry Tilney who is unlike any man she has met or read in books. Instead of being tall, dark, and brooding; he is jovial, saracastic, witty, hilarious, etc. No reserve for him.
They begin on the subject of muslin by Mrs. Allen who is speaking on her muslin dress and how she would hate for it to be torn. It is a favorite of hers and cost but nine shillings a yard. Henry shares that he would have guessed that as he is a great judge of muslin, as he buys his own cravats and sometimes his sister’s gowns.
Now there are many ways to look at this conversation:
1. Henry is a Down to Earth Man
Henry Tilney is a middle son. He knows that like most middle children, he will not inherit as much as her older brother but instead is expected to make his own fortune or marry rich.
He chose the church as a profession, and while he will live comfortably he won’t be a millionaire, unless he marries a wealthy person. Depending on what living he is granted and who his patron is, he could have several servants or he might have to take care of a few duties himself. Also before he is married and has a wife to run the house, he will need to be in charge and know how best to budget and stay within his means.
He also might want to purchase the time of cravats he likes. Sometimes you can ask another to pick up a specific material or item, but that doesn’t always mean your servants will follow through. Maybe he likes a particular type and would rather pick it up himself?
2. Henry is a Good Brother
Eleanor Tilney is the youngest of the Tilney clan. She is very reserved and quiet; due to her father General Tilney’s tyrannical ways. We know that the father emotionally abused the mother with his attitude and temperament, being a vampire of spirit, and it is easily concluded that he did the same with his daughter. Because of this, Eleanor doesn’t have many friends, the only ones seeming to be her brother Henry, and then later Catherine.
The eldest Tilney, Captain Fredrick Tilney, is a lot like his father. He is no friend of Eleanor; leaving Henry to shoulder the big brother responsibilities and to be the protector of his sister. Like Mr. Darcy, there are probably a ton of different things he does for his sister, buying her clothing the least of it.
3. Henry is Being Sarcastic
This is most likely the real reasoning behind the conversation with Mrs. Allen. We know that Mr. Tilney has a wicked sense of humor. He is sarcastic, funny, and likes going against society (not 100% but a mini rebellion).
Right before this exchange he and Catherine are discussing her time in Bath, with Mr. Tilney sassily and snarkily making fun of how society expects such bland converstion (much of how Elizabeth does when she and Darcy dance in Pride & Prejudice).
“I [Mr. Tilney] have hitherto been very remiss, madam, in the proper attentions of a partner here; I have not yet asked you how long you have been in Bath; whether you were ever here before; whether you have been at the Upper Rooms, the theatre, and the concert; and how you like the place altogether. I have been very negligent-but are you now at leisure to satisfy me in these particulars? If you are I will begin directly.’
[Catherine Moreland] ‘You need not give yourself that trouble sir.’
[Mr. Tilney] ‘No trouble I assure you, madam.’ Then forming his features in a set smile, and affectedly softening his voice, he added, with a simpering air, ‘Have you been long in Bath, madam?’
‘About a week, sir. ‘ replied Catherine, trying not to laugh.
‘Really!’ [said Mr. Tilney] with affected astonishment.
‘Why should you be surprised. sir?’ [asked Catherine]
‘Why, indeed!’ said he, in his natural tone. ‘But some emotion must appear to be raised by your reply, and surprise is more easily assumed…
This teasing continues for a while, with Catherine trying her best to withold her laughter.
So we know that Mr. Tilney is a kidder. He likes to joke around, and he likes to be sassy; it is easy to believe that his remarks on muslin are all just one big joke. That he actually knows nothing at all, but is just being sarcastic again.
Maybe he decided to play along with what Mrs. Allen is saying as he is in a silly/sarcastic mood, trying to make Catherine laugh once again. We know he likes to tease, and make fun of other’s foibles (eccentricities) so it is easy to conclude that.
Well, whether he knows his muslin, is a good brother, or just making fun. Mrs. Allen believes he knows his stuff, and that is good enough for me.
2) Dominated by His Father
How do I describe General Tilney?
He pretended to be sweet, charming, and kind to win the heart of a wealthy woman, but later revealed his true colors. He was tyrannical and insisted his way was always the right one or else. He held all the power and expected his children to bow to his will or find themselves with nothing.
How is this less than other Austen characters? Mr. Darcy isn’t dominated by a person, per say, but by society. He knows himself to be attracted to Elizabeth, but feels he cannot marry her as she isn’t in his class, nor does he want to be chained to her family. He does all he can to not want to be with her, but ultimately succumbs.
Edward Ferrars is just as dominated by the head of his family, although in this case it is his mother. Just like in the Tilney clan, you must do what Mrs. Ferrars says or risk losing it all. Edward’s mother wants him to follow a more elite career, while Edward wants to be a minister. He almost gives into his mother’s wishes; but luckily stays true to who he is.
And this was something that happened a lot back then. With inheritance being the key to living comfortably, and rich relatives holding the power, more often than not people always had to bend to their will.
3) Reading Novels
In the 18th century there was what historians call the “reading revolution”. With the printing press improvements that occured then and in the early 19th century, books could be printed more easily and cheaply. Reading and owning books became a huge phenomenon as more people had the ability to purchase them.
Everything from science, to books we now call classics, novels, romance, history, to cheap thrills, etc. Such romances like The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Monk were popular, but thought to be purposely explicit and exploiting, “women’s cheap novels” but were read by all.
While it would be unusual for Mr. Tilney to admit to reading them, it is not unusual for him to actually read them as most men did. But this admittance goes with his character as we have already seen that Tilney doesn’t feel the need to be reserved, or be constructed by societal norms, but is more open in his demeanor.
Besides as this is still a romance, whether parody or remake, and as Catherine is an avid book reader, her hero has to be as much a reader as herself. After all, there is nothing sexier then meeting a man who loves to read.
4) Never Makes a Move or Takes any Action Toward Catherine
In the essay, Brownstein declares that Mr. Tilney never had any romantic interest with Catherine, his relationship with her was all constructed or forced by his father, General Tilney. Yes, while Mr. Tilney is passive in the beginning of the novel and not the one to invite Catherine to his house (his dad does as he is trying to hook her) but what about that final scene? You know the one where he goes after Catherine and asks her to marry him risking everything for her?
Mr. Tilney is gone from the family home when Catherine is given the boot. When he returns and finds out what happened, he could have just let it go. Or he could have gone and apologized to Catherine, returning home and continuing the search for a wealthy bride. But does he do that? NO! He chooses to not only go after her, apologize for his family, but to also propose.
He is willing to throw his entire fortune away for her, not even knowing if she feels the same way about him. Unlike Edward Ferrars who is in a similar situation, Mr. Tilney doesn’t have an understanding with Catherine. He doesn’t even know if she will accept him, but he’s prepared to give it all up for her and even to to end up with nothing, having turned on his father who is not a forgiving man.
Mr. Tilney is the only Austen hero who throws all caution to the wind, and risks everything for the woman he loves.