The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair) [Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery #4) by Carrie Bebris

So this is the fourth book in this Jane Austen mystery series. I have an…interesting relationship with this series. You know I love mysteries, so when I first came across this I was so excited! Jane Austen mysteries?!!!!!

Mystery, you say?

So I read the first book Pride and Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged) and loved it!

It was a fantastic mystery that left you wondering, was something supernatural going on? Or was Caroline Bingley’s new husband gaslighting her?

The next book, however, left me extremely disappointed.

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) right away told you it was going to be the supernatural taking all the suspense out of it. Also the Dashwood sisters were hardly in the book, which strongly disappointed me.

I then decided to take a break, and went on reading and reviewing other things.

After a break I decided to read the third book North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley) as I plan to review a mystery every month (to stay in theme for the year) and because it has Northanger Abbey in it. It was good, but it really didn’t have as much Northanger Abbey stuff in it as there should have been.

I want MORE Northanger Abbey!

I liked the book, but was disappointed that there was hardly any Mr. Tilney in it and zero Catherine Morland. Extremely disappointing, but the rest of the book was good.

Hmm…

So now on to this one. My excitement for this was also high as I was excited to see Mansfield Park in something as it literally gets no love.

So one thing that happened in this book that is very different from the others is that there is no supernatural elements in it at all. The first book had a woman possibly going crazy/being mind controlled, the second a mirror with the evil spirit of the Dashwood’s great-great grandfather who possesses his great-great-grandson. The third we had the benevolent spirit of Mr. Darcy’s mother aiding Elizabeth through her pregnancy. In this, there is nothing.

So we start the book off with a Elizabeth and Darcy staying with Roger Fitzwilliam, Colonel Fitzwilliam’s older brother and the earl (you know the one that inherited everything making it impossible to marry someone without money). Lady Catherine is there with Anne as well. So remember in the last book…maybe not…quick review. So Darcy and Elizabeth were in Bath to meet with this super special doctor, who was a total jerk.

This dude, ugh!

There they received a note to visit with Captain Tilney, Mr. Henry Tilney’s older brother to visit and got caught up in a robbery of a dead man. No, it really tuned out that the man they thought was Captain Tilney was actually pretending to b him as the real Captain Tilney died a day earlier. The only one who could help them was Lady Catherine, so she traveled with them to Pemberley leaving Anne in Bath, with her companion.

She’s free!

Back in present time, Elizabeth was feeding her daughter early one morning when she runs into Anne. Elizabeth’s surprised to see her up so early, but Anne tells her she wants time to herself and Elizabeth understands-its hard to go from the freedom of Bath to then be back with your controlling mother, Lady Catherine.

The next day at the ball Elizabeth manages to get Darcy to distract Lady Catherine so that Anne can dance. She dances with her cousin Col. Fitzwiliam, who has always liked her. OMG, what if they were to get together! That would be great! Look at me, matching up people like Emma.

They also meet a Mr. Crawford, one of the people who dances with Anne. We know Mr. Crawford.

Just in case you haven’t read or seen the film, in Mansfield Park Mr. Crawford is an immoral man raised by his uncle. His biggest hobby is to seduce women, he likes them falling in love with him.

He and his sister Mary go to visit their half-sister and intersect with the Bertram family at Mansfield Park. He starts to seduce Maria Bertram who is engaged, with no plan of follow through, but it hooks her. Later he starts to fall for Maria’s cousin Fanny, trying to woo her, but when he returns to London he runs off with her.

He’s a bad boy

Time has passed, so he is free from scandal-Just like the Count in Anna Karenina. It’s really not fair that he didn’t get something worse.

Mr. Crawford asks Anne to dance with him, but she refuses. Elizabeth tries to get her to take him up on his offer but she goes upstairs and to bed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Darcy has found out that Lady Catherine wants to have an engagement between Anne and Lord Sennex’s son, Neville (a horrible man with am extremely awful and abusive temper.)

That night they retire and Elizabeth finds a note from Anne, but decides to wait until morning to read it.

Oh no, that’s important-you should read it now!

The next day Lady Catherine starts an uproar when Anne is found missing. She doesn’t want Lord Sennex to know as she hopes that she can get her in time for Anne to marry his son. They search everywhere for her but cannot find her. Lady Catherine latches onto Anne’s letter to Elizabeth and in there it is revealed that she decided to follow Elizabeth’s advice and run off with Mr. Crawford.

Oops! She misconstrued Elizabeth encouraging her to dance with her encouraging her to run off and elope.

Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy run off to follow them hoping that they can reach them before they are wed at Gretna Greene. Oh, poor Darcy this is the third elopement he has tried to stop. Lady Catherine is furious beyond furious and blames Elizabeth 100%.

The two men follow and Colonel Fitzwilliam seems extra invested? OhMyGOONESS! Maybe he was in love with Anne but never did anything about it because he thought she was going to marry Darcy, and let’s face it Lady Catherin would never pick him even if he is a Fitzwilliam. Thinking back he did seem awfully eager to dance with her?! Hmmm…

Hmm…

They reach Gretna Greene and are too late, Anne is already Mrs. Crawford.

Darcy kind of starts to lecture her but she rips him a new one when she shares how she feels! Her whole life her mother has been telling everyone they would wed and chasing all suitors always and then he up and married some other girl and she is just growing older. Ouch, I feel bad. I had never thought about Anne’s predicament.

Darcy and the Colonel try to warn her that Mr. Crawford could be a gold digger but she tells him she has seen plenty of those and knows Crawford isn’t one. She is extremely upset that she has to marry the cruel Neville Sennex and saw this as the only way out. The men are resigned and start to take her home, but unfortunately the wheel of the carriage breaks Anne injures her leg, and their are stuck by Mansfield Park.

So will we see Fanny and Edmund and the whole gang?

No.

A few Mansfield Park characters have brief moments but they aren’t really even in the story. This was the problem I had with the other books. Why bother to bring in the other titles and stories if you aren’t going to use them?

I mean, you could set this anywhere else and just add new characters, like the Sennexs. But instead Bbris gets my hopes up making it sound like we will see all the gang and we don’t, and that really upsets me. Why do this? Just to get my hopes up?

So Lady Catherine is angry and wants to make sure that Anne’s inheritance will stay controlled by her and she sends for her lawyer and he, Lady Catherine, and Elizabeth all travel to Mansfield Park.

When all arrive they discover that Henry Crawford has a very bad reputation. They hear the whole story of how he ran off with Maria Bertram Rushworth and how he had proposed to Fanny Price Bertram.

Anne starts to regret her decision, especially after his other wife comes to town.

It turns out years ago he pretended he was just a sailor and got involved with this girl Meg and then left. He sent her money, but after a fire burned the farm and the death of her only family member she goes to find her husband, the only clue being a jewelry box that leads her right to Mansfield Park.

So now who is really married to Mr. Crawford? They call the magistrate who is of course Edmund Bertram speaking on behalf of his father and it is a real sticky wicket. Mr. Crawford married Meg first, but under a false name, but one he was well known so a good lawyer could say that it was legal. And then there is Anne who married him under his legal name. This sound like a Poldark or Mary Balogh novel.

To make things even worse Mr. Rushworth and his mother, along with Maria Bertram Rushworth and her Aunt Norris, all converge on Mansfield Park to speak to Henry and give him a piece of their minds-ALONG with Lord and Neville Sennex (who happens to be friends with Tom Bertram and stays over at Mansfield Park).

Elizabeth and Darcy remark that things would be a lot easier if he was dead…

So I’m sure you all saw what was coming next. He escaped on his horse and there is a search party out for him. They finally discover his dead body.

At first the Bertrams want to declare it a suicide but after Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam look it over they discover he was murdered.

So who did it? Was Anne angry that she may not be legally wed, but also that she has lost all standing in society? Was it Lady Catherine upset that first this man upset her plans and then that he embarrassed the de Bourg line? Could it be Mr. Bertram, Tom, or Edmund…wait not Edmund as he is a minister, Sir Bertram or Tom avenging the humiliation of their sister? Mr. Rushworth out to get revenge for Mr. Crawford sleeping with his wife!? His mother for embarrassing the Rushworths? Maria, angry that he remarried and is in society while she is doomed to be an outcast forever? Aunt Norris, furious that someone hurt her favorite girl? Meg, the first Crawford wife, furious that he lied and abandoned her? Colonel Fitzwilliam maybe trying to get rid of the competition? Lord Sennex or Neville for the embarrassment? Mr. Darcy…haha yeah right it isn’t him or Elizabeth.

We’ll never know.

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are on the case to figure out who and why and get themselves and their family out of this entanglement in order to return home.

But then it is discovered that Henry Crawford isn’t really dead. Well then, who was murdered? And if Mr. Crawford didn’t die was he the intended victim or the murderer?

Hmm…

To further complicate things it turns out that Mr. Crawford has some sort of amnesia and thinks he is a sailer named John married to Meg (the first wife and first wife connection).

It turns out that the person is after Henry Crawford as he is murdered, then Neville is killed, and Colonel Fitzwilliam declare his love for Anne- the Darcys need to find the truth before whoever it is is planning on striking again.

So the mystery was really good, and the double identity and then Crawford turning out not to be dead really threw me for a loop. I had to read to the end.

Tell ME!!!!!

The mystery and the characters were really enjoyable, my only compliant was that I wish it involved more of the Mansfield Park characters. I want to see Fanny, Tom, and William Price.

From Mansfield Park Opera

For more by Carrie Bebris, go to North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Hart of Dixie’s Jane Austen Scene

For more on Mansfield Park, go to The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Unmarriageable: Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan

For more Mansfield Park variations, go to Modesto Jane Con: Opera Modesto Presents Mansfield Park

For more mysteries, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Homespun Bride

So this is something I started a while back. We all love Jane Austen and it is such a bummer that there isn’t more of her works to read.

Variations are a ton of fun, and there are great ones out there, but sometimes you don’t always want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but what to read?

Hmm…

That’s why I started this series. I will review books that have the things we love about the Austen novels, but is something fresher than a retelling.

Homespun Bride (The McKaslin Clan Historical #2) by Jillian Hart

Thad McKaslin has returned home after being away for eight years. He always wanted to live in Montana-dreaming of owning a plot of land and having a ranch for him and his wife-who he hoped to be Noelle Kramer. There was no happier day than when he proposed and she said yes.

How sweet!

But it was not to be as her father, the banker who owned the mortgage on Thad’s family farm, threatened to evict his family-including his sick mother-if he didn’t leave his daughter alone.

Choosing not to meet to elope with Noelle at their meeting place, he instead left for the West and cattle drives-planning to never return, but did when his family needed help-his younger brother (who got into trouble) has just been released from jail and his older brother widowed.

Aw, that’s sad.

He expects Noelle to be married to her father’s choice, have children, and to never run into her. But as he is out running an errand, a runaway horse almost plunges two women and their carriage into a river. He helps them and is surprised to see they are Noelle and her Aunt Henrietta, and Noelle is blind!

Huh?

Noelle was heartbroken when she went to meet Thad and he wasn’t there. When she returned him crying, she confessed to her father who assured her she was better off than to be with that cad-probably persuaded by the thrill of going out West and sowing oats than being married. Noelle had given up on love and planned on marrying her father’s choice as she didn’t care anymore…

But then Noelle was in an accident that killed her mother and father and left her permanently blind.

Her fiancé didn’t want “damaged goods” and left her-her aunt and uncle (and their four girls) moving from the East to take care of her. Noelle has never stopped loving Thad but having him back makes her anger come out-how could he have been persuaded by the Wild West, how could he have left her.

Thad realizes that Noelle doesn’t know the truth of what happened, but decides to not say anything as he knows how much she loved her father and he doesn’t want to taint her image of him. He decides to stay far away, but her matchmaking aunt who worries about all her girls being settled and her uncle Robert who has no horse sense and is in severe need of aid, keep him coming around.

After Robert has an incredibly dangerous fall, Thad joins the household by taking care of the ranch and spending more time with Noelle, his love reigniting. Will the two be able to move forward? Or be stuck in the past? Will each be able to overcome their insecurities of not being enough (Thad’s “lower class background” and Noelle’s blindness) or will they let that keep them far apart?

So the first reason why I recommend this for Austen fans is that it instantly made me think of Persuasion. Two people in love, separated by youthful persuasion, reuniting wiser and more experienced, a bad fall bringing them together, etc.

In this, Thad is like Anne Elliot- In Persuasion Anne wants to marry Frederick Wentworth, but is persuaded by the fear that he could die, she’d be left alone, etc outweigh her love and she refuses him-him thinking that it is because he is lower than her, not knowing really how Anne loved him. Thad is the same way as he knows the full reason why the engagement ended and has both hurt and pain, but not anger or bitterness.

Noelle is more like Frederick. Both have misunderstood the reason why the person they loved left and start the first half of the book angry and bitter, but then after a bad fall (for Noelle, her uncle Robert and Fredrick, Louisa Musgrove) they realize who they love and want to be with that person. While Frederick writes a letter of his love for Anne, Noelle anonymously sells the land she owns that Thad has been dreaming of buying to show her love for him.

Aunt Henreitta reminds me of a combination of Mrs. Bennet, Mrs. Jennings, and Aunt Gardiner. Aunt Henrietta is the mother of four girls and is constantly worrying about marrying them off, providing dowries, etc.

Hardly a page goes by when she isn’t plotting some sort of matchmaking, but unlike Mrs. Bennet she isn’t silly or has gauche behavior. Like Mrs. Jennings she wants to marry off any eligible man or woman she likes and has a forceful presence. Like Mrs. Jennings, Henrietta will back and protect anyone she cares for, so don’t mess with either one’s girls.

But unlike those two ladies, Henrietta is also very sensible and has a great relationship and love with her husband Robert. She reads the emotions of Thad and Noelle early and tries her best to get them together.

I thought it was a cute story and recommend it for Jane Austen fans.

For more Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

For more on Persuasion, go to You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?

For more Westerns, go to Will We Survive the Night?: Rawhide (1951)

For Darkness Shows the Stars

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For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars #1) by Diana Peterfreund

So I picked this book up as you know I will review anything Austen. I thought it was going to be about Pride and Prejudice as most are, but it surprised me and was about Persuasion instead.

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Persuasion was published in 1818 after Austen’s death, alongside Northanger Abbey. Out of all the Austen works, these two seem to have the least amount of fans and notice.

It is sad they don’t have more.

I have always found that strange as I love both of these novels.

Even though it isn’t as loved by people, Persuasion has had two films made of it and a lot of it is based on Austen’s feelings of her first love and a wish fulfillment of being reunited.

Anyways, just in case you’ve never heard of it (and as I have yet to work through it as I am still stuck on Emma) I think we need a quick review.

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Anne Elliot and Fredrick Wentworth fall in love. He asks her for her hand in marriage, but Anne’s father refuses. Anne is unsure and goes to a family friend for advice; as her mother is dead, her father lives in his own world, and her sisters don’t care. This family friend persuades her to say no as Anne is above him in station, Fredrick has no options for promotion (as his family can’t procure it), the likelihood of him dying and living Anne a penniless widow (as her father will leave her nothing) is very high, and the two are so young.

Hmm…

Anne goes to Fredrick and refuses, him becoming angry as he thinks it is just because of his lack of money and station. (In Anne’s defense the real thing that made her unsure was the stressing of him most likely being killed and her being left alone.)

Years pass, Anne has never seen Fredrick again or stopped loving him. She had other men interested, but refused them as she didn’t love them.

What has changed is the Elliot family fortune, her father and older sister have blown through their money so fast that they are being forced to let out their home to a sea Admiral. A Captain Admiral Croft and his wife, Mrs. Croft. Mrs. Croft who turns out to be Fredrick Wentworth’s sister!

Anne goes to stay with her sister, Mary Musgrove, for a while, while her other sister and father are staying in Bath, with Anne to join them later.

When she is staying with Mary, Fredrick Wentworth returns to visit his sister and husband. Now a Captain, he has also become extremely wealthy; having taken so many risks in the war that he excelled monetarily and was promoted. Captain Wentworth is searching for a wife, and is funny and kind to all; but Anne.

It appears that old hangups remain so. Will Wentworth and Anne be reunited? Will Wentworth marry another?

You have to read the book!

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So this science-fiction/Fantasy book takes place in the not too distant future…

Sorry, anyways…there were advancements in technology, so much that they were able to do DNA procedures to make your body excel in ways previously unimaginable, almost cyborg like.

These DNA procedures cause a war between people who believe this is not what God wants, and those who believe that the pursuit of science is the only answer. Unfortunately, they discover they did not know everything, as many of these experiments go wrong as people lose a majority of their faculties.

After wars, bombing, and a complete restructuring of the world they know, the people are divided into two groups: Luddites and the Reduced.

Like the class system in Metropolis.

Luddites are the royalty and own all the land, they care for the Reduced in a feudal system/slave system as the Reduced are tied to the land, but more extensively like slaves, yet not traded and sold as slaves are. Reduced are mutes, who aren’t in complete control of their faculties, need to be supervised, etc.

Recently, things have been shifting as there are “Reduced” who are born very intelligent, able to speak, often called “Children of the Reduced” or “CORs”, and “Post-Reduced” or “Posts” by themselves.

Our main character is Elliot North (Anne Elliot) a wealthy Luddite, one of the oldest Luddite families. She, her father, and sister have a farm; but it is going downhill as her father and sister don’t care about the people, the farm, long term care, but only themselves and what they want. For instance her father has cut down all their apple trees for a “better view” or destroyed Elliot’s planted field for a racetrack.

Elliot tries hard to keep things running, to take her mother’s place, but finds herself drowning in the debt her father and sister, Tatiana North, create. In fact, they have had to rent out her grandfather’s, Chancellor Boatwright, home and ship yard to a set of wealthy free Posts- Admiral Innovation, his wife Dr. Felicia Innovation and their crew: Captain Malakai Wentforth, Andromeda Phoenix, and Donovan Phoenix.

Not good

Elliot’s only solace is the barn, where she would work on her plans, and relive her memories with her old friend, the boy she loved, and Post; Kai. Since she has lost her field and all her months of hard work, nothing seems right. But there is plenty to do on a farm.

When the Innovations and their crew arrive, Elliot finds herself admiring and enjoying the company of the Innovations and the crewman Donovan. Andromeda doesn’t seem to like her one bit, although Elliot has no clue what she could have done to upset her. However, everything changes when she meets Captain Malakai Wentforth. It appears it is her old friend and love has returned-Kai (Captain Fredrick Wentworth).

Years ago the two forged a friendship, (despite her father’s constant striving to keep them apart), a friendship that turned into love. The two made plans to run away together, but in the end Elliot couldn’t do it. She knew she had to fulfill her promise to her mother and take care of the farm and the Posts. She wrote Kai a letter:

Dear Kai,

Please do not hate me. I couldn’t bear it if you hated me.

                      But I cannot go with you.

                      I thought I could. Last night, I thought everything was possible. I thought you were right, that there was nothing for me here, either. Mother’s dead, Grandfather’s locked in his own head, and you’re leaving. Why in the world should I stay? It was a beautiful dream. But outside your room, outside the barn, in the cold light of morning, I realized that was all it was. A dream. There is nothing for me here, but that doesn’t mean I am nothing to the North estate.

                     Today, when I was supposed to be packing, I wandered the estate. I watched the Posts in their little cottages, I watched the Reduced in the fields, and I thought about our lots in life.

                    We can’t escape who we are born to be, Kai. The Reduced are Reduced. They will always be Reduced. And I will always be a Luddite. I was born this way. I will die this way. I can’t turn my back on that. Luddites were handed a sacred trust-we are the caretakers of humanity. Without us, the world would have burned, and all mankind would have been destroyed. I cannot ignore that. I cannot forget who I am.

                    But you are not a Luddite.

                    That’s why I cannot go with you. And also why I can’t ask you to stay.

                     God be with you.

Yours,

Elliot

 Elliot’s feelings for Kai resurface but he wants nothing to do with her.

He is rude, cruel, cynical, and nasty around her. He spends a lot of time with their neighbors, the Groves-Horatio and his younger sister Olivia. Olivia has fallen for Kai, and to Elliot’s utter disappointment it looks like he feels the same way.

Noooo!

But Elliot cannot focus on that only as her long lost cousin, Benedict and air to the North estate, returns eager to regain control of the promised land, her grandfather grows more ill, and her father tries to engage her in even more power plays.

During one of her free moments, she joins Andromeda, Kai, Donovan, Olivia, and Horatio on an outing to the sea cliffs. Kai and Donovan jump from incredible distances, and Andromeda explains that they recognize the wind shifts because of their piloting expertise. As they continue, Elliot realizes something is not right.

When Olivia tries to do the jump, she falls and is horribly injured. While they try and help her, Elliot realizes that Kai is hiding a big secret, one that could destroy everything.

Not good

Once again Eliot finds herself at a fork in the road. Should she follow the man she loves? Or cling to her Luddite responsibilities.

***Spoiler Warning***

I thought it was pretty good story and interpretation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Having Wentworth as a slave/serf rather than lower standing put a completely new spin on the relationship.

I liked how in between the time of the novel, there were letters and notes their younger selves passed, giving us a view of how their relationship started.

Aw!

It doesn’t follow the book exactly, but the author did a good job in staying true to the core of the story, while at the same time doing her own thing.

Good job!

Now there are two things I didn’t like.

First, I didn’t like how the author inserted God to create conflict between those who wanted change and mutation and those who wanted things to remain the same. The insertion wasn’t really what bothered me as much as the author not really giving us a stand on how our main character felt. One of the laws is to not try to play with genetics as you are raising yourself for a a fall, messing with things you shouldn’t control, etc. As much as the main character struggles with her ideas and wondering if they are against God, we never see what her relationship to God is. Is she extremely devout? Who or What is her God? What exactly do they believe in their religion? She brings it up constantly, but we never really know why this is such an issue to her because the author chooses to ignore it. We never see her pray, attend church, do any type of worship, etc. In my opinion you either need to go all the way or just leave it out; no in-between.

The second thing that bothered me was how mean Kai was in this. I mean he was horribly cruel. Now in Persuasion she doesn’t really explain herself as to way she refuses him, so he draws his own conclusions. I this Kai knows! He knows that she needs to help care for the people! He knows how her father and sister are, and without Elliot they would be cruel, starve everyone, and run the whole farm down into the groumd! Yet even though he knows this, he is so horrible to her. I understand why the author made him that way, and it completely makes sense as to character to behave in such a way. But it makes it hard to read as he acts like a jerk, before he finally comes to his senses.

But otherwise I thought it was an excellent read and one of the better Austen reinterpretations on the market. I suggest you check it out for yourself.

For more on Persuasion, go to What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

For more Persuasion variations, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

I Would Suffer Anything to Save You: Under Capricorn (1949)

Romantic Moment #11

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Under Capricorn (1949)

So I know it is a little weird to talk about an Alfred Hitchcock film when we are counting down to Valentine’s Day, but hey, he manages to have some real romantic moments thrown in his films.

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This film takes place in early 19th Century Australia. Australia has formerly been a place where England sent their criminals. After they served out their sentence they could remain or return home to England. Now however, more and more “good” citizens have found themselves emigrating to Australia and civilizing the towns. The new Governor, Sir Richard arrives, bringing along his foppish, indolent, “rich boy” nephew, Charles Adare. Charles meets, Samson “Sam” Flusky, (Joseph Cotten) an ex-convict, former murderer, and prospering land owner.

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Samson intrigues Charles in a business deal and brings Charles to his house, in which he meets Sam’s wife, Lady Henrietta (Ingrid Bergman), who turns out to be an old family friend.

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Charles soon spends all his time at the house and finds something strange about Henrietta’s actions, as she is no longer the same woman he knew. As with all Alfred Hitchcock films, there is suspense, mystery, and an old secret’s truth is revealed.

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Most Romantic Moment: I Will Suffer to Protect You

***Spoiler Warning***

Now if my little synopsis has encouraged you to watch the film, then stop reading. If you aren’t interested in watching the film, proceed.

So at first we think that maybe Samson is evil or cruel as all we see is a tough, gruff man. But in the end we realize that Samson has been through so much because he loves his wife.

From Under Capricorn

From Under Capricorn

Sam was a stableboy and fell in love with the Lord’s daughter, Henrietta and the two eloped. Henrietta’s brother came to take her back and kill Sam, but Henrietta killed him instead.

Not wanting his wife to suffer, he chose to take the blame, picking Australia and going to jail for her sake.

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He then does all he can to make money and a good life for Henrietta, not caring how people treat him, view him, or the names they call him. As long as he can protect his wife he is happy.

Aw!

Aw!

How romantic and incredibly sweet!

So romantic!

So romantic!

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to I Did It for You: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For the previous post, go to I’d Risk My Life to Save Yours: Earshot, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1999)

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For more on Under Capricorn, go to Lookin’ Over a Four-Leaf Clover: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more on Samson Flusky, go to The Past of a Man: Under Capricorn (1949)

For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to You’re a Detective, Let Me Give You a Tip. Don’t Wave Important Evidence in a Telephone Booth. They Have Glass Windows: Blackmail (1929)

For more on Joseph Cotten, go to You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

For more Ingrid Bergman, go to Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

He’s Married to a Corpse. He Has A Corpse Bride!: Corpse Bride (2005)

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He’s married to a corpse. He has a corpse bride. There must be some way to undo what’s been done.

Every year I do an animated movie as part of my Horrorfest review. As I was trying to decide which one, I finally settled on The Corpse Bride as I thought it was high time I reviewed a Tim Burton film. I have been trying to do Edward Scissorhands or Sleepy Hollow (1999), for years now but it just seems as if 31 days is never enough time to do everything I wish.

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So the first time I watched this movie I wasn’t really into it. I felt the plot wasn’t that interesting and there were too many songs. But my niece really loves it and wanted to watch it (several times) and it is funny, but the more I watch it, the more I like it. I have actually really grown to love it, despite all the things I disliked in the beginning.

 

So the story begins with Victor Van Groot (Johnny Depp), nouveau rich, as he prepares to marry Victoria Everglot, from an old important family (who unfortunately has no money). There marriage is supposed to be one of convenience, but Victoria and Victor have fallen for each other.

 

However, even though Victor is in love with Victoria, he is extremely nervous about the wedding and messing things up. He ruins the rehearsal when he drops the ring, (symbolizing his death) and accidentally catches Mrs. Everglot’s dress on fire.

ouch Hermione

He runs away embarrassed and tries to work on his vows. He manages to knock them out of the park, but when he gets to placing the ring on the finger (a stick off a tree) it turns out that he has awaken the dead, and now has a zombie bride.

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He then gets dragged down to…I don’t know actually. Is it is heaven, hell, purgatory, or a final resting place for the townspeople? They never explain.

It works

Is it for everyone or just the village? And how was she even able to drag Victor down if he isn’t dead?

Anyways, they give him the story behind the Corpse Bride, Emily (Helena Bonham Carter). She was engaged to marry a man her parents disapproved of. She stole all their money and jewels as the two planned to elope. But when Emily arrived, her betrothed strangled her and took off with everything. She then decided she would wait there until her true love awoke her.

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Victor wants to leave, but Emily doesn’t want him too. He convinces her to let him return to the world above so that they can see his parents. They go, but instead of seeing his parents, he tries to tell Victoria what has happened.

Emily follows him, and upset at his betrayal, drags him back down to the underworld.

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Victoria is worried and tries to seek help, but everyone thinks she is crazy. Her parents are desperate for money, so when Lord Barkis, (who has just arrived in town and no one knows him but he gives the appearance of being wealthy and from a distinguished family) offers to marry Victoria, her parents accept. Victoria on the other hand is completely distraught.

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Meanwhile, below ground Victor’s coachman has just arrived and given him the news about Victoria. Heartbroken that she would marry another, Victor agrees to spend eternity with Emily. In order to make the ceremony lawful, they must return topside, preform the wedding ceremony, and Victor must take poison so that he can join Emily in the afterlife.

TheDead

The dead rise and head to the church, coming in right after Victoria and Lord Barkis have performed the ceremony. Everyone is terrified including the townspeople.

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However, after they discover that the skeleton/zombie creations are their dead relatives, they are happy to have their loved ones back.

Double double yay

Lord Barkin wants to flee and tells Victoria to get all her family’s money so they can take off. Victoria reveals they have no money, and now both are very unhappy.

Victor and Emily are getting ready to perform the ceremony when Emily sees how much Victor loves Victoria and stops the ceremony. Victor and Victoria are together, but unfortunately they can’t really be together as she is already married, something Lord Barkin reminds everyone. But as he comes to take Victoria away, it is revealed that he was the one who killed Emily.

you're evil

All the other skeletons and zombies are furious, but there is nothing that can be done by the dead as he is still alive. Lord Barkin laughs at this and takes a drink of the wine set out for the wedding ceremony, making fun of Emily. But the wine he drank was the poisoned wine that was set out for Victor.

Get him!

Get him!

As he is now dead, Emily can get justice; Victoria and Victor get their happy ending; and Emily is released and able to pass on.

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So let’s start with what I did like:

1) The Animation

In a world that was moving from 2D animation to CGI, it is nice to see a throwback like this, I actually wish we had more films like it. I know it was becoming too expensive for a lot of studios to do it and will eventually become totally outmoded, but I like it. There is something so real about these puppets.

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2) The Ending

The ending was so cute, it was why I even wanted to watch the film. I mean I loved how Victor and Victoria get together and Emily has peace.

I love it

Although, why does she turn into butterflies?

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Things I Didn’t like:

1) Too Nightmare Before Christmas

nightmare before christmas nothing turn out like it should

I really felt like Burton was just trying to recapture The Nightmare Before Christmas. He just borrowed too much from his earlier film for me. I mean the creatures had the same style; Emily looked like a Blue Sally; there are two skeleton kids and a dwarf replacing the three trick or treaters; and a bone dog instead of ghost dog; and tons of songs. Even though it is cute it also gives the impression Burton is running out of new ideas.

 

2) Too Many Songs

Now I love music

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But the songs in a film need to be good and have something to do with advancing or enhancing the plot. Quite a few of these songs felt more like filler to lad out the runtime instead of enhancing the story.

3) This Was too Short

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Everything felt as if it was moving too quickly. It made me feel as if they couldn’t really think of a way to flesh out the idea they had for the plot and  instead decided to jam extra songs in and hurry to the ending.

4) Music is Not Right for a Young Lady

Whattheheck

Uh, did Burton do any research? Victoria wants to play the piano, but isn’t allowed as “music is not right for a girl”. Uh, no. Music has always been something young ladies were trained in. Think of the three acceptable arts: piano, painting, and embroidery. I mean remember Mr. Darcy?

“a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.’ Caroline Bingley…’All this she must possess,’ added Darcy, ‘and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

6) No Character Development 

Nope, not him.

So Victoria and Victor are cute, but we hardly know anything about them! I mean we know Victoria doesn’t want to wear corsets, or follow society’s rules, but what does she like? What does she want? Who is she? Victor is insecure and frightened, but that’s it. There is nothing else to him.

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7) Why Would They Marry Their Daughter Off to Someone They Don’t Know

 


Now don’t tell me “it is because they need money”. Why would a family that was so concerned over their daughter marrying a rich fish merchant’s son, even though they are filthy rich, just send her off with a guy they know nothing about? That makes no sense. Why wouldn’t they have looked into his background and discovered he has no money either?

So obs

8) They Couldn’t Just End an Engagement

So as stated before I guess Burton did zero research as you can’t just switch one engagement for another. Since Victor never actually ended his engagement there could be legal steps taken against the Everglots, and a family that has no money would be careful about that.

9) More Research Issues

So again another problem with the time period they set this film in. The Everglots are angry at  Victor and Victoria alone in the room but that wouldn’t be as big an issue, as when a couple was engaged there were a few relaxed rules. I mean Victor couldn’t be in her bedroom, but he could be in the room alone with her for a bit. I mean seriously, Did you do ANY research?

really? I can't stand this movie.

But even though it has quite a few issues, I will admit that it grows on you. The more I watch it the more I love the characters of Emily, Victor, and Victoria (even though I wish they did have more character development); and thanks to my niece I know this will become a yearly watch. 

Update 2019, I think Catherine Morland, if she lived today would love this film.

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And bringing back the facebook covers/mini posters. I haven’t been able to do them for the last few posts as I couldn’t find pics I liked that had a horror-ish feel. But I did make one for The Corpse Bride.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to It’s A Hard World: Backfire (1950)

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For more zombies, go to Say Something Human: Warm Bodies (2013)

For more animated films, go to A Giant Metal Man: The Iron Giant (1995)

For more claymation films, go to A Matter of Loaf and Death: Wallace and Gromit (2008)