An Appearance of Goodness

An Appearance of Goodness by Heather Moll

I received this advanced reader copy free in exchange for an honest review.

What if in Pride and Prejudice, Darcy gave Elizabeth his letter at Rosing Park, immediately left to tell Charles Bingley his regret at separating him and Jane, and let Mr. Bennet know what happened to his sister?

What if Mr. Bennet never let Lydia run off with Mrs Forester and the officers? What if she never was compromised and forced to marry Wickham?

Hmm…?

Well that is the alternate universe this adaption takes place. In this Bingley immediately came to ask for Jane’s hand, the two married, and as Mr. Bingley was told through Bingley not only what happened to Georgiana (but also of Wickham’s debts), Mr. Bennet the family were not disgraced and Darcy wasn’t needed to save the day.

Instead Mr. and Mrs. Bingley (plus Elizabeth) have been living at Netherfield Park. A very happy circumstance for all, except that Mrs. Bennet comes too often with her friends. Mr. Bingley decides a break is needed and intends to take Jane to meet all his friends this summer, ending their vacation in Scarborough. He also invites his sister Caroline Bingley, his other sister Mrs. Hurst, her husband Mr. Hurst, and Elizabeth to accompany him.

As they travel they have fun meeting all Bingley’s friends, stopping of course to visit his best friend; Mr. Darcy at Pemberley. Mr. Darcy has been in anguish over his rejected proposal, but in light of what had happened he tried to fix his mistakes, continuously works hard better himself, and is eager to host a party at his beloved home. Staying with him will be Georgina Darcy: her companion/governess Mrs. Annesley; his friend Lewis Balfour; Balfour’s sister and rich widow, Mrs Lanyon; Mr. Utterson, a newer acquaintance training in law; along with Mr. Bingley and his party.

What Mr. Darcy was not expecting was to find Elizabeth along the party. At first the two are rather awkward around each other; but as Darcy’s feelings remain steadfast and loyal to her, he tries his best to show how her words have affected and changed him, while trying not to make her uncomfortable.

Stuck inside due to heavy rainfalls, Elizabeth thought being at Pemberley with Mr. Darcy would be truly terrible. However, the more time she spends there with him; the more she realizes that her view of him was discolored and finds herself not only enjoying time with him but actively seeking it out.

“On closer examination, there was a certain gentleness in his eyes, and often a humour in his look. Had that always been there, or was she now a better observer of him?”

Elizabeth Bennet from An Appearance of Goodness

Elizabeth falls for him and is trying to find a way to show or tell him, when there lovely trip goes to complete ruin. The very heavy rainfalls have caused incredible damage to the fields, crops, bridge, mills, homes, etc. Tensions run high and Darcy is pulled in every directions as he tries to help take care of everything and every one of his tenets. This is not the time to propose as not only is it a very depressing time but he isn’t even sure if he will have anything to offer after all this.

Crying! [Still from The Wolf Man (1941)]

Elizabeth was certain that Mr. Darcy was heading toward a proposal but after all the aftermath of the storms it looks as if that will not be happening anytime in the future. She is heartbroken at all that has happened and wishes she could be there for Mr. Darcy, but as she is just the sister-in-law of his friend she has no place acting as is they are more “familiar”. Elizabeth does all she can while following propriety, but if only she could do more.

Mr. Bingley wants to make things easier on his dear friend Mr. Darcy and will take his party to stay with other friends to help him; leaving Mr. Utterson, Mr. Balfour, and Mrs. Lanyon behind. As Mr. Bingley is going, so will be Elizabeth and any chance of them being more…

Aw!

Luckily, Mrs. Lanyon loves to matchmake, having been instrumental in assisting Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. She asks is Elizabeth could stay and be her companion; and Elizabeth eager to have more time with Mr. Darcy readily agrees.

Mrs. Lanyon right now

Things are still dire and Darcy is hanging on; but knowing he still has chance with Elizabeth has him feeling like things are looking up…except they aren’t.

That’s not good.

While in the middle of clean up the body of Georgiana’s lady’s maid is found in the river. At first Darcy believe her to be Elizabeth as she is wearing her coat, but upon closer examination they discover her the identity and that she has been murdered. How? By a silver candlestick stolen from Pemberley. The reason for the murder is uncertain: could it be she saw something she shouldn’t? Perhaps she was in an illicit relationship? Could she be pregnant and the father not wishing to be in her life? Could she know something the killer does not want to get out?

Wait a minute! This is a mystery?!!! I didn’t realize that. A mystery?!!! I got this!!!

Mystery, you say?

So suspects, after looking into everyone it comes down to the murderer is someone in Darcy’s home. Darcy, Georgiana, Mrs. Annesley, and Mrs. Lanyon are all cleared as r wh have alibis and people to back up their whereabouts. After careful discussion Elizabeth and Darcy discover the only ones who could have murdered the lady’s maid would be either Mr. Balfour or Mr. Utterson.

Time to get on the case!

To be honest, I could not care for either of these characters so I wasn’t upset with them being suspects and was okay with either of them being the villain. I found both to be annoying and odd that Darcy could consider either to be his friends; but as they say love is blind.

Suspect 1: Lewis Balfour

Mr. Darcy has been friends with Mr. Balfour for years and Balfour was there for him when his father passed. Mr. Balfour is biracial (Scottish and Indian) and when his father passes will inherit the family estate. Right now he has no real purpose and lounges about spending money for the fun of it, although he appears to live far outside the allowance given to him by his father (and complains about it).

Balfour is not known to be a maid chasing Lothario and has a pleasant nature. He doesn’t seem to have a reason to murder someone. Could it be him?

Suspect #2: Mr. Utterson

Mr. Utterson is a newer acquaintance to and. Darcy and not as well known to him. Utterson is a second son and is forever in the middle of getting his law degree and lives on an allowance granted by his father. He never seems to have enough money, constantly complaining about the lack of it, along with making very rude jealous remarks.

There are a few stories of Utterson ravishing Lord Poole’s daughter, but rumors aren’t fact and could be true or false. He also has a very mercurial and intense nature. Of course the motive most likely is that he killed for money, possibly stealing; but would Utterson have risked stealing from someone like Mr. Darcy, a man he considered a friend?

Our Regency Scooby-Doo crew is rounded out by the arrival of Colonel Fitzwilliam who journeyed to assist in the emergency services. Will these three be able to discover the murderer before he strikes again, or will this be there final case?

Hmmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

I enjoyed this novel, especially the mystery aspect, as I love mysteries and try to solve them before the characters do. I was fairly certain I knew who the murderer was and why they did it, and was most pleased to discover that I figured it out. My only criticism on that mystery is that I wish the cover looked a little more mysterious as I didn’t realize it was a whodunit until I saw it on goodreads. Although what should be added I’m not quite sure. Maybe the candlestick that was the murder weapon or a question mark at the end of the title?

I felt that Moll did a great job with Austen’s characters as the Bingleys, Bennets, Georgiana, the Hursts, Colonel Fitzwilliam, etc; were all done well did Austen justice while still being Moll’s creation.

The only thing I felt was not quite right was with Darcy’s character. Bit of a spoiler (not too much) I didn’t like that Darcy and Elizabeth slept together before being married. I’m not saying that didn’t happen in 1813, but I personally feel like Mr. Darcy is too much of a gentleman and so proper that he would wait, especially as he strives to be the nothing like his nemesis, Mr. Wickham.

Moll introduced several new characters and I did enjoy most of them. Utterson and Balfour as I said before really annoyed me as they have money, just not as much as they want, and complain constantly about their lot. At first I was hoping they would just exit the story, but when they turned out to be murder suspects I didn’t mind. As I didn’t like either of them I was content to have either of them turn out to be the killer. By the end of the novel, one of the men is a bit more likable as we are given his story and brought understanding as to why he is so eager for money.

I really loved the character of Mrs. Lanyon a LOT. I myself am biracial and growing up there wasn’t a lot of representation in any type of media. With this novel I really enjoyed how Mrs. Lanyon discusses her interactions with people and the racism and ignorance she faces. Even thought he book is set in 1813, the experiences described are still issues people face today.

My only warning would be that while this book does contain comedy, romance, and mystery; parts of the book are very sad especially in regards to the flooding. Thus far I have only read two of Moll’s books and she seems to be one who enjoys combing multiple elements in a nice balance.

I do recommend for those who enjoy Austen adaptations.

For more by Heather Moll, go to An Affectionate Heart

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Beside Two Rivers

For more Pride and Prejudice adaptions, go to The Clergyman’s Wife + The Question is Mr. Collins Really THAT Bad?

For more Jane Austen adaptations, go to The Emma Project

For more mysteries, go to I Won the Ellery Adams’ September 2020 Giveaway + My Review of the First Two Books in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society Series

All Right, We Got No Choice. Call the Ghostbusters.: Ghostbusters 2 (1989)

What the hell is going on? It’s pandemonium out there!

Yes, I know. We’re working on it!

Great. While you’re working on it, I’m going down as the mayor who let New York get sucked down into the tenth level of hell! All right, we got no choice. Call the Ghostbusters.

Do you love the Ghostbusters? I do! In fact this year I decided to dress Jane up as one for Halloween.

And I can’t do that and not review a ghostbusters film.

As I reviewed the first one a few years ago I decided to take a look at Ghostbusters 2. I haven’t seen it in a really, really long time. I watched it year ago and unlike Ghostbusters which I can watch over and over again; Ghostbusters 2 was a film I saw once and never wanted to see again. I can’t remember exactly what I didn’t like about it, but I remember it not being as interesting as the first film.

So let’s take another look and see if I was right to ignore this film or if it is worth a rewatch. And for those who have been following me on Instagram know that Flat Jane joined me in my rewatch.

So the first thing I notice about my DVD and the main page is that Ernie Hudson’s character, Winston, is missing from both. How come ? He’s now an established member of the team. Why is he left out? I don’t like that one bit.

So it has been five years since the original film. Every Ghostbuster has been sued for messing up the city (even though the mayor gave them full reign), as no one believes in them or ghosts. Yes they saw a giant marshmallow man get blown up and no one remembers it,. They also all have to work side jobs as Ghostbustsrs is sinking. Winston and Ray do kid’s parties, Ray has a bookstore, Peter has a TV program, and Egon was rehired by the university. They never say what Winston was planning to do to make extra money.

But that isn’t actually where the film starts. It starts with Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) pushing her baby down the street, pausing outside her home, and her baby being carried away. She follows and is way too calm for her baby being whisked away.

She should have been screaming at the top of her lungs.

The film plot is that all the Ghostbusters are “split apart” until something brings them back together and I didn’t like this story line. I hate when they do that as the whole reason you want to watch is you like seeing them together.

So instead of being a cellist, Dana Barrett is an art restorationist. Why is she doing art restoration instead of music? How is that even possible? Like for her to study for her degree and be able to reach the professional level to be working at the Metropolitan museum of art in New York, that isn’t something you can just “pick” up as a pause to your cellist career. It seems like a really strange shift and doesn’t make any sense at all. This is a chemical study and science degree and she’s working on Gaugin-it’s not something you just pick up and that position is not easy to come by.

Dana goes to Egon and asks for his help. He and Ray come over (missing Winston again)!and Venkman joins in as well. Ray and Egon go to investigate the room and they leave Venkman with the baby. Which is dumb, he’s the last guy I would trust with a baby.

I mean he shakes the baby-he should notnbe around kids.

They try to figure out what is happening and go to where Dana’s cart started moving mysteriously. They get weird reading and start digging in the street. This is like the only funny part of the film as the police stop them and they pretend to be working the lines.

The send Ray in and he finds a pneumatic River. When they pull him out he hits a pipe and the whole city is plunged into darkness.

From Clueless

The painting goes to life when it is being restored and possesses Janosz the head of the art restoration department. The ghost tells Janosz he needs a child and Janosz decides to get a baby. It’s really weird and not a clear plot point. Why wouldn’t he want to possess a child that can talk? One that isn’t as easily killed? In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when the anointed is a child they wait until he’s 8 years old.

New York decides to put the Ghostbusters on on trial because they are crazy as ghosts don’t exist and blah blah blah. But how could they forget 5 years ago there was a giant marshmallow man who attacked the city. Like seriously!

This storyline is really dumb. I now remember again why I don’t like it.

They ask Louis to be their lawyer and he tries hard to help them but he’s not a criminal lawyer, he’s an accountant. The judge is sentencing them when ghosts come out and everyone runs scared, even Winston (who showed up to support them) and the judge wants them to do something and Egon tells him why don’t you tell the ghosts you don’t believe in ghosts.

That line is gold and that is the second good scene of this film.

The guys suit up to fight the ghosts and again Winston is missing. Why they keep doing him dirty? How come they keep leaving him out?

It’s really makes me mad that Ernie Hudson is hardly in this film. I mean in the first it made sense as he just met them but now he is established and a part of the group. I mean they purposely showed him at the trial, why not use him? He shouldn’t have run away as he’s not afraid of ghosts, he’s a ghostbuster. I’m starting to wonder about this? I mean this whole film is like a giant scene of Where’s Winston? And I don’t like it one bit.

So now we have a montage where they are famous again and everyone believes them and wants them. It’s basically a regurgitation of the previous film, not as funny though, and very disappointing for a studio that had been developing a script for five years.

Back to the original plot, Dana is restoring art and tells Peter that the painting of the creepy guy who needs the baby, I never remember his name, freaks her out as she feels it is always watching her. Peter doesn’t do anything about it, but I’m like he should listen as she is sensitive to these things as she was possessed by a dog beast creature. If she had spoken to Egon or Ray, they would have immediately gone over there.

She is about to give her child a bath and something that looks like a giant tongue comes after her in the bathtub, again we, and another reason I don’t like this movie.

After she runs to Peter he calls the boys and immediately Egon and Ray go to the apartment and the next day head to the museum to take pictures and see what is going on with the painting. The develop the paintings and see it is possessed by a spirit.

The spirit tries to kill them, but they are saved by Winston who comes saves the day by charging in with the fire extinguisher.

Yay!!!

They go down to the river again to see where it leads and how come the ghosts be calling out our Winston that he will die?Rude! There are two other dudes there. The trio decide to resurface for their proton packs and I can’t believe these seasoned Ghostbusters went to a River of ghost slime without proton packs.

Poor Winston also gets hit by the ghost train and thrown in the river. So not only does he have barely any scenes, but in each one they treat him horribly.

They trio finish and go to see Peter and Dana on their date and explain what is going on and they play like rap music over which is weird? Like do they even know how to movie?

So they get committed for being crazy, even though they just proved to everyone in our earlier montage that ghosts do exist. This makes me so angry, this plot makes zero sense!

Janosz and the spirit steal the baby, ghosts start appearing everywhere, and they bring the Ghostbusters out to help fight. They decide to bring Lady Liberty to life to help, and you know who’s idea that was?

Winston’s! Winston is super important and should have been in the film more.

This movie is just a huge disappointment. The plot was bad, the whole film made no sense, and they cut Ernie Hudson out. I love the first one, but this film is just not that good.

For more Ghostbusters, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For more ghosts, go to No Haunt Me Then!…I Know That Ghosts Have Wandered On The Earth. Be With Me Always…Drive Me Mad, Only Do Not Leave Me in This Dark Alone…I Cannot Live Without My Life! I Cannot Die Without My Soul.: Wuthering Heights (1939)

For more horror-comedy, go to Something’s Out There and It’s Killing People! And If It’s Monsters, Nobody’s Going to Do a Thing About it Except Us!: The Monster Squad (1987)

For more ‘80s films, go to You Have Thirteen Hours in Which to Solve the Labyrinth, Before Your Baby Brother Becomes One of Us…Forever.: Labyrinth (1986)

Miss Marple and Jane Austen: You Can See Human Nature From Anywhere in a Small Village

So today marks the birthday of a very important writer:

I first was introduced to Agatha Christie when my nana noticed me reading Sherlock Holmes. As she was a lover of mysteries herself, she gave me a few Agatha Christie novels and then that was it, I was an utter fangirl.

Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters. Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing, although, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot tend to always be smarter.

This year I have been honoring her and her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, turning 100-by reviewing a mystery every month. But as I was rereading The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems and it got me thinking about some similarities to Jane Austen.

What??

I know you are probably confused, but hear me out.

Mystery, you say?

So one of Agatha Christie’s detectives is Miss Marple. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster aunt, always watching and observing. People overlook her because of her age, her inexperience (she has lived in a small village), but she is extremely intelligent and has amazing powers of deductions.

When asked how she knows and can figure these things out, she always remarks it is because of her village life. She shares that being in the village she has learned a lot about human nature, and as people are alike all over there is always someone from “back home” that reminds her of others and the clue that reveals the ending-the solution.

In a lot of her books, not just Miss Marple, we see how the characters, their motives, their reasons for why they do what they do are relatable-often many characters you find yourself sympathetic. Agatha Christie knew how to write people so that you connect to them.

Reading that made me think of Jane Austen immediately. Here is a woman who spent a majority of her life in a small village, but yet with what most people would say are limited experiences and a lack of human knowledge-she was still able to write characters that are relatable to people all over the world, 200 years later.

I mean that is one thing I love about her books, how the stories and characters transcend Regency England so that the motifs, personalities, and points raised in her books are still relevant today. Who hasn’t meet a social climber like Caroline Bingley? A schemer like Lucy Steele?  Manipulators like Isabella and John Thorpe? Had a regret like Anne Elliot? Met a flirt like Henry Crawford? Known a person who wanted so badly to have a friend they did whatever someone asked of them like Harriet Smith? Haven’t we all been accused of being an ice queen like Elinor Dashwood? Let our heart rule our actions like Marianne Dashwood? Misjudged someone and actively disliked a person when they insulted you like Elizabeth Bennet? Had to make a choice whether to stick to what we believe in, even if it meant losing something you hold dear like Fanny Price? Disliked someone because they were better than you at some things like Emma Woodhouse? Let our imagination run away with us like Catherine Morland? Lost someone we love like Anne Elliot?

I mean it is just so easy to connect to her work.

If you haven’t read Agatha Christie, I definitely recommend checking her works out, and of course:

For more Agatha Christie, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

For more Jane Austen, go to The History of England By a Partial Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian or is Jane Austen a Precursor to Drunk History?

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

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

I Met Mr Darcy

So I met Mr. Darcy

Huh?

I’m not kidding

I’m 100% serious…not a cosplayer or cardboard cutout or twitter handler whatever else you are thinking. I mean An honest to God flesh and blood Mr. Darcy.

Yes.

YES.

I am 100% telling the truth!

So two years ago I wrote a post on how I met a Mrs. Darcy at work and was wondering what her husband’s name was, or if she had sons if she named them William or Fitzwilliam.

Hmmm…

So the other day, she comes back into the library with her husband Mr. Darcy.

I know, I fangirled just a bit (inside of course) having met a “real” Mr. Darcy.

Wow

Of course he wasn’t Laurence Olivier:

Or Colin Firth:

Hmm…

He was a grumpy, 80-year old man. Not Austen’s Darcy-although he had the grumpiness down:

But whatever-

I can still say that I have actually met “Mr. Darcy”, so yeah-I feel pretty cool about that.

So cool!

For more Mr. Darcy, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Big Girls Don’t Cry: Austentatious (2015)

Book Club Picks: The Mother Keeper

So as you all know I started a book club, because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time the book club member chose:

The Mother Keeper by Paula Scott

So in my last book club book review I had chosen The Far Side of the Sea by Paula Scott and our book club actually got to meet her!

Afterwards, we all started following her on instagram, facebook, etc. One book club member spotted this on facebook and afterwards wanted to read it.

Paula Scott told us that she started writing this years ago and tucked it away, bringing it out later when her daughters wanted a romance as she wouldn’t let them read Twilight (thank goodness).

She tweaked it here and there and rewrote it-this being the finishing product.

Jenny McBride and her husband Kevin, live in Colorado, are celebrating New Year’s Eve and ecstatic for their pregnancy. They can’t wait or the baby, dreaming of all the things they would like to do.

Both are Christians and strong leaders in their church. That night Kevin had a drink, something Jenny does not approve of, and she insists on driving them home in the snow. A car comes careening their way, and crashes into them. Jenny loses her uterus, Kevin his leg, and both their baby.

Nooooooooooooooo

Jenny can’t believe this happened to her, her whole life she has been a good Christian and this is what happens to her? She is hurt, depressed, and angry.

Noooo!

Meanwhile, in the country areas of Tennessee, teenagers Ellie Ryan and her boyfriend are making plans for the future. Jamie is a big football star and will get a scholarship, while Ellie can get one with her amazing grades. However, there is one wrinkle-Ellie is pregnant.

That is not good,

She doesn’t tell her boyfriend, she just breaks up with him. She then heads to the pregnancy crisis center where her sister had gotten an abortion before she took off to California. Ellie hasn’t heard from her since.

At the center, Ellie meets Patsy Klein, a pastor’s wife, who invites her to come stay with her and take part in their church’s Mother Keeper program. The Mother Keeper program, is when a family takes in a pregnant teen and helps take care of her until she has the baby. Sometimes they adopt the baby, help arrange adoptions, or just help them until they can figure out their next step. They pay the food and medical bills through church funding/fundraising.

Ellie stays with Pastor Klein, Patsy, and their three boys-Shawn, Seth, and Stephen. For Ellie, this a dream come true as she is finally part a perfect family.

Shawn is upset when he hears that a pregnant girl from Sutterville-Sucksville-is going to be living with  them. He has enough on his plate with football, a scholarship to Vanderbilt, his beautiful girlfriend Jill who desires him. But meeting Ellie and spending time with her-Shawn realizes that the life he has been living isn’t what he wants at all, but what does he want? Now, he doesn’t know.

Hmmm….I need to rethink my life’s choices

As Shawn and Ellie grow closer, Shawn wants to marry her and raise the baby together. But the assistant pastor contacts his sister Jenny, she having gone through a spiritual battle and grief, is ready to adopt-Ellie’s baby. What will Ellie decide?

Many more decisions will be made as secrets are brought out in the open: a secret affair, true parentage revealed, murder, rape, and a fight over who will adopt Ellie’s baby.

Wow!

This was a a fantastic story and a real page turner. Paula Scott doesn’t pull way from anything, but hits the truth hard.

What?

It’s funny because it certain characters reminded me of ones from Desperate Pastor Wives and The MasterpieceThat was completely unplanned by us. In DPW, Jennifer Shores too has lost a baby, and becomes angry with God; having to go through her journey, getting close to God, and figuring what is next in the future. In The Masterpiece, Grace Moore is kept by a family until she has her child, and goes through a similar battle over who will adopt her child, along with having family issues she has to work through.

It was a fantastic book, and I strongly recommend it.

For more Book Club Picks, go to Book Club Picks: Far Side of the Sea

For more by Paula Scott, go to Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

For more Christian novels, go to Book Club Picks: Desperate Pastors’ Wives