Today is February 1st, not only the start of the month of love (as February has Valentine’s Day and is Library Lovers’ Month); but also the publication date of Mr. Darcy’s Valentine.
Do you love Pride and Prejudice? Are you looking for a romantic short story to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day? Then you should definitely include this book in your Valentine’s Day plans.
The story takes place after Bingley has left Netherfield in the original plot. In this adaptation, Jane and Elizabeth have traveled to London to visit the Gardiners. They have been having a nice time, although Jane is still very upset over Mr. Bingley.
Caroline has been trying to keep Jane from her family and Mr. Bingley in the dark about Jane being in town; but unfortunately for her when Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley go to a concert they spot Jane, Elizabeth, and the Gardiners. Mr. Bingley is back on track to try and win his lady love.
Darcy admits to Bingley that he withheld information from him about Jane being in town; along with apologizing for doing so and for being wrong about Jane’s level of interest in Bingley. Darcy concedes that Jane does truly care for Bingley and is determined to do all he can to help Bingley win his lady love, even throwing a dinner party when he hates to entertain.
When the night of the dinner party arrives, the guests include Elizabeth, Jane, the Gardiners, Mr. Bingley, Caroline Bingley, the Hursts, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Georgiana. The dinner is a comedic event as every character has their own goal of who they wish to speak to and avoid. Darcy tries to entertain Elizabeth and Georgiana; while avoiding being trapped in conversation by Caroline or the Gardiners (assuming they are like Mr. and Mrs. Bennet). Caroline expends all her attention on the Darcys, Bingley and Jane only have eyes for each other, and Elizabeth tries her hardest to not speak to Darcy and his sister, yet finds most of her conversations happening between them; (and much to her original dismay, actually liking Georgiana.)
When Valentine’s Day is mentioned and a few old superstitious ways to celebrate talked about, Bingley gets the idea to “draw lots” for a Valentine and have the men write one for the women. Bingley cares deeply for Jane and even though Darcy had come around to agreeing that Jane cares for Bingley, Bingley still feels uncertain. With this “Valentine’s Day” game, rigged of course so he could get Jane, Bingley feels he’ll be able to see if she would accept his proposal. Darcy isn’t interested in playing, but after they agree that Georgina will not take part (she’s much too shy) and that Darcy will not have to write Caroline’s Valentine, he submits and the Valentines are written.
Bingley writes a lovely note and Jane reciprocates.
Colonel Fitzwilliam writes a silly one that Caroline doesn’t enjoy.
The real trouble arises with Darcy’s Valentine. He writes an incredibly sweet one:
I am a gentleman by birth—
With a fortune to boast.
Yet of all women upon earth,
Thee I admire and love the most.
Thou art accomplish’d, quite refined—
Far more than others of your line.
Then, since thou’rt suited to my mind,
Pray be my valentine.
From Mr. Darcy’s Valentine by Heather Moll
But while I find it romantic, Elizabeth finds offense in every line. She pens a reply that thoroughly rejects him and gives him a real what for about his behavior when he asks her for an explanation.
While Darcy is taken aback with how she sees him and amazed that she views him so poorly, he is determined to show her that the judgement she made of him is wrong, and he does it in the best way possible: he tries to be a better person.
While Darcy has stepped out to compose himself after being rejected, Caroline taunts Elizabeth about Wickham, in front of Georgiana. On hearing Wickham’s name Georgiana becomes very upset and to save her, Elizabeth contrives an excuse for the two to leave the room. While separated from the others, Georgina reveals all that occurred between her and Wickham. Elizabeth is in shock over the tale, and even more so over how she misjudged the two men…and embarrassed over how she insulted Darcy.
What makes things even worse and awkward, as Bingley and Jane are courting, Darcy and Elizabeth are thrown together constantly. But the more time Elizabeth spends with Darcy the more she realizes how fine a man he is. Will it be too late for her?
Or will she be able to find a way to show him how much she cares by Valentine’s Day?
As always, Heather Moll wrote a real page turner that is a charming tale from beginning to end. If you are looking for a romantic read featuring Austen’s characters this story is a must! It was an absolute delight and something I know I will be rereading every February.
If you are a Jane Austen fan it’s perfect to add to your collection, and if you are looking for something Jane Austen-y to purchase for your Valentine, this book would make a perfect gift.
To celebrate this anniversary, I have decided to review a Pride and Prejudice themed book, film, or item at least once a month throughout the year.
One thing I decided to do was finally review Pride and Prejudice (1995) I was originally going to wait for its 30th anniversary but decided, why wait?
But before I can review the episodes, I decided to first read and review The Making of Pride and Prejudice (1995), a book that was included with my special DVD box set.
The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Britwistle & Susie Conklin
What I found extremely interesting was that the spark to creating one of the best adaptions of Jane Austen all came about due to Northanger Abbey. Isn’t that cute? Sue Bristwhistle (producer) and Andrew Davies (writer) were watching a screening of one of the worst Jane Austen adaptions, Northanger Abbey (1986), when Andrew Davies broached the topic of creating a filmed version was the catalyst to one of the mose beloved Jane Austen adaptions.
Although it wasn’t easy. The book begins with Sue Bristwhistle sharing how it took quite a bit of time to garner the interest and how they had to face off against people who didn’t think it would come out well.
I really enjoyed this book as it is extremely detailed from every step of creating it: scriptwriting, casting, costumes, locations, editing, makeup, filming, food, editing, sound mixing, PR, etc. It’s really worth it for any Austen fan and Pride and Prejudice (1995) fan.
There were a few things I absolutely enjoyed reading in this book. First Andrew Davies thoughts on writing the script. He has said that he loved the book, it was one of his favorites and you can see how much he adores it and is a fan in this. I love how he points out the cleverness of Austen’s writing and how great she is at plotting her works.
I feel like most studios struggle with this when it comes to adapting Jane Austen works and this seems to be the biggest complaint Austen fans make about the adaptions. Studios slice too much and important plot points are lost, characters are nonexistent, and crucial scenes of the novels are now flat in the film.
I do feel that this is something that makes this adaptions superior to many others, Andrew Davies really loved the original work and did his most to try and keep Austen’s spirit; while at the same time trying to make sure he had something that would appeal to all viewers.
One thing I really appreciate is that Davies wanted to give us a view into the men of the novel and as to what they think and do. With a novel you have more leeway to have a mysterious character, fully based on what our main characters view then as; but in a TV show most people want to know more about these people and who they are if they are planning to come back every week to watch.
Also the Pemberley diving in scene is such a crucial scene to understanding and. Darcy we we finally see him wiping away the structures of society and instead being able to really “be” himself.” And of course has been a fan favorite.
The casting chapter I also found very interesting as it is so important to find the right people for period pieces.
I 100 percent agree. I feel like this a problem today where studios hire people who the think will draw views, even though they just don’t work for the drama. They look or act too modern and make everything feel out of place.
Colin Firth had to dye his hair because he is a blonde, I’m surprised as he looks so good with dark hair.
One of my favorite parts was on the costuming. It was so interesting to read how they had to make all the costumes and get the prints designed and printed on the fabric. A lot of clothes from the previous adaptations were in terrible condition or didn’t work. It was absolutely fascinating and makes sense why the clothes are constantly reused by the studio.
There is a section with Colin Firth where he describes his journey to the role and experiences filing and I loved it! In fact it reminded me of my own journey to Jane Austen. I also find it interesting that Firth felt he wasn’t sexy enough when comparing himself to Laurence Olivier. He was extremely afraid everyone would just compare the two and find him lacking. It’s amazing to think of when Olivier isn’t as remembered as Colin Firth. It’s like he threw down a reverse UNO.
I highly recommend this for any Austen fans as I think you will really enjoy it, especially if you love the 1995 adaption.
This year I ran a poll on my instagram asking people to vote between my reviewing Sense and Sensibility and Snowmen or Christmas at Pemberley. Christmas at Pemberley was the clear winner as 71% of those who voted wanted me to review that one.
But before I start my review, let me pause and say:
Happy Birthday Jane Austen!
Yes, today marks her 247th birthday, and I thought what better way to celebrate than by reviewing a Jane Austen film? (Although after watching it I may change my mind about that)
I had a really hard time trying to find this film to watch. It’s not on any streaming site as far as I can tell, except on Amazon to purchase. Just trying to watch online seemed imprisons good, so I ended up buying it (I had money from delaying my packages so it only cost me $0.49.)
This film came out back when Hallmark was remaking several classics as Christmas films. It stars Michael Rady as Mr. Darcy, which you may recognize from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or The Mentalist. It also has Jessica Lowndes as Elizabeth Bennet (spelled Bennett in this).
Elizabeth Bennett is a party planner from NYC and is the type of personality where she is on top of everything and always has every thing perfectly planned out in her color coded binders. She works for Caroline Bingley, the actress is the almost stepmother in The Parent Trap (1998). Caroline Bingley is the preeminent party planner in NYC and is a tough woman to work for (according to Elizabeth but she seems fair to me from the little we see). Elizabeth has always been in the background but Caroline is trusting her to be head of a Christmas festival in Lambton Connecticut. Elizabeth knows the mayor of the town as they went to college together. His name, George Wickham.
Before Elizabeth heads out, Caroline warns her to not forget it is Caroline’s name and reputation in this event. She’s trusting her with both and if things don’t go well, Elizabeth is out.
We then switch over to our Mr. William Darcy, as mentioned before played by the cute Michael Rady. He has an assistant, Travis, who is terrible at his job and supposed to be the Bingley character I suppose? Darcy is extremely kind to his assistant, and the two head to his family’s home Pemberley Manor, in Lambton, Connecticut .
We are in Lambton. George is getting ready to meet up with Elizabeth as he is still crushing he’s on her. As they go to meet her Jane Lucas (Jane Bennet/Charlotte Lucas?) remarks how sad she is that Darcy is selling Pemberley Manor and that it will be turned into condos by a developer. The audience is also told of her doubts for the festival as it previously had only been a one day thing of lighting the tree and reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, but Elizabeth is making it a multi day affair with all kinds of events. The movie is trying to scare us into thinking this is impossible for Elizabeth, but I’ve seen enough movies, I know it will all work out in the end.
So this George Wickham seems okay, he cares about the community, Elizabeth,…but I’ll reserve judgement as George Wickham’s can’t be trusted.
George is clearly into Elizabeth, but Elizabeth keeps saying they are only friends although goes into detail about the romantic way they met. She’s giving off serious mixed signals to him. She also is reading to get started so they all decide to grab a warm drink from the only hot drink cart located in this town and stand in a super long line. Like why don’t they just go to the mayor’s office? Or a coffee shop?
Darcy has just also just arrived in town and he wants a coffee. He sends his assistant to fetch him one, and his assistant is so hyper focused on doing a good job he misconstrues a joke and thinks if he fails to get the coffee he will be fired. He goes to the only place in town to get a drink, this one lone coffee and cocoa cart and tries to cut in line to get the drink. Elizabeth decides to be his champion and not only inserts herself into the conversation between Travis and the hot drinks cart man, but she also decides to march on down to Mr. Darcy’s car and yell at him.
Seriously, what’s wrong with her? First of all she doesn’t even know that Travis is telling the truth, he could be lying so he doesn’t have to wait in line. Also what good will it do anyone one for her to march over and yell at his employer. At best Travis could get in trouble, at worst fired. She also goes and starts lecturing him about being a good employer completely projecting her own work related issues onto this stranger. So all that tells me is that she clearly has problems with her boss she hasn’t communicated about, but thinks this man she just met, Travis, is supposed to do what she can’t. How do you know you won’t make things worse for him?
Do the writers think we are supposed to be on her side? If anything this makes me like Elizabeth less as she harasses a complete stranger. Mr. Darcy behaves like a perfect gentleman listening, explaining what happened, and being completely courteous to this woman who is acting like a total jerk.
I know the writers think this is supposed to make us laugh when they have the later “payoff” scene where the two have to work together but I don’t think it was particularly clever as we already know he is Darcy (they should have not told us his identity), and I’m completely all on poor Mr. Darcy’s side.
Mr. Darcy goes to Pemberley and meets the new caretaker, as the former one Willoughby retired. Darcy is more than ready for the house to be torn down which makes me think there are some terrible memories associated with it. The house being sold wasn’t completely Darcy’s decision as it was left to is Darcy Corp and the board of directors decided to sell it.
Darcy hasn’t been there in years and when he goes inside and looks around he doesn’t seem that overjoyed at being back.
Back with Elizabeth, she and George are having dinner and the character of Elizabeth is so shallow, they just made her like every other Hallmark female main character. They took an interesting character and made her boring.
Of course the next day the festival is in trouble as the water main breaks and destroys the town square and the gazebo. Of course the only answer is to use Pemberley Manor, which we know won’t go well as she just insulted Mr. Darcy the day before.
The other thing that really annoys me about this version of Elizabeth is that she never listens to anyone. Whenever George tries to talk to her about things she interrupts him and moves on barreling faster than a bullet train.
Elizabeth sees that Darcy is the owner of Pemberley, yet her Pemberley demeanor doesn’t even change. She still forceful and barrels through him. She doesn’t even try to apologize or be kind; instead she just runs roughshod over his thoughts and feelings.
The other thing that really annoys me is that she shrugs off all his concerns even though they are valid. He’s selling the manor, he is worried about the liability, and worried about how if something goes wrong not only will he be responsible but his company too as it is a company house. Having put on events for work, I totally see where he is coming from and agree with why Mr. Darcy doesn’t want a festival in his home. But Elizabeth ignores it all and insults him again.
Elizabeth then tries to have George force Darcy to do it. I thinks she’s supposed to be endearing but she is really annoying.
Darcy runs into the caretaker, Kristopher, again, (and he looks suspiciously like Santa Claus), playing Christmas records. I wish they had given Darcy a sister as I feel that works well for his character, it doesn’t have the same meaning with him as an only child. Darcy receives an email from the company purchasing the manor as someone has been complaining about them tearing it down in the community. Guess who did it?
Speak of the devil, she then shows up and barrels through Darcy with her plan for the festival, not even asking him again. She’s so rude.
Darcy and already been convinced by Kris, so they move forward with the festival. Darcy does give her one condition, he doesn’t want any involvement with it. Darcy has been kind, respectful, and a great guy. And I really don’t want him to end up with this annoying version of Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is ready to set up and complains about how much work the paperwork was, and all of can feel is told you so. Elizabeth then forces Darcy to help her, clearly being into him as she “can’t have anyone else help her”.
They spend time together where she makes him carry thousands of bags. She also makes fun of him for being head of the his company and always working. Hello, he’s head of the company as he has a lot to do. Like you don’t work constantly, you hypocrite. There is no way someone with that many color coded binders isn’t a workaholic.
Elizabeth reveals she has done extensive research on him, and I think it supposed to be cute but it comes off slightly stalkerish as she never seems to stop smiling. Even when she was angry she just keeps smiling, slightly creepy.
Travis goes looking for Mr. Darcy and runs into Jane and it is love at first sight! The two are cute together, someone understood the assignment.
The one thing I think is odd is that Darcy and Elizabeth went to get supplies but they don’t have shopping bags they have gift wrap bags holding all the supplies. Weird set dressing choice.
I enjoy the Darcy character as I feel that they did make him real, a man who has been grieving and given up a lot after his mom died and finally coming to terms; but the Elizabeth character I don’t care for at all as she doesn’t feel real.
So Elizabeth is crushing on Darcy super hard and it’s extremely obvious to everyone, while Darcy is just moseying along. It’s actually funny because she is like begging him to kiss her and he does not see the signs at all.
The next day Elizabeth is complaining to George and is exaggerating about what happened, making it seem as if Darcy threw her out of the house. What really happened was that they decorated his tree, he shared about his mom, and then said he had to go back to work. Like what did he do that was so terrible? Not kiss her? Who says he has to let her stay in his home for all hours of the night?
Every time she talks about Darcy she rewrites what happened to her to make her a victim. Like she has a serious victim mentality. She even complains about him not wanting to be associated with the festival making it sound as if he was demanding it. Which he DID NOT do. This Elizabeth is not the right Elizabeth. She’s more like Lydia or Mrs. Bennet.
George sets her straight and lets her know that Darcy is a charitable man and gives a lot to the community. He talks Darcy ho and let’s her know he just doesn’t like to be in the spotlight.
Back at the house Darcy and Claus, I mean Kristopher talk. Darcy shares some more positive memories he has of Pemberley and we can see him really healing.
Darcy sees Elizabeth outside working late and alone (yeah hypocrite who’s the workaholic now?) and greets her. She mentions she wishes she could make Christmas cookies and Darcy invites her in to bake. Again he is perfect as he is sweet, kind, and even praises her for being the one who takes care of everything in the background.
Then they are start sharing childhood dreams and he shares that he always knew he was going to take over the family. Elizabeth laughs in his face after hearing that. Wow! Girl you should learn how to flirt, or maybe not as you are going to end up with this guy after all. She also makes fun of his cookies and brings up Santa again. Like almost every other conversation she mentions Santa again. I’m surprised no one finds it odd as I do. She’s a woman in her 30s and can’t stop talking about Santa.
Jane and Elizabeth talk about the men in their lives and Elizabeth insults Darcy again. Why is she so rude?
Then Travis, George, and Darcy meet to talk and head to the only hot drink cart in town to talk. George is again trying to convince Darcy to not sell Pemberley. Travis is an utter trainwreck when it comes to being Darcy’s assistant, losing paperwork again. I know we should like him, but every time I see him I wonder how he even got this job? He forgets everything, is extremely messy, and completely disorganized.
Even though Elizabeth has treated him terribly, Darcy is kind and treats Elizabeth well. He’s not only extremely supportive and caring but he even found a carriage to be used for the festival. Man she doesn’t deserve you. You were written too well and wonderful and she was not.
The two work on the carriage And again Elizabeth is rude and assumes that Darcy only dates models and is one of those type of guys, when it just doesn’t turns out. He listens to Elizabeth talk about her ex, is kind, caring, encourages her and tries to give her hope; he’s so cute and sweet and she is not.
That evening is the festival and Darcy is inside as he does not want to be a part and do anything. Elizabeth keeps pushing him and doesn’t listen to what he says and again I’m like please stop thinking of yourself for five minutes. If he’s out there people might get angry about Pemberley, or what if he has a fear of being in crowds. Like seriously, just stop.
Then Kris gets on his case too. Why can’t everyone just leave him alone, it’s cold outside and he wants to be where it is warm.
Darcy does eventually go out and gets caught by a photographer who gets a great shot of him and Elizabeth.
The next day Elizabeth finds him to apologize about his picture being in the paper and he is all sweetness, kindness, and such a gentleman even after she couldn’t do the one thing he asked of her. She then insults him and tries to push him to try to be someone else.
Santa of course gets sick and they have to get a new one, who turns out to be Kristopher. I bet he’s the “real” one.
George tries to get Darcy to be a part of the festival, but he doesn’t want to. They talk a bit about Elizabeth and how George wanted to be with her but she just wanted be friends. George still likes her which means Darcy is going to step aside as he is a good guy. Man both dudes are oblivious as she is super into Darcy.
Darcy and Elizabeth go shopping again. How much of the town’s money is being spent on this festival? They have the decorations Elizabeth bosses’ fee, constructing Santa’s village, the stage, presents, etc. Good thing they have Darcy to find things, otherwise this town would be as bankrupt as Eagleton.
Caroline, Elizabeth’s boss, comes all the way down to Lambton and is upset about the photo as she feel it makes her look like a fool. What she is really worried about is that Elizabeth will leave her and start her own company taking a ton of people with her. Caroline decided to take over and change the simple Christmas festival to an elegant “Darcy-worthy” event in hopes of wooing his business.
Elizabeth goes to break it to Darcy but he’s smart enough to have put the pieces together. Caroline comes in and completely grabs his attention and keeps it.
Darcy invites Elizabeth to go on a carriage ride and is such a dreamboat as he is so sweet and supportive. He tries to help her feel better about everything that has happened. Aw, he’s perfect.
That night at the festival the singer’s voice is gone and Elizabeth has to fill in, of course. Darcy goes to gives her words of encouragement and watches her sing, risking the possibility of more publicity.
George confides in Darcy that he is going to ask Elizabeth out and Darcy is a gentleman , and steps aside. After the concert Elizabeth wants to talk to Darcy but gets blindsided by Caroline who snatches up his time. Caroline also insults Elizaveth and tries to remove her from the area as she wants Darcy all to herself.
Kristopher comes in and tries to start something with Darcy as he is trying to push Elizabeth and Darcy together. Man why is everyone pushing Darcy? Poor guy he just wanted some peace and quiet and now he’s had to deal with the festival, Caroline’s constant whining, Kristopher trying to change him, Elizabeth’s rudeness, etc.
Darcy goes to see Elizabeth and spots the two hugging, assuming they are together and going home, not wanting to ruin it. When he gets back he looks at the house but still signs the sale, and makes plans to go back home to NYC.
Elizabeth stops by the festival before heading to her family’s place and finds them taking everything down. The company was willing to work with them for a bit but doesn’t want to risk the liability and has canceled everything. Elizabeth wants to have Darcy fix it but discovers that he has left. She then is completely rude and mean about Darcy, but maybe you should take a breath. You don’t know his life maybe something happened, like an emergency. He might not have family but what about a friend? It’s like she wants to have reasons to think badly if him and hate him but there aren’t any. And her reasoning behind wanting to hate him, because he doesn’t do what she wants. She acts like a child.
Jane calls Travis to try and stop Darcy, and instead of telling him what happened he lies poorly to get Darcy to stay and try so they can use Pemberley. They do a guerrilla style party planning and begin working on putting everything back on. Except, technically yes Darcy still owns it, but what if there is an accident or a fire? Who’s going to have responsibility? Like the fact that Elizabeth doesn’t think about these things as a party planner is mind boggling.
At the manor Kris is missing, their celebrity canceled, and Darcy is stuck in the snow trying to get back to Pemberley. Kris heads out to get Darcy and reveals he “is” the real Santa after all.
And just as all hope is lost at the festival, Santa and Darcy show up in a sled, Santa hands out the gifts and Darcy reads the story. And there is so much snow everywhere, but no one is cold. Yeah right, I’m surprised anyone showed up with the amount of snow heavy is falling.
And we close with Darcy and Elizabeth together although they never resolve if Pemberley will be sold or not.
Was this a good Christmas movie?
This was an okay Christmas movie. There is no real issue in the film as every obstacle is instantly solved. Even Elizabeth’s boss isn’t really that terrible as after Darcy leaves she relaxes and helps put the festival back on. In fact the only villain is Elizabeth as she is terrible.
There are numerous variations of Jane Austen’s works, but while those adaptations are fun, sometimes you don’t always want to read the same story. Sometimes you want Austen-like works, but not exactly the same as Austen’s works. But what can you read instead?
That’s why I started this series. I will be reviewing books that have components of what we love about the Austen novels, but are not just another retelling, but their own unique story.
A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen
The book begins with our main character Laura Callaway once again feeling left out of her family and community. She was born and raised in London, but ended up moving to Cornwall when her parents died, having been sent to live with her aunt and uncle in Truro. When her aunt passed, her uncle Matthew moved them to the rural Cornwall seaside and remarried, Laura gaining a step-aunt and step-cousin.
Not having been raised in Cornwall, Laura often feels left out and alone; this further exacerbated by her aunt who treats her as a stranger and tries her best to exclude her. Laura has tried to form a bond with her step-cousin but her aunt tries to keep them separated.
Even in 1813, Cornwall practices the tradition of “wrecking”, taking goods from wrecked ships. This is seen as a way for many people to survive and a part of Cornwall life. For Laura, her conscience won’t let her partake in the same way, before she keeps or sells anything she tries to locate the owner; along with saving it for a year and a day. After that she does whatever she wants with the items.
Her days seem very much the same until one night she hears of a wreck and goes out to help with taking care of the dead (back in the early 19th century there was no coastguard and many did not know how to swim). While combing the beach she happens upon a man, alive but soaked through and doing poorly. She manages to save him and with help from her uncle and neighbors, nurse him back to health. But while this man, Alexander Lucas, introduces himself as a man from the island of Jersey trying to get home admits the war, something about him doesn’t quite ring true. What secrets could he be holding?
Alexander wants to trust this beautiful woman who saved his life, and she and her family seem to be ones he can rely on, but he’s still not sure. Alexander is plagued with a mission to save his brother, one he has risked his life, his reputation, and his freedom to accomplish. Every day he stays on English soil is another day that his brother may be lost to him forever. Alexander tries to recuperate, find the evidence needed to save his sibling and get home as quickly as he can.
When Laura discovers Alexander’s secret that he is a French soldier who escaped from imprisonment (for a good cause) will she be willing to help him? Or will her interference only harm him? Can romance bloom in the midst of a war?
Why do I recommend for fans of Jane Austen? First of all, this books brings another view of life in the Regency era. While the war with France is mentioned in several of Austen’s novels, and there are multiple soldiers in her works, we don’t see it’s effect on people like we do in this book. In this novel the characters live on the shores of England (much closer to France), have their fishing and trade affected by war, etc.; the war is very present in the daily lives of the people.
The other reasons I recommend this to Jane Austen fans is that Laura reminds me a bit of Anne Elliot from Persuasion and Fanny Price from Mansfield Park. Like Fanny, Laura is sent to be raised with family but often feels like she’s not really a part of them and lonely. Like Anne, Laura feels as if she doesn’t really belong with her family (although she does have a bond with her uncle) and often acquiesces what she wants to keep the peace. However Laura, like both of Austen’s women, stands up for what she believes in and will not be forced into doing something she does not agree with. While all three women are not the typical headstrong outspoken ladies, all have an iron backbone.
The character of Alexander and his relationship with former best friend Francois mimic Darcy’s relationship with Wickham. Darcy and Wickham were friends from childhood and grew up together. Darcy of course was the heir of Pemberley and Wickham was the steward’s son, but the elder Mr. Darcy treated him well and even prepared to pay for his schooling. Of course we know that Wickham housed some resentment against Darcy and over not being lord of the manor; later one trying to hurt Darcy and ruin his family and reputation. Francois is the same as his friendship turns to hate as it becomes twisted with jealousy of Alexander’s wealth and status; Francois doing everything he can to destroy the Alexander’s family name and spirit.
The end was a happy one but I do appreciate how it took a little while to get there instead of most historical fiction romances. At first I wasn’t sure if Laura would get TBE happy ending she wanted.
I really enjoyed this book as I after I started reading it, after a only few chapters I could not put it down.
I don’t usually write these, but last year I decided to make up a holiday guide of my favorite Jane Austen products. I enjoyed doing that so much that I wanted to make a list on some Jane Austen books that would also make the perfect gift for the holidays.
That was much harder than products as there are so many great books out there.
So this list will be a Part II, with books that didn’t make it onto last year’s list; along with some books I read this year (and last December). I do not receive any money from promoting these books, I am just honestly sharing ones I have enjoyed and I think you, or your loved ones will also. I have attached links to all the items if any of you are interested in purchasing any of these products (of which I do not receive any money from as I no longer a part of the Amazon affiliate program.)
So enough business, it’s time for Christmas!
This list of books are the perfect gift for Janeites or people you might be trying to convert to becoming a Janiete. The books are all listed in alphabetical order.
What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen
This book is a cute addition to any Janeite’s bookshelf as it is a collection of Jane Austen quotes from her letters, books, and Austen films. It’s fun to look through and use when you want the perfect Jane Austen quote for a card, note, etc.
Jane Austen Children’s Stories by Jane Austen and adapted by Gemma Barder
I’ve only read two of the seven books in the series, Northanger Abbeyand Emma, and have enjoyed them a lot. All are Jane Austen’s classic stories, but written in a way kids 6-10 can easily understand and comprehend. This is the perfect gift for a child of a Janiete or to give to a child in your life that you want to encourage the love of classics and Jane Austen.
I personally have purchased these books for my nieces, cousins, and children of friends. You can buy them in a box set or individually as I have.
A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh
This is an older book, but I really, really enjoyed this adaptation of Emma. It tells the story from Mrs. Goddard’s, (the woman who owned the home/school that Harriet Smith stayed in), point of view as she writes to her sister. We not only get “another interpretation” of the classic story but we also get to know one of Austen’s older characters on a deeper level. Besides Emma, this novel is also a tale of sister’s love and care for each other, along with the revitalizing love as Mrs. Goddard sister and her husband, the Pinkeys, are brought back together as they discuss the goings on of Emma, Frank Churchill, the Elton’s, etc. I thought it was adorable and had difficulty putting it down.
Pride and Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged) [Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries #1] by Carrie Bebris
I have mixed feelings about this series as I only really enjoyed book one and three, but even though I feel the series has some issues I thought the first one was extremely well written and do recommend it for Austen fans. In this mystery, newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Darcy experience some strange phenomenons when Caroline Bingley marries and starts acting strange, almost possessed. Could Caroline be acting strange for attention? Is someone be tormenting her? Is it regular maleficence…or is there something supernatural going on? Great for fans of Austen and mystery lovers.
Are you or the person on your shopping list someone who enjoys books that make you laugh, cry, and feel a whole range of emotions? Then this is the book for you. Both Darcy and Elizabeth are in the depths of despair, agreeing to marry for their own self interests. But as the two spend more time together, they discover that there might be more to this charade than comfort, they might actually be falling in love. However, Elizabeth believes she’s not long our world, should she pursue love? Or continue pretending she doesn’t really care for Darcy? You’ll have to read to find out.
There are very few Sense and Sensibility adaptations that I enjoy, and very few Beth Patillo books I like to read; this is one of those rare exceptions. The book begins with two estranged sisters, being forced to take a Jane Austen walking tour in order to honor their mother’s dying wish. They also find themselves becoming owners of a long lost Austen diary, and have to decide what to do with it. The girls encounter grief, love, familial connection, are introduced to Jane Austen, and above all the learn the importance of family.
Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls by Brenda Sneathen Mattox
A different gift than a usual book, this book of paper dolls is perfect for any fan of Jane Austen. Adults and children can enjoy looking at the clothes and illustrations; along with it bringing back the fun memories of having paper dolls. You can gift it as something to add to a Janiete’s collection; or to someone who might want to use them to relive their childhood memories, or create memories with their children. Either way it is a fun gift to put under the tree for paper doll fans of all ages.
A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice by Jasmine Stirling
I know there are quite a few Jane Austen children’s books on this list and it’s because I’m always trying to brainwash influence my nieces into loving Jane Austen as much as I do. This cute Jane Austen picture book has beautiful illustrations and gives a full biographical view of Jane Austen’s life in a way that kids can easily understand. Perfect for the child (6-10) in your life.
Jane Austen (Little People. BIG DREAMS) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Another cute Jane Austen bigography that is geared toward kids 4-7 and available in English or Spanish. The book has a great balance of pictures to text and I really like how it highlights all the heroines of Austen’s novels. Both I and my niece loved it.
So of course this is just a small sampling of all the Jane Austen adaptations out there, but I hope that this has helped some of you who might be searching for that perfect Jane Austen gift for your friend or loved one! If none of these strike your fancy, I will post links to my posts that list all the Jane Austen adaptions I have reviewed.
I wish you all a happy holiday and happy holiday shopping!