Victoria and the Rogue

Victoria and the Rogue (An Avon True Romance #12) by Meg Cabot

I first was introduced to Meg Cabot through her book All-American Girl, later reading The Princess Diaries series. Another book series she helped write was Avon True Romance for Teens.  

The Avon True Romance for Teens was written by different authors and is a collection of clean, historical romances-written specifically for the teen/YA market.

I was going to include this in the Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, but as I continued to read the story I realized that this was basically Emma, with some Pride and Prejudice thrown in.

Hmm…

I mean it isn’t an exact retelling, but there are just so many similarities. Let’s begin the review.

Lady Victoria Arbuthnot, Duchess of Harrow, is a young, beautiful, wealthy woman. Her parents traveled to India when she was little and died there leaving her an orphan and raised by her uncles. She was not interested at all in being married but just living her life with her fortune. Sound like someone we know?

“Never mind, Harriet, I shall not be a poor old maid; and it is poverty only which makes celibacy contemptible to a generous public! A single woman, with a very narrow income, must be a ridiculous, disagreeable, old maid! the proper sport of boys and girls; but a single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else.” –Emma

She, however, did fully intend to match up her uncles.

This, however, they do not like at all. To stop her from meddling they decide to send her back to England wagering on how long it will take for her to get a proposal. She decides to prove them wrong and ends up engaged on the boat over.

Yes, engaged to Lord Hugo Rothschild, Earl of Malfrey. He’s a bit of a fop caring for his clothes and money and just not really seeming to be a stand up gentleman. After all, who enters secret engagements if they have honorable intentions?

Frank Churchill

But also on the trip is the very annoying Captain Jacob Carstairs who likes to tell her what she is doing wrong and tries to stop her from managing (her word), or meddling (his word), on the way the ship is run.

Victoria meets her relatives that reside in England for the first time, the Gardiners. They are poorer than her and have a very large family full of kids, much different than how it was for her in India.

This is…pleasant? 

Something that differs from Emma, is that as Victoria was raised in India and she doesn’t behave quite like most gentle ladies of society. She can shoot a gun expertly, doesn’t accept help from getting down from the boat, and breaks “societal” rules she has no knowldge of. Emma on the other hand was finely tutored.

Victoria meets her older cousin Rebecca “Becky” Gardiner who she discovers has a crush on Captain Carstairs. Oh no, this must not be as Victoria thinks of Captain Carstairs as a rogue and sets her mind on finding a more suitable man. Just like Emma…

Rebecca envies Victoria’s gowns, money, fans, and the time she spent with the very wealthy Captain Carstairs. It turns out that he is not only a Captain, but he owns the ship that they used and not just that one-a fleet of them. He worked hard to take his father’s business and turn it into something truly powerful.

Vicky lets it slip that she is engaged but manages to coerce her cousin into keeping the secret by giving her a beautiful gown and fan.

Rebecca tries to warn Victoria about Lord Malfrey, as he has no fortune. But Victoria doesn’t care, she wants a man that won’t boss her around but one she can hep and aid, one that needs her-even of that means she will be footing the bill.

-Speaking from experience and the wastrel of a man I married. This is not a good idea. Slight PSA. DO NOT DO THIS. BAD, VERY, VERY BAD IDEA

Unfortunately, for Victoria Captain Carstairs is a very good family friend. She will have to endure his company constantly.

Ugh

The family goes to Almack’s, for a ball and to be “out” in society. Captain Castairs reveled to all that Victoria is engaged, so that secret’s out. Captain Carstairs spends time at the dance to try and convince Victoria not to marry Lord Malferey-but Victoria won’t listen she wants to “organize his life.”

Captain Carstairs tries to convince Mr. Gardiner to stop the betrothal but Mr. Gardiner doesn’t really care. Vicky and him squabble some more before she sets her plan “Have Rebecca be with a man I Believe to Be Perfect for Her” into motion.

Victoria “loses” her fan and Rebecca meets the handsome Charles Abbot, who Victoria believed perfect for her cousin-arranging everything ever so nicely.

Captain Carstairs accuses her of being too controlling, but she counters that things are much better with her at the helm.

They have a picnic thrown by Lord Malfrey, in which she has him invite Mr. Abbott for Rebecca. Lord Malfrey’s mother is overly madeup and odd and his friends-not acceptable ones for society in dress and manners. And none of them talk aout anyting other than clothes and hunting.

And unfortunately for Victoria, Captain Carstairs arrives and disapproves of everything and all the people.

But then Rebecca’s bag is stolen by a street urchin. Just like Harriet in Emma. And just like in Emma Lord Malfey/Frank Churchill goes to save the day-except in this, one Victoria controls the situation by taking down the boy-to everyone’s surprise and shock.

They set to take him to the police, but Victoria feels bad for the boy and pretends to faint, causing a distraction that allows him to slip away.

They are invited to Captain Carstairs’ house to have dinner with him and his mother, but Victoria tries to stay behind. She can’t imagine having to go through a whole dinner with him.

They spend time together before dinner with Captain Carstairs and his mother. To Victoria’s shock she has a lovely and interesting conversation on India, boats, sailing, the navy, etc. Much more interesting than the talks she has with her fiancé and his mother.

Hmmm…

Anybody getting what I’m thinking…?

Hmm…

Jacob takes Victoria aside after dinner as he wants to speak of something serious with her. She thinks he is going to declare his love for her, but instead he tells her that Lord Malfrey is only marrying her for her money. Victoria doesn’t care…

…but then Captain Carstairs reveals a secret about Lord Malfrey that concerns his sister. Only a few trusted people know about it. The two were engaged, but when some ships were lost along with the Carstair’s fortune, Lord Malfrey dumped his sister and up and left-his sister utterly heartbroken.

Poor Georgina Margaret. But now she is married and living happy.

Victoria realizes the severity of the claim, and decides to trust Captain Carstairs and test Lord Malfey.

Captain Carstairs tries to speak to her, but she refuses him-embarrassed that she is attracted to him.

Ugh…I don’t want to like him.

Sh tests Lord Malfey, telling him that it turns out that she won’t get control of her fortune-married or single-until she is 21. That means they would have to wait five years. Lord Malfrey is having none of that and after throwing a big fit, Victoria decides she is done. Forget this dude.

Victoria is saddened, but soldiers on. After all there is Rebecca’s romance, the molding of the younger Gardiners, etc.

Unfortunately, Captain Carstairs won’t leave her alone. After a constant barrage and a plea by Mrs. Gardiner-Victoria agrees. Captain Carstairs is happy about end of the engagement, and tells her what you need is “someone who doesn’t need you”.

I have to agree with him. After being with someone who “needed” me which really meant “using”-It would be nice to have someone who isn’t going to just be taking but giving.

Well Captain Carstairs proposes…sort of. Here it is:

“Wouldn’t it be restful to come home to someone who needed nothing whatsoever from you?”

Really dude?

That’s Darcy level messed up.

I men you could say you love her or something.

I mean, seriously dude. Get yourself together.

He kisses her, and then Victoria becomes so upset she pushes him away. Victoria is justly angry an Captain Carstairs acts like a total tool.

Jerk

Seriously, “he won’t extol her virtues” or be romantic and refuses to ever ask her again.

Well fine. Seriously dude-would it kill you to say anything endearing. I mean Mr. Knightley:

Or Mr. Tilney

So he storms of and life goes on. Lord Malfrey asks Victoria to met him so that they might exchange letters. Victoria agrees but when she goes, she gets caught in the rain. He takes her inside and her clothes so she can dry and warm herself, but then the Malfreys won’t let her go. They want her money and they want it bad. Their plan is to trap her there all night and to “save her” from scandal force her to marry Lord Malfrey-just like Wickham’s plan.

She gets locked in a room, but Victoria is no quitter. She doesn’t quite know what to do, and is in her underwear, but decides she cannot stay there and makes a break for it out the window.

She tries to go to the police to get help, but they think she is a prostitute, and ignore her. She does gets saved by some street urchins, the ones in the group that belonged to the boy she saved earlier. He keeps her safe there with the others while going off to deliver her note to Captain Carstairs.

He comes right away in answer to her note, and brings clothes, like Victoria asked. When he gets there Victoria tells him the whole story. They concoct a story to give to the Gardiners, and Captain Carstairs takes her home.

Captain Carstirs is so angry about what happened, Victoria is convinced that he would try to duel with Lord Malfrey. She wonders why she is so upset when she realizes she is in love with Captain Carstairs.

She hears nothing from him and agonizes over what is happening. (Just like in Emma when Mr. Knightey is gone visiting his brother and Emma is freaking out as she realizes she loves him.) Victoria writes him a note but hears nothing. She is so anxious and angry at herself for turning him down, especially as she knows he won’t ask her again.

A man who has once been refused! How could I ever be foolish enough to expect a renewal of his love? –Pride and Prejudice

Victoria has a little bit of a breakdown believing Captain Carstairs is dead. The Gardiner’s see her distressed state and think she is sick, wanting her to stay home but she has to go out to Almack’s, as she needs to know if Captain Carstairs is alive.

He acts cold, polite and aloof.

Victoria pleads with Captain Carstairs and he tells her that there was no duel. He just told the Malfreys that they needed to go to France and never return to England or else he would let out the news about Malfrey’s first wife, Mary Gilbreath, and their divorce.

All ends well with Victoria and Captin Carstairs ironing out their issues and ending up together.

Meh.

I thought it was a fun story with great characters except for Captain Carstairs. As you can see from the above gif, I didn’t care for him and Victoria to end up together.  I found Captain Carstairs to be annoying, mean, immature, and a major jerk, only a shadow of Mr. Knightly and Mr. Darcy. Personally I believe Victoria could do better.

 

For more on Emma, go to Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

For more Emma variations, go to A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

For more Meg Cabot, go to Would You Like a Pizza My Heart?: The Princess Diaries (2001)

 

The Past of a Man: Under Capricorn (1949)

under Capricorn

“The past of a man it is something.”

Now this is an Alfred Hitchcock film that is not as well known or talked about, for various reasons. A lot of people think the story is too melodramatic, and others don’t like it because certain elements resemble Rebecca and Gaslight. However, the reason why most people at the time hated it was it came out right after the news of Ingrid Bergman’s affair with Roberto Rossellini, the impeding divorce of her husband Dr. Petter Aron Lindström, and the birth of her twins by Rossellini. (To read more on that go here.) I on the other hand really liked this movie as I love:

  1. Alfred Hitchcock
  2. Ingrid Bergman
  3. Joseph Cotten

Really now, how can you ever think this was horrible?

MeanGirls I know right!

The title “Under Capricorn” references the Tropic of Capricorn, which bisects Australia. As you can tell now that I’ve explained the title, the film is set in Sydney, Australia during the 19th century.

So before we get into the film, we need to touch on the background history. In the 18th-19th century, England tried to discover a better way to deal with the mass amount of criminal activity and overcrowding jail cells. One thing that England did was hanging. However, people began to get upset about that. Some of the crimes were not really all that bad, but yet people were being given the death penalty. In order to have a harsh punishment, less-crowded jails, and less death-transportation became the way to go. Originally convicts were sent America, but with our revolution in 1776, that option was no longer possible. In the 1780s they started sending people to New South Wales, but with the Napoleonic wars, more labor was needed and they stopped the transportation.

After the war, problems arose again and they turned their attention to Australia. Between 1788-1868, they estimate about 165,000 people were sent Australia from a sentence that was usually 3 years to life (average was 7-14 years). Most people who were sent over were guilty of poaching, arson, robbery, and murder.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

They were usually sent to extremely remote areas to prevent escape and discourage any attempt at returning. While it was allowed for people to return after they served their sentence, most people wouldn’t. More often than not they would create a better life in Australia. Typically, criminals would change their names, get land, farm, and create a brand new life for themselves.

This ended in the 1860s, although it had started to drop off by the 1830s. Most of the areas that were for “convicts”, began to become real towns and attracted better emigrants. (Most of this info came from the Victorian Crime and Punishment website, if you would like to check it out)

Now back to the story.

Under Capricorn

So it is 1831 in Sydney, Australia. Sydney is still a frontier with most of the population being ex-convicts. The new Governor, Sir Richard arrives, bringing along his foppish, indolent, “rich boy” nephew, Charles Adare (Michael Wilding).

It's one of those guys!

It’s one of those guys!

So Charles is hoping that he will make a fortune out here in Australia. While there he meets the gruff Samson Flusky. Samson is a convict that had been transported from Ireland out to Australia to serve his time, for murder.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

But now he is a successful buisnessman. He owns a lot of land and makes a lot of dough. He is highly respected in the community.

Joseph Cotton Under capricorne24se

Anyways, so Samson has now reached the legal limit of land he can purchase and needs to look to new ways in order to expand his business. He wants Charles to purchase the land and sell it to Samson, guaranteeing a good profit.

Under Capricorn

Charles is intrigued by the prospect and agree to the invitation of dining at Samson’s house. While there, he has a pleasant surprise. He knows Samson’s wife, Lady Henrietta (Ingrid Bergman).

Under Capricorn Dining eating

She was friends with Charles’ sister but now has encountered a lot of problems. She is an alcoholic and shunned by society as she is seen to be crazy.

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Sam decides to invite Charles to visit as much as he wants, hoping it will help bring his wife out of her current depression.

Now Charles has always had a crush on Henrietta and is confused at her crazed behavior and decline. He asks his uncle about what happened to her. Lady Henrietta was the daughter of one of the fine Irish gentry. To the surprise of everyone, she ran off with one of the handsome stable boys, Samson, to elope in England. Lady Henrietta’s brother went after them and was killed by Samson. Instead of the noose, Samson decided to go to Australia.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Lady Henrietta followed him to Australia and waited seven years for the term to end. After Samson served his years, he was different. He wanted to be rich and to buy everything, but that was never enough. Henrietta was extremely unhappy and began drinking.

Sadface Batman

Now unbeknownst to all, Samson’s housekeeper Milly has a crush on him.

Under-Capricorn-Leighton

She has been running the house and secretly feeding Lady Henrietta alcohol. She is hoping that Henrietta will kill herself, leaving Samson all to Milly.

perfect plan

Charles decides to help try and restore Henrietta’s confidence. At Sam’s urging, he moves into their home. But that’s not all he’s interested in. He has always found Henrietta to be attractive, and now she is vulnerable and needy. He begins to pursue her.

Under Capricorn Kiss

Charles’ work has been going great. In fact, Henrietta gains enough courage to try and take the power back from Milly and put her in her proper place as housekeeper, not wife. Milly turns things around and Henrietta runs up to her room and locks herself in. Charles goes in to talk to her and Milly sees them. She tries to use it to her advantage, telling Sam all kinds of lies about their behavior. This angers Sam, who kicks her right out of the house. (Sam you rock! I always had a soft spot for Sam. I don’t know if it was because he was played by Joseph Cotten or because he just seems like a great guy who has been mistreated.)

Under capricorn

Henrietta is doing much better, and improving more and more each day. In fact she is doing so well, that when she receives an invitation to the Governor’s Ball, she is eager to go. They all get ready, but Sam decides to not go after all. He had purchased a ruby necklace for her, but after overhearing how Henrietta and Charles don’t consider ruby to be the right accessory, he decides not to give it to her. You see Sam has enjoyed having Charles there as he has helped his wife, but at the same time it has been upsetting. With the two together, it makes him realize just how different he and Henrietta are. He thought it could be different in Australia, but sees that moving to a new place hasn’t really changed societal rules.  Sam thinks the rest of the ball will be the same, and that he’ll be too out of his element or that he’ll embarrass himself. He decides to stay home.

Under-Capricorn4

Sad and lonely

At the ball, Henrietta stuns everyone as they all adore her. And more importantly, Henrietta has a great time.

Under Capricorn Dining eating

Back at the house, Milly has returned.

im-back

Milly asks for forgiveness and her job back but also starts talking smack about Henrietta. She tells Samson exaggerated stories of what has been going on between Henrietta and Charles. The two had shared only one kiss, and everything had been instigated by Charles. Milly, on the other hand, insists that Henrietta is the one that has been carrying on and that it has gone much, much further. To further push the issue and him, she tells him that Henrietta is of a different class than her and Samson, and those people do things non-aristocrats could never get away with.

you're evil

I mean seriously this girl is a major jerk.

jerk_alert32

You just need to understand that he loves his wife and back the heck away from him. You- you-

wordICan't say Toy Story

At first Samson shrugs it off. Charles is younger than Henrietta and more concerned about clothing than anything else. But that evil woman Milly keeps pushing him, and when she mentions the differation in classes, that’s where he snaps.

800__shadow_of_a_doubt_blu-ray_04_intense stare angry upset mad creep

Sam goes to the ball, makes a scene, and humiliates Henrietta in front of everyone

under capricorn ball

She returns home, weeping and half-crazed.

Sad and lonely

Sad and lonely

Charles runs after her and tries to help her. He tells her to leave Sam, but Henrietta can’t. She tells Charles that she deeply loves her husband and is bound to him. You see, Sam didn’t shoot her brother, she did.

Say What

Yep, that’s right. Sam has never killed anyone. Henrietta fell in love with Sam as he was kind and handsome. Can you blame her? He’s one attractive man.

MeanGirls I know right!

The two wanted to marry, but it was impossible as Samson was a much lower class than Henrietta. So the ran off to England, but her brother followed them. Her brother tried to kill Samson, but missed and the two struggled. Henrietta took the gun and shot her brother so he wouldn’t kill Samson. Samson took the blame as he didn’t want her to suffer in  jail.

aw cry

Unfortunately, that didm’t actually help. Henrietta couldn’t stay at home, and couldn’t leave Samson by himself so she followed him to Australia. Not only has she been dealing with the guilt of killing her brother, but the guilt of allowing Samson to rot in prison for her deeds. To further this, when Samson came out of prison he was a changed person. This lead to even greater guilt and drove Henrietta to the bottle. No wonder she’s been going crazy.

Sad and lonely

Now even though Henrietta admits this to him, Charles doesn’t really believe her. He thinks it is just her way of trying to protect the man she loves.

When Samson sees Charles in his house with Henrietta, he becomes incensed  for the betrayal and kicks Charles out.

Under Capricorn

Charles steals Sam’s horse and takes off. While riding, the horse breaks its leg, causing Charles to have s a really bad fall. He reluctantly returns to the house and relays the news. Samson goes for his gun to “shoot the horse”, but Charles believes he is going to kill him, as he has “killed” before. The two struggle over the gun and during the conflict, Charles is shot.

Under Capricorn struggle gun

With Samson’s past, he is immediately thrown into prison, to either rot for good or be hanged. Henrietta tries to save him and tells the Attorney General the truth. That Samson has never killed anyone, she did it. This presents a serious problem for Samson. The only way he can get out of his predicament is if he corroborates Henrietta’s story, but then she will be sent back to Ireland to stand trial and imprisonment. If he says his wife is lying, then he will be killed. The Governor is really pushing a conviction as he wants someone to be punished for trying to harm his nephew. The AG gives Samson twenty-four hours to decide.

A no win situation

A no win situation

Back at the house the evil Milly sees the perfect oppurtunity to get Sam. She tries to poison Henrietta and plants a shrunken head on her bed to further scare her. Fortunately, she is discovered and ousted.

Good-bye

Good-bye

Meanwhile Charles has recovered from his wound and vouches for Samson, telling everyone that it was an accident.

Charles is put on a ship back to Ireland, and Samson and Henrietta are now happy. Henrietta has been freed from the poisonous Milly and finally from the guilt of what she did to her brother and Samson. Samson is better as he finally knows that Henrietta truly loves him and that he didn’t destroy her life.

Under Capricorn

All in all, this film really teaches you one thing:

let go past

Yep, sometimes you just need to move on.

1949UnderCapricorn

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For to the previous post, go to Werewolves Roam Among Us.

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For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to Horrorfest III: The Revenge

For more on Joseph Cotten, go to You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?

For more on Ingrid Bergman, go to I’ll Always Be There When You Need Me

For more on the Victorian Period, go to Redone Done Right