Dear William: Letters from Georgiana Darcy

Dear William: Letters from Georgiana Darcy (2020)

So back in July of 2020, I was celebrating my blogiversary, and on instagram I would ask Jane Austen questions and then post the responses the next day.

Hmm…?

One of the questions I asked was which Jane Austen supporting characters needed their own story? The answers were: John and Isabella Knightley (Emma), Miss Bates (Emma), Captain Benwick (Persuasion), the Admiral and Mrs. Croft (Persuasion), Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility), and William Price (Mansfield Park)Sarah.with.an.h commented on my post that she thinks Georgiana Darcy needs her own story and shared that she had made a short video from Georgiana Darcy’s point of view, letters to her brother.

Georgiana Darcy from Death Comes to Pemberley.

I thanked her for sharing and planned to watch it, but you know me. I have so many plans and ideas, but life gets in the way…

Oh well…

I had thankfully screenshoted the comment so I wouldn’t forget who commented on it, and found it when I was going through my photos the other day and decided it was time to give it a watch.

In Dear William: Letters from Georgiana Darcy the Jane Austen story of Pride and Prejudice is set in modern times with Georgiana being sent to a boarding school and calling her brother William (Fitzwilliam); along with George Wickham.

I really enjoyed the short video as I think Sarah captured Georgiana’s sweetness, naivety, her inexperience, and how she was manipulated into believing she loved Wickham.

From Death Comes to Pemberley.

This video also showed the closeness of the Darcy siblings, but also as Darcy is her only immediate family and much older than her-at times he is also a fathr figure and Georgiana, like any teen girl, is rebelling a bit, pushing her boundaries.

I think it is worth a watch and if interested, click on this link.

For more on Georgiana Darcy, go to Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen film adaptions, go to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe (2018)

Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

Have you ever wished you could marry Mr. Darcy?

Well you can now in this game!

So I have been wanting to play this game for a while, I mean you know me and Jane Austen stuff:

I received it this year for my birthday in May and have been planing on reviewing it, but you know how things go.

This game was created by Erika Svanoe and Erik Evensen and it actually isn’t just about marrying Mr. Darcy, you have your choice of being all the single ladies in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: Jane Bennet, Elizabeth Bennet, Mary Bennet, Kitty Bennet, Lydia Bennet, Charlotte Lucas, Caroline Bingley, and Georgiana Darcy.

Your goal in the game is to try and earn character traits (the more points you get at the end helps you win) along with making a good match. Depending on your character, you have an ideal man (the one who will give you the most points), but you still earn points for whichever man you marry. Your choices are: Mr. Wickham, Mr. Collins, Mr. Denny, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Bingley, and of course Mr. Darcy.

Although there are a couple guys in here I would rather NOT have.

The first thing you do is choose your character, and each one has a special ability. I started off with Elizabeth Bennet who has a Dowry of 1 and a Wit of 2. You have to have a Wit of 5 in order for Mr. Darcy to propose so you get an advantage over the other ladies; eat your heart out Caroline Bingley.

So the game begins with lining all the men out so that you can see what they all need. Each man is looking for different things before they will even consider proposing to you:

  • Mr Wickham: Dowry of 2 or Higher
  • Mr. Collins: Beauty of 2 & Reputation of 2 or Higher
  • Mr. Denny: Friendliness of 2 & Wit of 2 or Higher
  • Colonel Fitzwilliam: Dowry of 3 & Reputation of 2 or Higher OR a Reputation of 5 or higher
  • Mr. Bingley: Beauty of 5 or Friendliness of 5 or Higher
  • Mr. Darcy: Wit of 5 or Higher

For 2-3 Players they recommend using 1/2 the event cards, 4 players 2/3 event cards, and for 5-6 players all the cards.

Each person gets three character cards to start with and you play the game. For each turn you pull out an event card, some affect only you-while others all the players. The event cards will allow you to “play” a character card-which  you put face up. The face up cards are the only ones who count for points at the end, allow you to be proposed to, etc. Its important to have them, but just because they are played they are not safe. They can be stolen.

Some event cards change the course of the game: Mr. Bingley goes to London (if you don’t get the card that brings him back he can’t be anyone’s suitor), Darcy’s surprise proposal (you get this you are instantly proposed to and don’t have to do the end roll to see who you get), and an Elopement with Mr. Wickham (you can only get rid of the elopement if you get enough reputation cards).

Just because you get enough of the character traits to get your dream man, that doesn’t mean you will get him. At the end you each have to roll the dice to see if he proposes, you toll too low-you become an old maid. But even the old maid has multiple options too, and you can still have a shot at winning as an old maid if you roll high enough or have a lot of character cards played. Your life as an old maid ranges from lonely bitter life, a companion to a cranky widow, governess to a wealthy family, your resentful uncle takes you in, or your kind and wealthy family takes you in and you become a celebrated author.

This game is really fun as you can play it multiple times-being different people and of course having different events, so no two game plays will be alike.

I tried every character because I wanted to be sure to give a thorough review before posting this:

Game 1: Elizabeth Bennet 20 points

As Elizabeth the best match you can make is Mr. Darcy (netting 15 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (7 points). With Elizabeth’s lack of dowry she can’t win a man with that unless you get an “inheritance” card-the other options being to try for men who are just looking for character.

I did not marry Mr. Darcy as my mom got the surprise proposal from him.

I did score Colonel Fitzwilliam and was only on point shy of winning.

PROS: Elizabeth’s special ability is a “Wit of 5”, higher than anyone else in the game.

CONS: Even though Elizabeth has higher wit than anyone else she still is at a disadvantage. I had enough for Mr. Darcy, but then my wit was stolen from me and I couldn’t get higher than a three. It really isn’t a strong advantage.

Game 2: Caroline Bingley 32 points

If you want to win the game, play as Caroline Bingley. She has the best chance of winning out of everyone. As Caroline the best match you can make is Colonel Fitzwilliam (netting 14 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (5 points). Caroline has a dowry of 3 and a special ability: Any time she draws a character card she can draw an extra card and decide which of them you want.

I won this game! I married Mr. Darcy as I got the surprise proposal from him and had 32 points altogether.

PROS: With Caroline’s dowry, if she does nothing she still can get with her highest guy, as Colonel Fitzwilliam needs a dowry of 3. Her ability is super awesome as getting to check out an extra card can really help you stack your deck, or discard cards that will be helpful to others.

CONS: As Caroline you have one less suitor (you can’t marry your brother, Mr. Bingley), but it doesn’t really affect you. Caroline can win the game every time very easily, the only way to fail is to roll bad in the proposal stage.

Game 3: Georgina Darcy 25 points

Georgiana Darcy is another way to win the game right away. The best match you can make as Georgiana is Colonel Fitzwilliam (13 points) and the worst match is Mr. Collins (6 points). Georgiana has a dowry of 4 and a special ability: Georgiana has a +1 to all proposal rolls.

I won, married Colonel Fitzwilliam, and had 25 points.

PROS: With Georgiana’s dowry, if she does nothing she still can get with her highest guy, as Colonel Fitzwilliam needs a dowry of 3. Her ability is very useful at the end of the game as if you screw up a roll you get that extra point to add.

CONS: Like Caroline, as Georgiana you have one less suitor (you can’t marry your brother, Mr. Darcy), but it doesn’t really affect you.

Game 4: Jane Bennet 22 points

As Jane the best match you can make is Mr. Bingley (netting 15 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (5 points). Jane has the same dowry problem as Elizabeth.

I won by marrying Mr. Darcy with the surprise proposal and had a total of 22 points.

PROS: Janes’s special ability is a “Beauty of 2”, higher than anyone else in the game.

CONS: Even though Jane has higher beauty than anyone else she still is at an extreme disadvantage. Her beauty could be stolen by other players; along with Mr. Bingley going back to town-if he doesn’t come back she has to try for someone else.

Game 5: Lydia Bennet 9 points

With Lydia the best match you can make is Mr. Denny (netting 13 points) and the worst match is Mr. Collins (5 points).

I did not win this round. My sister took Mr. Denny and I didn’t have enough character for anyone else. I ended up becoming a companion to a cranky widow. I know just who I ended up with:

Mrs. Van Hopper in Rebecca (1940)

PROS: Lydia’s special ability is any time a Party card is drawn she gets to steal 1 random Character card from any player.

CONS: Lydia’s ability only works if you are playing with a large group when you are using the the whole deck. If you are only using half the deck you don’t pull out that many party cards and she doesn’t really get to use her ability.

Game 6: Mary Bennet 17 points

With Mary the best match you can make is Mr. Collins (netting 12 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (5 points). Mary has the same dowry issues as her other sisters

I gained my highest guy, but lost by one point. Sounds like Mary’s life.

You made me stop and let other girls have a turn.

PROS: Mary’s special ability is she can take the top discarded Character Card instead of drawing from the deck.

CONS: Even when Mary gets her ideal man and achieves the highest she can, it is lower than everyone else. I think it would have been better if Mary could get more equal points to Caroline, Jane, Elizabeth, etc.

Game 7: Kitty Bennet 12 points

Kitty’s best match is Mr. Denny (netting 12 points) and the worst match is Mr. Collins (6 points). Kitty has the same dowry issues as her other sisters

My sister stole Mr. Denny, the only man I could get, so I ended up an old maid. Luckily my resentful uncle took me in…I guess things turned out okay?

Not okay.

PROS: Kitty’s special ability is when it is her turn to pull an Event card she has a choice to use a discarded event card.

CONS: Like Lydia, her ability works best when you play with a full deck-but it still is great in any type of game.

Game 8: Charlotte Lucas 18 points

Charlotte Lucas’ best match is Mr. Collins (13 points) and the worst match is Mr. Wickham (6 points). Charlotte has a dowry of 2 and a special ability: Charlotte has 3 cunning.

I barely won this round, I married Mr. Collins and won by 1 point. I also kept getting inheritances and increases in dowry. Now that I have my own money, I think I’ll take a vacation without Mr. Collins.

PROS: With Charlotte’s dowry you have a big advantage over the Bennet ladies. You also have cunning without additional cards, so if no one else has saved any you get to go first in the proposals stage.

CONS: Mr. Collins only gets you 13 points which puts you at a disadvantage with Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. Like Mary, I think the top person should be equal in all of them.

What Didn’t I Like:

There are only a few things I would have changed, one the point system-I think that all the ladies’ highest men should be equal. That way if you net him you have a better chance of winning the game.

I also wish that the two eldest Bennet sisters had more useful abilities than the extra wit and beauty. They do have an advantage, but it isn’t really that strong-the other women seem to have better ones.

Hmm…?

What I Did Like

I really enjoyed the whole game.

The game was really fun, the events interesting, and I loved the little references to Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. I loved it and could play it over and over again (and did!) and tried to get everyone I could to play with me.

If you are looking for a fun Regency game to play, you defintely should get this.

I highly recommend it and am eyeing the expansion pack…maybe after Christmas.

For more Jane Austen products review, go to Jane Austen-Inspired Magazine Cover Cards

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

 

The Colonel

So I promised to post this in February, but I didn’t end up doing it.

I really meant to post it on February 17th, after Valentine’s Day as

“this isn’t a love story but the end of one. The story of two ships forever passing in the night…

…this isn’t a love story.

But almost.”

But then I didn’t like my review, so I shuffled the posts around so I could rewrite it.

But then I didn’t like that review either-so this is my third time writing it.

I have been having such trouble with it as this story is a saga. It is an intense story spanning from the 1940s to the 2000s. It has drama, comedy, heartbreak, love, births, deaths, weddings, funerals, etc. The themes involve parenthood, family, trauma, biracial/bicultural romance, etc. This is a meaty book.

So this book is long, and I’m sorry if this review gets too long, as I want to reach a good point to pause at-discussing some but not revealing everything (you want some surprises when reading after all).

The story is flips from present (2002) to flashbacks of the past and is told with multiple narrators. That’s not a bad thing, it just makes it harder for m to summarize as I don’t want to confuse anyone reading my review.

Hmm…

None of the other reviews I wrote seemed right. So here we go again-try three.

 

Now I wasn’t sure if I should do this review as I haven’t read the first book, Longbourn’s Songbird, but then decided to as this book isn’t exactly a sequel as events in the novel do take place before the other book, as well as after it. The Colonel,  follows Richard Fitzwilliam’s exploits (Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride and Prejudice) and his family’s.

So the story is set in America during, and post WWII. I loved the idea of setting them in a different timeline and setting as it made the book more…hmm, I guess…unknown.  North also focused on more of the supporting characters of Pride and Prejudice-Colonel Fitzwilliam, Charlotte Lucas, Anne de Bourgh, and Georgiana Darcy-with the main characters: Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, etc-getting a back seat. With this focus on these characters and being set in a new timeline, it really allows the author to have the freedom to create their own story, while at the same time keeping the parts and the people we love in it.

So to make this easier for those reading, and myself (don’t want literary whiplash) I’m going to start with Bennet “Ben” Fitzwilliam’s story line [Richard’s son] in the present (2002), and then Richard Fitzwilliam [Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride and Prejudice] in the past and his family.

Bennet “Ben” Fitzwilliam

So the book starts off in 2002 NYC. Ben Fitzwilliam is the only son of Richard Fitzwilliam and life is not going well. He is suffering from trauma faced in 9/11, his girlfriend left him-and so he decides to quit his job and return to his father’s home, the Fitzwilliam House in Annapolis, MD.

As he goes through the house, he starts to wonder more about his father. His father was a complicated man, with a very complicated life. There is so much he doesn’t know about him and things he wish he could ask him. After much thought he decides to write a book about him:

Who better to write about a twice-decorated war hero who took two bullets in World War II and lost an eye in Korea? A man who spent his life making every damaged solider his brother, a man who never married but fathered a child out of kindness?

Who? Who is Ben’s mother?

Ben also meets and begins a relationship with African-American Police Officer Keisha Barnes. When Ben discovered a locked drawer in his fathers study, he invites Keisha along, and the two get caught up in trying to discover “who” Richard Fitzwilliam is. They find some correspondence, one being to a woman he loved who he referred to as “Slim.”

Slim? Ben knew he his father had a tattoo of “Slim” on him, but thought that was his war nickname. Who is this woman? What happened to her?

He later finds out from his cousin Maggie Darcy that his dad Richard dated her mom, yes Slim was his aunt, Elizabeth Bennet.

But his mother is Charlotte Lucas:

Okay, at this point of the book my interest was super piqued.

We have a mystery on our hands and I am utterly baffled what is going to happen next. Usually I have an idea of the direction the author will go in, but I have no clue with this story.

Will Ben be able to handle the truth about his father? Or will he be biting off more than he can chew? Will he learn from the mistakes and loves his father had-or will he fall victim to repeating the same choices as his father?

Hmm…

He also discovers a life changing secret that his father never knew. Will he be able to right this wrong and take on his father’s legacy, in the best way?

Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam

So let’s move to the Colonel’s story:

So we start off in 1941, the war has just begun for the US and Richard and his brother are shipping out. Richard is quite the ladies’ man and has been saying fond farewells with one and all, whilst older brother James, has been waiting with family. Darcy is visiting, he is not leaving for war as he owns factories that are producing War necessities.

James is loved by his father while Richard is not. Their mother was injured and had to be hospitalized after an accident involving Richard and both he and his father blame him for her state, even though it is no one’s fault.

Sad…traumatic…poor guy

James is sent to Australia, Richard to Florida and Darcy to an unknown location (which I’m guessing is Oak Ridge, Tennessee). War life is hard and the trauma made harder when Richard loses his brother. He feels the loss strongly and now there is no one to smooth out the rough edges in his father. After he is wounded in a battle his father has him discharged and sent home.

But Richard has a lot of trauma over the war, and he takes off, disappearing from Darcy and Georgiana’s lives. No matter how many detectives Darcy employs, they cannot find them.

A mystery, within a mystery…

Mystery, you say?

Richard decides he can’t stand it any longer-the memories, the loss, the pain-he decides to end his life. He’s about to jump and drown himself, but before he can he hears the pier snapping and rushes in to save a woman, Elizabeth Bennet. The two fall head over heels in love and spend all their free time together, as they only have a summer and then she will return home.

However, the summer ends when Richard purchases Elizabeth an expensive gift and the bill goes to Pemberley, bringing Darcy to his door.

Richard wants to stay and marry Elizabeth, but Darcy opens his eyes to the mess he is. He desperately needs some help, he’s living in rathole, he’s lost a lot of weight, he’d be making Elizabeth give up college, and his father had a stroke. Darcy is right on the fact that he needs help but I didn’t get the other arguments as Richard has money. He and Elizabeth could marry and she could still go to school, I mean Richard’s G.I. bill could pay for that if he doesn’t want to use his money. But Richard doesn’t stay, he recognizes that he is not in a good place and doesn’t want to tie Elizabeth to all his pain and sorrow. He then leaves (which is good because Elizabeth needs to end up with Darcy.)

Richard writes letters to Slim (Elizabeth) but doesn’t send them. This saga then takes on a new twist with the introduction of a completely new character, Miss Evelyn Ross, James’ former fiancé.

Evelyn writes to Richard and the two continue correspondence throughout the whole book. She marries another man and has girls, the two continuing to write through all the ups and downs of life. They ask each other advice, share their hopes and sorrows, love each other unconditionally and platonically. I loved their characters together, their friendship, and the whole character of Evelyn Ross. I have to admit I think it was letter 3 or 4 and I wanted Richard and Evelyn to marry (unfortunately she already is married [Darn])

OMGosh, these letters. They are just so cute and sweet together.

So Richard returns to Pemberley, and helps with the Georgiana and the Wickham issue. A year goes by and Darcy has been out to Bingley’s home he rented and is excited and relaxed, so Richard concludes there is only one thing to make him fell that way-it must be a girl. And when Richard goes to celebrate Charles’ Bingley’s birthday, he discovers that it isn’t any girl his cousin is going ape over, but Slim-Elizabeth Bennet.

Richard is struck…

Very awkward. 

So there are some fights, drama, and Richard ends up leaving to New York to live with Anne de Bourgh and Charlotte Lucas-where he causes more fights and drama. He then decides to date a girl who looks about 60% like Elizabeth-yes you can see he’s making stellar decisions.

As you can imagine, it crashes and burns when Darcy and Elizabeth come to visit for New Year’s Eve.

There is a big blow up between him and Darcy, although they tenuously mend it. Things take a turn when Richard reenlists for the Korean war and stops at the Pemberley house to say goodbye.

He leaves for Korea and gets damaged a bit more, physically and emotionally. He gets severely wounded and Darcy comes to stay with him and help him. The cousins repair their relationship, although their mutual love for Elizabeth will always stand between them and cause them to be insecure and lash out at each other.

Time passes, and Richard goes with Charlotte (who has escaped her horrible husband-see her section below) to help with her husband’s funeral and they grow even closer. So close, that Charlotte asks him to be the father of her child when she is in a relationship with Anne de Bourgh.

This is like the worst idea ever. This is going to cause so many issues with the little family the three have made…but Richard says yes and the two are just sooo adorable together! When he tells her he respects her and it is an honor to be with her, and wants to treat her right-oh my heart!!! Having been in an abusive relationship, words cannot express how sweet that was to read. Now I want them together!

After little Ben is born. They are just so cute…but it doesn’t last-Richard hasn’t finished his ramblin’. He has more paths to take, old acquaintances to run back into, and maybe even a chance at falling in love again?

Georgiana Darcy

Georgiana is a young girl who stays and studies at home. She’s never seen anything of the world, nor ever really wanted to. She’s grown up not lonely, but has wished for more family. Especially now: with their father and cousin James dead, Richard lost in the wind, Anne sequestered on her mother’s mansion, and Darcy upset and running through the rings of grief. Georgiana wishes there was more for her to do to help, but there isn’t. She thinks about leaving for boarding school, but if she leaves her brother-who will he have? Who will she have?

A George Wickham returns to the estate and lifts Georgiana’s young heart-she begins dream, hope, and even starts digging through her mother’s belongings to take her luggage and clothes with her as she plans to run off with Wickham. Luckily she is stopped and saved, with Wickham getting sent into the military as punishment, (but not the kind of punishment I would give him.)

Is this too far?

Years go by and one day Georgiana runs into one of her brother’s furniture factory workers, Ari Penska, a Jewish Polish refugee. The two begin a friendship-she teaching him English along with falling head over heels in love with him. But is this love? Georgiana has been fooled before…should she open her heart or will this be a big mistake?

Anne de Bourgh

In this version Anne is a lesbian who falls in love with Charlotte Lucas-Collins. She grew up imprisoned in her mother’s home, controlled by her, and when she left to New York she began a new life as a painter with Charlotte.

Richard goes to stay with her and Charlotte but does cause a few problems with his drinking, roughhousing, etc. His disorderly contact gets him arrested more often than not, bringing Police Sergeant Kelly into their lives. Ann likes the man and decides she wants to paint him, the two becoming friends-with Kelly pining over her. Now, I know North wrote it a certain way but I loved how much Sergeant Kelly cared for Ann and then I wanted them together.

Things go well until Charlotte wants to have a child. Anne wants to support her but will she be able to handle Charlotte and Richard having a bond she can never be a part of?

Charlotte Lucas

Charlotte Lucas grew up with the Bennets and married their cousin. It appears the match was urged on by her parents, and it quickly became an unhappy one as he was an abusive monster.

She ends up falling for Anne de Bourgh, and after a truly horrible fight with Mr. Collins, the Bennets, Bingleys, and Darcys help her leave him. She then journeys to New York with Anne. There she starts to undue the damage from her abusive relationship-the parts with Charlotte finding herself I really enjoyed as North really nailed the emotions and feelings of coming out of an abusive relationship. Charlotte later starts working as a seamstress.

Charlotte and Richard become very close, he wanting to protect her and Charlotte enjoying the friendship of a good man who won’t hurt her.

Charlotte receives news that Leland Collins, her husband, is dead and she, Anne, and Richard head off to Florida to see for themselves. Mr. Collins was a traveling minster who would pull snakes out for his act. Usually they were milked of venom, but one was missed and he died.

Suspicious

Charlotte goes to see his “wife”, a girl really, that he used and abused. I really like the interactions between Charlotte and this woman, and I think North did a great job capturing it.

Charlotte wants to be a mother, she has always wanted to be a mother, and she asks Richard to be the father of her baby. But is that a wise decision? How will that affect the family they have created in New York?

This story was compelling, my attention was captured from page one and I wanted to finish reading it and discover what the conclusion of the book would be.

I liked that North focused on other characters that aren’t usually written about and ones that we don’t know that much about-I mean in the original Pride and Prejudice we have Colonel Fitzwilliam, Charlotte Lucas-Collins, Georgiana Darcy, and Anne de Bourgh for only a few scenes and that gives a lot of room for an author to create.

I for one, never saw Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth as lovers-I always thought of them as mutually attracted to each other but never serious. But this is North’s story and I don’t mind that she took the story in this direction as it was done well, added to the characters, and that in the end she didn’t decide to ignore Jane Austen’s work and change Darcy and Elizabeth getting together (I’m looking at you Beth Patillo).

Darcy always!

But even if you don’t agree with all the decisions that the author made, (clearly you can see I wanted the romance to go in different directions [I couldn’t help myself]) or have a different viewpoint there is much to enjoy in North’s take on a loved story.

There were some sex scenes, but they were tasteful and progressed the story line, rather than feeling like it was just sex to be sex. Like with Dangerous to Know, they don’t overwhelm the story so if you like reading them you get what you want-and if it isn’t for you you can just skip over it.

And let me say-I LOVE how the story is peppered with characters from other Jane Austen novels. While Richard is in boot camp he meets a Teo Bertram (Tom Bertram from Mansfield Park); Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility) is leading the troops in Korea, and Captain Wentworth (Persuasion) is the military doctor who operates on him. We finally have a Marvel Cinematic Universe-I think we need a Jane Austen Universe where all the characters show up in a book together (and something better than Austentatious)

One thing I also just love about North is that in her work she tends to do include multiracial romances. As being biracial and growing up with only I Love Lucy, it is great to have something to read that has that-like I can not express enough with words how it felt growing up and feeling so different and alone, with no one like you. This feeling of inbetween as you don’t belong to one or the other. North, I wish you were writing stuff like this like 15 years ago.

North is a talented writer, really knows how to craft a story, and has an incredibly command with words and phrases. I look forward to reading the first book.

For more Beau North, go to Holiday Mix Tape

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

For more Colonel Fitzwilliam, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

For more Georgiana Darcy, go to YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

For more on Charlotte Lucas, go to Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories

So I had planned to review the film version of Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe but after reading the book, I really was in a bah humbug mood, and needed something to lift my spirits.

I had Holiday Mix Tape, which I will be reviewing soon, but I was in the mood for Pride and Prejudice and Holiday Mix Tape is a modern adaption of Persuasion. Too bad no Jane Austen film adaptions don’t show more of Christmas, or I could include them in my watching a Christmas film every day.

Aw, man!

But then, I realized-I had the next best thing! The YULETIDE audiobook narrated by Harry Frost, and edited by Christina Boyd.

Christina Boyd has worked with several writers to create many different Jane Austen anthologies. The first I read was The Darcy Monologues. It contained stories from Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams. These stories were all told from Darcy’s point of view with half the book set in the Regency Era and the other half set in different time periods (from 1880s Western to modern times). I really loved it! Just like the movies, there are many different forms of Darcy, so you have your pick of Darcy-being sure to find one, two, or more to love.

After that project, Christina Boyd teamed up with Karen M. Cox: J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Katie Oliver, Sophia Ros, Joana Starnes, and Brooke West for a new book. This book is Dangerous to Know Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues, on the rogues and rakes of the Austen books-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more. This book was a lot of fun as we got a chance to see things from the bad boys point of view.

The next one was Rational Creatures, with stories by Elizabeth Adams, Nicole Clarkston, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Jessie Lewis, KaraLynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Sophia Rose, Anngela Schroeder, Joana Starnes, Brooke West, and Caitlin Williams. Each story was on a different woman of Jane Austen novels-our heroines along with supporting characters and a few bad girls.

So the book was published last November, and this year they came out with the Audiobook.

So audiobooks, I like but my problem is that the people read too slow. I get into the story and then I need to find out what happens NOW…so I usually get the book and read it, and stop listening to the audiobook. That did not happen with this one. Harry Frost is amazing! I could listen to him over and over again, and while I am writing this I am on my third go round with this book.

Or in this case Audiobook, and I could never hate it.

Harry Frost is a marvel at doing the different tones of voice and accents of the different characters. This book has Regency and Modern Darcys and even though both are done in a British accent, there is a big difference between the two.

He also does an amazing job at the female voices by giving them a higher tone, but not doing that thing most narrators do when they make the ladies talk really high pitch, you know a voice that sounds so unrealistic and annoying. Instead, he changed his tone so you knew it was a woman speaking and not in an annoying way. And with each character he made subtle changes so not all sounded the same.

I love it!

He also did a great job with the American accents, especially the one when Mr. Collins sounds like a total bonehead (many of you are thinking which one doesn’t he sound like that in everything?), and his voice was spot on what I would have imagined he sounded like.

And listening to him didn’t make me want to leave the audiobook and get the book to read. When Harry Frost narrated he wasn’t just reading it, he really put in emotion and captured the spirit of the characters and the stories that it was all together a fantastic experience. How fantastic my you ask? Well, I’m on my third listen…listen through? I don’t know what the term for it would be but every time I finish the audiobook I just start it back from the beginning.

Audiobook

So Harry Frost is amazing, now that we have talked about him it is time to talk about the stories themselves. I LOVED ALL OF THEM!

Like when I said that Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe made me lose my Christmas spirit and put me in a Scrooge mood-I’m dead serious. It is an awful book, that made me feel awful.

These stories, they were perfect! They fulfilled my need for Jane Austen Christmas!!! They filled me with Christmas joy! They were exactly what I needed to help get me in the Christmas mood after reading Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe. Listening to them brought back my Christmas spirit faster than the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

They were so enjoyable, they made me think of that song from Jack Frost:

“It’s just what I always wanted, it’s perfectly right! It’s just what I always wanted, a Christmas delight!!”

This book

So usually I save the praise after I’ve gone over each story, but I don’t know I felt like doing it first. I mean I have said I keep listening to it over and over again, so I don’t think anyone was in suspense whether I thought this was good or not. But each writer deserves their due, so we need to go through the individual stories.

The Forfeit by Caitlin Williams

So this is my favorite of all the stories. It made me laugh, it had me in suspense, it made my heart go all fuzzy in feelings.

I love it!

This is a Regency story and takes place in Christmas after Mr. Bingley came and left. Charlotte is engaged to Mr. Collins, and the Bennets are getting ready for the holidays-even though not everyone in the family is happy (Jane brokenhearted, Mrs. Bennet angry at Elizabeth, and Elizabeth upset at Darcy). Elizabeth is walking home after visiting Charlotte and runs into Mr. Darcy!

He came for some business but oh no, his carriage is stuck in the snow, a storm is coming, and he’s stuck at the Bennet’s home for Christmas. Will this be a Christmas to remember? Or the worst Christmas of their lives?

It was great, as I said already it was my favorite. The story was fantastic, the language and the writing amazing, I loved this line “their elbows bumping as frequently as their intellect…” Oh and the story-not only do we have Darcy trapped in the Bennet home, but oh-no then Wickham comes on the scene, and Elizabeth and Darcy make a bet, and they plan a Christmas scavenger hunt, and oh I loved it. I would talk about it more but I’m afraid I’ll give away the ending.

Oops! Wrong book!

For more by Caitlin Williams, go to “In Good Hands” from Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

And Evermore Be Merry by Joanna Starnes

This is also a Regency story told from the point of view of Georgiana Darcy. It has been a few years since the end of Pride and Prejudice with Georgiana having been married and visiting Pemberley for Christmas.

This is a cute story that starts in the present festivities, Pemberley filled with family again and children laughing, but then takes us back in time as Georgiana remembers the Christmas when Darcy and Elizabeth fought over who she wanted to marry. That moment that did start with fighting, was also a great lesson to Georgiana on love, marriage, forgiveness, and family.

I loved seeing the events from her point of view and it was a cute tale that showed the bonds that formed between this family.

For more by Joana Starnes, go to “Charlotte’s Comfort” from Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

The Wishing Ball by Amy D’Orazio

This is a modern Pride and Prejudice tale, set in 2014, with Mr. Darcy in New York with Georgiana. She gave him a christmas gift, a wishing ball ornament that you place a wish in when you hang it on the tree. In a Twilight Zone-esque twist the ornament has his initials on it and a wish inside-even though Georgiana didn’t get it monogrammed and it was sealed.

Spooky…

The strangeness of the evening, doesn’t end there as that night insomniac Darcy goes on facebook to kill time and sees that even though he hasn’t been on facebook since he joined everything is different! He’s married, has children, and when he looks at the most recent date it says 2018!

In a reverse Christmas Eve Darcy sees what his life could be like, but after the night ends will it be enough to change his ways, or will he continue on the path he is on?

I LOVED it, it totally appealed to my love of Twilight Zone-esque plots and kept me on the edge of my seat! What was going to happen next?!

For more by Amy D’Orazio, go to “Happiness in Marriage” from Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

By a Lady by Lona Manning

This takes place in the Regency Era, a few years after Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth and Darcy have a little boy and a baby girl, and are headed to spend Christmas with Lady Catherine.

She still doesn’t like Elizabeth, but likes the children so that’s what mended fences between them. This trip Elizabeth is on a mission as she wants to befriend Anne. She takes with her as many books as she can possibly fit in the carriage, hoping they can be a great conversation starter…hopefully?

This was such a cute story as Anne does open up about her secret hobby of writing and Elizabeth tries to help her secretly get published. But will anyone be interested in the story? Will Lady Catherine discover the truth?

So heart melting! We need more Anne stories anyway, I really liked the way many of the authors portrayed her in The Darcy Monologues and she definitely deserves more attention.

For more by Lona Maning, go to “The Art of Pleasing” from Rational Creatures: Anne Elliot, Mrs. Croft, Mrs. Clay, & Louisa Musgrove

Homespun for the Holidays by J. Marie Croft

Mr. Darcy was in America for business and is stopping by a shop called Homespun to get the jumper, sweater, that his sister wants for Christmas. He is in an extremely bad mood, made even blacker when he gets there and discovers that the sweater he asked to be held for him was purchased by someone else.

He throws a bit of a fit, I love all the English slang in this although I wasn’t always 100% sure what he was saying, but after talking to Elizabeth he calms down and apologizes. Unfortunately, to make things even worse-a giant storm stops him from being able to leave, there’s no room for him at the local inn, and he has to stay on a loft in the barn.

Yes, he joins the Bennet family for dinner and her cousins keep thinking he’s Jesus, lol (not in a sacrilegious way, but a way that kid’s make connections). This is the one that has the serious bonehead Mr. Collins, but is a story of bad first impressions and trying to set them right again. A hilarious and fun tale, I particularly love Elizabeth’s retorts, oooh Mr. Darcy…

For more by Lona Maning, go to “The Simple Things” from Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

The Season for Friendly Meetings by Anngela Schroeder

This story takes place in the Regency era and takes place in the same time as the first story-the Christmas after Mr. Bingley came and left. Mrs. Bennet is unhappy and when an opportunity comes for Jane and Elizabeth to visit York and be in the presence of eligible young men-she sends them off to stay with the Longs, Mrs. Bennet’s sister.

There the girls attend a ball and their cousins hear some not so happy things about Mr. Wickham. She also meets Colonel Fitzwilliam, who talks to her and starts to raise some serious questions about the truth of Wickham.

If that’s not enough Darcy and Bingley are headed to the same party! Whoo, it’s going to be some type of party!

This was another cute story and it brought up a lot of points that Elizabeth and we overlook in Wickham when we first meet him as we are still smarting from Darcy’s remark about being “tolerable”. I loved it! Plus Colonel Fitzwilliam as a matchmaker?

For more by Anngela Schroeder, go to “Knightley Discourses” from Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

Mistletoe Mismanagement by Elizabeth Adams

Darcy and Elizabeth have only been married a month and are having Christmas with the Fitzwilliam family. Colonel, his older brother, along with his mother and father are all attending.

Along with them we have a Miss Wheeler and two Miss Becheems. Colonel Fitzwilliam is interested in Miss Wheeler, and Elizabeth is trying to help him and her get together.

But that has to take a backseat to some other Christmas shenanigans, as Captain Watson comes interested in Colonel Fitzwilliam’s brother’s wife and they have another guest who the Earl is trying to swing with.

They don’t want that happening in their home, and the evening becomes an unhappy game of musical chairs to outwit these couples.

For more by Elizabeth Adams, go to “An Unnatural Beginning” from Rational Creatures: Anne Elliot, Mrs. Croft, Mrs. Clay, & Louisa Musgrove

I LOVED this and it is going to become a yearly tradition for me. And if that isn’t enough to get you interested, all proceeds from buying the book go to benefit Chawton Great House in Hampshire, former manor house of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight and now the Centre for the Study of Early Women’s Writing, 1600-1830.

This has been the best Christmas gift so far!

At first I was sad that I didn’t get this review out when I wanted to, but then I realized that not posting on Friday lead the next post to be on December 16th, which is none other than Jane Austen’s birthday!

Happy 244th Birthday!

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

For more Christmas posts, go to I Don’t Want a Lot for Christmas, There is Just One Thing I Need

Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MATURE

 

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues edited by Christina Boyd

So here we are with the final post, the conclusion to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues. It is always nice to finish something you start, but at the same time sad that it is ending.

Aw…

So quick review. For those of you who missed posts 1, 2, & 3Dangerous to Know is a compilation novel of the bad boys of Jane Austen-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more.

A great thing about this book is that with these men, besides Wickham, we don’t know that much about their past or who they are. Most only play a small role-but have a big impact. This allows the authors a ton of wiggle room and almost anything can happen.

As these are rakes, rogues, & villians-they aren’t the best of men. Their stories being sexy

And I just want to say thank you to Christina Boyd for including this little chart to help you:

Mature Content Guidelines:

  1. None: Possible kissing and affection.
  2. Mild: Kissing.
  3. Moderate: Some sexual references but not explicit.
  4. Mature: Some nudity and some provocative sex.
  5. Erotic: Explicit, abundance of sex.

Because not everyone is interested in books like this:

It’s nice giving us a head’s up, so those that aren’t interested know to skip or skim, or those that do-can enjoy.

Something for everyone

So first we had the none posts, which had stories on Captain Fredrick Tilney, General Tilney and John Thorpe from Northanger Abbey; along with Sir Walter Elliot from Persuasion. I loved these stories as some of these men I love to hate and it made me hate them ever more: And some men I have hated and actually began to like them:

What! It did all that? Wow!

Then came the mild posts. I was really surprised with these stories as they were on Tom Bertram from Mansfield Park and Colonel Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I had never thought of these two as rogues, mostly because they have two of the biggest, baddest Austen rogues-Henry Crawford and George Wickham. The stories were really good and sucked me in, making it very hard to stop reading.

Then came the moderate. These had stories on Frank Churchill from Emma, Mr. Elliot from Persuasion, and Mr. Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility. I really enjoyed them as each author gave us a fresh view into the characters-before they enter the Austen novels. They really fleshed those men out while making me still hate those guys.

This last one will be Mature-Some nudity and some provocative sex. So with out further ado-bring on the bad boys!

A Wicked Game by Katie Oliver

So we start off with George Wickham, Austen’s most notorious bad boy. Reams upon reams have been written about him.

 George Wickham was raised with Mr. Darcy and frittered away the money the elder Mr. Darcy left for his education; later tried to take off with Darcy’s sister; ran up debts all over town while smearing Darcy’s name; and runs of with Lydia Bennet. He’s one really bad boy.

This story begins in 1812, with Wickham fighting for the British army and is struck by the enemy. As he is injured, his life flashes before him and he finds himself wanting. He thinks back to where he all started on this profligate path:

We travel back to Derbyshire 1800. Wickham is heading to church with Mr. Darcy Sr and Jr. It is the summer before he is to start his first year at Cambridge and he is a restless young man.

Especially today as he finds church dull. (And this guy seriously thinks he is going to be a minister?) But then he spots her, a vision-Lady Clémence Harlow, widow and sister-in-law to Mrs. Fanshaw. He gets to meet the beautiful and stylish woman and is smitten.

The Fanshaws join the Darcy’s for dinner and Wickham sits across from Lady Harlow so he can spend the whole night looking at her.

While at the table-Wickham realizes how dissatisfied he is with his life. Everything is plotted and planned by Mr. Darcy Sr., he has no say. He would love anything out of this blueprint-such as the lovely Lady Harlow, which the Darcy’s can’t stand. He’s at a crossroads and leaning toward the crazy path, more than the steady one.

Which way should I choose?

That night a big storms comes up, so the Fanshaw party has to remain at Pemberley. Wickham approaches Lady Harlow for a bit of flirting and she plans to meet him later-in his room.

He waits for her to come, but she never does. At one point he thinks he hears angry voices and a door closing-but Lady Harlow never appears-except in his dreams.

The next day he is grumpy and mad at Lady Harlow for standing him up. She conspires to get them alone and apologizes, blaming it on the brandy they drank. She invites him to walk with her and they take off into he woods. They can’t stay too long and return to the house. Lady Harlow promising that they will have a chance in the future.

Wickham is grim until a ball at cousin Fitzwilliam’s house occurs. The Fanshaw family is going too, this could be his night. Mr. Darcy Sr, doesn’t like Lady Harlow and cautions Wickham against her, but he doesn’t care.

Or what I’m doing!

He finally gets a chance to dance with Lady Harlow that night and the two make plans to run off to a hotel and France together.

He makes his way out there, pretending to be traveling with a friend, but using him as a cover. His friend tries to warn him that things won’t go well-Lady Harlow is not the woman for him, but he won’t listen.

He gets in the room and the two:

But in the morning there is no Lady Harlow…just Darcy!

What?

Okay, not like that-they aren’t in bed together or anything. Wickham wakes up to Darcy in the room. Lady Harlow never intended to take him with her, she used him to get what she wanted and for Darcy to pay her off, £500.

What?

It turns out the lady is a gold digger. First she tried to seduce Darcy, when that failed to be “compromised” into marriage, and lastly use Wickham to wrangle some cash.

Wickham continued down his path, but as his life is saved in Spain he looks at life with new eyes-seeing that he should change the person he is and become better.

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

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was an interesting view into Wickham, a softer side if you will. I liked seeing Wickham made a fool of, he angers me down to my core so I took great pleasure in it. But then you realize that he pulls the same scam on Georgina, what scum.

Forget you!

Last Letter to Mansfield by Brooke West

Oh Henry Crawford, one of the biggest rakes and rogues in all of Austen’s work. He is taken charge of his sister, Mary,  when his Uncle scandalously moves the mistress into the house. He and his sister visit the Bertram family where he flirts with the engaged elder sister Maria and the younger sister, Julia. Later, he decides to bring their cousin Fanny into his web, but ends up falling for her.

That wasn’t part of the plan…

Fanny seeing that Henry is no good, sidesteps him. Later, he and married Maria take off together. He and his sister try to get him back in Fanny’s good graces, but no dice with Fanny.

I was really interested in this as I have always wondered what the heck was going through Henry’s mind? Why run off with a married woman?

October 1809

So the story starts off after all that happened. Henry is trying to write a letter to Fanny to beg her back. He’s been with Maria for months, but wishes it was Fanny. He is dying to go back, but…can’t. He tells her that he din’t want to seduce Maria, had no plans to…

We go back…

September 1809

Henry and Maria have been together for a while. Maria is angry and getting ready to leave as nothing turned out how she wished. Maria loved being in charge at Mansfield Park as the eldest woman, then as Mrs. Rushworth, but now she is a scandal and staying at an inn in the middle of nowhere. Henry keeps trying to get rid of her-but she doesn’t want to leave-she has nowhere to go.

So what happens now?
So what happens now?
Where am I going to?
[Peron:] You’ll get by, you always have before
[Mistress:] Where am I going to?
[Eva:] Don’t ask anymore -Hello and Goodbye from Evita

Maria hoped to be with the sexy, charming man rather than her simple husband and is angry that nothing has come from it. Henry blames Maria for seducing him-and causing him to lose his love.

Wow, real mature. You need to take responsibility for YOUR actions.

Henry spends as much time away from Maria but returns every night and uses her for sex-wanting to hurt her, making her cry every night.

Eventually, Maria gives up and leaves with her Aunt Norris, the only one who doesn’t hold her responsible for her sins.

Henry goes home to his sister, Mary. Poor Mary, I actually feel sorry for her. She went from the scandal of her uncle to the scandal of her brother. Unfortunately, the men will go on but what about her? She’s too sullied by them.

Five Months Earlier

Henry and Maria  met up again and they had a night of fun together. Henry hopes to walk it off, no needs to know-but Maria craves it. She hopes to run off with him and have him marry her-even going as far as to follow him when he leaves for home. She had planned to trap him, and Henry in his vanity fell right in it.

Oh no!

London 1799

18-year old Henry and his uncle are out together, his uncle deciding it is time for his nephew to become a “man”. His uncle buys him his first, Arabella- beautiful young woman. She teaches him how to make love

He loves being with her and seeks her again and again, something his uncle notices and does not care for, as women are nothing but tools to be used.

This dude

One day he goes to be with her and finds his uncle on top of her.

After that, they were all the same to him-somethig to have his needs met, nothing more. Basically the Joe of Say Anything:

Corey Flood: Hi Joe, How are you? I love you.

Joe: I love you too.

Corey Flood: You invade my soul

Joe: I want to get back together, Mimi is gonna go to college and I’m gonna be alone and I’m gonna break up with her before she leaves, have sex with me.

Until Fanny, but that’s over.

He finishes his letter to Fanny, pouring everything out into it…and then throwing it on the fire. The rakish roguish Crawford must live on.

Devilish grin must stay grinning…

Thoughts After Reading:

Like Wickham we regress into boyhood, get a very different view of the character than seen before.  Although I still didn’t feel bad for him, no one made you do it and you can’t keep blaming women, “Fanny of only you had loved me”, “Maria, if only you hadn’t seduced me.” What about what you did, punk? Hmm…

This did make me view Mary in a completely different way. Poor girl, she has the worst guardians, and she will be forever tainted by their shame. What will be come of her?

So now that we have reviewed the stories let’s talk about the other question on people’s minds: How sexy was the sexy parts?

Hmm…?

The sexy parts were pretty sexy. If that is what you enjoy, than you will definitely like it. If it isn’t something you like reading, than like I’ve said before, they don’t make up the entire story so you can skim/skip it. There is something for everyone.

So my final conclusion:

I LOVED It! I thought it was an amazing addition to any Jane Austen fan’s bookshelf. Each author was able to write a wonderful story that took the few scenes we had of each character and really flesh them out to a complete story. One thing I really enjoyed was that in doing so, each author kept true to Jane Austen’s story. True, they are creating their own tale but none of these men seemed too out of character or so radically different that it causes Jane Austen to roll over in her grave. You can tell that each story was lovingly written, in honor of Jane, but still allowed each author their own individual style. I highly recommend it. You should read it now!

Yes! If interested, here is the Amazon link

But this book did leave me with one question: Christina Boyd will you be editing a book on the bad girls of Jane Austen?

Can you see it? Lucy Steele and Mrs. Fanny Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility; Lydia Bennet and Caroline Bingley from Pride and Prejudice; Maria Bertram, Julia Bertram, and Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park; Mrs. Elton from Emma; Isabella Thorpe from Northanger Abbey; Mrs. Clay from Persuasion. Think about it…

For more reviews of Dangerous to Know, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

For more Mansfield Park, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to The Retellings Strike Back: Pride & Prejudice, cont.