The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

Reason and  Romance (The Austen Series #2) by Debra White Smith

So I have started reading this series out of order.

But it doesn’t really matter as they don’t have to be read in a the order they were published. The books are modern day versions of Jane Austen. I started with Amanda (The Austen Series #5), which set Emma in Australia and:

To read the whole review, follow this link.

So after that I wasn’t too jazzed to read this book, a modern day version of Sense and Sensibility.

But I decided to keep an open mind and hope for the best:

Well let’s find out, shall we?

So the story takes place in Ohio, as Elaina (Elinor) and Anna (Marianne) Woods (Dashwood) have just lost their father; the family business; and due to a prenuptial agreement, their home.

Elaina, the reasonable sister, has just received her Phd and will begin teaching literature at the university the next town over.

Anna, the romantic, has not gone to college and doesn’t have a job. She lives at home with their mother, dreaming of the perfect guy to come along and sweep her off her feet.

One of the students, Ted Ferrars (Edward) in Elaina’s class, causes the always reasonable Wood to become a romantic as she finds herself captivated by his personality and character.

Swoon!

He turns out to be the brother of her sister-in-law, and the complete opposite with his kind and caring nature. He is a superb pianist and dreams of leading a music ministry at a church, while his family has dreams of him becoming a superstar.

While that relationship develops, Anna also finds herself with not one, but two potential love interests. When she relocates with her mother to the home they are renting from, their cousins, she is first pursued by the older, broody, Dr. Brandon (Colonel Brandon). She isn’t too interested in him as he isn’t “a romantic hero”.

Everything changes when she heads off to her new job only to have an accident and be saved by the handsome model, Will Kenney (Mr. Willoughby).

That’s what I want

Elaina sister tries to caution her to slow down, but Anna is caught up in her emotions and will not listen to any advice, only intent on doing what her heart leads her to.

Will both girls be able to allow a little reason and romance in their lives? Or will Eliana cool reason and Anna’s hot romance keep them from forming real relationships?

So what did I think?

I thought it was horrible. A lot of things just did not work or make any sense why the author went in that direction.

So let’s count them off:

A) The Story Doesn’t Work Not Having Elaina Living at Home

So in Sense and Sensibility, Elinor lives at home in the cottage, runs the household, and is able to witness Marianne’s reactions with Willoughby and advise her. In this Elaina has her own apartment in another city and it just weakens the relationship with her sister and family. All information has to be relayed by her mother instead of Elaina being able to witness what she is speaking out against and has no real clue what is going on. It also weakens the character of Elaina/Elinor as she loses her role of caregiver, which is partially why people feel secure in sharing with her their secrets. The author should have had her stay living at home, I mean it would have been easy to explain that she was worried about her grieving mother.

B) She Makes the Mom a Pushover

In the original story of Sense and Sensibility, Mrs. Dashwood was in the throes of grief. She had lost her husband, income, home, most of her belongings, life, etc: all at the same time. When Fanny came along and started insisting this and that, she went along as she was sad, depressed, confused, numb, etc. In this she just gives in to everything because she “doesn’t like conflict”, which was not how it was in the book!!!

C) Hot for Teacher/Hot for Student

I don’t care how old they are I hate the teacher-student relationship. First of all it is against University policies as it could cause bias and because you are taking advantage of a relationship and power you have over the other. I don’t care that they “don’t really date”, as Elaine is intent on trying to form a relationship, something she should not have done or waited until he was no longer in her class.

 

D) Whatever Happened to Baby Margaret Dashwood?

So in the original novel there are three sisters, the youngest being Margaret.  Why do modern adaptations always get rid of siblings and make people only children or mess up their birth place? I mean there are whole psychologies that discuss how your place in the line of family helps form your character and personality, and I think a lot of modern adaptations mess this up when they cut out the siblings.

E) Ted Cheats on His Fiancé

So in Regency time: flirting, courting, etc. was much different. In the original novel, Edward starts to fall for Elinor, and she him, and his attention causes her to think and hope he is interested. However, he never actually does anything about his feelings or makes any overtures as he is secretly engaged. In fact, most of the being lead on is from what Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne think is happening. In this, Ted actually cheats on his fiancé, clearing stating to Eliana in his actions and words that he likes her, while being engaged. I didn’t like that at all.

F) Elinor/Elaina a major flirt

In this Smith has Elaina as a major flirt with any guy that crosses her path. This is not true to her character or “reason” minded self. It also makes everyone think that she is dating Colonel Brandon, while in the book everyone knew they weren’t together and only Edward thought she was interested in him.

G) Elaina’s Favorite Book is Sense & Sensibility

Reading the book your book is based on? That’s not clever but overdone.

H) Debra White Smith is obsessed with Pantsuits

I mean seriously that is all anyone in this series wears when they “dress” up. I mean it is a Christmas party?! Why aren’t they wearing dresses?! You seriously think that the fashion conscious Anna would wear a pantsuit over a dress? At her age? Reading the fashion magazines she reads? I don’t think so.

I) Colonel Brandon and the Anna Relationship: Together in Five Minutes

So in the original novel, Marianne is dumped by Willoughby: tries to contact him with no replies; humiliated by him; tries to visit him; is taken ill; has to fight for her life; goes into recovery; is visited by Colonel Brandon; and over the time the two spend together she falls in love with him and encourages him to try to start a relationship with her.

In this Anna is sick, healed, and in love with Colonel Brandon intent on marrying him and becoming a nurse in like five minutes. It made no sense at all and I didn’t like how Colonel Brandon tells her his feelings first instead of allowing Marianne that time to overcome her heartbreak, be open to a new relationship, and fall in love with him.

J) Why a Nurse?

I don’t care if you boyfriend/fiancé is a doctor that is no reason to become a nurse! Especially, if you are bad with everything needed to become one. They should have just had Marianne continue as an interior designer, artist. or fashion designer. .

K) She Cut Out Some of the Best Parts of the Novel

Even though Sense and Sensibility has a lot of sad themes: depression, loss, grief, homelessness, poverty, dysfunctional family, heartbreak, betrayal, etc,: it also has a ton of hilarious moments as well. Like when Edward goes to tell Elinor the truth about Lucy and Lucy is there. Or when Fanny discovers the woman she has been promoting over her “plotting” sister-in-law has in fact long plotted to marry her brother!

Hilarious, comedic moments that only Jane Austen knows how to do. And they are glossed over or barely touched it.

L) Christian Fiction but Hardly Any Christian Themes

So this book says that it is “Christian” and talks about having “faith in God”, but that faith and relationship with God is never really even in the book.I mean if you want to write a Christian retelling of Emma then write it. If you want to write a non-Christian retelling of Emma then write that. Just don’t give me this lukewarm mess that is “Christian” but only a smatter. I mean go big or not at all, there is no in between.

So yeah, I did not care for this at all or found it to be a good adaptation or a good read.

Will the rest of the series be just as bad?

Hmm…

Keep following me to find out.

For more by Debra White Smithgo to The Austen Series: Amanda

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Sense and Sensibility variations, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

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Back to the Fandoms

So yes, I’m back. I had to take a break for my Easter posts, but I’m back with my fandom posts!

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The Baby-Sitters Club

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If you were a preteen in the ’90s, chances are you were a fan of these books, TV show, or film. I was a huge fan of all three, even reading the spinoff series about Kristy’s stepsister, Karen. In these books they made middle school and baby-sitting sound so cool and fun. Reality check, it wasn’t as cool or as lucrative; but still I loved these books. I read them so much that these characters became my own friends in a way.

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The only thing I really didn’t like was the scenes of California. Clearly Ms. Ann M. Martin had never been to California, as she always wrote it in this stereotypical way. And to be honest it wasn’t just her. Every writer in the ’80s-’90s wrote about California as this sea of blonde, buff, or lean vegetarians. EXCUSE ME? Where are the Latinos, Asians, Pacific Islanders, East Indians, African-Americans, etc? ALWAYS MISSING! And seriously? We are not vegetarians and do not always eat some of the weird things that they say we do. Plus in the book where they win the lottery and all go to California; they have money to go from Anaheim all over Los Angelas, but can’t spare a few hours to go to the San Diego Zoo as it is “too far”. Excuse me? San Diego is not that far for girls visiting from the East Coast and may never go to California again? I could see them freaking out if they wanted to go to San Francisco, Napa, Tahoe or Sacramento as that could be like half a day’s drive, but really? San Diego is “too far” as California is a “big state”.

Girl Please

The other thing that bothered me was the lack of diversity. I know it’s Conneticut and they don’t have the same influx, but still. They act like Jessie is the first black girl to walk the face of the planet at times. Same for Claudia as first Asian.

The other issue I have with The Baby-Sitters Club (BSC) as an adult, those issues of before were all from when I was a kid, is how they never, ever, go to an adult about the problems they have. For instance the grief Claudia faces over the death of her grandmother, when Kristy and Claudia are being harassed by phone calls, when Jessi suspects her friend of an eating disorder (eventually she talks to someone), when homes are being burglarized, deciding to try and catch counterfeiters, etc. I just think, geez that is horrible example to set for children.

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But even with their faults, I loved this series. I used to read a book a day and owned almost the whole series. I had a hard time with the books after Dawn leaves the BSC for good, as I felt it just lost it. I didn’t care for Abby coming on to the series as I hated her character. I also disliked the Claudia left behind in seventh grade storyline, the breakup between Claudia and Stacey over a boy, Mary-Anne and Logan’s complete breakup, the fire that destroys Mary-Anne and Dawn’s house, etc.

So now to the characters:

Kristy Thomas is the creator of the club, deciding to invite her best friend Mary-Anne, along with old friend Claudia, and new girl Stacey. She is bossy, opinionated, a know-it-all, show-off, sports nut; but good friend. Her parents are divorcred, as her father left at a really young age. She has a 17-year old brother, Charlie, who’s only role in the series is as a driver; 15-year old brother Sam, prankster and Stacey’s boyfriend for a bit; and a 8-year old brother, David Michael. Her mom dates a gazilionaire, Watson Brewer, and they whole crew move into his mansion. She then gets a stepsister, Karen, who is the star of the spinoff series, and a younger brother Andrew. Her parents end up adopting an orphaned Chinese girl, Emily Michelle. Now a lot of people speculate about Kristy’s uninterst in boys as being secretly gay; but I never saw it that way. As all the girls dated and had these huge crushes, I liked how Kristy just wasn’t really interested in anyone, and when she does find a guy, who ends up moving too fast for her, she breaks it off. I liked this thread as it showed we all mature at different rates, and just because all your friends have a boyfriend, doesn’t mean you need one too.

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Next we have Claudia Kishi. She is Japanese and not very good in school, a fact that sucks as she has a genius sister. Claudia is an amazing artist and fashionable, not always wearing actual everyday wear, but rockin’ her looks.

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She is best friends with Stacey who is also very interested in fashion. Claudia, Mary Ann, and Kristy grew up across the street from each other and became good friends. Claudia matured before them, and stopped hanging out as much, but when Kristy proposed her idea, she jumped in and brought along Stacey. Claudia had a few interesting storylines. One of the ones I enjoyed a lot was when she began working with Emily Michelle, who was having issues with learning her colors, shapes, etc. Claudia feels stupid a lot of the time as she constantly compares herself to her sister, but I liked that thread as she realizes there are different types of intelligences as she may not be good with one thing, but can do well with another.

Stacey McGill was originally from New York. She was diagnosed with diabetes, which was viewed the same as the plague, causing her and her family to move to Conneticut when a job opened up. I never understood the reason why diabetes was viewed as so appalling, but I liked how they dealt with it in the series. Stacey was constantly having to take care of her diabetes and deal with the temptations and fact that she couldn’t always have exactly what she wants. She was a fashionista and quickly bonded with Claudia. In book 13, she moves back to New York; but luckily by book 26, she was brought back. She was always dating boys, having multiple boyfriends and sometimes having problems arise with them. The storyline I thought was interesting was when she starts dating Robert, star basketball player. Here she has a conflict of issues as she finds out that it is not always easy to juggle boyfriend, friends, and other commitments. Along with the fact that people don’t always meld together as well as you hope. She ends up leaving the club for her new friends, and has to come to terms that these aren’t the same people she hung out with before, and won’t view things the same way. It had a sort of PSA announcement, how the group gets in trouble and she learns that they aren’t as true, BUT, instead of having her old group take her back, she has to slowly regain their trust, making it very real.

Mary-Ann Spier was quiet, mousy, didn’t like confrontation, sweet, and a crier. She lost her mom at a young age and was raised by her father for most of her life. She is best friends with Kristy, but when the crew break up over a disagreement, she meets Dawn and becomes her best friend as well. They find out that their parents used to date and bring Mary-Ann’s dad with Dawn’s mom; ending up stepsisters. Mary-Ann is the first of the group to have a serious boyfriend, Logan Bruno. Now a lot of people hated their relationship, but I liked Logan, until the end when the writers changed him completely. He was kind, caring, and I liked the two of them together. They did have the stupidest fights though. Mary-Ann freaking out over a surprise party, fighting over a way to study, her not wanting to go out but stay home and read, etc. Now the storyline I liked the most was the one where Mary-Ann gets a new look. What’s stupid is that everyone is upset she didn’t consult them, or whatever; but I liked how the meek little Mary-Ann took such a big risk showing that people can change.

Dawn Schafer grew up in Anaheim, CA; the home of Disneyland. She has a younger brother, Jeff, and all seemed well until she was twelve and her parents divorced. They moved all the way to Conneticut, where her mom was originally from. The family are all blonde, vegetarians, and don’t eat processed food or sugar; trying to say that is how all Californians are (wrong! Ghirardelli Square anyone? Or the Jelly Belly Factory?) Anyway, as mentioned above, her mom and Mary-Ann’s father get together, moving into their house and making the two friends stepsisters. Dawn is also eco-friendly and very opionated and sure of herself. Because of her always spouting I am rock solid in my beliefs, I liked the Dawn and the Older Boy and Dawn’s Big Date. In the first book she meets an older guy who turns her into his project, trying to meld her into what he thinks is better. Dawn, having a big crush on him, starts changing her ways. She does the same thing in Dawn’s Big Date, when Logan’s cousin and Dawn’s pen pal, Lewis, is coming to visit. She feels unglamorous and starts decking out in Hot Topic-like fashion. I liked these two stories as I thought they aptly showed how you can think you know yourself and that you are unchangeable, but in reality can still be susceptible to insecurities. After leaving in Conneticut for a while, she misses California too much and spends half her time in CT with the other half in CA. After a little of this, she moves home to CA for good. I missed her from the series, as after that shift it was never the same again. She received her own spinoff series, The California Diaries, which was supposed to be gritty but was often very soap opera-y.

Mallory Pike is brought in when Stacey leaves. She is the eldest of 8 kids, and unlike the other members, eleven years old. What she lacks in years, she makes up in experience. She was a pretty boring character as her only traits was that she liked reading and wanted to be a writer, and hated having such a large family. The storyline I liked with her was the one when she baby-sits the Arnold twins, making a ton of money for a mall trip. I liked this story because it gave her depth (for once) and also the shopping trip at the mall made her seem as one of the group instead of a young hanger-on.

Jessi Ramsey was brought on with Mallory. In book 14, when Mallory is being tested, she meets and befriends Jessi. I liked Jessi more than Mallory as she had a bit more depth. The only thing I didn’t like was the way everyone acted about her being black. They made it seem like she was the only black person in the area, like they had never seen one before. Now I can buy they are a mostly white population at that school, but don’t they watch TV? Movies? It felt like the “Dual Spires” Psych episode.

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She was a ballet dancer, and unlike Mallory actually had words of wisdom instead of complaining. My favorite storyline of hers was when she was chosen to be Sleeping Beauty in Sleeping Beauty ballet. That was a good mystery and brought us into the Black Swan (less dark though) underside of ballet.

Besides these books I watched the show, of course.

And I loved the people chosen for the characters. I thought they were perfect and way better than the movie.

I also read The California Diaries which were supposed to be more adult and have an edge. These were okay, although there were some things I really didn’t like. First, Dawn becomes a major tool and no longer someone you want in the series. I did like the Sunny parts, her mom gets diagnosed with Cancer and how she acts when dealing with all the changes was extremely realistic. I loved the Maggie storylines, as she battles insecurities, anorexia, cutting, etc. It was a little strange how she went from the before free spirit, rebel to the type-A perfectionist, though. They add in Ducky, who I could never figure out if he was gay or just metro. The big thing that bothered me was that these 13-year olds were all dating high schoolers. Didn’t their parents think that was a bad idea? I mean why would a 16-18 year old want to date a 13 year old unless they only wanted one thing? Come on girls, stop being stupid. On a whole it wasn’t bad, often their drive to “make it real” just made these depressing situations.

So The Baby-Sitters Club wasn’t perfect, but when I was a kid it was the thing I wanted to read all the time.

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The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales

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I am a huge fan of fairy tales, especially the Brothers Grimm.

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The amazing stories in this are just so much fun and full of adventure.

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I used to read this all the time to escape life and live within these incredible tales.
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I bought the complete set one year and read the tales over and over again.

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There are so many amazing tales, that asking me to pick my favorite would be impossible. I have written on them in the past, and there  will be plenty more to come.

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For more on The Brothers Grimm, go to If the Shoe Fits: Why Cinderella is Actually Awesome

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Captain Planet

I loved this show so much as a kid. Captain Planet was awesome, with his team of teenagers. For those of you who weren’t watching TV in the ’90s, this show was about Gaia, “Mother Earth”, choosing five teenagers from all over the world to help fight pollution. There was Kwame from Africa with the power of Earth, Gi from Asia with the power of water, Linka from Russia with the power of Wind, Wheeler from New York with the power or fire, and Ma-Ti from South America with the power of Heart. When all combined their powers they brought forth Captain Planet.

My favorite character was Wheeler as I loved his red hair and fiery attitude.

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I also liked that he didn’t always agree with everything they were spouting. Like when they said you should only have one kid, he said I don’t think there is anything wrong with having big families. Besides that he was such a fun character as he was always out of the box and doing the unexpected.

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The Nanny

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Ah, The Nanny. This was a hilarious show that I loved to watch as much as I could. It was actually based a lot on Fran Drescher’s life. Fran Fine is a Jewish girl from Queens, NY. She works in a bridal shop, until her fiancé dumps her for some bimbo and kicks her out of the job. She becomes an Avon Lady, and accidentally applies for the job as nanny for widower, millionaire, British, broadway producer, Maxwell Sheffield. He has three children: Maggie, who is the eldest and completely insecure; Brighton, a prankster who hates all nannys; and Grace, neurotic and precocious. She is hired and finds herself the spice this family needs.

Yep, her unconventional ways, awesome clothing, big hair, and Yiddish are hilarious, endearing, and all around fun. Plus she has the best logic for getting around diets.

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Also in the home is the British, sarcastic, bulter (sorry Fresh Prince of Bel Air, they had him first). He and Fran become best buddies, and he is an all-time favorite character of mine as he has the best one liners.

There is also Ms. C.C. Babcock that has a HUGE crush on Maxwell, even before he was a widower.

And of course Fran’s mother,

I love this show. Why did it have to end?

For more on The Nanny, go to Pizza Power

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NCIS

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My friend Diana from high school loved this show. She was always going on about it and telling me how awesome it is. After being pushed by her constantly, I decided to give it a look and of course fell in love with it.

The show is similar to the other crime shows that I am a fan of, but this time it covers the military. When crimes occur involving any branch of the military they call in their police force, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The team is lead by Leroy Jethro “Gibbs” Gibbs, (Mark Harmon). The rest of his team is the funny, alternative, unique, and awesome Abby Scuito the forensic specialist and Timothy McGee is the tech wizard. They had Caitlin Todd, an awesome character, but she was killed and they then brought in Israeli Masaidd agent, Ziva David that I absolutely hated.

But my all time favorite character was Anthony Dinozzo. The Italian, handsome, funny, and sarcastic agent.

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The main reason I loved him was he was a huge movie buff that was always quoting things, just like me. And no one ever knows what he’s talking about, just like me.

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For the previous post, go to I’m So FANcy!

Stay tuned for part 12

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For more Back to the Future, go to Where Were Going, We Don’t Need Roads

For more quotes, go to Let It Go

Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

There is no sin in killing a beast, only in killing a man. But where does one begin and the other end?

So this year I decided to do something very, very different. Now the in the past, all Horrorfests have ended on a film that takes place on Halloween. This wasn’t a credence that I set out to make, it just kind of happened along the way. With Horrorfest I had always planned on ending on Halloween (1978)I knew it was the best way to end the first year with a big bang. Besides, that year I had done the other slasher films that spanned numerous sequels and remakes (Friday the 13th Nightmare on Elm Street). Horrorfest II I was trying to also end on a really great film that would produce the same kind of bang, and decided on Children of the Corn as that film was creepy. It also happened to take place on Halloween.

This year I was trying to decide what would be the best opener and closer. I was originally going to open with Metropolis as I had done a post in July referencing it. But after I wrote that post, it just didn’t speak to me as an opener. I started going through my drafts and that’s when I spotted The Wolf Man (1941)The Wolf Man has to be my favorite of the classic horror film monsters (along with The Phantom of the Opera). I hadn’t had a chance to review it yet, and since it was the last of the classics I decided it should be the opener.

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Once I wrote that post, I was so excited. You see, I felt I really couldn’t to a post on any werewolf films until I had covered the first one. I thought it was only right to start with the original. With that done, I could move onto any other werewolf film I desired. The possibilities were endless.

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With the beginning finished, I then set my sights on the end. What could I do that would really pop? As I started thinking and looking, I saw my draft for The Wolfman (2010). And that’s when it hit me.

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I could end Horrorfest III with The Wolfman (2010). It could be like bookends!!!! In the beginning the original that started it all  and the end the newest rendition. !!! Yes!! It could work and it will. So here we are The Wolfman (2010).

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So a little backstory before we begin the review. As you would have read in an older post, I love The Wolf Man (1941). It is one of my all-time favorite horror films. One day in my photography class, we were watching trailers of different films as we were looking at the cinematography and technique. My teacher was on a Mac which has Front Row, and shows you trailers of the past, present, and future films. One trailer I remember looking at was Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). I wasn’t planning on seeing it, as I hadn’t seen the original. But as we reached the end, I saw The Wolfman.

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I screamed ay my teacher, stop!! I want to see that. So we watched the trailer.

AWESOME!!! RIGHT!!! So I knew there were going to be changes, I knew it was going to be nowhere near as good as the original, but I was soooo pumped!! So I watched the trailer in February 2009, and saw the film was slated for that October. I couldn’t wait!!!

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I ticked off the months, but then in October I discovered it wasn’t out in theaters.

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Yep, there had been some production problems, so they pushed it back to February. FEBRUARY!!! V-Day weekend. I was upset, but what could I do? I just had to wait it out.

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But then February came and I decided that it would be my V-day present to myself. You see I have never had a boyfriend or date for V-day, so I always just buy myself whatever I want. It’s actually pretty nice as you don’t have to fight with anyone over where to go or what to see; and you are never, ever, ever, disappointed.

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I asked a couple of friends who were also single and we bought tickets for opening night. I knew that I wouldn’t be 100% pleased, but I was looking forward to those improved transformation scenes.

So moving on to the review.

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So let’s go back in time. The year is 1891 and we are in England. Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) is the second son of Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins). He and his dad had a lot of issues and problems so he left as soon as he could. Since then he has been a renowned Shakespearean actor, famous throughout all England for his Hamlet and Macbeth.

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He recieves a letter from a Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt). She was engaged to his older brother Ben, but he has been murdered. Not only was he murdered, but horribly mangled by something. When Lawrence gets the news, he immediately returns home for the funeral.

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When he gets there he sees his father and the two have a harsh welcome. Unlike The Wolf Man (1941), where father and son were trying to work on repairing their relationship, Sir John doesn’t care. He still has huge issues with his son not being what he wants him to be. The way that Sir John treats him, causes Lawrence to want to leave, and go far away…but he can’t. He has to properly say good-bye to his brother.

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Lawerence does try to get away from his father as he knows staying near him will just cause more fights. He also really wants to see his brother. So he heads down to the local slaughterhouse where the body is kept before burial.

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I know but you have to remember this is a small village in 19th century England. They didn’t have a mortuary to hold the body until burial. They also didn’t understand how diseases spread and that it is not a good idea to have a dead body near your food.

There at the slaughterhouse, the butcher gives Laurence his brother’s items, that is everything found on him at the time of his death.

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Later that night he heads over to the local pub for a drink and overhears the gossip on the murder. Most of the villagers blame a band of gypsies. Not long after they moved into the area, Ben was murdered. In fact, someone remembers a case occuring years earlier of gypsies moving into the area and dead bodies surfacing. As they discuss this, Laurence remembers that Ben had had a gypsy medallion on him.

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This is the first time that Laurence has ever met his brother’s fiance Gwen. Now for you Wolf Man fans, you should recognize that it is the same name given to Laurence’s love interest in the original film. Except in that film she was to marry the hunter/groundsman of the Talbot estates. Anyways, Laurence meets her and can instantly see why his brother fell for her, as he himself is attracted to her.

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Of course Lawrence is the most amazing, gentleman/good guy that he would never ever think of putting the moves on her. He does thank her for trying to be there for his father and for everything. He also let’s her know that if she ever needs him, he’ll be there for him.

Gwen is also attracted to him, and you really can’t blame her. If Benecio is in his early 40s, that means her husband to-be was hecka old. Also Benecio/Lawrence has this adorable hurt puppy dog look that makes you just want to show him he is special, and that you care for him. He looks so sad that it makes you just want to take him, and take care of him. Making sure is life is bright and never unhappy again. That look is killer on any girl as it flies through their best defenses. Major chink in the armor.

swoon dreamy

Sorry, digressing….So with Lawrence back, and the funeral over, Gwen decides to return to London. Laurence would like to leave too, but wth his brother’s death, he now is sole heir to the estate and the first son. When his father dies he will become Sir Lawrence and be expected to uphold all those duties (House of Lords most likely). This isn’t the life that Laurence wants, but at this moment he is too loaded with grief and confusion over his brother’s death that he doesn’t question or try to rebel.

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So with Gwen gone, and his father an emotionless robot who only cares about himself; Lawrence takes it upon himself to try and figure out what happened to his loving brother. Now Lawrence is putting on the black cowl and trying to become a vigilante or anything, he just wants some closure about his brother’s death. He heads down to the gypsy camp to try to get some answers.

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Where were you the night in question?

That night is a full moon

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Which as you’ve guessed it means trouble is going to be roaming about. Lawrence meets up with the gypsy woman Maleva, who tells him that something truly evil has attacked his brother.

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But before he can get anything more, the townspeople attack the village. They try to drive the gypsies from the area, and kill a dancing bear they believe to be the beast that killed Ben Talbot.

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Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

As they are attacking, a superhuman, wolfish creature descends upon the area and starts slaughtering people.

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And I’m not talking about just a few people, this is like a Scream sequel. The body count by the end of this film is in the double digits.

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Hey, my generation is the Millennials. They aren’t as classy, they need lots more blood and guts.

Anyways, the werewolf is attacking everyone, and Lawrence spots a young boy running into the woods. At the same time the werewolf spots the boy, causing Lawrence to put himself in the way in order to protect the child. As he does so, the wolf attacks him.

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And he gets bitten.

dun-dun-duuuun

Malvea find him and cares for him, despite the community telling her that it is better for all if they let him die. But Malvea can’t, she says he still is a man and deserves to be treated as such. She also states that only a loved one can kill him.

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Malvea honey, I don’t think so. Anyone can kill a werewolf as long as they have some kind of silver object. Nowhere is that in the original film, as if you read my post you would know that film revolutionized werewolf mythology. Click here to check it out now.

And besides that, is there nothing you can do for him? You are a cinematic gypsy in a horror film! You’re supposed to have a potion or herb or special thing that can protect you from turning. Now if you have read my DraculaThe Mummy, The Wolf Man, or Scream 2 posts, you know I make fun of the films when the guy is given a special charm to protect him but then stupidly turns it over to the girl he loves, EVEN THOUGH IT WILL NOT WORK FOR HER.

Every time!

Every time!

But I really enjoy that part of the film, as it humanizes the character and makes you adore them. I mean its sweet how much they love the girl in their life that if there is anything that can do to ward of the monster, they prefer them to have it. Even though by doing so they make things worse, hey it’s the thought that counts.

Frozen Sacrifice self love you sisters

I also hate how gypsies have been giving “B” standing in modern horror films. I mean without their supreme wisdom and knowledge in the supernatural, they are just nomadic people. In real life they are still awesome, in a  horror film? That’s just boring.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

But I guess that’s just they way it is these days.

Sadface Batman

So where was I? Oh yeah, Lawrence has been bitten by the werewolf. He is moved back to Talbot Manor, and Gwen returns from London to nurse him back to health. While recovering he has really strange dreams. Lots of blood, murder, and even his mother appears. You see his mother died when he was very, very young and her death severely traumatized her as he discovered her dead body. But why would that death be haunting him now? Is it because of Ben? The slaughtered people seen in the gypsy camp? Or is it something else?

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Lawrence actually heals pretty quickly, which he finds kind of odd. And that’s not the only thing that’s odd in the Talbot homestead. One day his father’s manservant, Singh (Art Malik), shows him a case of silver bullets and hints that something monstrous is walking through the woods.

Weird

Weird

He’s not the only one concerned. Inspector Abberline (Hugo Weaving) comes to town. Yes, yes I’m going to admit it. Any film with Hugo Weaving gets an 10x increase in awesome. I mean this guy is truly one of the most talented actors alive. When he ecomes a role you totally forget that he is Hugo Weaving and just think of him as that character. For me I’m always going, Hugo Weaving was in that film? Oh that’s who was that amazing character. I totally forgot that character was being played by an actor. I mean he is that  good. You have Agent Smith in The Matrix, Elrond in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, V in V for Vendetta, the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, and that’s just to name a few.

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Anyways, Inspector Abberline comes to town to investigate. He already believes he knows who the killer is…Lawrence.

Yeah I don't understand it either

Seriously? Lawrence? A Murderer? Come on, this guy wouldn’t hurt a fly. I mean look at him, really look at him. There isn’t a murderous bone in his body! Besides, he just arrived in town so there is no way he could have murdered his brother. Dude, you’re dumb.

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But it isn’t completely ungrounded. You see, Lawrence has a history of “mental problems.” You see, I didn’t want to give you the full story so early, but Lawrence’s mother’s death really did a number on him. Now today, we would really try to help the child as we understand such events as those are highly traumatic and can cause serious issues. Then not so much. Lawrence discovered the body and was very upset. He was afraid and kept mentioning a monster had hurt her. Instead of trying to help his kid, Sir John sent him to an insane asylum, where he was tortured. And I mean torture. Many methods to improve these patients were electrotherapy, iron cuffs/collars, bloodletting, dipping the patient in hot or ice-cold water, and a gyrating chair “to shake up the blood and tissues of the body to restore equilibrium”. By the 1900s, many hospitals had added lobotomies to their lists of “cures”.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah not fun. So Aberline thinks he is the perfect suspect. Laurence though, is having none of that.

Lawrence Talbot: I get your implication, and resent it. You’re clearly aware of my personal history, as I believe I’m aware of yours. Weren’t you in charge of the ripper case a couple of years back?

Det. Aberline: You’re a direct man. So I’ll be equally direct with you. I am not your enemy, Mr. Talbot. You’ve been seen as Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard III, all with that same face. A prudent man would ask who else might be living inside that head of yours?

Laurence doesn’t quite know what is going on and asks Gwen to leave as he’s worried something might happen to her. That night he follows his father, and watches him go down to the family crypt, to the area where his dead mother resides. There he finds a chair with restranints. His father locks the door and stays in the crypt, leaving a confused Laurence.

Weird

Weird

As Laurence turns to go inside, he becomes…The Wolfman!

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Now this was worth the price of admission. These transformation scenes are awesome!!!

Freakin’ sweet!

So now that he is a wolfman, he does what they all do. Ravage the countryside.

Film Title: The Wolfman Claw

The next day the Inspector comes for him and has him arrested to be sent back to the “mental hospital”

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

How horrible is that. I mean this has to be Laurence’s biggest fear, to be sent back to that horrible place. Poor guy. And I was doing some research last night, not only were insane asylums awful, but the one he has to go to, Bedlam, was one of the worst.

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Dr. Hoennegar, the leading physician, takes Laurence under his wing and subjects him to ice treatments, that is to be consistently dunked into ice water and left there for long periods of time.

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Can you imagine?

And oh joy, he also gets electroshock therapy.

Stupid, stupid

While he is incarcerated, Sir John comes to visit and tells him a story. You see Sir John is the cause of all this.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Back in the day when he was younger and hunting in India, he heard this rumor about an unusual predator. He travels to the remote cave that the predator calls his home and while there was bit by a feral boy and became a victim of lycanthropy.

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Except, it was more than “imagining” he actually became a werewolf and began attacking things.

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That’s when Laurence realizes everything about his mother’s death makes total sense. He did see a beast kill her, but it was his father! His father killed his mother and then sent him to a mental institution!!! What a truly, truly evil man to allow his son to be tortured. And now for a second time!!!

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Now this was my biggest issue with the film. Every other part of the movie was actually pretty great. It was an amazing homage to the orginal film. Benecio del Toro was actually a huge fan of the original and tried to bring a lot of Lon Chaney Jr. into his acting. But the thing I absolutely hate was the changed relationship with his father.

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It just didn’t work in my opinion. I mean that is what truly made the original fantastic, was that everything in his life was going great, he was a great man; and this tragedy strikes that ruins everything. He and his father were finally, finally becoming close and working out all their issues. He had met a nice girl, even though she was engaged, and had hope for that relationship. He loved England and was getting back into the groove of it. But then this horrible thing happens and he has to say good-bye to it all. He knows he is going to die, but what does he do? He goes to his dad and makes sure that he has something to protect him. Because even though he has spent years hating and being angry at his father, he truly loves him. It’s just so wonderful and sad all at the same time

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But having the dad the evil guy, I don’t know…it just makes the film feel as if it is missing a huge part of it. It doesn’t hit in the heart like the orginal.

But moving on, so his father murdered his mother and then sent the only witness to a torture chamber (mental hospital) to ensure that those memoris would never come to light as they are only crazy “child fantasies”.

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Since then, Sir John has had his manservant Singh has been locking him up so he doesn’t wreck havoc anymore. However, Ben was planning to leave with Gwen once they were married and this enraged Sir John. He wasn’t locked up that night and killed him to keep him from going away. He became so incensed with the power that he ran wild later, killing all in the gypsies camp and biting Laurence purposely.

Omg what a–

wordICan't say Toy Story

He did it on purpose because he wanted a fall guy. He wants to roam free as a werewolf and he allows his son to be caught and tortured. Argh!!! Urhg! this man! I;m so angry I can’t spell right. He needs a good sock in the face.

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After he finishes his story he leaves, intent on never returning.

Jerk

He deserves another punch.

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That night Laurence is taken to the observation room, where the good doctor presents him as a curio to his collegues. Unbeknowest to him, moonlight is coming through the window and landing on Laurence. This causes him to turn into….the Wolfman!

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This is one of the coolest scenes, but unfortunately I could only find it in Italian. Sorry! But you don’t really need to understand what they are saying to enjoy the effects/makeup.

Dr. Hoenneger: Ah, Mr. Talbot. We are here tonight to illustrate conclusively that Mr. Talbot’s fears are quite irrational. So, we will remain in this room together, and once Mr. Talbot has witnessed that the full moon holds no sway over him, that he remains a perfectly ordinary human being, he will have taken his first small step down the long road to mental recovery. We are all aware that Mr. Talbot has suffered quite traumatic personal experiences. He witnessed his mother’s self mutilations. His young mind, unable to accept it, created a fantastical truth, that his father is to blame. That is father is literally a monster. But, your father is not a werewolf. You were not bitten by a werewolf. You will not become a werewolf, any more than I will sprout wings and fly out of that window.

Freakin’ AWESOME

Totally fangirl over that.

Laurence runs away, being chased by the Inspector, and also wreaking havoc. There are some truly amazing shots of him by the bridge, on statues. Just plain awesome!

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The next day he visits Gwen in her antique shop. They realize they have fallen in love, but Laurence knows nothing can come of it. He has to kill his father and himself in order to protect others.

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Inspector Abberline comes to see if Lawrence is there, but he is too late. Lawrence has already left for Talbot estate.

Gwen refuses to believe that they can’t be together. She starts studying lycanthropy and tracks down Maleva the gypsy for more advice. Maleva cannot help her, as there is no cure for werewolf.

Noo!

Noo!

Meanwhile, the Inspector has also headed back to the village and this time armed with silver bullets. That show in the Observation room must have finally convinced him that werewolves are real. Gwen also heads toward Talbot Hall.

Lawrence is the first to arrive and discovers a murdered Singh. He takes his gun loaded with the silver bullets and starts hunting his father.

Sir John Talbot: You have me at a disadvantage. It makes me happy.

Lawrence Talbot: What does?

Sir John Talbot: Well, seeing you here like this. My son returned. It is glorious, isn’t it?

Lawrence Talbot: No, it’s hell.

Sir John is a freak. He needs help. Serious help.

Anyways, it turns out there are no bullets in Singh’s gun, but blanks. Sir John did that on purpose as he will not be destroyed. Sir John attacks his son and the two begin fighting. The full moon comes up and transfroms them into werewolves. And yes, yes we have a werewolf fight. I personally thought it was a little cheesy (and dumb) but this is the millenal generation. And it is something the people want.

So after Laurence burns and decapiitates his father, Gwen walks into the house.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GWEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The wolfman, Lawrence, attacks her. Luckily, the inspector had also just arrived on the scene. He tries to use his gun, but misses allowing him to be bit by the werewolf. Gwen steals the gun and takes off, being pursued by the wolfman.

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He chases her to a waterfall. With nowhere left to go, Gwen starts begging and pleading with the wolfman, hoping to get to Lawrence. Lawrence reason faintly returns to the beast, who hesitates. He then hears the sound of a posse coming to attack him.

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Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

While he is concentrated on them, Gwen shoots him through the heart.

Noo!

Noo!

Laurence changes back to his human form, and before he dies thanks Gwen for saving him.

Lawrence Talbot: [his eyes open after being shot by a silver bullet and transforming back into a human] Gwen?

Gwen Conliffe: [crying] I’m sorry…

Lawrence Talbot: It had to be this way.

Gwen Conliffe: I’m sorry.

Lawrence Talbot: [he holds her hand] Thank you. [Dies]

aw cry

The posse and an injured inspector arrive just as Laurence dies.

So that is The Wolfman. Now do I think it is as good as the original? HECK NO! But that does not mean it isn’t an awesome film. Besides that one thing that majorly irks me, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a pretty awesome film. The cinematography is beautiful, the acting incredible, and those transformation scenes? Freakin’ awesome! And I did like how they moved the story to show how harshly “mental disabled” people were treated. And you know what? Most of the people who were in those didn’tr even have serious problems. They would throw in the homeless, those with learning disabilities, women of large fortune who had husands that wanted the money but not the girl, etc. It was horrible. Horrible.

But back to the film, I think it is a worthwile view. It may not be exactly how I imagined it, but you do have some great werewolves in this, and no Jacob ones. Real werewolves.

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And so ends another Horrorfest. I am so pleased with this years as I was able to redeem myself from last year’s only half the month’s posts. 31 days of terror and woe once again. I hope you all enjoyed it. I wish you all a very happy, and safe, Halloween. May it be everything you wish it to be.

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

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

For the previous post, go to The Perfect Murder

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For more on werewolves, go to Werewolves Roam Among Us

For more monster movies, go to There’s Nothing Out There. Nothing in the Mist

For more on 19th century England, go to The Past of a Man

For more on insane asylum, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more remakes, go to Don’t F*** With the Original

Let’s Hear it For the Boys

So since today is Veteran’s Day I was going to do a post about 11 of my favorite war movies. However since it has been a while since my last Austenite post (not counting the Halloween one), I thought it would be better to do a list of my favorite Austen military men. As Deniece Willams’ put it so well. “Let’s hear it for the boys!“.

So here we go.

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9) Colonel Fitzwilliam

Colonel Fitzwilliam is from Pride and Prejudice and is the cousin of Mr. Darcy. He doesn’t feature too much in the story as he is supposed to be at first seen as a “character foil” for Mr. Darcy (but turns out to not be as we later realize we have misjudged Darcy) along with furthering the plot (such as revealing there is more to Darcy’s character, that Darcy broke up Bingley and Jane, etc.).

He is a very nice and funny man. He is in the military as he is the second son, and therefore forced to work as he will not inherit. But even though he makes it clear to Elizabeth that nothing will happen (as she isn’t rich enough) he still treats her like a person and is great fun for Elizabeth to hang out with.

Col. Fitzwilliam now seated himself by Elizabeth, and talked so agreeably of Kent and Hertfordshire, of traveling and staying at home, of new books and music, that Elizabeth had never been half so well entertained in that room before; and they conversed with so much spirit and flow…”

And to be honest, that’s all most people really want.

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8) Captain Harville

Captain Harville is from Persuasion and is a friend and fellow soldier of Captain Wentworth. He is a kind man who was wounded and retired from the military. He has a home in Lyme where everyone comes to visit and where Louisa gets injured at.

He is such a sweet and unassuming man. He opens him home up for everyone, and when Louisa gets hurt, allows her to stay there as long as she wants to until she is recovered. He is a great friend to Fredrick Wentworth and helps him realize how much he is in love with Anne.

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7) Sir John Middleton 

Sir John is from Sense and Sensibility and while some find him annoying I think he is a really nice guy. He can be a bit intrusive and a gossip, involving himself in other’s affairs (primarily Colonel Brandon’s love life), but he has a kind and gentle heart.

When the Dashwood’s are kicked out of their home, he lets them his cottage for a price far under what it is worth. Not only does he do that, but he invites them over to his house daily, supplying them with food and comfort far beyond their current ability.

He is fiercely loyal and caring for his friends; standing by Colonel Brandon even when others say things about his rash behavior of breaking up their planned outing. He even forgives Willoughby after the whole Marianne issue.

For more on Sir John Middleton, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

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6) Admiral Croft

Admiral Croft is also from Persuasion and is married to Captain Fredrick Wentworth’s sister. He is the perfect naval gentleman; kindly, genial, and good-looking (according to the Anne’s shallow and appearance obsessed father). He and his wife are so adorable, as they are also so clearly in love and can’t bear to be separated from each other for long periods of time. Anne considers them the happiest married couple she has ever met, and a role model for what she hopes to have one day.

I love how he gets rid of all of Sir Walter’s mirrors. I agree with him that Sir Walter was extremely excessive in that.

“I have done very little [changes] besides sending away some of the large looking-glasses from my dressing-room, which was your father’s…Such a number of looking-glasses! oh Lord! there was no getting away from one’s self. So I got Sophy to lend me a hand, and we soon shifted their quarters; and now I am quite snug, with my little shaving glass in one corner, and another great thing that I never go near.”

He is also very sweet. He and his wife care for Anne, giving her rides and taking her in to be part of their family. When Sir Walter snubs them in Bath, they take it with good humor and continue on their way.

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5) Colonel Campbell

We never get to see Colonel Campbell, but we get to hear all about him. He is from Emma, and the man who took care of Jane after her parents died. He was an old family friend and when Jane was reduced to the Bates’ poor circumstances he took Jane into his family and cared for her.

It was so nice of Colonel Campbell to do that for Jane. He could have just ignored her, but instead brought her into his family! Although he couldn’t provide her the same kind of future as his own child, what he gave her was much better than what she would have had without him. Through this she met the awful Frank Churchill, (more later on why I don’t like him), and had a “happy” future (Austen makes it seemingly happy but I don’t think one could be happy being married to Frank).

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4) Captain Benwick

Captain Benwick is also from Persuasion, (most of these military men are as Persuasion is a miltary filled novel).

Captain Benwick is such an adorable man. He is so kind but has such a sad story. He was in love with Captain Harville’s sister, but when she died, he stopped living his life, depressed and heartbroken over her loss. He’s so cute and romantic.

In the novel he makes a real connection with Anne, both understanding each other through their similar pain of losing the one they love. Benwick loves poetry, mostly melancholy ones, and Anne’s helps him out of his funk by discussing lighter and better ones. Without her he would never have had the courage to love another, Louisa Musgrove, or ask her hand.

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3) Lieutenant William Price

William Price is from the book Mansfield Park, and is Fanny’s older brother. He is the only one who remains in contact with her when she moves away, and is the epitome of the kind, caring, older brother.

“His last thought on leaving home was for her. He stepped back again to the door to say, ‘Take care of Fanny, mother. She is tender, and not used to rough it like the rest of us. I charge you, take care of Fanny.”

He shares a lot of sinilar traits as Edmund, although he doesn’t act as dumb as him. (More on this later). To Fanny, those two men are the most important people in her life.

William is honest and hard-working, which unfortunately not too helpful in moving up the ranks in the military, in times of peace. At this time in history, to get a good position in peace times, was only by having purchased a commission or position. He doesn’t get a big break until Henry Crawford pulls some strings, trying to get on Fanny’s good side.

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 2) Captain Fredrick Wentworth

Captain Fredrick Wentworth is the romantic hero of Persuasion. He is adorable and wonderful, I just adore him. After Anne breaks his heart, he goes off bravely combating anything in war. While he puts on a tough exterior, he is still in agony over losing Anne. At first he is a tad mean to her, mostly being cold or ignoring her presence; but this is perfectly understandable as he has spent years in pain over her; never realizing that she has been feeling the exact same way. He thought she didn’t want to be with him because he was poor and of a lower class.

He flirts with other girls to make her jealous, but realizes that he was crazy to do so as he could never imagine himself with any one but Anne. He thinks that he has lost her, but her conversation with Harville about women loving longer than men convinces him otherwise  and encourages him to write one of the best Austen letters. More on him later, as he deserves his own post like Knightly.

For more on Captain Frederick Wentworth, go to A Fredrick Wentworth Sighting 

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1) Colonel Brandon

 Colonel Brandon is one of the best Austen heroes. He’s from Sense and Sensibility and has such a sad story, but still remains kindly and good-hearted.

When he was younger he fell in love with a girl, but his father broke them up. He went on to India, but she went down an awful life as she feel in love with a man and was left alone pregnant. She died young, and Brandon took care of her child, raising it as his own.

He fell in love with Marianne, not caring that she had no fortune, but instead loving her mind and spirit. He is rich and of high social standing, but doesn’t allow those customs dictate the ways of his heart. He continues loving her and caring for her; even though all she thinks of him is an “old man”. He never gives up and does all he can to help her. When she is injured and caught in the rain the second time, he carries her to safety and travels a great distance to bring her mother to her.

He is kind, generous, and one of the most amazing Austen men; my top military man. He will be getting his own post too, eventually.

For more on Colonel Brandon, go to It’s All Jane Austen’s Fault

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I just want to end this post with my most heartfelt thanks to to all who have served our country and for those currently serving. Thank you so much for everything you have done and for all the sacrifices you have made. I am so happy to live in a country that gives honor to those who deserve it for all that they do. Happy Veteran’s Day! 

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For the previous holiday post go to Horrorfest

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men

For another Persuasion post, go to A Letter of Love

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas

For another Emma related post, go to I’m No Warrior, I’m an Assistant Pig-Keeper

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines