So yesterday I found out that one of my best friends passed away. She was an amazing person who was kind, caring, brave, and lived life to the fullest. She packed so much into her 27 and touched so many people. She lit up a room with her laughter and personality.
I’m sharing this not to try and get responses out of you or fishing for anything, but after the denial of it, the anger at the person who caused this, I became angry at myself. I wish I had done more with her. I wish I had given her more time instead of letting life get in the way. I wish I had been more adventurous, didn’t worry so much about money, and gone on trips with her as she invited me to. But I can’t.
I worked with grieving people for years and I wish that I remembered:
Don’t let life get in the way, don’t let it keep you from making those relationships and spending that time with the people you care about.
Day 16) P is for Politics: Choose a book that is Political
Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe
In 1852 this book was published and created a phenomena. It became the highest selling book of the 19th century, just behind the Bible. The first year it sold over 300,000 copies in the United States and three years later over a million in the U.K.
This book is credited with, like The Jungle, being a revolutionary change in the actual world.
In fact the political change they believe it started, was the helping bring about more awareness of slavery in the South and promoting abolitionism that sparked the Civil War.
Stowe was the daughter of minister Lyman Beecher, and wrote this novel to depict slavery, along with showing Christianity and being an allegory of Christ.
I started reading this book when I was going down a list of classics provided by Barnes and Noble. As I borrowed the book from the library my mom spotted it and said she loved the book, it was one of her favorites.
I wasn’t thrilled to read it at first as I had heard it was a “bad book”, you know making fun of those of African-American descent.
I don’t know…
I started reading it and became sucked in:
I was surprised as it was AMAZING! I couldn’t understand why people hated it. It was fantasticly written and such a great story.
So many people today view the novel negatively; the way it uses “sentiment” to pull at heart strings, how all the slaves “had” to be helped by white men and women, and the fact that Tom never ran away but chose to honor the “contract” of his masters.
But what they fail to see is that it is a powerful story, has some truly great African and white characters, and that Tom is supposed to represent Christ and the things he went through to save our souls.
So the book focuses on six main characters: Tom (called Uncle Tom by others), Eliza, Augustine St. Clare, Eva St. Claire, Ophelia, and Cassey; and their views, interactions, and how they are changed or shaped by slavery.
Tom is a strong, middle aged, African-American slave. He is also a devout Christian and tries to embody the scriptures and live his life for the Lord.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:43-44
“All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered.” 1 Timothy 6:1
Tom has been a part of the Shelby family for a long time, and has a family and children. As Tom knows how to read, his cabin is the place for the other slaves to go and hear about Christ along with getting individual instructions. George Shelby is the young “master” of the house and spends all his time with his “Uncle Tom”. In fact Tom is more of a father to him then his own father, and also his religious instructor.
However, the Shelby’s have debts and they have to sell somethings…or in this case some people. They choose Tom as his height and strength will get a lot and we have the incredible sadness of seeing a family torn apart because of an archaic principle.
Another slave, Mrs. Shelby’s maid, Eliza is married to a slave from another plantation. After a series of miscarriages, the two were finally able to give birth to a boy, Harry. While the Shelbys are a kind people, George’s master is cruel and he can’t stand it anymore.
“My master! and who made him my master? That’s what I think of–what right has he to me? I’m a man as much as he is. I’m a better man than he is. I know more about business than he does; I am a better manager than he is; I can read better than he can; I can write a better hand,–and I’ve learned it all myself, and no thanks to him,–I’ve learned it in spite of him; and now what right has he to make a dray-horse of me?–to take me from things I can do, and do better than he can, and put me to work that any horse can do…he puts me to just the hardest, meanest, and dirtiest work, on purpose!”
George decides to flee to Canada, earn enough money, and then return to purchase his wife and son. After he takes off, Eliza gets the news that she will be sold as well to pay the debts.
Afraid to be separated from her child, she too tries to take the long road to freedom.
As Tom is taken away, George vows to one day buy his friend back and free him.
Tom is sold to a trader and being transported on a riverboat when he spots a little girl, Eva St. Clare. He misses his own children, so he begins amuses her, and she begs her father to buy him. Augustine St. Clare loves his little girl and gives in to her every whim. He buys Tom and takes him to his plantation.
Here Tom and Eva share their love of Christ as they both have a strong faith and relationship with the Lord. We also meet St. Clare’s sister Ophelia, who is from the North, who has moved to help take care of the house. Now here we have a great critique on the North’s treatment of African Americans. Ophelia is an aggressive abolitionist, constantly lecturing St. Clare and talking about the evils of slavery, yet she can’t stand to be around those of African-American descent. She is a complete racist, but can’t even admit it to herself.
“Well!” said Miss Ophelia, “you southern children can do something that I couldn’t.”
“What, now, pray?” said St. Clare.
“Well, I want to be kind to everybody, and I wouldn’t have anything hurt; but as to kissing – ”
“N*****,” said St. Clare, “that you’re not up to, – hey?”
“Yes, that’s it. How can she?”
St. Clare, tired of her constant lecturing, buys her a slave girl, Topsy, and bets she won’t be able to help her. At first Ophelia does poorly, having to instead be lead by Eva in showing kindness.
Eva and Topsy become best of friends, even though they “should” be separated buy race and class, it doesn’t matter to Eva as all she sees is someone who needs love.
Augustine is another interesting character as he isn’t a fan of slavery, but won’t do anything. He sees the way Christianity is, how his daughter lives but won’t commit to it. He is supposed to represent the people who were against slavery but never took a stand against it, waiting for future people to decide or others to fight. When his daughter dies, he is utterly heartbroken.
He promised Eva on her deathbed to release the slaves and become an abolitionist for his daughter, but waits too long and is killed before he can do it.
Meanwhile, Eliza has been running for her life and from slave catchers, and she actually manages to find her husband. After they go through horrible hardships they manage to make it to Canada and freedom.
Tom is sold by St. Clare’s wife, while Ophelia returns to the North with Topsy, taking what she learned with her, as Topsy does the same.
Tom is sold again, this time to the incredibly cruel owner Simon Legree. He rapes and beats his slaves. He begins to hate Tom and treat him in unspeakable ways. He has a slave, Cassy, who is his unwilling mistress. He has stolen her children from her and sold them, beat her, and just given her a horrible life. She is bitter and in pain.
She is a quadroon, one quarter black, so she has a strange place in society. She is better educated than most, but is a sex slave, representing the harsh lives of female slaves and how they are at the whim of their master more than the men. Simon is planning on replacing Cassy with a young girl he just bought, Emmiline.
One day as they are picking cotton, Tom sees a woman struggling to fill her sack and looking at horribly beaten or worse. He helps her, aided by Cassy, and is then ordered to whip the women by Legree. When Tom refuses, Legree whips him and Tom has earned a permanent spot on his hit list.
Tom’s pain makes him consider turning back on his faith, but he sees a vision and remains true.
“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.” Psalm 89:1
Cassy knows the life that Emmeline will have and decides to run away with her. When Simon finds them gone he tries to beat the answer out of Tom, but he will not reveal anything. He is so horribly treated that he begins to die.
George arrives to buy him, but is too late. He fights with Simon and takes Tom’s body, giving him a proper burial.
Cassy and Emmeline reach Canada and find themselves with George Harris and Eliza. It turns out that Eliza is Cassy’s daughter, and the two are finally reunited.
In the end George goes home and decides to honor Tom and free all his slaves:
“It was on his grave, my friends, that I resolved, before God, that I would never own another slave, while it is possible to free him; that nobody, through me, should ever run the risk of being parted from home and friends, and dying on a lonely plantation, as he died. So, when you rejoice in your freedom, think that you owe it to that good old soul, and pay it back in kindness to his wife and children. Think of your freedom, every time you see UNCLE TOM’S CABIN; and let it be a memorial to put you all in mind to follow in his steps, and be as honest and faithful and Christian as he was.”
So this story is an amazing thing. Why would people call it horrible?
Well what I personally feel has caused this shift from honoring Uncle Tom and all the other characters to having their names now be used as derogatory terms was the over-popularity of the novel.
As this book became so sought after and was selling millions of copies; everyone wanted a piece of the pie; but when there such a wide amount of people madly grabbing to make their fortunes, they tend to forget about what the book actually stood for and was trying to change. Plays and films were being made based on the story, but instead of honoring and revealing the social issues that Harriet Beecher Stowe was writing about, these pieces became all about entertainment and cheap laughs. No longer are we shown the characters going through different trials to reveal the hypocrisies and social injustices of the time, but instead are given pure comedy or in extreme cases sexual innuendo.
Too few people actually read the novel and understood how the characters and situations can be easily relatable.
Uncle Tom is more than a slave toiling in the United States waiting for his freedom, but is a figurehead for any oppressed people. As David Reynolds writes in his book, Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Fight for America, Tom easily connected to the Russian serfs; the Chinese peasants, the Chinese immigrants in America, Jews all over the world, black slaves in Brazil, black slaves in Cuba, etc. Tom’s passive resistance to Simon Legree, as he does not listen to Legree’s warning but continues to stand up for what he believes in and aids Cassy, and Emmeline; can even connect to passive resistance done by Gandhi in India, Martin Luther King Jr. in the South, and Cesar Chavez here in California. While the unjust situations may never be the same as those that Tom or the other slaves faced, wherever trouble arises and people are suffering Uncle Tom is there struggling alongside and encouraging the oppressed that everything will be alright in the end.
Another way that Tom’s character is still so relatable and present in today’s time is how loving and willing he is to protect others. Tom lives by the mantra “the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few”; causing him to be the type of person we all want to be. The way Tom lays down his life so that the rest of the Shelby slaves could be spared and in the end dying to protect Cassy and Emmeline; is behavior we all admire and hope would imitate in such situations; as no one wants to imagine themselves being a Sambo or Quimbo character; betraying their fellow man to protect their own interests. We all recognize the value and honor of self-sacrifice for a person or a cause.
In Stowe’s novel she hit upon so many issues, and attempted (and in some cases succeeded) in trying to make a difference in how African-Americans were treated. While she did not completely change the way the United States worked, or resolved every issue; her novel did bring awareness and start people talking and thinking about abolition, integration, education, religion, politics, etc. This initial jolt eventually set America on a path to striving for change.
Today’s song is O Holy Night. In 1843 Roquemaure, France; the church organ was renovated. The priest asked wine merchant and poet, Placide Cappeau, to write a poem to commemorate the event. Four years later it was turned into a Christmas carol by compser, Adolphe Adam.
Day 10) J is for Jane Austen: Choose a book based on, a sequel to, or a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s works
So I know I said I wasn’t going to review one of Austen’s works as that isn’t really fair as I talk about her books all the time.
But I never said anything about a retelling!
So I’m going to review my absolute favorite out of all the books I have read so far.
Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale
So I one day I was going through Goodreads and looking at if any authors I liked had published anything new. I really enjoyed reading Shannon Hale, and thought Austenland was pretty good except for a few things, so when I saw that she did a sequel I decided to check it out.
I got the book and started reading it…but then I couldn’t stop.
I became so invested, I actually snuck it into my History of American Music class and read it instead of listening to the jazz music.
This book was AMAZING!!!!!
It had Austen and mystery, both things I love!
Putting on my crime-solving cap on.
I just adored every page of it and didn’t want it to end.
So the book is a sequel, but you don’t have to read them together or in sequence. While the place they visit, Pembrook Park,is the same; the characters and story lines are new and different.
While the other book focused on Pride and Prejudice this one went more Northanger Abbey; something I appreciate as it just doesn’t get enough love.
Charlotte Constance Kinder is a nice woman. So nice no one thought she would live an interesting or adventurous life. But you know what Austen says about that.
Charlotte went to school, met a nice man named James, married him and had two kids; and then did the unexpected. She created a website, sold it for an outrageous profit, and started another one.
She bought nice things for her, her husband, their kids. Everything seemed fine, but then it turned out her husband was cheating on her and wanted to leave her for another woman.
Fast-forward, he is remarried and living with his new wife receiving alimony from Charlotte. And Charlotte is alone, left to pick up the pieces of her life.
She starts dating A LOT!. Anyone and everyone her friends and friends’ husbands toss her way; but nothing feels good or right.
Besides being worried about her own self and issues, she starts to worry about her daughter. Will she make all kinds of horrible mistakes, have “Daddy issues,” or go looking for love in all the wrong places?
She makes a really bad decision to have a private investigator follow her daughter’s boyfriend around, and even tries it herself; convinced that he is going to hurt her. After her daughter says she she doesn’t remember what it was like being her age, Charlotte decides that her daughter is right.
That Easter she goes home and digs through her old items that her mom saved and tries to look into her teenage mind. She finds a diary and on the first page is a list she made.
THINGS TO DO BEFORE I’M 30
Get married [✓]
Have a baby [✓✓]
Walk in high heels without wobbling [✓]
Understand Physics [✓ish]
Help save the whales or other animals in danger [✓]
Read Jane Austen…?
Charlotte couldn’t remember why she wanted to read Jane Austen, but the next weekend the kids are with their father, and Charlotte devotes the weekend to reading
And she reads and reads and reads. And before you know it, she is a hardcore fan.
And caught in the Austen cycle like us all.
Charlotte’s sister-in-law Shelby convinces her to take a vacation when the kids are with their dad for the summer. The only place Charlotte wants to go is into Austen’s books
And luckily we have just the thing…Austenland.
Yes, for a few weeks Charlotte will leave, breathe, and be Regency woman. And at the end of her time there is a big ball.
And possibly a proposal…
Charlotte is sold on it, packs up her stuff, and flies out ready to dive into her fantasy.
As Charlotte is a “quality guest”, i.e. rich, she gets the best treatment and the gold standard in clothes, transportation, etc. Charlotte takes on the character “Mrs. Charlotte Cordial”, a widow with two kids. In this story, Charlotte doesn’t have to go it alone but has a “brother”, Edmund Grey.
Besides him there are two other ladies, Miss Elizabeth Charming (from the previous book) and Miss Lydia Gardenside. And then there are two other men who will come to call on them: Colonel Andrews and Mr. Thomas Mallery who is…
Charlotte meets the ladies and enjoys Miss Charming, but is shocked to see that Miss Gardenside is none other than the famous pop sensation, Alisha. What is she doing here?
So their days at Austenland begin and one of the reasons I like Charlotte better than Jane Hayes, the heroine of the last book, is that Charlotte embraces her love of Austen and goes full force into it.
That day the Colonel has a surprise, they are going on a trip to an old crumbling abbey! What mysteries await them?
As they journey in twos, the phaeton holds only that umber, with Charlotte with Mr. Mallery. Mr. Mallery is very intense and lives and breathes being the Regency gentleman. When two backpackers come upon them he isn’t threatening but so forceful that he causes the pair to run off like frightened rabbits.
And run fast
When they reach the Abbey it turns out there us a dark tale that goes with the old ruins:
Three hundred years ago (~1520) the abbey was home to twenty-one nuns, an abbess, and one novice. They worked in the kitchen garden, growing healing herbs, kept goats and chickens; everything was peaceful until one January night.
The sisters made dinner as usual and sat down to eat. The abbess was getting older and not feeling well, so after she made the tea she blessed the meal and went to lie down. She rose an hour later to do chapel prayers, but found all the nuns dead!
The abbess went through trying to find one that was alive. There were no wounds on the body, but all’s pulses had ceased. All except Mary Francis, the novice.
The next morning, the abbess awoke to find that Mary Francis had cleaned up from dinner, and laid all the nuns out, covering them with blankets.
No one was ever hanged for the deaths…the bodies were buried, the abbey abandoned, and the abbess went to live with a niece and succumbed to dementia. But she was known to cry out: “Either she saw who did it or she did it herself.”
Mary Francis was an orphan and after the deaths wandered from house to house as a trying to work as a servant, but the suspicion around her past always pushed her on. Some believe ghosts still haunt the area….
The last place she went she worked for a few years, and they say uncanny things happened. The place she worked? Pembroke Park.
At first they don’t believe the house is old enough for the story to be true, but Mr. Mallery corrects them. He is second cousin to the Wattlesbrooks and says that parts of the houses go back that far. Sadly he would have inherited the grand old house, but his grandfather lost it in a card game.
Colonel Andrews says that that isn’t the end of the story, he has an old text that they may read and reveal all.
I love it!
Charlotte is enjoying Pembrooke Park because she doesn’t have the strain of having to do the work. As her “brother” Edmund pointed out, she is here to have fun and relax, Mr. Mallery and the others have to work to impress her. It is a nice feeling after all those blind dates and trying to put on a show that you are okay; all you have to be is yourself or your character and the others have to do the real work.
The group has a picnic in which Colonel Andrews reads from the diary of Mrs. Kerchief, the housekeeper three hundred years ago, and supervisor of the newly arrived servant, Mary Francis.
(I’m just going to paraphrase as it would take to long to write word for word)
“Hired the new scullery maid, Mary. No one else will hire her because what happened. I don’t care what happened in her past as long as she is ready to work.
Coal is running low and they seem to be burning more and more these past weeks. Simon says that it is Mary, she bring the cold with her. Nonsense. Still…she sleeps in the room next to mine and at night I hear noises I have never heard before. It wakes me up”
Mr. Mallery “Regency” flirts with her and Charlotte finds herself surprisingly enjoying every minute of it.
When they return to the house, Miss Gardenside retires as she is suffering from “consumption” (is it really or something else? Maybe withdrawal?). Miss Charming and Charlotte are still psyched from the mystery and decide to search the house.
However, the only thing they stumble upon is a maid dressing. No clues, no bodies, no nothing.
Before Divorce: When Charlotte first started her website it was just to be a hobby. She liked growing plants, she often helped others, and decides that it would be nice to have a place people could go for inexpensive custom residential landscaping. They weren’t as grand as those who would visit the place and see it, but her designs based off a questionnaire they answered were cheaper and still beautiful. People loved it. She had to hire employees, and revenue increased crazily, and she made her first million.
That night they are having dinner toasting to each other when who should walk in, Sir John.
This is the only thing that enhances if you read the previous book, but like I said it is not necessary. You quickly learn why we hate this guy. Sir John is Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s husband and he doesn’t care about the park or their home. All he does is drink, gamble, and take any of Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s money away. He also tries to hit on the women, and doesn’t take no for an answer. In the last book, they had to cart him off as he was causing problems.
This time he goes by Mr. Wattlesbrook instead of Sir John, and is dressed in modern day clothing instead of Regency wear. It unsettles everyone, but Colonel Andrews tries to bring them back to 1820.
That night they are interrupted of their sleep. As they go outside they see firetrucks and that Pembrooke Cottage, (the one Miss Amelia Heartwright stayed in, in the last book) has been burned. Mr. Wattlesbrook has no remorse even though he started the fire.
Mr. Mallery has a bucket by his feet, as he was trying to put out the fires. He is furious that the cottage went as it was his inheritance. Now that is the character’s motivation, but he seems as if he is really upset, the man behind the character.
The next day Charlotte continues her search of the house. She really has become invested in the mystery and wants to find clues. After a finding nothing and a game of croquet, she goes to Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s office to call her children.
This does not go well at all. Her daughter finds out she had hired a private detective to follow her boyfriend.
Her son doesn’t want to talk to her.
She finds out from Justice, the new wife, that her son called her mom.
Not a good call at all.
Charlotte decides to snoop through the office and discovers that Windy Nook and Bertram Hall properties were sold off, foreclosed, and contained a series list of debts. She sees the former casts and notices that Mr. Mallery used to be in all of them. Mrs. Wattlesbrook is a very smart businesswoman, so it is clear that the one who caused the trouble is Mr. Wattlesbrook.
The next day rained all night and morning. The group play charades and a card game that involves running about.
But after the men leave to do whatever they do, maybe a break room, the women are embroidering.
They are interrupted by the return of Mr. Wattlesbrook, who once again is dressed in modern clothes and tries to get in with Charlotte.
The men come and try to carry him off. Miss Charming thinks it is a part of the “experience”, but Charlotte doesn’t think that Mrs. Wattlesbrook would do such a “messy” plot.
That night is stormy, spooky, gray…
Just perfect for reading more about the mystery of the nuns, the diary of Mrs. Kerchief!
I hear sounds in Mary’s room at night. It sounds like a pacing or scraping. It is unnerving and I want to talk to her, but in the morning Mary Francis is so tired I can’t say a word. The girl Betsy who used to room with her took off and never came back to get her money. The cook says she feels a cold wind around her…
The lights go out and all they have are firelight. They decide to play a game called Bloody Murder, with Mrs. Wattlesbrook going off to bed.
They decide to play the game: the murderer has to hide in the house somewhere, after a count of fifty the rest hunt him out. The first to discover the murderer shouts, “bloody murder”, and all run after him. After that they all run off, and the murderer chases them. If he catches them, they fall down and the last one to “die” is the next murderer.
They draw straws and the short one leads Mr. Mallery to be the murderer.
One of the characters I love is Charlotte’s “brother”, Edmund. He is just so fun and fantastic, a real Mr. Tilney.
Charlotte finds Mr. Mallery and ends up being the only one who has been touched. Now she is the next murderer.
She doesn’t want to walk and go around the house on her own. She is extremely scared and as she roams the dark halls she accidentally goes into a secret room. As she is searching the room for a way out, she finds a person laying on a chaise. She goes to touch them, feels the hand…they are dead!
She goes running out and finds the group telling them everything. They don’t believe her and can’t find the room. Charlotte is so incredibly freaked out, that Miss Charming can see that she needs a little care and asks if she wants to sleep in her bed for comfort.
The next day, she starts questioning people trying to find out who the dead person was. Eddie goes to help her and they find the room but nothing but a fencing foil.
They leave for breakfast and run into Mary, Charlotte’s maid. Mary is really strange, always jumpy, and acting weird.
She tries to tell Mrs. Wattlesbrook about the dead body, but she doesn’t believe her. She thinks it is just part of a game.
Charlotte deduces that the dead body must be Miss Gardenside’s nurse or Mr. Wattlesbrook as they are the only two missing; and that it must be a part of the Colonel Andrews mystery as no one seems to care.
Eddie, Edmund, doesn’t believe that the murder is real, but helps Charlotte investigate. He is hilarious and I just love him. Forget Mr. Mallery with his brooding, smirking is so much better.
After Divorce: Justice, James’ mistress, sends Charlotte an invite, can you believe that? An invite!!!
Charlotte worries about how the divorce affects the kids but James doesn’t care. He says that 50% of marriage end in divorce. Here are statistics that matter to Charlotte.
-James saw the children 75% less than before
-He missed 85% of their afterschool woes
-He was absent for 99% of their family dinners
-100% of Charlotte’s marriage ended
That night they read the diary:
Mary and I were shelling peas. Mary has been here for three months and doesn’t seem as if she can settle down. All the other hands treat her horribly but all Mary does is pray. Why does she pray so much? For other or her own soul?
The next day Charlotte picks up her search with Eddie. They go back to the room, but find nothing but a glove, a washing dishes type of glove. Is that part of it?
Charlotte drops it as she thinks it is nothing. Eddie picks up fencing foils and the two duel before lunch.
Even though everyone has forgotten the game, Charlotte still thinks that someone might be after her, but who?
The next day Charlotte goes riding with Mr. Mallery. They stop a while so Charlotte can call her kids, but no answer. She tries her husband, no answer. Charlotte spends the rest of the night worried about them and that something happened. The next day she finds out their phones were dead.
The next day Charlotte decides to write her kids a letter. Eddie joins her and consoles her over her missing her kids. He shares about his daughter and that he misses her as he hardly gets to see her. They start writing and Charlotte wonders if Julia exists, but Eddie is writing a long letter to someone.
After the letter writing, Eddie goes over the dances, as “their mother” was a dance instructor. They have such fun, with Mallery interrupts them. They go for a walk, but are found by Colonel Andrews who tells them he has a great passage for tonight.
Everyone is mean to Mary. They start chanting “What do you know of our Mary? Twenty-one nuns did she bury.” We were working outside when there was a howl and they saw something white and filmy, floating. It had a horrible screeching voice that shouted “Leave innocent Mary alone. The nuns cannot rest when folk stain Mary’s name with lies.” Mary was the only one who wasn’t afraid, but continued her work.
Right after they read that, they see a ghost outside!
They all run after it and try to find it, but the ghosts disappear.
Charlotte is the only one who notices tire tracks on the ground, as if someone drove their car.
The next morning, Charlotte takes Miss Charming and Miss Gardenside aside and tries to have them help her find the missing clue. They come across a painting of Saint Francis. Miss Charming spots it as a fake and they rip it open, finding a note written in lemon juice:
Among the dusty tomes stands
The work of the saint
And one girl’s confessions
Penned without constraints
They run to the library and find a book on St. Francis, in it is Mary’s tale. The nuns died accidentally. The abbess eyesight and memory was failing and she accidentally boiled yew, poisoning them.
That answers one question, but what about everything else? What about the secomd mystery with the dead body? Then Charlotte gets a few more realizations:
The Murderer approached the victim and had to lure them into that room, with an intent to kill.
The victim was killed in a secret room and the body abandoned on the sofa, as whoever had to leave, and then return to move the body at a more convenient time.
Charlotte finds the body in the room. The body was not smelly; so they were killed recently.
Charlotte announces the find, but all claim to know zero about the room.
Charlotte hears a thud in the middle of the night, below the secret room. Maybe someone tossed the body out the window?
The next morning the body was gone.
Before Divorce: Late nights “working”, phone calls from unlisted numbers, caller hangups, James never touching her, James staying out of town but spotted by a friend, lingerie in the closet not her size…etc. It is easier to solve someone else’s mystery than your own. Sometimes we see only what we want to see.
They only have three more days, only three more days to solve the case. Charlotte sees that Mrs. Hatchet, Miss Gardenside’s nurse, has returns and deduces that Mr. Wattlesbrook must be the murdered one. She questions the men about the night they removed him and they say that they put him in a room out of the way as he was incredibly wasted, Edmund punched him after he spoke nastily about the women, and the next day he was gone.
Later Charlotte looks after Miss Charming as she seems out of sorts. Miss Charming was unhappy thinking of her former husband. She had married and helped her husband build up the business into millions, as she was the brains of the operation. She found him with a salesclerk, divorced him, and took off with the staggering alimony. She’s been running as she can’t go home and and face that she was dumped.
Afterwards, Charlotte decides that with the limited time left, she can’t be messing around. She has searched everywhere for the body and there is only one place left, She and Eddie, the Watson to her Sherlock, head to the pond. She goes swimming to see what it may hold and finds a car submerged.
They convince Mrs. Wattlesbrook to call the police and it turns out that Mr. Wattlesbrook is dead. Now the question is, which one of the guests is a killer!
Could Mrs. Wattlesbrook have done it? Eddie? Colonel Andrews? Thomas Mallery? Miss Charming? Miss Gardenside? One of the staff?
Charlotte realizes she doesn’t really know any of these people and any one of them could be a killer. And they may be after her next!
So I won’t reveal the ending, as it was amazing. Shannon Hale just did a fantastic job.
And that through the rest of her trip Charlotte learns her own worthiness.
And is able to pick up to the strong person she used to be.
I also just loved Eddie and thought he was just an amazing character. A real Mr. Tilney!
As this is a book that goes to the past but is also modern, I thought the best carol would be What Child is This?
In 1865, William Chatterton Dix was an insurance company manager and became seriously ill. During this time he gave his life to Christ, writing this carol. He set it to the song Greensleeves which has been registered in 1580 by Richard Jones.
I have never been a fan of this song, I’m not sure why, until I heard the Josh Groban version, so that’s the one I went with.
So if you remember my post back in Dec, I’ll Be Alright Without You, I talked about creating a post that listed my favorite songs to help one get over heartache/a breakup; namely what songs really helped me. Well previously I wasn’t in the best place to do it, but now that it has been like eight months since we’ve broken up I’m doing great and can totally handle it.
At least for the most part, like Audrey says in Sabrina, even if you are over things certain songs can bring back memories.
The other reason that I have decided to do this list is that I just had a friend go through a breakup and was really struggling, so I promised to put together a compilation for her that helped me through everything.
So actually instead of doing them in all one post, I decided to do a series of posts, weaving them through everything else, so that it isn’t one straight sobfest. I mean imagine trying to storm through constantly sad things?
So that brings us to the first song on this list
1) If It Means A Lot to You
So when my ex and I first started dating he gave me a bunch of CDs to listen to. And one of them was this CD by A Day to Remember. It was pretty fitting as I was away from Michael and a lot of the songs expressed how I felt about us being apart. In fact I used to listen to this song all the time pre & post-breakup. (I’m not sure if that is romantic or pathetic? Hopefully romantic) So the series is a little scattered, not all songs focus on being “homesick”, however If It Means A Lot to You does. I actually think it is the most powerful song on the whole list, and my favorite (as I connected the most to it).
This song took me the longest to write. It took almost a year, but it was another song that kinda stumped me. I really needed this song to say exactly what I wanted, and I finally got it there. We didn’t know if it would be on the record right up until the end of recording. I wrote it separate from the band, and I wasn’t comfortable changing things. It all worked out in the end, though. I think it’s the perfect end to this record.
– Jeremy McKinnon
So the premise of the song is that a guy has to be on the road away from home, and while he doesn’t want to leave his girlfriend, he has to go. He talks about how he knows things are hard and getting rough, but if she could just wait a little longer then he knows everything will be okay, that they will be able to work through everything. She, however, can’t wait. She can’t do it and breaks up with him. It is a heartwrenching song and even more so because it described EXACTLY how I was feeling.
So the song starts off with the guy singing to the girl that he hopes everything is going well with her and that he just needs to hear from her, anything to get him by the time they are apart. This was totally how I felt, because a few weeks before we broke up Michael stopped texting and calling me. I would ask him when he was free to talk/skype as I missed him and he would tell me he was “busy” ,”didn’t know his schedule”, etc. I mean I found some texts that I thought I deleted, but my phone saved (grr) and its pretty pathetic my responses. “Well just let me know when you are free, I miss you” and “Okay we can try to talk later”, etc. I’d like to say aliens momentarily took over my brain, but that’s not true. It’s hard to accept that someone you cared for and cared for you has just stopped liking you. You kind of go into denial about it. Of course I know now that I’m in my right mind, I should have seen the signs. After all:
So back to the lyrics and the song
And hey darling,
I hope you’re good tonight.
And I know you don’t feel right when I’m leaving.
Yeah, I want it but no, I don’t need it.
Tell me something sweet to get me by,
‘Cause I can’t come back home till they’re singing
La, la la la, la la la, Till everyone is singing
The next part is all about how he knows that if she can just wait a little longer, that he knows everything will work out and be okay. I wasn’t originally going to go home for Thanksgiving break as my aunt was getting married and my whole family was going to the opposite end of the state to do that, and Michael said he couldn’t get the time off to join my family. I however convinced my parents to take me home instead of right back to school as I wanted to see him, as I too thought that if he could wait until I got home we would be able to work through whatever was going on. That everything would be okay.
If you can wait till I get home, Then I swear to you that we can make this last. (La la la) If you can wait till I get home, Then I swear come tomorrow, this will all be in our past. Well it might be for the best.
So then we have the girlfriend’s response that she just can’t do it anymore, that she needs him. As much as I hate what she does to the guy at least she gave a reason for why she was breaking up, I just got the “I don’t think you’re my future bride” response, which was like pulling teeth trying to get him to say anything why he broke it off.
And hey sweetie, Well I need you here tonight, And I know that you don’t wanna be leaving me Yeah, you want it, but I can’t help it. I just feel complete when you’re by my side, But I know you can’t come home till they’re singing
La, la la la, la la la, Till everyone is singing. La, la la la, la la la.
If you can wait till I get home, Then I swear to you that we can make this last. (La la la) If you can wait till I get home, Then I swear come tomorrow, this will all be in our past. Well it might be for the best.
So in the next part she tells him she can’t wait its over. And he freaks out, like is this really truly happening? How can this be my life? Let me say that everytime I hear that part my heart stops just like when Michael said he wanted it to be over.
And he is in shock at how this can acutually be happening. Yep, I felt that too. And just like the singer in this song, I did not want to be “just friends”. I personlly don’t believe and can’t understand how one can go from being so much more to “just friends”? How can you watch the person who just rejected you pick up their life and move on, while you sit in heartbreak and try very slowly to work past the pain? I sure don’t know.
You know you can’t give me what I need. And even though you mean so much to me, I can’t wait through everything, Is this really happening? I swear I’ll never be happy again. And don’t you dare say we can just be friends. I’m not some boy that you can sway. We knew it’d happen eventually.
La, la la la, la la la, Now everybody’s singing. La, la la la, la la la, Now everybody’s singing. La, la la la, la la la, (If you can wait till I get home) Now everybody’s singing. La, la la la, la la la, (Then I swear we can make this last) Now everybody’s singing.
La, la la la, la la la, (If you can wait till I get home) Now everybody’s singing. La, la la la, la la la, (Then I swear we can make this last) Now everybody’s singing. La
Now some of you may be wondering why I started off with such a sad song instead of a more empowering or forget you song. Well I believe that you need to allow yourself to grieve the end and that listening to something sad helps make things get better.
So even though this song (and Hey There Delilah) still make me sad as the feels are just so much, it was still hepful listening to this over and over to help voice my feelings about the breakup.
So that’s the first of many songs, and they do get empowering, you just have to wait for it.