I Watched Northanger Abbey (2007) with my 13 Year Old Niece

Today’s my blogiversary!

9 years of celebrating Jane Austen (and a few other things!)

And to celebrate, I decided to watch + review Northanger Abbey (2007) with my 13 year old niece.

Last year my niece and I watched Sense and Sensibility (1995). The post was popular and my niece and I had a lot of fun. So I thought, why not bring it back with one of my favorite Jane Austen adaptions. And I’m still trying to convert my niece to Jane Austen.

I don’t know if she will like it, but she enjoyed Sense and Sensibility, so I’m confident she won’t hate it.

At least I’m hoping she is!

I will give a quick synopsis for those who have never sent the film or read the book. Northanger Abbey was the first of Jane Austen’s books to be written and is kind of a parody of gothic novels and a saltire on society. In the story Catherine Morland is a minister’s daughter who loves to read and has an overactive imagination. She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath and while there her life becomes a bit like a novel as she meets the mysterious Tilney family, of which one son she finds delightful and handsome, Mr. Tilney. She also has another man vying for her affections, a more crude and brutish man, Mr. Thorpe. She is later given an opportunity to stay with the Tilneys in their home Northanger Abbey and wonders if there is a dark secret there. Catherine begins investigating but is there really a mystery or has her overactive imagination just struck again?

Hmm…

So this won’t be a full review as last October I reviewed the film for my Horrorfest IX and you can click on the link and read my full review. Instead this will just be our thoughts while watching it. For this I refer to my niece as “G“.

Okay so here we go…

So the film starts off with the great quote from the beginning of the novel:

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine.”

Northanger Abbey

I love that quote. I feel it right away connects you to Catherine as most of us are just average people.

G: What’s a heroine?

Me: A female hero.

The film then progresses to talking about Cathrine more how she was plain and more interested in boy’s things than girls, but around 15 she started to care more about her appearance and other things. Her parents were known to say:

“Catherine grows quite a good-looking girl—she is almost pretty today…”

Northanger Abbey

G: Don’t lie to her.

Ouch!

My niece can be really mean sometimes. I think Felicity Jones is so cute and very pretty.

I also love that quote to “be almost pretty”:

G: Her little sister is so annoying.

Me: Yeah the little sister is very sassy.

So as the film progresses, the Allen’s ask Catherine to come along with them. We both agreed that we wished we had a family friend who wouldn’t ask us on a vacation like that. I mean at least my niece has me, but I wish I had had someone do that for me when I was young.

Sigh!

So in between the action with Catherine every time she reads she imagines herself in the book and we have a dream or imagination while reading sequence. I really like this, but my niece was not a fan.

G: This is weird.

So Catherine and Co. arrive in Bath and when they go out the next day they run into Mr. Tilney.

G: Is that the guy she’s gonna end up with?

Wow, she was sharp. At least she’s not opposed to him like she was to Colonel Brandon last year. But then again who could ever resist JJ Feild?

G: I really like their [Mrs. Allen and Catherine] dresses.

I totally agree, as even though Catherine isn’t the wealthiest Austen heroine, nor the poorest, I like her dresses the most.

I love how Mr. Tilney is able to clear the room for the ladies with a glare. He’s like get out of the way, this table is for the ladies!

So as Catherine dances with Mr. Tilney, she notices another man watching her and questions Mr. Tilney about him.

“Catherine: [Puzzled] Why does he look at us?

Mr. Tilney: I imagine he likes what he sees.

Catherine: [Incredulous] You don’t mean me?”

G: No duh!

Yeah, Catherine is pretty naive. Although in her defense she’s never really been called pretty before so it is easy not to see it in yourself.

Mr. Tilney decides to sassy and sarcastic (as usual):

“Mr. Tilney: So, tell me, what will you write in your journal tonight? ‘Friday, went to the Lower Rooms, wore my sprigged muslin dress with blue trimmings, and looked very pretty, though I say so myself. Danced with one man, was stared at by another much more handsome.”

Me: Who do you think is more handsome, Mr. Tilney or him? [points to Mr. Thorpe]

G: Not him [points to Thorpe], he looks weird. I like that other guy, what’s his name? Christopher?

Me: Mr. Tilney, Henry Tilney.

I’m all about that Henry!

We have another dream sequence and at first G wasn’t into it, but then we started talking about how we act when we read.

G: I like to imagine myself as a character or create my own.

Me: Me too.

Look at that, we both be Catherine Morlands.

The next day Mrs. Allen and Catherine are out and they run into Mrs. Thorpe and Isabella Thorpe.

G: She [Isabella] looks mean.

Me: Well, she’s not a nice. And look at her dress, during the day ladies wore a fichu or lace to cover themselves and only at night would wear something so low cut, but Isabella is not following the rules.

The next day the girls are out checking to see if Mr. Tilney is still visiting the Upper Rooms. They don’t see his signature and leave, being followed by two men. The men go a different way and instead of steering away, Isabella wants to cross paths with them again.

G: She wants to run into those men, that’s why she has her boobs out.

Isabella is definitely on the prowl!

They run into James Morland (Catherine Morland’s brother) and John Thorpe (Isabella’s brother). James is super into Isabella and John tries to get with Catherine.

G: John Thorpe looks so crazy! Hes so creepy.

Me: It is because he has such a heavy brow.

G: Yeah but it is the way he stares at her, with his eyes-it is so crazy [mimics John Thorpe].

Me: Yeah, he makes me think of those tiktok videos when they say do you want to look creepy? Then lower your head and look up with your eyes.

G: He does!

That night they go to a dance and Mr. Tilney arrived with a woman in tow.

G: [Screams]…oh it’s his sister.

The two spend the time talking and make plans to go walking the next day. The only problem is, John Thorpe has other plans. John starts with “I think I saw them leaving”, with Isabella backing him up, then he insists that in this brief passage in the street from far away that he heard them saying they will be gone.

Me: Do you hear that, first he asks Catherine does Mr. Tilney have a certain type of horses and then he’s all I heard them say they will be gone all day. Such a liar!

G: Mmhmm.

Catherine insists they wouldn’t act that way, but then her brother interjects and makes her doubt herself.

“James Morland: My dear scatter-brained sister, haven’t you just heard him say they’re halfway to Wick Rocks?”

G: Shut up James! You’re supposed to be on my side!

Me: I know, right! James is so awful, look how he talks to her.

John Thorpe goes off in his phaeton with Catherine and who should they see as they go down the way.

“Catherine Morland: [Sees Mr. Tilney and Miss Tilney] Oh, Miss Tilney! [To Mr. Thorpe] Stop! Stop now! It’s Miss Tilney and her brother!

John Thorpe: There’ll be hell to pay if I tried to stop him now!

Catherine Morland: Please stop, Mr Thorpe! I’ll get down! I will!

John Thorpe: It’s not possible!

Catherine Morland: Oh!

John Thorpe: Whoa, there!

Catherine Morland: How could you deceive me so?

John Thorpe: Well, what if I did?

G: Boom! I would smack him!

Me: He definitely needs a punch in the face.

G: Get Out and Run, Catherine!

Me: She should! But she won’t as he manipulates her into feeling bad that if she leaves her brother and Isabella, they can’t ride together.

They get rained on, served them right. And the next day they go to the opera where John Thorpe tries to be romantic and fails.

“John Thorpe: Damn fine-looking woman. [To Catherine] But she’s nothing to you, you know.

G: I don’t care!

Ugh, John Thorpe!

Ugh…this guy

Catherine goes to talk to the Tilneys after the opera performance and apologizes. Mr. Tilney tries to act cool, but you know he was probably driving Eleanor up the wall with his heartbroken.

G: You’re [John Thorpe] nothing to him [Mr. Tilney]

A couple days later Catherine learns of James and Isabella’s engagement. John Thorpe tries to ask Catherine, sort of.

“John Thorpe: Miss Morland, I, too, must take my leave for the present, just for the present. I’m going to accompany James to Fullerton, and then onto town to help him choose a ring.

G: I’m not going to miss you.

Me: I know, right.

“John Thorpe: Perhaps I might look for one for myself while I’m there. Do you think I should?”

G: No!

So the men leave and the next time they go to a ball, Isabella states she will not dance with anyone. However, Mr. Tilney’s older brother, the rogue, enters the scene.

“Mr. Tilney: Miss Morland, allow me to introduce my brother, Captain Tilney.

Captain Tilney: [Dismissive] Charmed. [Moves away from them]

Mr. Tilney: Don’t let my brother’s ill manners offend you. That’s how he is, I’m afraid. He was ill-mannered as a baby.

Even though Isabella wasn’t supposed to be dancing as her “love” is away, she dances with Captain Tilney.

Catherine ends up being asked to go visit Northanger Abbey. We both wished we could go to a castle.

Please pick me.

On Catherine’s last day in Bath she and Isabella go to the Upper Rooms. There Isabella hangs out with Captain Tilney.

G: Are they [Isabella and Captain Tilney] dating now?

Me: Just watch.

Catherine then travels to Northanger Abbey which is awesome and mysterious and I really, really, really want to go there one day.

G: I wish I could go to a castle. I want everyone to know the princess that I am.

So at Northanger Abbey Catherine spends a lot of fun time with the Tilneys, especially once General Tilney leaves on business. One thing Catherine had wanted to see was the portrait of Mrs. Tilney, but General Tilney kept them from the room. When Mr. Tilney goes away, Catherine takes the time to search in the room.

G: Why are we snooping around?

I alsways feel embarrassed when Catherine does this but I totally would want to do the same. Unfortunately, Mr. Tilney catches her and as you can imagine it doesn’t go well.

Catherine become even more upset when she gets a letter from her brother James who has ended his engagement as Isabella was trying to get with Captain Tilney, he has left Bath believing the two to be engaged although Eleanor does not believe her brother will, he’s not into commitment.

G: It’s because of all those low cut dresses she wore.

Then Catherine gets a letter from Isabella. Isabella tried to trade up but nothing came of it as Captain Tilney is not into commitment.


”Catherine Morland: I wish I had never known her.

Eleanor Tilney: It will soon be as if you never had.

Catherine Morland: There is one thing I can’t understand. What has Captain Tilney been about all this time? Why should he pay her such attentions and then fly off himselr?

Eleanor Tilney: He has his vanity, as well as Miss Thorpe. And he is accustomed to…having his way. Though I am surprised he should have stooped to such an easy conquest.

Catherine Morland: Really? Then I am sorry for Isabella.

Eleanor: I am sure she will be over it soon enough. “

Oh, Eleanor is just throwing shade.

So the film ends with Catherine being sent home with no escort. She doesn’t cause a scene as she thinks that Mr. Tilney told his father what she thought about him murdering his wife. After she returns home, Mr. Tilney comes after her and declares his love in the most romantic way! It is such a great scene!

So after the movie ended I asked her thoughts:

Me: Did you like it? What did you think?

G: It was good.

Me: Did you like it better than Sense and Sensibility?

G: Hmm…I don’t know.

Me: Which guy do you like the best. One of the guys from Sense and Sensibility or Mr. Tilney.

G: I don’t remember what they looked like.

Me: This one is Mr. Ferrars, Elinor’s love interest [Shows picture of Hugh Grant]. And then the other guy was the actor who played Snape.

G: Snape??!

Me: Yes, Snape.

G: I liked this guy better. I think he was cuter.

Yay! She likes Mr. Tilney and she liked the movie. My work here is done…at least for now.

If interested in a full review, click on this link. Otherwise thank you for 9 wonderful years! Happy Blogiversary!

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey

For more film and TV adaptions, go to Dear William: Letters from Georgiana Darcy

For more blogiversary posts, go to I Watched Sense and Sensibility (1995) With My 12 Year Old Niece

Now what is an anniversary without presents!

The 9th anniversary it is pottery, wood, or willow wood. Let’s see what I can find as a gift on here, I’ll try to see if I can find something from every year …

For “pottery” we have a Jane Austen/Harry Potter post from 2014

For “wood” I have a post on Emma Woodhouse from 2015:

Another “wood” piece is my review of Emma [Woodhouse] (1996) AKA The Kate Beckinsale Version from 2016

Some more “wood” is the wooden ship Captain Wentworth has and my 5th blogiversary post from 2017

For “pottery” how about a pot of tea? (Post from 2018)

Another “wood” is my review of Rational Creatures: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. These two are “Self-Composed” by Christina Morland and “Every Past Affliction” by Nicole Clarkston (From 2019)

For more “wood” some Sense & Senchability tea the Dashwood sisters would love! (from 2020)

So thanks for the past nine years of awesomeness, and here’s to many more!

Yay!

And a special thank you to all who follow me:

Miss Marple and Jane Austen: You Can See Human Nature From Anywhere in a Small Village

So today marks the birthday of a very important writer:

I first was introduced to Agatha Christie when my nana noticed me reading Sherlock Holmes. As she was a lover of mysteries herself, she gave me a few Agatha Christie novels and then that was it, I was an utter fangirl.

Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters. Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing, although, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot tend to always be smarter.

This year I have been honoring her and her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, turning 100-by reviewing a mystery every month. But as I was rereading The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems and it got me thinking about some similarities to Jane Austen.

What??

I know you are probably confused, but hear me out.

Mystery, you say?

So one of Agatha Christie’s detectives is Miss Marple. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster aunt, always watching and observing. People overlook her because of her age, her inexperience (she has lived in a small village), but she is extremely intelligent and has amazing powers of deductions.

When asked how she knows and can figure these things out, she always remarks it is because of her village life. She shares that being in the village she has learned a lot about human nature, and as people are alike all over there is always someone from “back home” that reminds her of others and the clue that reveals the ending-the solution.

In a lot of her books, not just Miss Marple, we see how the characters, their motives, their reasons for why they do what they do are relatable-often many characters you find yourself sympathetic. Agatha Christie knew how to write people so that you connect to them.

Reading that made me think of Jane Austen immediately. Here is a woman who spent a majority of her life in a small village, but yet with what most people would say are limited experiences and a lack of human knowledge-she was still able to write characters that are relatable to people all over the world, 200 years later.

I mean that is one thing I love about her books, how the stories and characters transcend Regency England so that the motifs, personalities, and points raised in her books are still relevant today. Who hasn’t meet a social climber like Caroline Bingley? A schemer like Lucy Steele?  Manipulators like Isabella and John Thorpe? Had a regret like Anne Elliot? Met a flirt like Henry Crawford? Known a person who wanted so badly to have a friend they did whatever someone asked of them like Harriet Smith? Haven’t we all been accused of being an ice queen like Elinor Dashwood? Let our heart rule our actions like Marianne Dashwood? Misjudged someone and actively disliked a person when they insulted you like Elizabeth Bennet? Had to make a choice whether to stick to what we believe in, even if it meant losing something you hold dear like Fanny Price? Disliked someone because they were better than you at some things like Emma Woodhouse? Let our imagination run away with us like Catherine Morland? Lost someone we love like Anne Elliot?

I mean it is just so easy to connect to her work.

If you haven’t read Agatha Christie, I definitely recommend checking her works out, and of course:

For more Agatha Christie, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

For more Jane Austen, go to The History of England By a Partial Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian or is Jane Austen a Precursor to Drunk History?

For more comparison posts, go to You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?

For more mysteries, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

We’re Stranded on a Ship in the Middle of the Ocean with a Killer!: High Seas (2019)

We’re stranded on a ship in the middle of the ocean with a killer!

So I saw the trailer for this on Netflix and instantly added it to my to-watch list.

It looked so good!

One day my friend and I were hanging out trying to find something to watch when I suggested this. We started watching it and could NOT stop! And that ending, WOW!

Fridays are when I review TV episodes, but as this show can’t be broken episode by epiode, I’m reviewing the whole first season. I did the same thing last year with American Gothic. So the show is actually filmed in Spanish, its real name being Alta Mar, but you can listen to it with the English (or other language) voiceover. I have to say they did really good with this, there are only a few times that it didn’t sync up.

So the TV series takes place in Spain after WWII.  The cruise ship is departing from Spain to Brazil. Carolina (Alejandra Onieva) and Eva Villanueve (Ivana Baquero) are headed on an Ocean Cruise liner as Carolina is getting married. Their father passed away two years ago and after his death she discovered that their shoe factory trucks were used to aid the Nazis during WWII. With that news, coupled with her father’s death-Carolina decided to sell the business. Instead, after their marriage she will join her fiancé, Fernando Fábregas (Eloy Azorín), cruise business.

Eva is a writer and is happy for her sister, but sad that the family business ended, and she will be separated from her sister-as she will be in Brazil and her sister will be traveling. She doesn’t like Fernando as something doesn’t feel right about him, but when she investigated a rumor that he was a gambler, she turned up nothing.

As they are driving with their maids Francesca and Veronica de García when they hit a woman in the street.

They rush out to help her and she tells them she is being chased by her fiancé. She doesn’t wish to marry him, but he wants her and has decided he must have her or no one can. She is intent on getting away, and getting on the ship.

Carolina, Francesca, and Veronica want to give her over to the police-but Eva wants to help her and convinces them all to smuggle the girl, Louisa, on the ship in their travel trunk.

Hmm, I don’t know about this…

When they get on board the ship they meet the Captain and the first officer, Nicolás Vázquez (Jon Kortajarena). Nicolás is very interested in Eva, but she shrugs him off trying to get the trunk to her room. When questioned why the rest of their luggage remains below, Eva deftly comments on how Carolina is the owner’s bride.

They get to the room where they free Louisa, and she and the maids go to their rooms down below. Francesca loves the Ladies, having been like a mother to them-but Veronica does not. Having grown up playing with the girls and is now serving them-she is very unhappy at her lot an does not want to be a servant, she wants to be more.

I have to work

Veronica helps the ladies dress for dinner and remains in the room, seeing a man try to break in. He claims to have mistaken it as his room, but Veronica is unsure. She leaves, but does not go down to steerage.

Or on this cruise ship.

Meanwhile, Louisa and Francesca are in the room, and Louisa grabs a vase and knocks Francesca out. She then escapes to the Carolina and Eva’s room and starts going through their things. The man comes back from before and he and Louisa fight.

Dinner is a wonderful affair, and of course the two ladies are honored guests and sit at the Captain’s table. Carolina gets up and dances with her fiancé Fernando, the two then separating as Carolina wants to change her shoes. Earlier, Fernando had a mysterious message telling him to meet at a certain point at 12, but he lies to Carolina that he is receiving a cable. Suspicious.

Eva goes out for some air and is followed by Nicolaus, who is really interested in her. He flirts and things are leaning his way when they hear a woman scream from above and a body hit the water.

Eva is worried about her sister and goes searching for her, finding the room a mess. She continues to search and finds her in steerage aiding Francesca.

The girl’s search their room but can’t tell what is missing. While they are doing that, the crew searches for the body and only find a dress-the one Louisa was wearing.

That is not good,

Eva and Caroline come clean about what happened and everyone wants to hush it up. Fernando has a lot riding on his ship and can’t have it be known as the Murder Cruise or else all is lost.

They say it was an accident, and everyone but Eva and Nicolaus believe that to be true. The two begin investigating.

This will be a dangerous voyage as Eva has no clue who to trust and wants to do everything she can to protect her family and find justice.

Nazis, arson, shady deals, dark secrets, three deaths, a murder masked as suicide, and more combine in this show as we have a wonderful cast of characters.

WATCH IT NOW!!

Nicolas is the dashing first officer and the one who was with Eva when they heard the body fall. He is kind, caring, funny, handsome, and intent on finding justice as well. He used to be a street thief until Captain Santiago Aguirre found him and enlisted him on the ship. He seems to be the perfect one to trust-the Tommy to her Tuppence, but Eva discovers that he has a secret-can she really trust anything he says?

The fiancé-Fernando. He I really do not like as he didn’t meet Carolina when she arrived, when she comes to see him pretty much ignores her for work, and just seems altogether shady. The way he wraps the case up pinning it on an innocent steerage passenger, pretends to be robbed-throwing his rings over the boat and lies about the telegram-having received none. Is there something darker going on with him? Or is he the murderer?

Fernando’s sister and her husband are also on the cruise and they are very strange. Natalia is always drunk, unfocused, and a shadow of a person while her husband just exudes bad feelings. His is also unfaithful as he immediately sets his sights on the lounge singer, Clara. He promises to help her, then rapes her-making her promise not to say anything or he will rip her to shreds. No wonder his wife is the way she is-married to that guy. Clara is not the first and could he have been after Louisa too? Or was he involved in the shady business dealings with the Nazis and want to keep that from being found out. He is extremely eager to get to Brazil.

I HATE this character!

Eva and Carolina’s uncle, Pedro Villanueva has been watching over them and being there ever since their fathr’s death. He, their father, and Doctor Rojas used to be business partners. Was their father killed in an accident…or murdered? Murdered by their uncle or longtime family friend? They are both nervous and trying to search the girls things for some microfiche. What’s on that film?

Hmmm

Veronica wants more in life than being a maid and Sebastián de la Cuesta, rich and famous playboy, pays a lot of attention to her…but is he honest in his feelings? Is he just playing with her heart-using and losing, or does he really feel for her? It turns out Sebastian is bankrupt and trying to hide it from all. Could that be all he’s hiding. Could he be involved in something nefarious? Something he wants to keep hidden?

Hmmm…

Dimas Gómez is the sweetest guy, working as valet to Sebastian and also interested in Veronica. He has an idea to turn cane sugar into ethanol. He presents his idea to Sebastian (who may or may not steal it) and pretends to be Veronica’s sweetheart so her mother doesn’t discover she is sleeping with Sebastian. He seems like a great guy, but he was the roommate of the man who confessed to killing Louisa. Is he more involved in this than he lets on?

Hmm…

Plus to top it off we have a Captain who lost his wife and is very suicidal, a skulky crewm ember with a mysterious burned face, and a ship detective who doesn’t care about solving the crime.

And that’s not all, this show will have so many other twists and turns, once you start watching you will not want to stop!

So this movie reminded me a lot of Dangerous Crossings with the cruise ships, wedding, suspicious guy skulking about, being unsure who to trust. And just like that movie I really, really liked it. It was extremely compelling and the characters are amazing.

I couldn’t help but compare this to American Gothic which I reviewed last year. American Gothic had a great idea, but fell apart in the middle as it would lead is in one direction, then have an episode that turned it back on itself saying that it was false and this was the answer…oh wait, no that’s false-this is the answer, making it not enjoyable and obvious you couldn’t trust the show.

With this, it was done like Twin Peaks or Veronica Mars with each episode adding to the solving of the mystery. There were twists and turns along the way, and was amazing to watch!

YOU MEAN, THIS ONE

And the other reason to watch this? The CLOTHES!! THE CLOTHES are GORGEOUS!!! I want everything Eva and Carolina wear. Even the  guys’ clothing are beautiful.

I want to buy all the clothes!!!!

This film is also a Non-Austen Film for Austen Fans

Yes, I think that this is a perfect film for Austen fans.

At the center of the mystery is the love sisters have for each other. Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are both stories that focus on sisterly bonds and friendship. Even though these two sisters have been doing other things, they have reunited and care strongly for each other. Their first thoughts are whether they are okay-and doing all they can to make sure that their sister is taken care of and safe-sometimes hiding things to keep them from being put in danger. In P&P and S&S the sisters were each other’s best friends and always there for each other, just like in this film.

In this show Carolina is poisoned and Eva stands vigil doing all she can to help and aid her sister-Just like Elizabeth caring for Jane or Elinor caring for Marianne.

Carolina reminds me of Jane-beautiful, kind, caring, always thinking the best of people even though they clearly do not deserve it. She is the older sister, but often falls way to the younger sister’s persuasion.

Eva made me think of Catherine Morland: a reader, strong imagination, an investigative spirit. Like how Catherine searches out the Abbey for clues to the murder she believes to have happened there-Eva does the same on the ship. Except in Eva’s case there actually is a murder! Eva doesn’t automatically make me think of Elizabeth but she is just as stubborn and not interested in the main love interest…at least at first.

Nicolas and Eva’s interactions again make me think of Catherine and Mr. Tilney. Like Mr. Tilney-Nicolas is fun, witty, kind, and makes his interest known. Their interactions are fantastic banter.

VIctoria, Sebastian, and Deemis’ love triangle make me think of Isabella Thorpe, Captain Tilney, and James Morland. In Northanger Abbey, Isabella comes from not a super wealthy family and is on the prowl for a wealthy man. She catches James Morland, Catherine’s brother, believing the Morland’s are wealthier than they are but exchanges him for a larger quarry-Captain Tilney. Captain Tilney is not interested in settling down and after sleeping with Isabella, is done with her. Now Victoria, like Isabella, does not want a second class passenger, she wants first class. She has the love of a good man, Deemis, but she won’t even bother with him as she wants someone with and from more. But Sebastian is a famous playboy, and we see after sleeping with her he uses the same lines on another lady.

And the final reason why this made me think of Austen’s works and why you should watch this?

Yes, the very handsome officers. Mrs. Bennet, Lydia Bennet, Louisa Musgrove, Henrietta Musgrove, and Anne Elliot would all approve.

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: The Buccaneers, Episodes 3-5

For more mystery cruises, go to I Do Think You Are Confused Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan

So a few weeks ago I posted on Instagram that I was reading Crazy Rich Asians, but I couldn’t post on it as I was in the middle of Horrorfest VII.

Or post in my case.

So I saw this book when it first came out on Goodreads, it struck my interest and I put it on to-read, but did not read it as, well you book lovers know how it is:

But then I read this article comparing the book’s characters to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. That made me even more interested.

Hmm…

Then when an opportunity to get a copy of the book came my way-I could not resist. I had to read it.

So first things first? Is it really as good as the hype says it is. You know me-the more they over pump the more hmmm…let’s say exact I am in my judgements-picking apart the book.

Welll…I thought it was……

Hmmm…

Super Freakin’ Fantastic

Now you guys know I’m not going to say that if I don’t really mean it. It was so good I didn’t want to put my book down and I am being literal-If I didn’t have to work I would have stayed up reading or just called in sick.

So I know zero about Singapore, the culture, class system, tradition, etc. I am thankful for all of Kwan’s footnotes as they were extremely helpful. Reading it reminded me of the first time I read classic literature and had no understanding of the culture of why people did what they did and had to go do all the research.

Kwan helps you out of hours of work by providing it for you. I don’t know how your publishing process went, but I imagine there was at least one person who was probably like there are too many footnotes, no one will read that, let’s just get rid of them-but let me tell you-I am so, so thankful. Thank you Mr. Kwan.

So the story begins with Rachel who has been raised by her single mother. They moved all over the country, settling in Cupertino, CA and her mother worked hard and moved up in real estate business. Rachel has studied hard, has her master’s degree, and is a Professor of Economics in New York.

So Rachel is set by a friend to meet the “perfect guy” She is completely not interested as she isn’t really looking and she doesn’t like to date Asian guys. Every time she has gone out with an Asian guy she feels as if they are more interested in her resume and transcripts than who she is as a person (I have an Asian friend who has told me she has had the same experiences), but then meets Nicholas Young. He is amazing, has an English accent, and the two fit together.

They have been dating five years and he decides to invite her to come to Singapore with him for the summer. He thinks they would have a great time, with him showing off the places he loves, and them attending his friend’s wedding.

Rachel is unsure at first but decides to go as it will be fun: she loves Nick, and she will be able to visit with her best friend from college, Goh Peik Lin. Her mother is a little worried, as she knows that Rachel isn’t going to be prepared for the traditional Asian culture having grown up in America.

When Rachel gets there she gets the surprise of her life-Nick is crazy rich. Beyond thought of all rich-like Gatsbyian rich (but legal). His family is one of the top richest in Singapore, and he is expected to be the sole heir of his paternal grandmother’s fortune. Nick thinks his family will love Rachel but…

Majorly

Yes, seriously. His mother, Eleanor Young is obsessed with power and prestige. She has been maneuvering the Young life-first watching and planting herself with Nick’s father at time he was ready to be married (who incidentally has since moved to Australia to get away from her)-stealing him from his long-term girlfriend, and taking a backseat in parenting-essentially giving Nick up to his grandmother-so that he could be her sole heir. This girlfriend has thrown a serious gum in the works as his Nick is prime to be thinking of marrying and this California Asian is unacceptable.

Unacceptable

She begins a plan to throw a more suitable woman at him and remove Rachel from the picture. As soon as she had confirmation of her name, PIs have been dispatched.

Edison Cheng is Nick’s cousin, and a very wealthy banker who is always concerned with image and aspiring for more. His brother is dating a more distasteful woman than Rachel-pop star singer Kitty Pong. His family is determined to end their engagement as well for a more “suitable match”.

Her

Nick’s best friend is his cousin, Astrid Teo. Astrid is beautiful, stylish, and envied everywhere-every man wants her and every woman wants to be her. Astrid has her own family melodrama-intervention story. She fell in love with Charlie Wu and the two were engaged, but Astrid gave in to the pressures of her family and how they felt him being a self-made millionaire was not good enough for their daughter. Years later she met and married Michael-handsome, charming, and even more unsuitable. He is in computer technology and trying to create a company. He’s been so busy with it, making excuses to skip family dinners and such. One night Astrid looks at his phone and discovers messages from a woman-an affair?

Nick and Rachel have fun eating food (Singapore’s number one thing), spending time with friends, and then get tied into wedding stuff. Nick heads off to a truly horrible bachelor party-while Rachel is asked to join the bachelorette party. She finds herself mistreated and targeted as every woman wanted Nick and all are doing all they can to get him before the rings get placed on Rachel’s finger.

After the wedding things come to a head. Eleanor reveals the information found out by her private investigator-Rachel’s father is not dead, as she had long believed, but imprisoned in China. She and Nick’s grandma tell him he needs to end the relationship. Rachel is hurt beyond measure with the truth that her mother lied coming out-especially the way it did- and beyond furious at how Nick’s family and friends have treated her. She’s done. She heads to stay with her friend and go to China to meet her father.

Astrid has run into Charlie Wu and run away with him. He comforts her and helps her track down her errant husband as it turns out he isn’t cheating on her.

He wanted her to think so, so she would leave him. He does not want to be known as Astrid’s husband, he wants to be his own man. Charlie feels bad for the woman he loves, yes loves not loved, loves-and begins to do all he can to inflate the stock and make Michael a millionaire. As long as she’s happy he’s happy.

Nick tries to tell Rachel he doesn’t care about his family and loves her, but Rachel is not taking it. It is not enough when his family will treat her like that. Nick heads back to his friend and recent bridegroom-Colin, trying to get advice from him. Colin urges him that if he loves Rachel to fight for her.

Rachel is headed to China when she gets stopped by the surprise of her life. Nick is there, that’s expected, but he brought her MOTHER?! Since Rachel has found out the truth about her father she would not speak to her mother, but now she stops and listens. It turns out that her mother was married off to a wealthy man who ignored her. He did his duty to try and make a child, but otherwise he abused her or ignored her, with his family being even worse. She had an affair with a nice man, Kao Wei. She became pregnant, and fearing for their child’s life-Kao smuggled her out and sent her to America.

Rachel is understanding of her mother-and after all the information Eleanor found out about how awful her mother’s husband was- she is forgiving and willing to give Nick a second chance. They still have the whole Summer and head off to Marina Bay Sands.

It was amazing and the world they live in-it was unthinkable. Reading this I felt like Nick in The Great Gatsby or Dan in Gossip Girl times a 1000.

A great read I could not put down. I was fascinated with this crazy rich world.

So the question on everyone’s mind. Is this Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion? 

Idea!

NO

Yes

I’m serious.

Yes!

Astrid’s story is very Persuasion I will concede that. Charlie is in love with Astrid after she turned him down he continued to love her from afar-never getting over her.

But Rachel and Nick are nothing like Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.

Elizabeth was from a well-off family, curse you Pride and Prejudice (2005) that makes everyone think they are poor. Mr. Darcy was not as fun and animated as Nick. Yes, Lady Catherine did not want them to marry but their societal classes don’t quite fit. Instead this is Northanger Abbey. 

Northanger Abbey tells the story of a girl from a good family-not rich or gentleman’s family, but one that does well that gets the trip of a lifetime. She goes as a companion to the big city of Bath full of pleasure and parties as such. Rachel Chu is the same. Her mother worked hard and does well for herself, as did Rachel. Like Catherine-we would consider them well off, however people of means: Nick’s family, General Tilney, Blair Waldorf, Tom Buchanan-would not. Catherine finds herself in a world full of sharks-trying to navigate a world she no idea about- just like Rachel.

Nick is wealthy man, but very modest, down to earth, approachable, and fun. Just like Mr. Tilney. Mr. Tilney meets Catherine at Bath and laughs at society’s tradition, going aganist them by speaking to her without be ing introduced, joking around, having fun. Nick is the same way. He even risk disinheritance for her-just like Tilney.

Now there are many factors trying to keep the two characters apart in Northanger Abbey. The first is Jonathan Thorpe. He trumps up how rich and wealthy Catherine is (just like when the rumors abound that Rachel is of the Tawainese plastic Chus)  He tries to drive a wedge between the two as he wants Catherine’s “fortune”. He’s like all the women who are after Nick’s fortune. Also is General Tilney, Eleanor Young and him are a perfect match. Both care about controlling their children’s lives and trying to make sure they choose a path that gives them monetary bliss. Genral Tilney marries his wife for his money and wants his second son and daughter to be wealthily wedded. He steers his son toward Catherine, manipulating and doing all he can to get them together-then when he discovers that the fortune is false-sends her packing. Eleanor works the same way-she tries to get Nick with any number of “suitable women” and does her best to send Rachel packing-succeeding just like the general.

And run fast

Eleanor and Astrid also share some similarities. In the movie (I know what am I saying please forgive me) Eleanor falls in love with an “unsuitable man”-one her father keeps her from marrying. He works hard to create his own business, becoming wealthy enough to please him. With Astrid same story, except the money didn’t matter-it was a class issue.

Pop star Kitty Pong is dating Alistair Cheng. She is a pop star social climber, after him for his money and very low class-just like Isabella Thorpe. Isabella Thorpe hooked onto Catherine and her brother James, becoming engaged like that. Isabella comes from a poor family and is trying her best to poach a wealthy man. When it is revealed that James Morland does not have as much money as she wants-she drops him for Captain Tilney (who ends up leaving her in the cold). Kitty follows the same pattern. When Alistair’s cousin tricks Kitty into thinking the Cheng family has nothing, she dumps Alistair for the very wealthy Bernard Tai.

So what do you think? Are you swayed by my arguments that this is Northanger Abbey? Or do you still think it has more in common with Pride and Prejudice.

Idea!

Either way it is a great story and one that is well worth a read.

For more Northanger Abbey, go to No One Would Have Ever Guessed

For more Persuasion, go to Right Away I Know I Won’t Like You

For more Austen-like reads, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: A Change of Fortune