Charlotte’s Story

Charlotte’s Story: A Novel from the World of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

by Carolyn Korsmeyer

I was on Instagram when I came across a post by Heather Moll, in which she was looking for Jane Austen fans to read an ARC of her newest book. I of course am always looking for new things to read (even though my to-read list is crazy long) and reached out to her.

We discussed when she would like the review posted, but after we messaged each other something kept niggling in the back of my mind, I had forgotten something? But what?

After I received Moll’s ARC it suddenly hit me! Back in December, Wiley Saichek had reached out to me to review Carolyn Korsmeyer new book Charlotte’s Story. With him emailing me at the beginning of the holiday season it had completely slipped my mind.

From Clueless

Feeling all kinds of horrible for promising to review the novel and having not done it, I decided before I could check out Moll’s work I needed to read and review this immediately.

When I first read the premise of the the novel, I was intrigued as I have always liked the character Charlotte Lucas and I do not feel she gets enough appreciation. She is often seen as the “what not to do” character, but for a woman with limited options she was cunning and wily. She may not have married for love, but she also didn’t have a disastrous marriage like in The Buccaneers. While she married a man that isn’t passionate, she was for it ate to marry one who wouldn’t hurt her, abuse her, or cheat on her. And while he is silly and bumbling, Charlotte could have had it much worse.

For those of you who have never read or watched Pride and Prejudice, or may not know the character of Charlotte Lucas I will give a brief summary. The story of Pride and Prejudice revolves around the Bennet family, a large family consisting of five daughters living on an estate that is entailed (can only be inherited by a male relative). Mr. and Mrs. Bennet always believed they would have a boy and didn’t plan for an outcome of only girls nor have they been very prudent with their money. Mrs. Bennet is eager to marry all her children off ASAP, as when Mr. Bennet dies they will have a very different lifestyle and it will be harder to find them suitors. Two men come into the neighborhood, along with English officers and a distant cousin who will inherit when Mr. Bennet passes. Mrs. Bennet tried to ensnare marriage proposals but things do not go as planned. There is comedy, drama, and more!

Charlotte Lucas is the best friend of Elizabeth Bennet (second eldest Bennet daughter), and when Elizabeth rejects their distant cousin, Mr. Collins’, marriage proposal Charlotte swoops in. She invites Mr. Collins to move into Lucas Lodge and ends up engaged to him! After their marriage Charlotte moves to Hunsford, to Mr. Collins’ parish. When Elizabeth, Maria Lucas (Charlotte’s sister) and Sir William (Charlotte’s father) visit the Collinses, they are invited to dine with Lady Cathrine de Bourgh who not only is Mr. Collins’ patroness but also Mr. Darcy’s aunt; Mr. Darcy being one of the gentlemen who Mrs. Bennet was originally trying to snare and one that Elizabeth can’t stand.

After this vacation, Elizabeth returns home and we do not hear of Charlotte until the end of Pride and Prejudice. So there is a lot of wiggle room to create a “new” story.

This novel starts off with Elizabeth’s rejection and Charlotte deciding to net Mr. Collins. The two are quickly wed and then go to his home. Charlotte begins busying herself with taking everything into hand (as a bachelor does not always keep the best house). She tries to start a friendship with Lady Catherine’s daughter, Anne, but finds it difficult as Anne has a low constitution and a bulldog of a companion.

Charlotte finds it lonely in her new life, missing her friends and family and is also sad not to be pregnant as soon as she wishes. She also finds herself regretting aspects of her marriage, such as the fact that she was not wooed, won, or worked for. It reminds me of Milly in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and how her husband did not understand the value of his wife as she was won “without effort”. Charlotte also realizes that in her quest for marriage, home, stability, etc.-she never really thought about what type of man she should be looking for.

Hmm…?

When Elizabeth and Maria arrive, Charlotte becomes the viewer watching the scenes unfold, being told later by Elizabeth what has happened-from Darcy rejected proposal to Darcy’s secret.

In this adaptation Darcy and Anne are close cousins, although he has no desire to marry her. It was nice to see it as in Austen’s original piece all is told from Elizabeth’s point of reference (colored by her dislike of Mr. Darcy and Lady Catherine). From Charlotte’s point of view Anne is very nice, although naive, and the two eventually become friends.

The relationship between the Collinses become fractured when Charlotte falls extremely ill and while appreciative of the care Mr. Collins gave Charlotte is furious that Mr. Collins never contacted her family about it. Mr. Collins apologizes and shares about his childhood and that his parents never planned for children, his mother died in childbirth, and he has no familial bonds with anyone. It never occurred to him to notify her family. Charlotte forgives him, but everything splinters over the Lydia/Wickham and Elizabeth/Darcy situation. Mr. Collins wants to distance himself from his family (and rebuke them for their actions); while Charlotte wants to support her friends. After the dust has settled, and a quick visit to Hertfordshire, with no children on the horizon Mr. Collins sends Charlotte to Bath to partake in the waters. She journies with Mrs. Bennet, Mrs. Norris (Mrs. Bennet’s sister), Maria, Kitty, and Mary. Anne and her nurse/companion Mrs. Jenkins also plan to meet them there.

In Bath, Charlotte partakes of the water and again becomes a spectator into the lives of her party. Kitty, Maria, and Mary enjoy concerts, balls, parties, and young suitors. Anne is thrilled with being free from her mother and finds her own suitor, also being followed closely by Colonel Fitzwilliam. *Wink, wink*.

Colonel Fitzwilliam

Eventually their time in Bath ends and they all must return home, Mary joining the Collinses-and with one more twist in life’s plans will Charlotte eventually finds happiness or just sorrow?

So what did I think of the book? I thought Korsmeyer did a great job at trying to mimic Jane Austen’s style and stay true to the novel while putting her own spin on it. The only part of the book I really disliked was that several times Charlotte was moved to observer instead of an active member of the story. For a book that is supposed to be about her, at times I felt she felt became part of the scenery instead of staying the main player.

Korsmeyer does take liberties with creating her own story and some changes to the characters will not appeal to everyone. While I don’t agree with her depiction of some of the characters I did not feel that she did anything that was too contrary to the character’s “possibilities”. One example is the character change of Mary Bennet, who people seem to disagree with the most. In this version, Mary is taken to Bath and after she receives positive attention from her mother (and young men) with a new style of dress and a different way of acting; she embraces a new personality. For someone who is often only tolerated, left out, and the source of jokes in her family, I could see that with this change to actually being wanted, Mary would try to do whatever she could to keep it. Such as, completely changing her personality and making decisions she previously would not do. After all, I have known people in my life who have behaved like that. It might not be the route I would have taken, but I do not feel it is out of the realm of possibilities for the Austen character.

Parody of the none for Gretchen Weiners meme

Reading this book there were two points Korsmeyer made that I found extremely fascinating. The first is that Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy are the same amount of socially awkward, but in different areas on the spectrum. While Mr. Collins covers his insecurities with a constant stream of words, Mr. Darcy covers his with silence and scowls.

“At one point, I had the oddest impression that in their own ways each man [Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy] was evincing his discomfort with company. How very strange to speculate that my garrulous husband and this stern statue might both be simply ill at ease in society.

Charlotte’s Story: A Novel from the World of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Carolyn Korsmeyer

It is a fair comparison to make as we see Mr. Darcy react different when in company he knows/likes-however in the original novel we never see how Mr. Collins reacts when he is at home just with Charlotte.

The other point I found really thought provoking was when Mr. Collins discusses his childhood. In this adaptation, Mr. Collins’ mother died in childbirth, his father hated/blamed him + ignored him, and Me. Collins spent his whole life trying to get people to like him. Then one day he meets Lady Catherine who actually listens to what he says and enjoys his company. If this backstory were the case then in a way Lady Catherine has filled that vacant “parental” slot in Mr. Collins’ life. He now has someone who will “rear” him, give him advice, financially care for him (she’s his patron), etc. And not only does he have a “parent” in his life, but has gained “family” with Lady Catherine’s family. Just to be clear I’m not saying that Mr. Collins actually believes the de Bourgh family and relations to be his family, I’m saying that subconsciously he’s adopted them and believes they feel the same about him. Also if he never really had family growing up it would explain why he has no idea how to act with the Bennets, talking to them like he read a book on how to converse with one’s relations. But again, this is all supposition.

I found Korsmeyer to be a talented writer who is able to write a story that can hold your interest. This book will not be for everyone but I do believe that if you enjoy Pride and Prejudice adaptations it is well worth a read to see a different view into the Collinses and a deepening of characters that are often at the back of the action. Besides having more Charlotte, I really enjoyed the fleshing out of Anne de Bourgh, Maria Lucas, Kitty Bennet, Mary Bennet, and Colonel Fitzwilliam. Whether or not you agree with everything in the story, I still think most will enjoy the stroll down a “what if” path in the Jane Austen universe.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more Pride and Prejudice adaptations, go to Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?

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

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Is You’ve Got Mail Really an Adaption of Pride and Prejudice?

Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)

Finally the last episode!

So for those who haven’t been reading my posts or may have forgotten, this is the worst Jane Austen adaption I have ever seen.

On paper this show sounds great, four of the Austen heroines (Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, and Emma Woodhouse) have been set in modern times and all are friends with each other. Mr. Knightley, Mr. Collins, Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, and Edward Ferrars are in this as well. Should be fun right?

The problem is that the show’s plots have little to do with the plots of Jane Austen’s books. The episodes are all pretty boring, and it does the unthinkable-it actually makes you hate Mr. Darcy.

Yes, this is truly, truly, truly terrible and I really regret ever watching it. But I’ve started it and now I have to finish it. So here we go…

Quick recap – Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. Elinor is an accountant, Marianne a Smoothie Barista, Emma a divorce lawyer, Elizabeth a real estate agent, and Knightley/Grant I don’t know.

As I have said before the plots resemble little from the novels but this is where each character is at:

Elinor received a promotion and met IRS agent Edward Ferrars. The two have a lot in common and she had a crush on him, but it turned out he is already in a relationship. He apologized in the last episode if he ever made her feel uncomfortable or if he crossed a line, and Elinor became heartbroken that he isn’t single. She also held a mouse killing party and went on a date with Collin (Mr. Collins) who was only trying to pump her for info on Lizzie. Also she knows Grant’s (Mr Knightley) secret that he is in love with Emma.

Marianne moved in with Elinor and the two always fight/argue. She was looking for a job and worked with Darcy and Emma for a bit until she found a job at the smoothie shop. She met Brandon (Colonel Brandon) when her skin was turning blue/purple and he likes her. She doesn’t seem super interested, but has reached out to Grant (Mr. Knightley) about how to keep a guy as she never seems to get a second date.

Emma is British (the only one) and a divorce attorney. She works with Darcy and the two fight a lot. She goes on a series of terrible dates set up by her friends (revenge for her terrible setups) and then went on a date with a former client only to realize that wasn’t the best idea.

Elizabeth was hired by Collin (Mr. Collins) to help him find a house but it turned out he was just trying to spend time with her to ask her out. Then she was helping Darcy find a house for “a special lady” but he was annoying and horrible and those episodes made me hate him. She also had to plan family photos, had acrylic nails and found life too difficult with them, and bought an exercise bike that she made the boys put together. Also she knows Grant’s (Mr Knightley) secret that he is in love with Emma.

Grant (Mr. Knightley) is supposed to be a main character but is really a supporting one to council the girls. I don’t know what he does for a living or anything about him other than he’s friends with the ladies and is in love with Emma. His best friend is Brandon who he called and brought into the plot when Marianne was turning blue. Elizabeth and Elinor know he is in love with Emma but he hasn’t told her yet.

Brandon was introduced late in the series, the episode where Marianne was turning blue. He was instantly attracted to Marianne, but hasn’t wanted to ask her out until they get to know each other better, as revealed in the “putting the exercise bike together” episode. He’s the only character I really enjoy as he is the only one that feels like he’s based off the source material. He also is the only character who when they are a part furthers the original plot.

But here we go, last episode everybody!

Lizzie and Marianne are hanging out shopping online as Lizzie wants to treat herself after having to deal with Darcy (can’t say I blame her as in this adaptation he is a total jerk). Elinor warns her she should wait until the sale has completely gone through, but Lizzie is very confident as Darcy wanted the perfect house for his “special lady” and finally found it.

Elinor and Marianne are intrigued with who this lady could be, and it turns out so is Lizzie. I know it is Georgiana Darcy (his sister), but the ladies try to guess is it sister, cousin, or wife? Lizzie is like family members don’t just buy houses for each other, (but some do), and thinks there is a romantic connection although she doesn’t seem that happy about it. But I don’t know why she would like him as they have hardly had any nice scenes together.

Elinor is moving Marianne’s heavy box out of the hallway and trips and drops the box on her foot. Marianne then calls Brandon to come and check if it is broken or not. Yay! I love Brandon, he’s the only good character in this.

We then switch to Darcy and Emma who are working when Elizabeth interrupts them to see Emma. Darcy seems to be in a better mood, but Emma keeps coughing. Emma and Lizzie discover the girl Darcy bought the house for is named Georgiana, and Elizabeth seems a little too curious about Georgiana’s relationship to Darcy.

Grant then comes to see Emma and offers to take her out after she ended things with “her amazing guy” (he was not amazing). Grant and Brandon talk about this, Brandon revealing he plans to ask Marianne out, but I’m not sure she will say yes. This Marianne is all over the place, in the one episode she seemed into him, but the last she didn’t seem to think of him at all. But Brandon seems pretty confident, and if he is confident in the TV world that means she will say no.

This makes me sad, but at the same time I’m happy we are back on track to the original Austen plot. Thank goodness for Brandon or else I’m sure we would have another mouse killing party episode.

Elizabeth goes to Darcy’s new house after everything has been completed and meets Georgiana. The actress they chose for Georgiana is adorable and does the part perfectly. She’s like a delicate little flower you want to protect.

Brandon tries to ask Marianne out but each time is interrupted or something happens. He’s so cute though. Even though it hasn’t happened how he wanted, he’s still going to try.

How sweet!

Grant shows up at Emma’s work to take her on their “date”, but she is most definitely sick. Grant takes her home instead, makes her tea, orders food in, and they talk about her family and their childhood. They imitate her father and it’s super adorable and all I can think is why wasn’t this in the earlier episodes? Like this is good writing, this is great plot, this show could have been so much better if they hadn’t wasted all the “Austen” until the end.

Elizabeth brought food for Elinor, who’s still resting as her foot bothers her. Elizabeth tells her about how she talked to Darcy and is seeing him different, agreeing to go out with him for Thai food. I don’t agree with this as the awful way they made Darcy doesn’t track with Austen’s depictions. If I was her friend I would have told her to pass on him and his bad attitude, which is the exact opposite of how you want your Darcy to be.

After Elizabeth leaves, Brandon comes over to ask Marianne out, but she isn’t home. He decides to wait but when Marianne comes home she has a giant bomb to drop. Marianne met John Willoughby, a photographer, who invited her to come to Paris with him. Brandon hearing how excited she is, decides to bow out and head home.

We end the episode with Elinor trying to convince Marianne not to run off with a stranger, but Marianne convincing her she needs to follow her dream (she never expressed modeling before, like why is this her “thing” now?)

Marianne also orders another heavy box, a present for Elinor and drops it on her foot. And that’s the end.

I think the crew behind this thought they would be able to make more episodes/seasons, but it doesn’t surprise me that it ended early/after one season. So little happened to make it interesting, and to be honest, all the episodes and scenes without Brandon are not worth watching.

The biggest problem with the show is that there was too little Austen in it. The writers saved most of the plot lines that were based on the source material for the later episodes instead of having them be earlier and interweaving them all.

If I were to do this I think I would start with characters from Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice to begin with (later introducing characters from her other works), but to have each season be focused mainly on one particular book. For example I would start with Sense and Sensibility. The first season’s arc’s primary focus would be on how Mr. Dashwood died and left everything to their older half-brother. Marianne would quit college and move in with her older sister to work a bit before she could finish her degree. I also would make the Dashwood sisters biracial, so that could further villianize Fanny Dashwood and it would add an extra tone to her comments “they aren’t really your sisters”. I think Elinor’s story arc would be to meet Edward she likes him, later discovering he’s engaged, and becoming upset at being disappointed by every man in her life. In the end she would seek counseling and that would end her first season story arc, with Edward of course coming back in a later season. With Marianne I would have her not be interested in Brandon because he is too stable and right now the two “stable men” in her life disappointed her (her father and brother). She’s interested in a spontaneous man, getting involved with John Willoughby, who I would make one of those guys who are like I’ll take care of my woman, she’ll never have to do anything, women shouldn’t work, etc.-so Marianne decides to forgo her original college plans; and of course is brokenhearted by the end of it. I like the idea of John being a photographer, director, etc-someone in power who chooses to marry a wealthy woman so that her family money can fund his lifestyle. Marianne’s ending season would be when she decides to focus on herself and agree to one date by Brandon. I would also have the season end with Emma, having encouraged both women, believing that she is the one that brought them to where they are (Elinor in counseling and Marianne dating Brandon), therefore deciding to further her “good works” by directing her attention to two new interns/hires at her company Fanny Price and Harriet Smith. Fanny I would I make her a foster child of the Bertrams, or she is the child of a family friend that they become legal guardians of (so that we don’t have to deal with the incest issue.)

Season 2 would be all about Emma, I see her as being expected as the one to take over her father’s company. I would have had in season 1 that an article come out about her that doesn’t paint her in the best light, or she overhears someone taking about how she is a horrible person and she decides to do some charity work to improve her image. In my head I imagine a character like Taraji P. Henson’s character from Think Like A Man, or Fallon in the new Dynasty. She also believes she’s the one responsible for the resolutions in the Dashwood sister’s lives and decides to try and help others. We could go the sweet Harriet Smith route, or we could do a new depiction of and make Harriet Smith slightly like Eve in All About Eve. I would have Fanny not follow Emma’s “help” but does end up becoming her “real” friend. Also we could introduce the other characters in Emma, such as the Elton’s, be clients of the company. This season could end with her finally finding herself, with her friend Knightley and end with introducing Darcy, maybe a a company party where Darcy and Elizabeth have their interaction and bringing in Emma’s old friend Anne Elliot.

Season 3 would be Pride and Prejudice, this one would probably be the easiest to adapt to modern times as there are a lot of different avenues you can take. End the season with them staring to be together, and introducing Catherine Morland, maybe as a friend of Marianne’s? Season 4 could be one of these ladies, I unfortunately haven’t plotted those out as much as the first three. But they are all easily adaptable to modern times. And there are quite a few different ways to interweave all their stories together.

I kind of hope someone takes another shot at this as it has a lot of potential. You also could make it a rainbow cast and have a lot of different ethnicities in this as well.

So while the potential was there, the series just wasn’t up to it. I don’t not recommend watching unless you wish to be bored.

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

For more Jane Austen film retellings, go to Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to Incense and Sensibility

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to When Trouble Strikes, Head to the Library: 13 More of the Best Fictional Libraries

For more Emma, go to Emma Manga

I Always Deserve the Best Treatment, Because I Never Put Up With Any Other.

Happy New Year!

I had a hard time trying to decide what to entitle this year’s post,was there something I cared for that was having a special anniversary? After looking through the years the only thing I found was Emma (1972) is turning 50. Of course that mean I will be reviewing it (as soon as I finish the last episode of Austentatious.

With that it means a very Emma year, which has already started. I don’t know about you all but lately I tend to waffle between these two thoughts, getting ready for things and having plans fall apart due to some new COVID related issue:

And trying to maintain a good attitude in these trying times:

But no matter how bad it gets, there is always Jane Austen to make you feel better.

Or Read

I’m going to try and carry on with the attitude of Emma. Whether you love her or hate her-she knows what she deserves.

Now on to the year in review!

The Views

This year I had over 100,000 views! That might not seem like a lot to some but I’m thankful for every one.

Wow!

The Top Five Posts

Here are the top five most viewed posts of the year, although again none were posted this year. I guess whatever I post in the actual year is never popular enough? Who knows.

5) Being Friends is Good Enough: Catching Fire (2013) from Romance is in the Air II from 2014

4) Time is the Most Important Thing from 2015

3) A Real Man from 2014

2) What Happened to Ally Palmer?: The Good Student (2006) from Horrorfest VII 2018

1) Fulfilling the List: A Walk to Remember (2002) from Romance is in the Air 2013

Recipes

Who doesn’t love having a nice teatime snack to read or watch Jane Austen with?

Jane Austen Posts

It’s the name of the blog, of course we need posts on Jane Austen or her works!

Jane Austen and the Regency Era:

Sense and Sensibility:

Pride and Prejudice:

Emma:

Northanger Abbey:

Persuasion:

Tea Time Posts:

Jane Austen Birthday Tea Party

Last year I turned 29 and decided to throw myself a Jane Austen themed birthday party!

Jane Austen Runs My Life Collaboration with Madsen Creations

This year I collaborated with Madsen Creations and made some Jane Austen themed clothing and household items!

JARML collab with Madsen Creations recreating the Selena top:

JARML Spooky collab with Madsen Creations

Catherine Morland’s Viewing List

Similar to Catherine Morland’s Reading List, this is a list of gothic films I recommend for the Henry Tilneys and Catherine Morlands who are looking for something spooky to watch.

Spill the Tea, Tea Reviews

I’ve wanted to do this for a while and last year I started reviewing tea places, more to come soon!

Horrorfest X

31 reviews of horror films, mysteries, monsters, etc; and of course Northanger Abbey.

BookishFirst Bingo

On Instagram (@janeaustenrunsmylife) I try to achieve a Bookish Bingo every month. I usually read whatever I like and then see which slot it fills. I write how it fits the categories in my stories and save them for the moth and the one after, replacing it with the new month’s selections. It is a lot of fun, and I recommend trying it out.

July Blogiversary

For my Blogiversary this year my niece reviewed Northanger Abbey (2007) and on my Instagram I asked a series of questions and posted the results. I asked the following questions this year:

  • Unpopular Jane Austen Opinions
  • What Pop Culture book/film/movie/idea do you think the Jane Austen characters would be obsessed with?
  • If there was a company that allowed you to hire Jane Austen cosplayers would you? Who would you want to hire?
  • Which Jane Austen Character is the most annoying
  • What is a Jane Austen adaption you like to watch or read over and over again
  • If you could cast any actor (alive or dead) as Mr. Darcy who would it be?
  • If you could cast any actresses (alive or dead) as Elizabeth Bennet who would it be?
  • Which Jane Austen adaption needs to be turned into a film, TV show, or needs to be remade?
  • If the characters from Jane Austen lived today, what would their fashion style be?
  • Should I make some Jane Austen Runs My Life stickers?
  • Which Jane Austen hero is actually the worst? And why?
  • Who is more desperate to marry off their children: Mrs. Bennet or General Tilney?
  • If you could cast Aiden Turner, Lee Pace, Kit Harrington, or James Frain in a Jane Austen adaption, which one and which character?
  • Which Jane Austen Parent is the worst?
  • If you could cast Emily Mortimer, Natalie Dormer, Rachel Weisz, or Michelle Dockery in a Jane Austen adaption, which one and which character?
  • Which Jane Austen adaption is the worst?
  • What Jane Austen opinion will you not be talked out of and believe until the day you die

MadsenCreations Noirvember

I assisted MadsenCreations in her Noirvember and posted my reviews of the films on my tiktok. We reviewed the following films (although I still need to post the remaining few reviews). Don’t be surprised if some of these pop up during this year’s Horrorfest.

25 Films of Christmas

  • The Thin Man (1934)
  • The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
  • The Lady in the Lake (1947)
  • Backfire (1950)
  • Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
  • Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
  • Die Hard (1988)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
  • The Santa Clause (1994)
  • Jingle All The Way (1996)
  • You’ve Got Mail (1998)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
  • The Santa Claus 2 (2002)
  • Love Actually (2003)
  • The Polar Express (2004)
  • 12 Men of Christmas (2009)
  • A Christmas Wedding Date (2012)
  • The Christmas Candle (2013)
  • A Cinderella Christmas (2016)
  • The Mistletoe Promise (2016)
  • Marry Me at Christmas (2017)
  • Love Hard (2021)
  • Spider-man: No Way Home (2021)

That’s it for 2021, here’s hoping 2022 will be better!

For 2020 in review, go to I Will Be Calm. I Will Be Mistress of Myself

For 2019 in review, go to The Mysterious Affair at Jane Austen Runs My Life

For 2018 in review, go to The Future is Bulletproof

For 2017 in review, go to Life Seems But a Quick Succession of Busy Nothings

For 2016 in review, go to A New Hope

For 2015 in review, go to To Boldy Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

For 2014 in review, go to Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

For 2013 in review, go to Looking at the Past, Focusing on the Future

For 2012 in review, go to Looking Back, Moving Forward

Jane Austen Birthday Party: Decorations

Party time!

So I have been planning my Jane Austen 29th birthday party for a few years, and when the lockdowns happened last year I began to grow worried that I wouldn’t be able to have it. But we moved down a tier, so I decided to continue and we had such a wonderful time.

So in my previous posts I went over the invitations, the prizes, and now I thought I would discuss the decorations.

You know how I like to party plan!

So the first thing I decided was to reuse the table runners and Jane Austen framed quotes from my bridal shower. Yes, even though the marriage didn’t work out the decorations from the party did.

So besides the floral table runners and framed quotes: I also used three of my teapots as vases and filled them with fake flowers. Each one sat in a wicker tray and of course had books and doilies. The white teapot with the diamonds on it and the Chinese teapot both used to be my grandma’s while the doilies were made by my abuelita. Even though they couldn’t be with me, it was nice having them there in spirit.

On the food table, I used another teapot to hold flowers and placed my Mr. Darcy in a stick from Modesto Jane Con. I had wanted to do that with all my teapots, have different Austen heroes, but I just ran out of time.

I also put flowers on the dessert table, and around the cake although I forgot to take a picture of it. The cake sat where the little cupcakes are featured in this picture.

So far all the decorations were ones that I already owned, which saved me a lot of money. I only had to pay for the tablecloths ($1 each at the Dollar Tree). I also hung up Chinese lanterns in the trees and was able to get a pack of 5 for $9 on Amazon.

For plates I could have just gone to the Dollar tree, but for $18 I found this pretty floral set of 144 Pieces (Serves 24) of Pink Floral Paper Plates, Napkins, Cups and Plastic Cutlery. Since I hadn’t spent that much on decorations, I decided to splurge on it.

In the back of the above photo, you can see how we also put these flowered hoops up in the tree and decorated my parent’s backyard bench with lace and flowers. The tables were borrowed from our church or ones my mom owned. The chairs were a mix of borrowed ones from church and ones we owned.

As I mentioned in a previous post, from the beginning I wanted to have a teacup for everyone and have those be part of their favors. All the cups I purchased were about $2-$4, most being $2.50. I found a few in local thrift, resale, and vintage shops-but I really lucked out when I went to Reno and their Goodwill had sooo many. I laid them out on a table and let everyone pick out the one they wanted to use.

I’ve been having so much fun sharing all these things with you, and even though the party has ended I will be continuing to share all my other party plans!

For more of my Jane Austen Birthday plans, go to Jane Austen Birthday: Prize One

For more Jane Austen party ideas, go to Jane Austen Birthday: Teapot Piñata

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

I Tried Madsen Creations’ Reusable Cloth Teabags

 

MadsenCreations gave me this reusable teabag in exchange for an honest review. 

So when I first heard “cloth teabag” I wasn’t quite sure. We all know what happened the last time I experimented with a different kind of tea bag.

I also had a few other qualms, being cloth wouldn’t the dye get into the tea? MadsenCreations assured me that she pre-washes every one so there won’t be any issue with that.

Hmm…

I was also wondering about the bags keeping the tea inside as you just tie them closed instead of having a built in closure. But she assured me that you fold it over twice and nothing would come out.

Hmm…

I also wasn’t sure if they would work for repeated usage as I don’t drink just one cup of tea, and when I do it is actually the size of two cups. Wouldn’t it stain the bag? Wouldn’t it be hard to get the leaves out? Madsen Creations told me that each bag holds 4 tsp of tea, so plenty for me. She also said that the rounded edges makes it easy to clean out. Dump the leaves, rinse, and let the bag dry or drop in you washing machine. 

I loved that as I have several infusers and the one I use the least is the one that is pointy on top as it is hard to get the leaves out.

Also being cloth I realized this would be perfect for any size cup or teapot. It can easily work for any cup you have or squish into a teapot with a small opening. And holding 4 tsp, it is perfect for a tea party. 

So I brewed myself a cup and tested it out.

This works fantastic.

It is super easy to use, just put your tea in, roll the top over twice and tie it up. Steep the amount you need to, clean out the tea, rinse, and you are good to go. You can wash it in the washing machine or hand wash in the sink.

Now I really like to drink tea, so after rinsing my teabag of the leaves I just leave it out to dry on my drying rack. Then the next day I use it again.

I’ve been taking it to work every day as it is so nice to not worry about my infuser getting crushed in my bag, spilling the tea out, or having to take a tin and teaspoon. I just pack it with tea in the morning, put it in the pocket of my bag and then use it at lunch. I bring it back in my washed lunch container and let it dry, then repeat for the next day.

The other really nice thing about this is that the teabag floats, so if you have a tall glass or mug you are using, it is really easy to remove when it is finished steeping.

This also is great when you are at the end of your tea. Often the last bit of tea in the tin is too small and comes out of your infuser when it is steeping. With this cloth one you won’t waste any tea as you can use up the very last bit of it. 

These also make cute gifts or favors as you could pack a friend some tea to try. 

Right now she has the options of getting four for $10 and they come in Harry Potter, Frozen, Star Wars, Justice League, and Care Bears; but you can always DM her and request a specific one. 

I highly recommend it for any tea fan. If you love tea, add one of these to your collection of infusers.  

For more tea posts, go to Lavender and Earl Grey Scones

For more on Madsen Creations, go to I Won the Madsen Creations Giveaway

For more on tea accessories, go to How to Clean Your Tea Infusers

In other news, I will be taking a small vacation and won’t be posting on here for the week. I still will be on Instagram, and tiktok (I have quite a few ideas I want to post)