Heirloom Tomato Tart

Do you like pie? I love pie!

LOL j/k

So when I saw this recipe on Tea Time Magazine‘s instagram I pinned it with plans to make later.

Back in October, @SpilltheTeaWithLucy did a 31 Day Tea Challenge and Day 17/31 of 31 Days of Hallotean was an Autumn Tea Bake. Since I had just baked some sweets prior to this with The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club/Bible Study, I decided to make something savory instead. This is my take on Tea Time Magazine’s Heirloom Tomato Tart (I had to substitute a few ingredients) and since tomatoes are red I decided to pair it with Cederberg Tea Co.‘s Classic Red Tea. I also had to use a pink and red mug to match. This cat mug was a gift from a friend Christmas 2019 and part of a 4 set of cat mugs.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 Heirloom Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Package of Refrigerated Pie Dough (I used Phyllo dough I had bought to make the Fotina Flower Puffed Pastry as the store was out of puffed pastry, but my sister had bought me some so this was all leftover)
  • 1.5 Cups of Coarsely Grated, Sharp Yellow Cheddar Cheese (I used leftover Fotina Cheese from Fotina Flower Puffed Pastry)
  • 1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise (I substituted with Hummus)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Chopped Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon of Green Onion
  • 1/4 Teaespoon of Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Olive Oil
  • Garnish with pepper and additional fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Slice tomatoes, cutting larger tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices and smaller ones into 1/8 inch slices.
  3. Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on paper towels, sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 30 mins.
  4. Unroll pie dough, and press into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, trimming and discarding extra dough.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine cheese, mayonnaise, parsley, green onion, and pepper-stirring to blend.
  6. Spread half the cheese mixture into the bottom of the pan, in a thin even layer.
  7. Blot tomatoes dry with paper towels.
  8. Place a large tomato slice in the center of pan on top of the cheese mixture.
  9. Cut several tomato slices in half and arrange around the center slice. Fill every space.
  10. Spread remaining cheese mixture in an even layer on top of the tomatoes.
  11. Apply thinner tomatoes on top of cheese mixture in a pleasing pattern.
  12. Sprinkle with vinegar and drizzle with olive oil.
  13. Bake until crust is deep golden brown and cheese mixture is hot and beginning to bubble.
  14. Remove from oven and let cool, before removing from pan.
  15. Garnish with pepper and parsley if desired.
  16. Serve at room temp within 3 hours of baking.

 

This was delicious, it was like eating a fancy tea pizza, and you all know how much I love pizza.

It was incredibly delicious and I would most definitely make it again.

For more recipes, go to Lemon Gingerbread Cake

For more Tea Time Magazine recipes, go to Fotina Flower Puffed Pastry

For more pie recipes, go to Mini Apple Pies

For more on pizza, go to My Week With Jane

For more tea posts, go to Turkey-Apple Tea Sandwiches

Why Don’t More People Talk about Mrs. Goddard?

So to be honest, I never really thought about Mrs. Goddard, from Emma, other than she was the woman who ran the home/school that Harriet lives and attends.

Emma 1996 AKA the Gwyneth Paltrow version.

In fact, I never gave her a second thought until a while back I read the book A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma.

But when you think of it, Mrs. Goddard is a pretty amazing woman. She is a widow who has managed to not struggle in poverty but become a mistress of a school-not a college or upper education, but a really pleasant place for kids to learn some skills and live and grow.

“Mrs. Goddard was the mistress of a School-not a seminary, or an establishment…where young ladies for enormous pay might be screwed out of health and into vanity-but a real, honest, old-fashioned Boarding-school, where a reasonable quantity of accomplishments were sold at a reasonable price.”

She has a house and garden, feeds the children good food (that in itself is an amazing kindness-think of Jane Eyre and the slop they eat), let them have freedom to play in  the summer, etc. All I could think when reading this was all the horrible girls schools you read in fiction-Jane Eyre’s terrifying experiences, the way everyone bullies and looks down on Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair, the mean Miss Minchin in A Little Princess, etc. I would much rather go to Mrs. Goddard’s than any of those other ones.

I mean Becky is treated horribly for having a mother who was a dancer/actress (often a codeword for prostitute), but her parents were known and married. With Harriet, she doesn’t know who her father is-but she isn’t treated badly or excluded like Becky, at Mrs. Goddard’s Harriet and any girl there can have a happy and pleasant time.

I also think that for Mrs. Goddard this school isn’t just financial security, but for someone who never had children of her own, she can enjoy mothering all these girls.

I just love how in all of Austen’s stories creates all these wonderful characters and makes them so alive. She’s not in the book a lot, but in it enough to appreciate her.

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

For more on Mrs. Goddard, go to A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

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

My Week With Jane

When I was in elementary school, my brother was in the army and stationed in Hawaii. We took a trip to visit him, but problems with the plane arose and the flight was delayed for a few hours. This was two years after 9/11 so we didn’t want to leave the airport and instead had to wait.

While we were waiting I noticed a lady across the way waiting with a big paper something. Of course being a curious child, I moved closer to look and saw it was a paper boy. Not a cardboard cutout, but like someone traced a boy and decorated it. I was trying to figure it out, when the lady noticed me looking and told me that it was Flat Stanley. A group of teachers had been reading Flat Stanley and passing him around taking pictures and when one had a friend going to Hawaii she asked if she could take him with her.

Wow!

I thought that was the coolest thing. For those of you who don’t know Flat Stanley is a book in which a boy, Stanley, is flattened by a bulletin board, becoming flat, and goes on a series of adventures. One of them is visiting his pen pal by being mailed in a giant envelope.

All I could think was what a great idea and how cool and fun to be a part of something like that.

Well…

Fast forward to Summer of 2020, everyone is glum about restrictions and most of us are not having fun.

When I saw that the Jane Austen Society of North America: East Washington and North Idaho (JASNA EWANID) was doing a Flat Jane.

Look at that!

After all:

They decided for the summer they would be sending Flat Jane about, she staying with the person who signed up for a week and then moving them onto the next home to visit. They then asked people on instagram if they wanted to sign up and I was like, yes please!

This actually became so popular they made several of them. My turn arrived and I was so excited and couldn’t wait to take her out on adventures.

Tea first!

 

Day 1) Sunday, January 3rd

What a Jane of a day! Today my friend gave me the Jane Austen adaption, Jane in Love by Rachel Givney, and then when I got home I checked my mail and inside was Flat Jane. I am so excited to start all our adventures.

It was great reading the Jane Austen Travel Log and getting to see all the adventures and things people had done. I couldn’t wait to add my own. Sunday I had my niece so I didn’t get a chance to do anything with Jane until later that day.

That night my sister and I did our usual #perioddramasaturdays It was my sister’s turn to pick and she chose Outlander, which I had read the first book but had not seen the TV show. For the occasion I made Blueberry Oat Scones (I’ll share the recipe later), that I had adapted from Plum Deluxe and we had Lavender Flowering Tea.

Flat Jane joined us for tea but declined watching Outlander. She was tired from her long journey from East to West and retired early. She espechially liked seeing the flower created from the tea leaves.

Day 2) Monday, January 4th

Ever since COVID19 Monday night has become Game Night! Jane and I played my new Pride and Prejudice game that I had received for Christmas. She won as I just couldn’t get the exact number to make my remaining half of the couple get to the church. I kept rolling over or under. I was planning to try playing Marrying Mr. Darcy with her, but I didn’t end up getting a chance to. I do plan to review this Pride and Prejudice game soon.

Afterwards, we played a singing board game with my sister, a sort of creating a song to a tune like in Who’s Line is it Anyway? When my turn came up I felt a lot like when Lady Catherine demanded Elizabeth play, as I don’t sing.

It was a fun game and hilarious as the game came with “lyrics” that were just too goofy.

Day 3) Tuesday, January 5th

Tuesday night Jane and I had pizza and watched Strong Woman Bong Soon, a K-Drama I recommend for any Jane Austen fan as it has elements that make me think of Jane Austen’s works.

Sooooo Mrs. Bennet

Jane loved the pizza (she definitely wishes they had that back in Regency England) and I think I swayed her to my line of thinking about the K-Drama…but she might have been humoring me.

Well…

Day 4) Wednesday, January 5th

Flat Jane joined us for our weekly Tea Party/Book Club/Bible Study on The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I think she enjoyed it, although it was unlike any bible study she has ever been a part of.

For these chapters we visited the beavers and had: Chami Winter Apple Spice Tea, a loaf of Dutch Crust Bread, trout, chicken (for the non-seafood eaters [me]), boiled potatoes, and marmalade rolls. Of course I had to explain to her the joke about boiled potatoes.

I will be sharing the recipes as soon as I catch up with The Magician’s Nephew posts. 

Day 5) Thursday, January 6th

After the Book Club/Tea Party/Bible Study I thought Jane would be interested in going to a regular bible study. She enjoyed it and marveled at my cat pen, amazed at how it looked and wishing they had such easy things to use when she was writing her novels. I plan to show her an Austen adaption tonight, but am still trying to decide which one…should I show her one I love or one I hate so we can both make fun of it? Decisions, decisions…

Hmmm…

I finally decided to show her one I hate, Austentatious (2015)

This is the worst Jane Austen adaption I have ever seen. We started with the first one and then she caught up to me with the second to last episode. After we watched the whole thing she was very confused about the whole thing and how it even matched up with what she wrote. Same Jane, same. If interested, you can watch it on tubi or you can read my past reviews: We Are Family: Austentatious, Episode 1 (2015), Big Girls Don’t Cry: Austentatious, Episode 2 (2015), I’ll Be Watching You: Austentatious, Episode 3 (2015), Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious, Episode 4 (2015), Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious, Episode 5 (2015), Drive Me Crazy: Austentatious, Episode 6 (2015), Make Me a Match: Austentatious, Episode 7 (2015), Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious, Episode 8 (2015), and Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious Episode 9 (2015). 

After we watched the series, we had a cup of tea before bed. I had purchased two Jane Austen inspired teas from NovelTea TinsPride and Peppermint and Sense and Senchability. I had run out of Pride and Peppermint as I had used the last of it in the tea advent calendar swap I made for a friend, so we drank Sense and Senchability. Jane loved it and was amazed at all the different Jane Austen inspired products that we can purchase today.

Day 6) Friday, January 7th

Today was a shopping day as Jane went with me to visit a local Vintage/resale shop as I was on the hunt for a purple teacup for my friend’s birthday this month. I found this adorable claw-footed one under $10.

We then stopped off at the grocery store to pick up a few items and Jane was amazed at all the food for purchase and the prices! Plus we came upon many things she had never heard of before protein powder, lactose free milk, Greek yogurt, every kind of chocolate you could imagine, and more.

Day 7) Saturday, January 8th

Saturday turned out to be a shopping day as well, as my sister needed to visit Jo-Anns and Hobby Lobby in the next city over (we have a small Jo-Anns and we do not have a Hobby Lobby). I agreed as long as we stop at one of my favorite restaurants, the Tea Bar and Fusion Cafe. They have the best foods and teas. Jane loved the HoneyTea Latte I bought for her.

Afterwards we went to Hobby Lobby where we looked for fabric for a book sleeve I’m having made.

I was looking for a dark fabric, but Jane spotted this beautiful china blue vase printed one that I just couldn’t say no to.

We only visited a quarter of the store and Jane was amazed at everything they had there.

Afterwards we went to Jo-Anns and looked around the different fabrics and of course I had to show Jane all the muslin they had.

Mr. Tilney mentions purchasing muslin for 5 shillings a yard in Northanger Abbey and that was a good deal, but Jane was amazed that today she could purchase muslin for half the price he paid (converting how much 1800s shillings would be worth in our money).

Day 8) Sunday, January 9th

It was time to say goodbye to Flat Jane as I had her for the week and she is about to journey on to stay with another friend. I helped her pack up and will drop her off tomorrow for her journey to the East Coast.

As Jane is going to visit another Jane Austen fan I couldn’t resist sending one of my Quill Ink Jane Austen Inspired Magazine Cover Cards. If you are interested in getting some for yourself check out her Etsy shop.

If interested in having Flat Jane visit you then contact JASNA EWANID to signup. I recommend it as it is a lot of fun.

For more Jane Austen, go to Is Emma Jane Austen’s Only Mystery?

 

Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious (2015)

I have a broken heart…

By watching this horrible show: Austentatious (2015)

But I pulled myself together to write this post.

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. It is absolutely HORRIBLE!

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

Majorly

The problem is that none of this has anything to do with Jane Austen, it is 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…

So, May 2020 was the last time I posted on this. My goal was to review one episode a month, but as you see-I didn’t try that hard to achieve that.

So Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. But as I’ve said before they don’t involve ANY Austen plots or subplots-in fact, besides names they hardly share anything with the original source material. Elinor is an accountant, Marianne a Smoothie Barista, Emma a divorce lawyer, Elizabeth a real estate agent, and Knightley/Grant I don’t know.

So in the last episode, Elinor had a huge crush on IRS agent Edward Ferrars, but she discovers him with a girl in the smoothie shop. She doesn’t know if they are together or nor, bur assumes so and I think this episodes title refers to her “broken” heart.

Elizabeth and Marianne bought a workout machine which Emma volunteered Grant (Mr. Knightley) to put together and then left to “work”, but really hang out with Elinor who is working on tax stuff at the Smoothie Shop. Marianne is supposed to be helping put the machine together, but instead goes to ask Emma dating advice as she is interested in nurse Brandon, Grant’s friend, the one she met in the episode where her skin was turning purple (I am not making this up).

It’s super obvious!

Elizabeth is the only girl who stayed in Elinor and Marianne’s apartment, but doesn’t help put the bike together, instead just talks to Grant (who is hardcore crushing on Emma). Grant is struggling with the bike and invites Brandon over, who is hardcore crushing on Marianne.

I really hate this show, words cannot describe it although I do try, and the only thing I like is Blake Webb, (Colonel) Nurse Brandon. I cannot wait for it to be over. But the problem is we just have this and one more episode but there are a loooot of loose ends and plot points to sum up. Maybe they thought this trainwreck was going to go on to more seasons? (In what dreamworld?) I don’t know, but here we go with this boring mess of Jane Austen’s work. She would be so disappointed in you writers.

They failed!

They took this off Amazon Prime and I was afraid I would actually have to buy the episodes in order to watch it:

Thank goodness, tubi has it.

So we start off with Emma in her office with a bunch of dresses. Grant stops by, why?, oh-as she called to ask his opinion on what to wear for a date. Emma is really into this guy, who turns out to be a former client (oh honey no) Patrick. Oh, sorry- my objection is that Emma is a divorce lawyer and it seems like bad idea to date your former client who was recently divorced.

She should not do that.

Why is she asking Grant and getting angry at his guy answers when she should have asked Elizabeth or Marianne. Seriously, who wrote this? Was this just a shallow attempt at furthering the story by having Grant be here sad and contemplate whether or not he should share his true feelings. What does Grant even do for a living anyway that he is was at Emma’s beck and call?

Elizabeth gets a call and then runs into the worst Darcy in the history of all Darcys.

Ugh…this guy

Wow, for once he is actually is nice and not calling Elizabeth names and saying he trusts her with finding his perfect house.  Hold up, I think he has been abducted by pod people.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Back at the Smoothie Shop Elinor stops by sad and depressed. We get a flashback to the last episode where she saw Edward at the smoothie shop with a girl. Elinor shares that ever since then she has been feeling awkward. Edward senses her very cool mood toward him, and tries to get at why, but Elinor is just an ice queen.

Marianne tries to cheer her and gives her a hug.

Or life…

Back with Emma, Grant stops by with coffee ad lunch. He also pumps her about he date and brings up some concerns-a former client is not a good idea. He’s totally just trying to sway her against it.

Except he also LIKES her…

Elizabeth and Darcy go to look at the house and Darcy likes it. He doesn’t say who it is for but as he is buying it for “her” and she plays piano, it is obvious who it is for:

Back to Elinor who is so mean, and such an ice queen. Edward is trying to be sweet, and Elinor shoots him down. There is actually some good acting here. Poor puppy dog Edward leaves and Elinor feels like a jerk.

She should not have done that.

Wait, Edward comes back! What?

Wow!

He tells her he felt friendship and maybe more? He throws all the cards down that he is involved with someone but didn’t want her to think he was leading her and to apologize if he is out of line, or crossed the line in anyway. Aw, that is such a cute scene. And all Elinor says is thank you, ouch.

Poor Edward looks so sad and after he leaves Elinor cries.

From The Wolf Man (1941)

Grant calls Emma to invite her to a movie, but  of course she still has her date. All I can think again is Grant what do you do? You need to stop obsessing about this and go back to work, or work on a hobby. Grant continues to grill Emma and try to dissuade her. Like dude, seriously dude, dude no. You are just looking like a crazy friend and going to push her towards him.

Darcy invites Elizabeth to lunch and acts like an actual human being. Will wonders ever cease?

Wow! from The Blob

At lunch Darcy asks her why she wanted to be in real estate and Elizabeth chose it because she wanted to be her own boss. Darcy went into law because “it pays well” but really likes to fix things, using law to resolve conflict…and he likes to argue. It is a cute scene but I think it would have been stronger and had a better connection to the source material if it was his family’s firm as you know Darcy is all about his family name and honor.

Emma goes on her date with Patrick (Frank Churchill, maybe? They don’t make this quite clear) and this guy is an arrogant jerk. Just schmoozing smugness and just ugh! Patrick is putting it on thick for Emma and I’m just like PUH-leeze.

Just prattling on about his divorce is amicable and it lead him to be introduced to an exceptional women.

So annoying

Elinor and Grant are hanging at the Smoothie Shop, both sad and down.

Or heartbreak smoothie shop

Elizabeth interrupts them when he comes in and shares her great news of Darcy wanting the house and not being a total tool. We flashback and this scene is actually really funny where Darcy is joking but Elizabeth takes everything seriously and admits “you are fine just the way you are”, I’m sure the writers were trying to echo Bridget Jones’ Diary.

The next day Grant stops by Emma’s work again (what does he do for a living?) and quizzes her about her date. Emma loved it and receives flowers from Patrick (Frank Churchill?). Man I wish this show was a little more clear on who everyone is along with actually copying things from Austen’s novels. Grant seeing the big bouquet, gets down and exits.

Later Emma and Elizabeth are talking, but Emma no longer seems enthused by the date. It’s now just fine instead of being “great” like she told Grant. Everything went perfect-the food was good, the talk was fun, he’s handsome, but…it is also a copy of the first date he took his ex.

Yeah, GIANT red flag!!!!

Yes, when he got divorced he shared a bit about his first date with his wife to Emma and those details match up exactly with what happened last night. Now Emma isn’t sure this is the guy to be with.

Good for you Emma, run far away from this bad relationship.

Back at the apartment Marianne got a persent for Elinor. It is a box of folded paper and when Marianne pulls one out it says “Oliver”. It turns out that all the guys Marianne knows she put in the box, and when Elinor draws a name she’ll show her a picture and if she is interested set up a date.

Awww, Marianne is so cute.

Uh, oh. I hope Brandon isn’t in there. By the way, where has he been this entire episode? He’s the only one who actually acts like he read the source material and he is by far the best part of this adaption. Marianne rejects Oliver and pulls out “H”,

This is funny and a cute thing for sisters to do, but I honestly thought it was just going to be cute guys in movies and they were going to do a movie marathon or something.

Anyways, “H” is a guy with a cute dog, H being the first initial on his credit card (H as in Henry Tilney? Will we be introducing Northanger Abbey in the last episode? No, that would be too cool and too interesting, This show is not that.) H turns out to be the kid of guy who drinks out of the same glass as his dog and Elinor vetoes him as well. Then episode ends.

Soooo yeah, I hate this show. This episode was actually the least awful so far in the series. It still doesn’t have a lot to do with Jane Austen, but at least it wasn’t a mouse killing party or having other dumb story lines like in the previous episodes. It is a waste of time, but at least I only have one episode left!

 

IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN…

For more Austentatious, go to Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)

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

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to Sense and Sensibility (1995)

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

For more Emma, go to Is Emma Jane Austen’s Only Mystery?

Jane Austen-Inspired Magazine Cover Cards

So recently I have been remiss in my correspondence, it has just been getting away from me.

As I was writing to a friend, I was using one of the Silly Austen-Inspired Magazine Cover Cards made by Christina Boyd of The Quill Ink, and I realized that I never did a formal review of it.

So no time better than the present!

So last October/November Christina Boyd starting making these faux Austen-inspired magazine covers. They are beautiful and hilarious! Every time I look at them I laugh at them harder than before.

Bon Ton

Favorite lines on this:

“Diversions:…When Unexpected Handsome Rich Men are Snowbound in Your Country Home…IT COULD HAPPEN!”

We can dream, right?

“Is It Bad Form to Regift Fruitcake?”

I don’t think so.

Gentlemen Magazine

My favorite lines on this:

“The French Fly: Flattering Breeches or Simply Indecent?”

Hahahahaha

“3 Signs Your Lady is Not Into You”

Mr. Darcy needs to read that article, so does Henry Crawford.

Glory Today

Favorite lines on this:

“Which Sister for the Minister?: Choose the Miss Your Patroness Will Approve”

I see Mr. Collins eagerly reading that article.

“Remolding the Vicarage: Shelves in the Closet”

Hahaha…

King & Country

Favorite lines on this:

“Gowland’s Lotion Restorative Claims: Are You Fit to Be Seen?”

Haha Sir Walter Elliot from Persuasion

“I Love the Smell of Black Powder in the Morning: An Interview With General Tilney”

That is so Mr. Tilney

Mademoiselle Magazine

Favorite lines on this:

“Friend or Foe?: Signs She is After Your Man”

Lucy Steele is on it.

“3 Tips to Bring Him to His Knee”

I bet Emma wrote that article.

“Kindness for a Jilted Friend: Where to Bury the Body & Other Words of Solace”

Mrs. Jennings probably wrote that one.

Rakes and Gentlemen Rogues

Favorite lines on this:

“How to Get Killer Legs Without Padding”

Haha I love it!

This should say breeches instead of pants, but I didn’t write this so it gets a pass. It was an instagram answer from a question I asked.

“When Her Eyes Say Yes: The Quickest Routes to Gretna Greene”

This is an issue that Mr. Wickham would pick up.

So these are amazing! And if you love Jane Austen, you’ll love these-and sending them to your Jane Austen loving friends.

If you want them, head over to her Etsy shop TheQuillInk to purchase them.

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part II, Other Eras

For more Jane Austen stuff, go to NovelTea Tins’ Romance Sampler

I Won the Kumi Crochet and Tea India Giveaway

So a while back Kumi Crochet and Tea India teamed up to do a giveaway-and you know me and free, I just can’t resist.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it is diseases.”

Anytime I see a giveaway I have to enter it.

Yes!

The crocheted cup cozy was so adorable, along with the chai coaster. I loved them, but ended up sending them to a friend who was in need of a little cheer through this whole COVID19 thing. She just loved them and they made her feel brighter.

Or disappointed life…

Right now she is on break, but will be taking orders after July 5th. If you are in need of crocheted comfort, you should check her out.

Now let’s move on to the tea. So I love tea:

I love Chai tea and was excited to try it out. I didn’t receive the tea pictured, but instead two boxes of Chai Moments Masala Chai Tea. This Chai Tea was fantastic!

The masala gave it a bit of a kick, but I loved it! It was so easy to make, you can take it on the go, as all it needed is hot water (I like to add a little milk in with mine). I felt so blessed by it, that I gave half a box to a friend who loves Chai Tea, and she thought it was amazing as well.

However, I now wish I hadn’t been so generous. I really LOVED the tea and am down to my last one!

I had so much, where did it all go?

I know I will be buying more of this soon, it is so good.

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

For more tea posts, go to Lavender Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

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

So a few years back I was given a collection of five teas, A World of Teas. As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes better together than a good book and a delicious tea. I decided to repeat it with the with other teas I have won, and since it has now become my new thing. After all, books and tea just go so well together.

Chai Moments Masala

So I was drinking this tea trying to think of a book that was comforting (like the tea), had everything you love with a kick of something new, and Indian. I then turned to finish the last chapter of my book, when it hit me-it was perfect!

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

In this Pride and Prejudice adaption, Trisha Raje is a top surgeon from a rich and powerful family. She has been separated from the family due to a past mistake, trusting someone she shouldn’t have, and is ready to rejoin the fold. In Europe, DJ Caine grew up without much and has worked hard to be a top chef. He moves to America to take care of sister Emma, she has a tumor in her eyes, and starts catering to support them. He and Trisha meet when he is working an event for her brother and it does not go well. Trisha almost ruined his sauce, they argued, she insulted him and he overheard it-thank goodness they don’t have to interact again, right? Wrong! It turns out that not only is Trisha Emma’s doctor, but when Trisha’s sister can’t continue planning the next party for their brother’s campaign-Trisha steps up and has to work alongside DJ. Things get even more troubling when Trisha’s mistake comes back and tries to wreak havoc in everyone’s lives.

This was a great book. The story takes the foundation of Pride and Prejudice but the author makes it her own in this modern adaption. It made me think of the Chai Moments Masala tea as I felt that Tea India does the same. It is a classic Chai Tea, but that masala is not only an added rich flavor, but also gives it a delicious and unique taste from other chais. The flavor of the masala also made me think of DJ and his love of cooking, blending his different cultural heritages in making his food. And the way Trisha eats all his food quickly with none being left, made me think of how I was with this tea. I definitely pulled a Trisha.

This tea also made me think of the book in the way that it comforts. In the book, DJ loves to cook, loves food, and desires to bring comfort to others through his dishes. The Chai was amazing, warming, and cheerful and something I could see the characters from Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors drinking.

It was a fantastic tea and book, and I recommend enjoying them together.

For more Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

Cucumber Sandwiches

So last month my friends and I were supposed to meet up for high tea, as this is something we have been trying to do about every three months to stay connected as it is seems to get harder the older you get.

We had the date and reservations at this amazing historic tea place, but then COVID-19 happened.

So we decided to do our own tea party, a virtual tea party.

We each set up a space with snacks and tea, I drank Earl Grey Tea of course.

I decided to make a new type of Cucumber Sandwiches and Earl Grey Tea Cookies. Both of which were extremely delicious, and I decided to share them with you here, starting with the cucumber sandwiches, which originally come from Spend With Pennies.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise
  • 2 Teaspoons of Chopped Fresh Dill
  • 1 Teaspoon of Chopped Fresh Chives
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Long English Cucumber, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Loaf of Bread, Crusts Removed

Directions:

  1. Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise in a small bowl with a hand mixer, until smooth.
  2. Stir in herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cut crusts off bread slices.
  4. Spread bread slices with cream cheese mixture.
  5. Thinly slice cucumbers, layer over half of the bread slices.
  6. Top with additional herbs, if desired.
  7. Top with remaining bread slice and cut each sandwich into three pieces.

These were delicious! I’m glad I was the only one eating them as I wanted to eat them all!

 

For more recipes, go to Lemon Curd

For more tea sandwich recipes, go to Basic Chicken Salad

For more tea party recipes, go to Scottish Oat Scones

NovelTea Tins’ Romance Sampler

So my church is doing a “secret sister”. You get matched up with another woman in the church for three months, praying for them and sending them notes or giving them gifts.

With COVID-19 having us shelter in place and not being able to meet at church, if we want to give our secret sisters gifts we have to come up with different ways. My secret sister ended up mailing me $20 to buy myself something nice for Easter.

Hmm…

What to buy? I knew I wanted to support a small business as they are hurting, and searched through Instagram to see which one.

Hmmm…

So a while back I found this company NovelTea Tins and instantly loved how cute it was. They are book tea tins and each have a punny title off of classic literature. You all know how I love classic literature.

War and Peach (Peach Tea + War and Peace), The Picture of Earl Grey (Earl Grey + The Picture of Earl Grey), Matcha Do About Nothing (Matcha Green Tea + Much Ado About Nothing), Pride & Peppermint (Peppermint Tea + Pride and Prejudice), Anne of Green Gables Tea (Green Raspberry Tea + Anne of Green Gables), Sense and Senchability (Green Sencha Tea + Sense and Sensibility), Don Quixote: Man of La Manchai (Chai Tea + Don Quixote: Man of La Mancha), and more. You know me, I love:

So I was excited to try these out. I agonized over which to buy as there were so many that sounded good…but I finally decided on the Romance Sampler, as it had The Picture of Earl Grey, being my favorite type of tea-Earl Grey.

Along with Pride & Peppermint (Peppermint Tea) and Sense and Senchability (Green Sencha Tea). I also love both of those teas and couldn’t resist them being Jane Austen. You know me…

The sampler cost about $24 with shipping and handling and it came extremely fast. I ordered it afternoon on Sunday and it arrived on Tuesday.

Tea #1: The Picture of Earl Grey

This tea is inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, one of my favorite Gothic novels where a young, gorgeous, rich man gets seduced by the Hedonist lifestyle and wishes that he would never grow old but his beautiful picture would instead. It does, but also with it growing older instead of Dorian-every selfish, cruel, rude, horrible acts he commits-gets transferred onto the painting as well.

It is a great book, and I highly recommend reading it.

The tea actually has the picture of Earl Grey-Charles Grey 2nd Earl Grey, the namesake of the delicious tea, the one that the tea was presented to and comes with a bookmark with his face on it as well.

This tea is made of Jasmine Green Tea, Black Tea, Rose Petals, Natural Flavor; and has moderate caffeine.

So I LOVE Earl Grey, but I did not love this one. It wasn’t bad, but I felt the Jasmine Green Tea in it was too strong. I tasted that over everything else and I prefer my Earl Grey with black tea, lavender, and bergamot oil. 

What I ended up doing was mixing it with my Tiesta Tea and enjoying it. My mom loved it, so please don’t think I’m saying the tea is bad, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

For more on The Picture of Dorian Gray, go to If Only It Was the Picture Who was to Grow Old, and I Remain Young: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

Tea #2: Pride and Peppermint

This tea is inspired by Pride and Prejudice and I’m sure most of you know how much I love this book.

Pride and Prejudice is the story of a mother wanting to marry off her daughters, as with their father’s death they will have very little-but the story is MORE than that. It deals with the concepts of pride and prejudice, first impressions, whether you should be overt in how you feel or play it close to the heart, etc. It has amazing wit and characters.

This peppermint tea has Elizabeth Bennet on it and comes with two bookmarks, one with Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

Peppermint tea was my first love, when I just started drinking tea. It is made of organic rooibos, organic peppermint, and organic chamomile; it is also caffeine-free.

I thought this tea to smell absolutely divine and it was so delicious. I absolutely loved it, and immediately drank three cups.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Tea #3: Sense and Senchability

This tea is inspired by Sense and Sensibility, and like Pride and Prejudice I love Sense and Sensibility.

Sense and Sensibility follows two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as their world is drastically changed when their father dies and they older half brother moves them out of the house and basically forgets they even exist. Elinor is the elder sister-logical, sensible, and in command of herself. Marianne is the middle daughter-passionate, outspoken, and emotional. Elinor falls for a man, but finds him promised to another. Marianne meets a man right out of her romantic dreams, but is he all that he seems to be? Each sister goes through a journey and discovers depths to them they never realized.

This tea has both sisters on it and comes with a bookmark that has a Dashwood sister on either side. This has green Sencha tea and “sensible levels of caffeine.” Haha, I love that.

This tea was fantastic. It probably is the best Sencha tea I’ve ever had.

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne Dashwood

So these teas were so cute and good, even though the first one was not my cup of tea-but I had  wonderful time drinking them.

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

 

Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part II, Other Eras

Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl edited by Christina Boyd

So first of all-let me apologize.

I have been calling this book by the wrong title this WHOLE time. This book is ELIZABETH: Obstinate Headstrong Girl. Like I don’t how I missed that. I mean “Elizabeth” is in huge giant letters.

I will be fixing that in the other post. I…I don’t have any words…

I don’t know what to say…

So moving on from my faux pas:

Hurry!

Elizabeth Bennet

Whether or not she is you favorite character or Austen heroine: we all love her. After all, who can resist her wit and confidence?

Now some people may think, hasn’t there been enough written about her? What else could be said? Does she need an anthology? Well I think Meg Ryan answers that question perfectly:

Yes, Elizabeth is a fantastic and complex character and Christina Boyd, Elizabeth Adams, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Leigh Dreyer, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, and Joana Starnes have written 10 different stories on her.

In the last post, I reviewed the five stories that are set in the Regency time period; whether before the novel, after the novel, or taking a new path from some point in the story. They were five amazing and different stories that really captured the spirit of Elizabeth and the theme of “obstinate headstrong girl”-I  think Jane Austen would be proud.

This post is going to be on the five stories that are set in different time periods. Usually I review this from the farthest back in time to the most recent, but we are switching it up a bit. This time we are starting with the most recent time period and working our way backwards as I promised Christina Boyd that her story would be last. So without further intro, buckle up in your delorean:

Because here we go:

 

The Last Blind Date by Leigh Dreyer

Circa: Present Day

Elizabeth is a grad student at University of Oklahoma, waitressing at Bennets to put herself through college. Others who work there are her best friends Jane and Charlotte.

Friendship goals!

And an odd guy, Bill Collins also works there. Collins keeps asking her out but Elizabeth turns him down each time.

For the thousandth time

But she is going on a date tonight. Her best friend Jane and her boyfriend Charles have set Elizabeth up on another blind date.

Change Highbury to college.

This time it is with Will Darcy, CEO of Pember Oil and Charles’ best friend from boarding school. Elizabeth fought it, but finally agreed to go on this date, her final blind date (especially as they are seeing her favorite football team.)

Ugh. This is the last one.

The day comes and Elizabeth has no idea what yo wear so of course:

While they get her ready, Elizabeth’s friends encourage her to be not so obstinate and headstrong that she lets her preconceived notions paint a picture of who the guy is when they haven’t even met. Already by looking at his photo and hearing about his business Elizabeth has assumed he is a player, workaholic, emotionally stunted, a jerk, etc.

Here friends remind her of some other quick judgments she has made in the past about men.

After they leave, Elizabeth straightens up her house and takes out the garbage. While doing so-she overhears her date complaining about the blind date. Elizabeth is mad, understandable, but at the same time-weren’t you just doing that with your friends a little while ago?

Darcy comes to her door and he has a slight stutter. At first I thought maybe it was surprise, but after I realized it was a stutter and of course this popped in my head:

I mean Mr. Darcy + Colin Firth + Stutter = The King’s Speech. I’m I the only one? Anyways, Elizabeth is surprised that Darcy isn’t as awful as she thought he was, and is trying to be angry with him still-but has a hard time as they have prime seats for football, and Elizabeth is a giant football fan! Plus Darcy knows zero about football and isn’t intimidated in having her tell him what it is all about.

The two begin to talk, and football is a game where something can happen and turn the whole game in an instant. Will Darcy and Elizabeth come out a team? Or will their misunderstandings cause further issues?

Hmmm…

So I like that this book was set with Elizabeth in college as I haven’t read too many Pride and Prejudice retellings set in college. Usually Elizabeth and Darcy are in high school or out of college. This was a new view.

The other thing I thought was interesting was to have Darcy have a speech impediment. It is one author’s interpretation of the story but I think that adds to his quiet stoicism, although in this he isn’t so broody-it turns out that he is actually shy and used to not saying much.

It was a cute story and they were very cute together. Darcy is so bashful and sweet.

Resistive Currents by Karen M. Cox

Circa: 1980

I love the ’80s-film, music, clothes. When I was reading this I was trying to imagine them in full ’80s clothes. And you know what that means-’80s cosplay of Elizabeth Bennet is a go!

Beth Bennet is studying engineering at Fordyce University, and you know that’s a hard field-especially in 1980…especially for a woman.

Yes, Elizabeth has to deal with a lot of crap from guys mostly as she has to work harder to prove herself.

The story starts off with Beth on break and attending a funeral for her great grandmother, Elizabeth Alton Gardiner. There they see other family members and Beth’s father tries to show off Beth’s accomplishments to everyone. It’s nice that he is proud of her, but at the same time it is upsetting. Is she going to be living her life for that? Or will she be able to do her own thing? That really resonated with me, and I think it will with other readers.

I think this is an extremely on point mark as well-as I think we can all agree that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are not the best example of a good marriage or good parenting. Most people talk about how Elizabeth and her father are close-he finds her the only one worth talking to- but at the same time while his sarcasm isn’t turned on her like the other children, it doesn’t mean everything was perfect between them.

Grandma Alice tells Elizabeth about her mom, Beth’s great grandma (who passed), and how she had traveled West and was a teacher at the turn of the 20th century. She shares a little about how Great Grandma met Great Grandpa and at first couldn’t stand him, but in the end love came softly and they fell for each other.

“It pays to judge slowly, sweet girl. You mark my words.’ Out of respect Beth didn’t disagree, but in her soul-in her very being-she knew Beth Bennet’s first impressions were d*** near infallible.”

Back at school, Beth is relaxing with coffee and a good book at the local coffee shop when she looks up and sees a very handsome guy. They share a few words, and she hopes to run into him again, but doesn’t. Darn!

Beth meets up with her friends-Charlotte [Lucas], Charles [Bingley], and Rene- they talk about class and how much they really dislikes her cranky professor Dr. De Bourgh [Lady Catherine]. It seems like things have just gotten worse as they have a new T.A. who seems to be just as difficult.

Beth is waiting outside for Lab with the new T.A. and overhears Dr. De Bourgh talking about her. The Dr. calls her an “obstinate headstrong girl”. The T.A. tells Dr. De Bourgh that he thinks an ECE education is really difficult to take if he is just looking for her MRS degree or wanting to please her dad. To make it worse-she sees it was the hot guy from the coffee shop.

Beth is angry and hurt! Although, in his defense-T.A. Darcy didn’t say anything horrible about her, he actually seemed to be defending her. If anything that ire should be pointed at Dr. De Bourgh. Beth begins to fume and believes Darcy is going to treat her like every other misogynist guy does, but instead of making fun of her-he seems to ignore her. He never calls on her or looks at her.

Beth waits as long as she can, and then she meets with Darcy and let’s him have it. I really liked this exchange between them as it was funny with all the misunderstandings and twists but how Cox laid it out.

Things get better as Darcy listens to what she said and starts calling on her. In fact, everything is great until Elizabeth gets sick and faints in class right over Thanksgiving break, Darcy takes her to the hospital and stays with her-but as her family can’t come right away and all her friends are not answering their landlines or out of town, the only one who can take care of her is Darcy. Will this time together cause something to bloom? Or will they continue to clash?

Hmmm…

This is technically a double story as in this as Beth reads the diary of her great-grandma Elizabeth Alton Gardiner from 1906. Elizabeth Altonlost her family and is alone. She worked hard to get a teaching degree and applied for the position in Colorado under the name of  E.M. Alton. She knew they probably would’t want a woman (typically settled Western towns wanted women as teachers or in the town so this must not be a very settled place.) She hopes that when she gets there, they will keep hr because the needs is so high.

She meets Sheriff Gardiner-who wants her to go back home, as he doesn’t think she should be here. But Elizabeth is angry and determined to stay. Later, she visits with Jane and Dr. Bingley and overhears the sheriff and the Doctor talking about her, the sheriff saying that it is going to be extra work for him to protect a single woman living alone.

With a greeting like that, Elizabeth is set dead against the man. What can be done to change her mind?

Hmm…

All the interactions between Beth and Darcy were so refreshing and spot on. They were just so darn adorable together, I just loved every minute of it.

So romantic!

I love Pride and Prejudice, I love the ’80s, and I love the Old West-so this one was an obvious winner for me as it blended all these themes I loved.

For more by Karen M. Cox, go to “A Nominal Mistress” from Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

Love in the Limelight by Beau North

Circa: 1930s

So I love movies, especially old movies: you may or not have noticed.

I watch them, I read about them, I just love them.

So when I saw that this was 1930s Hollywood inspired story of Pride and Prejudice I was super excited.

Elizabeth Bennet is a theater actor who landed a huge Hollywood role! How did this all happen? Well that’s the story Caroline Conway, reporter, is after. Elizabeth Bennet is a smart girl and doesn’t want to talk to her, but has to. Of course, she won’t give her the real story…but we get to read it… A year earlier, Elizabeth was ending her seven years time in London. She loves the city and is sad to leave, but leave she must. After getting her heart broken and money stolen, the only thing she can do is go to stay with her sister Jane in California.

All her money is gone, jewelry gone-the only things shs had left was some clothes, a few photographs, and a handful of cards from a mysterious admirer. Reading them always made her feel better, now more than ever.

On the boat she spots Gigi Duvall, former child star who has been transitioning into a full-fledged actress. She had had trouble in Hollywood making the jump and decided to try out in London, where she did well. But now Gigi seems to be fighting with a handsome men. Ugh Elizabeth is so over men-all are big dump brutes or dopes.

She watches as Gigi accuses the man of not caring about her, only money and he promising to start over.

Ugh.

They all say that.

The couple move on their way and Elizabeth goes back to mourning leaving her beloved city. Now in California, Jane and Elizabeth are running lines for the new picture, The Headstrong Girl, as Jane is trying out for the main lead. That night they are going to a party and Jane is eager to get to Charles Bingley as she wants to impress him and get the part.

Elizabeth goes to help be her wingwoman, but she isn’t really needed as Charles has no eyes for anyone else than Jane.

Elizabeth finds herself bored and pushed in and steps outside where she runs into Gigi Duvall. The two talk and enjoy each other’s company when they are interrupted by the man on the boat, William Darcy head of Pemberley Pictures. Darcy and Gigi argue and Elizabeth gets mad seeing him bully Gigi. Who cares that he is the head of the studio. She let’s it rip at him-which surprises both Gigi and Darcy.

Darcy threatens her not being able to work in Hollywood, unless she apologizes, and Elizabeth doesn’t care. When he brings up her sister, Elizabeth apologizes in gritted teeth, after he leaves she vows to one day make him pay!

Elizabeth tells her sister about the party and meeting Mr Darcy, and hearing him and Bingley talk about her. But she doesn’t share that Mr. Darcy isn’t planning on hiring Jane. He thinks she isn’t right for the picture and as Charles has a thing for her, the gossip eags will say she slept with him to get the part, and he will not have is company dragged through the mud. Elizabeth is angry, but what can she do now. Nothing-powerful men suck! She never wants to see him again. Of course Jane asks Elizabeth to come with her to her audition, and as all good sisters she does. There she just has to run into Mr. Darcy-today is not her day, week, month, or year.

They have a exchange and Darcy mentions that he has heard of her and seen her perform in London-leaving Elizabeth stunned. He then tries to get her to audition, but she refuses. She doesn’t want to be in pictures, she’s just here as support. And she would never steal a part away from her sister.

Later, Elizabeth and Jane are talking about Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth finds herself very puzzled. Who is this man? The night before and with Gigi he was a beast and now in the studio-kind, charming, funny?

Who is this guy?

That evening they get a call from their uncle and agent Edward Gardiner. Jane didn’t get the part but she does have a part in the new Cagney film-but only IF Elizabeth signs a contract to be the lead in The Headstrong Girl. Apparently, Darcy wanted to sign her after seeing her perform the year before but didn’t for some reason. OH NO, NO WAY is Elizabeth doing that. Never!

But then Gardiner lays down the amount of money she will be getting, the guilt of her mother and sisters struggling on the apple farm, Jane’s chance at being a star, etc; and of course she says yes.

Ugh!

Elizabeth starts production and actually finds herself enjoying it. Charles is a great director, her costar Rollo Fitz is fun and friendly, Cat-Darcy’s personal assistant and cousin is eccentric and kind,-the only one she doesn’t like is Darcy.

Ugh, he may be “gallant” and “charming” to others but she knews he was a jerk the moment she saw him on the boat. Maybe he acted nice in the studio, but that must have been a weak moment as she is still upset and blames him for blackmailing her into this rile. NO siree she will never, ever like him.

One day on set Darcy wants to talk to her. He gas seen the papers and how she and Rollo have been going out (they are just friends). He wants her to end it (and this kind of thing happened a lot with studios back then) and Elizabeth of course flat out refuses to. The two exchange witty banter and almost…kiss? What?! NO! No, no, no she IS NOT interested in him.

They go to an after party for the Academy Awards at Darcy’s home, Ashwood Manor. Things are going good until Darcy asks her to speak to him in his library. Which Darcy will she get the jerk demanding things? Or…the one that makes her blood boil not in anger but passion? Actually neither. He compliments her, her acting, and offers her a contract.

Huh?

Elizabeth is furious! That’s what he wants to talk about-not them? Not about them being together?!!!! OMGoodness I laughed so hard!!! I love the screwball comedies if the 1930s-Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable, Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, William Powell and Carole Lombard, Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell-and this made me think of them so much. I wish this was a real movie. I could see Cary Grant as Mr. Darcy and Irene Dunne or Rosalind Russell as Elizabeth shouting at him.

Elizabeth realizes that she likes him, both give into their feelings-but are interrupted by Cat relaying that “George” has been seen trying to get into the house. Oh drat, blasted Wickham!

Darcy and Cat leave to deal with it and protect Gigi, Darcy asking Elizabeth to wait for him. After they are gone our plot takes a swerve as it appears George has been hiding in the library the whole time! And George isn’t just Gorge-but Buster! The louse who stole Elizabeth’s money, jewels, and broke her heart.

Gigi and Darcy return and revelations are dropped right and left, I don’t know if anyone can survive the things coming out this night. But as with every good picture we need a storm before we can end on a perfectly lovely note. This was fantastic! If I had money I would turn it into a movie. And that ending with Mr. Darcy and his attempts to woo women-priceless!!

I also love how when North describes the picture they are filming a lot of the descriptions bring to mind Pride and Prejudice (1940). The gowns, the hair, the archery. I don’t know if she did that on purpose (I hope she did) but I love it either way.

For more by Beau North, go to The Colonel

The House Party by Jenetta James

Circa: Fall 1913- Early 1914 (No mention of WWI)

Do you like Downton Abbey?

Have you ever wished for a Jane Austen Downton Abbey fusion?

By God, yes!

Well then here you go! Jenetta James’ story takes place roughly 1913-1914 England (my guess based on an event she mentions that happened in 1913 and no talk of WWI) in an old manor house, Netherfield Park-just like Downton Abbey!

Yay!!!

Jane and Elizabeth have been invited to join in on the hunt and the weekend house party. It looks to be a grand affair and Elizabeth notices a handsome man-handsome but stern.

Look at that guy…

They go to their rooms and get ready for the evening, discussing Mr. Charles Bingley, who only has eyes for Jane, and on the way downstairs meet a friendly girl with a lisp, Mary King, visiting from Northampshire and feeling a little lost and alone. Elizabeth immediately befriends her.

Jane and Mary go off with Charles and Elizabeth finds herself alone. Not for long as she is entered into conversation with Caroline Bingley and the stern man-Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy seems friendly enough but Caroline keeps changing the conversation and starts talking bad about Elizabeth’s sisters, you know how she rolls:

The Bennet girls are trying to get votes for women, being leaders in their community’s women’s suffrage movement.

Elizabeth continues this conversation believing:

“Give votes to women. Then there would be fairness all around and no broken post office windows.”

Mr. Darcy disagrees  saying that such a sentiment is “unlikely” and Elizabeth is incensed. How dare he.

Now truth be told I was thinking the same thing? How on earth can he rebound from this? But after reading their exchange a few times I was like you got me good James. I see what you did.

Wow!

Elizabeth and Darcy part ways-Elizabeth continuing to be furious, but at dinner she doesn’t help but notice that Caroline sits Darcy next to her. And it kind of makes her upset. But why should she feel this way? He’s a jerk.

She’s seated next to George Wickham, writer, working on his first novel. They talk and he shares about how Darcy is a jerk and an antiquarian-he;s living in the past and can’t stand the modern age. Wickham shares more on how Darcy treated him, and Elizabeth decides not to give this jerk another thought. The next day is the hunt, with Elizabeth being one of the few ladies who is riding.

George saddles up next to her and they talk about horses and races and he shares he was there the day Emily Davison threw herself on the tracks to raise awareness for votes for women. Elizabeth shares how she felt saddened by her sacrifice but admires her bravery to fight for what she believes in. She wants to know how George feels, but they are interrupted…but she is sure such a good man would be. He’s not going to be like Mr. Darcy…

They ride out and Elizabeth loses track of George and later she realizes she hasn’t seen him for a while. She searches for him and finds that he has fallen off his horse, his face bleeding, and arm hurt. Darcy comes upon him and at first she is glad for his assistance, but when he wants her to return to he hunt-ugh all she can think is what a horrid man. She refuses to go and he rides off for help. But weirdly-he should have been more concerned with George’s heath but seemed solely focused on her.

Elizabeth is amazed at Darcy’s swiftness in retuning especially as he doesn’t like George, that much is certain. Darcy tells her that he does’t care for George, but that he was worried about her. The two argue with Elizabeth not believing how he could be so cruel to an injured man, a man he has known forever, and calling him a rogue-when he is a sweet and charming guy.

But Darcy doesn’t say anything on that and leaves.

Later, Mary King visits with Elizabeth and she is legit one of the cutest and sweetest characters in this. She is embarrassed because she ate the jar of biscuits given to them and left in the bedroom, but doesn’t want Caroline to  find out and think badly of her. Elizabeth doesn’t really see it as an issue, but shares hers so it looks like Mary only ate a few. Mary is so precious. Mary decides that to thank Elizabeth she will reveal something she knows about George, who she noticed Elizabeth spending a lot of time with. She reveals that George is a ruthless “yellow” journalist. He will trample on anyone and do anything to get his story. He’s been doing a serious on the women suffragists who have gone to prison and are doing hunger strikes. Most of them go by an assumed name and he has ben revealing who they really are in the hopes to embarrass their well-to-do-families and paint them as princesses playing at politics. One woman he really ran through the ringer was Georgiana Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s sister. Oh no. Elizabeth was so wrong about him-and Darcy’s anger at George it all makes sense. Oh no, what is she to do? Can she fix this?

I really enjoyed this story and not just because I git to trot out the Downton Abbey memes and gifs I’ve collected (although that was fun). It was the same story of Pride and Prejudice that we love but told in a different, new, and fun way. Plus I really liked the way she wrote the misunderstandings of what was said. I deeply applaud you!

For more by Jenetta James, go to “What Strange Creatures” from Rational Creatures: Fanny Price & Mary Crawford

A Mate for Life by Christina Boyd

Circa: 1852

I was so excited to see that Christina Boyd included a story. I always suspected she had one brewing inside her.

So I have been made to promise not to reveal certain things as to not give away the ending…

So in this Elizabeth Bennet is a grandma, (that’s why I believe it to be the 1870s), and her granddaughter has fallen for a man. Elizabeth knows her daughter-in-law only cares if he is wealthy and from a good family so she has decided to check on whether this man is really the right guy. She gives excellent advice, some that everyone who is single should take to heart.

 

This was so cute as Elizabeth shares her story with her granddaughter, about Mr. Wickham, the misunderstandings, Mr. Darcy-the whole thing.

How sweet!

That’s all I’ll say on that. I don’t want to ruin the story.

Oops! Wrong book!

I loved it and thought it was adorable. Although I will say one more thing…when her granddaughter’s beau comes over, this meme did pop in my head LOL.

So no lie, when I finished the last story this was literally how I felt:

I was like where’d the book go? How did I read it so fast? Why isn’t there more? Where are the rest of the stories?

I had to go back and count to see if I had actually read all ten stories. It just seemed to be over so quickly.

Each story was a delight and I loved them and the book.

Just one of these stories is worth the amount you pay for the book and you don’t get just one you get 10!!! Why don’t you head over to Amazon and order a copy?

Each story took the theme of obstinate headstrong Girl and created their own tale of Elizabeth Bennet. I recommend it to any Jane Austen fan!

 

I suggest you do! 🙂

For more on Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part I, The Regency

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to P.S. I Like You

For more edited by Christina Boyd, go to YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

I Want to Do Something Nice for Her: Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Most Romantic Moment #6

Belle could

So I LOOOOOOVE this movie!

So I’m sure you all know this story-but I’ll do a quick review just in case. Belle and her father live in a small French village. Her father is an inventor and he goes off to a fair to show his latest creation, but ends up going the wrong way and enters a magical castle where all the furniture is alive and the prince was transformed into a beast.

With a miscommunication as to why Maurice is there, he gets thrown into the castle dungeon, and his horse which ran away travels to Belle. Belle, meanwhile, has been unhappy with her life, and Gaston- a total jerk who wants to marry her. When she spots the horse, she rides off to find out what happened to her father.

There she trades her freedom to free her father and settles in to life with the Beast. Will she find a way to free herself? Or will she discover that there is more to this Beast than his outward appearance?

Most Romantic Moment: I Want to Do Something for Her

So this moment comes about half way to two thirds on the movie. The Beast and Belle have been spending a lot of time together and the Beast has fallen for Belle and wants to show her how important their friendship is to him.

So he thinks and thinks about what to do and what does Belle love. Yes what does Belle love, that’s the most romantic part. He wants to just do something special for Belle-not wanting anything in return or expecting anything-and thinks of something that Belle would love. So he gifts her, her own the library.

Awwwwwwwwww, so romantic!

For more Beauty and the Beast, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more Disney posts, go to Kiss the Girl: The Little Mermaid (1989)

For more library posts, go to Happiness is Having a Library Card: Another 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries