Horrorfest IX: The Spookiest Time of the Year

It’s that time of the year again! Time for another Horrorfest, 31 days of horror, mystery, monsters, etc.

So I started Horrorfest back when I first began blogging. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it, the direction I wanted to go in. Since I like to watch scary movies every day in October, I decided to review them, and I had so much I fun I continued every year.

I know some people aren’t interested in it or would think it has nothing to do with my blog’s title, but you know who would love it and be so into horror films?

When I started this, I used a lot of stills from the movies I was reviewing and ended up with a a bunch of photos I couldn’t reuse for future posts. Since then I try to add less, unless I think I can use it for future posts or that it is crucial to the story. Instead I reuse old photos and I try to caption each photo with what film it came from, but at times I forget.

Over the years I have established a set of rules and annual films categories. Every year I have enjoyed doing it although sometimes I have fallen behind because of life getting in the way. Usually I have the posts written, and it is just the editing that slows me down. If you have someone willing to edit your work-give them a lot of love, because it takes SO much time to do.

Rules are there must be at list one film or TV show episode:

  • From every decade (1930s-2020)
  • by Alfred Hitchcock‘s
  • that is animated 
  • made by Disney
  • by Stephen King
  • by Tim Burton
  • starring Vincent Price
  • that is something Jane Austen related

The Jane Austen one is the hardest to do, although last year I had several. We had Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans with Alta Mar AKA High Seas,Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders, Rebecca, and Strong Woman Bong Soonalong with the film that led to Sense and Sensibility (1995) being made-Dead Again

Another tradition I added is dressing Jane up in costume every year. Last year I did the Dia de Los Muertos calaveras mask. This year I had a harder time deciding, and finally settled on, Jane the Vampire Slayer-because of the film I will be reviewing tomorrow:

Well, I hope you enjoy this year’s picks-so far we have vampires, ghosts, spooky old houses, buried treasure, aliens, and more!

For the original Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

For Horrorfest II, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

For Horrorfest III, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

For Horrorfest IV, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For Horrorfest V, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For Horrorfest VI, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For Horrorfest VII, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

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

 

 

The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair) [Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery #4) by Carrie Bebris

So this is the fourth book in this Jane Austen mystery series. I have an…interesting relationship with this series. You know I love mysteries, so when I first came across this I was so excited! Jane Austen mysteries?!!!!!

Mystery, you say?

So I read the first book Pride and Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged) and loved it!

It was a fantastic mystery that left you wondering, was something supernatural going on? Or was Caroline Bingley’s new husband gaslighting her?

The next book, however, left me extremely disappointed.

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) right away told you it was going to be the supernatural taking all the suspense out of it. Also the Dashwood sisters were hardly in the book, which strongly disappointed me.

I then decided to take a break, and went on reading and reviewing other things.

After a break I decided to read the third book North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley) as I plan to review a mystery every month (to stay in theme for the year) and because it has Northanger Abbey in it. It was good, but it really didn’t have as much Northanger Abbey stuff in it as there should have been.

I want MORE Northanger Abbey!

I liked the book, but was disappointed that there was hardly any Mr. Tilney in it and zero Catherine Morland. Extremely disappointing, but the rest of the book was good.

Hmm…

So now on to this one. My excitement for this was also high as I was excited to see Mansfield Park in something as it literally gets no love.

So one thing that happened in this book that is very different from the others is that there is no supernatural elements in it at all. The first book had a woman possibly going crazy/being mind controlled, the second a mirror with the evil spirit of the Dashwood’s great-great grandfather who possesses his great-great-grandson. The third we had the benevolent spirit of Mr. Darcy’s mother aiding Elizabeth through her pregnancy. In this, there is nothing.

So we start the book off with a Elizabeth and Darcy staying with Roger Fitzwilliam, Colonel Fitzwilliam’s older brother and the earl (you know the one that inherited everything making it impossible to marry someone without money). Lady Catherine is there with Anne as well. So remember in the last book…maybe not…quick review. So Darcy and Elizabeth were in Bath to meet with this super special doctor, who was a total jerk.

This dude, ugh!

There they received a note to visit with Captain Tilney, Mr. Henry Tilney’s older brother to visit and got caught up in a robbery of a dead man. No, it really tuned out that the man they thought was Captain Tilney was actually pretending to b him as the real Captain Tilney died a day earlier. The only one who could help them was Lady Catherine, so she traveled with them to Pemberley leaving Anne in Bath, with her companion.

She’s free!

Back in present time, Elizabeth was feeding her daughter early one morning when she runs into Anne. Elizabeth’s surprised to see her up so early, but Anne tells her she wants time to herself and Elizabeth understands-its hard to go from the freedom of Bath to then be back with your controlling mother, Lady Catherine.

The next day at the ball Elizabeth manages to get Darcy to distract Lady Catherine so that Anne can dance. She dances with her cousin Col. Fitzwiliam, who has always liked her. OMG, what if they were to get together! That would be great! Look at me, matching up people like Emma.

They also meet a Mr. Crawford, one of the people who dances with Anne. We know Mr. Crawford.

Just in case you haven’t read or seen the film, in Mansfield Park Mr. Crawford is an immoral man raised by his uncle. His biggest hobby is to seduce women, he likes them falling in love with him.

He and his sister Mary go to visit their half-sister and intersect with the Bertram family at Mansfield Park. He starts to seduce Maria Bertram who is engaged, with no plan of follow through, but it hooks her. Later he starts to fall for Maria’s cousin Fanny, trying to woo her, but when he returns to London he runs off with her.

He’s a bad boy

Time has passed, so he is free from scandal-Just like the Count in Anna Karenina. It’s really not fair that he didn’t get something worse.

Mr. Crawford asks Anne to dance with him, but she refuses. Elizabeth tries to get her to take him up on his offer but she goes upstairs and to bed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Darcy has found out that Lady Catherine wants to have an engagement between Anne and Lord Sennex’s son, Neville (a horrible man with am extremely awful and abusive temper.)

That night they retire and Elizabeth finds a note from Anne, but decides to wait until morning to read it.

Oh no, that’s important-you should read it now!

The next day Lady Catherine starts an uproar when Anne is found missing. She doesn’t want Lord Sennex to know as she hopes that she can get her in time for Anne to marry his son. They search everywhere for her but cannot find her. Lady Catherine latches onto Anne’s letter to Elizabeth and in there it is revealed that she decided to follow Elizabeth’s advice and run off with Mr. Crawford.

Oops! She misconstrued Elizabeth encouraging her to dance with her encouraging her to run off and elope.

Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy run off to follow them hoping that they can reach them before they are wed at Gretna Greene. Oh, poor Darcy this is the third elopement he has tried to stop. Lady Catherine is furious beyond furious and blames Elizabeth 100%.

The two men follow and Colonel Fitzwilliam seems extra invested? OhMyGOONESS! Maybe he was in love with Anne but never did anything about it because he thought she was going to marry Darcy, and let’s face it Lady Catherin would never pick him even if he is a Fitzwilliam. Thinking back he did seem awfully eager to dance with her?! Hmmm…

Hmm…

They reach Gretna Greene and are too late, Anne is already Mrs. Crawford.

Darcy kind of starts to lecture her but she rips him a new one when she shares how she feels! Her whole life her mother has been telling everyone they would wed and chasing all suitors always and then he up and married some other girl and she is just growing older. Ouch, I feel bad. I had never thought about Anne’s predicament.

Darcy and the Colonel try to warn her that Mr. Crawford could be a gold digger but she tells him she has seen plenty of those and knows Crawford isn’t one. She is extremely upset that she has to marry the cruel Neville Sennex and saw this as the only way out. The men are resigned and start to take her home, but unfortunately the wheel of the carriage breaks Anne injures her leg, and their are stuck by Mansfield Park.

So will we see Fanny and Edmund and the whole gang?

No.

A few Mansfield Park characters have brief moments but they aren’t really even in the story. This was the problem I had with the other books. Why bother to bring in the other titles and stories if you aren’t going to use them?

I mean, you could set this anywhere else and just add new characters, like the Sennexs. But instead Bbris gets my hopes up making it sound like we will see all the gang and we don’t, and that really upsets me. Why do this? Just to get my hopes up?

So Lady Catherine is angry and wants to make sure that Anne’s inheritance will stay controlled by her and she sends for her lawyer and he, Lady Catherine, and Elizabeth all travel to Mansfield Park.

When all arrive they discover that Henry Crawford has a very bad reputation. They hear the whole story of how he ran off with Maria Bertram Rushworth and how he had proposed to Fanny Price Bertram.

Anne starts to regret her decision, especially after his other wife comes to town.

It turns out years ago he pretended he was just a sailor and got involved with this girl Meg and then left. He sent her money, but after a fire burned the farm and the death of her only family member she goes to find her husband, the only clue being a jewelry box that leads her right to Mansfield Park.

So now who is really married to Mr. Crawford? They call the magistrate who is of course Edmund Bertram speaking on behalf of his father and it is a real sticky wicket. Mr. Crawford married Meg first, but under a false name, but one he was well known so a good lawyer could say that it was legal. And then there is Anne who married him under his legal name. This sound like a Poldark or Mary Balogh novel.

To make things even worse Mr. Rushworth and his mother, along with Maria Bertram Rushworth and her Aunt Norris, all converge on Mansfield Park to speak to Henry and give him a piece of their minds-ALONG with Lord and Neville Sennex (who happens to be friends with Tom Bertram and stays over at Mansfield Park).

Elizabeth and Darcy remark that things would be a lot easier if he was dead…

So I’m sure you all saw what was coming next. He escaped on his horse and there is a search party out for him. They finally discover his dead body.

At first the Bertrams want to declare it a suicide but after Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam look it over they discover he was murdered.

So who did it? Was Anne angry that she may not be legally wed, but also that she has lost all standing in society? Was it Lady Catherine upset that first this man upset her plans and then that he embarrassed the de Bourg line? Could it be Mr. Bertram, Tom, or Edmund…wait not Edmund as he is a minister, Sir Bertram or Tom avenging the humiliation of their sister? Mr. Rushworth out to get revenge for Mr. Crawford sleeping with his wife!? His mother for embarrassing the Rushworths? Maria, angry that he remarried and is in society while she is doomed to be an outcast forever? Aunt Norris, furious that someone hurt her favorite girl? Meg, the first Crawford wife, furious that he lied and abandoned her? Colonel Fitzwilliam maybe trying to get rid of the competition? Lord Sennex or Neville for the embarrassment? Mr. Darcy…haha yeah right it isn’t him or Elizabeth.

We’ll never know.

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are on the case to figure out who and why and get themselves and their family out of this entanglement in order to return home.

But then it is discovered that Henry Crawford isn’t really dead. Well then, who was murdered? And if Mr. Crawford didn’t die was he the intended victim or the murderer?

Hmm…

To further complicate things it turns out that Mr. Crawford has some sort of amnesia and thinks he is a sailer named John married to Meg (the first wife and first wife connection).

It turns out that the person is after Henry Crawford as he is murdered, then Neville is killed, and Colonel Fitzwilliam declare his love for Anne- the Darcys need to find the truth before whoever it is is planning on striking again.

So the mystery was really good, and the double identity and then Crawford turning out not to be dead really threw me for a loop. I had to read to the end.

Tell ME!!!!!

The mystery and the characters were really enjoyable, my only compliant was that I wish it involved more of the Mansfield Park characters. I want to see Fanny, Tom, and William Price.

From Mansfield Park Opera

For more by Carrie Bebris, go to North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Hart of Dixie’s Jane Austen Scene

For more on Mansfield Park, go to The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Unmarriageable: Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan

For more Mansfield Park variations, go to Modesto Jane Con: Opera Modesto Presents Mansfield Park

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

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

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

So today marks the birthday of a very important writer:

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

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

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

What??

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

Mystery, you say?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: Walking on Sunshine (2014)

So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?

Hmm…I don’t know!

That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.

I can’t stop watching!

Here we go with:

So lately Amazon has been horrible in their recommendations, they have bee listing off films and TV shows I have zero interest in.

I was scrolling through the list of recommendations and I saw this ’80s jukebox (songs that are not by the same artist or band) and I had to watch it. I love anything ’80s!

Taylor (Hannah Arterton) is from England vacationing in Italy before she starts University. While on her vacation she met a handsome Italian man, Raf (Giulio Berruti) and the two fall in love.

Raf wanted her to stay with him, and logical, practical, always sensible Taylor thought about it. After all her friend Elena (Leona Lewis) fell in love and is staying. But as tempted as she is, she can’t and instead says goes home-singing Holiday.

Three years later Taylor has just graduated from University and is called by her sister Madison (Annabel Scholey) to join her for vacation in Italy. Taylor arrives in the same place she had vacationed years earlier, Puglia. Taylor is pleased to be spending time with her sister as she’s been so busy with school. She also is looking for some girl time as her sister has finally broken up with her horrible boyfriend Doug, they have been on and off for the past five years.

She arrives and finds their family friend Lil there too and the biggest surprise of her life-her sister has only been there a few weeks and has fallen in love, along with being engaged to be married to an Italian guy, and is going to be married in two days.

This isn’t the first time Madison has made a horrible decision regarding men and love as she is extremely romantic, emotional, and always going with what feels right in her heart.

Madison will not be swayed, espechially after Lil drops that Taylor had a lover in Italy. Madison is surprised her sensible sister could ever have a fling as she has never dated anyone, this “Italian guy” must really be special if he is the only one to ever touch her heart. Madison tells Taylor that they will have dinner with her guy, and she, after singing Venusgoes to get ready.

Taylor starts to the beach and runs into her friend Elena and Raf’s friends. She wants to see Raf, but her friend’s warn her that things are different now. She doesn’t stay but searches the beach for Raf, singing How Will I Know. When she reaches Raf he’s mad. He asked her to stay, and she left him brokenhearted.

The two are starting to talk with Madison comes over and introduces her fiancé Raf to Taylor. 

Both Raf and Taylor are in shock. Raf never put it together as she and her sister look nothing alike, Taylor is a super common name, they have only been together for weeks so he hasn’t met her family until now. Taylor is just stunned.

Dinner that night is an awkward affair for Raf and Taylor, but Madison is full of happiness for all those she loves to be together. She then sings The Power of Love

Raf is not pleased with this turn of events and wants to tell Madison right away. He doesn’t want any secrets, but Taylor convinces him to keep it secret as it will only hurt her sister and might break them up and damage the relationship with her sister.

The next day is the day before the wedding and Madison has a whole list of things that need to be taken care of-asking her maid of honor and sister to do it with Raf. Raf and Taylor do not want to spend anytime together, but do everything-people commenting that they are an adorable couple and it makes them both upset as feelings surface and they end up spending the whole time arguing.

Meanwhile, Madison ran into her ex-boyfriend Doug (Greg Wise) who is a horrible player of a man. He wants her to get back with him, but she refuses as she is getting married. The two sing “Don’t You Want Me Baby” but Doug convinces her to have one last dinner with him to say goodbye.

Back and the villa, Raf and Taylor return, having argued about how much they loathe each other and they run into Madison. She is happy that everything has worked out and asks if Taylor wants to bring the only man she ever loved, her Italian lover from three years ago. Raf is stunned as he thought Taylor saw him as a check off her summer list, all these years he didn’t realize she cared as deeply as he did.

Hmm…

He leaves, and Taylor and Madison talk. Flowers arrive from Doug and when Taylor questions Madison she just laughs it off as a farewell dinner with Doug. No big deal.

Taylor feels otherwise, but Madison is stubborn and unconvinced. While Madison gets ready for her date and hen party/bachelorette party and Taylor and friends all go to the Tomato festival. They are supposed to throw tomatoes at each other and this scene gets hilarious fast as Taylor and Raf angrily sing Walking on Sunshine at each other. But even though they are upset, a little spark is kindled.

They go to the beach to clean up and Taylor sings about her feelings and how much she still cares with Eternal FlameShe kisses Raf and then after realizing what she has done, runs off.

Uh oh

Madison and Doug have an extremely romantic dinner in the Coliseum. But while it is everything she has ever wanted, Madison realizes that no-she doesn’t want Doug. This part, the wooing, the chase is what he does well but the commitment boyfriend part-not so much. She wants more.

She heads back home to get to her hen party/bacheleorette party when she runs into Raf and Taylor talking. Madison quickly puts together that the Italian guy from Taylor’s past is Raf. She is shocked, but Taylor quickly shares that yes he was, and that Raf wanted to tell but she convinced him not to. She is sorry that she was pulled along by the memories and kissed him b-but she does not have feelings for him anymore.

Really Taylor?

Madison loves and trusts her sister so the girls get dressed up like Tina Turner and Madonna and the boys like Boy George. They go out singing  Girls Just Wanna Have Fun/The Wild Boys. After the night out Taylor realizes she does love Raf and leaves for the airport-as she can’t stay and cause trouble between her sister and him. She loves her sister more and wants her to be happy.

Meanwhile, after the party, Doug is waiting at the villa to try and seduce Madison by singing FaithMadison tries to fight him off, almost gives in, and is surprised by a proposal by Doug.

Wow!

Lil went to the airport with some pilots she met and discovers that Taylor there. Lil convinces Taylor to come back as she is the only family that Madison has, and she needs to be there. They hurry to White Wedding

Taylor does come, but the groom is missing as one of his friends drunkenly taped him to a tree. He does get there and the wedding goes on, with Doug trying to object to it and being ignored.

They are going to say I Do, when Madison actually stops the wedding. She realizes that she doesn’t know who she is-she came to Italy to get over a love and just went right into another relationship. She turns him down as she doesn’t love him, but loves love.  She cares for him but realizes that someone else truly is in love with him.

Raf is furiously heartbroken. First one girl rejects him, and after three years he opens himself to love another girl, who rejects him.

Taylor decides to finally take a chance and goes after him-telling him she has loved him for the last three years and wish she never left him in Turn Back Time.

We end on a happy note with Raf and Taylor reunited, Doug after Madison but she choosing to be single and figure out what she wants, Elena and Enrico discover they are going to hve a baby, and Lil and Mikey together with Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.

So in a lot of ways it feels like this movie was copying Mama Mia. We don’t know a lot about the characters-whos is the younger or older (I’m assuming Madison is older), what Taylor was studying in school, what Madison does/why she is in Italy, etc. But the story was cute and the music is awesome as I like the songs.

But why do I recommend it for Jane Austen fans?

Hmm…

The first thing it made me think of was Sense and Sensibility. We might not know a lot about Taylor, but all the characters comment and allude that Taylor is the logical, responsible, and practical one. She never lets loose, she is never one to take chances or risks, only does what is a sure thing. She had a fling in Italy on her holiday and the guy asked her to stay with him, and she thought about it-but she knew she could never do it as it isn’t sensible or practical. Of course she needed to go back to her real life and university. The rest of the film she plays it the same way until the very end when she realizes she does want to open her heart-she does want to take a risk and fall in love-not knowing if it will work out-she throws all that aside and takes a leap.

Madison on the other hand is such a Marianne. She is emotional, is in love with love, and doesn’t make the best decisions when it comes to men. Taylor lists off her past relationships and Madison is just a romantic and can’t resist L’amore. Before Raf she was perviously dating a rascally rogue (played by Greg Wise [who was Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility (1995]). I mean she hardly knows Raf, but loves him and is getting married. I like that they made Madison not dumb as they often do (a smart sister and pretty sister) but she was just hopeful and trusting-things that Marianne also shared. I liked how we saw her progression of character as she decides she doesn’t need to throw herself into another relationship, but to figure out who and what exactly she wants.

Madison in the end has learned to temper her feelings and use sense, while Taylor to open herself up and release her sensibilities.

One thing the movie did really was show the way the death of their mother affected the girls. While the loss of their mother made Madison search for love and ultimately be a little too desperate in her search for happiness, Taylor has become more closed off to love as she doesn’t want to lose anyone. While the characters of Elinor and Marianne were formed to events prior to their father’s death, it made me wonder if that affected Marianne in her pursuit of love. Maybe Marianne wouldn’t have thrown herself so hard at Willoughby if they had their father around, maybe she wouldn’t have been so overtly searching for love if she didn’t have a hole from her loss.

The other thing I liked about this was that I thought it also echoed the sisterly love and devotion we see in Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. Both the Bennets and Dashwoods care about their sisters and will keep secrets to protect them, nurse them, do anything they can for them. In this Taylor wants to protect her sister and have her be happy, so she doesn’t tell her the truth about how she feels for Raf. She goes to the wedding to be there for her sister, even though watching her love marry someone else is more painful than anything. At the church steps Madison gets cold feet, but Taylor just encourages and supports her. Madison shows the same love and devotion when she refuses Raf, knowing they would have a wonderful happy life together-but he’d have a better one with Taylor his true love.

This film also made me think of Persuasion. In Persuasion, Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth fell in love and were engaged, but Anne ended it as she was persuaded it wasn’t a good decision. They are young, he’s going off to war, he could die, her father wouldn’t like it or help her, etc. Years later, she has never married and Frederick has returned-a captain and is hurt over the past. They are put together in situations and it can be very awkward. In fact, the awkward tension the dinner table in Walking on Sunshine made me think of the scenes when they are thrown together in Persuasion. Not to mention seeing the person you love into someone else.

That last scene of Raf and Taylor singing Turn Back Time, I wish someone would recut Persuasion with it because it was perfect. In Persuasion, Captain Wentworth realizes he was a fool and still loves Anne, has only loved her, and writes her a beautiful love letter. In this Taylor does what she said she would never do-she sings her love for Raf from the rooftops.

If interested, this film is on Amazon Prime. 

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to Super Power Girl, Blackmail, Gangsters, and a Serial Kidnapper: Strong Woman Bong Soon (2017)

For more ’80s music, go to Darcy’s ’80’s Power Song

For more Greg Wise, go to Sense and Sensibility (1995)

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

Mystery Blogger Award

Mystery, you say?

So the other day I was going through comments when I saw a ding from another blog, Audra’s Book BlabbingI clicked on it and saw that she nominated me for The Mystery Blogger Award!

You picked me!

Thank you! Thank you for thinking and choosing me!

So What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

“The Mystery Blogger is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.”

Aw, you think that about me?!!

I am so, so, so honored!

Again, thank you for picking me.

Rules:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog ✔
  • List the rules. ✔
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog. ✔
  • Mention the creator of the award (Okoto Enigma) ✔
  • List three facts about yourself and answer the questions given by the person who tagged you.
  • Nominate up to 20 people.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice.
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Facts About Me:

Fact 1: I’m biracial

Fact 2: I’ve never broken a bone, had a bee sting, or the chicken pox

Fact 3: I can’t braid my hair unless my eyes are closed

Questions from Audra:

What’s one question you have never found an answer to?

Why don’t more people love Northanger Abbey? Why is is so ignored. It has a fun relatable main character, an amazingly awesome and unpretentious romantic hero, a mysterious abbey, great commentary on society, etc. It is so fun why isn’t it more loved?

Cold or hot? Why?

Cold. I love fall and winter, wearing sweaters, warm blankets, drinking hot tea, eating soup, etc. I hate the heat. If I could-I would hibernate all summer and awaken in the fall for my favorite season.

What is your favorite warm drink?

Tea! I LOVE tea, Earl Grey being my favorite. I drink it throughout the day-whether it is cold or hot I have to have my cup.

What is one book you will never read and why?

Probably Lolita. Why would I want to read a book about a pedophile abusing his stepdaughter?

How are you?

I’m doing relatively good. I have my job, family, I still see some friends-although I’m missing those who live farther away. Mostly I’m having cabin fever as I want to go other places, espechially when I see memories on Facebook of things I was doing years earlier. I may be ordered to shelter in place but:

I Nominate:

 

My Questions for You:

  1. What is something you’ve accomplished that you feel proud of (big or small)
  2. What is one of the best gifts you have ever received?
  3. Which Jane Austen character do you love, and why?
  4. What book turned movie do you love?
  5. If you could go anywhere (real or fictional) where would you travel to?

Hmmm…

My Best Posts:

It is really hard to choose the “best”, so I’m going to randomly pick some:

 

And again, thank you Audra for nominating me. I am deeply and truly honored!

For more from Audra’s Book Blabbing, go to Shame Book Tag

I Watched Sense and Sensibility (1995) With My 12 Year Old Niece

Today’s my blogiversary!

Yay!

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

And to celebrate, I decided to watch + review Sense and Sensibility (1995).

Last year I did a post on what got me first interested in Jane Austen and mentioned this is the first Austen-related thing I was involved in and I wanted to share it with my niece.

The only thing is, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go down or even if she would like it. It can sometimes be hard to get her to watch any of my choices as she doesn’t like “old” films. But we made a deal-every summer when she comes to visit she has to watch at least one of my picks-Back to the Future, The NeverEnding Story, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Indiana Jones, etc.

Not to mention she’s 12 going on thirteen and you know how that can be. Sometimes it is so difficult to get them to like anything. So I was hoping, finger’s crossed, things would go well.

Please, oh please!

Usually when I do a film review-I discuss the actors, costumes, setting, etc-but for this I am just going to put down our thoughts while watching it and then add the rest later. For this I refer to her as “G“.

Okay so here we go…

So the film starts off with Mr. Dashwood dying and having his son John promise that he will help his stepmother and three sisters. The estate is entailed and Mr. Dashwood didn’t plan as carefully as he should have, so the Dashwood ladies will have very little. John does.

We then meet John’s wife-Fanny Dashwood.

Fanny Dashwood is beyond horrible. I think she is the worst of all the Jane Austen characters to be honest. She’s rotten to the core, mean, cruel, doesn’t care about anyone’s feelings, and calls the Dashwoods “not really” family because they are half siblings. She’s one of the characters I wish I could reach into the book and slap silly.

I come from a blended household’s family. So my niece and I both agreed-We hate her!

That movie

“G: Aw look at the puppy. It’s so cute.”

Fanny and John move into the house and Fanny brings a dark cloud with her as she disrupts the household, is rude, mean, and we don’t like her.

Marianne is playing the piano, such sad music as she is grieving…you know the part

Elinor Dashwood: Marianne, can you play something else? Mamma has been weeping since breakfast. [Elinor exits; Marianne switches to a dirge. Elinor from the other room] I meant something LESS mournful.

My niece said-

G: “Let them weep-she is probably weeping at my greatness in playing piano.”

Fanny invites her brother Edward to visit at Norland Park, upsetting the household and rooms as Fanny wants him to have the best. They want to hate him, but he’s too likeble and the Dashwood ladies quickly grow to like him.

Edward even endears himself to the youngest Dashwood sister, Margaret. Aw, he even sword fights with her.

You know I never noticed before, but the library is pretty awesome! I definitely need to add it to my “Best Libraries List“.

So Elinor and Edward grow closer and closer together. Walking, talking, being cute, etc. One particular scene I liked between them was this one.

Elinor Dashwood: You talk of feeling idle and useless. Imagine how that is compounded when one has no hope and no choice of any occupation whatsoever.

Edward Ferrars: Our circumstances are therefore precisely the same.

Elinor Dashwood: Except that you will inherit your fortune. We cannot even earn ours.

Edward Ferrars: Perhaps Margaret is right.

Elinor Dashwood: Right?

Edward Ferrars: Piracy is our only option.

It’s like really dude-we are not the same. My dad died and we have to move and we have no money-and you feel “idle and useless”. That sucks, but don’t compare them.

Seriously

However, Fanny notices this and does all she can to separate them as she doesn’t want her brother with someone as low as the Dashwoods.

John Dashwood sucks. He makes a promise…a DEATHBED promise, and his dad dies and does he fill the promise? NO!

Now I don’t claim to be a wordsmith-but I am proud of this little ditty I wrote while watching this:

“As soon as dad was dead,

and will has been read,

John said,

You girls get no more bread”

Not Shakespeare, but I’m still proud.

The girls are rescued when Mrs. Dashwood’s cousin, Sir John Middleton, offers them his cottage for a reduced rate. Sir John is awesome. Like he is the sweetest guy ever.

How sweet!

He didn’t have to do anything, they aren’t even closely related-just the sweetest man ever. They see the cottage and it isn’t anything like what I think of as a cottage.

“G: That’s a cottage?

I wish I had a little cottage.

This would be hard to go from having wealth, home, and people to assist you, to than be paired down to this. 

“G: They probably have to be servants now, because nothing in life is free.”

[Dashwood sister is brushing Margaret’s hair]

“G: This is how I am when my mom does my hair [G then proceeds to do a tiktok dance]”

So the Dashwoods are asked over to Sir John’s for dinner and they meet his mother-in-law, Mrs. Jennings.

“G: Mom should get a job” [Pause in movie as a explain how that was unlikely.]

Sir John is so sweet that he takes care of his mother-in-law, he could have sent her home. He also invites the Dashwoods over, not just this time-but other times as he knows they don’t have a lot of money and cares for them-wanting them to eat well.

How sweet!

I love Mrs. Jennings, too. She’s nosy, but she is so nice.

Mrs. Jeninngs and Sir John pick up that Elinor likes someone and they try to figure out who Elinor’s beau is. Margaret gives it away that it starts with an F…

And I love the face Marianne gives to Margaret to try and get her to stop talking. Such a sister thing to do.

They meet Colonel Brandon at the dinner and it is Alan Rickman and he is so romantic.

Too bad Mrs. Jennings butts in there with her matchmaking. If she hadn’t said anythong or embarrassed her, maybe Marianne would have been more fond of Colonel Brandon. I mean he has a romantic past, loves music and piano, etc.

Marianne is so furious she can hardly get her bonnet off.

Marianne is definitely not interested as Colonel Brandon is “so old”.

Mrs. Dashwood: If Colonel Brandon is infirm then I am at death’s door.

Elinor Dashwood: It is a miracle your life has extended this far.

G: Col. Brandon…that’s the guy you like? He’s OLD!

My niece is like Marianne…well maybe, by the time the movie is over, she will like him?

So Edward had promised to visit the Dashwoods after they settled in, all excited for it-but especially Margaret as he will also bring her favorite atlas. However, he doesn’t come but just sends the atlas and a note. All are disappointed-espechially Margaret.

Poor Margaret, I never thought about it until I watched the film this time-but poor, poor Margaret she has just been disapointed by man after man. Her father died, her brother John sucks, now Edward was supposed to come visit and he disappointed her too.

So one afternoon Marianne and Margaret go for a walk…

Marianne: I’m taking you for a walk.

Margaret: No, I’ve been a walk.

Marianne: You need another.

Margaret: It’s going to rain.

Marianne: It is NOT going to rain.

Margaret: You ALWAYS say that and then it ALWAYS does.

[G laughs]

Margaret wasn’t kidding, it rained and it rains hard.

Marianne is running and hurts her ankle. They are soaked and Margaret is freaking out when Willoughby comes riding up on a white horse and carries her home.

“G: I thought you said Willoughby is bad.”

“Me: You’ll just have to watch the movie.”

Willoughby looks so dashing in his coat and on his horse. Margaret and Marianne are in awe.

Wow!

I love how Elinor instantly becomes Marianne’s wingwoman and finds out the name of the “mysterious” stranger.

[after Marianne has first met Willoughby]

Elinor Dashwood: Marianne, you must change. You will catch a cold.

Marianne: What care I for colds when there is such a man.

Elinor Dashwood: You will care very much when your nose swells up.

Marianne: You are right. Help me, Elinor.

[G laughs.]

I love that part so much!

So with Marianne recuperating, Sir John comes to visit. I love how the ladies try to pump him for information but all he knows about is Willoughby’s hunting score and the dogs he owns. Such a man!

Such a man!

Colonel Brandon comes to visit Marianne and she is such a jerk. She doesn’t care at all for the beautiful bouquet he brings. I mean Colonel Brandon has his own conservatory, he probably gave her his most prized and rare flowers and she wants Willoughby’s wildflowers he probably stole as he rode to the cottage.

“G: But Colonel Brandon is so old.”

I don’t know if my niece will ever care for Colonel Brandon. I think she’s just too young to appreciate him.

Marianne just completely ignores him and like doesn’t even look at him during the whole scene.

But Colonel Brandon is just as sweet as ever.

I mean don’t even like flowers as a gift, but I would honor the amazing ones Colonel Brandon had versus Mr. Willoughbys.

Marianne and Willoughby are alone

“G: Gasps.”

In fact they spend a lot of time together-

The day comes and Marianne is expecting Willoughby to propose. Willoughby and Marianne skip church to be together

“G: Gasp, I can’t believe it.”

 

[G sang a few lyrics from marry me]

But Marianne does not get proposed to. Poor Marianne, she is so naive.

After Mr. Willoughby leaves the Dashwood house is all in hysterics, I feel so bad for Margaret. Poor girl, she is disappointed by another man.

Hate men

I love that Elinor drinks tea while everyone is upset and crying.

Mrs. Jennings invites her daughter, Charlotte, and son-in-law, Mr. Palmer to visit.

“G: I feel like I’ve seen him before

Me: He’s Dr. House.

G: OH, yes! I love that show.”

Whenever I watch this I wonder why Mr. Palmer married Charlotte.

Mr. Palmer is so perfect. He is so dry and drool while his wife is like a hen clacking on and on. It makes me think of the song from the Music Man

There is also a Lucy Steele. Lucy Steele zones in on Elinor-she’s like a shark.

I want you!

Lucy reveals that she and Edward are secretly engaged.

What are you talking about??

The girl the guy you like likes is trying to confide in you –awkward

“G: I would have told everybody Lucy’s secret.”

Ouch, this is painful.

Lucy continues to go on and on about her life and story and secret engagement.

“G: I’d be like, I don’t care. Please stop talking to me.”

“Me: Elinor knows everyone’s secrets. They just all feel the need to unload on her.

“G: She’s like Gretchen Weiners”

“Me: That’s why her bonnet’s so big, it’s full of secrets. “

Poor Elinor, to find out the person you are in love with has been engaged for 5 years.

What else?

Mrs. Jennings is the best. She’s so nice deciding to take Lucy, Elinor, and Marianne to a full London season.

“G: London! She can go see Willoughby in London.”

Poor G, she was like Marianne and fell for Willoughby.

In London, Marianne writes to Willoughby a lot, but they don’t hear anything back.

Elinor talks about how they have to see John and Fanny as they are also in London-I’d hate to see their faces ever again.

Colonel Brandon comes to see them, but Marianne is so rude and ignores him.

That’s cold.

They go to a ball and hear of Mr. Ferrars being there, but it turns out to be Edward’s brother Robert. Ugh, Robert is so annoying.

So annoying

Lucy enters the frame-ugh. We don’t like her.

 

G: I would have pushed her in poop.

Me: Like in Back to the Future?”

G: I’d be all ‘Oops I dropped my hairpin’, and knock her over…Or change out her lotion to foot cream.

Me: Yes, Lucy is so Regina George.”

We so do not like Lucy.

Marianne goes to see Willoughby and he disses her in front of everyone. Mr. Willoughby received and threw away every one of Marianne’s letters, ouch.

Lucy is so mean gossiping about the Dashwoods, she is so Regina George.

They leave early and back at the house, I love this scene, Elinor comforts Marianne-it reminds me of comforting my sister when she dated a jerk.

Mrs. Jennings finds out about Mr. Willoughby. It turns out that he is engaged to the wealthy Miss Grey. Ooh, this makes Mrs. Jennings so mad!

Mrs. Jennings goes full mama bear-you hurt my friends I break your face.

Colonel Brandon comes to visit and ask after Marianne, and speak to Elinor.

“G: I hope Elinor doesn’t get with Colonel Brandon”

Colonel Brandon reveals that he has a ward, a ward who has been missing for 8 months. He finally found her and it turns out she is pregnant. She was with Willoughby and he abandoned her. His aunt Lady Allen has refused to leave him anything to punish him (go Lady Allen), and a young man who gambles, has no money, and appreciates the finer things in life-he needed a wealthy wife.

Clearly a Won’tougby

And again, Elinor has collected another secret.

“G: That’s why he is evil! He has a baby and doesn’t care!!! Walks around having kids with people only cares about himself.”

I know. And poor Colonel Brandon, the agony he must have felt worrying about his ward.

 

Later Lucy also comes to visit.

“Mrs. Jennings: Here’s Lucy to cheer you up.”

“Me: She wouldn’t cheer me up.

G: Ugh, you again.”

Edward comes when she is talking to Lucy, I love this scene so much it is so hilarious.

I love Edward’s face in this scene. Such tension-his face is like I want to vomit I wish I could walk back out of this room.

Of course, Edward and Lucy leave together.

G: We don’t like Lucy. We would push her in horse poop if we could

Me: That’s the truth.

G: We would push him [Willoughby] in horse poop if we could.

Me: We totally should.

Fanny can’t stand her sisters-in-law, but agrees to take Lucy with them as she is in need and so much more refined. The two grow close and Lucy decided to reveal her secret engagement. This is my favorite scene.

Lucy: It is a very great secret. I’ve told nobody in the world for fear of discovery.

Fanny: [greedily] I am the soul of discretion.

Lucy: If I dared tell…

Fanny: I can assure you, I’m as silent as the grave. [Lucy whispers in Fanny’s ear; Fanny’s kindly disposition changes abruptly turning against Lucy, enraged and horrified] Viper in my bosom!

[G laughs]

Lucy is sooo lucky Fanny didn’t kill her.

G: Mrs. Jennings ran all the way to spill the tea.

Mrs. Jennings was up early and she finds out what happened and how Edward refused to break up the engagement and lost his inheritance.

Col B is so romantic! He comes to Elinor and gifts Edward his church and “a living” so he and Lucy can get married.  So sweet.

How sweet!

“G: Colonel Brandon is so old….You know, I would never name my future daughter Lucy now.

Yes she has ruined it.

Colonel Brandon is the only man who doesn’t disappoint in this film, him and Sir John.

Soooo cute!!!!

The girls are on their way home when they stop at the Palmers, not too far from Willoughby’s house. Marianne decides to take a walk, even though Elinor attempts to dissuade her.

“Marianne: It shall not rain.”

“G: Don’t you remember last time?”

But it does rain, and Marianne gets stuck out there-this time saved by Colonel Brandon.

Aw, Colonel Brandon carries her all the way from the field to the Palmer’s house. I think it was even farther than Willoughby and therefore he is stronger and better than Willoughby.

“Elinor: [To Mr. Palmer] Marianne needs a doctor”

“G: Good thing he is one. [Laughs]

Me: Let me grab my cane and pull out the whiteboard.”

Colonel Brandon: What can I do?

Elinor Dashwood: Colonel, you have done so much already…

Colonel Brandon: Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad.

He’s so romantic!

They are bloodletting her, she’s so sick.

“G: Gasp, OMG!”

Watching this scene again makes me realize how serious it was when Jane got sick. It makes you realize Mrs. Bennet could have killed her.

Colonel Brandon had left to fetch Mrs. Dashwood, and we he returns the worst is over. Aww, Marianne even thanks him

Back at Barton Cottage, Margaret has a new treehouse. I wonder who built it for her? It had to be Sir John or Colonel Brandon

Marianne and Colonel Brandon visit together, he reading aloud to her. They are so cute!

“G: [He’s] So old compared to Willoughby”

This is one of my favorite scenes!

[after a reading of Spenser’s The Faerie Queen]

Marianne: Shall we continue tomorrow?

Colonel Brandon: No, for I must away.

Marianne: Away? Where?

Colonel Brandon: That I cannot tell you. It is a secret.

So romantic!!!!! So much expression in his face when he realizes she wants him to stay.

How sweet!

“G: He needs to be gone long.”

Later the Dashwoods learn of the wedding. Lucy Steele, now Ferrars, sent her hellos.

“G: Ew Lucy”

We don’t like Lucy!

Then Edward comes and everyone is awkward and surprised to see him here. Margaret is so cute trying to full in the awkward silence.

Edward Ferrars: I trust I find you all well?

Marianne: Thank you, Edward, we are all very well.

Margaret: We’ve been enjoying very fine weather. [Marianne nudges her] Well, we have.

Edward Ferrars: Well, I-I’m glad to hear it. The roads were very… dry.

They leave Edward and Elinor, and I love how he proposes as she cries.

Double Wedding!

“G: Colonel Brandon and Marianne, NO!”

Well…there is hope her thoughts will change when  she’s older.

Willoughby watches the wedding from afar

“G: He has women legs. Never maryry a man with women legs.”

And her final thoughts:

“G: I like the film, but Colonel Brandon is so old. Mr. Willoughby looks better but he has women legs.”

At least she liked it!

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to NovelTea Tins’ Romance Sampler

For more film and TV adaptions, go to Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more blogiversary posts, go to I Only Read Pride and Prejudice Because I Hated the Keira Knightley Adaptation

Now for the 8th anniversary it is bronze, pottery, or lace. Let’s see what I can find as a gift on here…

From 2012, Lace on Emma’s Wedding Gown

A “Pottery” meme from 2014

Lace on Sabrina Spellman’s Wedding dress in 2015

The Lace on Jane’s wedding dress in 2016

Soon to be!

Bronze Entry to Jerusalem from 2017

Lace from Praying With Jane from 2020

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

Yay!

And a special thank you to all who follow me:

 

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

Creepy Demon Mask & Haunted Hampstead Heath House of Horrors!

So this year’s theme is “mysteries” in honor of Agatha Christie’s novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles turning 100 years old. To really have this theme be present I decided to review a mystery every month…somehow and ideally connecting it to Jane Austen.

Mystery, you say?

In January, I wasn’t sure what to do when I received a goblin in my mailbox.

It turned out to be a a mysterious package from The Mysterious Package Company

Ah, mysterious

So the first package seemed to be saying that there is something wrong with 27 East Heath Road. The architect, Henry Griggs, had been going crazy trying to finish building the house, after his wife died-using all his money. He even felt as if something was there making him continue, something altering his plans, something controlling him. The house was almost complete, but Griggs has descended into some kind of madness. He ends up putting his daughter in an orphanage and Griggs disappears, presumed dead.

Then in the second package, the house is sold to Dr. Elliot, a physician who likes to experiment on himself with his tinctures.

He has a strange patient, Beth Siggers (could it be ElizaBeth Griggs?) who acts off in his home. He also starts seeing something in his mirror. He died from overdose…or murder?

Hmm…

Then the house was bought by magician’s assistant, Héléne Ashworth and her magician husband The Great Goodyear, Claude Goodyear. They found out about it from her friend, Lilibeth. Helene loves the house, espechially the conservatory as she can grow all her plants. But then strange things happen-other plants are being planted, she starts having trouble remembering, she feels a presence in the house, and she thinks she sees something. She starts searching and dies of fright…or was she murdered?

Hmm…

So now for the third package.

This didn’t come with too many things:

  • A wooden box that says Elise Face Cosmetiques (the company Héléne Ashworth ordered her stage makeup from)
  • A demon mask
  • An article “Haunted Hampstead Heath House of Horror!” from Grime News
  • A letter from Elizabeth Griggs
  • A “bloody” hatpin
  • Three photographs
  • The blueprints to Griggs’ Estate

So when I got this package the first thing I had to look at was what was in the box-the big thing under the letter and photographs. It was this big, creepy, demon mask thing.

Since then I have put it back in its box as I have no clue what to do with it. It is teriffying.

SUPER creeped

Like 1/4 of me wanted to put it on, but the other 3/4 was terrified that if I did my face would change like in that one Twilight Zone episode, “The Masks”.

So creepy. Put it back in the box!

The letter is from Elizabeth Griggs written to her dead father July 29, 1897

Elizabeth Griggs has finally come into her inheritance and has purchased the one thing she has always wanted, the Griggs Estate. It turns out my suspicions were right! She admits that she created these other personas-Beth Spriggs, Lilibet, the “psychic” Mrs. Alizbeta Divak to protect herself. Now Elizabeth is finally herself and has her home.

Elizabeth shares that she was the one who saw the goblin first and received a letter from it, but her father figured out the clues to decoding it. (So the thing must have already been there-the thing that possessed her father.)

Elizabeth loves being in the house although there were a ton of changes made to it after she was sent to the orphanage and she enjoys every minute of rediscovering “her old friend”.

Haunted house!

The newspaper is an article about another murder in the Griggs estate. It was published September 13, 1987.

Last month London was scandalized by two mysterious and bloody deaths, Miss Elizabeth Griggs (24) was putting on her evening dress when a hideous man in a devilish mask and tattered nightshirt came crashing through the mirror.

Elizabeth had been in the middle of setting her hat and instinctively took the hatpin (that’s where the hatpin comes from!!!) and stabbed him in the throat, but even though she attacked him his body falling forward caused her to crash into the fireplace mantle and she died.

As Henry Griggs lay dying he croaked out “Lizzy! It is you!” (So I Was right, he was hiding in the house all along.)

But even though the two are dead and gone there are still some strange noises, banging, ghastly cries, etc. (It lives!)

Ghosts? Demons?

The blueprints are fascinating as the estate is huge with all kinds of secret hatches and passageways, and the secret language I need to decode.

Wow!

The first photograph is of a man in the mask I now own-Henry Griggs. With more secret writing on the back.

Hmm…what does it say?

The second is of a man dead in a car-the doctor, Dr Elliot! On the back it says:

“His last dose

Friday, February, 12 1892”

The third photograph is of a woman on the bed and a figure in the mirror. But if Griggs is taking the photograph-who’s in the mirror?

On the back it says:
She’ll snoop no more

Monday, January 18, 1897″

It’s Héléne, oh poor Héléne.

Okay, so at this point it is time to decode these messages. I must know the truth!

Mystery, you say?

I just spent three hours decoding this when I realize I did’t read all of Elizabeth’s letter. She has the decoder on the back! Ugh.

AAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHH!!!!!!

I feel so dumb-no I feel like Julie when she didn’t read all the instructions in Jumanji. 

Well at least I feel like an awesome decoder person.

DECODING

So I put the quote of what came before the secret message, and then under in bold the decoded message.

PACKAGE ONE

Forfeiture Notice

“This property was transferred to City Bank, Threadneedle Street, Corner of Finch Lane to be liquidated forthwith.”

YOU CANNOT TAKE ONE AND NOT THE OTHER

Orphanage Records

NO. 324   Surname: Griggs   Christian Name: Elizabeth  Age: 7

School Attendeance: Yes

Pecuniary Circumstances: Inheiritance  £250 donated as Fees

Date of Admittance: May 1881 Remarks: Trunk, Impertinent

SHE IS SAFE NOW IT CANNOT GET HER

Photograph of Elizabeth and her Father

“Last Day Together”

LAST DAY FOR THIS FACE (That must be referring to Mr. Griggs as he must have started wearing the mask after this.)

PACKAGE TWO

Deed of Land

“Received in full satisfaction by John W. Peterborough, City Bank Partner from Dr. W. Elliot Fifth day of November in the year of our Lord 1888 does give, grant, bargain, sell, and confirm the property of house, gardens, and environs of the entity of Lot 27 East Heath Road, Hampstead Heath, London, United Kingdom—unto the said Dr. Elliot.”

MY HOUSE, NONE OTHER WILL KEEP IT LONG (Uh, oh-that is not good.)

Baldwin’s Physician’s Guide

Extreme Desespoir Eufferfte Verzweifftung

HAVE I SEEN THIS FACE IN THE MIRROR?

The Chimes by Charles Dickens

“Monsters uncouth and wild, arise in premature, imperfect resurrection; the several parts and shapes of different things are joined and mixed by chance..”

“Haunt and hunt him…”

“Bleak his slumbers…”

“he saw this WITH Goblin sight…”

“…saw these creatures, not only among sleeping men but waking also…”

I SEE MYSELF EVERYWHERE

Dr. Elliot’s Tincture

You’ve got the right bottle, Doctor.

SWITCHED THEMS (Oh, no! That’s how the doctor died!)

Arsenic Poison

Are You Sure?

DONE

Elise Cosmetiques Label

You think to hide yourself from me?

THEIR LAST PERFORMANCE WILL BE MY GREATEST WORK (He must be talking about when he storms in their psychic reading and scares everyone.)

PACKAGE THREE

Griggs’ Estate Blueprints

There are a huge message and then a bunch of little ones. The big message:

THIS HOUSE TOOK MY WIFE, IT TOOK MY DAUGHTER, IT ENTRAPPED MY SOUL. WILL IT EVER LET ME REST?

Now to start with the rooms

Conservatory

PLUCK THEM OUT. POISON 

Kitchen

THEY ECROACH LIKE WEEDS

Dining

INTERLOPERS

Bed room

I AM WATCHING

Hallway/stairs

MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE 

Secret Room in Library

WHO IS THE ARCHITECT OF THIS MADNESS

Bedroom

NO ROOM

Bedroom

IN THE WALLS, UNDER THE FLOOR, IN THE BETWEEN, BETWEEN THE SOUL AND THE STAIRCASE

Sunroom

THEY MUST NEVER FIND

Another Secret Room

SANCTUARY

Reading Room

DRIVE THEM OUT 

The photograph of Henry Griggs

WHY DO THEY COME

You must act, again

I’VE WATCHED THEM ALL COME AND MADE THEM ALL GO

You have done well.

AM I A GHOST

Only you know what you are

I HAVE MADE MY OWN FACE

You are what you have become

AM I DANGEROUS

Dangerous? Oh Yes

I AM GRIGGS THE GRINNING GOBLIN THE LOATHSOME FIEND THE GRUESOME PHANTOM YOU AND I ARE ONE

Always

THE ONE WHO COMES AND GOES IS IT MY DAUGHTER

She is the last

IF HER FACE LIES SHE WILL DIE LIKE THE REST

One way or the other, I will be free

And it is time to bring out the Demon mask again, *shudders*.

THEY SEE ME THROUGH YOU

If I was a Winchester I know what I would do with all this stuff:

Salt and burn it

But I on the hand will keep everything, because they are cool. Except for the demon mask, I need to find a new home for it.

For more from The Mysterious Package Company, go to An Insane Doctor, A Hysterical Herbalist, and Murder in a Magician’s Mansion + A Possible Persuasion Reference?

For more mysteries, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: House of Salt and Sorrows

For more haunted houses, go to They’re Coming for Me Now…And Then They’ll Come for You: House on Haunted Hill (1959)

 

Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

Interference by Kay Honeyman

So during COVID19, we have been reorganizing the library. No better time to rearrange shelves than when people are not in the building.

So as I was making the changes and this caught my eye:

Friday Night Lights meets Jane Austen’s Emma in this delightful novel about big dreams, big games, and a little romance.”

Hmm…

So of course Emma, caught my eye as I plan on reviewing every Jane Austen adaption, (I know that’ll take years, but I’m okay with that), and had to check it out. Besides Jane Austen, I’m a big fan of Friday Night Lights. 

So let’s get started.

Kate Hamilton (Emma Woodhouse) and her mother and Congressman father have been sent back to her father’s hometown of Red Dirt, Texas after her public scandal.

It started off as something good…Kate discovered that there was serious graft regarding which kids received letters of recommendation, scholarships, etc, for colleges. She exposed this and changed the practices, but it was a hollow win.

Her boyfriend, now EX, was cheating on her with a senator’s daughter who lost her recommendation, and he secretly took photos of Kate- styling them to look extremely compromising and blasting them on the internet.

So Kate has a plan-she wants to go to art school to be a photographer, but to do that she needs an awesome portfolio and a fantastic letter of recommendation. She decides to find a way to lay low, up her volunteer hours, send them to her old school, get the letter and get out with what she wants.

She espechially wants to get way from her dad as she feels so guilty about what happened, and hates having to always be in “political mode”-all the time. She needs volunteer hours and starts to help her Aunt Celia at her animal shelter.

There she is in the middle of trying to birth a calf, unsuccessfully, when she meets Hunter (Mr. Knightley). He is cute and nice and whenever Kate gets a little too cocky and sure of himself, he is there to help push her on the right track, espechially as he understands the dynamics and politics of the town better than her.

The two end up being paired as science partners and they spend a lot of time together. In fact, they become best friends as Hunter helps her transition to Texas life, and appreciate things without constructing a narrative of doing some political machinations.

Kate quickly becomes friends with Ana-a shy, studious, photographer who helps Kate out with her photography and gets her in on yearbook staff (which gives her access to the darkroom she needs). Kate hates to owe anyone anything and has decided that she is going to help Ana. Ana is adorable, but her ex-boyfriend has given her a bad reputation with the lies he has spread about her.

Kate decides the best way to fix Ana’s reputation is to pair her up with a guy better than her ex-basketball playing boyfriend Hank. Someone higher up the social hierarchy and settles on quarterback, Kyle.

Hunter warns her that Kyle is a serious jerk and that matchmaking Ana and him up is not a good idea, but Kate doesn’t listen.

Kyle is not just the quarterback, but he is also the son of her father’s political rival. Her father wants her to avoid Kyle, as he doesn’t trust him or his father, but she ignores him and sets her plan into serious levels of action.

She hangs out with him a bit, takes photos of him.

This popped in my head when reading it.

Kate has lunch with him and Ana and people begin changing in the way they are acting around her-and after Kyle defends her, things seem to be going great. Kate and Ana even get coveted invites to several after game bonfires.

Kate is super pleased at how things are going and starts to divert her attention to her other plans. Spending time working with her Aunt and seeing how much her Aunt pours into her shelter, she decides to help out by creating a website where people can donate to care for an animal, getting D.C. friends and friends’s parents to give. She also tries to match her D.C. friend Tasha up, over the phone by giving her advice.

Emma 1996 AKA the Gwyneth Paltrow version.

She also works hard on her project with Hunter. But it turns into more than science. He helps her see the beauty of the area, she helps him mend some of his broken relationship with his mom, as said before they become best of friends…thoughts turn to more-but their can’t be as Kate is not interested in anything more after her jerkwad ex.

Except Hunter

But then Kate goes to a party with Kyle and he tries to force himself on her.

She breaks his wrist and takes off in his car crashing in a ditch (she’s only had one lesson). Hunter, worried about her going to a party alone with Kyle, rescues her-but things are looking grim.

It seems like everything Kate does screws up:

  1. Kate’s breaking Kyle’s wrist and crashing his car reflects bad on her father
  2. Everyone in the town hates Kate for costing them the championship game (as they have no quarterback)
  3. Her aunt found out about the website and hates it-yelling at Kate
  4. Kyle treats Kate and Ana like crap (espechially Ana-publicly dissing her [such an Elton], but Hunter helps her out)
  5. Kate gets revenge against Kyle by making mock yearbook pages embarrassing him and she and Ana spread them around the school
  6. Their little revenge plan gets Ana is kicked off yearbook
  7. And Hunter who never wanted to play football ever again (as it is too much pressure) does so to save the team and Kate.

Kate has to figure out a way to fix things and she decides to do the one thing she never thought-she is willingly going to put herself in the front of the camera-and partner in her father’s campaign.

Will Kate be the thing that helps tip the scales in her father’s favor? Will Ana get back on yearbook and achieve her photography dreams? Will Hunter win the big game or choke? And will Kate admit she cares for Hunter or let her fear and insecurity keep her from taking a leap?

So when I was first reading this book I had a hard time. The beginning moves slow and her parents seem checked out. They just leave her alone and don’t seem to care about the trauma she went through with her pictures being posted everywhere. Nothing about that relationship seemed to micmic the one shared by Emma and Mr. Woodhouse.

Hmmm…

But once I reached the middle with Kate and Hunter being best friends, adorable Ana, Kate’s matchmaking…I got invested. 

And then when they got to the hardcore part of Kate taking Kyle down and then her pairing up with her father to take down Kyle’s dad- it became a real page turner.

Tell ME!!!!!

I really liked Kate and Hunter’s relationship, although I think he if he had been a little less vague about Kyle not being a good guy it would have been better. I mean he did try, telling her he heard the way Kyle would talk in the locker room-but with Kate/Emma you can’t be subtle.

From Emma (1996)

I really enjoyed it and how it had the aspects of Jane Austen but still was its own story. Like Clueless, this is a great gateway to get teens interested in Jane Austen and Austen fans will adore it.

For more Emma, go to Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

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

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to At Legend’s End

For more Friday Night Lights, go to What a Fanatic!

At Legend’s End

At Legend’s End (The Teacup Novellas #4) by Diane Moody

So what is the difference between a book based on Jane Austen and a Non-Austen Austen Read for Austen Readers.

Hmmm…

I puzzled over the very same thing reading this book. Where do you draw the line?

Hmm…

For most people it probably doesn’t matter, but for me I have two distinct listings and I’m trying to decide where to place this book.

Hmm…

After a long deliberation, I finally decided that a book goes on the Jane Austen list if they copy parts of the book or try to make it like an Austen novel, while a Non-Austen Read for Austen Readers is not based on the book or copies it, but reminds you of Jane Austen-in themes, certain moments, etc. Typically Non-Austen Read for Austen Readers are books that I enjoy and recommend, while based on Jane Austen books get a harsher critique.

Olivia Thomas is nearing middle age, has been working at bank for most of her life, and feels very stuck. Her best friend is married with children, she has no family, no boyfriend, and she just feels blah.

But one day that all changes with a note from a lawyer. It turned out years ago she helped a man’s loan go through when the business didn’t look as if it would be a sound investment but it did become one, it became extremely profitable and he sold his business, making billions and deciding to give her five million dollars!!!

What?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Olivia is unsure what to do next? She has money, the opportunity to go anywhere, to do anything, etc. The only problem is, what does she want?

Hmm…

She decides to leave and think about her future, staying at the Captain Jonathan MacVicar Inn in Maine. When she arrives, everyone makes a big deal about it as it is a leap year and the Inn has a legend that ever since MacVicar’s fiancé Catherine lost her love on the 29th of February, every 29th of February someone else will.

She ignores it and goes on with her plans. She loves the town and the people in it, endearing herself to many people-so much that she joins the local book club.

One of the townspeople she meets is Trevor Bass, bookstore owner:

“…one of those guys who likes what he likes, disdains what he doesn’t, and isn’t hesitant to speak his mind.”

Yes Olivia is supposed to be Elizabeth and Trevor her Mr. Darcy.

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (1940)

Trevor is described as arrogant, stuffy (monogramed handkerchiefs), and stubborn.

Olivia is outspoken, speaks her mind, headstrong, and obstinate.

And while Olivia at first thinks of Trevor being cold and distant, she discovers she was wrong, as he is kind hearted and the two fall in love. However, a bad fight and a curse is working against them. Will they beat it or will one of them fall victim to the “MacVicar Curse”?

This story was not that good at all. They tried to copy elements of Pride and Prejudice but it is nowhere as good. The two quickly fall in love (like one week), fight (the fight they have is pretty dumb), and then *spoiler alert* they get back together. There is no character development and it just is a blah story.

Moody also tries to dot it with phrases from Pride and Prejudice and it is not enough.

And like almost every female character has a “M” sounding name making it hard to keep straight who is who.

Huhhhhhhh

I would skip it.

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

For more retellings, go to Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

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