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?

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Homespun Bride

So this is something I started a while back. We all love Jane Austen and it is such a bummer that there isn’t more of her works to read.

Variations are a ton of fun, and there are great ones out there, but sometimes you don’t always want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but what to read?

Hmm…

That’s why I started this series. I will review books that have the things we love about the Austen novels, but is something fresher than a retelling.

Homespun Bride (The McKaslin Clan Historical #2) by Jillian Hart

Thad McKaslin has returned home after being away for eight years. He always wanted to live in Montana-dreaming of owning a plot of land and having a ranch for him and his wife-who he hoped to be Noelle Kramer. There was no happier day than when he proposed and she said yes.

How sweet!

But it was not to be as her father, the banker who owned the mortgage on Thad’s family farm, threatened to evict his family-including his sick mother-if he didn’t leave his daughter alone.

Choosing not to meet to elope with Noelle at their meeting place, he instead left for the West and cattle drives-planning to never return, but did when his family needed help-his younger brother (who got into trouble) has just been released from jail and his older brother widowed.

Aw, that’s sad.

He expects Noelle to be married to her father’s choice, have children, and to never run into her. But as he is out running an errand, a runaway horse almost plunges two women and their carriage into a river. He helps them and is surprised to see they are Noelle and her Aunt Henrietta, and Noelle is blind!

Huh?

Noelle was heartbroken when she went to meet Thad and he wasn’t there. When she returned him crying, she confessed to her father who assured her she was better off than to be with that cad-probably persuaded by the thrill of going out West and sowing oats than being married. Noelle had given up on love and planned on marrying her father’s choice as she didn’t care anymore…

But then Noelle was in an accident that killed her mother and father and left her permanently blind.

Her fiancé didn’t want “damaged goods” and left her-her aunt and uncle (and their four girls) moving from the East to take care of her. Noelle has never stopped loving Thad but having him back makes her anger come out-how could he have been persuaded by the Wild West, how could he have left her.

Thad realizes that Noelle doesn’t know the truth of what happened, but decides to not say anything as he knows how much she loved her father and he doesn’t want to taint her image of him. He decides to stay far away, but her matchmaking aunt who worries about all her girls being settled and her uncle Robert who has no horse sense and is in severe need of aid, keep him coming around.

After Robert has an incredibly dangerous fall, Thad joins the household by taking care of the ranch and spending more time with Noelle, his love reigniting. Will the two be able to move forward? Or be stuck in the past? Will each be able to overcome their insecurities of not being enough (Thad’s “lower class background” and Noelle’s blindness) or will they let that keep them far apart?

So the first reason why I recommend this for Austen fans is that it instantly made me think of Persuasion. Two people in love, separated by youthful persuasion, reuniting wiser and more experienced, a bad fall bringing them together, etc.

In this, Thad is like Anne Elliot- In Persuasion Anne wants to marry Frederick Wentworth, but is persuaded by the fear that he could die, she’d be left alone, etc outweigh her love and she refuses him-him thinking that it is because he is lower than her, not knowing really how Anne loved him. Thad is the same way as he knows the full reason why the engagement ended and has both hurt and pain, but not anger or bitterness.

Noelle is more like Frederick. Both have misunderstood the reason why the person they loved left and start the first half of the book angry and bitter, but then after a bad fall (for Noelle, her uncle Robert and Fredrick, Louisa Musgrove) they realize who they love and want to be with that person. While Frederick writes a letter of his love for Anne, Noelle anonymously sells the land she owns that Thad has been dreaming of buying to show her love for him.

Aunt Henreitta reminds me of a combination of Mrs. Bennet, Mrs. Jennings, and Aunt Gardiner. Aunt Henrietta is the mother of four girls and is constantly worrying about marrying them off, providing dowries, etc.

Hardly a page goes by when she isn’t plotting some sort of matchmaking, but unlike Mrs. Bennet she isn’t silly or has gauche behavior. Like Mrs. Jennings she wants to marry off any eligible man or woman she likes and has a forceful presence. Like Mrs. Jennings, Henrietta will back and protect anyone she cares for, so don’t mess with either one’s girls.

But unlike those two ladies, Henrietta is also very sensible and has a great relationship and love with her husband Robert. She reads the emotions of Thad and Noelle early and tries her best to get them together.

I thought it was a cute story and recommend it for Jane Austen fans.

For more Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

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

For more Westerns, go to Will We Survive the Night?: Rawhide (1951)

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

Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

So I have heard people say how much they enjoy Joan Aiken’s books. I have put all on my to-read lists and when I came across her book Jane Fairfax a retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma, I jumped at the chance to grab it and read it.

However, I didn’t like it.

Aiken is not a bad writer, but the style didn’t suit me. I tried reading this book three times and could not get involved in it, forcing myself to finish it so I could review it.

The book is told from Jane’s point of view, but while I thought this would be interesting…it was not.

The book starts off with Jane growing up in Highbury, angry and upset with Emma as she has money, a sister, a father and mother-then later a governess, clothes, etc. She can’t stand Emma as she wishes she had her life-after all Emma is rude and doesn’t deserve what she has.

YEEEEES!!!!!!

She also has a humongous crush on Mr. Knightley, on that grows with every gift of apples, every horseback ride, every moment with him, etc.

She is given the opportunity to live with her father’s old friend. Life in the Colonel Campbell home is not what she expected: the Colonel is a mean and grouchy man who is always yelling at his daughter; his wife is a woman who is uninterested in anything regarding her child; Colonel Campbell’s mother-in-law is grouchy, gives unneeded advice, and is rude to Jane.

It sucks!

Her only friend is the mousy and insecure, Rachel Campbell.

When the girls are young they meet the Dixon boys who are annoying at first but then they grow on the girls. Jane also meets Mr. Knightley, Mr. Weston, and Frank Churchill occasionally in London. And every time Jane’s heart goes thump-thump when she sees Mr. Knightley.

When the girls are older they go to Weymouth and spend time with the Dixons, Jane realizing she is in love with Matthew. Unfortunately, Rachel is too.

But then Matthew reveals his love for her, Jane-and it is all she can do to refuse it. You see Matthew has debts that need to be paid and Jane has nothing-no money, no connections, and definitely no dowry. She convinces him to marry Rachel, he proposes to her, and the two leave for Ireland while Jane will be sent back to Highbury.

To her surprise Frank Churchill, who she thought little of, has fallen for her.

What are you talking about??

As she lost her real love and knows that Mr. Knightley is not likely to be with her she says yes to his engagement.

And then we enter the Emma story as Jane is sent to Highbury waiting for Frank’s aunt to die so they could be together.

I didn’t like this as Jane seemed so cold and calculating, choosing Frank not because she loved him, but because she wants money, security, a home-basically she is Charlotte Lucas.

Reading Emma, I never cared for Frank Churchill and thought he was a total jerk, and that Jane deserved better. Whenever I read it all I can think is she must have really, really loved him to put up with all the crap he does-romancing Emma as a smokescreen, talking about her to Emma, making fun of her, etc.

So having her not really care for Frank is…weird. I mean she is sooo practical through the whole thing. At age six she knows she will never get married but is destined to be a spinster and governess (that is what Aiken writes), so for her to enter an engagement that has very little chance of coming to fruition seems like a weird choice for someone so practical and logical.

Hmm…

Now if she was in love with him, well love is blind that makes sense.

But as she isn’t, why would she even think this would work? If anything her character makes more sense to believe that as soon as she leaves London his ardor for her will too.

Or plot!

Anyways, she comes to Highbury, Frank is a jerk, she moons over Knightley which I also thought was weird. If she was interested in Knightley, why not make a play for him over Frank? It is far more likely that Mr. Knightley would marry her than for Frank to.

I mean for real!

And Jane is just horrible to Emma. I think the author wanted to go with past hurts can color your current behavior, and that Jane is still upset over the behavior of the Emma when she was a child-but I couldn’t stand it. Every time Emma enters the room Jane is all look at the disdain she gives me, she doesn’t care. She’s pretending to be kind and she’s really a snake.

This makes this a not a very fun read as she is just mad all the time. I don’t like characters that are just mad all the time.

 

The part I did like was when Jane goes to Highbury and has a hard time fitting in as she was in a different position as Colonel Campbell’s ward versus Mrs. & Miss Bates’ ward. That isn’t something you really think about or see in the movies and I enjoyed that view.

Most of the story is about Jane having a crush on Mr. Knightley, this continuing until she is heartbroken to find him marrying Emma her longtime rival.

The only part I enjoyed was at the end when Jane and Emma talk and Jane apologizes for being cold and distant as she realizes she was angry and jealous of Emma; and Emma apologizes for ignoring her and being distant as she was jealous of her. They both realize that Mr. Knightley was right and they would have been good friends, regretting that they didn’t listen to him when they were younger.

Told you so

But that was at the end and I had to wade through the whole book to get there. I don’t recommend this and say hard pass.

For more Emma adaptions, go to Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

For more Jane Fairfax, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 11, The Clock Runs Out Part I

So in the last episode, we went to the racetrack to see the Edgewater Estate horses run in the derby and I received news that my father fell ill with yellow fever.

Now look at the title-what did I tell you! I knew my father wasn’t going to last long-I wrote a paper on how Yellow Fever assisted the Confederate Soldiers in the Civil War as it devastated the northern troops. It quickly spread and was a brutal disease.

Now interesting-this chapter starts off with a warning:

This chapter contains scenes of implied sexual violence that may be upsetting to some players. Discretion is advised.

What does that mean? This sounds bad…

So my father is very sick-he is going to die in this episode, I just know it. Darn, I just found him and now I will lose him.

Aw, that’s sad.

As my grandmother is talking to me my  evil stepbrother, Mr. Marcastle comes in asking what is wrong. Now you have the choice to tell him the truth or keep it from him.

Hmmm…

On one hand Mr. Marcastle, my stepbrother, has been pretty awful and plotting against me this whole entire time, he and his mother spreading lies and trying to sully my reputation. It would serve him right if I kept it from him.

BUT…even though he is horrid, my father did raise him and Mr. Marcastles loves my father.

Hmmm…Weighing my options

Even though I want to be tough, I decide to tell him the truth. It is the right thing to do, however much he has hurt me-he deserves to know the man who was his father is dying.

By doing so it does give me a +Relationship.

Mr. Marcastle leaves to be alone and so does grandmother. As I enter my own contemplation all I can think is this stinks!

It sucks!

I lose my mother in the first chapter, finally meet me father and NOW he is dying. Ugh.

While I am commiserating Briar gives me a stack of love letters.

Apparetly my mother gave them to Briar to hold onto and give to me later when she felt the time was right. I don’t know why it took so long, but I am eager for them!

I of course want to read them-maybe something sweet about my parents or even useful information that can help me is in them?

Tell ME!!!!!

But unfortunately, I do not have enough diamonds. I need to pause the game and return after I achieve seven more diamonds.

So, we will have to finish this another time.

For more Desire and Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 10, On Your Marks

For more on Choices, go to Did the Bride Run Off Or Was She Kidnapped?: Veil of Secrets (2018)

For more love letters, go to P.S. I Like You

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (The Rajes #1) by Sonali Dev

So I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite some time, I believe the first time I checked it out from the library was on October 11, 2019-but life got in the way and I had to return it, check it out, return, and repeat until finally I had some free time during this COVID19 quarantine.

The story starts off with Trisha Raje, of the impressive Raje family line-in fact they are the descendants of a royal family. Her mother was a former Bollywood star and the family has had everything anyone could want-money, status, education, beauty, etc.

But unlike other books-I really liked that the characters knew they were blessed, that they are many who would give anything to be them, and didn’t go down the route of “all power and money is evil” or “woe is me I have money” or “I’m rich and entitled but l am “really” average“, etc. Instead this family knows what they have and all try to do their best to use it to help others in some way.

One summer, teenage Trisha was touched when she visited children at one of her grandfather’s charities in India. Most of the children were blind and with many nothing could be done, while there was quite a number would have been spared this fate with more interest, money, medical intervention, etc. She was determined to help and from there not only created a charity (with help of her parents) that assisted the afflicted children but dedicated her life to becoming a top surgeon, specializing in developing machines that would help remove tumors, growths, cysts, etc.

She is doing well in her career, but unfortunately is no longer a part of the Raje universe. She has been the black sheep of her family, as years ago she made a mistaken judge of character and that person hurt her brother very badly. Since then she and her father have had a strained relationship and she hasn’t been invited to any of their big events. Her brother just announced his run for governor and Trisha is through with being on the sideline, she’s ready to try and get back in her family again.

In other (good) news, Trisha is super excited to work on a new patient, Emma. She has an inoperable tumor wrapped around her optic nerves, and this new tech will remove it and save her life, although it will cause her to go blind. But living is better than dying, isn’t it?

After staying late at the hospital, she then goes to the family dinner/political event (late as usual) and discovers she missed the dinner.

Trisha is starving and decides to head into the kitchen, plays with something at the stove and almost ruins the chef’s sauce. She doesn’t understand why he is freaking out over it-and insults him, even calling him the hired help to her sister.

Meanwhile, across the pond in England, Darcy James “DJ” Caine grew up with his sister, Emma, having very few advantages in life. His father was Anglo-Indian and infuriated his family when he chose to marry a Rwandan refugee rather than a British girl. When DJ’s father passed away when he was young, his father’s family kicked them out of their house and they became homeless. Through a church program, their mother found a job and a place for them to live. His mother worked hard every day to send them to good schools, and in the afternoons DJ watched the landlord’s epileptic mother in exchange for free rent.

While DJ’s mother had high ambitious for her children to become scientists or engineers, DJ connected with his charge-she becoming a surrogate mother- and the two spent hours cooking. Life was hard, but they made the best of it, however it did start to push on him and as a teenager he did get into some trouble. After that he has been on the straight and narrow and went to Le Cordon Bleu and worked in Paris.

He comes to California to help care for his sick sister and through an old friend from Cordon Bleu, he has managed to land the Rajes as clients. He is working so hard to keep them (and hopefully cater more of their parties and events), losing it when a self-absorbed socialite almost destroys his sauce. To add further insult and injury, he not only had to grab the hot pot to secure it and burned his hands, she’s very rude to him, and he also overhears her calling him the hired help.

That should be the end of it, unless she comes to future events, except for one small thing: Emma, (the patient Trisha wants to operate on but doing so will turn her blind), is DJ’s sister. The two are now both thrown together as they work on convincing Emma to take the surgery, but as she is an artist she is very angry and upset about losing her eyesight.

They are then further brought together when Traisha’s sister Nisha, and her brother Yash’s campaign manager, has to take a step back. Nisha and her husband Neel have one daughter and have been trying for years to have more kids with each attempt ending in miscarriage. She’s pregnant again, and even though her doctor doesn’t say to, she decides to go on bedrest, asking Trisha to keep it a secret. With Nisha self-grounding herself, Trisha has to care of planning the next event-which includes the catering with DJ.

Life gets even more complicated when someone from Trisha’s past reenters the picture, Julia Wickham. Julia almost destroyed the Raje family when she plotted and threatened Trisha’s brother. Trisha is scared that Julia might try and hurt Emma and DJ, but she cannot reveal what Julia did as her brother is running for office and the last thing he needs is for all this to come out.

DJ and Emma meet Julia at the hospital, and she offers them a way to pay their medical bills. Julia’s plan is to create videos with Emma sharing about her story and creating a kickstarter so people can donate to it. As their medical bills are extremely high and DJ can only keep them afloat so long, they decide to trust her and let her into their lives. She further gains DJ’s trust when she shares how the Raje family destroyed her, left her with nothing, and she had to fight and scrape together to be where she is now.

That coupled with Trisha calling him hired help, and a few other misadventures, miscommunications, and mistakes between the two-when Trisha finds herself falling in love with DJ and his food, and decides to tell him-he flat out refuses and rips her a new one.

Can they overcome pride, prejudice, their own hurts, and hangups? Or will these two part ways after the dinner and never see each other again? Can they convince Emma to have the surgery? Or will Trisha and DJ lose her? Will they stop whatever plan Julia has? Or will she completely destroy the Raje family.

So I really enjoyed reading this book. In the forward, Sonali Dev states that this was inspired by Pride and Prejudice, but is her own story, and I thought she did a good job bringing in her own “flavor” (bad pun, I know), while creating a new story. I enjoyed how she adapted the story to a modern times, along with Indian culture. I think Jane Austen’s stories are extremely relatable to other cultures, as the elements in there are still present today. Growing up biracial, I could see how with my Mexican side there is still an emphasis of getting married before you are “an old maid”, the importance of family, having children, etc; while with my father’s side (Danish and Sicilian Italian) it isn’t as important. I wouldn’t see mind seeing more culturally diverse Jane Austen adaptions.

However, what I thought was really interesting was how Dev took elements from Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet and used them in both DJ and Trisha. You see at first I thought that Trisha was Darcy (rich family) and DJ was Elizabeth (as he is from a poorer background), but as I read on they reminded me of both the Austen characters.

Trisha as Darcy

  • Trisha has the money & status
  • Trisha insults DJ and he overhears her
  • Had a Wickham try to ruin her family
  • Feels strong guilt over them buying off Wickham instead of exposing her
  • Giving advice/deeply persuading her best friend (cousin)
  • Awful love confession (proposal)
  • Saves love interest’s sister

Trisha as Elizabeth

  • Trisha comes from a big family
  • Trisha was really close to her father (then something happened)
  • Closeness to an older sister
  • Best friend/sister gives advice on love
  • Makes quite a few conclusions and then realizes she was wrong

DJ as Darcy

  • DJ’s family is him and his sister like Darcy & Georgiana
  • DJ has had to be the father for his sister after their father passed
  • DJ’s relationship with his sister is more Darcy & Georgiana than Elizabeth & Jane
  • DJ’s name is Darcy, Darcy James
  • Broods a lot

DJ as Elizabeth

  • Trisha insults DJ and he overhears her
  • Comes from a poorer family
  • Doesn’t like Trisha because of something she says and when he meets someone who shares an unfavorable view of her, he instantly believes her.
  • His father dying and relatives kicking him out (exactly what Mrs. Bennet feared would happen to them)

You should read the book and tell me what you think. Is DJ Elizabeth or is he Darcy? Is Trisha Darcy or is she Elizabeth?

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (1940)

One of the most interesting supporting characters is Trisha’s brother Yash and I hope we have a future book with him (although I’m not sure which Austen character he is the most like? Colonel Brandon is the only one I can think off the top of my head that might work). He is a kind and caring older brother, supportive fiancé, survived the machinations of the evil Wickham, was in a car accident and lost his ability to walk-astounding doctors when he made it out of the wheelchair, encourages DJ to go after his sister, and stopped a terrorist attack on Alcatraz (pg. 17). Please tell me he is coming back.

So this book is more than just a story of Pride and Prejudice, it also is a love letter to food and food creation. Parts of it reminded me of my Mexican grandmother who would make things with no recipe but how she was taught and always had to feed us when she saw us. I loved reading about how DJ loves food, his preparation in making it, his desire to bring comfort to others. One of my favorite parts was when he was having a hard time talking to Emma-his worry, anger, and pain muddling up his words, and he put together the perfect breakfast for her.

How sweet!

So reading this reminded me of the show Hart of Dixie. In the show, Mischa Barton plays Dr. Zoe Hart who has horrid bedside manner and instead of her dream job gets told she needs to spend a year in a general practice. She moves to Bluebell, Alabama and ends up inheriting the practice from her biological father (it’s complicated, it’s a soap opera). She is kind of a know-it-all (treating the people of Bluebell lower than her) and focused solely on herself and her plan to get patients and complete her time-but eventually she gets a change of “heart” and grows to love the people and the town.

Trisha reminded me a lot of Zoe Hart. We hear her backstory and where she is coming from, but the way she relates to people-she is as bad as Zoe. They way Trisha treats DJ as he is just a “cook” is the same way Zoe treats Wade as he is just a “bartender”. Both believe they are better than the “hired help”. When she firsts meets DJ she tells him her surgical hands are more important than the dish he was cooking, she eats all the food at the tasting without him, and when she proposes she says she has never dated someone who hasn’t gone to college (forgetting that DJ went to Cordon Bleu).

But even with those flaws, you still want her to have a happy ending with DJ-mostly because like Darcy and Elizabeth, she realizes her wrongs and apologizes for them along with actually changing her behavior.

Emma’s storyline of being an artist with a tumor who’s choices are either death or blindness is heartbreaking. Every part with her was raw and real as she went through the stages of grief-grieving her loss of what she loves. I can’t imagine life without my eyes, and her storyline was beyond powerful.

Life seems grey..

Throughout the book there is also this theme of secrets causing issues and I thought it was really well done. Secrets can cause miscommunication, for instance Nisha doesn’t want anyone to know she is pregnant until she is out of the troubling stage. She makes Trisha promise not to tell anyone, and instead of including DJ in her confidence, her keeping him out of the loop causes some serious miscommunications. Secrets can also keep you from knowing the truth of a whole story and color your views. For instance, Trisha’s mother has a powerful secret she has kept because she doesn’t want her children to view her differently, but revealing it allows Trisha to better understand both her parents.

Hmmm…

At the end Dev says that she is going to write more books based on Jane Austen using some of the characters and I’m thinking it can’t be Nisha as she is already married. It has to be Asha or Yash and Asha sounds prime for a Persuasion retelling-family used to be rich, trying to pick up the financial pieces, always sad, growing older and is still unmarried…perfect for Persuasion.

And I saved the part I found most meaningful for last:

“You’re Indian?” This time the shock wasn’t a surprise. Both Emma and he favored their Rwandan mother.”

Yes! Finally, a book involving not only a multiracial character but finally a voice to what it feels to grow up multiracial. This is 100% truth for how it feels growing up a mix of different races, but your phenotype favoring one, and the way people treat you different.

I loved that this book had a multiracial character, as growing up there were no books or TV shows, except I Love Lucy that had that. Like I said in my review of The Colonel,  I can not express enough with words how it felt growing up and feeling so different and alone, with no one like you. This feeling of inbetween as you don’t really belong to one or the other.

I only wish it had more on DJ’s feelings of being multiracial. I’m not saying that him sharing how it feels to be dark skinned in America isn’t important, but being multiracial has its own set of issues, feelings, and ways of being treated that I wished she had talked more about. Take my niece for example, people would see her and think she is African-American: but she is Italian, Danish, Mexican, and African-American. Not only does she have to deal with the issues that face African-Americans, but she also has to deal with African-Americans not accepting her because she isn’t “black enough” and Mexicans not accepting her because she “isn’t Mexican”.

Any multiracial person can swap out Latino with their race and this describes what it feels like. Although I wouldn’t have used the word fraud.

I’m not saying what Dev has in there isn’t important, it is, I just wish she had expanded a bit more on DJ’s issues of growing up multicultural more. Did people of Indian descent treat him differently because of his dark skin? How did his Emma navigate this? Did he ever have to prove he was Indian, like I’ve had to prove I’m Mexican? I enjoyed what Dev did, I’m just starved for more as there wasn’t anything like this for me growing up.

Hmmm…

I really enjoyed this story, and I want to thank Dev again for including a multiracial character. I thought it was a great read, and I can’t wait for the next installment ( I looked it up, it IS Persuasion) and hopefully her versions of Northanger Abbey, Emma, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility.

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

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part II, Other Eras

For more on Mr. Darcygo to Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie

For more adaptions of Jane Austen, go to Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)