So a few years ago I read an article about how this one expert believed Jane Austen wrote a mystery, (I unfortunately can’t find it but there are other articles out there if you are interested) and she believed that mystery was Emma.
At first I was what? Emma?
If anything it has to be Northanger Abbey-the mystery of the Tilneys, did the General kill his wife, what was in the forbidden rooms?
The reasoning was that a large majority of the novel is spent trying to uncover who Jane Fairfax’s secret admirer is. I never really thought of it as a mystery as Emma didn’t seem to me that interested in Jane, at least not until Frank stokes her interest with the thought that the man, Mr. Dixon, who married might really be in love with Jane and sending the expensive gifts. In fact, it seemed more like gossip than solving a mystery.
Let’s spill the tea.
It also seemed to me that she wasn’t really interested in getting to know the truth, but seemed more like she wanted to know a dirty secret about someone she doesn’t like-you know to lord it over here. You know, when you don’t like someone and then you find out a reason to really not like them.
So I was like nah, I don’t think it is a mystery.
But then I read A Visit to Highbury by Joan Austen-Leigh and that changed my perspective. The story is about Mrs. Goddard and her relationship with her sister who made a hasty marriage. The whole novel is told in letters as Mrs. Goddard sends news of Highbury to her sister. Soon the three of them are embroiled in several mysteries: Why is Mr. Elton so angry at Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith? Why does Harriet refuse Mr. Robert Martin when it was clear she was crazy about him? Who gives Jane Fairfax the piano? Why do Harriet and Emma suddenly stop being friends? Who does Mr. Knightley wish to marry?
Okay, so I had to admit, it seems that Emma is a mystery.
So I was wrong, but while i will concede that Emma is a mystery, is it the only one?
Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well? I mean we all know it is a gothic novel, but is it a mystery too?
Time to get on the case!
So the definition of mystery is:
Mystery (pronounced mis-tuh-ree, ) is a genre of literature whose stories focus on a puzzling crime, situation, or circumstance that needs to be solved.
In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland is a reverend’s daughter who loves to read gothic novels and has an overactive imagination, is asked to join family friends on a trip to Bath. There she gets involved with a gothic novellike plot and journeys to Northanger Abbey.
The first mystery are the Tilneys. Catherine meets Mr. Tilney and falls for him, let’s be honest who wouldn’t? After that she tries to glean more information about them, but can find very little from the people she knows. Are the Tilneys the amazing people she believes them to be?
Or could they not be good acquaintances? They are the first friends Catherine makes that aren’t known to her friends and family so she doesn’t know if anything they tell her is true or not. This makes me think of Agatha Christie as a big theme used in a lot of her mystery novels is that we meet people and assume all they tell us the truth when they tell us about them, but we honestly don’t really know if anything they say is real or a lie.
Mr. Tilney jokes about the Abbey being haunted or holding secrets, but Catherine (and my mind) go there as well. Is there a dark cloud hanging over the home? Is there a dark secret?
Then there is the mysterious chest in her room and the manuscript she finds. What secrets do they hold?
And of course the big one: the mystery of Mrs. Tilney’s death. She dies so quickly, did she die naturally or was she murdered?
And of course what is in Mrs. Tilney’s old rooms? Why are the shut up and forbidden? What secrets do they hold?
I think for me I always felt like this was a mystery because Catherine is actively investigating and searching out the truth, searching for a mystery-while Emma doesn’t seem as invested or investigative as she has other plans on her mind-matchmaking and party planning.
What do you think? Is Emma Jane Austen’s only mystery? Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 those of you who might have missed the last post, Rational Creaturesis an anthology of short stories on the different women of Jane Austen:
But just not the main heroines-there are a few other side characters like Miss Bates-and of course a couple of bad girls like Mary Crawford and Mrs. Clay. Each story gives us a look at these rational creatures.
Emma is the story of a girl who has been mistress of her house and doted on by her father. After her governess marries (a match she believes she put together) she becomes bored and intends on trying her hand at matchmaking. She pygmalions Harriet Smith as she plans to set her up with the new minister. Things do not go according to plan as her matches do not take hold and her “creation” takes a life of her own.
Oh Emma, some people hate her-others love her. With adaptaions, it has been a toss up for me. Half of them I have enjoyed, while the other half I haven’t liked how they portrayed Emma or Mr. Knightley. Emma is an interesting character and it can be hard really difficult to grasp who she is at the heart.
Then I saw that we had a Miss Bates storyline. That deeply interested me as I haven’t read anything from her point of view-and I was interested in how her constant chatter was going to be interpreted.
And then we have Harriet Smith. Were they going to make her silly, lonely, desperate, hopeful, or naive?
Well, I can’t wait!
Knightley Discourses by Anngela Schroeder
So all the other stories thus far in the anthology have all started at some point in Jane Austen’s tale and then taken the author’s own flavor, twists, and turns. This is the first that takes the story in a completely new direction, years after the original Emma story ended.
So the book starts off similar to Emma‘s beginning, except we have an Emma Knightley who is now 36 years old. She has been mistress of Donwell Abbey and Hartfield, until her father passed away a year ago, in which her sister Isabella and brother-in-law John took over the estate.
She has been so busy managing the estates, her father, marriage, children, etc. But now she is in a state of restlessness. One estate managed by her sister and brother-in-law, opens a lot of extra time. The children are managed by a nanny, her husband spending more time with his brother-in-law who has moved back.
She is feeling a little lost when she spots something that makes her remember the picnic on Box Hill all those years ago, and decides to go to visit Miss Bates. While she is visiting, she hears news from Jane (Fairfax) Churchill, all news that Jane already wrote her and read-until Miss Bates gets in a flurry over Jane’s acquaintance with the Winthrops.
Emma has locked on to this and after bugging…interrogating…asking others, she discovers that there was the possibility of something between a Mr. Winthrop and Miss Bates. With the Winthrops planning on visiting, Emma starts thinking…
Mr. Knightley tries to get Emma to promise to leave the two alone and she doesn’t plan to, but also doesn’t promise she won’t.
Emma and Knightley also have a cute scene when they talk about their marriage and about poor Jane Churchill who’s marriage is not happy at all-what with Frank Churchill doing his own thing, being away, and caring only about himself.
Emma visits Mrs. Weston who drops a bomb on her. Mrs. Weston met Miss Winthrop, Mr. Winthrop’s brother, and she should be what Emma focuses her attention on-not matchmaking. Miss Winthrop is after Mr. Knightley.
Yes, she was carrying on about how she and Mr. Knightley were engaged at one time and that if she hadn’t had to leave they’d have kids and ever grandchildren by now.
OMG! When I reached this part I was locked into this story. I had other things to do, but they were no longer important as I had to find out what happened next!
Argh, Miss Winthrop! She’s a maneater, we all knowthe type and an excellent villain. The perfect foil for Emma.
I loved this story. So far it has been my favorite as it captured the essence of Emma, presented the loved characters in a new, interesting, and adorable way (married Emma and Knightley are so cute). Plus women like Miss Withrop, they always get me going.
And I adored the friendship between Jane and Emma.
I HIGHLY recommend it, as I LOVED it!!!
I’d start early as you won’t want to stop.
You’ll notice that this is the one story I didn’t do a quote from, and that’s because I was reading so fast to finish it and find out what happened, I forgot to highlight.
So first of all, reading Miss Bates in Jane Austen’s Emma always gave me a major headache. I loved her, felt for her, but the endless chatter made my brain hurt.
J. Marie Croft did a perfect, perfect, representation of her. You can tell she really studied Austen and the character and put her all into it.
But, while the character in Emma was annoying-Croft did an excellent job not making her chatter unbearable. She would go on when speaking to people, but didn’t continue this within her mind, or with her close friends.
Good job, this was not an easy feat.
We start the book off with Miss Bates turning down a Mr. Franklin as she doesn’t love him. Even though he could answer all their family money woes. She knows Mr. Franklin doesn’t want a wife, but a nanny/nursemaid/cook/cleaning woman/housekeeper/etc and is not interested in becoming a free servant.
“The sacred institution of matrimony is too often perverted, Patty. Perverted by men and women shackling themselves to a mate for whom they feel no special regard. No attachment. No affection. No ardent admiration. No that is not the life for me. I will not doom myself to a marriage of apathy, misery, or fear. I would rather live independently, if poor.”
As Mr. Franklin was the landlord, they have lost their home and will have to find another cottage. But Miss Bates refuses to be shackled to a man she does not love. This makes her think back to her first love.
This story was so cute and amazing in how it portrayed Miss Bates. We were able to see a new side of her-her touched by love, the care she had for her sister and best friend, her devotion as an aunt, I loved it. And how even through the suffering and the trials she goes through, she still remains an amazingly cheerful person.
“And yet she was a happy woman, and a woman whom no one named without good-will[sic].” –Emma, Jane Austen
Croft did an amazingly good job. An excellent read!
This story picks up after Emma tried to match Harriet up with Mr. Elton, and failed.
Then Emma thought Harriet was into Frank Churchill and tried pushing them together-but that failed.
Harriet tried to get with Mr. Knightley and that failed.
Harriet and Emma’s friendship broke up. And Mr. Knightley and Emma got engaged.
Poor Harriet Smith and to top it off-she has a horrible toothache. Emma arranges for her to go to London, and stay with the Knightleys, while she sees the dentist. Harriet is exuberant as she wants to get away from it all and her embarrassment over what has happened.
Harriet tells Isabella what happened-all of it from Mr. Martin to Mr. Elton to Mr. Knightley. Isabella feels for her and has her stay longer, as Harriet is a great help with the children. Harriet is trying to figure our what to do next (and how to keep from returning to her embarrassment) when Robert Martin comes walking in.
Harriet is embarrassed, tongue-tied, and a little scared at what to do or say.
“Now the pretty decorated timepiece felt like an enemy, a thief robbing her of the opportunity to say something meaningful to Robert Martin before he went.”
Will this be just more embarrassment to pile on, or a second chance?
You know I really like this choice. I like the view into Harriet, her resolution to improve herself, and that we get to see how the two get together. Plus Mr. Knightley sent him, Mr. Knightley is matchmaking. So adorable!
I loved how Harriet was written as well. She wasn’t desperate or dumb, but she was a pleasant, sweet girl, a pinch lonely and unexperienced.
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!
I was trying to decide what to post today and was split between Poldark, which takes place after the Revolutionary War and The Buccaneers which is about a group of ladies “invading” England. After a long deliberation, Buccaneers won out.
So I first stumbled on this about six or five years ago when I was scrolling through Amazon Prime looking for the next thing to watch.
I started with one episode and was hooked!
The one thing that really struck me when I was watching it was all the famous actors in it. I mean there is the amazing James Frain as Julius, Duke of Trevennick; why, why, why hasn’t he been in a Jane Austen film yet?
Then there is Spy Kids mama Carla Gugino who plays the lead, Annabel “Nan” St. George.
And Greg Wise, (best known to Jane Austen fans as Mr. Willoughby), as the strong upstanding, Greg Thwaite.
This miniseries is what I consider to be “what would have happened if the Austen characters married the wrong people.” You know the Wickhams, Willoughbys, Churchills, Thorpes, etc.; of the world.
The horror! I can’t even think of it.
So I have yet to read the book and am going to focus on the movie only. There are a few changes-which you will see.
So the series takes place in the Gilded Age, after the Civil War. The St. Georges have become extremely wealthy in the aftermath, Mr. St. George being the third wealthiest man on Wall Street. They have moved to Newport Beach but find it hard to enter society as they are “coarse” and “nouveau riche”. It doesn’t matter that the St. George’s have more money that a whole coastline of “old money” people put together, they are not considered polite society. This hurts Mrs. St. George who wants nothing more than to finally be accepted.
Mrs. St. George was actually from a “good family” and married beneath her (as Nan shares), but her husband made a ton of money in the aftermath of the war. She reminds me a lot of Mrs. Bennet, but isn’t so worried about marrying her daughters off as she is in hoping they can get invited into society.
She is joined as an outcast with Elmsworths (who I don’t know what their money is in, I don’t think they say. The housekeeper from Two and a Half Men plays the mother-but all I can see her as is the grumpy housekeeper in that show and the murdered one in Murder She Wrote.) And rounding out this group are the Clossons. Mr. Closson met his wife in Brazil and married her, making his money in the ranches and plantations she owns combined with the casinos in New York that he owns. Their daughter, Conchita has an even harder time with society as all assume her to be a “dark-skinned Native”. So-yes no one wants them.
However, Conchita is invited to the right parties as she is newly engaged to Lord Richard Marabel, and everyone wants a real English Lord at their party. Remember A Change of Fortune?
Mrs. St. George, feeling desperate, hires an English governess to instruct her younger daughter Nan, and give her family some ummph. Ms. Laura Testvalley arrives from England, happy as the St. George’s not knowing any better are paying her a small fortune. She’s doing way better than she would have in England. Too bad Jane Fairfax wasn’t born later.
Ms. Testvalley tries to instruct the girls and smooth out their rough edges. But they still are not invited anywhere.
Ms. Testvalley knows Lord Richard as she was governess to his sisters, and I don’t know if this is true but I always felt they had a “thing” in the past. They seem too close, if you know what I mean.
The big party of the summer is happening, and the only one who gets an invite is Conchita, and only because her fiance is Lord Richard. Elizabeth “Lizzy” Elmsworth and Nan’s older sister Virginia St. George, pretend to be Lord Richard’s sisters so they can go to the party, but they are later found out. Awkward!
Nan cannot go as she is not “out” in society, watching this I do get where Mrs.Bennet is coming from. It isn’t fun when you are stuck at home because your older sister isn’t married. Nan is adorable, fun, but a young girl. She thinks being a mistress is “exciting” as you have freedom and can do what you want. She even idealizes Ms. Testvalley’s life. Ms. Testavalley tries to help her with her naivety, but there is only so much she can do.
That is not what life is like.
Mrs. St. George is bemoaning that she cannot get invited anywhere, when Ms. Testavalley comes up with the idea of a London Season. She understands the American class system better than Mrs. St. George and knows that if the ladies go to England, when they return-everyone will be begging them to attend their functions. Mrs. St. George agrees and they are off.
In England, Conchita marries Richard and meets the family. There are huge issues as they come from very different cultures. Richard is the black sheep of the family, a gambler, loose with everything, etc. He thought marrying the wealthy Conchita would solve everything, but that’s not how it works out for him. Conchita’s family expects him to take care of their daughter and actually workfor a living.
Richard was kicked out of the family home and Conchita allows him back in as his father would never kick out a woman, especially one as beautiful as her.
Richard exits the picture, using the allowance she gets to live his life however he wants, and leaving the fiery, fun-loving Conchita in a cold, damp, mansion with the uptight well-to-do family.
Meanwhile, the St. Georges and Lizzy have come to England. Ms. Testavalley wants them to do well and enlists another expatriate, her old friend Ms. March. Ms. Testavalley just wants aid in teaching them proper manners and how to follow society rules, but Ms. March has a better idea. Ms. March was once a young girl who came to England for a season, and it was hard to get into English society. In fact she was going to marry Lord Brightlingsea, Richard’s father, but was left at the altar. It seems that there was some nefarious plot, (I personally think that Lady Brightlingsea found a way to trick him, but that’s just my opinion.) Ms. March wants revenge and plans to do so by getting all the girls with wealthy, important, high-society men.
The girls visit with Conchita who is very unhappy, lonely, and determined to take a lover to ease the days. She loves having the girls to visit with her and brighten her days. She takes them to visit with Guy Thwaite. Every girl loves him but he is “unmarriageable” as he has no money. When his mother died she left him £20000 or £50000 (depending on who is telling the story). His father invested it and lost it all. Many a lady wouldn’t mind marrying him as he is handsome, intelligent, and comes from a great family-but he refuses them all as he wants to have his own money, he doesn’t want to just live off his woman.
This kind of character gives me mixed feelings. He reminds me a lot of Carl from O Pioneers!and both characters infuriate me. One one hand you have to admire a guy who wants to have his act together, provide a life for his family instead of mooching off the woman, and be a man. But on the other hand, having so much pride you waste so much time. And you might lose the girl to another.
Guy and Nan hit it off right away and she falls hard for him. He likes her, but even though she is extremely wealthy, he wants to have his own money so he’d be worthy of his future wife.
I admire you and I’m angry with you. I’m angire or admry
So Lady Brightlingsea is not a happy woman. Conchita is pregnant, but Richard is never home and the money she brings in is not as much as this family would like to fill their extremely diminished coffers. And to add to it, her older son, the good one, has given no heir and has no interest to marry. He’s been involved with an older woman, Idina Hatton. Idina needs money and rents her cottage out to Ms. March, who brings the girls there. There they have fun and throw little parties.
From Emma (1996)
Nan is bored of those things-as she can’t really join in-and she and Ms. Testvalley go down to the countryside where Nan runs into Julius, Duke of Trevennick. Julius has been breaking hearts of all the ladies as no one can pin him down. He isn’t interested in any women as all they want are his title, he seems sweet but there is also something off-putting about his love of clocks and solitude. Like I get your an introvert, but it seems a tad…controlling. I don’t know.
Moving on…Nan impresses him as she has no clue who he is, loves the ruins as much as him, and is just full of innocence, childlike wonder, imagination, feelings, etc. She’s like a mix between Marianne Dashwood and Catherine Morland.
The Duke is taken with her and invites her to tea-the two talking and he continuing to be struck by her.
Meanwhile, Virginia and Lizzy have both been struck by Lord Seadown’s “sad eyes”, “brooding nature”, and melancholy demeanor. Oh man, you know the type.
Lord Seadown on the hand has been doing some calculating. His extremely dwindling coffers compared to the GNP of the Elmsworth and the St. George’s. Virginia is a better choice as her family has a lot more money. Seadown boasts of his plan to his brother and how he’ll have the better deal.
One day Lizzy, Virginia, and Conchita are having a little party, when Idina shows up, angry that Seadown stood her up. She makes a scene and yells at Virginia. Virginia is a classy lady, but Lizzy won’t stand the way she is being treated and lets all know that Virginia and Seadown are engaged.
The two marry and Virgina is ecstatic over being married to her love, Lord Seadown, becoming the future Lady Seadown, and winning over her rival Lizzy. But the marriage happiness is short lived as Seadown reveals that he only married her for her money and will be using it to redo the West Wing.
Replace beauty with money
Virginia is crestfallen, but that’s not the worst of it-Lord Seadown just uses her money-giving all love and affection to Idina.
So now we are left with little Nan. Guy is extremely interested, but lets her know that he is not going to marry anyone without money. He also thinks that Nan is too young at 18. He is going to South America for two years to work on the railroad and make his fortune. Nan insists that she is not too young, as her mother married at 18. But he says no and walks out of her life.
You’re making a huge mistake!!!!!!! Come back, at least propose!!! Don’t leave her!!!!!!!
Julian on the other hand is very interested in Nan and goes to speak to her but finds her out. He instead speaks to Ms. Testvalley about his wanting to marry Nan. Now in an interesting twist Ms. Testvalley really discourages him against. She warns him that Nan is young and he should wait as in a year or two-after she’s grown up a bit, she could be an incredibly different person.
This reminds me of Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Bennet. If Mr. Bennet had not been taken in by a pretty face but really spent his time getting to know Mrs. Bennet or maybe had a longer engagement he would have realized she isn’t the right person for him. But they both were young and didn’t think.
Julian ignores Ms. Testvalley and goes to Nan who is crushed and heartbroken and lonely. When Julian proposes he gives her a puppy! A PUPPY!!! There is a guy who knows how to do a good proposal, Mr. Darcy could take notes. She’s sad, crushed, alone as her sister and friends are married ad gone and she says yes.
So Nan becomes the crown jewel for Ms. March and Ms. Testvalley as she snagged the Duke, just under a Prince. Wowee!!
Yes the americans have won and conquered the English marriage market.
So here we have as I see it-Lord Richard is nothing but Mr. Wickham. Charming on the surface but a gambling bounder who only cares about having a good time for himself. We get a glimpse of how life would have been if Wickham succeeded in marrying Georgina or Miss Gray.
Then we have Lord Seadown. He reminds me of Mr. Elliot or Mr. Willoughby. But are as calculating when it comes to maintain their fortunes/way of lifestyle. Either would do all they can to keep it.
Smarming and plotting away.
And then we have the Duke. I’m not sure who he best lines up with, he seems like a nice catch…but I guess we will just have to wait and see.
So I was going to do the whole series in one post, but there is just too much. I’ll do a secondary post on the last three episodes.
In other news, I’ll be spending this weekend with my niece. I usually post every three days, but I might have to postpone as I don’t what we will be doing. I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July, whether it is just another day:
So I like to joke and have fun, but I’m going to end this post on a serious note. I just want to thank all past and present who have served to protect not only my country and my rights, but those around the world.
Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues edited by Christina Boyd
So it’s that time again, bring out the bad boys:
So I had been planning to finish these posts last year, but then the holidays come and you know what that’s like.
So I had to trade it out with posts I had written earlier. But now we are back on track.
For those of you who missed posts 1 & 2, Dangerous to Know is a compilation novel of the bad boys of Jane Austen-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more.
With this being on rakes and rogues…they aren’t the best of men or respectful…so some of the stories are going to be more sexy.
And I just want to say thank you to Christina Boyd for including this little chart to help you:
Mature Content Guidelines:
None: Possible kissing and affection.
Moderate: Some sexual references but not explicit.
Mature: Some nudity and some provocative sex.
Erotic: Explicit, abundance of sex.
Because not everyone is interested in books like this:
It’s nice giving us a head’s up so those that aren’t interested know to skip or skim, or those that do can enjoy.
Something for everyone
So far I have reviewed the none posts, which has stories on Captain Fredrick Tilney, General Tilney and John Thorpe from Northanger Abbey; along with Sir Walter Elliot from Persuasion. I loved these stories as some of these men I love to hate and it made me hate them ever more: And some men I have hated and actually began to like them:
Last time I reviewed the mild posts. I was really surprised with these stories as they were on Tom Bertram from Mansfield Park and Colonel Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I had never thought of these two as rogues, mostly because they have two of the biggest, baddest Austen rogues-Henry Crawford and George Wickham. The stories were really good and sucked me in, making it very hard to stop reading.
So just to remind you, these are the moderate posts-some sexual references but not explicit.
Oh Darcy, you aren’t a rogue. Get out of here.
Sorry I didn’t have any “sexy” pictures/gifs.
So before we start, let me say one thing…
A great thing about this book is that with these men, besides Wickham, we don’t know that much about their past or who they are. Most only play a small role-but have a big impact. This allows the authors a ton of wiggle room and almost anything can happen.
An Honest Man by Karen M. Cox
Ugh, Frank Churchill from Emma. Argh, I HATE this guy. Frank is the son of Mr. Weston and was sent away as a baby when his mother died to be raised by her wealthy relatives. He never sees his father or even visits. When he finally does it is because his secret fiance has moved the country. He then is such a jerk flirting and leading Emma on, in FRONT OF HIS FIANCE Jane. Urgh, argh, ugh…I just dislike him so much!
So in this story Frank first discusses how he became a “Churchill”. His father was of lower birth and his mother’s family disowned them when they married. When his mother died, Mr. Weston sent Frank to be raised by them and he stayed there. In order to inherit, he changed his name to Churchill and has towed her line ever since.
Frank has finished his studies, gone on his grand tour of Europe (brothels more than anything else), and goes to Weymouth to visit with friends. He runs into a beautiful girl in the post office, using some lines and double entendre to see if this “flower” is ripe for the “plucking” but no dice.
I’ll find someone else, no problem.
Later Frank and his friend Hayward run into a friend of Hayward’s, Dixon. Mr. Dixon is about to marry Miss Campbell, introducing them to his fiance and his fiance’s companion, Jane Fairfax-the girl Frank ran into in the post office.
Frank is very interested in her, especially after he hears her beautiful voice. In that moment of her song, he becomes convinced she is the woman for him and proceeds to go after her. The shark.
He follows her on one of her walks-wow stalker.
There he kisses her as it rains and poor Jane is putty in his hands. He takes her to a nearby cottage they find and convinces her that he will marry her, the two sleeping together.
After that they take as much time as they can to run off together, Frank “promising” that he will marry her, but not delivering. Then Jane gets pregnant. Uh oh…this is loser doing nothing to help her.
Now I know you hardcore fans are going to aghast, pregnancy? In Jane Austen? That’s not in the story. It’s okay, slow your roll-she ends up having a miscarriage and goes to Highbury-ruined and alone.
This is so sad. Poor Jane, seduced and taken for a ride.
So Frank keeps promising, taking what he wants from her, and then…!!!!…flirts with Emma in front of her. OMG I wanted Frank to be flesh and blood so I could give this jerk face loser a beating.
And this for good measure:
Frank’s aunt dies and the two marry, but will Jane really have a happy life with him or will being married to Frank be the same as being “secretly engaged.”‘
How I believe Jane will feel after she marries.
Thoughts After Reading:
I liked it. Even though I “knew” how the story would end-I mean I’ve read Emma-I still found myself invested and flipping through to find out what happens next. And I have always HATED Frank Churchill and now I really, really, really do. That jerkface lying weasel rat. You deserve the worse of the worse to be done to you.
The Lost Chapter in the Life of William Elliot by Jenetta James
William Elliot-ugh. William Elliot is Anne Elliot’s cousin. He is next in line for the baronetcy, but he and his uncle Sir Walter argued long ago and split ways. He was fine with it, as Sir Walter only has girls which can’t inherit, but when he discovers Sir Walter spending time with Elizabeth’s friend, widow Mrs. Penelope Clay, he jets down there to make amends as the last thing he needs is for Sir Walter to marry and have children. He then woos Mrs. Clay to keep her away, and Anne as he wants to marry her.
We start this story after Mr. Elliot’s wife has died, but before he enters Persuasion. One day, Mr. Elliot is out on the town, taking in a show of The Taming of the Shrew when he is hit by love’s arrows-the lead actress, Sarah Light.
At a party he gets to meet her, William is one who always has the upper hand, but finds his brain mush with her.
He then goes to see every performance, sending flowers and sweets to her room.
Every night he offers Miss Light his carriage and accompanies her to all the events she has to attend after her performances. One night she has nothing planned and the two walk together. Later they ride in the carriage and she asks if Mr. Elliot will be her dear friend, and call each other by their first names as friends do…
“Friends”, yeah right.
Then she kisses him, they go to her place and ….
The night turns into weeks, until they develop enough of a relationship that Mr. Elliot is considering making her his mistress. He’s already married for wealth and his wife’s death has given him riches and the ability to marry or be with whoever he may please.
But then Sarah refuses to see him any longer, And soon she has gotten a wealthy benefactor. It turns out that she already has a guy on her hook, and when he wasn’t delivering what she wanted-she used Elliot to make him jealous.
Elliot is crushed, but joins his friend for a holiday in Lyme and the source story. And he carries on…
Smarming and plotting away.
Thoughts After Reading:
This was good, as it gave us a softer side of Mr. Elliot and a look into his heart. I also liked him getting his heart pricked and prodded and-a little bad treatment as he treats others bad.
Ugh, Willoughby. This urgh-I really dislike him. He just does whatever, never thinking of how it affects others. He’s like Chuck Bass from season one of Gossip Girl.
He is with a woman and ruins her life, runs around with Marianne-making her think he is going to ask her to marry him-and then takes off to marry a wealthy woman-cutting Marianne in public! What a major, gigantic jerk.
Argh, I hate him…but let’s move on
In this story, it takes place before the events of Sense and Sensibility. Willoughby is in love with an older woman, Isobel, but she does not want to marry a plaything-she is marrying a wealthy, old, man.
Willoughby is angry, but Isobel quickly seduces him…
Isobel is expecting to keep Willoughby on the shelf to meet her needs that cannot be met by her husband, but Willoughby is angry and storms out.
He storms off into the park where he runs into old schoolmate Bingley, his wife and family, and friend Mr. Darcy. Seeing the men in love with their wives sours him even more and he storms off.
I hate everything!
Willoughby ends up in Bath when he assists a woman who has lost her pages for a letter. As he goes after them, he collides with a woman. He meets Miss Eliza Williams, Miss Martha Matthews, and Miss Emmeline Malcolm, escorting them to their lodgings.
Miss Malcolm is rich and beautiful, just the thing for Willoughby. Miss Williams is very interested in him, she is beautiful but is not rich enough to suit his needs.
Willoughby works hard and woos Miss Malcolm, they settle on a secret engagement when he discovers that she is Lord Cambourne’s daughter-Isobel’s new husband. He confesses that Isobel does not like him, and will object to the marriage-skipping over his relationship with Isobel.
We will keep that relationship secret.
Miss Malcolm responds as most young women do, the no makes her want him more and they plan to elope to Gretna Green. Willoughby claps himself on the back as he is getting the girl, the money, revenge, and a Golden Bowl situation.
When Miss Malcolm does not come as expected, he goes after her and finds out that Lady Isobel Cambourne is there. She told Miss Malcolm everything and ended the relationship and engagement.
Willoughby tries to speak to Miss Malcolm but she refuses him, now knowing his sordid secret. Miss Williams, seeing her opening, makes a play for him. Willoughby enjoys her, but has no plan whatsoever to marry her.
He returns to Devonshire, where a new family is living at Barton College. They are dull, but the middle daughter fawns over him and is a distraction. Miss Williams was upset at seeing him go as she wanted to marry, but hopefully he’ll be lucky and she won’t be pregnant.
Thoughts After Reading
I love, love, love the references to all the other Austen characters-Lady Susan told him of the affair, he is friends with Captain Fredrick Tilney, Mr. Bingley an old schoolmate, running into Bingley’s wife Jane, sister-in-law Elizabeth, and brother-in-law Mr. Darcy, Mr. Elliot being a friend of Captain Tilney: it was great. The story was also good as we see Mr. Willoughby in true form-all about him.
So now that we have reviewed the stories let’s talk about the other question on people’s minds: How sexy was the sexy parts?
So it wasn’t crazy out there but it was pretty sexy. In each one of these the men are with the prospective ladies and we read about it. The nice thing is that those aren’t the whole story so if you like it, you’ll enjoy it-and if you don’t, you can skim/skip.
So I really enjoyed these as well. I thought the authors did a great job putting their own spin and creating backstories for these characters, while staying true to what happened in Jane Austen’s books. They all captured the soul of the character and in my opinion, had you hate them more than you already do. I couldn’t stop reading.
But will I continue to enjoy it?
I guess we will find out in the final installment MATURE.