Rational Creatures: Fanny Price & Mary Crawford

Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd

For those of you who might have missed the last post, Rational Creatures is 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.

So far we have reviewed Elinor and Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility with Self-Composed by Christina Morland and Every Past Affliction by Nicole Clarkston & Elizabeth Bennet and Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice in Happiness in Marriage by Amy D’Orazio and Charlotte’s Comfort by Joana Starnes & Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, and Harriet Smith from Emma in Knightley Discourses by Anngela Schroeder,The Simple Things by J. Marie Croft and In Good Hands by Caitlin Williams And what have I thought of it so far?

This one is on Mansfield Park:

If Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are often forgotten or ignored Mansfield Park is just plain hated on. Mostly because people think Fanny is “boring” and “spineless”.

But Fanny isn’t boring or spineless. Mansfield Park is a great book and Fanny is a fantastic character! Fanny is a sweet kind girl-niece to the Bertram family, and was sent to stay with them. Instead of being treated as family, she is seen as “less” because of the “bad blood” inherited from the low class, wastrel father her mother married down to.

She is particularly mistreated by her evil aunt and two cousins; all of which take pride in bossing her around and being as cruel as can be. Fanny is the essence of sweetness, taking this injustice in stride and trying to remain optimistic in a bad situation.

The life of the Bertrams are interrupted when a Mr. Henry Crawford and Miss Mary Crawford come to visit their half-sister Mrs. Grant. Mary is set on winning the eldest Bertram, but finds her being struck by the younger. Henry’s sole purpose is to upset the apple cart by going after the Bertram sisters for fun, but having no intent of follow through. Will the Bertrams survive this?

That is not good,

So Mansfield Park is in a unique position. I believe (not quite sure as I’d have to count them) Mansfield Park has the least amount of adaptations. Besides Dangerous to Know the only one I’ve looked at are the films. And I know a lot of people like it, but I could not stand the Mansfield Park (1999) film as they had no concept of Fanny.

Did you even READ the book?!

Fanny is a hard character as society today doesn’t seem to like or encourage this type of character, but want them to be more aggressive, flashy, or loud. So I was a bit anxious, would this go well or would they fall into the same trap?

The Meaning of Wife by Brooke West

We pick up in this story at the end of Mansfield Park. Fanny turned down Henry Crawford’s proposal and was sent home to live with her family as punishment. Then Tom became sick and almost almost died. Fanny was brought back to Mansfield Park. Henry ran off with Maria Bertram-Rushworth. Mary Crawford wished Tom would have died and didn’t see the scandal of Maria and Henry as a big deal so Edmund ended everything.

A lot of people think Mansfield Park is boring but it has quite a bit of action in it. Look at that summary.

Anyways, so Fanny and the Bertrams are hanging out one morning when Tom reads a letter about a friend’s sister who is going to Europe to study philosophy. He makes a snide comment and then Edmund chimes in with a compliment to Fanny, that actually insults her. WOW!

Dude just pulled a Barney Stinson:

“The backhanded compliment is truly an art form – the best will lower the intended target’s self esteem thus making them more susceptible to the power of suggestion.”

Fanny has been crushing on Edmund for years, although I honestly don’t know why. If I had to rank my favorite Austen men, Edmund is on the bottom. I am joyful that Fanny gets her true love, but I think she could have done better.

Nope!

Anyways, Edmund looks at her with ardor and Fanny should be happy, but he completely just insulted her, again. Ugh.

Seriously stop!

Fanny shares how she would enjoy such a trip that they discussed and then Edmund says:

“The journey alone would be well beyond your capabilities.”

Ouch! This dude.

The conversation at the table made Fanny think and wonder and she takes a look at the book they were skewering, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and enjoys it.

As Fanny finishes reading, Edmund comes to talk to her. He tries to console her over her heart being broken by Henry. Ugh, men. He won’t listen that she isn’t heartbroken.

But ugh, he won’t listen. He goes on for a while, talks about Mary who he has been mooning over, and then proposes.

He’s been my least favorite and West made him even more so.

Ugh!

So then the story takes a twist. Fanny refuses him!

But I wasn’t upset with this twist. West did this really well as Fanny considers whether or not this will be the best choice as does Edmund really know her? Does he really care about her? Or is she his rebound from Mary. I love how she has Fanny wanting to say yes, the thing she has wished for her whole life is in her grasp, but is it what she really wants?

Hmm…

This is where I was hooked in. I LOVED it. We have Fanny considering is this is what she wants? Will this lead to happiness or a marriage like her mother and aunts have? Could she be happy with Edmund? Should she search for happiness in another person? What does she want to do with her life?

West has set the standard really high for any Mansfield Park adaptations. She really captured the character of Fanny, put her own twist on it, showed how she was the powerful character she is without ripping off Elizabeth or changing her complete personality.

And the ending was so cute. You’ve got to read it. I actually liked Edmund and Fanny together and this whole story made me like him more. We don’t really see Edmund romantically in love with Fanny:

“I purposely abstain from dates on this occasion, that every one may be at liberty to fix their own, aware that the cure of unconquerable passions, and the transfer of unchanging attachments, must vary much as to time in different people. I only entreat everybody to believe that exactly at the time when it was quite natural that it should be so, and not a week earlier, Edmund did cease to care about Miss Crawford, and became as anxious to marry Fanny as Fanny herself could desire.”

-Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

So it was cute to see him actually romantic. So adorable.

“If an idea takes root in your mind and you find merit in it, then I am persuaded that idea too, is moral and right. Your endorsement is all I need.’ He [Edmund] set his book aside and took her hands in his. ‘You are all I need.”

Brooke West, The Meaning of Wife

For more by Brooke West, go to “Last Letter to Mansfield” from Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MATURE

For more on Fanny Price, go to Austen Avengers Assemble!

What Strange Creatures by Jenetta James

Mary is living with her uncle, the Admiral. He is a cruel, horrid man and it has become more unbearable living with him since her aunt passed away. Anyways, it seems to be an ordinary day, until a magistrate from Bow Street, Mr. James Hunter, comes calling about her missing friend, Miss Verity Stanhope.

Gone Girl

Mary just laughs it off thinking that she probably ran off with some guy. She thinks they eloped and will be back, or took off and now have to elope. But Mr. Hunter assures her that this isn’t a “normal” disappearance. She is the third in a serial kidnapping.

What? A mystery? And a Jane Austen mystery?? You know me…

Mystery, you say?

So where will this story take us? Is she going to become a super sleuth? Will she solve the mystery? Could it be someone she knows? Henry? Her uncle, the admiral? A new character? I’m invested.

Ready for any case

He questions her, but there is no new information regarding her missing friend. Although Henry did leave early. And Verity always liked him. Hmmm….

Hmmm…

No, he has an alibi. It is clearly not him.

Mary keeps trying to shrug it off as an elopement as Verity was having a fortune coming her way, but Mr Hunter is not convinced. The two share a brief flirtation, and he is gone. A brief flirtation is all it could be as Mr. Hunter isn’t the type of man Mary is after.

The next morning Mary is at home with the Admiral, ugh. Things are harder with him now that her aunt has passed and Henry is away. She tells him about an invite they received, but he declines as he will be out. He always does that sort of thing, could he be up to something nefarious? Such as…kidnapping?

Hmmm

The admiral doesn’t care about her or what she does, she can go to the party by herself. And he doesn’t care about this Verity business, as he sees her as just a dumb female.

This guy!

Mary tries to stay away from the idea that it is more than just an elopement, but Mr. Hunter’s words keep coming back. She goes shopping and is enjoying herself, but then thinks how can she be happy and go out when something horrible could be happening to her friend?

“The loss of a person one loves, however so occasioned, can draw a line through happiness as surely as any of life’s misfortunes.”

She continues on her way and then she notices a carriage, it seems that wherever she goes the carriage follows. She goes, it goes. She stops, it stops.

She starts to become alarmed and wants to go into a shop when someone comes out…Mr. Hunter?

Huh?

He followed her?! Is he the kidnapper?

Yes, he followed her, but just because he was worried maybe she could be next. He wasn’t going to say anything, but she was about to go into the shop of Madam Villechamp, a place where all the women who disappeared went into before they vanished.

Mary never would have gone in there, (except she was being followed), as her aunt always forbid her. Her aunt didn’t like the shop. But Mary must know what is going on and so she makes an appointment. She goes to check it out and when the assistant is out of the room she starts investigating.

She goes through the correspondence and writings There she finds a letter from her uncle! Her uncle’s mistress is Madame Villechamp! And he wants her to move in with him.

She runs to Bow Street and talks to Mr. Hunter, and finds out that Verity was found, it was an elopement. Mary talks with him and leaves to start a new life, going to visit Mrs. Grant and entering the Bertram’s lives.

So…what about the missing women? Their disappearances? Serial kidnapper? What happened? I wanted to solve the mystery.

But that aside, I think Mary was very well-written and I liked how they showed her character. And I enjoyed the view into her dysfunctional family as it really does give a great view into their dynamic.

For more by Jenetta James, go to “The Lost Chapter in the Life of William Elliot” from Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

For more on Mary Crawford, go to Anna Karenina Made Me View Maria Bertram-Rushworth and Mary Crawford Differently

These stories were really great, even though I didn’t get to fully utilize my detecting skills.

Next time…it has been a while since a Bebris mystery.

 So we have had nine incredible stories. Will the next ones be just as good? I guess I’ll just have to wait and see! 🙂

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

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

For more Mansfield Park, go to Once Upon a Time There Were Three Sisters…

For more Austen book reviews, go to Little Literary Classics Mansfield Park Cloth Book

Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne Dashwood

Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd

So two years I was contacted by the remarkable Christina Boyd to read and review The Darcy Monologues. It contained stories from Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams.

The stories were all told from Darcy’s point of view with half the book set in the Regency Era and the other half set in different time periods (from 1880s Western to modern times). I really loved it! It was just so refreshing to see a point of view that is often overlooked or not done well. Just like the movies, there are many different forms of Darcy, so you have your pick of Darcy-being sure to find one, two, or more to love.

After that project, Christina Boyd teamed up with Karen M. Cox: J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Katie Oliver, Sophia Ros, Joana Starnes, and Brooke West for a new book. This book is Dangerous to Know Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues, on the rogues and rakes of the Austen books-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more.

He’s a bad boy-womanizer

The next one was Rational Creatures, with stories by Elizabeth Adams, Nicole Clarkston, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Jessie Lewis, KaraLynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Sophia Rose, Anngela Schroeder, Joana Starnes, Brooke West, and Caitlin Williams. All on the 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.

It sounded great and I planned to review it after a few things on my list, but then time just passed so quickly by.

I said to heck with it, and decided I’m reading it now and reviewing it!

So I decided to break the review up into six posts-going book by book. That way it isn’t one ginormous post.

We are starting with:

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

Sense and Sensibility, deals with the line between expression. I liked how there is the question of whether too much of either is bad and how much does one need? We have Marianne who expresses too much, while Elinor, expresses nothing. While both sisters are the best of friends; their extremes cause the other to never fully know their sister. Marianne can never see what Elinor is feeling and makes all these assumptions about a “frozen” heart. Elinor on the other hand, never imagines that Marianne has any sense as she assumes she is solely governed by feelings. I liked how the sisters were never privy to each others complete secrets as I feel this is realistic. I can see myself and my sister in these.

Or just sister in this case.

So in a lot of adaptions Elinor is stiff, cold, robotic, icy, or a control freak (looking at you Austentatious 2015), etc:

And Marianne is beautiful, fashionable, and 100% an airhead:

So I was eager to see how they did their adaptations, and hoping against hope that they wouldn’t fall into the same traps:

Self-Composed by Christina Morland

Elinor Dashwood

The story begins in Norland Sussex, 1797 as Mr. Dashwood has died, the house has been inherited by their half-brother John Dashwood, and Elinor, her sisters, and mother must prepare to move their items out. From there it takes them to Barton Cottage when Edward Ferrars visits, Elinor having to be nice to Lucy Steele (Edward’s intended), to the final conclusion of the story.

So first of all it is obvious that Ms. Morland is a fan of Jane Austen and has not only read the story but understands Jane Austen. Often, as I said before, when people do an adaptation they take sense to mean that Elinor is an icy, unfeeling person-made of stone.

But clearly Jane Austen doesn’t intend that as seen-

“Esteem him! Like him! Cold-hearted Elinor! Oh! worse than cold-hearted! Ashamed of being otherwise. Use those words again, and I will leave the room this moment.”

Elinor could not help laughing. “Excuse me,” said she; “and be assured that I meant no offence to you, by speaking, in so quiet a way, of my own feelings. Believe them to be stronger than I have declared…”

What she means by sense is that Elinor controls her feelings and emotions-not that she is a control freak, just mistress of herself.

Ms. Morland captures that perfectly!!!-as she has Elinor in command of herself with a certain demeanor, all the while her emotions exploding on the inside.

I loved it! I thought it was perfect! I think that Ms. Morland captured the true spirit of Elinor.

I also loved how she used the drawing and painting as for how Elinor is feeling, describing the drawing as her trying to help her control her feelings-not so much repress (which most adaptions go with)-by releasing them on paper instead of verbally.

My favorite part is when she draws Lucy Steele, she is trying to be a good Christian woman and makes her as beautiful as she is in real life, but also makes her face look manipulative and cunning.

I LOVE it (sorry to keep using that same word over and over again. Here is one of the passages I loved:

“Elinor closed her eyes and envisioned blank paper, flat and crisp; she imagined lines and circles with no clear end or beginning; she thought of steady hands, of straight edges…”

As I have said, there are very few Sense and Sensibility adaptations I enjoy, but I LOVED THIS!

For more by Christina Morland, go to “One Fair Claim” from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious (2015)

Every Past Affliction by Nicole Clarkston

Marianne Dashwood

We start when Marianne awakens from being sick, having been caught in the rain (it’s not clear whether she was trying to commit suicide, thought she would make it back in time, maybe thought if she was “sick” Willoughby would be sorry and come after her, etc-a discussion for another day.) She begins to recuperate, and you know what, I can’t even get through the synopsis, I absolutely LOVED it!

Finally, finally, finally we have a Marianne Dashwood adaptation that doesn’t make her a ditz but a young, passionate woman.

“Your faults, as you claim them to be, are in equal measure virtues. Blind to them? I could never be. Nor could I admonish you to any degree for past mistakes, for they were the product of an earnest, passionate heart and youthful innocence.”

Finally someone gets it!

In Clarkson’s story Marianne begins to convalescence and starts to think about her behavior-seeing how she let emotion rule her and begins to really study herself, educate herself, and grow to be her better self.

I’m so happy!

I just LOOOOVVED IT! Now don’t get me wrong, I think Ms. Morland’s story was just as amazing, its just this has been driving me crazy!!! The fact that every adaptation seems to make Marianne dumb instead of young and inexperienced. I am so happy to finally see a writer who gets it!

So I really liked this story and how it shows the blooming relationship with Marianne and Colonel Brandon. It was so sweet and a great progression that just makes you squeal with the cuteness!

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious (2015)

So in conclusion, I have not read many Sense and Sensibility, mostly because the ones I have read the author’s just don’t get the characters. Elinor is always too cold and unfeeling and just frumpy. Marianne is always a dunce who just kind of lalalas her way through the story.

I’m not happy

But these two stories completely broke those cliches and are thus far the best, and I mean best adaptations/depictions of Elinor and Marianne that I have read.

Both these stories and writers!

With this just being the beginning, I am super pumped to keep reading.

For more Christina Boyd, go to Five Jane Austen Adaptations That Should be Turned Into a Film or TV Show

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to The Smart One and the Pretty One

For more Austen book reviews, go to Little Literary Classics Mansfield Park Cloth Book

Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

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 & 2Dangerous 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.

Hmm…

And I just want to say thank you to Christina Boyd for including this little chart to help you:

Mature Content Guidelines:

  1. None: Possible kissing and affection.
  2. Mild: Kissing.
  3. Moderate: Some sexual references but not explicit.
  4. Mature: Some nudity and some provocative sex.
  5. 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.

Oh, well

So before we start, let me say one thing…

Wait

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.

Ugh…

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.

Oh Jane…

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.

Noooo!

This is so sad. Poor Jane, seduced and taken for a ride.

Nooooooooooooooo

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.

Jerk

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.

How I feel about Frank Churchill, not the story.

For more by Karen M. Cox, go to I, Darcy in The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

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.

Double-timing snake

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.

Ouch!

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.

This dude

For more by Jenetta James, go to Reason to Hope in The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

Willoughby’s Crossroads by Joana Starnes

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.

Forget you!

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.

For more by Joana Starnes, go to If Only a Dream in The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

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?

Hmm…

I guess we will find out in the final installment MATURE.

For more reviews of Dangerous to Know, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more Emma, go to Victoria and the Rogue

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

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues edited by Christina Boyd

So last year I was contacted by the remarkable Christina Boyd to read and review The Darcy Monologues. It contained stories from Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams.

The stories were all told from Darcy’s point of view with half the book set in the Regency Era and the other half set in different time periods (from 1880s Western to modern times). I really loved it! It was just so refreshing to see a point of view that is often overlooked or not done well. Just like the movies, there are many different forms of Darcy, so you have your pick of Darcy-being sure to find one, two, or more to love.

After that project, Christina Boyd teamed up with Karen M. Cox: J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Katie Oliver, Sophia Ros, Joana Starnes, and Brooke West for a new book. Instead of Darcy, this one will be on the rogues and rakes of the Austen books-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more.

I promised to read and review it but unfortunately life got in the way and I was unable to do it.

I hate breaking a promise, that is my number-one most hated thing of all time.

So now things are back on track. And this will be the first of a few posts as I am going to break them up. Why?

Hmm…

Well…this is about rakes and rogues, so you know…they aren’t the best of men or respectful…you know…so some of them are going to be more sexy.

Hmm…

And I just want to say thank you to Christina Boyd for including this little chart to help you:

Mature Content Guidelines:

  1. None: Possible kissing and affection.
  2. Mild: Kissing.
  3. Moderate: Some sexual references but not explicit.
  4. Mature: Some nudity and some provocative sex.
  5. 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

I will review them all, starting with the none in this post, the next will cover mild, then moderate, etc.

I am very excited as I loved The Darcy Monologues and I can’t wait to see what these authors are going to do with the bad boys of Jane Austen.

This idea really interested me as we don’t know much about these bad boys, except for Wickham. Some of them aren’t even main characters, only in the story for a bit, but all play crucial roles in the path the story takes. So there is a lot of wiggle room for these authors and all kinds of scenarios and directions they could take. And almost-the original story can’t be changed-anything could happen…

The Art of Sinking by J. Marie Croft

So this one is on John Thorpe from Northanger Abbey. Let’s get his stats:

  • Liar
  • Unscrupulous
  • Rude
  • Braggart
  • Only interested in horses, carriages, money and drinking
  • Manipulative
  • Narcissist
  • He lies to everyone about how wealthy Catherine is-as that is what he has made up in his head
  • He lies about the Tilneys to try and get Catherine away from them.

There is not enough hate in the world to give him what he deserves.

Ugh

Okay first let me say, I love that Croft uses the first quote from Northanger Abbey and tweaks it about Thorpe, showcasing his buffoonery. This is a ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) so I can put in the actual quote. But yeah-

In this we see where John gets his  lying streak from. He learns from his mother how to “stretch” the truth. He doesn’t get anywhere or do anything on his own, but manages to skirt through his life through his big mouth. He was never disciplined and basically believes he can do no wrong.

And I have to say that Croft is amazing at crafting all kinds of little jabs, puns, etc. This was such a pleasure to read.

I like it.

But John really crafts his skill when he goes to university. He doesn’t study, but tries to make “connections”, gambles, spends all his money on drink, women, gambling, etc. He and Isabella scheme to get rich wives and husbands, his plan to get his sister to hook his friend James Morland and he to get his sister.

But, before that scheme he has another. He bets that before the term ends he will bed a married woman. He stupidly believes Mrs. Waters, an elegant married woman, has the hots for him.

Uh no.

She learns of his scheme and both her husband and her unwittingly plan schemes of their own. Mr. Waters bets him to see of his wife will succumb, and Mrs. Waters plans a Shakespearean worthy scam. Mrs. Waters tricks him into the super smelly,stinky laundry and dump him in the river.

He tries again with Mrs. Fields, but that ends up with a dog attacking him, getting beat by the husband, and thrown again the river.

Isn’t nice to see people get what they so deserve.

He tries again with Mrs. North, but when he gets there he finds not just that woman but the previous two. They try to force him in the laundry, send the pug after him, and all three women dump him in the river in front of everyone.

What Did I Think: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha I LOVE it!!!

For more by J. Marie Croft, go to From the Ashes in The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For Mischief’s Sake by Amy D’Orazio

Fredrick Tilney…ugh…onw of the most awful men ever. Hate him! He makes me think of James Spader in Pretty in Pink

  • Handsome
  • Rich
  • Narcissist
  • Class A totally complete 100% jerkwad
  • Cares about nothing and nobody
  • Uses girls, takes what he wants and then dumps them-without caring a fig for their reputation, life, what will become of them.

I’d like to punch him in the face!

So this starts off with Captain Fredrick Tilney, brother to Henry Tilney, going to be in a duel after seducing his friends fiance. He stops the duel by telling his friend he did it “for his own good”. That he did it to prove his fiance was “unfaithful” and that he is “better off” without her.

HATE HIM!!! HATE HIM!!!! NO real friend would do that. Now I want to punch him in the face and the balls. Excuse my anger.

He learned this from his father, General Tilney, when he fell for a girl and his dad believed she was untrue. General Tilney seduced her, and Fredrick has “made it his mission” to do so for all his friends.

You know who else has creepy evil missions, serial killers! Yes, serial killers. He as evil as a serial killer.

A year later, General Tilney is furious that Henry has proposed to Catherine who has nothing in his estimation. Fredrick tries to reason with his brother:

No dice. The General sends Fredrick down to take her down.

He does and this is one of the best scenes ever! He sees that she is naive and thinks she’s just right for the kill. He throws down his classic seduction moves and Catherine…she cries. She weeps, she sobs, she is utterly heartbroken that Captain Tilney has been so hurt, so heartbroken, so betrayed that he has become this man in his grief. She laments over what happened to him, she is honored that he has shared this secret self as it is a mark of bonding as they are going to be siblings.

What?

When seduction doesn’t work, he tries logic. He spells out clearly that his father will never approve of the match, but Catherine ignores him believing love will find a way. Fredrick was proved wrong twice, as his father rescinds and they do marry. That conversation sticks with him…

At a ball one night he sees a vision of loveliness, wowed by her but then realizes it is Miss Rose Gibson, the woman he seduced in the beginning of the story.  She hates him with a passion, but Fredrick has been struck by cupid’s arrow (but doesn’t realize it yet). Miss Gibson is an amazing woman who has no fear-she throws herself in front of the wolves by going to balls, parties, etc even tough she is a fallen woman. Fredrick befriends her and realizes that there was a lot more too her. He never saw her as more than a body before.

Love, love love the conversations. Fredrick is all (I’m paraphasing and using my own words nothing is a direct quote, just fyi) a woman just wants the richest man they can get, women be gold diggers. And then Rose is all, so what a man just wants the richest woman they can get, but she also has to be drop-dead gorgeous, accomplished, baby-bearing, etc.-how’s that fair? Fredrick is all women are just after security-while Rose is like when a woman gets married they go from being controlled by father to husband. Boom Rose-you are one awesome lady. Suck on that Fredrick! You suck!

The best is this-“If the vows were what I awaited to gain his loyalty,’ she said, ‘then I suppose he should have expected likewise from me.” BOOM BOOM BOOM. Yeah! Why does the guy get to be going in all kinds of brothels and being with all kinds of ladies and no one bats an eye, but then she is seduced and life is over. Not fair, not cool. Although I will say, that Rose does take responsibility for her actions and the mistake that she made with Fredrick. She doesn’t solely blame him-I think she is awesome.

Fredrick realizes he loves her, but he tries and tries proposing and each time is rejected.

What can he do? He decides to turn to the biggest romantic and the only one who can help, his sister-in-law: Catherine Morland-Tilney.

I’ve got my popcorn ready, it’s going to be good.

What Did I Think:

I LOOOOOOVEEEEED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn’t think it was possible to like Fredrick Tilney, like I literally thought it was impossible. But I did. D’Orazio is a revolutionary, can perform a miracle-seriously.

Squee! I loved it!

One Fair Claim by Christina Morland

So this story is about Sir Walter Elliot:

I hate him. He’s a major jerk.

  • All he cares about is physical apperance
  • He is critical
  • Rude
  • Spendthrift
  • Doesn’t care about anyone but himself

Will I continue to hate him or see him in a new light?

The story starts in March of 1784, and Sir Walter…

Is being Sir Walter…

Ugh

Commenting on people’s looks, the fact that he is lucky that the arm band (meaning a relative has died) doesn’t ruin his outfit…

He has “fallen in love”- ultimately chosen-Miss Elizabeth Stevenson because she is sweet and naive-flattering and playing to his ego.  Also she has “perfect skin”-no freckles, lines, blemishes, moles, sags, etc…so of course she will be perfect to procreate.

But there is another man interested. There is a new vicar of Monkford Parish, who is “ugly”-he sweats, has a large nose, double chin, cares more about others than his personal appearance.

Sir Walter gets second thoughts when it appears that Elizabeth reads! The horror! An intellectual…and reading! We all know how he hates that.

We then move to July 1784 when they are to be married. Elizabeth has the blinders on and believes him to be better than he really is-seeing him as caring for others when he only cares about himself. Unfortunately, Elizabeth chains herself to that jerk. She gets a sad wake up call when his wedding gift is a copy of the Barontency-yes a book about him and his whole family. What a narcissistic jerkwad.

1790-They have been married and Elizabeth has been hit with the truth of her situation, trying to make the best of it. She spends most of her free time helping take care of the orphans and poor until she dies.

After her death, a letter for Anne from her mother was left, but Sir Walter burns it as he doesn’t want Anne’s eyes opened. Anne is the only one that received the personality of her mother, as Elizabeth and Mary are all Sir Walter.

What Did I Think?: I didn’t know it was possible to hate a character more than you already do. But Christina Morland changed that.

I will say that when Sir Walter doesn’t believe in “passion so strong” that you “get it on” in the grime, dirt, and dust-I actually agreed with him. I don’t get that either. I agreed with Sir Walter. I think my life just ended.

I loved it, I think Morland did a fantastic job, I loved it. I love hating people more that I already hate. 🙂

As Much as He Can by Sophia Rose

So I have to admit, when I saw Sophia Rose’s name I got SUPER excited!!! I loved her story in The Darcy Monologues-if you haven’t read it, you need to.

Anyways, this is about General Tilney:

  • Conniving
  • Mean
  • Controlling
  • Jerk
  • Uses children as pawns
  • Wants to make more money through children

He and Eleanor Young in Crazy Rich Asians would be perfect for each other.

The story begins in 1799, with a party at Northanger Abbey. General Tilney is trying to maneuver a more suitable match for his daughter Eleanor and trying to get Henry Tilney to move his interest from  Catherine, but no dice so far.

He starts thinking back to when he met their mother-Genevieve. General Tilney is thought to be unfeeling or a villian-but is that how he really felt about her?

March 1768-General Tilney-Major then, is coming for his best friend’s, Longtown, wedding (wow another Crazy Rich Asians flashback). His other friend Courtenay is engaged and his fiance is hoping that Tilney can help them out. Her friend, Miss Genevieve Drummond needs attention and a partner for some of the dances. But Tilney isn’t interested as Miss Freethy is the woman he wants, having meet and spent time with her in Jamaica- he stationed her visiting.

Tilney and marriage is something that he and his father fought over-his dad parading “suitable” women of his choice in front of Tilney. He never wants to be like that and ran away to the army. Since then his father has given him no money-and Tilney has had to go it on his own.

Tilney spends the night with Miss Drummond and really enjoys it, but still has his eyes on Miss Freethy trying to sneak away to talk to her as soon as he can.

But Miss Freethy is not interested in Tilney anymore. He was just a flavor of the month for her. She set her eyes on Lord Stanbridge, an Earl with great land and money. Tilney is not heartbroken, but angry, embarrassed, and betrayed.

While Tilney is in sorrow, Miss Drummond proposes to him.

What?

Yes, Miss Drummond had a fortune-hunter after her and was greatly humiliated and talked about. That’s why her friends had to hunt up someone to give her “attention.” She does not want to return to her father’s or aunt’s household-where the humiliation and lecturing will continue. She knows that Tilney will face the same humiliation and wants to propose marriage to Mr. Tilney. The humiliation will stop as the ton will reverse and talk about the nuptials, how Tilney spurned Miss Freethy for Miss Drummond, and how Miss Drummond scooped up a winner.

Tilney turns him down as Miss Drummond is lower than him, and does not have the connections and wealth Miss Freethy had. He is a total jerk when he does too-awful.

So the friend’s wedding comes and goes, but the tongues are wagging about Tilney being Miss Freethy’s little toy soldier. Tilney thinks over the proposal more and more and meets up with her later. He sees her again and can’t believe that he didn’t see how beautiful she was before. He accepts her proposal and they are married-forget his father.

The two were married and became “partners” in their venture. Tilney did all he could to hold up his end of the deal, getting her the things she wanted.

This remembrance made him realize he does not want to be his father and he lets Eleanor and Henry marry the people of their dreams.

What Did I Think?: So adorable. I never thought I would ever like General Tilney, ever-even a little bit. He’s so rude and just-urgh, yuck. But in this I felt for him, I liked him! I thought it was absolutely adorable and just loved it. 

For more by Sophia Rose, go to Darcy Strikes Out in The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

So far what do I think? I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED It!!! This stories were great! Some people I absolutely hated, I found myself loving! And others I hated I found myself hating more! It was amazing and I found myself having a hard time putting it down as I wanted to read more and more.

But will I love the others? I don’t know, we will have to wait and see!

For more Christina Boyd, go to Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Crazy Rich Asians

For more on Persuasion, go to Right Away I Know I Won’t Like You

For more Austen book reviews, go to Just Jane

The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

The Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd and written by Various

So first of all, I’m so sorry to have taken so long to post this. I first planned to have it up by the 20th, but then I got busy and I pushed it back to the 21st. Then other things occurred which took me away from home all day so I had to push it back to the 22nd. And then I am sure you can guess that once again my attention was diverted.

After all you know my motto:

But never fear, my other motto has this covered.

The Darcy Monologues was brought to my attention when Christina Boyd gave me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I readily agreed and began reading:

What the novel consists of is several monologues, or short stories, retelling Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view.

Some stories take place during the novel, some change things, some ask questions of “what if this happened…?”, etc.

Hmm…

The first half of the novel’s collection all take place in the Regency Era; and I loved it!

To read more about those stories, click on this link. The second half involves different decades.

Now let me clear one thing up. It was said anywhere, but for some reason I assumed that every story would take place in a different decade and involve Darcy and Elizabeth throughout time.

However, that assumption was false. When they say “Other Eras”, they mean “not Regency”. Yes, there is no great time traveling like I thought.

And let me be clear that this assumption wasn’t anyone’s fault but mine. The writers and marketing team did not lead me astray. made the mistake.

So I’m going to do things a little different then in the previous review. Last time I went through the stories by the way they are set out in the novel. This time I am going to review the stories by their times-starting with the ones in the past and ending with those that are set in modern times.

Pemberley By Stage by Natalie Richards

Circa 1860

Thoughts Before Reading:

When I heard that there was going to be a Western version of Pride and Prejudice I couldn’t wait to read it.

If you have been following me, then you know how much I was obsessed with the Old West, cowboys, and Clint Eastwood as a child.

ME!!!

So will this story be all I dreamed it to be?

Hmm…

Plot Synopsis:

After having his name sullied by his associate, George Wickham, lawyer Darcy has been convinced by his friend, Charles Bingley, to move to San Francisco and start over. He is journeying with Bingley and Bingley’s sister Louisa; no Caroline as she “would not leave civilization.” Darcy brought his sister Georgiana with him, but is worried that maybe it would have been best to leave her in the East. Also in their stagecoach is a Mr. Hurst, a man Louisa has become interested in.

As they are journeying, the stage is overtaken by bandits. Darcy is knocked out and when he comes to he discovers that the thieves not only stole everything of value, but kidnapped Georgiana as well, and will only release her for $10,000.

Darcy wants to travel after her, but many are wounded and need assistance. Luckily, two siblings-Jane Bennet and her brother Elias, arrive on the scene. They have been after the gang and the leader, George “Smiling George” Wickham” (the same ex-partner of Darcy), ever since he convinced their sister Lydia to run off with him. The two know of a healer, so Darcy and Elias head off to fetch her while Jane and Louisa tend to the wounded.

As the two travel they talk about their families and instantly form a friendship. After bringing back the healer, who is also a prostitute favored by Wickham, Darcy pays not only for her to aid his friends but for the information of Wickham’s hideout. Elias wants to join him, as Darcy needs an extra hand, and Elias is an excellent shot.

However, it turns out that Jane does not want Elias to help, as she can’t stand to lose another sister.

Yes, Elizabeth had been traveling as “Elias” to protect herself and her sister. Darcy is at first upset at Elizabeth, as he shared personal information but Elizabeth withheld hers. As they ride, the two patch up, as each understands the other hurt.

When they arrive at the camp they find Georgiana tied up, Lydia pregnant, and a camp of thieves bickering between themselves as what to do next. As this gang begins to turn on each other, Darcy and Elizabeth must think fast and bold in order to save their siblings.

Things I Pondered: How awesome this was.

Things I Liked: How amazing this was!

The action was fantastic, the pacing was great, and once I got started I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next.

Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!

I think it was absolutely one of the best in this section. Just amazing from beginning to end and with every character. I know this will be one I will read over and over.

For more Westerns, go to People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

Reason to Hope by Jenetta James

Circa 1939-1941

Thoughts Before Reading:

I love history and had just finished reading The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, so I was primed for a World War II-themed Pride and Prejudice.

Plot Synopsis:

Darcy and Bingley are soldiers in the British army. They knew each other back in school and have struck up their friendship again. Bingley’s sister Caroline is after Darcy, but he has been free from her clutches as she has evacuated London and went to a country estate, Netherfield

Yep!

One night when Darcy has time off, he comes across a light shining during a mandatory blackout. When he drives up to yell at the person with the torch (flashlight), he finds his words being thrown back as Elizabeth Bennet will not take any of his gruff, especially as he is on her land.

In this tale there are only three Bennet sister- Jane, Elizabeth, and Mary. However, the household is harboring two girls from the city, Lydia and Kitty Potter.

Darcy tries to talk to Elizabeth at a USO dance but she is angry for the things Caroline said about her family previously, the Potter girls, mother, etc.; and that Darcy listened to it all in agreement.

Jerk

When Lydia and Kitty return to London to visit their parents, a bombing is done by the Nazis. Darcy goes with Elizabeth to track down the missing girls and try to make amends for his earlier behavior. But will he succeed or fail in both ventures?

Hmm…

Things I Pondered: I didn’t really see where this level of anger was coming from in Elizabeth as there is a difference between voicing an opinion and listening/agreeing to one. I felt that she released her anger at Caroline at Darcy, instead of being given a reason to dislike him.

It also felt weird without Mr. Wickham. As much as we hate him, he does play a very important role in the story.

What I Like: I liked the introspection Darcy goes through as he realizes not saying anything can be just as bad as being the one saying it; when you give the impression that you agree with the speaker instead of being polite. I think it was paired very well with the fact that this was a war in which some citizens didn’t agree with what the Nazi party believed, but also didn’t say anything about what they were doing.

I liked the second part of the story when they search for the girls as it just grabs you and makes you read faster to see if they discover them alive…or dead.

The secondary characters were also fun as I like what the author did with Kitty, Lydia, Denny, and the like. 

You Don’t Know Me by Beau North

Circa 1961-64

Thoughts Before Reading:

This whole time I have been reading this title as You Don’t Own Me, thinking it was named after the Lesley Gore song.

Having it in the sixties intrigued me as I wondered if the author was going to go in the direction of Mad Men or Do Not Disturb with marketing or fashion (as that is how I saw Darcy) or the overused “hippie” route.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this to be about music and a radio station.

Plot Synopsis:

Darcy inherited half his father’s company when he passed, the rest being controlled by his aunt Catherine. He doesn’t really care for it, as the company always held all of his father’s attention, but does like the money he gets from it. After he is caught with a client’s wife, as he did not know she was married, his aunt banishes him from Manhattan to Buffalo for a year.

If he does well with the newly acquired station, WPNP, then he can come back after the year. Otherwise he stuck there.

The interim station manager and sales manager is Charles Bingley, who later becomes a good friend, and his secretary is Jane [Bennet]. One of the radio shows is run by an Eliza Bennet, who has the top stats with her music. The only problem, she is playing African-American music which is not what Aunt Catherine or Regina Caroline Bliss, leader of the Mother’s Morality League, want. Finding himself pressured from all sides he tries to strike a compromise which doesn’t work well with Eliza, them often going head to head.

After a heated argument, Darcy goes to speak to Eliza at home and meets her father, Tomas Benowitz. It turns out that Elizabeth Bennet is actually Benowitz and that she is Jewish. There are more discoveries to be made as Tomas was the star violinist of the Royal Orchestra of Prague, before the war changed everything and he came to America. Darcy also meets Eliza’s aunt and uncle; and enjoys everyone’s company.

In fact, he starts falling for Eliza but she refuses him as she doesn’t want to be seen as securing her job by sleeping with the boss; plus Darcy is only staying for a year. Darcy doesn’t like, but agrees to just be her friend.

Not what I want, but what can I do?

Darcy leaves, with Bingley in charge (he is also now dating Jane). He returns to Manhattan and repairs the relationship with his aunt. When Eliza’s father dies, he returns, but she still refuses him. There is nothing he can do but return home.

His Aunt Catherine discovers that he is in love and encourages Darcy to go back and try again. Will he fight for the woman he loves? Or will he give in and marry some high society girl from Vassar?

Things I Pondered: I didn’t care for this story as much as I didn’t like the depiction of Elizabeth. She always seems to be just rude and yelling at Darcy. I understand her wanting to be sassy and standing up for the rights of others, but still Darcy is her boss. I don’t care how good you are, I think most bosses would fire you for screaming at them and saying the things she says about their character.

I don’t know the background of North but I thought the Jewish ancestry wasn’t dealt with as well at it should have been. Yes Eliza talks about the fact that she had to change her name to not offend people, but they characters act as if it isn’t a big deal when many Jewish people still faced racism and scrutiny. It also seems to not impact their lives or anything as it is introduced and never featured in the story again. True, it is not about her but Darcy, but I felt like it could have been fleshed out (maybe in a future novel?). I also thought they were too cavalier with Darcy converting. I mean changing religions is a big deal, it isn’t like changing a shirt. There are lots of steps he has to go through and it is taking everything he has known and celebrated and throwing it out, having to adjust to new life.

Things I Liked: really like that North decides to make this a bicultural relationship. This is something not really seen, other than  the film Bride & Prejudice. I liked the idea of having Pride and Prejudice with people of different cultures or races as you aren’t as separated as one was in Regency England. I would definitely read an interpretation of Pride and Prejudice that went along those lines.

I also like how the author tied in Eliza’s background to her musical choices. Being a person who is discriminated against as to her gender and religion, it made sense that she would campaign so hard for others who face prejudices. 

Plus *SPOILER ALERT* I love how he tells her on air, not caring who hears him, that he loves her and wants to marry her.

Hot for Teacher by Sara Angelini

Circa 1999-2005

Thoughts Before Reading:

So at first I thought this was set in the 1980s as the title comes from the Van Halen song, Hot for Teacher (1984) and they name a section after AC/DC‘s Back in Black.  But then they reference  Creep by Radiohead (1992), Dazed and Confused (1993), She’s So High by Tai Bachman (1999), and then Paradise which I am not sure is referring to the ’80s film or the Coldplay song that came out in 2011.

Hmm…

There are no cellphones really in use, but then Darcy does mention Google. I think the author set it in modern times, but it still has an older vibe to it. I may be wrong, but I’m going with early 21st century.

Plot Synopsis:

Darcy’s parents were the CEOs of the FitzCo company, his father having passed on, but instead of being a part of the corporation Darcy has chosen a career in education.

Yes, Darcy is the principal of the prestigious Pemberley Academy. A new year is about to start, but Darcy is less then pleased with Vice-Principal Charles Bingley’s choices in two new teachers. For art we have Ms. Elizabeth Bennet, who dresses in eccentric clothes and does not carry the look Darcy expects his staff to project.

That sweater and hairstyle?

But Ms. Brunhilda (his nickname for Elizabeth) is nowhere near as disastrous as the new English teacher, a Mr. George Wickham.

George Wickham is the half-brother of Darcy, having been born from a liaison between Darcy’s father and his secretary, George’s mother. The two have never gotten along and Darcy dislikes him with every fiber of his being. George has never done anything to warrant this dislike but Darcy just has a “feeling”.

One night when Darcy is attending the FitzCo art benefit, he makes a disparaging comment about one of the artists, Frances Gardiner, to his cousin Anne (mix of Anne and sister Georgiana). Elizabeth overhears it and is extremely displeased as that is her mother.

Darcy soon grows to like Elizabeth but finds himself challenged in that arena with his half brother. However, after a few conversations and flirting, he believes Elizabeth is in to him, and goes for it at a the Homecoming dance.

Elizabeth turns him down and yells at him. She finds his behavior with George and the other teachers to just be atrocious. She dresses him down for all kinds of things he was unaware that were occurring in the school, and with a few lies that George has told her.

After that embarrassing moment,

Darcy decides that he will try and improve himself and the relationships at school. Will it work? Or will George and Elizabeth have the happily ever after?

Things I Pondered: I didn’t care for this depiction as much as I felt there were quite a lot missing. First Darcy’s relationships are horrible, I mean he had friends in the original book. And he wasn’t as mean or temperamental as depicted here as all his servants loved him and could only speak kindly of him. I mean that is something that validates the Darcy in the letter, when Elizabeth visits his home and hears what the people who work for him say.

Having George Wickham not be evil, also didn’t work. In fact, you rooted more for him as he missed out on all kinds of things Darcy had, while Darcy hates him for being born. I mean it isn’t his fault your dad cheated on your mom. They should have made him far more nefarious than stealing money at the end of the book.

Elizabeth is really mean to Darcy and he is her boss. I don’t mind her being sassy, but the way she talks to him, I’m surprised she didn’t get fired. If I yelled at any boss I’ve ever had this way, I don’t think I would have stayed on. They would have let me go. 

Darcy was a bit of a dork in this. I thought he had more in common with the original Mr. Collins. The way he acts around others, his flirting, his assumptions, etc.

Elizabeth yells at Darcy for being cruel and insensitive, but while in the original novel she had a valid concern, the others being misinformation supplied by Wickham; in this she has no justification. Mrs. Crane has been late multiple times and isn’t keeping up with her work so the rules say she has to receive a warning. Elizabeth yells at him that the only reason she has ben doing that is because her husband was in a car accident and is going through physical therapy, meaning she has become the sole caregiver for her husband and boys. Darcy didn’t know as Mrs. Crane never told him. It isn’t his fault, she should have talked to him, after all she could have received emergency family leave. The same goes for the other teachers, they never give a reason why they can’t do something, so what is Darcy supposed to think?

What I Liked: I actually liked that Darcy wasn’t carrying on the family business but doing his own thing. In today’s world you don’t have families being forced to carry on the professions their ancestors did but have the freedom to do what they want. I thought that was a very new twist in the story, and something no other Austen retelling that I have read has ever tried doing.

Also Angelini finally does the one thing Austen fans have been BEGGING someone to do. 

Yes we finally have Darcy do that. Thank you very much Angelini.

And something even more surprising, Angelini does something I never thought possible-she makes Mr. Collins likable.

Yes I know, I never, ever imagined finding myself liking Mr. Collins. Angelini you must be a magician or something.

Or something…

I, Darcy by Karen M. Cox

William Darcy has hated his name for as long as he could remember. His mother choose it after the hero in one of her favorite novels, but he just can’t wrap his head around why woman like him so. Ten years ago he read the book and hated it-

I know-

So the worst place for him to be would be a convention center full of Austenites.

Yes, he is bemoaning this to his friend and business colleague, Charles Bingley, when he is interrupted by two lovely ladies who defend Austen. Jane and Lynley Bennet walk in and out of his life, but remain memorable as the two gentlemen head on to discuss opening a chain of locally sourced restaurants with their board of directors. It passes and Charles it out to start up the trial place-with Darcy joining him later.

When Darcy comes driving up to the house Bingley rented in the country, he has car trouble but manages to get help-from Lynley. Not only is that a coincidence, but Charles is dating her sister Jane.

Darcy waits for Charles as he is out on a date and starts reading a copy of Pride and Prejudice he finds on the table (probably given to Bingley from Jane), surprising himself with falling in love with the book.

Later the two men discuss the farms they want to use for the restaurant, seeing the Bennet farm as the perfect place to get their supplies from. Darcy makes them a generous offer, one they need as if they don’t get a good contract they may lose it; but Lynley refuses, angry at Darcy. What could he have done to upset her? I smell a nefarious plot, but who would want to ruin Darcy’s name?

Things I Pondered: I liked it. I thought it was funny how she went with this theme of “real” Mr. Darcy as I was just talking about that earlier this year.

Things I LikedI thought the characters were very well written and easy to connect to. I liked how the story flowed and enjoyed it from start to finish.

The Ride Home by Ruth Phillips Oakland

Circa: Present

Plot Synopsis:

This story takes place after Darcy proposed to Elizabeth and was rejected. Darcy is owner of the company, Pemberley Media, and is in the States to launch PM’s channel here, then planning on returning to England. His best friend got his happy ending when Jane said yes to his proposal.

Soon to be!

The happy couple have been celebrating with champagne when they receive a call from Elizabeth asking for a ride. Neither can take her, so they wake Darcy and ask him to do it.

Darcy picks Elizabeth up from her disastrous date (with Mr. Collins) and she really lets herself go- drunkenly praising Darcy’s personality to body- ranging in too much information to nonsensical. She does apologize for being upset over Lydia, saying Darcy was right to be angry at Lydia spilling secrets to rival George Wickham. The two patch things up and everything looks great for Darcy, that is if Elizabeth remembers the conversation tomorrow. Will this drunken release be the beginning of something new, or the last shred of the old?

Hmm…

Things I Pondered: I didn’t care for this as much as I missed Elizabeth’s witty repartee with Darcy-something drunken speech can’t really do. 

I also found myself distracted with trying to figure out if she would be well enough to talk. I mean she was average height, thin and consumed a gin and tonic along with four or five martinis (she lost count) but hardly ate anything as her date said no butter, salt, carbohydrates, meat, etc. I’m not a drinker but gin, dry vermouth, and more gin with no butter or carbs to counteract it seems to be like she would be passed out. I mean I calculated it and she has an estimated BAL of 0.235-that’s nausea, vomiting, blackouts, etc. How was she able to make him breakfast the next day? She should have a massive hangover.

Things I LikedI liked having Darcy be introspective as he drives into town. Something about him just thinking over everything and himself as he drives resonated with me. 

Darcy Strikes Out by Sophia Rose

Circa: Present Time

Thoughts Before Reading:

I love puns, jokes, and when authors are smart enough to use language that implies two meanings that fit perfect with the situation. In this case Darcy strikes out in the game of love and:

I’m also a big baseball fan so I was very interested in reading this.

Plot Synopsis:

Darcy is a top baseball player, known as “Dandy Darcy” after he and his father posed in top hats and tails with the bats as canes for a photo shoot. After his father passed away, and his sister was in her horrible accident that left her in a wheelchair; he pulled away from life and others. The only one who he remained close to (besides his teammates) was his good friend and old roommate, Charles Bingley, who he saved from a gold digger.

He meets Elizabeth Bennet, sports reporter, and starts to fall for her.

But when he asks her out, he strikes out. Yep, it turns out that he really dropped the ball as that “gold digger” was Elizabeth’s sister; she thinks he is a snob for being camera shy and refusing interviews (especially with that horrible nosy Collins), and sees him as a giant jerk for blackballing fellow baseball player George Wickham.

Darcy is still thinking over the refusal as he visits his sister. Yes, Elizabeth was right about Jane; but after checking her out Darcy did discover he was wrong about her and encouraged Bingley to try again. However, being camera shy and Wickham all have to do with Georgiana as he tries to protect her.

When he gets to his sister’s apartment, he discovers her hanging out with a friend who participates in the Paralympics, and their new friend; Elizabeth Bennet.

Elizabeth meet the girls when she was writing a story on upcoming athletes, and she has realized that she was prejudiced against Darcy. They later meet for breakfast, and Darcy reveals what happened to Georgiana. Wickham was trying to use Darcy to get ahead, but was lacking in discipline and focus; being cut from the team. Later at a high school party, Wickham being over eighteen, roofied Georgiana’s beer with the intent to rape her. However, she left early and ended up crashing the car not from drinking (which she did) but from being drugged. They knew it was him, but couldn’t prove enough to put him away. The famous Darcy name, underage drinking, a beautiful girl with a tragic story all made for excellent newspaper fodder, especially for a TMZ like reporter (Collins).

Things are going well, until Elizabeth hears from Jane that their sister Lydia is missing! It appears this underage girl was last seen with baseball player George Wickham.

Darcy calls in his private detective, Jack Austen, who has been keeping an eye on Wickham. Will they be able to find Lydia and Wickham in time? Or will this be another strike out for Darcy?

Things I Pondered: Wow this was awesome!

Things I Liked: First of all if there was a “Dandy” baseball player I would totally be out there cheering for him whether or not he was on my team (the As, Cali all the way). I also would purchase a “Dandy Darcy” clothing line for my friends and relatives if such a thing existed. 

I thought this book was amazingly well done in taking the story and setting it in modern times. I loved what Rose did with all the characters, and I really enjoyed how she set us in the middle of the story with flashbacks as to what came before. 

I also applaud you for doing something I haven’t really seen anyone else do- show how Wickham was not only a jerk but a child predator. Yes, contrary to popular belief, most people weren’t married until they were 21-24 during the Regency period. Most modern updates keep Wickham close in age the other characters and make him seem like just a fiend. In this we realize just how evil Wickham is, in the orginal and this version, as Rose unveils him as the pedophile he is.

Jack Austen, P.I.- I like the sound of that. I don’t know if there are any film-noir, 1940s, Humphrey Bogart-ish Austen retellings, but now you make me wish for one. Can’t you just see Darcy?

Or what if Elizabeth was the detective and Darcy the client?

So Rose names a few of Darcy’s teammates and their wives, I’m not sure but I believe they stand for other characters from Austen novels. There is a Cathy and Hank Denny, maybe Catherine and Henry “Hank” Tilney from Northanger Abbey?

And then there is an Esme and Jose Carreaga. Could it be Emma and Mr. Knightley?

I think it would be wonderful if Rose would develop this into a full novel with all the Austen characters. 

But seriously, I thought this was just as fantastic as To Pemberley By Stage and just as hard to put down.

So what did I think of it as a whole?

Well, I….

I really loved it, even the stories I didn’t like as much. It was just so refreshing to see a point of view that is often overlooked or not done well.  I enjoyed every version of Darcy as each had the things we loved most about him but at the same time were all so different.

I thought that was fantastic as it made a Darcy for everyone. I mean some might be into a baseball playing Darcy or Western Darcy, while others want something different-such as a teacher or man born with a silver spoon who needs to see how others live.

Just like the movies you have your pick of Darcy, being sure to find one, two, or more to love/

In conclusion I think The Darcy Monologues, Part I and II, are just fantastic.

Amazing!

If you are an Austen, Pride and Prejudice, or Mr. Darcy fan you need to check this book out TODAY!

In fact, not only is this something I know I will read over and over again:

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

But I can already think of several people who will be receiving it as a birthday or Christmas present.

Thank you authors. You all did a wonderful job.

For more on The Darcy Monologues, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For more Mr. Darcy, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Prom & Prejudice

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited