I had no doubt that this would be just as enjoyable.
Or audiobook, although I know I’ll never hate it.
But I just don’t know what is wrong with me. Every time I tried to write this review something would come up that interrupted me, and this just ended up in my drafts, yet again.
But in July I became sick and had to stay home for most of the month, allowing me time to go through my drafts and get to things I’ve been wanting to write on. I decided no more waiting on this one, I will write this review or die trying. (Just kidding I won’t die)
So quick backstory-back in 2017, Christina Boyd (editor) and several writers wrote The Darcy Monologues, which was a series of stories from Mr. Darcy’s point of view, some in the Regency period and some in the present. After the book came out Christina Boyd shared that from the beginning of the publication of The Darcy Monologues, readers suggested doing the same for Elizabeth-but Boyd wasn’t sure. With all the retellings of Jane Austen’s most loved novel:
“…I thought all the Elizabeth Bennet point-of-view stories surely must have been told.”
But you know us Janeites-no matter what character may be your favorite, everybody loves an Obstinate Headstrong Girl.
So the fans persevered and Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl was born. Yes, Elizabeth is a fantastic and complex character and Christina Boyd, Elizabeth Adams, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Leigh Dreyer, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, and Joana Starnes have written 10 different stories on her.
Yep, 10 more Elizabeths to love. And with so many stories, you know without a doubt there will be several ones that you love.
So I’ve reviewed the book, splitting it between the Regency and modern eras and my opinion is, I loved it! It was amazing.
After loving the book, I couldn’t wait to listen to the audiobook. It was narrated by Elizabeth Grace and Grace did a fantastic job. Often times, female narrators can sound a bit silly when they try too hard to have a deeper “manly” voice but Grace’s narration didn’t sound silly. She was also able to differentiate between characters clearly.
The only time Grace had a slight struggle was with the Southern accent, which I completely understand as doing a Southern accent is easy, but keeping it is very, very difficult.
In my opinion the best thing about this audiobook is that listening to the words being spoken highlights the parts you love and also brings to life passages that you might have overlooked or forgotten how well crafted they are. Every story was wonderful and Grace brought them all to life.
When I took my niece to Reno for her birthday we ended up getting stuck in three car accidents. It took us 6 hours to get there instead of 3. And as we were stuck in traffic no music would play on my radio or through Amazon music as we hit an area where the towers weren’t changed out yet, and there was no service. The only thing I had for us as it grew dark, and we were bored, was this audiobook as I had downloaded it on my phone. We ended up listening toResolution by Amy D’Orazioon the way there and “Love in the Limelight” by Beau North on the way back.
My niece and sister enjoyed Resolution, but I had to explain the plot of Pride and Prejudice to my niece as she has never read or watched it (at least not yet).
They both really enjoyed Love in the Limelight, the 1940s Hollywood one. That one didn’t need any back information and was really intriguing. In fact, my niece asked to finish listening to it instead of the radio as she had to know what happened next, did they end up together or not?
I definitely recommend listening to it if you like Jane Austen, audiobooks, and are looking for something new to love and listen to over and over again.
Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl edited by Christina Boyd
So first of all-let me apologize.
I have been calling this book by the wrong title this WHOLE time. This book is ELIZABETH: Obstinate Headstrong Girl. Like I don’t how I missed that. I mean “Elizabeth” is in huge giant letters.
I will be fixing that in the other post. I…I don’t have any words…
I don’t know what to say…
So moving on from my faux pas:
Whether or not she is you favorite character or Austen heroine: we all love her. After all, who can resist her wit and confidence?
Now some people may think, hasn’t there been enough written about her? What else could be said? Does she need an anthology? Well I think Meg Ryan answers that question perfectly:
Yes, Elizabeth is a fantastic and complex character and Christina Boyd, Elizabeth Adams, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Leigh Dreyer, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, and Joana Starnes have written 10 different stories on her.
This post is going to be on the five stories that are set in different time periods. Usually I review this from the farthest back in time to the most recent, but we are switching it up a bit. This time we are starting with the most recent time period and working our way backwards as I promised Christina Boyd that her story would be last. So without further intro, buckle up in your delorean:
Because here we go:
The Last Blind Date by Leigh Dreyer
Circa: Present Day
Elizabeth is a grad student at University of Oklahoma, waitressing at Bennets to put herself through college. Others who work there are her best friends Jane and Charlotte.
And an odd guy, Bill Collins also works there. Collins keeps asking her out but Elizabeth turns him down each time.
For the thousandth time
But she is going on a date tonight. Her best friend Jane and her boyfriend Charles have set Elizabeth up on another blind date.
Change Highbury to college.
This time it is with Will Darcy, CEO of Pember Oil and Charles’ best friend from boarding school. Elizabeth fought it, but finally agreed to go on this date, her final blind date (especially as they are seeing her favorite football team.)
Ugh. This is the last one.
The day comes and Elizabeth has no idea what yo wear so of course:
While they get her ready, Elizabeth’s friends encourage her to be not so obstinate and headstrong that she lets her preconceived notions paint a picture of who the guy is when they haven’t even met. Already by looking at his photo and hearing about his business Elizabeth has assumed he is a player, workaholic, emotionally stunted, a jerk, etc.
Here friends remind her of some other quick judgments she has made in the past about men.
After they leave, Elizabeth straightens up her house and takes out the garbage. While doing so-she overhears her date complaining about the blind date. Elizabeth is mad, understandable, but at the same time-weren’t you just doing that with your friends a little while ago?
Darcy comes to her door and he has a slight stutter. At first I thought maybe it was surprise, but after I realized it was a stutter and of course this popped in my head:
I mean Mr. Darcy + Colin Firth + Stutter = The King’s Speech. I’m I the only one? Anyways, Elizabeth is surprised that Darcy isn’t as awful as she thought he was, and is trying to be angry with him still-but has a hard time as they have prime seats for football, and Elizabeth is a giant football fan! Plus Darcy knows zero about football and isn’t intimidated in having her tell him what it is all about.
The two begin to talk, and football is a game where something can happen and turn the whole game in an instant. Will Darcy and Elizabeth come out a team? Or will their misunderstandings cause further issues?
So I like that this book was set with Elizabeth in college as I haven’t read too many Pride and Prejudice retellings set in college. Usually Elizabeth and Darcy are in high school or out of college. This was a new view.
The other thing I thought was interesting was to have Darcy have a speech impediment. It is one author’s interpretation of the story but I think that adds to his quiet stoicism, although in this he isn’t so broody-it turns out that he is actually shy and used to not saying much.
It was a cute story and they were very cute together. Darcy is so bashful and sweet.
Resistive Currents by Karen M. Cox
I love the ’80s-film, music, clothes. When I was reading this I was trying to imagine them in full ’80s clothes. And you know what that means-’80s cosplay of Elizabeth Bennet is a go!
Beth Bennet is studying engineering at Fordyce University, and you know that’s a hard field-especially in 1980…especially for a woman.
Yes, Elizabeth has to deal with a lot of crap from guys mostly as she has to work harder to prove herself.
The story starts off with Beth on break and attending a funeral for her great grandmother, Elizabeth Alton Gardiner. There they see other family members and Beth’s father tries to show off Beth’s accomplishments to everyone. It’s nice that he is proud of her, but at the same time it is upsetting. Is she going to be living her life for that? Or will she be able to do her own thing? That really resonated with me, and I think it will with other readers.
I think this is an extremely on point mark as well-as I think we can all agree that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are not the best example of a good marriage or good parenting. Most people talk about how Elizabeth and her father are close-he finds her the only one worth talking to- but at the same time while his sarcasm isn’t turned on her like the other children, it doesn’t mean everything was perfect between them.
Grandma Alice tells Elizabeth about her mom, Beth’s great grandma (who passed), and how she had traveled West and was a teacher at the turn of the 20th century. She shares a little about how Great Grandma met Great Grandpa and at first couldn’t stand him, but in the end love came softly and they fell for each other.
“It pays to judge slowly, sweet girl. You mark my words.’ Out of respect Beth didn’t disagree, but in her soul-in her very being-she knew Beth Bennet’s first impressions were d*** near infallible.”
Back at school, Beth is relaxing with coffee and a good book at the local coffee shop when she looks up and sees a very handsome guy. They share a few words, and she hopes to run into him again, but doesn’t. Darn!
Beth meets up with her friends-Charlotte [Lucas], Charles [Bingley], and Rene- they talk about class and how much they really dislikes her cranky professor Dr. De Bourgh [Lady Catherine]. It seems like things have just gotten worse as they have a new T.A. who seems to be just as difficult.
Beth is waiting outside for Lab with the new T.A. and overhears Dr. De Bourgh talking about her. The Dr. calls her an “obstinate headstrong girl”. The T.A. tells Dr. De Bourgh that he thinks an ECE education is really difficult to take if he is just looking for her MRS degree or wanting to please her dad. To make it worse-she sees it was the hot guy from the coffee shop.
Beth is angry and hurt! Although, in his defense-T.A. Darcy didn’t say anything horrible about her, he actually seemed to be defending her. If anything that ire should be pointed at Dr. De Bourgh. Beth begins to fume and believes Darcy is going to treat her like every other misogynist guy does, but instead of making fun of her-he seems to ignore her. He never calls on her or looks at her.
Beth waits as long as she can, and then she meets with Darcy and let’s him have it. I really liked this exchange between them as it was funny with all the misunderstandings and twists but how Cox laid it out.
Things get better as Darcy listens to what she said and starts calling on her. In fact, everything is great until Elizabeth gets sick and faints in class right over Thanksgiving break, Darcy takes her to the hospital and stays with her-but as her family can’t come right away and all her friends are not answering their landlines or out of town, the only one who can take care of her is Darcy. Will this time together cause something to bloom? Or will they continue to clash?
This is technically a double story as in this as Beth reads the diary of her great-grandma Elizabeth Alton Gardiner from 1906. Elizabeth Altonlost her family and is alone. She worked hard to get a teaching degree and applied for the position in Colorado under the name of E.M. Alton. She knew they probably would’t want a woman (typically settled Western towns wanted women as teachers or in the town so this must not be a very settled place.) She hopes that when she gets there, they will keep hr because the needs is so high.
She meets Sheriff Gardiner-who wants her to go back home, as he doesn’t think she should be here. But Elizabeth is angry and determined to stay. Later, she visits with Jane and Dr. Bingley and overhears the sheriff and the Doctor talking about her, the sheriff saying that it is going to be extra work for him to protect a single woman living alone.
With a greeting like that, Elizabeth is set dead against the man. What can be done to change her mind?
All the interactions between Beth and Darcy were so refreshing and spot on. They were just so darn adorable together, I just loved every minute of it.
I love Pride and Prejudice, I love the ’80s, and I love the Old West-so this one was an obvious winner for me as it blended all these themes I loved.
So I love movies, especially old movies: you may or not have noticed.
I watch them, I read about them, I just love them.
So when I saw that this was 1930s Hollywood inspired story of Pride and Prejudice I was super excited.
Elizabeth Bennet is a theater actor who landed a huge Hollywood role! How did this all happen? Well that’s the story Caroline Conway, reporter, is after. Elizabeth Bennet is a smart girl and doesn’t want to talk to her, but has to. Of course, she won’t give her the real story…but we get to read it… A year earlier, Elizabeth was ending her seven years time in London. She loves the city and is sad to leave, but leave she must. After getting her heart broken and money stolen, the only thing she can do is go to stay with her sister Jane in California.
All her money is gone, jewelry gone-the only things shs had left was some clothes, a few photographs, and a handful of cards from a mysterious admirer. Reading them always made her feel better, now more than ever.
On the boat she spots Gigi Duvall, former child star who has been transitioning into a full-fledged actress. She had had trouble in Hollywood making the jump and decided to try out in London, where she did well. But now Gigi seems to be fighting with a handsome men. Ugh Elizabeth is so over men-all are big dump brutes or dopes.
She watches as Gigi accuses the man of not caring about her, only money and he promising to start over.
They all say that.
The couple move on their way and Elizabeth goes back to mourning leaving her beloved city. Now in California, Jane and Elizabeth are running lines for the new picture, The Headstrong Girl, as Jane is trying out for the main lead. That night they are going to a party and Jane is eager to get to Charles Bingley as she wants to impress him and get the part.
Elizabeth goes to help be her wingwoman, but she isn’t really needed as Charles has no eyes for anyone else than Jane.
Elizabeth finds herself bored and pushed in and steps outside where she runs into Gigi Duvall. The two talk and enjoy each other’s company when they are interrupted by the man on the boat, William Darcy head of Pemberley Pictures. Darcy and Gigi argue and Elizabeth gets mad seeing him bully Gigi. Who cares that he is the head of the studio. She let’s it rip at him-which surprises both Gigi and Darcy.
Darcy threatens her not being able to work in Hollywood, unless she apologizes, and Elizabeth doesn’t care. When he brings up her sister, Elizabeth apologizes in gritted teeth, after he leaves she vows to one day make him pay!
Elizabeth tells her sister about the party and meeting Mr Darcy, and hearing him and Bingley talk about her. But she doesn’t share that Mr. Darcy isn’t planning on hiring Jane. He thinks she isn’t right for the picture and as Charles has a thing for her, the gossip eags will say she slept with him to get the part, and he will not have is company dragged through the mud. Elizabeth is angry, but what can she do now. Nothing-powerful men suck! She never wants to see him again. Of course Jane asks Elizabeth to come with her to her audition, and as all good sisters she does. There she just has to run into Mr. Darcy-today is not her day, week, month, or year.
They have a exchange and Darcy mentions that he has heard of her and seen her perform in London-leaving Elizabeth stunned. He then tries to get her to audition, but she refuses. She doesn’t want to be in pictures, she’s just here as support. And she would never steal a part away from her sister.
Later, Elizabeth and Jane are talking about Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth finds herself very puzzled. Who is this man? The night before and with Gigi he was a beast and now in the studio-kind, charming, funny?
Who is this guy?
That evening they get a call from their uncle and agent Edward Gardiner. Jane didn’t get the part but she does have a part in the new Cagney film-but only IF Elizabeth signs a contract to be the lead in The Headstrong Girl. Apparently, Darcy wanted to sign her after seeing her perform the year before but didn’t for some reason. OH NO, NO WAY is Elizabeth doing that. Never!
But then Gardiner lays down the amount of money she will be getting, the guilt of her mother and sisters struggling on the apple farm, Jane’s chance at being a star, etc; and of course she says yes.
Elizabeth starts production and actually finds herself enjoying it. Charles is a great director, her costar Rollo Fitz is fun and friendly, Cat-Darcy’s personal assistant and cousin is eccentric and kind,-the only one she doesn’t like is Darcy.
Ugh, he may be “gallant” and “charming” to others but she knews he was a jerk the moment she saw him on the boat. Maybe he acted nice in the studio, but that must have been a weak moment as she is still upset and blames him for blackmailing her into this rile. NO siree she will never, ever like him.
One day on set Darcy wants to talk to her. He gas seen the papers and how she and Rollo have been going out (they are just friends). He wants her to end it (and this kind of thing happened a lot with studios back then) and Elizabeth of course flat out refuses to. The two exchange witty banter and almost…kiss? What?! NO! No, no, no she IS NOT interested in him.
They go to an after party for the Academy Awards at Darcy’s home, Ashwood Manor. Things are going good until Darcy asks her to speak to him in his library. Which Darcy will she get the jerk demanding things? Or…the one that makes her blood boil not in anger but passion? Actually neither. He compliments her, her acting, and offers her a contract.
Elizabeth is furious! That’s what he wants to talk about-not them? Not about them being together?!!!! OMGoodness I laughed so hard!!! I love the screwball comedies if the 1930s-Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable, Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, William Powell and Carole Lombard, Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell-and this made me think of them so much. I wish this was a real movie. I could see Cary Grant as Mr. Darcy and Irene Dunne or Rosalind Russell as Elizabeth shouting at him.
Elizabeth realizes that she likes him, both give into their feelings-but are interrupted by Cat relaying that “George” has been seen trying to get into the house. Oh drat, blasted Wickham!
Darcy and Cat leave to deal with it and protect Gigi, Darcy asking Elizabeth to wait for him. After they are gone our plot takes a swerve as it appears George has been hiding in the library the whole time! And George isn’t just Gorge-but Buster! The louse who stole Elizabeth’s money, jewels, and broke her heart.
Gigi and Darcy return and revelations are dropped right and left, I don’t know if anyone can survive the things coming out this night. But as with every good picture we need a storm before we can end on a perfectly lovely note. This was fantastic! If I had money I would turn it into a movie. And that ending with Mr. Darcy and his attempts to woo women-priceless!!
I also love how when North describes the picture they are filming a lot of the descriptions bring to mind Pride and Prejudice (1940). The gowns, the hair, the archery. I don’t know if she did that on purpose (I hope she did) but I love it either way.
Have you ever wished for a Jane Austen Downton Abbey fusion?
By God, yes!
Well then here you go! Jenetta James’ story takes place roughly 1913-1914 England (my guess based on an event she mentions that happened in 1913 and no talk of WWI) in an old manor house, Netherfield Park-just like Downton Abbey!
Jane and Elizabeth have been invited to join in on the hunt and the weekend house party. It looks to be a grand affair and Elizabeth notices a handsome man-handsome but stern.
Look at that guy…
They go to their rooms and get ready for the evening, discussing Mr. Charles Bingley, who only has eyes for Jane, and on the way downstairs meet a friendly girl with a lisp, Mary King, visiting from Northampshire and feeling a little lost and alone. Elizabeth immediately befriends her.
Jane and Mary go off with Charles and Elizabeth finds herself alone. Not for long as she is entered into conversation with Caroline Bingley and the stern man-Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy seems friendly enough but Caroline keeps changing the conversation and starts talking bad about Elizabeth’s sisters, you know how she rolls:
The Bennet girls are trying to get votes for women, being leaders in their community’s women’s suffrage movement.
Elizabeth continues this conversation believing:
“Give votes to women. Then there would be fairness all around and no broken post office windows.”
Mr. Darcy disagrees saying that such a sentiment is “unlikely” and Elizabeth is incensed. How dare he.
Now truth be told I was thinking the same thing? How on earth can he rebound from this? But after reading their exchange a few times I was like you got me good James. I see what you did.
Elizabeth and Darcy part ways-Elizabeth continuing to be furious, but at dinner she doesn’t help but notice that Caroline sits Darcy next to her. And it kind of makes her upset. But why should she feel this way? He’s a jerk.
She’s seated next to George Wickham, writer, working on his first novel. They talk and he shares about how Darcy is a jerk and an antiquarian-he;s living in the past and can’t stand the modern age. Wickham shares more on how Darcy treated him, and Elizabeth decides not to give this jerk another thought. The next day is the hunt, with Elizabeth being one of the few ladies who is riding.
George saddles up next to her and they talk about horses and races and he shares he was there the day Emily Davison threw herself on the tracks to raise awareness for votes for women. Elizabeth shares how she felt saddened by her sacrifice but admires her bravery to fight for what she believes in. She wants to know how George feels, but they are interrupted…but she is sure such a good man would be. He’s not going to be like Mr. Darcy…
They ride out and Elizabeth loses track of George and later she realizes she hasn’t seen him for a while. She searches for him and finds that he has fallen off his horse, his face bleeding, and arm hurt. Darcy comes upon him and at first she is glad for his assistance, but when he wants her to return to he hunt-ugh all she can think is what a horrid man. She refuses to go and he rides off for help. But weirdly-he should have been more concerned with George’s heath but seemed solely focused on her.
Elizabeth is amazed at Darcy’s swiftness in retuning especially as he doesn’t like George, that much is certain. Darcy tells her that he does’t care for George, but that he was worried about her. The two argue with Elizabeth not believing how he could be so cruel to an injured man, a man he has known forever, and calling him a rogue-when he is a sweet and charming guy.
But Darcy doesn’t say anything on that and leaves.
Later, Mary King visits with Elizabeth and she is legit one of the cutest and sweetest characters in this. She is embarrassed because she ate the jar of biscuits given to them and left in the bedroom, but doesn’t want Caroline to find out and think badly of her. Elizabeth doesn’t really see it as an issue, but shares hers so it looks like Mary only ate a few. Mary is so precious. Mary decides that to thank Elizabeth she will reveal something she knows about George, who she noticed Elizabeth spending a lot of time with. She reveals that George is a ruthless “yellow” journalist. He will trample on anyone and do anything to get his story. He’s been doing a serious on the women suffragists who have gone to prison and are doing hunger strikes. Most of them go by an assumed name and he has ben revealing who they really are in the hopes to embarrass their well-to-do-families and paint them as princesses playing at politics. One woman he really ran through the ringer was Georgiana Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s sister. Oh no. Elizabeth was so wrong about him-and Darcy’s anger at George it all makes sense. Oh no, what is she to do? Can she fix this?
I really enjoyed this story and not just because I git to trot out the Downton Abbey memes and gifs I’ve collected (although that was fun). It was the same story of Pride and Prejudice that we love but told in a different, new, and fun way. Plus I really liked the way she wrote the misunderstandings of what was said. I deeply applaud you!
I was so excited to see that Christina Boyd included a story. I always suspected she had one brewing inside her.
So I have been made to promise not to reveal certain things as to not give away the ending…
So in this Elizabeth Bennet is a grandma, (that’s why I believe it to be the 1870s), and her granddaughter has fallen for a man. Elizabeth knows her daughter-in-law only cares if he is wealthy and from a good family so she has decided to check on whether this man is really the right guy. She gives excellent advice, some that everyone who is single should take to heart.
This was so cute as Elizabeth shares her story with her granddaughter, about Mr. Wickham, the misunderstandings, Mr. Darcy-the whole thing.
That’s all I’ll say on that. I don’t want to ruin the story.
Oops! Wrong book!
I loved it and thought it was adorable. Although I will say one more thing…when her granddaughter’s beau comes over, this meme did pop in my head LOL.
So no lie, when I finished the last story this was literally how I felt:
I was like where’d the book go? How did I read it so fast? Why isn’t there more? Where are the rest of the stories?
I had to go back and count to see if I had actually read all ten stories. It just seemed to be over so quickly.
Each story was a delight and I loved them and the book.
For those of you who might have missed the last few posts, Rational Creaturesis an anthology of short stories on the different women of Jane Austen:
But not just 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.
This section is a little different as it is on the Northanger Abbey and Lady Susan parts as it just didn’t feel right leaving Lady Susan by herself. So to start:
I found this ’60s copy in a thrift store and just love it!
So I was so jazzed to see something from Northanger Abbey as I’m not ashamed to say it is probably my favorite. I know it is not popular opinion, but it is just so me. When I was a child/tween I was a mix between Anne from Anne of Green Gables and Jo from Little Women and Catherine Morland. As I grew into teenage years, I became less Jo and more Catherine and Mr. Darcy.
She and Mr. Darcy are probably my favorites and the ones I feel the most like (even though the beauty of all Austen heroines and heroes is that they are extremely relatable).
So I love anything that is Northanger Abbey related and as it is often ignored by people. I was also interested in the Eleanor Tilney story as I’ve always enjoyed her character and would love to see her point of view of all that went down in Northanger Abbey.
So for those who haven’t read it it- Catherine Morland seemed so average that no one would think she could ever be a heroine-but those people will be proven wrong. She loves to read, especially gothic stories and has an overactive imagination. She is gifted with a trip to Bath and ends up in her own romance suspense novel! A love triangle, an overbearing father, a mysterious death, a foreboding Abbey, and more! I love it and you all should read it if you haven’t!
There aren’t that many adaptations, the only true adaptation I have ever read is Dangerous to Know.
The Strength of Their Attachment by Sophia Rose
So this story begins after Northanger Abbey. If you haven’t read the book:
Anyways, Catherine embarrassed herself, Mr. Tilney sent her home after he found out that she wasn’t as rich as Mr. John Thorpe said, and Mr. Tilney followed her to apologize and propose. HIs father still does not approve, and Mr. Tilney has left to try and convince him to allow the marriage.
Catherine waits at home, but doesn’t have too much time to think on that-he brother, James Morland, has disappeared!
After his fiancé Isabella threw James over, trying to snare a bigger fish, he became despondent. They have tried to contact him numerous times, but there are no answers to them. Even their aunt who resides in Oxford has had one of her grooms deliver a letter but nothing.
That is not good,
Oh no! What if he’s been kidnapped?
Uh-oh, you know what this whole thing sounds like to me? A Mystery!
Mystery, you say?
Ready for any case
Wait, wait, wait-hold the phone. An overactive imagination is what got Catherine into trouble the first time. It is time to stop, think, and reflect. Catherine takes a moment to work away from kidnapping, gothic plots, and etc. Focus, think, plot out a reasonable plan.
She convinces her parents to let her go to Oxford and try a personal visit. Catherine prepares for the trip and gets an interesting bit of news when she stops at the store to pick up her father’s paper order and she is told that a stranger is asking questions about her brother. Catherine has a bad, bad feeling about this and wishes she was in Oxford, her brother would answer, or that Henry was near.
Catherine gets there and it appears her fears were not unfounded. The porter has not seen James, but his mail has disappeared. The porter went to James’ new room (as after all that happened he did not want to live with John Thorpe anymore) and some of things are gone with no one knowing where he has gone.
Then there are rumors that he has been gambling and running up large debts everywhere. Catherine worries about it and writes it all to Henry, but unfortunately does not hear anything back.
Time to get on the case!
Catherine grows more and more worried-nothing heard from James-nothing from Henry. Maybe Henry is regretting his engagement? Maybe he won’t want to be connected to her anymore? Maybe her brother is tortured or kidnapped? Or maybe, maybe, maybe…
Catherine tries to keep her imagination reined in, but continues to worry. Catherine goes out for long walks every day, searching every man, every robe, everywhere for her brother. On one such walk she overhears the person responsible for the whole terrible plot?! What can she do?
Catherine once again finds herself in a plot she’s only ever read about-dastardly plans, missing brother, missing fiancé, a viscount, goons after her-straight out of an adventure story. Will she be able to stop this plotter? Will she find her brother? What’s wrong with her fiancé?
I LOVED it. From the beginning I was hooked into this adventure tale and could not put it down. I had to find out what happened! Where was Henry. It was amazing!!
And Mr. Tilney and Catherine are so cute together!
“Miss Catherine Morland, you are an amazing lady. You are my lady and I am proud to own it.”
Eleanor is the only daughter of of General Tilney. General Tilney is a plotter and planner when it comes to his children’s love lives-like a mean, scary, rude, horrible guy version of Mrs. Bennet.
He has been trying to have his children marry wealthy and snag a title. He can’t maneuver his sons in the same way, but does all he can with his daughter to thrust her at titled men.
This time he is trying to win Edward Grantham, Viscount Lynton. He thrusts Eleanor at him, but she is not interested in a rake with such a bad reputation.
He’s a no
She and her friend escape the questioning that is soon-to-be from her father, where she shares with her friend how she couldn’t stand him. Her friend doesn’t care as he is handsome-but Eleanor wants more than that.
“In our society, the choice of husband is one of the few over which we can exert some control. It is the choice on which rides an entire life’s worth of felicity.”
Her friend goes in to try her luck, while Eleanor waits a bit longer outside. Unfortunately, it appears that the Viscount’s brother, Mr. Grantham, was outside, hiding, and overheard everything.
She apologizes to him, but inside is seething:
“Although a gentleman would have made his presence known rather than snooping like a servant girl.”
Hey, that reminds me of something…
Scarlett: [Rhett has heard Scarlett’s and Ashley’s fight] and Sir you should have made your presence known
Rhett Butler: In the middle of that beautiful love scene. Now that wouldn’t have been very tactful would it?
Scarlett: Oh! You sir are no gentlemen.
Rhett Butler: And you Ms. are no lady.
Book lovers too.
After that little meeting, Eleanor flees into the ball, and gets asked to dance by Mr. Grantham. The two dance, and he teases her about what she had been talking about, along with just making conversation. Eleanor surprises herself by actually enjoying his company.
Later, her father, General Tilney grills her about her night and whether she hooked the Viscount or not. She tries to dissuade him from that plan, and mentions that she danced with Mr. Grantham. Her father is not happy with him, as he has no title, and is involved with trade.
But never tell a daughter to forget about a guy, they tend to not listen.
Like The Little Mermaid
A year passes, and Eleanor and Mr. Grantham have been spending as much time together as they can. Her father still doesn’t like him, but Mr. Grantham doesn’t want to give up.
Unfortunately, he will be leaving-his business is taking him to Barbados. He wants Eleanor to run away with him…but Eleanor doesn’t want to. I really enjoy their exchange as this reminds me of the whole Anna Karenina situation. If a man runs off with a women-there will be talk, but eventually he’ll be back into society good as new. If a woman did that-oh no, we are held to higher standards and face harsher consequences. I liked the exchange, and how relatable it was, while still be perfect to the time period. Plus I like how strong and powerful Eleanor is.
“When I leave my father’s house, it will be as a grown woman, going toward the rest of my life, not running away from the past.”
Mr. Grantham leaves, and then the Viscount starts paying attention to her, but not in the way you might think…but that is all moot. If her father isn’t on board, will she be able to marry the man she loves?
I LOVED it! I thought this was a great story and I loved seeing Eleanor’s side of things. I also liked how she was a strong powerful woman. I do wish we could have seen her view of how the events in Bath went, as I would have loved to get her opinion of the Thorpes, but I guess that means Cox will to write another story.
Lady Susan is a novella that Austen wrote in the late 18th century and never published. After her death her family published the work.
Lady Susan has recently become a widow, and goes to stay with her brother-in-law, Charles Vernon. She has sold the family estate and enjoys being free from marriage. Unfortunately, she can’t stay free. She has to marry herself and her daughter off in order to keep the lifestyle she loves.
Lady Susan is a very callous and manipulative woman. She enjoys being with many men-along with manipulating/controlling others.
The book is in epistolary format, told in letters between all the main characters. I know it was adapted in a film not too long ago, which I haven’t yet watched, but besides that I haven’t heard of too many adaptation of this work.
The Edification of Lady Susan by Jessie Lewis
So you all know that I’m not really into diary novels, well that doesn’t apply to epistolary novels. I don’t mind reading books made up of letters (as long as they aren’t solely love letters-that makes me feel like a voyeur).
So this was a bit confusing for me. Because it took place before the novella some of the names are different and there are extra characters. This isn’t a bad thing, it just took me a little while to get my bearings. But that happens with most epistolary tales.
So in this, Lady Susan finds herself caught in a triangle of machinations and her own manipulations. Her mother wants Susan to marry Lord Doyle, as his mother is blackmailing her. If Susan and Lord Doyle marry, then it will save their family’s reputation.
Susan’s brother, however, wants her to marry Mr. Cohen as Lord Doyle is a rake and will never be faithful. However, her brother doesn’t have the best intentions either. He wants her to marry Mr. Cohen as he owes him quite a bit in gambling debts.
But Lady Susan will not be pushed around, she has her own plan.
I think Lewis was spot on. I think she really got the character of Lady Susan, and even though I knew which man she would end up with, it still was a major plot twist and awesome reveal when we see how deep her manipulations were. My bonnets off to you ma’am. She’s like Professor Moriarity level of planning.
An excellent story.
So that concludes Rational Creatures. What do I think about this book:
I think that this was an amazing collection of stories. You can clearly tell that each and every writer loves Jane Austen and really, really tried to get into the characters and present them in a way that was true to Austen and the novels, while at the same time giving it their own twist and view.
Not only do I think every Austen fan should read this, they NEED to read this. This is probably one of the best adaptations I have read. And I think even those who have never read Austen could easily follow and love the stories.
I cannot stress how much I loved that the way the authors portrayed the characters, but I also love that they chose people from evert book, and even ones that we don’t see a lot of.
Reading this will be a pleasure-you will laugh, cry, and enjoy every minute.
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
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, butalso 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!
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!
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.
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.