My Week With Jane

When I was in elementary school, my brother was in the army and stationed in Hawaii. We took a trip to visit him, but problems with the plane arose and the flight was delayed for a few hours. This was two years after 9/11 so we didn’t want to leave the airport and instead had to wait.

While we were waiting I noticed a lady across the way waiting with a big paper something. Of course being a curious child, I moved closer to look and saw it was a paper boy. Not a cardboard cutout, but like someone traced a boy and decorated it. I was trying to figure it out, when the lady noticed me looking and told me that it was Flat Stanley. A group of teachers had been reading Flat Stanley and passing him around taking pictures and when one had a friend going to Hawaii she asked if she could take him with her.

Wow!

I thought that was the coolest thing. For those of you who don’t know Flat Stanley is a book in which a boy, Stanley, is flattened by a bulletin board, becoming flat, and goes on a series of adventures. One of them is visiting his pen pal by being mailed in a giant envelope.

All I could think was what a great idea and how cool and fun to be a part of something like that.

Well…

Fast forward to Summer of 2020, everyone is glum about restrictions and most of us are not having fun.

When I saw that the Jane Austen Society of North America: East Washington and North Idaho (JASNA EWANID) was doing a Flat Jane.

Look at that!

After all:

They decided for the summer they would be sending Flat Jane about, she staying with the person who signed up for a week and then moving them onto the next home to visit. They then asked people on instagram if they wanted to sign up and I was like, yes please!

This actually became so popular they made several of them. My turn arrived and I was so excited and couldn’t wait to take her out on adventures.

Tea first!

 

Day 1) Sunday, January 3rd

What a Jane of a day! Today my friend gave me the Jane Austen adaption, Jane in Love by Rachel Givney, and then when I got home I checked my mail and inside was Flat Jane. I am so excited to start all our adventures.

It was great reading the Jane Austen Travel Log and getting to see all the adventures and things people had done. I couldn’t wait to add my own. Sunday I had my niece so I didn’t get a chance to do anything with Jane until later that day.

That night my sister and I did our usual #perioddramasaturdays It was my sister’s turn to pick and she chose Outlander, which I had read the first book but had not seen the TV show. For the occasion I made Blueberry Oat Scones (I’ll share the recipe later), that I had adapted from Plum Deluxe and we had Lavender Flowering Tea.

Flat Jane joined us for tea but declined watching Outlander. She was tired from her long journey from East to West and retired early. She espechially liked seeing the flower created from the tea leaves.

Day 2) Monday, January 4th

Ever since COVID19 Monday night has become Game Night! Jane and I played my new Pride and Prejudice game that I had received for Christmas. She won as I just couldn’t get the exact number to make my remaining half of the couple get to the church. I kept rolling over or under. I was planning to try playing Marrying Mr. Darcy with her, but I didn’t end up getting a chance to. I do plan to review this Pride and Prejudice game soon.

Afterwards, we played a singing board game with my sister, a sort of creating a song to a tune like in Who’s Line is it Anyway? When my turn came up I felt a lot like when Lady Catherine demanded Elizabeth play, as I don’t sing.

It was a fun game and hilarious as the game came with “lyrics” that were just too goofy.

Day 3) Tuesday, January 5th

Tuesday night Jane and I had pizza and watched Strong Woman Bong Soon, a K-Drama I recommend for any Jane Austen fan as it has elements that make me think of Jane Austen’s works.

Sooooo Mrs. Bennet

Jane loved the pizza (she definitely wishes they had that back in Regency England) and I think I swayed her to my line of thinking about the K-Drama…but she might have been humoring me.

Well…

Day 4) Wednesday, January 5th

Flat Jane joined us for our weekly Tea Party/Book Club/Bible Study on The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I think she enjoyed it, although it was unlike any bible study she has ever been a part of.

For these chapters we visited the beavers and had: Chami Winter Apple Spice Tea, a loaf of Dutch Crust Bread, trout, chicken (for the non-seafood eaters [me]), boiled potatoes, and marmalade rolls. Of course I had to explain to her the joke about boiled potatoes.

I will be sharing the recipes as soon as I catch up with The Magician’s Nephew posts. 

Day 5) Thursday, January 6th

After the Book Club/Tea Party/Bible Study I thought Jane would be interested in going to a regular bible study. She enjoyed it and marveled at my cat pen, amazed at how it looked and wishing they had such easy things to use when she was writing her novels. I plan to show her an Austen adaption tonight, but am still trying to decide which one…should I show her one I love or one I hate so we can both make fun of it? Decisions, decisions…

Hmmm…

I finally decided to show her one I hate, Austentatious (2015)

This is the worst Jane Austen adaption I have ever seen. We started with the first one and then she caught up to me with the second to last episode. After we watched the whole thing she was very confused about the whole thing and how it even matched up with what she wrote. Same Jane, same. If interested, you can watch it on tubi or you can read my past reviews: We Are Family: Austentatious, Episode 1 (2015), Big Girls Don’t Cry: Austentatious, Episode 2 (2015), I’ll Be Watching You: Austentatious, Episode 3 (2015), Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious, Episode 4 (2015), Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious, Episode 5 (2015), Drive Me Crazy: Austentatious, Episode 6 (2015), Make Me a Match: Austentatious, Episode 7 (2015), Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious, Episode 8 (2015), and Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious Episode 9 (2015). 

After we watched the series, we had a cup of tea before bed. I had purchased two Jane Austen inspired teas from NovelTea TinsPride and Peppermint and Sense and Senchability. I had run out of Pride and Peppermint as I had used the last of it in the tea advent calendar swap I made for a friend, so we drank Sense and Senchability. Jane loved it and was amazed at all the different Jane Austen inspired products that we can purchase today.

Day 6) Friday, January 7th

Today was a shopping day as Jane went with me to visit a local Vintage/resale shop as I was on the hunt for a purple teacup for my friend’s birthday this month. I found this adorable claw-footed one under $10.

We then stopped off at the grocery store to pick up a few items and Jane was amazed at all the food for purchase and the prices! Plus we came upon many things she had never heard of before protein powder, lactose free milk, Greek yogurt, every kind of chocolate you could imagine, and more.

Day 7) Saturday, January 8th

Saturday turned out to be a shopping day as well, as my sister needed to visit Jo-Anns and Hobby Lobby in the next city over (we have a small Jo-Anns and we do not have a Hobby Lobby). I agreed as long as we stop at one of my favorite restaurants, the Tea Bar and Fusion Cafe. They have the best foods and teas. Jane loved the HoneyTea Latte I bought for her.

Afterwards we went to Hobby Lobby where we looked for fabric for a book sleeve I’m having made.

I was looking for a dark fabric, but Jane spotted this beautiful china blue vase printed one that I just couldn’t say no to.

We only visited a quarter of the store and Jane was amazed at everything they had there.

Afterwards we went to Jo-Anns and looked around the different fabrics and of course I had to show Jane all the muslin they had.

Mr. Tilney mentions purchasing muslin for 5 shillings a yard in Northanger Abbey and that was a good deal, but Jane was amazed that today she could purchase muslin for half the price he paid (converting how much 1800s shillings would be worth in our money).

Day 8) Sunday, January 9th

It was time to say goodbye to Flat Jane as I had her for the week and she is about to journey on to stay with another friend. I helped her pack up and will drop her off tomorrow for her journey to the East Coast.

As Jane is going to visit another Jane Austen fan I couldn’t resist sending one of my Quill Ink Jane Austen Inspired Magazine Cover Cards. If you are interested in getting some for yourself check out her Etsy shop.

If interested in having Flat Jane visit you then contact JASNA EWANID to signup. I recommend it as it is a lot of fun.

For more Jane Austen, go to Is Emma Jane Austen’s Only Mystery?

 

The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

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

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

Mystery, you say?

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

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

The next book, however, left me extremely disappointed.

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

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

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

I want MORE Northanger Abbey!

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

Hmm…

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

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

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

This dude, ugh!

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

She’s free!

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

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

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

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

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

He’s a bad boy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hmm…

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

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

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

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

No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll never know.

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

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

Hmm…

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

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

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

Tell ME!!!!!

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

From Mansfield Park Opera

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So today is Jane Austen’s birthday!

And what better gift than a review of:

 

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

So it’s that time again, bring out the bad boys:

For those of you who missed post oneDangerous to Know, is compilation novel of the bad boys of Jane Austen-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more.

Each story takes place before the Austen book, during the book, or after the book-giving us a look into these guys’ minds and from their point of view. One of the most interesting things about this subject is that we don’t know a lot about these bad boys in Austen’s work. Most of these men, besides Wickham, play a small role-but have a big impact. This allows the authors a ton of wiggle room and almost anything can happen.

The other thing about this book is that…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 are, can enjoy.

Something for everyone

So last time I reviewed the none posts, in which we had a 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:

I know, but true.

Let me say, that if you can get me-one of the most stubborn people in the world-to change their thinking…that is some fantastic writing.

So now onto the mild posts-just to refresh you memory, that means kissing.

The Address of a Frenchwoman by Lona Manning

So when I saw that this story was about Tom Bertram I was surprised and confused.

Huh?

I never really saw him as a rogue or rake-to be honest I have never really focused on him when reading the story- and with how awful Henry Crawford is in that story, his rogueness overshadowed all.

But after reading this I really started thinking about his character and Manning is right. Tom Bertram is the oldest son-a gambler, drinker, and partier. Because of him, they have to sell his brother, Edmund Bertram’s, living-parsonage-to strangers.

He’s a man born into a life of privilege, gambles, sleeps around, and never considers how his actions affect others, nor does he care-like F. Scott Fitzgerald says-

“They were careless people…they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

But unlike the other bad boys, he does change after a long illness. When he gets through it, he begins to think of his life differently.

In this story, Tom is telling his friends a story about how he met his dream girl, a French woman, Rose. It all started when he visited a racetrack to place a bet. He is interrupted when a beautiful French woman is being assaulted by two ruffians. Tom steps in to help her, and finds himself smitten.

They have so much in common, they spend all their time together-except when Rose has to work, singing, to pay for all the aid she received in her escape from the Reign of Terror. Tom wishes to marry her, but she turns him down.

Disheartened, despondent, he returns home to put on a risqué play, but is thwarted by his father. From there he goes off again to the racetrack and runs into  horrifying truth that brings his undoing. Rose is not at all who she seems…

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was really good. I figured out the end of the tale in the beginning, but that didn’t take away from the story. I also liked how the author wrote the Rose character. I found it to be very enjoyable.

Fitzwilliam’s Folly by Beau North

Like the previous story when I saw that Darcy’s cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam was included as a rogue or rake I was confused.

I mean he seemed like a nice guy to me.

Hmm…

So I began to think about it.

Hmmm….

I have to say that I realize his behavior with Elizabeth was not okay. I mean if someone were to flirt with my friend the way he does with Elizabeth and then just flatly drops her with “we can never be together, you aren’t rich enough”-is a total jerkwad. And I would take that sucker down!

So Colonel Fitzwilliam is a second son, and we all know how that works. Second sons need a profession and to marry money…

So the story starts off with Colonel Fitzwilliam on his horse riding off in a hurry after someone…

We then cut to…

Six Months Earlier

Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy leave their aunt, Lady Catherine, to return to their homes. Darcy is heartbroken over Elizabeth’s refusal, while Fitzwilliam is also puzzled as to why she said no.

Fitzwilliam resumes life as normal, heading to Lady Snowley’s ball to oogle the women, but their attempts at him are in vain-as cupid’s arrows will never strike him…

This ball is different from all the others as Fitzwilliam receives a proposal.

Huh?

Calliope Campbell is the eldest of three girls. Her father is an American who has made a lot of money, nouveau riche, and the family is on the prowl for title gentlemen to wed their girls off to. Like in The Buccaneers or the marriage of Cora to the Earl of Grantham, Robert Crawley, in Downton Abbey. Needless to say, her parents are eager to get their girls settled.

However, Calliope is tired of being treated like a cow up for auction and has hatched a plan. She wishes to hire Colonel Fitzwilliam to “court” her-not compromise her, but turn away her other suitors (especially General Harrington yuck!)-so that she remains an old maid. In turn when she receives her majority and inheritance, she will give him £8000.

Fitzwilliam is horrified at this vulgar proposal and turns her down flat. However…Fitzwilliam goes to visit a very upset and sloshed Darcy. He joins him and later wakes up with a massive hangover in his family home. There he gets more news of his older brother’s profligate ways and that proposal is sounding better and better.

Hmmm….

Fitzwilliam agrees to Calliope’s terms and begins spending time with her…and starts falling for her. He finds her irresistible, her family loves him as he is from an important family…but there is one fly in the soup: the General. The General will not give up as he wants that fortune. He and Fitzwilliam compete-but then Calliope is kidnapped! Will Fitzwilliam save her in time?

Thoughts After Reading:

I LOVED this!!!!! Fitzwilliam is a character that could go in any direction, and I liked how North wrote him. I also loved the ending as…I can’t give it away, it was too good. You must read it yourself.

Some may say this story has been done before, but I don’t care what they say. I loved the characters and I had to keep flipping pages to find out what happened next. As I said before, you must read it!!!!!!

For more by Beau North, go to You Don’t Own Me in The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

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?

My conclusion is that it wasn’t that sexy. Mostly the narrator’s talk about the women’s curves, oogling their decolletage, kissing ( I think they might have mentioned tongue.) But nothing too crazy.

So I really enjoyed these two as well. I felt that the authors did a fantastic job of keeping Austen foundation, along with fleshing them out.  I LOOOOVED it! So hard to put down!

But will I continue to enjoy it?

Hmmm…

I guess we will find out in the next installment MODERATE.

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

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

For more Mansfield Park, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls

Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls by Brenda Sneathen Mattox

So a few weeks ago I was planning on meeting my friend for lunch, and found myself with a few extra hours. I was downtown, which had recently received a makeover and a ton of vintage and antique shops have moved in. Usually I never get to look at them as they all have the same hours as my job does. But it was my day off so I was finally able to window shop.

Sadly not everything was open, but there were quite a few. I found something to buy my dad for Father’s Day and had a few ideas for another friend. Then one shop I entered had this:

Instantly I was thinking:

So CUTE!

I grew up with paper dolls. I remembered how much fun I had with them. I used to play for hours as a child. The only bad thing was that they tended to rip and tear. And they became harder and harder to find.

Aw.

So at first I was like I NEED this:

But then I thought, what would I do with it? I mean I don’t have any one to play with. My niece who is just the right age doesn’t live near me. Better not…

But then I thought, what a fantastic gift for her. Her birthday is coming up! She could have so much fun with it. I mean look at the clothes!

But then as I was thinking about it, she doesn’t know Pride and Prejudice. She probably wouldn’t even care for it. Most likely it would just be thrown away.

So I decided, better not buy it. I should just live it for someone else to enjoy.

Weeks passed and I just can’t get it out of my mind. Look at them:

I mean Bingley is just so cute, Darcy so stoic, and Elizabeth looks like she is thinking of something witty. Not to mention:

Look at the smugness on Wickham’s face, they captured it perfectly. And look at Lydia’s silly manner.

It is weighing on my mind.

After I thought and thought about it, I came up with the perfect justification. I could give it to my friend who loves Pride and Prejudice as a gag gift. She would think it was cute; although she probably wouldn’t use it (but she wouldn’t throw it away.) Yes, it was perfect. I was going back for it.

But when I went back, I couldn’t remember which store it had been in.

I had just been walking in any stores that were open so I had not even paid attention to the names.

So I know you are thinking, why not buy it on amazon? Well first of all it was half the price in the shop, and secondly it had gotten in me. I needed that particular one. I had to find it.

So I waited (and hoped it would still be there) for my next day off in which I decided I would look through all the shops for it.

Well my next day off fell on a different day of the week: one in which ALL the shops were open.

I combed through every square of every single shop, but I just could not find it. All I could remember was that it was in a basket with a bunch of other books, in a store that had cute Disney stuffed animals and some glassware.

But it wasn’t totally horrible, I did find a cute teacup for my friend’s birthday in her favorite color.

Here it is on my bookshelf until I can give it to her.

But no book of paper dolls.

I was preparing to go, when I decided to go back to one store that was very close in to what I remembered. I started searching, but found no basket full of books.

Aw.

But then just as I was headed out the door I saw a gray tin full of books. I had nothing else to lose, so I decided to take a look through. And guess what, it was there.

I’m great

I bought it and headed for home. But now that I have it, I’m not so sure I want to give it away. I mean I spent a lot of time looking for that, I think I might keep it.

It is pretty cute with having a brief synopsis of the story and has such cute designs for the Bennet’s every day wear, the Assembly Ball, Wickham’s uniform, dinner at Rosings, Elizabeth’s muddy dress, etc.

It is just so cute.

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

Too Pretty

Too Pretty by Andrea Grigg

Gabrielle “Ellie” Paxton is has had to deal with constant criticisms, stereotyping, refused from certain circles, rumors, bad mouthing and unfair firings all because she is-too pretty.

In fact she has just lost her job, is always mistreated by her aunt, and her latest boyfriend just wanted to date her because he wanted to brag about being with her.

Everyone

She goes to her cousin’s congratulation party and meets a handsome guy named Nathaniel. He is interesting, a good listener, well off, and seems perfect. But too bad he doesn’t seem interested in her, she will probably never see him again, and her ex-boyfriend just mauled her and caused her to decide to stop dating men for a year.

Her aunt causes a giant scene and Ellie has enough!

After praying about it, she decides it is time to move from her small town to the big city of Sydney (Australia).

But even though it feels as if God is pushing her in that direction, things don’t seem to be going as she hoped. She is able to meet up with her old friend Annabel, but after she puts out massive amounts of resumes, but  nothing comes of it. Will she be able to make it work?

Annabel is from the same small town as her, and the two went through some rough times before they settled into the confident secure women they are today. Annabel has started dating a very kind and wonderful man who turns out to be extremely wealthy. He has a great family and friends, one of which turns out to be the tall, dark, brooding Nathaniel. As they continue to spend time together, will Ellie keep to her vow of no men?

So what does this have to do with this blog? Why am I reviewing it? Because this is a rewrite of Pride & Prejudice.

Yes, this is another rewrite of Jane Austen. How do I know? Let’s count it down.

A) Gabrielle “Ellie” is like Elizabeth “Lizzie”.

I know that sounds like a stretch, but that is just the first thing. There is more.

B) An Evil Aunt

While in this version the evil one is is Ellie’s aunt (the Elizabeth) instead of the Darcy character the aunt is still the same. She is demanding, rude, cruel, critical, and just all around one of the most awful characters in this.

C) Tall, Dark, and Brooding

Nathaniel is Mr. Darcy. He’s tall, handsome, brooding, rich, etc-all the same qualities. He also doesn’t like to dance, takes a long time to warm up, likes the girl before anyone else realizes it, etc.

D) Best Friend Marrying a Nice Wealthy Guy

So Jane Bennet’s character is taken by Ellie’s best friend Annabel. While Annabel has a past, she is now kind, caring, compassionate, sweet, and thinks the best of everyone. She also manages to score an equally sweet guy, Theo, who turns out to be rich! A real Mr. Bingley, if you know what I mean.

E) Theo has a Mean Girl Sister, Just like Mr. Bingley

While in Pride & Prejudice, Caroline doesn’t like the Bennets because of their class, her main issue is that Elizabeth throws a wrench in her plans to snag Mr. Darcy. In Too Pretty, Alicia likes Annabel and welcomes her into the family, but she hates Ellie. She instantly picks up on Nate’s interest of Ellie and tries all she can to get rid of her as she has been after him for a long time.

F) After They Spend Extended Time Together They Discover Their True Feelings

In P&P Jane becomes sick and Elizabeth travels out to help take care of her. She stays there for weeks, and here is where Mr. Darcy starts to fall for her. In Too Pretty, staying weeks in our modern age wouldn’t work; so instead Ellie is invited for a long weekend and the two realize their feelings for each other.

 G) The Author Mentions Pride & Prejudice Again and Again

She first mentions it when they go to the ball, later there is the whole hand flexing thing from the 2005 film version, and the characters even watch the film. It is clear that this was what inspired the author in writing this book.

So yes, while this isn’t a clear remake of the original book, you can clearly see that the author was greatly inspired by Pride & Prejudice.

But What Did I think of the Book?

I didn’t like it.

The story really fell apart for me because of two things:

1) Going On and On About Ellie Being Too Pretty

So the book starts off with Ellie going on with how she is mistreated because she is too pretty. People think she’s some dumb blonde, want to use her, women mistreat her, people talk bad about her; and on and on.

What jerks

You feel for Ellie, but then she doesn’t stop talking about it. She goes on, and on, and on, and on.

Blah, blah

I get what she is saying, but her continually going on about how beautiful she is chapter after chapter makes it really difficult to not get annoyed. When I was a teenager and suffered from acne, I tried everything to get rid of it, tons of products and nothing worked. When I finally went to a dermatologist I discovered I was allergic to salicylic acid. It is a rare allergy and left scars on my face. I never leave without make up as I don’t like the way I look. So reading about how hard Ellie’s life is because she has a perfect figure, skin, etc-I just can’t feel sorry for her. I would happily trade in an instant.

And that is the problem. Most of the people who read this are going to have some body issue so hearing again and again how she is gorgeous but hates it, doesn’t endear her to the reader.

2) Pretending to Be Someone They Are Not to Get Something and It All Blows Up in Their Face.

This book takes part in one of the worst clichés in books, film, and TV. The character decides to dress up and pretend to be someone else. And what happens in the end? It all comes out and blows up in their face.

It is really dumb, I mean come on what did you think was going to happen? Ugh! I can’t stand it.

Seriously

Yep, those two things killed it for me. I would pass this book on by if I were you.

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

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

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

For more Australian Austen works, go to The Austen Series: Amanda

For more on May Vanderbilt, go to A Fashion Statement