North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

So a while back I told Christina Boyd this regency story idea I had to pass onto her writers. A regency group of ladies and gentlemen, maybe make them married or related so they could be together, traveling by coach and solving mysteries. A regency Scooby-Doo.

She politely declined and suggested that I should check out the Carrie Bebris’ Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery series. I told her I would think about it, but I wasn’t too keen on the idea.

You see I had 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.

In July, every other day I asked a question on Instagram about Jane Austen characters and themes, such as what fashion from the Regency Era do wish we would be brought back, who had the best fashion, etc. One question I asked was what book adaption do you wish would be turned into a movie or a TV show? On thing I suggested was this series, even though I had only read two books, as I think the idea behind it was very strong.

After that I wanted to read the next book, especially as it is Northanger Abbey, but was busy with Rational Creatures and my rule is never read another Jane Austen adaption until you finish reviewing one. After that it was time to get ready for Horrorfest VIIIthen November was gone in a flash, and December was taken up with Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, YULETIDE, and Holiday Mix Tape

But I resolved this year that I would somehow factor in reviewing a mystery every month, so there is no time like the present to review this.

Mystery, you say?

So here we go.

North by Northanger (Or the Shades of Pemberley) [Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery #3] by Carrie Bebris

So in the last book, Elizabeth found out she was pregnant and it is nearing her time. This is a joyous and strained situation, as the Darcys are pleased but at the same time Mr. Darcy is scared out of his mind as his mother died in childbirth.

But childbirth isn’t what is foremost on Elizabeth’s mind. You see Elizabeth is sensitive to the supernatural and is convinced that Pemberley has a ghost, and not just any ghost…Anne Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s mother.

Elizabeth doesn’t feel as if Anne is vindictive or angry, but feels her presence nonetheless. She has lived the year with everything exactly how it was, but has decided that the time has com to start doing things how she wants it.

She decides to shift the writing desk from its corner so that she can look out the window. After some hemming and hawing with the footmen they do, and a letter falls out. A letter from Anne Darcy to Elizabeth!

{An excerpt]

Pemberley

20 January 1796

Dear Mrs. Darcy,

Should this letter reach your eyes, it is because I no longer live to deliver its message in person. I know not who you are-what name you bore before taking that of Darcy. I know only that by addressing this letter to you, I write the woman who has wed my son. For that reason alone I entrust to you the stewardship of something most precious…I had at Fitzwilliam’s birth a…an heirloom from my own mother-I want it now, but it has become lost. If only I could find it, I would trust that I will be safely delivered. But I hid it too well, beyond my own reach. You-you must look if I cannot, for I want you to have it when…If you are my niece, my namesake Anne, know that I guarded myself from my sister, not from you-…Search for me…My daughter, the only one I may ever have, start with the knowledge that love conquers all. I am-

Your mother, 

Anne Darcy

Unfortunately, this letter, dated on Georgiana’s birthday and Lady Anne’s death day, only strengthens Darcy’s fears. It, however, baits Elizabeth’s curiosity. What was the object? Why couldn’t Lady Anne find it? Where is it?

Suspicious

We move along a few weeks where Elizabeth and Darcy have been visiting the Bingley’s for their youngest’s christening. However, they are in a hurry to leave as Lydia and Wickham have dropped by unexpectedly.

Elizabeth shares the contents of the letter she found with Jane, and Lydia overhears them mention a treasure, which Elizabeth strongly dissuades her of.

That’s not good.

The talk then turns to babies, of which Lydia is bored of. Of course, I don’t expect Lydia to ever have children, as if she has a baby she won’t be the baby anymore.

They are headed home by way of Bath, to meet the famous Dr. Severn, the man Darcy wants to have assist Elizabeth in her birth. He supposedly is the best in the nation, and very hard to get. They reach Bath and as they are about to take in the sights they run into an unexpected visitor. Lady Catherine.

Lady Catherine and Anne are there to take the healing waters for Anne. Lady Catherine is more civil as Elizabeth is carrying the future heir to Pemberley, but still bossy, judgemental, and of course loves to give advice and hear her own voice.

Blah, blah

They also receive a note from a Mr. Tilney.

No, not that Mr. Tilney- Captain Frederick Tilney.

I know. I was so disappointed. I want MY Mr. Tilney!

I want MY Mr. Tilney!

Anyways…

Edgar’s Buildings

Bath, 6 October

Dear Mr. Darcy,

My discovery of your name in the Pump Room book prompts me to write. Though we are strangers to each other, I believe our families are acquainted. My late mother, Mrs. Victor Tilney, enjoyed the friendship of one Lady Ann Darcy, whom I believe to be your mother.

Though I understand Lady Anne has also passed away, I would take great pleasure in meeting her son. Unfortunately, my military duties obligate me to depart Bath this very day. However, I plan to return to my country home in Gloucestershire by 18 October, and shall remain there for some time. I would consider myself honored to receive you and Mrs. Darcy at Northanger Abbey as my guests for a se’nnight whenever you make your return to Derbyshire.

I hope your response names the date upon which I will enjoy the pleasure of your company. I am

Yours most sincerely,

Captain Fredrick Tilney

I still want my Mr. Tilney Carrie Bebris. I am intrigued, but wil be sorely disppointed and unhappy if MY Mr. Tilney doesn’t show up.

Hmm…

Anyways, the Darcys are also intrigued and decide to go visit on their way home.

Elizabeth visits with Lady Catherine and does not have a good time, it made even more when Lady Catherine tries to send Darcy to France to go after his troublesome cousin. He sends his solicitor and the Darcys visit with Dr. Severn which should be called Dr. Severe or Dr. Ima Rude Jerk. He is an awful misogynist and just all around horrible and we all should hate him-except Darcy is still wowed by his education and success rate, getting him to agree to come to Derbyshire instead of Elizabeth giving birth in London.

[Sarcastic] Big whoop

Eventually they leave Bath, and head to Gloucestershire but find it not as impressive as Catherine did.

The weather is cold, gray, dismal, and stormy. The servants are strange and act like no servant they have ever known. They are given the late Mrs. Tilney’s rooms which haven’t been used in ages and there is jewelry and all her stuff in it. Their servants have disappeared and the housekeeper has no knowledge where they are, the food gross, their host never appears, the halls are cold and drafty, and the Darcys want to leave but are forced to stay the night.

After dinner, the housekeeper takes them to their host and the Darcy’s see a very bandaged, fat man, with only one eye and his mouth are exposed.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Okay, I know that wealthy people gained weight with the food they eat-but a narcissist like Fredrick Tilney? There is no way you can convince me he is fat. I’m sorry but I don’t believe it. This can’t be him. Something is afoot in this Abbey, I just don’t know what…

Hmm…

Tilney, (if he is Tilney which I remain unconvinced), apologizes for not being able to greet them or sit at dinner. He has no qualms that the rooms are full of things and thoroughly questions grills them about Lady Anne, her friendship with Mrs. Tilney, and if they have any correspondence.

Huh?

The Darcy’s are completely flummoxed as they didn’t even know of the friendship let alone bring anything with them.

Captain Tilney talks really weird. I mean he is only in the book Northanger Abbey for a little bit, but this feels all wrong. I’m not the only one who feels it, as Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves feeling extremely weirded out by everything and they decide to leave ASAP.

The next morning they leave, carefully maneuvering themselves out of any faux pas. They find their servants-who had taken ill (sounds like were slipped a Regency mickey)-and then a trunk disappears and it takes forever for it to be located. Finally they leave, Mr. Darcy with his cane and off they go without another thought of this strange side trip, sure to be a weird story to be shared with friends.

Or is it?!

They stop for the night and then are com upon by a constable, as they were sent an anonymous note that the Darcy’s stole jewelry and riches fom the Tilneys. They then are both arrested for theft.

What???!!!!!!!! But he’s Mr. Darcy??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What?

OMGoodness what is happening right now?

Th constable searches Mr. Darcy’s cane and finds it opens up and reveals that it has the Tilney jewels in it.

First of all-that is so cool. I want a cane or umbrella with a secret compartment, or one where you take it apart and it is a sword that would be so cool. With a wolf’s head on it like in The Wolf Man (1941).

And second WHAT THE HECK? ARRESTED? JAIL? THE DARCYS??!!!

Darcy tries to convince them it isn’t his cane but one that looks like it as his cane has an imperfection in the grain-this one does’t it is a replica, but they don’t believe him.

They then return to Northanger Abbey to speak to Captain Tilney about everything and when they reach the Abbey they see that Captain Tilney is not there but Mr. Tilney arrives, the Henry Tilney, MY Mr. Tinley.

And we get the giant bomb…you see the Darcy’s want Captain Tilney to share what happened that night, but eh can’t. He’s dead.

WHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT?????!!!!!!!!!

And that’s not all. Fredrick’s been dead for a while.

WHAT??!!

And that housekeeper they met? She doesn’t exist. She matches no description of any housekeeper that has ever been employed there and the most recent housekeeper was fired six weeks ago.

Huh?

WHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT?????

And the house has been shut up for a while.

WHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!!!!?????

What is going on???

Okay, here I was undeniably hooked. I had to finish this story. Not only has Mr. Tilney entered the picture but we are in a serious web.

Ghosts?

Ghosts?

Or is there a human trying to frame the Darcys?

Hmmm…

And sidenote, is it horrible that after I got over the shock of Captain Tilney being dead, I kind of thought it was cool that Mr. Tilney would have Northanger Abbey. Does that make me a horrible person? I mean, I didn’t think that right away…it was after.

The local magistrate is being a bit of a jerk, enjoying the power he has over someone like Darcy and won’t release him. Darcy sends word to his solicitor, who unfortunately has been sent to France to take care of his cousin, but Elizabeth does the only thing they can do to free Darcy. Call the one person who no one could ever be able to go against.

No, no, no, no, no, not her.

Oh no!

Lady Catherine.

Lady Catherine comes, throws her weight around, and this guy is no match for her. She gets Darcy released and he’ll be back later for the trial. But unfortunately, Darcy isn’t just released he is released into Lady Catherine’s care and she is coming to Pemberley with them.

They are about to head home when Mr. Tilney comes back, yay! I was worried that he was only going to be in there for a moment. He apologizes for his behavior, and said that he let his grief, anger, and hurt get the best of him. He thought over what they said and realized that he does remember the Darcy name, as his mother was friends with a Mrs. Darcy and she provided great comfort in her life with his tyrannical and vampirish father.

He remembers meeting her once and knowing what he does of her and their estate, he can’t imagine that Darcy wold act this way and steal. He also found the “true” walking stick of Darcy’s.

Darcy shows them the letter they received from Captain Tilney and it is dated the day before he died in his own hand. However, when Tilney questions the Darcy’s the man could not be Fredrick (as he was dead on that date) but also the eye was the wrong color.

So who did this and why? What was their scheme? If they wanted the jewels why hide them in the walking stick? What could they have gained from delaying the Darcy’s and getting them caught up in this? Just trying to ruin their good name?

What is going on?

Tilney tried to get the lawsuit dropped, but the magistrate is just salivating over this and he will not do so. Ugh.

The Darcys leave for Pemberley, while Mr. Tilney plans on remaining at Northanger and continuing the investigation there and getting the estate handled. The two plan to keep in constant contact.

What? What? Where is Catherine? Why are they leaving? How come Tilney isn’t in the book more? NOOOO, why are we leaving Northanger…will we ever see him again?

BUt BUt BUt I Want more Mr. Tilney Wah, wah, wah…

Sorry I’m over it now. So Lizzy, Darcy, and Lady Catherine return to Pemberley and find it polluted. Yes a pest infestation has taken root since they have been away. A giant rat called Wickham.

What the HECK??!! Why would he even think to do that. I don’t know if Wickham is brave, audacious, or just plain stupid.

This guy,

Lydia immediately accosts Elizabeth for money, and Darcy catches Wickham with a servant girl, Jenny.  Not the welcome home they had wished for. Although, their presence does make Lady Catherine disappear to her bedroom. LOL.

Elizabth finds living with Lady Catherine to be extremely difficult, no surprise there, and tries to find ways of coping that do not include her starting a regency fight club or throwing her hot tea at Lady Catherine. She instead goes for walks, visiting Lady Anne’s garden, Our Lady’s Garden.

The next morning is All Hallow’s Eve and the gardner always leaves flowers on the graves. Elizabeth sees his shadow and head down to the collect the bouquets, dropping them off, only to discover that after she completes the task that the gardner had never made the bouquets, he was just about to. He laughs it off that it must be an assistant who readied them, but it gets Elizabeth thinking. Was it an assistant? Or a GHOST??

Meanwhile, Elizabeth has been curious over the correspondence with Mrs. Tilney and thought maybe there would be a clue to help find the missing heirloom. She asks for the correspondence to come downstairs from the attic, and discovers that there are NINE trunks!

OMGoodness, I have one “memory box” my grandma gave me, and when it gets too full I go through it and recycle the cards or toss them out. It is a small box I can’t imagine having nine!!

Elizabeth reads the letters and finds the ones of Lady Anne and the late Mr. Darcy’s courtship “Love conquers all” being their phrase.

Hmm…

They have the yearly Harvest Feast, and Elizabeth develops a slight nosebleed. The local midwife helps her, and talks to her about Lady’s Anne’s last pregnancy. She reveals that the object Elizabeth is looking for is a small Madonna and Child ivory statuette.

A clue!

Darcy finds her and becomes so worried about the blood, calling for the horrible doctor. Dr. Severn’s arrival makes Elizabeth have to clean up her room, and all the trunks are removed without her being able to finish going through them.

The doctor arrives angry that he was called in for a nosebleed and is a pompus jerk who doesn’t care a thing about what Elizabeth thinks, feels, or says.

Later Elizabeth has even more fun talking to Lady Catherine and finds out that the statuette was from back in the day when the family was Catholic. Lady Catherine wants it back, but Elizabeth refuses to give it to her if she finds it, intending to keep it. It is a battle of wits as both are searching high and low, in and out, and all over Pemberley.

Fight, fight, fight!

Elizabeth wants to read Lady Anne’s letter again but it has disappeared. Only later to reappear. That isn’t he only thing that is strange-is Elizabeth just having the pregnancy forgetfulness, is someone sabotaging her, or is there a spirit at play here?

At Pemberley.

Elizabeth then continues to go through the letters, finding the ones between Mrs. Tilney and Lady Anne. Those were so cute that they almost, ALMOST, but not quite, make up for the fact that there is no Catherine in this book so far. I am sorely disappointed.

Anyways, the letters are just adorable! It turns out that the statuette came from Northanger Abbey. There was a set of ten,  but they were hidden when the Church of England came into power. Mrs. Tilney encourages her to visit, and Lady Anne does, bringing the statue. Mrs. Tilney gives Lady Anne a strongbox to put the statue in, but General Tilney is not a happy camper. He does not like that Lady Anne has one, and he wants it, along with the other nine.

That’s not good.

Elizabeth shares her intel with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy has seen the box before. He and Wickham found it years ago, in fact on the day Georgina was born. A box with a key that opens when you move the dials to create the right “password”. Wickham egged him on and they tried to unlock it. They search the fountain where it was years ago, but nothing is there.

They believe that Wickham might have come after it and that means Mr. Darcy must take a journey. Elizabeth stays behind with she and Georgiana comedically hiding the fact that Mr. Darcy has disappeared from Pemberley from Lady Catherine.

So Elizabeth continues to read the letters and learns more on the friendship, intent on finding where could this figurine be? Darcy heads off to find Wickham and still is trying to discover the truth of what happened in Northanger Abbey. Meanwhile, in Northanger Abbey Tilney is trying to solve the case too. When Darcy heads to Newcastle he finds the truth to everything and in a surprise twist, the villains are someone Austen readers should know.

Meanwhile, things continue to be strange in Pemberley. Is there a malicious person? Another member of the scheme? Or an evil spirit?

Hmmm…

This was extremely enjoyable and a very good mystery. I loved it.

The only thing that would be better would be if Catherine was in it and if there was more Mr. Tilney!

For more by Carrie Bebris, go to Five Jane Austen Adaptations That Should be Turned Into a Film or TV Show

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to You Are My Fantasy: Austenland (2013)

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Modesto Jane Con: Dressing the Regency Lady

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

For more mysteries, go to A Goblin in My Mailbox

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen

 

Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd

For those of you who might have missed the last post, Rational Creatures is an anthology of short stories on the different women of Jane Austen:

But just not the main heroines-there are a few other side characters like Miss Bates-and of course a couple of bad girls like Mary Crawford and Mrs. Clay.

Each story gives us a look at the ladies we love (or hate).

The last post was on Elinor and Marianne Dashwood from Sense and SensibilitySelf-Composed by Christina Morland and Every Past Affliction by Nicole Clarkston. And I LOVED both of them!

This one will be on Elizabeth Bennet and Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice. 

Pride and Prejudice is the story of a mother wanting to marry off her daughters, as with their father’s death they will have very little-but the story is more than that. It deals with the concepts of pride and prejudice, first impressions, whether you should be overt in how you feel or play it close to the heart, etc. It has amazing wit and characters.

So Elizabeth is a character that has been adapted again and again. Some have been very good and some have been only okay, and a few have been just awful. To read the ones I have reviewed you can check out this post and this one.

Charlotte on the other hand, I have yet to read anything that just focuses on her. When I saw that, I got very excited. I always thought Charlotte was an interesting character-seen as plain but very intelligent and cunning. 

Happiness in Marriage by Amy D’Orazio

The story starts off November 1811, right before the Netherfield Ball, Jane coming up with an idea to do Lizzie’s hair, and like every good sister-wants to try it out before the actual day of the ball. Elizabeth and Jane are talking, when Elizabeth says that she is going to accept Mr. Collins if he proposes.

I was reading this on my lunch break and actually starting choking on my food. WHAT THE HECK DID I JUST READ? I had to read it again!

What the heck!

Reading it again did nothing-the words stayed the same. Oh My Goodness!!! All I could feel was:

I was always interested in the story, but after reading that line, I was super invested. I don’t care how much time is left on my lunch I AM FINISHING this story, right here right now.

I’m just going to stop for a quick moment and go on a side note here…I personally think that it is hard to write a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, just because there are so many out there. I have personally reviewed over thirty-and that’s like a drop in the bucket of all the different variations out there.

I mean you really have to think of a different hook, a new view, something unique to set you apart and D’Orazio did that. How she writes this is not for shock value, but she puts a completely different spin on it. Typically we see Elizabeth instantly not liking Mr. Collins and never considering marrying him-but having her think about it, showing how she would sacrifice herself for her sisters-I liked it. We see how much she loves her sisters, especially Jane, I think it fits her character to consider even for a moment if it would protect the people she loves. It made me think of Jane Austen herself. At one time she did become engaged to a man who’s wealth would have solved all the financial issues, but in the end broke it off.

Hmm…

Anyways, the two girls talk as they prepare, and I love their conversations, they sound like real sisters discussing sisterly things.

The two move on to discuss their parent’s marriage and I really loved this passage. True, most women in Regency times didn’t marry for love and often, as Charlotte Lucas says

“happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance…It is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life…”

But I like that they discuss it and think about it. Most people view their parent’s relationship as either a guide to how to be or how we desperately don’t want to be. I like how they also look at their aunts’ and uncles’ relationships.

And I love how she wrote Jane. Jane of course doesn’t like Mr. Collins either- and is about to talk smack about him, but can’t:

“Jane hesitated by her natural inclination to approve of everyone said, ‘Of course, as a clergyman, Mr. Collins is always due respect.”

The girls talk some more, Elizabeth sharing the list she made of her perfect guy, here it is:

  • Tall
  • Dark-Haired
  • Intelligent
  • Likes to Read
  • Is good to his family and mine
  • Likes to walk and be outdoors
  • Has a good sense of humor

Okay, just to put a pause on this. Maybe this isn’t as weird as it felt when I was reading this, but no joke I made a list of my perfect guy when I was a tween and this is an exact replica.

Speaking of which, I don’t remember what I did with it. It was in a shoebox under my bed but I lost it when we moved. Did you..did you find it?

Nah, I’m sure many of us had the same list, which made me love it even more!

The ball comes and goes and then we cut to Elizabeth visiting CHarlotte and Mr. DArcy joining her on her walks and I love the wit of D’Orazio, I think Jane would be proud.

They continue on to the second proposal of Mr. Darcy and when they are engaged. The whole story is cute fun, with an adorable ending, like when drinking a cup of tea and it warms you. This story just warms your heart. I loved it!

For more by Amy D’Orazio, go to “For Mischief’s Sake” from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues 

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious (2015)

Charlotte’s Comfort by Joana Starnes

So Charlotte has married Mr. Collins and is happy in the home. She likes her gardens, the kitchen, the parsonage. But she does not care for Lady Catherine and all her opinions, in which Mr. Collins implements them right away.

But she is happy, spending most of her time alone. She does miss her family and friends, but she is content in what she has.

Time passes and her father, Sir Lucas, sister Maria, and Elizabeth come to visit. Of course, when they come-Mr. Darcy does too, and Charlotte sees what is going on with him and surprised to see him not propose.

Or the face you give your friend when the person crushing on them comes in the room.

Of course when he does propose-Lady Catherine brings hellstorm upon them. I find this extremely interesting as I’ve never really thought about what happened on that end. I mean you read about Lady Catherine being unhappy, Darcy and Elizabeth in love and so happy, and Jane is going to marry Bingley-I never considered how Lady Catherine would treat the Collinses or blame them. Which is true. I could definitely see her blaming Mr. Collins for his cousin and Charlotte for her friend.

Lady Catherine in this makes me think if Greek gods in mythology-you want them to not like you or give you notice as bad things will happen-but you also don’t want them to dislike you as bad things will happen.

Charlotte and Mr. Collins attend the weddings of Jane & Bingley and Darcy & Elizabeth. Charlotte is also pregnant, and eager for the child, but she finds a new emotion putting a damper on her happiness. She sees the way Elizabeth and Darcy look at each other and for the first time envies her friend, wishing she had someone to love her like that.

Lady Catherine calls Mr. Collins home early and he is thrown from his horse-dead.

At first I was surprised , but then I realized this was called Rational Creatures, so of course it made sense that Mr. Collins had to exit it.

Sorry!

From there Charlotte has to return home, where she gives birth to a son, naming him William. She named him after her father, but of course Mr. Collins shared the same name. Which for a second I was a bit surprised, I forgot he had one. LOL

Mr. Bennet loves little William just as much as his grandpa does, and even Mrs. Bennet does even though she was determined to hate him. But Charlotte doesn’t stay there, instead she goes to visit the Darcys and remains with them. And while there, is there is a possibility of love, real love?

I thought this story was also really cute, especially the ending. Another sweet one.

For more by Joana Starnes, go to “Willoughby’s Crossroads” from Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

I really liked both these stories and I and thought they were cute and romantic.

I loved that Charlotte finally got her spot in the limelight.

So far all four stories have been fantastic, which gives me a strong feeling I’m going to like the rest, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see! 🙂

For more reviews of Rational Creatures, go to Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne

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

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to I Wrote Mr. Darcy a Letter

Mad about Mansfield Park

So back in 2013 I had this idea that I would reread all the Austen novels, starting with Pride and Prejudice as it was turning 200. I thought it would take me only like a year to read through each one, writing a post on any little thing or thought that came to mind while writing. In my timeline, I’d be halfway through Persuasion. 

Uh, yeah. It didn’t happen. Life got in the way.

So then I adapted. Instead I would do the first four chapters of Pride and Prejudice, then Sense and Sensibility, then Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. 

Great idea!

I finished up Pride & Prejudice in November 2014, and then moved onto the first four chapters of Sense and Sensibility  in December 2014.

I finished up the four chapters in March 2015 and then moved onto Emma, skipping Mansfield Park (sorry), as it was Emma’s 200th year.

I’m just burning through

Then that’s where we ran through another snafu. Life got in the way and I am still currently finishing up the first four chapters of Emma. 

Oh no!

Yes, problems arose last year-the 100th anniversary of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. I took a break from Emma to work on Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. I planned to work on both throughout the year. Great plan, right?

Yeah, that didn’t work out either.

Oops!

So this year, I was little lost and decided why not do all three? I’ll be doing the first four chapters of Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion, instead of making them wait.

But then I started thinking about Mansfield Park. Poor Mansfield Park, you’ve become like your main character Fanny Price-forgotten, ignored, seen as not as important, witty, or powerful. Poor little Mansfield Park.

And I decided that I am going to throw it into the mix as well. Yep, all four books out at once!

Yes, Lady Catherine be darned-this stubborn gal has them all out at once!

So thanks for putting up with my lengthy intro, now onto the (mostly) serious part. Mansfield Park like Northanger Abbey gets very little love. Mostly because people think Fanny is “boring” and “spineless”.

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

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

While she is humble and kind, she is not timid or spineless. When push comes to shove, she can out-stubborn Elizabeth Bennet.

So if you haven’t read it, I would start reading it-you won’t be sorry.

Or you can follow me as I journey through Mansfield Park and the books/films based on it.

Books:

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

Mansfield Park Cloth Book by Little Literary Classics
Edmund Bertram’s Diary (Jane Austen Heroes #4) by Amanda Grange

Mansfield Ranch (The Jane Austen Diaries #5) by Jenni James

My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park by Cindy Jones

Fanny Price, Slayer of Vampires by Tara O’Donnell & Stephanie O’Donnell

Mansfield Park and Mummies: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights (Supernatural Jane Austen Series #1) by Vera Nazarian & Jane Austen

Central Park (Austen Series #3) by Debra White Smith

 

Movies:

Anna Karenina (1948)

Mansfield Park (1983)

Mansfield Park (1999)

Mansfield Park (2007)

 

Other:

Opera Modesto Presents Mansfield Park

If you have noticed the lack of Mansfield Park gifs, memes, images, etc.-it’s hard to find them. I wasn’t kidding when I said the world treats it like how the Bertram’s treated Fanny.

Sad really.

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Little Literary Classics Mansfield Park Cloth Book

For more Fanny Price, go to Austen Avengers Assemble!

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

The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

The Darcy Monolgues edited by Christina Boyd and written by Various

So I was contacted by Christina Boyd to do a honest review in return for a free copy of the ebook. I agreed as you know I will review anything Jane Austen.

This is so me

I promised to have the review posted by the 21st, which I saw as no problem as you know how fast I read.

But the day came closer and closer and I realized I hadn’t posted my review!

Let me say that when I first heard of the story, I thought it sounded interesting but had no idea what to expect.

Hmm…

Was it going to be a view of Darcy at different times in the story? Will they follow the original text or do their own thing? Hmm…

I began reading the book

But then I was sucked in:

Or story in this case.

So the book is a collection of monologues or short stories; told from the point of view of Mr. Darcy.

Some take place in the Regency time period, some take his point of view of the novel, some after the novel, and some asking the question of what would happen if..?

Hmm…

The book is divided into two collections: those that take place in the Regency time period and those that span all time periods. I have decided to review the first collection on the Regency time today, and the second one later on this week.

Death of a Bachelor by Caitlin Williams

This monologue tells of Mr. Darcy’s feelings as his wedding day grows closer and there will be an end to his bachelor ways. As his wedding occurs and they head out to London for their honeymoon, they get stranded at a less than fabulous inn in a blizzard. Will Darcy enjoy being married? Or will it be his biggest regret? And how can he fix his honeymoon to be memorable for all the right reasons?

Things I Pondered: The only thing I can see Janeites/Austenites getting upset over is when Darcy says that he has been with many women before Elizabeth. This is historically accurate, as gentlemen had more social freedom; however some might not care to have Darcy be anything than their version of a romantic hero. 

What I Like: I thought it was very well written and that Williams truly captured the spirits of the characters. I really enjoyed her story, especially as she was not graphic but allowed the reader to use their own imagination. 

From the Ashes by J. Marie Croft

This story takes place right after Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth, only to have her reject him in every way. We have Darcy as he goes through every emotion from anger to sadness at having his love refused.

Things I Pondered: Who is Richard? Is that supposed to be Colonel Fitzwilliam’s middle name or something?

What I Like: I thought that Croft truly captured the emotions of anyone who has been heartbroken and I found her portrayal of Mr. Darcy not only to be likable but 100% relatable, as who hasn’t gone through a painful rejection?

I thought that he might be a little more composed than her portrayal:

But I think the beauty of this piece is that Croft shows that temper Darcy spoke of in the original novel, giving it a strong connection to Austen’s work.

I also loved her character of Anne de Bourgh and if Croft wrote a novel that featured or continued this expanded character of Anne, I would read that in a heartbeat.

For more quotes from J. K. Rowling, go to Don’t Fear the Reaper

If Only a Dream by Joana Starnes

Mr. Darcy has been rejected by Elizabeth and is so upset after giving her the letter that he wants to leave Rosings Park and never see her again. However, things do not go according to plan as his Aunt Catherine de Bourgh’s ploy at faking a heart attack turns to a real malady when she trips on the stairs and breaks her ankle.

Now Darcy must remain there, as it is his nephewly duties; and as the Collins are such great neighbors that they (along with Elizabeth and her sister Maria) come over all the time. Will this constant proximity change things? Or drive a deeper wedge between Darcy and Elizabeth.

Things I Pondered: I didn’t like this story as much as having them fall in love so early cuts out a lot of growth in the characters, along with all the events that changed Elizabeth’s view on him and showed her own pride and prejudices.

What I Like: While I didn’t like losing so much of the story Starnes wrote the answer to this “What if” very well and provided an interesting twist: Lady Catherine’s plot to get her nephew to marry her daughter results in him marrying Elizabeth. Oh Lady Catherine, I think your conspiring days are over:

 I also liked this Anne de Bourgh character as she was interesting and witty. If Starnes decided to expand her version into a novel, I would definitely read it as well. 

Yep!

Clandestiny by KaraLynne Mackrory

This story takes place during the ball at Netherfield. Georgiana had only been attacked four months earlier by Mr. Wickham and Darcy is still upset over it. However, his mind is split between that and Elizabeth as he thinks she has feelings for him. Things take an interesting turn when a trap door brings the two together. Will this help the situation or only cause more issues?

Hmm…

Things I Pondered: By moving up them having that time when Darcy is less reserved and more himself, we miss out on all the meat of the story. It is cute, but too short and missing the whackam-sockum appeal of Jane Austen’s revelations as how all the characters connect.

What I Like: Even though I didn’t like how much was to be cut out of the story with this earlier connection, I still thought this was interesting to see what would have happened if Elizabeth saw the “real” Darcy earlier in the novel. This was a good part to do it in as her real only problem was that he hurt her feelings. After all she doesn’t know Wickham all that well and seeing Darcy behaving in a different way, more natural, and apologizing for his earlier rudeness would help sway her from the fake charm to the real deal. 

The Beast of Pemberley by Melanie Stanford

So in the past I have compared Pride and Prejudice with Beauty and the Beast :

But in this story, Stanford rewrites the story so that it is Beauty and the Beast, with all its magic and characters, but set in Regency England.

In this tale, Darcy has saved Pemberley and the village by standing in when Wickham (a powerful wizard) tried to destroy it. For his efforts he has been cursed with hideous scars, while each of his staff (Cogsworth, Lumiere, etc.) suffer from one scar. All he does is look in his magic mirror hoping that he might see something to lift him out of his depression and pain. He sees Elizabeth Bennet, and when her father plans to marry her off to Mr. Collins to pay his debts, Darcy steps in.

Things don’t go well as she refuses to have Darcy wear a mask, wanting to see his face:

But when wolves almost attack Elizabeth, Darcy manages to save her and after that things start improving.

Especially when he gives her the Pemberley library.

But will they be able to end the curse? Will Elizabeth ever see more in Darcy? Or just a Beast?

What I Like: I thought it was a cute fan service story. And when I say “fan service”, I mean this is something people have been talking about and wanted. It was a very fun and adorable read that I really enjoyed.

For more on Beauty and the Beast, go to Xactly Why I Think Beastly is An Xcellent Story

A Resentful Man by Lory Lilian

Mr. Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth, been rejected, and has left Rosings. He is celebrating Georgiana’s 16th birthday with the Bingleys and other family friends. They are heading back to Pemberley when Darcy decides to return ahead of schedule. When he gets there, who should he run into? Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. They spend the time together walking the grounds and talking. Will they be able to reconcile? Or will this just make things more awkward?

What I Like: I thought it was cute and adorable. 

In Terms of Perfect Composure by Susan Adriani

So the story starts off with a brief recap about all that happened. Lydia had run off with Wickham and he’s been paid off so that the reputation of the Bennet family would be saved. Darcy is having dinner with Mr. Gardiner, and the latter man is trying to find out why Darcy would help them out – is there an understanding he hasn’t been told? Darcy tells him about his proposal and how it went:

And how he still cares but has given up. Mr. Gardiner encourages him to try again, as he believes Elizabeth still has feelings for him. Darcy goes to stay at Netherfield and when he and Bingley visit the Bennets, as Bingley and Jane are now engaged, Darcy overhears Lady Catherine’s tirade at Elizabeth.

Will this bring them together or force them farther apart?

Things I Pondered: I don’t get why she has Elizabeth avoid Darcy as in the original novel, at this point in time she wants to see Darcy and be with him.

What I Like: I really enjoyed how she has Darcy build upon his relationship with the Gardiners when he is in town as he greatly enjoyed their company and this showed that to a further extent. I also like how the author made her Darcy expect nothing in return for his deeds in helping the Bennets as is closely followed how Austen’s Darcy was. 

Without Affection by Jan Hahn

neverloveyouchallengeprideandprejudicedarcy

It has been fifty years since Darcy proposed to Elizabeth the second time and she accepted. The two are in their golden years and Darcy reflects back on his life, to a time he almost lost Elizabeth…

Elizabeth gives birth to their son and almost dies in the process. After the birth she has to rest, but while her body is weak her spirit is strong. Darcy is heartbroken and decides that he cannot, will not lose her. He is determined to have her never experience childbirth again and risk her life. But will Elizabeth comply to his plan or have her own ideas?

Things I Pondered: Darcy talks about how he knows little of women’s bodies and never thinks to consult with a doctor to see if she shouldn’t give birth. I thought it was strange as I imagine that a man with all his wealth and power would seek several people’s opinions.

What I Like: It was sweet to see them still so in love and talk about their great years together. Just adorable and a great way to end the first collection.

So what did I think?

Hmmm….

I enjoyed every one.

Yes there may have been changes I wouldn’t have done or things altered that weren’t my favorite, but those were really minute things. I found each of these tales to be extremely enjoyable and I loved looking at all the interpretations these authors gave to a story they and we love.

And no matter what changes, additions, etc  that the authors did, there is one very important thing that they all made sure to do. And that was to get inside the character’s head and actually give a voice to Darcy.

Wow!

Yes, you have heard me complain again and again about different writers never really ever go that far to bring Darcy to life, always stopping short in their interpretations.

But these authors don’t do that. Whatever changes they have made or ways they interpreted the characters; they tried to make sure they gave Darcy a personality and looked deep into him and how he would react to the situations, not through another’s eyes but through the depths of his spirits.

That is a hard feat to do I commend all of them:

I think all did a fantastic job in presenting “their” Darcy and I highly recommend you read this book.

But what do I feel about part two, Darcy and Elizabeth through time?

I guess you will just have to wait and read.

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

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

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

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

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars