Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) by Carrie Bebris

So a while back I reviewed a Jane Austen mystery, Pride and Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged).  I enjoyed  the first book, although I did solve the mystery quickly, but it was very well written and worth reading.

So while the first book focused only on Pride & Prejudice characters (and ones she made up) this one combines P&P with Sense and Sensibility.

A mashup

Sense and Sensibility actually takes place in the 1790s, twenty years before Pride and Prejudice. All the characters have been aged accordingly so they match up with the Pride and Prejudice ones. It can be a bit confusing when the characters are no longer how they were in their book.  To make it less confusing, I will give a brief reminder of the plot of Sense & Sensibility.

So the Dashwood family:

The estate of Norland belongs to Old Mr. Dashwood. When he was sick he was visited by his family and found young Henry Dashwood, John’s son, to be just so adorable that he entailed it to the men in his family. After he died Mr. Henry Dashwood, the elder, ended up dying and the estate passed over his second wife and daughters going to his son John, (which would ultimately go to his son, young Henry.)

John promised his father to help his sisters, but with an ambitious wife; that quickly ended.

John’s wife is horrible, just evil. Fanny, the demon wife, convinces John to give no money to the sisters as they really “are not his siblings”. She then rearranges the whole household and makes life unbearable for all.

John also has an incredibly bratty son, Henry:

When Fanny’s brother visits, she sees that he and Elinor like each other, but as Elinor is too poor for her soon to be wealthy brother Edward, she ends that immediately. The second Dashwood family all move from their home to renting out Barton’s Cottage, owned by Sir John Middleton, Mrs. Dashwood’s cousin.

They spend a lot of time with Sir John, as he constantly invites them over so that they can eat well, as money is extremely tight. Eventually after all kinds of twists and turns, the two eldest girls marry the men of their dreams and the story ends happily. If you haven’t read it you should.

**Spoilers**

So Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Georgiana, and Kitty are all heading to London for a “London Season” as they are husband hunting for Kitty. They are invited to Sir John’s where they meet him and his wife (sadly I think Mrs. Jennings the mother-in-law has passed on) and their now adult children. Also there is the young Mr. Henry Dashwood, who is now no longer a boy, but a young man in his twenties. He meets Kitty and immediately finds her to be a fantastic partner, good conversationalist, and all around enjoys her company.

Only one problem, he thought she was Georgiana Darcy.

The next day it seems as if all the men were only interested in Georgiana, not Kitty, as she is going to bring an extremely large dowry.

Except for Mr. Henry Dashwood. After he discovered his blunder, he still spent the night with Kitty and fell for her. That works perfectly with Kitty as she has fallen head over heels for him.

While everyone finds him agreeable, and Elizabeth definitely thinks that he will be a good match for Kitty; Mr. Darcy thinks of him as a fop and a dandy wanting Kitty with someone who has more brains.

He goes to talk to Henry, and discovers that his lack of business isn’t from him not caring, but from not being instructed on how to run an estate. It turns out that his parents sent him away to school immediately and he has spent hardly any time with family or at Norland. However, he is eager to learn and Darcy soon takes him under his wing.

Henry has won over the whole family, but soon Fanny arrives to meet Kitty.

Here I am!

Fanny does not like Kitty as she is too poor and would rather spear Georgiana with her impressive dowry. But Henry will not be deterred, as he invites them to his 21st birthday and proposes to Kitty.

Everything seems to be going well, until Henry finds an old strange mirror and a painting of his notorious great-great uncle Sir Francis Dashwood. Soon after Henry starts acting completely different-gambling nonstop, drinking, carousing with all women (married and single of every class). What could have happened to him to make him so much worse than his nefarious relation? Could he be possessed?

So what did I think? Did I like it?

No

I thought this book ran into a few problems and wasn’t as good as the first one.

1) Henry Dashwod was too likable.

So when you read Sense and Sensibility, you don’t like Henry. He is a total brat and completely annoying.

But in this book they made him tooo likable. This caused problems as that reading about his possession made it sad because you knew it wasn’t him, and this poor guy has lost everything.

Secondly, because he is so likable, you know that he isn’t the one doing all these horrible things and that something has caused him to have a personality shift. It wasn’t a real mystery, like in the first novel, as you weren’t sure if Caroline was hypnotized or going insane.

2) No Mystery

In the first book, Caroline starts acting weird after she was married. This makes us wonder is someone making her act this way like in Gaslight or is she actually going crazy?

Crazy eyes

Secondly, there are a multitude of suspects:

  1. Mr. Kendall– He could be trying to kill the Bingleys because of the money he feels that he has been cheated out of. He also could be trying to get rid of Caroline because of his daughter being thrown over. Remember, his daughter was with Caroline when her horse bolted.
  2. Mr. Hurst– If his debts are as extremely high as Elizabeth suspects, he might be trying to kill his relations off for money.
  3. Professor Randolph– Professor Randolph has been drifting from place to place as most don’t feel his studies are legitimate. Now that Caroline is crazy, he has room and board as the prime caretaker for Caroline. Maybe he is making her seem crazy, and could even be trying to make it look as if she set the fire, to only further cement Mr. Parrish’s need of him.
  4.  Mr. Parrish- He only married Caroline for her money and is trying to remove her from the picture. He is supposed to be extremely wealthy, but for some people what they have is never enough. Besides, he could be lying about how wealthy he is, or have hidden debt that they don’t know about.

In this however, we immediately know that Henry is being possessed as the writer gives it away in the beginning introduction and the back of the novel. Instead we are just waiting for events to unfold.

Yeah, I don’t like those kind of mysteries. That’s how Death Comes to Pemberley was (the book, not the TV miniseries. The miniseries is better.)

3) Hardly Any Elinor, Marianne, Colonel Brandon, or Edward In It

I’m sorry but I don’t know why they were missing so much in this novel. We LOVE this characters so if we are reading something to so with Sense and Sensibility we want to have then in the book. It was a crime to not have very much of them.

4) Supernatural Seems Like an Afterthought

This is a supernatural mystery (not Supernatural) but it takes a long time for the characters to reach that point and even evoke in anything. Professor Randolph is there for a second, and then the weirdest thing-the ever staunchly “realistic” Darcy decides to do battle with the demon mirror? I don’t know, it just seemed hastily thrown in, instead of carefully worked like in the previous book.

So we will see what the next book holds. Will it get better? Or worse?

There is one question though that this book presented that I think is worth mulling over. Who should Georgiana marry?

So I started thinking, out of all the non-attached Austen men, who would be the best match for Georgiana (yes I know the author might just make a new character like P.D. James did, but forget that lets focus on what Austen made.)? I narrowed it down to three characters who I think might work.

3) Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride & Prejudice

Pros: Known Georgiana a long time, is kind, caring, funny, amiable, etc.

Cons: Is like a brother to Georgiana, she might not be able to see past that. She might also think he is too old (which he isn’t).

For more on Colonel Fitzwilliam, go to A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

2) James Morland from Northanger Abbey

Pros: James is a kind, compassionate, caring, and hardworking guy. He has studied constantly and will soon be taking his orders to become a minister. He is a kind older brother and has many traits, in that respect, shared with her brother. Educated, well read, etc.

Cons: Not from a wealthy family, but still does alright; naive, and like Bingley, more easily persuaded.

1) Lieutenant William Price from Mansfield Park

This is actually my top pick, I think they would be good for each other. I just see them as being a great couple, him so sweet and gentle with fragile temperaments. Georgiana needing someone who can be kind and caring.

Pros: Kind, caring, compassionate, honest, and hardworking.

Cons: While his mother came from a high class family, she married down (although that wouldn’t really matter to Georgiana.) He is in the navy a peon, but he does get a great commission through Fanny’s connection to Henry Crawford.

For more on Lt. William Price, go to Let’s Hear it For the Boys

For more by Carrie Bebris, go to Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Too Pretty

For more on Sense and Sensibility, 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 Sense and Sensibility variations, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Jane Austen mysteries, go to Midnight in Austenland

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

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Let’s Hear it For the Boys

So since today is Veteran’s Day I was going to do a post about 11 of my favorite war movies. However since it has been a while since my last Austenite post (not counting the Halloween one), I thought it would be better to do a list of my favorite Austen military men. As Deniece Willams’ put it so well. “Let’s hear it for the boys!“.

So here we go.

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9) Colonel Fitzwilliam

Colonel Fitzwilliam is from Pride and Prejudice and is the cousin of Mr. Darcy. He doesn’t feature too much in the story as he is supposed to be at first seen as a “character foil” for Mr. Darcy (but turns out to not be as we later realize we have misjudged Darcy) along with furthering the plot (such as revealing there is more to Darcy’s character, that Darcy broke up Bingley and Jane, etc.).

He is a very nice and funny man. He is in the military as he is the second son, and therefore forced to work as he will not inherit. But even though he makes it clear to Elizabeth that nothing will happen (as she isn’t rich enough) he still treats her like a person and is great fun for Elizabeth to hang out with.

Col. Fitzwilliam now seated himself by Elizabeth, and talked so agreeably of Kent and Hertfordshire, of traveling and staying at home, of new books and music, that Elizabeth had never been half so well entertained in that room before; and they conversed with so much spirit and flow…”

And to be honest, that’s all most people really want.

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8) Captain Harville

Captain Harville is from Persuasion and is a friend and fellow soldier of Captain Wentworth. He is a kind man who was wounded and retired from the military. He has a home in Lyme where everyone comes to visit and where Louisa gets injured at.

He is such a sweet and unassuming man. He opens him home up for everyone, and when Louisa gets hurt, allows her to stay there as long as she wants to until she is recovered. He is a great friend to Fredrick Wentworth and helps him realize how much he is in love with Anne.

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7) Sir John Middleton 

Sir John is from Sense and Sensibility and while some find him annoying I think he is a really nice guy. He can be a bit intrusive and a gossip, involving himself in other’s affairs (primarily Colonel Brandon’s love life), but he has a kind and gentle heart.

When the Dashwood’s are kicked out of their home, he lets them his cottage for a price far under what it is worth. Not only does he do that, but he invites them over to his house daily, supplying them with food and comfort far beyond their current ability.

He is fiercely loyal and caring for his friends; standing by Colonel Brandon even when others say things about his rash behavior of breaking up their planned outing. He even forgives Willoughby after the whole Marianne issue.

For more on Sir John Middleton, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

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6) Admiral Croft

Admiral Croft is also from Persuasion and is married to Captain Fredrick Wentworth’s sister. He is the perfect naval gentleman; kindly, genial, and good-looking (according to the Anne’s shallow and appearance obsessed father). He and his wife are so adorable, as they are also so clearly in love and can’t bear to be separated from each other for long periods of time. Anne considers them the happiest married couple she has ever met, and a role model for what she hopes to have one day.

I love how he gets rid of all of Sir Walter’s mirrors. I agree with him that Sir Walter was extremely excessive in that.

“I have done very little [changes] besides sending away some of the large looking-glasses from my dressing-room, which was your father’s…Such a number of looking-glasses! oh Lord! there was no getting away from one’s self. So I got Sophy to lend me a hand, and we soon shifted their quarters; and now I am quite snug, with my little shaving glass in one corner, and another great thing that I never go near.”

He is also very sweet. He and his wife care for Anne, giving her rides and taking her in to be part of their family. When Sir Walter snubs them in Bath, they take it with good humor and continue on their way.

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5) Colonel Campbell

We never get to see Colonel Campbell, but we get to hear all about him. He is from Emma, and the man who took care of Jane after her parents died. He was an old family friend and when Jane was reduced to the Bates’ poor circumstances he took Jane into his family and cared for her.

It was so nice of Colonel Campbell to do that for Jane. He could have just ignored her, but instead brought her into his family! Although he couldn’t provide her the same kind of future as his own child, what he gave her was much better than what she would have had without him. Through this she met the awful Frank Churchill, (more later on why I don’t like him), and had a “happy” future (Austen makes it seemingly happy but I don’t think one could be happy being married to Frank).

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4) Captain Benwick

Captain Benwick is also from Persuasion, (most of these military men are as Persuasion is a miltary filled novel).

Captain Benwick is such an adorable man. He is so kind but has such a sad story. He was in love with Captain Harville’s sister, but when she died, he stopped living his life, depressed and heartbroken over her loss. He’s so cute and romantic.

In the novel he makes a real connection with Anne, both understanding each other through their similar pain of losing the one they love. Benwick loves poetry, mostly melancholy ones, and Anne’s helps him out of his funk by discussing lighter and better ones. Without her he would never have had the courage to love another, Louisa Musgrove, or ask her hand.

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3) Lieutenant William Price

William Price is from the book Mansfield Park, and is Fanny’s older brother. He is the only one who remains in contact with her when she moves away, and is the epitome of the kind, caring, older brother.

“His last thought on leaving home was for her. He stepped back again to the door to say, ‘Take care of Fanny, mother. She is tender, and not used to rough it like the rest of us. I charge you, take care of Fanny.”

He shares a lot of sinilar traits as Edmund, although he doesn’t act as dumb as him. (More on this later). To Fanny, those two men are the most important people in her life.

William is honest and hard-working, which unfortunately not too helpful in moving up the ranks in the military, in times of peace. At this time in history, to get a good position in peace times, was only by having purchased a commission or position. He doesn’t get a big break until Henry Crawford pulls some strings, trying to get on Fanny’s good side.

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 2) Captain Fredrick Wentworth

Captain Fredrick Wentworth is the romantic hero of Persuasion. He is adorable and wonderful, I just adore him. After Anne breaks his heart, he goes off bravely combating anything in war. While he puts on a tough exterior, he is still in agony over losing Anne. At first he is a tad mean to her, mostly being cold or ignoring her presence; but this is perfectly understandable as he has spent years in pain over her; never realizing that she has been feeling the exact same way. He thought she didn’t want to be with him because he was poor and of a lower class.

He flirts with other girls to make her jealous, but realizes that he was crazy to do so as he could never imagine himself with any one but Anne. He thinks that he has lost her, but her conversation with Harville about women loving longer than men convinces him otherwise  and encourages him to write one of the best Austen letters. More on him later, as he deserves his own post like Knightly.

For more on Captain Frederick Wentworth, go to A Fredrick Wentworth Sighting 

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1) Colonel Brandon

 Colonel Brandon is one of the best Austen heroes. He’s from Sense and Sensibility and has such a sad story, but still remains kindly and good-hearted.

When he was younger he fell in love with a girl, but his father broke them up. He went on to India, but she went down an awful life as she feel in love with a man and was left alone pregnant. She died young, and Brandon took care of her child, raising it as his own.

He fell in love with Marianne, not caring that she had no fortune, but instead loving her mind and spirit. He is rich and of high social standing, but doesn’t allow those customs dictate the ways of his heart. He continues loving her and caring for her; even though all she thinks of him is an “old man”. He never gives up and does all he can to help her. When she is injured and caught in the rain the second time, he carries her to safety and travels a great distance to bring her mother to her.

He is kind, generous, and one of the most amazing Austen men; my top military man. He will be getting his own post too, eventually.

For more on Colonel Brandon, go to It’s All Jane Austen’s Fault

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I just want to end this post with my most heartfelt thanks to to all who have served our country and for those currently serving. Thank you so much for everything you have done and for all the sacrifices you have made. I am so happy to live in a country that gives honor to those who deserve it for all that they do. Happy Veteran’s Day! 

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For the previous holiday post go to Horrorfest

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men

For another Persuasion post, go to A Letter of Love

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas

For another Emma related post, go to I’m No Warrior, I’m an Assistant Pig-Keeper

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines