Rational Creatures: Anne Elliot, Mrs. Croft, Mrs. Clay, & Louisa Musgrove

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 not just the main heroines-there are a few other side characters like Miss Bates-and of course a couple of bad girls like Mary Crawford and Mrs. Clay. Each story gives us a look at these rational creatures.

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

This one is on Persuasion:

In Persuasion, Anne is the middle daughter of a Baron and is often ignored by her father who really only cares about himself. She becomes engaged to a naval soldier, but after speaking to her mother’s best friend, was persuaded it wasn’t the right decision.

Hmm…

Years pass, and another proposal, and Anne has grown older, wiser, and regretted turning her love down. With her father spending more than they have, they have to let the house, and the Admiral and Mrs. Croft rent it. Mrs. Croft’s brother, Captain Wentworth, comes to visit who happens to be the same soldier that she was engaged to! I don’t have to tell you that an interesting plot ensues!

I’ve only read a few adaptations of Persuasion and I’m excited to read this one. I like that there is a Mrs. Croft story.

An Unnatural Beginning by Elizabeth Adams

The story takes place before the events in Persuasion, starting when Charles Musgrove is trying to court Anne, but she is not interested, she still pines after Wentworth.

It’s not that Charles Musgrove is a bad man its just he isn’t the right man.

“He was a perfectly decent man. Kind, respectable, well-mannered. But alas, he possessed one fatal flaw that not even the best of manners could redeem.

He was not Frederick Wentworth.”

And being with Charles only makes her think even more when she met Commander Wentworth. He was visiting his brother in Monkford and Anne encounters him at a get-together and the two spend time together. She is completely struck by him.

With him

Back to the present, Charles continues to talk and court her, but she isn’t really present. The flame of her youth feels like it is dying.

Frederick proposes and Anne accepts, but then when she seeks advice-Lady Russell resoundly says no. I really enjoyed this part as all of Lady Russell’s arguments are extremely valid. I mean things could go wrong and she could become  poor widow-a poor widow who’s father isn’t going to help out (you’ve seen him). Or she could have ended up like Mrs. Price, Fanny’s mom.

“A large and still increasing family, an[sic] husband disabled for active service, but not the less equal to company and good liquor, and a very small income to supply their wants…”

I really enjoyed how Adams makes Lady Russell not evil, cruel, or even a snob (just a touch snoby). And I liked how fear drove Anne’s decision to break it off with Wentworth, but it is an extremely relatable fear

I really liked that we got a view into both proposals, as I have always wanted to see how both went down. And raise your hand if you think Charles continued to pine after Anne even though he married her sister (that line about Sir Elliot moving Charles to take Mary off his hands was gold.)

Both hands are up!

But that ending though. It pierces the heart.

 

This story was so sad, absolutely heartbreaking, but in a god way. A real way. This was so relatable and I really loved the language used. One of my favorite parts is when she describes how she feels about her beauty and youth fading. I think we all feel that when we are disappointed, injured, or broken in love, that we used to be more fun, gregarious. etc. The whole thing was so good, so sad, so heartbreaking, and I think Jane would be proud. As for me:

I’m going to hide under the covers with my ice cream

Just kidding. It was a wonderful read, just get those tissues ready.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to Austen Avengers Assemble!

Where the Sky Touches the Sea by KaraLynne Mackrory

So this story picks up in the middle of Persuasion about chapter 8 before and after the dinner party. The Crofts are heading to out and their gig gets stuck in the mud, but they get through it together. This leads Mrs. Croft to think on their relationship and thier marriage.

This story was so cute and sad. But the good kind of sad. I don’t know how to review it without giving anything away. Just be prepared, if you are a crier-have tissues ready. It is just a sweet little story.

I’m so sad and happy!

I’ve always loved the Admiral and Mrs. Croft and it makes me love them more. One thing I love about Jane Austen is how she has these horrible marriages (like Charles and Mary Musgrove, Sir Walter, etc.) but then these amazing ones like he Crofts. I think Mackrory really got the heart of the characters and I loved her story.

So romantic! So cute!

For more by KaraLynne Mackrory “Clandestiny” from The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For more on Mrs. Croft, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

The Art of Pleasing by Lona Manning

So Mrs. Clay has an interesting backstory in this. She was “married” to a corrupt merchant who juggled the book and raked in every extra but he could. When things got too heated he took off, leaving Mrs. Clay with her two boys and nothing.

She heads home hiding her disgrace under the guise of widowhood and then implements herself into the Elliot household. It wasn’t her idea, but her father’s, the Elliot’s solicitor, as he wants her to gather intel on the Elliot’s expenditures and hopefully influence them to spend less.

Mrs. Clay does so and better than ever. She becomes Elizabeth’s best friend, so much that Sir Walter and Elizabeth choose to take her with them to Bath and leave Anne behind.

Ouch

Mrs. Clay can’t really stand either of them, but is thrilled that about her new position. So thrilled at how Sir Walter trusts and leans on her. With this new possibility opening up, now Mrs. Clay starts using all her wit to try and snare him. She doesn’t like him, but does like becoming a lady, having a father for her sons, prestige, etc. And to rub Elizabeth, Anne, and Lady Russell’s faces in it would be great as well.

Sucks to be you

Everything was going well until Mr. Elliot came to town.

Smarming and plotting away.

Yes, Mr. Elliot plans on seducing both sisters and Mrs. Clay away from Sir Walter. Will she resist or succumb?

Hmmm

I really enjoyed this as I always thought Mrs. Clay (like Charlotte Lucas) was cunning, although much shrewder, and a bit more a mistress of her fate than they show in adaptations. I like how the author made her witty and shrewd even though she wasn’t “educated”. (That line about Paris was hilarious). This was great and spot on-that ending was perfect.

“A lady would have said, ‘Sir! What do you take me for?’

I whispered, ‘Yes.”

She and Mr. Elliot deserve each other.

Good job!

And this was perfect right after the two sadder stories.

For more by Lona Manning, go to “The Address of a Frenchwoman” from Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

Louisa by the Sea by Beau North

So we start this story after Louisa has had her fall. Louisa was very headstrong, stubborn, and always insisted on having her own way-

There was too much wind to make the high part of the new Cobb pleasant for the ladies, and they agreed to get down the steps to the lower, and all were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight, excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth. In all their walks, he had had to jump her from the stiles; the sensation was delightful to her. The hardness of the pavement for her feet, made him less willing upon the present occasion; he did it, however. She was safely down, and instantly, to show her enjoyment, ran up the steps to be jumped down again. He advised her against it, thought the jar too great; but no, he reasoned and talked in vain, she smiled and said, “I am determined I will:” he put out his hands; she was too precipitate by half a second, she fell on the pavement on the Lower Cobb, and was taken up lifeless! There was no wound, no blood, no visible bruise; but her eyes were closed, she breathed not, her face was like death. The horror of the moment to all who stood around!”

We start off with her recovering and North does a great job showing what it is like. My friend’s brother injured his head in a car accident and North was spot on with what they go through .

Louisa slowly recuperates, and who is by her side? Wentworth? No. Captain Benwick. Captain Benwick has a sad backstory, he fell in love with a woman who became sick and passed away. He hasn’t been able to do much since, but here he aids Louisa, by her side every moment, eating with her, reading to her, just all around supporting her.

So romantic! So cute!

The rest of her family feels awkward or unsettled or unsure what to do, but Benwick takes charge and helps.

Louisa has to relearn what to do, has violent headaches, a lot of trauma to noise, and seizures. Everyone thinks she is in love with Captain Wentworth, but Louisa has fallen head over heels (literally?) for Captain Benwick. Now how to convince him?

Hmmm….

Oh my gosh this story was so cute. I never really liked Louisa in Persuasion she just kind of annoyed me and of course we want Anne and Wentworth TOGETHER. But this gave a whole new spin and view on her. And I have always loved Captain Benwick, and I think this story just continued to show how wonderful a character and man he is. And they are so gosh darn cute together!!

“Are you certain?’…’Am I certain? No, my dear captain, it is far worse. I am determined.”

Aw! Squee!!

For more by Beau North, go to “Fitzwilliam’s Folly” from Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

These stories were just as great at the others, but be prepared-have tissues at the ready for those first two .

So far all have been amazing and we only have a few stories left?! Where did the time go? How are we almost at the end?

I guess all I can say is stay tuned for the final post.

For more reviews of Rational Creatures, go to Rational Creatures: Fanny Price & Mary Crawford

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

For more Persuasion, go to It Sucks to Be Lady Elliot

For more Austen book reviews, go to Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne Dashwood

Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd

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

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

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

He’s a bad boy-womanizer

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

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

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

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

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

We are starting with:

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

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

Or just sister in this case.

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

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

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

Self-Composed by Christina Morland

Elinor Dashwood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every Past Affliction by Nicole Clarkston

Marianne Dashwood

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

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

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

Finally someone gets it!

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

I’m so happy!

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

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

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

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

I’m not happy

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

Both these stories and writers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hmm…

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

Hmm…

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

Mature Content Guidelines:

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

Because not everyone is interested in books like this:

It’s nice giving us a head’s up so those that aren’t interested know to skip or skim, or those that do can enjoy.

Something for everyone

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

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

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

The Art of Sinking by J. Marie Croft

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

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

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

Ugh

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

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

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

I like it.

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

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

Uh no.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Mischief’s Sake by Amy D’Orazio

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

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

I’d like to punch him in the face!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Did I Think:

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

Squee! I loved it!

One Fair Claim by Christina Morland

So this story is about Sir Walter Elliot:

I hate him. He’s a major jerk.

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

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

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

Is being Sir Walter…

Ugh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Much as He Can by Sophia Rose

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

Anyways, this is about General Tilney:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Crazy Rich Asians

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

For more Austen book reviews, go to Just Jane