Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: The Buccaneers, Episodes 3-5

So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?

Hmm…I don’t know!

That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.

I can’t stop watching!

So last week I reviewed The Buccaneers, episodes 1-2. These episodes 3-5 aren’t as similar in the Austen themes, but I’m going to finish the review of the miniseries.

So quick recap-four women, Virginia St. George, Annabel “Nan” St. George, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Elmsworth, Conchita Closson-daughters of new money industry, are finding it hard to be accepted into society. In order to circumvent that, the English governess, Ms. Laura Testvalley, hired by Mrs. St. George, comes up with the idea of them having a London Season. There they could hobnob with the titled English and when they come back be welcomed in open arms.

Conchita marries Lord Richard, who only got with her to get her money. He dumped her off at his family estate, took off gambling and carousing, and using up her allowance allotted by her father. Yep, she married a Wickham/Willoughby.

She has a little girl with him and then finds herself a lover to fill her lonely nights.

 

Lonely and sad from Anna Karenina 

Virginia married Richard’s older brother, Lord Seadown, but finds out on her wedding night he only choose her for her money as he already in love/relationship with another woman.

Replace beauty with money

Lizzy is being courted by Hector, a nobody interested in politics. He has no title, but does have a good sized fortune. Her rivals, Virginia and Conchita feel smug about having the superior men.

But Nan tops them all by landing Duke Julius of Trevennick. She was really in love with Guy Thwaite, but he had lost his fortune due to his father’s mismanagement. Guy left for two years to South America to make his fortune, and Nan wanted an engagement, but he didn’t want to be a man to use a woman’s fortune and doesn’t want to hold her back when he may make no money.

Nan feeling vulnerable, sad, alone, and having been sheltered falls victim to the Duke’s proposal-one of the best proposals. The Duke knows his stuff.

So Virginia is pregnant and gives birth to a son. Good but doesn’t keep her man from straying still. In fact, now that the family line is “secure” he spends even less time with her and more with his mistress. Poor Virginia, she had such dreams, such  hopes!

The Duke and Nan return from their honeymoon and Nan finds herself way over her head. Expected to run the household, send the first of their plants to the queen, meet the queen, her husband being too busy for her and so cold. Before they were married, he talked of love and now that they are there is this barrier between them.

This space between them

She is shocked that he doesn’t have passion with her like Conchita and Virginia’s husband’s do and that they have separate bathrooms and separate lives-so unlike her parents.

All alone

Nan loves the outside, the forest, the beautiful romantic ruins but is now trapped in a gilded cage-jewels, meeting the queen, expected to act like clockwork.

She makes some serious mistakes in the household duties and rankings of the many servants. Every time I watch this I think how much more this is suited for her sister Virginia. That is the type of thing she would love to do and life to live.

Julius loves it as he finds her perfect to train. Seriously? Like she is an animal or doll-just tp be moved and trained-ugh.

I take back what I said about him. Take back your castle. Take back your dog.

You are a MAJOR jerk.

The three married ladies get together and talking and complaining about their husbands-these men suck. Poor girls.

Conchita has taken a lover as her husband is always gone. He comes home unexpectedly with the news that he has syphilis.

Ouch

I had to do my 9th grade health report on it and oh my goodness that is one of the worst diseases. First it is hard to catch as most people don’t show the symptoms and if untreated it makes you go insane.

Nan gets attacked one night by a drunk Julian-yelling at her not to complain about wanting passion and then not enjoying when he is trying to romance her. The pig. The horrid man. Just a glimpse of the horrible marriage Nan suffers.

In other news, the St. George’s have lost everything in Wall Street. Without Virginia’s income the Lord’s are in serious trouble. The West Wing renovations have stopped, and everyone must cut back on spending. Something these Lords are extremely angry over.

Your father can’t give us any more money and we actually have to work or spend less?

Lizzy marries Hector Robinson who makes scads of money and ends up buying an old family mansion for his bride. Lizzy is the only on with a happy marriage. She chose wisely.

After that, Nan tries to remove all the romantic, passionate artwork. She can’t look at it anymore. Poor Nan, I know what that’s like. And she got pregnant from their “encounter”. That’s just agonizingly awful.

Noooo!

Nan wants to help her people, as the tennets are getting sick from typhoid. She tries to get Julius to come and help, but he doesn’t care. He only cares about himself. He isn’t the man you thought he was.

Broken dreams, illusions, hopes, etc.

Ugh, Julius treats her like a child, like a doll, a plaything. As if she knows nothing at all. I hate him. I want to punch him in the face.

Nan does the 1800s lady equivalent-she tells him she would rather be dead than have their child grow up to be like him.” Ouch-zing! And she then runs off in the rain at night.

Ouch

They can’t find her and start up a search party, eventually discovering her by the river, having fallen and lost the baby. Now knowing what she said, do you think she tried to kill herself on purpose? Or accidentally fell?

Hmmm

Nan’s governess, Ms. Testavalley, comes to visit and Nan shares her feelings. She describes how as soon as they were married he became a stranger. Ouch, I know how that feels.

Nan still idealizes Val’s life-when the truth is she is not that free or happy. Sir Guy’s father comes to visit, he has a thing for Ms. Testvalley and reveals that Sir Guy will be returning home, a very rich man, and entering politics. Hmm…interesting!

Conchita is pregnant by her lover, and with Richard having syphilis she can’t sleep with him and pretend it is his child. What will she do?

That is not good,

Julius decides he has given Nan enough time and comes to see test the waters and it is very awkward. And Nan begins rebelling against him. “How would you know what would bore me.”

This continuously makes me think of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. If only he had taken time to know her instead of looking at her face than maybe he would have married someone else and they would have had a good marriage. The same for Mr. and Mrs. Bertram.

Guy has returned home and thinks of Annabelle. Too bad you didn’t get engaged to her or had some understanding or else she would have been waiting for you there.

If only

It’s Christmastime and Connie is visiting Nan. She breaks down about how awful things are going, you don’t know how I feel.

No, Nan has it waaaaaay worse. Connie whines about how all this was all supposed to end happily ever after with marriage. Nan shares how she wants to just run away and pretend she never married. Connie begs Nan for money, but Nan has none. Connie begs and Nan promises to try and get some, but from Julius? Not likely.

Bad, very bad idea

Nan gets everything ready for their Christmas ball and as Julius is in a good move she tries to ask him for the money but he won’t do it. She gets £10 a month and can draw up to £5 a week. She tries to get a little independence, but no dice. She is angry at him treating her like a child but he threatens her saying if she wants him to stop them he must treat her like a wife. Nan’s not for, that discussion closed.

Ugh, you don;t rape your wife. I HATE Julius. he’s horrid, horrid, awful, terrible man.

At the party they dance around in the dark and who should end up in a room together, Nan and Guy.

That is not good,

Ms. Testavalley is interested in Guy’s father, but her friend warns her that he just paid off one woman and has two others.

He’s a no

Everyone returns from the dark except Nan who is still with Guy. Both still have feelings for each other…uh oh. Guy tries to encourage her and she listens, discussing how her feelings go up and down. Ms. Testavalley finds them and saves them both from scandal.

Julius gives Nan the money for Conchita but wants her to sleep with him. She can’t as she is so traumatized from before. He insists that he needs compensation for the money, treating her like a prostitute.

You jerk!

He abuses her, yells, curses, breaks her things, hits her. This gives me flashbacks. Ms. Testavalley has to leave and after she goes, Nan’s mother-in-law lectures her trying to help, but not really. At first I was a little miffed at her, but then she said that she isn’t blind to how her son is and how the late Duke was much worse. Poor mother-in-law-she must have a serious backstory. Full cycle of abuse.

Nan leaves Julius to stay with her sister and then will goes to stay with Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Hector are very happy, healthy, and wealthy. Hector is wary to have her come, as she is the duchess, but wants to court Mr. St. George as he is getting wealthy again on Wall Street. So he allows her to come.

Virginia buys back her jewelry she pawned off to pay for the household expenses and goes to see Idena, her husband’s mistress to confront her. Idena hasn’t seen him, he left her for a younger woman, and she lets off how she feels slapping her, Ouch. That’s the lady 19th century version of:

Nan visits Guy at the House of Commons and is seen by all-uh oh. I sense an Anna Karenenia

Rumors circulate and Lizzy tells Nan she can’t stay with them any longer. Nan goes to church and the Duke meets her there. He explains the rules in society, that she is the Duchess, his wife. She needs to stay 1/3 of the year at home and he will turn a blind eye to her discretions as long as they are private. If she makes a scandal, divorce and he will ruin the lover.

Nan returns home as she wants to protect Guy, but doesn’t tell him the truth. They cry over their love as she leaves and Guy looks on.

Or him

Nan returns home and Julian’s mother gives him some good advice. Leave her alone for six months and woo her, be a lover.

Lord Seadown returns home when Idena commits suicide. He tries to get back with Virginia but she isn’t interested. He pleads and looks at her with his sad eyes and she falls like a house of cards. Fool. He’s a loser & a user.

For the thousandth time

Guy and Julius get in an argument over his politics and the way Guy is leaning. But truth is they are really fighting about Nan. Julius lets Guy know he’s be nowhere without him and he can take it all away just like that. *snap* And then they get in a fistfight.

Wow!

GUY, GUY GUY GUY! Give him the chair.

Nan interrupts and ends it. She has the children’s choir perform Yankee Doodle. Woohoo! Let the stars and stripes fly Nan!!

Guy watches sad and despondent, but I don’t really feel bad as she coutld have been your woman. It’s your own dang fault. You should have made some understanding. He then writes her a sort of love letter-most of it is him half angry she’s not with him.

That night Nan hears strange noises and look for Julius and finds him in bed with a man!!!! A Man! Oh.

So of course I have to ask, does Julian being gay (or bi they never quite make that clear) add or take away from his character and villainous treatment. I mean don’t get me wrong, it is done well. The constant worry of his mother, comments about how he likes to be with men-women do not interest him, him getting worried/defensive/angry when Nan has questions about their love life, the girls talking about her not being pregnant. I didn’t catch it the first time, but did this time. But do you think adds or takes away from him being the villian? He already is abusive, narcissistic, a control freak, a rapist, etc. Do you think he would have been a stronger villain if he was straight, or do you think him being gay adds more to the dashed hopes/expectations of Nan. I mean everything else had already killed every romantic notion she has ever had, being gay the final nail in the coffin of the film. I don’t know if there is a right or wrong answer and I am just wondering your thoughts are.

Hmmm…

Nan runs away after hearing how Julius turned down his sister’s love because he feels she is too old and needs to be a home (like how the Poldark family treats Verity). She realizes he is a horrible brute and will never change, fleeing to her sisters, where Guy just happened to be. The two run off together in full view of EVERYONE! Oh, the scandal.

Meanwhile, Julius does not want to divorce and his mother pleads with him. She suffered too much to have a son and continue the line and Nan needs to do the same. Wow, she has a really dark backstory.

Nan and Guy discuss what will happen and hope that Julius won’t do anything. Julius sues Nan over adultery.

The elder Lord Seadown dies and Nan comes to the funeral. Lizzy is excited to see her friend but not allowed to spend time with her. Must ignore her because of her scandal. It reminds me of Anna Karenina, Nan is ostracized and alone while Guy goes about his duties, getting heckled and talked about but still is okay. Nan on the hand-must be dead to all. This also makes me think of The Duchess. Such a sad film.

Connie on the other hand stops to hug and see her, not caring at all what people think-Nan is her friend.

Guy goes to speak to his father and say good-bye that he is leaving to South America. His father tells him to give up Nan or else he will disinherit, and Guy does not care. He never wanted politics it was all his dad and Julius. His father yells, storms, and finally cries.

Poor Ms. Testavalley was badly burned in all this. Who will ever want to hire her? She’s not sure what she will do next, but is moving forward.

They end with Nan and Guy riding off together happy, but are they? Even though they have uplifting music, it reminds me of The Graduate, the future might not be as bright as they think.

So a great miniseries, but very sad. And it really helps you see how things would have ended if Elizabeth married Wickham, Marianne married Willoughby, Emma married Frank Churchill, Fanny married Henry Crawford, Anne married Mr. Elliot, Catherine married Thorpe, etc.

It also follows the same theme Austen has regarding getting to know a person’s character over title and appearance. Most important who they are and their character, over what they have.

For more on The Buccaneers, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: The Buccaneers, Episodes 1-2

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: Stardust (2007)

For more Gilded Age, go to Book Club Picks: Julie

On a sad note, given the context of these episodes I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

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Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: The Buccaneers, Episodes 1-2

So Happy Indepedence Day. It is time for another:

So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?

Hmm…I don’t know!

That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.

I can’t stop watching!

I was trying to decide what to  post today and was split between Poldark, which takes place after the Revolutionary War and The Buccaneers which is about a group of ladies “invading” England. After a long deliberation, Buccaneers won out.

So I first stumbled on this about six or five years ago when I was scrolling through Amazon Prime looking for the next thing to watch.

I started with one episode and was hooked!

The one thing that really struck me when I was watching it was all the famous actors in it. I mean there is the amazing James Frain as Julius, Duke of Trevennick; why, why, why hasn’t he been in a Jane Austen film yet?

Then there is Spy Kids mama Carla Gugino who plays the lead, Annabel “Nan” St. George.

And Greg Wise, (best known to Jane Austen fans as Mr. Willoughby), as the strong upstanding, Greg Thwaite.

This miniseries is what I consider to be “what would have happened if the Austen characters married the wrong people.” You know the Wickhams, Willoughbys, Churchills, Thorpes, etc.; of the world.

The horror! I can’t even think of it.

So I have yet to read the book and am going to focus on the movie only. There are a few changes-which you will see.

So the series takes place in the Gilded Age, after the Civil War. The St. Georges have become extremely wealthy in the aftermath, Mr. St. George being the third wealthiest man on Wall Street. They have moved to Newport Beach but find it hard to enter society as they are “coarse” and “nouveau riche”. It doesn’t matter that the St. George’s have more money that a whole coastline of “old money” people put together, they are not considered polite society. This hurts Mrs. St. George who wants nothing more than to finally be accepted.

Mrs. St. George was actually from a “good family” and married beneath her (as Nan shares), but her husband made a ton of money in the aftermath of the war. She reminds me a lot of Mrs. Bennet, but isn’t so worried about marrying her daughters off as she is in hoping they can get invited into society.

She is joined as an outcast with Elmsworths (who I don’t know what their money is in, I don’t think they say. The housekeeper from Two and a Half Men plays the mother-but all I can see her as is the grumpy housekeeper in that show and the murdered one in Murder She Wrote.) And rounding out this group are the Clossons. Mr. Closson met his wife in Brazil and married her, making his money in the ranches and plantations she owns combined with the casinos in New York that he owns. Their daughter, Conchita has an even harder time with society as all assume her to be a “dark-skinned Native”. So-yes no one wants them.

However, Conchita is invited to the right parties as she is newly engaged to Lord Richard Marabel, and everyone wants a real English Lord at their party. Remember A Change of Fortune?

Mrs. St. George, feeling desperate, hires an English governess to instruct her younger daughter Nan, and give her family some ummph. Ms. Laura Testvalley arrives from England, happy as the St. George’s not knowing any better are paying her a small fortune. She’s doing way better than she would  have in England. Too bad Jane Fairfax wasn’t born later.

Ms. Testvalley tries to instruct the girls and smooth out their rough edges. But they still are not invited anywhere.

It sucks!

Ms. Testvalley knows Lord Richard as she was governess to his sisters, and I don’t know if this is true but I always felt they had a “thing” in the past. They seem too close, if you know what I mean.

The big party of the summer is happening, and the only one who gets an invite is Conchita, and only because her fiance is Lord Richard. Elizabeth “Lizzy” Elmsworth and Nan’s older sister Virginia St. George, pretend to be Lord Richard’s sisters so they can go to the party, but they are later found out. Awkward!

Nan cannot go as she is not “out” in society, watching this I do get where Mrs.Bennet is coming from. It isn’t fun when you are stuck at home because your older sister isn’t married. Nan is adorable, fun, but a young girl. She thinks being a mistress is “exciting” as you have freedom and can do what you want. She even idealizes Ms. Testvalley’s life. Ms. Testavalley tries to help her with her naivety, but there is only so much she can do.

That is not what life is like.

Mrs. St. George is bemoaning  that she cannot get invited anywhere, when Ms. Testavalley comes up with the idea of a London Season. She understands the American class system better than Mrs. St. George and knows that if the ladies go to England, when they return-everyone will be begging them to attend their functions. Mrs. St. George agrees and they are off.

In England, Conchita marries Richard and meets the family. There are huge issues as they come from very different cultures. Richard is the black sheep of the family, a gambler, loose with everything, etc. He thought marrying the wealthy Conchita would solve everything, but that’s not how it works out for him. Conchita’s family expects him to take care of their daughter and actually work for a living.

Ugh! Work!

Richard was kicked out of the family home and Conchita allows him back in as his father would never kick out a woman, especially one as beautiful as her.

Richard exits the picture, using the allowance she gets to live his life however he wants, and leaving the fiery, fun-loving Conchita in a cold, damp, mansion with the uptight well-to-do family.

Meanwhile, the St. Georges and Lizzy have come to England. Ms. Testavalley wants them to do well and enlists another expatriate, her old friend Ms. March. Ms. Testavalley just wants aid in teaching them proper manners and how to follow society rules, but Ms. March has a better idea. Ms. March was once a young girl who came to England for a season, and it was hard to get into English society. In fact she was going to marry Lord Brightlingsea, Richard’s father, but was left at the altar. It seems that there was some nefarious plot, (I personally think that Lady Brightlingsea found a way to trick him, but that’s just my opinion.) Ms. March wants revenge and plans to do so by getting all the girls with wealthy, important, high-society men.

The girls visit with Conchita who is very unhappy, lonely, and determined to take a lover to ease the days. She loves having the girls to visit with her and brighten her days. She takes them to visit with Guy Thwaite. Every girl loves him but he is “unmarriageable” as he has no money. When his mother died she left him £20000 or £50000 (depending on who is telling the story). His father invested it and lost it all. Many a lady wouldn’t mind marrying him as he is handsome, intelligent, and comes from a great family-but he refuses them all as he wants to have his own money, he doesn’t want to just live off his woman.

This kind of character gives me mixed feelings. He reminds me a lot of Carl from O Pioneers! and both characters infuriate me. One one hand you have to admire a guy who wants to have his act together, provide a life for his family instead of mooching off the woman, and be a man. But on the other hand, having so much pride you waste so much time. And you might lose the girl to another.

Guy and Nan hit it off right away and she falls hard for him. He likes her, but even though she is extremely wealthy, he wants to have his own  money so he’d be worthy of his future wife.

I admire you and I’m angry with you. I’m angire or admry

So Lady Brightlingsea is not a happy woman. Conchita is pregnant, but Richard is never home and the money she brings in is not as much as this family would like to fill their extremely diminished coffers. And to add to it, her older son, the good one, has given no heir and has no interest to marry. He’s been involved with an older woman, Idina Hatton. Idina needs money and rents her cottage out to Ms. March, who brings the girls there. There they have fun and throw little parties.

From Emma (1996)

Nan is bored of those things-as she can’t really join in-and she and Ms. Testvalley go down to the countryside where Nan runs into Julius, Duke of Trevennick. Julius has been breaking hearts of all the ladies as no one can pin him down. He isn’t interested in any women as all they want are his title, he seems sweet but there is also something off-putting about his love of clocks and solitude. Like I get your an introvert, but it seems a tad…controlling. I don’t know.

Moving on…Nan impresses him as she has no clue who he is, loves the ruins as much as him, and is just full of innocence, childlike wonder, imagination, feelings, etc. She’s like a mix between Marianne Dashwood and  Catherine Morland.

The Duke is taken with her and invites her to tea-the two talking and he continuing to be struck by her.

Meanwhile, Virginia and Lizzy have both been struck by Lord Seadown’s “sad eyes”, “brooding nature”, and melancholy demeanor. Oh man, you know the type.

Lord Seadown on the hand has been doing some calculating. His extremely dwindling coffers compared to the GNP of the Elmsworth and the St. George’s. Virginia is a better choice as her family has a lot more money. Seadown boasts of his plan to his brother and how he’ll have the better deal.

One day Lizzy, Virginia, and Conchita are having a little party, when Idina shows up, angry that Seadown stood her up. She makes a scene and yells at Virginia. Virginia is a classy lady, but Lizzy won’t stand the way she is being treated and lets all know that Virginia and Seadown are engaged.

The two marry and Virgina is ecstatic over being married to her love, Lord Seadown, becoming the future Lady Seadown, and winning over her rival Lizzy. But the marriage happiness is short lived as Seadown reveals that he only married her for her money and will be using it to redo the West Wing.

Replace beauty with money

Virginia is crestfallen, but that’s not the worst of it-Lord Seadown just uses her money-giving all love and affection to Idina.

So now we are left with little Nan. Guy is extremely interested, but lets her know that he is not going to marry anyone without money. He also thinks that Nan is too young at 18. He is going to South America for two years to work on the railroad and make his fortune. Nan insists that she is not too young, as her mother married at 18. But he says no and walks out of her life.

You’re making a huge mistake!!!!!!! Come back, at least propose!!! Don’t leave her!!!!!!!

Julian on the other hand is very interested in Nan and goes to speak to her but finds her out. He instead speaks to Ms. Testvalley about his wanting to marry Nan. Now in an interesting twist Ms. Testvalley really discourages him against. She warns him that Nan is young and he should wait as in a year or two-after she’s grown up a bit, she could be an incredibly different person.

This reminds me of Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Bennet. If Mr. Bennet had not been taken in by a pretty face but really spent his time getting to know Mrs. Bennet or maybe had a longer engagement he would have realized she isn’t the right person for him. But they both were young and didn’t think.

Julian ignores Ms. Testvalley and goes to Nan who is crushed and heartbroken and lonely. When Julian proposes he gives her a puppy! A PUPPY!!! There is a guy who knows how to do a good proposal, Mr. Darcy could take notes. She’s sad, crushed, alone as her sister and friends are married ad gone and she says yes.

So Nan becomes the crown jewel for Ms. March and Ms. Testvalley as she snagged the Duke, just under a Prince. Wowee!!

Yes the americans have won and conquered the English marriage market.

So here we have as I see it-Lord Richard is nothing but Mr. Wickham. Charming on the surface but a gambling bounder who only cares about having a good time for himself. We get a glimpse of how life would have been if Wickham succeeded in marrying Georgina or Miss Gray.

Then we have Lord Seadown. He reminds me of Mr. Elliot or Mr. Willoughby. But are as calculating when it comes to maintain their fortunes/way of lifestyle. Either would do all they can to keep it.

Smarming and plotting away.

And then we have the Duke. I’m not sure who he best lines up with, he seems like a nice catch…but I guess we will just have to wait and see.

So I was going to do the whole series in one post, but there is just too much. I’ll do a secondary post on the last three episodes.

In other news, I’ll be spending this weekend with my niece. I usually post every three days, but I might have to postpone as I don’t what we will be doing. I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July, whether it is just another day:

Or celebrating our Independence!

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: Stardust (2007)

For more Gilded Age, go to Book Club Picks: Julie

For more 4th of July posts, go to Let Freedom Ring

So I like to joke and have fun, but I’m going to end this post on a serious note. I just want to thank all past and present who have served to protect not only my country and my rights, but those around the world.

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 8, Ill Repute

In the last episode I was invited to the opera by the Duke, ugh, and was able to get a preview with help from the Prince. That opera house was where my late mother used to perform. I also got a letter from my father warning me about the countess trying to slander me and that I need to do some husband hunting.

So you were just reading your father’s letter:

Keeping an eye on you!

So I have two goals: one stop all rumors that the Countess is spreading, and two-find me a man. I write back to let me father know that I don’t have anything concrete-no formal proposal or possible engagement.

After finishing my letter, I hurry to Mr. Woods so that he can mail it out before Countess, Miss Sutton, or my step-brother tries to steal it.

I got this!

Mr. Woods and Briar are planning on going off to drop letters off. Briar is such a little flirt with Mr. Woods and with Mr. Marcastle, she’s going to get in some serious trouble. And, as my dearest friend and the one I was raised with, IF she gets a bad reputation, than so will I. I’ve got to keep my eyes on her.

They ask me to come with them. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend my money on that, BUT, if I let her go off-she might do something. Plus, I might run into Mr. Sinclaire. So after some hemming and hawing, I decided to go with them.

Remember how in another chapter I bought a horse?

Since I have her, Fancy is what I named her, I get to ride her around London.

ME!!!

The first person I run into is Mr. Sinclaire.

Hello there!

We give him the letter, and then have to go on our way.

That’s it? That’s all I get?!!

You better have something better for me!! I’m going to be mad if I wasted 19 diamonds!

We get a little back story on Mr. Woods, how he grew up in London and went out to the country-hoping one day to settle down, marry, bring his parents out there.

Briar says how love is the most important thing, that it would be okay to “be as poor as a church mouse” as long as she is with the man she loves. Then why are you messing around with Mr. Marcastle? Hmmm…? Stay with Mr. Woods and leave Marcastle ALONE!

Seriously

We then visit with Mr. Chambers, who’s pants are undone as he was getting it on with another guy. We give him his letter and move on.

That’s it!!!!!????

To be honest, this is soooooooooooooooooo boring! I WOULD NOT buy this at all if I was you!

Just skip that “adventure”.

And I know that this is present thinking on the past to include a gay character and have nobody care-but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the widespread view. I mean in Regency times, sodomy was illegal-and faced severe punishment. I mean it was there, it did happen, look at Oscar Wilde. Anyways…

Moving on…

Later at home, Miss Parsons pay me a visit and brings a little puppy pug. Her sister’s dog had puppies, and offers me one-but I don’t have enough diamonds to purchase one. I don’t really want one as all I can think of is in Mansfield Park where the Mrs. Bertram has a pug.

“She was a woman who spent her days in sitting, nicely dressed, on a sofa, doing some long piece of needlework, of little use and no beauty, thinking more of her pug than her children…” –Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Afterwards, Miss Parsons and I head over to the opera house in Prince Hamid’s luxurious carriage. We are discussing things, and Prince Hamid tells me how he has heard awful things about me…but he still likes me:

Of course I am, because:

So we get to the Opera where the Duke is trying to get all over me-

I’m not interested!

The Viscount Westonly is trying to get with Miss Parsons, and I’m trying to help her avoid him. Her family is trying to marry her off to anyone with money, they don’t care that he is a seven wife widower. Hmm…did they die of natural causes or…!

Murdered!!!!!

Just kidding, it was natural causes…I think.

Hmmm…

At the Opera, Mr. Chambers also joins us and, ugh, Miss Holloway.

Miss Parsons mentions that she hasn’t seen Mr. Sinclaire at the opera and the Duke gives a commit that Mr. Sinclaire visits other costumed ladies-ladies of the night!

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can’t believe this!

Could Mr. Sinclaire be a skeez? I know the Duke is one. The whole performance he keeps trying to touch me and comments about how he wants to see me-see me naked is more like it-ugh.

After the opera, instead of having my ride with the Prince and Miss Parsons, the Duke’s sent them all away.

Should I stay in the carriage and risk being assaulted by him?

There aren’t a lot of choices for women in the 1800s.

I spot Mr. Sinclaire and follow him. He is on his way to do something, and invites me along. I know it isn’t proper to go off with him, but what other choices do I really have? At least I know he will keep his hands to himself.

We go off as Mr. Sinclaire is giving food and clothing to people who live in the poorer areas. He is amazed that I would go with him, but first-he hasn’t been a woman trying to fight off the Duke, and second-he’s forgotten how I grew up. A little dirt won’t bother me, and I remember what it was like to have little.

Mr. Sinclaire is a very charitable and kind person, he thinks that no matter where or what station you are born, you should be treated right. So then why did he act like a jerk the first time I met him? He almost ran me down and then:

Right when I’m thinking that, he apologizes for any way he treated me that wasn’t right. Did he just read my mind?

I don’t apologize for the way I thought about him:

We walk along together, and then Mr. Sinclaire shares his feelings with me, but we get interrupted by rain! Romance always blooms more in rain!

After he holds me close, he calls a carriage and takes me home. It turned out to be a nice night…

That is until I get home and Grandma is there!

That is not good,

She’s heard the rumors that have been spreading about my “reputation” and has set out to control my London season.

She wants me with the Duke and will do whatever she can to catch him. I want nothing to do with that guy.

I don’t want to do this.

So with Grandma coming, how will it go?

Keep reading to find out! Or play the game yourself!

For more Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 7, Opera St. James

For more choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 6, An Intimate Affair

For more on the Opera, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 7, Opera St. James

In the last episode I had a dinner party with Mr. Sinclaire, and learned all about his real wife and the ugly side of the Duke. The two of us have grown closer together, and I don’t mind admitting I’m falling for the Mr. Darcylike man.

In this episode I’m invited to the opera, so first stop the clothing store!

You have the option of buying a beautiful dress, but as I’ve been invited to go with Duke Richards, yuck-I’m not buying anything nice. I’m just going to wear an old dress. He doesn’t need anything special.

The one I bought for the dinner will do nicely.

Poor Miss Parsons, we talk and she discusses a horrid date she had. It is with a gross old man, ugh, the girl can’t catch a break. Too bad my brother died or we could have been sisters.

As I head out of the shop, I run into Prince Hamid. You all remember him, the man who rescued Miss Parsons and I when Mr. Marcastle left us stranded in London.

He’s with the Duke, ugh! Can this guy just get lost!

The Duke

The Duke is planning on taking you and Miss Parson’s to see Handel’s Almira and is surprised to hear that I know of it. Seriously dude, my mama was an opera star.

Princess Almira has inherited the throne from her father, but he wishes that she marries someone from the House of Consalvo. The House of Consalvo has one son, but Princess Almira is not interested in him, and he only wants her for wealth and power. Instead, Princess Almira is in love with a man who has unknown parentage, Fernando. There are a lot of twists and turns in the opera, will it end happily or in tragedy?

So this makes me think of two things: first of all-wow what a crazy coincidence! That’s what’s kind of happening in my life.

And secondly:

Back to the game, Prince Hamid offers to pick you up when we go to the opera, but ugh the Duke is taking you. Bah.

Ugh, this guy!

However, the Duke has other business to attend to-so Prince Hamid offers to take you over early to the opera. Here is your chance to get a closer look at who your mother was!

I’ll get the secrets!

I go into the opera house and feel melancholy as I wished I had asked my mother more questions. I meet an actress who tells me my mother was an amazing singer, she was a big star until she became pregnant. They invite you to stay to watch, and as much as I love to I turned it down.

The stage is no place for a respectable girl, and I need to protect my reputation-I have Mr. Marcastle to deal with. And he is just waiting for an opportunity like this.

When you go home, you have a big surprise. Luke Harper is there with a letter from your father!

The hunt is on,

But which man do I want? It’s up to you to decide! Plus you have to fight the rumors that the Countess is spreading.

For more on Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 6, An Intimate Affair

For more on Choices, go to Kissing the Blarney Stone: 7 More Irish Heroes

For more on the opera, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

For more ABBA, go to Dancing Queen

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Book Club Pick: Far Side of the Sea

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 6, An Intimate Affair

 

So in the last episode your father made you his heir and gave you a London season! You and Miss Parsons traveled to London, you on your own horse,

Only to have Mr. Marcastle plot against you and try and keep you from arriving. You make it out okay and meet a Prince. 

You confront Mr. Marcastle angry that he treated you that way, Miss Parsons agreeing with you in her anger. The two of you manage to scare the daylights out of him.

Miss Parsons leaves to go to her sister’s house, as they are expecting her, while you return to your father’s townhouse and spot your friend and ladies’ maid Briar canoodling with Mr. Marcastle.

Forget you!

Now Mr. Marcastle is your evil engaged (as in very not single) stepbrother trying to sully your reputation and Briar was your best friend from back home. But is she really your friend as she is trying to have a relationship with Mr. Marcastle, your enemy!

This is soooooooooooooooooooooo bad for you. Can you imagine the kind of reputation you will get when this comes out.

And Briar what are you thinking? He’s evil! He’s plotting against me!!!! You are suppose to distrust him not jump him!!!! You are a bad friend.

See Hook agrees with me.

Plus he is engaged!

C’mon Briar, you are smarter than that!

So I am going to Mr. Sinclaire’s tonight for a dinner party, so Miss Sutton and I go shopping. I decided to buy the dress as I want to impress Mr. Sinclaire.

And I have to say out of any clothing purchase I have made this one does affect the game. Mr. Sinclaire sees me in my red dress and can’t look away.

He compliments me in front of Miss Holloway.

What?

Ugh, Miss Holloway is just as bad as Caroline Bingley. She keeps trying to make fun of me and drag me down, but is struck down by Mr. Sinclaire’s compliments. Very reminiscent of a certain scene:

Boom, shut up Miss Holloway/Miss Bingley.

Miss Holloway tries to make you seem an illiterate buffoon, but Mr. Sinclaire comes to your aid. He also takes you to his extensive library…

Hold up- Stop right there.

He’s perfect I’ve decided-he’s the man for me. You know me:

He then pulls a book off the shelf and reads a page to me, it is William Shakespeare’s book of sonnets, Sonnet 18:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

After he reads to you, he offers you the book. It costs 15 diamonds, but I don’t care, you know me:

It looks like I just have one thing left to get-Painting, maybe?

Miss Holloway makes a snide comment about your birth and then the Duke storms in-uninvited.

Ugh, I hate this dude. I hate people who do that-just show up uninvited and expect others to accommodate them. Such jerks.

Then not only does he do that but muscles his way next to me-no I don’t want him to like me-ugh!

This upsets the table with Mr. Chambers having to sit next to a man instead of a woman. Table settings are super important- remember A Change if Fortune

“Custom, however, has lately introduced a new mode of seating. A gentleman and a lady fitting alternately round the table, and this, for the better convenience of a lady’s being attended to, and served by the gentleman next to her. But notwithstanding this promiscuous seating, the ladies, whether above or below, are to be served in order, according to their rank or age, and after them the gentlemen, in the same manner. – John Trusler, p 6 from Regency Manners: Seating at Table at janeaustensworld.wordpress.com

Mr. Chambers doesn’t really care as he’s gay and is next to a very interested member of the party.

After dinner, you all go off to the drawing room. Mr. Sinclaire and you meet up aside from the others and he warns you off Duke Richards. Why does he dislike him so? And why is he so interested in who you might marry?

Mr. Sinclaire becomes so furious with the Duke he takes off on an errand…you have the option to follow. What do you do?

I followed him outside even though that wasn’t really acceptable in Regency time. It turns out that Mr. Sinclaire had an unfaithful wife, one that became involved with Duke Richards. It is very Rebecca:

Oh my gosh! Duke Richards totally makes me think of Jack Favell

The two of you have a heart to heart, Mr. Sinclaire baring his soul to you. He worries that maybe I would have been better off in the village then the shark infested society. But we still enjoy our time together.

Afterwards we go inside and join the party. They ask me to play and I blow them all away, thanks to the lessons by Miss Parsons.

 

The party ends later, you saying a fond farewell to Mr. Sinclaire.

The next morning you are awoken by Miss Parsons and Briar. You’ve been invited to the Opera St. James. The Opera St James!!! That’s where your mother used to perform!!! Will the night be fun…or a flop?

For more Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 5, The Road to London

For more on Choices, go to Kissing the Blarney Stone: 7 More Irish Heroes

For more on William Shakespeare, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 5, The Road to London

So in the last episode your father and grandmother planned a garden party for you. You learned to dance properly, and was having a great time with Mr. Sinclaire. You to play nine pins with him, and you dance with him. You also meet the jerky Duke, ugh, and your father promises you a London season.

The London season started as both Houses of Parliament were in session, and as not everyone finds politics interesting, they needed more entertainment.

Women would meet the Queen; along with attending dinner parties, balls, musicals, the opera/theater, etc. Some were going for entertainment, to renew friendships, and most importantly-catch a man.

So back to the game-your grandma gets you ready for the season. You won’t be the only one trying to catch a man, as there are many other ladies-but the one for you to watch out for is Felicity Holloway. Her father is a viscount and she will be your biggest rival in catching an eligible man.

Afterwards, you and Miss Parsons go for a walk. Both of you feel uncertain about being “out” in society. It is unsettling to be a piece of meat up for auction.

Miss Parsons is having an extremely hard time as she was engaged to your brother. She didn’t love him, but respected, admired, and was his friend. What if the next man she is engaged to is cruel? Mean? Have nothing in common with each other?

I don’t want to do this

Your grandmother offers you a new riding suit for 25 diamonds, but I turned it down. I’ll wear what I have as that was what you would typically do. With all the dust, dirt, etc-why wear something new?

It still is a beautiful dress.

You and Miss Parsons are heading off to London together. When you reach the city you will split, as Miss Parsons will stay with her sister and you at your father’s townhouse with Miss Sutton and your stepbrother Mr. Marcastle.

So not fun…

Stuck with the schemers ugh. Well, you know what they say-

Before you leave, you have the choice of purchasing your own horse. In all the other games I never bought an animal companion, but thought it would be interesting to see how it plays out.

So I ride my horse the whole way to London, which makes no sense as I’m not an experienced rider nor does side saddle seem like it will be comfortable over such a distance.

What is this?

We stop for a picnic where we lament a bit more about the marriage market, and a market it is. Everyone competing, each man sizing up a woman’s fortune and physical attributes.

You arrive in London, but there is no one there to meet you.

That is not good,

It is a very dangerous situation for two unescorted ladies, but then to your luck you meet Prince Hamid. He is a friend of your father and escorts you two to your townhouse. When you arrive, he offers to take you around town but I declined. First of all, that would not be appropriate as we have no chaperone, and secondly I didn’t have enough diamonds.

The two of you then go into the townhouse and confront Mr. Marcastles and his mother’s plot to derail you from your London season.

For more Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 4, Best Foot Forward Part II

For more on Choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 4, Best Foot Forward Part I

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Suitors and Sabotage

So this is something I started a while back. Sometimes you want more Austen books after you have read all her books. There are variations on her stories, but sometimes you don’t want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but what to read or watch?

Hmmm…

That’s why I started this series. I will review books that have the things we love about the Austen novels, but in something fresher than a retelling.

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

So we added this book to the library last July and I was very interested in reading it, but had too many books on my to-read list. I decided to read it at a later time, you know what I’m talking about.

I first became interested in the book because of the cover, I know-we aren’t supposed to, but it is so beautiful.

Then I looked at the back and saw:

“…Jane Austen spiced with action, suspense, and humor.”

“Jane Austen fans in need of a good book look no further.”

“It’s Jane Austen meets Jane Foster…”

After that I HAD to read it, if it is recommended for Austen fans-here we go.

Gracebridge Manor in Fotheringham, Kent -1817

Miss Imogene Chively has returned from her London season a success, or so her family believes. Imogene did not enjoy the parties, being on display, etc.

Hopefully, she will not have to go back as she has a suitor- a Mr. Ernest Steeple. He’s very, very interested in her and about to visit and stay a few weeks.

Imogene is a very shy and not looking forward to him coming, but at least she will be home.

I don’t want to do this

She an her friend Miss Emily Beeswanger (what a name!) are relaxing outside the ruins of the nearby castle, when Imogene’s dog puts himself in danger. They try to get him back, but he won’t listen!

Oh no!

But in the end they are assisted by a handsome young man.

After he saves their dog, the man introduces himself as Benjamin “Ben” Steeple, the younger brother of Ernest. He has accompanied him, and the two arrived early. Mr. Chively, Imogene’s father, is monopolizing Ernest, so Ben decided to check out the castle ruins. Ben is studying to be an architect and could not pass up the opportunity.

Sorry, I have it in my media library and had to use it.

Benjamin joins the ladies for a picnic and Emily sets her cap for the charming, flirtatious, dashing man. Emily went with Imogene for the London season, but did not have anyone interested in her. She’s feeling like a failure and this handsome man seems to be the answer to her wish to be married.

Emma Woodhouse from Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale version

Imogene’s dog, Jasper, takes off into the old ruins, again, and Ben helps save him for Imogene. They end up bringing part of the castle down and destroying their clothes in the process (not like they are naked bit that those clothes can never be fixed to be in their previous condition ever again).

Ben goes to change before dinner and encourage his brother. Ernest is over the moon about Imogene but feels disheartened as he is trying to spend time with her, but has only been spending time with the dad. He’s worried he won’t have anything to converse with her, so Ben tells him to talk about Joseph Turner.

Uh, excuse me…his name is Joseph Mallard William Turner. Sorry if my art history is showing, but he did make beautiful paintings. They were large “romantic” pieces of art. We studied Slave Ship, Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On, in my class but they wouldn’t have seen that painting as it wasn’t done until 1840.

Anyways…

Anyways…sorry for that derail.

So the brothers are some of the best parts of the book as it is fun to read their interactions as they mess with each other. For instance Ben tells Mr. Chively that Ernest likes economics and Mr. Chively spends the whole night talking his ear off about banking and interest.

I’m so bored….BEN! THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!

Ben, however, spends the night talking to Imogene and Emily and enjoys conversing with both women. He’s a major flirt and loves charming the ladies.

Ugh!!

Imogene finds herself feeling uncertain as she is in a place she has never been before. She knows that Ernest likes her…but all this attention-could Ben have feelings for her too? Are two brothers fighting over her?

But then Emily points out all the attention Ben has been giving her and the way he has been treating her. Could this be worse than she thought, could he like both Imogene and Emily?

After the two talk, Imogene becomes convinced that Ben is just flirting and charming both of them (very Frank Churchill). Imogene is a little saddened at that, but Emily will not give up. She wants Ben and practices her best flirtations in order to win his heart.

The next morning, Ernest is taken off by Imogene’s father to go fishing, while Ben gets to spend the morning with her. He is doing his best to extol his brother’s virtues, but finds himself holding her hands longer than necessary and thinking more about her than his brother.

Wow, Ben, really? Your brother’s girl! You know he’s into her. And he’s your BROTHER!!!!!

Forget you!

They spend time together, but then Imogene goes to give Emily’s sister, Harriet, her drawing lessons.

Afterwards, she finds Emily decked out in her most flattering gown, ready for Ben’s return-you know pulling a Sandy.

Besides the Beeswanger family, and the Steeples, the Tabards are also staying with the Chivelys. Mrs. Chively, Mrs. Beeswanger, and Mrs. Tabard were very close friends, and relatives. Mrs. Tabard passed away and since then Mr. Tabard has been a ghost of the man he once was. His son Jake has become an incorrigible prankster-pairing up with Imogene’s older brother Percy.

Ben has a horrible secret and admits it to Imogene. He wants to be an architect more than anything in the world, but he cannot draw! He begs her for lessons and to keep his secret. It makes Imogene feel special as her family doesn’t care about art and she begins lessons with him.

OKaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Red flag number 2!!! Liar, secret keeping, your only role is to make HIM better. Imogene, walk away-walk away!!!

That evening Ernest and Imogene finally have a chance to spend time together. Ernest tries to talk about Turner, but can’t. He admits he knows little of painting and that he is a…reader. Not of poems or essays…but…literature.

A handsome, kind, caring, rich man who loves to read?

I’m with Mrs. Bennet!

He’s PERFECT!!! He’s the mythical unicorn!!!!!

Imogene begins to enjoy Ernest’s company just as much as Ben’s and finds herself in a real quandary. She likes Ernest and Ben, but she can’t have both so which brother will she choose?

But before Imogene’s heart can tell her the path to take-some strange things start happening. Her jewelry is found in Ben’s room, then a burr is under his saddle and almost kills him, the castle starts falling down as well, and more. Someone is after Ben, but who?

A MYSTERY!!! You know what that means…

Mystery, you say? I’m on the case

To further complicate this midsummer nights comedy of errors; Ernest and Ben both like Imogene, Emily likes Ben, Jake seems to be interested in Emily, and Imogene doesn’t know which man she wants.

Uhhhh…

And who is doing all these mysterious things? Could it be Percy or Jake, taking their “jokes” too far? Could it be Emily, who is after Ben-maybe trying to dissuade him from Imogene? Or could it be Ernest who wants to take Ben out of the running for Imogene’s heart?

Thoughts After Reading:

This book was pretty enjoyable for the most part. I thought the beginning and middle were really good. The parts that kind of turned me off was when the story began to drag on with the constant back and forth of Imogene trying to decide on a guy.

Which one, which one…

It really bothered me too how both men laughed off Imogene’s fear. I mean come on guys, there is too much happening for it be an “accident”. Seriously dudes.

Come on guys!

There is also a weird part when Imogene accuses Ernest of doing all these things to Ben and Ben becomes furious. She is in shock about how “unreasonable” he is and hopes to never see that “unreasonable” side again. Ugh, girl please-you just accused his brother of trying to kill him. If someone said that to me about my sister I would have flipped a table at them. How dare you!!!

That’s my sibling!

But really, whether you will love or hate this book will boil down to one thing-which guy you like better. It is a tale as old as Fritz and Ernst (The Swiss Family Robinsons) or modern day-Dean and Sam (Supernatural). You have two guys who are amazing guys-both nice, brave, good people. One is more of an introvert, one more of an extrovert; one slightly more brawny, one slightly more brainy; etc. And you can only choose one!

Who would I pick? I really liked Ernest. I thought he was kind, caring, sweet-loved that he was a reader and found him to be like Mr. Tilney-comfortable, a novel reader, and just fun.

Ben, on the other hand, I could not stand. He made me think of Frank Churchill, a charmer-all fluff, and no substance. I really felt that Ben picked up on how Imogene feels ignored and not valued for her art and really  played on that manipulating her into being with him so he can use her artistic ability to further his career. I hate charming flirts-they are such jerks so I didn’t want her with him, I wanted Ernest!!! But hey that’s just me-you might feel differently.

Plus, 100000000000000000000000000000000x points: Ernest has read all the Jane Austen  novels.

What?

For more non-Austen reads for Austen readers, Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: A Love for Keeps

For mysteries, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more Young Adult books, go to Prom & Prejudice