Book Club Picks: Chasing the Wind

So it has been a loooooooooooooooooooong time since I did a book club book review, I was only a few behind but then things happened and I fell behind.

I am almost a year behind in reviews, but I will do my hardest to catch up.

So quick recap for those who haven’t heard of my book club.

So as you all know I started a book club, because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books and need to be around others who feel the same.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time was my turn and I chose:

Chasing the Wind (California Rising #3) by Paula Scott

So I was first introduced to Paula Scott when I worked at our local museum. I actually got to meet the her and speak to her, and after hearing about how she researched and just listening to how she spoke about her work I decided to borrow the book from the library and read: Until the Day Breaks.

Then the second book came out and my coworker and I were discussing the series and she told me that she had really enjoyed it. A couple weeks later I was at work and realized, I had forgotten to bring a book to pass the time when we had no one visiting the museum.

I bought the Far Side of the Sea and could not put it down!

So of course I had to share the books with my book club:

So on to the third book:

The first book was the story of Protestant Rachel coming to Catholic California from the East coast, getting an arranged marriage to Roman Vasquez, befriending Roman’s sisters Maria and Isabella, and getting caught up in Bear Flag Revolt.

The second book was about Maria who gets kidnapped by Rachel’s father, raped, joins a shipping company, goes around the Americas, and ends up in the gentrifying/creating the lawful city of San Francisco. The second book is my favorite as it is an amazing story of overcoming trauma, working through past issues and insecurity, redemption, and has a powerful female character.

Chasing the Wind is the third installment and the story follows the path of Isabella Vasquez. Isabella is biracial (Native American and Russian), her mother died when she was a baby and her father, a fur trapper, brought her to Mission San Francisco Solano. There she was adopted by the Vasquez family, adopted cousin to Roman and Maria but raised as their sibling.

In the first book, she is a young girl who is one of Rachel’s first friends, spending time with her and giving her an education on the culture. With the Americans taking California, Isabella’s life is about to dramatically change. In the second book she has grown into a beautiful young woman, headed with her adopted father to the gold fields of Marysville, CA.

Marysville, for many who don’t know, was named after one of the survivors of the Donner Party and was the gateway to the gold fields. It used to be one of the largest cities in CA, a rival to San Francisco (until all the silt went into the river and made it hard for ships to pass through). You could get anything and everything you wanted in Marysville, but it was also a very hard place to live-especially for a woman-especially for a Native American woman. 

Peter Brondi is a mountain man who tamed the west with Kit Carson and John C. Fremont. He fought in the Mexican American War and against Native Americans. In fact he hates Native Americans for the horrors he witnessed and because one stole his father-he married one and had a son with her.

He’s currently searching for his half brother Paul, to bring him home and see their old and dying father. However, there is always time for cards and and he plays them winning the mining camp singer Bluebird-nickname for Isabella Vasquez.

Yes, once Isabella was the daughter of the rich Californio and now she is property-having lost her privilege and status when California changed hands.

I really enjoyed the way Paula Scott dealt with the cultural issues as there are very few books out there that cover this. We have a biracial character, raised in a completely different culture, and trying to navigate the changing culture of the state she lives in while trying to understand the identity of who she is in a world that there are hardly any like her.

Tell you what Isabella it’s almost 170 years later and it still is difficult for biracial and multicultural people.

So it doesn’t matter that Isabella is half Russian-Native American is all the world sees and how they treat her. She was educated, knows how to read and write, and speak multiple languages…but is treated like cattle. She is won by Peter, who is pressured into marrying her by a circuit preacher.

They have a night of passion-with sweet, naive, and young Isabella falling head over heels in love. The next day Peter drops her off at a brothel as he doesn’t believe they can really be married. I mean she was in a saloon and traveled the mining camps singing, there’s no way she is a classy lady-she must be a prostitute.

The brothel that she is dropped off at is still standing and now a restaurant, The Silver Dollar Saloon. We were able to meet with Paula Scott there and discuss this book along with the one she was currently working on Farming Grace: A Memoir of Life, Love, and a Harvest of Faith (which we read in September and I will review later).

Silver Dollar Saloon in Marysville, CA

When Peter left I was like this can’t be real, he’s going to march right back-but no. Isabella stays behind at the brothel earning her keep by reading to men and singing.

Poor Isabella, all she wanted was to belong to a family and then start her own. She lost hers, gained one with Peter…or so she thought. Now she has no one.

I’m so happy!

Peter leaves and Paul comes back to town. Paul falls for Isabella and every night tries to charm her more and more. Isabella is heartbroken, vulnerable, and alone.  Each night Paul breaks down more and more of her walls and she gives in to him.

But oh no…Paul leaves to get away from some card players he owes, Isabella turns out to be pregnant, she is attacked by a sadistic man, she flees to Fort Ross to search for her real father, Peter returns and discovers her “betrayal”, and Peter follows her-intent of finding her and doing right by her, but will they be able to reconcile after all that has transpired?

Tell ME!!!!!

So at first I was very angry with Peter. He left her in a brothel and then is angry because she started having sex with someone???!!! YOU LEFT HER IN A BROTHEL!!!! WHAT DID YOU THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN???

But he does improve as you read. Scott created complex characters as Peter isn’t your usual hero and has to go on an emotional journey of working through envy, bitterness, prejudice, pride, iron out the issues with his father and brother in order to be a real man and a good husband.

Isabella has to go on her own journey to discover who she is, work on her abandonment issues, insecurity, forgiveness, bitterness, her own familial issues

Both are able to accomplish this by their faith and trust in God.

It was an amazing story! I highly recommend it! I LOVED it! I could not put it down as I consumed page after page in earnest to see how it would end. The characters are amazing and the story captivating.

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

For more Paula Scott, go to Book Club Picks: The Mother Keeper

For more California Rising books, go to Book Club Pick: Far Side of the Sea

For more Christian novels, go to Book Club Picks: Desperate Pastors’ Wives

For more bible verses, go to Literary Tea Parties

The Heartbreak Kid

So I wrote this post years ago, but didn’t post it as I don’t like to write about my friends on my blog-only me. However, as I was going through them I came through this and looked it over again.

Hmmm….

Now it has been years since Eliot and I have talked. He stopped responding to any of my texts, or cards, or etc. I think the last time we had a conversation was in 2013. So I don’t feel too bad about sharing this now, especially as I have changed the name. Hopefully if we become friends again he won’t be mad about this. We’ll see…

I haven’t changed anything, but kept it all the same.

Edmund Bertram:

Scenario One

Edmund Bertram (1999)

1) Edmund and Mary

-Eliot and Carrie

-Eliot and Liz

-Eliot and Chastity

Why is it that really nice people are always attracted to the wrong kinds of people?

The one thing that always bugged me about Edmund Bertram’s character in Mansfield Park is how stupid he acts with Mary. Why is he so dumb and naive around her? Many of my friends feel I am too hard on Edmund, but when all of Jane Austen’s other heroes are so perfect, it can be hard to adore one who has such an achilles heel.

However, I am getting too far ahead of myself.

In Mansfield Park, Edmund is the younger brother. He is very smart and responsible. His older brother Tom, is supposed to inherit everything, and run the household in his father’s absence, but instead takes off to London to “enjoy” the “good times” that go on there; and Edmund steps up to the plate. At this time, Henry and Mary Crawford come to visit the family; Mary having set her sights on the eldest son to ensure a title and money; and Henry to play around with the Bertram girls. With Tom gone, Mary spends a lot of time with Edmund. She likes things about him and Edmund falls for her.

There is only one problem; Mary hates church, clergyman, and says she will never marry one. She tries to convince Edmund to change his profession, and he is stupidly convinced that she will come around and became a minister’s wife. Edmund sees more in her than is really there. Mary cares only for material goods and being high in society while Edmund has a higher consciousness. Edmund only realizes how wrong he is when:

  1. Mary tells Edmund how great it would be if Tom died (at this point in the story Tom had grown quite ill and was at death’s door), and he could inherit everything, and not become a minister
  2. She doesn’t care that her brother and Edmund’s sister Maria committed adultery, but that they were caught. She feels there was nothing wrong with it as long as no one found out.
  3. Her biggest regret about Maria and Henry is that is ruins her chances in moving up in society

It is then that Edmund finally realizes they have a completely different set of morals and values and could never be together.

Seriously

The thing that bugs me about Edmund is how long it took him to realize this! I mean she tells you point blank that she will not marry a clergyman. Why can’t you believe that? Why must you torture yourself believing that you can fix her! Why, why, why? Unfortunately this often happens in the real world. We care for people so we become blind to their faults.

I have a friend Eliot, who is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He is sweet, gentle, patient, understanding, etc. He is the type of guy who has no enemies. He has the worst luck with women. It’s REALLY bad! You think someone that nice, would be able to find a worthwhile person, especially since they have so much to offer, but alas he doesn’t.

So first Eliot started dating this girl Carrie. I hated Carrie! She and I were enemies!

She had made it her personal vendetta to be rude and snide to me. And, if one is mean to me I usually reciprocate the same attitude back.

She was an awful person, and completely wrong for Eliot! She started dating Eliot and really yanked him around. He really cared about her, but she just busted him in two. She cheated on him with another guy and left him heartbroken.

Now like Fanny tries to warn Edmund, I tried to warn Eliot. I let him know that Carrie was not the right person for him, but like Fanny, I was dissed and dismissed. Instead, he was convinced that she would change. But like Mary, she didn’t.

Seriously

Then there was Liz. I told Eliot that Liz wasn’t a great girl. She too liked having boyfriends, she just had trouble staying faithful to them. You think he would have listened this time right? But nooooo….instead they date, they become boyfriend and girlfriend. Then one day they are out on a date and bam Liz picks up a guy and starts making out right in front of Eliot. And not just a simple kiss, but full complete action going on there.

I mean seriously, what were you thinking?

They broke up.

Then came Chastity. Now Chastity I disliked more than Carrie. Chastity would ALWAYS cheat on her boyfriends. She hurt another one of my friends that way.

Oh no you don’t!

He too was a really sweet, great guy; and she just mangled him. Now once again I tried to tell Eliot about her. I warned him that she had a tendency to cheat on her boyfriends and that it was best to just stay away from her. You think after Heartbreaker One and Two he would have listened to me finally…right?

Majorly

He was convinced that I was “mistaken”, in fact I had to watch what I said about Chastity as he fell really hard for her, so hard that if I made any more comments, our friendship would have been over. Everyone else really liked her. All of his friends liked her. His parents liked her. Her parents liked him. Her friends liked him. Everything was going great…..until it wasn’t.

One day at school I was TAing a class making copies, when another TA, my friend Susan, came into the office room to talk to me. She told me she really liked Eliot and hated the way Chastity treated her boyfriends, and she had something she wanted to tell me. Before the words came out of her mouth I knew that Chastity was cheating again.

This is one of those situations where you know no good will come out. If you tell the person they will hate you, but if you don’t you hate yourself for keeping them in this situation. I knew that he wouldn’t believe me, and even though it was extremely painful I didn’t tell him. I waited and eventually she told him and broke up with him.

Ouch!

It amazes me how he has gone through this and more but doesn’t give up. He still is trying to find a girl that won’t cause him any pain.

At least he was the last time I spoke to him. I don’t know if he still is. It amazes me the people who can be just decimated by something like that, but continue to search for love.

For more Edmund Bertram, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more Mansfield Park, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

Romantic Moment #1

Fireproof (2008)

So I have always been a giant Kirk Cameron fan. I loved Mike Seaver on Growing Pains and after he became a Christian and switched to Christian films-well I watched every thing he was in. So when Fireproof came out in theaters, I was there. And when the DVD went on sale, I was the first at the Christian bookstore to buy it.

Anyways, I actually planned on picking a moment from this for last year’s Romance is in the Air, but didn’t get a chance to.

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So the story is of married couple Caleb (Kirk Cameron) and Catherine Holt (Erin Bethea), who have been falling further and further apart.

Caleb is a fireman who feels as if his wife doesn’t care about him, support him, or respects him. Nothing he does is good enough for her and all they do is fight, fight, fight.

Catherine feels as if Caleb doesn’t love and respect her as he is saving money towards his dream of a boat instead of using it for them, and because of his addiction. When a doctor at the hospital she works at starts paying a lot of attention to her, she eagerly responds to it.

Both are ready for divorce, but Caleb’s father comes to him and asks him to try one last thing. He gives him a book called The Love Dare, that includes a 40 Day challenge, with scriptures, to try and help heal their marriage and hearts.

Psalm 147:3

At first Caleb is only half-hearted, doing barely anything to complete his “daily challenge.”

But then he commits himself to God, God begins working on his heart, and he is all in.

But will it be enough to convince Catherine? Will he be able to win Catherine’s heart back? Or is it too late and the relationship has ended?

***Spolier Alert***

Most Romantic Moment: Who Says I Have to Stop

This moment comes at the very end of the film. Caleb has been trying and trying, but after all they have been through Catherine doesn’t even care, she doesn’t want to care because she is afraid of getting hurt again.

One day she is sick and Caleb comes to care for her-bringing her medicine and soup and the like. But Catherine won’t accept his help, she is actually pretty nasty to him.

But Caleb takes it from her. And this upsets Catherine that she reveals why she is so angry now. She find his Love Dare and feels all this is fake.

Catherine Holt: So, what day are you on?

Caleb Holt: 43.

Catherine Holt: There’s only 40.

Caleb Holt: Who says I have to stop?

Catherine Holt: Caleb, I don’t know how to process this. This is not normal for you.

Caleb Holt: Welcome to the new normal.

It doesn’t matter to him that the challenge has “ended” he wants to continue to show how much he loves and cares for her.

This is so romantic!

So awesome!

And even though it is hard and he has received nothing back, he continues to show his love and devotion to his wife.

For more on Kirk Cameron, go to Fandom Love

For more bible verses, go to Book Club Picks: A Wrinkle in Time

For more Christian films, go to It Feels So Good to See the Bad Guys Scared for a Change: Hangman’s Curse (2003)

You Cannot Think That I Will Leave Off Match-Making

So I have written before how much I like Emma, and that in quite a few ways we are alike. One of which is matchmaking. Emma loves trying to match people up, I used to to; but both of-our matches do not end well.

When I was in high school, I tried setting a friend up with another friend-she was kind sweet and charming. The guy was more outgoing, fun-loving, and I thought the two would balance out.

Did it work out?

It failed. He just ignored her the whole time and ended up dating another girl.

I tried another time with a different friend. She was smart, into some nerdy things (not too much but enough), loved reading, and having fun. I had a guy friend that was intelligent, interested in the same things as she was, and just her type of guy in build.

Did it work out?

It failed. And to make things even worse, they guy ended up liking me! And telling me he had feelings for me!

Just like Mr. Elton

Later on I tried again to get a friend paired up with another friend-football star and just her type.

Did it work out?

Yes, every time I tried to match people it failed, and it failed horribly. The girls were hurt, I was hurt, no one ended up happy. I therefore swore off match-making altogether. Never again.

But then I met my co-worker’s single son.

He would be perfect for a friend of mine! He’s great with children, nice to his mom, interested in the same movies and things as her, and exactly her type in build.

It’s perfect!

But every time I try-even move to do matchmaking-I have to remind myself that I am Emma.

And that it won’t turn out well. Yep, sometimes it is better to leave it to the professionals.

Well, at least for now.

For more on Emma, go to A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

For more matchmaking, go to Baby Jane Austen

Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

Oh Miss. Bates. Often we see her in Emma  films or when we encounter her in the story we ignore her:

Find her annoying:

Or pity her:

But then something stood out to me this time I read it that made me wonder…

Hmm…

Maybe WE have always approached this character the wrong way and we should actually strive to BE her.

So let’s start at the beginning.

Miss Bates was the daughter of a vicar, he having passed on and left the family in an improvised state.

She isn’t known to be intelligent, witty, or wise.

She wasn’t considered beautiful when she was young and isn’t seen as such now,

She never was courted, engaged, or married.

Her youth passed by with no distinction.

She now is middle-aged and spends all her time taking care of her elderly mother.

 And she spends most of her time trying to stretch her dollars as far as they can go.

Yes, life seems to be pretty grim.

So why should we want to be like her?

Because, despite ALL this, despite her life and circumstances, this is how she is:

“And yet she was a happy woman, and a woman whom no one named without good-will[sic].”

And where does this happiness come from? How does she have such pleasant emotion in such a bleak situation?

“It was her own universal good-will[sic] and contented temper which worked such wonders.”

Yes, her happiness isn’t derived from objects, money, people, beauty, etc. She is happy because she wants to be happy…

And because she can find pleasure in everything.

“She loved everybody, was interested in everyone’s happiness, quicksighted[sic] to every body’s merits: thought herself a most fortunate creature, and surrounded with blessings in such an excellent mother, and so many good neighbors and friends, and a home that wanted for nothing.”

Yes, most of us would be complaining, grumbling, whining, or disgusted to have her life…

But that isn’t how Miss Bates react. Instead she is joyful in everything and thankful for all she has in her life, even though most would view it as nothing. She reminds me of the green onion girl from Veggietales. Always joyful in everything.

And because of her joyful spirit she finds herself enjoying “a most uncommon degree of popularity.”

And that’s why I believe we should strive to be like her. How much nicer would life be if we learn to love what we have? If we tried to be kind and compassionate to all? If we looked at the good in others and our life instead of focusing on the negative?

For more on Miss Bates, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more Emma, go to When You Shockingly Relate to Mr. Woodhouse

For more Cristina Garcia quotes, go to Optimum Image

For more Charles Dickens quotes, go to Trek the Halls with Bones and Scotty

For more L.M. Montgomery quotes, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

For more bible verses, go to Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

For more Steve Maraboli quotes, go to The Final Chapter

I Don’t Want You Far From Me: Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Most Romantic Moment #14

sense&sensibility1995

So first things first!

Valentine-Wallpapers-For-Facebook

I hope you had a great day. Whether you spent it with someone you love:

sabrinawitchloveanswer

Friends:

MyKindOfMarathon

Or some yummy food:

Nachos

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So this year we are doing a return to form. We are ending our 14 days of romantic moments with a Jane Austen film. In 2013 we did Northanger Abbey, in 2014 Persuasion, and this year I decided to do Sense & Sensibility (in honor again for the late Alan Rickman). 

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So I have been reviewing the book Sense and Sensibility; piece by piece; but in case you haven’t been following me or don’t know the story I’ll do a brief recap.

The elder Dashwood sisters are nothing alike. Elinor is the eldest; reserved, quiet, thinking, sensible, and thoughtful. Marianne is the middle daughter; outspoken, feeling, emotional, impulsive, and doesn’t always think things through. They live with their mother and younger sister.

dashwoods_sense_and_sensibility_movie

Everything changes when their father dies and the estate passes to their half-brother. They are left with very little fortune and forced to move away. Before they leave they encounter Edward Ferrars, their brother-in-law, and Elinor falls for him, yet chooses not to act on her feelings.

frozenConcealDon'tfeel

In their new home; their kindly but meddling neighbors try to marry off the girls. They set their sights on uniting one of the girls with Colonel Brandon. Colonel Brandon falls for Marianne, but the constant meddling has Marianne completely turned off.

Men

Ugh

Instead she falls for he handsome and dashing Mr. Willoughby; but is he everything that he seems?

Will the girls find their true paths? Is Mr. Willoughby really a romantic hero? What is better sense? Or sensibility?

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Most Romantic Moment: Please Don’t Stay Away Long

**Spoilers**

So my favorite romantic moment from Sense & Sensibility comes at the very end of the film. Willoughby has dumped Marianne without a word:

VeronicaMarsBrokenUpbutNot

And married another to keep his rich lifestyle. Marianne and Elinor left the city as soon as they discovered this, but Marianne was suffering from a broken heart.

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

As they journey home, they take a quick stop at a friend’s place; which just so happens to not be too far away from Willoughby’s. Marianne tries to walk there in a rainstorm, being saved by Colonel Brandon.

Col. Brandon carrying Marianne

However, she is taken deathly ill and almost dies. She recovers and spends a lot of time with Colonel Brandon. He loves to read the same things as her, loves music, etc. As they spend more and more time together, Marianne realizes that she loves Colonel Brandon.

iLoveyou

So my favorite romantic moment comes after one of their reading events. Marianne wants to spend time together the next day, but Colonel Brandon has to go away. Marianne tells him:

Marianne: [to Colonel Brandon] You will not stay away long.

How romantic

How romantic

I know some may feel like really? But too me I love it and feel it is so romantic because it is only a few words, but in that Marianne is able to share her feelings and let Colonel Brandon know how much she loves him. And when Colonel Brabdon hears them and recognizes the sentiment behind the words, his whole face lights up.

ColonelBrandon

AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!

Sooooo cute! I just love it. 🙂

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So that ends Romance is in the Air: Part IV. I hope you enjoyed it. It was very different this year as I added in some TV episodes and reviewed a few films most wouldn’t consider romantic. But all in all I had a great time writing these and I hoped you enjoyed reading them.

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Romantic Moment #1: I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be: Casual Sex? (1988)

Romantic Moment #2: I Don’t Care What You Think, She’s My Girl: A Trip to the Dentist, Veronica Mars (2005)

Romantic Moment #3: Business is Business, But Your Happiness is More Important: Borrowed Hearts (1997)

Romantic Moment #4: I Want to Be Your Ideal Man: Grease (1978)

Romantic Moment #5: You Don’t Have to Say the Words, I Already Know: Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Romantic Moment #6: Even Though I’m Furious With You, I Still Love You: War Room (2015)

Romantic Moment #7: It’s Not What You Buy, But the Reason Why That Matters: Playing Heart to Get, Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse (2013)

Romantic Moment #8: I’d Lay Down My Life for You: Pocahontas (1995)

Romantic Moment #9: You’re So Sad, I’m Making This Day Extra Special: The Bikini in the Soup, Bones (2011)

Romantic Moment #10: I’m Putting You First: How to Steal a Million (1966)

Romantic Moment #11: I Want to Understand You: North & South (2004)

Romantic Moment #12: You Were Right, Let’s Get Married: Psycho (1960)

Romantic Moment #13: I’m Okay With Waiting: Fateful, Awkward (2011)

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For more on Colonel Brandon, go to A Man of Great Worth and Respectability

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to  Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Super Bowl 50