The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

Reason and  Romance (The Austen Series #2) by Debra White Smith

So I have started reading this series out of order.

But it doesn’t really matter as they don’t have to be read in a the order they were published. The books are modern day versions of Jane Austen. I started with Amanda (The Austen Series #5), which set Emma in Australia and:

To read the whole review, follow this link.

So after that I wasn’t too jazzed to read this book, a modern day version of Sense and Sensibility.

But I decided to keep an open mind and hope for the best:

Well let’s find out, shall we?

So the story takes place in Ohio, as Elaina (Elinor) and Anna (Marianne) Woods (Dashwood) have just lost their father; the family business; and due to a prenuptial agreement, their home.

Elaina, the reasonable sister, has just received her Phd and will begin teaching literature at the university the next town over.

Anna, the romantic, has not gone to college and doesn’t have a job. She lives at home with their mother, dreaming of the perfect guy to come along and sweep her off her feet.

One of the students, Ted Ferrars (Edward) in Elaina’s class, causes the always reasonable Wood to become a romantic as she finds herself captivated by his personality and character.

Swoon!

He turns out to be the brother of her sister-in-law, and the complete opposite with his kind and caring nature. He is a superb pianist and dreams of leading a music ministry at a church, while his family has dreams of him becoming a superstar.

While that relationship develops, Anna also finds herself with not one, but two potential love interests. When she relocates with her mother to the home they are renting from, their cousins, she is first pursued by the older, broody, Dr. Brandon (Colonel Brandon). She isn’t too interested in him as he isn’t “a romantic hero”.

Everything changes when she heads off to her new job only to have an accident and be saved by the handsome model, Will Kenney (Mr. Willoughby).

That’s what I want

Elaina sister tries to caution her to slow down, but Anna is caught up in her emotions and will not listen to any advice, only intent on doing what her heart leads her to.

Will both girls be able to allow a little reason and romance in their lives? Or will Eliana cool reason and Anna’s hot romance keep them from forming real relationships?

So what did I think?

I thought it was horrible. A lot of things just did not work or make any sense why the author went in that direction.

So let’s count them off:

A) The Story Doesn’t Work Not Having Elaina Living at Home

So in Sense and Sensibility, Elinor lives at home in the cottage, runs the household, and is able to witness Marianne’s reactions with Willoughby and advise her. In this Elaina has her own apartment in another city and it just weakens the relationship with her sister and family. All information has to be relayed by her mother instead of Elaina being able to witness what she is speaking out against and has no real clue what is going on. It also weakens the character of Elaina/Elinor as she loses her role of caregiver, which is partially why people feel secure in sharing with her their secrets. The author should have had her stay living at home, I mean it would have been easy to explain that she was worried about her grieving mother.

B) She Makes the Mom a Pushover

In the original story of Sense and Sensibility, Mrs. Dashwood was in the throes of grief. She had lost her husband, income, home, most of her belongings, life, etc: all at the same time. When Fanny came along and started insisting this and that, she went along as she was sad, depressed, confused, numb, etc. In this she just gives in to everything because she “doesn’t like conflict”, which was not how it was in the book!!!

C) Hot for Teacher/Hot for Student

I don’t care how old they are I hate the teacher-student relationship. First of all it is against University policies as it could cause bias and because you are taking advantage of a relationship and power you have over the other. I don’t care that they “don’t really date”, as Elaine is intent on trying to form a relationship, something she should not have done or waited until he was no longer in her class.

 

D) Whatever Happened to Baby Margaret Dashwood?

So in the original novel there are three sisters, the youngest being Margaret.  Why do modern adaptations always get rid of siblings and make people only children or mess up their birth place? I mean there are whole psychologies that discuss how your place in the line of family helps form your character and personality, and I think a lot of modern adaptations mess this up when they cut out the siblings.

E) Ted Cheats on His Fiancé

So in Regency time: flirting, courting, etc. was much different. In the original novel, Edward starts to fall for Elinor, and she him, and his attention causes her to think and hope he is interested. However, he never actually does anything about his feelings or makes any overtures as he is secretly engaged. In fact, most of the being lead on is from what Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne think is happening. In this, Ted actually cheats on his fiancé, clearing stating to Eliana in his actions and words that he likes her, while being engaged. I didn’t like that at all.

F) Elinor/Elaina a major flirt

In this Smith has Elaina as a major flirt with any guy that crosses her path. This is not true to her character or “reason” minded self. It also makes everyone think that she is dating Colonel Brandon, while in the book everyone knew they weren’t together and only Edward thought she was interested in him.

G) Elaina’s Favorite Book is Sense & Sensibility

Reading the book your book is based on? That’s not clever but overdone.

H) Debra White Smith is obsessed with Pantsuits

I mean seriously that is all anyone in this series wears when they “dress” up. I mean it is a Christmas party?! Why aren’t they wearing dresses?! You seriously think that the fashion conscious Anna would wear a pantsuit over a dress? At her age? Reading the fashion magazines she reads? I don’t think so.

I) Colonel Brandon and the Anna Relationship: Together in Five Minutes

So in the original novel, Marianne is dumped by Willoughby: tries to contact him with no replies; humiliated by him; tries to visit him; is taken ill; has to fight for her life; goes into recovery; is visited by Colonel Brandon; and over the time the two spend together she falls in love with him and encourages him to try to start a relationship with her.

In this Anna is sick, healed, and in love with Colonel Brandon intent on marrying him and becoming a nurse in like five minutes. It made no sense at all and I didn’t like how Colonel Brandon tells her his feelings first instead of allowing Marianne that time to overcome her heartbreak, be open to a new relationship, and fall in love with him.

J) Why a Nurse?

I don’t care if you boyfriend/fiancé is a doctor that is no reason to become a nurse! Especially, if you are bad with everything needed to become one. They should have just had Marianne continue as an interior designer, artist. or fashion designer. .

K) She Cut Out Some of the Best Parts of the Novel

Even though Sense and Sensibility has a lot of sad themes: depression, loss, grief, homelessness, poverty, dysfunctional family, heartbreak, betrayal, etc,: it also has a ton of hilarious moments as well. Like when Edward goes to tell Elinor the truth about Lucy and Lucy is there. Or when Fanny discovers the woman she has been promoting over her “plotting” sister-in-law has in fact long plotted to marry her brother!

Hilarious, comedic moments that only Jane Austen knows how to do. And they are glossed over or barely touched it.

L) Christian Fiction but Hardly Any Christian Themes

So this book says that it is “Christian” and talks about having “faith in God”, but that faith and relationship with God is never really even in the book.I mean if you want to write a Christian retelling of Emma then write it. If you want to write a non-Christian retelling of Emma then write that. Just don’t give me this lukewarm mess that is “Christian” but only a smatter. I mean go big or not at all, there is no in between.

So yeah, I did not care for this at all or found it to be a good adaptation or a good read.

Will the rest of the series be just as bad?

Hmm…

Keep following me to find out.

For more by Debra White Smithgo to The Austen Series: Amanda

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Sense and Sensibility variations, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

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Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

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

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

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

A mashup

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

So the Dashwood family:

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

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

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

John also has an incredibly bratty son, Henry:

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

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

**Spoilers**

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

Only one problem, he thought she was Georgiana Darcy.

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

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

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

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

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

Here I am!

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

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

So what did I think? Did I like it?

No

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

1) Henry Dashwod was too likable.

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

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

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

2) No Mystery

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

Crazy eyes

Secondly, there are a multitude of suspects:

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

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

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

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

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

4) Supernatural Seems Like an Afterthought

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

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

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

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

3) Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride & Prejudice

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

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

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

2) James Morland from Northanger Abbey

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

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

1) Lieutenant William Price from Mansfield Park

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

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

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

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

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

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Too Pretty

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

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

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

For more Jane Austen mysteries, go to Midnight in Austenland

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

Sisterly Roles

Ah sisters.

sisters-and-friends

The joys and sorrow of having a sister:

You love them, you hate them, you love them again. Those who have sisters know the ups and downs. Those who don’t, take my word that the above song is pretty accurate.

Now I could go on about my sisters, but that’s not what this post is going to be on. Instead I am focusing on the sisterly bond between the Dashwood sisters.

With the Dashwoods we have three sisters: Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret; although Margaret doesn’t play as big a role as Elinor and Marianne.

Elinor-Dashwood-sense-and-sensibility-2633393-894-592

Elinor Dashwood

Elinor is the eldest and she is the sense in the title. Elinor is only nineteen years old, but she is wise beyond her years and incredibly mature. She is level-headed, cool in judgement, and always thinks through very clearly on any decision being made. She’s pretty much the sensible older sister that has been copied and used in books, movies, TV shows, etc.

NothingThatcan'tbeunfixedcommonsenseMissPettigrewLives4aDay

When Fanny comes in and is completely rude to the entire family, Mrs. Dashwood is eager to move out. But Elinor is able to stop her as she can keep a strong hold on her emotions as they need to stay there longer. Now she isn’t completely cold-hearted or an ice-queen. It’s just that she is a closed book.

“She had an excellent heart: her disposition was affectionate, and her feelings were strong but she knew how to govern them…”

She has sense and knows when to say something and when not to.

frozenConcealDon'tfeel

This is something that no one else in her family does. Now it is true that keeping feelings in can be wrong.

newGirlkeepfeelingshiddenturnweird

But on the other hand that isn’t always the best thing. Having your feelings out in the world can also cause a world of hurt.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

So let’s move onto the middle sister:

SenseandSEnsibiltyFeelDeeper

Marianne Dashwood

Now Marianne isn’t just some stupid or light-hearted, fluff type of girl. She is beautiful, kind, generous, etc. The only thing is, her feelings were never held in moderation. That is, never keeping them in check. If she is happy, everyone knows. And if she is sad everyone knows.

honesty

Pretty much she’s walking around with no filter.

NoFilter

More like feelings than thoughts.

But such is sisters. I did a paper on sisterly roles in college for my family psychology class. When you have sisters, especially those close in age, they tend to gravitate to opposite traits in order to create their own identity, be unique, and carve a role for themselves in the family.

irreplacabledifferentcocochanel

So we have here Sense in Elinor and Sensibility (feelings) in Marianne.

sense-and-sensiblity

Therefore one that strives for sense as that gives her support and makes her feel completely stable in life. The younger sister sees that her older one is extremely sensible, which makes her want to be the opposite and governed solely by feelings. Also Elinor is the eldest so she also feels more of having to be dependable and responsible for the family.

Just another case of being a sister.

Frozen Sacrifice self love you sisters

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Promises Were Made to Be Broken

More on Coco Chanel, go to Women in Black

For more on White Christmas, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more of my favorite songs, go to It’s Fantastico!

For more of my favorite quotes, go to I Have A Problem

A Family Affair

So I already did a post on the opening line of Sense and Sensibility, you should go here if you want to check that out. So Sense and Sensibility is far different from Pride & Prejudice. In Pride & Prejudice we have a basic introduction to the family-5 daughters, and their mother’s need to marry them off.

Pride&PrejudiceTruthUniversallyAcknowledged

Sense and Sensibility is a little different.

SenseandsensibilityHarveytumblr_mpdu5bng5f1rm9irpo1_250

We get a big family entanglement of who’s who in the family and who’s inheriting. It can be a bit much.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

It’s not as bad as Love Actually or He’s Just NOT Into You, but it is pretty knotted. But lucky for you all, that’s what I’m here for. I shall untangle it for you.

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

So it’s always about the property and land right?

And in this case it’s the same. But the one in question here is Norland Park, belonging to Mr. Dashwood.

Macdonald-Elmers-Court-Resort-England

Now Mr. Dashwood was a confirmed bachleor, and shared his house with his sister who managed everything for him. Both of them grew older, and Miss Dashwood died. Mr. Dashwood found himself alone and didn’t enjoy it. So he decided to invite his nephew, Mr. Henry Dashwood.

Now Henry is where things become a bit more complicated. Henry has two families.

keanu Whoa

Now I don’t mean that he was married to two women at the same time, this isn’t Sister Wives. And he wasn’t a conman either. He was a widower who remarried. This might not sound too complicated right now (I mean with how high the divorce rates are today, things are far more complicated,) but it does cause some legal issues I’ll get into later.)

So we have Mr. Dashwood’s first family. This includes his son John, horrible daughter-in-law Fanny,

sense&sensibilitydashwoodfamily

and awful grandson.

Sense&Sensibilitydashwoodgrandson

I hate these people. Absolutely HATE THEM.

Hate YOu

But more on that later.

And his second family consists of the new Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret.

dashwoods_sense_and_sensibility_movie

So here we are.

DashwoodFamilyTree

John being older and married was the one that didn’t move into the family homestead. But he and his family visited all the time. The three girls however, joined Old Mr. Dashwood. They take good care of him and greatly amuse him in his old age.

Double double yay

Only one problem.

Sense&Sensibilitydashwoodgrandson

Ugh

Ugh

One thing my drama director always told us:

“Never work with kids or animals. They’ll steal the show.”

It’s true. Kids and animals are too cute, and they don’t even try. They’ll do something that will cause all others to be overlooked.

And here it’s no different.

ouch Hermione

Yes, the little spoiled brat steals away all the love of his grandfather.

“…this child, who, in occasional visits with his father and mother at Norland, had so far gained the affections of his uncle. by such attractions as are by no means unusual in children of two or three years old, an imperfect articulation, an earnest desire of having his own way, many cunning tricks, and a great deal of noise, as to outweigh all the value of all the attention which, for years, he had received from his niece and her daughters.”

Duh!

Duh!

 

Yep, just another case of those who slaved and cared being pushed aside for something “cuter”.

Ugh

Ugh

So the old Mr. Dashwood dies. And leaves things unpleasant. He entails all his money and estate to his grandnephew.

Entailment!

Replace Rothbart with entailment

Replace Rothbart with entailment

Entailment sucks!!!!!!!

Lady-Mary-DOWNTONABBEYENTAILMENTSUCKS

Entailment was something that was done a lot in the 18th-20th centuries. All the money, property, the whole shebang was entailed to the next male heir. So this is good and bad. It means that Henry will have everything, but only for as long as he is alive. When he dies it will be passed on to John, and then to the kid. This means that the female Dashwoods will receive nothing. The old Mr. Dashwood gave them £1000, but that won’t be near enough for them to marry well.

ouch Hermione

So I’m sure you are wondering about Mr. Henry Dashwood. I mean he doesn’t have to entail his personal money. Or Mrs. Dashwood’s money. Right?

there's a chance

howtheGrinchstoleChristmasWrongo

 Well you’re half-right. He wouldn’t have to if he had any. Yep, you see Mr. Dashwood has no money.

willy-wonka-you-get-nothing

He had status and married wealthy. His first wife had a fortune!

money money money

Unfortunately, she died.

Sadface Batman

And left all her money to her only child, John.

willy-wonka-you-get-nothingyoulose

When he remarries it’s for love and his second wife is poor. They have only £7000. (I’m not sure if that’s a year or what, but it’s not enough for taking care of his family long-term).

And then he hopes to get the inheritance, but winds up with basically nothing.

nightmare before christmas nothing turn out like it should

To rub salt further in the wound, John doesn’t even need the money. You see John not only has all that dough from his mom, but when he married he increased his net worth tenfold.

money money money

Yep, he’s rolling in dough.

So the Dashwoods got the shaft.

nightmare before christmas nothing turn out like it should

But then Henry decides maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all. He is not an old man, he’s still has plenty of years left in him and he could start setting money aside to take care of his family. After all it’s not like he is going to die any day.

never-say-never-in-front-of-fantasy_1279

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For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to A Sense of Sense and Sensibility

For more on the Dashwood family, go to Opening With…

For more on how entailment sucks, go to Fantastic Fantasies

For more on Gone With the Wind, go to At the End of the Rainbow