The Making of Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Happy 210th birthday to Pride and Prejudice

To celebrate this anniversary, I have decided to review a Pride and Prejudice themed book, film, or item at least once a month throughout the year.

One thing I decided to do was finally review Pride and Prejudice (1995) I was originally going to wait for its 30th anniversary but decided, why wait?

But before I can review the episodes, I decided to first read and review The Making of Pride and Prejudice (1995), a book that was included with my special DVD box set.

The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Britwistle & Susie Conklin

What I found extremely interesting was that the spark to creating one of the best adaptions of Jane Austen all came about due to Northanger Abbey. Isn’t that cute? Sue Bristwhistle (producer) and Andrew Davies (writer) were watching a screening of one of the worst Jane Austen adaptions, Northanger Abbey (1986), when Andrew Davies broached the topic of creating a filmed version was the catalyst to one of the mose beloved Jane Austen adaptions.

Although it wasn’t easy. The book begins with Sue Bristwhistle sharing how it took quite a bit of time to garner the interest and how they had to face off against people who didn’t think it would come out well.

I really enjoyed this book as it is extremely detailed from every step of creating it: scriptwriting, casting, costumes, locations, editing, makeup, filming, food, editing, sound mixing, PR, etc. It’s really worth it for any Austen fan and Pride and Prejudice (1995) fan.

There were a few things I absolutely enjoyed reading in this book. First Andrew Davies thoughts on writing the script. He has said that he loved the book, it was one of his favorites and you can see how much he adores it and is a fan in this. I love how he points out the cleverness of Austen’s writing and how great she is at plotting her works.

“Because the book [Pride and Prejudice] is so tight – her [Jane Austen’s] plot works just like a Swiss clock and doesn’t have any flabby bits in it – everything counts.”

-Andrew Davies in “The Script” from The Making of Pride and Prejudice

I feel like most studios struggle with this when it comes to adapting Jane Austen works and this seems to be the biggest complaint Austen fans make about the adaptions. Studios slice too much and important plot points are lost, characters are nonexistent, and crucial scenes of the novels are now flat in the film.

I do feel that this is something that makes this adaptions superior to many others, Andrew Davies really loved the original work and did his most to try and keep Austen’s spirit; while at the same time trying to make sure he had something that would appeal to all viewers.

One thing I really appreciate is that Davies wanted to give us a view into the men of the novel and as to what they think and do. With a novel you have more leeway to have a mysterious character, fully based on what our main characters view then as; but in a TV show most people want to know more about these people and who they are if they are planning to come back every week to watch.

Also the Pemberley diving in scene is such a crucial scene to understanding and. Darcy we we finally see him wiping away the structures of society and instead being able to really “be” himself.” And of course has been a fan favorite.

The casting chapter I also found very interesting as it is so important to find the right people for period pieces.

“So we were looking for wit, charm and charisma, but also for the ability to “play” that period. Some people simply can’t do it; everything
about them is too modern. It’s a difficult thing to analyse; there are a
lot of good young actors and actresses around, but they are just very
twentieth-century and don’t have the right sort of grace. I don’t think
that can be instilled any more than you can train someone to be funny.”

-Janie Forthegill in “Pre-Production” from The Making of Pride and Prejudice

I 100 percent agree. I feel like this a problem today where studios hire people who the think will draw views, even though they just don’t work for the drama. They look or act too modern and make everything feel out of place.

Colin Firth had to dye his hair because he is a blonde, I’m surprised as he looks so good with dark hair.

One of my favorite parts was on the costuming. It was so interesting to read how they had to make all the costumes and get the prints designed and printed on the fabric. A lot of clothes from the previous adaptations were in terrible condition or didn’t work. It was absolutely fascinating and makes sense why the clothes are constantly reused by the studio.

Elizabeth Bennet

There is a section with Colin Firth where he describes his journey to the role and experiences filing and I loved it! In fact it reminded me of my own journey to Jane Austen. I also find it interesting that Firth felt he wasn’t sexy enough when comparing himself to Laurence Olivier. He was extremely afraid everyone would just compare the two and find him lacking. It’s amazing to think of when Olivier isn’t as remembered as Colin Firth. It’s like he threw down a reverse UNO.

I highly recommend this for any Austen fans as I think you will really enjoy it, especially if you love the 1995 adaption.

For more on the making of an Austen film, go to The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Book-to-Table Classic by Martha Stewart

For more nonfiction, go to Jane Austen (Little People, BIG DREAMS)

For more Colin Firth, go to Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Book-to-Table Classic by Martha Stewart

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Book-to-Table Classic by Jane Austen and Martha Stewart

This book came out about five years ago and it has been on my to-buy list for a while.

But it no longer has a place on my list as I was blessed with it by my friend for Christmas. After all, books make the best gifts!

When this book first came out Martha Stewart and articles touted it as the “…newly released Fall cookbook Jane Austen diehards could only dream of.” They also claimed that these “…recipes by Martha Stewart will make you want to host a tea even if you aren’t looking to woo a wealthy suitor for one of your many daughters.”

Party time!

From all I heard about it, I really expected it to be the novel with recipes for food mentioned in the book; along with historical info or facts about Jane Austen and the recipes. It was really promoted as the first of its kind, a book to table classic, with the actual Pride and Prejudice novel and recipes for the perfect teatime.

This book was not what I was expecting. It wasn’t a bad book but from all that Martha Stewart talked it up I was expecting more recipes. Something more along the lines of the The Mitford Cookbook or The Betty Crocker Celebrate Cookbook.

The first thing that surprised me with this book is that there is no foreword about Martha Stewart’s love of Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, or why she even wanted to make this book.

Hmm…?

The book goes right into the novel with recipes put here and there. The recipes are:

  • Sugar-and-Spice Cake
  • Linzer Hearts
  • Cream Scones with Currants
  • Rosemary Pound Cakes
  • Petits Fours
  • Chocolate Shortbread Fingers
  • Old-Fashioned Berry Layer Cake
  • French Almond Macaroons
  • Fruit Turnovers
  • Gingerbread Icebox Cake
  • Lemon Madeleines
  • Hazelnut Cookies

The other thing that surprised me is that there is nothing in here why she picked these recipes or why they would be perfect for a Pride and Prejudice cookbook. These recipes aren’t ones mentioned in the novel and some are interesting choices, like the icebox cake, which was made popular in the 1920s. Why is that perfect for a Pride and Prejudice tea party?

For someone, who according to her author bio, “is America’s most trusted expert and teacher and the author of more than ninety books on cooking, entertaining, crafts, homekeeping, gardens, weddings, and decorating”; I excepted more. Unfortunately I don’t think as much effort went into this as could have been implemented. It makes me wonder if they moved up the publication date to cash in on holiday sales and then weren’t able to add all the extras.

Even though I’m a little disappointed in Martha Stewart as this wasn’t what I was expecting or how they marketed it I still like that this was a wonderful gift from my friend, is another book to add to my Jane Austen collection (and Pride and Prejudice collection), and am looking forward to trying out some of these recipes.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Pride and Prejudice

For more Pride and Prejudice adaptions, go to Christmas at Pemberley Manor (2018)

For more Jane Austen adaptations, go to An Appearance of Goodness

For more recipes, go to Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato Tea Sandwiches

Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen Children’s Stories #1) by Jane Austen adapted by Gemma Barder

It was time to shop for a Christmas gift for my friend’s daughter, and I always give her a book.

I didn’t even have to think about it as I knew the perfect one: another book from the Jane Austen Children’s Stories.

As I mentioned in my previous review, any time I spot a children’s book that has to do with Jane Austen, I try and purchase it to gift to kids in my life and hopefully brainwash spark a love of Jane Austen in them.

The Jane Austen Children’s Stories series takes the text of Jane Austen and adapts it for children who are reading on their own and want something longer than a beginning reader, but not quite ready for thick chapter books. Each novel has easy to read text, illustrations, but at the same time still retain the plot of the original novels.

The recommended age for this series is 7-10 years old. The series has adapted Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Love and Friendship. You can buy them individually at ~$7 a paperback (hardcover is ~$12 per book) or in a set of all seven in paperback form (plus a journal) for ~$17.

The story of Pride and Prejudice is about a mother, Mrs. Bennet, wanting to marry off her daughters as quickly as possible, as when their father passes away they will have very little to live on (her husband is not I’ll but Mrs. Bennet doesn’t want to take any chances.) Two men move to their community that Mrs. Bennet is intent on harpooning, no matter what. One, Mr. Bingley, falls for the elder daughter, Jane, while the other man, Mr. Darcy, is overheard insulting the second daughter, Elizabeth, by Elizabeth herself. (Ouch!) Elizabeth is wounded and when she hears a tale about how horrible Mr. Darcy is from a handsome charming man, she readily believes it. She later discovers there is more to all these men than meets the eye and that she may have judged them too quickly.

Like Emma, this book starts off with a breakdown of the characters, a who’s who of everyone.

We then get into the story which is done very well. I was curious how they would deal with the Georgiana/Mr. Wickham but they still have it, focusing on him wanting her money over anything else which to me was a very good choice to make.

I thought it was a very good abridged adaption for children. And I’m eager to see what the remaining Austen books are like.

I do think the illustrator was influenced by the 2005 film adaptions as Mr. Darcy looks like Matthew Macfayden and Mr. Bingley looks like Simon Wood.

For more Jane Austen Children’s Stories, go to Emma

For more Jane Austen children’s books, go to Northanger Abbey

For more on Pride and Prejudice book adaptations, go to An Appearance of Goodness

For more on Pride and Prejudice , go to The Clergyman’s Wife + The Question is Mr. Collins Really THAT Bad?

The Clergyman’s Wife + The Question is Mr. Collins Really THAT Bad?

The Clergyman’s Wife by Molly Greeley

I saw this audiobook and ebook on MeetLibby and decided to give it a read as I heard a lot of positive things about it.

However, I did not finish it as I could not get very far through it. I was about 18% of the way through the audiobook and did not get much farther in the ebook, before I finally called it quits. I tried, but this work just couldn’t capture my attention.

It wasn’t badly written, but the story just couldn’t capture my attention. The story takes place after the end of Pride and Prejudice, with Charlotte Lucas-Collins dissatisfied with her life with Mr. Collins. She has nothing to do, no one to talk to, and finds herself drifting. She then strikes up a conversation with Mr. Travis, farmer and recently turned gardener (thanks to Lady Catherine), later this turning into a friendship. After the time they spend together, Charlotte finds herself falling for Mr. Travis. This is not at all what Charlotte planned for her life? What should she do?

Hmm…?

As I mentioned before, I tried but could not connect to this woke. One of my biggest issues reading this was Charlotte saying she had nothing to do. She’s a regency woman who’s a minister’s wife. I’m sure she would have plenty to do, in her own home and in the parish. I mean she’s not working hard like a servant, but she still had duties and responsibilities; it wasn’t as if she was so wealthy as to have people do everything for her.

Secondly, Greeley make Mr. Collins incredibly insufferable. But I found issue with this as I wonder, is he really? I have been thinking about this for a while, ever since my book club read Pride and Prejudice back in March. Is Mr. Collins really as bad as Elizabeth thinks?

Reading Pride and Prejudice we never see a true uncritical view of Mr. Collins as most of our opinions of him come from Elizabeth Bennet and her family, all of which are not the most reliable as they are all very judgmental people (except Jane); additionally they already do not care for him as he represents a loss of their home and life.

Secondly, none of the circumstances in which we as a reader interact with Mr. Collins puts him in a positive light, as the situations are not ones where he is most comfortable in. First, we know that Mr. Collin’s father and Mr. Bennet had a falling out years ago, so much that there has been zero contact and Mr. Bennet was surprised at Mr. Collins reaching out to him ( which Mr. Collins only did after his father died). Mr. Collins comes to the Bennet home and we have no idea what Mr. Collins has been told about his Bennet relations from his father nor what his father might have warned him about how they would react to him. We also don’t know if he has any other family or has ever grown up learning how to talk to family members besides what he may have observed from friends/classmates. Part of the reason why he is so awkward could be because of all this tension he grew up believing was between the family, him trying not to upset his relations, not knowing how to interact with people related to him, and him possibly going on about things they aren’t interested in as he’s afraid certain subjects might come up that will turn this visit into a terrible one.

Then we have him staying at a home where he is to inherit everything when Mr. Bennet dies. That would not only put you in an awkward position but also mean that every person in the house is bound to be bitter and a tad hostile toward you.

Thirdly, we see him embarrass Elizabeth at the ball going up to Mr. Darcy without being introduced, but to be fair we don’t know what his discussions with Lady Catherine have been like. Maybe from what they have discussed he earnestly does believe that Mr. Darcy would know who he is. He also might have been really nervous when going to a ball where he knows no one and the people he does know don’t really like him that he clings to the only person familiar.

In fact, I do find it interesting that Elizabeth is horrified with Mr. Collins’ behavior, yet Mr. Darcy doesn’t even mention it in his letter.

“The situation of your mother’s family, though objectionable, was nothing in comparison of that total want of propriety so frequently, so almost uniformly betrayed by herself, by your three younger sisters, and occasionally even by your father.”

Mr. Darcy’s Letter from Pride and Prejudice

And the last time we see Mr. Collins he is showing off to Elizabeth, the girl who rejected him, all that could have been hers. Even though this behavior is rude; let’s be honest, I don’t know a single person in this world who would not try to show off to someone who rejected them.

I also think that while his letter to the Bennets regarding Lydia running away with Wickham was quite the letter, but to be fair I do think him being untactful stems from him not knowing what to say in this situation and Mr. Collins presuming his time with the Bennets meant they were much closer than the Bennets thought they were. His letter doesn’t read to me as a cruel unfeeling man, but one that is not graced at emotional norms. We see where he tries to make the Bennets feel better, that maybe their parenting isn’t completely at fault for Lydia’s ruinous behavior, but perhaps it was a predestined occurrence that would have happened even if they were perfect parents. This isn’t what anyone would want to hear, but that is the exact type of thing people always say with tragedies when they aren’t sure what can be done to help. I would see this a lot when I used to work with grieving kids-people who have never experienced grief and want to do something to help will always say terrible things, not meaning to and not knowing it is the last thing the person wants to hear. I think that Mr. Collins knows he should say something to comfort his family- but that type of thing always happens to OTHER people, not people YOU know- and he asked Lady Catherine for advice (and she was zero help), and wrote a letter that was not soothing at all.

The other thing that bothers me about these adaptations with the Collinses, is we never see Mr. Collins at home relaxed. For instance, we see the real Mr. Darcy, once he is at Pemberley and all pretense has faded away. I would like an adaptation that shows Mr. Collins in a normal home situation, where he would be more comfortable and not trying to please everyone or show off his accomplishments.

So while Mr. Collins may have his annoying moments, is silly, socially unaware, untactful, a people pleaser, and presumes relationships are closer than they really are; he does have a good heart and he strikes me as someone who would be a good husband and treat his wife well. I would like to see an adaptation where he isn’t being compared to Mr. Bingley or Mr. Darcy; but where we have someone write his story.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice Audiobook Narrated by Kate Kellgren

For more Pride and Prejudice adaptations, go to An Affectionate Heart

For more on Mr. Collins, go to Charlotte’s Story

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Emma

Books, Tea, and the Trinity: Cheese Potato Crisps

Back in 2020, some friends and I started a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club. We met every Wednesday and worked our way through the Chronicles of Narnia and are currently working through the Lorien Legacies. When we started I resolved to share all the recipes, we make-but I haven’t gone through them as quickly as I hoped.

When we completed The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; and A Horse and His Boy; we moved on to book 4 Prince Caspian. This book is one of my favorites in the series as I love Prince Caspian (although the Disney version is horrible). Like A Horse and His Boy, this book did not mention a lot of specific foods, so we planned whatever we wanted to make.

As I wasn’t in charge of this book, there will be no discussion questions, just recipes.

Party time!

The first week we had Apple Cinnamon Scones: Salmon Radish Cucumber Canapés, Cinnamon Bread-Honey-Cheese-Apple and Ham Sandwiches, Kellogg’s Cheese Potato Crisps, and Applesauce Cake; all paired with Caroline’s Coffee Roaster Princess Earl Grey (as we needed to have some royal-tea).

This recipe comes from my Kellogg’s Cookbook.

These are better than French fries! We guarantee that once you try them, you’ll make these cheesy potatoes a standard at your table. Using different cheeses such as Monterey Jack, American, Swiss, or grated Parmesan cheese, and a bit of chili powder easily adds variety and keeps the dish interesting.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
  • 3 Large Baking Potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Paprika
  • 1/4 Cup of Sliced Scallions or Green Onions
  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray

Directions:

  1. Place the corn flakes in a reusable plastic bag.
  2. Seal the bag and, using a rolling pin, crush the flakes to a medium crumb.
  3. Open the bag and measure the crumbs, you should have 1 cup. Set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with Non-Stick Cooking Spray.
  6. Lay the potatoes on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Lightly coat with Non-Stick Cooking Spray.
  7. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt to taste.
  8. Sprinkle each potato with some of the cheese.
  9. Top with corn flake crumbs and a sprinkling of paprika.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven, without turning, for about 25 mins, or until potatoes are cooked through and golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and transfer to a serving platter.
  12. Serve with scallions or green onions.

These are so delicious. You can’t go wrong with potatoes and cheese! This is also easy to make, and doesn’t take that long to bake. I definitely recommend!

They may not be boiled but they are most excellent indeed!

For more from our Books, Tea, and the Trinity tea times, go to Rice Krispies Chocolate Chip Cookies

For more potato recipes, go to What Excellent Boiled Potatoes

For more recipes, go to Hummus and Veggie Sandwiches

For more tea posts, go to Spill the Tea: There & Back Again Cafe