An Insane Doctor, A Hysterical Herbalist, and Murder in a Magician’s Mansion + A Possible Persuasion Reference?

Ready for any case

So this year’s theme is “mysteries” in honor of Agatha Christie’s novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles turning 100 years old. To really have this theme be present I decided to review a mystery every month…somehow and ideally connecting it to Jane Austen.

Mystery, you say?

In January, I wasn’t sure what to do when I received a goblin in my mailbox.

It turned out to be a a mysterious package from The Mysterious Package Company

Ah, mysterious

So the last package seemed to be saying that there is something wrong with 27 East Heath Road

Haunted house!

The architect, Henry Griggs, had been going crazy trying to finish building the house, after his wife died-using all his money. He even felt as if something was there making him continue, something altering his plans, something controlling him.

The house was almost complete, but Griggs has descended into some kind of madness.

“The madness in the walls must not escape…I fear I shall be gone altogether…I fear harm may come to her [Lizzy]  if she is not sent to safety.”

He ends up putting his daughter in an orphanage and Griggs disappears, presumed dead.

Or is it?!

This package contained a lot of items and goes on a bit:

  • 1 Deed
  • 1 Letter from Dr. Jack S. Aigner
  • 4 Small Memorandum/ Doctor’s notes from Dr. William Elliot
  • Arsenic Druggist Note
  • A Page from Baldwin’s Physician’s Guide
  • 1 Large Memorandum/ Doctor’s notes from Dr. William Elliot
  • Dr. Elliott’s Tincture Receipt
  • 1 Poster for The Great Goodyear
  • 1 Great Goodyear flip book that showcases two of his illusions
  • Garden Diary of Héléne Ashworth
  • Elise Face Cosmetiques Label
  • Newspaper Clipping
  • A page from Charles Dickens’ The Chimes

So first of all, I saw Dr. Walter Elliott on the letters:

And as a Jane Austen fan my mind went:

This is 1888, I am going to believe this is Mr. Elliot’s great or great-great grandson, named after Sir Walter. I mean I don’t know if he married Mrs. Clay, but I do know that eventually he would have to secure his family line and inheritance.

So Dr. Walter Elliot, descendent of Mr. Elliot, has purchased 27 East Heath Road and everything inside the building for £420 sterling. I think he will regret this…

So Dr. Elliot has a conservatory and grows herbs but according to his former instructor Dr. Jack S. Aigner, Dr. Elliot is sensitive, insecure of whether or not he is a good doctor, creates different tonics and medicines; AND medicates/tests himself. Uh, oh. Oh no, that does not sound good.

Dr. Aiger mentions the room he is using to treat patients and that it holds a mirror, but it is placed strange on the wrong wall. It should be behind the patient, not in front, but it will be good if he wants to try self-hypnosis. There is a young girl he is trying to help that is an interesting case. Hmm…could it be Elizabeth Griggs?

Then we have Dr. Elliot’s notes on the patient, although not all of them. He mysteriously chose to remove the notes in his patient from September 1889-October 1891, us picking it up in October 1891.

His patient is interesting…she wants to be in the room alone and when he stepped out as she said she heard footfalls in hallway, she moved the flowers in the office, why?

She likes the tincture he gave her, which pleases him as he is really getting the use out of his conservatory.

The next notes are from February 1889, and we are given that the name is on Beth Siggers 15 years old. The DOB is inked out, but we know it is 1874. Could this be Elizabeth Griggs? Just her name changed so the Doctor doesn’t connect it to the architect if the house?

Hmm…

Beth comes to see Dr. Elliot because she is suffering headaches and shortness of breath, but when she came in she would not sit, instead touching and knocking into everything-walls, tables, the mirror, etc. Searching…but for what? He thinks she faked the illness but why? He gives her some tincture and she leaves.

Weird…

March 1889

Beth continues to return to the Doctor’s office, but every time she has a different ailment. Obviously she is suffering from a mental issue rather than a physical ones, but what and why?

She returns another time and says she left her bag behind, but when he finds her he sees she isn’t in the reception area but on the main staircase as she got “turned around”. Strange behavior, the doctor prescribes tonic.

Hmmm…

April 1889

She seems much better, although she is fixated on the mirror. The doctor looked at it and thought he saw a face in it, but that is just nonsense. He gives her 1/2 bottle of tonic.

She returns later complaining the tonic is too strong, and Dr. Elliot watered it down and 1/2 the dose-1/4 tonic. It’s strange, he notices the hallway door is ajar. That keeps happening every time Beth comes to his office.

Spooky…

May 1889

Beth returns, upset and acting strange: pulse elevated and pupils dilated. Dr. Elliot thinks it is just “spring fever” and gives previous mixture and dosage.

Hmm…strange

June 1889

Beth has been by again and Dr. Eliot thinks he saw a figure in the mirror, again. He has always hated the way the mirror was fixed in the wall. He searches, but there is nothing there. Dr. Elliot begins to worry that maybe the tincture he took and tested on himself might be giving him hallucinations.

July 1889

Dr. Elliot has decided to no longer see Beth. He tells her and later that evening he discovers she has hid in the parlour…weird why? She begs him to let her come back and he agrees for one more time.

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!! Something is wrong with this girl-you need to get way from her.

January 1892

Dr. Elliot feels watched and puzzles over the patient. Maybe he should stop seeing her, nothing seems to be changing.

YES!!! STOP SEEING HER SOMETHING ISN’T RIGHT!! But of course he won’t listen. He will continue and things are going to go wrong.

February 1892

Things are getting worse. After Beth comes poking on walls, knocking here and there, looking in corners, seeing things that aren’t there, Dr. Elliot too starts to feel as if there are spirits, ghosts, or something in the house. He tries to talk himself out of it but wonders.

He continues his experiments and taking the tincture. Oh no Dr. Elliot, don’t test on yourself!

In another set of letters from February 1892 to Jack, Dr. Elliot mentions a page with ciphers from Baldwin’s Physcian’s Guide. The page is included with these lines underlined:

“…what can be gained from inclusive speculation on the subject?”

“…physiognomy is mere judgement, assumption, and, in some cases, coincidence.”

On the back is an image that looks out of the Grimm texts and has some strange ciphers on it.

In his letter he has figured out what two of the symbols mean, an E & R.

Meanwhile, Griggs’ daughter, Beth, continues to see the doctor and every visit something odd happens. The flowers espechially always seem to be moved.

Beth keeps talking about something she sees under hypnosis so Dr. Elliot decides to test it and takes extra tincture.

Don’t Do it!!! Stop!!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

There is a receipt for his tincture and on the back it says:

“You’ve got the right bottle, doctor.” With a bunch of symbols.

DON’T DO IT!!!!!

Dr. Elliot gets some cramps but about 30 mins in, he sees a figure in the mirror, or looking to come out of the mirror…

He leans toward the mirror and the figure was gone. He searched the house for it and found the dispensary unlocked, even though he always locks it.

He decides to increase the dose and do it again, adding to his letter later-he does and it says:

“I see it! It comes…”

And that is the end of Dr. Elliot. I’m assuming he died. Poor guy, you shouldn’t have tested on yourself-you shouldn’t have delved into the unknown, espechially on your own.

You’re crazy!
Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.

There is no more correspondence, we then switch to the second half of the package.

Time to get on the case!

The next item in the package is the garden diary of Héléne Ashworth.

June 1892

The house has been sold to the Great Goodyear, Claude Goodyear, and his muse, assistant, and wife Héléne Ashworth. The name sounds familiar, but I’m not sure why.

Where have I read or seen that name before?

Their friend, Lilibeth, let them know about 27 East Heath Road becoming available after the doctor died. It seems he accidentally took too much of his medicine, although some whisper it was a suicide.

Claude loves the room with the mirror in it, as it can help him to practice his tricks and Héléne loves having the conservatory as she is a gardener. She has taken inventory about the plants and discovered hemlock. Hemlock? Why would a doctor need that?

Strange…

Claude jokes about ghosts in the walls as the house does make noise, but Héléne is not afraid. She loves her new house.

Ghosts?

July 1893

Héléne’s garden is doing well except for the calla lilies and forget-me-nots she planted. Instead the hyacinth, lavender, and dragonwort are doing extremely well-even though she did not plant them. There is no way Claude did so where did they come from?

At 27 East Heath Road.

Héléne believes in the language of flowers and these ones that mysteriously appeared mean constancy, devotion, and twice twisted. Hmm…maybe it means something twice twisted in the house? Devoted to it?

Hmm…

Let’s see-hemlock was poisonous, are these too? Let me look…yes, hyacinth bulbs are poisonous and touching them causes skin irritation. So lavender is used in food and perfumes so it is okay to take, but it can cause constipation, headache, and skin irritation in some people. Dragonwort is used to stop bleeding. So again, doesn’t seem too bad.

Hmmm…

There are a lot of strange herbs Héléne doesn’t know growing as well. She also discovers two more letters of the cipher-M & Y.

Another entry:

Claude is doing extremely well and even gets to perform at the famous Egyptian Hall. Héléne is so excited to perform, but Claude wants her to quit now that they are married. Hmmm…

Meanwhile, Héléne feels watched in the house. She wants to mention it to her husband, but decides not to worry him before a big show. On a sad note all the Calla lilies died, just like their hopes for a baby.

May 1895

Héléne is no longer allowed to perform, Claude thinking that is what caused them to have a miscarriage. Try as she might the yellow hyacinth (jealousy) keeps growing, and Héléne is convinced there is a curse on this house-a curse keeping a cild from being born, her nice and kind flowers from growing, and the hyacinth strong.

Later entry:

Héléne finds more and more deadly plants-nightshade and monkshood. She also sees the gruesome figure from her nightmares. She tries to tell her husband but he doesn’t listen, saying the illusions have turned her head.

June 1895

Claude has refused two engagements and is very upset. He is convinced spies are coming into the halls and watching/copying his ideas. He continues to practice in the room with the mirror and won’t let anyone into it, not even Héléne.

Héléne is very hurt and upset as she and Claude grow farther and farther apart. Sometimes Héléne pus on the old costumes and performs in front of the plants-wishing she could still be on the stage.

Lilibet has grown worried about Héléne and has taken up spiritualism and becoming a very famous medium. Lilibet and Héléne have known each other since girlhood and Héléne decides to throw a get together and help Lilibet. I’m starting to think Lilibet is Elizabeth “Beth” Griggs. Maybe Héléne was in the orphanage? I’ll check. The records say she is, ah “…the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life” (A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) is Elizabeth Griggs.

And it is “…our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.” (A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Mystery, you say?

September 1895

Liliibet otherwise known as Mrs. Alizbeta Divak has asked Hélene to join in. Helene has created the character Madame Solandra, wears black bombazine, and pale makeup that comes from the Elise makeup company. There is a label from Elise Cosmetiques and it has a message on the back:

“YOU THINK TO HIDE YOURSELF FROM ME?”

Followed by the ciphers.

Claude does not approve of spiritualism, Helene has to hide it from him.

November 1896

They held the seance but things did not go as planned, A real spirit came from the mirror shouting at them “interlopers! Be gone!”

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

When Héléne did the automatic writing it was if someone else was controlling her. Helene faints and when she awakens, it is Lilibet giving her smelling salts.

Oh no, the smelling salts were poisoned with the Doctor’s medicine.

Nooo

Lilibet preetends it didn’t happen, but Héléne knows it was real. She however feels very sick.

December 1896

Helene is still sick and supposed to be in bed, but has found a strange hidden doorway and secret hidden rooms in the house  But is it real? She is fading in and out and unsure.

But no! She found it! She has found a secret door in the conservatory, as soon as she is stronger she will investigate it!

Time to get on the case!

January 1897

Helene’s passage is a strange one. She believes the phantom is walking the house and Claude has all but disappeared. Is there a spirit in her home? A man? Or is her husband gaslighting her?

Gaslight (1944)

And all her flowers were ripped up? Why would the phantom want to do that?Why put dirt on her hands after?

Claude is yelling and locking Helene in her room refusing Lilibet to come in. But she has found a way out. She will follow the wallpaper and escape that way…

That is the last entry in the journal.

This felt a lot like The Yellow Wallpaper, the short story where the lady goes mad and her husband locks her up (or did her husband lock her up and then she went mad?)

Hmmm…is there a phantom or just an evil husband?

Gaslight (1944)

Next we have a newspaper clipping “Murder at the Mad Magician’s Mansion”. 

The wife of The Great Goodyear, Claude Goodyear, has been found dead in her home, found by her husband when he returned from performing.

Héléne’s face was frozen in terror and the inquest found that she had been poisoned-even though she was alone in the house and it was locked up tight. But by who? And how?

Of course authorities looked at the husband first, but it was impossible for him to slip away as he was performing and his every moment had witnesses.

Hmmm…

Her body was strangely found, it looked as if she was trying to crawl out of a small under-stairs cupboard with her face frozen, and hair turned white.

It appears Claude has lost his mind at his wife’s death. He warns people of a gruesome phantom moving in his house, warning people to stay far away.

After two incidents, one of him claiming a police constable to be a monster, he was relocated to the Broadmoor Asylum for the Criminally Insane.

Aw, that’s sad.

And last a page ripped out of Charles Dicken’s The Chimes with the following words underlined:

“Monsters uncouth and wild, arise in premature, imperfect resurrection; the several parts and shapes of different things are joined and mixed by chance..”

“Haunt and hunt him…”

“Bleak his slumbers…”

“he saw this WITH Goblin sight…”

“…saw these creatures, not only among sleeping men but waking also…”

There are more marks of the secret language written in the margin.

Hmmm…

I have been working on decoding it, and I think I’ve figures out a few letters based on what they gave me and just common sense of filling in the blanks, but there are some I am just not sure of.

Hmm…

So I am getting a Phantom of the Opera vibe from this (I love The Phantom of the Opera)

So in the original story of The Phantom of the Opera, one of Erik’s (the phantom’s) many talents was architecture and he builds the opera house-creating his secret home and all the passages, using the mirror as a door to bring Christine to his lair.

I think Henry Griggs is alive! And living in the house he built, probably a secret passage in the mirror. I’m just not sure if he is killing people because he us possessed by something or because he thinks if he does he will have his house back. I’ll have to wait and see.

Hmmm…

A lot of stuff came in this package and I did my best to try and put it all in one picture:

For more from The Mysterious Package Company, go to A Goblin in My Mailbox

For more insane doctors, go to Mr. Hyde Versus the Werewolf: Dr. Jekyll Versus the Werewolf (1972)

For more Persuasion, go to The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

For more mysteries, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

For more ghosts, go to North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

Death By Persuasion: Midsomer Murders (2017)

Do you love Jane Austen and Halloween? Do you feel like this?

Well then, we have a post for you!

MidsomerMurders-76846

So after DCI Barnaby (John Nettles) left I really stopped watching the new Midsomer Murders, and instead just rewatched the old ones. Every time I watched I got to where they made the switch, I would get a little farther, but then stop as it just wasn’t the same.

I hate when the person you love leaves.

I’m not happy…

However, my interest was sparked when my mother, who continued watching, told me about this episode and someone who follows me on instragam mentioned it too. I tried to find the comment, but no luck-I knew I needed to review it for Horrorfest.

You know me:

Or book lovers

So here we are:

So to begin with, such a beautiful house. So lovely. Every one is in Austen Regency wear. It is like Austenland. I wish I could go.

Or something that somewhat resembles it.

Gorgeous…but wait a second. A young girl receives a note and goes running off. That’s not unusual, but a drone overhead is watching her. Creepy.

Spooky…

A person in  blue coat and black gloves grabs her and carries her off, the drone missing everything but the dead body.

John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) is at home when he gets called in by Detective Sergeant Jamie Winter, who I don’t care for. None of the DS were as good as Ben, he was he best!

The dream team!

Anywho, Jamie talks to Mrs. Barnaby who’s woking on a Georgian historical novel. Wow what a coincidence!

Surprise, surprise

So moving along we are in the village Doctor’s office where a lady, Mary Osgood, is upset that her boss and secretary have “taken time off”-just so you know, yes, they are in Austenland.

Ronin Chow has the Mary load the drone as they are testing healthcare by air. It goes by where the police are investigating. So the victim is female and was found stabbed in the countryside. Bonnet askew. It appears the girl was stabbed in the neck with a feather? Interesting.

They have found no ID, wallet, etc. Makes sense as she is in full Austen gear. They do find a remnant of a note on her hand. It looks as if someone tried to rip it out.

They discover a syringe and Winter makes a dumb joke. I just don’t like him!

Meanwhile, there are a group of ladies and gents enjoying Jane Austen. Katherine (Claire Skinner) and James Osgood (Samuel West) are the owners who recreate Austen, their teenage daughter Polly isn’t into it and upset about being in that “world”.

The murdered woman turns out to be Samantha Berry from London. She was a single journalist, out on vacarion to “Austenland”.

They question the owners, but they aren’t very helpful. They describe their vacation as “gorgeous Georgians” in an attempt to make money to continue to care for their home.

Polly, however, has information as she shares that Samantha was super nosy-asking a lot of questions-even sneaking out.

Hmm…

It turns out the “missing” receptionist Jane Everard and Dr. Solomon Franks are at the event. The doctor being the one people are after as he’s the “resident Mr. Darcy.” Although we never spend anytime with him or really see him again in this episode. WOW, you think that an episode that is supposed to be Jane Austen themed, spends hardly any time on Mr. Darcy.

So John (I can’t call him Barnaby) and Winters find out that the head of the Jane Austen Friendship Circle is not a fan of the “Gorgeous Georgians” and decide to question her.

They go through Samantha’s things and find a lot of news articles about the drone delivery! Ah, so the Dr. and his secretary just happen to be at this event and Samantha is investigating them. Interesting, obviously the doctor and receptionists will play big parts in this as Austen will be a major theme, right?

Majorly

Yes, they are supposed to be Darcy and Elizabeth, but we NEVER see them!

I’m not happy

Katherine’s sister comes and to be honest I can see why Polly is not into it. They treat her like crap making her do everything. They should have hired at least one footman.

James looks at Katherine’s sister in a strange way and could they be involved? I wouldn’t put it past this show. Remember how the uncle in Candlestick says that everyone is also messing around with each other on Midsomer Murders. 

This was a good film.

James receives a suspicious phone call. Hmm…

Hmmm…

They go to speak to Ronin and Doug Vaughan, the Drone people about the drones to see if they have anything. They don’t recognize her picture and Winter asks about cameras, but they say they don’t have any on the droids.

They are lying!

Gemma, leader of the Jane Austen Friendship Circle, hates the Gorgeous Georgians. She owns the tearoom  where Jane Austen “visited” and talks about how she knows the history-although it sounds like she may be making up her intellectual background.

Hmm…

He asks what Jane would have written with and she says a goose feather quill pen. She goes to show him but it is missing, and it turns out to be the one used to murder Samantha.

Hmm…

They go to the pub and question Katherine’s sister, Nell. Nell’s husband Ray is an ex-cop who owns the only other key to the case that held the the quill pen.

Well we know its not him, too obvious and unfortunately we have a lot more to this episode to go.

That night someone breaks into the lab and they destroy Ronin’s laptop.

Hmmm

John’s wife is headed to the Grange, Gorgeous Georgians, to the dance being held there and is excited about her husband coming. He is less enthused.

It turns out that she was poisoned by the pen and asphyxiated. Someone did a poison pen-obviously supposed to be a metaphor.

They head over to the lab and find it odd that nothing was taken just the laptop being destroyed. There is nothing to be had on it…or is there?

Hmmm?

The pharmacist is pleased that someone broke in and she is planning something with Gemma the teashop owner.

They question the pharmacist and it turns out that Samantha was investigating James and Katherine. She wasn’t any help as they got together in London, but they never seemed to match up to her. She mentions about his “private life is his private life.” Sounds like he is probably into guys. That’s the way they tend to lead with these shows when they say “private life.”

He questions about  the drug SUX, what was used to kill Samantha and she or the Dr. could have done it.

Hmm…

Back with the Austenites. They are writing, while the Doctor. puts the moves on his secretary. We see an Austen scene in an Austen-themed episode for like 5 MINS!!! 5 MINS!!!!!!!!!

This is why most if us are watching!

Why would you only have a smidge of Austen and be going into drones and such???!!!

How does this make any sense?!!

So they look at where the drone delivered, but none went near where she was killed. But they aren’t the only one with drones. Hint hint…

They go to speak to Walter Osgood the last person Berry spoke to and former headmaster at the school who lost his job for capital punishment. He was caught on camera by a drone filmed by Doug Vaughn. Hmm, I thought Doug said that his drones had no cameras on it.

Walter shares that Doug hated James as they’ve been fighting a loooong time. They ask about Samantha, but Walter never met her. She called about when James and Katherine met.

At the time of the murder he said he was fishing and saw the Dr. over by the river. Ah…interesting! Polly said that he was seen sweaty and late to the picnic.

Hmmm…I don’t know it seems to easy…

They question the Doctor and he says they must be mistaken. They question about him getting medicine and he reveals that he takes the medicine. He was in a car accident and basically is like House but nicer.

He said he didn’t hear anyone, bur he did hear a drone.

Hmm, …

James meets with his brother-in-law. A drone watches them, filming. But before we cann see them doing anything, there is a commercial break of course.

We then see the beautiful house and James at the computer being emailed a threatening note “I SAW YOU”  “DON”T IGNORE ME” and a picture of Samantha dead. A drone then flies up to the house carrying something. Weeeeell…I think it is obvious who is blackmailing James. Who else has drones and hates him.

And more importantly where is the Jane Austen!! Why are so focused on drones?

Hmm…

James goes to Doug thinking that he sent the emails. He wants James to invest in his drone company. Doug says he doesn’t know who sent the emails, but tries to blackmail him. Doug says that he will tell Kitty all about it.

Yep, he is cheating on his wife, most likely with a guy. I can already tell. There is no other it than a secret child. Maybe Samantha is his secret child-Nah it is an affair.

So while this is an okay mystery, I wish there was MORE Jane Austen in a Jane Austen themed episode. This mystery has nothing to do with it. When the older episodes did a theme, they really went all out. Like the magician episode, the movie one, etc. This kind of feels like they are just pandering to people to get them to watch it, but it has nothing to do with Jane Austen herself or the books. All we’ve had so far is one cameo by the guy who played Mr. Elliot in Persuasion (1995) and one Mr. Darcy reference. Like this episode could be switched out with anything else and would be exactly he same. I am not happy.

So back to this James is angry and shouts at Doug, Doug tells him you can’t bully me anymore. And I’m pretty bored.

Blah, blah

James storms out and Doug is mad his plan didn’t work. He threatens him not to ignore him. Walter heads out to the ball. James is preoccupied with what’s going on and wonders if they should have returned to the Grange. Kitty is in her own make believe world all is okay when it isn’t. Kitty is upset and talks to her sister who isn’t thinking her marriage is going all that well, either.

John and Winters dress up and they look sharp. John’s wife and the fill0in ME Petra arrive. Polly is serving all, the only one, and very unhappy-storms off. Nell tries to talk to James but he’s not having it and he storms off (must be where she learned it from).

Polly speaks on the phone to someone about having enough to get to Ibiza and mentions it takes two to get corsets off so she is romantically involved with someone.

So I’m watching this, and I realize that so far there has only been one death. That’s really odd. There is typically at least three.

They travel to where Polly was calling as they spotted her from the window and discover Samantha’s phone and a change of clothing.

The Doctor is trying to romance his secretary but she is unsure if he means it or play acting. Wow it is like that awesome movie, except a suckier version.

And just because we all need a little Austenland in our lives:

Barnaby’s wife talks about how Petra pointed out that there was a fire in the house, as the sides buckle from where there was intense heat. Gee amazing how that just happened to be this fill-in ME’s hobby. Now why this is relevant I don’t know but I do know it sure will be important later.

So who will die next Polly or James. I’m thinking Polly since she’s involved in some double dealing money scheme. At the party Ronin comes and kisses Polly, meanwhile a person in black and gloves steals a shotgun and shells.

John hears them and sees them through the mirror. Winters runs but doesn’t catch them, he gets hit by a car instead.

Huh?

The car stops and when they open it they find Gemma. Interesting…

They question Gemma who says she wanted to see the dresses and dancing, heard the shot and tried to takeoff before anyone spotted her. They take her down to be processed.

Polly checks on her dad who is drinking and down in the dumps. He apologizes for coming back and hugs her. HMMMM?

Hmm…

Barnaby decides that the shot was a warning and the fire is a new lead he needs to look into. Why? Why would he care about a fire? What does this have anything to do with Samantha Berry? Why would any cop decide to do this?? THIS EPISODE MAKES ZERO SENSE!!!!!!!!!! ZERO!!!!!!! ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m not happy

AND WHY IS THERE HARDLY ANY JANE AUSTEN!!! He hasn’t even read the books or watched the movies!!! Barnaby, the real one would have! Or he would have had Joyce do it and then summarize it for him!!!!

IT’S NOT WHAT I WANT!

A drone flies overhead and the pharmacist sends something off with Gemma. What are these ladies up to? Do I really care?

They got into Samantha’s phone which has an old picture 28 years ago of James, Kitty, and  a guy named Fullerton who went to jail for arson 12 years ago and manslaughter as he killed a maid on accident. They can’t question him as he died a few months ago. Big shocker there, NOT!

John thinks the her in the note’s “Meet me I’ll tell you all about…her” might be something like brother? Maybe father?

Hmmm…

John and Winter go to question Kitty about the fire and Jamie Fullerton. Kitty doesn’t give that much info-a stone. A drone flies overhead and the coppers are off. Polly got a package. James goes to see Doug with a duffel bag-payoff. Doug needles him, and James storms off.

The cops head over to the lab just as James is leaving. They come to speak to Ronin about his “unofficial” business-using the drone for other deliveries

They question about Ronin lending Ray the drone, Ray who was the arresting officer, which is weird as why would they be friends. Ronin insists they were as Ray saved him from doing hard time.

To be honest I REALLY don’t care This episode is boring.

BORED!!

Ronin shares that he was flying the drone as he was filming for James, you know Austen footage to put on the website. He shares how he followed her and lost her in the woods, but found her dead. So why didn’t he share it with the officers?

The evidence was stolen in the lab break in, but he does remember seeing that the guy wore a blue jacket with a unicorn on it. But a ton of people have them as they gave them away for a walk for charity.

Hmm…

He asks Ray and Kitty’s sis about Johnny Fullerton. but no info.

Doug is angry that Ronin would betray him, and Ronin says he’s not long for here. He’ll be taking off with Polly. As soon as Doug is gone, Ronin goes upstairs and on his laptop. He looks into James’ file and sees that Doug has been spying on him and has a lot of pics. Then he sees something very important and dials someone. He sees who was wearing the coat!

Winters and John go to talk to Gemma. She lied about going to Oxford University, called it.

Ronin tells Polly he missed something and as he walks out he is followed by a drone. Ronin’s going to die. Ronin is telling someone he knows who killed Samantha when the drone drops a knife on him and he dies.

What’s going on?

John comes to check out Ray’s drone, but it is gone and Ray is “out”.

Winters goes to talk to the pharmacist and finds Gemma and the pharmacist. It turns out that they have been undermining the drone trial as Gemma and the pharmacist had their own side business of delivering.

So John questions Polly. Kitty interrupts saying she wants to help as she knows how complicated first love can be. I bet she was involved with James Fullerton.

They question Walter and James about Doug. The two don’t like him so why would James invest.

So after that we get hit with three important clues-1) Doug’s fingerprint was found on the shotgun, 2) the photo albums belonged to Kitty (where Samantha git the pics), and 3) James Fullerton Grange firebug was Samantha’s father. I think we can all see what the conclusion is, but let’s continue.

Ugh!

Samantha only met her father once-what did he say that brought her to the village.

Meanwhile, Doug has been following James-pretty obsessed with him.

Ry goes to see him and shows his video-them making out is my guess. Ray and Doug fight while the video plays, Doug manages to send it to Ray’s wife Nell and yep-the guys were making out.

I hope they lock Doug up-he’s a total creep. Stalking, harassment, blackmail,etc He tries to play it off that James deserved it but I don’t like him.

I don’t care for anyone on this episode.

Poor Nell. Why get married if you were into guys? Really? Seriously, why mess up her life and make her think something was wrong with her.

Back at the Grange nothing is quite right. The Dr. and Jane are trying to get together, he proposing to her. I DON’T CARE! Neither one acted like an “Austen” character and we spend zero time with them. Who cares?

James tells Kitty they HAVE TO TALK. Meanwhile they question Ray, but he lied about his whereabouts earlier. Both times of the deaths he went to see James

After the fire Ray and James were together, but when Kitty became pregnant from James he and Kitty went to London and Ray married Nell . Everything was fine until they came back, was it really though? I mean both men were living a lie and married a girls and ruined their lives.

Nell goes off to be with her sister who just found out the truth about her husband.

They question Ray about Johnny Fullerton and he tells them that Johnny loved Kitty, they were together until the fire. Johnny came to see Kitty after he was out of jail but she had left by then.

Meanwhile, Winters is going through the computer and finds a pic of the killer. We don’t get to see it though. All converge to the Grange so we can have a reveal.

Finally! This is almost over!

Kitty is heartbroken that he never loved her, that he married her even though he cared naught for her. Poor Kitty.

She grabs a torch and lights it going toward James. Is she going to set him on fire?

She puts the fire in his face to try and get the truth out of him .

Johnny Fullerton was Kitty’s first love.

Knew it. Johnny went to prison because Kitty started the fire. Knew that to, sooo obvious. Kitty got drunk, was crying, and knocked over an electric heater. It caught the curtains and the maid died. Why didn’t she say it was an accident? She would have easily gotten off. Dumb!

Johnny told Samantha about the fire and she started investigating. Nell killed Samantha, she used to be a nurse and wore her husband’s jacket.

Kitty finds out that Johnny came back to see her but Nell didn’t tell her to protect her. Kitty says why not and Nell said it was because she was married. Kitty says again why not as “I wasn’t happy” and it pans to James who his all offended. Really James, really?

You lied to her as you never loved her, was cheating on her, and is offended that she was unhappy in your marriage?

Both sisters go off to prison. Ugh.

Winter said he never read any Jane Austen and I think the writers of this episode didn’t either.

Did you even read the books! Or watch a movie?!!

It end with the Dr and Jane together-who cares we know zilch about them.

I didn’t like it.

I mean in the other Barnaby episodes you have ones that focused on archaeologist, writers, musicians, and they really concentrated on the theme this did not.

We knew hardly anything about these characters so I didn’t care who lived or died, the older episodes did far better. And there were only two deaths, usually there are three.

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more on Midsomer Murders, go to A Book Considered Too Dangerous to Keep: The Magician’s Nephew, Midsomer Murders (2008)

For more Jane Austen, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

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

Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd

For those of you who might have missed the last post, Rational Creatures is an anthology of short stories on the different women of Jane Austen:

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

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

This one is on Persuasion:

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

Hmm…

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

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

An Unnatural Beginning by Elizabeth Adams

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

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

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

He was not Frederick Wentworth.”

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

With him

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

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

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

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

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

Both hands are up!

But that ending though. It pierces the heart.

 

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

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

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

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

Where the Sky Touches the Sea by KaraLynne Mackrory

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

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

I’m so sad and happy!

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

So romantic! So cute!

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

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

The Art of Pleasing by Lona Manning

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

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

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

Ouch

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

Sucks to be you

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

Smarming and plotting away.

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

Hmmm

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

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

I whispered, ‘Yes.”

She and Mr. Elliot deserve each other.

Good job!

And this was perfect right after the two sadder stories.

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

Louisa by the Sea by Beau North

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

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

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

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

So romantic! So cute!

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

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

Hmmm….

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

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

Aw! Squee!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 1, The Journey Ahead

So do you all remember the film Big? Tom Hanks is a preteen that wishes to be “big” and becomes a 30-year old man?

He tries to find a Zoltar machine to change him back, but meanwhile works for a toy company to make money. Because of his childlike understanding, he moves straight to the top of the company.

Now his idea for a new toy is a computer game/book that you read but get to make choices as to what will happen next. Well Choices is that.

What?

So a while back they had a preview for an Austenlike game Desire & Decorum

You know me and anything Austenlike or Austen related:

So as soon as it was avliable I decided to play:

You have the choice of being male or female and name. You can also customize your avatar and purchase extras if you want.

So the story is set in 1816 in the country village of Grovershire, England. You have enjoyed your life there but your mother is very ill, and on her deathbed reveals a secret. You have never known your father, but your mother reveals that he is the Earl of Edgewater, a very wealthy and powerful man. The two were in love, but his family drove them apart-and she went to Grovershire. How do you feel? You make the choice.

With the death of your mother you head to Edgewater and to meet your father and his family. Now this is an interesting concept to go with, being born out of wedlock in 1816-not the best way to be treated.

It was very hard when you were considered an “illegetimate” child. You had no legal right to any inheritance unless “an explicit, specific, uncontested written bequest, and inheriting a title from a parent was rare indeed, though not, as we’ve seen, quite impossible.

Ouch

So you are taken to Edgewater and meet your paternal grandmother the Dowager Countess who is quite spunky. Is she an ally? Or will she try and remove you like your mother was removed?

Hmm…

You also meet Mr. Ernest Sinclaire, master of the nearby Ledford Park. He’s handsome, rich, and also the rude man that almost ran you down on his horse a couple days ago. Yes, you have met him before.

I wonder which Austen hero he will be like? Romantic and wise like Colonel Brandon? Idealistic and does the right thing like Edward Ferrars? Broody and serious Darcy? Playful and stern like Mr. Knightley? Serious like Edmund Bertram? Playful like Mr. Tilney? Passionate like Captain Wentworth?

Hmm…

Or will he be a rogue? Sacrifices love for money like Mr. Willoughby? Selfish and narcissistic like Mr. Wickham? An annoying brown-noser like Mr. Collins? A  cruel social climber like Mr. Elton? Only thinks of himself like Frank Churchill? Manipulative like John Thorpe or Captain Tilney? Plotting and cunning like Mr. Elliot?

Hmm…

But more importantly, what about your father. Will he accept you or reject you?

For more Jane Austen games, go to Jane Austen Manors

For more based on Jane Austen, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

For more Jane Austen stuff, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy final

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos

“Pride takes a hit in this Austen Misadventure”

So this was on my list of Pride & Prejudice-inspired books/films/etc and I have to say it was much better than I expected. I liked how it wasn’t trying to retell the story of Pride & Prejudice, but express the author’s love of the books and films.It is very similar to the film I Want to Marry Ryan Banks, so if you’ve seen that movie and liked it you’ll like this book.

The story starts off with 39 year old, mother of one, divorceé, Chloe Parker. Chloe loves Jane Austen. In fact her motto is:

Anyways, so she enters a contest to compete in a documentary about Janeites. Each contestant will live in a Regency-esque world where they will compete in answering Austen Trivia, the winner receiving $100,000. Chloe really needs the money as her old-fashioned letterpress business is starting to tank and she might end up having to foreclose on her house.

Noooo!

Chloe figures that this contest is in the bag as she knows oodles about Jane Austen, her books, and Regency trivia. This whole contest is supposed to a throwback to how life used to be. No phones, computers, texting, tweeting, facebooking, myspacing, etc. She can’t wait.

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When Chloe arrives on the set she finds out that the show isn’t a documentary about Janeites, but is in reality a dating show, a sort of Bachelor-esque one.

You-serious?-Not-happening-babe!

Chloe is in shock and utter disbelief. She decides that she is through with it as a reality show is something she never wanted to EVER be on. She is utterly mortified that she was almost on a Flavor of Love or Farmer Takes a Wife show.

George the producer and director convinces her to stay as he promises that this is vastly different from those other shows as it is all about Regency courtship. No hot tubs, none of those outlandish ways to try and win the guy; but all about proper Regency courtship; no touching, no drinking, no alone time (everything is chaperoned), and to win special outings/events with the bachelor, the contestants had to participate in Regency-esque activities, racking up points. The bachelor is Mr. Wrightman, a wealthy individual who is tired of women being after his money and is looking for love the old-fashioned way. All Chloe has to do is play the part of a down on her luck American heiress who is eager to win a man with title and wealth. It seems so easy, and how can she say no to an Janeite experience with a hot guy and a chance at a ton of money?

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So now Chloe is dressed in a 19th century style muslin dress, wearing lemon deodorant, and has a reticule full of vinaigrette (to avoid nasty smells), a fan, calling cards, gloves, and a bonnet.

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She is given a fake bio about her family, with the writer’s trying to keep it as close to her reality as possible. As she has English blood on her maternal side they wrote that her mother is English while her father is American, making her daughter Abigail her sister for the bio.

Hmm…

This is another thing I felt was a bit odd. If the whole dating show is supposed to take place in 1812 why have an American contestant? Would she have even been able to travel over with the blockades? Wouldn’t it have looked like her family was partial to the American side? Wouldn’t it make the English dislike/distrust her? Why not set it in 1811 or late 1815? And being the only American, man that’s going to be hard on her.

They give the contestants carriage rides to the house, Bridgesbridge, where the women are staying, and as they are riding there, Chloe hears a gunshot and the carriage stops dead in its tracks. Lady Grace of the d’Agrgent family, another contestant, has a pistol and was shooting, “accidentally” hitting the carriage. Chloe has a freakout and faints dead away.

She awakens in her new bedroom under Mr. Wrightman MD’s care. In fact he carried her in from the carriage area (just like Colonel Brandon in Sense & Sensibility)

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While even though being unconscious and thinking she’d been shot (when her carriage really had just turned a wheel) made her feel like an idiot, she does love the idea of Mr. Wrightman having carried her. While Mr. Wrightman isn’t exactly what she pictured (a handsome, blond, spectacle wearing, kind looking man rather than the tall, dark, and brooding Darcy-esque man that she was expecting) she is happy to have made his acquaintance.

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Chloe also meets her chaperone (as her character is unmarried she has to have one), Mrs. Crescent, who is very pregnant and ready to give birth anytime soon. Chloe also gets another dose of Lady Grace, the most annoying, vile, and irritating woman: a perfect villain.

Chloe isn’t one to stand idly by, but manages to put in quite a few of her own barbs, such as telling Grace that perhaps she will get bullet pudding tonight. She also one ups Grace by stating her father always called her a princess, a rank higher than Lady.

Don't mess with me!

Don’t mess with me!

She also finds out that all the other girls in the house have been there for three weeks already and she was chosen to replace a girl who had to go home due to a family emergency. Chloe feels soooo far behind and doesn’t know how she will ever catch up.

She also finds out that Regency England is lacking in quite a few ways. Besides the lemon deodorant there is weak tea because of the “Napoleonic Wars“, micro amounts of butter, no salt, no pepper, etc. They get a small cake of soap a week, a bath a week, etc.

That would be the hardest thing for me. I was actually surprised that they were able to find as many people who would be willing to give up such niceties. Deodorant, toothpaste, food with taste, soap, indoor plumbing, etc; I know that there are some things I cannot live without and I don’t know if I could go weeks without them: I NEED my indoor plumbing. I also couldn’t do a bath only on Sundays. And I’m half-Mexican, I need spice in my food! I can’t live on bland.

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To make matters worse, any thought of bowing out was quickly destroyed when she hears that her chaperone Mrs. Crescent is eager to win because her child, William, has a tumor and needs an expensive operation. If Chloe wins Mr. Wrightman than Mrs. Crescent gets money too.

Chloe’s having a slight meltdown and all she wants to do is take a shower. Unfortunately as those don’t happen until Sunday, and today is Monday. She can’t handle not getting cleaned up and just happens to look out her window and see a pond. As every true Austenite has seen Pride & Prejudice (1995) she gets the idea of taking a bath in the pond. While she can’t dive in completely like Colin Firth, she is still able to clean a majority of her body.

Just like Mr. Darcy, Chloe is also caught, but by two attractive men. The first is this tall, dark, handsome, Darcy-ian man. He tries to talk to her, but she is so embarrassed that he caught her she is rude to him. He warns her that she is on Darthworth property which is grounds for termination. As she is gathering her belongings and leaving, she runs into Mr. Wrightman. As Chloe tries to explain what was happening, Mr. Wrightman makes a reference to P&P (1995) telling her that he was hoping she would emerge in a white shirt. Chloe is all:

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The two have a great conversation together and Chloe is amazed at how well they seem to click. In fact, Chloe is starting to think maybe this won’t be so stupid, but perhaps fun as Henry, Mr. Wrightman seems like a really great guy. More Henry Tilney than Darcy, but Tilney isn’t that bad. (In my opinion he’s amazing)

On her way back she meets the rest of the contestants who all seem to be much, much younger and more carefree than her. There is Miss Julia Tripp  who is very exuberant and full of energy, Miss Kate Harrignton who suffers from allergies, Miss Becky Carver who is African-English and just turned 21, Miss Gillian Potts who is a bit of a whiner, and Miss Olive Silverton who is a tad critical.

Let’s check out the competition.

When dressing for dinner, Chloe asks Fiona, her maid, who the tall, dark, stranger might have been with Fiona responding that it is Mr. Wrightman.

Chloe is confused as the blond doctor is Mr. Wrightman. That is when she finds out there are two Mr. Wrightmans. Sebastian is the brunette and the eldest so he is the one to inherit, the one the contest is all about. Henry, the blond doctor, is the youngest and has to marry wealthy as he won’t have a large inheritance (Very Mr. Tilney indeed). Chloe is horrified that she might have just lost her chance at Mr. Wrightman since she yelled and was rude to him. Uber embarrassed.

So embarressed

So embarrassed

The next day the competition begins as the girls are taught archery and dance. None is allowed to move to the next task until they have finished their first assignment and gained their points for the day. Chloe is far behind the other girls in everything as they have been there for weeks.

Chloe even finds out that many of the girls know only a little about Jane Austen; such as Grace saying that her favorite Austen is P&P, the Keira Knightley version. Obviously not only does she have no idea that P&P wasn’t published until 1813, Sense and Sensibility was the only book out at the moment. Chloe’s reaction to this statement is exactly how I would respond.

“Chloe cringed. Not her favorite adaption. It was historically inaccurate, for one thing…Chloe looked at her in askance…” (Pg. 81)

I know how she feels, that is my least favorite version.

I wouldn’t!!

Chloe thoroughly enjoys Regency dances, but Grace tries to throw a wrench in her plan to learn, saying she can’t dance with a girl who has ink all over her fingers. “She might catch it” Hmmph…what a pansy. Instead Chloe has to dance with Cook, Cook who she relies on and always tries to help her.

Grace and Chloe trade barbs once again, with Chloe being the victor. However, her win rings hollow when Grace runs off to meet with Mr. Wrightman, having garnered the most points and won time with him.

As Chloe looks outside the window to watch Grace, her spying quickly ends when Mrs. Crescent’s dog Fifi runs off and Chloe runs after him to get him. She runs smack dab into Sebastian and has another awkward conversation with him.

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But by now she’s hooked. He is so dashing, charming, and always knows the right thing to say. Chloe is in this thing totally and completely.

Something that puts a whole damper on the situation is a call from Chloe’s daughter, Abigail. Apparently Chloe’s ex, Winthrop, has met somebody, and is getting married, and wants to change the custody arrangement. He got a promotion so he won’t be traveling as much anymore. Chloe is freaking out over it, but can’t really get involved as she is away in England.

What else could go wrong?

What else could go wrong?

Also to Chloe’s surprise there is a new guest, Miss Imogen Wells. Apparently she was there the whole time but had to be apart from the others as she was on her period. In olden times women had to be separated while they had their cycle. Chloe is freaked out that there is another girl to contend with, but quickly gets over that as she finds Imogen to be one of the friendliest girls ever.The two become fast friends. The two both love painting, drawing, and Jane Austen.

I couldn’t imagine being in Regency times on my period, that would be awful. Back then they didn’t have underwear, and you just bleed through your clothes. Ew! Being on your period is bad enough but without pads, tampons, and in a chamber pot?

However, things take a turn for the better, Chloe gets an invitation to meet up with Sebastian (Mrs. Crescent has to come too) to see castle ruins! And they will all be having diner at Dartworth Hall the next day too.

Later that day Chloe is out gathering ingredients to make ink, Sebastian comes bounding by on a white horse. A man on a white horse?

So romantic

So romantic

Chloe is in deep, and she isn’t looking for a way out.

Later she runs into the other Wrightman brother. He comes upon her as she is painting and compliments her work. (Very reminiscent of Emma, except Henry isn’t the creepy Mr. Elton.)

Imogen and Chloe discuss the two brothers, their merits and qualities. Imogen brings up her partiality to Henry, as he is honest and forthright, while Sebastian is more of an enigma.

Chloe goes off with Sebastian and Mrs. Crescent and has a truly romantic time. He even gives her a set of paint, painting papers, and a pink cabbage rose. Chloe is just drowning in her crush.

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She also finds out that Grace is not only after the money, but wants to get her family’s land back. They been lost to the Wrigtmans for centuries and she is still carrying anger for it.

Hmmm…I think you need to watch her.

That night is the ball and when the girls get there Chloe immediately checks out the library. Same here, as I I love libraries, I mean I would rather gush over a library than a man. But hey, that’s just me.

But before the girls can continue to dinner they do the invitation ceremony (much like the rose ceremony in the Bachelor or the picture one in America’s Next Top Model.) Imogen, Becky, and Olive end up being sent home. Grace is so annoying and everyone wishes she was sent home, but she makes great TV.

Ugh, hate her.

Since Chloe is lower than the other girls, she enters last but she does have Henry to guide her in, and he is also placed next to her. Chloe makes a Persuasion reference about lotion, and while Kate Harrington doesn’t get it, Henry does.

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Okay everybody, Henry is perfect. After all, he has clearly read Jane Austen.

After the conversation the two have, I would far rather have Henry than to risk getting Sebastian, who one knows nothing about. All are having a wonderful time until Grace pops out a boob in order to get the focus on her.

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Sebastian makes plans to have a faux fox hunt for the girls. Everyone is exclaiming over it when Mrs. Crescent screams out that

The BABY"S HERE!

The BABY’S HERE!

Immediately Chloe goes to help. It turns out to be a false alarm, but Henry seems more interested in her than ever.

Chloe goes out the next day and runs into Henry with falcons. The two share some tender moments, but it is ruined ended when she also runs into Sebastian who gives her a message with clues in it to find a great prize.

Instead of trying to make ink to get her accomplishment points, Chloe goes into the kitchen to make strawberry tarts. She isn’t supposed to be in the kitchen as she is a lady, but Chloe finds it so hard to be proper all the time, (blame it on her American upbringing).

Afterwards Sebastian come to take her silhouette. She finds out that he knows more about Chloe as he has had the opportunity of watching her audition video, check her facebook, twitter, and research her through the internet. He tells her they have a lot in common and he also takes a lock of her hair. Taking someone’s lock of hair meant you were very interested in them and were planning on courting or possibly proposing. Most would turn them into rings or place them in lockets.

He’s serious

The next day is the fox hunt and Chloe is ready to give it her all.

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The first to reach the area where the faux fox is wins the challenge and accomplishment points. Chloe is in the lead, but as she is going Henry falls off his horse.

Apparently his horse was injured. Chloe stops to help him even though she is sacrificing her chance of winning. Henry strips off his shirt so that he could use it to help the horse, but seeing all the blood, makes Chloe faint again.

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Henry wakes her up and kisses her.

Yes, like in Sleeping Beauty

Everyone returns indoors after the hunt. Chloe is certain she will be the next to go home as she never made it to the tree. But to her surprise she wins all the points as the real test was to see who would stop.  To add to Chloe’s joy is that she is chosen to host the after hunt tea. Before they can enter though, they all have to have their reticule’s examined to make sure that no contraband has been carried through. Chloe is sure that she will pass but then they find a condom in her purse.

images-3Chloe is shocked at how that got in there. She argues that it is obviously a plant as why would she even chance it at her own tea party. They let her continue, but tell her that she is on probation until they get to the bottom of it.

What starts out as a normal tea party ends up becoming a a full fledged food fight. Somehow Chloe manages to make it through to the next invitation ceremony.

What else?

However she feels awful about some of the things she said about Henry when she and Grace were arguing (what escalated into the food fight). So Chloe does the only reasonable thing and dresses up like a messenger boy so she can tell Henry how sorry she is.

I can be a dude. I'm a dude.

I can be a dude. I’m a dude.

This Shakespearean twist isn’t completely crazy. There is no way Chloe could send him a letter, note, or talk to him privately about how she feels. Women could only do that if they were engaged.

The next day everyone is going to the maze for an outing, but both Grace and Chloe are on probation for their outlandish tendencies. Fifi the dog takes off into the maze and Chloe follows, and then it begins to pour (hey it’s England). Instead of turning back she takes off after him to save him, with Henry also going. Fifi gets in a fight with a weasel and Henry runs off with Fifi to help with his wounds leaving Chloe behind. She gets lost and Sebastian goes in there to get her-carrying her out Colonel Brandon style.

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He puts her down and as Chloe is making her way to the house she realizes that while she is falling for both men, she needs to put her eyes back on the goal and win Sebastian and the $100,000.

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Even though she had just had Sebastian’s arms around her, Chloe is depressed as she looks like a wet dishrag in comparison to the others.

Elinor Dashwood: Marianne, you must change. You will catch a cold. Marianne: What care I for colds when there is such a man. Elinor Dashwood: You will care very much when your nose swells up.

Elinor Dashwood: Marianne, you must change. You will catch a cold.
Marianne: What care I for colds when there is such a man.
Elinor Dashwood: You will care very much when your nose swells up.

She has to return home, quite sad that she couldn’t stay longer at the event longer.

That night Chloe is able to take a bath, but finds out that she has to take it after all the other girls because she is lower than them. EWWWWW! She has to use USED BATHWATER!!!! NFM! I could not handle that. I’d be in that pond. To make matters worse she finds a mouse in her room. It’s just not her day.

What else could go wrong?

What else could go wrong?

Chloe gets a letter from home and becomes extremely stressed out. Without a gym or kitchen to be able to go in and destress, she skips an accomplishment task to take a walk. The cook agrees to cover for her, and Chloe takes off-running right into Henry and feelings about him that she doesn’t want to think about. The two enjoy a bit of birdwatching and she tells Henry that she has a mouse.

She returns home and cook starts grilling her about her about where she has been. She questions whether Chloe is throwing away her opportunity on the penniless brother. This gets Chloe all riled up, but makes her wonder…She finds out that she missed Sebastian calling and Grace won the next outing with Sebastian. Then she ends up fainting. That makes it the third time.

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The next day Chloe gets a present from Mr. Wrightman. It’s a cat!

Why isn’t this guy real?

Ah, he’s perfect! He got her a mouser. Now Chloe thinks that Henry told Sebastian, and Sebastian sent it but it is obvious that Henry sent it. I mean the guy is totally in love with her. And I feel that he is a much better guy than Sebastian as he is real. Sebastian is too oily, and too perfect.

I’m all about that Henry!

Chloe has a moment upstairs when she really wishes she could just chill out to some tunes. Since she can’t she just sings her heart out and does a Sweet Charity number. And to her embarrassment, she spots Sebastian watching her through her window outside.

Next up is the archery tournament and one has to get four bulls eyes. Chloe is not on the top of her game and manages to shoot very badly.

Henry loans her his glasses so that she can make her bullseye and proceed to the ball. All is going well until Grace steps on her foot and causes her to miss, sending the arrow right at Henry. Grace faints and Chloe thinks she has just killed him. Henry is alright and Chloe thinks she’s out of the contest. ;(

Chloe ends up getting another shot and gets a bullseye.

Grace gets first place and the first dance with Sebastian. Chloe has second but has to sit out as her arrow went awry. Julia has third. When Chloe returns to her room she finds that her cat has got the mouse and an invite to the Grecian temples with Mr. Wrightman.

Chloe is so excited about her date she bribes a footman to get her a razor and shaves her legs.

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The date isn’t all as she hopes it would be. Sebastian has a toothache and has to suck on cloves as they are “in the 1800s”. Chloe tries to discuss things with him, but garners no response at all. To further ruin the moment, Chloe has to pee and there is no chamberpot in site. Lucky for her, Henry’s lab is nearby and Sebastian tells her that he has a water closet. She has more moments with Henry and gets something to help Sebastian’s toothache. She gives him a drop of laudanum. After taking it, Sebastian really cuts loose. He starts saying all kinds of things and starts trying to get all over her. Charlotte ends up decking him as he as he tries to pull her dress off, with Henry arriving just in time to cart him off.

Now here I would have completely jumped off the Sebastian train and gone Henry all the way. Sebastian is a loser.

So Chloe still wants to win, she needs the money, and is set on trying to prove that Grace is doing all kinds of illegal activities. She finds all kinds of things to support that and even gets caught by Grace as Grace is trying to get down with a footman.

Chloe goes to get her new dress finished for the ball and finds that she has lost weight. (Due to her hating and refusing to eat the food offered at the areas). She also spots Grace (through her window) putting the moves on Henry and becomes livid, though she can’t imagine why. She also gets a note from Sebastian to meet up during the ball in the icehouse. She is extremely worried as she hopes that they don’t have a repeat of the Grecian temple.

They have the final invitation ceremony and Julie is sent home; only Grace and Julia are left. Since Mrs. Crescent is about ready to pop she can’t go, so the cook accompanies and chaperones Chloe, rescuing her from the evil clutches of Grace & Co. It turns out the cook is actually Mrs. Wrightman, the Mr. Wrightmans’ mother.

Henry takes her to the library and gives her a first edition of Sense and Sensibility.

So romantic

So romantic

Henry really knows how to win a girl over. I’d propose to him.

Anyways, while they are there, Henry reveals his feelings for her quoting P&P

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I love it!

Chloe gets the second dance with Sebastian and gets to do the dance Darcy and Elizabeth do in the ’95 adaption.

She also makes a great Darcy reference, but one that Sebastian does not get. To cause further frowns she spots a girl making the moves on Henry. Then when she is about to dance the very risqué waltz with Sebastian she gets a message from Fiona that Mrs.C just went into labor. She steals a horse and is off to help.

However when she gets back to the house she discovers Mrs. C is perfectly fine. Mrs. C is not having a baby. FIONA LIED!!!!!

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She tries to run back to the party and totally messes up her outfit and runs into Henry. He tries to console her and she enjoys it, but then that she recognizes she is in the icehouse. When she tries to get rid of Henry as Sebastian is coming, Henry is disappointed (even worse than angry) and takes off.

NO!! I want them to get back together.

When she meets up with Sebastian she realizes that this isn’t what she really wants. He admits to flirting with Fiona, he pulls out a knife and plays with it (what a psycho), and then tries to strip her. She freaks out-I would too-and Sebastian proposes. The footman enters and tells them Mrs. C is having the baby. As Chloe tries to leave Sebastian pulls her back.

Now I don’t know why Chloe says yes, Sebastian is crazy. And this dude clearly doesn’t take no for an answer.

Sebastian lets Chloe take his horse and she goes off. There she helps Henry deliver the baby.

She has a fight with Fiona and goes back to her room. She looks out the window and sees Sebastian and Fiona finishing the “horizontal tango”. This man is definitely not Mr. Darcy, Tilney, Knightly, Brandon, Wentworth, Bingley, Ferras, or Bertram.

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He’s nothing but a Wickham, Elliot, Willoughby, and Crawford.

The then have a huge fake wedding to end the show. They even bring Chloe’s mom and dad over. Chloe has a huge freakout as she marches down the alley and dumps Sebastian taking off to find Henry. Henry who Chloe has has announced that she loves.

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As she tries to go to town to get home to her daughter and find Henry. She runs into some people who tell her that Sebastian isn’t the heir to Dartworth Hall, but Henry is.

Henry comes after her on a white horse. A WHITE HORSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Henry takes her out and explains everything. Henry is a forty year old man who is heir to the Dartworth estate and a very large fortune. He works as a doctor because he loves helping others. He loves art, architecture, Jane Austen,

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Women have been after him for his name and fortune so he hasn’t been able to settle down. His friend George came up with the idea, and Henry was hoping he would find his “Anne Elliot”. Sebastian is his cousin, and an aspiring actor, and Lady Anne (the cook) is actually his mother. He hated Grace but had to keep her on for ratings. Henry tells her he loves her, but Chloe is just so angry she refuses the money and goes home.

So Chloe goes home. All she keeps is the cat.

I would have kept the money and Henry. Chloe is crazy.

So Chloe is back in the states. She has given up in trying to find a fairy tale guy and she instead dates regular guys. The only Austen thing she does is watch the show she was on, Dating Mr. Darcy. 

In the last episode she sees that they did exit interviews with everyone but her. Grace went back to her trading firm and is dating a politician. Fiona set a date with her fiancée who is back from fighting in Afghanistan (the guy she was porking about behind his back). Mrs. Crescent’s son had a successful operation and the lump is benign. Sebastian was given a leading role in a TV series and is currently dating one of the milkmaids from the show. Henry ends with a heartwarming plea telling Chloe that she pierce’s his soul and asking her to contact him.

So romantic

So romantic

The book ends with Chloe emailing Henry. Hoping to start a new beginning.

So both guys were definitely not Mr. Darcy, but Henry turned out to be one great guy.

To read another Pride & Prejudice post go to Parental Favoritism 

To read another Northanger Abbey post go to Storybook Ending: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more Jane Austen book adaptions, go to An Assembly Such as This

It is a Truth Universally Acknowledged…

Face it when you hear those words “it is a truth universally acknowledged…” your mind goes immediately to Pride & Prejudice imagining Mrs. Bennet attempting to marry off all her girls.

Jane Austen was such an amazing writer. She creates an opening hook that has you deeply invested in the story within two seconds. This hook is one that has continued to be entertaining for ages. I mean that saying never gets old, but constantly draws you in no matter how many times you have read it.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in posession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Unfortunately in today’s time, that no longer seems to be true. Most guys who are well off are more interested in sampling honey pots than buying the actual beehive (like my metaphor? I thought it was a nice change from the milk and cow analogy).

If Mrs. Bennet lived today this would be her immediate reaction:

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She’d be like, “go after that man and use every ounce of your feminine wiles to capture him. Don’t let him go.”

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It’s interesting  how marriage was such an important thing for a women in Regency times, especially since the woman’s main role was to be mother and helpmate, but it is a theme that is a major factor only for our Pride and Prejudice heroines.

What?

In Sense & Sensibility, the mother and daughters are not even concerned about marriage, but are focused on their grief for their dead husband and father or occupied on trying to manage their lives in a poorer state of affairs. In Mansfield Park, no one thinks about who Fanny will marry until the rascal Henry Crawford starts paying attention to her. Emma is determined to remain a spinster and her father is thoroughly pleased with that. In Northanger Abbey, Catherine’s family never brings up the question of who and when Catherine should marry. By the time Persuasion starts, Anne has already turned down two proposals but her extremely vain father is not worried over her lack of a martial state but that she isn’t up to his standards of beauty. Only in Pride and Prejudice do we see a mother so determined to marry off her children. Even with the Elliot estate (Persuasion) being entailed, the Bennets are the only ones who talk about their worry on having no male children.

What also is interesting is that even though “a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”; there are many male characters in her novels who have money and do not wish to marry. There is Willoughby, Tom Bertram, Henry Crawford, Captain Tilney, and Mr Elliot (the younger).

  • Mr. Willoughby only marries because his aunt was threatening to disinherit him, and he does not want to be a poor man (whether or not he would have actually married Marianne is a post for another day.)
  • Mr. Elliot is a widower having fun-slightly interested in Anne, and only decides to run off with Mrs. Clay to make sure his uncle doesn’t have a son (trying to protect his inheritance.)
  • Captain Tilney continues enjoying any woman who comes his way, marriage being the last thing on his mind.
  • Tom Bertram has no thought on marriage until his close encounter with death causes him to rethink his life.
  • Henry Crawford is a little different being a Sebastian Valmont-esque character-never interested in marriage but just trying to play around with women, falls for Fanny and tries to win her affections, but ends up creating a huge scandal with her cousin and never marrying.

Of course her books are also filled with men who want to get married, after all if they weren’t would we love them as much as we do?

One of the most intriguing things about this phrase is the statement in “want of a wife”. Want’s two most used definitions are “have a desire to possess” or “a lack or deficiency”. Therefore this statement applies to both Binglely (as one who desires a wife) and Darcy (has a lack of one) along with all the other Austen men. Every Austen hero and villain starts the book off in want of a wife as they do not have one. And by the end of each book all Austen heroes, and some villains, have one.

And just like any other mother, Mrs. Bennet can’t help hoping that her daughters will catch the eye and heart of a single man in possession of a good fortune.

If you are interested in buying a shirt like Lizzie Bennet, Zazzle and Cafepress sell them and many other Jane Austen inspired products

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice

For more on this opening line, go to Opening With…

For more on Mrs. Bennet, go to Parental Favoritism 

For more bible verses, go to Thanks A Lot