Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

So I was on instagram, like always these days, and someone shared in their stories that Streaming Musicals was going to do a free live streaming film premiere of the new production of Pride and Prejudice: A New Musical. 

Or watch it!

I had seen it shared on facebook, I even shared it myself, but hadn’t really decided if I was going to watch it or not. However, after seeing everyone sharing about how much they enjoyed the virtual tea conference that occurred the day before, and that I couldn’t go to as I’m still going into work, I was like I’m not missing out again-I’m watching it.

I love musicals, in fact I studied drama in high school and attended a college prep/art school.

My senior project for my drama class was we had to find a musical, budget it, design costumes, set, etc-and create a look book with our findings. I of course being a Jane Austen fan actually chose a Pride and Prejudice musical, although that one was called, First ImpressionsSo not only did I want to see this because I love Jane Austen, but I was excited to see how this compared to the 1959 musical.

Hmmm…

So at 7 o’clock PST I got my pot of tea, computer, notebook, and sat down to watch.

The actual production was performed and filmed at Palo Alto’s TheatreWorks in Silicon Valley, where it ran December 4-January 4. Book, music, and lyrics were written by Paul Gordon, and of course Jane Austen.

It was really interesting watching it this way. I know I appreciated it as I may live in California but that does’t mean I have the time or money to see it live, so even though COVID-19 is a serious downer, I’m thankful it gave someone like me this chance to be a part and view this musical.

Hosts:

Before the production started we were hosted by three ladies, who unfortunately I only have two names, Beth Leavel and Julie James. They gave a little preshow talk, but I didn’t think it was as well done as Hillari DeSchane’s talk before the Mansfield Park Opera. I guess they thought that most people would already know the story, but I still think it would have been wise to have a quick summary of the book, the time period, and place for anyone who didn’t.

Hmm…

One lady described the summary of Pride and Prejudice as being a boy is rude to a girl, tries to ask her out and she refuses, but then she finds out he is rich and wants to be with him.

What are you talking about?

That really bothered me as it is 100% inaccurate. They knew from the beginning he was rich, richer than Mr. Bingley in fact, and it wasn’t seeing the house that changed her mind so much as seeing how he acted at Pemberley and how the servants praised him.

But they did have very high energy though, and when they returned at intermission they hosted the question and answer session better.

Quick Summary:

The story is really about a mother who wants to marry her five daughters as she constantly worries that her husband will die and leave her and her daughters with little to live on (her husband’s estate is entailed and neither person was very good at saving). She tries to match them up with any eligible men whether or not they want it.

 Netherfield Park is let and with it comes single and wealthy Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. Mr. Bingley falls for the eldest daughter, Jane Bennet, and she falls for him. No ones tries to win Mr. Darcy as though he is rich, he is very proud looking. Elizabeth overhears him make a unflattering remark about her and she is extremely angry.

Her sister goes to visit Mr. Bingley’s sister, Miss Caroline Bingley, and grows ill after being caught out in the rain. Elizabeth goes to stay and take care of her sister, also spending time with the Bingleys and Mr. Darcy.

Later, Elizabeth meets a man, Mr. Wickham, who says he grew up with Mr. Darcy and shares how Darcy kept his inheritance, forcing Wickham to join the military instead of the church. Elizabeth is pleased to have another reason to dislike Darcy, besides her wounded pride, and Wickham spreads the story throughout the community.

Mr. Bennet’s cousin Mr. Collins, who will inherit their home, comes to visit and plans to ask one of the Bennet girls to marry him. Mr. Bingley holds a ball, and Elizabeth hopes to dance with Mr. Wickham, but he doesn’t come and she ends up dancing with Mr. Darcy. Her siblings also are very embarrassing and her mother.

So embarrassed

Mr. Collins asks Elizabeth to marry him, and she refuses him. He becomes hurt and angry and instead marries her best friend Charlotte Lucas. Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley leave with no engagement to Jane. Later Elizabeth visits Charlotte and meets Mr. Darcy’s aunt and Mr. Collins patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. There she discovers from Mr. Darcy’s cousin that Darcy was the one who convinced Bingley not to ask Jane to marry him. Mr. Darcy asks Elizabeth to marry him, which surprises her and she refuses him.

Later Mr. Darcy gives Elizabeth a letter in which he shares why he encouraged his friend to refuse Jane and the true story of what happened with Mr. Wickham, that he spent his inheritance and when Darcy refused to give him more, Wickham goes after his fifteen year old sister. She knows this is true as what he shares is something no one would want to ever come to light. But after reading the letter, Elizabeth is even more confused. How could she be such a bad judge of character? She and her aunt and uncle Gardiner take a walking tour and stop at Pemberley, where they are surprised by Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth sees another side of him.

But then her younger sister, Lydia, makes a disastrous mistake by running off with Mr. Wickham. Will this destroy her family? Will this end her chance with Mr. Darcy?

Costumes:

The one costume I didn’t like was Elizabeth’s outfit.

From left to right: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Mr. Collins, Kitty, and Lydia.

So I really like the 1800s, especially the West, and one thing I read years ago that has never left my mind is that one way to tell if a Western film is accurate or not is whether or not the cowboys wear suspenders or belts. Belt loops were not created until the 1920s (for men and women), cowboys/cowpokes copyed the Chilean huaso of wearing sashes or suspenders. Some people wore belts, like soldiers, but they were often more ornamental and overlaid outfits not sitting in belt loops. So all I could do was look at this skirt and see those belt loops which were completely inaccurate to the time period. It probably was just an oversight by the costume designer, and I don’t know if anyone else noticed it, but I didn’t like it.

Although I do like the way they did her quick changes. Elizabeth is in every scene and wears the same outfit throughout the whole first act, but with other scenes adds a ribbon at her waist, a vest, and a jacket. I liked this as I had the same idea when I did my project although I did not care for the vest the put her in as it did not match.

Elizabeth Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy, Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins, Mr. Bingley, and Charlotte Lucas.

But I love what she wears in the second act. That dress was so cute!

I lovd Mr. Darcy’s costumes, but you know me:

This should say breeches instead of pants, but I didn’t write this so it gets a pass. It was an instagram answer from a question I asked my followers.

But enough about that, let’s move on to the musical.

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Act I

The style of music reminded me a lot of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s choice with Jesus Christ Super Star. In that production we have an ancient text juxtaposed with rock songs, while in this we have a regency story paired with pop. I really enjoyed it and the music as I think they captured the heart of the novel and were extremely enjoyable. Many of them I could see purchasing and downloading and listening to over and over again.

So I wish I had a book to go off, but I don’t so I don’t know what every song is called. But we start off the musical with Elizabeth Bennet (Mary Mattison) quoting the first line of Pride and Prejudice:

Then she and Charlotte Lucas then sing about “happiness in marriage.” In this Elizabeth isn’t looking for a man, in fact she has a strong leave me alone vibe, while Charlotte (played by Dani Marcus) was spot on in counseling her. I felt Marcus completely captured the character of Charlotte Lucas.

I really enjoyed Mattison’s singing and I think she did a wonderful job with the character of Elizabeth, although Gordon did make a few changes to Elizabeth. As said above, Elizabeth doesn’t want to get married and she doesn’t want a man (which isn’t what happens in the book as in the novel she isn’t against marriage, but just isn’t throwing herself at men nor is she interested in Mr. Collins.) In fact this sentiment is more similar to Emma Woodhouse..

At first I was a little upset at the change, but as I continued watching the musical I think it served well to enforce Elizabeth’s headstrong and stubborn side. Elizabeth believes what she wants and won’t listen to others, like Charlotte. Having her be so staunch in her beliefs mimics the way she acts about Darcy, believing Mr. Wickham and never considering there could be another side to the story, or thinking about the fact she believes this man with no proof. My interpretation of this was that one should be film in their beliefs, but at the same time not let their headstrong or stubborn ways blind them. In the end Elizabeth acknowledges that it is not a truth universally acknowledged that a man with fortune is in want of a wife or that every woman wants to marry, but to keep your heart open.

Elizabeth is also the narrator of the musical, and introduces her family-her father Mr. Bennet, mother Mrs. Bennet, and four sisters-Jane, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia. I also enjoyed the tizzy Mrs. Bennet is constantly in as she worries over their future and felt that Heather Orth truly captured the character-and Gordon was perfect in the lines he gave her.

“Mrs. Bennet: None of my five daughters will be old maids if I can help it…even you Mary.

I also enjoyed Tara Kostmayer’s portrayal of Lydia as silly, flirty, and needing to be the center of attention. And Gordon summed up her character very nicely in this:

“Elizabeth Bennet: Lydia is just 15.

Jane Bennet: Going on 25.

Mr. Bennet: In all but wisdom.”

I also loved Melissa Wolfklain as Mary Bennet. She was just so droll and perfect.

Elizabeth sings a song about being headstrong that I enjoyed, but the whole time I kept thinking of Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong GirlIf you need something new to read you should definitely check it out.

So after being introduced to the Bennet family we have the ball where we meet Mr. Bingley (Travis Leland), Miss Caroline Bingley (Monique Hafen Adams), and Mr. Darcy (Justin Mortelliti). I really liked the way Gordon and the actors interpreted these characters. Mr. Bingley is extremely tongue-tied and often has trouble relaying how he feels relying heavily on Darcy. This worked well to show why Darcy feels the need to protect his sweet, friend (treating him very similar to how he treats Georgiana) and why Bingley so heavily values on Darcy’s judgement over his own.

Bingley and Jane sing a song about their love and it is so cute. They both sing about how they like each other and want to tell each other, but when they try to talk they are too tongue tied and say hardly anything. It was absolutely adorable and both Leland as Bingley and Sharon Rietkerk as Jane Bennet were just perfect. I think this song really captured what Austen wrote:

“…in spite of his [Mr. Bingley] being a lover, Elizabeth really believed all his expectations of felicity to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the excellent understanding, and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste between her [Jane] and himself [Mr. Bingly].”

-Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 55

Adams as Caroline was also perfect as she was just the right amount of mean and snobby-she made the friendliest words sound like a slap in the face. Leland and Adams worked well off each other as Mr. and Miss Bingley. They were like two sides of the same coin-he geniality, kindness, optimism, glee; she rude, snobby, sarcastic, and cold.

“Mr. Bingley: I’m enjoying myself immensely.

Caroline Bingley: Yes brother, but that’s why you have me.”

But out of all the characters, my favorite was Mortelliti as Mr. Darcy.

Mr. Bingley, Mr. Darcy, and Miss Bingley.

One thing I really, really enjoyed about this musical was while it is narrated and told from Elizabeth, every song that Mr. Darcy has gives us a view into who he is. I think this worked for this medium as a musical and stage production you aren’t given the time and subtly a movie has as you can’t concentrate on something small, but have to make sure that no matter the seats they can witness what is happening. With having the songs show Darcy’s point of view and feelings alongside Elizabeth’s it works in with the themes of first impressions/pride and prejudice, and gives it a kind of his story/her story dynamic.

I really enjoyed this interpretation because even though we see how Darcy feels about Elizabeth throughout, it doesn’t take away from what Austen wrote and the realizations they have after the proposal and his letter (Darcy seeing how he presents himself and that he’s not right about everything [Jane + Bingley], and his decision to change; nor does it take away from Elizabeth realizing that she is not right about everything [Wickham + Darcy] and that she was judgmental because she was wounded, she changing as well.) Having Darcy’s songs just allows us see the two character’s journeys from the beginning. The title of the musical is a “new” musical so it seems fitting for Gordon to try a different interpretation.

Mr. Darcy’s first song is about being separated from the others, about keeping away from these people and to not fall for anyone. It is really interesting as the words are juxtapositioned with a soft melody, one that could easily be a love song. I personally believe that when Mr. Darcy made that comment about Elizabeth being not tolerable enough for him it was more trying to get Bingley to leave him alone as he didn’t want to dance or be there. Then later when she visits her sister, he pays attention to her and likes her-not realizing she heard his earlier comment. But this particular song and the music almost sounds to me as if Gordon is saying he did see her and is trying to convince himself to stay away, the melody being a seed of romance, the not tolerable being him trying to convince himself to not like. It is an interesting point and feel free to comment below what you think.

After Jane visits and grows ill, Elizabeth comes to stay and help. One of the best scenes was the accomplished woman and the turn about the room scene. In this Mortelliti did some brooding, but when he mentions their reasons for walking about he says it more flirtatious. We then have Caroline trying to bully Elizabeth and have Darcy find her boring. After Darcy shares his idea of an accomplished lady he says this while looking right at Elizabeth:

“All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

It is hilarious how Elizabeth drops the book like it is on fire and immediately takes it as a negative.

And of course spending this time with Elizabeth Darcy has fallen for her. He sings a song about it and I loved when he belted out how much he was in love with her. I also really loved this line:

“Oh dear God…must I like her eyes. Oh, I’m in so much trouble.

I like your eyes and d***it,  it’s alarming.”

I thought this perfectly captured how much he didn’t want to like her, it was the foundation of his future proposal, and I just all around enjoyed this song, best song so far.

Mr. Collins is introduced and Brian Herndon was fantastically pompous. He just was just so ugh-there aren’t any other words to describe him. And in my book if you don’t feel ugh when you see a portrayal of Mr. Collins than they are not doing it right. His song is just so awfully perfect as he sings about the sisters being this abundance of riches, Mary and Kitty’s face express exactly how I felt listening to it.

From left to right: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Mr. Collins, Kitty, and Lydia.

This song and the acting was great, but the person who stole the stage in it again was Melissa Wolfklain as Mary Bennet. There is a part where they sing Mary should be the one and her face is like Lord please, no anything but that-I’ll join a convent, I’ll go help lepers, just please no Mr. Collins. And later she uses a book to try and shield herself from his view.

Later the girls are out and run into Lydia and Kitty’s friends, Captain Denny (Sean Fenton) and a new face Mr. Wickham (Taylor Crousore). Everyone is pleased to run into the handsome and genial men…except Mary. In her droll and moralizing tone she states:

“Mary Bennet: I find war to be very upsetting.”

Melissa Wolfklain seriously just killed it as Mary Bennet. She was hilarious and perfect.

Mr. Darcy comes upon them and I love the staging of him and Wickham. Both on opposite sides and staring each other down like two gunslingers. With Bingley in the middle.

Mr. Bingley tries to flirt with Jane and instead it comes out horribley

“Mr. Bingley: Good afternoon Miss Bennet. You look…thirsty.

Jane Bennet: [Confused but really likes Mr. Bingley]…I am thirsty.”

They end up leaving Mr. Wickham and Elizabeth together and Mr. Wckham shares about Mr. Darcy being cruel to him. I liked Crousore’s and Gordon’s interpretation and how Wickham tests the waters with Elizabeth, feeling out what Elizabeth thinks of Darcy, and after hearing she can’t stand him then promptly upends his sob story. He sings a ballad about how he’d been wronged, (with the perfect level of pretend humbleness and smaryness) and his heartbreak to know being forced to live the life of a soldier instead of a clergyman. I really liked this line:

“I speak my truth to you”

Key word there my, my truth as in I’m lying.

The ball at Netherfield comes and Elizabeth is disappointed to be dancing with Darcy rather than Wickham. I really enjoyed the interaction between the two as Darcy is trying so, so, so, so, hard to flirt with her but everything he says Elizabeth takes as an insult. It was hilarious as he not overt in his attentions, but you can tell he is trying to compliment her but each time Elizabeth assumes he is making fun of her.

Again I really enjoy how much time we spend with Darcy and him sharing how he feels. It works really well in this format and makes a stronger show. Plus I like that they are trying to distinguish it from other adaptions, along with keeping pieces that people love from the previous ones.

After the ball Mr. Collins tries to propose to Elizabeth and when she hears he wants to have a private word with her I love how she immediately picks up a cup of tea. She’s all-I need tea if I’m gonna get through this.

The two sing a song with Mr.Collins going on about his proposal completely ignoring Elizabeth’s refusals. She rebuttals with the perfect blend of anger and good manners, and I like her final shove at the end that helps her words get through his head.

After that Mr. Collins marries Charlotte and the  Bingleys & Darcy leave Netherfield.  Elizabeth tries to comfort Jane, but Jane insists that that Mr. Bingley was just an acquaintance and she is fine.  Jane’s song is the perfect mix of beatiful and sad as she tries to convince herself she doesn’t love him but isn’t fooling anyone as in every note we can feel the heartbreak. It was a fantastic performance.

We then find ourselves with the Collins, Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Bingley at Lady Catherine’s home. Now I know why they were there as I’ve read the book, but it was a bit weird they didn’t have an introduction as to who she was or why Elizabeth was visting. However, my thoughts didn’t rest on that long as Lucinda Hitchcock Cone was perfect as Lady Catherine as she was just relentless in grilling Elizabeth. I really enjoyed how Mortelilti as Darcy has a smirk the whole time, as if he was just enjoying watching Elizabeth hold her own against Lady Catherine. Mr. Bingley just looks uncomfortable and as if he wants to leave, but is afraid to as Lady Catherine might turn on him, just trying to blend into the furniture.

In this Colonel Fitzwilliam is not Darcy’s cousin but is introduced as his friend, why the change I don’t know.

Oh, well.

Lady Catherine sings her song and it is one of the most egotistical songs I have heard, like levels of Ratigan’s song in The Great Mouse Detective or Gaston’s in Beauty and the Beast.

Elizabeth Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy, Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins, Mr. Bingley, and Charlotte Lucas.

I love how Elizabeth and Lady Catherine share that same stare of Death that Darcy and Wickham did earlier when they do a song battle:

And right in the middle of their “song battle” Mr. Darcy laughs and all pause and stare daggers at him.

I should not have laughed.

Later Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam are talking and he relays that Mr. Darcy is the reason Bingley left and didn’t propose to Jane. She is furious and sings a song about what kind of man could do this-but every trait and action she uses to describe Darcy perfectly applies to how she has been toward Darcy. This was very interesting as I’ve never thought of them as being the same, but in this production they are quite similar in their personality and the way they are perceived by others; except Elizabeth is a extrovert while Darcy an introvert.

Hmmm…

Darcy of course doesn’t hear her song and thinks it is the perfect time to propose, and again the comedic timing in this is just perfect. And while we are not surprised at Darcy’s feelings I love how both he and Elizabeth are

“Mr. Darcy: “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Elizabeth: [Completely shocked] You do?

Mr. Darcy: [Utterly baffled] I do?!

I could not stop laughing, that is comedic gold. Neither one can figure it out and he is so flabbergasted when proposing.Elizabeth of course objects and I love how he continues to be baffled and confused at her statements

Then Morteletti as Darcy sings and I loved this song. Morteletti gave it the perfect blend of anger, pain, and heartbreak. He runs the gamut of emotions. He has a great voice and every time he sings Miss Bennet you can just feel his heartache as he holds the note. Elizabeth is on the other side of the stage and sings as well, and you can feel their anguish. I know some people might find it as a cliche but I am a sucker for things like that.

End Act I

Intermission:

With intermission I put my kettle on the stove,

Got the snacks…and settled down to listen to the talk with the cast and Paul Gordon.

So they had a few questions for the cast and crew and it was really interesting to see them this way as you saw a view into their home.

Paul Gordon shared that he read Pride and Prejudice and watched many film adaptions before he wrote the musical. He said that instead of doing how he did with other Austen musicals, he decides to write the songs the way he felt, and that’s why they came out more pop-like.

One question to Taylor Crousore struck me as strange, as they asked him how it felt to play “Mr. Wickham, a very misunderstood character.”

Huh?

I don’t think Wickham is misunderstood, I think he is extremely clear in what he does and wants. Crousore, however, brought up an excellent point about the character. He shared how crucial Wickham is to the story, I mean he is the reason why Elizabeth’s dislike of Darcy is so high, but also the reason she realizes she was wrong about him, and in the end he brings them back together. Without him Elizabeth probably would have forgiven Darcy sooner and might not have refused him when he proposed-but then on the flip side without Wickhim, she and Darcy might not have gotten together. We will never know!

I didn’t take as much notes on intermission as I was getting the tea + snacks ready, and before I knew it, it was time for the second act.

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Act II

We start off with Darcy giving Elizabeth his letter, having had to write his feelings down as he wasn’t able to say it. Aw, poor Darcy.

I really enjoyed this scene as Elizabeth reads it angry and talking back to Darcy’s words, only to stop when she gets to why Darcy doesn’t like Wickham. It was done extremely well as Elizabeth is hurt and angry over what happened with her beloved sister Jane and Wickham, but then she softens when Darcy talks of his beloved sister.

Darcy’s song made me think of an ’80s power ballad, about his sister and the part when he belts out “she was fifteen”, you can really hear his heartbreak. Mortelliti was perfect in this as you could feel the love he had for his sister, the guilt he has for not protecting her better, and the anguish he shares over someone hurting his sister that he raised as a daughter (they are many years apart and his dad died when she was so young).

I’m crying!

I loved the duality of the song as Darcy sings softly, still in love with Elizabeth while Elizabeth is loud and harsh as she is angry-but then she softens when she reads of Darcy’s sister.

Elizabeth returns home and learns of Lydia’s plans of going off to Brighton. Jane has a song that she sings as they share each other’s news and their relationship is so adorable. I like how Elizabeth protects her sister, mimicking how Darcy protects his.

Before Lydia and the soldiers leave, Wickham and Denny stop by and say goodbye. I loved the exchange between Elizabth and Wickham as she lets him know she knows the truth and won’t take any of his charm. Wickham is so baffled as what to say or do, he ultimately just leaves. Hilarious!

Elizabeth is invited to go on a walking tour with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner and they end up at Pemberley, which gets its own song. I’m glad it does as it needed to and if it hadn’t I would be solely disappointed.

“Cast: Pemberley we love you tenderly.”

I’m so happy they said that this would be on the site forever. Then all of you who missed it can have another chance to watch, or rewatch it.

Elizabeth listens to the  servants talk about Darcy, and that combined with the letter leaves her puzzled as to who is Darcy. I really enjoyed this song, as I did with all of them and I encourage you to purchase them and sing while quarantined.

As Elizabeth sings Darcy coms up behind her, surprising her. It is such a cute scene I wish I had been fast enough to screenshot it.

Elizabeth is embarrassed to be there as they didn’t realize that he was coming home.

“Mr. Darcy: I find the intrusion rather agreeable.”

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhh!!!!!! He is so cute!

So while this Darcy isn’t as broody as other depictions, you still see a change in him as he realized how he was being seen by others and becomes much more open. It is amazing what a difference in body language, and looking back there were sublte difference throughout the musical in every scene with him. They are so cute together, *Swoon*. 

How sweet!

He introduces Elizabeth to his sister Georgiana, and it is so adorable.

“Georgiana Darcy: It is a pleasure to meet you. My brother speaks of you so often!

Elizabeth Darcy: [Surprised] Does he?

Mr. Darcy [Definitely] He does!”

AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!! So cute!

How sweet!

Miss Bingley is back and snobby and sarcastic as ever. Monique Hafen Adams, you are perfect at it. Mr. Bingley is there as well and it is so obvious he is trying to grill her about any news of Jane.

Darcy was just so perfect- I gushed so much while I was watching this scene that I accidentally wrote over what I wrote and I now cannot decipher it, except that Justin Mortelliti and Paul Gordon did this perfectly and I think Jane Austen would be proud.

Elizabeth receives Jane’s letter about Lydia and then Darcy finds out he is angry. I liked the way Mortelliti portrayed it and how you can see how upset he is and the guilt he feels-taking on the blame that another 15 year old and another family has to go through this. He quickly leaves, running off to find them.

But Elizabeth misunderstands it, thinking that it is directed at her, that he is ashamed and it is so sad as she has lost him. She has finally admitted it and realizes she does care for him and wants to be with him. It is a powerful song!

Back at home it is a mess. Mary tries to be helpful, but her moralizing is horrid and anything but soothing. Mrs. Bennet is going to pieces and if they had a play with just the two of them I would love it. They would be a screwball comedy team for sure.

Mr. Bennet returns:

“Mrs. Bennet: You look miserable.

Kitty: Papa always looks miserable.”

So usually in this scene Mr. Bennet threatens Kitty with no trips, no going out, being grounded until 50 years of age, etc. But instead of Chanel Tilghman playing Kitty as whining and throwing a tantrum at how unfair it is-Tilghman just looks at her father and laughs it off. I really loved that as Mr. Bennet is so curmudgeonly throughout the play that I could see her not taking him serious, much better than her wailing.

Lydia returns with Wickham and he tells everyone about how wonderful and happy he is to be married. Wow, Crousore is a talented actor, I almost believed him. He is so smarmy and slimy I just want to punch him in the face, perfect! In my book you are not a good Wickham unless you make me want to sock you.

Lydia let’s it slip that Darcy was at the wedding, and Elizabeth is further puzzled. Who is Darcy? She was so sure who she knew his character, but now she does not know. She muses over what Lydia said…

“Elizabeth Bennet: [Singing] And he didn’t want it known…”

You know, that speaks really well of a person’s character when they do something extremely kind and don’t want it known. Darcy didn’t want to do this for Lydia he wanted to do it for Elizabeth and he never wanted her to know, he never wanted her to think he was trying to bribe her affections, or buy them back.

“Elizabeth Bennet: Is it too late to tell you…”

Aw, so heartbreakingly sad. So perfect!

Bingley returns and all pretend they don’t care but the do. I can see pieces of the other films in this, such as the hustle and bustle they have when Bingley is coming is like Pride and Prejudice (2005).

Mr. Bingley is so shy and tongue twisted, you once again see why Mr. Darcy wants to help him and protect him. He sings about how much he loves Jane and it is just so gosh darn adorable. Now if only you could just tell her that.

He and Darcy leave, but then Bingley gets his strength back and returns.

“Jane Bennet: Wonderful to see you again and so soon…after your last visit.”

Aw, they are so cute!!!

Come on Bingley!!! Just say it already!

And then he does! He finally sings all his feelings!! Yay! Aw, so cute!!!

After that happiness we have the horror. The carriage is coming…DUN, DUN, DUN! Lady Catherine!

She and Elizabeth have another song battle and every word that comes out of Lady Catherine is dripping with disdain. Elizabeth’s song is a verbal beatdown of Lady C. and it was perfect.

The interaction after this of Darcy and Elizabeth is one of my favorites, Darcy is practicing what to say to Elizabeth, and it is soooooo cute. It is the scene I have always wanted and ever realized it.

When he and Elizabeth have a chance to talk and he hears that her feelings have changed, oh the hope in his voice. I love it!!! My favorite part is they are seprated by a stream and Darcy moves to her…

But then he waits, letting Elizabeth make the final step-everything is in her court, he doesn’t want to push her, he doesn’t want to influence her, he wants her to decide based on her heart and feelings. And when she moves in they kiss! So cute and their song! So adorable! So romantic. He waits for her to take the “leap” to him ad then after they cross over together.

Soooo cute!!!!

And they take the leap over the stream together! Awwwwwwww! It was so adorable and gosh darn romantic and aw! Aw! I LOVE IT!

At the end we have a review of the couples as as it ends I’m sad it is over.

So I just LOVED it! I thought it was amazing and cute and adorable! The music was fantastic and I think you all should watch it if you haven’t, and if you have-it is definitely worth another rewatch. Go here to watch it.

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part II, Other Eras

For more Jane Austen stage productions, go to Modesto Jane Con: Opera Modesto Presents Mansfield Park

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part I, The Regency

Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part I, The Regency

Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl edited by Christina Boyd

So a while back Christina Boyd asked me to be a part of her Book Tour and I wholeheartedly said yes.

I have always wanted to be a part of a book tour, it’s like being a rock star, but even better as it involves books. 

Although…unfortunately I realize that I am too much like Stacey Jaxx the rockstar as I forgot all about the book tour until I saw posts on social media.

But hey, better late than never right?

So when I went to read the book, I saw that my link to get a free copy of the ebook was expired.

I thought of asking for a new one, but I decided to just buy my own as Christina Boyd and the others have been so generous to me. The book, whether as an ebook or physical copy, is really not that much. So if you are stuck in the quarantine and looking for something to read, why don’t you head over to Amazon and order a copy?

So a little backstory before we review the book. Back in 2017, Christina Boyd (editor) and the following writers: Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams-put together an anthology that had stories on Mr. Darcy, The Darcy Monologues

After all, who doesn’t love Mr. Darcy?

Half the stories had a Regency theme, while the others were set in different times (Old West, 1960s, 2017, etc.) Each one did their own spin on the story-keeping the things we love but trying a new look, or new path on the tale. With so many Darcys there is sure to be a Darcy for everyone to love (there were several that I loved). [Also something to get if you are stuck in quarantine and looking for something new to read.]

In the back of this book, Obstinate Headstrong Girl, Christina Boyd shared that from the publication of The Darcy Monologues, readers suggested doing the same for Elizabeth-but she wasn’t sure. With all the retellings of Jane Austen’s most loved novel:

“…I thought all the Elizabeth Bennet point-of-view stories surely must have been told.”

But you know us Janeites-no matter what character may be your favorite, everybody loves an Obstinate Headstrong Girl.

So here we go with the five Regency stories. All of these are set in the Regency whether before the novel, after the novel, or taking a new path from some point in the story. I am going to do them in the order they are as you read it.

Resolution by Amy D’Orazio

It is two weeks before Elizabeth’s wedding and she eagerly awaits it. If was marrying Mr. Darcy I would feel the same way. 

She is staying with Jane (now Jane Bingley) and Mr. Bingley and glances out the window and sees Mr. Darcy-becoming stricken with fever at seeing him. Aw, she is so excited to wed him…so cute.

Jane is in a lather trying to get things ready for Elizabeth’s engagement party-upset that Mr. Bingley keeps inviting people so she has no clue how many people are coming. I really liked that, as I think it is nice seeing Jane more than the perfect angel and I think every marriage has its annoyances. Elizabeth is a bit distressed that Darcy would be coming (weird as they are getting married.) 

Whatever, Jane asks if Elizabeth holds a grudge and that it shouldn’t be weird having him at her engagement dinner.

OMGOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHATTTTTTTTTTT?!!!!!!!!!!!!! ELIZABETH AND DARCY ARE NOT ENGAGED???!!!

literally spit out my tea! WHAT??????!!!!!!!!

Do you ever get shocked in reading that you read faster, because you have to know what happens next?

ANSWERS!!!!!

So in this version everything happened as in the original book, but Darcy did not come back a second time to propose to Elizabeth. He did visit with Bingley, so he went back and spoke to Jane but Elizabeth and Darcy never had their walk together, time passed, and she met another man-Mr. Julius Timpson-who also happened to be wealthy as he is a banker-and got engaged and is to be married. Mr. Timpson is older, opinionated, and Elizabeth isn’t in love, she loves Darcy, but as she cannot have him sh but believes herself to be content with him. WHAT? ConTeNT?

OMG I have to take a breath.

Okay, so I calmed myself down, I’m sure Darcy and Elizabeth will straighten everything out. So that evening Elizabeth can’t stop thinking of him. Why didn’t he come back, was Lydia’s shame too great? Has he found another. She wishes she could speak to him, but doesn’t get a chance to as she is next to Mr. Timpson (if you can’t tell whenever I say his name I say it in a snotty tune as I don’t like him) and Darcy is on the other side of the table.

She gets a chance to break away from the ladies, and tries to talk to him-overhearing Darcy and Bingley talking about her engagement. She interrupts them and she and Darcy get a moment to talk when Bingley gets called away. The two parry blows with their wits, and Darcy admits that he loves her aw! They are going to get together! But no, he leaves. What!!!

Go BAAAAACK!!!!

13 Days until the wedding, the wedding that should not be happening, but is.

Elizabeth wants to be with Mr. Darcy, she imagines him when kissing her fiancé. Oh no, Elizabeth-but she can’t she doesn’t even know if Darcy loves her still. I think D’Orazio speaks for us all when she describes Elizabeth’s feelings:

Elizabeth drinks a bit too much wine and writes a note to Darcy asking him why he didn’t come back. The note is delivered and he replies he did what he thought she wanted. WHAT!!!!!!!!

What are you talking about??

He didn’t know if her feelings changed and then Lady Catherine, that evil schemer went and told him that Elizabeth would never want to marry him.  NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

But what will happen? Will they get together? Will Elizabeth break her engagement?

So I really liked this story and I think it was perfect for the beginning of the anthology. Not to talk bad about the other writers, as I loved their stories too, but this story itself was worth the price of the book. D’Orazio took parts and texts of the original novel and gave it her own spin. We  get to see a view of what would have happened if Darcy did not come back? Would she have gone on to be a spinster? Or would she have become like Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride, not loving or caring and entering the marriage having no feeling regarding it. 

And NO lie, every time the days before the weddings shortened, my heart leaped in anxiety, will they or won’t they? I zoomed through this story as I just had to finish it before my lunch break ended.  Plus I LOVED that ending, it was amazing. and just what I was hoping for. 

For more by Amy D’Orazio, go to “The Wishing Ball” by Amy D’Orazio” from YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-Inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

Atmospheric Disturbances by Christina Morland

Darcy and Elizabeth are fighting. 

But not about her sister or Wickham. The two are engaged and we have fallen right in the middle of their unknown dispute. Elizabeth is angry and trying to poke at Darcy to get him to react, he wanting to leave, but she not letting him until they have it out. 

Mr. Darcy is a puzzle to her-he is “cold and warm, kind and aloof, reticent and garrulous”-a walking contradiction. He is kind and loving enough to each her sisters to play chess, gives everyone in her family gifts,  but doesn’t give her anything but the compliment of his attention.

Hmmm…

So…I was really not getting into this story. I love Darcy, but in a different way than most people. I mean I love that he is kind and caring and a romantic hero, but I also love him because he reminds me a lot of myself, personality-wise (not money or family). Like that earlier quote I pulled, that could describe me.

So as I’m reading this I’m like, why you mad Elizabeth? Look at all the stuff he is doing- spending time with all the people who are the last he’d want to be trapped with, Mary and Kitty, ugh Mrs. Bennet. And I’m sure he feels that giving his time is the best thing to give, after all that happened I’m sure he feels that any larger gift would look as if he is trying to purchase her love not an act of love. 

I’m done

But, then we get why Elizabeth is fighting with Darcy, the real reason:

“No, what truly frightened her was the epiphany he was bound to have, and soon: she was, and always would be, headstrong and obstinate. When he came to understand this unalterable aspect of her character, would he also come to regret his love?”

OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH…she is feeling insecure.

It all makes sense!

Will they be able to work through these issues? Or will their wedding not take place?

Hmmm…

I really liked the rest of the story as I think this was a new view into Elizabeth Bennet. I mean we all love her wit and how she has no fear toward Lady Catherine, but even though she loves Darcy and was a very confident person, she is no longer blind to her family faults and she must have spent time afterwards wondering if this would work, if Darcy would be okay with it, if he would regret his choice. 

Does he regret marrying me? (from Death Comes to Pemberley)

 

I also like how Morland shows that just like any couple-Darcy and Elizabeth have to work through from being a “I” to becoming a “we”, and that it can be done with communication and still retaining one’s independence and obstinate, headstrong ways.

For more by Christina Morland, go to “Self-Composed ” from Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne Dashwood

The Uncommonly Busy Lane to Longbourn by Joana Starnes

Elizabeth is trying to hide out as her mother is trying to match her up with Mr. Collins. 

Elizabeth thinks to herself about how soon Jane will get with Mr. Bingley and then maybe Mrs. Bennet will lay off. Thinking of Mr. Bingley of course brings thoughts of Mr. Darcy-how dare he say she isn’t tolerable, and that in turn brings thoughts of Mr. Wickham. Poor Mr. Wickham, so rudely mistreated by Darcy. 

As she runs home, she runs into Mr. Darcy, who is out taking a ride on his horse. They actually engage in decent conversation, surprise, to Elizabeth’s total surprise! But she hurriedly scurries away as she does not want to spend any more time with him-confusing man.

At home, Elizabeth tries to put in her plan to have Jane influence their mother to pass Mr. Collins on to Mary, as Mary enjoys his sermons and has her own self-righteous streak. It works half right well, as Mr. Collins secures the first two dances with Mary, but that leaves Elizabeth open to Mr. Darcy asking her to dance! She does, but ends up getting her foot squished by Mr. Collins. That man!

She has to sit out the dance, but who should come and keep her company, Jane?…no Mr. Darcy. 

Elizabeth is shocked, but the two actually have some decent conversation, until Darcy warns her against Wickham. That will not do and she becomes extremely angry.

Thinking you were nice.

The rest of the night is horrible as she doesn’t get to dance and instead has to watch everyone else dance and she gets to see how silly her family is acting. 

The next day they are walking to visit their Aunt Phillips and tell her of the ball, and when they come back they come across Mr. Wickham who joins their party of Elizabeth, Kitty, Lydia, and Jane. 

The other girls walk ahead to give Wickham and Elizabeth time to talk to each other,  but as Wickham tries to steal a kiss, before Elizabeth can decide what to do they are interrupted by Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy begs a moment with Wickham and the girls walk off. 

They are almost home and there is no Mr. Wickham behind them. Elizabeth starts to grow fearful and decides to head back as maybe Mr. Darcy did something to him? She and Jane hurry and they spot motionless riding boots emerging from a bush. Oh no!!!!

Elizabeth thinks it is Wickham and reaches out to him, only to discover it is Mr. Darcy and he has a headwound!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! NOt Mr. Darcy!!!!

Nooooo

They take him home and call the apothecary but Elizabeth is in shock. She cannot believe that Wickham could do such a thing, such a decent man-it must have been Mr. Darcy’s fault, it must have been an accident, he must have gone for help, Wickham can’t be a bad man.

But why didn’t he get an apothecary? Why didn’t he get help? Darcy must have caused it himself, right? She can’t have been wrong about Wickham, could she?

 

I liked that Starnes took the obstinate and headstrong down this pathway. I know I am an obstinate and headstrong girl and I have often in my younger days, not as much now, held onto a view of belief of a person even when the evidence seems glaringly opposite. It is a major fault of being an OHG that we can be so obstinate that we deceive our own selves. 

And she receives the truth hard-with the officers saying that Wickham spread the account of Darcy (Mr. I won’t speak an ill word and disgrace his father), meeting Georgiana Darcy and seeing she is nothing like Wickham said, and Georgiana sharing the truth about his character.

 

But don’t fear, let me calm your hearts-Darcy survives and there is an amazingly cute scene when he thinks Mr. Collins is Elizabeth as he is suffering from a bad concussion. But will he want to be with her still? I mean he almost died for her-will that deter him from this OHG?

For more by Joana Starnes, go to “And Evermore Be Merry” from YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-Inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

Something Like Regret by Elizabeth Adams

Elizabeth and the Gardiners have decided to tour Pemberley as Mr. Darcy is gone. Elizabeth immediately regrets this as seeing it reminds her of what she gave up.

However, she also would have had to marry Mr. Darcy, and who would want to be married to Mr. Darcy?

 

She realizes however she was wrong about Mr. Wickham and about Mr. Darcy. Seeing the beautiful place isn’t what chnges her mind but hearing what all his staff say about him-she starts to wonder. Could it have been that Mr. Darcy was just seeking intelligent discourse, seeing her as a match for his wits-rather than trying to argue with her? Could she have misconstrued his intentions? Could he have fallen in love with her mind? Is that why he said he loved her?

I don’t know…

She then sees a portrait of him when he was 22, before his father died. And she can see the difference in his countenance-before he had to be a serious landowner, responsible to all the people, and a father to his sister-in fact, he only a year older than Elizabeth and he took all that on. And Elizabeth knows she would find difficulty in being responsible for so much, and looking at how it has flourished:

They learn from the houskeeper how wild Mr. Wickham turned out and Elizabeth starts to wonder about her judge of character.

Maybe…being obstinate and headstrong isn’t the only way one should be. Maybe they should be firm in what their beliefs but also allow a flexibility in judging characters.

Hmmm…

She looks at the late Mr. Darcy’s study-left exactly how it was when he died and how he kept a small miniature of Mr. Wickham to honor his father. Elizabeth thinks that if she had accepted Darcy’s proposal her first act as mistress of Pemberley she would “accidentally on purpose” smash Wickham’s picture, and I’m 100% in agreement with her!

NOT REALLY

Elizabeth realizes that she let his comment and injury to her vanity color her every perception of him. Being obstinate and headstrong sure can lead to misunderstandings. (I know it!) 

Then Mr. Darcy comes…awkward.

Elizabeth is later surprised when Mr. Darcy joins their tour. He converses with her uncle, and is extremely friendly and not at all what she expects, and when Elizabeth apologizes for the way she treated him in Kent-he turns it around and admits his faults and apologizes to her.

How romantic!

The two begin to spend quite a bit of time together as Mr. Darcy invite her and her aunt and uncle over. And what of Mr. Wickham? Well, he does not cut their visit short as he won a ton of money and took off to hide from his creditors. So good-bye to you!

Adams is an excellent romance writer as they are just so cute together-the way they talk, and act, and such. Ah my heart melts like butter. 

Squee! I loved it!

For more by Elizabeth Adams, go to “And Evermore Be Merry” from YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-Inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

The Age of Nescience by J. Marie Croft

So this was a very different story. We start the book off in 1806, when Elizabeth is 15 and at her coming-out into society. I really like that Croft went in a different direction than most people-I don’t think I have ever read any other retelling that starts long before Pride and Prejudice

The first party was not so great as she and her mother argued over the clothes-and there were no proposals. We all know Mrs. Bennet is not happy about that.

Later a Mr. Archibald Crosbie visits, both handsome and charming, and Elizabeth develops a crush on him. She goes to visit with her Aunt Gardiner who is planning on buying her clothes that are fashionable and actually suits Elizabeth, also using this time to try and talk about her about men-warn her that not all have honorable intentions, but Elizabeth doesn’t really listen. She believes she is an excellent judge of character and will not be hoodwinked-us poor obstinate headstrong girls-we don’t listen.

She picks out lovely material for her new gown, and knows it will catch Crosbie’s attention. 

But Mr. Crosbie attracts too many women, and nothing happens. Poor Elizabeth is hurt and slightly angry at him-you know teenagers:

She then concludes that she will never pursue a man again-they need to pursue her!

Sir Jack Ashe moves into the neighborhood and pays a ton of attention to Elizabeth, pursuing her over her beautiful sister Jane. As anyone who has ever felt second best to a sister, Elizabeth’s heart gets stolen by his attention. He tries to woo her, but unfortunately all Elizabeth’s illusions and hopes are broken when she discovers he just wanted to take a roll with her in the hay-he never had any intention of anything more than seducing a “simple country girl”.

 

Elizabeth is angry at her naiveté and decides to never be used in such a way ever again and to not even look at wealthy man, but set her sites lower; developing an unknown prejudice against the wealthy class. 

There is more to the story, I don’t want to give everything away, but I found this to not only be an interesting view into Elizabeth and her obstinate, headstrong ways-but very new. I also like how the author concentrated on Elizabeth’s relationship not with Mr. Darcy, but with all the people that are very important to her: Jane, Mrs. Gardiner, Charlotte Lucas, and her father Mr. Bennet. 

For more by J. Marie Croft, go to “Homespun for the Holidays” from YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-Inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

Some people might feel what more can be done to Pride and Prejudice? Does Elizabeth really need her own book? Well I am going to stop you right there because first of all-

And secondly, this anthology proved that yes there is plenty more stories to tell about Elizabeth. 

So I really loved and enjoyed all these stories!

Especially how each author took the theme of “obstinate headstrong girl” and worked it to create five very different stories that still kept the heart of Jane Austen and the fire plus wit of Elizabeth.

So if you love Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, or am a cardcarrying member of the Obstinate Headstrong Girls’ Club-you should definitely check this book out (and what better time when you are basically being told to stay home and read?) Why don’t you head over to Amazon and order a copy?

I think it is a fantastic idea. 

So this of course is only the five Regency stories, the next post on 3/26 will be on the other five stories-these of course will be set in different time periods. We have the Victorian Era, Edwardian Age, 1930s, the ’80s, and present time!

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to P.S. I Like You

For more edited by Christina Boyd, go to YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

Victoria and the Rogue

Victoria and the Rogue (An Avon True Romance #12) by Meg Cabot

I first was introduced to Meg Cabot through her book All-American Girl, later reading The Princess Diaries series. Another book series she helped write was Avon True Romance for Teens.  

The Avon True Romance for Teens was written by different authors and is a collection of clean, historical romances-written specifically for the teen/YA market.

I was going to include this in the Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, but as I continued to read the story I realized that this was basically Emma, with some Pride and Prejudice thrown in.

Hmm…

I mean it isn’t an exact retelling, but there are just so many similarities. Let’s begin the review.

Lady Victoria Arbuthnot, Duchess of Harrow, is a young, beautiful, wealthy woman. Her parents traveled to India when she was little and died there leaving her an orphan and raised by her uncles. She was not interested at all in being married but just living her life with her fortune. Sound like someone we know?

“Never mind, Harriet, I shall not be a poor old maid; and it is poverty only which makes celibacy contemptible to a generous public! A single woman, with a very narrow income, must be a ridiculous, disagreeable, old maid! the proper sport of boys and girls; but a single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else.” –Emma

She, however, did fully intend to match up her uncles.

This, however, they do not like at all. To stop her from meddling they decide to send her back to England wagering on how long it will take for her to get a proposal. She decides to prove them wrong and ends up engaged on the boat over.

Yes, engaged to Lord Hugo Rothschild, Earl of Malfrey. He’s a bit of a fop caring for his clothes and money and just not really seeming to be a stand up gentleman. After all, who enters secret engagements if they have honorable intentions?

Frank Churchill

But also on the trip is the very annoying Captain Jacob Carstairs who likes to tell her what she is doing wrong and tries to stop her from managing (her word), or meddling (his word), on the way the ship is run.

Victoria meets her relatives that reside in England for the first time, the Gardiners. They are poorer than her and have a very large family full of kids, much different than how it was for her in India.

This is…pleasant? 

Something that differs from Emma, is that as Victoria was raised in India and she doesn’t behave quite like most gentle ladies of society. She can shoot a gun expertly, doesn’t accept help from getting down from the boat, and breaks “societal” rules she has no knowledge of. Emma on the other hand was finely tutored.

Victoria meets her older cousin Rebecca “Becky” Gardiner who she discovers has a crush on Captain Carstairs. Oh no, this must not be as Victoria thinks of Captain Carstairs as a rogue and sets her mind on finding a more suitable man. Just like Emma…

Rebecca envies Victoria’s gowns, money, fans, and the time she spent with the very wealthy Captain Carstairs. It turns out that he is not only a Captain, but he owns the ship that they used and not just that one-a fleet of them. He worked hard to take his father’s business and turn it into something truly powerful.

Vicky lets it slip that she is engaged but manages to coerce her cousin into keeping the secret by giving her a beautiful gown and fan.

Rebecca tries to warn Victoria about Lord Malfrey, as he has no fortune. But Victoria doesn’t care, she wants a man that won’t boss her around but one she can hep and aid, one that needs her-even of that means she will be footing the bill.

-Speaking from experience and the wastrel of a man I married. This is not a good idea. Slight PSA. DO NOT DO THIS. BAD, VERY, VERY BAD IDEA

Unfortunately for Victoria, Captain Carstairs is a very good family friend. She will have to endure his company constantly.

Ugh

The family goes to Almack’s, for a ball and to be “out” in society. Captain Castairs reveled to all that Victoria is engaged, so that secret’s out. Captain Carstairs spends time at the dance to try and convince Victoria not to marry Lord Malferey-but Victoria won’t listen she wants to “organize his life.”

Captain Carstairs tries to convince Mr. Gardiner to stop the betrothal but Mr. Gardiner doesn’t really care. Vicky and him squabble some more before she sets her plan “Have Rebecca be with a man I Believe to Be Perfect for Her” into motion.

Victoria “loses” her fan and Rebecca meets the handsome Charles Abbot, who Victoria believed perfect for her cousin-arranging everything ever so nicely.

Captain Carstairs accuses her of being too controlling, but she counters that things are much better with her at the helm.

They have a picnic thrown by Lord Malfrey, in which she has him invite Mr. Abbott for Rebecca. Lord Malfrey’s mother is overly madeup and odd and his friends-not acceptable ones for society in dress (some of the women wear slips and wet their legs) and manners. And none of them talk about anything other than clothes and hunting.

And unfortunately for Victoria, Captain Carstairs arrives and disapproves of everything and all the people.

But then Rebecca’s bag is stolen by a street urchin. Just like Harriet in Emma. And just like in Emma Lord Malfey/Frank Churchill goes to save the day-except in this, one Victoria controls the situation by taking down the boy-to everyone’s surprise and shock.

They set to take him to the police, but Victoria feels bad for the boy and pretends to faint, causing a distraction that allows him to slip away.

They are invited to Captain Carstairs’ house to have dinner with him and his mother, but Victoria tries to stay behind. She can’t imagine having to go through a whole dinner with him.

They spend time together before dinner with Captain Carstairs and his mother. To Victoria’s shock she has a lovely and interesting conversation on India, boats, sailing, the navy, etc. Much more interesting than the talks she has with her fiancé and his mother.

Hmmm…

Anybody getting what I’m thinking…?

Hmm…

Jacob takes Victoria aside after dinner as he wants to speak of something serious with her. She thinks he is going to declare his love for her, but instead he tells her that Lord Malfrey is only marrying her for her money. Victoria doesn’t care…

…but then Captain Carstairs reveals a secret about Lord Malfrey that concerns his sister. Only a few trusted people know about it. The two were engaged, but when some ships were lost along with the Carstair’s fortune, Lord Malfrey dumped his sister and up and left-his sister utterly heartbroken.

Poor Georgina Margaret. But now she is married and living happy.

Victoria realizes the severity of the claim, and decides to trust Captain Carstairs and test Lord Malfey.

Captain Carstairs tries to speak to her, but she refuses him-embarrassed that she is attracted to him.

Ugh…I don’t want to like him.

Sh tests Lord Malfey, telling him that it turns out that she won’t get control of her fortune-married or single-until she is 21. That means they would have to wait five years. Lord Malfrey is having none of that and after throwing a big fit, Victoria decides she is done. Forget this dude.

Victoria is saddened, but soldiers on. After all there is Rebecca’s romance, the molding of the younger Gardiners, etc.

Unfortunately, Captain Carstairs won’t leave her alone. After a constant barrage and a plea by Mrs. Gardiner-Victoria agrees. Captain Carstairs is happy about end of the engagement, and tells her what you need is “someone who doesn’t need you”.

I have to agree with him. After being with someone who “needed” me which really meant “using”-It would be nice to have someone who isn’t going to just be taking but giving.

Well Captain Carstairs proposes…sort of. Here it is:

“Wouldn’t it be restful to come home to someone who needed nothing whatsoever from you?”

Really dude?

That’s Darcy level messed up.

I men you could say you love her or something.

I mean, seriously dude. Get yourself together.

He kisses her, and then Victoria becomes so upset she pushes him away. Victoria is justly angry an Captain Carstairs acts like a total tool.

Jerk

Seriously, “he won’t extol her virtues” or be romantic and refuses to ever ask her again.

Well fine. Seriously dude-would it kill you to say anything endearing. I mean Mr. Knightley:

Or Mr. Tilney

So he storms of and life goes on. Lord Malfrey asks Victoria to met him so that they might exchange letters. Victoria agrees but when she goes, she gets caught in the rain. He takes her inside and her clothes so she can dry and warm herself, but then the Malfreys won’t let her go. They want her money and they want it bad. Their plan is to trap her there all night and to “save her” from scandal force her to marry Lord Malfrey-just like Wickham’s plan.

She gets locked in a room, but Victoria is no quitter. She doesn’t quite know what to do, and is in her underwear, but decides she cannot stay there and makes a break for it out the window.

She tries to go to the police to get help, but they think she is a prostitute, and ignore her. She does gets saved by some street urchins, the ones in the group that belonged to the boy she saved earlier. He keeps her safe there with the others while going off to deliver her note to Captain Carstairs.

He comes right away in answer to her note, and brings clothes, like Victoria asked. When he gets there Victoria tells him the whole story. They concoct a story to give to the Gardiners, and Captain Carstairs takes her home.

Captain Carstirs is so angry about what happened, Victoria is convinced that he would try to duel with Lord Malfrey. She wonders why she is so upset when she realizes she is in love with Captain Carstairs.

She hears nothing from him and agonizes over what is happening. (Just like in Emma when Mr. Knightey is gone visiting his brother and Emma is freaking out as she realizes she loves him.) Victoria writes him a note but hears nothing. She is so anxious and angry at herself for turning him down, especially as she knows he won’t ask her again.

A man who has once been refused! How could I ever be foolish enough to expect a renewal of his love? –Pride and Prejudice

Victoria has a little bit of a breakdown believing Captain Carstairs is dead. The Gardiner’s see her distressed state and think she is sick, wanting her to stay home but she has to go out to Almack’s, as she needs to know if Captain Carstairs is alive.

He acts cold, polite and aloof.

Victoria pleads with Captain Carstairs and he tells her that there was no duel. He just told the Malfreys that they needed to go to France and never return to England or else he would let out the news about Malfrey’s first wife, Mary Gilbreath, and their divorce.

All ends well with Victoria and Captin Carstairs ironing out their issues and ending up together.

Meh.

I thought it was a fun story with great characters except for Captain Carstairs. As you can see from the above gif, I didn’t care for him and Victoria to end up together.  I found Captain Carstairs to be annoying, mean, immature, and a major jerk, only a shadow of Mr. Knightly and Mr. Darcy. Personally I believe Victoria could do better.

 

For more on Emma, go to Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

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

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

For more Meg Cabot, go to Would You Like a Pizza My Heart?: The Princess Diaries (2001)

 

The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

The Darcy Monolgues edited by Christina Boyd and written by Various

So I was contacted by Christina Boyd to do a honest review in return for a free copy of the ebook. I agreed as you know I will review anything Jane Austen.

This is so me

I promised to have the review posted by the 21st, which I saw as no problem as you know how fast I read.

But the day came closer and closer and I realized I hadn’t posted my review!

Let me say that when I first heard of the story, I thought it sounded interesting but had no idea what to expect.

Hmm…

Was it going to be a view of Darcy at different times in the story? Will they follow the original text or do their own thing? Hmm…

I began reading the book

But then I was sucked in:

Or story in this case.

So the book is a collection of monologues or short stories; told from the point of view of Mr. Darcy.

Some take place in the Regency time period, some take his point of view of the novel, some after the novel, and some asking the question of what would happen if..?

Hmm…

The book is divided into two collections: those that take place in the Regency time period and those that span all time periods. I have decided to review the first collection on the Regency time today, and the second one later on this week.

Death of a Bachelor by Caitlin Williams

This monologue tells of Mr. Darcy’s feelings as his wedding day grows closer and there will be an end to his bachelor ways. As his wedding occurs and they head out to London for their honeymoon, they get stranded at a less than fabulous inn in a blizzard. Will Darcy enjoy being married? Or will it be his biggest regret? And how can he fix his honeymoon to be memorable for all the right reasons?

Things I Pondered: The only thing I can see Janeites/Austenites getting upset over is when Darcy says that he has been with many women before Elizabeth. This is historically accurate, as gentlemen had more social freedom; however some might not care to have Darcy be anything than their version of a romantic hero. 

What I Like: I thought it was very well written and that Williams truly captured the spirits of the characters. I really enjoyed her story, especially as she was not graphic but allowed the reader to use their own imagination. 

From the Ashes by J. Marie Croft

This story takes place right after Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth, only to have her reject him in every way. We have Darcy as he goes through every emotion from anger to sadness at having his love refused.

Things I Pondered: Who is Richard? Is that supposed to be Colonel Fitzwilliam’s middle name or something?

What I Like: I thought that Croft truly captured the emotions of anyone who has been heartbroken and I found her portrayal of Mr. Darcy not only to be likable but 100% relatable, as who hasn’t gone through a painful rejection?

I thought that he might be a little more composed than her portrayal:

But I think the beauty of this piece is that Croft shows that temper Darcy spoke of in the original novel, giving it a strong connection to Austen’s work.

I also loved her character of Anne de Bourgh and if Croft wrote a novel that featured or continued this expanded character of Anne, I would read that in a heartbeat.

For more quotes from J. K. Rowling, go to Don’t Fear the Reaper

If Only a Dream by Joana Starnes

Mr. Darcy has been rejected by Elizabeth and is so upset after giving her the letter that he wants to leave Rosings Park and never see her again. However, things do not go according to plan as his Aunt Catherine de Bourgh’s ploy at faking a heart attack turns to a real malady when she trips on the stairs and breaks her ankle.

Now Darcy must remain there, as it is his nephewly duties; and as the Collins are such great neighbors that they (along with Elizabeth and her sister Maria) come over all the time. Will this constant proximity change things? Or drive a deeper wedge between Darcy and Elizabeth.

Things I Pondered: I didn’t like this story as much as having them fall in love so early cuts out a lot of growth in the characters, along with all the events that changed Elizabeth’s view on him and showed her own pride and prejudices.

What I Like: While I didn’t like losing so much of the story Starnes wrote the answer to this “What if” very well and provided an interesting twist: Lady Catherine’s plot to get her nephew to marry her daughter results in him marrying Elizabeth. Oh Lady Catherine, I think your conspiring days are over:

 I also liked this Anne de Bourgh character as she was interesting and witty. If Starnes decided to expand her version into a novel, I would definitely read it as well. 

Yep!

Clandestiny by KaraLynne Mackrory

This story takes place during the ball at Netherfield. Georgiana had only been attacked four months earlier by Mr. Wickham and Darcy is still upset over it. However, his mind is split between that and Elizabeth as he thinks she has feelings for him. Things take an interesting turn when a trap door brings the two together. Will this help the situation or only cause more issues?

Hmm…

Things I Pondered: By moving up them having that time when Darcy is less reserved and more himself, we miss out on all the meat of the story. It is cute, but too short and missing the whackam-sockum appeal of Jane Austen’s revelations as how all the characters connect.

What I Like: Even though I didn’t like how much was to be cut out of the story with this earlier connection, I still thought this was interesting to see what would have happened if Elizabeth saw the “real” Darcy earlier in the novel. This was a good part to do it in as her real only problem was that he hurt her feelings. After all she doesn’t know Wickham all that well and seeing Darcy behaving in a different way, more natural, and apologizing for his earlier rudeness would help sway her from the fake charm to the real deal. 

The Beast of Pemberley by Melanie Stanford

So in the past I have compared Pride and Prejudice with Beauty and the Beast :

But in this story, Stanford rewrites the story so that it is Beauty and the Beast, with all its magic and characters, but set in Regency England.

In this tale, Darcy has saved Pemberley and the village by standing in when Wickham (a powerful wizard) tried to destroy it. For his efforts he has been cursed with hideous scars, while each of his staff (Cogsworth, Lumiere, etc.) suffer from one scar. All he does is look in his magic mirror hoping that he might see something to lift him out of his depression and pain. He sees Elizabeth Bennet, and when her father plans to marry her off to Mr. Collins to pay his debts, Darcy steps in.

Things don’t go well as she refuses to have Darcy wear a mask, wanting to see his face:

But when wolves almost attack Elizabeth, Darcy manages to save her and after that things start improving.

Especially when he gives her the Pemberley library.

But will they be able to end the curse? Will Elizabeth ever see more in Darcy? Or just a Beast?

What I Like: I thought it was a cute fan service story. And when I say “fan service”, I mean this is something people have been talking about and wanted. It was a very fun and adorable read that I really enjoyed.

For more on Beauty and the Beast, go to Xactly Why I Think Beastly is An Xcellent Story

A Resentful Man by Lory Lilian

Mr. Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth, been rejected, and has left Rosings. He is celebrating Georgiana’s 16th birthday with the Bingleys and other family friends. They are heading back to Pemberley when Darcy decides to return ahead of schedule. When he gets there, who should he run into? Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. They spend the time together walking the grounds and talking. Will they be able to reconcile? Or will this just make things more awkward?

What I Like: I thought it was cute and adorable. 

In Terms of Perfect Composure by Susan Adriani

So the story starts off with a brief recap about all that happened. Lydia had run off with Wickham and he’s been paid off so that the reputation of the Bennet family would be saved. Darcy is having dinner with Mr. Gardiner, and the latter man is trying to find out why Darcy would help them out – is there an understanding he hasn’t been told? Darcy tells him about his proposal and how it went:

And how he still cares but has given up. Mr. Gardiner encourages him to try again, as he believes Elizabeth still has feelings for him. Darcy goes to stay at Netherfield and when he and Bingley visit the Bennets, as Bingley and Jane are now engaged, Darcy overhears Lady Catherine’s tirade at Elizabeth.

Will this bring them together or force them farther apart?

Things I Pondered: I don’t get why she has Elizabeth avoid Darcy as in the original novel, at this point in time she wants to see Darcy and be with him.

What I Like: I really enjoyed how she has Darcy build upon his relationship with the Gardiners when he is in town as he greatly enjoyed their company and this showed that to a further extent. I also like how the author made her Darcy expect nothing in return for his deeds in helping the Bennets as is closely followed how Austen’s Darcy was. 

Without Affection by Jan Hahn

neverloveyouchallengeprideandprejudicedarcy

It has been fifty years since Darcy proposed to Elizabeth the second time and she accepted. The two are in their golden years and Darcy reflects back on his life, to a time he almost lost Elizabeth…

Elizabeth gives birth to their son and almost dies in the process. After the birth she has to rest, but while her body is weak her spirit is strong. Darcy is heartbroken and decides that he cannot, will not lose her. He is determined to have her never experience childbirth again and risk her life. But will Elizabeth comply to his plan or have her own ideas?

Things I Pondered: Darcy talks about how he knows little of women’s bodies and never thinks to consult with a doctor to see if she shouldn’t give birth. I thought it was strange as I imagine that a man with all his wealth and power would seek several people’s opinions.

What I Like: It was sweet to see them still so in love and talk about their great years together. Just adorable and a great way to end the first collection.

So what did I think?

Hmmm….

I enjoyed every one.

Yes there may have been changes I wouldn’t have done or things altered that weren’t my favorite, but those were really minute things. I found each of these tales to be extremely enjoyable and I loved looking at all the interpretations these authors gave to a story they and we love.

And no matter what changes, additions, etc  that the authors did, there is one very important thing that they all made sure to do. And that was to get inside the character’s head and actually give a voice to Darcy.

Wow!

Yes, you have heard me complain again and again about different writers never really ever go that far to bring Darcy to life, always stopping short in their interpretations.

But these authors don’t do that. Whatever changes they have made or ways they interpreted the characters; they tried to make sure they gave Darcy a personality and looked deep into him and how he would react to the situations, not through another’s eyes but through the depths of his spirits.

That is a hard feat to do I commend all of them:

I think all did a fantastic job in presenting “their” Darcy and I highly recommend you read this book.

But what do I feel about part two, Darcy and Elizabeth through time?

I guess you will just have to wait and read.

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

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Prom & Prejudice

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars