Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues edited by Christina Boyd

So it’s that time again, bring out the bad boys:

So I had been planning to finish these posts last year, but then the holidays come and you know what that’s like.

So I had to trade it out with posts I had written earlier. But now we are back on track.

For those of you who missed posts 1 & 2Dangerous to Know is a compilation novel of the bad boys of Jane Austen-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more.

With this being on rakes and rogues…they aren’t the best of men or respectful…so some of the stories are going to be more sexy.

Hmm…

And I just want to say thank you to Christina Boyd for including this little chart to help you:

Mature Content Guidelines:

  1. None: Possible kissing and affection.
  2. Mild: Kissing.
  3. Moderate: Some sexual references but not explicit.
  4. Mature: Some nudity and some provocative sex.
  5. Erotic: Explicit, abundance of sex.

Because not everyone is interested in books like this:

It’s nice giving us a head’s up so those that aren’t interested know to skip or skim, or those that do can enjoy.

Something for everyone

So far I have reviewed the none posts, which has stories on Captain Fredrick Tilney, General Tilney and John Thorpe from Northanger Abbey; along with Sir Walter Elliot from Persuasion. I loved these stories as some of these men I love to hate and it made me hate them ever more: And some men I have hated and actually began to like them:

Last time I reviewed the mild posts. I was really surprised with these stories as they were on Tom Bertram from Mansfield Park and Colonel Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I had never thought of these two as rogues, mostly because they have two of the biggest, baddest Austen rogues-Henry Crawford and George Wickham. The stories were really good and sucked me in, making it very hard to stop reading.

So just to remind you, these are the moderate posts-some sexual references but not explicit.

Oh Darcy, you aren’t a rogue. Get out of here.

Sorry I didn’t have any “sexy” pictures/gifs.

Oh, well

So before we start, let me say one thing…

Wait

A great thing about this book is that with these men, besides Wickham, we don’t know that much about their past or who they are. Most only play a small role-but have a big impact. This allows the authors a ton of wiggle room and almost anything can happen.

An Honest Man by Karen M. Cox

Ugh, Frank Churchill from Emma. Argh, I HATE this guy. Frank is the son of Mr. Weston and was sent away as a baby when his mother died to be raised by her wealthy relatives. He never sees his father or even visits. When he finally does it is because his secret fiance has moved the country. He then is such a jerk flirting and leading Emma on, in FRONT OF HIS FIANCE Jane. Urgh, argh, ugh…I just dislike him so much!

So in this story Frank first discusses how he became a “Churchill”. His father was of lower birth and his mother’s family disowned them when they married. When his mother died, Mr. Weston sent Frank to be raised by them and he stayed there. In order to inherit, he changed his name to Churchill and has towed her line ever since.

Frank has finished his studies, gone on his grand tour of Europe (brothels more than anything else), and goes to Weymouth to visit with friends. He runs into a beautiful girl in the post office, using some lines and double entendre to see if this “flower” is ripe for the “plucking” but no dice.

I’ll find someone else, no problem.

Later Frank and his friend Hayward run into a friend of Hayward’s, Dixon. Mr. Dixon is about to marry Miss Campbell, introducing them to his fiance and his fiance’s companion, Jane Fairfax-the girl Frank ran into in the post office.

Frank is very interested in her, especially after he hears her beautiful voice. In that moment of her song, he becomes convinced she is the woman for him  and proceeds to go after her. The shark.

Ugh…

He follows her on one of her walks-wow stalker.

There he kisses her as it rains and poor Jane is putty in his hands. He takes her to a nearby cottage they find and convinces her that he will marry her, the two sleeping together.

Oh Jane…

After that they take as much time as they can to run off together, Frank “promising” that he will marry her, but not delivering. Then Jane gets pregnant. Uh oh…this is loser doing nothing to help her.

Now I know you hardcore fans are going to aghast, pregnancy? In Jane Austen? That’s not in the story. It’s okay, slow your roll-she ends up having a miscarriage and goes to Highbury-ruined and alone.

Noooo!

This is so sad. Poor Jane, seduced and taken for a ride.

Nooooooooooooooo

So Frank keeps promising, taking what he wants from her, and then…!!!!…flirts with Emma in front of her. OMG I wanted Frank to be flesh and blood so I could give this jerk face loser a beating.

Jerk

And this for good measure:

Frank’s aunt dies and the two marry, but will Jane really have a happy life with him or will being married to Frank be the same as being “secretly engaged.”‘

How I believe Jane will feel after she marries.

Thoughts After Reading:

I liked it. Even though I “knew” how the story would end-I mean I’ve read Emma-I still found myself invested and flipping through to find out what happens next. And I have always HATED Frank Churchill and now I really, really, really do. That jerkface lying weasel rat. You deserve the worse of the worse to be done to you.

How I feel about Frank Churchill, not the story.

For more by Karen M. Cox, go to I, Darcy in The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

The Lost Chapter in the Life of William Elliot by Jenetta James

William Elliot-ugh. William Elliot is Anne Elliot’s cousin. He is next in line for the baronetcy, but he and his uncle Sir Walter argued long ago and split ways. He was fine with it, as Sir Walter only has girls which can’t inherit, but when he discovers Sir Walter spending time with Elizabeth’s friend, widow Mrs. Penelope Clay, he jets down there to make amends as the last thing he needs is for Sir Walter to marry and have children. He then woos Mrs. Clay to keep her away, and Anne as he wants to marry her.

Double-timing snake

We start this story after Mr. Elliot’s wife has died, but before he enters Persuasion. One day, Mr. Elliot is out on the town, taking in a show of The Taming of the Shrew when he is hit by love’s arrows-the lead actress, Sarah Light.

At a party he gets to meet her, William is one who always has the upper hand, but finds his brain mush with her.

He then goes to see every performance, sending flowers and sweets to her room.

Every night he offers Miss Light his carriage and accompanies her to all the events she has to attend after her performances. One night she has nothing planned and the two walk together. Later they ride in the carriage and she asks if Mr. Elliot will be her dear friend, and call each other by their first names as friends do…

“Friends”, yeah right.

Then she kisses him, they go to her place and ….

The night turns into weeks, until they develop enough of a relationship that Mr. Elliot is considering making her his mistress. He’s already married for wealth and his wife’s death has given him riches and the ability to marry or be with whoever he may please.

But then Sarah refuses to see him any longer, And soon she has gotten a wealthy benefactor. It turns out that she already has a guy on her hook, and when he wasn’t delivering what she wanted-she used Elliot to make him jealous.

Ouch!

Elliot is crushed, but joins his friend for a holiday in Lyme and the source story. And he carries on…

Smarming and plotting away.

Thoughts After Reading:

This was good, as it gave us a softer side of Mr. Elliot and a look into his heart. I also liked him getting his heart pricked and prodded and-a little bad treatment as he treats others bad.

This dude

For more by Jenetta James, go to Reason to Hope in The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

Willoughby’s Crossroads by Joana Starnes

Ugh, Willoughby. This urgh-I really dislike him. He just does whatever, never thinking of how it affects others. He’s like Chuck Bass from season one of Gossip Girl.

He is with a woman and ruins her life, runs around with Marianne-making her think he is going to ask her to marry him-and then takes off to marry a wealthy woman-cutting Marianne in public! What a major, gigantic jerk.

Argh, I hate him…but let’s move on

In this story, it takes place before the events of Sense and Sensibility. Willoughby is in love with an older woman, Isobel, but she does not want to marry a plaything-she is marrying a wealthy, old, man.

Willoughby is angry, but Isobel quickly seduces him…

Isobel is expecting to keep Willoughby on the shelf to meet her needs that cannot be met by her husband, but Willoughby is angry and storms out.

Forget you!

He storms off into the park where he runs into old schoolmate Bingley, his wife and family, and friend Mr. Darcy. Seeing the men in love with their wives sours him even more and he storms off.

I hate everything!

Willoughby ends up in Bath when he assists a woman who has lost her pages for a letter. As he goes after them, he collides with a woman. He meets Miss Eliza Williams, Miss Martha Matthews, and Miss Emmeline Malcolm, escorting them to their lodgings.

Miss Malcolm is rich and beautiful, just the thing for Willoughby. Miss Williams is very interested in him, she is beautiful but is not rich enough to suit his needs.

Willoughby works hard and woos Miss Malcolm, they settle on a secret engagement when he discovers that she is Lord Cambourne’s daughter-Isobel’s new husband. He confesses that Isobel does not like him, and will object to the marriage-skipping over his relationship with Isobel.

We will keep that relationship secret.

Miss Malcolm responds as most young women do, the no makes her want him more and they plan to elope to Gretna Green. Willoughby claps himself on the back as he is getting the girl, the money, revenge, and a Golden Bowl situation.

When Miss Malcolm does not come as expected, he goes after her and finds out that Lady Isobel Cambourne is there. She told Miss Malcolm everything and ended the relationship and engagement.

Willoughby tries to speak to Miss Malcolm but she refuses him, now knowing his sordid secret. Miss Williams, seeing her opening, makes a play for him. Willoughby enjoys her, but has no plan whatsoever to marry her.

He returns to Devonshire, where a new family is living at Barton College. They are dull, but the middle daughter fawns over him and is a distraction. Miss Williams was upset at seeing him go as she wanted to marry, but hopefully he’ll be lucky and she won’t be pregnant.

Thoughts After Reading

I love, love, love the references to all the other Austen characters-Lady Susan told him of the affair, he is friends with Captain Fredrick Tilney, Mr. Bingley an old schoolmate, running into Bingley’s wife Jane, sister-in-law Elizabeth, and brother-in-law Mr. Darcy, Mr. Elliot being a friend of Captain Tilney: it was great. The story was also good as we see Mr. Willoughby in true form-all about him.

For more by Joana Starnes, go to If Only a Dream in The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

So now that we have reviewed the stories let’s talk about the other question on people’s minds: How sexy was the sexy parts?

So it wasn’t crazy out there but it was pretty sexy. In each one of these the men are with the prospective ladies and we read about it. The nice thing is that those aren’t the whole story so if you like it, you’ll enjoy it-and if you don’t, you can skim/skip.

So I really enjoyed these as well. I thought the authors did a great job putting their own spin and creating backstories for these characters, while staying true to what happened in Jane Austen’s books. They all captured the soul of the character and in my opinion, had you hate them more than you already do. I couldn’t stop reading.

But will I continue to enjoy it?

Hmm…

I guess we will find out in the final installment MATURE.

For more reviews of Dangerous to Know, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more Emma, go to Victoria and the Rogue

For more Persuasion, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

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A Water-Logged White Christmas

So every year my family goes and cuts down a Christmas tree. And this year, things did not go as expected.

So it rained.

Which was good. California really needed it. But because of fire and storm the place we usually go to was closed.

So we had to drive over an hour away, wait an hour to process for permits (never had to do that before), and then drive another hour away.

When we got there, the snow was super deep. The banks went up to your knees and thighs, depending on the area. It was such hard work. We couldn’t drive up to the tree cutting allowed area, as the snow was so deep, we had to hike in.

NoooooooooooooooS

While it was raining, which turned into sleet-and snow.

So it was hard to look for a tree with the snow, as my family we all wear glasses-so quickly fogged up and covered in rain.

Then the chainsaw broke so we are all sitting out there standing in the snow and getting even more soaked then we already were.

We finally got the tree, but the rest of the group couldn’t help, so my sister and I are trying to drag this huge 14 foot tree through the crazy deep snow.

Ugh

And finally we were ready to go. It was so wet that my gloves were full of water and falling off of me, my jacket so soaked it was drippingly full-the rain had gotten through my coat and on my shirt, pants and leggings, etc. I felt like Marianne Dashwood.

[after Marianne has first met Willoughby]

Elinor: Marianne, you must change. You will catch a cold.

Marianne: What care I for colds when there is such a man.

Elinor: You will care very much when your nose swells up.

Marianne: You are right. Help me, Elinor.

But even though it was a lot of work-and we all were soaked it was still fun. Even though after we got home, changed, and ate-all I wanted to do was sleep.

For more stories on cutting down our Christmas tree, go to Winter Wonderland

For more Marianne Dashwood, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

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

Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

So often we feel as if we will never find love.

But never fear, Austen’s books can guide us into finding our perfect match.

That’s not what I am talking about. I mean real life dating.

Yep, with the fantastic book:

Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating by Lauren Henderson

I can’t remember if this book was recommended to me by Goodreads or by one of you followers-but somehow it was and I decided to check it out. At the time I got it I was interested in dating anybody:

But then eight months later I was and thought what better time to start.

Each chapter covers a topic to do with dating and analyzes couples from Jane Austen’s novels. One couple has examples you should follow:

And a couple with examples you shouldn’t:

Henderson then has a modern-day couple who she uses as an example.

And she concludes each chapter with a list of Dos

And Don’ts

For example:


CHAPTER SIX:

LOOK FOR SOMEONE WHO CAN BRING OUT YOUR BEST QUALITIES


The chapter starts off examining the relationship of  Charles and Mary Musgrove.

The two are complete opposites with Charles being very outdoorsy and Mary a hypochondriac. Charles is good-natured and easy-going, while Mary unkind, snobby, and self-absorbed. Mary is whiney and shrill, while Charles still acts like a child versus a man.

Charles is also still in love with Mary’s sister Anne, who he originally proposed to.

Mary is a bully, manipulator, and only cares about herself. In fact when her child gets injured she argues with her husband about who can attend a party-gets upset when Charles says she should stay home with their child and then convinces Anne to babysit her boy.

What jerks

Basically, both have bad qualities and they feed off each other. Mary mangifies Charles rebellious spirit, his bad additude, self-indulgence and the sam for Mary.


LESSON TO BE LEARNED:

DON’T BE INFECTED BY THE BAD QUALITIES OF THE PERSON YOU’RE DATING!


 

Henderson then goes on to give a real life example of couple Brad and Louise. Brad was an okay cleaner, while Louise was a total slob. When they got together, her bad habits caused Brad to pick up on it and he became a slob as well. They had a messy apartment, bills were always final notice or overdue, laundry piled up, and they began to resent each other.


WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:

SET A POSITIVE EXAMPLE, USING HUMOR TO HELP IT ALONG


THERE IS NO PERFECT PERSON FOR YOU

THERE IS ONLY THE MAN WHO IS GOOD ENOUGH

Anyone you meet will have qualities you hate. You have to look at whether the good outweighs the things that annoy you. Can you tolerate those things in exchange for all the stuff you love that he brings to the relationship?

Henderson then goes on to describe a couple-Gary and Lucy. Lucy is easy-going and pleasant while Gary is a worrywort. Whenever Gary would get upset and rant, Lucy always made sure to validate his feelings, tease him, and give him the reassurance he needed.

It will all be okay

We then look at Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth.

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (1940)

Darcy falls for Elizabeth because she is who she is. She sees him and how she acts and lets him know what she is not interested in.

He learns his lesson and ligtens up-letting her see him and the things about each other they may not really like-they tolerate for all the other things they do.


LESSON TO BE LEARNED:

YOU SHOULD LIKE WHO YOU ARE WHEN YOU’RE WITH THE PERSON YOU LOVE



WHAT NOT TO DO:

DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES TO A BAD PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR


 

Henderson uses the real life example of Lacey and Mark. Lacey was really into Mark, but he didn’t prioritize their time-was always having a ton of parties and events to go to, always switching up plans and changing what he was doing, he would stay out all night and not tell her where he was, she would dress for one thing and Mark would change it-leaving Lacey uncomfortable and out of place.

This would make Lacey mad and she would nag him. She felt she had no control or say and more and more tried to control him.

Mark actually enjoyed the nagging as it made him feel rebellious and naughty-like he was disobeying his mother. In fact his behavior turned Lucy into a bitter, angry, mother like character.

Ouch


WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:

LISTEN TO YOUR BOYFRIEND WHEN HE GENUINELY TRIES TO HELP YOU


Henderson gives us the example of Kate and Lee. Kate was a beautiful, thin, blonde and also an anorexic. Henderson shows how Lee was able to help Kate by showing that he cared for her and was there for her, also trusting her and not pushing her too much.

We then see Emma and Frank Churchill

Frank is a coxcomb, he only cares about himself and his interests. He flatters people, and when their back is turned cuts them down to the quick. He is secretly engaged to Jane Fairfax and treats her horribly.

When he gets with Emma he brings out the worst in her and she in him. They both bring out a the careless, judgmental, and sarcastic sides of each other. They would have been an awful couple always bickering, nasty, mocking, judgmental, rude, etc.

Ugh


LESSON TO BE LEARNED:

DON’T DATE SOMEONE WHO ENCOURAGES YOUR SELF-DESTRUCTIVE IMPULSES


WHAT NOT TO DO:

DON’T MISTAKE DANGER FOR EXCITEMENT


Kate an AT&T supervisor fell for Rob a rock ‘n roll guitarist. Everything he did was exciting and new to Kate, but soon it cut into her real life and she wasn’t performing so well at work or missing too much. She tried to talk toRob about it but he didn’t care and eventually Kate had to cut back on their partying or lose her job. Rob dumped her and quickly hooked up with some other girls, leaving Kate crying her heart out and trying to pick up the pieces of the life she had completely dropped for him.


WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:

PICK A BOYFRIEND WHO IS A GOOD INFLUENCE ON YOU


Beverly was a real party girl and would always go over the top when she had a few drinks. She could be very cruel but never listened to warnings until Ed. Ed was quiet and calm. The two complemented each other and brought out the best traits in each other, smoothing down the rough ones.


SUMMARY:

DO

  • Keep Your Own Values:If someone doesn’t have the same fundamental value system as you-and, worse, if they try and sway you from what you know to be right-you are not in a good relationship.
  • Choose Someone Who Brings Out the Best in You: Your boyfriend should help you to strengthen your positive qualities and suppress the negative ones.
  • Support Him as Much as He Supports You: Its a two-way street. If you’re both helping each other to reach your goals in life and be nicer, happier people, you have a much greater chance of maintaining a successful, strong relationship.

DON’T

  • Try to Change Your Boyfriend in Major Ways: Either decide you can put up with his annoying quirks, or leave him. If you start trying to change him you will turn into a nag, and you WILL end up hating yourself.
  • Be Influenced By His Bad Behavior: Don’t get sucked into things you feel aren’t good for you. Don’t stay around someone who wants to drag you down.
  • Put All the Blame on Him: YOU chose him, after all. If he’s not good for you, why did you pick him in the first place? Instead of blaming him, spend your time more and more usefully by figuring out why you made that mistake so you won’t repeat it in the future.

TIPS FOR TELLING IF YOU’RE WITH SOMEONE WHO BRINGS OUT YOUR WORST QUALITIES

  1. You’re stuck in a rut of criticizing each other, without the situation ever improving.
  2. You feel irritable most of the time you spend with him and you can’t put your finger on why.
  3. You change your outfit or hair five times before going out on a date with him, never sure whether you’ve picked the image of yourself that will please him.
  4. You disagree with a lot of his core values, but you yell yourself it doesn’t matter, because they have nothing to do with your relationship.
  5. You find yourself doing things with him that you would never normally do-things you don’t mention to your friends because you know they would disapprove.

Then at the end of the book they have a quiz so you can see which Jane Austen character you and your significant other are. I took it before I read the book and got:

Elizabeth Bennet

I took it after I read the book and got:

Elizabeth Bennet

If your score is 41-51, you are Elizabeth-outgoing, funny, and direct. You want a serious relationship, but it’s essential for you to find someone you can have fun with or teach to have fun. Your best matches are:

  • Mr. Darcy
  • Henry Tilney
  • Captain Wentworth

Then I took the quiz for my then boyfriend (now my fiancé), and I got for him a mix of Captain Wentworth, Henry Tilney, and Mr. Bingley

But my boyfriend (now fiancé), said he wanted to take it and he got a mix of Captain Wentworth, Henry Tilney, and Mr. Bingley.

If his score is 41-51 he is Captain WentworthHenry Tilney, or Mr. Bingley-straight forward, happy, and looking for love. PROBLEM: If you’re used to playing games, you may put him off. SUITABLE FOR: Everyone-his happy nature and friendly disposition make him the easiest man to get along with on the whole list.

I don’t think he’s very much like Mr. Bingley, but I could see Mr Tilney:

Or as Captain Wentworth:

If I were you and dating I would definitely check this book out.

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

For more Emma, go to You Cannot Think That I Will Leave Off Match-Making

For more Northanger Abbey, go to In Celebration of Northanger Abbey

For more Persuasion, go to I’m On a Boat

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Pride & Prejudice: A Latter Day Comedy

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

 

A Long Fatal Love Chase

LongFatalLoveChase

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

This book by Louisa May Alcott is the anti-Northanger Abbey. That is everything that could go wrong. But I’m getting ahead of myself, first some background.

This book was written in 1866. Alcott had just returned from her job as a companion to a wealthy women during her trip abroad and all throughout Europe. When Alcott came home she discovered that her father had run through almost all their money. Eager to do her part in helping out, she started writing stories and attempted to get them published.

Newspapers were the big story publishers, printing them week by week and often paying per word. Now this was before radio and TV, so these weekly publications of stories was their version of soap operas, every week ending on a cliffhanger.

Since the purpose was to get the reader hooked and constantly buying to find what happened next, they really wanted dramatic stories. Alcott did her best to oblige, only problem? She did a little too well.

Her book was not published as it was far too racy for the day. Think of it as the Fifty Shades of Grey of the 19th century. Yep this novel deals with sex, violence, obsession, abuse, hypocrisy in religion, greed, the question of insanity, mistreatment of women, women’s rights, divorce, bigamy, suicide, murder, etc.

What?

While today’s audiences would go for all that, those back in 1866 dropped it like a hot potato. Alcott shelved the book, it not being published until 1995.

Wow

How Does It Relate to Northanger Abbey?

Hmm…

Well, first you have to understand how Northanger Abbey came about.

In 1605, Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes, was published. This book told the story of Don Quixote, a Spanish nobleman, who reads so many chivalric and romantic  stories (not romance stories as we have today, but the “classical romances”) that he sort of loses his sanity trying to live those values and live in that world, in the modern 17th century. He gets into all kind of crazy antics, battling other “knights”, “monsters”, etc.

In 1752, Charlotte Lennox parodied Don Quixote with her novel, The Adventures of Arabella also known as The Female Quixote. Her story is about a young girl, Arabella, who has been sequestered away in the middle of nowhere with just her father for companionship. Not encountering many people and her mother dying + father ignoring her; she learned all about people and how to interact with them from “classical romances”. This book goes over the problems of having read so many “romance novels”, you expect life to follow, only to be sorely disappointed.

Now Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, published in 1818, was meant to be a parody of The Female Quixote, gothic fiction, societal rules of the day, etc. One of the reasons why a lot of people don’t “get” this novel is that they don’t understand what she is poking fun at or trying to say about these subjects.

Hmm…

In Austen’s story, we have a young girl, Catherine, who has been raised not as sequestered as Arabella, but definitely in the country resulting in some naivety. She loves romance novels and gothic fiction, giving her an overactive imagination.

She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath for a season and while there finds herself encountering some of the problems of the other before mentioned characters. Her education in romance novels didn’t prepare her for how people act. Her overactive imagination does get the best of her as well. The other thing about this book is that Catherine does go through some events that are right out of a romance novel or gothic tale.

She meets two handsome strangers, both trying to win her; encounters some dangerous and immoral men; gets caught up in a plot to get money; and has the man of her dreams come after her to tell her he loves her.

So awesome!

And then we have A Long Fatal Love Chase, written in 1866, and follows the same veins as these other books, except taking a much darker twist.

Now I don’t know if Alcott has read any of these authors and set out to copy part of their ideas or what; but the stories are so similar I can’t help but believe that at least one of these authors inspired her.

The Plot:

A Long Fatal Love Chase, begins with our heroine Rosamund or Rose. She has lived on a small island with her grandfather ever since her parents died when she was very young. She has encountered no other people, from the time of her parent’s death, and therefore has a lot of naivete and a lack of propriety as she doesn’t know better.

Just living in my own world

Life with her grandfather is dreary, as he provides for the physical things (shelter, clothes, food, etc) but ignores Rose and doesn’t care for her emotional being.

This makes her wish that she could have someone take her away from it all, just like in the romance novels. In fact she states

“I would give my soul to the devil, for a year of freedom.”

Enter Philip Tempest.

Tall, brooding, handsome, rich, has a swashbuckling scar, sails around the world on his yacht, etc.

He comes to visit Rosamund’s grandfather and is quite taken with Rose’s sweet disposition, naivete, and young, innocent character. Rose falls in love with him, and dreams of the possibility that he might take her away from everything.

Tempest wants Rose and is not a man used to hearing NO. He plays cards with the grandfather, winning Rose.

I’m taking her.

He carries her away in his boat telling her that he is the master and she must serve him. He wants her only as his mistress, but Rose refuses anything until they are married. Tempest reluctantly agrees.

Women

A year later the couple are living in France to attend the gaieties. Besides Rose and Tempest, their party includes Baptiste, Tempest’s right hand man who does everything he says, and Impolito “Lito”, a Greek cabin boy who looks very familiar (aka Tempest’s child, very obvious). All has been great for the couple until Tempest runs into an old friend Willoughby. Willoughby???!!!

He knows something that Tempest is determined to keep hidden, so Tempest kills him.

Gasp!

Unbeknownst to him, a girl from a flower shop delivers a note to Lito, who then runs off to a secret meeting. Rose sees this and comments on it to Tempest. Tempest becomes so furious that Lito would “correspond” with her, that he sends him away.

Hmm…

Later Rose overhears Baptiste telling Tempest that “no one will find him in the grove.” When she goes to investigate she discovers a  mound of dirt as in a new grave, and the pin she gave Lito.

She starts to think that Tempest might have killed Lito. She still has her doubts, of which all are dashed when she overhears another conversation. This time she overhears a conversation between Tempest and a woman, a woman who is HIS WIFE.

Yes Lito is their son, of which Tempest took when he left his wife. He has wanted a divorce but she won’t grant him one unless he gives her custody of their son, something Tempest would never do. He has been sailing around the world with many mistresses, content if not fully happy. He met Rose and faked the marriage in order to make her happy, knowing that it was void. Rose becomes distraught at his lies and betrayal of trust and runs away.

Noooo!

So here’s where it gets even more dramatic. We see a man from a romance character ready to make your dreams come true, right? Wrong! Tempest is an abuser and a controller. He tells Rose that her loves her, but in truth having her being subservient gives him power. Where ever she runs, he chases her, intent on making her his. We have the anti-Northanger Abbey as instead of a dreamy, true life romance hero; we have a sociopath.

Now some may wonder why is Tempest evil, but Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre who does a similar thing romantic? Well for two reasons. The first is that Mr. Rochester was tricked into marrying his wife by his family, who wanted a merger with their business and her family, who no longer wanted to take care of her. They hid the illness well, and when Mr. Rochester discovered how crazy she was it was too late, and those who are insane can’t get divorced. He’s stuck with her.

He has to live with a woman who is more animalistic than human and constantly trying to murder him.

Tempest married a beautiful, wealthy, Greek-English girl; become bored and left. He hates being tied down and loves being in power. He stole their child from his wife and covered it up by having her told Lito was dead. She was heartbroken as she believed him, only discovering the lie when Willoughby writes to her.

Mr. Rochester does try to marry Jane as he falls in love with her, but is stopped from committing bigamy by his wife’s brother. Jane leaves, and as much as he doesn’t want her to go, he respects her wishes and leaves her alone.

Aw!

Tempest marries Rose, having a friend pretend to be a preacher and perform the wedding service. Rose finds out and leaves, Tempest refuses to acknowledge her feelings and actions and stalks her.

What a psycho!

Rose starts work with a seamstress in a French village, but Tempest finds her barricaded in her room. He tells her that he will be getting the divorce soon, and then they can be together forever. That night Rose escapes, with help from a friend, and finds refuge with an actress. She spends some happy time there, and even reunites with Lito, who was not killed but sent somewhere. All is not perfect as Tempest finds them again, and the two flee.

I’m out!

Rose to a convent and Lito to his mother. Later Rose discovers a dead body, and she plants evidence so that people would think it was her.

Hmm…

Rose enjoys being in the convent and serving, paying penance for her sins. She befriends the two priests; Father Dominic the elder, and Father Ignatius, young and deeply in love with Rose. Rose seeks help from Father Dominic to overcome her love and temptation to return to Tempest, only to discover that both the Mother Superior and Father Dominic sold her out to Tempest.

She escapes Tempest again, and reunites with the Comté who’s daughter she saved from dying of fever. He takes care of her and falls in love, asking her to marry him. She agrees and gets ready to, when Tempest finds her once again. He convinces the Comté that Rose is his wife and insane.

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

As the Comté deserts her, and Tempest is preparing to carry her off, Rose commits suicide, shooting herself.

Unfortunately the shot to her side wasn’t deadly, but does have her thrown into a mental institution (from yours truly Tempest). There she lives some horrible and demoralizing days. She manages to convince Baptiste to turn to her side and help her escape the asylum, only to discover it is another ploy by Tempest to capture her.

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tempest carries her away to a remote island, intent on being kind and sweet, wooing her. He is divorced now and wants Rose for his wife and forever. She ends up being saved by Father Ignatious, fleeing to the safety of Tempest’s ex-wife, but finds out that getting out of the Tempest is not easy.

Will it ever be over?

Was the Book Good?

I thought this book was very interesting. And had some pros and cons.

Pros:

First I recommend this book for all Alcott fans as it is so strikingly different from her other works. All the other novels: Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, The Inheritance, etc.; were dramatic and fun stories; but nowhere near as sensational and traumatic as this book. If it hadn’t said Louisa May Alcott on the cover, I never would have guessed it was something she has written. You won’t understand until you read it and get a shock.

I’m in shock

What also is fascinating is how Alcott brings to light how much power men have over women at this time, and the inequality in relationships. You have to remember this was not done at the time. Women were men’s property and they could not only do as they wished, but held all the power. I don’t know how many of you saw The Duchess, starring Keira Knightly, but look how unfair women are treated. Georgina is a Duke’s wife but is forced to share her home with the Duke’s mistress and the mistress’ children. When she steps out on him, she loses everything; position in society, her children, etc. He gets to do whatever he wants, hit her, embarrass her, rape her; but she has to follow society’s rules.

So not fair!!

This is what happens in this book. Tempest is abusive, a stalker, and a psychopath; but gets to continue in his behavior because he is male. When Father Ignatious helped Rose escape the convent and reach the Comté, he writes the Comté a letter with all that happened and warning him against Tempest. Yet when Tempest comes, the Comté easily believes the woman is crazy, rather than this charismatic man is what Rose and the Priest say he is.

Alcott also brings to light abusive relationships, stalking, what it feels like, etc. This book is sort of the 19th century’s version of Sleeping With the EnemyHere Alcott is clearly showing that this behavior is wrong and should not be accepted.

Cons:

It was too dramatic for my taste. I’m not really a soap opera/telanovela type person. The end in which she is in love with the priest and the priest loves her but both resolve to do nothing about it was not only too flowery, but boring.

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Midnight in Austenland

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

The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

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

So I have started reading this series out of order.

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

To read the whole review, follow this link.

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

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

Well let’s find out, shall we?

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

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

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

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

Swoon!

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

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

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

That’s what I want

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

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

So what did I think?

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

So let’s count them off:

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

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

B) She Makes the Mom a Pushover

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

C) Hot for Teacher/Hot for Student

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

 

D) Whatever Happened to Baby Margaret Dashwood?

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

E) Ted Cheats on His Fiancé

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

F) Elinor/Elaina a major flirt

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

G) Elaina’s Favorite Book is Sense & Sensibility

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

H) Debra White Smith is obsessed with Pantsuits

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

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

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

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

J) Why a Nurse?

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

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

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

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

L) Christian Fiction but Hardly Any Christian Themes

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

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

Will the rest of the series be just as bad?

Hmm…

Keep following me to find out.

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

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

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

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

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:

e978f25a4bef8b106edecf904259c7a8

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

Keeper

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 about 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