Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

So we all know I love to read:

Especially Jane Austen:

And we all know how much I love Jane Austen stuff:

So the other day I was on Facebook, just scrolling through updates when I came across this site Litographs. It is amazing!!

They take classic literature and print it onto shirts, scarves, temporary tattoos, posters, and tote bags. Some books they print just the words, while others they do a design in your choice of color. The prices range from $29-34.

Amazing!

So looked through all my favorite books: Sherlock Holmes, The Phantom of the Opera, Peter Pan, The Great Gatsby, etc. And of course: Jane Austen.

This is so me

They actually have designs from every one of her books, so whether your favorite is Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion you are sure to find something.

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility comes in two different designs or text. I preferred this one over the other.

Pride & Prejudice

So this actually comes in several designs or your choice of just the text. My favorite look was this one:

Mansfield Park

As of right now, you can only get Mansfield Park in the text form, but I’m looking forward to what designs they come up with later.

Emma

Emma has two designs and I think they are both absolutely gorgeous.

Northanger Abbey

Like Mansfield ParkNorthanger Abbey only has one design, the text. Just like the other one, I’ll be waiting to see what they come up with for illustrations. Maybe her arriving near the Abbey? That would be cool.

Persuasion

Out of all the illustrations, my favorite has to be the ones for Persuasion. I’m actually split between these two on which I would like to purchase.

They also have a special deal which for $17 they will send you a random T-shirt. For a deal like that I am sorely tempted. I’ll be working extra hours this next month of July, so I’m planning on rewarding myself with something from here. When I purchase it, I will post myself in it.

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls

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

For more on Emma, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more on Persuasion, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

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Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls

Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls by Brenda Sneathen Mattox

So a few weeks ago I was planning on meeting my friend for lunch, and found myself with a few extra hours. I was downtown, which had recently received a makeover and a ton of vintage and antique shops have moved in. Usually I never get to look at them as they all have the same hours as my job does. But it was my day off so I was finally able to window shop.

Sadly not everything was open, but there were quite a few. I found something to buy my dad for Father’s Day and had a few ideas for another friend. Then one shop I entered had this:

Instantly I was thinking:

So CUTE!

I grew up with paper dolls. I remembered how much fun I had with them. I used to play for hours as a child. The only bad thing was that they tended to rip and tear. And they became harder and harder to find.

Aw.

So at first I was like I NEED this:

But then I thought, what would I do with it? I mean I don’t have any one to play with. My niece who is just the right age doesn’t live near me. Better not…

But then I thought, what a fantastic gift for her. Her birthday is coming up! She could have so much fun with it. I mean look at the clothes!

But then as I was thinking about it, she doesn’t know Pride and Prejudice. She probably wouldn’t even care for it. Most likely it would just be thrown away.

So I decided, better not buy it. I should just live it for someone else to enjoy.

Weeks passed and I just can’t get it out of my mind. Look at them:

I mean Bingley is just so cute, Darcy so stoic, and Elizabeth looks like she is thinking of something witty. Not to mention:

Look at the smugness on Wickham’s face, they captured it perfectly. And look at Lydia’s silly manner.

It is weighing on my mind.

After I thought and thought about it, I came up with the perfect justification. I could give it to my friend who loves Pride and Prejudice as a gag gift. She would think it was cute; although she probably wouldn’t use it (but she wouldn’t throw it away.) Yes, it was perfect. I was going back for it.

But when I went back, I couldn’t remember which store it had been in.

I had just been walking in any stores that were open so I had not even paid attention to the names.

So I know you are thinking, why not buy it on amazon? Well first of all it was half the price in the shop, and secondly it had gotten in me. I needed that particular one. I had to find it.

So I waited (and hoped it would still be there) for my next day off in which I decided I would look through all the shops for it.

Well my next day off fell on a different day of the week: one in which ALL the shops were open.

I combed through every square of every single shop, but I just could not find it. All I could remember was that it was in a basket with a bunch of other books, in a store that had cute Disney stuffed animals and some glassware.

But it wasn’t totally horrible, I did find a cute teacup for my friend’s birthday in her favorite color.

Here it is on my bookshelf until I can give it to her.

But no book of paper dolls.

I was preparing to go, when I decided to go back to one store that was very close in to what I remembered. I started searching, but found no basket full of books.

Aw.

But then just as I was headed out the door I saw a gray tin full of books. I had nothing else to lose, so I decided to take a look through. And guess what, it was there.

I’m great

I bought it and headed for home. But now that I have it, I’m not so sure I want to give it away. I mean I spent a lot of time looking for that, I think I might keep it.

It is pretty cute with having a brief synopsis of the story and has such cute designs for the Bennet’s every day wear, the Assembly Ball, Wickham’s uniform, dinner at Rosings, Elizabeth’s muddy dress, etc.

It is just so cute.

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

So today is the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope. As you all know how I feel about the film:

I couldn’t let the day pass by without doing something special:

Besides that, (which you know I am going to try to do.) So how to honor something that has had a huge impact on film, the science-fiction/fantasy genre, and my own personal life as Princess Leia was my hero and who I wanted to be.

I mean one of my mottos are WWPLD: What Would Princess Leia Do? So as I was trying to decide what to do, it hit me:

Jane Austen Star Wars Mashup!

Yay!

So unlike my Disney film Jane Austen Mash Upam not going to follow gender, relationships, etc. I am just going to choose whatever characters from Star Wars I-VI that I best think fits the personalities of the Austen characters. I am not doing the newer movies as I was disappointed in The Force Awakens.

But thats another story and you can read more why here, and argue, debate, or agree with me there.

I also started with the Austen heroines and then filled in those I thought were important with the Austen male characters. Yes, some people I didn’t include but maybe I’ll focus on them next year, or later on.

Hmm…

So yes, just stating again- I am matching personalities not storylines. There are lots of people who won’t be paired up exactly right, but oh well. You can’t be perfect.

So here we go!

And fair warning

***Contains Spoilers***

So I am going to start with Sense and Sensibility and work my way to Persuasion

Anakin Skywalker-Marianne Dashwood

Anakin has a pretty sad background- never knew his father, was a slave, etc. His life is changed when he meets the Jedi Knights who later free him from slavery, taking him to train at the Jedi academy. He has to adapt to a new culture, be in a place where he knows zero people, and have to adjust to this sudden change of life. While Marianne didn’t go through such a painful upbringing – she does experience a loss of a father and moves from the only home she has ever known to a new place where she knows no one, and has to adjust to a whole new way of life.

Both have problems in adapting to their new environments as Anakin is headstrong and stubborn-something Marianne can relate to. Anakin keeps breaking the rules as he can’t settle his strong will as he doesn’t understand the purpose of these restrictions. Marianne is the same as she feels her behavior toward Willoughby, seen as not proper courting, is no issue as it feels right.

Both have no control over their emotions and see no reason to have said control-although Obi Wan Kenobi (Anakin’s mentor and instructor) and Elinor (Marianne’s sister) keep urging them to. For Anakin, this causes him to fall victim to the dark side as he can’t reign in his anger, bitterness, and fear. For Marianne, this causes her to give too much of her heart, and when it is broken she is too.

Both are extremely talented- for Anakin it is mechanical while Marianne musical. They also choose significant others that are much older than them, cooler headed, and logical.

For more on Anakin Skywalker, go to Anger Management

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to Candy Girls

Darth Vader- Elinor Dashwood

While Anakin is wild, emotional, and reacts instantly based on what he feels, rather than thinking it through-Darth Vader is the opposite of his younger self. Darth Vader is more mature, in control of his feelings, and has mastered his talents. Elinor is also the opposite of her sister, and never reacts on her emotions, but thinks things through logically. While Elinor is not that much older than Marianne, she is much more mature in spirit, taking control of their new situation and heading up the household.

Both are commanding people and step into taking control when the time calls for it. Their experience, intelligence, and analytical mind enable them to help those they care about and step around disaster (maybe not for others but for themselves).

While they seem to be people who at first glance are -what you see is what you get- both are very secretive with much more under the surface. For Darth Vader his whole background and twin children-one of the best scenes is when he reveals he is Luke’s father. For Elinor, she holds a whole mess of them from secret engagements, lost loves, runaway wards.

While they seem to be stoic, sometimes called stone hearted, they still do feel as seen at the end of both their stories. For Darth Vader we have his redemption in saving his son and destroying the empire, for Elinor her cries of happiness when she discovers that Edward is not married but loves her.

For more on Darth Vader, go to Black is Best

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

His Royal Highness, General Bail Organa – Colonel Brandon

So I have to admit I don’t know everything about Bail Organa, but the little I do made me decide that he and Colonel Brandon are very much alike.

Bail Organa comes from an old respectable family, (after all he is a prince), as does Colonel Brandon. Both are extremely intelligent, great at planning battles, excellent leaders, and of course have lead successful military maneuvers.

However, what really made them the most alike would be their kindness, compassion, and choice to raise a child that is not their own. After Padme died and left her twins, Bail Organa and his wife adopt Leia-loving her like she is his own and being encouraging and supportive. Colonel Brandon is the same way, adopting his childhood sweetheart’s baby, and raising it as if it was his own flesh and blood; giving her every advantage he could.

While both men weren’t able to spend as much time with the daughters as they would have liked, they were always there if they were needed. When both girls are whisked away (Leia kidnapped [prior to episode IV] and Colonel Brandon’s daughter with Willoughby) theses dads do everything they can to try and save them.

For more on Colonel Brandon, go to A World of Teas

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Episodes I, II, & III) – Elizabeth Bennet

I know a lot of people are going to get mad that I didn’t say that Elizabeth was Princess Leia. I know everyone puts them as being the same, but while I can see that I thought that she was a better fit with the young Obi Wan Kenobi.

Obi Wan Kenobi was trained to be a Jedi soldier, and while he is good at what he does and a great instructor; he is also headstrong, stubborn, and doesn’t always listen to the wisdom of others. When Yoda or other Jedi knights try to counsel him about Anakin, he refuses to listen-something that he regrets later on. For Elizabeth, she has her own way of doing things and too falls victim to believing her way is best. Charlotte gives her and her sister advice regarding men, and Caroline warns her against Wickhim, in fact even Bingley gives Jane information against Wickham- but Elizabeth will not see anything but the choices she has already decided.

Both are also kind and caring- Elizabeth with her sister and Obi Wan becoming a brother/uncle figure to Anakin. They are also talented, intelligent, eloquent, and know when to speak kindly and when to put someone in their place.

Both are very honest, but also loyal to a fault; Obi Wan keeping the secret of Anakin’s marriage and child after he discovers it and Elizabeth keeping the secret of Georgina; to protect them.

For more on Obi-Wan Kenobi, go to A Hidden Wonder

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Prom & Prejudice

Queen Padme Amidala – Mr. Darcy

Again, I know a lot of people want Mr. Darcy to be Han Solo, but to be honest-I just don’t see it. He isn’t as relaxed as Han is.

So Padme Amidala was choosen as a young woman to be Queen and rule her people. Since she was given such responsibilities at such a young age it can at times make her more reserved and formal as she always has others first and must serve her planet’s needs. Mr. Darcy is the same way. Taught at a young age the responsibilities that would fall his way, they changed him as he had to take on a lot very early-from the household, to the renters, and even raising a younger sister (more a daughter to him). Darcy too always thinks above all what is best for the family and his land, and tries to make sure his name remains respectful, as he is not the only one riding on it-just like Amidala.

But while that is part of their personality, there is more hidden underneath their “political” or “formal facade”. For Padme, if you get her out of her makeup and fancy hairstyles she can be more relaxed and open. For Darcy, it is removing him from a certain setting; and that facade drops.

Both ended up with people they never dreamed they would fall for. For Padme, she never thought about Anakin being the man she married when she first met him; but later on she grew to love him. Even though everything about that relationship was not what she should do as a Queen- he’s younger and a Jedi, she still gave into her heart. For Darcy, he never thought that Elizabeth would strike a chord in him as she does, and even though she isn’t the same station, her family isn’t all a delight, and her brother-in-law is his dreaded enemy-he too succumbs to the heart.

Both are also very powerful people who refuse to give in to other’s demands if they aren’t what they believe in. Queen Padme faces all kinds of power struggles as people try to silence her, assassinate her, or force her to come along with what they want-her always refusing. While Darcy doesn’t face the same level of attack, he is constantly having to fight against Mr. Wickham, who is always trying to force money out of him or destroy him. But Darcy too will not give in to bullying.

For more on Queen Padme Amidala go to How Can This Be?

For more on Mr. Darcy, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

Jar Jar Binks – Mr. Collins

I just look at their faces and already feel annoyed. Yes, these two are so close in personality. All they do is talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk; never shutting up. You just roll your eyes when they enter the screen and want them to exit.

At least with Mr. Collins, I understand why he is in the book, his character does bring some important plot points. But Jar Jar? Who dreamed up that CGI nightmare and WHY?

For more on Mr. Collins, go to Worst Proposal Ever

Obi Wan Kenobi (Episode IV) – Fanny Price

Fanny was the hardest character for me to try and find a Star Wars character to connect with. Who is someone who appears weak, but has a lot of strength, a strong moral code, and is not one to bend to the wills of others? I finally settled on Obi-Wan, the later years.

Obi Wan was an incredible Jedi Knight, who had a strong moral code and followed what was right always. Since things fell apart and the Empire gained control, he has been living as a hermit, not to far from Luke but there to aid him.

Fanny had the opposite, as she was born into a lower class family and sent to live with wealthy relatives. For her, she has always tries to live her life right, never doing what is unseemly or will reflect badly on her family. She is always there to help her cousins or aunts, whatever the need be.

Both know when to fight and when to bide their time; with Obi-Wan he deals with all the crazy things people say about him to protect himself and Luke from the Emperor’s grasp. With Fanny she too has a servant’s heart although hers is to her family.

While both seem to be what some call “weak”, they actually have wills of iron. When the time comes for them to stand up and fight they recognize it and will not be pushed from their objective. No one can force them against their wills once their minds are made up.

For more on Fanny Price, go to It’s Always Tea Time

Owen Lars – Edmund Bertram

Owen Lars has been raised a certain way and believes his way is the best. He took over taking care of his nephew Luke and does all he can to try and change his way of thinking and keep him on the farm-away from Jedis, flying, and Siths. He means well, but he doesn’t really understand his nephew-never clearly hearing the desires of his heart.

For Edmund he has decided to become a minister, following a strong moral code. He meets Mary Crawford and falls in love with her, but the problems arise in their relationship when he doesn’t listen to what she wants in a man-rich, political, etc- or understand her inner character and how it could never fit with his.

For more on Edmund Bertram, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

Princess Leia Organa – Emma Woodhouse

I know everyone always says Leia and Elizabeth are a lot alike, but I see more in common with Emma.

Leia was raised as a Princess on Alderaan being given an excellent education, the best of everything, and had a loving family. Emma too was born wealthy and was given the best by her father-who dotes on her. As they were both in higher classes they were also given skills that average people wouldn’t have time to learn-for Leia defense and Emma archery.

While both could easily have just lived a life of luxury, they use their talents to help others. Princess Leia helps mobilize attacks against the Empire and try to bring freedom and justice. Emma uses her talents to help the less fortunate- caring for those in her community who are in need of food, clothing, and companionship. While Emma’s plans do not always go well, her heart is in the right place.

Both are young women but confident in themselves and able to have conversations and friendships with people who are older. For Leia she also commands them, but for Emma it was very rare to have a best friend be an older man.

What I really see them having in common is that even though they were born in a certain lifestyle, they break labels and live their life the way they want. Princess Leia with her war efforts and Emma in deciding to go her own path-be mistress of her father’s home and remain single. I like that they choose to be their own person and don’t care what others say and unlike Darcy, they don’t feel confined by their background, but powerful.

Both women also fall for men they never would have dreamed they be interested in. For Leia, she falls for an older man and smuggler turned freedom fighter. For Emma, she too falls for an older man; her father’s family friend and brother-in-law.

For more on Princess Leia, go to Why the Princess Leia Crown Hairdo is Awesome

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to The Austen Series: Amanda

Yoda – Mr. Knightley

Yoda is very intelligent, wise, and in tune with everything happening around him. He can sense which way things are going and knows when to help and when to stand back. He has great advice, but unfortunately people don’t always listen to him. He tries to help Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Luke-sometimes it works and other times people choose to ignore his words.

Mr. Knightley is just as wise and in tune to what is going on in the world. He can pick up on what people are feeling better than anyone else-knowing Mr. Elliot is after Emma and suspecting that Jane and Frank Churchill are more than just acquaintances. He constantly tries to help Emma, pointing her the right direction, but she continuously chooses to ignore him.

As Yoda has to really push his novel into Luke, someone who thinks he knows the answers and doesn’t always want instruction-Mr. Knightley also faces some walls when trying to help Emma. However, both Luke and Emma (while not always listening at first) appreciate the wise counsel, remember it forever, and usually in the end follow it.

For more on Mr. Knightley, go to Credit Where Credit is Due

Luke Skywalker – Catherine Morland

When I first thought of comparing the two-Austen and Star Wars; the first thing that popped out to me was Luke and Catherine.

Luke grew up on a sandy planet, the Star Wars version of the middle of nowhere, but had a dream of more. He had a regular and good childhood with his aunt and uncle, but the romance of  fighting against the Empire, Jedis, etc all pull on him. Catherine feels the same way as she had the average life of a Vicar’s daughter.  She was raised with interest in sports and nature, but as she grew older began to devour especially romance. This causes her to have an active imagination as she too dreams for a life like in her stories.

Both have their lives change into becoming one of the stories they have dreamed/read about. For Luke it is when an old family friend takes him on a quest and for Catherine it is when an old family friend decides to take her along on a trip. As their lives go off on these paths they get involved in all kinds of adventures.

For more on Luke Skywalker, go to The FANtom Menance

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

Han Solo – Mr. Henry Tilney

So Han Solo is a complex character. At first he seems to be a sarcastic smuggler who only cares for himself and to get rich. He shoots first, doesn’t mind piking up his prices, etc. Yet, he grows to show that he does have a kind and compassionate heart, he’s willing to put the needs of others before himself, and that he is intelligent as he is cunning. Because if his complexity, I argued who he should be compared to and finally settled on Mr. Tilney.

Mr. Tilney has that sarcastic side of Han Solo, and a much more toned down devil-may-care attitude as he is his own person and not afraid to break some rules of society. He, like Han, also has a more familiar relationship with his female lead. Han treats Leia not as a princess, above him, but talks to her in the way he would any girl. Tilney treats Catherine the same-relaxed, familiar, and talks to her as if he knew her, even before they are introduce. Both Han and Tilney think they know what their future holds, but everything changes when the right woman crosses their path.

Both men are also fiercely loyal-Han to Luke, always protecting him like a little brother; and Tilney to his sister Eleanor.

For more on Han Solo, go to You Don’t Have to Say the Words, I Already Know: Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

For more on Mr. Tilney, go to The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen

Lando Calrissian – Anne Elliot

Anne is an interesting character. She is young, unsure, and easily persuaded to turn down the man she loves-to protect herself, if something should happen to him, from poverty and an uncertain future.

Lando is the same. He is persuaded into making a deal with Darth Vader to protect his people, but after betraying Han, Leia, and Chewbacca; seeing what they did to Han; and after they renege on their deal- he decides to change his life. He stands up for his people and warns them, leaving it behind and joining the rebels.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to Fall For You

Hope you enjoyed that. Do you agree? Disagree? Comment and let me know. And remember:

For more on Star Wars, go to Dinner at Dad’s

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

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

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

For more in Emma, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more on Persuasion, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

For more Jane Austen Mashups, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

 

For Darkness Shows the Stars

darknessshowsthestars

For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars #1) by Diana Peterfreund

So I picked this book up as you know I will review anything Austen. I thought it was going to be about Pride and Prejudice as most are, but it surprised me and was about Persuasion instead.

persuasion

Persuasion was published in 1818 after Austen’s death, alongside Northanger Abbey. Out of all the Austen works, these two seem to have the least amount of fans and notice.

It is sad they don’t have more.

I have always found that strange as I love both of these novels.

Even though it isn’t as loved by people, Persuasion has had two films made of it and a lot of it is based on Austen’s feelings of her first love and a wish fulfillment of being reunited.

Anyways, just in case you’ve never heard of it (and as I have yet to work through it as I am still stuck on Emma) I think we need a quick review.

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Anne Elliot and Fredrick Wentworth fall in love. He asks her for her hand in marriage, but Anne’s father refuses. Anne is unsure and goes to a family friend for advice; as her mother is dead, her father lives in his own world, and her sisters don’t care. This family friend persuades her to say no as Anne is above him in station, Fredrick has no options for promotion (as his family can’t procure it), the likelihood of him dying and living Anne a penniless widow (as her father will leave her nothing) is very high, and the two are so young.

Hmm…

Anne goes to Fredrick and refuses, him becoming angry as he thinks it is just because of his lack of money and station. (In Anne’s defense the real thing that made her unsure was the stressing of him most likely being killed and her being left alone.)

Years pass, Anne has never seen Fredrick again or stopped loving him. She had other men interested, but refused them as she didn’t love them.

What has changed is the Elliot family fortune, her father and older sister have blown through their money so fast that they are being forced to let out their home to a sea Admiral. A Captain Admiral Croft and his wife, Mrs. Croft. Mrs. Croft who turns out to be Fredrick Wentworth’s sister!

Anne goes to stay with her sister, Mary Musgrove, for a while, while her other sister and father are staying in Bath, with Anne to join them later.

When she is staying with Mary, Fredrick Wentworth returns to visit his sister and husband. Now a Captain, he has also become extremely wealthy; having taken so many risks in the war that he excelled monetarily and was promoted. Captain Wentworth is searching for a wife, and is funny and kind to all; but Anne.

It appears that old hangups remain so. Will Wentworth and Anne be reunited? Will Wentworth marry another?

You have to read the book!

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So this science-fiction/Fantasy book takes place in the not too distant future…

Sorry, anyways…there were advancements in technology, so much that they were able to do DNA procedures to make your body excel in ways previously unimaginable, almost cyborg like.

These DNA procedures cause a war between people who believe this is not what God wants, and those who believe that the pursuit of science is the only answer. Unfortunately, they discover they did not know everything, as many of these experiments go wrong as people lose a majority of their faculties.

After wars, bombing, and a complete restructuring of the world they know, the people are divided into two groups: Luddites and the Reduced.

Like the class system in Metropolis.

Luddites are the royalty and own all the land, they care for the Reduced in a feudal system/slave system as the Reduced are tied to the land, but more extensively like slaves, yet not traded and sold as slaves are. Reduced are mutes, who aren’t in complete control of their faculties, need to be supervised, etc.

Recently, things have been shifting as there are “Reduced” who are born very intelligent, able to speak, often called “Children of the Reduced” or “CORs”, and “Post-Reduced” or “Posts” by themselves.

Our main character is Elliot North (Anne Elliot) a wealthy Luddite, one of the oldest Luddite families. She, her father, and sister have a farm; but it is going downhill as her father and sister don’t care about the people, the farm, long term care, but only themselves and what they want. For instance her father has cut down all their apple trees for a “better view” or destroyed Elliot’s planted field for a racetrack.

Elliot tries hard to keep things running, to take her mother’s place, but finds herself drowning in the debt her father and sister, Tatiana North, create. In fact, they have had to rent out her grandfather’s, Chancellor Boatwright, home and ship yard to a set of wealthy free Posts- Admiral Innovation, his wife Dr. Felicia Innovation and their crew: Captain Malakai Wentforth, Andromeda Phoenix, and Donovan Phoenix.

Not good

Elliot’s only solace is the barn, where she would work on her plans, and relive her memories with her old friend, the boy she loved, and Post; Kai. Since she has lost her field and all her months of hard work, nothing seems right. But there is plenty to do on a farm.

When the Innovations and their crew arrive, Elliot finds herself admiring and enjoying the company of the Innovations and the crewman Donovan. Andromeda doesn’t seem to like her one bit, although Elliot has no clue what she could have done to upset her. However, everything changes when she meets Captain Malakai Wentforth. It appears it is her old friend and love has returned-Kai (Captain Fredrick Wentworth).

Years ago the two forged a friendship, (despite her father’s constant striving to keep them apart), a friendship that turned into love. The two made plans to run away together, but in the end Elliot couldn’t do it. She knew she had to fulfill her promise to her mother and take care of the farm and the Posts. She wrote Kai a letter:

Dear Kai,

Please do not hate me. I couldn’t bear it if you hated me.

                      But I cannot go with you.

                      I thought I could. Last night, I thought everything was possible. I thought you were right, that there was nothing for me here, either. Mother’s dead, Grandfather’s locked in his own head, and you’re leaving. Why in the world should I stay? It was a beautiful dream. But outside your room, outside the barn, in the cold light of morning, I realized that was all it was. A dream. There is nothing for me here, but that doesn’t mean I am nothing to the North estate.

                     Today, when I was supposed to be packing, I wandered the estate. I watched the Posts in their little cottages, I watched the Reduced in the fields, and I thought about our lots in life.

                    We can’t escape who we are born to be, Kai. The Reduced are Reduced. They will always be Reduced. And I will always be a Luddite. I was born this way. I will die this way. I can’t turn my back on that. Luddites were handed a sacred trust-we are the caretakers of humanity. Without us, the world would have burned, and all mankind would have been destroyed. I cannot ignore that. I cannot forget who I am.

                    But you are not a Luddite.

                    That’s why I cannot go with you. And also why I can’t ask you to stay.

                     God be with you.

Yours,

Elliot

 Elliot’s feelings for Kai resurface but he wants nothing to do with her.

He is rude, cruel, cynical, and nasty around her. He spends a lot of time with their neighbors, the Groves-Horatio and his younger sister Olivia. Olivia has fallen for Kai, and to Elliot’s utter disappointment it looks like he feels the same way.

Noooo!

But Elliot cannot focus on that only as her long lost cousin, Benedict and air to the North estate, returns eager to regain control of the promised land, her grandfather grows more ill, and her father tries to engage her in even more power plays.

During one of her free moments, she joins Andromeda, Kai, Donovan, Olivia, and Horatio on an outing to the sea cliffs. Kai and Donovan jump from incredible distances, and Andromeda explains that they recognize the wind shifts because of their piloting expertise. As they continue, Elliot realizes something is not right.

When Olivia tries to do the jump, she falls and is horribly injured. While they try and help her, Elliot realizes that Kai is hiding a big secret, one that could destroy everything.

Not good

Once again Eliot finds herself at a fork in the road. Should she follow the man she loves? Or cling to her Luddite responsibilities.

***Spoiler Warning***

I thought it was pretty good story and interpretation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Having Wentworth as a slave/serf rather than lower standing put a completely new spin on the relationship.

I liked how in between the time of the novel, there were letters and notes their younger selves passed, giving us a view of how their relationship started.

Aw!

It doesn’t follow the book exactly, but the author did a good job in staying true to the core of the story, while at the same time doing her own thing.

Good job!

Now there are two things I didn’t like.

First, I didn’t like how the author inserted God to create conflict between those who wanted change and mutation and those who wanted things to remain the same. The insertion wasn’t really what bothered me as much as the author not really giving us a stand on how our main character felt. One of the laws is to not try to play with genetics as you are raising yourself for a a fall, messing with things you shouldn’t control, etc. As much as the main character struggles with her ideas and wondering if they are against God, we never see what her relationship to God is. Is she extremely devout? Who or What is her God? What exactly do they believe in their religion? She brings it up constantly, but we never really know why this is such an issue to her because the author chooses to ignore it. We never see her pray, attend church, do any type of worship, etc. In my opinion you either need to go all the way or just leave it out; no in-between.

The second thing that bothered me was how mean Kai was in this. I mean he was horribly cruel. Now in Persuasion she doesn’t really explain herself as to way she refuses him, so he draws his own conclusions. I this Kai knows! He knows that she needs to help care for the people! He knows how her father and sister are, and without Elliot they would be cruel, starve everyone, and run the whole farm down into the groumd! Yet even though he knows this, he is so horrible to her. I understand why the author made him that way, and it completely makes sense as to character to behave in such a way. But it makes it hard to read as he acts like a jerk, before he finally comes to his senses.

But otherwise I thought it was an excellent read and one of the better Austen reinterpretations on the market. I suggest you check it out for yourself.

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

For more Persuasion variations, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

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

Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

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

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

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

A mashup

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

So the Dashwood family:

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

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

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

John also has an incredibly bratty son, Henry:

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

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

**Spoilers**

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

Only one problem, he thought she was Georgiana Darcy.

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

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

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

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

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

Here I am!

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

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

So what did I think? Did I like it?

No

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

1) Henry Dashwod was too likable.

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

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

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

2) No Mystery

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

Crazy eyes

Secondly, there are a multitude of suspects:

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

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

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

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

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

4) Supernatural Seems Like an Afterthought

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

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

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

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

3) Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride & Prejudice

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

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

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

2) James Morland from Northanger Abbey

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

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

1) Lieutenant William Price from Mansfield Park

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

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

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

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

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

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Too Pretty

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

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

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

For more Jane Austen mysteries, go to Midnight in Austenland

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

What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

I received this book for my birthday and thought it was just the cutest thing ever. It has a bunch of quotes from her novels and letters (although a few aren’t labeled correctly and one is from the Pride and Prejudice (2005) film). It is perfect for whenever you are looking for a quick quote or quip.

So the book is split up into ten sections. I’m going to pull a quote from each section.

I.) How to Be Happier Than You Deserve

II.) Good Impressions for Great Ladies

III.) Mistress of Myself

IV.) Check  Yourself, Dear

V.) Get to Know Your Gentleman

VI.) If You Really Like Him

VII.) Intimate Acquaintances

VIII.) Sensible Quips for Every Occasion

IX.) I’d Rather Be With a Book

X.) Looking Back on Important Nothings

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to I Made My Own Teabags

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to Lambie-Pie

For more Emma, go to Candy Girls

For more Northanger Abbey, go to A World of Teas

For more Persuasion, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

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

For more Mansfield Park, go to It’s Always Tea Time

I Started a Book Club

bookclub

So you all know how I enjoy reading:

wanttoreadbooksignoreproblem

For years I’ve been trying to start a book club. I thought about doing one where we read a book, than watch the film version:

bookbetterthanTV

But did that happen?

uh-no-gifuhno

Then I wanted to do a Jane Austen book club, where we read the books and the adaptations.

ReadJaneAusten

But did I do that?

uh-no-gifuhno

Then I thought about doing a book club where we read the book and then do something like in the book; in essence “living” the book or acting it out. Like in Daring Chloe

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But did I do that?

uh-no-gifuhno

So finally I started one, but this one is simple. We read one book a month, each member having a month where they choose the book (any type), and then we meet and discuss it with good food.

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I don’t know how it will turn out, but if we make it to next year I’m planning on choosing Northanger Abbey or Persuasion to honor their 100th anniversaries.

book-cover-northangerabbey-gothic persuasion

Right now the book we are reading is The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie. I’ll post after our meeting to see how it turns out!

Booksfullofthings

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Midnight in Austenland

Day 10) J is for Jane Austen: Choose a book based on, a sequel to, or a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s works

So I know I said I wasn’t going to review one of Austen’s works as that isn’t really fair as I talk about her books all the time.

reading Jane Austen

But I never said anything about a retelling!

Go on...

Go on…

So I’m going to review my absolute favorite out of all the books I have read so far.

Austenland

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale

So I one day I was going through Goodreads and looking at if any authors I liked had published anything new. I really enjoyed reading Shannon Hale, and thought Austenland was pretty good except for a few things, so when I saw that she did a sequel I decided to check it out.

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I got the book and started reading it…but then I couldn’t stop.

100pgs

I became so invested, I actually snuck it into my History of American Music class and read it instead of listening to the jazz music.

RealLifeVSBook

This book was AMAZING!!!!!

Iloveit love

It had Austen and mystery, both things I love!

Put my crime-solving cap on.

Putting on my crime-solving cap on.

I just adored every page of it and didn’t want it to end.

SadBookEndedfinishedover

So the book is a sequel, but you don’t have to read them together or in sequence. While the place they visit, Pembrook Park, is the same; the characters and story lines are new and different.

While the other book focused on Pride and Prejudice this one went more Northanger Abbey; something I appreciate as it just doesn’t get enough love.

Bruce-Almighty-Love-Me

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Charlotte Constance Kinder is a nice woman. So nice no one thought she would live an interesting or adventurous life. But you know what Austen says about that.

adventures

Charlotte went to school, met a nice man named James, married him and had two kids; and then did the unexpected. She created a website, sold it for an outrageous profit, and started another one.

Wow

Wow

She bought nice things for her, her husband, their kids. Everything seemed fine, but then it turned out her husband was cheating on her and wanted to leave her for another woman.

heartbroken

Fast-forward, he is remarried and living with his new wife receiving alimony from Charlotte. And Charlotte is alone, left to pick up the pieces of her life.wantYoutoStay

She starts dating A LOT!. Anyone and everyone her friends and friends’ husbands toss her way; but nothing feels good or right.

hitonyourefuseyouareanonowayNo

Besides being worried about her own self and issues, she starts to worry about her daughter. Will she make all kinds of horrible mistakes, have “Daddy issues,” or go looking for love in all the wrong places?

Not good

Not good

She makes a really bad decision to have a private investigator follow her daughter’s boyfriend around, and even tries it herself; convinced that he is going to hurt her. After her daughter says she she doesn’t remember what it was like being her age, Charlotte decides that her daughter is right.

I'm crazy

I’m crazy

That Easter she goes home and digs through her old items that her mom saved and tries to look into her teenage mind. She finds a diary and on the first page is a list she made.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE I’M 30

  • Get married [✓]
  • Have a baby [✓✓]
  • Walk in high heels without wobbling [✓]
  • Climb Kilimanjaro…
  • Understand Physics [✓ish]
  • Help save the whales or other animals in danger [✓]
  • Read Jane Austen…?

Charlotte couldn’t remember why she wanted to read Jane Austen, but the next weekend the kids are with their father, and Charlotte devotes the weekend to reading

JaneAusten

And she reads and reads and reads. And before you know it, she is a hardcore fan.

AnatomyofaJaneite

And caught in the Austen cycle like us all.

austendisiilouisionmetcycle

Charlotte’s sister-in-law Shelby convinces her to take a vacation when the kids are with their dad for the summer. The only place Charlotte wants to go is into Austen’s books

escaperealityreadbooks

And luckily we have just the thing…Austenland.

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Yes, for a few weeks Charlotte will leave, breathe, and be Regency woman. And at the end of her time there is a big ball.

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And possibly a proposal…

marrymeKnightly proposel28o7_250

Charlotte is sold on it, packs up her stuff, and flies out ready to dive into her fantasy.

Let'sdothis

As Charlotte is a “quality guest”, i.e. rich, she gets the best treatment and the gold standard in clothes, transportation, etc. Charlotte takes on the character “Mrs. Charlotte Cordial”, a widow with two kids. In this story, Charlotte doesn’t have to go it alone but has a “brother”, Edmund Grey.

northangerabbeyeleanorhenrytilney

Besides him there are two other ladies, Miss Elizabeth Charming (from the previous book) and Miss Lydia Gardenside. And then there are two other men who will come to call on them: Colonel Andrews and Mr. Thomas Mallery who is…

TallDarkBrooding

Charlotte meets the ladies and enjoys Miss Charming, but is shocked to see that Miss Gardenside is none other than the famous pop sensation, Alisha. What is she doing here?

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

So their days at Austenland begin and one of the reasons I like Charlotte better than Jane Hayes, the heroine of the last book, is that Charlotte embraces her love of Austen and goes full force into it.

the-grady-twinsPride&Prejudice Elizabeth Jane come play with us the shining

That day the Colonel has a surprise, they are going on a trip to an old crumbling abbey! What mysteries await them?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

As they journey in twos, the phaeton holds only that umber, with Charlotte with Mr. Mallery. Mr. Mallery is very intense and lives and breathes being the Regency gentleman. When two backpackers come upon them he isn’t threatening but so forceful that he causes the pair to run off like frightened rabbits.

And run fast

And run fast

When they reach the Abbey it turns out there us a dark tale that goes with the old ruins:

Three hundred years ago (~1520) the abbey was home to twenty-one nuns, an abbess, and one novice. They worked in the kitchen garden, growing healing herbs, kept goats and chickens; everything was peaceful until one January night.

shiver

The sisters made dinner as usual and sat down to eat. The abbess was getting older and not feeling well, so after she made the tea she blessed the meal and went to lie down. She rose an hour later to do chapel prayers, but found all the nuns dead!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The abbess went through trying to find one that was alive. There were no wounds on the body, but all’s pulses had ceased. All except Mary Francis, the novice.

The next morning, the abbess awoke to find that Mary Francis had cleaned up from dinner, and laid all the nuns out, covering them with blankets.

No one was ever hanged for the deaths…the bodies were buried, the abbey abandoned, and the abbess went to live with a niece and succumbed to dementia. But she was known to cry out: “Either she saw who did it or she did it herself.”

Mary Francis was an orphan and after the deaths wandered from house to house as a trying to work as a servant, but the suspicion around her past always pushed her on. Some believe ghosts still haunt the area….

screamhouseonhauntedhill

The last place she went she worked for a few years, and they say uncanny things happened. The place she worked? Pembroke Park.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At first they don’t believe the house is old enough for the story to be true, but Mr. Mallery corrects them. He is second cousin to the Wattlesbrooks and says that parts of the houses go back that far. Sadly he would have inherited the grand old house, but his grandfather lost it in a card game.

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

Colonel Andrews says that that isn’t the end of the story, he has an old text that they may read and reveal all.

I love it!

I love it!

Charlotte is enjoying Pembrooke Park because she doesn’t have the strain of having to do the work. As her “brother” Edmund pointed out, she is here to have fun and relax, Mr. Mallery and the others have to work to impress her. It is a nice feeling after all those blind dates and trying to put on a show that you are okay; all you have to be is yourself or your character and the others have to do the real work.

spockstartrekidon'tknowokayiguesmovingongo

The group has a picnic in which Colonel Andrews reads from the diary of Mrs. Kerchief, the housekeeper three hundred years ago, and supervisor of the newly arrived servant, Mary Francis.

(I’m just going to paraphrase as it would take to long to write word for word)

“Hired the new scullery maid, Mary. No one else will hire her because what happened. I don’t care what happened in her past as long as she is ready to work.

Coal is running low and they seem to be burning more and more these past weeks. Simon says that it is Mary, she bring the cold with her. Nonsense. Still…she sleeps in the room next to mine and at night I hear noises I have never heard before. It wakes me up”

Gilmore girls creep

Mr. Mallery “Regency” flirts with her and Charlotte finds herself surprisingly enjoying every minute of it.

When they return to the house, Miss Gardenside retires as she is suffering from “consumption” (is it really or something else? Maybe withdrawal?). Miss Charming and Charlotte are still psyched from the mystery and decide to search the house.

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However, the only thing they stumble upon is a maid dressing. No clues, no bodies, no nothing.

Before Divorce: When Charlotte first started her website it was just to be a hobby. She liked growing plants, she often helped others, and decides that it would be nice to have a place people could go for inexpensive custom residential landscaping. They weren’t as grand as those who would visit the place and see it, but her designs based off a questionnaire they answered were cheaper and still beautiful. People loved it. She had to hire employees, and revenue increased crazily, and she made her first million.

That night they are having dinner toasting to each other when who should walk in, Sir John.

That guy!

That guy!

This is the only thing that enhances if you read the previous book, but like I said it is not necessary. You quickly learn why we hate this guy. Sir John is Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s husband and he doesn’t care about the park or their home. All he does is drink, gamble, and take any of Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s money away. He also tries to hit on the women, and doesn’t take no for an answer. In the last book, they had to cart him off as he was causing problems.

im-back

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This time he goes by Mr. Wattlesbrook instead of Sir John, and is dressed in modern day clothing instead of Regency wear. It unsettles everyone, but Colonel Andrews tries to bring them back to 1820.

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That night they are interrupted of their sleep. As they go outside they see firetrucks and that Pembrooke Cottage, (the one Miss Amelia Heartwright stayed in, in the last book) has been burned. Mr. Wattlesbrook has no remorse even though he started the fire.

CaptainPlanetFireWheeler

Mr. Mallery has a bucket by his feet, as he was trying to put out the fires. He is furious that the cottage went as it was his inheritance. Now that is the character’s motivation, but he seems as if he is really upset, the man behind the character.

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The next day Charlotte continues her search of the house. She really has become invested in the mystery and wants to find clues.  After a finding nothing and a game of croquet, she goes to Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s office to call her children.

dangerous crossingphoneringsscared

This does not go well at all. Her daughter finds out she had hired a private detective to follow her boyfriend.

ouch Hermione

Her son doesn’t want to talk to her.

Not good

Not good

She finds out from Justice, the new wife, that her son called her mom.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Not a good call at all.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Charlotte decides to snoop through the office and discovers that Windy Nook and Bertram Hall properties were sold off, foreclosed, and contained a series list of debts. She sees the former casts and notices that Mr. Mallery used to be in all of them. Mrs. Wattlesbrook is a very smart businesswoman, so it is clear that the one who caused the trouble is Mr. Wattlesbrook.

Jerk

The next day rained all night and morning. The group play charades and a card game that involves running about.

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But after the men leave to do whatever they do, maybe a break room, the women are embroidering.

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They are interrupted by the return of Mr. Wattlesbrook, who once again is dressed in modern clothes and tries to get in with Charlotte.

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The men come and try to carry him off. Miss Charming thinks it is a part of the “experience”, but Charlotte doesn’t think that Mrs. Wattlesbrook would do such a “messy” plot.

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Hmm…

That night is stormy, spooky, gray…

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Just perfect for reading more about the mystery of the nuns, the diary of Mrs. Kerchief!

I hear sounds in Mary’s room at night. It sounds like a pacing or scraping. It is unnerving and I want to talk to her, but in the morning Mary Francis is so tired I can’t say a word. The girl Betsy who used to room with her took off and never came back to get her money. The cook says she feels a cold wind around her…

The lights go out and all they have are firelight. They decide to play a game called Bloody Murder, with Mrs. Wattlesbrook going off to bed.

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They decide to play the game: the murderer has to hide in the house somewhere, after a count of fifty the rest hunt him out. The first to discover the murderer shouts, “bloody murder”, and all run after him. After that they all run off, and the murderer chases them. If he catches them, they fall down and the last one to “die” is the next murderer.

They draw straws and the short one leads Mr. Mallery to be the murderer.

One of the characters I love is Charlotte’s “brother”, Edmund. He is just so fun and fantastic, a real Mr. Tilney.

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Charlotte finds Mr. Mallery and ends up being the only one who has been touched. Now she is the next murderer.

She doesn’t want to walk and go around the house on her own. She is extremely scared and as she roams the dark halls she accidentally goes into a secret room. As she is searching the room for a way out, she finds a person laying on a chaise. She goes to touch them, feels the hand…they are dead!

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She goes running out and finds the group telling them everything. They don’t believe her and can’t find the room. Charlotte is so incredibly freaked out, that Miss Charming can see that she needs a little care and asks if she wants to sleep in her bed for comfort.

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The next day, she starts questioning people trying to find out who the dead person was. Eddie goes to help her and they find the room but nothing but a fencing foil.

They leave for breakfast and run into Mary, Charlotte’s maid. Mary is really strange, always jumpy, and acting weird.

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She tries to tell Mrs. Wattlesbrook about the dead body, but she doesn’t believe her. She thinks it is just part of a game.

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Charlotte deduces that the dead body must be Miss Gardenside’s nurse or Mr. Wattlesbrook as they are the only two missing; and that it must be a part of the Colonel Andrews mystery as no one seems to care.

Eddie, Edmund, doesn’t believe that the murder is real, but helps Charlotte investigate. He is hilarious and I just love him. Forget Mr. Mallery with his brooding, smirking is so much better.

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After Divorce: Justice, James’ mistress, sends Charlotte an invite, can you believe that? An invite!!!

Charlotte worries about how the divorce affects the kids but James doesn’t care. He says that 50% of marriage end in divorce. Here are statistics that matter to Charlotte.

-James saw the children 75% less than before

-He missed 85% of their afterschool woes

-He was absent for 99% of their family dinners

-100% of Charlotte’s marriage ended

That night they read the diary:

Mary and I were shelling peas. Mary has been here for three months and doesn’t seem as if she can settle down. All the other hands treat her horribly but all Mary does is pray. Why does she pray so much? For other or her own soul?

The next day Charlotte picks up her search with Eddie. They go back to the room, but find nothing but a glove, a washing dishes type of glove. Is that part of it?

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Charlotte drops it as she thinks it is nothing. Eddie picks up fencing foils and the two duel before lunch.

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Even though everyone has forgotten the game, Charlotte still thinks that someone might be after her, but who?

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The next day Charlotte goes riding with Mr. Mallery. They stop a while so Charlotte can call her kids, but no answer. She tries her husband, no answer. Charlotte spends the rest of the night worried about them and that something happened. The next day she finds out their phones were dead.

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The next day Charlotte decides to write her kids a letter. Eddie joins her and consoles her over her missing her kids. He shares about his daughter and that he misses her as he hardly gets to see her. They start writing and Charlotte wonders if Julia exists, but Eddie is writing a long letter to someone.

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After the letter writing, Eddie goes over the dances, as “their mother” was a dance instructor. They have such fun, with Mallery interrupts them. They go for a walk, but are found by Colonel Andrews who tells them he has a great passage for tonight.

Everyone is mean to Mary. They start chanting “What do you know of our Mary? Twenty-one nuns did she bury.” We were working outside when there was a howl and they saw something white and filmy, floating. It had a horrible screeching voice that shouted “Leave innocent Mary alone. The nuns cannot rest when folk stain Mary’s name with lies.” Mary was the only one who wasn’t afraid, but continued her work.

Right after they read that, they see a ghost outside!

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They all run after it and try to find it, but the ghosts disappear.

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Charlotte is the only one who notices tire tracks on the ground, as if someone drove their car.

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The next morning, Charlotte takes Miss Charming and Miss Gardenside aside and tries to have them help her find the missing clue. They come across a painting of Saint Francis. Miss Charming spots it as a fake and they rip it open, finding a note written in lemon juice:

Among the dusty tomes stands

The work of the saint

And one girl’s confessions

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They run to the library and find a book on St. Francis, in it is Mary’s tale. The nuns died accidentally. The abbess eyesight and memory was failing and she accidentally boiled yew, poisoning them.

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That answers one question, but what about everything else? What about the secomd mystery with the dead body? Then Charlotte gets a few more realizations:

  1. The Murderer approached the victim and had to lure them into that room, with an intent to kill.
  2. The victim was killed in a secret room and the body abandoned on the sofa, as whoever had to leave, and then return to move the body at a more convenient time.
  3. Charlotte finds the body in the room. The body was not smelly; so they were killed recently.
  4. Charlotte announces the find, but all claim to know zero about the room.
  5. Charlotte hears a thud in the middle of the night, below the secret room. Maybe someone tossed the body out the window?
  6. The next morning the body was gone.

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Before Divorce: Late nights “working”, phone calls from unlisted numbers, caller hangups, James never touching her, James staying out of town but spotted by a friend, lingerie in the closet not her size…etc. It is easier to solve someone else’s mystery than your own. Sometimes we see only what we want to see.

They only have three more days, only three more days to solve the case. Charlotte sees that Mrs. Hatchet, Miss Gardenside’s nurse, has returns and deduces that Mr. Wattlesbrook must be the murdered one. She questions the men about the night they removed him and they say that they put him in a room out of the way as he was incredibly wasted, Edmund punched him after he spoke nastily about the women, and the next day he was gone.

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Later Charlotte looks after Miss Charming as she seems out of sorts. Miss Charming was unhappy thinking of her former husband. She had married and helped her husband build up the business into millions, as she was the brains of the operation. She found him with a salesclerk, divorced him, and took off with the staggering alimony. She’s been running as she can’t go home and and face that she was dumped.

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Afterwards, Charlotte decides that with the limited time left, she can’t be messing around. She has searched everywhere for the body and there is only one place left, She and Eddie, the Watson to her Sherlock, head to the pond. She goes swimming to see what it may hold and finds a car submerged.

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They convince Mrs. Wattlesbrook to call the police and it turns out that Mr. Wattlesbrook is dead. Now the question is, which one of the guests is a killer!

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Could Mrs. Wattlesbrook have done it? Eddie? Colonel Andrews? Thomas Mallery? Miss Charming? Miss Gardenside? One of the staff?

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Charlotte realizes she doesn’t really know any of these people and any one of them could be a killer. And they may be after her next!

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So I won’t reveal the ending, as it was amazing. Shannon Hale just did a fantastic job.

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And that through the rest of her trip Charlotte learns her own worthiness.

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And is able to pick up to the strong person she used to be.

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I also just loved Eddie and thought he was just an amazing character. A real Mr. Tilney!

find mr.tilney

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

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For more by Shannon Hale, go to Austenland

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Candy Girls

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

For more mysteries, go to Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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As this is a book that goes to the past but is also modern, I thought the best carol would be What Child is This?

In 1865, William Chatterton Dix was an insurance company manager and became seriously ill. During this time he gave his life to Christ, writing this carol. He set it to the song Greensleeves which has been registered in 1580 by Richard Jones.

I have never been a fan of this song, I’m not sure why, until I heard the Josh Groban version, so that’s the one I went with.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to At Midnight, Your Coach Will Become a Pumpkin Again, and the Animals Will Regain Their Original Shape Until Your Next Ball: Ella Enchanted

Candy Girls

I don’t know about you all, but I have been eating a lot of Halloween candy, in fact too much.

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But as I continued to eat, it made me think…what if the Jane Austen heroines lived in today’s world? What kind of candy would they eat?

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So I thought on it, and this is what I came up with.

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Elinor is the eldest of the Dashwood sisters and when her father dies, causing them to lose everything to entailment and have to live on less money, she rakes control in searching for a new home. After the move when it is clear that her mother is still sick with grief and her two younger sisters lack the age and temperament for such matters, Elinor takes over running the house and trying to work out a way for them to live on their budget. As Elinor is the champion of saving and surviving, I think that if she were to purchase a sweet she would try to make it something that is cheap and easy to share. Therefore a Kit Kat seemed the most likely choice for her. Kit Kats are easy on the wallet and designed to be evenly split between four, the exact number of Elinor’s family.

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to To Edward or Not to Edward?

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To me I see Marianne as a Chocolate Truffle. We know how romantic she is, so of course she is going to not only want chocolate, but something more than the average fare. Being raised rich, a truffle is something she would be used to eating, and then when their finances change, she would still be able to eat a few cheaper ones, every now and then.

I can just see her and Colonel Brandon and her reading poetry and eating truffles after they are married.

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

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NOw contrary to the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice, the Bennets are not poor. They are lower than Darcy as his Aunt is in line for the throne (a LOT of people have to die first but still), Emma Woodhouse, and Anne Elliot (prior to her father losing so much money). They are slightly under the Dashwoods, so they are pretty well off. Not super rich, but doing well. Therefore I think that Elizabeth would pick something in between. Not super rich, but a little more high class than something you can buy at the corner drugstore.

Therefore I think that she would pick the See’s Lollipops. See’s candy isn’t super expensive, but not something you can find just anywhere, sometimes you have to travel a bit to get it. Plus as she is a walker, I see her with a lollipop as she can eat it and go.

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to The Ugly Truth

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Now Fanny we all know was born into a large, less fortunate family. She is sent to live with her Aunt and Uncle, the Bertrams; and abused by her other Aunt Norris. Mr. Bertram isn’t really in her life as he is always having to go away on business or not interested in child rearing; Mrs. Bertram is also not really checked in. So the person who raises her is Aunt Norris who never wants her to forget she is poor; giving her extra work, never allowing her to do things with the other kids, playing the two eldest sisters off of her and encouraging their bullying. So if I had to pick a candy, the only one I think Aunt Norris would allow her to have would be mints or gum. Both are extremely cheap and what she would think as suitable for her poorer relation.

I think out of anything she would only buy Orbit as it doesn’t last long and falls apart the more you chew it. But just like Fanny’s personality and actions have her end with a better life than her cousins, chewing gum rather than eating other candy would give her a better smile and oral hygiene.

For more on Fanny Price, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

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Emma is the richest out of all the Austen heroines. She doesn’t worry about money, she has one of the highest places in their local society; so what would be the perfect candy for her? Only one thing came to mind, GodivaGodiva is one of the most expensive chocolatiers and just perfect for someone like Emma who is used to having the best. The only issue she would face would be whether or not her hypochondriac father would allow her to eat it, or his fear of illness taking her away  would make him not want it in the house. Otherwise, Godiva would be Emma’s go to.

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to The Austen Series: Amanda

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As a child Catherine was very active in sports, climbing trees, running, etc; a tomboy. In that stage I see her as a bubblegum chewer (like Bazooka), however as she grows older her taste change to reading, especially Gothic, Romantic fiction. With that new take, I don’t see her as a gum chewer, but having moved on to something that pairs better with her reading, chocolate covered strawberries. Not only are these romantic, but something that will fit within Catherine’s budget as they are not too expensive, as her family isn’t super wealthy, especially if you make them yourself. Yes the perfect pair to Catherine and all the harrowing tales she loves to read.

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Storybook Ending: Northanger Abbey (2007)

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Like Elinor, when Anne realizes how her father and sister are just blowing through their money, she begins to economize. And that is why when I think of what candy she would buy and eat, I think of Ghiradelli. While Ghiradelli isn’t the most expensive chocolate out there, it is classier than Hershey’s or Snickers; yet at the same time is cheap enough that it is something Anne would be willing to spend her money to snack on. It is that perfect blend that fits this once rich girl. Anne also strikes me as a dark chocolate and sea salt type of girl, of which Ghiradelli can provide.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to A Letter of Love: Persuasion (2007)

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For more Austen mashups, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to A World of Teas

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Meet Cute: Darcy & Elizabeth Style

For more Mansfield Park, go to It’s Always Tea Time

For more Emma, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen

For more on Persuasion, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

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

For more Candy posts, go to Candy, Candy, Candy!

A World of Teas

Recently I was given a collection of five teas; A World of Teas by Tea forté. 

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As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes together better than a good book and a delicious tea.

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You guys ready?

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Tea #1: Bombay Chai from Bombay, India

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This tea was spicy with layers of taste. The first thing that popped in my head was the scene from Sense & Sensibility (1995) when Colonel Brandon says the air is full of spices. This made me think that this book was the perfect pairing.

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Its range of spices and many layers make it just like Colonel Brandon.

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At first glance an average soldier, but as you read you see there are many parts to him. Plus it seemed as if it would be something he would drink after his time abroad.

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

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Tea #2 Moroccan Mint from Morocco

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This tea was refreshing and cool, but also predictable. This was a familiar taste with no real surprises, however that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. For that reason, I choose Death on Demand by Carolyn G. Hart.

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Death on Demand is the beginning of the series and follows amateur private detective and mystery bookstore owner, Annie Laurence, as she tries to figure out which of the many possible suspects killed an annoying, blackmailing, author. She is racing against the clock as if she cannot find the real killer, she will end up being thrown in jail!

While at times it may be predictable the character and stories always leave me coming back for more.

For more on Death on Demand, go to It’s Fantastico!
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Tea #3 African Solstice from South Africa

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So this one started off good, lots of flavor and taste; but then I had the rooibos. I don’t like rooibos, as for me it has a weird aftertaste that I just don’t agree with. Once those came in, this tea was lost on me. The book I thought would be the best pairing is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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Things Fall Apart is the story of Nigerian Okonkwo, an Ibo leader. The book chronicles his life, family culture, and ambitions. An accident causes things to derail for Okonkwo, and he is sent away. While he regroups and plans how to re-achieve his prior success, the British arrive with their influence and missionaries changing the structure of the villages. Will Okonkwo be able to adapt? Or will he fall under the British wheel of “progress”?

Like this African tea, I really enjoyed about two-thirds of the novel. The rooiboss of the the novel, for me, was the ending. I thought it built up perfectly, but ended way to soon, with enough falling action. It is like when you bake a cake and open the oven too soon, causing the cake to fall. That’s how the ending of this book and tea were to me, too soon.

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Tea #4: Sencha from Japan

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This tea at first seems simple and plain, but as you drink it you realize there is a whole lot more going on, and it has an incredible flavor. I finished this tea off first of all the others in the collection.

This actually made me think of two books. The first being Mansfield Park:

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At first glance Mansfield Park seems simple and a lot say it is boring. Fanny is a placid girl, often being the tool of others instead of going after what she wants. However, as you continue reading you see that Fanny has a lot more to her character than meets the eye. She is often passive as she is grateful for being pulled out of a bad situation; but when one tries to force her to do something she really does not want to (marriage to Mr. Crawford, a first class rake) she becomes a will of iron and will not be bent. She completely encompasses the old Japanese proverb of being bamboo, willing to bend with the wind but not break.

The second being Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

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Now I don’t want to spend too much time on this book as I am planning on reviewing it in the winter as part of my 30 Day challenge.

However, Hale is a master crafter as she takes the simple fairy tale of Maid Maleen and turns it into this incredible adventure full of bravery, romance, and supernatural elements.

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

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Tea #5 Estate Darjeeling from Darjeeling, India.

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I’ve had other Darjeeling but didn’t like them, I thought they were too sweet and didn’t care for them. However, this one was fantastic! It was an amazing surprise.

Originally I thought I would pair this with Emma, but instead I think two other books would be better:

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When I first had read the Jane Austen novels, I had heard of all of them (and seen film adaptions) except these two. Not only had I never heard of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, it appears most fans of Jane Austen also don’t really know much about them. Why is that?

Anyways, when I first read them I was so surprised with how amazingly great they are that they knocked my list of favorites all about. Perfect match with a surprisingly fantastic tea.

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen
For more on Persuasion, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

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After all:

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For more on tea, go to My Trip to Teavana

For more book-filled posts, go to Post Approved