Let That Catherine Morland Flag Fly Free

So Horrorfest started I couldn’t tell you exactly when. I’ve always been a fan of horror, thriller, suspense, mystery, film-noir, etc. I would watch them all the time, but every day in October.

When I went to college, I continued and my roommates were thrown into my 31 Days of Horror films celebration.

Who knows?!

So when I started blogging in 2012 I decided to include it and officially create “Horrorfest”-blogging about a film every day. That way it would save my friends/roommates from something they weren’t as interested in.

Yay!!!

Over the years I have established a set of rules and annual films categories. Every year I have enjoyed doing it although sometimes I have fallen behind because of life getting in the way. Usually I have the posts written, like this year I had all 31 done extremely early-the best I have ever been, it is just the editing that slowed me down. If you have someone willing to edit your work-give them a lot of love, because it takes a LOT of time to do.

So last year I received quite a few comments questioning Horrorfest as it has nothing to do with Jane Austen. They felt that there was no reason to do it and didn’t want me to continue.

Hmmm

Well, they are right it does have nothing to do with Jane Austen.

Even though Horrorfest doesn’t really have anything to do with Jane Austen, I have tried to input anything Jane Austen related-I’ve reviewed Death Comes to PemberleyDeath by Persuasion-or things with Austen actors in it like Ruby in the Smoke and Dead Again. I’ve even reviewed some films that while not Jane Austen-are films that Austen fans will love.

But even if I don’t review something Jane Austen, I think its okay to include Horrorfest as there is one character who would love this:

Yep the Regency spooky girl:

So if you aren’t interested, feel free to skip reading me this October and join us back in November. For the rest of you, next October I’ll be back with more horror, mystery, film-noir, suspense, thrillers, etc.

So for this year’s review: how I do Horrorfest VIII is that I watch whatever, and review it. I mean I usually plan the first and last film-and of course I planned The Planet of the Apes series review after someone donated the set to the library-yet it always amazes me how many match up themewise.

This year we had gothic films with the Horror of Dracula and Rebecca.

We also had a multicultural Horrorfest VIII as my Jane Austen profile pic was inspired from my Mexican culture, we had Horror of Dracula from England, High Seas AKA Alta Mar from Spain, Spirited Away from Japan, and Strong Woman Bong Soon from Korea.

We had dystopian futures with Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run, and The Running Man.

We had Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans with Alta Mar AKA High Seas,Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders, Rebecca, and Strong Woman Bong Soon.

We had superheroes with Batman, Strong Woman Bong Soon, and Unbreakable. 

Ghosts with The Fog, R.I.P.D., Spirited Away, and 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo.

And apes with the Planet of the Apes series and King Kong.

And of course our Annual films:

  • A movie or TV episode from every decade of 1930s-2010s
  • Doubledose of Alfred Hitchcock with Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Rebecca
  • Animated Film with Spirited Away, Disney with Spirited Away, 
  • Doubledose of Lifetime with Death of a Cheerleader and Psycho Mother-in-Law,
  • Stephen King with The Running Man
  • Tim Burton with Batman
  • Vincent Price with 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo

The full list of films, TV episodes, and video game reviewed for Horrorfest VIII:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

King Kong (1933)

Rebecca (1940)

Lamb to the Slaughter” from Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1958)

Horror of Dracula (1958)

The Notorious Landlady (1962)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Escape from Planet of the Apes (1971)

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Battle for Planet of the Apes (1973)

Logan’s Run (1976)

The Fog (1980)

Dark Crystal (1982)

To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before” from 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985)

The Running Man (1987)

Batman (1989)

Dead Again (1991)

Leprechaun (1993)

Death of a Cheerleader (1994)

“The Puppet Show” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

Unbreakable (2000)

Spirited Away (2001)

The Stepfather (2009)

The Last Christmas: Shadow Island Mysteries (2010)

R.I.P.D. (2013)

Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders (2017)

Strong Woman Bong Soon (2017)

Veil of Secrets (2018)

High Seas (2019)

Psycho Mother-in-Law (2019)

We’re Stranded on a Ship in the Middle of the Ocean with a Killer!: High Seas (2019)

We’re stranded on a ship in the middle of the ocean with a killer!

So I saw the trailer for this on Netflix and instantly added it to my to-watch list.

It looked so good!

One day my friend and I were hanging out trying to find something to watch when I suggested this. We started watching it and could NOT stop! And that ending, WOW!

Fridays are when I review TV episodes, but as this show can’t be broken episode by epiode, I’m reviewing the whole first season. I did the same thing last year with American Gothic. So the show is actually filmed in Spanish, its real name being Alta Mar, but you can listen to it with the English (or other language) voiceover. I have to say they did really good with this, there are only a few times that it didn’t sync up.

So the TV series takes place in Spain after WWII.  The cruise ship is departing from Spain to Brazil. Carolina (Alejandra Onieva) and Eva Villanueve (Ivana Baquero) are headed on an Ocean Cruise liner as Carolina is getting married. Their father passed away two years ago and after his death she discovered that their shoe factory trucks were used to aid the Nazis during WWII. With that news, coupled with her father’s death-Carolina decided to sell the business. Instead, after their marriage she will join her fiancé, Fernando Fábregas (Eloy Azorín), cruise business.

Eva is a writer and is happy for her sister, but sad that the family business ended, and she will be separated from her sister-as she will be in Brazil and her sister will be traveling. She doesn’t like Fernando as something doesn’t feel right about him, but when she investigated a rumor that he was a gambler, she turned up nothing.

As they are driving with their maids Francesca and Veronica de García when they hit a woman in the street.

They rush out to help her and she tells them she is being chased by her fiancé. She doesn’t wish to marry him, but he wants her and has decided he must have her or no one can. She is intent on getting away, and getting on the ship.

Carolina, Francesca, and Veronica want to give her over to the police-but Eva wants to help her and convinces them all to smuggle the girl, Louisa, on the ship in their travel trunk.

Hmm, I don’t know about this…

When they get on board the ship they meet the Captain and the first officer, Nicolás Vázquez (Jon Kortajarena). Nicolás is very interested in Eva, but she shrugs him off trying to get the trunk to her room. When questioned why the rest of their luggage remains below, Eva deftly comments on how Carolina is the owner’s bride.

They get to the room where they free Louisa, and she and the maids go to their rooms down below. Francesca loves the Ladies, having been like a mother to them-but Veronica does not. Having grown up playing with the girls and is now serving them-she is very unhappy at her lot an does not want to be a servant, she wants to be more.

I have to work

Veronica helps the ladies dress for dinner and remains in the room, seeing a man try to break in. He claims to have mistaken it as his room, but Veronica is unsure. She leaves, but does not go down to steerage.

Or on this cruise ship.

Meanwhile, Louisa and Francesca are in the room, and Louisa grabs a vase and knocks Francesca out. She then escapes to the Carolina and Eva’s room and starts going through their things. The man comes back from before and he and Louisa fight.

Dinner is a wonderful affair, and of course the two ladies are honored guests and sit at the Captain’s table. Carolina gets up and dances with her fiancé Fernando, the two then separating as Carolina wants to change her shoes. Earlier, Fernando had a mysterious message telling him to meet at a certain point at 12, but he lies to Carolina that he is receiving a cable. Suspicious.

Eva goes out for some air and is followed by Nicolaus, who is really interested in her. He flirts and things are leaning his way when they hear a woman scream from above and a body hit the water.

Eva is worried about her sister and goes searching for her, finding the room a mess. She continues to search and finds her in steerage aiding Francesca.

The girl’s search their room but can’t tell what is missing. While they are doing that, the crew searches for the body and only find a dress-the one Louisa was wearing.

That is not good,

Eva and Caroline come clean about what happened and everyone wants to hush it up. Fernando has a lot riding on his ship and can’t have it be known as the Murder Cruise or else all is lost.

They say it was an accident, and everyone but Eva and Nicolaus believe that to be true. The two begin investigating.

This will be a dangerous voyage as Eva has no clue who to trust and wants to do everything she can to protect her family and find justice.

Nazis, arson, shady deals, dark secrets, three deaths, a murder masked as suicide, and more combine in this show as we have a wonderful cast of characters.

WATCH IT NOW!!

Nicolas is the dashing first officer and the one who was with Eva when they heard the body fall. He is kind, caring, funny, handsome, and intent on finding justice as well. He used to be a street thief until Captain Santiago Aguirre found him and enlisted him on the ship. He seems to be the perfect one to trust-the Tommy to her Tuppence, but Eva discovers that he has a secret-can she really trust anything he says?

The fiancé-Fernando. He I really do not like as he didn’t meet Carolina when she arrived, when she comes to see him pretty much ignores her for work, and just seems altogether shady. The way he wraps the case up pinning it on an innocent steerage passenger, pretends to be robbed-throwing his rings over the boat and lies about the telegram-having received none. Is there something darker going on with him? Or is he the murderer?

Fernando’s sister and her husband are also on the cruise and they are very strange. Natalia is always drunk, unfocused, and a shadow of a person while her husband just exudes bad feelings. His is also unfaithful as he immediately sets his sights on the lounge singer, Clara. He promises to help her, then rapes her-making her promise not to say anything or he will rip her to shreds. No wonder his wife is the way she is-married to that guy. Clara is not the first and could he have been after Louisa too? Or was he involved in the shady business dealings with the Nazis and want to keep that from being found out. He is extremely eager to get to Brazil.

I HATE this character!

Eva and Carolina’s uncle, Pedro Villanueva has been watching over them and being there ever since their fathr’s death. He, their father, and Doctor Rojas used to be business partners. Was their father killed in an accident…or murdered? Murdered by their uncle or longtime family friend? They are both nervous and trying to search the girls things for some microfiche. What’s on that film?

Hmmm

Veronica wants more in life than being a maid and Sebastián de la Cuesta, rich and famous playboy, pays a lot of attention to her…but is he honest in his feelings? Is he just playing with her heart-using and losing, or does he really feel for her? It turns out Sebastian is bankrupt and trying to hide it from all. Could that be all he’s hiding. Could he be involved in something nefarious? Something he wants to keep hidden?

Hmmm…

Dimas Gómez is the sweetest guy, working as valet to Sebastian and also interested in Veronica. He has an idea to turn cane sugar into ethanol. He presents his idea to Sebastian (who may or may not steal it) and pretends to be Veronica’s sweetheart so her mother doesn’t discover she is sleeping with Sebastian. He seems like a great guy, but he was the roommate of the man who confessed to killing Louisa. Is he more involved in this than he lets on?

Hmm…

Plus to top it off we have a Captain who lost his wife and is very suicidal, a skulky crewm ember with a mysterious burned face, and a ship detective who doesn’t care about solving the crime.

And that’s not all, this show will have so many other twists and turns, once you start watching you will not want to stop!

So this movie reminded me a lot of Dangerous Crossings with the cruise ships, wedding, suspicious guy skulking about, being unsure who to trust. And just like that movie I really, really liked it. It was extremely compelling and the characters are amazing.

I couldn’t help but compare this to American Gothic which I reviewed last year. American Gothic had a great idea, but fell apart in the middle as it would lead is in one direction, then have an episode that turned it back on itself saying that it was false and this was the answer…oh wait, no that’s false-this is the answer, making it not enjoyable and obvious you couldn’t trust the show.

With this, it was done like Twin Peaks or Veronica Mars with each episode adding to the solving of the mystery. There were twists and turns along the way, and was amazing to watch!

YOU MEAN, THIS ONE

And the other reason to watch this? The CLOTHES!! THE CLOTHES are GORGEOUS!!! I want everything Eva and Carolina wear. Even the  guys’ clothing are beautiful.

I want to buy all the clothes!!!!

This film is also a Non-Austen Film for Austen Fans

Yes, I think that this is a perfect film for Austen fans.

At the center of the mystery is the love sisters have for each other. Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are both stories that focus on sisterly bonds and friendship. Even though these two sisters have been doing other things, they have reunited and care strongly for each other. Their first thoughts are whether they are okay-and doing all they can to make sure that their sister is taken care of and safe-sometimes hiding things to keep them from being put in danger. In P&P and S&S the sisters were each other’s best friends and always there for each other, just like in this film.

In this show Carolina is poisoned and Eva stands vigil doing all she can to help and aid her sister-Just like Elizabeth caring for Jane or Elinor caring for Marianne.

Carolina reminds me of Jane-beautiful, kind, caring, always thinking the best of people even though they clearly do not deserve it. She is the older sister, but often falls way to the younger sister’s persuasion.

Eva made me think of Catherine Morland: a reader, strong imagination, an investigative spirit. Like how Catherine searches out the Abbey for clues to the murder she believes to have happened there-Eva does the same on the ship. Except in Eva’s case there actually is a murder! Eva doesn’t automatically make me think of Elizabeth but she is just as stubborn and not interested in the main love interest…at least at first.

Nicolas and Eva’s interactions again make me think of Catherine and Mr. Tilney. Like Mr. Tilney-Nicolas is fun, witty, kind, and makes his interest known. Their interactions are fantastic banter.

VIctoria, Sebastian, and Deemis’ love triangle make me think of Isabella Thorpe, Captain Tilney, and James Morland. In Northanger Abbey, Isabella comes from not a super wealthy family and is on the prowl for a wealthy man. She catches James Morland, Catherine’s brother, believing the Morland’s are wealthier than they are but exchanges him for a larger quarry-Captain Tilney. Captain Tilney is not interested in settling down and after sleeping with Isabella, is done with her. Now Victoria, like Isabella, does not want a second class passenger, she wants first class. She has the love of a good man, Deemis, but she won’t even bother with him as she wants someone with and from more. But Sebastian is a famous playboy, and we see after sleeping with her he uses the same lines on another lady.

And the final reason why this made me think of Austen’s works and why you should watch this?

Yes, the very handsome officers. Mrs. Bennet, Lydia Bennet, Louisa Musgrove, Henrietta Musgrove, and Anne Elliot would all approve.

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

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: The Buccaneers, Episodes 3-5

For more mystery cruises, go to I Do Think You Are Confused Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

Northanger Soapworks Review

So I’m sure many of you Austen fans are like me, you see something Austen related and you’ve just gotta have it.

I’m not quite sure how I came across Northanger Soapworks. It might have showed up on my feed based on other things I follow, someone might have reposted something, or (most likely) I started following it when I entered to win a copy of Rational CreaturesAll I know is I started following it, was hooked by the name (I adore Northanger Abbey), and loved the cute names/themes for each item! Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.

Or book lovers

She has items that reference each Jane Austen book, just to name a few: Norland Autumn Soap and Music and Reading: A Sense and Sensibility Candle from Sense and Sensibility; Brighton on the Sea and Mr. Darcy Soap from Pride and Prejudice; A Fondness for Reading Candle and a Proper Wedding Soap from Mansfield ParkBlack Sheep and Donwell Abby Soap from Emma; The Black Veil Lip Balm and The Waters of Bath Soap from Northanger AbbeyAnne Elliot and Rational Creatures Soap from Persuasion; and more!

Wow!

And she has even branched out to do a Sherlock Holmes themed soap and has A Christmas Carol themed box that is only available through pre-order (so if you want it order today!) 

So of course it being Jane Austen, I wanted to review it-but that’s where I found myself stuck. Most of the time when I have ordered Austen-themed things, I review them and keep them or gift them-like the Babylit Austen series or Little Literary Classics.

But I couldn’t purchase a bar of soap, review it and then give it away.

But then if I bought a bar of soap for someone else, I’d have to make sure I was there to see it. And all the people who’s birthdays were all coming up, lived in other cities or states.

It’s a puzzle

I know you are thinking, “why not just buy it for yourself?” Well the problem is my skin.

Ugh!

If you have been following me, you know I have very sensitive skin. It is so sensitive I don’t even know half the things I am allergic to. Sometimes I am just going about my life and my skin gets irritated, hives break out, and next thing you know I’m scratching and breaking the skin.

Ugh!

Everything I use is hypoallergenic and scent-free-as it not only bothers my skin but I’m sensitive to scents (I have to keep antihistamines on me as some scents I have no issues with and others I can’t breathe). I cannot enter Bath and Beauty and nearly pass out if I have to cut through Macy’s perfume counter. When it comes to bath products I often feel like the Boy in the Plastic Bubble.

So I was resolved to wait until Christmas and gift it to someone who I can witness opening it and then have them tell me what they think.

But then I saw that Northanger Soapworks  was doing a rep search! You know me and free-I can’t resist, but I wasn’t sure if I should apply. What if something was sent to me and caused an allergic reaction?

Hmm…

After some hemming and hawing, I decided to enter the search, but make sure that they knew I was allergic. In the end, I didn’t end up being chosen. But I figured I would just go back to my original plan and order at Christmas for a friend (or two!).

Oh, well.

But then I was given a huge surprise when I was asked if I would be interested in getting a free something in exchange for an honest review.

I enthusiastically said yes. When asked what I was interested in, I told her send me whatever she wanted to, I didn’t want to make any extra trouble.

The package arrived quickly, too quickly, as I was in the middle of my Rational Creatures review and knew I couldn’t get to this post for a while. The package was in an adorable little box with a beautiful rose stamp on it.

I took a video of me opening it, but when I went to post it, it turned out that when I filmed it I had moved the phone and ended up filming nothing!

So the box came with a personalized note and card that were just beautiful!

Inside the box the item was wrapped in brown paper and muslin. And then when I opened it, I saw it was:

Yes, Mr. Darcy Bath Soap. I will let you all make your own jokes about Mr. Darcy in the bath with you:

So first of all I thought the soap was absolutely beautiful in green and cream with bronze running through it. It had the most beautiful little label that went around it and had a quote from Pride and Prejudice; along with a little information on Mr. Darcy:

“Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report…of his having ten thousand a year.” ~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

“Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, wealthy and proud, is a catch beyond the the grasp of the average lady. Though he ultimately wins the heart of Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, countless readers fell in love with him as well and wish that he were still available.”

As to why it was designed that particular way:

“Mr. Darcy is rich to be sure, and many will never see anything more. The shimmering bronze and green top of this soap is meant to convey his grandeur and wealth. But beneath the glitz lies the white heart of our beloved hero, the heart that Elizabeth found and loved.”

I loved the way it looked and the label as I felt that made it perfect for any Austen-fan (who will adore it) along with non-Austen fans (who will get a clear picture of what and why it was made the way it was.)

So when I opened the package the smell, cinnamon and patchouli, was wonderful and strong-but not too strong. Cinnamon and patchouli are both things I have to be careful around as too much can create an allergic reaction, but this was just the perfect amount. It filled my bathroom and apartment (it is very small), but was not in a cloying or overpowering way, but the perfect added scent.

So it was absolutely beautiful, smelled wonderful-how did it react with my skin?

It was fantastic!!!! We had had a bit of change in the weather and my skin was drier than normal, but I  used this soap ad I felt great. NO itchiness, dry skin, hives, welts, nothing.

So I would say that this soap is something you should purchase for yourself or others. For an extremely reasonable price (I looked the whole site over), you get to support a small business, get a beautiful product (that works just as well as it is beautiful), and get an adorable Austen (or book-themed) item.

I already plan to purchase a minimum of two items for people on my Christmas list!

Don’t miss out, check the site out today!

Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd

So this is the final post:

Like seriously! Where did the time go?

Oh yeah…

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

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

 

So far we have reviewed Elinor and Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility with Self-Composed by Christina Morland and Every Past Affliction by Nicole Clarkston; Elizabeth Bennet and Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice in Happiness in Marriage by Amy D’Orazio and Charlotte’s Comfort by Joana Starnes;  Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, and Harriet Smith from Emma in Knightley Discourses by Anngela Schroeder,The Simple Things by J. Marie Croft and In Good Hands by Caitlin Williams; Fanny Price and Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park in The Meaning of Wife by Brooke West and What Strange Creatures by Jenetta James; & Anne Elliot, Mrs. Croft, Mrs. Clay, and Louisa Musgrove in An Unnatural Beginning by Elizabeth Adams, Where the Sky Touches the Sea by KaraLynne Mackrory, The Art of Pleasing by Lona Manning, and Louisa by the Sea by Beau North. And what have I thought of it so far?

This section is a little different as it is on the Northanger Abbey and Lady Susan parts as it just didn’t feel right leaving Lady Susan by herself. So to start:

I found this ’60s copy in a thrift store and just love it!

So I was so jazzed to see something from Northanger Abbey as I’m not ashamed to say it is probably my favorite. I know it is not popular opinion, but it is just so me. When I was a child/tween I was a mix between Anne from Anne of Green Gables and Jo from Little Women and Catherine Morland. As I grew into teenage years, I became less Jo and more Catherine and Mr. Darcy.

She and Mr. Darcy are probably my favorites and the ones I feel the most like (even though the beauty of all Austen heroines and heroes is that they are extremely relatable).

So I love anything that is Northanger Abbey related and as it is often ignored by people. I was also interested in the Eleanor Tilney story as I’ve always enjoyed her character and would love to see her point of view of all that went down in Northanger Abbey.

Hmmm

So for those who haven’t read it it- Catherine Morland seemed so average that no one would think she could ever be a heroine-but those people will be proven wrong. She loves to read, especially gothic stories and has an overactive imagination. She is gifted with a trip to Bath and ends up in her own romance suspense novel! A love triangle, an overbearing father, a mysterious death, a foreboding Abbey, and more! I love it and you all should read it if you haven’t!

There aren’t that many adaptations, the only true adaptation I have ever read is Dangerous to Know.

The Strength of Their Attachment by Sophia Rose

So this story begins after Northanger Abbey. If you haven’t read the book:

***Spoiler Alert!***

Anyways, Catherine embarrassed herself, Mr. Tilney sent her home after he found out that she wasn’t as rich as Mr. John Thorpe said, and Mr. Tilney followed her to apologize and propose. HIs father still does not approve, and Mr. Tilney has left to try and convince him to allow the marriage.

Catherine waits at home, but doesn’t have too much time to think on that-he brother, James Morland, has disappeared!

After his fiancé Isabella threw James over, trying to snare a bigger fish, he became despondent. They have tried to contact him numerous times, but there are no answers to them. Even their aunt who resides in Oxford has had one of her grooms deliver a letter but nothing.

That is not good,

Oh no! What if he’s been kidnapped?

Uh-oh, you know what this whole thing sounds like to me? A Mystery!

Mystery, you say?

I’m ready!

Ready for any case

Wait, wait, wait-hold the phone. An overactive imagination is what got Catherine into trouble the first time. It is time to stop, think, and reflect. Catherine takes a moment to work away from kidnapping, gothic plots, and etc. Focus, think, plot out a reasonable plan.

She convinces her parents to let her go to Oxford and try a personal visit. Catherine prepares for the trip and gets an interesting bit of news when she stops at the store to pick up her father’s paper order and she is told that a stranger is asking questions about her brother. Catherine has a bad, bad feeling about this and wishes she was in Oxford, her brother would answer, or that Henry was near.

Catherine gets there and it appears her fears were not unfounded. The porter has not seen James, but his mail has disappeared. The porter went to James’ new room (as after all that happened he did not want to live with John Thorpe anymore) and some of things are gone with no one knowing where he has gone.

Then there are rumors that he has been gambling and running up large debts everywhere. Catherine worries about it and writes it all to Henry, but unfortunately does not hear anything back.

Time to get on the case!

Catherine grows more and more worried-nothing heard from James-nothing from Henry. Maybe Henry is regretting his engagement? Maybe he won’t want to be connected to her anymore? Maybe her brother is tortured or kidnapped? Or maybe, maybe, maybe…

Hmm…

Catherine tries to keep her imagination reined in, but continues to worry. Catherine goes out for long walks every day, searching every man, every robe, everywhere for her brother. On one such walk she overhears the person responsible for the whole terrible plot?! What can she do?

Catherine once again finds herself in a plot she’s only ever read about-dastardly plans, missing brother, missing fiancé, a viscount, goons after her-straight out of an adventure story. Will she be able to stop this plotter? Will she find her brother? What’s wrong with her fiancé?

I LOVED it. From the beginning I was hooked into this adventure tale and could not put it down. I had to find out what happened! Where was Henry. It was amazing!!

And Mr. Tilney and Catherine are so cute together!

“Miss Catherine Morland, you are an amazing lady. You are my lady and I am proud to own it.”

For more by Sophia Rose, go to “As Much As He Can” from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more on Catherine Morland go to Austen Avengers Assemble!

A Nominal Mistress by Karen M. Cox

Eleanor is the only daughter of of General Tilney. General Tilney is a plotter and planner when it comes to his children’s love lives-like a mean, scary, rude, horrible guy version of Mrs. Bennet.

He has been trying to have his children marry wealthy and snag a title. He can’t maneuver his sons in the same way, but does all he can with his daughter to thrust her at titled men.

This time he is trying to win Edward Grantham, Viscount Lynton. He thrusts Eleanor at him, but she is not interested in a rake with such a bad reputation.

He’s a no

She and her friend escape the questioning that is soon-to-be from her father, where she shares with her friend how she couldn’t stand him. Her friend doesn’t care as he is handsome-but Eleanor wants more than that.

“In our society, the choice of husband is one of the few over which we can exert some control. It is the choice on which rides an entire life’s worth of felicity.”

Her friend goes in to try her luck, while Eleanor waits a bit longer outside. Unfortunately, it appears that the Viscount’s brother, Mr. Grantham, was outside, hiding, and overheard everything.

She apologizes to him, but inside is seething:

“Although a gentleman would have made his presence known rather than snooping like a servant girl.”

Hey, that reminds me of something…

Scarlett: [Rhett has heard Scarlett’s and Ashley’s fight] and Sir you should have made your presence known

Rhett Butler: In the middle of that beautiful love scene. Now that wouldn’t have been very tactful would it?

Scarlett: Oh! You sir are no gentlemen.

Rhett Butler: And you Ms. are no lady.

Book lovers too.

After that little meeting, Eleanor flees into the ball, and gets asked to dance by Mr. Grantham. The two dance, and he teases her about what she had been talking about, along with just making conversation. Eleanor surprises herself by actually enjoying his company.

Later, her father, General Tilney grills her about her night and whether she hooked the Viscount or not. She tries to dissuade him from that plan, and mentions that she danced with Mr. Grantham. Her father is not happy with him, as he has no title, and is involved with trade.

But never tell a daughter to forget about a guy, they tend to not listen.

Like The Little Mermaid

A year passes, and Eleanor and Mr. Grantham have been spending as much time together as they can. Her father still doesn’t like him, but Mr. Grantham doesn’t want to give up.

Unfortunately, he will be leaving-his business is taking him to Barbados. He wants Eleanor to run away with him…but Eleanor doesn’t want to. I really enjoy their exchange as this reminds me of the whole Anna Karenina situation. If a man runs off with a women-there will be talk, but eventually he’ll be back into society good as new. If a woman did that-oh no, we are held to higher standards and face harsher consequences. I liked the exchange, and how relatable it was, while still be perfect to the time period. Plus I like how strong and powerful Eleanor is.

“When I leave my father’s house, it will be as a grown woman, going toward the rest of my life, not running away from the past.”

Mr. Grantham leaves, and then the Viscount starts paying attention to her, but not in the way you might think…but that is all moot. If her father isn’t on board, will she be able to marry the man she loves?

I LOVED it! I thought this was a great story and I loved seeing Eleanor’s side of things. I also liked how she was a strong powerful woman. I do wish we could have seen her view of how the events in Bath went, as I would have loved to get her opinion of the Thorpes, but I guess that means Cox will to write another story.

Looking forward to it!

For more by Karen M. Cox, go to “An Honest Man” from Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

So on to the final story: Lady Susan.

Lady Susan is a novella that Austen wrote in the late 18th century and never published. After her death her family published the work.

Lady Susan has recently become a widow, and goes to stay with her brother-in-law, Charles Vernon. She has sold the family estate and enjoys being free from marriage. Unfortunately, she can’t stay free. She has to marry herself and her daughter off in order to keep the lifestyle she loves.

Lady Susan is a very callous and manipulative woman. She enjoys being with many men-along with manipulating/controlling others.

The book is in epistolary format, told in letters between all the main characters. I know it was adapted in a film not too long ago, which I haven’t yet watched, but besides that I haven’t heard of too many adaptation of this work.

The Edification of Lady Susan by Jessie Lewis

So you all know that I’m not really into  diary novels, well that doesn’t apply to epistolary novels. I don’t mind reading books made up of letters (as long as they aren’t solely love letters-that makes me feel like a voyeur).

So this was a bit confusing for me. Because it took place before the novella some of the names are different and there are extra characters. This isn’t a bad thing, it just took me a little while to get my bearings. But that happens with most epistolary tales.

So in this, Lady Susan finds herself caught in a triangle of machinations and her own manipulations. Her mother wants Susan to marry Lord Doyle, as his mother is blackmailing her. If Susan and Lord Doyle marry, then it will save their family’s reputation.

Susan’s brother, however, wants her to marry Mr. Cohen as Lord Doyle is a rake and will never be faithful. However, her brother doesn’t have the best intentions either. He wants her to marry Mr. Cohen as he owes him quite a bit in gambling debts.

But Lady Susan will not be pushed around, she has her own plan.

I think Lewis was spot on. I think she really got the character of Lady Susan, and even though I knew which man she would end up with, it still was a major plot twist and awesome reveal when we see how deep her manipulations were. My bonnets off to you ma’am. She’s like Professor Moriarity level of planning.

Wow!

An excellent story.

So that concludes Rational Creatures. What do I think about this book:

I think that this was an amazing collection of stories. You can clearly tell that each and every writer loves Jane Austen and really, really tried to get into the characters and present them in a way that was true to Austen and the novels, while at the same time giving it their own twist and view.

Not only do I think every Austen fan should read this, they NEED to read this. This is probably one of the best adaptations I have read. And I think even those who have never read Austen could easily follow and love the stories.

I cannot stress how much I loved that the way the authors portrayed the characters, but I also love that they chose people from evert book, and even ones that we don’t see a lot of.

Reading this will be a pleasure-you will laugh, cry, and enjoy every minute.

For more reviews of Rational Creatures, go to Rational Creatures: Anne Elliot, Mrs. Croft, Mrs. Clay, & Louisa Musgrove

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Rational Creatures: Fanny Price & Mary Crawford

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Did Jane Hate a Richard?

For more Austen book reviews, go to Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: Stardust (2007)

So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?

Hmm…I don’t know!

That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.

I can’t stop watching!

Here we go with:

I lOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOve this movie!

So years ago my friend and I were having a hunk-a-thon, a movie marathon with films that had men we found attractive in it. We used to do this every three or four months.

Squee! I loved it!

I remember that my friend Anne had brought this and wanted to watch it. I wasn’t feeling it as I wanted to watch another movie, but it was her turn to choose, so we did and I straight up loved it! She fell asleep as she had seen it before, while I wanted to watch every minute.

I love it so much I will watch this film over and over again.

I loved it so much that of course I wanted to read the book…and I did. Let me say that this is a statement I rarely ever, ever say: The movie was way better.

I know, the world must be ending again.

Anyways…let’s get back to the plot synopsis.

There is a small village called Wall that resides next to an ancient wall. No one knows why it was built, who built it, or why they are supposed to keep people from crossing it. On one side of the wall is the village, and the other is a field.

A long time ago there was a break in the wall, and as long as they can remember there was a guard there to keep people from crossing it. One young man, Dunstan Thorn, has been very curious and decides to vault over there.

When he does he finds himself in a magical world. There is a market by the wall, and Dunstan stops at a caravan which houses a beautiful woman, Una (Kate Magowan), an enslaved princess. She is trapped by witch Ditchwater Sal and can’t be free until the witch dies.

That’s my life. 😦

She offers the wares, and sells Dunstan a snowdrop flower for a kiss. The snowdrop is a very special enchanted flower that offers protection to the owner. She invites him into the caravan, and after Dunstan returns home.

Dunstan tries to get over the wall again, but the spry wall guard will not allow it. He thinks that is all, until nine months later a baby is left at the wall with a candle, a note for Dunstan, an a note for the boy, Tristan.

Oh…

Years pass and Tristan is a young man and played by the very handsome Charlie Cox, also known as Daredevil.

Tristan is just an average boy, with an average life. His father is a farmer and he works in a shop. He is in love with the town beauty, Victoria, but she isn’t interested. She wants Humphrey, who has money.

I’m on the Tristan side as I find Cox attractive and love that name.

He loses his job at the shop for being more focused on Victoria. He feels out of sorts, but his dad encourages him and he surprises Victoria with an amazing picnic and watch a falling star. He tries to woo her and Victoria tells him that he has a week-until her birthday-to get her that star or she will marry Humphrey.

Now in the magical land on the other side of the wall, Stormhold, the King is dying. He had seven sons and one daughter. There is a fierce competition for the throne-although three of the sons have been murdered, the sister has vanished, and one is pushed out the window-leaving three left. A male heir must take the throne and to decide who will inherit the king throws his priceless ruby into the sky-knocking a star down (the one Tristan and Victoria saw)-and whoever finds it will be the next king. Another brother is disposed of and we are left with only two- Primus and Septimus (Mark Strong)-both searching for the jewel.

Mark Strong, you say?

Meanwhile, the falling star awakens the three witch Queens-Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer), Mormo, and Empusa. They need the star’s heart in order to maintain immortality. Lamia eats the remaining part of a former heart, giving her some youth and power, and she sets off to find the new star.

Meanwhile, Tristan wants to get over the wall, but the wall guard won’t let him and beats him up. When he gets home his father sees him and after they talk, decides to reveal his true parentage. Tristan reads his note and that his mother wanted to keep him but was unable to. She gifted him with a Babylon Candle, that will send the owner anywhere they think of when they light it. She tells Tristan he is the only one who can save her and tells him to light it and think of her and nothing else.

Tristan does, but instead of his mother ends up on top of Yvaine (Claire Danes), the star. Yes, when a star is knocked out of the sky it becomes a human form. It turns out Tristan was thinking of Victoria and went to the star instead.

He chains Yvaine to himself and prepares to take her to Victoria, promising that if she goes with him to win his true love, he will give her the rest of the babylon candle and she can return to the sky.

As they go along, the brothers are also searching and plotting against each other. Meanwhile, Lamia, prepares a trap for the star.

That is not good,

Tristan and Yvaine are separated when she can no longer walk on, and Tristan goes in search of how far the next town is and falls asleep. A unicorn comes to help Yvaine, but instead goes right into the trap that Lamia has set up-a fake inn. There she gives Yvaine a bath to refresh her as she sees a happy, glowing star.

The forest wakes Tristan and warn him that something bad will happen to Yvaine. He wakes up and catches a ride with Piramus, who is still searching for the ruby.

They manage to get to the inn before Lamia puts her plan into action. Although, Piramus isn’t so lucky-he gets his throat cut.

Ouch

Tristan pulls out the Babylon candle and tells Yvaine to think of home, he thinking of Wall-she thinking of space, and they end up in the middle-the sky!

There they get picked up by Captain Shakespeare and his lightening pirates. Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro) is known throughout the land to be fierce, strong ruthless, and has a dreadful reputation.

It turns out that Captain Shakespeare isn’t as bad as he seems. He is fun, loves England (named himself Shakespeare after the author), ballet, music, clothes, etc. He “kills” Tristan to protect his reputation and then gives him a fierce makeover (sorry I have been watching a lot of America’s Next Top Model). And teaches him to sword fight, dance, etc.

He takes them to as close as he can and gives Tristan some advice to not pass over Yvaine. They continue to the Wall, but will Tristan continue on his quest to give a jerk not worthy of his time something priceless? Will he ever find his mother? Will Yvaine get her true love and find her home? Who will be King? And will they outsmart the witches, or Yvaine be on the menu?

Hmm…

So an AMAZING!!!!! AMAZING!!! AMAZING film!!! I LOVE it.

So what makes it something an Austen fan will love?

Hmmm…

So the first thing that kept popping in my head when they spoke about Tristan was that he was a lot like Catherine Morland. Both growing up in okay families, seen as ordinary and average-nothing special.

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her.”

But Catherine ends up being whisked away to the big city, has two men after her, goes to a mysterious abbey, etc. Tristan has to fight witches, get kidnapped by pirates, outwits princes, etc.

Catherine is also like Yvanie. Both are dreamers wanting more. Catherine a reader-reading romances and dreaming about them. Tristian dreams about adventure as well. And both find themselves smack dab in the middle of a romantic adventure with gothic elements.

Yvaine: You know, it’s funny. I used to watch… I used to watch people having adventures. I envied them.

Tristan: You ever heard the expression “Be careful of what you wish for”?

Yvaine: What, so ending up with my heart cut out – that will serve me right?

Tristan: No, I didn’t mean it like that. Look, I admire you dreaming. A shop boy like me… I could never have imagined an adventure this big in order to wish for it. I just thought I’d find some lump of celestial rock, take it home and that would be it.

Yvaine: And you got me. [they both begin to laughIf there’s one thing I’ve learned about all my years watching Earth, is that people aren’t what they may seem. There are shop boys, and there are boys who just happen to work in a shop for the time being. And trust me Tristan, you’re no shop boy. You saved my life. Thank you.

And then there is Victoria.

Ugh!

Victoria is the girl that Tristan likes and wants to win her heart, but she doesn’t care about him. She is just interested in money and wants Humphrey as he has it. She plays around with Tistian’s feelings, enjoying how he does things for her, let’s her cut in line at the shop, gets Champagne, etc. She reminds me of Mary Crawford and Mr. Wickham with their search for a wealthy partner to take care of them; along with being like Mr. Wickham and Frank Churchill in how she flirts, teases, and plays on other’s affections-when she has no intention of being with them at all. Frank just messes around with Emma, and Wickham toys with Lydia and Elizabeth.

And of course, Mark Strong is in it. Mark Strong played Mr. Knightley in Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version.

Mark Strong, you say?

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

For more Neil Gaiman, go to Heaven on Earth: 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

For more Charlie Cox, go to Old Fandoms and New Fancies

For more Mark Strong, go to Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

For more Jane Austen film/TV, go to I’ll Be Watching You: Austentatious (2015)

It Sucks to Be Lady Elliot

So everyone out there has dated a minimum of one total jerk in their lifetime, some of us more.

And girls

Male or female-you have met someone they seem great and wonderful. You begin dating, you get caught into love or extreme like:

Then things go bad, you see them for what they are. Some break up, some try to change them, some get divorced, etc-Angry, upset, wishing it never happened, thinking how could they have gotten involved.

Some people stay-and for a variety of reasons. Maybe they don’t feel they can leave, maybe some are abused and don’t see a way out, some think they can make it work, some want to stay for the kids, there are a thousand reasons and for those who stay and don’t leave-it sucks.

It sucks!

Leading us to today’s topic: Lady Elliot, mother of Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary; and wife of Sir Walter Elliot.

Ugh, this guy!

Poor Lady Elliot-she’s intelligent, logical, sensible, kind and caring-how the heck did she end up with Sir Elliot?

We all know how-as we have all been there at least once. She was young, he was handsome, he seemed great, and she married him, only to find out afterwards that she made a mistake.

It’s funny, but I never realized this before, but Lady Elliot’s story could be a lot of Austen heroines if they had married the other person rather than the one they did. Fanny and Henry, Emma and Frank, Anne and William Elliot, etc. Also like what happens with Mrs. Tilney and General Tilney in Northanger Abbey

But Lady Elliot is one classy lady. She realized that she married wrong, but did her best to do what she could to make the best of her situation, a real Charlotte Lucas.

She concealed his faults, managed the estate, and found a filled life with her friends, children, and other duties; not a happy life but a filled one.

In fact, I really recommend checking out “One Fair Claim” by Christina Morland from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen RoguesI really thought she captured what happened and how Lady Elliot “saw” Sir Walter one way, only to have her illusions destroyed when she realized what a jerkwad she married. 

It is very Rebecca  as well. Man I keep referencing it, I need to review it. But which to do first, the book or movie?

Moving on…

Anyways, sorry for that rabbit trail.

Yes, poor Lady Elliot. And then when she passes away she has to leave her children to be raised by that Neanderthal. Thank goodness for her friend, Lady Russell, but more on her later.

Yes, poor Lady Elliot.

For more Persuasion, go to Austen Avengers Assemble

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

Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Murders in the Rue Morgue

So the idea of Catherine Morland’s Reading List came mostly from the fact that I am a huge Gothic fiction/mystery fan. Before I met Jane Austen I devoured all these books that I know, if Catherine was alive, she would have been reading.

It started with reading one, and then before I knew it I had a list of 30 I was planning on eventually reviewing. What can I say…

Of course, if you are into Gothic fiction, you have to be into Edgar Allan Poe

I LOVE Edgar Allan Poe. I grew up reading his short stories over and over and over again. It’s funny, but I actually got interested because of the Ray Bradbury short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” from The Martian Chronicles. The story references all these Edgar Allan Poe stories, so I had to read them-and after one I was hooked!

So with his stories, I’m going to review them one by one as there are sooooo many. It would be an incredibly looooooooooooooong post to do them all in one.

Today we are going to start with the first Edgar Allan Poe story I have ever read, AND one of my favorites!

This story and detective, C. Auguste Dupin, are also believed to be the first detective mystery story ever written (not first mystery-first detective mystery.) Dupin is thought to being the forerunner to Sherlock Holmes in his ways of observation and sleuthing, Many believe that Doyle copied Poe, even though Doyle insists that Holmes is based on a professor he had while attaining his medical degree.

Hmm…

Whether it is a copy or not, I don’t care. I love both-you know me:

Mystery, you say?

“The Murders in the Rue Morgue (C. Auguste Dupin Mysteries #1)” from The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allen Poe

C. Auguste Dupin is from an old, established, wealthy family, but has lost all his money and is now poor. He still has a little bit of money, enough to let him live and afford his greatest vice, books.

Dupin lives with his friend, the nameless narrator, and astounds him with his deductive reasoning, being able to tell what he is thinking!

Wow!

One morning they look in the paper and see the headline EXTRAORDINARY MURDERS.

The night before Madame L’Espanaye and her daughter, residents of Rue Morgue, were heard screaming in the middle of the night. People heard and tried to get in, but every door and window was locked on the ground floor. They eventually gained access by using a crowbar.

When they came in the room they found it in incredible discord and destruction.

It gets pretty dark here, just a ***SPOILER ALERT***

The women were found with a razor caked with blood and the Madame’s gray tresses also dripping in blood, looking as if ripped from the head. Both women’s necks were cut so badly they were practically separated from their necks.

Horrifying!

Both women were also shoved up the chimney.

Everyone was questioned but no one knows why it was committed, who did it, or how. Everyone who came in heard the voice of whoever committed the act but could not understand the language. Some think it was Spanish, others Italian, etc.

Hmmm…

Dupin becomes interested in the case and follows it in all the papers. The only thing that was open was a window on one of the high stories. But how could anyone get in?

Hmmm

Dupin believes he has the case solved and places an ad in the newspaper to catch the killer. Has he figured it out? Who could have done such a horrible act?

Hmm…

I love this story and the ending is fantastic. I personally think this is the best of the Dupin mysteries, even though everyone always goes on about The Purloined Letter.

For more on Catherine Morland’s Reading List, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Inn at Half Moon Bay

For more gothic tales, go to Book Club Picks: Wuthering Heights