Desire & Decorum: Chapter 8, Ill Repute

In the last episode I was invited to the opera by the Duke, ugh, and was able to get a preview with help from the Prince. That opera house was where my late mother used to perform. I also got a letter from my father warning me about the countess trying to slander me and that I need to do some husband hunting.

So you were just reading your father’s letter:

Keeping an eye on you!

So I have two goals: one stop all rumors that the Countess is spreading, and two-find me a man. I write back to let me father know that I don’t have anything concrete-no formal proposal or possible engagement.

After finishing my letter, I hurry to Mr. Woods so that he can mail it out before Countess, Miss Sutton, or my step-brother tries to steal it.

I got this!

Mr. Woods and Briar are planning on going off to drop letters off. Briar is such a little flirt with Mr. Woods and with Mr. Marcastle, she’s going to get in some serious trouble. And, as my dearest friend and the one I was raised with, IF she gets a bad reputation, than so will I. I’ve got to keep my eyes on her.

They ask me to come with them. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend my money on that, BUT, if I let her go off-she might do something. Plus, I might run into Mr. Sinclaire. So after some hemming and hawing, I decided to go with them.

Remember how in another chapter I bought a horse?

Since I have her, Fancy is what I named her, I get to ride her around London.

ME!!!

The first person I run into is Mr. Sinclaire.

Hello there!

We give him the letter, and then have to go on our way.

That’s it? That’s all I get?!!

You better have something better for me!! I’m going to be mad if I wasted 19 diamonds!

We get a little back story on Mr. Woods, how he grew up in London and went out to the country-hoping one day to settle down, marry, bring his parents out there.

Briar says how love is the most important thing, that it would be okay to “be as poor as a church mouse” as long as she is with the man she loves. Then why are you messing around with Mr. Marcastle? Hmmm…? Stay with Mr. Woods and leave Marcastle ALONE!

Seriously

We then visit with Mr. Chambers, who’s pants are undone as he was getting it on with another guy. We give him his letter and move on.

That’s it!!!!!????

To be honest, this is soooooooooooooooooo boring! I WOULD NOT buy this at all if I was you!

Just skip that “adventure”.

And I know that this is present thinking on the past to include a gay character and have nobody care-but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the widespread view. I mean in Regency times, sodomy was illegal-and faced severe punishment. I mean it was there, it did happen, look at Oscar Wilde. Anyways…

Moving on…

Later at home, Miss Parsons pay me a visit and brings a little puppy pug. Her sister’s dog had puppies, and offers me one-but I don’t have enough diamonds to purchase one. I don’t really want one as all I can think of is in Mansfield Park where the Mrs. Bertram has a pug.

“She was a woman who spent her days in sitting, nicely dressed, on a sofa, doing some long piece of needlework, of little use and no beauty, thinking more of her pug than her children…” –Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Afterwards, Miss Parsons and I head over to the opera house in Prince Hamid’s luxurious carriage. We are discussing things, and Prince Hamid tells me how he has heard awful things about me…but he still likes me:

Of course I am, because:

So we get to the Opera where the Duke is trying to get all over me-

I’m not interested!

The Viscount Westonly is trying to get with Miss Parsons, and I’m trying to help her avoid him. Her family is trying to marry her off to anyone with money, they don’t care that he is a seven wife widower. Hmm…did they die of natural causes or…!

Murdered!!!!!

Just kidding, it was natural causes…I think.

Hmmm…

At the Opera, Mr. Chambers also joins us and, ugh, Miss Holloway.

Miss Parsons mentions that she hasn’t seen Mr. Sinclaire at the opera and the Duke gives a commit that Mr. Sinclaire visits other costumed ladies-ladies of the night!

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can’t believe this!

Could Mr. Sinclaire be a skeez? I know the Duke is one. The whole performance he keeps trying to touch me and comments about how he wants to see me-see me naked is more like it-ugh.

After the opera, instead of having my ride with the Prince and Miss Parsons, the Duke’s sent them all away.

Should I stay in the carriage and risk being assaulted by him?

There aren’t a lot of choices for women in the 1800s.

I spot Mr. Sinclaire and follow him. He is on his way to do something, and invites me along. I know it isn’t proper to go off with him, but what other choices do I really have? At least I know he will keep his hands to himself.

We go off as Mr. Sinclaire is giving food and clothing to people who live in the poorer areas. He is amazed that I would go with him, but first-he hasn’t been a woman trying to fight off the Duke, and second-he’s forgotten how I grew up. A little dirt won’t bother me, and I remember what it was like to have little.

Mr. Sinclaire is a very charitable and kind person, he thinks that no matter where or what station you are born, you should be treated right. So then why did he act like a jerk the first time I met him? He almost ran me down and then:

Right when I’m thinking that, he apologizes for any way he treated me that wasn’t right. Did he just read my mind?

I don’t apologize for the way I thought about him:

We walk along together, and then Mr. Sinclaire shares his feelings with me, but we get interrupted by rain! Romance always blooms more in rain!

After he holds me close, he calls a carriage and takes me home. It turned out to be a nice night…

That is until I get home and Grandma is there!

That is not good,

She’s heard the rumors that have been spreading about my “reputation” and has set out to control my London season.

She wants me with the Duke and will do whatever she can to catch him. I want nothing to do with that guy.

I don’t want to do this.

So with Grandma coming, how will it go?

Keep reading to find out! Or play the game yourself!

For more Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 7, Opera St. James

For more choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 6, An Intimate Affair

For more on the Opera, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

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Book Club Picks: A Wrinkle in Time

So I have fallen waaaay behind with my posts, but as you know I started a book club last year:

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. It was my turn to pick again and after doing a mystery in The Secret of Chimneys and an altered classic/romance in The Darcy MonologuesI wanted to do something different. So I decided on a fantasy/science fiction and what better than my favorite book as a kid that is going to be a movie soon:

A Wrinkle in Time (The Time Quartet #1) by Madeleine L’Engle

I loved this book so much as a kid. I used to go to the library and check it out again and again and again. After constantly doing that, my mom finally bought me the book so I had my own. It came in a set with the remaining three books-A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters.

This is the book that started the whole time quartet series. In this book the Murry family has moved to New England. Many people are wary of them as both Mr. and Mrs. Murry are scientists. Mr. Murry is often called upon to go to Washington D.C for the President or Pentagon. He left for a trip about a year ago, and has yet to return. Many think he abandoned the family, but his wife and children have faith that he will return. Meg is the oldest, she wears glasses and braces and thinks herself unattractive.

She has a lot of problems making friends as she has a temper,

What???!!!

she also has issues in school as the math is too far below her.

After Meg are the twins, Alexander (Sandy) and Dionysus (Dennys). Both the twins excel in sports, school, and friendship. Last is Charles Wallace, only five years old and a genius. He tries to hide it, but still can’t pass off being “normal.”

One dark and stormy night; three women come in with the wind and set Meg, Charles Wallace, and a popular boy from school, Calvin O’Keefe on quite the adventure. Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who, and Mrs,Whatsit tells the trio that they need them in order to save Mr. Murry who is caught in the 5th dimension.

Help me! I’m confused!

This adventure takes them on a ride through psychics, time travel, tessering, and other planets.

The best characters in this are Meg and Calvin. Besides being intelligent, Calvin is also caring and compassionate. When Meg and Charles become his friend, his loyalty and care with protecting them knows very little bounds. And when Meg has problems controlling her temper; Calvin is able to help her realign her feelings and help her express kindness toward others.

*swoon*

Then we have Meg, oh my gosh we are just the same. Meg has a hard time connecting with people her own age as in many ways she is older, younger, and the same. She has a bad temper, is stubborn, willful, loyal, caring, compassionate, and will defend her friends/family until the end.

Amazing!

One of the best things of this book is two messages- one being, be happy in who you are. Meg is always trying to change herself, but her faults and personality are the things that can help them in this battle. She was designed that way, even though she might not like herself-she was needed to be herself in order to save everyone.

And that love can defeat everything. Love, real powerful Love.

In fact, Meg actually embodies all three of those-faith, hope, love-and uses them to battle the black thing.

It is a fantastic book that has been such a big part of my life!

And you should definitely check it out!

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Light in the Window

For more Madeleine L’Engle, go to Let It Go

For more on A Wrinkle in Time, go to The Wearing of the Green: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more C.S. Lewis quotes, go to You Know You Really Love Tea When…

For more bible verses, go to Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

There’s a Cyclone Coming: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Day 23) W is for Weather: Choose a book where the Weather plays a major role

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz #1) by L. Frank Baum

I was first introduced to The Wizard of Oz because of the film. It was one of my mom’s favorites and we would watch it over and over again.

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I first read the book when I was first in my early teens, and was surprised how much of her journeys and the things she had to go through were taken out of the final production.

Say What

I then went on to read the whole entire series, 14 books. Out of all of them, the best of course is the first: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

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I love this book and have read it over and over again.

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The story of The Wizard of Oz follows the adventure’s of Dorothy Gale as she, and her dog, Toto, are accidentally transported by tornado from her uncle and aunt’s home in Kansas to the magical land of Oz.

When she arrives, it turns out that she has crushed the Wicked Witch of the East with her house. The Munckins and the Good Witch of the North (not Glinda) are so thankful for her help in stopping the evil witches control of their land, they give her a banquet, but all Dorothy wants is to go home.

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They tell her to follow the yellow brick road to the Wizard and ask him for help. The Good Witch of the North gives Dorothy a kiss on the forehead to protect her and gives her the silver shoes the Witch of the East was wearing. Yes silver. They changed the color in the film as they wanted them to stand out.

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Dorothy continues her way to the Wizard when she comes across the Scarecrow who has just been made that morning. He comes along with her as he hopes to get a brain.

They later find a woodsman made out of tin, rusted in place. The tin man used to be a real man and feel in love with a munchkin girl. She lived with a witch who cursed his ax, so when he tried to cut down a tree, he cut a limb. He had one made out of tin, and this continued until he was completely made out of tin and no longer wanted to marry the girl as he has no heart. He joins the group in the hopes of getting a heart and they continue on.

They run into a Lion who knocks them all aside and out of the way. He tries to get Toto, and Dorothy comes up and smacks him on the nose. It turns out that the lion is just a coward, trying to be tougher than he is. He comes along with the group to try to get some courage.

They continue on their trip and run into a poppy field. As they journey through it, all but the Tin Man and Scarecrow fall asleep.

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They save Dorothy, but can’t carry the Lion out. However, when they reach the other side the Tin Man saves a mouse who turns out to be a Queen. She helps them by getting her mice to carry the remaining group out.

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They continue to the Wizard, where they are forced to wear green glasses; entering the Emerald city of Oz. They each go see the Wizard, but he appears in different forms: a beautiful woman, fireball, giant head, a horrible beast. He tells them he cannot grant them anything, until they kill the Wicked Witch of the West.

Not good

They head out to get her, although they don’t really want to kill anyone, but here we go. When they leave, the glasses are removed and it turns out that the things they thought they were wearing that were “green” were actually white.

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They head out to find the witch, but she spots them with her telescopic eye. She sends wolves to kill them, but the Tin Man stops them all. She then sends out crows out to kill them, and peck them up; but the scarecrow stops them. Then she tries to send bees, but the Tin Man destroys them. Next are the Winkies, but the Lion’s roar, scares them off. She then uses the golden cap to send for the Winged Monkeys.

The monkeys destroy the scarecrow and the tin man; carrying off the lion, Toto, and Dorothy. Dorothy becomes her slave, and the Lion is put in a cage.

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The Witch wants the shoes, but can’t do anything to Dorothy while she is wearing them. The only time Dorothy takes them off is when she bathes and sleeps, water and the dark being the two things that frighten the Witch the most.

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

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

The witch tricks Dorothy out of one of her shoes, and Dorothy, so angry, throws water on her. She melts.

The Winkies are so excited to be free they help repair the scarecrow and the Tin Man. They are extremely good at metalwork and ask the Tin Man to return to rule them.

The group now face the problem that they don’t know how to get back to the Emerald City as they were carried by the monkeys. They call the Queen of the Mice, but she tells them to use the Golden Cap to call the Winged Monkeys.

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Dorothy now controls the monkeys, and they take them to the Wizard. The King of the Monkeys reveals they were put under enchantment by the sorceress, Gayelette, when they played a prank on her and her fiancé. Dorothy can use them two more times.

They return to Oz, only to discover that there is no great Wizard.He tells them his story about how he came in a balloon and everyone thought he was a Wizard, and he just continued with it; having no one see him as he didn’t want them to know he was a fraud.

He thinks about how to grant everyone’s request and has them each return the next day to help them. First he makes a brain for the Scarecrow out of bran, oats, etc. He mixes it with water, and using pins puts it in his head.Then he makes a pillow heart, and cuts the tin man placing it in; re-soldering the body. For the Lion he makes a disgusting mixture and has him drink it. All that is left is Dorothy.

suspicious Hmm

The Wizard decides to make a hot air balloon for him and Dorothy, leaving the Scarecrow to rule in his place. They then decide to set out, but Toto chases a cat and Dorothy takes off after him. The balloon goes off as the Wizard can’t go back down, he doesn’t know how to really work the balloon. He flies off….but don’t worry he comes back in book 4, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.

They use the cap to call the Monkeys, but they can’t travel out of Oz. They then are told by one of the Emerald City’s soldiers that the only thing left to do, is see Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. They head out having to pass a forest of fighting trees.

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They then pass through a china town, that is a town made purely out of China figures. Dorothy tries to take one with her, but she begs to remain in her town where she can stay alive.

Then they pass through a jungle ruled by a horrible spider beast. The Lion destroys him, and they ask him to return and rule them.

Afterwards they see an impossible mountain to cross, and use the last call to the Monkeys to see Glinda. Glinda sees the shoes that Dorothy is wearing and tells them that they can take her anywhere. Glinda asks for the cap and uses her first call to send the Scarecrow back to Oz, the second to send the Tin Man back to the Witches castle in the Winkies’, and the Lion back to the Jungle. She then frees the monkeys.

She tells Dorothy all she needs to do is click her heels three times and she will be home again.

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As she travels, Dorothy loses her shoes. She runs home to Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, glad to finally be home.

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Here are a few things I noticed this time that I hadn’t really thought of before.

  • Even though the scarecrow is “brainless” he is the smartest in the bunch always coming up with the ideas of what to do next. Whether getting himself off the pole, outwitting the Kalidahs, crossing a river, etc.
  • Brains are the only things worth having in this world, no matter whether one is a crow or a man.” Pg. 26 How true.
  • The Tin Man says he is “heartless”, but he is careful not to even step on a bug, and cries at the idea of hurting or killing anyone.
  • Dorothy is just a little girl, but is incredibly brave and strong. She faces all kinds of trials to get home, when she sees the Lion attacking her dog, she immediately goes to protect him, etc. That’s a lot for a child to go through and not give up and hardly ever cry. She even defies the Witch by feeding the Lion secretly at night.
  • The Lion is a “coward”, but the first to go and help his friends.
  • Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on the Earth the more experience you are sure to get.” Pg. 123
  • True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid…” Pg. 123

A fantastic book and one that I just love to read many, many times. Don’t try and take it away.
TakeMyBooks

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Earlier this month, we had a tea party and each had to create our own table. The theme was shoes to represent the journey we had been on through the year. My friend and I decided to do The Wizard of Oz.

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This is our table. For cups we did Mason jars in Gingham ribbon as people in the Midwest don’t use glasses, but mason jars. Each person who came got a poppy hair piece and red sparkly heart ornament. I put two black and white straws in each cup, with red shoes made out of Swedish fish. In the center we have a runner that is decorated like the yellow brick road. In the middle I put books for height and color, with the one standing up being none other than my copy of The Wizard of Oz. We had sparkly shoes, but they weren’t ready yet so I substituted my own to place everything on the table.

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My friend then painted a scene of the Emerald city, the glasses we choose being similar to the design of the city in the book illustrations.

And lastly, King Monkey

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I choose to make the monkey out of black and white striped socks as those are what the Wicked Witch of the West wears in the film. I don’t make monkeys really that much as I am rather slow sewer, but if you are interested I learned from this video and she sells Sock Monkeys. She might make you a winged one of your own if you request it.

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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 It Looks…as Though We are Being Kidnapped: Five Were Missing

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For more on The Wizard of Oz go to A Little Monkey Business: Chinese New Year

For more tea parties, go to It’s Always Tea Time

For more on Llyod Alexander, go to She’s Still Preoccupied With 1985

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

For more Oscar Wilde, go to Austenland

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So as Dorothy really wants to go home throughout the book:

“I cannot understand why you would wish to leave this beautiful county and go back to the dry, gray, place you call Kansas.’

‘That is because you have no brains,’ answered the girl. ‘No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.”

Leaving me to choose the song: Home For the Holidays. The music was composed by Robert Allen, while the lyrics were written by Al Stillman.

I choose the version by Karen Carpenter as I think it is one of the best.

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For more Karen Carpenter, go to The Unknown Princess Nevermore

For more Christmas Carols, go to People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

Austenland

So this isn’t part of our 30 Day challenge. I just felt I needed to post it as I wanted to review the sequel for the 30 Day challenge and I couldn’t do the second without the first! After this we will continue the 30 Day challenge.

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Austenland (Austenland #1) by Shannon Hale

I first read this book back in high school, I was a freshman or sophomore at the time. I really loved the premise of the book and most of the characters and thought the story was fantastic. I only had one issue, and that was with the main character Jane. I hadn’t really been in a relationship before I read this and I thought the main character was a bit…bonkers. She seemed to throw herself into “relationships” without them even dating, like Gigi in He’s Just NOT That Into You.

I then went on to read the sequel as soon as it was printed, Midnight in Austenland, and just fell in love with it. I thought it was amazing!

I love it

Then the film trailer came out for Austenland and it looked like it was to be mostly this first book, but have a few traits of the sequel that I loved. I was so excited.

FangirledWhenSeeingPreviewI tracked that film and when the release dates were changed, waited. And waited. And then when it wasn’t released in any theater near me, I waited some more for it to come out on DVD.

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I rented it as soon as it was out, watched it, and adored it from beginning to end!I thought it was sooo much better than the book.

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But then I began thinking…what if the book wasn’t as bad as I had thought it was? Maybe as an adult my perspective would change then when I was a teenager? It has been almost ten years (time flies!) since I last read it and decided it would be the perfect time to reread and review it (especially as I want to review the sequel but can’t until I review this one!)

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Austenland

Jane Hayes is obsessed with Jane Austen.

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She reads all of Austen’s books and watches the 1995 miniseries again and again.

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But unlike most fangirls, Jane is ashamed of her love. I don’t know why, I embrace mine.

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It goes for the rest of her work as well.

Anyways…Jane’s mom comes to visit with her great aunt Carolyn. Carolyn is super rich and her mother is trying to get her into the will. She hides her Austen items and DVD disc, (I proudly display mine), but Carolyn finds it.

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Carolyn waits until Jane’s mother goes to the restroom and warns her about Darcy, letting him in and taking over.

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Hey, I don’t see anything wrong for striving for a guy like that or any other Austen man. I don’t want to settle. I want someone special.

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Six months later, Aunt Carolyn dies and leaves something for Jane. She gets all excited dreaming about what she could buy or do with the money:

Good job screenwriters.

But it turns out she is not rich.

Reality Sucks

Instead she gets a three week paid vacation to go to Pembrook Park in England. There she is in a Regency Westworld (except no killer robots), dressing, talking, and acting as it it is 1816. There is no scripts or written endings, but there is a ball and you might meet your dream man there.

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Now they make it seem as if wanting to be with an equivalent of Darcy is a bad thing and that that love is to blame for her bad relationships but that’s not true she is crazy when it comes to relationships. She thinks every guy she has ever been with is her “boyfriend”, even when they haven’t even dated! Even when she just talks to them or thinks about dating them.

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She goes to the Park reading about all the rules they have to follow in that time period. In fact there are a lot of rules with the park as to what they can and cannot do.

She meets Mrs. Wattlesbrook who introduces her to what she will wear and introductory rules. She is now to go by the name Jane Erstwhile, instead of Hayes, and although they were supposed to change their ages and create this fake cover story; Jane wants to be real.

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So Jane finds out that she isn’t the usual type of client. Most of the time, like in Westworld, they have a ton of money. Unfortunately, Jane is not rich so she will not be treated special like the other two guests: Miss Elizabeth Charming and Miss Amelia Heartwright.

Really?

Really?

Jane has to get rid of all her modern items, although she secretly holds back her cell phone, and dress only in Regency wear.

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She meets Theodore, the undergardener, who helps her learn the dances she’ll need to know for the ball.

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Jane is ready and determined that this vacation is going to be great and she will conquer.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #1 Alex Ripley, 4 yrs

She was four years old, he kissed her, and he moved to Minnesota that summer, never to be seen again.

The next day is day one of Jane’s trip to Pembrook Park. She meets her “aunt” Saffronia and “uncle” Sir John Templeton who she will be staying with during her time there.

She meets Miss Elizabeth Charming who is a very wealthy, buxom, and “twenty-two” (fifty). She is extremely wealthy, recently divorced, and looking for a book happily ever after ending.

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The two then meet the men, the reason they are here. The first is the fair-haired, roguish, open man Colonel Andrews.

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And then we have Mr. Nobley: tall, dark, and brooding.

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You know how I like them!

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And Jane likes what she sees.

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Sir Templeton is pretty much just drunk all the time and not interesting. Colonel Andrews is a  lot of fun, and Nobley? Well…

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Elizabeth Charming really wants one of the men and throws herself at both of them, making for some fun and interesting adventures.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #1 Justin Kimble, 12 yrs

They started “going out” in 4th grade when they shared Pixy Stix, scored each other as 1os, and gave each other Valentines. But then he chose another girl for the folk dance and it was over.

So this is a big part of my problem with Jane (Hayes). Those aren’t real relationships, she shouldn’t count them. She was just a child!

The next day she goes out for a walk and runs into Theodore. Even though they aren’t supposed to talk, as he is a servant, they do anyway. Theodore hates the Regency story and gives up on it, revealing his name is really Martin Jasper. Even though it is against the rules, Jane actually starts to like it. It is a secret, “bad”, and Martin is a nice connection to the real world.

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Jane starts to feel strange about this whole “fake Regency” thing, as if she can’t do it. Mr. Nobley and the Colonel see her grow pale and Nobley urges the Colonel to get her some water. There Jane and Nobley have a private conversation, where Jane tries to figure out how Mr. Nobley can pretend like this. Mr Nobley misunderstands her and becomes upset.  He tells her that she can’t play games and try to trap him.

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Later while the men are out doing their manly things, the women wait for Amelia Heartwright to call. They hope she won’t be attractive as it seems there isn’t enough men for everyone. She comes in, and you know how we girls are.

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Unfortunately, she is absolutely beautiful; but along with that she is very kind and hard to dislike. But Jane’s earlier dismay proves to be true as Mr. Nobley and Miss Heartwright appear to have had a history. With those two paired and the Colonel for Miss Charming; Jane is left alone with no one.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #2 Rudy Liev, 15 yrs

Rudy was hilarious and always cracking jokes, ones that were extremely harmful and unfunny. After four months of dating he told everyone when Jane kisses, she licks like a cat. He continued to make fun of her, the moniker “tiger tongue” staying with her even at her ten-year reunion.

After they break up, she reads Pride & Prejudice for the first time.

JaneAusten

Miss Charming won’t let herself be dominated or destroyed, and immediately snags both gentlemen for Whist after dinner. Miss Amelia makes up the fourth, leaving Jane out in the cold again.

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Which unfortunately sets her in Sir John’s drunken sights. He passes out, and tired of overhearing the lively conversation from the whist table, Jane decides to go out for a walk, major Austenland and Regency no no.

clueless mybad oops

Jane hears a TV and goes to it, being Martin’s  trailer. She overhears the Knick game and is invited inside. Things ensue, and before you know it they are making out. Jane leaves after their session and heads back to sneak into the house.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #3 Dave Atters, 16 yrs

Star of the high school basketball team and Jane was extremely infatuated with him. One night he tried to put his hand up her skirt, she refused, he dumped her.

Instead of blaming Dave she blamed Mr. Darcy for her high expectations of men.

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Dave was a jerk. High expectations have nothing her other than you fell for a guy who thought he was the best and didn’t want to take no for an answer.

You should have high expectations. You shouldn’t have been dating a jerk like him. Any guy who won’t respect you isn’t worth it.

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Every night she goes to see Martin and they make out, eat junk food, etc. She is bored with Regency things as she can’t stand to do any more of them.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

Uh, embroidery is not boring or easy. It is hard work and fun. I”ll have to post some of the things I’ve done.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #4 Ray Riboldi, 17 yrs

Ray was nice, and Jane decided after the last two boyfriends she wanted a nice guy. After a few months, two guys who’d been longtime friends played a prank involving Ray’s jeep and dog poop, telling him to stay away from pretty girls. He then retaliated to Jane believing she was the one to put them up to it.

Jane has horrible taste in me, but she can’t blame Austen for it. The men she are picking are the problem. Maybe you should befriend and get to know them instead of going into “dating” them.

She gets bored of relaxing during the day, which I don’t get. Two weeks in England, relaxing? Sounds good to me.

Let's go now!

Let’s go now!

She runs to see Martin, but he ends that, being offended that she is “one of those women” interested in Austen stuff and that she was with the other two men this morning. He’s a total jerk and Jane is upset as she came all this way, just for more disappointment.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #5 Rahim, 35 or 40 yrs

She meet him while working the perfume counter at age 19. He dates her for three weeks taking her to expensive restaurants, buying her gift; Jane almost fulfilling a cliché of being a “shopgirl”. I say almost because when he took her to her apartment and tried to sleep with her, she laughs and it ends.

Jane is depressed. She has no one, made a fool of herself going after Martin, and is still the fifth wheel. That night she turns down a game of whist and heads outside to walk again.

Saint Elmo's Fire Love sucks

Mr. Nobley surprises her, having come to check on her. He warns her about Martin, his protectiveness getting her all upset. Later she comes back in the house and sees the book Mr. Nobley always reads with a pay stub made out to a Henry Jenkins. Hmm? Could that be his real name?

Thinking Hmm

As she starts for her room, she comes upon a drunk Sir John who hits on her.

Uh no.

Uh no.

He tries to get with her, but she knees him in the groin and stops him.

No thank youhowaboutno

Mr. Nobley comes upon them, and lends a hand. Here he shows his other side, no longer brooding and distant, but actually charming funny, and dare I say…a delight.

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Jane is thoroughly disappointed in all that happened and decides no more nice-Jane. She is going to rock Austenland and be the best Regency lady ever.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #6 Josh Lake, 20 yrs

Met at a college carnival fundraiser when two groups of friends merged together. They get stuck in a ride and the fear and adrenaline make them start a relationship, but after three months they both know there is no pop to the relationship and break up.

Not Austen’s fault but Jane’s for letting the situation’s emotions create a false relationship and love. Like in Bones when Booth and Hannah get together.

The next morning, Jane pulls out her smuggled cell phone and emails a friend for info on Martin Jasper and Henry Jenkins, hoping to unearth the real person under the mask.

That morning the men are out of town, which upsets Miss Charming. She didn’t dole out the big bucks to be ignored or play second fiddle to Miss Heartwright.. She goes to speak to Mrs. Wattlesbrook and straighten out what her vision of Austenland is.

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Jane, bored, goes to visit Miss Heartwright. She doesn’t really want to, but as this is something Emma would do, she’s in the game.

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When the two ladies return to the park, they have an unexpected visitor! Miss Heartright’s jilted lover has returned, a Mr. George East who has recently become Captain. Miss Heartwright takes off, and Jane rings for a maid to show Captain East to his room.

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Hmm…so now we have three ladies and three men. But who goes with who? And will Jane get the dream proposal promised?

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #6.5 Paul Diaz, 20

She meet him in a watercolor class, sort of talked believing they clicked, but when she asked him out; he didn’t even know who she was.

At dinner Jane flirts as widely as she can, staying in Regency fashion. She throws Mr. Nobley out as it seems Miss Charming and Miss Heartwright care for him. Instead she tries to kill the Captain and the Colonel with her charm.

Emma

That night Jane, the Captain, and Colonel stay out of cards and tease Mr. Nobley. The teasing goes a little too far with Jane giving a short rant on the men of the day:

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And Mr. Nobley has a longer rant about women. Clearly he has some wounds.

ouch Hermione

They then dance with East taking Heartwright and the Colonel paired with Miss Charming. Jane is left all alone until Mr. Nobley steps up and asks her for a dance.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND 7 Juan Inskeep, 25 yrs

Gay.

The next morning the men are out “shooting”, Miss Charming is upset and heads out to see Miss Heartwright, so Jane goes upstairs to check her email. Nothing on Martin Jasper but she hit the motherlode on Henry Jenkins. He studied theater and history at Cambridge, and four years ago was in a crazy divorce. He was very calm but recounted how when his wife cheated on him with a neighbor, he forgave her; when she sold his car to pay for a wild weekend in Monaco, he forgave her; but when she shish-kabobed his fish because he said he wanted kids: that’s when he decided the relationship needed to end. Sounds like a modern-day Mr. Rochester with a crazy, cruel wife.

She is crazy!

She is crazy!

Later in the library, she overhears the Colonel’s proposal to Miss Charming. One man down and two left to go. The game is on!

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #8 Bobby Winkle, 23 yrs

They started as friends and moved on to dating. The relationship lasted six months and then he left for an internship Guatemala. He returned six months later and never called.

The next day they play croquet. Andrews and Miss Charming, Nobley and Miss Heartwright, & Jane and Captain East. Jane doesn’t mind being with Captain East as he is not only attractive but as bad at croquet as she is.

However, she notices that Mr. Nobley keeps staring and watching her. And even more she realizes that she cares what Mr. Nobley thinks about her.

OMG gasp

The game is interrupted when Mrs. Wattlesbrook drives up. They found Jane’s cellphone and she is to be kicked out of Austenland.

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She goes to get in the carriage upset that the men didn’t stand up for her. Before she gets in, they are interrupted by Miss Heartwright. She claims that it is her phone, she accidentally brought it, and that Jane was holding it for her. Because Miss Heartwright is so wealthy, they let her pass.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #9 Kevin Hyde, 27 yrs

She loved him. They dated for almost two years, Jane even went wedding dress shopping, but one day he told her he wanted to end it. He said it was too hard and that he wasn’t having fun.

The next day Miss Heartwright and Mr. Nobley are going horseback riding. They invite Jane, who determined not to be a third wheel, invites Mr. East. As they ride she tries to have intimate time to flirt, but Mr. Nobley keeps messing things up when he separates them. He eventually makes up Jane looking poorly, and sends the other two on ahead.

That guy!

That guy!

Jane is angry with Nobley for messing things up, but then he relays that Miss Hearwright asked him to intervene and give them a few minutes alone to talk about their past.

clueless mybad oops

She and Nobley start talking and he manages to trick her into revealing something personal, her love of painting and her old dream. They are interrupted by East, but later that evening she finds a package for her. When she opens it, it is oil paints, an easel, and canvas.

How sweet!

How sweet!

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #10 Peter Sosa, 29 yrs

She met Peter in the work elevator. They dated for five weeks and he was perfect. She started to dream only to have that crash down when he revealed that he was already dating someone. His girlfriend bet him he couldn’t make the next girl fall in love with him, and the little game went too far.

The next day is rainy and Jane spends the morning painting. She’d rather not tear herself away, but does as she knows she needs human contact after all that time alone.

She goes to the library to read and is met by Mr. Nobley. He reads the book to her, but it is too boring they cannot continue.

The Colonel wants to do a play, but they would need Mr. Nobley and he refuses. However, after Martin approaches and tries to re-romance Jane, Mr. Nobley tries to warn Jane against him once again. Jane finds herself falling for him, and promises to stay away from Martin if Mr. Nobley performs in the play.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #11 Clark Barnyard, 23 yrs

He was a younger man and someone she worked with. They joked and flirted for months when he asked her out finally. They start kissing when he tries to get her clothes off. She had to tell him no four times before he stopped, confused as to why they weren’t going to have sex.

This wasn’t even a real boyfriend! They went on one date! Jane is a tad delusional.

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Mr. Nobley continues to look and watch Jane. They run off together to practice their parts, and actually break a few Regency rules with proximity.

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Jane feels secure in having Mr. Nobley at her ending. But as they talk she remembers the ball is in two days and the vacation ends in three. It will all be over soon. 😦

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They come upon a tender moment of Captain East and Miss Heartwright. While they talk about love and whether it can be done under fiction; Mr. Nobley reveals he had a “friend” who was heartbroken but if you asked him now, “he” might be opening his heart again to another.

Is it a "friend" or him?

Is it a “friend” or him?

They perform two hours later, badly, but something happens with Mr. Nobley. They way he looks at her, kissed her cheek…it seems more than just a part. But that’s silly it can’t be…real?

Could it?

Could it?

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #12 Tad Harrison, 35 yrs

They were engaged after a year, adopted a dog, and picked out baby names. But he wouldn’t set a date. A year later, they take a break and Tad starts sleeping around. He kept the dog.

The next day, Jane paints all morning. After spending the whole morning alone, she goes out looking for the men. There are only two days left!

She sees the Colonel talking to someone out of sight  and overhears that the Colonel has to get back to work, only to see it is her! Disgusted Jane goes back to her room and starts painting again.

Men?

Men

Later that evening, Mr. Nobley takes her aside and asks her about her painting. They spend a long time as Jane shares her feelings of painting, the things she has been doing; just going on and on. Mr. Nobley smiles through the whole thing and asks to see her paintings.

How sweet!

How sweet!

He compliments her work and then leaves. But then returns to ask her to reserve the first two dances for him.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #12.5 Jake Zeiger, 30ish yrs

Her neighbor that she saw every time she gets her mail. She tries to ask him out, but he turns her down as he never saw her as anything but neighbor.

This was not her boyfriend either! Just in her head!

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The ball comes and Jane is dressed elegantly. She is approached by Martin, dressed up as an extra, who tries to get the first two dances, but Nobley interferes, whirling her away.

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Eventually they break way from the group and Mr. Nobley asks for her hand in marriage. Jane is upset at the faux love and walks away, deciding Mr. Darcy is not for her but she needs a “real man.”

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She runs off to find Martin, as he is “real”.

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They make plans to meet up the next day and for Jane to rearrange her schedule and get a few extra days in England.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #13 Jimmy Rimer, 38 yrs

They walked the same path every day in central park for five months. Then Jimmy snorted when laughing, and Jane avoided him.

The next day she says good-bye to Miss Charming and she and Miss Heartwright head out. It turns out Miss Heartwright is not British as they thought. She is a rich wife who comes out annually to have some fun. She shares that it was Mr. Nobley’s idea to save Jane from being thrown out, asking her to pretend it was her phone.

OMG gasp

After Jane dresses in her old clothes returning her Regency wear, Mrs. Wattlesbrook lets her know that Martin is an actor. He was picked for her but had to be taken out if circulation when thinks got too heated.

What jerks

What jerks

Jane is so angry at them making a fool of her, picking a gardner as her match instead of any gentleman because she’s poor and not an “ideal” client.

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Jane lies about her magazine, pretending she is a staff writer, threatening Mrs. Wattlesbrook and having a ton of fun making her sweat.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #14 Martin of Sheffield, 29 yrs

An actor posing as a gardener, who posed as a gentleman on the Austenland estate.

Jane heads to the airport: angry, sad, and feeling foolish. As she is thinking to herself, she hears in the airport:

Paging Miss Jane Erstwhile

Is it Mr. Nobley?! Did he comes after her?

Double double yay

No. It is Martin.

2013-11-27-bradpitt friends ugh slap face stupid

He was sent by Mrs. Wattlesbrook to mend things. He tries a few lines, but Jane sees right through them all.

No thank youhowaboutno

But then the most surprising thing happens. A man dressed in Regency wear approaches! It is Mr. Nobley.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

He tell her that he loves her! He got caught up in the role and gave her the same old proposal he always does, the Darcy proposal. But he truly does love her. Being with her was different than being with anyone else.

lovedyou Persuasion

Martin and him fight, calling each other names; but Jane is just done with it all. She boards her plane saying good-bye.

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On the plane, she is surprised to see that Mr. Nobley has bought a ticket and will be joining her on her flight. She questions why Mrs. Wattlesbrook would go that far, but he tells her she didn’t send him. He came on his own, he Henry Jenkins. In fact, Mrs. Wattlesbrook never sent him to go after Jane, not at the park and not now.

Wow

He knows she has no money, he never heard the article rumor, and bought the ticket even though he is deeply afraid of flying to prove his love. He tells her that if it is too much he can wait, if they just start out slow and then see where it takes them.

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But then he says he lied.

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Ah snap, knew it. It was too perfect.

Reality Sucks

He tells her that he doesn’t want a fling. For him it is all or nothing and he is throwing himself at her feet.

How sweet!

How romantic!

And then this part, this is the best:

“But wait, stop, it’s not supposed to end this way! You’re the fantasy, you’re what I’m leaving behind. I can’t pack you up and take you with me.’

‘That was the most self-centered thing I’ve ever heard you say.’

Jane blinked. ‘It was?’

‘Miss Hayes, have you stopped to consider that you might hav this all backward? That in fact you are my fantasy?”

How sweet!

How sweet!

Present: Boyfriend #15 Henry

Jane is taking this relationship one day at a time and no longer seems to be ashamed of her Pride and Prejudice love.

In the end Jane does the one thing everyone dreams of, she gets a “real” Mr. Darcy.

Don't Stop Believing!

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So I liked the novel, the only issue I really had was Jane’s feeling ashamed at being an Austen fan. I just don’t get it and it made her less likeable. I also didn’t like how she complained about her vacation or blamed her horrible choices in men on Austen. Those things were corrected in the sequel and film which is why I liked them better.

But the end was just perfect. It was incredibly romantic and just the type of thing we dream of. Hale sure knows how to write

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For more by Shannon Hale, go to I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to The Bend and Snap

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Meet Cute: Darcy & Elizabeth Style

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So even though this isn’t a part of our scheduled posting, as it is a post in the first 25 days of December I am going to add a Christmas Carol.

Today’s song is one that my sister loves and used to play all the time. It is On This Very Christmas Night or Christmas Canon by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

This song was published in 1998 and strayed from rock to being in the form of a children’s choir. It is a great song, but once played remains in your head forever.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

Day 4) D is for Diary: Choose a novel or memoir in Diary form

Now I’ve never really been a diary person, whether writing or reading. In fact I had a diary when I was younger and on every page the only thing I wrote was “I wish I had a cat,” then going on to describe what I wanted the cat to look like and then ending every entry with “I hope my sister doesn’t find my diary and read it.”

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So diaries, yeah were not all that interesting to me. I thought that I never did anything worth writing down or when I was older couldn’t find the right words to express what I was feeling or thinking. And the same goes for reading diaries. A lot of times I found them hard to get into.

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The only ones I really cared for were the Dear America or the Royal Diary book series; but even that only went so far. And besides, I only read them as I really liked history.

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So I started to think what book to use when I suddenly remembered a book in a diary format that I just adored:

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Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

I was first introduced to Shannon Hale when I stumbled onto her junior/young adult fiction book, The Princess Academy in the stacks at my local library years ago.

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I thought it was so good that I decided to read her other books as well (and purchase my own copy of the book, plus two for young ladies I know). I liked The Goose Girl, thought Austenland had some great parts to it (will be reviewing soon), but really fell in love with Midnight in Austenland and Book of a Thousand Days.

So Book of a Thousand Days is based on the fairy tale “Maid Maleen” by the Brothers Grimm. The story is that of “true bride”; one bride is false while the other was the one who was truly promised to the prince to be married, having to do tasks or try to prove her claim. Now while her work is based on this, the story is just so phenomenal. I don’t know how such a small tale could inspire her to create this amazing book.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

but that’s enough going on with how great the book is, let’s get into the story!

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Don't fall.

Part I: The Tower

So the story takes place in a world not unlike ours but really has no exactly recognizable Earthly location or time period.

The place is the Eight Realms, of which lords and ladies rule. Between the Norther Wastelands and the Southern desert we have Vera’s Blessing, Carthen’s Prayer, Pride of Nibus, Goda’s Second Gift, Thoughts of Under, Titor’s Garden, Song for Evela, and Beloved of Ris. All realms are named after the different gods and goddess in the pantheon the people worship.

In the middle of the realms is the Sacred Mountain and the Steppes, the place our main character comes from, but not exactly where the tale begins. As this is a diary format, we begin in the middle and have to stop to go back to the beginning.

So the book begins with Day 1; Dashti and Lady Saren are  being shut up in a tower for seven years.

What

What

I know, immediately you find yourself sucked in. What? Why?

what what'shappeningSupernatural

Lady Saren’s father is bricking them in and has placed guards outside to make sure the girls can’t leave. He has decided that this is the right punishment for Saren’s disobedience. He has left enough food in there to last seven years (hopefully), upon a certain date they will be allowed out once again.

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Lady Saren’s father is the ruler of Titon’s Garden and has turned an old lookout tower into their prison. Lady Saren just spends her time crying, shrieking, and always saying she is hungry. Dashti is Saren’s maid and after the last few years of harsh living on the Steppes she is amazed and grateful for the bounty that has been given to them, although saddened at losing the sky.

There is so much food in the tower, more than Dashti has ever seen in her life, with milk delivered everyday by the guards, and tons of parchment so Dashti can write her story.

Thinking Hmm

On Day 11 we are given the story of their predicament. Dashti was raised as a Mucker on the Steppes. Muckers are herders who live with the sheep, yaks, etc.; in harsh muddy and rocky conditions. Her father died when she was a baby and her brothers abandoned the family when she was eight. She and her mother did all they could the next seven years to survive; earning enough for food mostly by living on the outskirts of society and through the healing songs they sing.

After her mother died, Dashti came to the city to try and find work, being unable to survive without a clan in the Steppes. She was taken to be trained as a lady’a maid where she learned reading, writing, sums, etc. The day she graduates from this training, and takes the oath of servitude,  she goes to Lady’s Saren’s to be her maid and fins herself being taken along on this tower punishment.

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Lady Saren’s father wishes her to marry the Lord Khaser, ruler of Thoughts of Under, and was furious to find out that she had betrothed herself to Khan Tegus of Song for Evela. Wanting to crush his daughter’s will he decides to imprison her in the tower.

What jerks

What jerks

Dsahti tries to help her mistress, but none of the songs help. Everyday Saren lives in mortal fear of Lord Khaser? But why?

suspicious Hmm

One day Khan Tegus comes to see them. Dashti tries to get Saren to talk to him, but she refuses as she is too frightened. She sends Dashi in her place as it turns out not only have the two not seen each other since they were much younger, but have only conversed in letters.

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He’s never heard her voice really, so he won’t recognize Dashti as an impostor. They communicate through the flap the girls receive their milk in, but the way it is makes it impossible to be seen.

Dashti has no idea how gentry speak to each other as she has grown up on the Steppes, but just is herself. Never feeling special as she was born with red splotches along the side of her face and arm, nonetheless she has a beautiful and kind spirit:

TrueBeautyWhoYOuAre

She also has a fun nature which harmonizes with Tegus perfectly.

He wants to rescue the women but knows that if he did it would bring a war between the two,  and he’d rather not fight Saren’s father and brother. Instead, Khan Tegus stays for several days and speaks to Dashti at night when the guards are asleep.  Their relationship is so adorable I just love it. Ship is locked, loaded and has sailed.

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Both characters love to laugh, and as Tegus loves Dashti’s laugh he continues to try and bring it.

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Dashti can hear in Tegus’ voice that he has an old wound that ails him and sings him a mucker song. No one knows why, but these songs have a way of creating relief in others, a balm of deep healing for their wound or worry. Of course it doesn’t work for everyone as you have to both be open to the Mucker singing to you and be open about what your true wound is, whether it goes deeper than just a physical injury.

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Khan Tegus must return home, although he is extremely reluctant to do so, as he wants to not only stay, but free his love (which as you can guess is rapidly becoming Dashti over the true Lady Saren). He must go, but before he leaves, he gives Dashti a kitten; and in return Dashti gives him her shirt.

How cute

How cute

As they days go on, the girls talk about memories and history to amuse themselves. Dashti remembers when a shaman stayed with them once, and how he had he power to shape shift into a fox, while Saren counters with telling Dashti that once the realms were united under one Khan, who’s seat of power was Song for Evela. But now all are broken up with individual rulers, Khan Tegus being called Khan is a continuance of title from those days. This opens up Dashti’s mind as so little education into history is given on the Steppes.

The days pass with very little happening, until Day 158. Lord Khaser comes and threatens the girls; his voice and demeanor being truly terrifying. Here is an incredibly scary villain, one of the most frightening, sadistic, and cruel.

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On day 223 Lord Khaser returns. When Saren once again refuses to marry him he throws fiery chips. The girls have to run and try to put them out before they are cooked.

Not good

Not good

Lord Khaser tells them that Saren must agree to marry him now and leave with his troops or will have to wait out her six years in the tower. Instead of answering, Saren dumps her chamber pot out the flap and right into Lord Khaser’s face.

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But their laughter is short-lived as that night the guards are attacked by…something. It doesn’t sound like a battle but a living nightmare. When something tries to attack them, a wolf like creature, My Lord the cat jumps out to save the girls and isn’t seen again.

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With the cat gone the rats come back and try to get their food. No guards for help, they need to stretch their food as much as they can. Not to mention the biggest rat of all, Lady Saren is trying to eat everything she can.

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Dashti does all she can but Saren is completely set on the fact that they won’t make it much longer. Now being stuck in a tower with someone you may die with, means that you reveal all kinds of things about yourself. And here Hale is fantastic in creating these two complex and real characters. Dashti: humble, kind, serving, helpful, with a thirst for knowledge and a foundation of common sense. Saren on the other hand has been constantly belittled by her father, told she is an empty flower pot, had her dreams scoffed at, and told her only lot in life is to marry gentry and create more gentry.

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Day 928- Men come to the tower. The guards were killed but Saren’s family never sent anyone, strangely.

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The men come and talk about a beautiful lady in a tower, trying to get in there and get her. As they go around the tower trying to break in, Dashti  has a knife and is prepared to fight for her life and Lady Saren’s.

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The men don’t make it in, but Dashti decides with the food supply dwindling from heat, rats, and Saren; they need to get out. She checks the cellar for where the rats come in, finds a hole and decides to attack it with everything she has until they can finally get out.

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Part 2: The Adventure Thereafter

So the two don’t leave right away. After Dashti increases a crack in the cellar, they remain because of Saren’s “delicate nature”.

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Now being taken out of the tower she freaks out that they are going to be burnt up by the sun. It is a slow process but Dashti helps to motivate her to leave the tower.

But they find greater disappointment in the world. Everything has been destroyed, burned, and knocked down.

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The only thing they find is a yak, which Dashti names Mucker. The three then head out to Song for Evela to appeal to Khan Tegus for help.

After what seems like endless days of emptiness they end up finding other people on the outskirts of Song for Evela. They tell them the news of Lord Khaser who has wiped out Titor’s Garden and is currently making war with Goda’s Second Gift.

Not good

Not good

Dashti tries to get Saren to go to Khan Tegus, but nothing will convince her to. Finally Dashti is so tired and all she can think is her love for the yak who helped them survive. Instead of trading the yak, or tying to procure employment; she gifts the yak to Khan Tegus. As they turn to leave, they find themselves hired. And now they work in the kitchen palace not to far from the Khan that holds Dashti’s heart.

iLoveyou

The other girls in the kitchen don’t like Saren, now called Sar. She doesn’t know what she is doing and moves very slow. One girl, Gal, is thirteen and is from Goda’s Second Gift. She was sent out before Lord Khaser came and has no clue what has happened to her parents or whether they are alive. Qacha is the other kitchen girl, a mucker like Dashti, who had managed to escape Khaser with her father and brother.

Life in the castle is tiring, but Dashti is used to hard work. She tries time and time again to get Saren to go to the Khan, but she refuses.

No thank youhowaboutno

One day, Dashti has a free afternoon and goes out to see a traveling show. She hears the story of the skinwalkers who offer their spirits to become shapeshifters. Before they can gain the ability to transform and have the characteristics of the beast; they must kill a close relation, the more they love them the more powerful they are.

Not good

Not good

After that story she leaves to see Mucker in the stable.

One day Dashti just happens to see Khan Tegus and seeing his handsome face brings back all the memories of what they spent together and causes her to fall in love all over again.

iLoveyou

Dashti wonders what he thinks of her, or Lady Saren really, but then she gets the shock of her lifetime: Khan Tegus is to wed Lady Vachir, ruler of Beloved if Ris in order to crete strong allies against Lord Khaser.

Whattheheck

To make things even worse, Lord Khaser has defeated Goda’s Second Gift and will be coming for Song of Evela before long.

One day the housekeeper of the palace calls for a mucker girl to help the Khan who is feeling bad. All the girls want Dashti to go as her talent is better than others as she melds the different healing songs together to heal throughout the body and soul.

She is afraid to go to him, as he might recognize her voice or the songs; but he doesn’t. Sadly.

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She gets called again and does the healing song but recognizes the hurt isn’t in his leg like he said, but there is another pain in his body. At first Khan Tegus refuses this additional help, but calls her once again. She sings another song for healing and surprises the Khan with her ability to read and write.

Before you know it she is moved up from the kitchen and has her own room! She continues to work for Khan tegus, scribbling away and content.

letter

One day she is called to help heal the Khan’a best friend. He’s been badly wounded by an assassin and the shaman attending says there is nothing else to be done. At first Dashti gives up, as she is no real healer; but when Khan Tegus calls her again, she is going to do all she can to help him.

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Dashti uses the songs to help his friend, and his soul returns to his body, out of the danger zone. The two them talk with Tegus granting her the use of his untitled name.

How cute

How cute

Dashti gets the biggest surprise of her life when My Lord the cat returns to them!

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Lady Saren grows more and more unhappy, making Dashti tired and annoyed. But then Saren asks Dashti to kill her. All the pain Khaser has caused is bundled up inside her, as she feels guilty that she is to blame. Dashti does the only thing she can do, give the cat to Lady Saren.

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While the Khan has left days ago to fight and there is no news on that accord, Saren has done much better. Having someone to love her unconditionally and not be cruel to her has really changed her demeanor.

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But then bad news comes. Lady Vachir returns with her ladies and so does Khan Tegus, severely wounded. Dashti wants to help him, but the shaman’s try to get rid of her. Dashti won’t give up and continues. After days of singing, the Khan is finally better.

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While Dashti and Tegus continue to enjoy each other’s company. But bad news looms. Lady Vachir does not like Dashti and tries to discredit her, and Lord Khaser has arrived.

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As they try to figure out what to do, Dashti remembers some strange things Saren said about Khaser being a beast. She goes to see her and try to get the story out about him. When Saren was twelve she and her father visited Lord Khaser. One night he calls her saying that her father needed her and took off his clothes, being naked before her. In the moonlight, he changed from man to wolf.

Film Title: The Wolfman Claw

Dashti goes to the war council and it turns out that Lord Khaser is trying to make a deal. He will kill 100 villagers unless they give him Lady Saren or Khan Tegus. As they try and figure out what to do, Dashti speaks up. Months ago Saren made Dashti promise to tell Khan Tegus she was Saren, to protect her. Dashti refused, but as she swore the oath and believes it to be the only way to save her Khan, she says she is Lady Saren, and has been going by her maid’s name. At first they are confused, but as she knows all that transpired in the tower, they decide she must be who she says she is. Tegus is ecstatic that Dashti is his true bride.

Yes!

Yes!

Dashti is given a grand room, and Saren to be her maid; but Saren wants to go back to the kitchen where she feels safe and useful. Dashti, on the other hand, has to figure out what to do about Khaser. She has revealed to them his transformation powers, but how can they use that to stop him? Besides Khaser has seen Saren and knows she isn’t her.

I don't know what to do

That night Dashti gets an idea. She goes to Batu who doesn’t want to help her, but as Dashti won’t give up he quickly finds himself with no choice in the matter.

Dashti goes out to battle, naked and barefoot so that  Khaser knows she is a woman with no weapon.  Khaser thinks it is a trick, but then is convinced that she is all she says. Dashti tells him she will sing a song of submission, but instead sings the song of the wolf.

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Khaser then transforms in front of everyone.

The wolf goes to attack Dashti, breaking her leg when he pounces on her; but before he could attack her more, one of his men shoots an arrow at him. The wolf heads to his men and starts attacking them, ripping out the throats of two men. Soon everyone attacks him, and the wolf is killed, falling on Dashti and crushing her once again. Khaser’s right hand man tries to continue the battle, but without their wolf warrior all is over for now.

TheEnd_Title_2

After all that excitement there is the question who will marry Khan Tegus. Lady Vachir is the betrothed, and has the right to have killed any that would come between. However, if the chiefs decide that Saren’s betrothal was first, then she will get to wed him. Only problem with that, all think Dashti is Saren. And Sar is Dashti. Very big mess.

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The chief’s choose Saren, and Tegus sets the wedding for nine days hence as he wants to marry her NOW. Dashti calls Saren and tries to fix this tangled web, but Saren refuses to tell the truth. Dashti cannot wed him in another’s name. She leaves a note and this diary and decides to flee.

psycho

Dashti stops at the kitchen to explain to the girls and  Saren why she must leave. But Lady Vachir has been watching and listening, and found out the lie, preparing to kill Dashti. Before that happens, Saren comes bringing Tegus. Dashti is thrown in a cell while they prepare to figure out what the truth is in the mess.

Not good

Not good

Tegus goes to see her but feels lost. Everything with Dashti seems right, yet she isn’t Saren and it seems Vachir’s claim is right, and she should die. Dashti gives him her diary and prepares for her end.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Then comes the trial. The chief’s use all the entries in which Dashti complained about Saren and talked about her love for Tegus. They use it to prove Vachir’s right to kill her, but then Tegus speaks up.

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He reads all the times she didn’t want to be Saren but did as was commanded by her mistress. He then goes on to read how she destroyed Khaser. He also brings up the mucker way of doing things, such as offering a animal and if it is received by another family then they become part of that family. When she offered the yak and Tegus accepted, Dashti, under Mucker law, became part of Tegus’ family.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

That is not enough for Vachir, but then Tegus pulls out his secret weapon; Saren. Saren defends Dashti, calling her a sister and being powerful in her presence and defense. Tegus leads the way, and they find her innocent.

Prince Eric lose her

Vachir is unhappy, leaving as quicklyt as she can. Tegus and Saren are to be wed, but Saren passes her bethrothel on to her sister, Dashti.

Double double yay

The two are married and live happily ever after.

TheEnd_Title_2

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I loved this book as Dashti is an amazing character. All she can see is she is worthless because she was born with red splotches on her face and arm and thinks she will never be fit to marry anyone, never have true love. She is blinded by her physical features, but we see the amazing strong, phenomenal person she is.

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She is intelligent, able to care for herself and others, a good cook, brave, kind, compassionate, etc. The best person, amazing. But how often do we too have the same issue where we can’t see how amazing we are, instead only looking at our flaws or measuring our worth based on what our outside looks like instead of our hearts.

InnerBeauty

Besides the character of Dashti, I just adore this rest of the book and the relationship between all the characters. I read it again and again and again and again! I just can’t get enough if it.

OW

Thank you Shannon Hale.

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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 Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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For more on Book of a Thousand Days, go to A World of Teas

For more retellings of Fairy Tales, go to The Story, We’re Living it. It’s Alive: The Brothers Grimm (2005)

For more shapesifters, go to Monster Movie: Supernatural (2008)

For more Virginia Woolf quotes, go to Six Degrees of Separation

For more Fred Rogers’ quotes, go to If Only You Could See

For more Oscar Wilde quotes, go to When You Least Expect It

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So I was trying to think of a Christmas Carol that goes with this book and settled on Go Tell it on the Mountain. It is an African-American spiritual song by John Wesley Work, Jr., written in 1865.

This song always makes me think of my childhood as I remember learning it when I was in Sunday school. It is a fun and great song.

I remember when I first heard it, it was sung by a woman but I couldn’t remember exactly who it was. I decided on Mahalia Jackson as she is a great singer and her rendition is one of the most famous.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to Harvest Pumpkin Scones

Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Day 3) C is for Childhood: Choose a book you used to check out repeatedly when you were a Child.

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So there are lots of books I used to read over and over again as a child.

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The ones I remember reading the most were The Chronicles of Narnia and the children’s version of The Phantom of the Opera.

But there is another book(s) that I used to read over and over, Sherlock Holmes short stories.

SherlockFanSupernaturalCrowleyList

As I have mentioned before, I grew up reading the Great Illustrated Classics series and that introduced me to the character Sherlock Holmes. After I read one children’s’ collection, I read every short story there was about him written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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I even read stories based on him, like the Sherlock Holmes Solo Mysteries, (which was like Choose Your Own Adventure), and I was a giant fan of Basil of Baker Street.

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So yeah, I was obsessed.

NotaPsychopathFangirl

I thought Sherlock Holmes was so cool and wanted to be like him.

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The only thing I didn’t read were the Sherlock Holmes novels, I guess because my library didn’t have those available in children’s form. I actually didn’t read those until I was an adult.

Oh well.

Oh well.

I remember one day we were traveling somewhere and were listening to Sherlock Holmes on tape; and I was the only one in the car who had read the ones being read before hearing them on cassette. It was weird as a child to think I knew something my parents didn’t.

Thinking Hmm

So there are a lot of stories to choose from and of course I don’t have the time to talk bout them all. In fact out of all the stories I remember the most, they are from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, so I choose that collection over any other.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

So I will only pick three stories: A Scandal in Bohemia, The Man With the Twisted Lip, and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.

***Spoilers***

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A Scandal in Bohemia

So many have probably read this story, seen the Sherlock version (which I hated), or heard of it.

I know this

I know this

A Bohemian Prince comes to Sherlock, first in disguise but of course Sherlock sees through that, to ask for his help. He is to be married, but before the engagement had sent letters and a photograph with the beautiful Irene Adler. He has tried to get it back through begging, payment, bribery, theft, etc; but nothing has netted it.

NO ONE

Sherlock does some reconnaissance on her and ends up being the witness at her wedding!

cinderella-wedding-day-shoe

Whattheheck

This strange turn of events doesn’t prepare Sherlock for how things will turn out for him.

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Sherlock continues on his plan, dressing up as a minister and having Watson create a fuss about fire in order to determine the secret hiding place of the photo. He sees it as she goes to protect it; and thinks the case is finished, preparing to return the next morning before she leaves.

I-got-this-reaction-gif

On the way home he is greeted by a young boy, one he does not know but that isn’t very odd, after all he is a known figure. People are always addressing him.

The next day the three men set out to retrieve the painting, and find Irene gone.

Say What

She left a note explaining that she thought there was something suspicious about the “minister”, dressed up as a boy to research him, and figured out the plan of Sherlock Holmes. Instead of allowing him to do his plan, she bests him by leaving that night instead of the next day.

Not good

Not good

She leaves the picture behind, as married she no longer needs it; forever going down in history as the one who bested the greatest detective, and becoming the woman. The only one that ever beat him.

sherlockholmesthewomanwhobeatyou

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The Man With the Twisted Lip

A wife is worried about her missing husband and calls upon Sherlock Holmes to help her. One day her husband was at work and she was walking down the street running an errand when she just happened to look up at a building and sees her husband!

What's going on?

What’s going on?

He’s in a room above an opium den! And he is so scared!

OMG gasp

She rushes up there as quick as she can but no husband, only a disgusting, deformed, dirty man.

What

What

She calls the police and as they investigate they discover his clothes in the river, blood in the room, but no body. They believe him to have killed her husband but they can’t figure out what happened to the body. For now he sits in a jail cell, with nothing being able to get him to talk or bath.

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Sherlock is puzzled and looks into the history of the man, but there is little to be found. All he can find out is that he moved there and makes good money to care for his family.

Hmmm....

Hmmm….

Sherlock believes the husband has been killed, but then a letter turns up in his handwriting with his signet ring. Sherlock is stuck…

idon'tgotthis

Until he goes to the bathroom and solves the case by looking at a bar of soap.

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He goes to the jail where they are holding the man and force him to clean up, revealing that he is the husband.

OMG gasp

It turned out that he used to be a reporter and went undercover to write a story about beggars. He was a great actor and did so well at doing nothing, he ended up making more money that way than being the reporter.

Whattheheck

He continued this lifestyle, hoping to never be found out and was surprised to find his wife; reacting quickly and not thinking of his actions. Sherlock makes him stop the begging as it is against the law, and another case solved.

I'm on FIRE!

I’m on FIRE!

Ever since I read that story every time I see people beg, this story comes back to me. He made more money begging than working? It just shocked me and makes me wonder if people today are like that guy in the story.

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The Adventures of the Copper Beeches

Violet Hunter goes to Sherlock Holmes for advice about whether or not she should take a position as a governess They are willing to pay her £120, but she has to get her hair cut short. It seems odd as her previous position only paid £48.

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Nothing else seems amiss so Violet takes the job, Sherlock telling her to telegram him if they need anything.

After a fortnight (14 days), Sherlock gets a telegram. Things have gotten weirder since she started working at the house. They have her sit in the window wearing an electric blue dress and have her back to the window. After doing this for a while she hides a mirror in her handkerchief and sees a man staring up at her through the window.

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The child she is supposed to care for is a psychopath

Gilmore girls creep

There is a mastiff that is always hungry and let out at night, keeping Violet from being able to leave in the evening.

She also comes upon a drawer with her her hair in it!

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

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

But it turns out to not be her hair but someone elses.

What?

What?

And then there is the mysterious wing that they can’t go in.

Never a good sign.

Never a good sign.

One day she sneaks in and she a shadow…

thebat1959shadowclaw

It freaks her out so she hurriedly leaves and gets away as soon as she can to post the telegram.

Sherlock arrives with Watson in tow and the two investigate. It appears that the family has been hiding someone away. As Sherlock studies everything, he comes to the conclusion that the family’s daughter is the one they are hiding. They chose Violet because she could pass for the daughter and used her to get rid of the daughter’s fiancé.

They look in the room, but the daughter is missing. The father, Mr. Rucastle, gets angry at them and sets the dog out after him. The dog has been starved more than usual and kills Mr. Rucastle.

Afterwards, they find the daughter, Alice, and her fiancé. It turns out that when Alice came of age she came into money from her mother’s will. The father was trying to get the money, but when the daughter wouldn’t give it she became sick with brain fever.

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As thought earlier, he hired Violet to pretend to be Alice and get rid of him. After this experience all go their separate ways, with Violet later becoming a principal of a girls’ school.

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I liked this one because it was really creepy. The child is horrid, and the rest so mysterious.

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So those are just three out of the many wonderful Sherlock Holmes stories. If you haven’t read them, you should get started immediately. They are sure to wow you at every turn. And if you have read them already, they are always worth another read; no matter how many times you do it!

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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 Why Everyone Should Read Gone With the Wind

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For more Sherlock Holmes, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

For more mysteries, go to That’s What We’re Trying to Find out! We’re Trying to Find Out Who Killed Him, and Where, and With What!: Clue (1985)

For more Oscar Wilde quotes, go to When You Least Expect It

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Today’s Christmas Carol is Away in a Manger. 

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It was first published in 1883, and has stayed a popular carol since. Many attributed it to Martin Luther as being the writer, but that was discredited a long time ago. We don’t know who read it, but I’m sure Arthur Coan Doyle heard it so I thought it would be the perfect pairing with this book.

I love this song, as like the book reviewed, it was a big part of my childhood. It was probably the first Christmas Carol I ever learned and is one I sing every year.

The artist I choose was Bing Crosby, I just can’t get enough of him.

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For more Bing Crosby, go to The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)

For more Christmas Carols, go to We Wish You A Merry Christmas

When You Least Expect It

 OhNOthisisgonnabebad

Everyone has someone they would rather not see.

Something is not right!

And why does it always seem that when you aren’t thinking about them and totally don’t want to see them they walk back into your life?

really?

really?

That happened to me the other day. I ran into my ex-boyfriend.

Men

So I was headed to the movie theater to see the original Ghostbusters (1984) as it was being rereleased in theaters.

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I was so excited that I even wore my ghostbusters costume.

Taking fandom to the EXTREME!

Taking fandom to the EXTREME!

But then things went wrong. My theater app wasn’t working right so I had to print out my confirmation, but then of course the printer wouldn’t work.

nightmare before christmas nothing turn out like it should

Then I ended up getting stuck behind the theater security guy twice!

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I then got stuck behind an old man complaining about the computer ticket window.

Just one thing after another

Just one thing after another

I finally reached the line and who should be in front of me? Michael.

Men

Out of all the times in the past two years for me to run into him at the theater dressed in a Ghostbuster costume.

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Sometimes I think my life could be a sitcom.

Ren Stevens: What? Honey, you're chased by six mutants, and you just decided to take a shower?

Now the last time I saw him was like two years ago and I was over him and the fact he cheated on me.

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But because I don’t care doesn’t mean I want to see him. It’s like when you pass an area where a skunk has been, there is a bad stink that permeates the air and takes forever to get away from.

It was awful!

I had to wait behind him in line, but thankfully he was with his best friend. If he had been with the girl he cheated on me with (and later married) I don’t know if I could stop old hurts/my temper flaring up. I may have moved on, but in every path there are bumps in the road.

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Anyways, I didn’t want to ruin the night, or taint it any further, so I just tried to ignore him.

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Although I have to admit for a moment I felt pretty silly that after all this time I was dressed up in a costume.

Stranger

But then that moment passed as I remembered how awesome I looked and how I totally rocked my costume.

awesome

And of course I saw that he noticed me and his reaction made me really upset. You see after he dumped me I went to talk to him and see if we could work it out. He acted cold and angry.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

And angry after when I ran into him at the play.

what?

what?

And angry at the theater when he saw me.

Whattheheck

I’m like, excuse me?

Ryan-Gosling-Oh-No-You-Didnt-Half-Nelson

What on earth do you have to be angry about? I’m the one that was cheated on! I’m the one that was dumped. I was the best girlfriend and you were the one who messed it up. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE ANGRY! I’M THE ONLY ONE ALLOWED TO BE!

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It made me angry with him all over again.

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What a horrible-

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It really made me want to go up to him and just teach him a lesson.

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But then after that moment of anger subsided, I remembered that if we hadn’t broken up I might have gone on longer dating a guy who didn’t appreciate me.

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And I’m much happier as I am now then I ever was with him.

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For more on my ex, go to You Put the Ex in Extinct

For more on Ghostbusters, go to Back to the ’80s

For more Oscar Wilde, go to Over and Over Again

For more stories from my everyday life, go to My Favorite Martian