Jane Austen Birthday Party: Jane Austen Trivia

So as I have been saying in every post, I have been planning my Jane Austen 29th birthday party for a few years (it was originally supposed to be my 27th birthday celebration but things happened); and I was finally able to have it.

So in my previous posts I went over the invitations, the prizes, the decorations, making a teapot piñata, the menu, etc. The next step in my party planning was activities. I ended up choosing to have the activities of paper fan making and croquet for those who didn’t want to play the games; or for the little girls to do while the adults played the games.

Party time!

So originally I had planned for three games, but I ended up doing four. The first game I had wanted to play a type of guess who game where I gave an Austen character to each party guest. I planned for each to have a short bio of their character along with a list of characters everyone else was going to be. I planned for each to act out their character, the first person to get someone to guess them right would receive a prize. I thought it would be a lot of fun, but then my sister and mother pointed out that the people attending were not really Austen fans.

Yes it turned out that all my friends who had actually read or watched Austen’s works were unable to come and the friends that were attending had very limited exposure to Jane Austen. So it was back to the drawing board .

Hmm…?

My next thought was that I would do a game that was more of “Who Am I?” I would give everyone a list of characters and then I would read out a short bio of each character and they would have to match up who goes with which storyline. I thought this would be easier and I could do it either before or after the trivia game, that way it would help people get a boost in answering one of the games.

But when I presented it to my mom and sister, they both still thought it would be too hard. So it was back again to try and come up with a new idea.

Hmm…

I decided to shelve it altogether and instead work on the Jane Austen Trivia game I had planned. I sat down and wrote it up, but then when I looked it back over, I realized it was too hard. I ended up throwing it out and starting all over again.

So I rewrote it, and then this time it was far too easy. I thought if I used it then everyone would be a winner. That one joined the other in the trash.

Ugh, so hard.

I did a few more drafts and then finally settled on one that I thought wasn’t too hard, but also not too easy.

However, it still appears that I made it too hard as everyone said it was really difficult.

From Clueless

My friend who won got 9/15 questions correct and chose prize three. I will attach the Trivia file below and let me know what you think. Was it too hard? Too easy? Or do you think just right?

At the end of the post I’ll put the answers. Let me know what your score is.

I’ve been having so much fun sharing all these things with you, and even though the party has ended I will be continuing to share all my other party plans!

Answers: 1.B, 2.A, 3.C, 4.D, 5.A, 6.A, 7.B, 8.B, 9.B, 10.C, 11.B, 12.D, 13.A, 14.C, 15. A&K, B&M, C&N, D&H, E&J, F&L, G&I

For more of my Jane Austen Birthday plans, go to Jane Austen Birthday: Prize One

For more Jane Austen party ideas, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party Menu, Plus How to Dip Cookies in Chocolate, and a Sugar Cookie Recipe

For more Jane Austen games, go to Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe (2018)

So in 2018 I was gifted the book, Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe. I decided to wait and read it last year, 2019, and watch & review the film. I read it and hated it.

I planned to watch the film, but to be honest after that mess of a book I wasn’t too eager. The characters were horrible and mean, Darcy and Luke (Elizabeth) hardly even speak to each other…after reading this, I felt like a real Scrooge and had zero Christmas spirit.

Thank goodness for Yuletide, or my Christmas would have been dreadful.

So I skipped watching the film and kind of forgot about it until July. July is my blogiversary, and on Instagram I ask different Jane Austen related questions and post the results. I asked who was the worst Darcy on Instagram and this was one of them picked, the person said:

“OMG this was the worst film. This film and character had no relevance to Pride and Prejudice.”

So the film starts with Darcy Fitzwilliam (Lacey Chabert) giving a Christmas gift to her street coffee barista and they talk. She is excited t hear that his son got into Stanford and she wants to help invest his money. After watching that scene I was in shock.

Who is this person? She’s kind and caring…waaaaay different from the Darcy in the book.

Then we se her with her clients, kind and caring. She is going to help her mother with the Pemberly auction She’s helping her mom plan that and is actually excited about it and Christmas.

Who are you?

In the book she didn’t get along with her parent (father disowned her when she wouldn’t marry his choice) and only returned home because of a her mother having a heart attack. It’s nice to see this being a Christmas film, and Darcy is much more interesting instead of the book already.

Hmm…

So Darcy started the firm with Austin, and I wouldn’t trust her sounds to me like she is going to edge her out of the company.

So Darcy is coming home and her ex, Carl is going to be there. In this they had an amicable split and broke up a month ago. They sent Carl to pick her up as he still works fopr the company. Seems weird to me, why not call a car or get a taxi. But I think that they are trying to put them together.

Darcy’s parents.

So Darcy’s character is way better in this, not at all like the jerk in the book. In the book she just played with Carl’s feelings.

We then flash to Luke Bennet (Brendan Penny), a cook and caterer (in the book he was a handyman). Mrs. Fitzwilliam had to take over the Pemberley auction, and hires Luke as the caterer. Mom is really nice too, everyone seemed so mean in the Fitzwilliam household in the book. Much better in the film. I mean Darcy seems really close to her family, she has only mmissd two Christmases and saw her mom last month. In the book they hardly ever spend time together. This was a fun change.

Good job!

So they are going to auction off designer Christmas trees to help fund a children’s home and all are in a flutter because the previous person dropped out and they only have a few days until the event. Stress mode in overload.

Darcy’s friend Caylee (gender swap Charles Bingley) comes over for them to go out to dinner. Caylee’s new guy is Jim Bennet, who Darcy recognizes his name from his brother Luke Bennet who she used to fight with all the time. Jim Bennet is so sweet, and he is a great Jane.

They go out and Darcy and Luke run into each other. Luke is nice, but Darcy is a bit rude taking every compliment as an insult.

So Darcy and her dad have a great relationship, I actually see this as being similar to how Darcy and his father would be.

So back to the film, Luke is the caterer and both are surprised, oh Hallmark.

I like Luke. He comes to the house with a plan for the auction and some ideas, although Darcy is mad as she had a mapped out plan, but her mom likes Luke’s better. Luke is a bit of a jerk about the theme, seriously dude you already won, calm down.

So of course Darcy and Luke end up spending a lot of time together planning everything for the auction. They go out and pick up donations, meeting a lady who is also an interior decorator, they should totally hire her. But don’t? Maybe later? Weird of them to drop that and not follow through.

Hmm…

Carl, Darcy’s ex, sees Darcy and Luke laughing together, gets upset and sidetracks the conversation. Guys do their measuring up thing we always see, the most realistic part of any Hallmark movie.

So Darcy’s partner is trying to take over. She schedules all these partners meetings without Darcy-ha ha I thought so. Her father is very supportive and there for her, but Darcy is taken it all on her own.

Darcy goes out to the White Elephant party where Darcy unwraps an apron “I’ll Bake it, Yule eat it”. Hmm…Luke’s a caterer, I wonder when that will come into play?

Hmm…from Saboteur

Darcy talks to Luke and looks sad and tired, Luke offers to listen, and it is all very sweet. This is a much better plot than the book already. It doesn’t really seem to have anything to do with Pride and Prejudice, but at least it is more enjoyable than the book was.

Hmm…I’m starting to enjoy this.

Luke is going to take the trash out and Darcy runs into him, both under mistletoe.

Luke wants to kiss her, but Darcy declines.

Not okay.

Darcy’s brother Parker comes with a girl, fiance? Girlfriend? Wife? He’s a doctor and she is pregnant. This scene is cute as we see Darcy’s relationship with her brother, I’m glad as in the book she had like four brothers but no interaction with them.

So the auction is in peril again when the tree designer drops out. Mom calls Luke to pick the trees up and Darcy is mad because she was going to pick them up herself, girl have you ever carried a large Christmas tree? They heavy.

Darcy is upset with Luke but I think it is because she feels so out of control with what’s going on with work but it just comes off as rude. She tries to carry a tree by herself and knocks over several in lot. Oops.

From Clueless

We actually get good development between Darcy and Luke as she shares how she has so much to prove, feels so judged, that no one would think of her as serious at her father’s company etc.

Back at Darcy’s work they tell her they are keeping their decision of only expensive premiums in order to invest and Darcy can stay with that or leave the company. Way harsh.

Darcy goes to pick someting up, and sees the shop agin with the decorator and hires her and they pick up the supplies, calling Luke. Aw, Luke and Darcy are cute together. He invites Darcy to carol with him at Pemberley Square.

So something has to happen to waylay this little train. Is she going to insult him when she asks him out? Skip the ball, to go back to work? Get back with Carl?

Hmm…

They go caroling together with Darcy’s family. Darcy and Luke talk, sharing that his dad gave him his love and they were supposed to open a restaurant together, but he died before. So now he is continuing the dream with him.

From The Wolf Man (1941)

Caylee spots the two under the mistletoe, again. It is nice to see that mistletoe wasn’t just a cheeky title, but comes up multiple times. Darcy tells him he is every ounce who his dad is and kisses him. Aw!

How sweet!

That night they plan to decorate the tree and invite Luke to stay with them for the tree trimming. Darcy puts the tree topper on with help from Luke, aww.

How sweet!

I’m actually surprised they have such a little slender tree. They have a ton of money, you think they would have something spectacular.

Anyways, Darcy gets called away by her assistant, as Austin is poaching clients and trying to push her out. Darcy is down why as she rejects that she trusted them and Luke tells her it’s okay to put your trust in people. Awwww! So cute! They adorable.

Darcy and Luke go to the youth center and see all the good the charity ball gives. They even have a youth choir-oh they should totally sing at the event like in The Bishop’s Wife.

Luke after seeing the youth center decides to not collect a fee, just to pay for staff and food all else goes to the auction. What a nice guy. Too bad these Hallmark men don’t exist in real life. Darcy comes up with a new name for Luke’s restaurant, Luke’s Table. Meh. Luke’s sounds better, but maybe they can’t because of copyright infringement.

Hmm…

So George, his lady, Darcy, Luke, Mom, Dad, Carl, and Charlotte all work together to get everything finished in time. Everyone reaches out to Darcy, even Carl, but she doesn’t tell anyone what is going on. She should really talk to someone, like her dad.

Speaking of which, that night Darcy and her dad share a moment over Luke’s pie. Her dad again tries to encourage her to talk.

The next day Darcy comes to help Luke and he is the only one working on it, he doesn’t have any staff? They are so cute together and look Darcy is wearing the apron she won.

How sweet!

The two have a much better relationship than in the book and I can believe that they are falling in love.

Caylee tries to encourage Darcy to continue things with Luke, but Darcy is like nah-she doesn’t think Luke is interested.

It’s super obvious!

Caylee also encourages Darcy, like her father did, that maybe she needs a new job and location.

The staff are unable to come to the event, so they end up filling in and having the kids serve, and of course sing, I knew that one too. That night Darcy and Luke are cute together, they each compliment each other and are no longer arguing with each other.

Darcy is trying to reach one of her clients and he shows up to the event. He tells her integrity matters more than anything else and he will stay with her as his investor wherever she goes. Darcy can finally relax and focus on the event.

Darcy is dancing with Luke and about to tell him how she feels, when she is interrupted by Carl. He shares his feelings and bows out. Okay, so no big fight to separate Darcy and Luke?

Hmmm…

Luke sees them and thinks they are back together. Ugh, they went the misunderstanding/eavesdropping mode.

It’s super obvious!

Darcy decides to quit the company she created, as they don’t want her either and talks to her father about coming on board with his company. Darcy then goes to look for Luke but can’t find him. She runs into Caylee who tells her Luke thinks she is with her ex. Darcy searches for Luke but can’t find him, neither can Caylee and Jim.

That’s not good.

She runs outside, and it turns out he didn’t leave but was talking to a future client. They end the film under the mistletoe, Luke knows what it means and Darcy kisses him for real.

So was this better than the book?

Yes, this was a thousand million times better. That book was a solid mess, but this was an actual cute Christmas movie with solid development between the leads. You liked the characters in this, while in the book I hated everyone.

Was this a good Christmas movie?

This was a cute Hallmark film. I mean you know what is going to happen, you know the story-but it wasn’t bad. The characters had good chemistry, it was funny, there are a few places that are a tad cheesy or too predictable, but if you are looking for a sweet, reliable Christmas film this is a good one to watch.

Was this a good Pride and Prejudice film?

NO. While this was better than the book and a cute Christmas film, it is not a good Christmas Pride and Prejudice film. This has nothing to do with the plot of Pride and Prejudice, the characters resemble very little to the Austen characters, along with the plot. If you want a good holiday Jane Austen film The 12 Men of Christmas or Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade would be a better choice.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Marrying Mr. Darcy Card Game: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

For more Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, go to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

For more Pride and Prejudice variations, go to The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

For more films based on Jane Austen, go to Are You Prepared to Encounter All of Its Horrors?…Let’s Just Say That All Houses Have Their Secrets, and Northanger is No Exception.: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more Jane Austen variations, go to Hart of Dixie’s Jane Austen Scene

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

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

Or watch it!

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

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

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

Hmmm…

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

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

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

Hosts:

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

Hmm…

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

What are you talking about?

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

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

Quick Summary:

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

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

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

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

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

So embarrassed

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

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

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

Costumes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Act I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Elizabeth Bennet: Lydia is just 15.

Jane Bennet: Going on 25.

Mr. Bennet: In all but wisdom.”

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

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

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

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

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

-Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 55

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I speak my truth to you”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, well.

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

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

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

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

I should not have laughed.

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

Hmmm…

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

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

Elizabeth: [Completely shocked] You do?

Mr. Darcy: [Utterly baffled] I do?!

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

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

End Act I

Intermission:

With intermission I put my kettle on the stove,

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

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

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

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

Huh?

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

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

Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Act II

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

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

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

I’m crying!

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

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

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

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

“Cast: Pemberley we love you tenderly.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How sweet!

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

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

Elizabeth Darcy: [Surprised] Does he?

Mr. Darcy [Definitely] He does!”

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

How sweet!

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Bennet returns:

“Mrs. Bennet: You look miserable.

Kitty: Papa always looks miserable.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aw, so heartbreakingly sad. So perfect!

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

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

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

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

Aw, they are so cute!!!

Come on Bingley!!! Just say it already!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soooo cute!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

So a while back I told Christina Boyd this regency story idea I had to pass onto her writers. A regency group of ladies and gentlemen, maybe make them married or related so they could be together, traveling by coach and solving mysteries. A regency Scooby-Doo.

She politely declined and suggested that I should check out the Carrie Bebris’ Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery series. I told her I would think about it, but I wasn’t too keen on the idea.

You see I had read the first book Pride and Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged) and loved it.

It was a fantastic mystery that left you wondering, was something supernatural going on? Or was Caroline Bingley’s new husband gaslighting her?

The next book, however, left me extremely disappointed.

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) right away told you it was going to be the supernatural taking all the suspense out of it. Also the Dashwood sisters were hardly in the book, which strongly disappointed me.

I then decided to take a break, and went on reading and reviewing other things.

In July, every other day I asked a question on Instagram about Jane Austen characters and themes, such as what fashion from the Regency Era do wish we would be brought back, who had the best fashion, etc. One question I asked was what book adaption do you wish would be turned into a movie or a TV show? On thing I suggested was this series, even though I had only read two books, as I think the idea behind it was very strong.

After that I wanted to read the next book, especially as it is Northanger Abbey, but was busy with Rational Creatures and my rule is never read another Jane Austen adaption until you finish reviewing one. After that it was time to get ready for Horrorfest VIIIthen November was gone in a flash, and December was taken up with Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, YULETIDE, and Holiday Mix Tape

But I resolved this year that I would somehow factor in reviewing a mystery every month, so there is no time like the present to review this.

Mystery, you say?

So here we go.

North by Northanger (Or the Shades of Pemberley) [Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery #3] by Carrie Bebris

So in the last book, Elizabeth found out she was pregnant and it is nearing her time. This is a joyous and strained situation, as the Darcys are pleased but at the same time Mr. Darcy is scared out of his mind as his mother died in childbirth.

But childbirth isn’t what is foremost on Elizabeth’s mind. You see Elizabeth is sensitive to the supernatural and is convinced that Pemberley has a ghost, and not just any ghost…Anne Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s mother.

Elizabeth doesn’t feel as if Anne is vindictive or angry, but feels her presence nonetheless. She has lived the year with everything exactly how it was, but has decided that the time has com to start doing things how she wants it.

She decides to shift the writing desk from its corner so that she can look out the window. After some hemming and hawing with the footmen they do, and a letter falls out. A letter from Anne Darcy to Elizabeth!

{An excerpt]

Pemberley

20 January 1796

Dear Mrs. Darcy,

Should this letter reach your eyes, it is because I no longer live to deliver its message in person. I know not who you are-what name you bore before taking that of Darcy. I know only that by addressing this letter to you, I write the woman who has wed my son. For that reason alone I entrust to you the stewardship of something most precious…I had at Fitzwilliam’s birth a…an heirloom from my own mother-I want it now, but it has become lost. If only I could find it, I would trust that I will be safely delivered. But I hid it too well, beyond my own reach. You-you must look if I cannot, for I want you to have it when…If you are my niece, my namesake Anne, know that I guarded myself from my sister, not from you-…Search for me…My daughter, the only one I may ever have, start with the knowledge that love conquers all. I am-

Your mother, 

Anne Darcy

Unfortunately, this letter, dated on Georgiana’s birthday and Lady Anne’s death day, only strengthens Darcy’s fears. It, however, baits Elizabeth’s curiosity. What was the object? Why couldn’t Lady Anne find it? Where is it?

Suspicious

We move along a few weeks where Elizabeth and Darcy have been visiting the Bingley’s for their youngest’s christening. However, they are in a hurry to leave as Lydia and Wickham have dropped by unexpectedly.

Elizabeth shares the contents of the letter she found with Jane, and Lydia overhears them mention a treasure, which Elizabeth strongly dissuades her of.

That’s not good.

The talk then turns to babies, of which Lydia is bored of. Of course, I don’t expect Lydia to ever have children, as if she has a baby she won’t be the baby anymore.

They are headed home by way of Bath, to meet the famous Dr. Severn, the man Darcy wants to have assist Elizabeth in her birth. He supposedly is the best in the nation, and very hard to get. They reach Bath and as they are about to take in the sights they run into an unexpected visitor. Lady Catherine.

Lady Catherine and Anne are there to take the healing waters for Anne. Lady Catherine is more civil as Elizabeth is carrying the future heir to Pemberley, but still bossy, judgemental, and of course loves to give advice and hear her own voice.

Blah, blah

They also receive a note from a Mr. Tilney.

No, not that Mr. Tilney- Captain Frederick Tilney.

I know. I was so disappointed. I want MY Mr. Tilney!

I want MY Mr. Tilney!

Anyways…

Edgar’s Buildings

Bath, 6 October

Dear Mr. Darcy,

My discovery of your name in the Pump Room book prompts me to write. Though we are strangers to each other, I believe our families are acquainted. My late mother, Mrs. Victor Tilney, enjoyed the friendship of one Lady Ann Darcy, whom I believe to be your mother.

Though I understand Lady Anne has also passed away, I would take great pleasure in meeting her son. Unfortunately, my military duties obligate me to depart Bath this very day. However, I plan to return to my country home in Gloucestershire by 18 October, and shall remain there for some time. I would consider myself honored to receive you and Mrs. Darcy at Northanger Abbey as my guests for a se’nnight whenever you make your return to Derbyshire.

I hope your response names the date upon which I will enjoy the pleasure of your company. I am

Yours most sincerely,

Captain Fredrick Tilney

I still want my Mr. Tilney Carrie Bebris. I am intrigued, but wil be sorely disppointed and unhappy if MY Mr. Tilney doesn’t show up.

Hmm…

Anyways, the Darcys are also intrigued and decide to go visit on their way home.

Elizabeth visits with Lady Catherine and does not have a good time, it made even more when Lady Catherine tries to send Darcy to France to go after his troublesome cousin. He sends his solicitor and the Darcys visit with Dr. Severn which should be called Dr. Severe or Dr. Ima Rude Jerk. He is an awful misogynist and just all around horrible and we all should hate him-except Darcy is still wowed by his education and success rate, getting him to agree to come to Derbyshire instead of Elizabeth giving birth in London.

[Sarcastic] Big whoop

Eventually they leave Bath, and head to Gloucestershire but find it not as impressive as Catherine did.

The weather is cold, gray, dismal, and stormy. The servants are strange and act like no servant they have ever known. They are given the late Mrs. Tilney’s rooms which haven’t been used in ages and there is jewelry and all her stuff in it. Their servants have disappeared and the housekeeper has no knowledge where they are, the food gross, their host never appears, the halls are cold and drafty, and the Darcys want to leave but are forced to stay the night.

After dinner, the housekeeper takes them to their host and the Darcy’s see a very bandaged, fat man, with only one eye and his mouth are exposed.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Okay, I know that wealthy people gained weight with the food they eat-but a narcissist like Fredrick Tilney? There is no way you can convince me he is fat. I’m sorry but I don’t believe it. This can’t be him. Something is afoot in this Abbey, I just don’t know what…

Hmm…

Tilney, (if he is Tilney which I remain unconvinced), apologizes for not being able to greet them or sit at dinner. He has no qualms that the rooms are full of things and thoroughly questions grills them about Lady Anne, her friendship with Mrs. Tilney, and if they have any correspondence.

Huh?

The Darcy’s are completely flummoxed as they didn’t even know of the friendship let alone bring anything with them.

Captain Tilney talks really weird. I mean he is only in the book Northanger Abbey for a little bit, but this feels all wrong. I’m not the only one who feels it, as Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves feeling extremely weirded out by everything and they decide to leave ASAP.

The next morning they leave, carefully maneuvering themselves out of any faux pas. They find their servants-who had taken ill (sounds like were slipped a Regency mickey)-and then a trunk disappears and it takes forever for it to be located. Finally they leave, Mr. Darcy with his cane and off they go without another thought of this strange side trip, sure to be a weird story to be shared with friends.

Or is it?!

They stop for the night and then are com upon by a constable, as they were sent an anonymous note that the Darcy’s stole jewelry and riches fom the Tilneys. They then are both arrested for theft.

What???!!!!!!!! But he’s Mr. Darcy??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What?

OMGoodness what is happening right now?

Th constable searches Mr. Darcy’s cane and finds it opens up and reveals that it has the Tilney jewels in it.

First of all-that is so cool. I want a cane or umbrella with a secret compartment, or one where you take it apart and it is a sword that would be so cool. With a wolf’s head on it like in The Wolf Man (1941).

And second WHAT THE HECK? ARRESTED? JAIL? THE DARCYS??!!!

Darcy tries to convince them it isn’t his cane but one that looks like it as his cane has an imperfection in the grain-this one does’t it is a replica, but they don’t believe him.

They then return to Northanger Abbey to speak to Captain Tilney about everything and when they reach the Abbey they see that Captain Tilney is not there but Mr. Tilney arrives, the Henry Tilney, MY Mr. Tinley.

And we get the giant bomb…you see the Darcy’s want Captain Tilney to share what happened that night, but eh can’t. He’s dead.

WHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT?????!!!!!!!!!

And that’s not all. Fredrick’s been dead for a while.

WHAT??!!

And that housekeeper they met? She doesn’t exist. She matches no description of any housekeeper that has ever been employed there and the most recent housekeeper was fired six weeks ago.

Huh?

WHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT?????

And the house has been shut up for a while.

WHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!!!!?????

What is going on???

Okay, here I was undeniably hooked. I had to finish this story. Not only has Mr. Tilney entered the picture but we are in a serious web.

Ghosts?

Ghosts?

Or is there a human trying to frame the Darcys?

Hmmm…

And sidenote, is it horrible that after I got over the shock of Captain Tilney being dead, I kind of thought it was cool that Mr. Tilney would have Northanger Abbey. Does that make me a horrible person? I mean, I didn’t think that right away…it was after.

The local magistrate is being a bit of a jerk, enjoying the power he has over someone like Darcy and won’t release him. Darcy sends word to his solicitor, who unfortunately has been sent to France to take care of his cousin, but Elizabeth does the only thing they can do to free Darcy. Call the one person who no one could ever be able to go against.

No, no, no, no, no, not her.

Oh no!

Lady Catherine.

Lady Catherine comes, throws her weight around, and this guy is no match for her. She gets Darcy released and he’ll be back later for the trial. But unfortunately, Darcy isn’t just released he is released into Lady Catherine’s care and she is coming to Pemberley with them.

They are about to head home when Mr. Tilney comes back, yay! I was worried that he was only going to be in there for a moment. He apologizes for his behavior, and said that he let his grief, anger, and hurt get the best of him. He thought over what they said and realized that he does remember the Darcy name, as his mother was friends with a Mrs. Darcy and she provided great comfort in her life with his tyrannical and vampirish father.

He remembers meeting her once and knowing what he does of her and their estate, he can’t imagine that Darcy wold act this way and steal. He also found the “true” walking stick of Darcy’s.

Darcy shows them the letter they received from Captain Tilney and it is dated the day before he died in his own hand. However, when Tilney questions the Darcy’s the man could not be Fredrick (as he was dead on that date) but also the eye was the wrong color.

So who did this and why? What was their scheme? If they wanted the jewels why hide them in the walking stick? What could they have gained from delaying the Darcy’s and getting them caught up in this? Just trying to ruin their good name?

What is going on?

Tilney tried to get the lawsuit dropped, but the magistrate is just salivating over this and he will not do so. Ugh.

The Darcys leave for Pemberley, while Mr. Tilney plans on remaining at Northanger and continuing the investigation there and getting the estate handled. The two plan to keep in constant contact.

What? What? Where is Catherine? Why are they leaving? How come Tilney isn’t in the book more? NOOOO, why are we leaving Northanger…will we ever see him again?

BUt BUt BUt I Want more Mr. Tilney Wah, wah, wah…

Sorry I’m over it now. So Lizzy, Darcy, and Lady Catherine return to Pemberley and find it polluted. Yes a pest infestation has taken root since they have been away. A giant rat called Wickham.

What the HECK??!! Why would he even think to do that. I don’t know if Wickham is brave, audacious, or just plain stupid.

This guy,

Lydia immediately accosts Elizabeth for money, and Darcy catches Wickham with a servant girl, Jenny.  Not the welcome home they had wished for. Although, their presence does make Lady Catherine disappear to her bedroom. LOL.

Elizabth finds living with Lady Catherine to be extremely difficult, no surprise there, and tries to find ways of coping that do not include her starting a regency fight club or throwing her hot tea at Lady Catherine. She instead goes for walks, visiting Lady Anne’s garden, Our Lady’s Garden.

The next morning is All Hallow’s Eve and the gardner always leaves flowers on the graves. Elizabeth sees his shadow and head down to the collect the bouquets, dropping them off, only to discover that after she completes the task that the gardner had never made the bouquets, he was just about to. He laughs it off that it must be an assistant who readied them, but it gets Elizabeth thinking. Was it an assistant? Or a GHOST??

Meanwhile, Elizabeth has been curious over the correspondence with Mrs. Tilney and thought maybe there would be a clue to help find the missing heirloom. She asks for the correspondence to come downstairs from the attic, and discovers that there are NINE trunks!

OMGoodness, I have one “memory box” my grandma gave me, and when it gets too full I go through it and recycle the cards or toss them out. It is a small box I can’t imagine having nine!!

Elizabeth reads the letters and finds the ones of Lady Anne and the late Mr. Darcy’s courtship “Love conquers all” being their phrase.

Hmm…

They have the yearly Harvest Feast, and Elizabeth develops a slight nosebleed. The local midwife helps her, and talks to her about Lady’s Anne’s last pregnancy. She reveals that the object Elizabeth is looking for is a small Madonna and Child ivory statuette.

A clue!

Darcy finds her and becomes so worried about the blood, calling for the horrible doctor. Dr. Severn’s arrival makes Elizabeth have to clean up her room, and all the trunks are removed without her being able to finish going through them.

The doctor arrives angry that he was called in for a nosebleed and is a pompus jerk who doesn’t care a thing about what Elizabeth thinks, feels, or says.

Later Elizabeth has even more fun talking to Lady Catherine and finds out that the statuette was from back in the day when the family was Catholic. Lady Catherine wants it back, but Elizabeth refuses to give it to her if she finds it, intending to keep it. It is a battle of wits as both are searching high and low, in and out, and all over Pemberley.

Fight, fight, fight!

Elizabeth wants to read Lady Anne’s letter again but it has disappeared. Only later to reappear. That isn’t he only thing that is strange-is Elizabeth just having the pregnancy forgetfulness, is someone sabotaging her, or is there a spirit at play here?

At Pemberley.

Elizabeth then continues to go through the letters, finding the ones between Mrs. Tilney and Lady Anne. Those were so cute that they almost, ALMOST, but not quite, make up for the fact that there is no Catherine in this book so far. I am sorely disappointed.

Anyways, the letters are just adorable! It turns out that the statuette came from Northanger Abbey. There was a set of ten,  but they were hidden when the Church of England came into power. Mrs. Tilney encourages her to visit, and Lady Anne does, bringing the statue. Mrs. Tilney gives Lady Anne a strongbox to put the statue in, but General Tilney is not a happy camper. He does not like that Lady Anne has one, and he wants it, along with the other nine.

That’s not good.

Elizabeth shares her intel with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy has seen the box before. He and Wickham found it years ago, in fact on the day Georgina was born. A box with a key that opens when you move the dials to create the right “password”. Wickham egged him on and they tried to unlock it. They search the fountain where it was years ago, but nothing is there.

They believe that Wickham might have come after it and that means Mr. Darcy must take a journey. Elizabeth stays behind with she and Georgiana comedically hiding the fact that Mr. Darcy has disappeared from Pemberley from Lady Catherine.

So Elizabeth continues to read the letters and learns more on the friendship, intent on finding where could this figurine be? Darcy heads off to find Wickham and still is trying to discover the truth of what happened in Northanger Abbey. Meanwhile, in Northanger Abbey Tilney is trying to solve the case too. When Darcy heads to Newcastle he finds the truth to everything and in a surprise twist, the villains are someone Austen readers should know.

Meanwhile, things continue to be strange in Pemberley. Is there a malicious person? Another member of the scheme? Or an evil spirit?

Hmmm…

This was extremely enjoyable and a very good mystery. I loved it.

The only thing that would be better would be if Catherine was in it and if there was more Mr. Tilney!

For more by Carrie Bebris, go to Five Jane Austen Adaptations That Should be Turned Into a Film or TV Show

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to You Are My Fantasy: Austenland (2013)

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Modesto Jane Con: Dressing the Regency Lady

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

For more mysteries, go to A Goblin in My Mailbox

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen

 

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de La Cruz

So my friend gave this to me last year for Christmas, along with Praying with Jane…she knows me so well.

And I have been saving it until this December as it just didn’t feel right posting after Christmas.

I was a bit wary when I saw that the book was to be turned into a Hallmark movie. It could be fantastic…or it could be a horrible cliché.

I figured I’ll start off the month with this book, review the film on 13th, and then review Holiday Mix Tape on December 25th. At least that’s the plan…we will see what happens.

My life motto right there…

So…having read this-sorry ya’ll we are starting this holiday season off with a Scrooge review. I hated this book and thought it was horrible.

**Spoiler Warning**

I will be giving away the end so if you don’t want the end ruined, better leave now.

So I know who Melissa de La Cruz is although I have never read her books before. I do know that she is Filipino-American and I wish she had used that in writing her story. I would have much rather read Pride and Prejudice with the influence of Filipino culture than this.

If this was just a holiday cozy Christmas tale-I probably wouldn’t care-but when they added Jane Austen into the mix-I judge much harsher…

They failed!

So the first thing about this book is that it is gender swapped. Darcy is a 29-year old female and Elizabeth is Luke Bennet. Jane is a younger brother named Jim, and there is a Kit and Lyle instead of Kitty and Lydia. Charlotte Collins instead of William Collins and a Carl (Caroline Bingley?) Darcy also has four brothers (more on that later) and a best friend named Charles Bingley.

I thought you said they were all gender-swapped?

Yes, Charles. Charles is the only one that isn’t gender swapped which makes no sense at all. If you are going to swap everyone else, why exclude him? It is so odd when everyone else is gender-swapped.

So Darcy Fitzwilliam is a beautiful big lipped beauty (not kidding about the lips, the description goes on and on) is 29 and single. She’s afraid of commitment and never wants to be married but tired of hearing everyone saying she is alone and thinking she should be married. She is a:

At least until midway through the book.

Her mother had a heart attack so she heads back to Pemberley, Ohio-her hometown she left and swore never to return to after a horrible break from her family. When she refused to marry Carl (Caroline Bingley ?) her father disowned her.

So first of all problem one-Darcy never had a bad relationship with his father-he greatly admired him. And problem two-having his parents die and him having to be the father to his sister created his character. You ever notice how people who lost a parent/parents and had to take on that roll for younger siblings are always a little more bossy or parental? They tend to tell others what they should do, just as they would for their sibling. Now there is a way to do it without the parents being dead-but it should be a bigger deal with his/her roll in the family. Having Darcy separated doesn’t work at all. Like how is Darcy supposed to take care of Georgiana-or George in this-if they have been separated from their family for EIGHT years-no phone calls, emails, social media, etc. (Except she talks to the mom every now and then.

Speaking of which there is extremely little social media in this book at all which I find completely strange as this was published in 2017.

No social media? She’s 29!

So Darcy has to get a dress and her mom tells her to go to Bloomingdales-now this wouldn’t have registered with me but someone who reviewed the book mentioned that there are no Bloomingdales in Ohio, and I checked online and yes, there are none. So wow-wonder where Darcy got her dress at?

Hmm…

Darcy is an annoying character as she has no personality. Example: she named her lion “Little Lion” and she sees nothing wrong with that as an adult. She can’t even think of a name for her baby at first as she likes to name everything factual. REALLY!!!!! She can’t even think of a name AND WANTS TO CALL HER LITTLE BABY until Luke makes her stop and choose a name.

So back to the story-every year her parents throw a big holiday party and Darcy goes to it and she is upset at everyone being married and talking about families because oh no, Darcy is not about any of that. Really? This was turned into a Hallmark movie-it says on the cover, so all that is a LIE.

I get they are trying to set her up for she fell in love and changed how she felt and everything…but she says that all the time, it is really annoying. And she is rude to all the people who are married and have kids and still live in Pemberley.

At the party she runs into Charles Bingley who she hasn’t seen or spoken to in eight years. Yep, they become best friends again and Charles listen to the advice given to someone who he hasn’t seen in eight years. What kind of logic is that? And they don’t even act like normal people! If I ran into my best friend after EIGHT years we would be gabbing and talking about all we’d been doing and life and here they do none of that. They reminisce for a few minutes and are best pals. But that’s it. No how’s life, no sharing about work or jobs, or anything. Wow-great “best friend” here, she’s too busy talking about how “hot” he is rather than about finding out about who he is.

You are a bad friend.

Bingley runs into Jim (Jane Bennet)-literally and the two are off together. Wow, Bingley has been to every Fitzwilliam Christmas party every year, but oh on this time he’s hit by cupid’s arrow. Why? What? Like why now? There is no explanation and feels contrived.

What?

Darcy gets drunk and runs into Luke Bennet-her hated attractive archenemies. Yes, she goes on about how she hates him but goes on and on describing how hot he is. He is happy to see her and wants to catch up but she just yells about how everyone is jealous of her beauty and being self made and a woman. She goes on a long rant about how much better she is than anyone at the party. She keeps going yelling at Luke about how he is a loser for being a carpenter and staying at his hometown.

WWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!

I know…I have no clue what the writer’s were thinking.

Did you EVEN read the book????!!! If not reading the book, DID YOU you even watch the movie???? This is so not Pride and Prejudice. This a train wreck!

Ugh! Really!

This is a horrible book!!! Horrible!!!!

I shouldn’t have read this.

They turn out to be under the mistletoe and even though she’s been a horrible person, Luke decides to kiss her anyway-why I don’t know??! They should stay away from mistletoe though.

I know I spelled it wrong, I cannot spell mistletoe correctly to save my life. (I only caught it in my comment as my computer let me know).

They kiss again, but are interrupted by Carl who comes into the scene. She dumped him, was disowned by her father, and fled to New York-but hooks up with him every now and then.

Why?

Seriously, Mr. Darcy would never do that. He would never drag someone’s hopes on when he isn’t interested. Such a jerky thing to do!

I can’t help but compare this book to the Christmas film 12 Men of Christmas. Like that film isn’t an official Pride and Prejudice film, but did this soooo much better. It had interesting characters, it had a new angle, it was a cute Christmas film-and it did keep to the finer points of the STORY!! Sorry for that rant, but I totally recommend it.

So Darcy meets with Carl for coffee the next day but then even though she 100% does not want to get married, have children, etc-and 100% does not want to marry Carl-she tells him when offered an ultimatum-give me time to think about it. What!!!!!! Seriously!! UGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH What is this character. Soooooo annoying. I have had to read page after page about how she doesn’t want marriage or family, or Carl-but instead of cutting him loose “I’ll think about it?” NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Darcy talks about how great she us at her job and makes so much money and is so smart, but we never hear or see what she does. Guess she’s not so important.

So Darcy gets invited to Christmas Caroling with Bingley who is in love with Jim. They are going with the Bennets and Darcy meets Kit and Lyle who are demon spawn. Seriously- they are horrible human beings. Like geez-did you read the book?

Did you even read the book!!!

They all go out caroling and we get a rant about how sexist, and against human rights, and against animal rights the 12 Days of Christmas…WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW

WHAT IS THIS BOOK???!!!!!!!

WHAT!!!??

They end up at the Fitzwilliam house where they all get drunk-Darcy gets really drunk, and she and Luke kiss again under the mistletoe.

She wakes up with Luke in her room. They had started to get together last night, but Darcy passed out. WOW such great writing and storytelling. Jane Austen would be so proud-(in case you don’t know I’m being sarcastic!) This is horrid!!!!

Ugh!

Darcy and Luke argue and fight and she’s all I’m better with my money blah, blah-but she gets a call and her deal fell through. But no big deal, it’s like a blimp. Seriously what does she do? Oh that’s not important-she’s just rich and important, that is all we need to know. Bleh, bleh, bleh-this is awful, this is horrible, I hate it.

This book!!!!

Bingley goes on about how he is in love with Jim and prepared to move back to Pemberley and be with him forever…after 2 days. Yes, they have never spoken or spent time with each other before, but after 2 days he’s sure he is the one. Darcy tells him to slow down and YEAH she’s got a point. Dude you have spent 2 days with him, just TWO!!! Like in the original book they have spent more time together and Darcy’s fears came from Jane not showing overt affection, not seeming to be as invested, and of course Jane’s family. Here there is no wiggle room, Darcy is 100% in the right-it has been two days, but they make it seem as if she is being a jerk and selfish when she isn’t. She’s actually being a good friend…for once.

She actually can be a good friend.

She convinces Bingley to break a date with Jim and hang out with her and Bingley agrees, not a bad idea as they have been spending 24/7 together and need to have some space. But instead of Bingley telling him the truth he lies and says he is sick and goes off with Darcy on the town and get caught. So then Jim is mad, understandable, and they’re over. But then Darcy convinces Bigley to pull a Lloyd Dobler and they get back together. Wow, that happened all in a day-such an emotional roller coaster.

At least for this post!

Meanwhile, Luke is engaged!!! He was kissing Darcy and would have slept with her if she hadn’t been drunk and he’s engaged!!!! Everyone in this book is awful!!!!!!!!!! He claims he was on a break-but unlike Ross-he wasn’t!!!!! I’m sorry I really, just really…I CAN’T EVEN!!!

Like this is based on an amazing novel, and this whole things feels like a separate story that was just inputed with names from Jane Austen to capitalize on all us fans. Like this has nothing to do with the book!!!! NOTHING!!!! THIS is HORRIBLE!!! I HATE IT!!!!!!

This book

Darcy is in love with Luke why I don’t know as they have had, what three conversations in three days (most of the conversations being about how great and wonderful Darcy is and Luke sucks)-and shared two kisses. That’s the sum of their relationship. But she’s in love. And looks through her yearbook. Now this gets me. She’s already been mooning over him, why not look up his facebook or instagram. They never spend any time on social media at all-I don’t know any 29 year old who is so free from the siren call of social media.

Read in this case.

So Darcy looks over her yearbook and sees the picture of Luke and admits she’s always been in love with him. WOOOOOOWWWW!!! Really? This is dumb. Because guess what guys even though she is sooooooooo in love with Luke ever since high school she gets engaged and reserves the plaza to a wedding to Carl. What the freak is this?!!! Yes, pages of how she doesn’t love Carl or want to ever be with him an she gets engaged!!!!

Oh and her mother who was on death’s door, is better in like  four days.

No social media? She’s 29!

Then Darcy has three brothers who they all hate her and treat her like crap. Which was not like in the bookokk!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m so angry!

I have to take a break…

I’m done

Okay…so her little brother Will got into Harvard and she’s like whatever no big deal. Now I am not from a wealthy family, if interested I wrote a little about it in Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements, so I don’t assume I know what it is like. But I do know from watching Gossip Girl you can’t have someone be a Blair and a Nate. This whole book Darcy has been Blair-I’m great, money, wealth, I have a plan for my life, cares about what people think, cares about where to go and what to do, etc. But then when her brother gets into Harvard-she suddenly becomes like Nate Archibald when he wants to join Carter in giving up everything and backpacking the neighborhood saying screw the inheritance, trust funds, big name schools, etc. You can’t have a character be both.

And Darcy is a horrible older sibling and her younger brothers are all horrible too and the they nothing like Georgiana and Darcy!!! Where is this???!!!

Darcy is engaged to Carl (a mess of her own doing), doesn’t break off the engagement, and goes to the engaged Luke to tell him that she loves him. Really?????????

He calls her names and Darcy heads to NYC. WOOOOOOOOOOOWW!!!!!!!!! So romantic. AWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFULAWFUL

It is so awful!

So Darcy goes back to work where we see is is a horrid boss and her employees dislike her which wasN’T IN THE BOOOOKKKK!!! Did they even read the book? Or see an adaption?? The employees and renters loved Mr. Darcy!  That’s one of the things that fully convinces Elizabeth she was in the wrong-how could anyone be a horrible awful human being but be good to their employees? It’s like people yelling at the waitstaff. You can have someone who seems great-but inside are horrible and treat the waitstaff like crap-but you never have someone who is a horrible human being but treat their waitstaff great.

Darcy dumps Carl in a note and flies home to Pemberley to help out Kit and Lyle Bennet who are demon spawn. Like they should be sent to Juvie. Here is what they have done:

  • Set a trash can on fire
  • Set a classmate’s shoe on fire
  • Set frogs free from the science lab (pass for that)
  • Had drugs
  • Spray painted obscenities
  • Stealing test answers
  • Giving a student a stick-and-poke tattoo
  • Physical fights with students and faculty

If they were in school with my kid, just because some rich girl paid off the principal I’d be furious. They are horrible.

And one their names are Kit and Lyle

Darcy does the good deed of helping them and keeping them in school instead of juvie, which is a horrible idea, and then she collapses.

She ends up in the hospital as she was dehydrated. And in like two pages (15 mins) all the issues between Dacry and her father solved. Oh he cut her off because he was afraid she would be hurt in New York and never come back. He’s been mean to her because he doesn’t know how to tell her he loves her. Oh wow. …..yeah this is dumb.

Read in this case.

Darcy gets healed and she’s invited to Charlotte and Luke’s wedding rehearsal (why as they aren’t friends) and she decides to go, no ones there and the two are together.

So back it up, it has been like five days-they have had four conversations

  1. Darcy dunk at the party-talking about herself and insulting Luke
  2. Christmas Carols where they hardly speak at all
  3. The morning after Christmas caroling-Darcy insulting Luke and talking about herself
  4. Darcy admitting she loves Luke and Luke insulting her

As you can see most of these are Darcy talking about how Luke sucks, and most of Luke’s conversations are calling Darcy a snob and other names…but oh no they are in love.

Seriously!!!!!!!!!!! I’m sorry, I am not a writer-I know it’s not my talent, and I really can’t say I could do better but this sucks.

In the end Luke and Darcy get married and have a daughter, move to New York. It never says what Luke does but I assume Darcy keeps working at her job even though she lost the biggest deal, the biggest deal that turned out to not be a  big deal. Whatever.

I know…I have no clue what the writer was thinking.

This is awful and I’m glad its over. I’m sooo done…

So will the movie be as bad? I watched the trailer and it looks like they actually spend some time together so there is hope…but we shall see…

Pass on it!

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Drive Me Crazy: Austentatious (2015)

For more Pride and Prejudice book adaptations, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements