Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper

Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper by Manuela Santoni

So we added this at the library and I was jazzed for it-Jane Austen biography? In graphic novel?

It seems like a win win to me!

But it wasn’t-I did not like it.

I’ve read several Jane Austen biographies, books and online, and I really enjoyed read Just Jane last year. I do not know everything about Jane, but I feel enough to know that this had quite a bit of historical inaccuracies it.

Hmmm

It also felt like they wanted to make her “ahead of her times” but it just feels like something we have seen before and not as if the author really was trying to show Jane, who this book is supposed to be about. Like how Nostalgia Critic words it in the Alice in Wonderland review.

It starts off with Jane sick at the end of her life writing a letter and thinking back on her life.

Hmm…

We go back to them as girls and Jane hates the piano playing:

But in reality, she enjoyed piano playing. From The Jane Austen Centre:

“Jane, studied with the respected composer and organist, William Chard well into her twenties, long after most girls would have given up their lessons. After that point, it was up to the student to progress if she wished, on her own. Jane owned a small piano at various times during her life and, when this was not an option, rented one. She played for her own enjoyment and would rise an hour before the rest of the family in order to get her practicing done.”

And Santoni has her hate doing embroidery:

But she was extremely talented at it, most likely loved it. From Jane Austen’s House Museum:

“Like all women of her time and class, Jane Austen learnt to sew in childhood and gained a life-long skill. Sewing was something she was particularly good at. In 1796 Austen wrote in a letter that she was “the neatest worker” of a group making shirts for one of her brothers. Edward Austen-Knight remembered of his aunt that “Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and might almost have put a sewing machine to shame. She was considered especially great in satin stitch.”

And I am currently reading Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge and she shares this in Day 5:

“From this description, we see that while Jane sat and worked (needlework) quietly, lines, descriptions, and plot ideas for her novels came to her in delightful bursts.”

“She [Jane Austen] could have declared needlework a boring, repetitive task and herself too intelligent for such menial jobs. Instead she appears to have spent the time in happy reflection.”

I am so sick and tired of authors being like, oh I want my historical character to be modern and powerful so she will hate embroidery. Why? Why is music revered, painting treated as a superpower, sewing something to be proud of-but embroidery is treated like dirt. Embroidery is a lot of hard work, amazing art, and takes blood, sweat, and sometimes tears to create.

Santoni gives Jane unruly curled hair that just seems to show again that she is “modern” eschewing society’s idea of how women should be.

So the story has Jane proposed to twice and she turns them both down, but in real life she only officially ever received one formal proposal, when she was 27, from Harris Bigg-Wither-but the next day refuses him.

Santoni also has Jane fall in love with Tom Lefoy, he propose, she accepts, and then turn him down as she can’t be a wife and mother but has decided to be a writer. Now there is a bit of leeway here as Cassandra Austen destroyed a lot of Jane’s letters, but she seems to ignore what history we do know.

Thats not right!

It even says at the end of the book “many suitors asked for my hand…” I found this hard to believe as there is no historical proof to confirm this, along with the fact that she had no dowry and very little to entice someone to marriage. I felt like did Santoni do any research? She says she is a Jane Austen fan, but it seems she was making up her own story and characters.

Yeah, not as good as Just Jane

For more Jane Austen biographies, go to Just Jane

For more Jane Austen inspired books, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

For more Jane Austen inspired work, go to Northanger Soapworks Review

Prom & Prejudice

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Prom.

Some of us loved it,

Some of us hated it.

Whether we planned for it

Or ignored it,

it is something that every person in public school in the United States encounters in their lifetime.

It’s true.

For me, I enjoyed prom. I tried to spend as little money as possible on everything and did extremely well. I had a beautiful blue gown, cost $2.50 at a thrift store sale, $8 to get it dry cleaned.

Oh yeah!

My shoes? Beautiful silver heels, extremely comfortable, and free-with the purchase of a bracelet for $8 (Kohl’s cash buy something $8-10, get something $8-10 free).

I like it.

Make-up? Free, my sister did it.

Yep!

Hair? Only $16 as I knew a hairstylist.

Limo? Free, my friend’s date father owned a limousine rental.

Sweet!

Dinner? Free, my friend had coupon that covered everything.

Awesome!

The most expensive thing? $25 tickets. So a total of $59.50, not bad.

But we don’t want to just hear about my experience. Oh no, this is a book review post:

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Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

**Contains Spoilers**

Yes, if we go through prom, why not the Austen characters? (Or at least Pride & Prejudice Austen characters.)

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In Eulberg’s book Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Caroline, Mr. Darcy, Charlotte, Mr. Collins, and Mr. Bingley all get an opportunity to go to prom.

Why not?

This book came out when I was a young adult and I just happened on to it accidentally, started reading and LOVED it! In fact I think it is one of the best modern adaptions.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bennet is a scholarship student at the elite prep school, Longbourn. She was recruited for her musical talent, as she is an accomplished piano player.

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Sadly, piano playing is the only nice thing about being there at the school. Everyone treats her horribly as they want her to “know her place.” They dump drinks on her, call her names, give her the wrong room when she asks for directions, etc.

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She does have two friends in the school, one is a fellow scholarship student, Charlotte, and the other is the incredibly nice Jane.

So Lizzie has just returned from Hoboken, New Jersey to the school from winter break. While she is thinking about the spring concert and her studies; every other girl at Longbourn and every boy at Pemberley (school for boys) have only one thing on the brain: prom.

To not have a date would be the biggest faux pas; so all are prepping and conniving to have the best date.

While Jane is excited for prom, she is also thrilled that Charles Bingley will be returning from England where he spent the previous semester. Before he left the two had been heading toward something, and spent the whole summer emailing and writing; so Jane is eager to see if they  will become more.

 At the welcome back dance Lizzie is pleased to meet Charles as he is extremely nice and appears to be perfect for her friend Jane. Unfortunately, his twin sister Caroline is a real jerk.

Charles also brought his best friend Will Darcy, who is attractive and seems like a good guy, that is until he finds out Elizabeth is a scholarship student and just takes off, major diss.

What a jerk

Later she overhears him saying how he spent a year in London to try and get away from those kinds of people.

Ugh

Elizabeth tries to leave, but is stopped by Colin Williams (Mr. Collins) the only other person nice to her and the most boring person she has ever met.

Blah, blah

Oh, Mr. Collins:

While her way at school is paid, she still needs money to fund everything else and works at the local coffee shop as a barista. She runs into Darcy there, but the fate is sealed. She is not going to like him for anything.

Charles invites Jane and Lizzie to come with him, Caroline, and Darcy as they are headed to Vermont to ski. Lizzie agrees to support Jane although she has no clue about skiing. She decides to just wait inside playing the steinway (piano), doing homework, and sipping hot tea.

The next day everyone heads out to the slopes while Lizzie decides to head to the bookstore to pick up a book for school. Darcy offers her a ride, but Lizzie doesn’t want help. She finally agrees and the two talk on the drive. Darcy doesn’t get why she is being so snobby and down about school, while Lizzie lets everything out about how people are treating her.

That night things go a bit sour as Charles is taking Jane out and Lizzie is to be stuck at the house with her two favorite people, Caroline and Darcy.

Those guys

Darcy isn’t so bad, but Elizabeth Lizzie has to be there while Caroline tries to impress him. She starts with commenting on his email writing, then doing yoga moves, etc. The conversation moves to involve only Lizzie and Darcy, but Caroline doesn’t like that.

They all return to school, and in Lizzie’s case work, and things are back to normal. However, Lizzie meets George “Wick” Wickham who is handsome, charming, and hates Longbourn and Pemberley as much as she does. Wick tells her that Darcy and he became very good friends, but when Darcy’s father was paying too close attention to him Darcy got jealous and had him kicked out.

Charles is having a party and invites all kinds of people. Jane and Lizzie are going of course, and because Jane is going, her sister Lydia squeezes her way in. Jane’s father recently lost his job and that has downgraded her status at the school. It doesn’t help that Lydia is all kids of crazy and embarrassing and can’t stop about prom or boys.

If only she followed this advice.

Wick was supposed to come to the party but changed his mind, leaving Lizzie sad and upset as she wanted to spend the time with him. However, Darcy pays quite a bit attention to her and even asks her to dance.

The night ends even worse with nonstop attention from Colin, Lydia doing a bad dance/rockette/cheerleader routine, and her coat getting stolen. Could things get worse?

The next day things get even worse, as Colin asks her to prom and doesn’t want to take no for an answer. He then insults her and says that she will have no one else ask her poverty-stricken patootie (I added that).

When Elizabeth gets home, she is surprised with a new coat. Life seem to be brightening up, but then the dark cloud comes back as Charles just breaks off contact with Jane as “things came up.”

Two weeks pass and no Charles. He just drops off the face of the earth and poor Jane is heartbroken.

Noooo!

To add to that, it turns out that Wick didn’t consider he and Lizzie a couple, but has been dating a wealthy Longbourn girl who’s family has great connections. What a jerk!

But strangely enough, who should come every day to the coffee shop? Mr Darcy. And not only does he see her every day bit he leaves a big tip.

One day as she was walking, she runs into him and his cousin Fitzpatrick, and discovers that he broke up his friend’s relationship as the girl wasn’t right. Lizzie hooks on that it must be Jane and Charles. She is furious!

She tells Darcy her hours and hopes that he will avoid her. It is the opposite as Darcy seens to come more than ever.

And out of nowhere he drops the bomb:

And he asks her to prom. Elizabeth Lizzie’s reaction?

She is furious with him for Jane, Charles, Wick, Longbourn, everything!

She goes to write an email to her New Jersey friends, but finds one from Darcy instead! His letter contains the following:

  1. He’s had scholarship kids in the past try and get things from him-money, connections, social status, etc.-so now he avoids them. He’s sorry to have been so rude to Elizabeth, but that has became his instant reaction.
  2. He wasn’t the one who really pushed Jane and Charles apart, although he didn’t try and have them be together either.
  3. The guy and girl he was talking about? It was Colin who wanted to ask Lizzie out again and Darcy thought it was a bad idea.
  4. He had Wick kicked out of school because of two reasons:
    1. He got Darcy’s young sister, Georgiana drunk to try to get her to have sex with him.
    2. He broke into their house and stole a bunch of things.

Elizabeth realizes that she thought Darcy was the prejudiced and prideful one, but it turns out that she was as well. Because he was rich she thought the worse of him, and because he hurt her pride she was willing to believe anything horrible that was said of him.

They both are.

Things get weirder as it turns out that Wick and Lydia are “together”.

I guess his rich girlfriend didn’t work out.

Lizzie sees this and is horrified as she now knows that Wick is a sexual predator, looking for young, freshmen girls. She goes to Jane and lets everything out. She is just as shocked when she hears it all.

They keep a tight leash on Lydia and argue whether or not to reveal what happened to Darcy’s sister to keep Lydia away from Wickham. They decide to wait as it isn’t their story to tell.

They are both pleasantly surprised when Charles comes with a bouquet and begs Jane’s forgiveness. And as she is so sweet and adorable, she forgives him.

 Midterms end and Lizzie heads home for break, but she gets an even better surprise. Her piano teacher, Mrs. Gardiner, gives her two tickets to see her favorite pianist, Claudia Reynolds.

When Lizzie and her mother go to the concert they are thrilled with the amazing music, and Elizabeth is floored when she discovers that Claudia Reynolds is Darcy’s mother.

She meets Darcy in his own setting and sees all pretense gone. She also meets his adorable sister and sees how cute their little family is.

The have a great time and even make plans for Darcy and Georgiana to visit her in New Jersey. Their fun trip is cut short when Lydia goes missing with Wick and Lizzie and Darcy set out to find her.

Darcy goes through everywhere that Wick would want to stay at and finds the two utterly wasted in a trashed hotel room. He uses his father’s money and influence to remove Wick and settle the bill.

The rest of the break is uneventful and quiet, with no calls from Darcy. It seems that now that she wants him, nothing is heard from him. Don’t you just hate that? When they return to school Charles has a big dinner party for their friends, but Darcy doesn’t sit with Elizabeth Lizzie or talk to her, no matter how hard she tries to get his attention.

Soon Lizzie’s recital comes up and she rocks (figuratively). Afterwards Darcy asks her out, telling her he was waiting as he didn’t want to break her concentration.

Aw!

However, they will not be going to prom but be going out to enjoy their night together.

I loved this book.

Even though they didn’t follow the book exactly I thought Eulberg was able to capture the life of the characters and bring across what Jane wanted.

The only thing I din’t like was Darcy didn’t take her to prom. Come on, you guys could have just dressed casual or not spent a lot of money. I mean seriously.

Totally!

But there is something that really surprised me. I spotted this in the acknowledgements:

“I’d especially like to thank Stephanie Meyer for being so enthusiastic for my writer life and having that conversation about Pride and Prejudice that led me to the idea for this book.

Stephanie Meyer?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Stephanie Meyer who wrote Twilight?

The horror!

I can’t believe I have to thank her for something good!

Well that aside, it is a fantastic book and I recommend it for any Austen fan.

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Perfectea, A Perfect Cup of Tea or Tea for Two

For more on prom, go to Oh What A Night

I Choose You: Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008)

Most Romantic Moment #13

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 Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008)

This film takes place shortly before the “official” start of WWII in London, England. The film is based on the novel of the same name, published in 1938

 Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is a governess/nanny, who has quite some trouble keeping a job. At the start of the film she is fired and denied her pay. She bumps into a young man who mentions he has just been released from prison and flees from him, leaving her luggage behind. She heads to a soup line, but gets bumped into again and loses her meal. This noise attracts the attention of a fashionably dressed couple from across the way

The next day Miss Pettigrew heads over to the employment agency where she learns that after her last firing, she has run out of chances. While she is pleading, the phones rings and a Delysia Lafosse asks for a person to be sent over. While the people at the employment agency are distracted, Miss Pettigrew takes off with the address in hopes of getting the job.

When she reaches Delysia Lafosse’s apartment, she finds an undressed, half-asleep woman (Amy Adams). After Miss Pettigrew introdices herself and tells her what time it is, Delysia gets freaked out as she has to have the entire apartment cleaned up, with Phil up and out of there. Miss Pettigrew tells her she will help get her little boy out, only to discover that Phil is not a little boy, but one of Delysia’s boyfriends. You see Delysia wasn’t asking for a governess, but she needed a social secretary. Anyways, Delysia is sleeping with Phil in order to get the part in the musical he is producing and her big chance to become a real star. The only problem? Delysia’s other boyfriend, boss, and the man paying for her clothes, food, and apartment; Nick is on his way and will NOT be happy if he finds Delysia with another man. With the help of Miss Pettigrew Phil is out the door, and shortly Nick is bumped out too.

Then the two head off to a fashion show where Delysia’s friend, Edythe Dubarry, is showing some pieces. Edythe is dating the famous underclothing designer, Joe Blomfield (Ciarán Hinds). Edythe and Joe are on the outs as Joe thinks Edythe is cheating on him as she was out when he called her the night before. Miss Pettigrew realizes that Edythe is the same woman she saw the night before, carrying on with a man that was clearly not Joe. Joe and Miss Pettigrew also meet and talk, with Miss Pettigrew deveoping a slight crush on him. Then Miss Pettigrew is whisked away by the girls for a complete makeover.

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While shopping, Edythe recognizes Miss Pettigrew from the soup line and knows Miss Pettigrew saw her with another man. She blackmails Miss Pettigrew into helping her get Joe back or else she’ll tell Delysia the truth about her being a “social secretary”.

When the girls finish shopping, Miss Pettigrew and Delysia return to Delysia’s apartment. There they find a young man playing the piano. It turns out to be the same man recently released from prison that ran into Miss Pettigrew the day before. His name is Michael and he plays the piano in Nick’s club, accompanying Delysia, the singer. You see Michael is her third boyfriend. Unlike Nick who uses her for sex, and boy Phil who has never had the attentions of a woman before; Michael is in love with Delysia. He planned this big romantic scene on a boat in the river Thames, equipped with champagne and a ring to propose. Delysia never showed up, so Michael drank all the Champagne himself, got drunk, tried to steal the crown jewels; and was arrested and thrown in prison. Michael is planning on leaving for America and wants Delysia to marry him and come with. Delysia is unsure as she wants more than Michael can give her. Miss Pettigrew tells him that Delysia will have an answer by the end of the night.

That night holds a lot for them as Delysia has the announcement of the casting of the musical to worry over and how to handle young Phil. What to do about Nick as he is expecting payment for all the things he buys her. And whether or not to go off with Michael, the man who loves her but is poor. For Miss Pettigrew she has to help Delysia get the part in the musical, keep Nick at bay, encourage Delysia to make the right decision involving love, get Joe and Edythe back together, and figure out just what her role as social secretary really is.

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***Most Romantic Moment***

One of the most romantic moments for me comes near the end of the film. Delysia has just won the lead in the musical, but had to declare her undying love to Phil to guarantee it. Nick understands, but still expects to get his payment from her. Michael, after hearing Phil shout his and Delysia’s undying love, is leaving to America, never to see her again. Everything in Delysia’s life is going as planned but yet, completely wrong. Just then the city is warned to take cover from an air attack. As Delysia is hiding under the piano she and Miss Pettigrew discuss love, Miss Pettigrew telling her about the man she loved but lost in WWI. They had nothing really, but to Miss Pettigrew their love was more than enough to build a life on. This encourages Delysia, and as soon as it’s safe she rushes toward Michael to tell him how she feels.

As she is running after him, Nick stops her and tells her to sing. Michael comes to her rescue, but Nick is a better fighter and knocks him down.

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While Michael is recovering from that great hook, Delysia rushes over to him and proposes!

Delysia: Is the offer still open?

Nick: Get up!

[Michael stands and Nick knocks him back down with a punch to the nose]

Delysia: Well, is it a yes or is it a no?

Michael: What?

Delysia: Well will you doggone marry me or will you doggone not?

Michael: [he grins in delight, scrambles up, socks Nick square in the jaw, and pulls Delysia to her feet] Yes. God help me, yes! [they kiss fervently]

I love this scene because Delysia asking Michael to marry her showed him that she really, truly, completly loved him and wanted to be with him. Plus it gives him the strength to knock Nick out of the way.

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Yep it’s not the money that matters, but the man.

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part III from the beginning, go to I Can See Your Beauty: The Breakfast Club (1985)

For the previous post, go to I Don’t Want to Own You, I Just Want to Be With You: A Room With a View (1985)

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For more on Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, go to Part VIII: The Little Movie Line List

For more on Amy Adams, go to I Don’t Dance or Sing, Except When I’m With You: Enchanted (2007)

For more on Ciaran Hinds, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more films based on a book, go to What a Fanatic!

For more period piece films, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Marry Me: Gigi (1958)

Parental Favoritism

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Favoritism sucks, unless you are the one getting it. But even then it can be bad as others will be jealous of you and mean to you because of it. After all look what happened to Joseph.

Now everyone knows that in a family of more than one there is a favorite child. And everyone suspects that it is someone other than them. Hardly anyone ever thinks they are the favorite. Now while we know this, we never expect to hear our parents actually say who the favorite one is. Nothing sucks more than to hear your parents clearly state who they love best..

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Knowing who is the favorite or the golden child often drives children to rebel or do all kinds of things to hurt their parents or beloved sibling because they are so angry. I mean its hard not to sympathize with the way they were treated and understand why they end up doing such horrible things. I mean look at King Lear. I don’t feel bad for Goneril or Regan but  empathize with Edmund. I mean after constantly being told you are nothing more than an accident and worthless because you are not legitimate, would make nearly anyone power mad and crazy.

In Pride and Prejudice, parental favoritism is loud and clear and in your face. Mrs. Bennet just adores Lydia (probably because Lydia is exactly like her) with Jane being her second favorite as in Mrs. Bennet’s eyes she is the prettiest of all the Bennet girls.

“I am sure she [Elizabeth] is not half as handsome as Jane, nor half so good-humored as Lydia.” (pg. 4)

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Mr Bennet too has his favorite, and like Mrs. Bennet has no qualms saying who it is:

“They are all silly and ignorant like others girls; but Lizzie has something more of a quickness than her sisters.” (pg. 4)

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Just like all those other things I referenced, letting your children know who you favor can totally screw them up. I mean first of all look at Lydia. Lydia knows she is the mom’s favorite and just does what she wants to, never thinking about how she is affecting the rest of her family. She is spoiled and never disciplined. I mean it’s no wonder that she runs off with Wickham, with her attitude, you wonder how she didn’t get in trouble long before.

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Then you have Jane, who all her mother focuses on is her beauty while her father mostly ignores her. Poor Jane, forever only being seen as an object rather than a person. Her mother sees her as a tool for prosperity, always going on and trying to maneuver her. I’m surprised someone hasn’t written a book with her version of the story. I mean with all the Darcy, Wickham, Lydia and numerous other ways the story has been retold you kind of wonder why one hasn’t been done to show us what Jane thinks.

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And what about Kitty? Older than Lydia but always stuck in her shadow. Either getting blamed for things (like coughing or her being at fault for Lydia taking off with Wickham) its no surprise that she holds on to the secret of Lydia running off, happy to finally be the center of attention.

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And poor Mary. She gets nothing!

She’s not the pretty one or the smart one and is mostly ignored by everyone. Jane & Lizzie are best friends and Lydia & Kitty are best friends; leaving Mary all alone with nobody. No wonder she throws herself into her music, intent on proving how special she is with her musical talent.

Just make sure your musical genius doesn't lead you to becoming a stalker or murderer Your story isn't as romantic as the POG's. Mary can't pull that off.

Just make sure your musical genius doesn’t lead you to becoming a stalker or murderer or recluse. We all can’t pull off that story

One of these days, poor Mary might just break. If the girls lived in modern day I would definitely put my money on her being featured on the news. Tonight on SnappedOne day mild-mannered Mary up and murdered tons of people. When asked why:

You made me stop and let other girls have a turn.

You made me stop and let other girls have a turn.

And Elizabeth…well Elizabeth is practically perfect in every way. It’s amazing how she was able to do that

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Oh yeah…well…I did say practically! 🙂

For another Pride & Prejudice post go to It’s a Truth Universally Acknowledged

For more Jane Bennet, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more Elizabeth Bennet, go to The Real Revolutionary

For more on Mary Bennet, go to Just Can’t Get a Break

For more on Kitty Bennet, go to Flu Season

For more Lydia Bennet, go to Death Comes to Pemberley