An Appearance of Goodness

An Appearance of Goodness by Heather Moll

I received this advanced reader copy free in exchange for an honest review.

What if in Pride and Prejudice, Darcy gave Elizabeth his letter at Rosing Park, immediately left to tell Charles Bingley his regret at separating him and Jane, and let Mr. Bennet know what happened to his sister?

What if Mr. Bennet never let Lydia run off with Mrs Forester and the officers? What if she never was compromised and forced to marry Wickham?

Hmm…?

Well that is the alternate universe this adaption takes place. In this Bingley immediately came to ask for Jane’s hand, the two married, and as Mr. Bingley was told through Bingley not only what happened to Georgiana (but also of Wickham’s debts), Mr. Bennet the family were not disgraced and Darcy wasn’t needed to save the day.

Instead Mr. and Mrs. Bingley (plus Elizabeth) have been living at Netherfield Park. A very happy circumstance for all, except that Mrs. Bennet comes too often with her friends. Mr. Bingley decides a break is needed and intends to take Jane to meet all his friends this summer, ending their vacation in Scarborough. He also invites his sister Caroline Bingley, his other sister Mrs. Hurst, her husband Mr. Hurst, and Elizabeth to accompany him.

As they travel they have fun meeting all Bingley’s friends, stopping of course to visit his best friend; Mr. Darcy at Pemberley. Mr. Darcy has been in anguish over his rejected proposal, but in light of what had happened he tried to fix his mistakes, continuously works hard better himself, and is eager to host a party at his beloved home. Staying with him will be Georgina Darcy: her companion/governess Mrs. Annesley; his friend Lewis Balfour; Balfour’s sister and rich widow, Mrs Lanyon; Mr. Utterson, a newer acquaintance training in law; along with Mr. Bingley and his party.

What Mr. Darcy was not expecting was to find Elizabeth along the party. At first the two are rather awkward around each other; but as Darcy’s feelings remain steadfast and loyal to her, he tries his best to show how her words have affected and changed him, while trying not to make her uncomfortable.

Stuck inside due to heavy rainfalls, Elizabeth thought being at Pemberley with Mr. Darcy would be truly terrible. However, the more time she spends there with him; the more she realizes that her view of him was discolored and finds herself not only enjoying time with him but actively seeking it out.

“On closer examination, there was a certain gentleness in his eyes, and often a humour in his look. Had that always been there, or was she now a better observer of him?”

Elizabeth Bennet from An Appearance of Goodness

Elizabeth falls for him and is trying to find a way to show or tell him, when there lovely trip goes to complete ruin. The very heavy rainfalls have caused incredible damage to the fields, crops, bridge, mills, homes, etc. Tensions run high and Darcy is pulled in every directions as he tries to help take care of everything and every one of his tenets. This is not the time to propose as not only is it a very depressing time but he isn’t even sure if he will have anything to offer after all this.

Crying! [Still from The Wolf Man (1941)]

Elizabeth was certain that Mr. Darcy was heading toward a proposal but after all the aftermath of the storms it looks as if that will not be happening anytime in the future. She is heartbroken at all that has happened and wishes she could be there for Mr. Darcy, but as she is just the sister-in-law of his friend she has no place acting as is they are more “familiar”. Elizabeth does all she can while following propriety, but if only she could do more.

Mr. Bingley wants to make things easier on his dear friend Mr. Darcy and will take his party to stay with other friends to help him; leaving Mr. Utterson, Mr. Balfour, and Mrs. Lanyon behind. As Mr. Bingley is going, so will be Elizabeth and any chance of them being more…

Aw!

Luckily, Mrs. Lanyon loves to matchmake, having been instrumental in assisting Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. She asks is Elizabeth could stay and be her companion; and Elizabeth eager to have more time with Mr. Darcy readily agrees.

Mrs. Lanyon right now

Things are still dire and Darcy is hanging on; but knowing he still has chance with Elizabeth has him feeling like things are looking up…except they aren’t.

That’s not good.

While in the middle of clean up the body of Georgiana’s lady’s maid is found in the river. At first Darcy believe her to be Elizabeth as she is wearing her coat, but upon closer examination they discover her the identity and that she has been murdered. How? By a silver candlestick stolen from Pemberley. The reason for the murder is uncertain: could it be she saw something she shouldn’t? Perhaps she was in an illicit relationship? Could she be pregnant and the father not wishing to be in her life? Could she know something the killer does not want to get out?

Wait a minute! This is a mystery?!!! I didn’t realize that. A mystery?!!! I got this!!!

Mystery, you say?

So suspects, after looking into everyone it comes down to the murderer is someone in Darcy’s home. Darcy, Georgiana, Mrs. Annesley, and Mrs. Lanyon are all cleared as r wh have alibis and people to back up their whereabouts. After careful discussion Elizabeth and Darcy discover the only ones who could have murdered the lady’s maid would be either Mr. Balfour or Mr. Utterson.

Time to get on the case!

To be honest, I could not care for either of these characters so I wasn’t upset with them being suspects and was okay with either of them being the villain. I found both to be annoying and odd that Darcy could consider either to be his friends; but as they say love is blind.

Suspect 1: Lewis Balfour

Mr. Darcy has been friends with Mr. Balfour for years and Balfour was there for him when his father passed. Mr. Balfour is biracial (Scottish and Indian) and when his father passes will inherit the family estate. Right now he has no real purpose and lounges about spending money for the fun of it, although he appears to live far outside the allowance given to him by his father (and complains about it).

Balfour is not known to be a maid chasing Lothario and has a pleasant nature. He doesn’t seem to have a reason to murder someone. Could it be him?

Suspect #2: Mr. Utterson

Mr. Utterson is a newer acquaintance to and. Darcy and not as well known to him. Utterson is a second son and is forever in the middle of getting his law degree and lives on an allowance granted by his father. He never seems to have enough money, constantly complaining about the lack of it, along with making very rude jealous remarks.

There are a few stories of Utterson ravishing Lord Poole’s daughter, but rumors aren’t fact and could be true or false. He also has a very mercurial and intense nature. Of course the motive most likely is that he killed for money, possibly stealing; but would Utterson have risked stealing from someone like Mr. Darcy, a man he considered a friend?

Our Regency Scooby-Doo crew is rounded out by the arrival of Colonel Fitzwilliam who journeyed to assist in the emergency services. Will these three be able to discover the murderer before he strikes again, or will this be there final case?

Hmmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

I enjoyed this novel, especially the mystery aspect, as I love mysteries and try to solve them before the characters do. I was fairly certain I knew who the murderer was and why they did it, and was most pleased to discover that I figured it out. My only criticism on that mystery is that I wish the cover looked a little more mysterious as I didn’t realize it was a whodunit until I saw it on goodreads. Although what should be added I’m not quite sure. Maybe the candlestick that was the murder weapon or a question mark at the end of the title?

I felt that Moll did a great job with Austen’s characters as the Bingleys, Bennets, Georgiana, the Hursts, Colonel Fitzwilliam, etc; were all done well did Austen justice while still being Moll’s creation.

The only thing I felt was not quite right was with Darcy’s character. Bit of a spoiler (not too much) I didn’t like that Darcy and Elizabeth slept together before being married. I’m not saying that didn’t happen in 1813, but I personally feel like Mr. Darcy is too much of a gentleman and so proper that he would wait, especially as he strives to be the nothing like his nemesis, Mr. Wickham.

Moll introduced several new characters and I did enjoy most of them. Utterson and Balfour as I said before really annoyed me as they have money, just not as much as they want, and complain constantly about their lot. At first I was hoping they would just exit the story, but when they turned out to be murder suspects I didn’t mind. As I didn’t like either of them I was content to have either of them turn out to be the killer. By the end of the novel, one of the men is a bit more likable as we are given his story and brought understanding as to why he is so eager for money.

I really loved the character of Mrs. Lanyon a LOT. I myself am biracial and growing up there wasn’t a lot of representation in any type of media. With this novel I really enjoyed how Mrs. Lanyon discusses her interactions with people and the racism and ignorance she faces. Even thought he book is set in 1813, the experiences described are still issues people face today.

My only warning would be that while this book does contain comedy, romance, and mystery; parts of the book are very sad especially in regards to the flooding. Thus far I have only read two of Moll’s books and she seems to be one who enjoys combing multiple elements in a nice balance.

I do recommend for those who enjoy Austen adaptations.

For more by Heather Moll, go to An Affectionate Heart

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Beside Two Rivers

For more Pride and Prejudice adaptions, go to The Clergyman’s Wife + The Question is Mr. Collins Really THAT Bad?

For more Jane Austen adaptations, go to The Emma Project

For more mysteries, go to I Won the Ellery Adams’ September 2020 Giveaway + My Review of the First Two Books in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society Series

Beside Two Rivers

Beside Two Rivers (Daughter of the Potomac #2) by Rita Gerlach

Back in 2015 I added this book to my kindle with tons of others and promptly forgot all about it. Fast forward to 2022 and I have decided it is finally time to really go through and try and clean out my kindle collection and get rid of books I will not read again. I decided to start at the beginning (with all the books alphabetized by title) and read them and decide whether to keep or delete.

I started reading this book and just could not connect to it, which surprised me as I tend to enjoy historical fiction. The story is set in 1797 Maryland and follows Darcy Morgan, (daughter of the previous books’ protagonists), who has grown up with relatives as her mother died when she was young and her father went out West, and hasn’t been heard from again.

Darcy feels very much alone as she loves her family but doesn’t quite feel as if she fits in. She loves to walk and read; her cousins love to focus on how they look and trying to find a beau. Her aunt Mari is very silly and consumed with matchmaking while her uncle William, is intelligent but droll and likes to poke fun at others.

Darcy especially hates focusing on her looks, as she feels more comfortable being natural in no stockings and bare feet. Her aunt however will not allow it and when an invitation comes to visit the Twin Oaks plantation, she is beyond delighted and goes into planning mode.

Aunt Mari gets even more excited as not only will the son, Mr. Daniel Rhendon, of Twin Oaks be attending (an eligible bachelor) but he plans to bring with him a party from England. “…it says he brings two ladies and a gentleman.”

Hmm, who does that sound like?

At the party Darcy is embarrassed by her aunt who is trying to dig for information and doing other things that draw too much attention to their family. Darcy decides to go on a walk and ends up running into an English gentleman who is intrigued by Darcy’s opinionated self. Darcy refuses to give her name to the stranger as she wants to be “mysterious” and returns to the party. There she is further embarrassed by her aunt, who continues to make a bit of a fool of herself.

Back at the party Darcy spots the handsome English man from before and he also spots her. He is Ethan Brennan, one of Daniel’s friends, and he also spots her. When Darcy hides from the public with her cousin to remove a small stone from her shoe; she accidentally overhears Ethan talking about her-and becomes extremely offended at what he said.

Ethan

I think you can tell where this is going. Darcy is basically Elizabeth, Ethan is Mr. Darcy, Miss Roth is totally Miss Bingley, Daniel is Mr. Bingley, Aunt Mari is Mrs. Bennet and so on.

So eventually the two, Darcy and Ethan, fall in love but Ethan has to go back to England and it seems that is it for over for our two lovers. Except Darcy receives a letter from English relatives she hasn’t know of and also heads off to England. At that point I gave up in the story as it just couldn’t capture my attention. I know a lot of people said that it was slow until the England part and that is where it picks up, but I wasn’t going to even try. I have a giant list of to-read books that I own and have checked out form the library.

If I want to make a dent in that I don’t have time to be wasting it on a book I don’t like.

End thought: would not recommend. Instead here are a few I would recommend.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to The Clergyman’s Wife + The Question is Mr. Collins Really THAT Bad?

For more Pride and Prejudice adaptations, go to An Affectionate Heart

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Persuasion (2022) or MadsenCreations and I Watched the New Persuasion So You Don’t Have To

For more historical fiction, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Miss Abbott and the Doctor WEBTOON

I Wrote A Letter (I Actually Wrote Four)

Have you ever seen the film White Chicks? It is a 2000’s film that stars the Wayan Brothers as FBI agents who are one screw up away from being fired. When they mess up their very simple assignment to watch two heiress and transport them to the Hamptons, they end up having to go undercover as the Wilson Sisters in order to keep themselves from being fired and foil a kidnapping plot. It is hilarious as most of the people can’t tell the agents in their makeup from the “real” sisters, even though you as they viewer can clearly tell they look nothing like the Wilson sisters. One of my favorite parts of the film is when they are trying to keep the other FBI agents from figuring out their undercover situation and stage a big scene about how they “are going to write a letter”.

FBI Agent Kevin Copeland as Brittany Wilson: I wanna speak to your supervisor! Better yet, I’m gonna write a letter!

FBI Agent Marcus Copeland as Tiffany Wilson: [to FBI Agent Harper] You are in *big* trouble!

FBI Agent Kevin Copeland as Brittany Wilson: [Agitated, “Brittany” grabs a pen and a sheet of paper and starts writing] Dear… Mr… Royal… Hampton. I… am… a… *white*… woman… in… America.

Whenever my family and friends has something upset us that we have no control over (for example the terrible Netflix Persuasion film) or when we wish something would happen, we always claim we are going to “write a letter”.

For the past few years on Instagram I have asked questions in my stories and posted the results along with my own thoughts and opinions thrown in. One thing I ask every year is “If You Could Cast Any Actor (Alive or Dead) as Mr. Darcy, Who Would It Be?”

Since I started in 2019, the most requested men to play Mr. Darcy are Aidan Turner, Henry Cavill, Ben Barnes, and Richard Armitage, and Ben Barnes. Every year I say I am “going to write a letter” to them but never actually do.

However, I finally decided to “write a letter”, four actually, and hope for the best that they read it and respond. You might think that sounds silly, but one thing Austen taught me was to never underestimate the power of a well written letter.

I also decided to use the Magazine Cover cards I was given to by Christina Boyd as I have high hopes that their assistants or agents or whoever reads their mail will actually pass them along as they are so striking.

#1) Aiden Turner c/o CAM 55-59 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6LD, United Kingdom

The first person I wrote to was Aidan Turner. In my letter I wrote that I was a fan of his work and that in my opinion he was the only good thing in The Mortal Instruments. After I gusher a bit I went on to let him know about my Blogiversary queries and that he was one of the most requested actors to play Mr. Darcy. I then pleaded with him to consider being in any future Austen adaptions; or alternatively, I also suggested him dressing up in a Regency-esque outfit and reenacting a scene from Pride and Prejudice for his fans. I don’t know if he will or not but I’ll be keeping an eye out.

For more on Aiden Turner, go to You’re Mother is a Shadowhunter…Like You: The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones (2013)

#2) Henry Cavill c/o CAA 2000 Avenue of the Stars Los Angeles, CA 90067

The next letter I wrote was to Henry Cavill. I’m not really a fan of his as I haven’t actually seen that much of his work. I liked him in Stardust but besides that I’ve only seen him in the Snyder Cut of Justice League, and I think he played the son in the Count of Monte Cristo? So skipped over the usual fawning and went right to the point, stressing how the fans would love to see him in an Austen adaption, especially as Mr. Darcy. And if he wasn’t really interested in either, perhaps he would be willing to do an Austen themed tiktok or Instagram reel? Out of all these men I have the highest hopes for him as he is one who understands the love a fan has for a certain work. But, I guess we will just wait and see.

#3) Ben Barnes c/oWilliam Morris Endeavor Entertainment 9601 Wilshire Blvd. 3rd Floor Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The next person on my list was Ben Barnes, and unlike the other actors, I have only seen Ben Barnes in two films and both were absolutely terrible. The films? Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Now I know a lot of people like this Disney series and I will concede there are quite a few things they did very well, but the character of Prince Caspian was 100% not one of them and the whole plot line of Voyage was not only illogical but just plain horrible. What were they thinking?

As I’m not a fan of his I just went right into letting him know about how he is one of the highest requested actors to be in an Austen production, most commonly suggested to play Mr. Darcy. Like the others, I asked if he would consider any upcoming Jane Austen productions; or alternatively considering dress up in a Regency type outfit and reenact a part of Pride and Prejudice.

#4) Richard Armitage c/o United Artists 12-26 Lexington St, London W1F 0LE, United Kingdom

And lastly, we have Richard Armitage. As I am a fan of his I did a bit of fangirling (just a little) before I laid out the same request as the others. Please consider any upcoming Jane Austen productions; or alternatively consider dressing up in a Regency type outfit and reenact a part of Pride and Prejudice.

For more on Richard Armitage, go to I Want to Understand You: North & South (2004)

I’m hoping at least one will respond to my letters. I’m not expected an actual return letter (although I did tell all of them would definitely be appreciated); I know this is real life not a wattpad/webtoon story; but I’m hoping that I’ll receive a response in social media or possibly an upcoming Jane Austen production. (Fingers crossed!)

But I guess we will just have to wait and see.

If I do receive anything I will be sure to share it with you all. And again, thank you everyone for celebrating with me this past month, and thank you all who have been a part of these past 10 years.

For more letter writing, go to I Wrote Mr. Darcy a Letter

I Watched Austenland (2013) With My 14 Year Old Niece

Today’s my blogiversary!

10 years of celebrating Jane Austen (and a few other things!)

10 Years! I can’t believe it. I wasn’t even sure if I’d still be blogging all these years later when I started; but here I am.

I want to say thank you to all of you who have been a part of my blogging journey these past 10 years! I also want to say a special thank you to some of the people who have been big supporters!

A.M.B, ashwillbiologist, Audra’s Book Blogging, Belle, Bibliophile89, caite92lovelythoughts, Christina Boyd, Christina Morland, Countess Parure, Elaine Howlin, Elsie Wells, JASNA EWANID, Jessica Ware, Karen M. Cox, Joy Thompson, lenoremarie34, Lost Opinions, MadsenCreations, Melody Faris, Middle Hyrule, Modesto Jane Con, Ms. Austen is My Homegirl, Northanger Soapworks, Ophelia, the Pretty Poems, ps_hansen_writes, P. S. I Love Rom Coms Podcast, SewMelissaWrites, Sophia Rose, Susan Joy Clark, Tom Austin, What the Austen, and everyone else who has read, liked, or commented!

And to celebrate, as usual, I decided to watch + review Austenland (2013) with my 14 year old niece.

Two years ago my niece and I watched Sense and Sensibility (1995) in my attempt to brainwash share my love of Jane Austen with my niece.

The post was popular and my niece and I had a lot of fun doing it. We decided to continue the following year, but this time I had her watch Northanger Abbey (2007).

I’m still not sure if this is helping to convert her to liking Jane Austen, but I’m still hoping!

This year I had planned to watch and review Pride and Prejudice (2005) but we only had a few weeks with her and even then we ran out of time. It was the night before she had to leave to return home and I needed a shorter Jane Austen film to watch. I ran through the minutes of the different Jane Austen adaptions and the shortest one is Mansfield Park (2007), but if we watched

that then I might turn her off from Austen altogether.

That’s not good.

So I quickly cast a wider net, and discovered that Austenland is only 97 minutes. Not only does it work best time-wise but it is one of my favorites.

Jane Hayes is a giant Jane Austen fan and decides to get out of the grayness of her life (and love life) and go to Austenland- a Regency inspired getaway where you can pretend to be in an Austen novel, go to a ball, and find you own Mr. Darcy ending. Things however, do not go as planned. She ends up having the cheaper package and getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. She starts to fall for Martin, one of the handymen at the resort, but he ends up dumping her because she is enjoying “their world” too much. (Seriously dude? I’m paying for this vacation-of course I’m going to enjoy it.) Anyways…she decides she is going to take charge of her own story and be the best Austen heroine she can be! Will she get her Mr. Darcy? Will she have the vacation of her dreams? Or will she decide she needs to stop her Jane Austen fascination?

This won’t be a full review as I reviewed it last Sunday, but you can read the full review by clicking here. Instead this will just my niece and mine’s thoughts while watching it. For this I refer to my niece as “G“.

Okay so here we go…

In the beginning of the film we are introduced to our main character, Jane Hayes (Keri Russell). She loves Jane Austen, even wanting to watch Pride and Prejudice (1995) when her boyfriend is trying to get close to her.

G: (Boyfriend tries to kiss Jane) Hahaha. Denied.

Yup, nothing gets between a girl and her Darcy.

Present life isn’t going so well at the moment as her ex-boyfriend hits on her and harasses her.

G: (Ex-boyfriend slaps Jane’s butt) OMG! That loser

Me: I know, right!

Jane decides to take the plunge and go to Austenland.

G: Austenland seems like fun. We should go. Is it real?

Me: No. I wish though. I would have my bags packed in a moment.

Jane makes it to Austenland but finds a few surprises. She does not get be vacation of her dreams

G: Miss Erstwhile? (Makes scrunched “ew” face)…Oooh she has the basic package. Omg! Look at her hair!

Me: I know it is so severe.

Austenland (2013)

We met Elizabeth Charming on the way to Austenland but as we spend more and more time with her she quickly become my niece’s favorite. And how could she not with lines like this

Miss Elizabeth Charming: I sure would like you to turn me upside down in the garden

Miss Elizabeth Charming: Is there something in my eye? (Shoves Mr. Nobley into her breasts)

G: She’s my favorite character.

She also likes Mr. Nobley!!!! Yay!!!

G: [Looking at Mr. Nobley] Isn’t he the guy from that other movie we watched?

Me: Yes, he was Mr. Tilney in Northanger Abbey.

G: He’s cute!

Me: He is indeed!

I am!

As things get worse for Jane she gets lonely and starts to get close to Martin.

G: Uuuuhh! No!

And when they kiss…

G: No!!! What about Mr. Nobley!! Get with Mr. Nobley!!!!

But Martin and Jane are not destined to stay together and a new guy comes in to town, Captain East.

G: He [Captain East] looks like the guy in Criminal Minds.

Me: Shermer Moore?

G: If that’s the guy who plays Derek. Then yeah.

Do you think he looks like Shermer Moore?

Jane is to be sent home for bringing a cell phone but is saved by Miss Amelia Heartwright, another lady at Austenland (and a platinum patron) who takes the fall for her. In return Amelia asks Jane to help her to get with Captain East. Amelia tries to be covert, but just looks silly.

G: [Laughing at Amelia] She runs so funny!

They decide to hold a theatrical and Jane picks Mr. Nobley so that Amelia and East can be together. She and Mr. Nobely have a moment.

Jane Hayes: You’re the resident Mr. Darcy. C’mon you’re every girl’s fantasy.

Mr. Nobley: So I’m your fantasy?

Austenland (2013)

G: Yes.

They do the play and it is terrible. Elizabeth Charming shoots Amelia in the eye, they all “die” terribly, and it is just laughable.

G: [Laughing] Why is Captain East taking off his shirt?!

Jane and Nobely have a romantic moment and she promises him the first dance at the ball. The next night they go to the ball and Nobley confesses his love to her, but she rejects him for Martin.

G: No this can’t be the end! She chose him [Martin] over Nobley?!! The country stable boy and granny hopper?!!

The next day Jane is going to go home when she is stopped at the airport by Martin and Mr. Nobley. She declines both of them and returns home. While back in her apartment she receives a visitor, Mr. Nobley, who traveled all the way from England to bring her, her sketchbook.

G: Gasp!

We then have my favorite scene.

My niece’s final conclusion? She loved it!!!! In fact she was a lot less vocal about this movie than the others as she was so engrossed. I definitely recommend this film for anyone to watch as it is so well done, but it’s also great for people you are trying to introduce to Jane Austen.

For more Austenland, go to Austenland (2013)

For more film and TV adaptions, go to Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more blogiversary posts, go to I Watched Northanger Abbey (2007) with my 13 Year Old Niece

Now what is an anniversary without presents!

The 10th anniversary is tin, aluminum, or diamonds. As usual I look through the past years and try to find some posts that fit that theme. They aren’t my favorite posts, but the first ones I could find that fit the theme.

This year was very hard one, I couldn’t find anything from 2012, but I did manage to find aluminum on the tamale Matt eats in Night of Day of the Dead: Lizzie McGuire (2001) part of Horrorfest II from 2013

For diamonds I have a post on Aladdin in Diamond in the Rough (Day 15 The first Disney film you ever saw) part of the 30 Day Challenge: Disney Edition I did in 2014.

For more diamonds, I have the diamond that horrible Harry stole from his wife to give to his girlfriend in It’s Mrs. Archer. She’s on a Rampage!: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) from Horrorfest IV in 2015.

I purchased a lovely tea tin back in 2016 in My Trip to Teavana (which no longer exists)

There is also Apple pie made in a pie tin in my 2017 Thanksgiving day post, Are Dean Winchester and Jane Austen Kindred Spirits?

They celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in Basil of Baker Street: The Great Mouse Detective (1986) from Horrorfest VII (2018)

In 2019 I Won the Regency Marketplace Giveaway, part of my prize being two Oliver Pluff & Co tea tins: English Breakfast Tea and Jasmine Green Tea.

disney_52_films_desktop_by_classicalguy-d6anuq4

In 2020 I spent a lot of diamonds trying to get to the final conclusion of Desire & Decorum: Chapter 11, The Clock Runs Out Part III

And our final item is the theft of the priceless diamond called “The Moonstone” in A Legendary Jewel Goes Missing, A Country Manor Full Of Secretive People, Which Guest is the Thief?: The Moonstone (2016) part of Horrorfest X + Catherine Morland’s Viewing List

So thank you all for the past 10 years of awesomeness, and here’s to many more!

And a very special thank you to all who follow, comment, like, subscribe, etc. I wish I could mention you all by name, but even though I can’t, as it would be a really long list, just know I appreciate you all!!

Austenland (2013)

So I’m sure you are wondering, a review of Austenland? What about Netflix’s Persuasion? Aren’t I going to review that like everyone else?

Yes, eventually. Until I actually post a full length review go to my Twitter page and you can read my live tweet.

I’m instead reviewing Austenland as my yearly tradition (since my niece turned 12), is to watch a Jane Austen adaptation with her and post her review for my Blogiversary. This year we watched Austenland and I need to get my review out before I can post her thoughts.

Austenland the book was published in 2007. I had always been a big fan of Shannon Hale, (I LOVE Book of a Thousand Days), but as I didn’t become a Jane Austen fan until after I was sixteen I read the book a few years after it came out. The book is about a girl, Jane Hayes, who is obsessed with Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice (particularly the 1995 version) who is given the trip of a lifetime by her deceased aunt: a three week vacation in England’s very own Austenland. There she interacts with other Austenites, some Regency men, and tries to get the Austen ending she desires.

While I enjoy the book, Jane’s character did annoy me at times as she not only thinks every guy she has ever been with is her “boyfriend” (even when they haven’t even dated but just talked to them), she also blames Jane Austen for all her bad relationships instead of actually taking responsibility for her bad decisions.

The sequel came out five years later, Midnight in Austenland, and by this time I was a hardcore Jane Austen fan and immediately read it. I fell in love with it and thought it was amazing! This book follows Charlotte Kinder, recently divorced mother who is looking for a way to treat/distract herself. She goes to Austenland and tries to get her Austen ever after, but instead has a little Agatha Christie thrown in.

I love it

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

FangirledWhenSeeingPreview

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

I'mwaitingPrincessBride

I rented it as soon as it was out, watched it, and adored it from beginning to end! I thought it was soooo well done.

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Austenland the film follows Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) who has been unlucky in love. She finally decides to take her dream vacation, to Austenland, and go after her happily ever after! But things don’t go exactly as planned. When she gets to the resort she discovers her extremely expensive trip was the basic package and is treated poorly by the proprietress Mrs. Wattlesbrook (Jane Seymour) and given dreary clothes and the smallest room. Determined to have fun, she tries her best but finds herself left out as the kind and hilarious Miss Elizabeth Charming (played by the wonderful comedian Jennifer Coolidge) is matched with Colonel Andrews (James Callis) and Miss Amelia Heartwright (Georgia King) has Mr. Nobley (JJ Feild). Jane feeing lonely, mistreated, and all out disappointed with her dream vacation turns to Martin (Bret Mackenzie), the gardener/stable boy/Jack of all trades/etc. The two spend as much time together as possible until they have a fight and Jane is back to square one. At this point Jane is determined to no longer be on the side but go after the main character storyline. She and Miss Charming raid Miss Heartwright’s room for nicer gowns and redo her hair. She also sets her sights on newly arrived Captain East (Ricky Whittle).

However, she finds herself spending more time with Mr. Nobley, having been forced to choose him as a partner in the theatrical. Will Jane get her happily ever after Jane Austen ending? Or will her dreams be crushed by reality?

I LOVE THIS MOVIE! I highly recommend it to any Jane Austen fan as it has everything you could want and all the things you would expect from Jane Austen’s books. There is drama, comedy, heartbreak, love, a secret connection, reveals, and a truly romantic scene that I could watch over and over again.

Script:

There were a lot of changes made to the script from the original novel and they also used some aspects of the sequel in writing this and I am 100% okay with all those decisions. Everything they did made the film better.

Set:

The set was gorgeous! After reading the book I desperately wanted to go to Austenland and watching this, it’s perfect. A gorgeous house, beautiful grounds I would love to roam through, wildflowers to throw yourself in, a gorgeous area for teatime, etc. I absolutely love it!

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Costumes

Austenland (2013)

Absolutely gorgeous and ones that make you want them. They did such a great job giving Jane plain and dowdy outfits for the beginning, and then absolutely drop dread gorgeous ones when she steals Amelia’s. (And yes Amelia does notice, although it takes a while).

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Music

The music is phenomenal and there were quite a few written just for it by Emmy the Great. I plan to one day do a post just on that. Most of the songs I used when I had my birthday party last year, and almost all are available on Amazon Music.

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On to the acting! This has a small cast, but they do absolutely wonderful with the production.

Rupert Vansittart as Mr. Wattlesbrook

Mr. Wattlesbrook is a small role but his character is one that you hate as he is drunk, leecherous, and attacks Jane. Vansittart did a great job making you hate him from shot one, although it wasn’t too difficult for him as he played a similar character in Pride and Prejudice (1995) as Mr. Hurst (Mr. Bingley’s brother-in-law).

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Jane Seymour as Mrs. Wattlesbrook

Mrs. Wattlesbrook is our villain of the story and Seymour does a wonderful job being rude, demoralizing, and the perfect perpetrator of the cruel treatment she gives to Jane. You absolutely love to hate her.

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Ricky Whittle as Captain East

Captain East had a few changes from the book. He still is a lower class man who was engaged to Amelia Heartwright, engagement broken off as her family wouldn’t allow it, and has come back a Captain with money. However, in this he is also a soap opera star and a guy who always finds a reason to take off his shirt and show off his muscles. He is hilarious, sweet, and a lovable character. Whittle was perfect at bringing charm and hilarity to the role and giving him a golden retriever like charm.

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Georgia King as Lady Amelia Heartwright

Lady Amelia Heartwright arrives on the scene and becomes Jane’s rival as they appear to both be after the same men. In the original book they were friends, while in the film Lady Amelia is the Caroline Bingley. Georgia King is perfect in making you dislike her and laugh at her little eccentricities as she tries so hard to be Regency. Georgia King clearly has read or watched Pride and Prejudice as she knew exactly who she needed to be and what she needed to do.

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James Callis as Colonel Andrews

Colonel Andrews is the one who has been at Austenland the longest, and as you watch you can see it as he lives this Austenland experience. Callis was an excellent choice as he is able to match Jennifer Coolidge/Miss Amelia Heartwright energy and verve; which is not an easy task. As Coolidge made up most of her own lines Callis was able to keep his all alongside her.

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Bret McKenzie as Martin

McKenzie is perfect as the disingenuous, smarmy Martin. He’s so fake and false with Jane that it’s obvious to the viewer, but perfectly for the lonely, left out, naïve, and sweet Jane. He’s not the main villain, but plays his side villain perfectly. Even when he knows he’s not going to win, he tries to destroy any chance of a rival competition having happiness.

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Jennifer Coolidge as Miss Elizabeth Charming

Jennifer Coolidge was an excellent choice for Miss Elizabeth Charming as she was able to elevate the character and make her one you adored and admired. As most of Jennifer Coolidge’s lines were made up on the spot, it makes it even better as each one is hilarious. The character of Miss Charming is one that knows zero about the Regency era but has money and wants this wonderful experience with handsome men-making everything about her perfect as her odd remarks show she never fully submerges into this world.

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JJ Feild as Mr. Henry Nobley

Feild was a perfect casting for Nobley. Nobley needs to be the “resident” Darcy but appear to have more to him than meets the eye; something we discover at the end of the film. At first we are supposed to dislike him,As Jane does, but with every shot fall in love with him more and more. Feild has experience in being in the Austen’s world, Northanger Abbey (2007), and was just perfect. I don’t know how else to describe him, he was ultimate perfection and makes every one who watches him want their own Mr. Nobley. Just absolute perfection!

For more JJ Feild, go to Stolen Lover Leads to Murder: Death on the Nile (2004)
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Keri Russell as Jane Hayes/Miss Jane Erstwhile

Jane Hayes is not an easy character, she needs to be kind, caring, sweet, naive, a romantic, etc but someone that we the viewer can relate to and root for. Keri Russell is a great actress and relatability is something she does extremely well in everything she has been in. Just perfect casting as well.

Did you know Keri Russell is actually married to Mr. Darcy? Not only did she get to live out our Austenland fantasies, but is married to Matthew Rhys, Mr. Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberley.

For more Keri Russell, go to You Are My Fantasy: Austenland (2013)

Ending conclusion:

I love this film. I just love it so much. The writing is amazing, the actors and actresses. I could watch it over and over again.

For more Austenland (2013), go to You Are My Fantasy: Austenland (2013)

For more Austenland, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more Jane Austen film adaptions, go to Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)