An Affectionate Heart

An Affectionate Heart by Heather Moll

I was given this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Are any of you Community fans? Community is about a former lawyer, Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), who faked his degree, and has to go back to community college in order to get a real one. He creates a fake Spanish Study Group to try and get with a girl, but ends up having all these others join them and eventually they all become friends and have a lot of crazy adventures together.

In one episode, two of the friends are having a housewarming party and when the pizza arrives Jeff, not wanting to fetch the pizza, has them throw a dice in the air to see who must go downstairs and retrieve it. This introduces multiple timelines with one of them being the darkest timeline.

So what does that have to do with this book? It starts off in the darkest timeline of Pride and Prejudice.

Our story begins sadly. Jane never met or married Mr. Bingley. Instead she married the gentleman who wrote her a few lines of poetry when she was 15.

“When she [Jane Bennet] was only fifteen, there was a gentleman at my brother Gardiner’s in town so much in love with her, that my sister-in-law was sure he would make her an offer before we came away. But, however, he did not. Perhaps he thought her too young. However, he wrote some verses on her, and very pretty they were.”

Pride and Prejudice

While this man, Mr. Cuthbert, isn’t horrible, he also doesn’t value his wife as much as Bingley did. The two live in London with four sons and an awful mother-in-law.

Mr. Bennet died of a heart attack two years prior, which caused Mr. Collins to never take orders (become a minister) and he inherited all of Longbourn. At the time he visited Elizabeth was supporting Jane during one of her pregnancies so Mr. Collins married Mary, leaving Charlotte unmarried and no prospect in sight.

Now that Mary is mistress of Longbourn she has become very self important, tyrannical, and uses her position to control her remaining family members: Mrs. Bennet, Elizabeth, and Lydia (Kitty is married and lives in Portsmouth).

When Mary turns evil

Elizabeth is not as strong or as fierce as she used to be as grief and circumstances have caused her to fold in on herself. She also is having problems with her heart, and is secretly afraid that she has inherited her father’s heart condition. She also feels unsettled as she is forced to move from Longbourn to London, not really having her own home; along with having to kowtow to the Collinses.

Mr. Bingley has not rented Netherfield but its gatehouse is where Mr. Darcy and Georgiana reside. It turns out that when Georgiana was seduced by Mr. Wickham, she became pregnant. Mr. Darcy decided to lie to family and friends saying they are vacationing in the warmer climate of Spain, while planning to hide out in Meryton until after the baby was born. Unfortunately, Georgiana suffered from a miscarriage and is currently extremely ill with tuberculosis.

To make this even harder on the Darcy’s, with Georgiana hardly going out due to her poor health and Mr. Darcy keeping his true net worth hidden and also not partaking in society; horrible rumors about the two abound in the community.

But while the beginning is a tad grim, let me assure you it does contain a happy ending. I have to admit when I first started this novel I was unsure where it would go as this opening was most unexpected. However, at the same time I was also extremely intrigued as to see what all these threads would produce.

Elizabeth has just returned from visiting Jane when she hears about the latest news of Mr. Darcy moving to town and is warned by Mr. Collins and Mary to steer clear of them. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have a horrible interaction at the apothecary, when Mr. Darcy, eager for medicine to aid his sister, rudely interrupts Elizabeth’s conversation. While Elizabeth doesn’t believe all the stories circling Darcy, she has decided he is an extremely rude man she would like nothing to do with.

Later at a party thrown by Sir William Lucas, Elizabeth spots Mr. Darcy and it appears that he is listening to her stories of London, strangely seeming interested in topics that wouldn’t typically suit a man. She manages to question him later about his interest in her tales of London and he reveals he is picking up tidbits to share with his sister, who’s health keeps her from anything.

Mr. Darcy also witnesses Elizabeth in heart pain, but after her pleas he agrees to not to reveal her illness to anyone.

That evening Mr. Darcy sees his sickly sister pleased at the crumbs of conversation he managed to solicit and decides to join up with Colonel Fitzwilliam (the only one who knows of their ruse), to try and hunt Mr. Wickham down. Meanwhile, Elizabeth has been thinking about Georgiana and how lonely she must be, just like Elizabeth. While Darcy comes to his decision to go after Wickham, Elizabeth is determined to befriend Georgiana.

The two immediately develop a friendship, with Georgiana revealing the true story of why they are in Longbourn. When Mr. Darcy returns (having not located Mr. Wickham), he at first clashes with Elizabeth; him not wanting charity, suspicious she might be hunting for information to ruin his sister’s reputation, and worried that these visits are doing more harm than good. Elizabeth returns somewhat to her old self as she sees him as controlling, rude, and is not afraid to speak her mind on it. Eventually, for the sake of Georgiana, the two make a truce and often enjoy debating or discussing issues.

While Elizabeth enjoys her time with the Darcys, she continues to be unhappy in her life and her heart pains appear to be increasing. She finally comes to the decision to consult the apothecary Mr. Jones, but he is unfortunately called away to care for his sick son before he can give her a prognosis. He promises to write and when a letter does come to the apothecary shop Elizabeth, embarrassed to speak to the assistant, purloins the letter and discovers that she only has a few months to live.

At first distraught over the fact that her life is ending, she then decides she will do whatever she can to ensure her remaining days are how she wants to spend them. She approaches Mr. Darcy and asks for his hand in marriage, not out of love but so that she can care for Georgiana, have her own life, and be buried with dignity rather than pity.

Mr. Darcy is shocked at how brazen Elizabeth is but after she reveals her reasons, and he spends time with her family-he can’t help but feel sorry for her and agrees. For him; his sister will be happy for her remaining time, Elizabeth will have a much happier place to live, he only has to care for her a few months (and she is beautiful and enjoyable to be around), and can use his widower status to keep his Aunt Catherine or any other ladies at bay (“I cannot remarry as my heart is “broken”). The two enter one of my favorite tropes, a marriage of convenience, and of course they eventually fall for each other.

But this path is full of obstacles. As the two grow closer and fall for each other, will Elizabeth continue to feel the same way when she discovers Mr. Darcy is not a poor gentleman but has kept his lineage and estate hidden from her? Will the two be able to swallow their pride and compromise to create a true marriage? And will their love even matter when Elizabeth’s days are numbered?!

My thoughts on this book? I LOVED it.

I knew how it would end and figured out the reveal of a plot twist immediately when it was introduced, but honestly that doesn’t matter. From page one I was sucked in and stayed up all night finishing it.

I can’t put the book down

This book made me laugh, I cried, I went through every emotion and enjoyed every page.

I also think Moll touched really well on complicated grief and the guilt and blame that can come when a sadness of a death is mixed up in a hatred toward life’s circumstances. I used to work with grieving families and children and the scene when Mr. Darcy is trying to cope and work through his inner torment at the death of his sister and nephew is extremely well written.

I really enjoy the slow burn of a romance, and I savored watching the romance progress from civility to passion.

I also liked the way Moll wrote the supporting characters, especially the relationship between Lydia, Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth. In this Lydia is still constantly thinking of getting married, clothes, and still a bit of a narcissist; but as being the only other unmarried sister and stuck under the care of Mr. Collins she and her sister have bonded closer together. We also see that while Lydia is concerned for her welfare first and foremost she loves her sister and wants to help her in the way she best can.

I highly recommend this for fans of Austen variations as I throughly enjoyed it and will definitely be reading it again.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Charlotte’s Story

For more Pride and Prejudice adaptations, go to Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Is You’ve Got Mail Really an Adaption of Pride and Prejudice?

Charlotte’s Story

Charlotte’s Story: A Novel from the World of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

by Carolyn Korsmeyer

I was on Instagram when I came across a post by Heather Moll, in which she was looking for Jane Austen fans to read an ARC of her newest book. I of course am always looking for new things to read (even though my to-read list is crazy long) and reached out to her.

We discussed when she would like the review posted, but after we messaged each other something kept niggling in the back of my mind, I had forgotten something? But what?

After I received Moll’s ARC it suddenly hit me! Back in December, Wiley Saichek had reached out to me to review Carolyn Korsmeyer new book Charlotte’s Story. With him emailing me at the beginning of the holiday season it had completely slipped my mind.

From Clueless

Feeling all kinds of horrible for promising to review the novel and having not done it, I decided before I could check out Moll’s work I needed to read and review this immediately.

When I first read the premise of the the novel, I was intrigued as I have always liked the character Charlotte Lucas and I do not feel she gets enough appreciation. She is often seen as the “what not to do” character, but for a woman with limited options she was cunning and wily. She may not have married for love, but she also didn’t have a disastrous marriage like in The Buccaneers. While she married a man that isn’t passionate, she was for it ate to marry one who wouldn’t hurt her, abuse her, or cheat on her. And while he is silly and bumbling, Charlotte could have had it much worse.

For those of you who have never read or watched Pride and Prejudice, or may not know the character of Charlotte Lucas I will give a brief summary. The story of Pride and Prejudice revolves around the Bennet family, a large family consisting of five daughters living on an estate that is entailed (can only be inherited by a male relative). Mr. and Mrs. Bennet always believed they would have a boy and didn’t plan for an outcome of only girls nor have they been very prudent with their money. Mrs. Bennet is eager to marry all her children off ASAP, as when Mr. Bennet dies they will have a very different lifestyle and it will be harder to find them suitors. Two men come into the neighborhood, along with English officers and a distant cousin who will inherit when Mr. Bennet passes. Mrs. Bennet tried to ensnare marriage proposals but things do not go as planned. There is comedy, drama, and more!

Charlotte Lucas is the best friend of Elizabeth Bennet (second eldest Bennet daughter), and when Elizabeth rejects their distant cousin, Mr. Collins’, marriage proposal Charlotte swoops in. She invites Mr. Collins to move into Lucas Lodge and ends up engaged to him! After their marriage Charlotte moves to Hunsford, to Mr. Collins’ parish. When Elizabeth, Maria Lucas (Charlotte’s sister) and Sir William (Charlotte’s father) visit the Collinses, they are invited to dine with Lady Cathrine de Bourgh who not only is Mr. Collins’ patroness but also Mr. Darcy’s aunt; Mr. Darcy being one of the gentlemen who Mrs. Bennet was originally trying to snare and one that Elizabeth can’t stand.

After this vacation, Elizabeth returns home and we do not hear of Charlotte until the end of Pride and Prejudice. So there is a lot of wiggle room to create a “new” story.

This novel starts off with Elizabeth’s rejection and Charlotte deciding to net Mr. Collins. The two are quickly wed and then go to his home. Charlotte begins busying herself with taking everything into hand (as a bachelor does not always keep the best house). She tries to start a friendship with Lady Catherine’s daughter, Anne, but finds it difficult as Anne has a low constitution and a bulldog of a companion.

Charlotte finds it lonely in her new life, missing her friends and family and is also sad not to be pregnant as soon as she wishes. She also finds herself regretting aspects of her marriage, such as the fact that she was not wooed, won, or worked for. It reminds me of Milly in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and how her husband did not understand the value of his wife as she was won “without effort”. Charlotte also realizes that in her quest for marriage, home, stability, etc.-she never really thought about what type of man she should be looking for.

Hmm…?

When Elizabeth and Maria arrive, Charlotte becomes the viewer watching the scenes unfold, being told later by Elizabeth what has happened-from Darcy rejected proposal to Darcy’s secret.

In this adaptation Darcy and Anne are close cousins, although he has no desire to marry her. It was nice to see it as in Austen’s original piece all is told from Elizabeth’s point of reference (colored by her dislike of Mr. Darcy and Lady Catherine). From Charlotte’s point of view Anne is very nice, although naive, and the two eventually become friends.

The relationship between the Collinses become fractured when Charlotte falls extremely ill and while appreciative of the care Mr. Collins gave Charlotte is furious that Mr. Collins never contacted her family about it. Mr. Collins apologizes and shares about his childhood and that his parents never planned for children, his mother died in childbirth, and he has no familial bonds with anyone. It never occurred to him to notify her family. Charlotte forgives him, but everything splinters over the Lydia/Wickham and Elizabeth/Darcy situation. Mr. Collins wants to distance himself from his family (and rebuke them for their actions); while Charlotte wants to support her friends. After the dust has settled, and a quick visit to Hertfordshire, with no children on the horizon Mr. Collins sends Charlotte to Bath to partake in the waters. She journies with Mrs. Bennet, Mrs. Norris (Mrs. Bennet’s sister), Maria, Kitty, and Mary. Anne and her nurse/companion Mrs. Jenkins also plan to meet them there.

In Bath, Charlotte partakes of the water and again becomes a spectator into the lives of her party. Kitty, Maria, and Mary enjoy concerts, balls, parties, and young suitors. Anne is thrilled with being free from her mother and finds her own suitor, also being followed closely by Colonel Fitzwilliam. *Wink, wink*.

Colonel Fitzwilliam

Eventually their time in Bath ends and they all must return home, Mary joining the Collinses-and with one more twist in life’s plans will Charlotte eventually finds happiness or just sorrow?

So what did I think of the book? I thought Korsmeyer did a great job at trying to mimic Jane Austen’s style and stay true to the novel while putting her own spin on it. The only part of the book I really disliked was that several times Charlotte was moved to observer instead of an active member of the story. For a book that is supposed to be about her, at times I felt she felt became part of the scenery instead of staying the main player.

Korsmeyer does take liberties with creating her own story and some changes to the characters will not appeal to everyone. While I don’t agree with her depiction of some of the characters I did not feel that she did anything that was too contrary to the character’s “possibilities”. One example is the character change of Mary Bennet, who people seem to disagree with the most. In this version, Mary is taken to Bath and after she receives positive attention from her mother (and young men) with a new style of dress and a different way of acting; she embraces a new personality. For someone who is often only tolerated, left out, and the source of jokes in her family, I could see that with this change to actually being wanted, Mary would try to do whatever she could to keep it. Such as, completely changing her personality and making decisions she previously would not do. After all, I have known people in my life who have behaved like that. It might not be the route I would have taken, but I do not feel it is out of the realm of possibilities for the Austen character.

Parody of the none for Gretchen Weiners meme

Reading this book there were two points Korsmeyer made that I found extremely fascinating. The first is that Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy are the same amount of socially awkward, but in different areas on the spectrum. While Mr. Collins covers his insecurities with a constant stream of words, Mr. Darcy covers his with silence and scowls.

“At one point, I had the oddest impression that in their own ways each man [Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy] was evincing his discomfort with company. How very strange to speculate that my garrulous husband and this stern statue might both be simply ill at ease in society.

Charlotte’s Story: A Novel from the World of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Carolyn Korsmeyer

It is a fair comparison to make as we see Mr. Darcy react different when in company he knows/likes-however in the original novel we never see how Mr. Collins reacts when he is at home just with Charlotte.

The other point I found really thought provoking was when Mr. Collins discusses his childhood. In this adaptation, Mr. Collins’ mother died in childbirth, his father hated/blamed him + ignored him, and Me. Collins spent his whole life trying to get people to like him. Then one day he meets Lady Catherine who actually listens to what he says and enjoys his company. If this backstory were the case then in a way Lady Catherine has filled that vacant “parental” slot in Mr. Collins’ life. He now has someone who will “rear” him, give him advice, financially care for him (she’s his patron), etc. And not only does he have a “parent” in his life, but has gained “family” with Lady Catherine’s family. Just to be clear I’m not saying that Mr. Collins actually believes the de Bourgh family and relations to be his family, I’m saying that subconsciously he’s adopted them and believes they feel the same about him. Also if he never really had family growing up it would explain why he has no idea how to act with the Bennets, talking to them like he read a book on how to converse with one’s relations. But again, this is all supposition.

I found Korsmeyer to be a talented writer who is able to write a story that can hold your interest. This book will not be for everyone but I do believe that if you enjoy Pride and Prejudice adaptations it is well worth a read to see a different view into the Collinses and a deepening of characters that are often at the back of the action. Besides having more Charlotte, I really enjoyed the fleshing out of Anne de Bourgh, Maria Lucas, Kitty Bennet, Mary Bennet, and Colonel Fitzwilliam. Whether or not you agree with everything in the story, I still think most will enjoy the stroll down a “what if” path in the Jane Austen universe.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more Pride and Prejudice adaptations, go to Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?

For more on Charlotte Lucas, go to Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Is You’ve Got Mail Really an Adaption of Pride and Prejudice?

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 13, A Better Place

So it has been a while since I last reviewed one of these chapters from the Choices videogame. Originally I was just playing the game but as I could do that faster than I could review, I ended up deciding to not play another chapter until I finished reviewing what I already had played. Of course things came up and I got distracted by other things on my list to write/review/etc-so now I am getting to Chapter 13 of Book 1, while I think Pixelberry has already created book three or four of this video game.

Anyway, quick backstory since it has been so long. This game is storybook based where you have a story that progresses a certain way, but at times you get to make a choice as to what to do, say, who to fall in love with, etc. Some choices require you to spend diamonds to play, which you can earn every time you play a chapter or purchase from their store. Some “books” have different side quests, like in this one you want to become an accomplished woman and certain choices allow you to gain items.

It’s really fun as you have the power to decide what path the story takes.

This game is set in the Regency time period, and of course is catered toward Jane Austen fans. In this game you are the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Edgewater, something you discovered on your mother’s deathbed. You met your father and he accepted you and has decided to make you his legal heir, as your half-brother passed away.

You also have an evil stepmother and conniving stepbrother, Mr. Marcastle, who has a dim fiancé, Miss Sutton. They are all plotting against you.

And a lot has happened since the beginning of the book: you have held a garden party (which you rocked), you are currently having a London season, you went to Mr. Sinclaire’s house (a suitor I am all about)-who has a sad Rebeccaesque backstory and he gifted you a book, you visited the Opera St. James where your mother used to preform, went to see an Opera and were stuck with the Duke who is a horrible jerk, took a walk in the rain with Mr. Sinclaire, learned to paint, helped your friend refuse a gross geezer, found out the truth about Mr. Sinclaire’s wife and the Duke, and was able to meet up with your father one last time before he died. On his deathbed you receive one last giant twist: it turns out that your parents were married before you were born! You’re not but yet still are illegitimate.

Now here is where the story isn’t tracking true to actual history. In the game your parents were married and then had an annulment making you illegitimate. But I did some research and it turns out that:

“any children of an annulled marriage become bastards (who cannot inherit or be declared legitimate at the whim of the peer) and likewise outcasts of society.”

KRISTEN KOSTNER, “A PRIMER ON REGENCY DIVORCE AND ANNULMENTS,” KRISTEN KOSTNER (BLOG), ENTRY POSTED OCTOBER 11, 2018, ACCESSED JULY 22, 2021,

So this next conflict of this game is to try and inherit the estate is not something that is possible, unless I can prove that the annulment never legally took place and my stepmother’s marriage is invalid. I don’t know if the game’s creator’s did any proper research, but let’s see what happens next in the game at the funeral.

You start this chapter off with your grandmother the two of you consoling each other over the loss of your father and her son. But even though Grandmother is sad, she is also still as conniving and concerned about the estate as ever. She eagerly wants me to harpoon the Duke (who we don’t like since he tried to attack me) in order to have a better hold on the estate. I’d much rather have the Mr. Darcy/Maxim de Winter-esque character, Mr. Sinclaire.

Grandmother also warns me not to make a scene at the funeral, and I’ve played enough of these choices game to know that is 100% what my character will do later on-no matter how much I don’t want to.

Oh well…

You have the option to purchase a black gown to wear to the funeral or wear something else that you already have in your closet, and this kind of option is one I hate. I understand the game wants to make money off, but sometimes it makes no sense to have them purchase an item and not provide one. It’s a funeral! But whatever. I of course know that it would be clearly uncouth of me not to wear black, so I purchased it.

The time of the funeral has come and we go to church to have it. Your stepmother and stepbrother both refuse to allow you to seat with them. This I also don’t understand, why not just sit with your grandmother? Instead you have the two options of making a little scene or making a much larger one.

I of course chose the more respectful of the two options, the smaller scene-but either way a scene is made and I know grandma will not be happy.

Mr. Sinclaire, a good friend of my father’s and his closest neighbor, also comes to the funeral and pays his respects to me. The two of us have grown closer together but is it enough for a proposal? I feel like when I play Marrying Mr. Darcy, just because you are able to get proposed to you still have a final gamble/roll to take.

The service is beautiful, and Mr. Sinclaire is happy to hear that my father approved of him asking for my hand in marriage. (Things are looking good).

At the end of the service we all say our final goodbyes and the writers wrote this chapter so prettily. These words are so sad and full of emotions, you can feel the pain and sorrow there.

Afterwards is a reception in which you see Mr. Harper the horseman. He wants to pay his respects but you stepmother is a cruel woman and won’t allow him to. You also speak to the other guests and your stepbrother, realizing that your stepbrother had deep feelings for your father. Could Mr. Marcastle actually have a heart?

Hmm…

Even though I try not to Mr. Marcastle and I make a scene. Oops! It looks like one of thede writers just wants all the drama!

You also run into your best friend Miss Parson, your new friend Miss Sutton (fiancé to Mr. Marcastle but she values your friendship more), and Prince Hamid. All are here for you to support and encourage you during this rough time. Each offers you a diamond choice to do something with them.

You also into Mr. Sinclaire again and he offers to show you his home, Ledford Park, if you are in need of a respite. Now I know this isn’t what one should do in Regency Times (Marianne Dashwood had taught me that), but I’m really curious about his home and I have enough diamonds to purchase the option that I agree.

You go to his home and it is beautiful, very much like Pemberley. The two of you walk the grounds and talk. As Mr. Sinclaire also lost his father, he understands the pain you are going through. Mr. Sinclaire shares about his father and all he says makes him sound even more like Mr. Darcy.

He shares with you a cute story about how his mother would have him throw a coin in a fountain and make a wish when he was sad, this always giving him hope. You decide to try it out, being all cute and romantic together. Aw!

The two of you just sit for a while and Mr. Sinclaire promises to help you in any way he can. Not a proposal, but his friendship is very important and you are a step closer.

How sweet!

The next day you discover that your stepmother is trying to keep you from gaining your inheritance by saying you are not your father’s child and that your father was mentally incompetent. But you have letters to prove it, your grandmother knows that it is true, and it doesn’t matter if he was mentally incompetent. I’m not an expert in Regency law but trying to get him to be declared incompetent seems like a weird route to take. Plus we already know that one wouldn’t want to have their family branded as crazy.

Plus Henrietta is all “I’m the widow” people will feel sorry for me-but that doesn’t means nothing. History is full of women who were given the shaft. Taking a cue from Sense and Sensibility, the only thing that is important is to who will get the money. And as of right now that is my character.

We end the chapter with me being trapped in my room. (Someone watched Cinderella.) Again, this is a pretty dumb move as the Dowager Countess, my grandma, is there and will know something is up. She’s very smart and not about to let her son’s last wishes go unhonored. She will be gunning for the Countess I’m sure.

For more Desire and Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 12, In Sickness and In Health

For more on Choices, go to When Trouble Strikes, Head to the Library: 13 More of the Best Fictional Libraries

When Trouble Strikes, Head to the Library: 13 More of the Best Fictional Libraries

So if you’ve been following me, you are aware of my love of libraries.

A few years ago I did a post on 13 of my favorite fictional libraries from TV, film, and books. I really enjoyed doing it as I said before, I love libraries!

But then I started noticing more and more fictional libraries and of course had to do a second post on 13 more amazing fictional libraries.

Which brings us to today and another 13 of the best fictional libraries.

13) Gary’s Library from SpongeBob SquarePants “Sleepy Time Episode”

SpongeBob is dreaming about driving when Mrs. Puff takes away his license and he finds himself ejected from his dream. SpongeBob sees his sleeping form, but decides to not renter his mind but instead visit all his friend’s dreams with all the usual SpongeBob shenanigans.

Why the library is awesome!: When SpongeBob enters Gary’s dream he finds Gary in an enormous library. I don’t know what kind of books a snail would read but this dream library of Gary’s is highly impressive. It brings to mind the Dream Library in the The Sandman Chronicles. It definitely would have some interesting works.

For more on SpongeBob SquarePants, go to The Hash-Slinging Slasher: Graveyard Shift, Spongebob Squarepants (2002)

12) University Library in An Extremely Goofy Movie

Goofy loses his son (to college) and his job all within the same timeframe. He know needs to finish his degree in order to find a new career and decides to go to the same university as his son. There he gets involved in extreme sports (it was the ’90s everything was xtreme), and more. Can he survive the school year? Or will he make a goof of this as well.

Why the library is awesome!: While this library is an average college library, the librarian makes this seem like a fun place to be as she is really “groovy”. Plus, Goofy has probably made more than one mess that staff had to clean up so you know everything is where it should be as it has just been reshelved.

11) Milderhurst Castle Library in The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

In The Distant Hours, a mother and daughter are brought together over a long awaited letter. Edie has always been obsessed with the Gothic novel The Mud Man, and when she is driving out to speak to an author in Kent, she passes Milderhurst Castle, where the author of The Mud Man used to reside. It turns out that Edie has a deeper connection to The Mud Man as she discovers her mother used to reside their during WWII. Edie is asked to write a biography on the family, and while in this Poe-vain gothic house she discovers secrets of The Mud Man and her family.

Why the library is awesome!: This library is extremely old and no longer well taken care of, but it still sounds amazing and I can imagine it was incredible when the family took care of it.

“Shelves spanned all four walls, floor to ceiling…they were lined with very old books, the sort with marbled endpapers, gold-dipped edges, and black cloth binding.

It sounds like it used to be a wonderful place to spend your days.

For more on The Distant Hours, go Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Distant Hours

10) The Abbey of Saint Anne de Beaupré Library in Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

In Outlander, Claire has recently reunited with her husband Frank Randall after being separated during WWII. The two decide to celebrate with a honeymoon to Scotland, where Frank’s ancestors spent some considerable time. Frank gives all his attention to researching his family tree and Claire finds other ways to occupy her time. She decides to visit this magical henge to get a closer look at some flowers growing there (she’s an amateur botanist) and finds herself transported to mid-18th century Scotland. She is luckily picked up by some friendly Scots, one of which is the amazing Jamie Fraser, and tries to find a way to survive the past long enough to come back to the future.

Why the library is awesome!: One of my favorite parts of this book is when they visit the Monks, as even though a lot of terrible things have happened for them to go there, the Monks are some of the most well written characters in the novel. Jamie is horribly traumatized and injured after being locked in prison and they go to the monastery for physical, emotional, and soul healing. There Claire finds herself at a loss of what to do and spends a lot of time in the beautiful Abbey library. Monks had some of the best and most oldest/amazing books in all history. This one is sure to have countless treasures.

For more Outlander, go to Blueberry Yogurt Oat Scones

9) The Winds Abbey Library in The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan

Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melbourn are thieves for hire. One day they are hired to steal a sword, and when they go to retrieve it; they find themselves as scapegoats for the the murder of the King! Alric, the soon to be crowned king, locks them up, and the two are sentenced to be executed. Unbeknownst to Alric, his sister Arista (sorcerer in training), frees them and hires them to take her brother and free a long ago imprisoned wizard. They set out on the quest, along with attempting to discover who is behind this plot to destroy the kingdom.

Why the library is awesome!: At this point in the book the Abbey has been destroyed but Myron, the librarian and monk, describes what was a cheery and lovely place full of books. While this part of the book is very sad, Myron later helps recreate the library to be exactly how it was before and rewrites all the books, scrolls, maps, etc from memory (it’s photographic). I rank this higher than the other monk’s library as while even though this one was destroyed (and later recreated), Myron the Librarian is such a delight that I would rather spend my time here a little bit more than the one in Outlander, although by a very small margin.

For more on The Crown Conspiracy, go to A Quest of Swords and Wizards: The Crown Conspiracy

8) Gyeoroo Publishing Company Library from Romance is a Bonus Book

Kang Dan-i and Cha Eun-ho have been friends since they were little. Once Dan-i was a powerhouse in the corporate world, but left her job to focus on family when she married. Now divorced, Dan-i is really struggling to reenter the workforce and finds it hard with her high qualifications and large absence to find anyone to hire her. She ends up lying on her resume to get an entry level position at Gyeoroo Publishing Company, the business that Eun-ho owns part of. Eun-ho has been in love with Dan-i since he was a child and agrees to keep her secret, while at the same time trying to have her see him as more than just a friend.

Why the library is awesome!: So the actual face of the building used for the publishing company is a real library which makes this even cooler. In the series the publishing company has a massive library with both work related items; along with all the works the company has published. When I watched this I so wanted to work there, spend time in that library, and I fell for the other head of the company; a sweet widower with kids-just my type.

7) Mr. Bennet’s Library in Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is about a mother, Mrs. Bennet, wanting to marry off her daughters as quickly as possible, as with their father’s death they will have very little. Two men move to their community that Mrs. Bennet is intent on harpooning, no matter what. One, Mr. Bingley, falls for the elder daughter, Jane, while the other man, Mr. Darcy, is overheard insulting the second daughter, Elizabeth, by Elizabeth herself. (Ouch!) Elizabeth is wounded and when she hears a tale about how horrible Mr. Darcy is from a handsome charming man, she readily believes it. She later discovers there is more to both these men than meets the eye; as the story deals with the concepts of pride and prejudice, first impressions, whether you should be overt in how you feel or play it close to the heart, etc.

Why the library is awesome!: I don’t rank this library higher even though I’m sure it is a really nice library, as Mr. Bennet isn’t one to share his space with anyone else or allow someone other than him to spend great amounts of time there. This library looks cozy and a great place to your day, something that I know Mr. Bennet does. And as often as he is in his library, hiding out, I’m sure it is the most comfortable room in the house.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?

6) Count Dracula’s Library in Horror of Dracula

In Horror of Dracula, Jonathan Harker goes to Count Dracula’s to make enough money to marry his fiancé, but it turns out that isn’t the whole story. He is there under false pretenses his real mission is to slay Dracula. Dracula overcomes him and sets off for England to steal Jonathan’s bride-to-be, Lucy. It’s up to Van Helsing, Lucy’s brother Arthur, and Arthur’s wife Mina to destroy Dracula before he can kill again.

Why the library is awesome!: This library is beautiful, full of so many books, and has secret passageways. I would love to have this library as not only is it functional but gothic, spooky, and in a castle.

For more on Horror of Dracula go to, Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

5) Bruce Wayne’s Library in Batman (1989)

The city of Gotham is being harassed by a psychopath, the Joker, who is poisoning makeup, cleaners, and other everyday items. Good thing Gotham has someone watching over them, billionaire playboy turned superhero detective Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Why the library is awesome!: It’s a beautiful place to be with it’s gorgeous furniture that I want to have in my home, and shelves full of books. Of course any library that has multiple levels is a treasure, (I spot a staircase in the back). It looks like a wonderful place to read, relax, study, and work out any problems that present themselves. It also has priceless antiquities and secret passages.

For more Batman (1989), go to What Are You? I’m Batman!: Batman (1989)

4) Norland Park in Sense and Sensibility

In Sense and Sensibility, the Dashwood girls lose their home when their father dies and the estate is entailed to their brother and his wife, (both of which do nothing to help them), with the ladies moving to stay in a distant family member’s cottage. Elinor is the eldest Dashwood girl and the sensible logical one. Her younger sister Marianne, is the middle daughter and the passionate one who always shares her feelings. Both sisters go on to discover that while each believe they knows the best way to present themselves, they both have a lot to learn.

Why the library is awesome!: Like most important and old houses, there are a ton of books that have been collected through the years. Not only does it hold an impressive amount of volumes, it also looks light and airy and an extremely comfortable place to while away the hours. The youngest Dashwood sister, Margaret, enjoys spending her time there looking at the atlas or other books. I know if I lived there, I would spend all my time there.

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to Incense and Sensibility

3) Ainsoft Company Library in Strong Girl Bong Soon

Strong Woman Bong Soon is the best Korean drama ever and I highly recommend it for Jane Austen fans. It is the story of a girl, Bong Soon, who’s family has a curse/gift that all women will have super strength, but if used for evil it will be taken away. All Bong Soon has ever wanted was to create a video game based on her powers, but ends up getting caught up in stopping gangsters from trying to take over the neighborhood, a serial kidnapper after women to be his seven brides, and becoming the bodyguard to the rich owner of a video game company that is being threatened. It has mystery, a superhero, comedy, drama, etc-everything you could ever want.

Why the library is awesome!: The Ainsoft company library has information on work along with other novels for staff to peruse on breaks. This library is as awesome as it is huge. I actually ranked this higher than I had it originally as Bong Soon and Mr. Ahn have an amazingly cute date here. I wish I could visit it, and with Mr. Ahn. *sigh* Oh well, I just have to be content with rewatching it.

For more on Strong Woman Bong Soon, go Super Power Girl, Blackmail, Gangsters, and a Serial Kidnapper: Strong Woman Bong Soon (2017)

2) Ivy’s Library in the Night Bound Choices Game

In the game Night Bound, you are traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras with your friends and end up getting attacked by a supernatural being. You are saved by a Nighthunter, hunter of the supernatural, who was hired by people unknown to keep you safe. As you continue through the story, trying to hunt down what is after you, you make friends and have the opportunity to choose parts of the story (skill sets, weapons, clothes, your love interest, etc.). You discover that while you thought you were just a normal human, there is more to you than meets the eye.

Why the library is awesome!: So Ivy’s library is full of supernatural books and items to help battle creatures, break curses, create spells. Awesome, right?! Imagine what knowledge lies in it! To me it seems like a mix between Giles library in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Burkhardt collection in Grimm.

For more from Choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 12, In Sickness and In Health

1) Lady Emily Ashton’s Multiple Libraries in And Only to Decieve by Tasha Alexander

Lady Emily Ashton married Phillip Ashton to free herself from her mother’s control and because she was nice (as a member of high society that was the most she thought she could ever hope for). Not long after their marriage he died in a hunting accident. A year and a half later troubling things start happening and Lady Emily starts to wonder, was her husband death an accident…or was it murder? She starts investigating, but will she survive this quest? Or find herself the next victim?

Why the library is awesome!: Lady Emily won the top ranking as she has multiple libraries; one in her London townhouse, one in her Paris house, one at her English country manor, and one in her villa in Greece. Each one is full of all kinds of works; along with Roman and Greek antiquities, priceless artworks, beautiful statuary, etc. Can you even imagine? I mean one library would be incredible, but to own four? Heaven! Plus one of the libraries houses a first edition of Pride and Prejudice.

For more on And Only to Deceive and Lady Emily, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: And Only to Deceive

Agree? Disagree? Think I’m missing one? Comment below!

For the original post (libraries 1-13), go to Heaven on Earth: 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

For the second post (libraries 14-26), go to Happiness is Having a Library Card: Another 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?

Two years ago I read an article on Nora Ephron and in the article she shared that she is a big fan of Pride and Prejudice and when she wrote You’ve Got Mail, she made it a loose adaption of Jane Austen’s novel. I was surprised when I read that as I don’t see the two being that much alike and last year I decided to finally review You’ve Got Mail and determine whether it:

  • Should be considered an adaption of Pride and Prejudice
  • Should be put on my Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans
  • Needs to be excluded from the Jane Austen multiverse/canon altogether?

After rewatching You’ve Got Mail I ended up deciding that it is most definitely not an adaption of Pride and Prejudice and I personally don’t feel like it should belong in the Jane Austen canon/multiverse.

But while this film is not a good candidate, what about the film You’ve Got Mail is a remake of? Could The Shop Around the Corner be considered?

Hmm…?

The Shop Around the Corner is not lifted from Jane Austen but a Hungarian play, Parfumerie. It has been made adapted many times: The Shop Around the Corner (1940) and You’ve Got Mail (1998) being only two of them. But just because it wasn’t taken specifically from Jane Austen, doesn’t mean it cannot be included in the canon. After all, The 12 Men of Christmas and Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade aren’t “official” Austen adaptions, but the similarities are close enough that I include them.

Let’s begin with a quick summary of the story of Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice is about a mother, Mrs. Bennet, wanting to marry off her daughters as quickly as possible, as with their father’s death they will have very little. Two men move to their community that Mrs. Bennet is intent on harpooning, no matter what. One, Mr. Bingley, falls for the elder daughter, Jane, while the other man, Mr. Darcy, is overheard insulting the second daughter, Elizabeth, by Elizabeth herself. (Ouch!) Elizabeth is wounded and when she hears a tale about how horrible Mr. Darcy is from a handsome charming man, she readily believes it. She later discovers there is more to both these men than meets the eye; as the story deals with the concepts of pride and prejudice, first impressions, whether you should be overt in how you feel or play it close to the heart, etc. It has amazing wit and characters.

The Shop Around the Corner takes place in Budapest in the shop Matuschek, and focuses mostly on two of the employees: Alfred Kralik (Jimmy Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan). Mr. Kralik is Mr. Matuschek’s oldest and best employee, the two often having more of a father-son relationship than a employer-employee. One day they are having a summer sale and a woman, Klara, comes in wanting a job as she has just been let go from her previous one. Mr. Kralik dissuades her from trying as they are not hiring, but Klara manipulates Mr. Matuschek into hiring her (she’s a really good saleswoman.) After this the two are constantly at odds as Klara is rude to Mr. Kralik, makes fun of him, and is always surly. After this treatment, Mr. Kralik does not care for Klara, and treats her with an equally surly, but professional, attitude. Meanwhile, months earlier Mr. Kralik had started writing to an anonymous woman for friendship and to to discuss literature. Over time the two have switched from literary topics to love and have fallen for each other. When Mr. Kralik goes to meet his letter lady, he discovers it is his work nemesis, Klara. When he goes in to see her, Klara dresses him down and Mr. Kralik starts wondering about his behavior. As the two continue to work side by side, Mr. Kralik tries to show Klara another side of him, hoping to win her heart as she has already captured his.

How sweet!

Even though this isn’t a true adaption of Pride and Prejudice, in every way it is so much closer to an adaption then it’s later remake, You’ve Got Mail.

First of all the interactions between the two leads in The Shop Around the Corner, is much more similar to Pride and Prejudice then You’ve Got Mail. In Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy meet at a ball and Elizabeth is very attracted to him, but later dislikes him when he says she is tolerable but not handsome enough for him. Klara also later admits in the film that when she first met Mr. Kralik she was very attracted to him, but changed her mind when he didn’t react to her the way she had hoped. Also like Elizabeth, Klara too believes lies about the male lead’s character, told to her by another employee, Ferencz Vadas.

Mr. Darcy on the other hand, didn’t really think anything of Elizabeth, as he considered all in the area to be below his notice. Later, after spending time with her when Jane is ill at Netherfield he falls for her wit and beauty. With Mr. Kralik when he first meets Klara he doesn’t like her or dislike her, he does try to help her find work by suggesting other places she could try, but he’s mostly preoccupied with his own work. Like Darcy the wit and intelligence is what gets him, as he too falls for his lady through the mind first, this case in her letters.

While there are more things at play in the film the springboard for all their fights seem to be in this moment when Mr. Kralik tries to dissuade her from applying for a job (as they don’t have any openings) while Klara not only manipulates Mr. Matuschek into hiring her, but buying worthless items they later aren’t able to sell (what Mr. Kralik had said from the beginning.)

Jimmy Stewart’s character Mr. Kralik is also more like Mr. Darcy than Tom Hanks’ Joe Fox. Joe Fox was cruel, abrasive, insulting, and rude. We see him sweet to his little kid aunt and brother but he never has a place or people he seems to fully relax, like Darcy does with Pemberley and his staff there. In The Shop Around the Corner, Kralik is very decisive, focused, has a tough exterior and can come off cold; but to those who know him, he is has a more relaxed side. We see that with his close friend Pirovitch, and then later when he hears how he is perceived by others from Klara, and tries to be less cold and curt.

Unlike Kathleen, who is not at all like Elizabeth, (having a lack of wit, obstinance, headstrongness, or initiative); Klara is very witty, strong willed, does not shy away from situations or people, is confident, and bold enough to give Mr. Kralik several dressing downs.

I really like the interaction between Mr. Kralik and Klara at the cafe. In the film the two letter writers are supposed to meet up, but Mr. Kralik ends up losing his job (a subplot is that Mr. Matuschek thinks Mr. Kralik is messing around with his wife, but he isn’t). Mr. Kralik isn’t planning on going to see her as he’s feeling depressed, but his friend convinces him to go and when he finds out it is Klara who always makes work unpleasant, he’s not pleased. At the cafe he plans to tell her his identity, her letter lover, but words are thrown around by both and Klara really let’s him know how she feels:

Alfred Kralik: There might be a lot we don’t know about each other. You know, people seldom go to the trouble of scratching the surface of things to find the inner truth.

Klara Novak: Well I really wouldn’t care to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik, because I know exactly what I’d find. Instead of a heart, a hand-bag. Instead of a soul, a suitcase. And instead of an intellect, a cigarette lighter… which doesn’t work.

Alfred Kralik: Well, that’s very nicely put. Yes, comparing my intellect with a cigarette lighter that doesn’t work. That’s a very interesting mixture of… poetry and meanness.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

After hearing this, Mr. Kralik takes time to self reflect and realizes that he wants to change how he is perceived by others. Now he has no plans to see Klara again, as he’s been fired, and is not quite sure what to do with the letter writing issue (as it appears she can’t stand him). However, when Mr. Matuschek discovers that he was wrong and a different employee was sleeping with his wife, he becomes so disheartened about everything that he planned to kil himself. Mr. Matuschek is stopped by Pepe the errand boy, and decides to step back from the to recuperate, calling Mr. Kralik, and hiring him back to take over the store. Now Mr. Kralik takes what was said to him by Klara and tries to be be not so cold and distant, while at the same time he also doesn’t try to show off and convince Klara or show her he’s changed-he just makes those changes.

This is much more similar to Mr. Darcy and the way he reacts to Elizabeth’s words. Mr. Darcy too took what was said, improved himself, and also never planned to interact with Elizabeth again. They only cross paths by accident and then later when he goes to support Bingley. When Bingley and Jane are engaged and he is invited to the Bennet’s home and card parties, he never tries to show off that she should be with him, he doesn’t try to take her aside, etc. He respects her wishes and only approaches her again after Lady Catherine’s rude visit and Elizabeth’s lack of promise not to marry him causes him to hope again. But even then, he tells her still cares but if she doesn’t feel that way he understands and will never speak of the matter again.

In contrast, Joe Fox is nothing like Mr, Darcy or Mr. Kralik as he not only makes it his mission to constantly run into Kathleen, but also uses his online persona and in-person persona to manipulate her.

Klara sees this change in him and realizes that she was misjudging him; and at the same time she does her own self reflection and realizes that she didn’t treat him as well as she could and a lot of their issues were caused by both sides.

So while it’s not a perfect adaption, I feel this one definitely is more of an adaption of Pride and Prejudice than You’ve Got Mail.

But while it is better than You’ve Got Mail, should it be considered a Jane Austen adaption?

After careful consideration I think not. It was very close, but it’s missing something else to really put it in the Pride and Prejudice camp. I will, however, highly recommend it for any Jane Austen fan and it will be going on my list of Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans due to its similarities and because it is an amazing film. I love it so much, I have to watch it every December at least once.

It is so romantic and I just adore how they falling in love over letters. I cannot recommend this film more. You are guaranteed to not only enjoy it but want to keep watching it again and again.

Audiobook

So do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments below!

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to You Have Thirteen Hours in Which to Solve the Labyrinth, Before Your Baby Brother Becomes One of Us…Forever.: Labyrinth (1986)

For more Jane Austen Christmas adaptions, go to Is You’ve Got Mail Really an Adaption of Pride and Prejudice?

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice: The Game

For more Pride and Prejudice film adaptions, go to Dear William