Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

So every month  a different member in my book club chooses a book for us to read and discuss the following month; and it has worked out really well.

We only have four members in our club, so we have circled around them all and now it was my turn to pick a book again. I decided on:

The Darcy Monologues by various and edited by Christina Boyd

The Darcy Monologues is a collection of 15 short stories that retell the story of Pride and Prejudice but telling it from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. Half the collection is set in the Regency period: taking place during the novel, tweaking a bit of the novel, or taking place where Jane Austen left off.

Hmm…

The second half of the collection tells the story, but isn’t restricted by having to be in Regency times. One story is set in the Wild West, another during WWII, the 1960s, and of course present times.

Hmm…

So we all know how I feel about Jane Austen:

And we all know that I spend a lot of time reading Jane Austen, watching Jane Austen, and reading and watching variations of Jane Austen. Pretty much my life is:

But the other members are not exactly at the same level as I am. One member, Jessica, has seen the 1940, 1995, and 2005 film versions of Pride & Prejudice and read the actual book, but isn’t a fangirl. She likes Jane Austen, but is not a fangirl.

Don’t know why she isn’t.

Another member, Stella, loves Jane Austen but has never read the books. She only watches the films, and has seen both the 1995 and 2005 versions of Pride and Prejudice.

And our other member, Marissa, she has never read anything or watched anything Jane Austen.

So at first when we agreed to do this book I was excited:

But then I grew worried:

What if they didn’t get it, not being fangirls of the book? What if they didn’t like it? Maybe I should have had us read Pride & Prejudice first?

But I decided that we would just have to wait and see.

Hmmm….

So the day to meet came along and I decided to make the refreshments a regency-ish tea time. (Sadly I forgot to take pictures). I made some iced tea:

I had bough some chicken salad sandwiches and scones (I wanted to bake homemade ones but it has been too hot to turn on an oven) and then I made a berry salad, borriwing the recipe from my sister blog: Mysterious EatsIt is super tasty and perfect for a day of reading books or a tea time treat. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow, but you can also check it out here.

So everyone arrived and right away we had a problem. Stella didn’t get the right book. When she typed in The Darcy Monologues, the site sent her to a different book and she ended up buying The Darcy Connection. 

I’m going to lend my copy to her to read and then I will update this post with what she thought of it.

So first of all I just want to say that I have already posted what thought of the book (which if you want to read go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency or The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Erasand I loved it!

So I am just going to focus on what Marissa and Jessica thought of it.

Part I: The Regency

Both ladies were able to follow the stories and the thoughts of the authors, even Marissa who knew very little about what the story was based on. They also liked how it was from Darcy’s point of view and enjoyed the way the authors portrayed him, feeling as if they all captured the character. Jessica thought they did well in what Jane Austen wanted, and Marissa enjoyed being introduced to an introspective look of the character.

What Didn’t They Like?

Both ladies felt they would have enjoyed the book better if there had more variations of the story: such as when Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy where older, stories with their children, or sights into areas not shown by the original novel-such as what Darcy does when he leaves Netherfield before he meets up with Elizabeth in Pemberley-things like that.

hmm…

They both did not care for the story Death of a Bachelor by Caitlin Williams and they also did not like The Beast of Pemberley by Melanie Stanford as they thought it was too much Beauty and the Beast.

I KNOW?! How could they not like that one? I guess they just do not undestand how is Austenites find the works so similar. I mean:

To read more, follow this link.

Sorry for the tangent, moving forward.

What Did They Like?

Both loved From the Ashes by J. Marie Croft  as they found her portrayal of Darcy to not only be relatable but hilarious. In this story, Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth and been refused by her. He then goes home to write the letter against her objections to him, releasing his anger and frustrations out, until he has composed the best one to send her. We all thought she captured that the emotions of rejection and heartbreak perfectly.

They also enjoyed Clandestiny by KaraLynne Mackrory, espehially how she describes Darcy’s perfect order and way of life being completly thrown off kilter when Elizabeth enters his life. Both felt Mackrory was able to not only perfectly capture the character but describe what it is like when you aren’t expecting it, but meet the person who ends up changing your life.

In Terms of Perfect Composure by Susan Adriani, was another favorite of the two. Marissa enjoyed the recap as it gave her a stronger foundation into the story of Pride and Prejudice and what happened in the original novel. Jessica liked how this was something different from the other stories as it was a part that isn’t from Austen’s story, it is a part unseen of Mr. Darcy and shows his growth in character.

The Favorite?

Without Affection by Jan Hahn

Yes out of all the Regency stories, this one was both of the women’s favorite story. This story takes place when Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are much older, with Darcy having a flashback to when Elizabeth gave birth to their first child and almost died in the process. Darcy becomes afraid of losing her and reacts with a rule of no more sex for them, something Elizabeth does not agree with.

Both women liked how it showed Darcy and Elizabeth still in love years later, and just how they have had a great life together. They also loved how it captured the uncertainty of childbirth and Darcy as a father not knowing exactly what to do. One of them found it to be relatable to something they had gone through in their own life with their spouse. And we all agreed it was the perfect end to the first compilation.

Part II: Other Eras

Both women were intrigued with this part as they had never read any modern adaptions of classic literature before, let alone ones that took the material and placed it in other eras.

What Didn’t They Like?

Marissa would have liked more variety in the time periods, she was hoping they wouldn’t be as concentrated on present time.

Both did not care for the story Hot for Teacher by Sara Angelini. This one takes place in present times with Mr. Darcy as a principal, George Wickham as the literature teacher, and Elizabeth as the new art teacher. We all did not like how Angelini made the character of Darcy as he was too mean, temperamental, and dorky/awkward.

The Ride Home by Ruth Phillips Oakland was another one they did not like. In this Elizabeth is drunk after a disastrous date, so Darcy goes to give her a ride, the two talking during the drive home. Both ladies did not like how Oakland made Elizabeth drunk and they way she talked to Mr. Darcy. And we all agreed: How was she able to make him breakfast the next day? She should have had a massive hangover.

What Did They Like?

They enjoyed You Don’t Know Me by Beau North, which took place in the 1960s. In this Darcy is sent to Buffalo, New York to take control over the company’s new radio station. He and the top D.J Eliza Bennet clash in the beginning as neither understands the other.

They enjoyed how this story was not only talking about the novel Pride & Prejudice, but actually infused more of a social prejudice introducing a conflict of playing African American music on the radio, life as a Jewish American, and even the trials of having gone through the concentration camps (Eliza’s father). We all enjoyed how North coupled those threads of pride and prejudice with the original types of pride and prejudice in Austen’s work.

They also loved I, Darcy by Karen M. Cox. In this story, Darcy hates that his mother named him “Will” Darcy as everyone mentions Austen’s book. He meets two women who challenges his ideas on the book, surprisingly running into them later when he is starting up his farm to food restaurant.

We all loved how Cox had Elizabeth school him in the literature, causing him to be interested in rereading the book and falling in love with it. We all agreed that incorporating the novel in that way was really cute.

The Favorite?

Darcy Strikes Out by Sophia Rose

From beginning to end this story was just loved. Every part, every character, every single piece of the storytelling was beloved by us. Dandy Darcy? We all wanted him. Turning this into a full novel? We were all down for it. If this was sold separately from the others? All willing to pay.

For all of us Rose really knocked it out of the park!

Couldn’t resist

So what did they think of the whole thing?

They loved it!

Yay!

Yes, they may not have liked every story or every interpretation of Darcy, but that is why they and I loved it. Each author tried to capture the spirit of the character and succeeded in creating their own versions of Darcy that have everything we love about him, yet at the same time not making any exactly the same. By doing this you have many different Darcys to choose from, insuring that you will find the one best suited for you.

We all thought they did a fantastic job in presenting “their” Darcy and highly recommend you read this book.

For more on The Darcy Monologues, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

For more on these authors and Christina Boyd, go to I Have Been Remiss, My Deepest Apologies to The Darcy Monologues

For more on my book club, go to Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

For more on The Darcy Monologuesgo to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

And I just want to thank Christina Boyd for sending us these cute charms, we all loved them. I put mine on my bracelet right away and have been telling people about the book whenever they ask me about the charm.

I Have Been Remiss, My Deepest Apologies to The Darcy Monologues

So as you know I have just reviewed Part I of The Darcy Monologues.

I decided to look over the review that I posted and I was shocked:

I had failed to share how much I enjoyed this first part of the novel.

I mean when I first heard of this collection, I thought it sounded interesting:

It is a good idea.

Then I started reading it, only planning on looking at a few stories, but finding it hard to stop!

So I don’t know why I was so reserved in my review. I want to apologize to all you authors and editors for being so stingy in my praise .

I thought over why I reacted in such a way and have come up with four explanations:

1) I’ve been rereading Emma lately. Maybe subconsciously I took a card from Mr. Knightley’s deck.

2) This weekend was not only Mother’s Day, but a family member’s birthday; along with being a weekend that my niece stayed over. In my rush to get it posted in time, I could have just put up my notes leaving the “heart” out of it.

3) I’m highly allergic to scents and at work someone had sprayed something that gave me a bad allergic reaction, causing me to feel bad the rest of the day. I could have just been out of it.

4) Whatever air freshener they were spraying caused a chemical reaction that changed me from Moreland to Miss Snide.

Beware of the Snide!

Out of all of them I think the fault lies anywhere from 2-4, especially four. Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking caused it.

But joking aside, you know that I always am honest on this blog. Maybe I fudge names of friends and family or where I live, to protect my anonymity, but when I post a review I post how I really feel. And I feel that this first part, as I haven’t posted on the second just yet, is amazing. 

Fantastic!

I’m serious! Yes they might make alterations to the story, and maybe they chose paths I wouldn’t have gone down. But none of that takes away from the amazing work that these authors did. I enjoyed every one of them as each presented the Darcy we all love in a different view. You guys did a wonderful job.

This first part is something EVERY Jane Austen fan, Pride and Prejudice fan, or Darcy fan should read. You NEED to check this out.

In fact, I am going back to update my post to make sure it reflects the enjoyment I felt in reading it.

But will I love the second half, Elizabeth and Darcy traveling throughout time?

It is hard enough to take a story and bring something new to it in the time period, let alone trying to keep the story while transporting it to other times. You have to know your history, try to navigate the issues of the day, keep old constraints relevant in a different world, decide how much to keep of the original tale, etc.

You’ll just have to keep reading to find out!

And don’t forget to check this book out for yourself!

The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

The Darcy Monolgues edited by Christina Boyd and written by Various

So I was contacted by Christina Boyd to do a honest review in return for a free copy of the ebook. I agreed as you know I will review anything Jane Austen.

This is so me

I promised to have the review posted by the 21st, which I saw as no problem as you know how fast I read.

But the day came closer and closer and I realized I hadn’t posted my review!

Let me say that when I first heard of the story, I thought it sounded interesting but had no idea what to expect.

Hmm…

Was it going to be a view of Darcy at different times in the story? Will they follow the original text or do their own thing? Hmm…

I began reading the book

But then I was sucked in:

Or story in this case.

So the book is a collection of monologues or short stories; told from the point of view of Mr. Darcy.

Some take place in the Regency time period, some take his point of view of the novel, some after the novel, and some asking the question of what would happen if..?

Hmm…

The book is divided into two collections: those that take place in the Regency time period and those that span all time periods. I have decided to review the first collection on the Regency time today, and the second one later on this week.

Death of a Bachelor by Caitlin Williams

This monologue tells of Mr. Darcy’s feelings as his wedding day grows closer and there will be an end to his bachelor ways. As his wedding occurs and they head out to London for their honeymoon, they get stranded at a less than fabulous inn in a blizzard. Will Darcy enjoy being married? Or will it be his biggest regret? And how can he fix his honeymoon to be memorable for all the right reasons?

Things I Pondered: The only thing I can see Janeites/Austenites getting upset over is when Darcy says that he has been with many women before Elizabeth. This is historically accurate, as gentlemen had more social freedom; however some might not care to have Darcy be anything than their version of a romantic hero. 

What I Like: I thought it was very well written and that Williams truly captured the spirits of the characters. I really enjoyed her story, especially as she was not graphic but allowed the reader to use their own imagination. 

From the Ashes by J. Marie Croft

This story takes place right after Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth, only to have her reject him in every way. We have Darcy as he goes through every emotion from anger to sadness at having his love refused.

Things I Pondered: Who is Richard? Is that supposed to be Colonel Fitzwilliam’s middle name or something?

What I Like: I thought that Croft truly captured the emotions of anyone who has been heartbroken and I found her portrayal of Mr. Darcy not only to be likable but 100% relatable, as who hasn’t gone through a painful rejection?

I thought that he might be a little more composed than her portrayal:

But I think the beauty of this piece is that Croft shows that temper Darcy spoke of in the original novel, giving it a strong connection to Austen’s work.

I also loved her character of Anne de Bourgh and if Croft wrote a novel that featured or continued this expanded character of Anne, I would read that in a heartbeat.

For more quotes from J. K. Rowling, go to Don’t Fear the Reaper

If Only a Dream by Joana Starnes

Mr. Darcy has been rejected by Elizabeth and is so upset after giving her the letter that he wants to leave Rosings Park and never see her again. However, things do not go according to plan as his Aunt Catherine de Bourgh’s ploy at faking a heart attack turns to a real malady when she trips on the stairs and breaks her ankle.

Now Darcy must remain there, as it is his nephewly duties; and as the Collins are such great neighbors that they (along with Elizabeth and her sister Maria) come over all the time. Will this constant proximity change things? Or drive a deeper wedge between Darcy and Elizabeth.

Things I Pondered: I didn’t like this story as much as having them fall in love so early cuts out a lot of growth in the characters, along with all the events that changed Elizabeth’s view on him and showed her own pride and prejudices.

What I Like: While I didn’t like losing so much of the story Starnes wrote the answer to this “What if” very well and provided an interesting twist: Lady Catherine’s plot to get her nephew to marry her daughter results in him marrying Elizabeth. Oh Lady Catherine, I think your conspiring days are over:

 I also liked this Anne de Bourgh character as she was interesting and witty. If Starnes decided to expand her version into a novel, I would definitely read it as well. 

Yep!

Clandestiny by KaraLynne Mackrory

This story takes place during the ball at Netherfield. Georgiana had only been attacked four months earlier by Mr. Wickham and Darcy is still upset over it. However, his mind is split between that and Elizabeth as he thinks she has feelings for him. Things take an interesting turn when a trap door brings the two together. Will this help the situation or only cause more issues?

Hmm…

Things I Pondered: By moving up them having that time when Darcy is less reserved and more himself, we miss out on all the meat of the story. It is cute, but too short and missing the whackam-sockum appeal of Jane Austen’s revelations as how all the characters connect.

What I Like: Even though I didn’t like how much was to be cut out of the story with this earlier connection, I still thought this was interesting to see what would have happened if Elizabeth saw the “real” Darcy earlier in the novel. This was a good part to do it in as her real only problem was that he hurt her feelings. After all she doesn’t know Wickham all that well and seeing Darcy behaving in a different way, more natural, and apologizing for his earlier rudeness would help sway her from the fake charm to the real deal. 

The Beast of Pemberley by Melanie Stanford

So in the past I have compared Pride and Prejudice with Beauty and the Beast :

But in this story, Stanford rewrites the story so that it is Beauty and the Beast, with all its magic and characters, but set in Regency England.

In this tale, Darcy has saved Pemberley and the village by standing in when Wickham (a powerful wizard) tried to destroy it. For his efforts he has been cursed with hideous scars, while each of his staff (Cogsworth, Lumiere, etc.) suffer from one scar. All he does is look in his magic mirror hoping that he might see something to lift him out of his depression and pain. He sees Elizabeth Bennet, and when her father plans to marry her off to Mr. Collins to pay his debts, Darcy steps in.

Things don’t go well as she refuses to have Darcy wear a mask, wanting to see his face:

But when wolves almost attack Elizabeth, Darcy manages to save her and after that things start improving.

Especially when he gives her the Pemberley library.

But will they be able to end the curse? Will Elizabeth ever see more in Darcy? Or just a Beast?

What I Like: I thought it was a cute fan service story. And when I say “fan service”, I mean this is something people have been talking about and wanted. It was a very fun and adorable read that I really enjoyed.

For more on Beauty and the Beast, go to Xactly Why I Think Beastly is An Xcellent Story

A Resentful Man by Lory Lilian

Mr. Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth, been rejected, and has left Rosings. He is celebrating Georgiana’s 16th birthday with the Bingleys and other family friends. They are heading back to Pemberley when Darcy decides to return ahead of schedule. When he gets there, who should he run into? Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. They spend the time together walking the grounds and talking. Will they be able to reconcile? Or will this just make things more awkward?

What I Like: I thought it was cute and adorable. 

In Terms of Perfect Composure by Susan Adriani

So the story starts off with a brief recap about all that happened. Lydia had run off with Wickham and he’s been paid off so that the reputation of the Bennet family would be saved. Darcy is having dinner with Mr. Gardiner, and the latter man is trying to find out why Darcy would help them out – is there an understanding he hasn’t been told? Darcy tells him about his proposal and how it went:

And how he still cares but has given up. Mr. Gardiner encourages him to try again, as he believes Elizabeth still has feelings for him. Darcy goes to stay at Netherfield and when he and Bingley visit the Bennets, as Bingley and Jane are now engaged, Darcy overhears Lady Catherine’s tirade at Elizabeth.

Will this bring them together or force them farther apart?

Things I Pondered: I don’t get why she has Elizabeth avoid Darcy as in the original novel, at this point in time she wants to see Darcy and be with him.

What I Like: I really enjoyed how she has Darcy build upon his relationship with the Gardiners when he is in town as he greatly enjoyed their company and this showed that to a further extent. I also like how the author made her Darcy expect nothing in return for his deeds in helping the Bennets as is closely followed how Austen’s Darcy was. 

Without Affection by Jan Hahn

neverloveyouchallengeprideandprejudicedarcy

It has been fifty years since Darcy proposed to Elizabeth the second time and she accepted. The two are in their golden years and Darcy reflects back on his life, to a time he almost lost Elizabeth…

Elizabeth gives birth to their son and almost dies in the process. After the birth she has to rest, but while her body is weak her spirit is strong. Darcy is heartbroken and decides that he cannot, will not lose her. He is determined to have her never experience childbirth again and risk her life. But will Elizabeth comply to his plan or have her own ideas?

Things I Pondered: Darcy talks about how he knows little of women’s bodies and never thinks to consult with a doctor to see if she shouldn’t give birth. I thought it was strange as I imagine that a man with all his wealth and power would seek several people’s opinions.

What I Like: It was sweet to see them still so in love and talk about their great years together. Just adorable and a great way to end the first collection.

So what did I think?

Hmmm….

I enjoyed every one.

Yes there may have been changes I wouldn’t have done or things altered that weren’t my favorite, but those were really minute things. I found each of these tales to be extremely enjoyable and I loved looking at all the interpretations these authors gave to a story they and we love.

And no matter what changes, additions, etc  that the authors did, there is one very important thing that they all made sure to do. And that was to get inside the character’s head and actually give a voice to Darcy.

Wow!

Yes, you have heard me complain again and again about different writers never really ever go that far to bring Darcy to life, always stopping short in their interpretations.

But these authors don’t do that. Whatever changes they have made or ways they interpreted the characters; they tried to make sure they gave Darcy a personality and looked deep into him and how he would react to the situations, not through another’s eyes but through the depths of his spirits.

That is a hard feat to do I commend all of them:

I think all did a fantastic job in presenting “their” Darcy and I highly recommend you read this book.

But what do I feel about part two, Darcy and Elizabeth through time?

I guess you will just have to wait and read.

For more Mr. Darcy, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Prom & Prejudice

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

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

Midnight in Austenland

Day 10) J is for Jane Austen: Choose a book based on, a sequel to, or a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s works

So I know I said I wasn’t going to review one of Austen’s works as that isn’t really fair as I talk about her books all the time.

reading Jane Austen

But I never said anything about a retelling!

Go on...

Go on…

So I’m going to review my absolute favorite out of all the books I have read so far.

Austenland

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale

So I one day I was going through Goodreads and looking at if any authors I liked had published anything new. I really enjoyed reading Shannon Hale, and thought Austenland was pretty good except for a few things, so when I saw that she did a sequel I decided to check it out.

library

I got the book and started reading it…but then I couldn’t stop.

100pgs

I became so invested, I actually snuck it into my History of American Music class and read it instead of listening to the jazz music.

RealLifeVSBook

This book was AMAZING!!!!!

Iloveit love

It had Austen and mystery, both things I love!

Put my crime-solving cap on.

Putting on my crime-solving cap on.

I just adored every page of it and didn’t want it to end.

SadBookEndedfinishedover

So the book is a sequel, but you don’t have to read them together or in sequence. While the place they visit, Pembrook Park, is the same; the characters and story lines are new and different.

While the other book focused on Pride and Prejudice this one went more Northanger Abbey; something I appreciate as it just doesn’t get enough love.

Bruce-Almighty-Love-Me

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

Charlotte Constance Kinder is a nice woman. So nice no one thought she would live an interesting or adventurous life. But you know what Austen says about that.

adventures

Charlotte went to school, met a nice man named James, married him and had two kids; and then did the unexpected. She created a website, sold it for an outrageous profit, and started another one.

Wow

Wow

She bought nice things for her, her husband, their kids. Everything seemed fine, but then it turned out her husband was cheating on her and wanted to leave her for another woman.

heartbroken

Fast-forward, he is remarried and living with his new wife receiving alimony from Charlotte. And Charlotte is alone, left to pick up the pieces of her life.wantYoutoStay

She starts dating A LOT!. Anyone and everyone her friends and friends’ husbands toss her way; but nothing feels good or right.

hitonyourefuseyouareanonowayNo

Besides being worried about her own self and issues, she starts to worry about her daughter. Will she make all kinds of horrible mistakes, have “Daddy issues,” or go looking for love in all the wrong places?

Not good

Not good

She makes a really bad decision to have a private investigator follow her daughter’s boyfriend around, and even tries it herself; convinced that he is going to hurt her. After her daughter says she she doesn’t remember what it was like being her age, Charlotte decides that her daughter is right.

I'm crazy

I’m crazy

That Easter she goes home and digs through her old items that her mom saved and tries to look into her teenage mind. She finds a diary and on the first page is a list she made.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE I’M 30

  • Get married [✓]
  • Have a baby [✓✓]
  • Walk in high heels without wobbling [✓]
  • Climb Kilimanjaro…
  • Understand Physics [✓ish]
  • Help save the whales or other animals in danger [✓]
  • Read Jane Austen…?

Charlotte couldn’t remember why she wanted to read Jane Austen, but the next weekend the kids are with their father, and Charlotte devotes the weekend to reading

JaneAusten

And she reads and reads and reads. And before you know it, she is a hardcore fan.

AnatomyofaJaneite

And caught in the Austen cycle like us all.

austendisiilouisionmetcycle

Charlotte’s sister-in-law Shelby convinces her to take a vacation when the kids are with their dad for the summer. The only place Charlotte wants to go is into Austen’s books

escaperealityreadbooks

And luckily we have just the thing…Austenland.

heartPemberly

Yes, for a few weeks Charlotte will leave, breathe, and be Regency woman. And at the end of her time there is a big ball.

ball-in-emma-300x291

And possibly a proposal…

marrymeKnightly proposel28o7_250

Charlotte is sold on it, packs up her stuff, and flies out ready to dive into her fantasy.

Let'sdothis

As Charlotte is a “quality guest”, i.e. rich, she gets the best treatment and the gold standard in clothes, transportation, etc. Charlotte takes on the character “Mrs. Charlotte Cordial”, a widow with two kids. In this story, Charlotte doesn’t have to go it alone but has a “brother”, Edmund Grey.

northangerabbeyeleanorhenrytilney

Besides him there are two other ladies, Miss Elizabeth Charming (from the previous book) and Miss Lydia Gardenside. And then there are two other men who will come to call on them: Colonel Andrews and Mr. Thomas Mallery who is…

TallDarkBrooding

Charlotte meets the ladies and enjoys Miss Charming, but is shocked to see that Miss Gardenside is none other than the famous pop sensation, Alisha. What is she doing here?

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

So their days at Austenland begin and one of the reasons I like Charlotte better than Jane Hayes, the heroine of the last book, is that Charlotte embraces her love of Austen and goes full force into it.

the-grady-twinsPride&Prejudice Elizabeth Jane come play with us the shining

That day the Colonel has a surprise, they are going on a trip to an old crumbling abbey! What mysteries await them?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

As they journey in twos, the phaeton holds only that umber, with Charlotte with Mr. Mallery. Mr. Mallery is very intense and lives and breathes being the Regency gentleman. When two backpackers come upon them he isn’t threatening but so forceful that he causes the pair to run off like frightened rabbits.

And run fast

And run fast

When they reach the Abbey it turns out there us a dark tale that goes with the old ruins:

Three hundred years ago (~1520) the abbey was home to twenty-one nuns, an abbess, and one novice. They worked in the kitchen garden, growing healing herbs, kept goats and chickens; everything was peaceful until one January night.

shiver

The sisters made dinner as usual and sat down to eat. The abbess was getting older and not feeling well, so after she made the tea she blessed the meal and went to lie down. She rose an hour later to do chapel prayers, but found all the nuns dead!

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

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

The abbess went through trying to find one that was alive. There were no wounds on the body, but all’s pulses had ceased. All except Mary Francis, the novice.

The next morning, the abbess awoke to find that Mary Francis had cleaned up from dinner, and laid all the nuns out, covering them with blankets.

No one was ever hanged for the deaths…the bodies were buried, the abbey abandoned, and the abbess went to live with a niece and succumbed to dementia. But she was known to cry out: “Either she saw who did it or she did it herself.”

Mary Francis was an orphan and after the deaths wandered from house to house as a trying to work as a servant, but the suspicion around her past always pushed her on. Some believe ghosts still haunt the area….

screamhouseonhauntedhill

The last place she went she worked for a few years, and they say uncanny things happened. The place she worked? Pembroke Park.

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

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

At first they don’t believe the house is old enough for the story to be true, but Mr. Mallery corrects them. He is second cousin to the Wattlesbrooks and says that parts of the houses go back that far. Sadly he would have inherited the grand old house, but his grandfather lost it in a card game.

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

Colonel Andrews says that that isn’t the end of the story, he has an old text that they may read and reveal all.

I love it!

I love it!

Charlotte is enjoying Pembrooke Park because she doesn’t have the strain of having to do the work. As her “brother” Edmund pointed out, she is here to have fun and relax, Mr. Mallery and the others have to work to impress her. It is a nice feeling after all those blind dates and trying to put on a show that you are okay; all you have to be is yourself or your character and the others have to do the real work.

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The group has a picnic in which Colonel Andrews reads from the diary of Mrs. Kerchief, the housekeeper three hundred years ago, and supervisor of the newly arrived servant, Mary Francis.

(I’m just going to paraphrase as it would take to long to write word for word)

“Hired the new scullery maid, Mary. No one else will hire her because what happened. I don’t care what happened in her past as long as she is ready to work.

Coal is running low and they seem to be burning more and more these past weeks. Simon says that it is Mary, she bring the cold with her. Nonsense. Still…she sleeps in the room next to mine and at night I hear noises I have never heard before. It wakes me up”

Gilmore girls creep

Mr. Mallery “Regency” flirts with her and Charlotte finds herself surprisingly enjoying every minute of it.

When they return to the house, Miss Gardenside retires as she is suffering from “consumption” (is it really or something else? Maybe withdrawal?). Miss Charming and Charlotte are still psyched from the mystery and decide to search the house.

dangerous-crossing-crain-b16weirdsuspicious

However, the only thing they stumble upon is a maid dressing. No clues, no bodies, no nothing.

Before Divorce: When Charlotte first started her website it was just to be a hobby. She liked growing plants, she often helped others, and decides that it would be nice to have a place people could go for inexpensive custom residential landscaping. They weren’t as grand as those who would visit the place and see it, but her designs based off a questionnaire they answered were cheaper and still beautiful. People loved it. She had to hire employees, and revenue increased crazily, and she made her first million.

That night they are having dinner toasting to each other when who should walk in, Sir John.

That guy!

That guy!

This is the only thing that enhances if you read the previous book, but like I said it is not necessary. You quickly learn why we hate this guy. Sir John is Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s husband and he doesn’t care about the park or their home. All he does is drink, gamble, and take any of Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s money away. He also tries to hit on the women, and doesn’t take no for an answer. In the last book, they had to cart him off as he was causing problems.

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This time he goes by Mr. Wattlesbrook instead of Sir John, and is dressed in modern day clothing instead of Regency wear. It unsettles everyone, but Colonel Andrews tries to bring them back to 1820.

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That night they are interrupted of their sleep. As they go outside they see firetrucks and that Pembrooke Cottage, (the one Miss Amelia Heartwright stayed in, in the last book) has been burned. Mr. Wattlesbrook has no remorse even though he started the fire.

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Mr. Mallery has a bucket by his feet, as he was trying to put out the fires. He is furious that the cottage went as it was his inheritance. Now that is the character’s motivation, but he seems as if he is really upset, the man behind the character.

weirdtwilightzone

The next day Charlotte continues her search of the house. She really has become invested in the mystery and wants to find clues.  After a finding nothing and a game of croquet, she goes to Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s office to call her children.

dangerous crossingphoneringsscared

This does not go well at all. Her daughter finds out she had hired a private detective to follow her boyfriend.

ouch Hermione

Her son doesn’t want to talk to her.

Not good

Not good

She finds out from Justice, the new wife, that her son called her mom.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Not a good call at all.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Charlotte decides to snoop through the office and discovers that Windy Nook and Bertram Hall properties were sold off, foreclosed, and contained a series list of debts. She sees the former casts and notices that Mr. Mallery used to be in all of them. Mrs. Wattlesbrook is a very smart businesswoman, so it is clear that the one who caused the trouble is Mr. Wattlesbrook.

Jerk

The next day rained all night and morning. The group play charades and a card game that involves running about.

regency christmas 4

But after the men leave to do whatever they do, maybe a break room, the women are embroidering.

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They are interrupted by the return of Mr. Wattlesbrook, who once again is dressed in modern clothes and tries to get in with Charlotte.

hitonyourefuseyouareanonowayNo

The men come and try to carry him off. Miss Charming thinks it is a part of the “experience”, but Charlotte doesn’t think that Mrs. Wattlesbrook would do such a “messy” plot.

irongiantreallyhmmokayyeahright

Hmm…

That night is stormy, spooky, gray…

rainydayperfectday

Just perfect for reading more about the mystery of the nuns, the diary of Mrs. Kerchief!

I hear sounds in Mary’s room at night. It sounds like a pacing or scraping. It is unnerving and I want to talk to her, but in the morning Mary Francis is so tired I can’t say a word. The girl Betsy who used to room with her took off and never came back to get her money. The cook says she feels a cold wind around her…

The lights go out and all they have are firelight. They decide to play a game called Bloody Murder, with Mrs. Wattlesbrook going off to bed.

StarWarsComaSleep

They decide to play the game: the murderer has to hide in the house somewhere, after a count of fifty the rest hunt him out. The first to discover the murderer shouts, “bloody murder”, and all run after him. After that they all run off, and the murderer chases them. If he catches them, they fall down and the last one to “die” is the next murderer.

They draw straws and the short one leads Mr. Mallery to be the murderer.

One of the characters I love is Charlotte’s “brother”, Edmund. He is just so fun and fantastic, a real Mr. Tilney.

mrtilneynorthangerabbeysass

Charlotte finds Mr. Mallery and ends up being the only one who has been touched. Now she is the next murderer.

She doesn’t want to walk and go around the house on her own. She is extremely scared and as she roams the dark halls she accidentally goes into a secret room. As she is searching the room for a way out, she finds a person laying on a chaise. She goes to touch them, feels the hand…they are dead!

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

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

She goes running out and finds the group telling them everything. They don’t believe her and can’t find the room. Charlotte is so incredibly freaked out, that Miss Charming can see that she needs a little care and asks if she wants to sleep in her bed for comfort.

thankyou15

The next day, she starts questioning people trying to find out who the dead person was. Eddie goes to help her and they find the room but nothing but a fencing foil.

They leave for breakfast and run into Mary, Charlotte’s maid. Mary is really strange, always jumpy, and acting weird.

strange things are afoot at the circle k

She tries to tell Mrs. Wattlesbrook about the dead body, but she doesn’t believe her. She thinks it is just part of a game.

Whatever.jpg cheese fries

Charlotte deduces that the dead body must be Miss Gardenside’s nurse or Mr. Wattlesbrook as they are the only two missing; and that it must be a part of the Colonel Andrews mystery as no one seems to care.

Eddie, Edmund, doesn’t believe that the murder is real, but helps Charlotte investigate. He is hilarious and I just love him. Forget Mr. Mallery with his brooding, smirking is so much better.

tilney dating 888982326_n

After Divorce: Justice, James’ mistress, sends Charlotte an invite, can you believe that? An invite!!!

Charlotte worries about how the divorce affects the kids but James doesn’t care. He says that 50% of marriage end in divorce. Here are statistics that matter to Charlotte.

-James saw the children 75% less than before

-He missed 85% of their afterschool woes

-He was absent for 99% of their family dinners

-100% of Charlotte’s marriage ended

That night they read the diary:

Mary and I were shelling peas. Mary has been here for three months and doesn’t seem as if she can settle down. All the other hands treat her horribly but all Mary does is pray. Why does she pray so much? For other or her own soul?

The next day Charlotte picks up her search with Eddie. They go back to the room, but find nothing but a glove, a washing dishes type of glove. Is that part of it?

suspicious Hmm

Charlotte drops it as she thinks it is nothing. Eddie picks up fencing foils and the two duel before lunch.

You're so cute

Even though everyone has forgotten the game, Charlotte still thinks that someone might be after her, but who?

Gilmore girls creep

The next day Charlotte goes riding with Mr. Mallery. They stop a while so Charlotte can call her kids, but no answer. She tries her husband, no answer. Charlotte spends the rest of the night worried about them and that something happened. The next day she finds out their phones were dead.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

The next day Charlotte decides to write her kids a letter. Eddie joins her and consoles her over her missing her kids. He shares about his daughter and that he misses her as he hardly gets to see her. They start writing and Charlotte wonders if Julia exists, but Eddie is writing a long letter to someone.

letter

After the letter writing, Eddie goes over the dances, as “their mother” was a dance instructor. They have such fun, with Mallery interrupts them. They go for a walk, but are found by Colonel Andrews who tells them he has a great passage for tonight.

Everyone is mean to Mary. They start chanting “What do you know of our Mary? Twenty-one nuns did she bury.” We were working outside when there was a howl and they saw something white and filmy, floating. It had a horrible screeching voice that shouted “Leave innocent Mary alone. The nuns cannot rest when folk stain Mary’s name with lies.” Mary was the only one who wasn’t afraid, but continued her work.

Right after they read that, they see a ghost outside!

GHostFantasia

They all run after it and try to find it, but the ghosts disappear.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Charlotte is the only one who notices tire tracks on the ground, as if someone drove their car.

weirdtwilightzone

The next morning, Charlotte takes Miss Charming and Miss Gardenside aside and tries to have them help her find the missing clue. They come across a painting of Saint Francis. Miss Charming spots it as a fake and they rip it open, finding a note written in lemon juice:

Among the dusty tomes stands

The work of the saint

And one girl’s confessions

Penned without constraints

They run to the library and find a book on St. Francis, in it is Mary’s tale. The nuns died accidentally. The abbess eyesight and memory was failing and she accidentally boiled yew, poisoning them.

OMG gasp

That answers one question, but what about everything else? What about the secomd mystery with the dead body? Then Charlotte gets a few more realizations:

  1. The Murderer approached the victim and had to lure them into that room, with an intent to kill.
  2. The victim was killed in a secret room and the body abandoned on the sofa, as whoever had to leave, and then return to move the body at a more convenient time.
  3. Charlotte finds the body in the room. The body was not smelly; so they were killed recently.
  4. Charlotte announces the find, but all claim to know zero about the room.
  5. Charlotte hears a thud in the middle of the night, below the secret room. Maybe someone tossed the body out the window?
  6. The next morning the body was gone.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

Before Divorce: Late nights “working”, phone calls from unlisted numbers, caller hangups, James never touching her, James staying out of town but spotted by a friend, lingerie in the closet not her size…etc. It is easier to solve someone else’s mystery than your own. Sometimes we see only what we want to see.

They only have three more days, only three more days to solve the case. Charlotte sees that Mrs. Hatchet, Miss Gardenside’s nurse, has returns and deduces that Mr. Wattlesbrook must be the murdered one. She questions the men about the night they removed him and they say that they put him in a room out of the way as he was incredibly wasted, Edmund punched him after he spoke nastily about the women, and the next day he was gone.

suspicious Hmm

Later Charlotte looks after Miss Charming as she seems out of sorts. Miss Charming was unhappy thinking of her former husband. She had married and helped her husband build up the business into millions, as she was the brains of the operation. She found him with a salesclerk, divorced him, and took off with the staggering alimony. She’s been running as she can’t go home and and face that she was dumped.

Broken Heart

Afterwards, Charlotte decides that with the limited time left, she can’t be messing around. She has searched everywhere for the body and there is only one place left, She and Eddie, the Watson to her Sherlock, head to the pond. She goes swimming to see what it may hold and finds a car submerged.

OMG gasp

They convince Mrs. Wattlesbrook to call the police and it turns out that Mr. Wattlesbrook is dead. Now the question is, which one of the guests is a killer!

clueshoutingshouting

Could Mrs. Wattlesbrook have done it? Eddie? Colonel Andrews? Thomas Mallery? Miss Charming? Miss Gardenside? One of the staff?

WhoDoneItMystery?whodunit

Charlotte realizes she doesn’t really know any of these people and any one of them could be a killer. And they may be after her next!

tumblr_dr.jekyllhydemirrorsneakupbehindscareaah!

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So I won’t reveal the ending, as it was amazing. Shannon Hale just did a fantastic job.

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And that through the rest of her trip Charlotte learns her own worthiness.

value:Worth

And is able to pick up to the strong person she used to be.

gossipgirlpowerfulWonderfulwoman

I also just loved Eddie and thought he was just an amazing character. A real Mr. Tilney!

find mr.tilney

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

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For more by Shannon Hale, go to Austenland

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Candy Girls

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

For more mysteries, go to Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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As this is a book that goes to the past but is also modern, I thought the best carol would be What Child is This?

In 1865, William Chatterton Dix was an insurance company manager and became seriously ill. During this time he gave his life to Christ, writing this carol. He set it to the song Greensleeves which has been registered in 1580 by Richard Jones.

I have never been a fan of this song, I’m not sure why, until I heard the Josh Groban version, so that’s the one I went with.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to At Midnight, Your Coach Will Become a Pumpkin Again, and the Animals Will Regain Their Original Shape Until Your Next Ball: Ella Enchanted

The Bend and Snap

Pride and prejudice

Bend_and_snap Legally Blonde

The bend and snap works every time!

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

For more from theotherausten.tumblr.com, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?: Scream (1996)

Fall For You

FallForYOuJaneAustenAcademyCecilia Gray

Fall for You (Jane Austen Academy #1) by Cecilia Gray

*Warning: Contains Spoilers*

So in this Jane Austen inspired work, Cecilia Gray takes the characters of Jane Austen’s novels and puts them in high school together, pairing up who would be friends and having them live in modern times. She chose the characters Elizabeth Bennet, Elinor Dashwood, Emma Woodhouse, Catherine Moreland, and Anne Elliot.

Now this is something I have thought of too. Now I consider the main characters of the novels to be Elizabeth Bennet, Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood, Fanny Price, Emma Woodhouse, Catherine Moreland, and Anne Elliot. For me, I would have pegged Emma and Anne as best friends as both were raised in the same manner with money. Anne is also more passive and listens to advice given by friends, the qualities that Emma enjoys in others. Catherine and Marianne always seemed a great match to me, as both love reading and have overactive imaginations. I could see Elizabeth and Elinor as well as Elinor has a level-headed, cool, calm, and collected personality that Charlotte, Elizabeth’s best friend, also had.

AustenHeros

So the girls all go to an all girls’ boarding school in Merryton, CA. The founders of the school were the Elliots, in this book called the Escobars, Anne’s family, and named it the Jane Austen Academy. However this year is different, as the Elliot family have lost a lot of money and had to sell the school. The new owners want to remain anonymous, and have opened the doors to boys.

This gets Lizzy Egmont (I don’t know why she didn’t just use Bennet as she is Elizabeth Bennet) very upset as she feels it is going against the values of the school and that boys will ruin everything. This is something I didn’t like as the author made Lizzy like some man-hater and against all boys in general.

HateYou

Lizzie is an only child from Chicago, where her parents are doctors, poor, and too busy for her. Now this is something that I didn’t really like either. Lizzie needs the interactions of her other siblings, as that helps make up her character. And Lizzie isn’t the only one who loses her siblings, every character in this (besides Darcy) is an only child. Really, I mean for Elinor this is horrible as she and Marianne are yin and yang. Elinor sense and Marianne sensibility. Without each other, who are they?

Weird

Weird

And if her parents are doctors and poor (which could happen) how can they afford to send her every year to a boarding school? That makes no sense. And her parents ignore her? One of the cutest things in Pride & Prejudice is the relationship between Lizzie and her father.

Pride&PrejudiceMrBennetandElizabethBennet

Yeah that is majorly upsetting and… wait I shouldn’t rant. Moving on.

So Lizzie is excited to live with her best friend Ellie Dvorak (Elinor Dashwood). Ellie is the child of yoga instructors and very zen “whatever happens will work out” type of person. She’s the complete opposite of the actual Elinor Dashwood character. And I didn’t like that at all.

NotLiketheBook

However, Lizzie discovers that not only did she have to share a ride with her, but Lizzie is also having to room with her nemesis…Anne Escobar (Anne Elliot). Lizzie hates Anne because everything was just given to her as her parents owned the school. Ellie is rooming with Emma, a rich girl more interested in clothes and having fun. Everything Lizzie is not.

uh-no-gif

Lizzie and Anne don’t agree on being roommates and the two go to see the headmistress, Katherine Berg (Catherine de Berg). As they are waiting they overhear the headmistress talking with someone else and saying how she wants to destroy everything the Academy was and make it something new. Change the name, change the curriculum, etc.

OMG

When they speak to the headmistress, she won’t let them switch. And to make it worse she promises them that if they room together, she’ll give Lizzie the job of managing editor (perfect blackmail as she wants to be a journalist and has been coveting that spot) and Anne will be in charge of the “Welcome Back Dance”, (what she has been in charge of since the beginning of time). At first both balk at this, but decide it’s best to team up in order to take Ms. Berg down and stop the changes she is trying to make.

floral-bonnet-gifIWillEndYouFirefly

Part of this deal is that they have to do in depth profiles of certain new guys brought into the school. New students such as Dante Braxton (Fitzwilliam Darcy). However, to get back at Headmistress Berg, Lizzie and Anne decide to make the “Welcome Back Dance” a Regency inspired ball.

ball-in-emma-300x291

Anne and Lizzie start bonding and discovering more about each other. Lizzie starts understanding Anne’s pain of losing everything, and Anne understands Lizzie’s drive for truth and justice.

The next day the two are in the “newsroom”, in which Lizzie thrives in her role as editor and meets the very thing she doesn’t like, boys.

ew! Gross Yuck

Dante enters with the other two guys that Lizzie and Anne have to interview, Rick Wright (Fredrick Wentworth from Persuasion) and actor Josh Wickham (George Wickham from Pride & Prejudice).

Now this is something else Cecilia Gray changes. Wickham has no role in this book at all. He’s there for the interview and that’s it. He’s not the guy Lizzie crushes on for a while, he’s not evil as he was in the book, he’s nothing. I don’t know whether she is going to change his whole role (as she already did with his backstory) or save his destructive side for later books. All I can say, it’s not Pride & Prejudice with Wickham being a nice guy.

Get it right

Get it right

Besides the guys, Dante also brings his little sister Georgiana. He is extremely overprotective of her, and his protectiveness is misconstrued by Lizzie to be super controlling of his sister.  Lizzie is trying to take down Dante’s “control” by assigning Georgiana to interviewing Josh. She also assigns Anne to interview Rick as they seem to know each other. Lizzie gives herself Dante.

She starts questioning him and notices his attractiveness:

Pick whichever look you prefer

Pick whichever look you prefer the most

She starts questioning him and gets on the scent that he knows more about the new owners of the school then he is trying to let on. Georgiana interrupts them; with her, Dante, Rick, and Josh all leaving abruptly. Lizzie finds it strange and starts to discuss it with Anne, seeing that her interview was pretty stilted and just plain bad. Lizzie starts to push Anne to find out what her past was with Rick, but stops and instead is just a friend, joining her for dinner.

Friendjustbethere

While Lizzie and Anne’s friendship is growing, Lizzie and Ellie’s relationship is going through some rough times. Lizzie is jealous with how close Ellie and Emma are getting and vows to get everything back to “normal”.

Soon it is time for the dance and the ladies look lovely.

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Lizzie is ready to head to the dance, but Emma got them dates. Edward (Edward Ferras from Sense & Sensibility) is Ellie’s date, Emma got Dante, and Lizzie is teamed up with Rick. Lizzie leaves the group to hang out with Anne, and both are thrilled that the dance was a success and everything is beautiful.

Anne sees Rick dancing with other girls and is heartbroken. She runs outside and Lizzie follows her, to comfort her. While they are talking, Dante and Rick come outside discussing things, not realizing that the girls are there.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

 They overhear the boys talking and find out more than they wish.

  • “Edward will be in the middle of a catfight if he keeps acting this way”- Is there another girl besides Ellie that he is with? Is he cheating on his girlfriend? (Those who have read Sense & Sensibility know the answer to that.
  • Darcy excuse me Dante, wants to get a scholarship to Georgetown, the same school that Lizzy wants to go. (This makes me wonder why uber rich Dante needs a scholarship to Georgetown? His family has gazillions so can’t they use some of that to pay for his education? Whatever.)

So yeah, instead of outright dissing Lizzie like in the book, Dante just states he’s not interested in any girl and wants to go to Georgetown. Now I thought it was a huge faux pas on the writer’s behalf. Dante did nothing to outright insult Lizzie. In the book Pride and Prejudice he does and you agree with Lizzie’s anger as you see it as justified. He was a total jerk, and because of her hurt of pride at that remark she readily believes Wickham’s lies about the rest of Darcy’s character. In this, Lizzie has no reason to be mad at him, making any anger unjustifiable, and instead of a sympathetic character she looks like a brat.

See Hook agrees with me.

See Hook agrees with me.

Lizzie and Anne go back to the dance, having a great time. They run into Georgiana and convince her to come back to journalism. She worries about what her brother might say, but ends up agreeing to join. Dante approaches Lizzie to ask her to dance, but Lizzie immediately pounces on him, calling him a jerk because he is trying to control his sister. I thought once again this made Lizzie seem rude and not as likeable as she doesn’t even know the family dynamics but is yelling at him, and also because Lizzie would never discuss this in a public forum, but would wait to have a more private conversation.

she'sallthatembarrassmefreddyprincejr

After Lizzie rails on him, Dante apologizes for being a bit overprotective and agrees that maybe Lizzie was right in his being a bit too controlling. Instead of graciously accepting, she throws in another dig and storms off.

How rude

I mean:

Girl Please

He just admitted he was wrong! Give the guy a bit of slack. Especially since he hasn’t really been a jerk, in fact you are the one acting jerky!

They continue dancing, but then Headmistress Berg drops the mother of all bombs, she announces that the Jane Austen Academy is no longer going to exist, the next year will show a massive overhaul of everything and a new name.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

But Lizzie will not be deterred. She is determined to save the academy.

AvengedTheAvengers

The next day in Journalism, Lizzie sends everyone sccurying to cover the bomb Headmistress Berg so delightfully dropped.

ThewomenBadnameBitch

Curse you Headmistress Berg!

When they are surprised by Rick’s mother. Lizzie had contacted her for background information, but Mrs. Wright decided to come in person to answer any questions and bring photos for the spread.

There is also this weird subplot where Lizzie keeps thinking of Dante and finds herself disgusted at being so focused on him, as yuck a boy. All I can say is:

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

I mean you seem to be going out a little far there with the “I Hate Boys”. I mean it’s not like she is 10 or 12, she is a teenager, and most teens are interested in the opposite sex. Maybe they all don’t want a girlfriend or boyfriend, but they are interested. I mean I could buy the disgusted that she could be like one of those girls who is always giggling at boys or one of those girls who changes everything about themselves for a boy. But really? Being disgusted at the thought of being interested in a boy? That’s really strange.

Mmhm great gatsby

Anyways, back to the book. Dante and Lizzie discuss Georgiana. Dante acceding once again that he was wrong in thinking newspaper wasn’t for Georgiana. Lizzie also discovers that he has parent issues, of which she can relate. (Although in P&P both Lizzie and Darcy had close relationships with their dads. It seems to me you could have the whole bonding over parents done the same way with them keeping those special links to their dads. But that’s just me I guess.)

We learn more about Rick’s character from his mom. He was doing so well at the Naval Academy, but transferred home because his mother became sick. Now this also doesn’t make sense to me. Dante and Edward were born rich, going to the best schools. It makes sense that in some point in time their histories linked up and they became best buds. But Rick was poor, and then become rich AND was at a Naval Academy. How did he meet up with the other boys to become best buddies? I don’t know. I guess when you try and meld different people from different backgrounds, histories, and events you are going to get weird holes like this. I’ll just move on.

dean whinchester shrug smile oh well

So Lizzie and Anne are invited to spend the weekend at the Wright household, where Edward, Dante, and Rick (of course) will also be staying. At first the girls don’t want to, but when Lizzie hears a snippet about Mrs. Wright being one of the new buyers of the Academy, she sees it as he perfect time to snoop.

perfect plan

Lizzie heads out to eat with Ellie, when she is stopped by Dante. Dante questions if she is coming over this weekend to the Wrights. She gets all offended, why? IDK. Then she heads over to Ellie and to her chagrin, Emma.

Ellie is hurt when she finds out that Lizzie is going to a guy’s house with Anne, instead of hanging out with her. Lizzie assures her that things aren’t changing, she just wants to find out who the new owners are. Besides the “awful” Dante will be there. (He’s not even awful!) Ellie is all hurt about what Dante said about Elizabeth, but he wasn’t even that horrible. I mean…I already talked about that. I better move on.

Emma and Ellie make plans for the weekend which upsets Lizzie. Now I totally get this, it’s hard when your best friend is spending so much time with someone else.

bestfriendmakes plans with someone else

So that weekend they head out to the Wright’s place, er amazing mansion. Anne and Georgina feel at home, as they are from wealthy families, or in Anne’s case used to be wealthy. Lizzie is starting to feel uncomfortable.

They go to their rooms and Lizzie is floored with the beauty of the place.

That's a lot!

So everyone heads down to the pool and dinner, while Lizzy stays behind to “groom”. In reality, she is investigating the house. She starts to psych out a bit, but if she is going to be an investigative reporter, then she has to go for it.

KeepCalmSleuthOn

She finds herself in the office, with lots of photographs. She starts trying to memorize them, when she is interrupted by a voice.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

And it’s Dante!

Crap

It just had to be him, huh.

Lizzie tries to explain that she got lost on the way to the lake. Dante doesn’t say anything. When they get down there, Lizzie talks to Anne. She finds out that Anne really wants Rick back, but is scared. And you can’t blame her, relationships are scary.

truthaboutdatingTogetherForeverorbreakup

While everything is fun, Lizzie still has her eyes on the prize. She fakes a cramp to get back in the house, BUT by doing so she inadvertently causes Dante to dive in and save her. He goes and carries her put of the water.

Col. Brandon carrying Marianne

Lizzie tries to assure everyone that she is fine, but a part of her is pleased to have been in Mr. Darcy’s, I mean Dante’s arms. And who can blame her?

Mr.DarcySexyPridePrej

Lizzie is able to reassure everyone that she is okay, and takes off upstairs to change and get ready for dinner. She hurriedly changes her clothes and runs back to the office.

She begins taking pics with her phone, spotting a younger image of Rick and Dante. In it Dante looks incredibly happy.

Then she hears a creak behind her, and “That was taken three years ago.”

Busted!

Oops!

Crap

And it is Dante! Uh, oh.

Dante asks her what she is doing, as he knows it is more than just “lost”. Lizzie has nothing else to do but come clean. Dante questions her about researching those in the photo when there is over 50 people in them. Just a part of the biz, Lizzie replies.

Darcy, Dante then goes on to tell her not only an incredibly charming memory of him and his sister. He then, to Lizzie’s surprise, begins to tell her who each person in the photos are. When Lizzie asks him why, he says because he wants to.

How romantic

How sweet!

He gives her everything, completely open. In fact, if Lizzie wanted to ask him who the owners are he probably would have said right away. But, she doesn’t want to be a reporter around him. Instead she wants to know all about him.

Grease Tell Me more

They get called down for dinner, and go on.

That night Lizzie is trying to figure out which of them are the owners, why she is feelings this way about Dante…that is until Anne comes in. Anne stays the night in her room as Anne’s is freezing cold. Lizzie quizzes her about the *real story* behind her and Rick. But Anne still won’t give her much about it. Lizzie convinces her to try again for Rick.

The next day the group is playing pool, when Anne smokes them all. Lizzie tries to use this opportunity to match up Anne and Rick, but it doesn’t work out.

nightmare before christmas nothing turn out like it should

But she and Darcy team up to learn more about the owners. Lizzie also asks him about Georgiana, and how she suspects there is something she is hiding. Darcy, I mean Dante (I am so bad at this, tell me why did she change his name again?), Dante says nothing, but Lizzie knows there is more. She cares about Georgina though, so she lets it go as is.

They talk more and Lizzie concludes that she was wrong about Dante, that there was more. Darcy, Dante, says that he is very guarded.

Pride&PrejudiceDarcydon'ttalktostrangerseasily

And that he has trusted people before, and is very careful about who he trusts from now on.

Trust

The two have a big moment alone in the stairs.

swoon dreamy

And Lizzie is hooked.

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Lizzie goes up to the room to change and her mind is reeling over what happened. Anne comes in excited as she and Rick had a great time as well.

That night at dinner Rick is acting weird again and is all cold to Anne.

VeronicaMarsBrokenUpbutNot

Lizzie goes to her room and packs everything up, ready to return to school. She Is looking for Anne, when she finds out that she has already left. Dante, Georgiana, and Rick are also off horseback riding. Lizzie is completely confused.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

What is up with everyone?

She and Edward ride back to school together and Lizzie uses this time to grill Edward on the Anne/Rick drama. He tells him that back in the day, Rick lost his head over Anne and she broke his heart before he left for the Naval Academy. Dante saw that Rick was starting to fall for Anne again, and cautioned him to not give her a second chance. When Rick left for the Naval Acdemy, he wanted to continue dating Anne, but Anne’s mother convinced her to dump him. And who wants a women who can be easily swayed?

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

Then Edward asks her why she and Darcy kept ducking out. Lizzie knows she has to give some back, so she tells them they were looking into who the owners are. This confuses Edward as he knows…or thought the owners were Dante’s parents.

There is always a but

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Crap

HE PLAYED HER!

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

And that means one thing and one thing only, revenge!

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Lizzie is hurt and upset over this. How could she trust him? How was she was so stupid?

what-not-to-say-to-broken-hearted-girl-3what went wrong holiday

She is by herself when the door is thrust open, and there is Dante. He tells her that he had a ton of fun that weekend, that he loved how she defended Georgiana, and that he couldn’t stop thinking of her, hoping she would go out with him.

Mr.Darcy Pride&Prejudice

And Lizzie is like

IDon'tevenknowhowtorespondGilmoreGirls

How could he be so cruel to play her and then try to ask her out? She turns him down cold.

HearthasNoRoom

Lizzie rips him a new one. She is furious that he destroyed Anne’s new chance at happiness (I have to admit I did think that was a clever way to do the Charles & Jane story arc). But even more that he helped her “investigate” when his parents are the ones who own the school!

Jerk

Darcy says it’s true, but Georgiana knows nothing about it. He asks if Lizzie will publish anything. She tells him he will just have to wait and see.

Ellie and Emma come back from their trip, and Ellie sees something is wrong but Lizzie doesn’t want to talk in front of Emma. They tell her about their weekend and give her a surprise. A book that has articles from the West coast newspapers through the years.

lovebooks

Lizzie is estatic, and when she discovers that Emma was the one who decided to get it for her, it makes her realize that she may have judged Emma too harshly.

Lizzie is extremely upset and wants her best friend to spill to, but Ellie was going to have lunch with Edward. She doesn’t want to be around Edward as she feels stupid, and she gets horribly upset saying things she doesn’t mean. They both start yelling, and Lizzie leaves.

She heads down to the microfiche, as she has an idea on how to save the school. When she gets there she runs into Anne. Anne was hiding out as she is heartbroken over Rick. She decides to hitch on to Lizzie’s plan to save the school.

The next day at lunch, Lizzie stands up and gets everyone’s attention. Anne hands out pamphlets while Lizzie talks about her idea. She tells them how the school started when Anne’s great-great-great-great-great-grandmother couldn’t find a school that would allow her daughter on the premises. She goes on in her speech that change is good, letting boys in was a good change, BUT it would be bad to change the name and the morals and values that the school stands for. She then sends a petition around hoping for signatures.

We can do it

That day at the newsroom they dole out assignments and Georgiana asks her some questions. Georgiana’s “something secret” is really bothering Lizzie, so she takes her aside and asks her about it. Georgiana fell for a bad boy that was an old friend with Dante. He was really bad news. Dante got in some fights protecting the reputation of Georgiana. Long story short, Georgiana’s boyfriend cheated on her and dumped her, with Georgiana becoming depressed and throwing a hissy fit. They sent her to California, but Dante said that he had to go to. He didn’t want his sister to be without him, as he wanted to protect her.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Everything suddenly falls into place for Lizzie…why they bought the school…why he came. Dante’s parents did it so that Dante could go and protect his sister.

aw cry

Lizzie goes to work on her petition, asking Emma and Ellie for help. Lizzie and Ellie make up, with Lizzie no longer hating on Emma but including her in the group.

Friends-Best-Friends

They head out to their special tree; grabbing Anne along the way. The twosome is now a foursome.

The next day Lizzie is tooling about in the newspaper room and upset that there aren’t more interested in signing the petition. She decided to not print the owners names as she wants to respect Dante and Georgiana’s privacy, but that doesn’t mean she won’t send their parents special copies of the Gazette with hopes it will sway them.

She goes to see Bergie who tries to tempt her like Crowley into taking a deal that will seal her fate with Georgetown. Lizzie turns her done and heads off to her room.

No thank you

As she is heading back she runs into Dante, who asks her for a few minutes. He gives her a huge stack of papers with tons of signatures. He got everybody he knows to sign it, getting tons of signatures. He can’t guarantee that it will change his parents’ minds, but he wants to help. He also talked to Rick and told him he was wrong, but Rick is not ready to try again. Lizzie is shocked.

IDon'tevenknowhowtorespondGilmoreGirls

Why did you do this?

Pride&PrejudiceDarcy

And the two’s fighting is over.

Pride and prejudice kiss darcy elizabeth

The end does leave me with a few questions. If we had the Georgiana drama done before she came to the school why include a Josh Wickham? Is she going to have a repeat? Is Josh just a red herring? Why?

Now I know I had a few issues with the book, but on a whole it was actually very cute and I loved the idea of putting them all together as friends. I am looking forward to the rest of the series to see how she tells the other stories of the Jane Austen novels. I would recommend reading it at least once.

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For more retellings of Pride and Prejudice, go to An Assembly Such as This

For more modern retellings of Austen’s novels, go to Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to The Ugly Truth

Some Things Never Change

So as I was saying Marianne is not into Edward as a romantic hero.

uh-no-gif

Here is a list of Edward’s shortcomings according to Marianne

  • He’s not handsome enough
  • Doesn’t have the right airs or manners.
  • He is tame with no fire (i.e. too much of a nice guy)
  • No taste in music
  • Doesn’t know anything about art
  • He’s not exciting

Now who does Marianne sound like? An average teenage girl.

Say What

Yep, this book came out around 200 years ago, yet it is as relevant as today. Does that surprise you?

MarshallHIMYMmindblown

Let’s take a closer look at what she wants in a guy. First of all she doesn’t like Edward because he isn’t handsome enough. Now there are teenage girls who prefer substance over looks, I have to admit I was one as I liked guys who weren’t the hottest ones in school, but most young girls it’s what they see on the outside. I mean think about the guy in your high school that everyone wanted to date? Were they a nice person? Most of you will answer that as no. Nope, they tended to be all about themself.

gastonfab

Now I’m not saying you won’t be able to find a hot nice guy, I’m just saying that sadly most girls don’t realize until after they have had their heart broken that looks are not as important as what is on the inside of a person.

HeartBetterThanLooks

Yep, the heart or soul of a person is the most important thing.

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Marianne is also not into Edward because instead of showing fire and spirit, his eyes only show intelligence and virtue. You see Marianne doesn’t want a smart, nice boy. Nope, she wants that bad boy.

badboy

Now having that bad boy can be exciting and all, but when push comes to shove they won’t care about what’s best for you but what’s best for them. Their crazy adventures will end up causing trouble for you, the “exciting” impulsive life will eventually become a bore, and their free spirit will become commitment phobia. Sadly, most young girls fall for this kind of “love” 9really attraction) instead of going with someone who is stable, reliable, and an all around guy good for you.

OldFashionedDating

And those are the guys that are the best.

sex

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Marianne is also upset at his supposed disinterest in books and music.

“I could not be happy with a man whose taste did not in ever point coincide with my own. He must enter into all my feelings; the same books, the same music must charm us both.”

Now I’ll be the first to say that I love movies, books, and music.

HighFidelityBooksMusicMatter

But is that really what you want to base your relationship solely on?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

Now I’m not saying it isn’t important. I mean I love reading, it is such a part of me:

book_wayneedair

And we all know my stance on film:

MovieQuotes

And music…well

Music

But that isn’t what I base a whole relationship on. The person has to read, but what they read isn’t as important as the fact that they are doing it. Loving film and having the ability to marathon is definitely needed as I like to do that as well. Having some similar tastes in music, mostly in they have to be willing to listen to my oldies and classics. But all this is superficial. What is more important is how they treat you.

perfection

Do they see you as equal or belittle you? Do they value your opinions or not care what you think about? Are they willing to value you and your time together or do they not care as they could get “any old girl”? Do they share the same values?

Hmm

Hmm

True back in Regency era, they didn’t really care about that. It was more about bloodlines, dowries, etc. But this should be the way it is. As a person of any age looking for the perfect guy, you need to make sure that you push through the superficial, outer layer and look instead at what is underneath. See what truly makes up that person. Or else you will learn the hard way and get your heart incredibly crushed (or worse) in the process.

HeartHurtsDon'tKnowCanDoAgainHeartbroken

Remember:

PerfectGuy

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So how does this turn out for Marianne?

gameofthronesterriblemistakerob

You’ll just have to wait and see.

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For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to Sisterly Roles

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to To Edward or Not to Edward?

For more on being old fashioned, go to Treat Her Right

For more quotes, go to Adventure Time

First Impressions

PrideandPrejudice

So let’s talk about Mr. Darcy’s first meeting. He made several mistakes.

Mr-Darcy-jane-austens-heroes-9589797-2048-1351

Yes, you did. You made a to of blunders that really led to you demise in the public’s eye.

So we see that when Darcy is first introduced as being one hot guy.

“Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mein, and…having ten thousand a year…the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration…”

Yeah-Dean-dean-winchester-33251540-500-300

talldarkawesome

Mr.DarcySexyPridePrej

That is until he showed how prideful he is

Mr-DarcyexcuseMe

“[Mr. Darcy] was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could save him…”

facepalm

1. Not Dancing

DancingNotforme Darcy Pride and prejudice

Now I am not big on dancing, I’m like William H. Macy in Wild Hogs

Baddancer wildHOgs

But to people in Regency era dancing was an important thing. As a woman to be dancing it spoke of your beauty and possibility of marriage. Therefore Darcy giving a huge slight on the town  and the women as he danced with no one. It was like saying no one there was good enough for him.

Mr.DarcyMoveAside Pride and prejuice

It also told everyone that they had no chance at all at gaining his heart as

“To be found of dancing was a certain step toward falling in love…”

Not good Mr. Darcy, not good at all.

Ouch

Ouch

But in his defense he only knows a few people, and it can be hard to dance in front of strangers, especially if you are dancing with a stranger.

“You know how I detest it [dancing], unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner.”

I know I couldn’t do it. Mr. Bingley tries to introduce him to people, but Darcy just shuts him down. True it sounds rude, but I believe that Darcy is just socially awkward.

IdontLikeParties

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2. Pride

Mr.DarcyMoveAside Pride and prejuice

Yep, Darcy comes off as a regular tool, the way he acts above everybody else.

“he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased…”

Jerk

He only dances two dances, one with Mrs. Hurst (Bingley’s sister) and Miss Caroline Bingley. He also only talked to the people within his party, declining to be introduced to anyone else.

How rude

“His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and everybody hoped he would never come there again.”

Good riddance

Good riddance

However, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. It can be hard when you are in a new area. Sometimes you can come off being ruder than you mean to be.

sociallyawkward

I used to be like that a lot. People would tell me they thought I was a snob before, and glad that they were mistaken. I never realized that my self-consciousness was giving off that kind of vibe. In fact I feel bad for Darcy, as for him it was the same way. He never realizes the way he may portray himself or the attitude he gives off until Elizabeth tells him.

DarcyNotIgnoringDon'tKnowWhattoSay

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3. Slighting Elizabeth

Ooooh Darcy, this is where you really dig yourself into a hole.

“She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me.”

Ouch

Ouch

Sorry Darcy, I have nothing to say to defend you. You said such a cruel thing and she tells her friend and family. Her mother spreads the story around and Darcy, you’re coffin is sealed.

Good riddance

Good riddance

 

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So this clearly shows that we need to watch our actions and how we present ourselves to people. First impressions last a long time and take forever to overcome.

HowYouMakeThemFeel

Also that even though Darcy is hot and rich, its personality that will always win over as everyone was willing to forget trying to win his heart, once they felt his personality was a huge zero.

personality

Yep personality will always win out:

PrettySoul

And it’s a good thing for us that Darcy has a beautiful soul to go with his body. It just takes a bit of time for us and Elizabeth to see it.

Laurence Olivier Mr. Darcy

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For more on Mr. Darcy, go to It’s All Jane Austen’s Fault

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Just Can’t Get a Break

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to How to Catch a Man

For more on first impressions, go to Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice

For more on Regency Era, go to Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

For more on tall, dark, and handsome men; go to Gone Forever

For more on Maya Angelou, go to A Woman’s Heart

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Food, Food, Food!

For more on Wild Hogs, go to Part VIII: The Little Movie Lines List

For more on George of the Jungle, go to Episode VI: Return of the Favorite Movie Lines’ List

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy final

“Pride takes a hit in this Austen Misadventure”

So this was on my list of Pride & Prejudice-inspired books/films/etc and I have to say it was much better than I expected. I liked how it wasn’t trying to retell the story of Pride & Prejudice, but express the author’s love of the books and films.It is very similar to the film I Want to Marry Ryan Banks, so if you’ve seen that movie and liked it you’ll like this book.

The story starts off with 39 year old, mother of one, divorceé, Chloe Parker. Chloe loves Jane Austen. In fact her motto is:

Specifically Jane Austen

Specifically Jane Austen

Anyways so she enters a contest to compete in a documetary about Austinites. Each contestant will live in a Regency-esque world where they will compete in answering Austen Triva. The winner recieving $100,000. Chloe really needs the money as her old-fashioned letterpress buisness is starting to tank and she might end up having to foreclose on her house.

Chloe figures that this contest is in the bag as she knows oodles about Jane Austen, her books, and Regency trivia. This whole contest is supposed to a throwback to how life used to be. No phones, computers, texting, tweeting, facebooking, myspacing, etc. She can’t wait.

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When Chloe arrives on the set she finds out that the show isn’t a documentary about Austinites, but is a reality dating show, a sort of Bachelor-esque one.

You-serious?-Not-happening-babe!

Chloe is in shock and utter disbelief. She decides that she is through with it as reality show is something she never wanted to EVER be on. She is utterly mortified that she was almost on a Flavor of Love or Farmer Takes a Wife show.

George the producer and director convinces her to stay. He promises that this is vastly different from those other shows as it is all about Regency courtship. No hot tubs, none of those outlandish ways to try and win the guy; but all about proper Regency courtship; no touching, no drinking, no alone time (everything is chaperoned), and to win special outings/events with the bachelor, the contestents had to participate in Regency-esque activities, racking up points. The bachelor is Mr. Wrightman, a wealthy individual who is tired of women being after his money and is looking for love the old-fashioned way. All Chloe has to do is play the part of a down on her luck American heiress who is eager to win a man with title and wealth. It seems so easy, and how can she say no to an Austinte expereience with a hot guy and a chance at a ton of money?

I-am-going-to-try-this-Well-Rested-Makeup-Tutorial-it-works-amazing-1024x1024

So now Chloe is dressed in a 19th century style muslin dress, wearing lemon deodorant, and has a reticule full of vinaigrette (to avoid nasty smells), a fan, calling cards, gloves, and a bonnet.

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Now this is an area I thought the author should have changed. 39 is much too old for a woman to be man-catching in Regency times (unless she was a wealthy widow). If I was the author, Karen Doornebos, I would have made her younger. She could have still gone to college and had a child, you would just have to bend the years back. Let’s say she graduated at age 22, got married at 23, and then had a kid at 24. You could make her 30 years old with a 6 year old. 39 is much too old.

She is given a fake bio about her family, with the writer’s trying to keep it as close to her reality as possible. As she has English blood on her maternal side they wrote that her mother is English while her father is American, making her daughter Abigail her sister for the bio.

This is another thing I felt was a bit odd. If the whole dating show is supposed to take place in 1812 why have an American contestant? Would she have even been able to travel over with the blockades? Wouldn’t it have looked like her family was partial to the English side? Wouldn’t it make the English dislike/distrust her? Why not set it in 1811 or  late 1815? And being the only American, man that’s going to be hard on her.

They give the contestants carriage rides to the house, Bridgesbridge, where the women are staying, and as they are riding there, Chloe hears a gunshot and the carriage stops dead in its tracks. Lady Grace of the d’Agrgent family, another contestant, has a pistol and was shooting, “accidentally” hitting the carriage. Chloe has a freakout and faints dead away.

She awakens in her new bedroom under Mr. Wrightman, MD’s care. In fact he carried her in from the carriage area (just like Colonel Brandon in Sense & Sensibility)

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While even though being unconscious and thinking she’d been shot (when her carriage really just turned a wheel) made her feel like an idiot, she does love the idea of Mr. Wrightman having carried her. While Mr. Wrightman isn’t exactly what she pictured (a handsome, blond, spetecle wearing, kind looking man rather than the tall, dark, and brooding Darcy-sque that she was expecting) she is happy to have made his aquaintance.

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Chloe also meets her chaperone (as her character is unmarried she has to have one) Mrs. Crescent, who is very pregnant and ready to give birth anytime soon. Chloe also gets another dose of Lady Grace, the most annoying, vile, and irritating woman in this book. A perfect villain. Chloe isn’t one to stand idly by, but manages to put in quite a few of her own barbs, such as telling Grace that perhaps she will get bullet pudding tonight. She also one ups Grace by stating her father always called her a princess, a rank higher than Lady.

Don't mess with me!

Don’t mess with me!

She also finds out that all the other girls in the house have been there for three weeks already and she was choosen to replace a girl who had to go home due to a family emergency. Chloe feels soooo far behind and doesn’t know how she will ever catch up.

She also finds out that Regency England is lacking in quite a few ways. Besides the lemon deodorant there is weak tea because of the “Napoleonic Wars“, micro amounts of butter, no salt, no pepper, etc. They get a small cake of soap a week, a bath a week, etc.

That would be the hardest thing for me. I was actually surprised that they were able to find as many people who would be willing to give up such niceties. Deodorant, toothpaste, food with taste, soap, indoor plumbing, etc; I know that there are somethings I cannot live without and I don’t know if I could go weeks without them. I need my indoor plumbing, I hate it when I don’t have a proper bathroom. I also couldn’t do a bath only on Sundays. And I’m haf-Mexican, I need spice in my food! I can’t live on bland scrump.

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To make matters worse, any thought of bowing out was quickly destroyed when she hears that her chaperone Mrs. Crescent is eager to win because her child, William, has a tumor and needs an expensive operation. If Chloe wins Mr. Wrightman than Mrs. Crescent gets money too.

Chloe’s having a slight meltdown and all she wants to do is take a shower. Unfortunately as those don’t happen until Sunday, and today is Monday. She can’t handle not getting cleaned up and just happens to look out her window and see a pond. As every true Austenite has seen Pride & Prejudice (1995) she gets the idea of taking a bath in the pond. While she can’t dive in competely like Colin Firth, she is still able to clean a majority of her body.

Just like Mr. Darcy, Chloe is also caught , but by two attractive men. The first is this tall, dark, handsome, Darcy-ian man. He tries to talk to her, but she is so embarrasssed that he caught her she is rude to him. He warns her that she is on Darthworth property which are grounds for termination. As she is gathering her belongings and leaving, she runs into Mr. Wrightman. As Chloe tries to explain what was happening, Mr. Wrightman makes a reference to P&P (1995) telling her that he was hoping she would emerge in a white shirt. Chloe is all:

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The two have a great conversation together and Chloe is amazed at how well they seem to click. In fact, Chloe is starting to think maybe this won’t be so stupid, but perhaps fun as Henry, Mr. Wrightman seems like a really great guy. More Henry Tilney than Darcy, but Tilney isn’t that bad. (In my opinion he’s amazing)

On her way back she meets the rest of the contestants who all seem to be much, much younger and more carefree than her. There is Miss Julia Tripp  who is very exuberant and full of energy, Miss Kate Harrignton who sufferes from allergies, Miss Becky Carver who is African-English and just turned 21, Miss Gillian Potts who is a bit of a whiner, and Miss Olive Silverton who is a tad critical.

When dressing for dinner, Chloe asks Fiona, her maid, who the tall, dark, stranger might have been. Fiona responds that it is Mr.Wrightman. Chloe is confused as the blond doctor is Mr. Wrightman. That is when she finds out there are two Mr. Wrightmans. Sebastian is the brunette and the eldest so he is the one to inherit, the one the contest is all about. Henry, the blond doctor, is the youngest and has to marry wealthy as he won’t have a large inheritence (Very Mr. Tilney indeed). Chloe is horrified that she might have just lost her chance at Mr. Wrightman. Uber embarressment. Very reminiscent of the Sense & Sensibility Mr. Ferrars incident.

So embarressed

So embarrassed

The next day the competition begins as the girls are taught archery and dance. None is allowed to move to the next task until they have finished their first assignment and gained their points for the day. Chloe is far behind the other girls in everything as they have been there for weeks. Chloe even finds out that many of the girls know little about Austen; such as Grace saying that her favorite Austen is P&P, the Keira Knightley version. Obviously not only does she have no idea that P&P wasn’t published until 1813, Sense and Sensibility was the only book out at the moment. Chloe’s reaction to this statement is exactly how I would respond.

“Chloe cringed. Not her favorite adaption. It was historically inaccurate, for one thing…Chloe looked at her in askance…” (Pg. 81)

I know how she feels, that is my least favorite version. For me it is always P&P 1940, then P&P (1995).

Chloe thoroughly enjoys Regency dances, but Grace tries to throw a wrench in her plan saying she can’t dance with a girl who has ink all over her fingers. “She might catch it” Hmmph…what a pansy. Instead Chloe has to dance with Cook, Cook who she relies on and always tries to help her.

Grace and Chloe trade barbs once again, wth Chloe being the victor. However, her win rings hollow when Grace runs off to meet with Mr. Wrightman, having garnered the most points and won time with him.

As Chloe looks outside the window to watch Grace, her spying quickly ends when Mrs. Crescent’s dog Fifi runs off and Chloe runs after him to get him. She runs smack dab into Sebastian and has another awkward conversation with him.

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But by now she’s hooked. He is so dashing, charming, and always knows the right thing to say. Chloe is in this thing totally and completely.

Something that puts a whole damper on the situation is a call from Chloe’s daughter, Abigal. Apparently Chloe’s ex, Winthrop, has met somebody, and is getting married, and wants to change the custody arrangement. Apparently he got a promotion so he won’t be traveling as much anymore. Chloe is freaking out over it, but can’t really get involved as she is away in England.

What else could go wrong?

What else could go wrong?

Also to Chloe’s surprise there is a new guest, Miss Imogen Wells. Apparently she was there the whole time but had to be apart from the others as she was on her period. In olden times when women were having their time of the month they had a lying in time period and had to be away from all the others. Chloe is freaked out that there is another girl to contend with, but quickly gets over that as she finds Imogen to be one of the friendliest girls ever.The two become fast friends. The two both love painting, drawing, and Jane Austen.

I couldn’t imagine being in Regency times on my period, that would be awful. Back then they didn’t have underwear, and you just bleed through your clothes. Washing and changing clothes were seen as unhealthy. Ew! Being on your period is bad enough but without pads, tampons, and in a chamber pot?

However, things take a turn for the better, Chloe gets an invitation to meet up with Sebastian (Mrs. Crescent has to come too) to see castle ruins! And they will all be having diiner at Dartworth Hall the next day too.

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Later that day Chloe is out gathering ingrediants to make ink, Sebastian comes bounding by on a white horse. A man on a white horse?

So romantic

So romantic

Chloe is in deep, and she isn’t looking for a way out.

Later she runs into the other Wrightman brother. He comes upon her as she is painting and compliments her work. (Very reminiscent of Emma, except Herny isn’t the creepy Mr. Elton.)

Imogen and Chloe discuss the two brothers, their merits and qualities. Imogen brings up  her partiality to Henry, as he is honest and forthwright, while Sebastian is more of an enigma.

Chloe goes off with Sebastian and Mrs. Crescent and has a truly romantic time. He even gives her a set of paint, paunting papers, and a pink cabbage rose. Chloe is just drowning in her crush.

162808404She also finds out that Grace is not only after the money, but wants to get her family’s land back. They been lost to the Wrigtmans for centuries and she is still carrying anger for it.

That night is the ball and when the girls get there Chloe immediately checks out the library. I love libraries, I mean I have done all thise book posts. (The Important Things in Life, Surviving the Worst, They Change You, Hardest Decision of My LifeMe, Me & Me Again, Best Pickup Line Ever!, If Onlyand Words to Live By.)

I mean I would rather gush over a library than a man. But hey, that’s just me.

But before the girls can continue to dinner they do the invitation ceremoney (much like the rose ceremony in the Bachlor or the picture one in America’s Next Top Model.)

Imogen, Becky, and Olive end up being sent home. Grace is so annoying and everyone wishes she was sent home, but she makes great TV.

Since Chloe is lower than the other girls, she enters last but she does have Henry to guide her in, and he is also placed next to her. Chloe makes a Persuasion reference about lotion, and while Kate Harrington doesn’t get it, Henry does.

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After the conversation the two have, I would far rather have Henry than to risk getting Sebastian, who one knows nothing about. All are having a wonderful time until Grace pops out a boob in order to get the focus on hre.

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Sebastian makes plans to have a faux fox hunt for the girls. Everyone is excaiming over it when Mrs. Crescent screams out that

The BABY"S HERE!

The BABY”S HERE!

Immediately Chloe goes to help. It turns out to be a false alarm, but Henry seems more interested in her than ever.

Chloe goes out the next day and runs into Henry falconing. The two share some tender moments. She also runs into Sebastian who gives her a message with clues in it to find a great prize.

Instead of trying to make ink to get her accomplishment points, Chloe goes into the kitchen to make strawberry tarts. She isn’t supposed to be in the kitchen as she is a lady, but Chloe finds it so hard to be proper all the time, (blame it on her American upbringing).

Afterwards Sebastian come to take her silhouette. She finds out that he knows more about Chloe as he has had the oppurtunity of watching her audition video, check her facebook, twitter, and research her through the internet. He tells her they have a lot in common. He also takes a lock of her hair. Taking someone’s lock of hair meant you were very interested in them and were planning o courting or possibly proposing. Most would turn them into rings or place them in lockets.

The next day is the fox hunt and Chloe is ready to give it her all.

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The first to reach the area where the faux fox is wins the challenge and accomplishment points. Chloe is in the lead, but as she is going Henry falls off his horse. Apparently his horse was injured. Chloe stops to help him even though she is sacrificing her chance of winning. Henry strips off his shirt so that he could use it to help the horse, but seeing all the blood, makes her faint again.

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Henry wakes her up and kisses her.

Everyone returns indoors after the hunt. Chloe is certain she will be the next to go home as she never made it to the tree. But to her suprise she wins all the points as the real test was to see who would stop.  To add to Chloe’s joy is that she is hosting the after hunt tea. Before they can enter though, they all have to have their reticule’s examined to make sure that no contraband has been carried through. Chloe is sure that she will pass but then they find a condom in her purse.

images-3Chloe is shocked at how that got in there. She argues that it is obviously a plant as why would she even chance it at her own tea party. They let her continue, but tell her that she is on probation until they get to the bottom of it.

What starts out as a normal tea party ends up becoming a a full fledged food fight. Somehow Chloe manages to make it through the next invitation ceremony.

However she feels awful about some of the things she said about Henry when she and Grace were arguing (what escalated into the food fight). So Chloe does the only reasonable thing and dresses up like a messenger boy so she can tell Henry how sorry she is.

I can be a dude. I'm a dude.

I can be a dude. I’m a dude.

This Shakespearean twist isn’t completely crazy. There is no way Chloe could send him a letter, note, or talk to him priovately about how she feels. Women could only do that if they were engaged.

The next day everyone is going to the maze for an outing, but both Grace and Chloe are on probation for their outlandish tendencies. Fifi takes off into the maze and Chloe follows, it begins to pour (hey its England). Instead of turning back she takes off after him to save him., Henry also goes. Fifi gets in a fight with a weasal and Henry runs off with Fifi to help with his wounds leaving Chloe behind. She gets lost and Sebastian goes in there to get her. Carrying her out Colonel Brandon style.

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 He puts her down and as Chloe is making her way to the house she realizes that while she is falling for both men, she needs to put her eyes back on the goal and win Sebastian and the $100,000.

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Even though she had just had Sebastian’s arms around her, Chloe is depressed as she looks like a wet dishrag in comparison to the others.

Elinor Dashwood: Marianne, you must change. You will catch a cold. Marianne: What care I for colds when there is such a man. Elinor Dashwood: You will care very much when your nose swells up.

Elinor Dashwood: Marianne, you must change. You will catch a cold.
Marianne: What care I for colds when there is such a man.
Elinor Dashwood: You will care very much when your nose swells up.

She has to return home, quite sad that she couldn’t stay longer.

That night Chloe is able to take a bath, but finds out that she has to take it after all the other girls because she is lower than them. EWWWWW! She has to use USED BATHWATER!!!! NFM! I could not handle that. I’d be in that pond. To make matters worse she finds a mouse in her rooom. It’s just not her day.

What else could go wrong?

What else could go wrong?

Chloe gets a letter from home and becomes extremely stressed out. Without a gym or kitchen to be able to go in and destress, she skips an accomplishment task to take a walk. The cook agrees to cover for her, and Chloe takes off. Running right into Henry and feelings about him that she doesn’t want to think about. The two enojy a bit of birdwatching and she tells Henry that she has a mouse.

She returns home and cook starts grilling her about her about where she has been. She questioned whether Chloe is throwing away her oppurtunity on the penniless brother. This gets Chloe all riled up, but makes her wonder. She finds out that she missed Sebastian calling and Grace won the next outing with Sebastian. Then she ends up fainting. That makes it the third time.

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The next day Chloe gets a present from Mr. Wrightman. It’s a cat! Ah, he’s perfect! He got her a mouser. Now Chloe thinks that Henry told Sebastian, but it is obvious that he sent it. I mean the guys titally in love with her. And I feel that he is a much better guy than Sebastian as he is real. Sebastian is to oily, and too perfect.

Chloe has a moment upstairs when she really wishes she could just chill out to some tunes. Since she can’t she just sings her heart out and does a Sweet Charity number. And to her embarrassment she spots Sebastian watching her through her window outside.

Next up is the archery tournament and one has to get four bulls eyes. Chloe is not on the top of her game and manages to shoot very badly.

Henry loans her his glasses so that she can make her bullseye and proceed to the ball. All us going well until Grace steps on her foot and causes her to miss, sending the arrow right ay Henry. Grace faints once again and Chloe thinks she has just killed him. Henry is alright and Chloe thinks she’s out of the contest. ;(

Chloe ends up getting another shot and gets a bullseye.

Grace gets first place and the first dance with Sebastian. Chloe has second but has to sit out as her arrow went awry. Julia has third. When Chloe returns to her room she finds that her cat has got the mouse and an invite to the Grecian temples with Mr. Wrightman.

Chloe is so excited about her date she bribes a footman to get her a razor and shaves her legs.

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The date isn’t all as she hopes it would be. Sebastian has a toothache and has to suck on cloves as they are “in the 1800s”. Chloe tries to discuss things with him, but garners no response at all. To further ruin the moment, Chloe has to pee and there is no chamberpot in site. Lucky for her Henry’s lab is nearby and Sebastian tells her that he has a water closet. She has more moments with Henry and gets something to help Sebastian’s toothache. She givs him a drop of laudaum, and Sebastian really cuts loose. He starts saying all kinds of things and starts trying to get all over him. Charlotte ends up decking him as he as he tries to pull her dress off. Henry arrives in time to cart him off.

Now here I would have completely jumped off the Sebastian train and gone Henry all the way. Sebastian is a loser.

Grace had been shooting a gun trying to ruin their date and Chloe is set on trying to prove that she is doing all kinds of illegal activities. She finds all kinds of things and even gets caught by Grace as Grace is trying to get down with a footman.

Later she is requested by Mrs. Crescent to help her when she has the baby and tries out some of the toys Henry got for Mrs. Crescent’s children. Chloe then has a very embarressing moment when the contraband she stole from Grace drops out of her bonnet. She leaves and goe to get her new dress finished for the ball and finds that she has lost weight. (Due to her hating and refusing to eat the food offered at the areas). She also spots Grace (through her window) putting the moves on Henry amd becomes livid, though she can’t imagine why. She also gets a note from Sebastian to meet up during the ball in the icehouse. She is extremely worried as she hopes that they don’t have a repeat of the Grecian temple.

The have the final invitation ceremony and Julie is sent home; only Grace and Julia are left. Since Mrs. Crescent is about ready to pop she can’t go, so the cook accompanies and chaporones her, rescuing her from the evil clutches of Grace & Co. It turns out the cook is actually Mrs. Wrightman, the Mr. Wrightmans’ mother.

Henry takes her to the library and gives her a first edition of Sense and Sensibility.

So romantic

So romantic

Henry really knows how to win a girl over. I’d propose to him.

Anyways, while they are there Henry reveals his feelings for her quoting P&P

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Chloe gets the second dance with Sebastian and gets to do the dance Darcy and Elizabeth do in the ’95 adaption.

She also makes a great Darcyian refrence, but one that Sebastian does not get. To cause further frown she spots a girl making the moves on Henry. Then when she is about to dance the very risqué waltz with Sebastian she gets a message from Fiona that Mrs.C just went into labor. She steals a horse and is off to help.

However when she gets back to the house she discovers Mrs. C is perfectly fine. Mrs. C is not having a baby. FIONA LIED!!!!!

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She tries to run back to the party and totally messes up her oufit She runs into Henry. He tries to console her. It is then that she ercognizes sge is in the icehouse. When she triesto get rid of Henry as Sebastian is coming Henry is dissappointed (even worsethan angry) and tkes off.

When she meets up with Sebastian she realizes this isn’t what she really wants. He admits to flirting with Fiona. He pulls out a knife and plays with it, (what a psycho) and then tries to strip her. She freaks out and Sebastian proposes. The footman enters and tells them Mrs. C is having the baby. As Chloe tries to leave Sebastian pulls  her back.

Now I don’t know why Chloe says yes, Sebastian is crazy. Ad this dude clearly doesn’t take no for an aswer.

Sebastian lets Chloe take his horse and she goes off. There she helps Henry deliver the baby.

She has a fight with Fiona and goes back to her room. She looks out the window and sees Sebastian and Fiona finishing the “horizontal tango”. This man is definitely not Mr. Darcy, Tilney, Knightly, Brandon, Wentworth, Bingley, Ferras, or Bertram.

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He’s nothing but a Wickham, Elliot, Willoughby, and Crawford.

The have a huge fake wedding to end the show. They even bring Chloe’s mom and dad over. Chloe has a huge freakout as she marches down the alley and dumps Sebastian taking off to find Henry. Henry who Chloe has has anounced that she loves.

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As she tries to go to town to get home to her daughter and find Henry. She runs into some people who tell her that Sebastian isn’t the heir to Dartwiorth Hall, but Henry is.

Henry comes after her on a white horse. A WHITE HORSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Henry takes her out and explais everything.

Henry is a forty year old man who is heir to the Dartworth estate and a very large fortune. He works as a doctor because he loves helping others. He loves art, architecture, Jane Austen,

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museums, bird-watching, etc. Women have been after him for his name and fortune so he hasn’t been able to settle down. His friend George came up with the idea, and Henry was hoping he would find an Anne Elliot. Sebastian is his cousin, and an aspiring actor, and Lady Anne (the cook) is actually his mother. He hated Grace but had to keep her on for ratings. Henry tells her he loves her, but Chloe is just so angry she returns home, doesn’t want the money, and goes home.

So Chloe goes home. She gets a beatiful letter Henry and the cat, but that is all she takes from Henry.

I would have kept the money and Henry. Chloe is crazy.

So Chloe is back in the states. She has given up in tryingv to find a fary tale guy. She dates regular guys. The only Austen thing she does is watch the show she was on, Dating Mr. Darcy. In the last episode she see that they did exit interviews with everyone but her. Grace went back to her trading firm and is dating a politician. Fiona set a date with her fiancée who is back from fighting in Afgahnistan (the guy she was porking about behind his back). Mrs. Crescent’s son had a sucessful operation and the lump is benign. Sebastian was given a leading role in a TV series and is currently dating one of the milkmaids from the show. Henry ends with a heartwarming plea telling Chloe that she pierce’s his soul and asking her to contact him.

So romantic

So romantic

The book ends with Chloe emailing Henry. Hoping to start a new beginning.

Not exactly the romantic ending one wants but is still quite sweet. So both guys were definitely not Mr. Darcy, but Henry turned out to be one great guy.

For more things based on Pride and Prejudice, go to On the 12th Day ‘Till Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas (2009)

To read another Pride & Prejudice post go to Parental Favoritism 

To read another Northanger Abbey post go to Storybook End