Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Suitors and Sabotage

So this is something I started a while back. Sometimes you want more Austen books after you have read all her books. There are variations on her stories, but sometimes you don’t want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but what to read or watch?

Hmmm…

That’s why I started this series. I will review books that have the things we love about the Austen novels, but in something fresher than a retelling.

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

So we added this book to the library last July and I was very interested in reading it, but had too many books on my to-read list. I decided to read it at a later time, you know what I’m talking about.

I first became interested in the book because of the cover, I know-we aren’t supposed to, but it is so beautiful.

Then I looked at the back and saw:

“…Jane Austen spiced with action, suspense, and humor.”

“Jane Austen fans in need of a good book look no further.”

“It’s Jane Austen meets Jane Foster…”

After that I HAD to read it, if it is recommended for Austen fans-here we go.

Gracebridge Manor in Fotheringham, Kent -1817

Miss Imogene Chively has returned from her London season a success, or so her family believes. Imogene did not enjoy the parties, being on display, etc.

Hopefully, she will not have to go back as she has a suitor- a Mr. Ernest Steeple. He’s very, very interested in her and about to visit and stay a few weeks.

Imogene is a very shy and not looking forward to him coming, but at least she will be home.

I don’t want to do this

She an her friend Miss Emily Beeswanger (what a name!) are relaxing outside the ruins of the nearby castle, when Imogene’s dog puts himself in danger. They try to get him back, but he won’t listen!

Oh no!

But in the end they are assisted by a handsome young man.

After he saves their dog, the man introduces himself as Benjamin “Ben” Steeple, the younger brother of Ernest. He has accompanied him, and the two arrived early. Mr. Chively, Imogene’s father, is monopolizing Ernest, so Ben decided to check out the castle ruins. Ben is studying to be an architect and could not pass up the opportunity.

Sorry, I have it in my media library and had to use it.

Benjamin joins the ladies for a picnic and Emily sets her cap for the charming, flirtatious, dashing man. Emily went with Imogene for the London season, but did not have anyone interested in her. She’s feeling like a failure and this handsome man seems to be the answer to her wish to be married.

Emma Woodhouse from Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale version

Imogene’s dog, Jasper, takes off into the old ruins, again, and Ben helps save him for Imogene. They end up bringing part of the castle down and destroying their clothes in the process (not like they are naked bit that those clothes can never be fixed to be in their previous condition ever again).

Ben goes to change before dinner and encourage his brother. Ernest is over the moon about Imogene but feels disheartened as he is trying to spend time with her, but has only been spending time with the dad. He’s worried he won’t have anything to converse with her, so Ben tells him to talk about Joseph Turner.

Uh, excuse me…his name is Joseph Mallard William Turner. Sorry if my art history is showing, but he did make beautiful paintings. They were large “romantic” pieces of art. We studied Slave Ship, Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On, in my class but they wouldn’t have seen that painting as it wasn’t done until 1840.

Anyways…

Anyways…sorry for that derail.

So the brothers are some of the best parts of the book as it is fun to read their interactions as they mess with each other. For instance Ben tells Mr. Chively that Ernest likes economics and Mr. Chively spends the whole night talking his ear off about banking and interest.

I’m so bored….BEN! THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!

Ben, however, spends the night talking to Imogene and Emily and enjoys conversing with both women. He’s a major flirt and loves charming the ladies.

Ugh!!

Imogene finds herself feeling uncertain as she is in a place she has never been before. She knows that Ernest likes her…but all this attention-could Ben have feelings for her too? Are two brothers fighting over her?

But then Emily points out all the attention Ben has been giving her and the way he has been treating her. Could this be worse than she thought, could he like both Imogene and Emily?

After the two talk, Imogene becomes convinced that Ben is just flirting and charming both of them (very Frank Churchill). Imogene is a little saddened at that, but Emily will not give up. She wants Ben and practices her best flirtations in order to win his heart.

The next morning, Ernest is taken off by Imogene’s father to go fishing, while Ben gets to spend the morning with her. He is doing his best to extol his brother’s virtues, but finds himself holding her hands longer than necessary and thinking more about her than his brother.

Wow, Ben, really? Your brother’s girl! You know he’s into her. And he’s your BROTHER!!!!!

Forget you!

They spend time together, but then Imogene goes to give Emily’s sister, Harriet, her drawing lessons.

Afterwards, she finds Emily decked out in her most flattering gown, ready for Ben’s return-you know pulling a Sandy.

Besides the Beeswanger family, and the Steeples, the Tabards are also staying with the Chivelys. Mrs. Chively, Mrs. Beeswanger, and Mrs. Tabard were very close friends, and relatives. Mrs. Tabard passed away and since then Mr. Tabard has been a ghost of the man he once was. His son Jake has become an incorrigible prankster-pairing up with Imogene’s older brother Percy.

Ben has a horrible secret and admits it to Imogene. He wants to be an architect more than anything in the world, but he cannot draw! He begs her for lessons and to keep his secret. It makes Imogene feel special as her family doesn’t care about art and she begins lessons with him.

OKaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Red flag number 2!!! Liar, secret keeping, your only role is to make HIM better. Imogene, walk away-walk away!!!

That evening Ernest and Imogene finally have a chance to spend time together. Ernest tries to talk about Turner, but can’t. He admits he knows little of painting and that he is a…reader. Not of poems or essays…but…literature.

A handsome, kind, caring, rich man who loves to read?

I’m with Mrs. Bennet!

He’s PERFECT!!! He’s the mythical unicorn!!!!!

Imogene begins to enjoy Ernest’s company just as much as Ben’s and finds herself in a real quandary. She likes Ernest and Ben, but she can’t have both so which brother will she choose?

But before Imogene’s heart can tell her the path to take-some strange things start happening. Her jewelry is found in Ben’s room, then a burr is under his saddle and almost kills him, the castle starts falling down as well, and more. Someone is after Ben, but who?

A MYSTERY!!! You know what that means…

Mystery, you say? I’m on the case

To further complicate this midsummer nights comedy of errors; Ernest and Ben both like Imogene, Emily likes Ben, Jake seems to be interested in Emily, and Imogene doesn’t know which man she wants.

Uhhhh…

And who is doing all these mysterious things? Could it be Percy or Jake, taking their “jokes” too far? Could it be Emily, who is after Ben-maybe trying to dissuade him from Imogene? Or could it be Ernest who wants to take Ben out of the running for Imogene’s heart?

Thoughts After Reading:

This book was pretty enjoyable for the most part. I thought the beginning and middle were really good. The parts that kind of turned me off was when the story began to drag on with the constant back and forth of Imogene trying to decide on a guy.

Which one, which one…

It really bothered me too how both men laughed off Imogene’s fear. I mean come on guys, there is too much happening for it be an “accident”. Seriously dudes.

Come on guys!

There is also a weird part when Imogene accuses Ernest of doing all these things to Ben and Ben becomes furious. She is in shock about how “unreasonable” he is and hopes to never see that “unreasonable” side again. Ugh, girl please-you just accused his brother of trying to kill him. If someone said that to me about my sister I would have flipped a table at them. How dare you!!!

That’s my sibling!

But really, whether you will love or hate this book will boil down to one thing-which guy you like better. It is a tale as old as Fritz and Ernst (The Swiss Family Robinsons) or modern day-Dean and Sam (Supernatural). You have two guys who are amazing guys-both nice, brave, good people. One is more of an introvert, one more of an extrovert; one slightly more brawny, one slightly more brainy; etc. And you can only choose one!

Who would I pick? I really liked Ernest. I thought he was kind, caring, sweet-loved that he was a reader and found him to be like Mr. Tilney-comfortable, a novel reader, and just fun.

Ben, on the other hand, I could not stand. He made me think of Frank Churchill, a charmer-all fluff, and no substance. I really felt that Ben picked up on how Imogene feels ignored and not valued for her art and really  played on that manipulating her into being with him so he can use her artistic ability to further his career. I hate charming flirts-they are such jerks so I didn’t want her with him, I wanted Ernest!!! But hey that’s just me-you might feel differently.

Plus, 100000000000000000000000000000000x points: Ernest has read all the Jane Austen  novels.

What?

For more non-Austen reads for Austen readers, Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: A Love for Keeps

For mysteries, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more Young Adult books, go to Prom & Prejudice

 

Advertisements

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 1, The Journey Ahead

So do you all remember the film Big? Tom Hanks is a preteen that wishes to be “big” and becomes a 30-year old man?

He tries to find a Zoltar machine to change him back, but meanwhile works for a toy company to make money. Because of his childlike understanding, he moves straight to the top of the company.

Now his idea for a new toy is a computer game/book that you read but get to make choices as to what will happen next. Well Choices is that.

What?

So a while back they had a preview for an Austenlike game Desire & Decorum

You know me and anything Austenlike or Austen related:

So as soon as it was avliable I decided to play:

You have the choice of being male or female and name. You can also customize your avatar and purchase extras if you want.

So the story is set in 1816 in the country village of Grovershire, England. You have enjoyed your life there but your mother is very ill, and on her deathbed reveals a secret. You have never known your father, but your mother reveals that he is the Earl of Edgewater, a very wealthy and powerful man. The two were in love, but his family drove them apart-and she went to Grovershire. How do you feel? You make the choice.

With the death of your mother you head to Edgewater and to meet your father and his family. Now this is an interesting concept to go with, being born out of wedlock in 1816-not the best way to be treated.

It was very hard when you were considered an “illegetimate” child. You had no legal right to any inheritance unless “an explicit, specific, uncontested written bequest, and inheriting a title from a parent was rare indeed, though not, as we’ve seen, quite impossible.

Ouch

So you are taken to Edgewater and meet your paternal grandmother the Dowager Countess who is quite spunky. Is she an ally? Or will she try and remove you like your mother was removed?

Hmm…

You also meet Mr. Ernest Sinclaire, master of the nearby Ledford Park. He’s handsome, rich, and also the rude man that almost ran you down on his horse a couple days ago. Yes, you have met him before.

I wonder which Austen hero he will be like? Romantic and wise like Colonel Brandon? Idealistic and does the right thing like Edward Ferrars? Broody and serious Darcy? Playful and stern like Mr. Knightley? Serious like Edmund Bertram? Playful like Mr. Tilney? Passionate like Captain Wentworth?

Hmm…

Or will he be a rogue? Sacrifices love for money like Mr. Willoughby? Selfish and narcissistic like Mr. Wickham? An annoying brown-noser like Mr. Collins? A  cruel social climber like Mr. Elton? Only thinks of himself like Frank Churchill? Manipulative like John Thorpe or Captain Tilney? Plotting and cunning like Mr. Elliot?

Hmm…

But more importantly, what about your father. Will he accept you or reject you?

For more Jane Austen games, go to Jane Austen Manors

For more based on Jane Austen, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

For more Jane Austen stuff, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

The Bend and Snap

Pride and prejudice

Bend_and_snap Legally Blonde

The bend and snap works every time!

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

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)

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.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

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

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

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

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

So how does this turn out for Marianne?

gameofthronesterriblemistakerob

You’ll just have to wait and see.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

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

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

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

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

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

 

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

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

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

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

It is a Truth Universally Acknowledged…

Face it when you hear those words “it is a truth universally acknowledged…” your mind goes immediately to Pride & Prejudice imagining Mrs. Bennet attempting to marry off all her girls.

Jane Austen was such an amazing writer. She creates an opening hook that has you deeply invested in the story within two seconds. This hook is one that has continued to be entertaining for ages. I mean that saying never gets old, but constantly draws you in no matter how many times you have read it.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in posession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Unfortunately in today’s time, that no longer seems to be true. Most guys who are well off are more interested in sampling honey pots than buying the actual beehive (like my metaphor? I thought it was a nice change from the milk and cow analogy).

If Mrs. Bennet lived today this would be her immediate reaction:

e978f25a4bef8b106edecf904259c7a8

She’d be like, “go after that man and use every ounce of your feminine wiles to capture him. Don’t let him go.”

Keeper

It’s interesting  how marriage was such an important thing for a women in Regency times, especially since the woman’s main role was to be mother and helpmate, but it is a theme that is a major factor only for our Pride and Prejudice heroines.

What?

In Sense & Sensibility, the mother and daughters are not even concerned about marriage, but are focused on their grief for their dead husband and father or occupied on trying to manage their lives in a poorer state of affairs. In Mansfield Park, no one thinks about who Fanny will marry until the rascal Henry Crawford starts paying attention to her. Emma is determined to remain a spinster and her father is thoroughly pleased with that. In Northanger Abbey, Catherine’s family never brings up the question of who and when Catherine should marry. By the time Persuasion starts, Anne has already turned down two proposals but her extremely vain father is not worried over her lack of a martial state but that she isn’t up to his standards of beauty. Only in Pride and Prejudice do we see a mother so determined to marry off her children. Even with the Elliot estate (Persuasion) being entailed, the Bennets are the only ones who talk about their worry about on having no male children.

What also is interesting is that even though “a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”; there are many male characters in her novels who have money and do not wish to marry. There is Willoughby, Tom Bertram, Henry Crawford, Captain Tilney, and Mr Elliot (the younger).

  • Mr. Willoughby only marries because his aunt was threatening to disinherit him, and he does not want to be a poor man (whether or not he would have actually married Marianne is a post for another day.)
  • Mr. Elliot is a widower having fun-slightly interested in Anne, and only decides to run off with Mrs. Clay to make sure his uncle doesn’t have a son (trying to protect his inheritance.)
  • Captain Tilney continues enjoying any woman who comes his way, marriage being the last thing on his mind.
  • Tom Bertram has no thought on marriage until his close encounter with death causes him to rethink his life.
  • Henry Crawford is a little different being a Sebastian Valmont-esque character-never interested in marriage but just trying to play around with women, falls for Fanny and tries to win her affections, but ends up creating a huge scandal with her cousin and never marrying.

Of course her books are also filled with men who want to get married, after all if they weren’t would we love them as much as we do?

One of the most intriguing things about this phrase is the statement in “want of a wife”. Want’s two most used definitions are “have a desire to possess” or “a lack or deficiency”. Therefore this statement applies to both Binglely (as one who desires a wife) and Darcy (has a lack of one) along with all the other Austen men. Every Austen hero and villain starts the book off in want of a wife as they do not have one. And by the end of each book all Austen heroes, and some villains, have one.

And just like any other mother, Mrs. Bennet can’t help hoping that her daughters will catch the eye and heart of a single man in possession of a good fortune.

If you are interested in buying a shirt like Lizzie Bennet, Zazzle and Cafepress sell them and many other Jane Austen inspired products

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice

For more on this opening line, go to Opening With…

For more on Mrs. Bennet, go to Parental Favoritism 

For more bible verses, go to Thanks A Lot