Dull Times Breed Disaster

So back in 2015 I started going through Emma to celebrate her 200th anniversary.

I paused her to go through Northanger Abbey and Persuasion for their anniversary years, but have decided to throw her back into the mix with the others.

Alright!

So as I was reading, I was thinking what a boring life Emma must have been living at the time “her story” starts.

So Emma and her sister were raised by a father who doted on them and the governess Miss Taylor. Miss Taylor was more a sister than an elder, so I imagine the girls must have had a lot of fun together.

Girls night!

But then Isabella married John Knightley and there was just the two girls.

And then Miss Taylor married…leaving Emma alone with a hypochondriac father.

And who did her father have for constant companions?

Besides her father, Miss and Mrs. Bates. Now Mrs. Bates is very old and Miss Bates is a kind, sweet woman but to Emma she is also dull, older, and not one Emma could have interesting conversation with.

And who else? Mrs. Goddard, the woman who owns and runs a boarding house. Also kind, caring, but much older than Emma and another she would find dreadfully dull.

Ugh!

Yes these were the ones that Emma spent most of her days with after the marriage of Miss Taylor to Mr. Weston.

Now what about Mr. Knightley, you may ask? Yes, it is true that he and Mr. Elton visited but…

“…Mrs. and Miss Bates, and Mrs. Goddard, three ladies [were] almost always at the service of an invitation from Hartfield, and who were fetched and carried home so often…” –Emma, pg 17

“These were the ladies that whom Emma found herself very frequently able to collect…She was delighted to see her father look comfortable…but the quiet prosings of three such women made her feel that every evening so spent was indeed one of the long evenings she had fearfully anticipated.” –Emma, pg 18-19

Ugh, I’m so bored!

No wonder she plunges herself heart and soul into breaking up Harriet and Robert and matching up Harriet and Mr. Elton. She bored out of her socks! Can you imagine spending every day for long periods of time with Miss Bates?

And then triple that with Mrs. Bates and Mrs. Goddard.

I think I’d be going mad for anything else to bring “excitement” into my life.

This made me think of when I was a child and mother brought me to all kinds of adult functions. She is a pastor and we had to go to everything, and I remember being bored out of my skull and wishing there was another kid there to do things with.

Good thing I had my books-

As I grew older I learned to take part in the conversation and grew less bored with being with people not in my years-but then again none of the people I have spent long periods of time with were as difficult to be with as Miss Bates.

Blah, blah

Poor Emma-especially as one who doesn’t really play, read, sing, paint, embroider, etc-she has no escape. NO escape that is, except meddling!

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

For more on Mrs. and Miss Bates, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

For more on Mrs. Goddard, go to A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

For more Emma, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements

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Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?

Hmm…I don’t know!

That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.

So there are a lot of period dramas I plan on reviewing, but to start it off-I’m doing something a bit unexpected.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Laura Jean is is a romantic. She reads romances, watches romantic films and Rom-Coms-her favorite is Sixteen Candles-and she dreams about the beauty of love in her head.

She wishes she could be in a romance book or film.

When Laura Jean falls in love she writes love letters, but she never sends them. Whenever she falls for a guy she writes them a letter, addresses it, seals it, and stashes it in her closet. She has fallen in love with five guys, so far:

  • Kenny from camp
  • John Ambrose McClaren from Model U. N.
  • Peter Kavinsky in 7th Grade
  • Lucas after Homecoming
  • Josh Sanderson, best friend turned sister’s boyfriend

Ouch, that last one-yes, Laura was best friends with Josh, but then her sister and him started dating. Very awkward!

It is the start of junior year and Laura’s sister is heading off to college to Scotland. Laura is feeling a little lost as she is losing her other best friend and the one she has…well it is even more awkward now that he isn’t dating her sister than when he was.

School is okay, as Laura Jean isn’t the most popular girl in school but it never really mattered before, but now she feels lonely without her sister.

Everything is normal until one day Peter Kavinsky approaches her out of the blue stating that nothing will ever happen between them.

Huh?

Laura Jean is confused, until she realizes he has her letter!! Josh does too, so in order to dissuade him-and to keep more awkward conversations from happening between her and Josh and her sister-she kisses Peter and takes off.

At home she discovers that all the letters are gone! Kenny’s from camp is returned to her, as address is wrong (*phew*) but all the others were sent out and received.

Lucas approaches her and reveals to her that he is gay, and the two actually become friends, this continuing throughout the movie. Peter’s girlfriend, Genevieve, dumped him for a college guy, and in order to get her back-he approaches Laura Jean about pretending to be his new girlfriend, as him dating Laura Jean will piss her off. Genevieve and Laura Jean used to be friends, but back in seventh grade it ended. At a party, they were playing spin-the-bottle and it landed on Peter, Genevieve’s crush. (That kiss lead to the writing of Laura Jean’s letter).

Laura Jean isn’t interested, but then Peter points out that if they are “dating”, then Josh won’t believe the letter is how Laura Jean feels now-and no awkward conversations will have to be done with Josh or Margo. Laura Jean agrees after they come up with a series of rules.

The two start “dating” and really enjoying each other’s company. Laura Jean’s mother died when she was little and she grew up with only one parent and her sisters. Peter’s dad left him and started a new family, it being just his mom and brother. They bond over what that feels like and have conversations they would never have with anyone else.

Most of all they just have fun with each other.

And their plan is working. Genevieve hates the situation and her college guy is quickly dropped as she tries to beak the two up. Everything is going great until Laura Jean falls in love with her fake boyfriend. Will everything turn out okay?

So not fun…

Let me say that I love, love loved this movie. I put it on as background noise while I was doing something else and I stopped working as I was sucked in and just could not stop watching. It made me laugh, aw, and I just all around enjoyed it.

I can’t stop watching!

Now I know you think this film has been done a thousand times, and yes the fake relationship has-but what makes this stand out is the character Laura Jean. She is relatable, realistic, and so much fun. She was smart, but at the same time didn’t know all the answers to everything. She loved romance in books and movies, but was afraid at real commitment-understandable as she had lost her mother and now her sister has “left her.”

I liked the fact that they came up with rules as I have always thought that if you were to do this in real life the first thing you would need is a set if rules and a strong backstory.

I also liked that they broke up for actual serious reasons. Often they have the couple break up over silly misunderstandings that would be easily solved if the two would just talk to each other. But the fact that this guy says that he is into you but constantly talking to his ex-girlfriend and spent the night in her room? Good for you Laura Jean-that’s a no.

So I know you are all wondering-why would a Jane Austen fan like it? Well there are a few reasons. Well, first of all Laura Jean is sooo Catherine Morland-a girl who loves romance novels and finds herself in one?! Out of all the Austen heroines that’s the one that most kept popping in my mind. How Laura Jean imagines herself in romance novels-and being sweet and naive. 

The relationship between Laura and Peter is reminiscent of Catherine and Mr. Tilney, both couples having two great banter with their love interests-laughing and joking around with each other.

Like I said above, Peter isn’t exactly Mr. Tilney, but they do share commonalities. Both care about their younger siblings a lot and have a strained relationship with their fathers. They also don’t always follow social norms but do what they want, and enjoy joking around.

Another thing that Austen fans will enjoy is the family relationships. In Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, the main Austen heroines didn’t have a lot of friends besides their own sisters. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth does have Charlotte Lucas, but just like how Laura Jean’s friend is practically non-existent in this film, the two don’t spend a lot of the book spending time together. Mostly, their best friends are their sisters (like Jane Austen). In Pride and Prejudice, Jane goes away for a period of time to stay with relatives, and Elizabeth is very lonely with her gone-just how Laura Jean feels when Margo goes away for school. Speaking of P&P, Laura Jean’s little sister Kitty-she’s like a combo of Lydia and Kitty. Meddling, outspoken, more mature than her years in some aspects (but still a child in others).

Like Sense and Sensibility, we have an older, more sensible sister-Margo/Elinor; a romantic, reader, middle sister-Laura Jean/Marianne; and a spunky, does thing her own thing, younger sister-Kitty/Margaret. Like in S&S, The older siblings have a very close relationship, but both keep secrets from each other. But through all the ups and downs-secrets holding and ultimately revealing the truth-the sisters are there for each other.

The other thing that Austen fans will love- is that letters play a crucial role in the film and in the plot. In Austen’s time, letters were extremely important-being the only way of communicating when apart, but often read out loud and like the TV of the day. In Austen’s books-letters play a very important role. The two most known of course are Darcy’s letter in Pride and Prejudice and Captain Wentworth’s letter in Persuasion. Like those novels-the letters Laura Jean writes to her love interests, starting all the events in the film, but just like those two Austen men’s letters bring a romantic conclusion-the love notes Peter wrote her are what convinces her of his love.

I recommend it for any Austen fan.

For more Young Adult/Teen works, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Suitors and Sabotage

For more love letters, go to You Were Right, Let’s Get Married: Psycho (1960)

For more Austen film/TV show reviews, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

So today marks the last day of the Chinese New Year! Every year I do a Chinese New Year post, and this year as I was starting to write it I was wondering what if the Jane Austen characters celebrated the Chinese New Year? What would they be?

Hmm…

Of course when that idea came I had to write a post! Now how I did it may not be one hundred percent accurate as I don’t know the exact year they would have been born. Basically I took the age they were and misused it back from the the year the book was published-so even though some books may have been written earlier than their publishing date, I figured it would be easier to just go with that. Without further ado, here we go!

Colonel Brandon, Born 1776- Year of the Monkey

I’m a Monkey too!! Cool!

Monkeys are intelligent and can be lighthearted pranksters or slightly mischievous. They are logical thinkers and do well in any field where they can apply that type of thinking. They tend to be competitive and their fault can be arrogance. They are also very forgiving and tolerant of others.

Because of his year, Colonel Brandon is a fire monkey which means that they have big dreams, are family orientated, and set goals-achieving them. They also can have a hot temper.

Monkeys do best with a Rat, Snake, or Dragon. They should romantically avoid Pigs & Tigers.

For more Colonel Brandon, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

Mr. Knightley, Born 1777-Year of the Rooster

Roosters are serious, straightforward, logical, organized, and good at managing things. They criticize things they see are unfit and can be perfectionists. They are also planners and problem solvers. They enjoy family as they are their refuge.

Because of his year, Mr. Knightley is a Fire Rooster. They are great at time management and very trustworthy.

Romantically they are best with Dragons, Snakes, and Oxen. They don’t do well with Rabbits, Dogs, or other Roosters.

For more on Mr. Knightley, go to Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

Mr. Darcy, Born 1785-Year of the Snake

People born in the year of the snake are sophisticated, hold their own ground, calm in the midst of chaos, alert, and observant. They are humorous and great in social situations. They are romantic and empathetic. They are not good with small talk but crave to be the center of attention.

Because of the year, Mr. Darcy is a Wood Snake-easygoing, good at making friends and tend to be more on the perfectionist side.

Snakes should be romantically involved with a Monkey, Rooster, or Ox. They should avoid Tigers and Pigs.

For more on Mr. Darcy, go to Darcy’s ’80’s Power Song

Captain Fredrick Wentworth, Born 1787- Year of the Goat/Sheep

Goats are strong, resilient, and able to persevere through anything. They are quiet observers and analyze everything before making a decision. They love animals, children, and nature. They are friendly, empathetic, forgiving, generous with time and money, and very good at organization. They are genuine, helpful, but at times can be very pessimistic.

With the year he was born in, Wentworth is a Fire Goat. They are straightforward, loyal, and tend to worry over small details.

They are best romantically with Horses, Pigs, or Rabbits. They should avoid Oxen, Rats, and Dogs.

For more on Captain Wentworthgo to I’m On a Boat

Edward Ferrars, Born 1788-Year of the Monkey

As stated above: Monkeys are intelligent and can be lighthearted pranksters or slightly mischievous. They are logical thinkers and do well in any field where they can apply that type of thinking. They tend to be competitive and their fault can be arrogance. They also are very forgiving and tolerant of others.

Unlike Colonel Brandon, Edward is an Earth Monkey. Earth Monkeys are cheerful and very optimistic. They tend to not have a lot of support but are able to overcome those difficulties and through hard work to achieve a happy life.

Monkeys do best with a Rat, Snake, or Dragon. They should romantically avoid Pigs & Tigers.

For more on Edward Ferrars, go to Lambie-Pie

Edmund Bertram, Born 1789-Year of the Rooster

As stated above- roosters are serious, straightforward, logical, organized, and good at managing things. They criticize things they see are unfit and can be perfectionists. They are also planners and problem solvers. They enjoy family as they are their refuge.

Because of his year, Edmund is an Earth Rooster. They love going on outings with friends and are patient and reliable. They work hard and this rewards them in their career.

Romantically they are best with Dragons, Snakes, and Oxen. They don’t do well with Rabbits, Dogs, or other Roosters.

For more on Edmund Bertram, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce 

Anne Elliot, Born 1791-Pig

Hey girl, this is your year!

Pigs are realistic, treat themselves well (they are a bit materialistic), hard workers, energetic, and enthusiastic. They are friendly and easily gain trust from others. They are very organized and blessed with good fortune and wealth.

Anne is a Metal Pig, which mind their own business, are lazy, and do bad with budgeting/saving. (So not her!)

Pigs are most compatible with Tigers, Rabbits, and Goats. They should avoid Snakes and Monkeys.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

Elinor Dashwood, Born 1792-Rat

Rats are sensitive to others’ emotions, kind, and likable to all. They like to save and are considered stingy by others. They are responsible, organized, and place importance on family.

Elinor is a Water Rat. Water Rats encounter hardships in their early years, but their middle ages things can settle down to a happy family. However, their relatives and friends can bring them down.

Rats are most compatible with Oxen, Dragons, and Monkeys. They should avoid Horses, Goats, and Rabbits.

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

Elizabeth Bennet, Born 1793-Ox

Oxen are honest and earnest, low-key, and don’t like to be the center of attention. They tend to hide their talent as they pride themselves in hard work. They are kind, logical, and never lose their temper. They are calm, gentle, stubborn as heck, and will walk their path and do what they will no matter what.

Because of her year, Elizabeth is a Water Ox. Water Oxen are comfortable, respected, have a loving family, but it is recommend they marry late.

Oxen should be with a Rat, Snake, or Rooster. They should avoid Goats, Horses, and Dogs.

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Pride & Prejudice: A Latter Day Comedy

Emma Woodhouse, Born 1794-Tiger

Tigers are kind, benevolent, and have rich emotions (which can be hard to control). They have a lot of imagination and persevere through disappointments. Tigers are mesmerizing, love their freedom, and express themselves through fashion and their work. They love children, are friendly, intelligent, and patient. But don’t let that fool you, they have claws and will unsheathe them when needed.

Because of her year, Emma is a Wood Tiger, honest and doesn’t have much to worry about.

Tigers do well with Pigs, Horses, and Dogs. They do not do well with Monkeys and Snakes.

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to You Cannot Think That I Will Leave Off Match-Making

Henry Tilney, born 1794-Tiger

As stated above, Tigers are kind, benevolent, and have rich emotions (which can be hard to control). They have a lot of imagination and persevere through disappointments. Men who are tigers are confident, adventurous, and are willing to risk everything.

Because of his year, Henry is a Wood Tiger, honest and doesn’t have much to worry about.

Tigers do well with Pigs, Horses, and Dogs. They do not do well with Monkeys (NO!) and Snakes.

For more on Mr. Tilney, go to Why is Northanger Abbey Always Ignored?

Marianne Dashwood, Born 1795-Rabbit

Rabbits may seem weak and soft, but they are strong and confident. They will move toward their goal, no matter what negativity they face. They have great attention to detail and are great at socializing. In love they are very extreme! They love someone or they don’t care for them, there is a very clear line. When they love someone they put themselves and everything into that-but the deeper they go, the more they will get hurt if things go wrong.

Because of her year, Marianne is a Wood Rabbit. Wood Rabbits are not sly but do have tricks up their sleeves. They tend to be successful and do well career-wise.

Rabbits do best with Dogs, Pigs, and Goats. They should not be with Roosters, Dragons, or Rats.

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to Candy Girls

Fanny Price, Born 1796-Dragon

Dragons are mesmerizing and strong. If you underestimate them, they will destroy you. They are serious in what they do and have high self-esteem. Even though dragons are strong and independent they still desire love and support.

Because of her year, Fanny is a Fire Dragon. Fire Dragons are intelligent and social.

Dragons should be with Roosters, Monkeys, or Rats. They should not be with Dogs, Rabbits, or other Dragons.

For more on Fanny Price, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

Catherine Morland, Born 1801-Year of the Rooster

Roosters are serious, straightforward, logical, organized, and good at managing things. They criticize things they see are unfit and can be perfectionists. For women they are down to earth, responsible, and love to help others in any way they can.

Because of her year, Catherine is a Metal Rooster. They are decisive, set on plans, logical, and popular.

Romantically they are best with Dragons, Snakes, and Oxen. They don’t do well with Rabbits, Dogs, or other Roosters.

For more on Catherine Morland, go to No One Would Have Ever Guessed

According to the zodiac:

  • Colonel Brandon & Marianne 80% match
  • Edward & Elinor 100% match
  • Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth 100% match
  • Mr. Knightley and Emma 80% match
  • Edmund and Fanny 100% match
  • Henry and Catherine 80% match
  • Captain Fredrick Wentworth and Anne 100% match

So what do you all think? I thought it was interesting how the characters matched up pretty well according to the zodiac. I thought some people matched up with their description well, while others did not.

Hmm…

Jane Austen, Born 1775-Goat/Sheep

As said before, goats are strong, resilient, and able to presevere through anything. They are quiet observers and analyze everything before making a decision. They love animals, children, and nature. They are friendly, empathetic, forgiving, generous with time and money, and very good at organization.

For women-they are reliable and attentive, constantly observing so nothing escapes their attention. They are kind, motivated, and perform their tasks well.

With the year she was born, Jane Austen is a Wood Goat/Sheep. They are friendly and polite. They are also very sympathetic and always there to aid others. They love to be alone, even if they are married.

They are best romantically with Horses, Pigs, or Rabbits. They should avoid Oxen, Rats, and Dogs.

For more on Jane Austen, go to Jane Austen’s Royal Fanboy

For more Chinese New Year posts, go to Here Piggy, Piggy: Chinese New Year

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Why Do People Love Bridget Jones’ Diary?

For more Emma, go to Victoria and the Rogue

For more Mansfield Park, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MATURE

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more Persuasion, go to Right Away I Know I Won’t Like You

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: A Love for Keeps

What to do after you have read all the Austen novels.

Hmm…

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?

Just sit around and do nothing?

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

A Love for Keeps (Brides of Arkansas #1) by Janet Lee Barton

This book takes place in Eureka Springs, Arkansas- year 1886 (70 years past Regency England). Megan Snow is the eldest of the three Snow daughters and with the death of their father, has tried to find a way to take care of her family. She has been approaching different banks in the hope of getting a loan in order to start her own dressmaking and designing building. Unfortunately, she has struck zero.

Please let someone say yes!

They approach the last bank, Connors Bank, in which the handsome and charming bank manager, Mr. Nathan Brooks, takes a chance on them. Mr. Nathan finds the Snow family to be very charming, and talented as Megan creates an amazing series of outfits for his daughter.

The two strike up a lot of conversations and Nathan finds himself drawn to Megan.

What?

But Nathan has a sad past…his wife was killed in a fire and his daughter managed to just barely escape-being saved by his sister-in-law. He feels heavy guilt, as he was not there to save his wife. He has remained single due to this, but now is starting to open his heart.

There is more complications to this story as Abigail Conners, Nathan’s sister-in-law, is deeply in love with him. She has been when she first met him, far before he married her younger sister Rose.

Ever since the fire she has always felt it is her time, her chance-but unfortunately Nathan has continued to grieve. Now, to her delight, he is willing to consider marrying again, but at her chagrin-he is interested in Megan Snow! A dressmaker? A Merchant? Someone below their station? NOT ABIGAIL!!!

While Nathan tries to woo Megan, Abigail tries her best to dissuade Megan-pulling every plan in her arsenal to convince Megan she is not capable of becoming the next Mrs. Brooks.

As you can see this has quite a few elements of the Austen stories and characters for those who are fans. We have a great romantic character-with a sad heartbreaking backstory (making him even more romantic) like Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility or Captain James Benwick from Persuasion.

We have a lot of Pride and Prejudice as Nathan and Megan have a romance that crosses the social line-although the class system was much different in England than America.

Unacceptable

And of course the number one thing, Abigail could be Caroline Bingley’s twin. The two are so similar in their scheming to get the man they love-from clothes to catch his eye, lying about things and engagements to dissuade the women, and any other scheme they can to get the guy to look and choose them over their rival.

Nathan, you cannot be serious

A fun, clean, quick read that gives Austenian elements we love in a new story.

For more Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Book Club Picks: Wuthering Heights

Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues edited by Christina Boyd

So it’s that time again, bring out the bad boys:

So I had been planning to finish these posts last year, but then the holidays come and you know what that’s like.

So I had to trade it out with posts I had written earlier. But now we are back on track.

For those of you who missed posts 1 & 2Dangerous to Know is a compilation novel of the bad boys of Jane Austen-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more.

With this being on rakes and rogues…they aren’t the best of men or respectful…so some of the stories are going to be more sexy.

Hmm…

And I just want to say thank you to Christina Boyd for including this little chart to help you:

Mature Content Guidelines:

  1. None: Possible kissing and affection.
  2. Mild: Kissing.
  3. Moderate: Some sexual references but not explicit.
  4. Mature: Some nudity and some provocative sex.
  5. Erotic: Explicit, abundance of sex.

Because not everyone is interested in books like this:

It’s nice giving us a head’s up so those that aren’t interested know to skip or skim, or those that do can enjoy.

Something for everyone

So far I have reviewed the none posts, which has stories on Captain Fredrick Tilney, General Tilney and John Thorpe from Northanger Abbey; along with Sir Walter Elliot from Persuasion. I loved these stories as some of these men I love to hate and it made me hate them ever more: And some men I have hated and actually began to like them:

Last time I reviewed the mild posts. I was really surprised with these stories as they were on Tom Bertram from Mansfield Park and Colonel Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I had never thought of these two as rogues, mostly because they have two of the biggest, baddest Austen rogues-Henry Crawford and George Wickham. The stories were really good and sucked me in, making it very hard to stop reading.

So just to remind you, these are the moderate posts-some sexual references but not explicit.

Oh Darcy, you aren’t a rogue. Get out of here.

Sorry I didn’t have any “sexy” pictures/gifs.

Oh, well

So before we start, let me say one thing…

Wait

A great thing about this book is that with these men, besides Wickham, we don’t know that much about their past or who they are. Most only play a small role-but have a big impact. This allows the authors a ton of wiggle room and almost anything can happen.

An Honest Man by Karen M. Cox

Ugh, Frank Churchill from Emma. Argh, I HATE this guy. Frank is the son of Mr. Weston and was sent away as a baby when his mother died to be raised by her wealthy relatives. He never sees his father or even visits. When he finally does it is because his secret fiance has moved the country. He then is such a jerk flirting and leading Emma on, in FRONT OF HIS FIANCE Jane. Urgh, argh, ugh…I just dislike him so much!

So in this story Frank first discusses how he became a “Churchill”. His father was of lower birth and his mother’s family disowned them when they married. When his mother died, Mr. Weston sent Frank to be raised by them and he stayed there. In order to inherit, he changed his name to Churchill and has towed her line ever since.

Frank has finished his studies, gone on his grand tour of Europe (brothels more than anything else), and goes to Weymouth to visit with friends. He runs into a beautiful girl in the post office, using some lines and double entendre to see if this “flower” is ripe for the “plucking” but no dice.

I’ll find someone else, no problem.

Later Frank and his friend Hayward run into a friend of Hayward’s, Dixon. Mr. Dixon is about to marry Miss Campbell, introducing them to his fiance and his fiance’s companion, Jane Fairfax-the girl Frank ran into in the post office.

Frank is very interested in her, especially after he hears her beautiful voice. In that moment of her song, he becomes convinced she is the woman for him  and proceeds to go after her. The shark.

Ugh…

He follows her on one of her walks-wow stalker.

There he kisses her as it rains and poor Jane is putty in his hands. He takes her to a nearby cottage they find and convinces her that he will marry her, the two sleeping together.

Oh Jane…

After that they take as much time as they can to run off together, Frank “promising” that he will marry her, but not delivering. Then Jane gets pregnant. Uh oh…this is loser doing nothing to help her.

Now I know you hardcore fans are going to aghast, pregnancy? In Jane Austen? That’s not in the story. It’s okay, slow your roll-she ends up having a miscarriage and goes to Highbury-ruined and alone.

Noooo!

This is so sad. Poor Jane, seduced and taken for a ride.

Nooooooooooooooo

So Frank keeps promising, taking what he wants from her, and then…!!!!…flirts with Emma in front of her. OMG I wanted Frank to be flesh and blood so I could give this jerk face loser a beating.

Jerk

And this for good measure:

Frank’s aunt dies and the two marry, but will Jane really have a happy life with him or will being married to Frank be the same as being “secretly engaged.”‘

How I believe Jane will feel after she marries.

Thoughts After Reading:

I liked it. Even though I “knew” how the story would end-I mean I’ve read Emma-I still found myself invested and flipping through to find out what happens next. And I have always HATED Frank Churchill and now I really, really, really do. That jerkface lying weasel rat. You deserve the worse of the worse to be done to you.

How I feel about Frank Churchill, not the story.

For more by Karen M. Cox, go to I, Darcy in The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

The Lost Chapter in the Life of William Elliot by Jenetta James

William Elliot-ugh. William Elliot is Anne Elliot’s cousin. He is next in line for the baronetcy, but he and his uncle Sir Walter argued long ago and split ways. He was fine with it, as Sir Walter only has girls which can’t inherit, but when he discovers Sir Walter spending time with Elizabeth’s friend, widow Mrs. Penelope Clay, he jets down there to make amends as the last thing he needs is for Sir Walter to marry and have children. He then woos Mrs. Clay to keep her away, and Anne as he wants to marry her.

Double-timing snake

We start this story after Mr. Elliot’s wife has died, but before he enters Persuasion. One day, Mr. Elliot is out on the town, taking in a show of The Taming of the Shrew when he is hit by love’s arrows-the lead actress, Sarah Light.

At a party he gets to meet her, William is one who always has the upper hand, but finds his brain mush with her.

He then goes to see every performance, sending flowers and sweets to her room.

Every night he offers Miss Light his carriage and accompanies her to all the events she has to attend after her performances. One night she has nothing planned and the two walk together. Later they ride in the carriage and she asks if Mr. Elliot will be her dear friend, and call each other by their first names as friends do…

“Friends”, yeah right.

Then she kisses him, they go to her place and ….

The night turns into weeks, until they develop enough of a relationship that Mr. Elliot is considering making her his mistress. He’s already married for wealth and his wife’s death has given him riches and the ability to marry or be with whoever he may please.

But then Sarah refuses to see him any longer, And soon she has gotten a wealthy benefactor. It turns out that she already has a guy on her hook, and when he wasn’t delivering what she wanted-she used Elliot to make him jealous.

Ouch!

Elliot is crushed, but joins his friend for a holiday in Lyme and the source story. And he carries on…

Smarming and plotting away.

Thoughts After Reading:

This was good, as it gave us a softer side of Mr. Elliot and a look into his heart. I also liked him getting his heart pricked and prodded and-a little bad treatment as he treats others bad.

This dude

For more by Jenetta James, go to Reason to Hope in The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

Willoughby’s Crossroads by Joana Starnes

Ugh, Willoughby. This urgh-I really dislike him. He just does whatever, never thinking of how it affects others. He’s like Chuck Bass from season one of Gossip Girl.

He is with a woman and ruins her life, runs around with Marianne-making her think he is going to ask her to marry him-and then takes off to marry a wealthy woman-cutting Marianne in public! What a major, gigantic jerk.

Argh, I hate him…but let’s move on

In this story, it takes place before the events of Sense and Sensibility. Willoughby is in love with an older woman, Isobel, but she does not want to marry a plaything-she is marrying a wealthy, old, man.

Willoughby is angry, but Isobel quickly seduces him…

Isobel is expecting to keep Willoughby on the shelf to meet her needs that cannot be met by her husband, but Willoughby is angry and storms out.

Forget you!

He storms off into the park where he runs into old schoolmate Bingley, his wife and family, and friend Mr. Darcy. Seeing the men in love with their wives sours him even more and he storms off.

I hate everything!

Willoughby ends up in Bath when he assists a woman who has lost her pages for a letter. As he goes after them, he collides with a woman. He meets Miss Eliza Williams, Miss Martha Matthews, and Miss Emmeline Malcolm, escorting them to their lodgings.

Miss Malcolm is rich and beautiful, just the thing for Willoughby. Miss Williams is very interested in him, she is beautiful but is not rich enough to suit his needs.

Willoughby works hard and woos Miss Malcolm, they settle on a secret engagement when he discovers that she is Lord Cambourne’s daughter-Isobel’s new husband. He confesses that Isobel does not like him, and will object to the marriage-skipping over his relationship with Isobel.

We will keep that relationship secret.

Miss Malcolm responds as most young women do, the no makes her want him more and they plan to elope to Gretna Green. Willoughby claps himself on the back as he is getting the girl, the money, revenge, and a Golden Bowl situation.

When Miss Malcolm does not come as expected, he goes after her and finds out that Lady Isobel Cambourne is there. She told Miss Malcolm everything and ended the relationship and engagement.

Willoughby tries to speak to Miss Malcolm but she refuses him, now knowing his sordid secret. Miss Williams, seeing her opening, makes a play for him. Willoughby enjoys her, but has no plan whatsoever to marry her.

He returns to Devonshire, where a new family is living at Barton College. They are dull, but the middle daughter fawns over him and is a distraction. Miss Williams was upset at seeing him go as she wanted to marry, but hopefully he’ll be lucky and she won’t be pregnant.

Thoughts After Reading

I love, love, love the references to all the other Austen characters-Lady Susan told him of the affair, he is friends with Captain Fredrick Tilney, Mr. Bingley an old schoolmate, running into Bingley’s wife Jane, sister-in-law Elizabeth, and brother-in-law Mr. Darcy, Mr. Elliot being a friend of Captain Tilney: it was great. The story was also good as we see Mr. Willoughby in true form-all about him.

For more by Joana Starnes, go to If Only a Dream in The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

So now that we have reviewed the stories let’s talk about the other question on people’s minds: How sexy was the sexy parts?

So it wasn’t crazy out there but it was pretty sexy. In each one of these the men are with the prospective ladies and we read about it. The nice thing is that those aren’t the whole story so if you like it, you’ll enjoy it-and if you don’t, you can skim/skip.

So I really enjoyed these as well. I thought the authors did a great job putting their own spin and creating backstories for these characters, while staying true to what happened in Jane Austen’s books. They all captured the soul of the character and in my opinion, had you hate them more than you already do. I couldn’t stop reading.

But will I continue to enjoy it?

Hmm…

I guess we will find out in the final installment MATURE.

For more reviews of Dangerous to Know, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MILD

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more Emma, go to Victoria and the Rogue

For more Persuasion, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: The Widow of Larkspur Inn

So this is something I started a while back. Sometimes you want more Austen books after you had read the others. 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 that have things we love about the Austen novels but in something fresh than a retelling.

The Widow of Larkspur Inn (Gresham Chronicles #1) by Lawana Blackwell

The book is set in England of 1869. Julia Hollis is a wealthy mother of three-Phillip, Aleda, and Grace-and a recent widow. Three weeks have passed where they have all been in mourning and Julia receives the greatest surprise of her life.

Oh no!

They have lost everything due to her wealthy surgeon husband’s double life as a gambler.

The house has been repossessed by the bank and sold, the servants all staying to take on with the new owner. All her jewelry, including her ring, are taken as well. A large chunk of her clothes sold to a shop for extra money. They are forced to move to the small town of Gresham, as the only thing they left is an old coaching inn, The Larkspur Inn.

Their butler, Jensen, lends them money and helps them start putting ads in papers; the idea of the inn being turned into a lodging house.

Besides the Hollis family, they are going to be joined by Fiona O’Shea, one of the maids. Years ago when Fiona knocked on their door, a starving immigrant from Ireland, Julia forced her husband to hire her-and since then they have been very close friends.

They head out to Gresham where the house is a mess, but thanks to help from the local community and the Vicar and his daughter; things start looking up. Soon there are letters and lodgers who come into their home.

Yay!!!

Their lodgers are: Mrs. Octavia Kingston, a crotchety old woman with a heart of gold; Mr. Durwin, business entrepreneur and herbalist; Mrs. Dearing, former pioneer of the California goldfields with her late husband; kindly knitting Mrs. Hyatt; and the famous Ambrose Clay, amazing actor, who is taking a break from the stage as he is trying to find a way to combat his bouts of depression.

We have quite a group of characters

The other story that is told is that of Reverend Andrew Phelps. He is a widower with two daughters, Elizabeth and Laurel, and teaches at Cambridge. His oldest daughter is infatuated with a young man, Jonathan Raleigh.

Andrew had thought Jonathan was a great guy, but received an anonymous note that if he were to go to a certain address he would find Jonathan with a married women, notorious for her loose lifestyle. Andrew doesn’t want to believe such a thing is true, but as his daughter is head over heels, he has to investigate it. He goes and finds that it is true.

Time passes. Jonathan apologizes, but Elizabeth is heartbroken and listless. Andrew worries over her and decides it is time to leave Cambridge. When he hears that the Vicar of Gresham has to move because of his rheumatism, he snaps the post up and moves his family to the tranquil village.

Romance, cheer, etc. This book has it all and is a fantastic read.

So why would an Austen fan love this book?

Hmmm…

It has a lot of the flavor of Sense and Sensibility, with a family losing everything and having to move forward, in a way they never thought they would ever be, and having to use that resilience in the troubles they face.

We also have a touch of Marianne Dashwood in the character of Julia. When Julia was young she was a lot like Marianne, emotional and falling head over heels in love-putting her all in a man who had major flaws. Like Marianne, Julia was incapable of seeing those flaws as she had on the blinders of love.

Now with all the aftermath and having to move, Julia’s views on what is important character in a mate changed, just like Marianne after Willoughby breaks her heart and she recovers from her illness.

“Marianne was born to an extraordinary fate, she was born to discover the falsehood of her own opinions, to counteract, by her conduct, her favorite maxims . . . . Instead of falling a sacrifice to an irresistible passion . . . [she found herself] submitting to new attachments, entering on new duties.”

Jonathan Raleigh is a Willougby-like guy. He has money, class, high rank everything-but also the spirit of a rogue.

It is a great book and definitely worth a read with it being fun, loving, and having great characters. I read it, minimum, once a year.

For more on Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: A Change of Fortune

For more on The Widow of Larkspur Inn, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

For more bible verses, go to Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

So often we feel as if we will never find love.

But never fear, Austen’s books can guide us into finding our perfect match.

That’s not what I am talking about. I mean real life dating.

Yep, with the fantastic book:

Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating by Lauren Henderson

I can’t remember if this book was recommended to me by Goodreads or by one of you followers-but somehow it was and I decided to check it out. At the time I got it I was interested in dating anybody:

But then eight months later I was and thought what better time to start.

Each chapter covers a topic to do with dating and analyzes couples from Jane Austen’s novels. One couple has examples you should follow:

And a couple with examples you shouldn’t:

Henderson then has a modern-day couple who she uses as an example.

And she concludes each chapter with a list of Dos

And Don’ts

For example:


CHAPTER SIX:

LOOK FOR SOMEONE WHO CAN BRING OUT YOUR BEST QUALITIES


The chapter starts off examining the relationship of  Charles and Mary Musgrove.

The two are complete opposites with Charles being very outdoorsy and Mary a hypochondriac. Charles is good-natured and easy-going, while Mary unkind, snobby, and self-absorbed. Mary is whiney and shrill, while Charles still acts like a child versus a man.

Charles is also still in love with Mary’s sister Anne, who he originally proposed to.

Mary is a bully, manipulator, and only cares about herself. In fact when her child gets injured she argues with her husband about who can attend a party-gets upset when Charles says she should stay home with their child and then convinces Anne to babysit her boy.

What jerks

Basically, both have bad qualities and they feed off each other. Mary mangifies Charles rebellious spirit, his bad additude, self-indulgence and the sam for Mary.


LESSON TO BE LEARNED:

DON’T BE INFECTED BY THE BAD QUALITIES OF THE PERSON YOU’RE DATING!


 

Henderson then goes on to give a real life example of couple Brad and Louise. Brad was an okay cleaner, while Louise was a total slob. When they got together, her bad habits caused Brad to pick up on it and he became a slob as well. They had a messy apartment, bills were always final notice or overdue, laundry piled up, and they began to resent each other.


WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:

SET A POSITIVE EXAMPLE, USING HUMOR TO HELP IT ALONG


THERE IS NO PERFECT PERSON FOR YOU

THERE IS ONLY THE MAN WHO IS GOOD ENOUGH

Anyone you meet will have qualities you hate. You have to look at whether the good outweighs the things that annoy you. Can you tolerate those things in exchange for all the stuff you love that he brings to the relationship?

Henderson then goes on to describe a couple-Gary and Lucy. Lucy is easy-going and pleasant while Gary is a worrywort. Whenever Gary would get upset and rant, Lucy always made sure to validate his feelings, tease him, and give him the reassurance he needed.

It will all be okay

We then look at Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth.

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (1940)

Darcy falls for Elizabeth because she is who she is. She sees him and how she acts and lets him know what she is not interested in.

He learns his lesson and ligtens up-letting her see him and the things about each other they may not really like-they tolerate for all the other things they do.


LESSON TO BE LEARNED:

YOU SHOULD LIKE WHO YOU ARE WHEN YOU’RE WITH THE PERSON YOU LOVE



WHAT NOT TO DO:

DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES TO A BAD PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR


 

Henderson uses the real life example of Lacey and Mark. Lacey was really into Mark, but he didn’t prioritize their time-was always having a ton of parties and events to go to, always switching up plans and changing what he was doing, he would stay out all night and not tell her where he was, she would dress for one thing and Mark would change it-leaving Lacey uncomfortable and out of place.

This would make Lacey mad and she would nag him. She felt she had no control or say and more and more tried to control him.

Mark actually enjoyed the nagging as it made him feel rebellious and naughty-like he was disobeying his mother. In fact his behavior turned Lucy into a bitter, angry, mother like character.

Ouch


WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:

LISTEN TO YOUR BOYFRIEND WHEN HE GENUINELY TRIES TO HELP YOU


Henderson gives us the example of Kate and Lee. Kate was a beautiful, thin, blonde and also an anorexic. Henderson shows how Lee was able to help Kate by showing that he cared for her and was there for her, also trusting her and not pushing her too much.

We then see Emma and Frank Churchill

Frank is a coxcomb, he only cares about himself and his interests. He flatters people, and when their back is turned cuts them down to the quick. He is secretly engaged to Jane Fairfax and treats her horribly.

When he gets with Emma he brings out the worst in her and she in him. They both bring out a the careless, judgmental, and sarcastic sides of each other. They would have been an awful couple always bickering, nasty, mocking, judgmental, rude, etc.

Ugh


LESSON TO BE LEARNED:

DON’T DATE SOMEONE WHO ENCOURAGES YOUR SELF-DESTRUCTIVE IMPULSES


WHAT NOT TO DO:

DON’T MISTAKE DANGER FOR EXCITEMENT


Kate an AT&T supervisor fell for Rob a rock ‘n roll guitarist. Everything he did was exciting and new to Kate, but soon it cut into her real life and she wasn’t performing so well at work or missing too much. She tried to talk toRob about it but he didn’t care and eventually Kate had to cut back on their partying or lose her job. Rob dumped her and quickly hooked up with some other girls, leaving Kate crying her heart out and trying to pick up the pieces of the life she had completely dropped for him.


WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:

PICK A BOYFRIEND WHO IS A GOOD INFLUENCE ON YOU


Beverly was a real party girl and would always go over the top when she had a few drinks. She could be very cruel but never listened to warnings until Ed. Ed was quiet and calm. The two complemented each other and brought out the best traits in each other, smoothing down the rough ones.


SUMMARY:

DO

  • Keep Your Own Values:If someone doesn’t have the same fundamental value system as you-and, worse, if they try and sway you from what you know to be right-you are not in a good relationship.
  • Choose Someone Who Brings Out the Best in You: Your boyfriend should help you to strengthen your positive qualities and suppress the negative ones.
  • Support Him as Much as He Supports You: Its a two-way street. If you’re both helping each other to reach your goals in life and be nicer, happier people, you have a much greater chance of maintaining a successful, strong relationship.

DON’T

  • Try to Change Your Boyfriend in Major Ways: Either decide you can put up with his annoying quirks, or leave him. If you start trying to change him you will turn into a nag, and you WILL end up hating yourself.
  • Be Influenced By His Bad Behavior: Don’t get sucked into things you feel aren’t good for you. Don’t stay around someone who wants to drag you down.
  • Put All the Blame on Him: YOU chose him, after all. If he’s not good for you, why did you pick him in the first place? Instead of blaming him, spend your time more and more usefully by figuring out why you made that mistake so you won’t repeat it in the future.

TIPS FOR TELLING IF YOU’RE WITH SOMEONE WHO BRINGS OUT YOUR WORST QUALITIES

  1. You’re stuck in a rut of criticizing each other, without the situation ever improving.
  2. You feel irritable most of the time you spend with him and you can’t put your finger on why.
  3. You change your outfit or hair five times before going out on a date with him, never sure whether you’ve picked the image of yourself that will please him.
  4. You disagree with a lot of his core values, but you yell yourself it doesn’t matter, because they have nothing to do with your relationship.
  5. You find yourself doing things with him that you would never normally do-things you don’t mention to your friends because you know they would disapprove.

Then at the end of the book they have a quiz so you can see which Jane Austen character you and your significant other are. I took it before I read the book and got:

Elizabeth Bennet

I took it after I read the book and got:

Elizabeth Bennet

If your score is 41-51, you are Elizabeth-outgoing, funny, and direct. You want a serious relationship, but it’s essential for you to find someone you can have fun with or teach to have fun. Your best matches are:

  • Mr. Darcy
  • Henry Tilney
  • Captain Wentworth

Then I took the quiz for my then boyfriend (now my fiancé), and I got for him a mix of Captain Wentworth, Henry Tilney, and Mr. Bingley

But my boyfriend (now fiancé), said he wanted to take it and he got a mix of Captain Wentworth, Henry Tilney, and Mr. Bingley.

If his score is 41-51 he is Captain WentworthHenry Tilney, or Mr. Bingley-straight forward, happy, and looking for love. PROBLEM: If you’re used to playing games, you may put him off. SUITABLE FOR: Everyone-his happy nature and friendly disposition make him the easiest man to get along with on the whole list.

I don’t think he’s very much like Mr. Bingley, but I could see Mr Tilney:

Or as Captain Wentworth:

If I were you and dating I would definitely check this book out.

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Prude & Prejudice

For more Emma, go to You Cannot Think That I Will Leave Off Match-Making

For more Northanger Abbey, go to In Celebration of Northanger Abbey

For more Persuasion, go to I’m On a Boat

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Pride & Prejudice: A Latter Day Comedy

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance