The Magician’s Nephew: Savory Meat Hand Pies

So every Wednesday, starting in October, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I have been reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on). This week we had Cinnamon Bun Scones, Curry Egg Salad Triple Stack Sandwiches, Savory Beef Hand Pies, Cranberry Feta Pinwheels, and Melt-in-Your-Mouth Buttermilk Chocolate Cookies.

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I though it would be able to post these faster, but I have really fallen behind. I’m trying to catch up though!

tea

So my friend had made some meat pies a few weeks earlier and they were amazing! I begged and begged her for the recipe but she couldn’t give it to me as she didn’t really have a recipe. She just kind of throws things together.

So I instead went searching online and found a site called Longbourn Farm, and I was like “Longbourn”? Do you mean this Longbourn?

Pride and Prejudice’s Longbourn?

So of course I went with it. I ended up using my pie crust recipe from my apple pie recipe.

teatimealiceinwonderland

Ingredients: Pie Crust

  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3/4 Cup of Shortening
  • Ice Water

Filling:

  • 1.5 lbs of Ground Beef
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Onion
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Cup of Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Teaspoon of Water

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix up the shortening and flour. Add in water, a tablespoon at a time until dough is more malleable. If you add too much and it is too liquid-y, then just add a bit more flour to firm it up.
  2. Put dough aside.
  3. In a medium frying pan on medium heat, add ground beef and spices.
  4. When ground beef is brown, about 8 mins, add onion.
  5. Cook until the Ground Beef is completely cooked through and the onoions are translucent.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  7. Roll out pie dough and cut circles out of the pie crust, they should be about 4-6 inches in diameter. You can use a large cookie cutter or biscuit cutter or just trace a drinking glass if you don’t have a cutter.
  8. Divide the Ground Beef and cheese up evenly between the circles.
  9. Fold the circles in half and press the edges together gently. Crimp them firmly with a fork.
  10. Whisk the egg and water together.
  11. Brush the egg-water mixture onto each beef hand pie.
  12. Place the beef hand pies on a lined or greased sheet tray.
  13. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

So these weren’t as good as my friend’s hand pies, but they were extremely delicious.

I did run out of pie dough though, and ended up having to buy more (I just bought the premade frozen ones).

teamansfieldpark

For more from The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club, go to Cinnamon Bun Scones

For more recipes, go to Easy Fruit Tarts

For more pie recipes, go to Mini Apple Pies

For more tea posts, go to Brisket and Slaw Roulades

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, Part II: The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

So yesterday I reviewed part one and now we are on to the second part of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula. Before we start Part II, let’s do a quick recap. So in the ’70s they had the show The Hardy Boys/ Nancy Drew Mysteries. Each week would alternate with an episode featuring The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. When season two came out someone had the fantastic idea to do a crossover, and they ended up doing three more. These crossovers were my favorite as I ship Nancy Drew and Frank Hardy.

So Frank and Joe’s father is missing. They start searching for him and following his notes, running into Nancy Drew who was supposed to meet Mr. Fenton Hardy (the boys’ father). It turns out that Fenton was on the track of an art thief and had connected it a rock ‘n roll star, Allison Troy, who is playing at a rock festival, the Dracula Festival. Nancy and the Boys argue about who’s investigating, the boys going undercover by joining a band and Nancy and her friend Bess travel out to Transylvania.

Inspector Stavlin, friend of Fenton Hardy, does not like the way everyone is treating Dracula and warns everyone to watch out.

Joe is on stage singing, while Frank is searching the castle and gets trapped in a cell with a person who has two pinpricks on his neck Nancy and Bess just found them. What will happen next? Is Dracula really hiding in the castle or is there a human murderer running about? Who is the art thief? And will they ever find out what happened to Fenton Hardy?

Frank tells them to hurry and get a Doctor, Bess runs while Nancy picks the lock to get him out Frank is extremely impressed.

Oh, wow…

That’s another reason why I ship Nancy and Frank over Ned. Ned in this series was just so narcissistic and always talking down to Nancy. Frank was amazing as he liked Nancy and her skills. They are just so perfect together!

So the man in the cell isn’t dead but has a weak pulse-Frank tells him he met him earlier as he is part of the town’s council and the hotel owner. Nancy spots his neck and sees the bite marks…like a vampire bite.

Meanwhile, Joe continues singing. I think Shaun Cassidy is so adorable, and as much as I like David Cassidy, he’s my favorite of the brothers.

Stavlin comes and sees the bite maks and he gets one of the police members to get an ambulence while other people help carry Berger out.

Nancy: I think it is about time we started working together.

Frank: I think so too.

Nancy and Frank leave the caverns and head back upstairs to the party. Joe is at first upset to see Nancy (he’s still not over her harpooning their waiter) but Frank tells him about their new partnership-all working together. Nancy reveals that she came there specifically to look for them, Frank is pleased (oh Frank, he has a crush on Nancy) and she shares she has some info on their father. She thinks she might have found him.

She started searching not for Hardy, but Fredricks and found him in a monastery. Some Monks found him and tried to find his family, but the only ID he had on was Fredricks.

Found in a monastery? That sounds a lot like Dracula when Jonathan Harker was discovered in a convent, having been found by nuns. I love little touches like that.

The boys are relieved he isn’t dead, but wish he was doing better. Frank leaves to speak to the monk about his father’s care and what should be done next, while Joe stays with dad. Aw, Joe cries, Joe is so cute. Shaun Cassidy is a great actor, you forget that he is acting

The monk tells frank that one day his father did recover consciousness and for a brief moment said something about caverns, but the monk does’t know what that means. He too had a vampire-like bite.

From Horror of Dracula

Nancy says what they are all thinking, Dracula. Frank is amazed she could believe that, but Nancy states she doesn’t really think a vampire has arisen, but that someone wants them to think that.

You know, in the previous post I said that these brothers were the Dean and Sam Winchester, from Supernatural, of the ’70s and now that I think about it-this episode has some similarities to “Monster Movie“.  The brothers investigating a strange occurrence at a a festival happening, the older brother trying to get with the pretty girl, and a “vampire” running amuck…interesting.

Hmm…

The boys return from their visit and drop Nancy off at the hotel, then return to the castle to search the caverns. A bat flies by…Dracula?

Back at the castle the secret passage in the “crypt” moves and someone is stalking the night. It is the person we before…could it be… Dracula?

Frank is set on it being Allison Troy as that is the track his dad was on, but Joe isn’t sure. I mean Allison is cold and a diva, but the vampire dress up and “bite” seems a it farfetched for a rock star? But then again, I already reviewed two movies about Ted Bundy and both clearly showed that you never really know people as well as you think you do.

Hmm…

The boys leave the caverns deciding to sleep on it and resume the investigation in the morning. They just narrowly escape he who stalks the caverns.

The next day the townspeople are worried about Dracula and are hanging up garlic everywhere. The detectives decide to continue searching the next day when Troy is preoccupied with the concert.

Joe takes Allison Troy’s car, but finds nothing. Meanwhile, Nancy and Frank search Troy’s room. Hmm…wonder who picked that split. I’m sure Frank is trying to be like Fred and Daphne Nancy Drew.

Nancy and Fred find a lock-pickers kit under the bed, Frank thinks they are on the right track, but Nancy isn’t so enthused…she’s thinking.

Frank wants to go to Stavlin with the information, but it seems too easy. If he is such a great criminal with these art thefts why would he do something so stupid like leaving the lock-picks under the bed.

Hmm…from The Wolfman

Everyone in town are freaking out as they think Dracula has risen. They think they should stop the concert as it is their fault that Dracula has risen again. Others say they should burn the castle.

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

People be crazy, but Stavlin comes and starts yellling Dracula isn’t real and calms the people down and warning them that if they break any laws or abuse a guest they will be arrested.

So was it my imagination or did he previously seem to be saying Dracula is alive? But now he is telling everyone there is no Dracula…hmm. Does he believe or doesn’t he?

Hmmm…

Frank approaches Stavlin to tell them about Troy, but he is busy with the mayor. The mayor invites them to join them and share. He also gives them all steaming cups of cider.

Stavlin talks about the attacks of the last two days of two strong men being highly suspicious. But how did he know about Fenton being bit. When he spoke to the boys before he was clueless as to what had happened and Frank and Joe haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet. Hmm.

Hmm…treasure?

Stavlin warns the mayor that he might be the next victim and Frank questions why. Thanks for asking Frank as I was wondering the same thing. Stavlin says it parallels the Dracula story that has been passed on for generations, while that has nothing to do with the book Dracula, what is he talking about?

Frank brings up his father who has nothing to do with the Dracula legend. So yes, here it sounds as if he believes in Dracula being alive. Hmmm….

Hmm…

Frank and Nancy share their discoveries and what they found in Troy’s room. Nancy also shares that it feels like a frame job. Stavlin isn’t too surprised and brushes them off saying he will look into it.

He warns the mayor that he must guard his life, that the other men survived but the next, the mayor, will die.The mayor laughs him off, but I’d be worried about Stavlin.

SUPER creeped

That night the mayor locks himself in his office while Frank walks Nancy home oooohhhh

Nancy sleeps fitfully, while in his room Frank paces the room and He (the guy from the cavern, possible Dracula) stalks the night.

Someone creeps through the window watching Nancy, someone who looks very Dracula like.

Joe and Bess return, what have they been up to?, while a bat flies in to attack Nancy, a bat or vampire?!! Joe, Frank, and Bess hear her and Frank breaks the door down and picks up Nancy carrying her to safety in the hallway, leaving Joe and Bess fight it.

Nancy is understandably freaked at this vampire bat attacking her and clings to Frank ooooooooooohhh

Frank realizes the room was locked from the inside, so someone hid the bat in the room…or Dracula exists.

From “Monster Movie” from Supernatural

The group are talking in the restaurant and Stavlin overhears them. He questions them but believes Dracula is real. The Mayor’s housekeeper comes to Stavlin for help as she cannot get the master and he wont answer. All the men break the door down and find him…dead! Bite mark on his neck!

Oh, he’s not dead. He’s still alive.

Frank is trying to figure this out but the room is locked from the inside, the window has bars, the fireplace has a high fire…what, how, uh?

Wow!

So while the first episode was good, they also had a lot of setting up to do with the meet cute, them getting to Transylvania, etc. This one is far more thrilling as we either have Dracula arisen from the grave or a crazy person wanting everyone to think he’s Dracula. Either way I am stone cold invested.

The next day Troy is arrested and the concert stopped. All the townspeople cheer and wish they had listened to Stavlin about not having the rock concert in the first place. They ask about evidence and Stavlin shares about the lock-picks and that he found a map in the trunk of his car. Here Joe speaks up as he searched last night, remember and found nothing.

Bess also speaks up that she was watching Troy and his group all night and they never left the castle. Stavlin is upset but as there are all these contradictions he decides to let Troy go.

Stavlin tells the detectives that if it isn’t Dracula attacking or Troy and there was no one else could the mayor have hurt himself?

Hmm…

The mayor is offended that Stavlin could suggest it, but Stavlin ignores him and Stavlin has him arrested. Stavlin explains as a political move, which makes no sense to me. Why would he do that? How does it help him? I’m so confused. These people don’t question Stavlin but ask him to take over until they have an election.

Stalin refuses at first but at their urges acquiesces to do as the council wishes.

So after all that excitement they head back to the hotel. Frank and Nancy are doing a sort of “you hang up first” routine, making it beyond obvious to Bess and Joe that they hav feelings for each other. Joe decides to show up his brother, like always, and makes a move on Bess getting a kiss.

I can’t believe any of these guys are really going to bed. I mean I have read a lot of these books, after that exchange of Stavlin and the townspeople, they should be investigating.

Frank and Joe head back to the castle as Frank doesn’t believe in the explanation given by Stavlin, and it is really thin. How does bringing “Dracula” help his career? He’s been doing horrible ever seen Dracula “arose from the grave”. Frank wants to search the castle and Dracula’s grave.

The boys search the caverns which are spoooky.

Creepy…

Frank takes Joe to Dracula’s “grave” which reveals the secret passage, Frank goes into it, Joe following. Inside it has all the paintings from all the robberies. Joe wants to leave, he’s a bit creeped out, but Frank won’t let them as he wants to jeep searching. He finds the coffin and can’t stop as he has to open it to reveal……………………………………………………………………..

Bones!!!!!!! So yeah bones not a vampire.

Stavlin interupts them dressed in vampire clothing. Yes it was Stavlin who was stealing the art. You see they are forcing him to retire due to his age so he started stealing to create a little nest egg. He always spend all his time in the castle and used it as a special place to reenact his desire to be Dracula.

Yes, he uses the room and castle to pretend to be Dracula. That’s why he didn’t want the rock group there. Someone might go poking around and find his little secrets.

The Hardy Boys figured out how he attacked the mayor. He must have drugged the mayor’s cider, and he knew that the maid would come to him for help. He was the first on the scene and when he checked the mayor and blocked him from view to  “protect” the housekeeper he must have made the wound.

He tried to frame Troy but Joe and Bess foiled it, so he had to blame the mayor.

Stavlin locks the door and they are locked in the castle with a madman, only stopped by Nancy, Fenton, and Bess. Stavlin is surprised and he falls into the trapdoor he set up for the boys and is arrested. He’s no Dracula, if anything he’s crazy old Reinfeld.

Renfield from Dracula (1931)

Stavlin is taken away and says these crazy things like he might escape, Joe sees him pass by a mirror and doesn’t see Stavlin’s reflection.

Could he be Dracula arisen from a the grave, a real vampire, or a trick mirror?

Hmm…

It doesn’t answer that and I like that.

These are always my favorite episodes of the series and so much fun. I highly recommend checking them out.

For more Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, go to A Haunting We Will Go: The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

For more Nancy Drew, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

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

For more Detectives, go to It’s a Weird Case from the Start. A Case With a Hole in the Center: Knives Out (2019)

For more mysteries, go to One Day You’ll See Something You Shouldn’t: Rear Window (1954)

You’re Mother is a Shadowhunter…Like You: The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones (2013)

I don’t understand what any of this has to do with my mom.

Your mother was a shadowhunter, like him; like you.

So about a year ago, I read the book City of Bones (Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare. I decided to read it as it is SUPER popular at the library. The book is returned and gets checked out as soon as it is shelved.

After I finished it…I was not pleased at all and I could not get the appeal.

It kind of felt like a mashup between Supernatural and Harry Potter. And it MOST definitely was not better than The Hunger Games. 

Seriously, they thought that?!

It was an okay story, but it went overload on the cultural references. Like these kids are into fantasy and Scifi, I get it-but when you just reference or quote things constantly to fill in your story instead of developing the characters-that’s where I have issues.

Not for me.

Plus I found the character Simon, Clary’s best friend, to be super annoying, and I wanted her to end up with Jace the shadowhunter she meets-as the author is constantly putting them together, but it turns out that they are brother and sister?

I mean why would you construct a story that way to want two characters to get together and then be all, psych they are brother and sister.

Why, why would you do that. Ugh, it made me feel disgusting after reading it.

Or are they? Could Valentine be lying?

Hmm…is it her?

Yeah, not interested in reading more…

So I was scrolling through my streaming sites, and the film popped up and I thought, why not? There was nothing else on. Let’s see how they did the film.

Hmm…

So Clary Fray (Lily Collins) is a normal 16-year old. She lives with her mother as her father passed away years ago. Her family is rounded out by her best friend Simon, who has a huge crush on her that she can’t see, and her mother’s best friend Luke Garroway (Aiden Turner).

Wait, what?

AIDEN TURNER is in this?

For those of you who don’t know-Aiden Turner is an Irish actor who is immensely talented and has the best looking curly hair I have ever seen. I became a fan of him and his hair after watching Poldark, so I was excited. As I said, it’s been over a year since I read the book, but I do remember Luke playing a crucial role in the end of the book and I couldn’t wait to see Aiden Turner.

Clary and Simon go out to a coffee poetry night. Clary sees this “hot” blonde guy and decides to be spontaneous and go to the club he is going to. To be fair it wasn’t just because of the guy-her mother has sheltered her, her whole life and tht coupled with her mom calling her again about when she will be home and her turning 16-she decides to have fun. The hot gut was the final push.

At the club she sees him with a girl and a guy and watches the group as they approach a man and kill it.

What!

She hurries away but its too late. Life has changed forever.

She has realized the “reality” of her world and its not going away. Clary gets in a fight with her mom, and later Jocelyn Fray (Lena Headey) calls Clary and warns her not to come back. Jocelyn is kidnapped and the apartment torn apart. Clary returns home, but is attacked by some wolflike creature. Jace, the boy from the club, comes and saves her.

Where is everyone?

He saves Clary and tells her the creature was a demon, as was the man the night before. Jace is a shadowhunter, shadowhunters are a race of mortals who have angelic blood. They reside in the shadow world but cross over to the mortal realm to hunt demons, vampires, werewolves, etc. Shadowhunters can only be created by being born of a shadowhunter or turned into one by The Mortal Cup.

As you have guessed it, Jocelyn is a shadowhunter, meaning that Clary is too. That is why she could see Jace and his friends and no else could. They question the neighbor, a witch, and discover that people are after the mortal cup and believe she has it.

That’s not good.

They need a ride and Simon drives her and Jace over to Luke’s to get more information. Simon is less annoying in this, but is still annoying. And surprise, surprise he hates Jace as Jace is clearly into Clary.

The actors weren’t bad but Lily Collins and the guy who plays Jace have like zero chemistry. In the book they actually connected better.

They reach the antique shop to look for Luke, and find him being beat up. He tells the two guys (the ones who kidnapped Jocelyn) that he cares nothing for the Frays and only wants the cup too. If they let him go he will be able to find it.

The crew leave him-RUDE, like geez Clary this guy was a surrogate dad and you watched him get beat up and did nothing.

So Jace knows they won’t be safe in the city and takes them to the Shadowhunter Institute. On the outside the muggles mundanes see a dilapidated broken down church, but on the inside it is a beautiful building with weapons.

There she meets Alex (Kevin Zeggers) and Isabella Lightwood, and Hodge who runs the institute. The three of the Shadowhunters are on earth because of what their parent’s did. Years ago, Valentine Morgensten’s father was killed by a werewolf and that set him on dark path. He wanted to destroy all downworlders (demons, werewolves, vampires, etc) even ones that were not breaking the law or the Accords. He was aided by the Lightwoods and intended on starting the killing when the next Accord signing was set up. They were stopped and punishment ended up with them being sent from Idris, their home in the Shaddoworld to New York City. Later Jace was sent to live with them. Hodge on the other hand is banished to never be able to return to Idris.

Valentine was experimenting with The Mortal Cup to become more powerful, but he was believed to be dead. With them searching for the cup and coming after Jocelyn, he must have returned.

That’s not good.

Hodge tells Jace to take Clary to the Silent Brothers so they can reveal her memories. When she gets there she discovers that there is a lock on her memories only one person could do that-Magnus Bane.

Magnus Bane is the high Warlock in the area and is just happening to be throwing a killer party. Of course poor Clary knows nothing about fashion and wears boring clothes so we have a makeover by Isabella.

After the makeover all the boys are upset- Jace has been struck by cupid, Simon is mad that Jace is into Clary, and Alec has a thing for Jace and doesn’t like that he is into Clary.

They head to the party and Clary goes off with Magnus. Magnus tells her that her mother wanted to keep her safe and used to take her to appointments regularly. It was getting harder for the block to stay as she growing older and they missed the latest appointment which was to be on her birthday. Magnus tells her he can’t do anything but that without the last session in time everything and all her powers will develop.

Well, thanks for that I guess.

Well that was a useless detour-except Simon gets kidnapped as he is turned into mouse and stolen by vampires. The gang has to go after him and fight, only surviving when they are saved by werwolves.

So about here I was checked out of the film. I like that they had pared down the pop culture references but to be honest this movie is really boring. It was just too much like things you’d seen before you know. I wouldn’t be able to give specifics but it was like a large order of deja vu.

Back at the institute Simon recuperates while Jace and Clary grow closer. Clary is a prolific artists and it turns out that her Shadowhunter powers are very interesting. She can draw something and pull it off the page, or put an ordinary object on into paper. That gets her thinking…

Hmmm…

Jace, Clary, and Simon all have a spat as they are in a triangle-Simon likes Clary, and Clary likes the attention but she likes Jace who likes Clary, but Jace doesn’t like how close Clary and Simon are, etc.

Blah, blah

Clary thinks about her abilities inherited from her mom and realizes she has seen a painting by her mom of The Mortal Cup. It was on set of tarot cards her mom made or their neighbor, the witch.

Jace, Alec, Isabella, and Clary head to her neighbors to get the cup-but she is possessed by a demon. They fight and get the cup, but Alec is wounded. At the institute Isabella blames Clary as Alec is wounded badly, so badly they have to call Magnus as he is the only one who could do anything.

That’s not good.

Clary gives the cup to Hodge, who betrays them by bringing Valentine into their word-he’s been biding his time working for him, the Death Eaters, as long believed dead leader is back.

Oh, wow…

Valentine is back and played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, oh I had a huge crush on him in the ’90s.

From Bend It Like Beckham

So Valentine reveals that he is Clary’s father. Clary has special abilities she isn’t aware of as he experimented on her when she was a fetus with angel blood and his son (her brother) with demon blood. I am really disappointed that he isn’t in the film that long and second his character is top comical. He’s chewing the scenery in every shot-and he’s not usually like this, so I blame the director.

So Clary is asked by her father to join the dark side him but she refuses, She puts the cup back in the card and travels through a portal to Luke’s. Meanwhile, Valentine bring Jocelyn to the institute and tries to figure out how to turn his daughter. Hodge comes up with the plan to lie to Jocelyn and Clary that Jace is the dead son Jonathan. I’m glad they made it clear in this that the incest is a lie-although it is still a weird plot.

Apparently, in a later book it is revealed that Valentine faked his and his older son Jonathan’s death and took the identify of Michael Wayland becoming a recluse. Michael and his wife had died, Valentine has been experimenting on Jace’s mother without her knowledge and when she died he saved the child and raised it. Jonathan had extra demon blood and Jace extra angel blood.

Hmm…

So they get to Luke’s shop and he reveals that he is a werewolf (Valentine was trying to get rid of him and took him on a hunt to get him turned into one and killed). Luke has always loved her mother and traveled with her to this world to protect her. He reveals information about Valentine and tells her that he lied to the the men torturing him to protect them. After he escaped he fought with another werewolf and gained a pack, them being the ones that saved them with the vampires.

The werewolves and few shadowhunters team up to take Valentine down.

Back at the institute, Valentine has brought demons in to help him and the Shadowhunters and werewolves do their best to fight him off. Simon discovers Jocelyn in a comalike state in the crypt of the church and tries to revive her. Valentine and Jace fight, but Jace stops when he is told that Valentine is his father.

He stops fighting, as that’s his “dad”, but Clary defeats Valentine and tricks him by giving him a fake cup ands him through the portal. Later Jace goes to see Clary and invites her back in to the Shadowhunter world-telling her he doesn’t think they are really siblings.

That doesn’t change it, still…

This wasn’t that good of a story. I think it was better in some ways than the book, but it was boring. It felt like a Star Wars, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer smoothie-and not in a good way. I liked Aiden Turner-although I wish he was in it more. Otherwise, meh.

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

For more on angels, go to Book Club Picks: This Present Darkness

For more Teen Horror films, go to Just Because I’m a Vampire Doesn’t Mean I’m Bloodthirsty: Cirque du Freak, The Vampire’s Assistant (2009)

For more on Lena Headey, go to The Story, We’re Living it. It’s Alive: The Brothers Grimm (2005)

For more on Jonathan Rhys Meyers, go to Lookin’ Over a Four-Leaf Clover: 17 More Irish Heroes

North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

So a while back I told Christina Boyd this regency story idea I had to pass onto her writers. A regency group of ladies and gentlemen, maybe make them married or related so they could be together, traveling by coach and solving mysteries. A regency Scooby-Doo.

She politely declined and suggested that I should check out the Carrie Bebris’ Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery series. I told her I would think about it, but I wasn’t too keen on the idea.

You see I had read the first book Pride and Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged) and loved it.

It was a fantastic mystery that left you wondering, was something supernatural going on? Or was Caroline Bingley’s new husband gaslighting her?

The next book, however, left me extremely disappointed.

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) right away told you it was going to be the supernatural taking all the suspense out of it. Also the Dashwood sisters were hardly in the book, which strongly disappointed me.

I then decided to take a break, and went on reading and reviewing other things.

In July, every other day I asked a question on Instagram about Jane Austen characters and themes, such as what fashion from the Regency Era do wish we would be brought back, who had the best fashion, etc. One question I asked was what book adaption do you wish would be turned into a movie or a TV show? On thing I suggested was this series, even though I had only read two books, as I think the idea behind it was very strong.

After that I wanted to read the next book, especially as it is Northanger Abbey, but was busy with Rational Creatures and my rule is never read another Jane Austen adaption until you finish reviewing one. After that it was time to get ready for Horrorfest VIIIthen November was gone in a flash, and December was taken up with Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, YULETIDE, and Holiday Mix Tape

But I resolved this year that I would somehow factor in reviewing a mystery every month, so there is no time like the present to review this.

Mystery, you say?

So here we go.

North by Northanger (Or the Shades of Pemberley) [Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery #3] by Carrie Bebris

So in the last book, Elizabeth found out she was pregnant and it is nearing her time. This is a joyous and strained situation, as the Darcys are pleased but at the same time Mr. Darcy is scared out of his mind as his mother died in childbirth.

But childbirth isn’t what is foremost on Elizabeth’s mind. You see Elizabeth is sensitive to the supernatural and is convinced that Pemberley has a ghost, and not just any ghost…Anne Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s mother.

Elizabeth doesn’t feel as if Anne is vindictive or angry, but feels her presence nonetheless. She has lived the year with everything exactly how it was, but has decided that the time has com to start doing things how she wants it.

She decides to shift the writing desk from its corner so that she can look out the window. After some hemming and hawing with the footmen they do, and a letter falls out. A letter from Anne Darcy to Elizabeth!

{An excerpt]

Pemberley

20 January 1796

Dear Mrs. Darcy,

Should this letter reach your eyes, it is because I no longer live to deliver its message in person. I know not who you are-what name you bore before taking that of Darcy. I know only that by addressing this letter to you, I write the woman who has wed my son. For that reason alone I entrust to you the stewardship of something most precious…I had at Fitzwilliam’s birth a…an heirloom from my own mother-I want it now, but it has become lost. If only I could find it, I would trust that I will be safely delivered. But I hid it too well, beyond my own reach. You-you must look if I cannot, for I want you to have it when…If you are my niece, my namesake Anne, know that I guarded myself from my sister, not from you-…Search for me…My daughter, the only one I may ever have, start with the knowledge that love conquers all. I am-

Your mother, 

Anne Darcy

Unfortunately, this letter, dated on Georgiana’s birthday and Lady Anne’s death day, only strengthens Darcy’s fears. It, however, baits Elizabeth’s curiosity. What was the object? Why couldn’t Lady Anne find it? Where is it?

Suspicious

We move along a few weeks where Elizabeth and Darcy have been visiting the Bingley’s for their youngest’s christening. However, they are in a hurry to leave as Lydia and Wickham have dropped by unexpectedly.

Elizabeth shares the contents of the letter she found with Jane, and Lydia overhears them mention a treasure, which Elizabeth strongly dissuades her of.

That’s not good.

The talk then turns to babies, of which Lydia is bored of. Of course, I don’t expect Lydia to ever have children, as if she has a baby she won’t be the baby anymore.

They are headed home by way of Bath, to meet the famous Dr. Severn, the man Darcy wants to have assist Elizabeth in her birth. He supposedly is the best in the nation, and very hard to get. They reach Bath and as they are about to take in the sights they run into an unexpected visitor. Lady Catherine.

Lady Catherine and Anne are there to take the healing waters for Anne. Lady Catherine is more civil as Elizabeth is carrying the future heir to Pemberley, but still bossy, judgemental, and of course loves to give advice and hear her own voice.

Blah, blah

They also receive a note from a Mr. Tilney.

No, not that Mr. Tilney- Captain Frederick Tilney.

I know. I was so disappointed. I want MY Mr. Tilney!

I want MY Mr. Tilney!

Anyways…

Edgar’s Buildings

Bath, 6 October

Dear Mr. Darcy,

My discovery of your name in the Pump Room book prompts me to write. Though we are strangers to each other, I believe our families are acquainted. My late mother, Mrs. Victor Tilney, enjoyed the friendship of one Lady Ann Darcy, whom I believe to be your mother.

Though I understand Lady Anne has also passed away, I would take great pleasure in meeting her son. Unfortunately, my military duties obligate me to depart Bath this very day. However, I plan to return to my country home in Gloucestershire by 18 October, and shall remain there for some time. I would consider myself honored to receive you and Mrs. Darcy at Northanger Abbey as my guests for a se’nnight whenever you make your return to Derbyshire.

I hope your response names the date upon which I will enjoy the pleasure of your company. I am

Yours most sincerely,

Captain Fredrick Tilney

I still want my Mr. Tilney Carrie Bebris. I am intrigued, but wil be sorely disppointed and unhappy if MY Mr. Tilney doesn’t show up.

Hmm…

Anyways, the Darcys are also intrigued and decide to go visit on their way home.

Elizabeth visits with Lady Catherine and does not have a good time, it made even more when Lady Catherine tries to send Darcy to France to go after his troublesome cousin. He sends his solicitor and the Darcys visit with Dr. Severn which should be called Dr. Severe or Dr. Ima Rude Jerk. He is an awful misogynist and just all around horrible and we all should hate him-except Darcy is still wowed by his education and success rate, getting him to agree to come to Derbyshire instead of Elizabeth giving birth in London.

[Sarcastic] Big whoop

Eventually they leave Bath, and head to Gloucestershire but find it not as impressive as Catherine did.

The weather is cold, gray, dismal, and stormy. The servants are strange and act like no servant they have ever known. They are given the late Mrs. Tilney’s rooms which haven’t been used in ages and there is jewelry and all her stuff in it. Their servants have disappeared and the housekeeper has no knowledge where they are, the food gross, their host never appears, the halls are cold and drafty, and the Darcys want to leave but are forced to stay the night.

After dinner, the housekeeper takes them to their host and the Darcy’s see a very bandaged, fat man, with only one eye and his mouth are exposed.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Okay, I know that wealthy people gained weight with the food they eat-but a narcissist like Fredrick Tilney? There is no way you can convince me he is fat. I’m sorry but I don’t believe it. This can’t be him. Something is afoot in this Abbey, I just don’t know what…

Hmm…

Tilney, (if he is Tilney which I remain unconvinced), apologizes for not being able to greet them or sit at dinner. He has no qualms that the rooms are full of things and thoroughly questions grills them about Lady Anne, her friendship with Mrs. Tilney, and if they have any correspondence.

Huh?

The Darcy’s are completely flummoxed as they didn’t even know of the friendship let alone bring anything with them.

Captain Tilney talks really weird. I mean he is only in the book Northanger Abbey for a little bit, but this feels all wrong. I’m not the only one who feels it, as Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves feeling extremely weirded out by everything and they decide to leave ASAP.

The next morning they leave, carefully maneuvering themselves out of any faux pas. They find their servants-who had taken ill (sounds like were slipped a Regency mickey)-and then a trunk disappears and it takes forever for it to be located. Finally they leave, Mr. Darcy with his cane and off they go without another thought of this strange side trip, sure to be a weird story to be shared with friends.

Or is it?!

They stop for the night and then are com upon by a constable, as they were sent an anonymous note that the Darcy’s stole jewelry and riches fom the Tilneys. They then are both arrested for theft.

What???!!!!!!!! But he’s Mr. Darcy??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What?

OMGoodness what is happening right now?

Th constable searches Mr. Darcy’s cane and finds it opens up and reveals that it has the Tilney jewels in it.

First of all-that is so cool. I want a cane or umbrella with a secret compartment, or one where you take it apart and it is a sword that would be so cool. With a wolf’s head on it like in The Wolf Man (1941).

And second WHAT THE HECK? ARRESTED? JAIL? THE DARCYS??!!!

Darcy tries to convince them it isn’t his cane but one that looks like it as his cane has an imperfection in the grain-this one does’t it is a replica, but they don’t believe him.

They then return to Northanger Abbey to speak to Captain Tilney about everything and when they reach the Abbey they see that Captain Tilney is not there but Mr. Tilney arrives, the Henry Tilney, MY Mr. Tinley.

And we get the giant bomb…you see the Darcy’s want Captain Tilney to share what happened that night, but eh can’t. He’s dead.

WHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT?????!!!!!!!!!

And that’s not all. Fredrick’s been dead for a while.

WHAT??!!

And that housekeeper they met? She doesn’t exist. She matches no description of any housekeeper that has ever been employed there and the most recent housekeeper was fired six weeks ago.

Huh?

WHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT?????

And the house has been shut up for a while.

WHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!!!!?????

What is going on???

Okay, here I was undeniably hooked. I had to finish this story. Not only has Mr. Tilney entered the picture but we are in a serious web.

Ghosts?

Ghosts?

Or is there a human trying to frame the Darcys?

Hmmm…

And sidenote, is it horrible that after I got over the shock of Captain Tilney being dead, I kind of thought it was cool that Mr. Tilney would have Northanger Abbey. Does that make me a horrible person? I mean, I didn’t think that right away…it was after.

The local magistrate is being a bit of a jerk, enjoying the power he has over someone like Darcy and won’t release him. Darcy sends word to his solicitor, who unfortunately has been sent to France to take care of his cousin, but Elizabeth does the only thing they can do to free Darcy. Call the one person who no one could ever be able to go against.

No, no, no, no, no, not her.

Oh no!

Lady Catherine.

Lady Catherine comes, throws her weight around, and this guy is no match for her. She gets Darcy released and he’ll be back later for the trial. But unfortunately, Darcy isn’t just released he is released into Lady Catherine’s care and she is coming to Pemberley with them.

They are about to head home when Mr. Tilney comes back, yay! I was worried that he was only going to be in there for a moment. He apologizes for his behavior, and said that he let his grief, anger, and hurt get the best of him. He thought over what they said and realized that he does remember the Darcy name, as his mother was friends with a Mrs. Darcy and she provided great comfort in her life with his tyrannical and vampirish father.

He remembers meeting her once and knowing what he does of her and their estate, he can’t imagine that Darcy wold act this way and steal. He also found the “true” walking stick of Darcy’s.

Darcy shows them the letter they received from Captain Tilney and it is dated the day before he died in his own hand. However, when Tilney questions the Darcy’s the man could not be Fredrick (as he was dead on that date) but also the eye was the wrong color.

So who did this and why? What was their scheme? If they wanted the jewels why hide them in the walking stick? What could they have gained from delaying the Darcy’s and getting them caught up in this? Just trying to ruin their good name?

What is going on?

Tilney tried to get the lawsuit dropped, but the magistrate is just salivating over this and he will not do so. Ugh.

The Darcys leave for Pemberley, while Mr. Tilney plans on remaining at Northanger and continuing the investigation there and getting the estate handled. The two plan to keep in constant contact.

What? What? Where is Catherine? Why are they leaving? How come Tilney isn’t in the book more? NOOOO, why are we leaving Northanger…will we ever see him again?

BUt BUt BUt I Want more Mr. Tilney Wah, wah, wah…

Sorry I’m over it now. So Lizzy, Darcy, and Lady Catherine return to Pemberley and find it polluted. Yes a pest infestation has taken root since they have been away. A giant rat called Wickham.

What the HECK??!! Why would he even think to do that. I don’t know if Wickham is brave, audacious, or just plain stupid.

This guy,

Lydia immediately accosts Elizabeth for money, and Darcy catches Wickham with a servant girl, Jenny.  Not the welcome home they had wished for. Although, their presence does make Lady Catherine disappear to her bedroom. LOL.

Elizabth finds living with Lady Catherine to be extremely difficult, no surprise there, and tries to find ways of coping that do not include her starting a regency fight club or throwing her hot tea at Lady Catherine. She instead goes for walks, visiting Lady Anne’s garden, Our Lady’s Garden.

The next morning is All Hallow’s Eve and the gardner always leaves flowers on the graves. Elizabeth sees his shadow and head down to the collect the bouquets, dropping them off, only to discover that after she completes the task that the gardner had never made the bouquets, he was just about to. He laughs it off that it must be an assistant who readied them, but it gets Elizabeth thinking. Was it an assistant? Or a GHOST??

Meanwhile, Elizabeth has been curious over the correspondence with Mrs. Tilney and thought maybe there would be a clue to help find the missing heirloom. She asks for the correspondence to come downstairs from the attic, and discovers that there are NINE trunks!

OMGoodness, I have one “memory box” my grandma gave me, and when it gets too full I go through it and recycle the cards or toss them out. It is a small box I can’t imagine having nine!!

Elizabeth reads the letters and finds the ones of Lady Anne and the late Mr. Darcy’s courtship “Love conquers all” being their phrase.

Hmm…

They have the yearly Harvest Feast, and Elizabeth develops a slight nosebleed. The local midwife helps her, and talks to her about Lady’s Anne’s last pregnancy. She reveals that the object Elizabeth is looking for is a small Madonna and Child ivory statuette.

A clue!

Darcy finds her and becomes so worried about the blood, calling for the horrible doctor. Dr. Severn’s arrival makes Elizabeth have to clean up her room, and all the trunks are removed without her being able to finish going through them.

The doctor arrives angry that he was called in for a nosebleed and is a pompus jerk who doesn’t care a thing about what Elizabeth thinks, feels, or says.

Later Elizabeth has even more fun talking to Lady Catherine and finds out that the statuette was from back in the day when the family was Catholic. Lady Catherine wants it back, but Elizabeth refuses to give it to her if she finds it, intending to keep it. It is a battle of wits as both are searching high and low, in and out, and all over Pemberley.

Fight, fight, fight!

Elizabeth wants to read Lady Anne’s letter again but it has disappeared. Only later to reappear. That isn’t he only thing that is strange-is Elizabeth just having the pregnancy forgetfulness, is someone sabotaging her, or is there a spirit at play here?

At Pemberley.

Elizabeth then continues to go through the letters, finding the ones between Mrs. Tilney and Lady Anne. Those were so cute that they almost, ALMOST, but not quite, make up for the fact that there is no Catherine in this book so far. I am sorely disappointed.

Anyways, the letters are just adorable! It turns out that the statuette came from Northanger Abbey. There was a set of ten,  but they were hidden when the Church of England came into power. Mrs. Tilney encourages her to visit, and Lady Anne does, bringing the statue. Mrs. Tilney gives Lady Anne a strongbox to put the statue in, but General Tilney is not a happy camper. He does not like that Lady Anne has one, and he wants it, along with the other nine.

That’s not good.

Elizabeth shares her intel with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy has seen the box before. He and Wickham found it years ago, in fact on the day Georgina was born. A box with a key that opens when you move the dials to create the right “password”. Wickham egged him on and they tried to unlock it. They search the fountain where it was years ago, but nothing is there.

They believe that Wickham might have come after it and that means Mr. Darcy must take a journey. Elizabeth stays behind with she and Georgiana comedically hiding the fact that Mr. Darcy has disappeared from Pemberley from Lady Catherine.

So Elizabeth continues to read the letters and learns more on the friendship, intent on finding where could this figurine be? Darcy heads off to find Wickham and still is trying to discover the truth of what happened in Northanger Abbey. Meanwhile, in Northanger Abbey Tilney is trying to solve the case too. When Darcy heads to Newcastle he finds the truth to everything and in a surprise twist, the villains are someone Austen readers should know.

Meanwhile, things continue to be strange in Pemberley. Is there a malicious person? Another member of the scheme? Or an evil spirit?

Hmmm…

This was extremely enjoyable and a very good mystery. I loved it.

The only thing that would be better would be if Catherine was in it and if there was more Mr. Tilney!

For more by Carrie Bebris, go to Five Jane Austen Adaptations That Should be Turned Into a Film or TV Show

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to You Are My Fantasy: Austenland (2013)

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Modesto Jane Con: Dressing the Regency Lady

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

For more mysteries, go to A Goblin in My Mailbox

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen

 

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