Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl Audiobook

So I was given this audiobook, Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girlfrom Christina Boyd of The Quill Ink and I was really excited about it as I had really enjoyed the book and their other audiobook, Yuletide.

I had no doubt that this would be just as enjoyable.

Or audiobook, although I know I’ll never hate it.

But I just don’t know what is wrong with me. Every time I tried to write this review something would come up that interrupted me, and this just ended up in my drafts, yet again.

But in July I became sick and had to stay home for most of the month, allowing me time to go through my drafts and get to things I’ve been wanting to write on. I decided no more waiting on this one, I will write this review or die trying. (Just kidding I won’t die)

So quick backstory-back in 2017, Christina Boyd (editor) and several writers wrote The Darcy Monologues, which was a series of stories from Mr. Darcy’s point of view, some in the Regency period and some in the present. After the book came out Christina Boyd shared that from the beginning of the publication of The Darcy Monologues, readers suggested doing the same for Elizabeth-but Boyd wasn’t sure. With all the retellings of Jane Austen’s most loved novel:

“…I thought all the Elizabeth Bennet point-of-view stories surely must have been told.”

But you know us Janeites-no matter what character may be your favorite, everybody loves an Obstinate Headstrong Girl.

So the fans persevered and Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl was born. Yes, Elizabeth is a fantastic and complex character and Christina Boyd, Elizabeth Adams, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Leigh Dreyer, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, and Joana Starnes have written 10 different stories on her.

Yep, 10 more Elizabeths to love. And with so many stories, you know without a doubt there will be several ones that you love.

So I’ve reviewed the book, splitting it between the Regency and modern eras and my opinion is, I loved it! It was amazing.

After loving the book, I couldn’t wait to listen to the audiobook. It was narrated by Elizabeth Grace and Grace did a fantastic job. Often times, female narrators can sound a bit silly when they try too hard to have a deeper “manly” voice but Grace’s narration didn’t sound silly. She was also able to differentiate between characters clearly.

The only time Grace had a slight struggle was with the Southern accent, which I completely understand as doing a Southern accent is easy, but keeping it is very, very difficult.

In my opinion the best thing about this audiobook is that listening to the words being spoken highlights the parts you love and also brings to life passages that you might have overlooked or forgotten how well crafted they are. Every story was wonderful and Grace brought them all to life.

When I took my niece to Reno for her birthday we ended up getting stuck in three car accidents. It took us 6 hours to get there instead of 3. And as we were stuck in traffic no music would play on my radio or through Amazon music as we hit an area where the towers weren’t changed out yet, and there was no service. The only thing I had for us as it grew dark, and we were bored, was this audiobook as I had downloaded it on my phone. We ended up listening to Resolution by Amy D’Orazioon the way there andLove in the Limelight” by Beau North on the way back.

My niece and sister enjoyed Resolution, but I had to explain the plot of Pride and Prejudice to my niece as she has never read or watched it (at least not yet).

They both really enjoyed Love in the Limelight, the 1940s Hollywood one. That one didn’t need any back information and was really intriguing. In fact, my niece asked to finish listening to it instead of the radio as she had to know what happened next, did they end up together or not?

I definitely recommend listening to it if you like Jane Austen, audiobooks, and are looking for something new to love and listen to over and over again.

You definitely need to check this out!

For more on Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part II, Other Eras

For more audiobooks, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey

For more Elizabeth Bennet, go to Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious (2015)

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Prize Two

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Jane Austen-Inspired Magazine Cover Cards

Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part I, The Regency

Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl edited by Christina Boyd

So a while back Christina Boyd asked me to be a part of her Book Tour and I wholeheartedly said yes.

I have always wanted to be a part of a book tour, it’s like being a rock star, but even better as it involves books. 

Although…unfortunately I realize that I am too much like Stacey Jaxx the rockstar as I forgot all about the book tour until I saw posts on social media.

But hey, better late than never right?

So when I went to read the book, I saw that my link to get a free copy of the ebook was expired.

I thought of asking for a new one, but I decided to just buy my own as Christina Boyd and the others have been so generous to me. The book, whether as an ebook or physical copy, is really not that much. So if you are stuck in the quarantine and looking for something to read, why don’t you head over to Amazon and order a copy?

So a little backstory before we review the book. Back in 2017, Christina Boyd (editor) and the following writers: Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams-put together an anthology that had stories on Mr. Darcy, The Darcy Monologues

After all, who doesn’t love Mr. Darcy?

Half the stories had a Regency theme, while the others were set in different times (Old West, 1960s, 2017, etc.) Each one did their own spin on the story-keeping the things we love but trying a new look, or new path on the tale. With so many Darcys there is sure to be a Darcy for everyone to love (there were several that I loved). [Also something to get if you are stuck in quarantine and looking for something new to read.]

In the back of this book, Obstinate Headstrong Girl, Christina Boyd shared that from the publication of The Darcy Monologues, readers suggested doing the same for Elizabeth-but she wasn’t sure. With all the retellings of Jane Austen’s most loved novel:

“…I thought all the Elizabeth Bennet point-of-view stories surely must have been told.”

But you know us Janeites-no matter what character may be your favorite, everybody loves an Obstinate Headstrong Girl.

So here we go with the five Regency stories. All of these are set in the Regency whether before the novel, after the novel, or taking a new path from some point in the story. I am going to do them in the order they are as you read it.

Resolution by Amy D’Orazio

It is two weeks before Elizabeth’s wedding and she eagerly awaits it. If was marrying Mr. Darcy I would feel the same way. 

She is staying with Jane (now Jane Bingley) and Mr. Bingley and glances out the window and sees Mr. Darcy-becoming stricken with fever at seeing him. Aw, she is so excited to wed him…so cute.

Jane is in a lather trying to get things ready for Elizabeth’s engagement party-upset that Mr. Bingley keeps inviting people so she has no clue how many people are coming. I really liked that, as I think it is nice seeing Jane more than the perfect angel and I think every marriage has its annoyances. Elizabeth is a bit distressed that Darcy would be coming (weird as they are getting married.) 

Whatever, Jane asks if Elizabeth holds a grudge and that it shouldn’t be weird having him at her engagement dinner.

OMGOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHATTTTTTTTTTT?!!!!!!!!!!!!! ELIZABETH AND DARCY ARE NOT ENGAGED???!!!

literally spit out my tea! WHAT??????!!!!!!!!

Do you ever get shocked in reading that you read faster, because you have to know what happens next?

ANSWERS!!!!!

So in this version everything happened as in the original book, but Darcy did not come back a second time to propose to Elizabeth. He did visit with Bingley, so he went back and spoke to Jane but Elizabeth and Darcy never had their walk together, time passed, and she met another man-Mr. Julius Timpson-who also happened to be wealthy as he is a banker-and got engaged and is to be married. Mr. Timpson is older, opinionated, and Elizabeth isn’t in love, she loves Darcy, but as she cannot have him sh but believes herself to be content with him. WHAT? ConTeNT?

OMG I have to take a breath.

Okay, so I calmed myself down, I’m sure Darcy and Elizabeth will straighten everything out. So that evening Elizabeth can’t stop thinking of him. Why didn’t he come back, was Lydia’s shame too great? Has he found another. She wishes she could speak to him, but doesn’t get a chance to as she is next to Mr. Timpson (if you can’t tell whenever I say his name I say it in a snotty tune as I don’t like him) and Darcy is on the other side of the table.

She gets a chance to break away from the ladies, and tries to talk to him-overhearing Darcy and Bingley talking about her engagement. She interrupts them and she and Darcy get a moment to talk when Bingley gets called away. The two parry blows with their wits, and Darcy admits that he loves her aw! They are going to get together! But no, he leaves. What!!!

Go BAAAAACK!!!!

13 Days until the wedding, the wedding that should not be happening, but is.

Elizabeth wants to be with Mr. Darcy, she imagines him when kissing her fiancé. Oh no, Elizabeth-but she can’t she doesn’t even know if Darcy loves her still. I think D’Orazio speaks for us all when she describes Elizabeth’s feelings:

Elizabeth drinks a bit too much wine and writes a note to Darcy asking him why he didn’t come back. The note is delivered and he replies he did what he thought she wanted. WHAT!!!!!!!!

What are you talking about??

He didn’t know if her feelings changed and then Lady Catherine, that evil schemer went and told him that Elizabeth would never want to marry him.  NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

But what will happen? Will they get together? Will Elizabeth break her engagement?

So I really liked this story and I think it was perfect for the beginning of the anthology. Not to talk bad about the other writers, as I loved their stories too, but this story itself was worth the price of the book. D’Orazio took parts and texts of the original novel and gave it her own spin. We  get to see a view of what would have happened if Darcy did not come back? Would she have gone on to be a spinster? Or would she have become like Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride, not loving or caring and entering the marriage having no feeling regarding it. 

And NO lie, every time the days before the weddings shortened, my heart leaped in anxiety, will they or won’t they? I zoomed through this story as I just had to finish it before my lunch break ended.  Plus I LOVED that ending, it was amazing. and just what I was hoping for. 

For more by Amy D’Orazio, go to “The Wishing Ball” by Amy D’Orazio” from YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-Inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

Atmospheric Disturbances by Christina Morland

Darcy and Elizabeth are fighting. 

But not about her sister or Wickham. The two are engaged and we have fallen right in the middle of their unknown dispute. Elizabeth is angry and trying to poke at Darcy to get him to react, he wanting to leave, but she not letting him until they have it out. 

Mr. Darcy is a puzzle to her-he is “cold and warm, kind and aloof, reticent and garrulous”-a walking contradiction. He is kind and loving enough to each her sisters to play chess, gives everyone in her family gifts,  but doesn’t give her anything but the compliment of his attention.

Hmmm…

So…I was really not getting into this story. I love Darcy, but in a different way than most people. I mean I love that he is kind and caring and a romantic hero, but I also love him because he reminds me a lot of myself, personality-wise (not money or family). Like that earlier quote I pulled, that could describe me.

So as I’m reading this I’m like, why you mad Elizabeth? Look at all the stuff he is doing- spending time with all the people who are the last he’d want to be trapped with, Mary and Kitty, ugh Mrs. Bennet. And I’m sure he feels that giving his time is the best thing to give, after all that happened I’m sure he feels that any larger gift would look as if he is trying to purchase her love not an act of love. 

I’m done

But, then we get why Elizabeth is fighting with Darcy, the real reason:

“No, what truly frightened her was the epiphany he was bound to have, and soon: she was, and always would be, headstrong and obstinate. When he came to understand this unalterable aspect of her character, would he also come to regret his love?”

OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH…she is feeling insecure.

It all makes sense!

Will they be able to work through these issues? Or will their wedding not take place?

Hmmm…

I really liked the rest of the story as I think this was a new view into Elizabeth Bennet. I mean we all love her wit and how she has no fear toward Lady Catherine, but even though she loves Darcy and was a very confident person, she is no longer blind to her family faults and she must have spent time afterwards wondering if this would work, if Darcy would be okay with it, if he would regret his choice. 

Does he regret marrying me? (from Death Comes to Pemberley)

 

I also like how Morland shows that just like any couple-Darcy and Elizabeth have to work through from being a “I” to becoming a “we”, and that it can be done with communication and still retaining one’s independence and obstinate, headstrong ways.

For more by Christina Morland, go to “Self-Composed ” from Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne Dashwood

The Uncommonly Busy Lane to Longbourn by Joana Starnes

Elizabeth is trying to hide out as her mother is trying to match her up with Mr. Collins. 

Elizabeth thinks to herself about how soon Jane will get with Mr. Bingley and then maybe Mrs. Bennet will lay off. Thinking of Mr. Bingley of course brings thoughts of Mr. Darcy-how dare he say she isn’t tolerable, and that in turn brings thoughts of Mr. Wickham. Poor Mr. Wickham, so rudely mistreated by Darcy. 

As she runs home, she runs into Mr. Darcy, who is out taking a ride on his horse. They actually engage in decent conversation, surprise, to Elizabeth’s total surprise! But she hurriedly scurries away as she does not want to spend any more time with him-confusing man.

At home, Elizabeth tries to put in her plan to have Jane influence their mother to pass Mr. Collins on to Mary, as Mary enjoys his sermons and has her own self-righteous streak. It works half right well, as Mr. Collins secures the first two dances with Mary, but that leaves Elizabeth open to Mr. Darcy asking her to dance! She does, but ends up getting her foot squished by Mr. Collins. That man!

She has to sit out the dance, but who should come and keep her company, Jane?…no Mr. Darcy. 

Elizabeth is shocked, but the two actually have some decent conversation, until Darcy warns her against Wickham. That will not do and she becomes extremely angry.

Thinking you were nice.

The rest of the night is horrible as she doesn’t get to dance and instead has to watch everyone else dance and she gets to see how silly her family is acting. 

The next day they are walking to visit their Aunt Phillips and tell her of the ball, and when they come back they come across Mr. Wickham who joins their party of Elizabeth, Kitty, Lydia, and Jane. 

The other girls walk ahead to give Wickham and Elizabeth time to talk to each other,  but as Wickham tries to steal a kiss, before Elizabeth can decide what to do they are interrupted by Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy begs a moment with Wickham and the girls walk off. 

They are almost home and there is no Mr. Wickham behind them. Elizabeth starts to grow fearful and decides to head back as maybe Mr. Darcy did something to him? She and Jane hurry and they spot motionless riding boots emerging from a bush. Oh no!!!!

Elizabeth thinks it is Wickham and reaches out to him, only to discover it is Mr. Darcy and he has a headwound!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! NOt Mr. Darcy!!!!

Nooooo

They take him home and call the apothecary but Elizabeth is in shock. She cannot believe that Wickham could do such a thing, such a decent man-it must have been Mr. Darcy’s fault, it must have been an accident, he must have gone for help, Wickham can’t be a bad man.

But why didn’t he get an apothecary? Why didn’t he get help? Darcy must have caused it himself, right? She can’t have been wrong about Wickham, could she?

 

I liked that Starnes took the obstinate and headstrong down this pathway. I know I am an obstinate and headstrong girl and I have often in my younger days, not as much now, held onto a view of belief of a person even when the evidence seems glaringly opposite. It is a major fault of being an OHG that we can be so obstinate that we deceive our own selves. 

And she receives the truth hard-with the officers saying that Wickham spread the account of Darcy (Mr. I won’t speak an ill word and disgrace his father), meeting Georgiana Darcy and seeing she is nothing like Wickham said, and Georgiana sharing the truth about his character.

 

But don’t fear, let me calm your hearts-Darcy survives and there is an amazingly cute scene when he thinks Mr. Collins is Elizabeth as he is suffering from a bad concussion. But will he want to be with her still? I mean he almost died for her-will that deter him from this OHG?

For more by Joana Starnes, go to “And Evermore Be Merry” from YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-Inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

Something Like Regret by Elizabeth Adams

Elizabeth and the Gardiners have decided to tour Pemberley as Mr. Darcy is gone. Elizabeth immediately regrets this as seeing it reminds her of what she gave up.

However, she also would have had to marry Mr. Darcy, and who would want to be married to Mr. Darcy?

 

She realizes however she was wrong about Mr. Wickham and about Mr. Darcy. Seeing the beautiful place isn’t what chnges her mind but hearing what all his staff say about him-she starts to wonder. Could it have been that Mr. Darcy was just seeking intelligent discourse, seeing her as a match for his wits-rather than trying to argue with her? Could she have misconstrued his intentions? Could he have fallen in love with her mind? Is that why he said he loved her?

I don’t know…

She then sees a portrait of him when he was 22, before his father died. And she can see the difference in his countenance-before he had to be a serious landowner, responsible to all the people, and a father to his sister-in fact, he only a year older than Elizabeth and he took all that on. And Elizabeth knows she would find difficulty in being responsible for so much, and looking at how it has flourished:

They learn from the houskeeper how wild Mr. Wickham turned out and Elizabeth starts to wonder about her judge of character.

Maybe…being obstinate and headstrong isn’t the only way one should be. Maybe they should be firm in what their beliefs but also allow a flexibility in judging characters.

Hmmm…

She looks at the late Mr. Darcy’s study-left exactly how it was when he died and how he kept a small miniature of Mr. Wickham to honor his father. Elizabeth thinks that if she had accepted Darcy’s proposal her first act as mistress of Pemberley she would “accidentally on purpose” smash Wickham’s picture, and I’m 100% in agreement with her!

NOT REALLY

Elizabeth realizes that she let his comment and injury to her vanity color her every perception of him. Being obstinate and headstrong sure can lead to misunderstandings. (I know it!) 

Then Mr. Darcy comes…awkward.

Elizabeth is later surprised when Mr. Darcy joins their tour. He converses with her uncle, and is extremely friendly and not at all what she expects, and when Elizabeth apologizes for the way she treated him in Kent-he turns it around and admits his faults and apologizes to her.

How romantic!

The two begin to spend quite a bit of time together as Mr. Darcy invite her and her aunt and uncle over. And what of Mr. Wickham? Well, he does not cut their visit short as he won a ton of money and took off to hide from his creditors. So good-bye to you!

Adams is an excellent romance writer as they are just so cute together-the way they talk, and act, and such. Ah my heart melts like butter. 

Squee! I loved it!

For more by Elizabeth Adams, go to “And Evermore Be Merry” from YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-Inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

The Age of Nescience by J. Marie Croft

So this was a very different story. We start the book off in 1806, when Elizabeth is 15 and at her coming-out into society. I really like that Croft went in a different direction than most people-I don’t think I have ever read any other retelling that starts long before Pride and Prejudice

The first party was not so great as she and her mother argued over the clothes-and there were no proposals. We all know Mrs. Bennet is not happy about that.

Later a Mr. Archibald Crosbie visits, both handsome and charming, and Elizabeth develops a crush on him. She goes to visit with her Aunt Gardiner who is planning on buying her clothes that are fashionable and actually suits Elizabeth, also using this time to try and talk about her about men-warn her that not all have honorable intentions, but Elizabeth doesn’t really listen. She believes she is an excellent judge of character and will not be hoodwinked-us poor obstinate headstrong girls-we don’t listen.

She picks out lovely material for her new gown, and knows it will catch Crosbie’s attention. 

But Mr. Crosbie attracts too many women, and nothing happens. Poor Elizabeth is hurt and slightly angry at him-you know teenagers:

She then concludes that she will never pursue a man again-they need to pursue her!

Sir Jack Ashe moves into the neighborhood and pays a ton of attention to Elizabeth, pursuing her over her beautiful sister Jane. As anyone who has ever felt second best to a sister, Elizabeth’s heart gets stolen by his attention. He tries to woo her, but unfortunately all Elizabeth’s illusions and hopes are broken when she discovers he just wanted to take a roll with her in the hay-he never had any intention of anything more than seducing a “simple country girl”.

 

Elizabeth is angry at her naiveté and decides to never be used in such a way ever again and to not even look at wealthy man, but set her sites lower; developing an unknown prejudice against the wealthy class. 

There is more to the story, I don’t want to give everything away, but I found this to not only be an interesting view into Elizabeth and her obstinate, headstrong ways-but very new. I also like how the author concentrated on Elizabeth’s relationship not with Mr. Darcy, but with all the people that are very important to her: Jane, Mrs. Gardiner, Charlotte Lucas, and her father Mr. Bennet. 

For more by J. Marie Croft, go to “Homespun for the Holidays” from YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-Inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

Some people might feel what more can be done to Pride and Prejudice? Does Elizabeth really need her own book? Well I am going to stop you right there because first of all-

And secondly, this anthology proved that yes there is plenty more stories to tell about Elizabeth. 

So I really loved and enjoyed all these stories!

Especially how each author took the theme of “obstinate headstrong girl” and worked it to create five very different stories that still kept the heart of Jane Austen and the fire plus wit of Elizabeth.

So if you love Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, or am a cardcarrying member of the Obstinate Headstrong Girls’ Club-you should definitely check this book out (and what better time when you are basically being told to stay home and read?) Why don’t you head over to Amazon and order a copy?

I think it is a fantastic idea. 

So this of course is only the five Regency stories, the next post on 3/26 will be on the other five stories-these of course will be set in different time periods. We have the Victorian Era, Edwardian Age, 1930s, the ’80s, and present time!

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to P.S. I Like You

For more edited by Christina Boyd, go to YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

The Colonel

So I promised to post this in February, but I didn’t end up doing it.

I really meant to post it on February 17th, after Valentine’s Day as

“this isn’t a love story but the end of one. The story of two ships forever passing in the night…

…this isn’t a love story.

But almost.”

But then I didn’t like my review, so I shuffled the posts around so I could rewrite it.

But then I didn’t like that review either-so this is my third time writing it.

I have been having such trouble with it as this story is a saga. It is an intense story spanning from the 1940s to the 2000s. It has drama, comedy, heartbreak, love, births, deaths, weddings, funerals, etc. The themes involve parenthood, family, trauma, biracial/bicultural romance, etc. This is a meaty book.

So this book is long, and I’m sorry if this review gets too long, as I want to reach a good point to pause at-discussing some but not revealing everything (you want some surprises when reading after all).

The story is flips from present (2002) to flashbacks of the past and is told with multiple narrators. That’s not a bad thing, it just makes it harder for m to summarize as I don’t want to confuse anyone reading my review.

Hmm…

None of the other reviews I wrote seemed right. So here we go again-try three.

 

Now I wasn’t sure if I should do this review as I haven’t read the first book, Longbourn’s Songbird, but then decided to as this book isn’t exactly a sequel as events in the novel do take place before the other book, as well as after it. The Colonel,  follows Richard Fitzwilliam’s exploits (Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride and Prejudice) and his family’s.

So the story is set in America during, and post WWII. I loved the idea of setting them in a different timeline and setting as it made the book more…hmm, I guess…unknown.  North also focused on more of the supporting characters of Pride and Prejudice-Colonel Fitzwilliam, Charlotte Lucas, Anne de Bourgh, and Georgiana Darcy-with the main characters: Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, etc-getting a back seat. With this focus on these characters and being set in a new timeline, it really allows the author to have the freedom to create their own story, while at the same time keeping the parts and the people we love in it.

So to make this easier for those reading, and myself (don’t want literary whiplash) I’m going to start with Bennet “Ben” Fitzwilliam’s story line [Richard’s son] in the present (2002), and then Richard Fitzwilliam [Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride and Prejudice] in the past and his family.

Bennet “Ben” Fitzwilliam

So the book starts off in 2002 NYC. Ben Fitzwilliam is the only son of Richard Fitzwilliam and life is not going well. He is suffering from trauma faced in 9/11, his girlfriend left him-and so he decides to quit his job and return to his father’s home, the Fitzwilliam House in Annapolis, MD.

As he goes through the house, he starts to wonder more about his father. His father was a complicated man, with a very complicated life. There is so much he doesn’t know about him and things he wish he could ask him. After much thought he decides to write a book about him:

Who better to write about a twice-decorated war hero who took two bullets in World War II and lost an eye in Korea? A man who spent his life making every damaged solider his brother, a man who never married but fathered a child out of kindness?

Who? Who is Ben’s mother?

Ben also meets and begins a relationship with African-American Police Officer Keisha Barnes. When Ben discovered a locked drawer in his fathers study, he invites Keisha along, and the two get caught up in trying to discover “who” Richard Fitzwilliam is. They find some correspondence, one being to a woman he loved who he referred to as “Slim.”

Slim? Ben knew he his father had a tattoo of “Slim” on him, but thought that was his war nickname. Who is this woman? What happened to her?

He later finds out from his cousin Maggie Darcy that his dad Richard dated her mom, yes Slim was his aunt, Elizabeth Bennet.

But his mother is Charlotte Lucas:

Okay, at this point of the book my interest was super piqued.

We have a mystery on our hands and I am utterly baffled what is going to happen next. Usually I have an idea of the direction the author will go in, but I have no clue with this story.

Will Ben be able to handle the truth about his father? Or will he be biting off more than he can chew? Will he learn from the mistakes and loves his father had-or will he fall victim to repeating the same choices as his father?

Hmm…

He also discovers a life changing secret that his father never knew. Will he be able to right this wrong and take on his father’s legacy, in the best way?

Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam

So let’s move to the Colonel’s story:

So we start off in 1941, the war has just begun for the US and Richard and his brother are shipping out. Richard is quite the ladies’ man and has been saying fond farewells with one and all, whilst older brother James, has been waiting with family. Darcy is visiting, he is not leaving for war as he owns factories that are producing War necessities.

James is loved by his father while Richard is not. Their mother was injured and had to be hospitalized after an accident involving Richard and both he and his father blame him for her state, even though it is no one’s fault.

Sad…traumatic…poor guy

James is sent to Australia, Richard to Florida and Darcy to an unknown location (which I’m guessing is Oak Ridge, Tennessee). War life is hard and the trauma made harder when Richard loses his brother. He feels the loss strongly and now there is no one to smooth out the rough edges in his father. After he is wounded in a battle his father has him discharged and sent home.

But Richard has a lot of trauma over the war, and he takes off, disappearing from Darcy and Georgiana’s lives. No matter how many detectives Darcy employs, they cannot find them.

A mystery, within a mystery…

Mystery, you say?

Richard decides he can’t stand it any longer-the memories, the loss, the pain-he decides to end his life. He’s about to jump and drown himself, but before he can he hears the pier snapping and rushes in to save a woman, Elizabeth Bennet. The two fall head over heels in love and spend all their free time together, as they only have a summer and then she will return home.

However, the summer ends when Richard purchases Elizabeth an expensive gift and the bill goes to Pemberley, bringing Darcy to his door.

Richard wants to stay and marry Elizabeth, but Darcy opens his eyes to the mess he is. He desperately needs some help, he’s living in rathole, he’s lost a lot of weight, he’d be making Elizabeth give up college, and his father had a stroke. Darcy is right on the fact that he needs help but I didn’t get the other arguments as Richard has money. He and Elizabeth could marry and she could still go to school, I mean Richard’s G.I. bill could pay for that if he doesn’t want to use his money. But Richard doesn’t stay, he recognizes that he is not in a good place and doesn’t want to tie Elizabeth to all his pain and sorrow. He then leaves (which is good because Elizabeth needs to end up with Darcy.)

Richard writes letters to Slim (Elizabeth) but doesn’t send them. This saga then takes on a new twist with the introduction of a completely new character, Miss Evelyn Ross, James’ former fiancé.

Evelyn writes to Richard and the two continue correspondence throughout the whole book. She marries another man and has girls, the two continuing to write through all the ups and downs of life. They ask each other advice, share their hopes and sorrows, love each other unconditionally and platonically. I loved their characters together, their friendship, and the whole character of Evelyn Ross. I have to admit I think it was letter 3 or 4 and I wanted Richard and Evelyn to marry (unfortunately she already is married [Darn])

OMGosh, these letters. They are just so cute and sweet together.

So Richard returns to Pemberley, and helps with the Georgiana and the Wickham issue. A year goes by and Darcy has been out to Bingley’s home he rented and is excited and relaxed, so Richard concludes there is only one thing to make him fell that way-it must be a girl. And when Richard goes to celebrate Charles’ Bingley’s birthday, he discovers that it isn’t any girl his cousin is going ape over, but Slim-Elizabeth Bennet.

Richard is struck…

Very awkward. 

So there are some fights, drama, and Richard ends up leaving to New York to live with Anne de Bourgh and Charlotte Lucas-where he causes more fights and drama. He then decides to date a girl who looks about 60% like Elizabeth-yes you can see he’s making stellar decisions.

As you can imagine, it crashes and burns when Darcy and Elizabeth come to visit for New Year’s Eve.

There is a big blow up between him and Darcy, although they tenuously mend it. Things take a turn when Richard reenlists for the Korean war and stops at the Pemberley house to say goodbye.

He leaves for Korea and gets damaged a bit more, physically and emotionally. He gets severely wounded and Darcy comes to stay with him and help him. The cousins repair their relationship, although their mutual love for Elizabeth will always stand between them and cause them to be insecure and lash out at each other.

Time passes, and Richard goes with Charlotte (who has escaped her horrible husband-see her section below) to help with her husband’s funeral and they grow even closer. So close, that Charlotte asks him to be the father of her child when she is in a relationship with Anne de Bourgh.

This is like the worst idea ever. This is going to cause so many issues with the little family the three have made…but Richard says yes and the two are just sooo adorable together! When he tells her he respects her and it is an honor to be with her, and wants to treat her right-oh my heart!!! Having been in an abusive relationship, words cannot express how sweet that was to read. Now I want them together!

After little Ben is born. They are just so cute…but it doesn’t last-Richard hasn’t finished his ramblin’. He has more paths to take, old acquaintances to run back into, and maybe even a chance at falling in love again?

Georgiana Darcy

Georgiana is a young girl who stays and studies at home. She’s never seen anything of the world, nor ever really wanted to. She’s grown up not lonely, but has wished for more family. Especially now: with their father and cousin James dead, Richard lost in the wind, Anne sequestered on her mother’s mansion, and Darcy upset and running through the rings of grief. Georgiana wishes there was more for her to do to help, but there isn’t. She thinks about leaving for boarding school, but if she leaves her brother-who will he have? Who will she have?

A George Wickham returns to the estate and lifts Georgiana’s young heart-she begins dream, hope, and even starts digging through her mother’s belongings to take her luggage and clothes with her as she plans to run off with Wickham. Luckily she is stopped and saved, with Wickham getting sent into the military as punishment, (but not the kind of punishment I would give him.)

Is this too far?

Years go by and one day Georgiana runs into one of her brother’s furniture factory workers, Ari Penska, a Jewish Polish refugee. The two begin a friendship-she teaching him English along with falling head over heels in love with him. But is this love? Georgiana has been fooled before…should she open her heart or will this be a big mistake?

Anne de Bourgh

In this version Anne is a lesbian who falls in love with Charlotte Lucas-Collins. She grew up imprisoned in her mother’s home, controlled by her, and when she left to New York she began a new life as a painter with Charlotte.

Richard goes to stay with her and Charlotte but does cause a few problems with his drinking, roughhousing, etc. His disorderly contact gets him arrested more often than not, bringing Police Sergeant Kelly into their lives. Ann likes the man and decides she wants to paint him, the two becoming friends-with Kelly pining over her. Now, I know North wrote it a certain way but I loved how much Sergeant Kelly cared for Ann and then I wanted them together.

Things go well until Charlotte wants to have a child. Anne wants to support her but will she be able to handle Charlotte and Richard having a bond she can never be a part of?

Charlotte Lucas

Charlotte Lucas grew up with the Bennets and married their cousin. It appears the match was urged on by her parents, and it quickly became an unhappy one as he was an abusive monster.

She ends up falling for Anne de Bourgh, and after a truly horrible fight with Mr. Collins, the Bennets, Bingleys, and Darcys help her leave him. She then journeys to New York with Anne. There she starts to undue the damage from her abusive relationship-the parts with Charlotte finding herself I really enjoyed as North really nailed the emotions and feelings of coming out of an abusive relationship. Charlotte later starts working as a seamstress.

Charlotte and Richard become very close, he wanting to protect her and Charlotte enjoying the friendship of a good man who won’t hurt her.

Charlotte receives news that Leland Collins, her husband, is dead and she, Anne, and Richard head off to Florida to see for themselves. Mr. Collins was a traveling minster who would pull snakes out for his act. Usually they were milked of venom, but one was missed and he died.

Suspicious

Charlotte goes to see his “wife”, a girl really, that he used and abused. I really like the interactions between Charlotte and this woman, and I think North did a great job capturing it.

Charlotte wants to be a mother, she has always wanted to be a mother, and she asks Richard to be the father of her baby. But is that a wise decision? How will that affect the family they have created in New York?

This story was compelling, my attention was captured from page one and I wanted to finish reading it and discover what the conclusion of the book would be.

I liked that North focused on other characters that aren’t usually written about and ones that we don’t know that much about-I mean in the original Pride and Prejudice we have Colonel Fitzwilliam, Charlotte Lucas-Collins, Georgiana Darcy, and Anne de Bourgh for only a few scenes and that gives a lot of room for an author to create.

I for one, never saw Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth as lovers-I always thought of them as mutually attracted to each other but never serious. But this is North’s story and I don’t mind that she took the story in this direction as it was done well, added to the characters, and that in the end she didn’t decide to ignore Jane Austen’s work and change Darcy and Elizabeth getting together (I’m looking at you Beth Patillo).

Darcy always!

But even if you don’t agree with all the decisions that the author made, (clearly you can see I wanted the romance to go in different directions [I couldn’t help myself]) or have a different viewpoint there is much to enjoy in North’s take on a loved story.

There were some sex scenes, but they were tasteful and progressed the story line, rather than feeling like it was just sex to be sex. Like with Dangerous to Know, they don’t overwhelm the story so if you like reading them you get what you want-and if it isn’t for you you can just skip over it.

And let me say-I LOVE how the story is peppered with characters from other Jane Austen novels. While Richard is in boot camp he meets a Teo Bertram (Tom Bertram from Mansfield Park); Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility) is leading the troops in Korea, and Captain Wentworth (Persuasion) is the military doctor who operates on him. We finally have a Marvel Cinematic Universe-I think we need a Jane Austen Universe where all the characters show up in a book together (and something better than Austentatious)

One thing I also just love about North is that in her work she tends to do include multiracial romances. As being biracial and growing up with only I Love Lucy, it is great to have something to read that has that-like I can not express enough with words how it felt growing up and feeling so different and alone, with no one like you. This feeling of inbetween as you don’t belong to one or the other. North, I wish you were writing stuff like this like 15 years ago.

North is a talented writer, really knows how to craft a story, and has an incredibly command with words and phrases. I look forward to reading the first book.

For more Beau North, go to Holiday Mix Tape

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

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

For more Georgiana Darcy, go to YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

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

Tossing a Costume Together + Regency Runway

So this is the last of the Modesto Jane Con posts…

I know, I’m sad it is over too. I miss Jane Con.

Life seems grey…

So quick review, (just in case this is your first post). If you have been following me on social media, you know I have been super excited about Modesto Jane Con. The past eight years I have seen pictures from different Jane Cons and festivals and wished I could go-but they were not possible for me to attend as it always came down to a problem of time, money, work, etc. Instead I had to be content with seeing pictures on social media.

But then Modesto Jane Con was created! And with Modesto not being too far and this only costing $30, I was going!

From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!

Wow!

Your $30 ticket allowed you to attend the workshops (BOTH DAYS) and see one showing of Mansfield Park Opera (your choice of Saturday or Sunday).

So I saw the ad on instagram in July and convinced my book club + my sister to join me. As it was way off in January, I knew I had plenty of time to get a costume together. I was going to have Madsen Creations make one for me, but saw no rush as I had plenty of time.

Well, time went by and in October, I thought maybe should I order my Jane Austen outfit? But Madsen Creations was moving, and I decided to wait. After all I had three months, that was plenty of time.

Yes-October flew by to November, November to December, and next thing I know it was December 30th, Jane Con was next weekend, and due to a unforeseen Cat health emergency-I didn’t have the money. What was I going to do?

I then had the idea, what if we decorated shirts with quotes or fun Jane Austen sayings?

But then time slipped away. And Modesto Jane Con was the next day. I then came up with the idea-what if we did Jane Austen in another time period? Like in The Darcy Monologues? I could be Elizabeth in the Wild West like in “Pemberley By Stage by Natalie Richards!

Or 1960s Elizabeth from “You Don’t Know Me” by Beau North.

How cute is Tippi Hedrun’s outfit in this? I love it.

But was vetoed by my mom and sister, who both said no one would know who I was and thought me walking around with the book and explaining it wasn’t the best idea. I just resolved to wear something nice when my sister said to check out the costume box for my Charles Dicken’s Day dress.

So back in 8th grade my school used to do Dicken’s Day. Everyone had to dress up in historical costume, we had to sign up to bring a historical meal, decorate the Youth Hall across the street in Victorian Christmas Decorations, have a “secret santa” we made a historical gift for, etc. We usually had some kind of performance related to Charles Dickens, whether it was a play, brief performance, songs, etc. I loved it as I love Charles Dickens.

So I needed a dress and my mom was going to make it. We went to Joann‘s, but it turned out they didn’t have the pattern we needed.

(This was back in 2005.) So instead of having a Victorian costume, we had to go with a Colonial pattern that had American Revolution style costumes (late 1700s).

I tried!

I didn’t even think it would fit, but was surprised it did! It wasn’t accurate-neckline wrong, waist, etc. (you can read more on how it should be in Dressing the Regency Lady). We ended up joking that I was a poor relation returned from America, that had to wear out of date clothing since I was out West and we didn’t have enough supplies in the colonies to be on the height of fashion.

I wasn’t sure if we would be spending time outside or not, and decided to wear tights and leggings, as I read online that the best way for Regency women to stay warm in the winter is layers and thicker material of clothing. I wanted to wear my boots, but thought my Vikings-inspired fur boots would be too much. (You ever watch that movie Vikings? It is an interesting story), and went with suede lace up oxford shoes instead. I then decided to top it with my capelet I won from MadsenCreations:

The hair was hard as I got up extra early and tried, but could not get it how I wanted. That’s one thing I wished we still had, maids to do hair for you-as I don’t know about you all, but my hair has a mind of its own.

After failing again and again, I decided to go with Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park (2007) as not only would I be matching the Opera, but I owned a straw hat.

I have to say, I may not have been accurate, but I was very pleased that I was able to throw something together so quickly.

I borrowed a reticule from MadsenCreations, grabbed a few essentials-and we were on our way!

On our way!

So the first workshop of the day was Gowns & GroansAfter that you had your choice of The Definitive Darcy and Lizzie or Start You Own Book Club. The third workshop was your choice of Dressing the Regency Lady or Are You a Long-Lost Austen? Searching Your Family Tree.

After Dressing the Regency Lady, we had about an hour and fifteen mins before the Mansfield Park Opera pre-show talk by Hillari DeSchane. We checked out a few things and had lunch, and then headed to the Opera.

During intermission, they decided to hold a Regency Fashion show and contest. Now I knew I had zero chance of winning. During the first workshop, Gowns and Groans, I noticed two ladies down the row who were in perfect Regency clothes they had made themselves.

I knew they were probably going to win. But I wanted to join in anyway.

I tried!

Right at intermission I got in line and we waited a while for the other ladies. Unfortunately,  a lot of ladies went straight to the restroom and got caught in the long line to use the restroom (there was only two stalls) or get snacks. I enjoyed the wait for the contest (and didn’t mind the bathroom one too much) as I spent that time talking to other Janeites. There are no words to describe being with other fans.

And we spent the time waiting, talking about Jane Con and Jane Austen.

Everyone I spoke to loved Modesto Jane Con. Some had planned to come, some where in the area, and some just spotted it on social media and decided to attend on a whim.

I ended up being the first in line for the fashion show, but I wish I had waited. I had no clue what I was supposed to do-while the other ladies had more time to think and copy the spin I did and show their outfits off more. I didn’t win (one of the ladies I thought would win did), but I had a whole lot of fun. So did all the other ladies who I spoke to. It was nice that we all got acclaim for our efforts, even if we didn’t win first prize.

They also gave a prize to a woman who dressed up as Steampunk Elizabth Bennet. It was very cool.

Like every other part of Jane Austen, I had a ton of fun, enjoyed every minute, and can’t wait until next year!

For more Modesto Jane Con, go to Modesto Jane Con: Opera Modesto Presents Mansfield Park

For more Mary Crawford fashion, go to Modesto Jane Con: Gowns & Groans, A Costumer Looks at Regency Costumes on Film and Stage

For more fashion, go to A Fashion Statement

YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories

So I had planned to review the film version of Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe but after reading the book, I really was in a bah humbug mood, and needed something to lift my spirits.

I had Holiday Mix Tape, which I will be reviewing soon, but I was in the mood for Pride and Prejudice and Holiday Mix Tape is a modern adaption of Persuasion. Too bad no Jane Austen film adaptions don’t show more of Christmas, or I could include them in my watching a Christmas film every day.

Aw, man!

But then, I realized-I had the next best thing! The YULETIDE audiobook narrated by Harry Frost, and edited by Christina Boyd.

Christina Boyd has worked with several writers to create many different Jane Austen anthologies. The first I read was The Darcy Monologues. It contained stories from Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams. These stories were all told from Darcy’s point of view with half the book set in the Regency Era and the other half set in different time periods (from 1880s Western to modern times). I really loved it! Just like the movies, there are many different forms of Darcy, so you have your pick of Darcy-being sure to find one, two, or more to love.

After that project, Christina Boyd teamed up with Karen M. Cox: J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Katie Oliver, Sophia Ros, Joana Starnes, and Brooke West for a new book. This book is Dangerous to Know Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues, on the rogues and rakes of the Austen books-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more. This book was a lot of fun as we got a chance to see things from the bad boys point of view.

The next one was Rational Creatures, with stories by Elizabeth Adams, Nicole Clarkston, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Jessie Lewis, KaraLynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Sophia Rose, Anngela Schroeder, Joana Starnes, Brooke West, and Caitlin Williams. Each story was on a different woman of Jane Austen novels-our heroines along with supporting characters and a few bad girls.

So the book was published last November, and this year they came out with the Audiobook.

So audiobooks, I like but my problem is that the people read too slow. I get into the story and then I need to find out what happens NOW…so I usually get the book and read it, and stop listening to the audiobook. That did not happen with this one. Harry Frost is amazing! I could listen to him over and over again, and while I am writing this I am on my third go round with this book.

Or in this case Audiobook, and I could never hate it.

Harry Frost is a marvel at doing the different tones of voice and accents of the different characters. This book has Regency and Modern Darcys and even though both are done in a British accent, there is a big difference between the two.

He also does an amazing job at the female voices by giving them a higher tone, but not doing that thing most narrators do when they make the ladies talk really high pitch, you know a voice that sounds so unrealistic and annoying. Instead, he changed his tone so you knew it was a woman speaking and not in an annoying way. And with each character he made subtle changes so not all sounded the same.

I love it!

He also did a great job with the American accents, especially the one when Mr. Collins sounds like a total bonehead (many of you are thinking which one doesn’t he sound like that in everything?), and his voice was spot on what I would have imagined he sounded like.

And listening to him didn’t make me want to leave the audiobook and get the book to read. When Harry Frost narrated he wasn’t just reading it, he really put in emotion and captured the spirit of the characters and the stories that it was all together a fantastic experience. How fantastic my you ask? Well, I’m on my third listen…listen through? I don’t know what the term for it would be but every time I finish the audiobook I just start it back from the beginning.

Audiobook

So Harry Frost is amazing, now that we have talked about him it is time to talk about the stories themselves. I LOVED ALL OF THEM!

Like when I said that Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe made me lose my Christmas spirit and put me in a Scrooge mood-I’m dead serious. It is an awful book, that made me feel awful.

These stories, they were perfect! They fulfilled my need for Jane Austen Christmas!!! They filled me with Christmas joy! They were exactly what I needed to help get me in the Christmas mood after reading Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe. Listening to them brought back my Christmas spirit faster than the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

They were so enjoyable, they made me think of that song from Jack Frost:

“It’s just what I always wanted, it’s perfectly right! It’s just what I always wanted, a Christmas delight!!”

This book

So usually I save the praise after I’ve gone over each story, but I don’t know I felt like doing it first. I mean I have said I keep listening to it over and over again, so I don’t think anyone was in suspense whether I thought this was good or not. But each writer deserves their due, so we need to go through the individual stories.

The Forfeit by Caitlin Williams

So this is my favorite of all the stories. It made me laugh, it had me in suspense, it made my heart go all fuzzy in feelings.

I love it!

This is a Regency story and takes place in Christmas after Mr. Bingley came and left. Charlotte is engaged to Mr. Collins, and the Bennets are getting ready for the holidays-even though not everyone in the family is happy (Jane brokenhearted, Mrs. Bennet angry at Elizabeth, and Elizabeth upset at Darcy). Elizabeth is walking home after visiting Charlotte and runs into Mr. Darcy!

He came for some business but oh no, his carriage is stuck in the snow, a storm is coming, and he’s stuck at the Bennet’s home for Christmas. Will this be a Christmas to remember? Or the worst Christmas of their lives?

It was great, as I said already it was my favorite. The story was fantastic, the language and the writing amazing, I loved this line “their elbows bumping as frequently as their intellect…” Oh and the story-not only do we have Darcy trapped in the Bennet home, but oh-no then Wickham comes on the scene, and Elizabeth and Darcy make a bet, and they plan a Christmas scavenger hunt, and oh I loved it. I would talk about it more but I’m afraid I’ll give away the ending.

Oops! Wrong book!

For more by Caitlin Williams, go to “In Good Hands” from Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

And Evermore Be Merry by Joanna Starnes

This is also a Regency story told from the point of view of Georgiana Darcy. It has been a few years since the end of Pride and Prejudice with Georgiana having been married and visiting Pemberley for Christmas.

This is a cute story that starts in the present festivities, Pemberley filled with family again and children laughing, but then takes us back in time as Georgiana remembers the Christmas when Darcy and Elizabeth fought over who she wanted to marry. That moment that did start with fighting, was also a great lesson to Georgiana on love, marriage, forgiveness, and family.

I loved seeing the events from her point of view and it was a cute tale that showed the bonds that formed between this family.

For more by Joana Starnes, go to “Charlotte’s Comfort” from Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

The Wishing Ball by Amy D’Orazio

This is a modern Pride and Prejudice tale, set in 2014, with Mr. Darcy in New York with Georgiana. She gave him a christmas gift, a wishing ball ornament that you place a wish in when you hang it on the tree. In a Twilight Zone-esque twist the ornament has his initials on it and a wish inside-even though Georgiana didn’t get it monogrammed and it was sealed.

Spooky…

The strangeness of the evening, doesn’t end there as that night insomniac Darcy goes on facebook to kill time and sees that even though he hasn’t been on facebook since he joined everything is different! He’s married, has children, and when he looks at the most recent date it says 2018!

In a reverse Christmas Eve Darcy sees what his life could be like, but after the night ends will it be enough to change his ways, or will he continue on the path he is on?

I LOVED it, it totally appealed to my love of Twilight Zone-esque plots and kept me on the edge of my seat! What was going to happen next?!

For more by Amy D’Orazio, go to “Happiness in Marriage” from Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

By a Lady by Lona Manning

This takes place in the Regency Era, a few years after Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth and Darcy have a little boy and a baby girl, and are headed to spend Christmas with Lady Catherine.

She still doesn’t like Elizabeth, but likes the children so that’s what mended fences between them. This trip Elizabeth is on a mission as she wants to befriend Anne. She takes with her as many books as she can possibly fit in the carriage, hoping they can be a great conversation starter…hopefully?

This was such a cute story as Anne does open up about her secret hobby of writing and Elizabeth tries to help her secretly get published. But will anyone be interested in the story? Will Lady Catherine discover the truth?

So heart melting! We need more Anne stories anyway, I really liked the way many of the authors portrayed her in The Darcy Monologues and she definitely deserves more attention.

For more by Lona Maning, go to “The Art of Pleasing” from Rational Creatures: Anne Elliot, Mrs. Croft, Mrs. Clay, & Louisa Musgrove

Homespun for the Holidays by J. Marie Croft

Mr. Darcy was in America for business and is stopping by a shop called Homespun to get the jumper, sweater, that his sister wants for Christmas. He is in an extremely bad mood, made even blacker when he gets there and discovers that the sweater he asked to be held for him was purchased by someone else.

He throws a bit of a fit, I love all the English slang in this although I wasn’t always 100% sure what he was saying, but after talking to Elizabeth he calms down and apologizes. Unfortunately, to make things even worse-a giant storm stops him from being able to leave, there’s no room for him at the local inn, and he has to stay on a loft in the barn.

Yes, he joins the Bennet family for dinner and her cousins keep thinking he’s Jesus, lol (not in a sacrilegious way, but a way that kid’s make connections). This is the one that has the serious bonehead Mr. Collins, but is a story of bad first impressions and trying to set them right again. A hilarious and fun tale, I particularly love Elizabeth’s retorts, oooh Mr. Darcy…

For more by Lona Maning, go to “The Simple Things” from Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

The Season for Friendly Meetings by Anngela Schroeder

This story takes place in the Regency era and takes place in the same time as the first story-the Christmas after Mr. Bingley came and left. Mrs. Bennet is unhappy and when an opportunity comes for Jane and Elizabeth to visit York and be in the presence of eligible young men-she sends them off to stay with the Longs, Mrs. Bennet’s sister.

There the girls attend a ball and their cousins hear some not so happy things about Mr. Wickham. She also meets Colonel Fitzwilliam, who talks to her and starts to raise some serious questions about the truth of Wickham.

If that’s not enough Darcy and Bingley are headed to the same party! Whoo, it’s going to be some type of party!

This was another cute story and it brought up a lot of points that Elizabeth and we overlook in Wickham when we first meet him as we are still smarting from Darcy’s remark about being “tolerable”. I loved it! Plus Colonel Fitzwilliam as a matchmaker?

For more by Anngela Schroeder, go to “Knightley Discourses” from Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

Mistletoe Mismanagement by Elizabeth Adams

Darcy and Elizabeth have only been married a month and are having Christmas with the Fitzwilliam family. Colonel, his older brother, along with his mother and father are all attending.

Along with them we have a Miss Wheeler and two Miss Becheems. Colonel Fitzwilliam is interested in Miss Wheeler, and Elizabeth is trying to help him and her get together.

But that has to take a backseat to some other Christmas shenanigans, as Captain Watson comes interested in Colonel Fitzwilliam’s brother’s wife and they have another guest who the Earl is trying to swing with.

They don’t want that happening in their home, and the evening becomes an unhappy game of musical chairs to outwit these couples.

For more by Elizabeth Adams, go to “An Unnatural Beginning” from Rational Creatures: Anne Elliot, Mrs. Croft, Mrs. Clay, & Louisa Musgrove

I LOVED this and it is going to become a yearly tradition for me. And if that isn’t enough to get you interested, all proceeds from buying the book go to benefit Chawton Great House in Hampshire, former manor house of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight and now the Centre for the Study of Early Women’s Writing, 1600-1830.

This has been the best Christmas gift so far!

At first I was sad that I didn’t get this review out when I wanted to, but then I realized that not posting on Friday lead the next post to be on December 16th, which is none other than Jane Austen’s birthday!

Happy 244th Birthday!

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

For more Christmas posts, go to I Don’t Want a Lot for Christmas, There is Just One Thing I Need