So I few years ago I did a post on a tea party that we had at my church. Of course, you know how I love books…I just had to tie them in together!
To read the whole post, click here. So every year at my church we do a Christmas Tea Party, and the past three years my friend and I had a table that I’ve been in charge of decorating. And if you think I just had to feature a book each year, than you are right! I love books!
In 2016, the theme was “Our Journey”, and shoes were the center as it was about “the paths we take”. Of course shoes made me think of one thing:
As Dorothy and all her friends go on a journey, along with having a magical pair of shoes, it was PERFECT! We did a:
Yellow Brick Road Runner: Canvas that we painted with three different shades of yellow
Poppy Magnets as our favors: I used this one from Hometalk and did button centers and glued magnets on the back.
Mason jar water glasses with gingham ribbons and red mugs for coffee or tea.
Last Christmas the theme was Holy Ghost…hmmm ghosts. Which book? 🙂
We used a holly and cranberry patterned runner on the table.
Sheets of music as place mats, with red chargers over them.
The centerpiece was a Christmas Tree, as those became popular in the Victorian era with Prince Albert, that I strung with popcorn.
I also placed a basket with the Christmas gifts/favors as that was how Victorian tables were set up. Each package was a different copy of A Christmas Carol. I got them all by swapping on PaperBackSwap.comI wrapped them up in brown paper and red yarn.
We had chestnuts on the table and each place setting got on orange, as they were very popular gifts, but I didn’t put cloves in it as you can’t eat them when you do that.
We had Earl Grey Tea, Hot Chocolate, and candy canes.
Each person received a homemade Christmas Card (made by me), and each had a little token in it, my version of the Christmas pudding.
This year the theme is gifts and I have to admit, I’m a bit at a loss. Any ideas of a book that gifts plays a role?
So the other day I decided it was time to stop just re-watching shows I’ve seen before and try something new. I was checking out what Amazon Instant Watch suggested when I saw this and thought I would give it a test.
I started watching and I just couldn’t stop, blowing through the whole miniseries.
I loved it and highly recommend it.
Based on the book by Anthony Trollope, Doctor Thorne tells the story of warring factions between different sets of Victorian society and their strive for power and control.
The people at the top of the food chain are the Gresham’s, who have sadly lost their fortune, sold off a lot of their land, and have completely mortgaged the house to ex-con turned railroad millionaire and knight: Sir Roger Scatcherd.
They feel they have only one option, marry their son, Frank, off to a wealthy, older, American heiress (who is one of the best characters in the show. I would watch a show just about her.) But Frank doesn’t want to marry this American, he wants to marry childhood friend, Mary Thorne.
Doctor Thorne is not rich, but a working man who does alright for his family. He is a very kind and caring man and an extremely lovable character (which may come off as a shock as it is the same actor who plays the annoying Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice  and the evil East India Company man in Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy). He is the uncle of Mary, but no one knows anything about her parents, including Mary. Her poverty and lack of family tree is a big factor in the Gresham’s rejecting her.
Mary finally convinces her uncle to reveal her true parentage, and is sad to discover while her father was Dr. Thorne’s brother and that she is his niece; she was born out of wedlock and her mother gave her up to start a new life in Australia. She feels deeply saddened at this and believes that she can never marry Frank.
There is also some warring politics between Sir Roger Scatcherd and Augusta Gresham’s fiancé . Sir Roger wins the contested office, but ends up becoming ill: his hard life and alcohol abuse finally doing him in. When he passes, his son Louis Scatcherd inherits everything. He has a lot of anger and unpleasantness aimed at his father, mother, the Greshams, and the world. He falls for Mary, but when she rejects him; he plans on taking his revenge by kicking the Greshams out of the house.
These struggles continue as jealousy, anger, power, hidden connections between these characters ,and the truth about Mary’s real family are just a few of the twists and turns this tale takes on its way to its conclusion.
Most Romantic Moment: I Don’t Care About What She Has Or Who She Is, I Love Her
The most romantic moment comes in the middle of episode three. Frank goes to talk to Dr. Thorne about marriage, and even though it pains him, Dr. Thorne reveals the truth about Mary’s parentage. Later Frank’s father tries to talk Frank out of it, telling him about Mary’s birth. But Frank doesn’t care, he loves her and plans on working to support them.
This is incredibly romantic as 1) With the time period, society, etc; this is a huge deal. The fact that he, a squire, an old established family, a gentleman would marry a women of “inferior” birth. It is completely shocking! 2) That he, a gentleman who was only raised to supervise and that no one in his family has ever worked; is willing to try and support his new wife by actual getting job and living like a “normal” person.
Day 18) R is for Remake: Choose a Book that is a Retelling of a Classic
The Overnight Socialite by Bridie Clark
I was in the college campus bookstore because I needed to buy some scantrons and decided to look around as my friend’s birthday was coming up. She is really into being environmentally friendly, so I was looking at the recycled products when I spotted one of my favorite things: Clearance Books. You know how I feel about that.
I didn’t really see anything that I was interested in or would be a good gift for my friend. As I pushed the books around I spotted this one.
The first thing that intrigued me was the cover and how the hair is butterflies. I flipped the back over and read that it was a retelling of Pygmalion, the story most would recognize as its musical form My Fair Lady.
I thought it sounded interesting and was reduced to a good price, but I felt like I couldn’t buy it as I didn’t have the extra money for myself and was supposed to be shopping for my friend. So I left it behind.
I don’t need it.
Later I began thinking about it.
I just couldn’t get it off my mind so I ended up looking for it in the library.
But they didn’t have it!
But I was able to ILL (Inter Library Loan) it and I got it from another place.
I then read the story and quickly loved it, finding it hard to put down.
Now you know how I feel about remakes and sequels:
But this was nothing like that. I thought this book was absolutely amazingly written and was incredible in retelling the story.
So the original play Pygmalion takes place during Victorian Era England. Eliza Doolittle is a woman from the lower classes who sells flowers to survive. She comes upon an angry Professor Henry Higgins, an aristocrat, who is appalled at how her cockney butches the English language. He makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he could take Eliza, teach her how to talk eloquently, and she would be able to pass off as a wealthy woman. He never imagined that Eliza would take up his offer, but she does and Col. Pickering insists on them continuing the bet.
In this version, we are in modern day Manhattan. Wyatt Hayes IV is from an old family stock, high in the community, and biological anthropologist with his doctoral degree from Harvard. He is bored with his life and stalled career, and disgusted with the way that these modern Manhattanites conduct themselves. More like the Kardashians, taking every bit of limelight they can, rather than being the Jackie Onassis.
He breaks up with his longtime girlfriend, Cornelia, as all she cares about is becoming a “brand” and working on her “career” as a socialite.
He heads over to his favorite bar to hang out with his friend Trip Peters, fellow Gothamite and complains that these women today, are just like the animals he’s studied.
Meanwhile, Lucy Jo Ellis is the daughter of a manicurist in Milwaukee. She came to New York in the hopes of becoming a fashion designer; but has barely been able to scrape by on her pay as an assistant seamstress for a designer. She believes she is given her dream when she is gifted an invitation at the designer’s fashion show, but that turns out to be a call for assisting in catering and does not go well.
Fired, and with zero options and no money; it looks like Lucy is headed back to Milwaukee.
Wyatt muses on this thought of society women like the animal kingdom, and as he drinks decides it is the perfect project for him…for a book! He could take any average woman and using his knowledge of the animal kingdom and New York socialites; he could change her into the top debutante.
A chance meeting with Lucy, as she is trying to make her way home, he bets he can turn her into the top socialite.
Lucy reacts like any normal girl would, and freaks out thinking that he is crazy or trying to pick her up. She takes off.
I’m getting out of here
However, with no possibilities coming her way and living on her last dollar she decides to take Wyatt up on his crazy experiment. Wyatt is eager for this to work as he has his book deal, which he has not told Lucy anything about (bad idea)
And Lucy believes that when she becomes a socialite she can use that to create bonds with the right people, finding a new designer to work with or possibly even start out on her own.
Will Wyatt be able to make due on his bet and turn her into a real lady?
Or will the whole plan flop?
Will Lucy be able to score her dream job?
Or will she become the laughingstock of the upper crust and be kicked out of New York City?
And run fast
How Does It Compare?:
I thought the characters were amazingly well done and I loved how the book was able to follow the map of the original story; but at the same time infuse it with their own style and create a new-old tale.
Some changes that the author, Clark, made , I felt enhanced the story. She added a girlfriend for Wyatt’s Professor Higgen’s character, being the catalyst for his bet. She is shallow, vain, and only cares about her image; being the foil for Lucy.
We also have a girlfriend for Trip (the Col. Pickering character), being Eloise. Eloise is a personal shopper/stylist ad gets recruited to assist in dress and makeup for Lucy. The two become fast friends and we become invested in her and her distress over Trip’s lack of commitment.
Clark also extends the characters of the Eynsford-Hill family; the mother, daughter Clara, and son Freddy (Max in the book). Mrs. Eynsford-Hill is a social climber; trying to overcome her family’s downfall by trying to marry her children up. Her daughter is closer to the mother while Freddy is ruled by both women in his life. In the play, they treat Eliza poorly when they see her as a peasant, Freddy later becoming one of her biggest admirers, falling in love with her. In a way they are seen as Eliza’s accomplishments; so well trained in being a lady they don’t even realize she is the same women from before.
In this book we spend a lot of time in their head and learn that Clara wishes to have wealth and fortune, but is willing to put that aside for love and true happiness. Freddy, Max in this book, isn’t interested in continuing “wall street business” but is more comfortable creating things and doing capentry. He has a lot more to him, and eventually strikes out on his own. He later becomes a love interest for Eloise, who is tired of Trip’s stalling.
I thought this was a fantastic read and highly recommend it.
Today’s Christmas carol is Silver Bells. It was written in 1950 and composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. At first it was called Tinkle Bells, until Livingston pointed out the other meaning of tinkle.
There is a big conflict as to where the idea came from. Livingston was quoted saying the idea came from hearing the Salvation army bells, while Evans said it was a bell on their desk. Oh well, it doesn’t really matter as a great song came out of either source.
The song was orginally sung by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in The Lemon Drop Kid, but the first official release of the song was done Bing Crosby and Carol Richards.