Austenland

So this isn’t part of our 30 Day challenge. I just felt I needed to post it as I wanted to review the sequel for the 30 Day challenge and I couldn’t do the second without the first! After this we will continue the 30 Day challenge.

Austenland

Austenland (Austenland #1) by Shannon Hale

I first read this book back in high school, I was a freshman or sophomore at the time. I really loved the premise of the book and most of the characters and thought the story was fantastic. I only had one issue, and that was with the main character Jane. I hadn’t really been in a relationship before I read this and I thought the main character was a bit…bonkers. She seemed to throw herself into “relationships” without them even dating, like Gigi in He’s Just NOT That Into You.

I then went on to read the sequel as soon as it was printed, Midnight in Austenland, and just fell in love with it. I thought it was amazing!

I love it

Then the film trailer came out for Austenland and it looked like it was to be mostly this first book, but have a few traits of the sequel that I loved. I was so excited.

FangirledWhenSeeingPreviewI tracked that film and when the release dates were changed, waited. And waited. And then when it wasn’t released in any theater near me, I waited some more for it to come out on DVD.

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I rented it as soon as it was out, watched it, and adored it from beginning to end!I thought it was sooo much better than the book.

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But then I began thinking…what if the book wasn’t as bad as I had thought it was? Maybe as an adult my perspective would change then when I was a teenager? It has been almost ten years (time flies!) since I last read it and decided it would be the perfect time to reread and review it (especially as I want to review the sequel but can’t until I review this one!)

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Austenland

Jane Hayes is obsessed with Jane Austen.

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She reads all of Austen’s books and watches the 1995 miniseries again and again.

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But unlike most fangirls, Jane is ashamed of her love. I don’t know why, I embrace mine.

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It goes for the rest of her work as well.

Anyways…Jane’s mom comes to visit with her great aunt Carolyn. Carolyn is super rich and her mother is trying to get her into the will. She hides her Austen items and DVD disc, (I proudly display mine), but Carolyn finds it.

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Carolyn waits until Jane’s mother goes to the restroom and warns her about Darcy, letting him in and taking over.

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Hey, I don’t see anything wrong for striving for a guy like that or any other Austen man. I don’t want to settle. I want someone special.

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Six months later, Aunt Carolyn dies and leaves something for Jane. She gets all excited dreaming about what she could buy or do with the money:

Good job screenwriters.

But it turns out she is not rich.

Reality Sucks

Instead she gets a three week paid vacation to go to Pembrook Park in England. There she is in a Regency Westworld (except no killer robots), dressing, talking, and acting as it it is 1816. There is no scripts or written endings, but there is a ball and you might meet your dream man there.

see cute guy look

Now they make it seem as if wanting to be with an equivalent of Darcy is a bad thing and that that love is to blame for her bad relationships but that’s not true she is crazy when it comes to relationships. She thinks every guy she has ever been with is her “boyfriend”, even when they haven’t even dated! Even when she just talks to them or thinks about dating them.

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She goes to the Park reading about all the rules they have to follow in that time period. In fact there are a lot of rules with the park as to what they can and cannot do.

She meets Mrs. Wattlesbrook who introduces her to what she will wear and introductory rules. She is now to go by the name Jane Erstwhile, instead of Hayes, and although they were supposed to change their ages and create this fake cover story; Jane wants to be real.

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So Jane finds out that she isn’t the usual type of client. Most of the time, like in Westworld, they have a ton of money. Unfortunately, Jane is not rich so she will not be treated special like the other two guests: Miss Elizabeth Charming and Miss Amelia Heartwright.

Really?

Really?

Jane has to get rid of all her modern items, although she secretly holds back her cell phone, and dress only in Regency wear.

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She meets Theodore, the undergardener, who helps her learn the dances she’ll need to know for the ball.

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Jane is ready and determined that this vacation is going to be great and she will conquer.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #1 Alex Ripley, 4 yrs

She was four years old, he kissed her, and he moved to Minnesota that summer, never to be seen again.

The next day is day one of Jane’s trip to Pembrook Park. She meets her “aunt” Saffronia and “uncle” Sir John Templeton who she will be staying with during her time there.

She meets Miss Elizabeth Charming who is a very wealthy, buxom, and “twenty-two” (fifty). She is extremely wealthy, recently divorced, and looking for a book happily ever after ending.

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The two then meet the men, the reason they are here. The first is the fair-haired, roguish, open man Colonel Andrews.

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And then we have Mr. Nobley: tall, dark, and brooding.

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You know how I like them!

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And Jane likes what she sees.

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Sir Templeton is pretty much just drunk all the time and not interesting. Colonel Andrews is a  lot of fun, and Nobley? Well…

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Elizabeth Charming really wants one of the men and throws herself at both of them, making for some fun and interesting adventures.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #1 Justin Kimble, 12 yrs

They started “going out” in 4th grade when they shared Pixy Stix, scored each other as 1os, and gave each other Valentines. But then he chose another girl for the folk dance and it was over.

So this is a big part of my problem with Jane (Hayes). Those aren’t real relationships, she shouldn’t count them. She was just a child!

The next day she goes out for a walk and runs into Theodore. Even though they aren’t supposed to talk, as he is a servant, they do anyway. Theodore hates the Regency story and gives up on it, revealing his name is really Martin Jasper. Even though it is against the rules, Jane actually starts to like it. It is a secret, “bad”, and Martin is a nice connection to the real world.

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Jane starts to feel strange about this whole “fake Regency” thing, as if she can’t do it. Mr. Nobley and the Colonel see her grow pale and Nobley urges the Colonel to get her some water. There Jane and Nobley have a private conversation, where Jane tries to figure out how Mr. Nobley can pretend like this. Mr Nobley misunderstands her and becomes upset.  He tells her that she can’t play games and try to trap him.

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Later while the men are out doing their manly things, the women wait for Amelia Heartwright to call. They hope she won’t be attractive as it seems there isn’t enough men for everyone. She comes in, and you know how we girls are.

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Unfortunately, she is absolutely beautiful; but along with that she is very kind and hard to dislike. But Jane’s earlier dismay proves to be true as Mr. Nobley and Miss Heartwright appear to have had a history. With those two paired and the Colonel for Miss Charming; Jane is left alone with no one.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #2 Rudy Liev, 15 yrs

Rudy was hilarious and always cracking jokes, ones that were extremely harmful and unfunny. After four months of dating he told everyone when Jane kisses, she licks like a cat. He continued to make fun of her, the moniker “tiger tongue” staying with her even at her ten-year reunion.

After they break up, she reads Pride & Prejudice for the first time.

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Miss Charming won’t let herself be dominated or destroyed, and immediately snags both gentlemen for Whist after dinner. Miss Amelia makes up the fourth, leaving Jane out in the cold again.

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Which unfortunately sets her in Sir John’s drunken sights. He passes out, and tired of overhearing the lively conversation from the whist table, Jane decides to go out for a walk, major Austenland and Regency no no.

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Jane hears a TV and goes to it, being Martin’s  trailer. She overhears the Knick game and is invited inside. Things ensue, and before you know it they are making out. Jane leaves after their session and heads back to sneak into the house.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #3 Dave Atters, 16 yrs

Star of the high school basketball team and Jane was extremely infatuated with him. One night he tried to put his hand up her skirt, she refused, he dumped her.

Instead of blaming Dave she blamed Mr. Darcy for her high expectations of men.

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Dave was a jerk. High expectations have nothing her other than you fell for a guy who thought he was the best and didn’t want to take no for an answer.

You should have high expectations. You shouldn’t have been dating a jerk like him. Any guy who won’t respect you isn’t worth it.

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Every night she goes to see Martin and they make out, eat junk food, etc. She is bored with Regency things as she can’t stand to do any more of them.

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Uh, embroidery is not boring or easy. It is hard work and fun. I”ll have to post some of the things I’ve done.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #4 Ray Riboldi, 17 yrs

Ray was nice, and Jane decided after the last two boyfriends she wanted a nice guy. After a few months, two guys who’d been longtime friends played a prank involving Ray’s jeep and dog poop, telling him to stay away from pretty girls. He then retaliated to Jane believing she was the one to put them up to it.

Jane has horrible taste in me, but she can’t blame Austen for it. The men she are picking are the problem. Maybe you should befriend and get to know them instead of going into “dating” them.

She gets bored of relaxing during the day, which I don’t get. Two weeks in England, relaxing? Sounds good to me.

Let's go now!

Let’s go now!

She runs to see Martin, but he ends that, being offended that she is “one of those women” interested in Austen stuff and that she was with the other two men this morning. He’s a total jerk and Jane is upset as she came all this way, just for more disappointment.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #5 Rahim, 35 or 40 yrs

She meet him while working the perfume counter at age 19. He dates her for three weeks taking her to expensive restaurants, buying her gift; Jane almost fulfilling a cliché of being a “shopgirl”. I say almost because when he took her to her apartment and tried to sleep with her, she laughs and it ends.

Jane is depressed. She has no one, made a fool of herself going after Martin, and is still the fifth wheel. That night she turns down a game of whist and heads outside to walk again.

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Mr. Nobley surprises her, having come to check on her. He warns her about Martin, his protectiveness getting her all upset. Later she comes back in the house and sees the book Mr. Nobley always reads with a pay stub made out to a Henry Jenkins. Hmm? Could that be his real name?

Thinking Hmm

As she starts for her room, she comes upon a drunk Sir John who hits on her.

Uh no.

Uh no.

He tries to get with her, but she knees him in the groin and stops him.

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Mr. Nobley comes upon them, and lends a hand. Here he shows his other side, no longer brooding and distant, but actually charming funny, and dare I say…a delight.

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Jane is thoroughly disappointed in all that happened and decides no more nice-Jane. She is going to rock Austenland and be the best Regency lady ever.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #6 Josh Lake, 20 yrs

Met at a college carnival fundraiser when two groups of friends merged together. They get stuck in a ride and the fear and adrenaline make them start a relationship, but after three months they both know there is no pop to the relationship and break up.

Not Austen’s fault but Jane’s for letting the situation’s emotions create a false relationship and love. Like in Bones when Booth and Hannah get together.

The next morning, Jane pulls out her smuggled cell phone and emails a friend for info on Martin Jasper and Henry Jenkins, hoping to unearth the real person under the mask.

That morning the men are out of town, which upsets Miss Charming. She didn’t dole out the big bucks to be ignored or play second fiddle to Miss Heartwright.. She goes to speak to Mrs. Wattlesbrook and straighten out what her vision of Austenland is.

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Jane, bored, goes to visit Miss Heartwright. She doesn’t really want to, but as this is something Emma would do, she’s in the game.

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When the two ladies return to the park, they have an unexpected visitor! Miss Heartright’s jilted lover has returned, a Mr. George East who has recently become Captain. Miss Heartwright takes off, and Jane rings for a maid to show Captain East to his room.

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Hmm…so now we have three ladies and three men. But who goes with who? And will Jane get the dream proposal promised?

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #6.5 Paul Diaz, 20

She meet him in a watercolor class, sort of talked believing they clicked, but when she asked him out; he didn’t even know who she was.

At dinner Jane flirts as widely as she can, staying in Regency fashion. She throws Mr. Nobley out as it seems Miss Charming and Miss Heartwright care for him. Instead she tries to kill the Captain and the Colonel with her charm.

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That night Jane, the Captain, and Colonel stay out of cards and tease Mr. Nobley. The teasing goes a little too far with Jane giving a short rant on the men of the day:

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And Mr. Nobley has a longer rant about women. Clearly he has some wounds.

ouch Hermione

They then dance with East taking Heartwright and the Colonel paired with Miss Charming. Jane is left all alone until Mr. Nobley steps up and asks her for a dance.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND 7 Juan Inskeep, 25 yrs

Gay.

The next morning the men are out “shooting”, Miss Charming is upset and heads out to see Miss Heartwright, so Jane goes upstairs to check her email. Nothing on Martin Jasper but she hit the motherlode on Henry Jenkins. He studied theater and history at Cambridge, and four years ago was in a crazy divorce. He was very calm but recounted how when his wife cheated on him with a neighbor, he forgave her; when she sold his car to pay for a wild weekend in Monaco, he forgave her; but when she shish-kabobed his fish because he said he wanted kids: that’s when he decided the relationship needed to end. Sounds like a modern-day Mr. Rochester with a crazy, cruel wife.

She is crazy!

She is crazy!

Later in the library, she overhears the Colonel’s proposal to Miss Charming. One man down and two left to go. The game is on!

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #8 Bobby Winkle, 23 yrs

They started as friends and moved on to dating. The relationship lasted six months and then he left for an internship Guatemala. He returned six months later and never called.

The next day they play croquet. Andrews and Miss Charming, Nobley and Miss Heartwright, & Jane and Captain East. Jane doesn’t mind being with Captain East as he is not only attractive but as bad at croquet as she is.

However, she notices that Mr. Nobley keeps staring and watching her. And even more she realizes that she cares what Mr. Nobley thinks about her.

OMG gasp

The game is interrupted when Mrs. Wattlesbrook drives up. They found Jane’s cellphone and she is to be kicked out of Austenland.

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She goes to get in the carriage upset that the men didn’t stand up for her. Before she gets in, they are interrupted by Miss Heartwright. She claims that it is her phone, she accidentally brought it, and that Jane was holding it for her. Because Miss Heartwright is so wealthy, they let her pass.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #9 Kevin Hyde, 27 yrs

She loved him. They dated for almost two years, Jane even went wedding dress shopping, but one day he told her he wanted to end it. He said it was too hard and that he wasn’t having fun.

The next day Miss Heartwright and Mr. Nobley are going horseback riding. They invite Jane, who determined not to be a third wheel, invites Mr. East. As they ride she tries to have intimate time to flirt, but Mr. Nobley keeps messing things up when he separates them. He eventually makes up Jane looking poorly, and sends the other two on ahead.

That guy!

That guy!

Jane is angry with Nobley for messing things up, but then he relays that Miss Hearwright asked him to intervene and give them a few minutes alone to talk about their past.

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She and Nobley start talking and he manages to trick her into revealing something personal, her love of painting and her old dream. They are interrupted by East, but later that evening she finds a package for her. When she opens it, it is oil paints, an easel, and canvas.

How sweet!

How sweet!

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #10 Peter Sosa, 29 yrs

She met Peter in the work elevator. They dated for five weeks and he was perfect. She started to dream only to have that crash down when he revealed that he was already dating someone. His girlfriend bet him he couldn’t make the next girl fall in love with him, and the little game went too far.

The next day is rainy and Jane spends the morning painting. She’d rather not tear herself away, but does as she knows she needs human contact after all that time alone.

She goes to the library to read and is met by Mr. Nobley. He reads the book to her, but it is too boring they cannot continue.

The Colonel wants to do a play, but they would need Mr. Nobley and he refuses. However, after Martin approaches and tries to re-romance Jane, Mr. Nobley tries to warn Jane against him once again. Jane finds herself falling for him, and promises to stay away from Martin if Mr. Nobley performs in the play.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #11 Clark Barnyard, 23 yrs

He was a younger man and someone she worked with. They joked and flirted for months when he asked her out finally. They start kissing when he tries to get her clothes off. She had to tell him no four times before he stopped, confused as to why they weren’t going to have sex.

This wasn’t even a real boyfriend! They went on one date! Jane is a tad delusional.

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Mr. Nobley continues to look and watch Jane. They run off together to practice their parts, and actually break a few Regency rules with proximity.

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Jane feels secure in having Mr. Nobley at her ending. But as they talk she remembers the ball is in two days and the vacation ends in three. It will all be over soon. 😦

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They come upon a tender moment of Captain East and Miss Heartwright. While they talk about love and whether it can be done under fiction; Mr. Nobley reveals he had a “friend” who was heartbroken but if you asked him now, “he” might be opening his heart again to another.

Is it a "friend" or him?

Is it a “friend” or him?

They perform two hours later, badly, but something happens with Mr. Nobley. They way he looks at her, kissed her cheek…it seems more than just a part. But that’s silly it can’t be…real?

Could it?

Could it?

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #12 Tad Harrison, 35 yrs

They were engaged after a year, adopted a dog, and picked out baby names. But he wouldn’t set a date. A year later, they take a break and Tad starts sleeping around. He kept the dog.

The next day, Jane paints all morning. After spending the whole morning alone, she goes out looking for the men. There are only two days left!

She sees the Colonel talking to someone out of sight  and overhears that the Colonel has to get back to work, only to see it is her! Disgusted Jane goes back to her room and starts painting again.

Men?

Men

Later that evening, Mr. Nobley takes her aside and asks her about her painting. They spend a long time as Jane shares her feelings of painting, the things she has been doing; just going on and on. Mr. Nobley smiles through the whole thing and asks to see her paintings.

How sweet!

How sweet!

He compliments her work and then leaves. But then returns to ask her to reserve the first two dances for him.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #12.5 Jake Zeiger, 30ish yrs

Her neighbor that she saw every time she gets her mail. She tries to ask him out, but he turns her down as he never saw her as anything but neighbor.

This was not her boyfriend either! Just in her head!

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The ball comes and Jane is dressed elegantly. She is approached by Martin, dressed up as an extra, who tries to get the first two dances, but Nobley interferes, whirling her away.

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Eventually they break way from the group and Mr. Nobley asks for her hand in marriage. Jane is upset at the faux love and walks away, deciding Mr. Darcy is not for her but she needs a “real man.”

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She runs off to find Martin, as he is “real”.

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They make plans to meet up the next day and for Jane to rearrange her schedule and get a few extra days in England.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #13 Jimmy Rimer, 38 yrs

They walked the same path every day in central park for five months. Then Jimmy snorted when laughing, and Jane avoided him.

The next day she says good-bye to Miss Charming and she and Miss Heartwright head out. It turns out Miss Heartwright is not British as they thought. She is a rich wife who comes out annually to have some fun. She shares that it was Mr. Nobley’s idea to save Jane from being thrown out, asking her to pretend it was her phone.

OMG gasp

After Jane dresses in her old clothes returning her Regency wear, Mrs. Wattlesbrook lets her know that Martin is an actor. He was picked for her but had to be taken out if circulation when thinks got too heated.

What jerks

What jerks

Jane is so angry at them making a fool of her, picking a gardner as her match instead of any gentleman because she’s poor and not an “ideal” client.

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Jane lies about her magazine, pretending she is a staff writer, threatening Mrs. Wattlesbrook and having a ton of fun making her sweat.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #14 Martin of Sheffield, 29 yrs

An actor posing as a gardener, who posed as a gentleman on the Austenland estate.

Jane heads to the airport: angry, sad, and feeling foolish. As she is thinking to herself, she hears in the airport:

Paging Miss Jane Erstwhile

Is it Mr. Nobley?! Did he comes after her?

Double double yay

No. It is Martin.

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He was sent by Mrs. Wattlesbrook to mend things. He tries a few lines, but Jane sees right through them all.

No thank youhowaboutno

But then the most surprising thing happens. A man dressed in Regency wear approaches! It is Mr. Nobley.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

He tell her that he loves her! He got caught up in the role and gave her the same old proposal he always does, the Darcy proposal. But he truly does love her. Being with her was different than being with anyone else.

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Martin and him fight, calling each other names; but Jane is just done with it all. She boards her plane saying good-bye.

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On the plane, she is surprised to see that Mr. Nobley has bought a ticket and will be joining her on her flight. She questions why Mrs. Wattlesbrook would go that far, but he tells her she didn’t send him. He came on his own, he Henry Jenkins. In fact, Mrs. Wattlesbrook never sent him to go after Jane, not at the park and not now.

Wow

He knows she has no money, he never heard the article rumor, and bought the ticket even though he is deeply afraid of flying to prove his love. He tells her that if it is too much he can wait, if they just start out slow and then see where it takes them.

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But then he says he lied.

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Ah snap, knew it. It was too perfect.

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He tells her that he doesn’t want a fling. For him it is all or nothing and he is throwing himself at her feet.

How sweet!

How romantic!

And then this part, this is the best:

“But wait, stop, it’s not supposed to end this way! You’re the fantasy, you’re what I’m leaving behind. I can’t pack you up and take you with me.’

‘That was the most self-centered thing I’ve ever heard you say.’

Jane blinked. ‘It was?’

‘Miss Hayes, have you stopped to consider that you might hav this all backward? That in fact you are my fantasy?”

How sweet!

How sweet!

Present: Boyfriend #15 Henry

Jane is taking this relationship one day at a time and no longer seems to be ashamed of her Pride and Prejudice love.

In the end Jane does the one thing everyone dreams of, she gets a “real” Mr. Darcy.

Don't Stop Believing!

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So I liked the novel, the only issue I really had was Jane’s feeling ashamed at being an Austen fan. I just don’t get it and it made her less likeable. I also didn’t like how she complained about her vacation or blamed her horrible choices in men on Austen. Those things were corrected in the sequel and film which is why I liked them better.

But the end was just perfect. It was incredibly romantic and just the type of thing we dream of. Hale sure knows how to write

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For more by Shannon Hale, go to I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to The Bend and Snap

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Meet Cute: Darcy & Elizabeth Style

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So even though this isn’t a part of our scheduled posting, as it is a post in the first 25 days of December I am going to add a Christmas Carol.

Today’s song is one that my sister loves and used to play all the time. It is On This Very Christmas Night or Christmas Canon by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

This song was published in 1998 and strayed from rock to being in the form of a children’s choir. It is a great song, but once played remains in your head forever.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

I Think I Have Found a Means of Conveyance…An Elephant: Around the World in 80 Days

Day 5) E is for Elephant: Choose a book with a Elephant on the cover

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Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

So I choose Around the World in 80 Days as my “elephant” choice. You may feel as if this has barely any elephant, but I just choose this book cover because I really liked it. This is the cover my copy has.

This book was one of my favorites as a kid and my gateway drug into Jules Verne. I used to read The Great Illustrated Classic version of this again and again until I read the real version.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th....

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

This idea of traveling the globe in a relatively short amount of time was very new and modern. It only came about because of three technological breakthroughs: the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in America (1869), the linking of the Indian railways across the sub-continent (1870), and the opening of the Suez Canal (1869). This marked the end of the age of exploration as global tourism became the new age. The world had grown much smaller.

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In fact after this book was published it inspired quite a few people to try this journey around the world themselves.

  • In 1889, newspaperwoman Nellie Bly undertook to travel around the world in 80 days. She managed to do the journey within 72 days, meeting Verne in Amiens. Her book Around the World in Seventy-Two Days, became a best seller.
  • In 1903, James Willis Sayre, a Seattle theatre critic and arts promoter, set the world record for circling the earth using public transport, 54 days, 9 hours, and 42 minutes.
  • In 1908, Harry Bensley, on a wager, set out to circumnavigate the world on foot wearing an iron mask. The journey was abandoned, incomplete, at the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
  • In 1984, Nicholas Coleridge emulated Fogg’s trip, taking 78 days. He wrote a book entitled Around the World in 78 Days.
  • In 1988, Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin took a similar challenge without using aircraft as a part of a television travelogue, called Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days. He completed the journey in 79 days and 7 hours.
  • Since 1993, the Jules Verne Trophy is given to the boat that sails around the world without stopping and with no outside assistance, in the shortest time.
  • In 2009, twelve celebrities performed a relay version of the journey for the BBC Children In Need charity appeal.

In fact it is one of my dreams to recreate the trip in the book.

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So Phileas Fogg is a wealthy Londoner who keeps to himself most of the time. There is not a lot known about him or his private life other than he is focused, exact, and methodical.

“Phileas Fogg was, indeed exactitude personified…He was so exact he was never in a hurry, was always ready, and economical alike of his steps and his motions. He never took one step too many, and always went to his destination by the shortest cut; he made no superfluous gestures, and was never seen to be moved or agitated.” pg. 6.

He also is very good-looking.

“He appeared to be a man about forty years of age, with fine, handsome features, and a tall, well-shaped figure. His hair and whiskers were light, his forehead compact and unwrinkled, his face rather pale and his teeth magnificent.” pg. 6

see cute guy look

The book begins with a young french man, Passepartout, coming into the service of Fogg. He left his last employer as when he tried to talk to him about his drinking as he was rudely treated.

Jerk

In fact Fogg is described as in many ways being like a machine, so down to the minute he is.

“Everything was regulated and foreseen that was to be done from half-past eleven AM till midnight, the hour at which the methodical gentleman retired.” pg. 8

That evening Phileas is at his men’s club when they are discussing a bank robbery that has recently occurred. The men began discussing where the thief could flee to, some saying the world is too small while others too big. Phileas says that the world has become small and that one could travel the world in 80 days.

From London to Suez via Mont Cenis and Brindisi, by rail and steamboats……………7 days

From Suez to Bombay, by steamer……………………………………………………………………..13 days

From Bombay to Calcutta, by rail………………………………………………………………………..3 days

From Calcutta to Hong Kong, by steamer……………………………………………………………13 days

From Hong Kong to Yokohama (Japan), by steamer……………………………………………..6 days

From Yokohama to San Francisco by steamer…………………………………………………….22 days

From San Francisco to New York, by rail……………………………………………………………..7 days

From New York to London, by steamer & rail……………………………………………………….9 days

The men talk about with one exclaiming that Phileas is crazy, unforeseen circumstances would toss things out of whack. Phileas insists that he  could do it in 80 days and bets £20,000 (that would be £2,040,000.00 or $4,080,000.00 today.)

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

The bet is on, with Phileas planning on being back by December 21st, at 8:45 pm.

I-got-this-reaction-gif

Phileas immediately sets off on the trip; packing what is needed and planning on purchasing whatever else he needs along the way. The only one coming with him is his new valet, Passepartout.

As soon as he departs his bet is thrown all over the newspapers. People betting on whether or not he will make it back in time.

igotstoknow

Unfortunately for Fogg, his mysterious “foggy” history causes him to become suspect number one as to the bank robbers.

Not good

Not good

Detective Fix is set out after him, to bring him back as soon as possible. This will not work well for Fogg as even the slightest delay will cause serious misfortune.

Fix manages to luck into finding Fogg when Passepartout asks him for aid to see the consulate. Like today how they aren’t always required to stamp your passport in certain ports; Fogg of course is insisting as he needs proof he travelled to those destinations.

Left London, Wednesday, October 2nd, at 8:45 pm

Reached Paris, Thursday, October 3rd, at 7:20 am

Left Paris, Thursday, at 8:40 am

Reached Turin by Mont Cenis, Friday October 4th, at 6:35 am

Left Turin, Friday, at 7:20 am

Arrived at Brindisi, Saturday October 5th, at 4 pm

Sailed on the Mongolia, Saturday, at 5 pm

Reached Suez, Wednesday, October 9th, at 11 am

Total of hours spent, 158 1/2; or in days, six days and a half.

As Phileas only cares about the bet, he never takes the time to look at the places he is passing through, instead staying in his room.

I_don't_care

So Fix is trying to get more information as to whether or not Phileas is the robber. He cozies up to Passepartout, asking him lots of questions about Phileas. But with every answer, he becomes more satisfied that it must be him.

I-got-this-reaction-gif

Fix also makes a key observation, Passepartout has forgotten to reset his watch to the time of the place they are in, instead having it still in London time.

As Fix is out to get his man, he too is caught up in this race around the world.

When they reach Bombay, Passepartout is set with the charge to purchase new shirts and such for the two of them. Unfortunately, Passepartout doesn’t always pay as close attention to where he is going, distracted by the architecture, and trips, stepping on a sacred floor without removing his shoes.

clueless mybad oops

Now why is that a problem? Well in the Hindu religion it is a requirement to do so. These priests actually end up beating Passepartout.

When Passepartout tells Phileas what happened, as he lost his purchases, Fix overhears them and comes up with the perfect “fix” to get his man.

Yes you may have noticed that I have made two puns about the names of the characters.

Couldn't resist

Couldn’t resist

Yes, one thing I like about Verne, is that his names always mean something. It can be something that obscures the situation, is a puzzle, or causes confusion. This works great for Phileas’ character as not much is known about him, he is too obscure or a puzzle. And in an essence he lives in a “fog”, not connecting with others but keeping to himself, his books, and his routine.

With Detective Fix, he is trying to remedy or fix the situation in catching the bank robbers and returning the money. He also creates a “fix” for Fogg as his constant interference causes issues for the adventurer. In fact you could even say he is trying to “fix” the situation, as he wants to bring Phileas back to London, ensuring that he loses the bet. Fascinating, huh.

Wow

Wow

So as Fogg and Passepartout continue on their way they meet Sir Francis, returning to his corps. He too finds Fogg odd as he has never met anyone so efficient or a “product of exact sciences”. He warns Fogg that their might be trouble with Passepartout having broken the law. It was an incredible offense.

Not good

Not good

As they are continuing through India on the train, it suddenly stops in Kholby, It turns out that the railroad is unfinished and they will have to find their own way to Allahabad. Sir Francis is in a lather, but Fogg calms him down and convinces him that he has extra days. Sir Francis joins their group as he sets out to find transportation for them and plans to continue on with them.

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He finds, of course the reason why this book fills the E category, an elephant. There is only one problem, elephants are expensive and becoming scarce in India. Fogg needs it to when and offers £20 to rent it, £40, £1200, £1500, and ends on £2000 to buy it (That would be £204,000.00 or $408,000.00 today)

ouch Hermione

They then hire a guide and head out.

Everything goes smoothly until the elephant starts getting agitated. The guide investigates and sees a procession of Brahmins, or priests, coming towards them. He warns them to hide. They observe the group and see a beautiful women being lead behind the corpse of her husband, a prince.

They are doing a Suttee ritual, where the widow is burned alive as she has no other option in her life. She would have no food, her hair shaved off, treated poorly and considered unclean. Most of the time it was voluntary, as there was no other way, although a few would be killed unwillingly. Such as in this case. The guide reveals that this women did not wish to be sacrificed, so they drugged her with hemp and opium. They are taking her to the Pagoda of Pillaji where the ceremony will take place at dawn.

Not good

Not good

Now here we see one of the most interesting parts of the book:

“Mr. Fogg stopped him[the guide], and, turning to Sir Francis Cromarty, said, ‘Suppose we save this woman.’

‘Save the woman, Mr. Fogg!’

‘I have yet twelve hours to spare; I can devote them to that.”

keanu Whoa

This is so interesting because the whole book we are told Fogg is friendless because he is so exact, he is never emotionless, he is a clock, a machine; not human at all.

processinginfo

But here we see him willing to take time out  of his bet and put his life on the line for this girl. I mean he has been forgoing everything to see in the countries he is passing through, the only thing he has his mind on is time how much spent and how much left; but here he sees this women and hears her story and it all goes out the window. Everything, for her.

How romantic

How romantic

So while it is honorable of Fogg to do this, his idea will not be easy. If they fail, they will have horrible tortures awaiting them. They decide to continue their plan, waiting until night to strike. While they are waiting, the guide tells them about the woman, Aouda. She was the daughter of a wealthy Bombay merchant and received an English education. When she was orphaned, she was married against her will to the old rajah Bundelcund. She escaped, but was retaken and forced by the Rajah’s relatives to complete the ceremony.

StarTrekBonesMcCoyPoorGirl PM

Then we have a thrilling and suspenseful part of them trying to free her. They creep, watch, and are barely able to save her; taking off as they are being chased by the guards.

Run Away

As they board the train, Fogg pays the guide, but also gifts him the elephant for his service and loyalty in saving Aouda. He offers Aouda passage to Hong Kong as India will never be safe for her again.

When they reach Calcutta it is the 25th of October as he surmised. He has lost his two extra days, but does not regret it.

Truth be told I don't

They are to head over to the steamer for Hong Kong when a policeman arrests the men. Passepartout is ashamed and afraid, as it is his fault and he would hate for his master to lose his bet. Fogg has no fear as he is certain that they will be able to board the ship at noon.

Three Indian priests come in with a charge, and Fogg defends his decision to save Aouda. Unfortunately these are not those priests in the forest. Nope, they are the priests from the temple that Passepartout forgot to remove his shoes. Yes Fix has been “fixing” things so that they can’t go further.

What jerks

What jerks

The judge decrees Passepartout imprisonment for fifteen days and a fine of £300 (£30,600.00 or $61,200.00 today)

And as Passepartout is Fogg manservant, he gets a week imprisonment sand has to pay £50 pounds.

outrageous

Fogg is a quick thinker and pays bail, £2000.00 for the both of them (£204000.00 today). And they scurry off to the steamer to continue their journey.

Fix is now in a “fix” as the only way that he can get a reward for bringing the robber in is if the robber still has the money. As Fogg has been spending so much (£5000 [£510000.00 today]) already, he is even more determined to stop him. Poor Fogg.

Not good

Not good

This is another thing I really like about this book. On one hand there is this grand adventure and race against time as Fogg strives to do what was then considered impossible. With Fix trying to stop him there is such intensity of suspense as you are afraid and unsure they will be able to complete it in time.

Suspense have to know

Every time I read my heart starts pumping as I become anxious for Fogg. Even though I’ve read it before, it gets me every, single time.

excited

Now Fix decides that in order to catch Fogg, the best thing to do would be befriending Passepartout, who he believes to be dimwitted. Passepartout, unknowingly to Fix, is starting to become suspicious of Fix. His “just happening” to follow them on the same route, being everywhere at the same time is just too coincidental.

Hmm..

Hmm..

Of course he would never dream that Fogg is believed to be a robber and instead thinks Fix is is an agent of the reform club, sent to stop Fogg from completing the bet.

At least not yet

As they cross the boat is hampered by a large storm. They reach Hong Kong twenty hours behind the time needed; and this will make him miss the next boat. But surprisingly Fogg does not blow up or become livid. Instead he is as calm as the fog, amazing those around him.

Of course, Fix sees this as the best thing that could happen, giving him an advantage and chance to arrest him once again.

When they reach Hong Kong, they search for a ship to go out and discover that the Carnatic was being repaired and will be leaving the next day, suiting them perfectly.  They use the next sixteen hours before launch to help settle Aouda. As the search for her relatives, they discover that her relative, Jejeeh has left China two years ago for Holland. Fogg invites Aouda to continue with them, turning this merry band into a trio.

morethemerrier

Fix decides to approach Passepartout, takes him drinking, and lays everything on the table. He tells him about the robber and the £52,000 stolen. He offers Passepartout £500 to help him keep Fogg there a few days until the warrant for his arrest arrives. Passepartout will hear nothing of it, defending his master and cursing the reform club for sending this agent.  Passepartout continues to say no, when Fix gives him more and more wine and opium until he passes out.

clueless mybad oops

While that was occurring, Fogg was taking Aouda shopping to have her outfitted for the journey. He noticed that Passepartout was still out, but did not worry as he should be back in the morning, The next day when there was no sign of him, Fogg began to worry. Fix approaches the two and infiltrates their group, telling them the boat has launched already 12 hours ago and there will be no other setting off for a week.

clueless mybad oops

But Fogg has not given up. He searches the dock until he finds a ship that will take him to his next destination. No one can, but one will take him to where the boat stops in Japan, allowing him to pick it up and head for San Francisco.

Once again we see an interesting development in this man. Instead of his usual contemplation of numbers, how much time is left and dividing it in the miles and dates needed to complete the bet, he is thinking of his valet Passepartout. Where is he? Is he on the ship? Or could he be somewhere else? It appears that Fogg is a robot after all. He has a heart and care for those around him.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

After Fix left Passepartout, two waiters carried him to the designated place for patrons to “sleep it off”. When he awoke three hours later he was in such fits for time and made straight way for the boat, collapsing on it. The stewards took him to his room where he slept and did not wake until they were far from China. There he discovers himself without his master and a loss as what to do next as he has no money or plan.

I don't know what to do

When he reaches Japan he searches for food and a way to make money. He sells his clothes to make a little money, swapping for more Japanese ones. He then joins a acrobatic troupe, as he has experience in such things in his past before becoming a valet. The group is leaving for the United Stares. While he is performing, who should he see in the crowd but his master and Aouda? He quickly joins them and they head out for the next steamer to America.

Double double yay

Their boat had dropped them off in Japan and they searched for Passepartout, discovering that he had taken the boat and was somewhere in the city. They had been searching everywhere, when they decided to stop at the theater and of course came across Passepartout! Such luck!

Aouda shares about their companion Fix, of which Passepartout says nothing yet. But he plans his revenge on the man for the next time they meet.

HurtMeHurtYouBack

Fix on the other hand is very disheartened. He was planning on arresting Fogg, but he is no longer on English soil and cannot be taken by the English warrant. Instead he would need to have extradition papers. He knows this will be hard to do, and instead decides to just follow them and arrest them the minute their feet touch English soil.

Game of thrones jon Snow kit harrington I know how

Passepartout comes across Fix and settles to “fix” him, but Fix convinces him that he is no longer a threat as he wants him to reach England now and will do all he can to ensure it.

When they reach San Francisco, Aouda and Fogg go so that Fogg can get his passport stamped. Passepartout has been listening to stories about the West and asks if he can purchase guns for their protection as there is the possibility that the Native Americans will attack the railroad.

They all end up in the middle of a scuffle with a Colonel Stamp Proctor attacking Fogg, who is saved by Fix. They then have to go purchase new clothing as theirs are ragged from the fight, that they had no clue why it was even started.

I don't know what to do

They go through California and Nevada pretty quickly, but it is as they are heading into Utah that they are stopped by the buffalo and have to wait until the rail is cleared. And I have personal experiences with such things, the buffalo move real slow when they want to and it can take a loooooong time. For them it took three hours.

I'mwaitingPrincessBride

While on the train, Passepartout comes acorss a notice of a lecture by the Mormon Elder William Hitch, and he decides to attend as he knows very little about Mormonism. Passepartout does not become a fan of the religion as he thinks it is horrible for one man to have to take care of so many wives. Oh, Passepartout.

Oh well.

Oh well.

They end up having to wait again as snow slows the train. And unfortunately they discover that Col. Proctor is on the same train.  Fix, Passepartout, and Aouda are all afraid of what might happen if the two meet as all want him to reach his goal. They decide to band together and try and keep him in the room, so that no trouble is started.

I-got-this-reaction-gif

They distract him with whist, but then face another problem. The only way to go forward is to cross a bridge, but it is too unsafe. However that can-do American spirit brings the engineer to decide they can make it if they go full speed.

Passepartout is afraid but as they all mock him he aggrees to continue. They manage to just cross in time, barely getting over before the bridge breaks to smithereens.

keanu Whoa

They run into Colonel Proctor who insults Fogg a second time. Fogg doesn’t want to take the time out to fight as he is on a schedule, but Proctor insists now or never. They are just about to duel when the Sioux attack.

notgoodveronicamarsbadday

Yes never a dull moment here. Now all those others who go around the word for real in 80 days or less, no matter what they do I’m sure they never had as action packed a journey as this one. This is another thing I love about Verne, you never know what will happen next. Just fantastitic.

This is great

This is great

So as the Sioux attack, they switch from fighting each other to their attackers.They all have to fight, Aouda being an excellent markswoman.

supernaturalgunblowoutdeanwinchesterwestern

You know that is another thing about Verne. Look at Aouda she is an amazing character that no one ever talks about. Highly educated, wanting to be in control of her own life, a world traveler, brave, an excellent markswoman, willing to protect those she loves, and Indian.  Pretty fascinating.

Wow

Wow

Most of the passengers are injured, ranging from slight cuts to serious wounds. Three are missing, one being Passepartout. Even though this will put him far behind, Fogg decides it is more important to find Passepartout and free him. He leaves Aouda and Fix at the nearest Fort, and is determined to set out after Passepartout. Fogg pays some men to go with him and sets out.

Let'sdothis

Meanwhile Fix finds himself worrying about Fogg escaping, wondering why he agreed to stay behind with Aouda. The engineer is repairing the train and they are determined to set off. Aouda  won’t leave without Fogg and refuses to continue on.

They wait in the fort while the captain comptemplates sending men after Fogg or just waiting as it is most likely Fogg is dead.

Not good

Not good

The next morning Fogg returns with the passangers and Passepartout.

Poor Passepartout, he just creates so many problems for his master without meaning to. Leaving the gas on in his room before they left, getting them arrested and having to pay bail, destroying the circus and causing him to pay there, getting drunk and causing worry as he left them behind, and now being captured by the Sioux. It is like he attracts trouble.

trouble Twilight Zone

Fix proposes a new idea to Fogg. Instead of waiting until night to catch the next train, what of they went on a sledge with sails? They decide to do it. Fogg wants to leave Aouda and Passepartout behind, as he doesn’t want Aouda to travel in such a crude way and Passepartout to be there to protect her. Aouda won’t  have any of it as she wants to travel with him.

They go on the sledge and manage to reach their destination in time to pick up a train to New York City.

trainblackmail2alfredhitchcocktrainread

But when they reach New York they discover that the boat left 45 mins early.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

There is nothing else left. The game is up and they lost as they could never make it in time on any other boat. It is the end.

TheEnd_Title_2

Passepartout feels horrible as he blames himself for the misfortune.

clueless mybad oops

But just as all grows dark, Fogg spies a ship that looked like it was setting out. He tries to convince the captain, and owner, to get him across but he won’t do it. Even when he offers to purchase it, nope. Only when he offers to pay $8000 ($160,000.00 today).

When the Captain wont take him to Liverpool where needs to go, he bribes the crew, locks up the captain, and takes complete control of the boat.

He did buy it.

He did buy it.

They run into a storm, and as Fogg will not give up he starts using pieces of it as fuel.

They manage to reach Queenstown and it looks like the completion of the bet is in their grasp. They can make it to London in time to spare. As they head out, Fix asks Fogg if he is Phileas Fogg, when he answers yes, Fix arrests him.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Ugh Fix!!! Why couldn’t you let him win his bet! After all you’ve been through!

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Fogg sits in jail for two hours, and is finally released by an ashamed Fix who has discovered that the real bank robber has been arrested.

clueless mybad oops

He boards a train but it is too late. They are five mins behind. Fogg has lost everything!

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Fogg is completely distressed. He takes Aouda to his home and prepares his affairs. Passepartout is completely downhearted and blames himself; but Fogg doesn’t.

Fogg stays home all day and that night speaks with Aouda.

“Madam,’ said he [Phileas Fogg], ‘will you pardon me for bringing you to England?’

‘I, Mr. Fogg!’ replied Aouda, checking the pulsations of her heart.

‘Please let me finish,’ returned Mr. Fogg. ‘When I decided to bring you far away from the country which was so unsafe for you, I was rich, and counted on putting a position of my fortune at your disposal; then your existence would have been free and happy. But now I am ruined.” (pg. 201)

Aw how sad. Then this next part is really cool. Aouda is trying to console him; friends and relatives will aid him; but alas Fogg says he has none.

“Mr. Fogg,’ said Aouda, rising and seizing his hand, ‘do you wish at once a kinswoman and friend? Will you have me for your wife?’

Mr. Fogg at this rose in turn. There was an unwonted light in his eyes, and a slight trembling of his lips…’I love you!’ he said simply. ‘Yes, by all that is holiest, I love you, and I am entirely yours!” (pg. 202)

How sweet!

How sweet!

You know, for a novel in 1873 there are some things in here you wouldn’t see in most books. Interracial marriage, Aouda proposing instead of Fogg. Tell me, why don’t people speak of this book more. It is amazing in its plot, the characters, the way he ties everything together. I just love it.

I love it

So anyways, they decide to marry tomorrow and Passepartout takes off t speak to a Reverend.

Time for a wedding!

Time for a wedding!

After the real robber was captured, all the people turned themselves back to betting on Fogg and whether or not he would make it back in time. Everyone was trying to find him to see where he was at but none could reach him

As it is the day, all those involved in the bet meet up at the club and wait for Fogg. As they reach three minutes to nine the men are feeling completely secure in that he will not be back in time, but who should walk in the door, but Fogg!

Whattheheck

What? How did he do it How could he win the bet when we know he arrived too late because he was placed in jail?

Well, after Aouda and Fogg were engaged, Passepartout left to secure a Reverend. He returns completely nonsensical and tells them they cannot be married the next day. Fogg demands to know why and Passepartout tells him because tomorrow is Sunday.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

It turns out that the last storm actually made them arrive one day early. They went around the world in 79 days.

Wow

Wow

Fogg determines that he spent £19000 on the trip and decides the profit of £1000 will be divided between Passepartout and Fix. Fogg asks Aouda if she still wants to marry him now that he is rich, of which she says it is up to him. Will he not want her now? Fogg wants her as his wife whether rich or poor.

iLoveyou

I love the way Verne ends his book:

“What had he [Philieas Fogg] really gained by all this trouble? What had he brought back from this long and weary journey?

Nothing you say? Perhaps so; nothing but a charming woman, who, strange as it may appear, made him the happiest of men!

Truly, would you not for less than that make the tour around the world?” (pg. 210)

How sweet!

How sweet!

Yes, I just love that book. It is so amazingly good and well written. I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys a good story and plot. You should definitely check it out.

startrekletsgetstarted

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

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For more Jules Verne, go to Heaven on Earth

For more interracial romance, go to The Right Path is Not the Easiest One

For more races, go to I Want to Be Your Ideal Man: Grease (1978)

For more on Lemony Snicket, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

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Today’s Christmas Carol is a favorite of mine, We Three Kings of Orient. This carol was written in 1857 by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. I really love the refrain as I find it to be so beautiful. Star of wonder star of light; I love singing that.

I couldn’t find the version I really like, so I settled on the one by Hugh Jackman, David Hobson and Peter Cousen.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to Harvest Pumpkin Scones

For more Hugh Jackman, go to 25 More Films of Christmas