Tag Archives: jane

Review: Love at Pemberley by Reina M. Williams

Ever wonder what happened to Georgiana, Kitty, Mary, Anne DeBurg, and Mariah Lucas after the pages of Pride and Prejudice ended? Ever wonder what kind of parents Darcy, Lizzy, Jane, and Bingley made? Then Love at Pemberley is the anthology for you. Told in four delightful short stories that link together, this book has everything you would want to know about the Pride and Prejudice ladies after Jane put down her quill.

Along with cameos from our favorites, you will also get to see the man each of these beauties ends up with. What kind of man can bring Georgiana out of her gloom? What kind of suitor can match with Mary?

I really enjoyed catching up with all these girls in this anthology. If you are into exploring the same sort of serenity you get from visiting old friends, this is the book for you. I really enjoyed Georgiana’s story the best, but Kitty, Anne, Mary, and Maria were fun, too. We get to meet Charles Bingley’s brother, Nathanael, and witness a return visit from Colonel Fitzwilliam.

I think the coolest thing about this anthology is that even though it is a group of stories all about Pemberley, the author captured each of the girl’s personalities so well in the individual stories, that you would have thought they were written by different people. I also liked meeting the new gentlemen who were not in Pride and Prejudice originally. And what a shock when Denny showed up at the end. He’s not a character I would have thought anyone would have written about.

This was a delightful continuation of one of the best love stories of all time, showing us that even their friends could have happily ever afters.

Jane Austen Society Gala – Great fun!

I had a great time this weekend talking about books and geeking out on Jane Austen with my fellow Janites at the JASNA NorCal Region Annual Birthday Gala. Below you can see some of our answers to the tough JA question posed to us by DiAnn Ellis.

If you are thinking about joining the JASNA, I would endorse it. The party was loads of fun and an experience no Jane Austen fan should go without. It felt really comforting and special to be with people who know Jane as well as I do. No explaining necessary! 🙂

My fellow panelists are: Abigail Bok, Jeannette Watts, and Reina M. Williams.

Movie Review: Love and Friendship

loveandfBeing a Jane Austen fan, I was really excited to see Love and Friendship, a film adaptation of the novel Lady Susan.

Lady Susan is a woman who has no qualms about her affair with a married man. She is selfish, rude, and controlling of her marriage-age daughter, but somehow in a charming way. She at first hitches her daughter to a silly man who rivals Mr. Collins in unnecessary speech. The young buck in this tale is Reginald DeCourcy, a man with wealth and title who falls for Lady Susan’s guise as the misunderstood widow.

The first thing that struck me while I watched was how the director used the opening to showcase a very unlikely technique reminiscent of the early age of film. With plain black background and wavy yellow font, I wondered if the film would be shot in silent. The introduction of characters was also shot in this fashion. I wasn’t sure if I liked this or if it made the film disjointed for me. The technique did add to the comedic fashion the film followed, but I am still undecided if I like it in a film so different in period.

There is no doubt that the entire movie carried Jane’s wit and sense of humor. Several of the sarcastic lines of Lady Susan’s are my all-time favorites of any of Jane’s books.

About a suitor,

“He’s too old to be governable, too young to die.”

About Alicia Johnson’s husband recovering from a gout attack when she wished he had perished,
“May Mr. Johnson’s next gouty attack end more favorably.”

love and f2Tom Bennett as Sir James Martin is the extra comedy relief and plays a nincompoop rather well. Along with Lady Susan’s sarcastic attitude, these two bring about a real sense of farce to the whole movie, which I rather enjoyed.

Sets, houses, and costuming in the movie were exquisite, especially for Kate Beckinsale who played Lady Susan. The reds and purples of Kate’s clothes were so vibrant and always made her the center of attention. However, I found the men’s breeches lacked proper tailoring. At first I thought it was just on the older men, but even the young buck DeCourcy’s outfits were in serious need of a crotch tailor.

kbeckThe almost unrecognizable Beckinsale (I’ll admit to only knowing her tough Underworld character) gave an outstanding performance playing a woman who was believable and dangerous. As for the other characters, I am not sure I liked them or not. The story in a whole is charming and funny but does not have the same happy resolution of Jane’s other works. When I say happy, I do not mean joyous, for of course there was a marriage at the end. I mean the story did not seem to mesh as well as her other works. In fact, it does not even hold the complexity of her other works. It’s as if someone said, “Jane, could you write a comedy without a proper ending, leaving out scenes here and there with no real resolution?” Perhaps this is why she did not publish it while she was alive. Perhaps she knew it needed something to make it complete?

So, as a Jane fan, I did enjoy seeing this missing piece from her, and I will most likely buy it on DVD, but it will only stand as part of a collection I love. This has inspired me, however, to re-read Lady Susan and see where (if any) mistakes or improvements were made.

Did you see Love and Friendship? What did you think? Please comment below.

Review: Dancing with Mr. Darcy, Anthology

dancing-with-mr-darcyAs a Jane Austen fan, sometimes you want to read the classics, and sometimes you want to read a new variation. Other times, you just want to sit around and geek out with your friends on your favorite parts and what might happen if you stepped into the novels. Well, if you’re in your geek-out mode, I have the book for you. Dancing with Mr. Darcy is an anthology that includes twenty stories inspired by Jane and Chawton House. Now, these are not variations per se. They are more about Jane or the fans themselves and how her stories effected them.

One of my favorite shorts is the very first one called “Jane Austen Over the Styx” by Victoria Owens, where all of the older women in Jane’s books try to prosecute her for portraying them in a bad light. It’s pretty funny to see Mrs. Bennett, Lady Catherine, Mrs. Ferrars, Mrs. Churchhill, Lady Russell, and Mrs. Norris call Jane out on her unfair ageism.

“…charge: namely that you, Jane Austen between the years 1775 and 1817 did maliciously undercut the respect due for youth to age, in that when you created female characters of advanced years, you willfully portrayed every one of them as a snob, a scold, or a harpy who selfishly or manipulatively interferes with the happiness of an innocent third party.”

To see how she pleads and the hilarious evidence that is brought up against her, you must read the story. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Another story I enjoyed was “Eight Years Later” by Elaine Grotefeld, a modern love story told from a gentleman’s perspective. Chris is a guy who started reading Austen (especially Persuasion) as a child and sees his soulmate at a coffee shop one day, reading his favorite book. They can’t connect then, but years later, he proposes a meet up at Jane’s Chawton House. Will she show? Will she stand him up?

This book is full of little snapshots of Austen fans and is a delightfully different take on all the Austen fandom that we see in books these days. In the tradition of Jane Austen Book Club and Austenland, this little collection was a great break from my usual variation obsession.

Watching Pride and Prejudice with Hubby

During a recent Facebook discussion in Mr. Darcy’s Extensive Readers, started by Janis Barau regarding the “dryness” of Mr. Darcy’s trousers in the after the lake scene (BBC/Firth version circa 1995), I realized I truly do benefit from my husband’s point of view while watching Jane movies.

Sure, there is a lot of smirking and sarcasm involved, but his view can sometimes bring the characters into sharper focus. I consider my husband to have a lot of Mr. Darcy traits, whether he’ll admit it or not. He’s quiet and shy in social situations, almost to the point of being rude. Many times one of my acquaintances has approached me at a gathering and asked whether he was upset with them or if he wasn’t feeling well. My answer is always, “No, he just doesn’t converse easily with strangers.” And it’s surprising how many people can’t fathom what it’s like for him. Being proclaimed a social butterfly from my 5th grade report card-on, it was difficult for me to understand at first, too.

colin-firth-lake-scene-oBut back to Darcy and his dry breeches. As discussion of the lake scene progressed, I shared my husband’s take on the whole jump in the lake scene. From his view point, Darcy had just worked out his aggression from Elizabeth’s denial with his fencing instructor, rode in a fury to Pemberley, and just before he must become Master of Pemberley again, jumps in the lake to have a cry. While the scene is generally questioned by viewers as being necessary or not “period” as Janis points out (she notes he most likely would have been skinny-dipping on his own land) from my husband’s view point, it is a needed transition to allow Darcy to mourn his failure.

As a side note, the fencing scene is one of my hubby’s favorites and he has taken to answering me with “tomorrow week” whenever possible. “When is your appointment?” “Tomorrow week.” “When will the honey-do list be complete?” “Tomorrow week.” “When will it really be done?” “Tomorrow month?” You get the idea.

So although watching JA movies with my hubby is done sometimes begrudgingly and always sarcastically, I’ve found it’s brought me closer to Jane’s characters in a way I wouldn’t have if I didn’t try. Despite him calling Bingley “Willy Wonka” and Jane Bennett “Horseface” and despite him never being able to remember that Colonel Brandon and Captain Wentworth are two different people, I would much rather have his viewpoint than not.

Have you watched one of the JA movies with someone who opened you up to another insight? Share in the comments! We’d like to hear about it.

A special thank you goes out to all those significant others that suffer through JA movies. Thank you for indulging our obsession. We still enjoy it, no matter how smart aleck you become. 🙂

The Great Elizabeth Aston

aston

Elizabeth Aston 1948-2016

I was saddened to hear recently that one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Aston (Edmondson), passed away. According to her website:

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Elizabeth, who died on the evening of Monday, 11th January, following a short battle with cancer. She was 67. Elizabeth was the author of over thirty novels, in genres including historical, detective, romantic comedy, women’s fiction and children’s fantasy.” ~ elizabethedmondson.com

When I met with my good friend, Karysa Faire, at our weekly get together last week, she dropped the bombshell. It wasn’t her fault, she had no idea what a big impact Elizabeth had made on me. Karysa was actually talking about a friend of hers dealing with grief and how her friend who passed was a woman named Elizabeth Edmoundson, who wrote Jane Austen fiction. At first, my mind went searching for the name and I was relieved because I knew Elizabeth’s last name was Aston, the name Edmondson didn’t ring a bell. But as we talked, the realization that Elizabeth was MY Elizabeth creeped over my shoulders like a ghostly draft.

0229160833b-1I say MY Elizabeth, but we did not know each other. I’d never sent her an email or connected with her for an interview. In fact, I’d become a fan of her writing so long ago, before Facebook, before Kindle, before I started writing professionally. I’d never even seen her photo before researching for this post. So, to call her MY Elizabeth is pretty pretentious, but she was MY Elizabeth just as Lizzy and Darcy are OUR Lizzy and Darcy.

DarcysdaughtersAlthough Elizabeth never knew me, she touched me in that way a great author can. Her books reached inside my soul and wrapped me up in Austen situations. I read the print books and have the worn and bent covers to prove it! Elizabeth was the first person I read after my great love affair with Jane Austen’s writing found me at the end of her reading list. I was Austen crazed, had to have more, and finding I’d read everything she’d written, searched online for something more. At first I was cautious about reading someone else’s take on OUR most beloved Austen stories, but Elizabeth Aston calmed my fears by writing like Jane. She knew the characters as well as I did. She understood my need for continuation without spoiling the original plots. She got me.
mrsdarcy

So, although Elizabeth never knew me, she answered a longing I had at a time when I needed it badly. She was my answer to the dream that Austen’s works continued and a gateway drug to all the other variations and continuations I’ve read since.

Thank you Elizabeth for writing such great books and for opening the world of Austen knock-offs to me, an obsession that has now spanned over 15 years. You will be missed.

If you haven’t read Elizabeth’s work, be sure and check them out. Go to her website at: elizabethedmondson.com/elizabeth-aston-titles/, or search Amazon.

 

 

10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Compare the Modern Man to Mr. Darcy

amanda_darcy1. Mr. Darcy was written by a woman.

Yes, Jane Austen fulfilled our fantasies by writing a delicious character, but he is written from a woman’s point of view. He says the right thing (or wrong thing) at precisely the right time and approaches Lizzy with expressive and romantic language real men don’t use. “Hey, wanna take a trip with me this weekend?” can be just as tantalizing from a real guy as, “I must tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Read his signs like you’ve read Pride and Prejudice, with care and attention to detail. Asking you to hang out with him, means you are special enough to spend time with. Give him a break on the flowery declarations of love.

2. Even Jane Austen didn’t write the Darcy in your head.

You’ve read her words, but you’ve blown Mr. Darcy into this full-blown fantasy that can’t compare to ANY real man. In your mind he is perfect, much more perfect than Jane’s text could speak of. Remember his faults, like being too uppity and assuming Lizzy is nothing because she is poor and lives with a family of nutjobs. You’ve mentally fast-forwarded through all his distain like you do on the DVD to get to the really juicy bits. Our minds have powerful forgiveness for faults when we’re fantasizing.

3. Perfect men are obnoxious.

mr-darcyDo you really want to be tied to a man so perfect, only his man servant sees him naked? Who knows how many girdles are beneath those perfect suits and that pants bulge might not equal happiness in the bedroom. Will he be as uptight while undressing you, or will his servants do that for him? If you think about it, Darcy is kinda creepy. He follows Lizzy around, being all uppity and superior and then involves himself in a family scandal. No one is that psychic to cater to your every need before you even ask. It’s rare to find that much gallantry in a man, especially one too perfect to be in the same room with your loud-mouthed mother.

4. Showing emotion is not a fault.

Being with someone so stoic could drive a person mad. This brings up images of dancing in front of him to make him smile like the royal guard dudes with the big fuzzy black caps. Will he show emotion while bedding you, or will you just receive a nice tap on the head and off you go? You want a man who shows chinks in his armor every once in awhile. You want one you can smile and laugh with, one who shows his passion for you and sometimes makes a fool of himself in the process.

mrd5. No real man is free of fault.

And his faults are never as tame as being so proud he’s prejudiced! Let real men have faults and don’t compare them to Darcy unless you want them to fail every time. Find a man you can love despite his faults. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to find his faults cute or romantic. If you can adore Darcy’s snobby attitude, making fun of Lizzy, calling her names, and putting down her family, maybe you can let Joe Schmoe’s fetish for baseball cards slide, eh? And just remember, women have faults too. Find someone who thinks yours are adorable and not to be corrected.

 

6. Times have changed.

mrd210,000 pounds a year ain’t what it used to be. Falling for a man because of his wealth is like signing up for disaster. In the olden days, rich men tended to stay that way and if they didn’t, they still had their title to make doors open for them. In this day and age wealth is something that can change quickly. What if he loses an account, his mansion, or his job? Will you still love him when he’s jobless or his life situation changes? Are you wishing for riches to make your life easier or to truly be happy? Money doesn’t breed happiness and if the relationship isn’t built on something stronger, it’s doomed to fail.

7. Looks are fleeting.

What happens when Mr. Darcy turns 50, has the comfortable couch gut and starts losing his hair? You want someone you love for qualities other than looks. Ten to twenty years from now, do you want to be looking at him thinking, “Geez he WAS gorgeous, but now he’s a bit chubby and has rather odd ears.” Or do you want someone who you can love despite his graying temples and age spots?

8. What will you have to measure up to?colinmrdarcy

Do you want to be with someone that you constantly don’t feel good enough for? What will be expected of a girlfriend or wife of Darcy? Are you ready to manage Pemberley? Will you be expected to have perfect children before you’re ready? Will you have to raise your children as heirs to vast wealth, thinking only of riches and status? Would you be able to still live your own life, go out with the girls, or finish school? You want someone who appreciates your talents and has just as much fun discussing your interests as recounting his smelly old fox hunt!

9. What’s so great about Darcy anyway?

Does he have any hobbies? Does he do or accomplish anything besides keeping up his family estate? What are any of his accomplishments beyond being born into a rich, titled family? What is Darcy when these days you can have a musician, artist, techy genius, or an architect? An evening at Pemberley seems rather drab, sitting around reading, pretending to enjoy whist… in a corset no less! Wouldn’t you rather be in your comfy leggings, dancing at a concert or strolling the boardwalk?

10. You might be missing out on your Mr. Right.

Just because the guys you date don’t fit your cookie-cutter hero costume, doesn’t mean they’re unworthy. What if Mr. Wrong is Mr. Right for you? What if the jeans and t-shirt guy from the laundromat turns out to be the love of your life? Sure, you don’t want to struggle through life, you’d like to find rich Mr. Darcy, but how do you know that you plus T-shirt guy doesn’t equal success unless you give him a shot?