Archive for December, 2011

The Sign of the Twisted Candles

The Sign of the Twisted Candles (Nancy Drew Series #9)

This is my favorite Nancy Drew book so I decided to review it.  Nancy Drew is asked by her friends to investigate a certain family run restaurant.  When she finds an old man, virtually held prisoner by two of his relatives she decides to help him.  By doing so she unearths an old family feud and it seems that her best friends, Bess and George will not be her friends any more.  When the old man dies, Mr. Drew is called to act as his executor.  Faced by the growing hostility of both sides of the family and threatened by the owners of the restaurant, will Nancy and her father be able to untangle the many problems they are confronted with?

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Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Pride and Prejudice is set in 19th century England.  The novel starts out starts out with a young man called Mr. Bingley and his friend Mr. Darcy settling in a small, rural town.  All the townspeople with daughters who are of a marriable age are in a flutter, but especially a woman called Mrs. Bennet.  She has 5 daughters and no sons, so of course she wants them all married well.  Mrs. Bennet schemes to marry off one of her daughters.  Her second oldest daughter, Elizabeth doesn’t approve of her mother’s plans.  Will Jane marry the man she loves?  Will Elizabeth marry the man she doesn’t love?  Or will Lydia’s flirtations ruin all her sisters’ chances?  Read this novel about matchmaking, arrogance, and true love to find out.

Mr. Darcy's Diary

Mr. Darcy’s Diary is a great book for Austen fans.  I just finished reading and I wanted to review it.  The diary starts with Mr. Darcy finding out about Georgina’s intended elopement with Wickham.  Then Pride and Prejudice takes over and the rest of the book is mostly his retelling of P and P.  It is a very interesting read.  You get new insights into Caroline Bingley’s character, read about his negotiations with Wickham so that he will marry Lydia, and read of his struggle against his fascination for Elizabeth Bennet.  SPOILER It includes several pages of what life is like for Mr. and Mrs. Darcy after their marraige, and how Colonel Fitzwilliam becomes engaged to Anne de Bourgh.  END OF SPOILER  This book is a very enjoyable read.  Here is an excerpt:

My inclination was to walk out and leave Lydia to the life she had made for herself. But the thought of Elizabeth’s pale face sustained me.

‘Meet me at my club tomorrow,’ I said to Wickham.

‘My dear Darcy, you know I am not welcome there.’

‘I will make sure you are admitted.’

He looked surprised, but said, ‘Very well.’

As I left the house, the memory of his insolent smile went with me.

Thursday, 14th August

I met Wickham at my club and the negotiations began.

‘You must marry her,’ I said to him shortly.

‘If I do that, I give up forever the chance of making my fortune through marriage.’

‘You have ruined her,’ I said. ‘Does that mean nothing to you?’

He crossed one ankle over the other and lay back in the chair.

‘She ruined herself,’ he said.

A waiter passed, and he ordered a whiskey. I did not react, knowing he did it only to annoy me.

‘How much do you owe?’ I asked, going straight to the heart of the matter.

‘Several hundred pounds.’

‘Whether that is true or not I do not know, but I shall. If you give your bills to my agent, he will pay them for you. In return, you will marry Lydia.’

‘Come now, as you are so anxious to see her wed, she is worth a lot more than that. Is it Miss Bennet who has caught your fancy, or is it the lovely Elizabeth?’

‘I am doing this for my own conscience,’ I said.

He laughed in my face.

‘No man goes to such lengths to ease his own conscience. Let me guess. It is the beautiful Jane Bennet. Sweet natured, beautiful Jane. She would make a splendid addition to Pemberley. I congratulate you, Darcy.’

‘I have no intention of marrying Miss Bennet.’

‘Then it is Elizabeth.’

I said nothing, but he must have guessed it from my face.

‘Ah! So it is! Her liveliness appeals to you. I would not have thought it. You are so pompous, Darcy, but they say that opposites attract.’

He had the upper hand, and he was enjoying using it.

‘Have a care,’ I warned him. ‘I will do much to save Lydia Bennet from disgrace, but if you go too far, instead of having your debts paid and something more besides, you will find yourself pursued by every creditor in Brighton, and maybe the army, for I will give them all your address.’

‘I can go to Bath, or Lyme, or the Lake District,’ he said. ‘I do not have to live here.’ But I could tell he had no stomach for further flight.

‘Do so,’ I said, calling his bluff. I stood up and turned towards the door.

‘Wait,’ he said.

I paused.

‘I will marry her -‘

‘Good,’ I said, sitting down again.

‘ – for thirty thousand pounds.’

‘What?’ I cried.

‘It is the sum I should have had from Georgiana.’

I mastered my temper with difficulty. ‘I will give you nothing of the kind.’

‘Very well, then, twenty thousand.’

I stood up and left the club.

He will come to me soon enough. He has nowhere else to go.

I do not relish seeing him, but the knowledge that it will ease Elizabeth’s fears recompenses me for any time or trouble I might take, and I hope that, before very long, I will see her happy again.

Some fan fiction (these stories come from the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It)

The Riding Habit

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy have been married for about a year.  They have a young son and Georgina is about to have her come-out ball.  Elizabeth is perplexed by all the decisions and problems she will have to wade through and to add to this Mr. Darcy wishes her to learn to ride.  Elizabeth harbors a fear of horses, but will Mr. Darcy find out too late?

The Ghostwriter

When Sara is jilted by her fiancée, who is annoyed at her obsession with Austen, she is in despair.  He leaves her with a lock of Jane Austen’s hair.  When Sara wakes up the next morning she finds the ghost of Jane Austen in her house.  Jane wants Sara to write a book which will take all her talents.  Will Sara be able to write the book AND make up with Charles?

Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss

A young lord gives a copy of Pride and Prejudice to Elinor, the woman he secretly loves.  When he confides that a certain Miss Jane Austen, who lives in their village wrote the book, Jane gives Elinor some advice about the kissing plant and shows that sometimes love can come unexpectedly. 

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Jane Austen Boxed Set and 2005 Pride and Prejudice Review

Complete Jane Austen Boxed Set

For an early New Years gift (we don’t celebrate Christmas), my Dad bought me all the Jane Austen novels in a beautiful boxed set.  Since I don’t own any actual Jane Austen novels (didn’t own! :)) I was really excited and happy to have them all now.  The only problem we had was that Mansfield Park‘s pages were badly crushed but we were able to exchange it for and almost identical copy.  All the novels have blue spines (except M.P. which has a black one), and are paperbacks.

Review of Pride and Prejudice 2005

I recently watched this great movie so of course I wanted to do a review of it.

For starters, the Kiera Knightley and Matthew Macfayden are THE Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.  I really like Colin Firth’s and Jennifer Ehle’s performance too, but K.K. and M.M. are the best.

The music, the scenery, and the costumes are all wonderful.  Elizabeth does have her hair down more than once (a Regency no-no), and George Wickham looks so creepy that it’s a wonder Elizabeth could believe his story.

But there are several factors that make this my favorite P and P adaption.  For one, Caroline Bingley is better (in my opinion) than the 1995 version.  She’s so venomous and I think she really brings out the worst in her character.  For instance…

Elizabeth Bennet to Mr. Darcy: I dearly love a laugh.

Caroline Bingley (with scorn): A family trait I should think.

The story, even though it is condensed into two hours, follows the book very well.  Lady Catherine (though a bit old for her role) looks a lot more imposing in this version than the Lady Catherine in the 1995 version.  

Again, the music, scenery, everything was wonderful.  The characters were well cast and the plot is interesting and moves swiftly and interestingly.  That is my opinion of the 2005 P and P…and now despise me if you dare.

Thanks for taking time to read this post, and please come again soon.

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Two Writing Tags

I got this tag from this blog.

What do you write your stories on?

My Mom’s computer.

What is your Favorite kind of character?

TOUGH question.  I think my favorite kind of character is the main female character.

When you are asked what your story is about, what is your usual reaction?

I tell them in one sentence the summary and leave it at that.  Not too many people ask me though.  I do like it when people show interest and ask to read an excerpt or something like that.

What is your biggest writing pet peeve.

When I search, search, search for the right word and I just can’t find it.

What is the biggest turn off when reading a book.

Lots of boring description or just a boring plot all around.

Favorite time era in history

Regency, definitely.  Just ask my family.

How many words do you punch out in one sitting?

500 to 2,000 and beyond.

Are you a fast typist.

Very fast.

What do you do for inspiration?

Read a lot, especially Jane Austen.

The truest writing quote you have ever heard?

I truly do not know.

What is your favorite Genre to write?

Historical fiction.

What is your favorite font to write in? 

14 point Times New Roman

What do you like better: Pens or Pencils?

Pencil, but I do most of my writing straight on Microsoft Word.

How many books do you usually write at a time?

Usually concentrating on just one.

Have you ever tired writing outside of you usual genre?

Once and it didn’t work out.

What time do you write?

In the evenings.

This writing tag came from this blog.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was eleven.

When did you first realize how much you loved writing?

I just discovered it one day.

What is your favorite thing about writing?

Words and their meanings fascinate me.  Also, telling a story is thrilling.

Which do you like better, Planning or Rewriting?

Planning everything just so.

What do you consider your best work of writing?

Eleanor and Catherine.  You can read about it here and here.


What kind of writing do you feel the strongest in?

I’m not sure.

How many books have you started writing?

Two.


How many books have you finished writing?

One.  It was a novella.  I think I still have a bit of editing left to do though.


How many books are you working on right now?

One.

Have you ever taken a writing class? If so, what did you get the most out of it?

No

If you could write as good as anyone in the world, who would you choose?

Jane Austen!

What have your family members told you about when you were little/what do you remember, and how might it apply to your writing life.

Nothing, really.

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A New Story in the Works

A new story is an the works, and the prospect is looking up.  The plot is about a young lady named Kelsie who lives in modern times and is an avid Jane Austen fan, and mysteriously gets transported back to Regency England and meets Fanny and Edward Bertram.  I haven’t written too much yet so I can’t tell you more about the plot line.  

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High Humor in Jane Austen’s Novels

Jane Austen produced some extremely amusing instances in all her books.  I would like to share a few of my favorites.

From P and P:

 “I hope, my dear,” said Mr. Bennet to his wife, as they were at breakfast the next morning, “that you have ordered a good dinner to-day, because I have reason to expect an addition to our family party.”

   “Who do you mean, my dear? I know of nobody that is coming, I am sure, unless Charlotte Lucas should happen to call in — and I hope my dinners are good enough for her. I do not believe she often sees such at home.”

   “The person of whom I speak is a gentleman, and a stranger.”

   Mrs. Bennet’s eyes sparkled. “A gentleman and a stranger! It is Mr. Bingley, I am sure. Why, Jane — you never dropt a word of this; you sly thing! Well, I am sure I shall be extremely glad to see Mr. Bingley. — But — good lord! how unlucky! there is not a bit of fish to be got to-day. Lydia, my love, ring the bell. I must speak to Hill this moment.”

   “It is not Mr. Bingley,” said her husband; “it is a person whom I never saw in the whole course of my life.”

   This roused a general astonishment; and he had the pleasure of being eagerly questioned by his wife and five daughters at once. — After amusing himself some time with their curiosity, he thus explained —

   “About a month ago I received this letter; and about a fortnight ago I answered it, for I thought it a case of some delicacy, and requiring early attention. It is from my cousin, Mr. Collins, who, when I am dead, may turn you all out of this house as soon as he pleases.”

   “Oh! my dear,” cried his wife, “I cannot bear to hear that mentioned. Pray do not talk of that odious man. I do think it is the hardest thing in the world, that your estate should be entailed away from your own children; and I am sure, if I had been you, I should have tried long ago to do something or other about it.”

   Jane and Elizabeth attempted to explain to her the nature of an entail. They had often attempted it before, but it was a subject on which Mrs. Bennet was beyond the reach of reason, and she continued to rail bitterly against the cruelty of settling an estate away from a family of five daughters, in favour of a man whom nobody cared anything about.

   “It certainly is a most iniquitous affair,” said Mr. Bennet, “and nothing can clear Mr. Collins from the guilt of inheriting Longbourn. But if you will listen to his letter, you may perhaps be a little softened by his manner of expressing himself.”

   “No, that I am sure I shall not; and I think it was very impertinent of him to write to you at all, and very hypocritical. I hate such false friends. Why could not he keep on quarrelling with you, as his father did before him?”

This seems to me a very funny passage with he way that Mr. Bennet leads his wife on and the verbal exchange that comes afterwards.

S and S:

   Mrs. John Dashwood did not at all approve of what her husband intended to do for his sisters. To take three thousand pounds from the fortune of their dear little boy, would be impoverishing him to the most dreadful degree. She begged him to think again on the subject. How could he answer it to himself to rob his child, and his only child too, of so large a sum? And what possible claim could the Miss Dashwoods, who were related to him only by half blood, which she considered as no relationship at all, have on his generosity to so large an amount? It was very well known that no affection was ever supposed to exist between the children of any man by different marriages; and why was he to ruin himself, and their poor little Harry, by giving away all his money to his half sisters?

   “It was my father’s last request to me,” replied her husband, “that I should assist his widow and daughters.”

   “He did not know what he was talking of, I dare say; ten to one but he was light-headed at the time. Had he been in his right senses, he could not have thought of such a thing as begging you to give away half your fortune from your own child.”

   “He did not stipulate for any particular sum, my dear Fanny; he only requested me, in general terms, to assist them, and make their situation more comfortable than it was in his power to do. Perhaps it would have been as well if he had left it wholly to myself. He could hardly suppose I should neglect them. But as he required the promise, I could not do less than give it: at least I thought so at the time. The promise, therefore, was given, and must be performed. Something must be done for them whenever they leave Norland and settle in a new home.”

   “Well, then, let something be done for them; but that something need not be three thousand pounds. Consider,” she added, “that when the money is once parted with, it never can return. Your sisters will marry, and it will be gone for ever. If, indeed, it could ever be restored to our little boy….”

   “Why, to be sure,” said her husband, very gravely, “that would make a great difference. The time may come when Harry will regret that so large a sum was parted with. If he should have a numerous family, for instance, it would be a very convenient addition.”

   “To be sure it would.”

   “Perhaps, then, it would be better for all parties if the sum were diminished one half. Five hundred pounds would be a prodigious increase to their fortunes!”

   “Oh! beyond anything great! What brother on earth would do half so much for his sisters, even if really his sisters! And as it is — only half blood! — But you have such a generous spirit!”

   “I would not wish to do anything mean,” he replied. “One had rather, on such occasions, do too much than too little. No one, at least, can think I have not done enough for them: even themselves, they can hardly expect more.”

   “There is no knowing what they may expect,” said the lady, “but we are not to think of their expectations: the question is, what you can afford to do.”

   “Certainly, and I think I may afford to give them five hundred pounds a-piece. As it is, without any addition of mine, they will each have above three thousand pounds on their mother’s death a very comfortable fortune for any young woman.”

   “To be sure it is: and, indeed, it strikes me that they can want no addition at all. They will have ten thousand pounds divided amongst them. If they marry, they will be sure of doing well; and if they do not, they may all live very comfortably together on the interest of ten thousand pounds.”

   “That is very true, and, therefore, I do not know whether, upon the whole, it would not be more advisable to do something for their mother while she lives rather than for them; something of the annuity kind I mean. My sisters would feel the good effects of it as well as herself. A hundred a year would make them all perfectly comfortable.”

   His wife hesitated a little, however, in giving her consent to this plan.

   “To be sure,” said she, “it is better than parting with fifteen hundred pounds at once. But then if Mrs. Dashwood should live fifteen years, we shall be completely taken in.”

   “Fifteen years! my dear Fanny; her life cannot be worth half that purchase.”

   “Certainly not; but if you observe, people always live for ever when there is any annuity to be paid them; and she is very stout and healthy, and hardly forty. An annuity is a very serious business; it comes over and over every year, and there is no getting rid of it. You are not aware of what you are doing. I have known a great deal of the trouble of annuities; for my mother was clogged with the payment of three to old superannuated servants by my father’s will, and it is amazing how disagreeable she found it. Twice every year, these annuities were to be paid; and then there was the trouble of getting it to them; and then one of them was said to have died, and afterwards it turned out to be no such thing. My mother was quite sick of it. Her income was not her own, she said, with such perpetual claims on it; and it was the more unkind in my father, because, otherwise, the money would have been entirely at my mother’s disposal, without any restriction whatever. It has given me such an abhorrence of annuities, that I am sure I would not pin myself down to the payment of one for all the world.”

   “It is certainly an unpleasant thing,” replied Mr. Dashwood, “to have those kind of yearly drains on one’s income. One’s fortune, as your mother justly says, is not one’s own. To be tied down to the regular payment of such a sum, on every rent day, is by no means desirable: it takes away one’s independence.”

   “Undoubtedly; and, after all, you have no thanks for it. They think themselves secure, you do no more than what is expected, and it raises no gratitude at all. If I were you, whatever I did should be done at my own discretion entirely. I would not bind myself to allow them anything yearly. It may be very inconvenient some years to spare a hundred, or even fifty pounds from our own expences.”

   “I believe you are right, my love; it will be better that there should be no annuity in the case; whatever I may give them occasionally will be of far greater assistance than a yearly allowance, because they would only enlarge their style of living if they felt sure of a larger income, and would not be sixpence the richer for it at the end of the year. It will certainly be much the best way. A present of fifty pounds, now and then, will prevent their ever being distressed for money, and will, I think be amply discharging my promise to my father.”

   “To be sure it will. Indeed, to say the truth, I am convinced within myself that your father had no idea of your giving them any money at all. The assistance he thought of, I dare say, was only such as might be reasonably expected of you; for instance, such as looking out for a comfortable small house for them, helping them to move their things, and sending them presents of fish and game, and so forth, whenever they are in season. I’ll lay my life that he meant nothing farther; indeed, it would be very strange and unreasonable if he did. Do but consider, my dear Mr. Dashwood, how excessively comfortable your mother-in-law and her daughters may live on the interest of seven thousand pounds, besides the thousand pounds belonging to each of the girls, which brings them in fifty pounds a-year a-piece, and, of course, they will pay their mother for their board out of it. Altogether, they will have five hundred a-year amongst them, and what on earth can four women want for more than that? They will live so cheap! Their housekeeping will be nothing at all. They will have no carriage, no horses, and hardly any servants; they will keep no company, and can have no expences of any kind! Only conceive how comfortable they will be! Five hundred a-year! I am sure I cannot imagine how they will spend half of it; and as to your giving them more, it is quite absurd to think of it. They will be much more able to give you something.”

   “Upon my word,” said Mr. Dashwood, “I believe you are perfectly right. My father certainly could mean nothing more by his request to me than what you say. I clearly understand it now, and I will strictly fulfil my engagement by such acts of assistance and kindness to them as you have described. When my mother removes into another house my services shall be readily given to accommodate her as far as I can. Some little present of furniture, too, may be acceptable then.”

   “Certainly,” returned Mrs. John Dashwood. “But, however, one thing must be considered. When your father and mother moved to Norland, though the furniture of Stanhill was sold, all the china, plate, and linen was saved, and is now left to your mother. Her house will therefore be almost completely fitted up as soon as she takes it.”

   “That is a material consideration undoubtedly. A valuable legacy indeed! And yet some of the plate would have been a very pleasant addition to our own stock here.”

   “Yes; and the set of breakfast china is twice as handsome as what belongs to this house. A great deal too handsome, in my opinion, for any place they can ever afford to live in. But, however, so it is. Your father thought only of them . And I must say this: that you owe no particular gratitude to him, nor attention to his wishes, for we very well know that if he could, he would have left almost everything in the world to them .”

   This argument was irresistible. It gave to his intentions whatever of decision was wanting before; and he finally resolved, that it would be absolutely unnecessary, if not highly indecorous, to do more for the widow and children of his father, than such kind of neighbourly acts as his own wife pointed out.

This undoubtedly one of the most comic scenes in Jane’s works.

M.P.

Mr. Rushworth stepped forward with great alacrity to tell him [Edmund] the agreeable news.

“We have got a play,” said he. “It is to be Lovers’ Vows; and I am to be Count Cassel, and am to come in first with a blue dress and a pink satin cloak, and afterwards am to have another fine fancy suit, by way of a shooting–dress. I do not know how I shall like it.”

My mom and I laugh over this scene a lot and I know that I can always get her to laugh by quoting Mr. Rushworth’s words.

N.A.

As for myself, I am sure I only wish our situations were reversed. Had I the command of millions, were I mistress of the whole world, your brother would be my only choice.” – Isabella Thorpe

Considering the behavior that follows this remark, it seems comical.

As for Emma, so many of it is comic that I could hardly pick out my favorite passage.  Persuasion does not have that many comical parts to it, but just think ‘…large, fat sighings…’

There you have it.  My favorite comic parts from Jane’s novels.

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An Apology

I am very sorry, readers.  The post I just posted (My 101 post) is NOT my 101 post.  It was actually my 99th.  So this is my 100th.  Have  a good day.

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My 101 Post!

I was just idly checking through my site stats and I noticed to my amazement that I had written 100 posts.  This calls for a celebration!  The first thing I will do is give you a little stat update.

113 comments – I just love the reader/writer interaction.  Keep commenting!
17 pages – Check them out.  You might like what you see.
12 categories and 83 tags
52 sidebar widgets
The month with the most posts was this month with 31 (soon to be 32) posts 

Here are some of my favorite posts over the 100 post period:

My blog started out a book review blog and it’s graduated into a book review and Jane Austen blog.  I hope that you are okay with this and if you have ANY questions or comments just e-mail me at kraftyhorselover@hotmail.com

 

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Pride and Prejudice 1995 Review

Wonderful.  Masterful.  Brilliant.  Well done.  Spectacular.  Awesome.  Stupendous.  I could go on but you get the picture.  I really, really enjoyed it.  (Not as much as the 2005 version, but never mind.)  For one thing, I loved it’s completeness.  It goes through the whole book without fail, and the actors and actresses often quote straight out of the book.  One thing I did notice that was taken out was Caroline Bingley’s flattering Mr. Darcy on the evenness of his handwriting.  But since this is a small point it doesn’t matter too much.

My next point is the music.  I love, love, love the music!  It is just sounds so wonderful.  Of course, I can’t explain it, but you know what it’s like if you’ve seen it and I’m sure everyone agrees with me.  The costumes and the sets are very, very well-done.  I like all the clothes that Lizzy wears especially the navy blue coat with the plaid scarf.  And of course the scenery is beautiful.

There is of course, high humor in Jane Austen’s novels and the movie follows through bringing us the pompous Mr. Collins, the domineering Lady Catherine and of course William Lucas.  Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet are very well portrayed as are Kitty, Mary and Lydia.

This movie is very well done and I would advise you to watch it if you haven’t already.  It is a true Austen classic.

 

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The Tombs of Anak

The Tombs of Anak

In this thrilling tale in the Cooper kids series, Jake Cooper and his two children Jay and Lila are called to a remote heathen temple in the Middle East.  They hear strange tales of giants in underground caves.  Jake and his two children are separated leaving him to a battle of wits with crafty priestess while Jay and Lila are hunted by a strange, demonic giant in the tombs of Anak.  One of their friends, lured by the tale of a fabulous treasure risks his life again and again in pursuit of wealth.  This spine-tingling read is a great adventure story.

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Look out for…

…a review of the 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice!  I’m going to be watching it this afternoon and I hope to do a review shortly.

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MORE Pages!

I just couldn’t resist sharing these scrapbooking pages.  Please link back to me if you use them.

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Two Proposals and Two Weddings

I have worked on my novel for some time now (you can read about it here and here.)  And the big news is…I finished it last night!  Since it only has about 15,000 words it would be called a novella or short story, but I’m really pleased with what I’ve accomplished and to celebrate I’m going to give you three chapters of my novella – the two proposals (since there’s two sisters) and the double wedding.  These chapters do not come one after the other in the full novella.

Eleanor

Eleanor was taking another morning walk the next day when again she met Henry.  Had he purposely sought her out? she wondered.  They talked comfortably together, although all the time Eleanor’s heart was beating fast.  They scarcely noticed where they were going, but by some chance finally found themselves in front of Eleanor’s home.  She was about to go inside when Henry spoke.

“Miss Harcourt, Eleanor…wait.”

She turned around eagerly and waited.

He faced her and awkwardly said, “Eleanor, I have observed you for these past few days, in Wollington, and in London and each time, I have been more impressed by your beauty, charm, and musical ability.  I would like to…I want to ask you something.”  He paused.

“Yes, do go on,” said Eleanor, hardly breathing.

“Will you…will you marry me?”

Eleanor stopped breathing.  “Yes, Henry,” she said, and burst into happy tears.

She ran into the house with Henry close behind her.  Luckily, her mother and Catherine were both upstairs which gave Eleanor a few moments to dry her tears.  They came down quickly upon hearing Henry’s voice and in a few joyous words, Eleanor and Henry told all.  Great were Catherine’s and Lady Celia’s joy when they heard.  To Catherine it was not such a complete surprise because of the talk she and Susan had had yesterday, but to Lady Celia it was total surprise. 

After they had given the news to the Catherine and Lady Celia, Henry and Eleanor went over to the Davrille’s house where Henry introduced his future wife to them all.  The joy was no less great there and Jane especially welcomed Eleanor warmly into the family. 

After mutual happiness on both sides, Lady Davrille discreetly left the two lovers alone and they had a long conversation.

“When did you first start to fall in love with me?” Henry asked Eleanor.

“I am not sure.  I think it was the night of the party (so long ago it seems!) in Wollington, but I cannot say for sure.  I know I was most definitely in love when you came to the party in London.”

They continued talking for some length over many different subjects and settled the wedding date to three months from that day.

Eleanor and Catherine talked about several things that evening.

“Eleanor, I’m so happy for you!” exclaimed Catherine.

“I know, Catherine.  It seems like a wonderful dream, but perfectly real,” Eleanor replied.

“If only William…but never mind.  When is your wedding taking place?” she asked with a slight sigh.

“Three months from today.  But why are you distressed?  I am sure William feels for you.  Have you heard anything in the contrary?” Eleanor asked gently.

“Just this,” said Catherine, displaying a letter.

Eleanor snatched it up and this is what she read.

Dear Catherine,

How are you finding Bath?  I write to tell you that my brother William will be arriving in Bath soon for a few days.  I hope he will pay your family a call shortly after he finishes up his business.  Please write back.

Your dearest friend,

Julia Ashby

“Why would Julia write to you just about William’s coming?  Does she know about your attachment?  I’m sure there’s some mistake and that William will be here.

“She must have discovered my feelings for him.  Oh, Eleanor, do you think my feelings were too plain?” Catherine asked.  

“No, Catherine.  You did not show your feelings that much.  Rest assured that William will be here.  If he feels for you he will be here.”

Catherine

Early the next morning Catherine awoke, finished packing and was just about to leave the room and go down to the dining room when William again entered the room.

“Excuse me, Miss Harcourt, but I wish to speak with you,” he said.

“Please sit down,” Catherine said calmly enough, but her heart was thumping.

“Thank you,” he replied, and then hurriedly went on, “I have just had a confidence from my sister that you purposely came here after reading Mama’s letter.  I would like to thank you for coming with my sisters, giving up the comforts of home just to come here and help my family.”  He paused, and then went on, “The more I see of you Catherine, the more I am impressed by your beauty, your talents, and your cheerfulness.  You have become very near and dear to my sisters as you have become to me.  In short Catherine, I am…I am in love with you.  Will you marry me?”

Catherine was overcome with joy.  “Yes, I will,” she managed, and then, like her sister, burst into tears.

Julia had been walking along the corridor, toward Catherine’s room to see if she had everything was ready.  When she heard Catherine burst into tears she quickened her pace and came into the room.  When she heard the happy story she could hardly contain her joy and the all three of them, beaming happily, went down to the breakfast table.

The news was shared among all the Ashbys and everyone was extremely happy with the news.  It was soon arranged that William and Julia would go back to Woodland Manor.  William, as a trustworthy escort, and Julia because she wished to extend her stay at Wollington.  Fanny chose not to go.

The Wedding(s)

When the Harcourts heard the news they were very, very happy.  Eleanor was so happy that her sister was to be married that she and Henry agreed to put off their wedding until arrangements could be made for a double wedding.

All the Ashbys traveled to Wollington to be present at the wedding.  By mutual consent, the families had agreed to have the double wedding in Wollington not London.  For one, both brides and one of the grooms came from there, and Lady Harcourt disliked London.  The Lord and Lady Ashby wished to see Wollington so the arrangement was very agreeably made.

“Oh, Eleanor, I’m so happy!” Catherine exclaimed.  “William and I will be living in his house in London but he is also thinking of taking a house near Wollington so we can be close to you and Henry.”

“Henry and I will be living on his estate.  It is only a few miles from Woodland Manor.”

Both couples looked forward to their wedding excitedly and at last the day arrived. The brides looked very pretty and no-one who was there, except the grooms could tell which was prettier.  Of course the grooms where partial.  The grooms were handsome, the ceremony went well, and so did the wedding breakfast after.  Both couples set off for the same honeymoon destination where they would stay for several weeks even months before coming back to their homes.  They were both as much in love when they came home as when they had left and the two couples lived together happily ever after.

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I hope you enjoyed reading these excerpts.  I had fun writing the story and I hope you will have as good success with your stories.

Here’s the ‘cover’ I made for my novella:

 

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Sense and Sensibility 1995 Review

You’re all thinking “This is a book review blog, not a movie review blog.”  Yes, I know but I just watched S and S today and I couldn’t resist reviewing it.  Besides, it’s J.A. related.

First the synopisis from Wikipedia.

Mr. Dashwood dies, his wife and three daughters – Elinor, Marianne  and Margaret – are left with an inheritance consisting of only £500 a year, with the bulk of the estate of Norland Park left to his son John from a previous marriage. John and his greedy, snobbish wife Fanny immediately install themselves in the large house; Fanny invites her brother Edward Ferrars to stay with them. She frets about the budding friendship between Edward and Elinor and does everything she can to prevent it from developing.

Sir John Middleton, a cousin of the widowed Mrs. Dashwood, offers her a small cottage house on his estate, Barton Park in Devonshire. She and her daughters move in, and are frequent guests at Barton Park. Marianne meets the older Colonel Brandon, who falls in love with her at first sight. Competing with him for her affections is the dashing but deceitful John Willoughby, whom Marianne falls in love with. On the morning she expects him to propose marriage to her, he instead leaves hurriedly for London. Unbeknownst to the Dashwood family, Brandon’s ward is pregnant with Willoughby’s child, and Willoughby’s aunt Lady Allen has disinherited him.

Sir John’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Jennings, invites her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, to visit. They bring with them the impoverished Lucy Steele. Lucy confides in Elinor that she and Edward have been engaged secretly for five years, thus dashing Elinor’s hopes of a future with him. Mrs. Jennings takes Lucy, Elinor, and Marianne to London, where they meet Willoughby at a ball. He barely acknowledges their acquaintance, and they learn he is engaged to the extremely wealthy Miss Grey; Marianne is inconsolable. The clandestine engagement of Edward and Lucy also comes to light. Edward’s mother demands that he break off the engagement. When he refuses, his fortune is taken from him and given to his younger brother Robert.

On their way home to Devonshire, Elinor and Marianne stop for the night at the country estate of the Palmers, who live near Willoughby. Marianne cannot resist going to see Willoughby’s estate and walks a long way in a torrential rain to do so. As a result, she becomes seriously ill and is nursed back to health by Elinor after being rescued by Colonel Brandon.

After Marianne recovers, the sisters return home. They learn that Miss Steele has become Mrs. Ferrars and assume that she is married to Edward. However, he arrives to explain that Miss Steele has unexpectedly wed Robert Ferrars and is thus released from his engagement. Edward proposes to Elinor and becomes a vicar, whilst Marianne falls in love with and marries Colonel Brandon.

Now for my thoughts:

For one thing this movie has a great musical score and beautiful scenery.

I know that Emma Thomson and Alan Rickman are too old for their respective roles but I don’t let that take away from the story, and frankly I couldn’t picture Elinor and Colonel Brandon any other way.  The script is true to the book, only slightly deviating from Jane Austen’s novel.  The story moves swiftly and is interesting.  Even my brothers (who claim to hate the J.A. films watched most of it with me).  Lucy Steele is easy to hate and so is Fanny Dashwood.

One of my most favorite parts is – the wedding!  Marianne and Colonel Brandon look so much in love and so happy with each other and so do Eleanor and Edward.  My sister’s favorite part in the entire movie is when Colonel Brandon tosses the coins into the air.  By the way, it was a tradition for the grooms to throw coins into the air, because it indicated how wealthy they are.  Naturally, you would expect Colonel Brandon, rather than Edward to toss coins into the air.

Overall this is a great movie to watch and enjoy and it’s my favorite Austen adaption.  I would highly recommend it to anyone.  

All my photos came from here.

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Defending Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park

For some unknown reason, M.P. has usually received a bad rap among Austen fans.  “It’s too dull.  Fanny and Edmund are boring as a heroine and hero.”  In my mind, nothing could be further from the truth.  M.P., I think, is Austen’s most mature novel.  It really explores the human mind and displays the differences between good and bad.  M.P. is also an entertaining read.  From the private theater to the visit to Sotherton to the deep discussions between the main characters and Fanny’s come-out ball I am never bored.  M.P. is perhaps not as entertaining as Pride and Prejudice; as light-hearted as Northanger Abbey; as sparkling as Emma; as satisfying as Sense and Sensibility; or as tender and romantic as Persuasion, it still ranks (in my thinking) as one of the top three of Austen’s works.

Fanny is a very interesting character.  In her own quiet way, she is the strongest of all the characters.  She refuses to act and doesn’t get carried away by the charm and good looks of Henry Crawford.  She is intelligent, understanding, and full of many other good qualities.  Fanny may not be the liveliest Austen heroine, but besides Anne Elliot, she is probably the most mature of all heroines.

Edmund is not boring and dull.  He has lots of good character traits even though he is led somewhat astray by Mary Crawford.  Edmund and Fanny understand each other very well, and it’s easy to tell why they are attracted to each other.

Thus ends my post.  Sorry for ranting, but I just can’t understand people when they say that M.P. is boring and dull.  Have a good day and please tell me what you think about M.P.

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For Jane Austen’s Birthday…

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Happy Birthday Miss Austen!

As all of you know, today is our beloved Jane Austen’s birthday.  I’m entering a contest hosted by Miss Dashwood of Yet Another Period Drama Blog.  You can read about it here.  And without further ado, here’s my entry:

Dear Miss Austen,

I wish you many happy returns on the occasion of your birthday.  I am so grateful to you for making me one of the happiest women in England.  I applaud your skill of writing in bringing my brother, Henry and Catherine together.  When Catherine was sent away from Northanger Abbey, I was in deep despair, but I should not have worried – everything turned out perfectly in the end.  Thank you for giving me such a kind, generous husband.  The Viscount and I are very happy and he sends his most cordial wishes along with mine as Catherine and Henry do.  Thank you for giving me such a wonderful sister and husband.

Yours ever,
Eleanor Winthrop (formerly Miss Tilney)

So all I say is Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

 

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Winner of the Giveaway

The winner of the Cooper and Me:Winter Adventure giveaway is Amber Nickerson.  Congratulations Amber!  I will be e-mailing Amber with good news shortly.

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Jane Austen Birthday Week Part 7 (Final Part)

A whole week has gone by, filled with Austen-themed posts.  So now it’s time to wrap it up in a grand finale.

At another blogger’s suggestion, I am taking an Austen quiz and posting my results in this post.  Here are my results:

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

The winner of the Best Austen Blogger award is…Miss Elizabeth Bennet of Elegance of Fashion.  You can read her excellent post here.  I will be contacting her soon.  Thank you to all who entered!

The results for the Jane Austen polls found here are –

Austen Novels (the novels that are not mentioned received no votes)

Pride and Prejudice received 50% of all votes

Northanger Abbey received 25% percent of all votes

Emma received 12% of all votes

Persuasion received 12% of all votes

Austen Heroines (the heroines that are not mentioned received no votes)

Elizabeth Bennet received 50% of all votes

Catherine Morland received 12% of all votes

Anne Elliot received 12% of all votes

Fanny Price received 12% of all votes

Elinor Dashwood received 12% of all votes

Austen Heros (the heros that are not mentioned received no votes)

Fitzwilliam Darcy received 37% of all votes

Mr. Knightly received 25% of all votes

Henry Tilney received 25% of all votes

Edmund Bertram received 12% of all votes

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I hope that you enjoyed this Jane Austen Birthday Week.  Have a great day!

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