Friday, June 28, 2013

Holidays at Pemberley: Part One (A)

A few weeks ago I posted the prologue to my next book, the third and final "tale of less Pride and Prejudice" I shall write,  Holidays at Pemberley, or Third Encounters (read it here). Now I'd like to provide a glimpse at the first scene of the first part of the book, but I find I need to provide a bit of explanation before doing so. This book begins at the end of the first novel, First Impressions, at my version of the Netherfield ball. It then spans across the events of Second Glances and continues a bit beyond, to the holiday season following that second book's conclusion. I have it organized in three parts rather than chapters, each one focused around the Christmas and Twelfth Night celebrations at Pemberley over the course of three successive years (hence the title). Thus this book is both a conclusion to my re-imagined version of Pride and Prejudice as well as a holiday celebration. So it could somewhat stand on its own as the latter,  I included a lot more synopsis of the previous stories in this book than I did in Second Glances. This first section I'm about to share contains much of this, and is, therefore, an enormous SPOLIER FOR FIRST IMPRESSIONS. Please be warned before proceeding as you best see fit (and note that you can read the beginnings of both previous books above). Also keep in mind that this is still a work in progress and feel free to comment as such. Enjoy!

(Read the prologue: Somewhere in Hertfordshire, July 1790)

Part I: 1811-1812

Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want. – Pride & Prejudice

At Christmas, when everyone is consumed by a mad desire to bring the outdoors in, festooning their windows and doorways with that greenery usually reserved for the landscaper’s manipulation, one need no particular excuse to deck the halls, garland the banister, and indulge in the abundant gaieties typical of the season. When that most joyous of all occasions – a wedding – happens to correspond to this festive time of year, the merriment must needs be all the more splendid.

The Bennet family had nothing less than outrageous good fortune to celebrate. Had you asked Mrs. Bennet a mere six months past what she required to achieve perfect contentment, she would have unhesitatingly declared, “Might I see just a few of my girls comfortably settled, I should have not a care in the world.” As having one’s heart’s desire so expeditiously fulfilled could render even the most staid character deliriously happy, Mrs. Bennet might be reasonably expected to attain heights of exaltation never before achieved by mankind.

Marrying off more than half one’s excessive number of daughters was no everyday occurrence, particularly not so very advantageously. Mary’s match might not be the monetary windfall of her sisters, but by breaking the entail she far exceeded all her family’s expectations. This ball, held by Mr. Bingley in honor of his future wife, was merely the first in a season of continuous festivities, to culminate in the annual Twelfth Night celebrations at Pemberley. It was an event Elizabeth would host as the new mistress of that very fine estate, though she had never yet placed a foot upon its grounds. Mrs. Bennet’s triumph should be complete, and though it must in no way be underestimated, for it was excessive indeed, discontent besmirched what ought to have been a perfect occasion. What could cause such irritation to maternal feelings? A not unreasonable sense of indignation at seeing the honors of the evening usurped: “I know not how Jane can bear to dance so complacently on Mr. Wickham’s arm, when it is she who should be leading the set. I have a strong notion to tell Mrs. Wickham precisely what I think of her behavior, Mr. Bennet!”

“By all means, my dear. If the bride can summon no shame for herself, why should you not be the one to supply the deficit.”

“But it is intolerable! If any daughter of mine were to abandon all her friends and elope, making herself and her relations the talk of the neighborhood, she certainly would at least know better than to flaunt her actions so shamelessly! The lady ought to have remained in Scotland, or anywhere else, at least until after her brother’s wedding.”

“For once, Mrs. Bennet, we completely agree. It would have been a great deal more convenient, but Mr. and Mrs. Wickham, who might not be as enlightened as you and I, do not seem to have taken such considerations to mind when making their plans. As they are here, and Mr. Bingley cannot deny his sister the rights of a bride without fueling a great deal more gossip than that with which he must already contend, I commend our daughter in making the best of her situation.”

“Dear Jane always behaves just as she ought, but I know not what such graciousness under so much provocation will do to my nerves!”

Mrs. Bennet was not alone in her irritation. Elizabeth, despite her determination to relish the dance, could not be blind to the feathered headdress of Mrs. Wickham, which seem to constantly intrude itself upon her line of vision. For abstract reasons, its presence reminded her of the changes ahead, and her struggle to remain in the moment failed against visions of the grandeur to come. Becoming Mrs. Darcy was no small undertaking, and while Elizabeth maintained no delusions that a Miss Bennet was bred to the task, she did have faith in her ability to succeed, even flourish, with Mr. Darcy assistance. He had already shown a great desire to ease her transition, and it was for this reason the new year would begin with a Twelfth Night party at Pemberley, rather than the customary ball. Mr. Darcy could not be so cruel to either himself or his new wife as to interrupt the first weeks of their marriage with hundred of guests. He already worried that entertainment on any scale might overwhelm her, knowing far better than she the true size and scope of her future home, but Elizabeth was insistent. “By your own admission, this event has only been cancelled on two occasions in your lifetime: both when the house was in mourning. This is a happy occasion, and I will not let it be associated in anyone’s mind with times so opposite.” And with many reassurances that the housekeeper, Mrs. Reynolds, would bear the vast share of the burden, a point on which he could have no doubt, the matter was settled that it should be a small party, only family and their nearest neighbors.

With such joyful intimidations before her, Elizabeth still had depths of emotion to bestow upon the new Mrs. Wickham – haughtily leading the steps on her brother’s arm, betraying not the slightest bit of shame for her behavior, and acting just as if she deserved the honors assumed – but as Elizabeth had herself instructed Mr. Darcy to pay neither she nor her far more offensive husband the slightest bit of mind, it would not do for her to betray her own indignation at the former Miss Bingley now. She must not be allowed to spoil the evening.

Turning a teasing smile towards her partner and catching his eye, she began to laugh. “Oh no, Mr. Darcy! This will never do!”

He gazed at her contentedly. “Whatever could you mean, my dear? I have never before so enjoyed a ball.” He looked around in confirmation of the sentiment. In one corner of the room he saw Georgiana giggling with Kitty Bennet, behaving just how ladies their age ought at a ball. Though he could not say so much for Lydia, he was pleased to see her father standing over her, ready at any moment to intervene. If he could overhear Mrs. Bennet’s laments, he was also able to ignore them, and the image of Mr. Collins and Mary sitting in the corner, no doubt discussing some deep topic no one else could ever find the slightest interest in but themselves, inspired a sensation that everyone had their perfect someone in the world, and those in the room were a testament to the fact. The Wickhams were like specks on the wall in the presence of his Elizabeth, but he could even be optimistic about their uncertain future. Though they were sure to prove a burden to Bingley, he felt Caroline might very well prove the making of Wickham, as she would both hold the purse strings and insist he conduct himself respectably. Never before had he looked on the world with such beneficence.

“But we must pay some care for our audience. We have expectations to meet, Mr. Darcy.”

“I thought we were performing quite nicely. Do you not see Sir William’s pleasure?”

“Oh yes, Sir William Lucas is the great arbiter of the art! It must be his invaluable time at St. James that renders him such a worthy judge. However that may be, I referred not to the accuracy and grace of our steps, which I have no doubt are sublime, but the inescapable notion that this is but the second time we have ever danced, and again we commence in total silence. We really must have some conversation, even if it just regarding the weather, lest the neighborhood conclude we already have grown tired of one another.”

Now he laughed. “Impossible! Anyone with eyes may instantly perceive my delight!”

It was true, and those persons in the room who knew Fitzwilliam Darcy best – those possessing that insight into a character only a shared childhood can provide –
knew how truly anomalous was his current mood. To Georgiana Darcy, her brother’s joy was her own, but the same could not be said for George Wickham, who found it galling that Darcy should have wealth, position, and love to boot. He had no such delight in his own bride, though pleased enough with his catch. He barely even knew Caroline, and beyond a shared yearning for Pemberley and dislike of its master could not say what they had in common. But a thousand pounds a year was no small gain, and as it was very pleasant to enjoy the smiles of his future sister, he found pessimism hard to sustain. He would capitalize, as he always had, upon his old friend’s blessings. Having quite lost any hope for their personal relationship after foolishly pursuing Georgiana, he now saw an opportunity for restoration, as soon he would be forever linked to the family through marriage, however distantly. This time he was determined to put the connection to better use.

Another in the room had not dissimilar thoughts to George Wickham, though hers were born of far better will. Charlotte Lucas had closely watched as the extraordinary happened to the Bennets – a total reversal of fortune – while her own prospects remained abominably bleak. She too wished to make good use of her connection to the Darcys. She was invited to the wedding at Pemberley, and she was determined to make the most of the opportunity.

There was no reason to suppose Charlotte would not prosper in her cause, but Mr. Wickham was that very evening to encounter a stumbling block in his pathway to paradise. Mr. Darcy, always mindful of form, asked the new Mrs. Wickham to stand with him. Though the lady’s gloating insinuations and abhorrent lack of shame disgusted him, he was determined to dance with her, and for reasons compounding more than mere formality. Pride and familial duty were at stake. No one must think he bore any ill will towards the new couple, for the sake of not just Georgiana, but Bingley as well.

If Mr. Darcy’s emotions were complex regarding his partner, hers were fantastic. Mrs. Wickham (who was feeling very smug in her elopement and, as so many had noted, not in the least ashamed) knew it was he had who warned the fathers of Meryton to keep their daughters away from George Wickham, and more abominable behavior she could not comprehend. To think that Mr. Darcy could treat so shabbily he who ought to be most dear, as Wickham had been to his father before him, caused her resentment to swell. This was a troubling sensation, as she needed Mr. Darcy; his consequence must be as dear to her as her husband’s, irrevocably connected as she believed them to be. Something ought to be done to rectify such wrongs, and she had enough self-righteous anger and personal interest to make the attempt.

“Is it not felicitous, “ she began insincerely, “that two such friends as you and I should discover happiness in such an out of the way place as Netherfield?” He politely, but silently, acknowledged this sentiment. “My brother too! You remember that I was not in favor of his engagement, but I cannot now censure another for following their heart, not after having done the same myself.” She sighed in happy affectation.

To this he could easily agree. “When one meets the person most suited to themselves, social consequence proves little barrier.”

She tried not to grimace. “I doubt that had even such similarities of circumstance not formed a natural relationship, our friendship would find solidity in the close connection provided by your and my brother marrying two sisters.”

He looked quizzical. “Indeed? It is precisely the kind of connection most would term distant.”

“Come, Mr. Darcy! Surely we must put the past behind us. Your misunderstanding with George can be of no consequence now, and though I completely understand that you may not acknowledge the true nature of your association before the world – indeed, how could I want you to? – it is well past time for my husband to be restored to those rights and privileges due to him, especially now that Charles’ union eases appearances.”

Darcy could barely contain his ire. To hear his sister’s misuse dismissed so casually! “If you refer to the living at Kympton,” he said with forced calm, “your husband seems to have once again failed to remember that he was generously compensated for the holding’s worth, when he professed himself inclined towards the law. If he has squandered the money since, it cannot be a concern of mine.”

“Oh!” resentment broke through her facade “How can you be so cold! You should be ashamed, Mr. Darcy, to treat your father’s son so infamously! I scarce believe it, but I do think I must pity Miss Elizabeth her future husband!”

Though the content of this conversation had done much to distress him, it had not previously caused him to miss a step, but the magnitude of what Mrs. Wickham had just alluded to stopped him still on the dance floor. Instinctive breeding came to his rescue, and he quickly recovered himself, but just because his feet began to move once more, do not think the shock of her words had dulled. He knew not what to say or how to respond, and his silence led her to believe she had struck a blow. With bravado she persisted: “I see my words have caused you pause, and I am sorry to have interjected such a personal matter into a ballroom conversation, but Justice will demand her dues.“

“Mrs. Wickham,” Mr. Darcy hastily interjected, before his partner could be suffered to proceed any longer under such delusion, “I will not engage in supposition regarding whom has imposed such fantasy upon you, but it is my duty, as your friend … “ he paused, not knowing how he might delicately say what needed to be expressed. He thought of how Elizabeth would proceed under like circumstances, and a rather inappropriate smile overtook his mien as he formulated his words.  “Forgive me,” he began, as she looked at him with suspicion, “but I must tell you of your husband’s revered father, Mrs. Wickham, whom I knew from the moment of my birth until the time of his death. He was a thoroughly good man, and a great friend to my own honored father. Our families were perhaps on terms of greater intimacy than is typically the case in such relationships, a stunning example of which is the presence of many a Wickham’s countenance amongst the collections of portraits at Pemberley. Surely you remember seeing the likeness of the late Mr. Wickham when you visited last? It is just a small watercolor, done by my mother in her first years at Pemberley, and I would not typically expect a guest to recall it, but as it bears such a striking resemblance to his son, perhaps you might?”

She blinked at him blankly, and the color began to drain from her face.

“Are you alright, Mrs. Wickham?” Mr. Darcy asked with real concern, all humor gone. He could not know to what degree her husband’s misrepresentations had influenced the socially conscious Miss Bingley’s decision to flee to the border with a man lacking in gentility, but the distress of his friend’s sister was perfectly clear. He escorted her from the floor and towards her brother, but Mr. Wickham intercepted him, a worried look on his face.

“Caroline?” he questioned, looking between his pale wife and Mr. Darcy nervously, suspecting that his prevarications had just been exposed. If so, married life was about to become far more difficult than he had planned. “Is everything all right, my dear?”

Mrs. Wickham surveyed her husband with a sinking sensation. He looked very well, so much must be said for him, but without the Pemberley connection it was all empty packaging. She had never before been so angry before, and she vowed to have her revenge upon him, but she also knew she had little recourse but to make the best of her circumstances. He was educated and had every appearance the gentleman. No one need ever know he was the steward’s son. Forcing herself to remain passive while George claimed her arm from Mr. Darcy, she thanked her partner in a cold voice, intended to convey all she could not say to either him or her husband, and allowed herself to be led towards a quiet corner of the room.

Mr. Darcy almost pitied his nemesis, so effective was the chill Mrs. Wickham’s ire had cast, but his amusement would not be long suppressed. It was yet another example of a perfect match, for surely no two people could deserve each other more than the Wickhams. Finding Elizabeth sitting on the far side of the room from that unfortunate couple, whom he happily cast from his thoughts, he readily made his way to her side. There he learned he actually owed Mr. Wickham a debt of gratitude, for so determined had Elizabeth been not to show that same favor to him as her fiancĂ© had bestowed upon his wife, that she declined his hand when offered, claiming fatigue. Thus it was that Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy had no compunction in sitting out the rest of the night and never leaving each other’s side.

Charlotte smiled from across the room at the man’s obvious devotion to her friend. Such attachment was very charming, undoubtedly, and when it came to an end, as it was most certain to do, they would have abundant good fortune to keep the inevitable aggravations with each other to a minimum. Perhaps the greatest blessing of a large house, she mused, was the freedom such space provided from inconvenient company.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pride and Prejudice (1995): Influence and Merit

My poor, neglected blog! I have often had cause to begin a post in similar style, but this time I feel particularly frustrated, for I had finally had a good stint of uninterrupted blogging, the first solid one since Eliza was born two years and two weeks ago. I'm afraid her birthday party entirely overset me, and I am only now beginning to recover my equilibrium.

By the way, the party was awesome, if a massive distraction.

What better way to get back in the swing of things with the mother of all reviews: Andrew Davies' 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. It's a review I've been far too overwhelmed to even contemplate for years, but I have decided to attempted it as my 6th review for the Pride and Prejudice Bicentennial Celebration 2013. The problem is that regardless of which P&P adaptation is any given person's preference, all must agree that it way the release of this version that gave birth to the modern Janeite, turning our dear Miss Austen into the "It girl" of the early 21st century. Lory Lilian (author of one of my favorite P&P variations, Rainy Days) and I once discussed this phenomenon at this blog (read Sexy JAFF: A Conversation with Lory Lilian here), and so I will not reiterate our conclusions now but to assert that it is a truth universally acknowledged that the world was never quite the same after Colin Firth jumped in that pond. This review is so hard to write because this is more than just an excellent film adaptation of one of the most beloved English novels: it is the stimulus for a phenomenon.

So much of the Austenesque genre is inspired directly by this movie. It's conventions and imagery crops up in a large percentage of Pride and Prejudiced based novels on the market. This is most blatant in the names of characters. It was Mr. Davies' who dubbed Mrs. Bennet Fanny, Mrs. Gardiner Madeline, and Darcy's uncle the Earl of Matlock, and these monikers have now become almost canon. Entire scenes derived from the movie, rather than the novel, are referenced in book after book. I think it worth while to dwell on some of my favorites:

This scene from Relations Such As These by Sara O'Brien is clearly inspired by the opening of
the movie, during which Elizabeth spies Darcy and Bingley galloping across the Netherfield property, but this book being a "What If?", there are a few changes:
Being good horsemen, they galloped along a meadow, each man lost to their own musings and without much awareness of their surroundingd. Truth be told, Bingley seemed to be simply enjoying the ride and said, "This does seem like a pleasant place does it not, Darcy, Fitzwilliam?" 
Fitzwilliam replied, "It does indeed, Bingley, such large meadows for the horses and the timbers for shade ... yes this could be a descent prospect."  
Darcy said, "Let us not make any hasty decisions based upon some 'pleasantness' of the prospect or the size of the meadow." He pointedly looked at his companions, "We must ensure that there a no major issues with drainage or major repairs ... you realize that could cost you much more than the lease if you are not careful, Bingley." 
His two companions scoffed at his sober remarks but did not comment further after studying his serious mien. ... 
As the gentlemen rode on, they all failed to notice a young gentlewoman walking along the property line near the meadow at the timberline. Within seconds, Darcy noted her presence and quickly pulled back hard on the reigns. He could feel his heart racing violently at the fright of nearly trampling the inattentive young woman. 
The scene during which Mr. Darcy watches Elizabeth playing with a dog from one of Netherfield's windows may have been the inspiration for the entire premise of one of my very most favorite P&P retellings, Master Under Good Regulation by Kara Louise, which is told entirely from the perspective of Mr. Darcy's dog. It certainly at least inspired this moment:
I offered a paw in apology for the rudeness to which she had just been subjected, waging my tail to show my earnest. She stooped down and beckoned me to come. When I approached her, she cpped my face with her hands. 
"Reggie, how pleasant it is to witness such graciousness and affable manners! I asked you this once and I shall ask you again. How is it that you are so polite when he is so ill mannered?" 
She reached down and picked up a stick and I waited with great expectantcy for her to throw it. But instead of letting it go, she held onto it; resolutely pounding it into her open palm. 
"He certainly is an enigma, Reggie. Of he is not brooding and silent, he is critical of everyone and everything he sees. I sense his disdain for me as sure as I do Miss Bingley's."
I found it difficult keeping my eyes adhered to the stick whilst attending to her words about my master. Unfortunately, the words were neither heartening to me nor complimentary to him. 
"One would think that a man of education and striking advantage would somewhere along the way have acquired even the most basic civilities." She paused contemplatively. 
"Perhaps he does not oblige himself to attend to those for whom he sees no advantage to himself." She let out a breathy laugh. "If that is the case, Reggie, I can hardly expect that he would concern himself with satusfying my demands for well-mannered behavior." 
She continued to tease me with the stick as she dispirited me with her words. "And his adea of an accomplished woman! Has he ever met a lady who has attained all that? I would imagine that even all the ladies he has met in the ton would scarcely meet his unrivaled expectations." 
I sadly realized that she was completely unaware that my master considered her to be most accomplished. Miss Elizabeth may not be all the things Miss Bingley had in her list of accomplishments, but she certainly possessed the ones my master deemed essential. My tail gave a few fervent thumps against the ground, surging from a deep sense of frustration at the manner in which my master and Miss Elizabeth continually misapprehended one another. 
She unexpectedly gave the stick a spirited toss and with a great laugh, called out, "Fetch!" 
My legs responded with little thought as I quickly set out to retrieve it. But at my old age, my eagerness to please her propelled me more than my vigor, and I returned to her panting, but in proud possession of the stick. 
"Good boy, Reggie. You are an infinitely preferable companion," she affirmed, as she took the stick and patted the top of my head.
And from the book I am currently enjoying, Bluebells in the Mourning by KaraLynne Mackrory (review soon to come), this image of Pemberley as Elizabeth first sees it is clearly Lyme Park, the location used for Pemberley's exterior:
Elizabeth kept her eyes glued to the window as she scanned the woods for some glimpse of the house. Just as their carriage crested the top of the hill, her eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, and she audibly gasped. It was elegant with a dignified facade backed by many acres of trees. An exquisite  greenway led to a beautiful manicured lake. It could not be equaled in her mind to any of the other estates she had seen thus far - indeed, any estate in existence, she was sure. It was simply stunning - stunning and very large. She had not thought Mr. Darcy so rich.
Now how can I continue to delay actually critiquing this film? How about a few confessions:

First, this was not only the first Pride & Prejudice adaptation I ever saw: it was also my first Austen film, period. I was sixteen years old at the time it first aired in the US, and I had just finished Mansfield Park, the last of Austen's major novels I read, when a rare glimpse at PBS (though it would mark the beginning of an ongoing love affair with public media) informed me the mini-series would begin airing that very Sunday. I can't recall whether I spent the next five successive Sunday nights at home alone or if they showed the entire thing at once, but I do know that I did not miss a moment. This version has ever since been my gold standard for all literary adaptations. Though it is my favorite Pride & Prejudice movie, I greatly enjoy the other versions as well, especially 1980 (read my review of it here).

Second, though for me Colin Firth epitomizes Mr. Darcy, I really don't care for the wet shirt scene that made him so famous. I think its awkward, and I don't like seeing Mr. Darcy placed in a circumstance which must be, for him, terribly embarrassing. The moment is uncomfortable enough without him being in a state of undress. I am far more fond of the clips of him fencing, especially that determined statement, "I will conquer this!" which is so beautifully in character.

Third, it seems I don't have as much difficulty pointing out the movie's faults as I previously stated, for upon consideration there are also several casting/character portrayals that bother me immensely. Most particularly, I don't particularly care for Susannah Harker as Jane Bennet. The problem, I believe, lies largely with the script and direction, not the actress, but I find her portrayal inconsistent with Austen's character, especially in the scene where she redirects Mr. Collins' attention from Elizabeth in a rather conniving way. I vastly prefer her depiction in 1980 by Sabina Franklyn. That film also does a better job with Georgiana Darcy. Emilia Fox is very pretty in the role, but I think her too forward. For more on which film I think does the best with each character, do check out my Pride and Prejudice Mashup.

Minor grievances aside, I must watch this movie at least once a year. My husband is almost always happy to join me in this pursuit, which says much for the film's endurance. As soon as the opening music begins I get super sentimental. I adore Benjamin Whitrow and Alison Steadman as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. That first scene with them is beyond perfect. And Jennifer Ehle (though she looks a bit older than Elizabeth's 20 years) captures Elizabeth's sparkle better than any other actress who has played the role. Her eyes literally laugh, and at all the right times. Julia Sawalha is astounding as Lydia (especially to those of us who know her as Saffy from Absolutely Fabulous), as is David Bamber as Mr. Collins (love the sweat - Austen doesn't mention it, but you know it should be there). I still laugh and cry at this film, as I did the first time I watched it.

Despite complaints about Jane, I adore the scenes between Elizabeth and her in their rooms. It's a beautiful way to capture these essential moments in the character development of both, especially as a way to glimpse into Elizabeth's psyche. I also can't say enough in praise of Anna Chancellor as Caroline Bingley. Her expressions are spectacular. Her face when Darcy shoots her down at Pemberley is magnificent, but even better is the look she has when Mary Bennet usurps her place at the piano during the Netherfield ball. Hilarious! Speaking of images from this movie appearing in Austenesque, every time a writer mentions how hideous Miss Bingley looks in orange, that moment immediately comes to mind (it does seem to be a color both the costumers and writers of Austenesque favor for her).

There is far too much excellent about this film to mention it all. Perhaps my favorite part, and one of the most difficult to adapt, is the scene in which Mr. Darcy writes his letter and Elizabeth reads it. I love the flashbacks with Wickham, and I thoroughly approve of the decision to recount that part of the letter first, as Mr. Darcy composes it, while having Elizabeth read the beginning of the letter second, addressing Bingley and Jane's situation, despite this being exactly opposite of Austen's presentation. In switching the order, the film allows us to forgive Mr. Darcy quickly that we may commiserate with his angst as he writes, while creating a greater sense of tension (and catharsis) as Elizabeth reads his rather antagonizing explanation for separating his friend from his sister. Nevertheless, what I love most about this movie is its careful adherence to the original story. Perhaps that's why the portrayals of Jane and Georgiana irritate me so much. I'm the sort who adores those old verbatim BBC adaptations. The 1995 version of Pride & Prejudice bridges the gap between those long and precise mini-series of old, whose charm can be difficult to discern through quality issues, and the new crop that we now enjoy, with their stunning cinematography and spectacular costuming. So much we wouldn't have if not for this film! I am eternally grateful for it.

Want to read my other Bicentennial Celebration reviews? Check them out below:

Pride and Platypus by Vera Nazarian

Mr. Darcy's Little Sister vs. And This Our Life by C. Allyn Pierson

An Unlikely Missionary by Skylar Hamilton Burris

The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy by Regina Jeffers

The Three Colonels by Jack Caldwell

Friday, June 7, 2013

Second Glances on Nook and 2nd Birthdays

My very demure way of sticking it to the man (aka Amazon). Second Glances: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Continues is now available on Nook. First Impressions, too, is back on Nook following my test run of Amazon's KDP Select program, which gives them exclusive electronic rights. Not sure it was worth it - just seemed to alienate those who prefer other devices to the Kindle. Still, it was nice to be able to offer the free download days.

This weekend it my daughter's second birthday party, and I can think if little else. How has it been two years already? I kind of didn't have the mind to put much effort into the first birthday, but I'm making it up in spades this year. Following lengthy debate, Eliza decided she wanted a music party (well, really a Fresh Beat Band party, except mommy doesn't believe in plastering corporate marketing materials all over the place, so were doing a generic version). I've got three arts and crafts projects planned for entertainment: the kids will be making their own instruments. I'm super excited about it and might even have t post a picture or two, which is something I never do. Happy birthday my little darling! May you have a magical year.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Jane Austen Giveaway Hop Winner!

So sorry it took me do long to post this! It's been a crazy week of celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, and I'm afraid I got a bit distracted.

The winner of the copy of Northanger Abbey I offered as part of The Jane Austen Giveaway Hop 2013 is:


Congratulations! I'll be in touch shortly to get your mailing info.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Your comments were great. Let's do it again next year!